Read it and looking for something to read next? Try one of these titles!
The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Educated by Tara Westover
Have recommendations to share? Leave them in the comments section!
August Nonfiction Book Reviews by Marjorie Thelen
(Find Marjorie Thelen's books in the catalog or on her website)
Being interested in history, I look for authors and scholars who examine history from a different perspective. There are three such volumes available at the Harney County Library that feature scholars interested in looking at history from an Indigenous perspective. I recommend all three.
Archaeologies of Indigenous Presence, 2022 edited by Tsim D. Schneider and Lee M. Panich.
This is a collection of articles by a wide representation of anthropologists and archaeologists, some Indigenous. Among other subjects, they discuss how to incorporate Indigenous knowledge or presence into archaeological practice and research. Diane Teeman, enrolled member of the Burns Paiute tribe, and her colleague, Sarah E. Cowie, write about “Navigating Entanglements and Mitigating Intergenerational Trauma in Two Collaborative Projects”. Teeman’s project is “Our Ancestors Walk of Sorrow” about the forced removal of the Burns Paiute Tribe from their ancestral homelands in the winter of 1879. Cowie’s project “Stewart Indian School Project in Carson City, Nevada” discusses the federal government’s forced assimilation of Native children from 1890 to 1980. Teeman is currently a doctoral candidate and faculty research assistant in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Cowie is a professor of anthropology at the same university. It is especially worth reading their articles, which start on page 265. They are thought-provoking and deserve careful reading as do the other articles in the book. As the editors, Schneider and Panich, point out “we will do well to reforge our institutional boilerplate to acknowledge that Native people have been here all along.” (See it in the catalog here.)
An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States, 2014 by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
This Indigenous scholar looks at the history of the U.S. from an Indigenous perspective. She identifies settler colonialism as one of the primary causes of the harm done to Indigenous peoples and culture. The U. S. westward expansion took land from Indigenous peoples, moving them to reservations where promises by the U.S. government weren’t kept. Native culture was destroyed, and whole tribes exterminated. Indigenous children were moved to government and church run boarding schools to “civilize” them. Native peoples resisted, and they point out that “We are still here.” All of us need to read this perspective of history. (See it in the catalog here.)
Origin – A Genetic History of the Americas, 2022 by Jennifer Raft.
This anthropologist and geneticist speculates on how First Peoples arrived in North and South America based on sequencing their complete genomes. The migration of First Peoples is surrounded by controversy. Raft is critical of some of the outlandish theories that surround certain First Peoples sites in the U.S like the mound builders. If you want to learn about the speculation on how First Peoples arrived and thrived in “the New World” for thousands of years, take a look at this book. It is a challenging read. (See it in the catalog here.)
July Nonfiction Book Review
by Marjorie Thelen
The Border – by Erika Fatland (Find it at the Harney County Library & in the catalog here)
This book will appeal to readers who like history, international politics, and armchair travel. It’s well-written and researched by a young Norwegian travel journalist who visited all those countries listed in the title over an eight-month period in 2016. She wanted to learn how Russia has influenced the enormous region it borders upon. Fatland talked about Russia with everyone she met along the way. She relates many amazing, troubling, and shocking stories about what an aggressive bully Russia has been with its neighbors since the start of the tsars in the 15th century. Borders over the centuries changed so many times it makes the head spin. The tsars, the Soviets, and the communists killed or deported millions of people who got in their way and leveled whole towns. Putin is following the same mold. If you want to understand the current war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, read this book. It is an eye opener.
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Harney County Library provides an array of public-use technology, alongside our digital services and online learning opportunities. Take a look:
Things You Can Take Home
The library has twenty mobile hotspots purchased with an ARPA grant from the State Library. You can place them on hold in the catalog or give us a call at 541-573-6670. These hotspots offer unlimited data. They can be connected to any smartphone, laptop, tablet, and more (even smart TVs!). You are able to check out these items for 3 weeks, no renewals. You must be 18+ and your account must be in good standing.
Laptop Tech to Go Kits!
The latest addition to our technology offering – we circulate two laptop Tech to Go kits. These kits include a laptop, charging cord, mobile hotspot, hotspot cord, and an instruction sheet – all tucked into a laptop bag. This allows you to conduct Zoom interviews or Telehealth meetings at home, work on a project, and more! These laptops were also purchased with funds from an ARPA Grant from the State Library.
Tablet Tech to Go Kit!
The tablet kit includes a tablet, charging cord, mobile hotspot, hotspot cord, an instruction sheet, and a carrying case. The apps available on the tablet include all the Harney County Library e-resources like Hoopla, Library2Go, and Rocket Languages, as well as other apps you may find useful like an internet browser, YouTube, and Zoom. Check out a TV series on the Hoopla app (free with your library card), Zoom with your grandkids across the country, and more! (Tablet was purchased with funds from an ARPA Grant from the State Library.)
Printing & Faxing
The library offers print services – you are able to print from the aforementioned public computers, as well as via email – stop into the library, forward whatever documents you need printed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a front desk staffer can help you out! Charges for copies are the following: $0.10/page for black & white copies, $0.50/page for color or larger copies (11x17).
If you need something faxed, we charge $0.50/page (we do not charge for the cover sheet). We can receive faxes for you for $0.10/page.
Scan to Email/Flash Drive
Free. Materials can be scanned and sent to an email on our copier, or you can bring your own flash drive and copy to it. Front desk staff are always on hand if you need help.
Remote Interview/Telehealth/Podcasting Space
If you need access to a space for doing a remote interview or telehealth visit, Harney County Library has our Oral History Recording Room available. This space is quiet, private, and available to be booked. We also have a public-use laptop with a webcam that you can use (you will be required to sign in and leave your ID at the front desk to use it). To book time in the Recording Room, stop into the library or give us a call at 541-573-6670!
The Claire McGill Luce Western History Room at the Harney County Library takes the opportunity this Juneteenth to recognize the contributions of author and former Harney County resident Martha Anderson.
June 19th or "Juneteenth" marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
“If anyone had told me before I began my research that the West practiced slavery in the open, I wouldn’t have believed it, “ said former Harney County resident Mrs. Martha Anderson. Her research dug into the history of Black men and women, like herself, who were making significant contributions to rural and urban communities following the westward movement of Blacks after the civil war. She compiled the stories and information she discovered into a ground-breaking book, “Black Pioneers of the Northwest 1800-1918.”
“The Blacks that settled in the West in the 1800s, she said, proved that “it doesn’t take a million dollars to be a good citizen. Rather, they showed the ability to work under any circumstances.”
Martha Anderson was no stranger to overcoming adversity herself. Together with her husband Walter Anderson, and his brother Oscar and wife, they constituted the entire Black population of Harney County for decades. After spending forty years building a successful cattle ranch in the Juniper Lake area of Harney County, declining health forced Walter and his wife to seek out a different line of work. The couple sold their ranch in 1952 and purchased a small hotel on Portland’s east side. Mounting medical bills and Walter’s death six years later coincided with a downturn in hotel business that put Martha in dire financial straits. Never a quitter, she sought financial advice from good friend, astute businesswoman, and neighboring Harney County rancher, Mary (Neal) Kueny.
Thanks to the generosity of Mary Kueny’s great-niece, Lois Renwick, a year-long series of correspondence between Mary and Martha Anderson has been donated to the archives of the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room.
More than a dozen letters of correspondence were received by Mary Kueny from Martha between 1958 and 1959. Some of the letters detail prospects for buyers of the hotel. Others describe business conditions in Portland at the time. A tone of melancholy prevails throughout.
On November 24, 1958, she writes:
“I am tired and lonely. Tho grateful for good health and strength. My problems seem to get larger and larger and business is very slow. I want to sell out as every way that I have tried to boost the income of this place it has not worked. Some of it I can lay to bad timing. But, it looks like Portland is not a good place for me…I intend to hold up Dad’s name as long as I have a breath. But, all these complications are confusing me…You have had lots of experience in managing things and know how to do business. Do you think I would be wrong in leaving here?... Walt hated a quitter, but truly I wish I was up in the hills with you… This is a cheerful light old building and Dad and I had some happy days here but is seems like it’s time to get to getting.”
Martha Anderson rallied from the setbacks of those troubled years and became a practical nurse before dedicating herself to documenting the history of Black pioneers across the West.
Read copies of Martha Anderson’s correspondence in person in the Western History Room or look for them to appear soon in our online digital collections.
Where the Crawdads Sing
A saying that suggests “far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters.” In other words, far from other people. Check out this book before it is released as a movie in July 2022!
Release date: July 22
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickson
Watch the Trailer
What it’s about: Set in a quiet town on the North Carolina coast, a young girl named Kya is forced to survive on her own. Known as "the marsh girl" with a love for nature, she's not accepted within her town, though she tries to fit in. We jump back and forth in time, watching Kya grow up in the past while learning about the murder of Chase Andrews in 1969's present, where locals suspect Kya's involvement.
Find the Book:
Find in Catalog (Book or Playaway) // Find on Library2Go (Book or Audiobook)
Meet Paul Atreides, the heir apparent to the House of Atreides. At the beginning of the novel, his family takes control of the desert planet Arrakis, the source of the most sought after commodity in the galaxy. But power like that breeds many enemies who will stop at nothing to take over Arrakis. Mixing politics, religion, and mysticism with a whole lot of adventure, Herbert sends you on an epic journey worthy of any science fiction reader. Science fiction aficionados have waited for years for a better remake of Dune, so this one could be huge if done well.
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa
Released in 2021
Read the Book:
Find in Catalog // Find on Library2Go (Book or Audio) // Hoopla (Book, Audio, or Comic)
Watch the Movie:
Find in Catalog
The clear favorite of the most-anticipated books turning into movies in 2021 is Kristin Hannah’s World War 2 drama. Set in a small village in occupied France, the story centers around two sisters. Forced to house a German officer in her home, the older sister Vianne Mauriac must decide, to protect her daughter, where exactly she should draw the line of being complicit with German demands. On the other hand, her younger sister Isabelle Rossignol feels committed to doing anything she can to resist the German occupation.
Starring: Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning
Release Date: 2023
Read the Book:
Find in Catalog // Find on Library2Go (Book or Audio)
Woman in the Window
Among the books to movies in 2021 whose 2020 release has not been rescheduled is one of 2018’s hottest books. This psychological thriller peeks into the life of Anna Fox, a New York City recluse who, spying on the family across the street, witnesses a shocking event. With its unreliable narrator and layers of secrets, The Woman in the Window will keep you guessing to the end. Movie is available on Netflix.
Released in 2021.
Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger, and Julianne Moore
Read the Book:
Find in Catalog // Find on Library2Go (Book or Audio) // Hoopla (Book)
In recognition of Women's History Month, the Harney County Library honors the group of women who established the first chartered circulating library in Burns.
In 1903, twelve local women joined together to form the Ladies Library Club. Each member initially contributed one book and paid yearly dues of twenty-five cents which went toward the purchase of additional books. The books were housed in the home of Phebe Geary, who also served as the librarian. As club membership expanded and the book collection grew to over 600 volumes, the group changed its name to the Burns Library Club and sought out new quarters in the Burns City Hall, then located at 90 W. Washington Street.
On the occasion of the library's twenty-fifth anniversary Cornelia Marvin, Oregon State Librarian, sent a gift of the book "Westward Ho" and a congratulatory letter recognizing the Burns library as one of the oldest circulating libraries in the state. In 1953, the surviving six members of the original Ladies Library Club were honored with a Golden Jubilee celebration. Pictured are Lela McGee, Phebe Geary, Clara Hanley, Mabel Biggs, Katherine Buoy Keeney, and Estella McConnell.
Learn more about the history of the Harney County Library by reading oral history interview transcripts by former librarians Genevieve Slater, Jolyn Wynn and Phyllis Zreliak. The entire collection of transcripts are available to read online under the Oral History Collection of the Western History Room.
We always get fantastic recommendations from our library patrons. These adult fiction and non-fiction books are all ones you all have excitedly told us about as dropped your books into the drop box at the front desk. Read on:
Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown
"Facing the Mountain is a such a good book. It is a painful book, but a book that we all should read. Read and heed."
From In the days and months after Pearl Harbor, the lives of Japanese Americans across the continent and Hawaii were changed forever. In this unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe, Daniel James Brown portrays the journey of Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, and Kats Miho, who volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible.
Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil.
Woven throughout is the chronicle of Gordon Hirabayashi, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights. Whether fighting on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans do best—striving, resisting, pushing back, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring. (From Amazon)
Find in Catalog / Read or Listen on Libby
Code Girls by Liza Mundy
"Story is told really well, not like a history book. Very interesting to hear about these women working through the worse conditions to get really important work done. Hard to put down, you have to get to the next CD."
Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment. (From Amazon)
Find in Catalog / Read or Listen on Libby
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
"A brilliant story about being lost and found."
Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
Find in Catalog / Read or Listen on Libby
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
"At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales."
Find in Catalog / Read or Listen on Libby
Have a book that you LOVED and want to recommend? Let us know at the front desk or send us an email (email@example.com)!
Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February to recognize and honor the contributions of Black Americans. Few in Harney County realize one of their own residents, Martha (Adams) Anderson, was a noted author whose writing on African-American history in the Northwest was at the forefront of a movement to preserve the stories of countless Black Americans, like her own family, who contributed to settling the West.
Martha Anderson described herself as coming from an “unusual family.” Born in Denver in 1910, she was reared on a ranch in Idaho. Anderson was interested in writing from an early age. In her 20s, she wrote scripts for Seattle radio stations, and in her later years had been a frequent contributor to trade magazines and other publications.
“As a child I listened to my grandfather (a Union veteran who later settled in Seattle) talk about Civil War battles, and eating mule meat. He was full of history.”
She met and married successful Steens Mountain area rancher, Walter Scott Anderson, several years after the death of his first wife, Stella, from pneumonia in 1936. Walter, a native of Arkansas, arrived in Harney County with his brother Oscar in the early 1910s and soon thereafter established his own cattle ranch at the site of the old Alberson Station.
The brothers, highly respected stock raisers, were noted in the Burns newspaper as the only two black ranchers in the county and remained so as late as the 1950s.
Walter and Martha sold their Juniper Lake area cattle operation and moved to Portland in 1952 due to Walter’s failing heart. In Portland, Mrs. Anderson operated the Medley Hotel for black servicemen who, she said, “didn’t have any civil rights.”
Her interest in history, no doubt fueled by stories from some of her hotel guests, led to the writing and publishing in 1980 of “Black Pioneers of the Northwest, 1800-1918,” detailing the lives of successful black gold rush muleskinners, laundresses, steamboat cooks, barbers, farmers, ranchers and businessmen. The publication is a primary reference for many contemporary works on African-American history in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
“The blacks who settled in the West in the 1800s," she said, proved that, “it doesn’t take a million dollars to be a good citizen. Rather, they showed an ability to work under any circumstances. Those who worked the mining camps proved that a person could go out with a frying pan into the middle of the desert and make a living.”
Martha and Walter Anderson were both laid to rest in unmarked graves beside Oscar and his wife Maude Anderson in the Burns cemetery, an ignominious ending for true pioneers of their time.
In July 2020, members of the group Rural Alliance for Diversity (RAD) in Burns became aware of the Anderson’s and their unique story. They contacted Oregon Black Pioneers for support in a project to raise awareness and funds for the creation of a grave marker for the Anderson’s. A GoFundMe campaign generated $1400 for the markers. During Memorial Day weekend in May 2021, members of RAD, OBP and the Harney County community formally dedicated headstones in the Burns cemetery for Martha and Walter Anderson. RAD also purchased a copy of Martha Anderson’s book, now available for public circulation at the Harney County Library.
Learn more about the Andersons in the files of the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room, located in the back of the Harney County Library.
Authored by the staff at Harney County Library!