Saturday, December 1, 2012

1st Edition, December 1, 2012

Madam Librarian Recommendation
Mary Taylor Huntsman
, Somerset Community College, Somerset KY

Iron Tongue of Midnight
By: Beverle Graves Myers
Iron Tongue of Midnight is part of Myers’ “Tito Amato” series, historical mysteries set in 18th Century Venice, with a castrata soprano as the detective. Ms. Huntsman recommends this book (and series) due largely to the historical detail that Myers weaves throughout the story. The author provides nice plot points about what it would mean for an Italian Catholic to convert to Islam in that era. She also addresses those who "go outside the pale" of society, particularly Tito’s sister, Grisella, who ran away from home and ended up a victim of sexual trafficking. She handles the issue of castrati very tastefully (If you don’t know what castrati is – Google it!) and in a historically relevant manner, providing notes explaining historical details, which may puzzle a modern reader. Additionally, Myers uses details about medical practices during the time, as well as the structure of the Venetian society during the 18th Century. Myers is a resident of Louisville, KY, and a champion of the Louisville Free Public Library, who she always acknowledges in her books for their research assistance.

We are delighted the Beverle Graves Myers gave Canyonland a quote:
Long before everyone was talking about Downton Abbey, I was in love with the literary version of the English country house. I wanted to try my hand at writing a mystery set in that milieu, but I was under contract for another installment of my Tito Amato Mysteries set in 18th-century Venice. I decided to bend the genre and put an Italian spin on it.

In September of 1740, singer Tito Amato receives a curious invitation. The German composer Karl Johann Weber is rehearsing a new opera at an isolated villa nestled in the hills of the Venetian mainland. Would Tito accept the lead role? Puzzled by the air secrecy, but attracted by a generous fee, Tito agrees. He finds the countryside awash in the golden hues of autumn, but all is not well at the villa. A notorious figure from his past is also in residence, and murder makes an appearance when a soprano stumbles over a corpse at the stroke of midnight.

I hope you enjoy Tito's quest for justice. To date, it has been the most emotional of the books for me to write because it uncovers such painful family secrets. Though THE IRON TONGUE OF MIDNIGHT is part of a series, the novel takes Tito out of his usual element of the Teatro San Marco and can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone mystery.

Happy Holiday Season to all of our readers. Canyonland Editors would like to recommend their favorite Christmas Story or book.

Amy Durham recommends: The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts
The story doesn't totally center on Christmas, but a large part of the story takes place during the holidays, which in my opinion makes the romance even more romantic! This book is the 2nd in Roberts' "Inn Boonsboro" trilogy. Amazon

Mary Martinez recommends: Christmas in Cold Creek by RaeAnne Thayne
When this ended I pouted for a few days. I also read until about 3am to finish it because I couldn't put it down, and I had work the next day. I think I was a zombie all day. I wanted it to go on and on. I wanted to find out what happened with Gabi the next day. This is so hard not to give anything away. So you just have to read it! Amazon

Anna Sugg recommends: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
When I started thinking about my favorite Christmas story, I stepped back in time when I was a child, and when the magic of Christmas was wonderful. Besides the Bible story of Christ’s birth, I’m going to choose a book that adds to the magic of Christmas, ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. I can say the poem by heart because my mom read to us on every Christmas Eve, right after the Bible story of Christ’s birth. I read it to my children when they were young, and now I read it to my grandkids.

When you hear the name, Clement C. Moore, you automatically think of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas and you either have a book in your home, or you’ve read the poem from a book with pictures of a family on Christmas Eve. He’s the author, or is he really the author?

Nearing two centuries now, families have shared the Christmas poem, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, a classic since 1823. At first the poem was published anonymously, and then in 1837 a biblical scholar, Clement C. Moore put his name to the poem, stating he wrote the poem in 1823 on a Christmas Eve.

BUT, in 1808 Henry Livingston, supposedly wrote and read the poem to a group that remembered the delightful Christmas poem. By the time Moore put his name to the poem, Livingston had died. There’s no proof because the one only handwritten copy of Henry Livingston’s Christmas poem was destroyed in a fire - of course!

So a literary detective, Don Foster compared Moore’s and Livingston’s writings. There was a difference and some say the only great poem that Moore ever wrote was “Twas the Night Before Christmas, and his other stuff was bad! But, I’ll leave it at that – you might want to go to this site and make you own decision. Interesting.

No matter who wrote the poem, I think, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas will be around for many more centuries.

Marie Higgins Christmas story recommendation: Gift of Love
Ever since watching this movie at home with my family as a young girl, I've always loved the feeling I had afterwards.  I remember the first time I watched this movie. I had a headcold and wasn't feeling well anyway, but the powerful feeling this movie brought had me crying at the end. Even my mother and grandmother had tears in their eyes. I've always been a fan of the Osmonds, anyway, and a few years ago, I remembered loving this movie and realized I wanted a copy of my own no matter it what it took. I finally found me a copy, and I cherish it to this day!

Inspired by O. Henry's short story about a young bride and groom, each of whom foolishly--but quite lovingly--sacrifices a treasured possession to buy the perfect Christmas gift for their mate. Amid a flurry of bustling New Yorkers clad in early-20th-century garb, O. Henry himself (David Wayne) sets the scene: Beth, a teenage orphan (Marie Osmond), comes to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle (the latter played by Donald Moffat). Her friendship with a cheerful kitchen maid soon leads to a stormy encounter with a handsome Swiss immigrant, Rudy (Timothy Bottoms). Despite Beth and Rudy's conflicting social statuses, and Beth's arranged engagement to a sickly bird watcher (a young James Woods, who truly fits the bill), the two fall in love and miraculously overcome these obstacles--all in about 95 minutes. Old-fashioned romance, elegant costumes, and a happy ending make this predictable story completely irresistible to those who love a good fairy tale--or to Osmond fans who fondly remember watching the movie on TV in 1978. Produced by the Osmond Brothers for PBS's American Short Story series. --Liane Thomas


  1. Recommendations for current reading, including Amy Durham's selection for Nora Roberts' second book in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, The Last Boyfriend. It is a fun story about three brothers and their "domineering" mother who buy an old inn, complete with ghost, and the brothers use their individual skills to renovate it.There are interesting interactions with the local folks and guests who come to the Inn...
    I am also eager to read the historical mystery,
    Iron Tongue of Midnight...

  2. I've read all the series, and I love them. I don't think Justine is domineering. I think she's just strong and the boys love her. I've been to Boonsboro and love it. Even had lunch at Vesta.