OpenDyslexic Font Option for Library eBooks

For many of us, reading is a pleasurable and relaxing way to spend time. For people who struggle with dyslexia, it can be a source of frustration and stress, and the opposite of relaxing.

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability, and how it manifests itself can vary greatly from person to person. At its core, though, is a difficulty with reading words, and with identifying how speech sounds relate to letters and words. Many people with dyslexia have trouble “decoding” certain letters or numbers that they see, they don’t always interpret them correctly. For these people, different font types can make a difference in how they see the letters and words they are trying to read.

In 2008, Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer,  who struggled with dyslexia, started working on a font that would help him read more easily. The Dyslexie  font used heavier line thickness to emphasize the bottom of most characters. This was to try to “anchor” the letters since some people with dyslexia may have trouble getting letters on the page to stay still.  In 2011 a similar (and free)  open-source font was released, called OpenDyslexic. It has been updated continually and improved upon based on input from dyslexic users.





OverDrive began offering OpenDyslexic as a font option for its ebooks back in 2015. The wider spacing, bottom heavy and unique character shapes can help make it more difficult to confuse letters. If you or someone you know has trouble “decoding” printed words, try downloading an eBook from our OverDrive collection and using the OpenDyslexic font to read it. While it’s not a cure-all, it may make reading a little bit easier.

For more information, Cheshire Library also has many books on dyslexia,  in both print and  audiobook formats.

The Irish in Fiction: 10 New Books

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and what better way to celebrate than with some new fiction that either takes place in Ireland or has main characters who are Irish. So when you’re wearin’ the green you can also be reading the green, too.


 Murder at an Irish Wedding by Carlene O’Connor
(Available as a Book and Downloadable Audiobook)
Any wedding is a big deal in the small village of Kilbane-even more so when the bride is a famous fashion model. It’s also good for business; Siobhan O’Sullivan’s bistro will be catering the three-day affair. When the drunken best man is dis-invited, Siobhan’s own beau, Macdara, gladly steps in. But finding the original best man murdered in the woods casts a pall over the nuptials. And when a second member of the wedding party is poisoned, Macdara goes from being best man to prime suspect.


 Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan
At the start of the twentieth century, a young girl and her family emigrate from Lithuania in search of a better life and end up in Ireland.
In 1958, a mute Jewish boy locked away in a mental institution outside of Dublin forms an unlikely friendship with a man consumed by the story of the love he lost  two decades earlier. And in present-day London, an Irish journalist is forced to confront her conflicting notions of identity and family when her Jewish boyfriend asks her to make a true leap of faith. These three arcs, which span generations and intertwine in unusual ways, come together to tell the haunting story of Ireland’s all-but-forgotten Jewish community.


 Days without End : a Novel by by Sebastian Barry (Available as an Audiobook on CD, Book, E-Book and Downloadable Audiobook)
Entering the U.S. army after fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland, seventeen-year-old Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, experience the harrowing realities of the Indian wars and the American Civil War between the Wyoming plains and Tennessee.


 The Stolen Child : a Novel by Lisa Carey
St. Brigid’s Island is a place that people move away from, not to–until an outspoken American, also named Brigid, arrives to claim her late uncle’s cottage. Brigid has come for more than an inheritance. She’s seeking a secret holy well that’s rumored to grant miracles. Emer, an inhabitant of the island, has good reason to believe in inexplicable powers. Yet Brigid has a gift too, even more remarkable than Emer’s. As months pass and Brigid carves out a place on the island, a complicated web of betrayal, fear, and desire culminates in one shocking night that will change the island, and its inhabitants, forever.

 The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago
Recently divorced and in the middle of a creative crisis, Peter Harper decides to take shelter on Ireland s scenic and isolated Tremore Beach. But after he is struck by lightning after one stormy night, he begins experiencing terrible headaches and strange dreams. As the line between his dreams and reality begins to blur, Peter realizes that his bizarre dreams may be a warning of horror still to come.

 Through Your Eyes by Shannyn Schroeder
Deirdre Murphy has had her life planned for her since she was born: Work in her parents’ noisy pub in rural Ireland. Live with her family until she marries. Marry her childhood sweetheart ASAP, since he’s decided sexy fun time should wait for marriage. None of it excites her. But before her fate closes in, Deirdre’s got one last visit to her Chicago cousins–where she can spend her mornings in a peaceful bakery, keep to herself, and savor the space she needs… Until she meets Tommy O’Malley.

 Saints for all Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
(Available as an Audiobook on CD, Book, E-Book, Downloadable Audiobook, Large Print Book)
Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan–a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children and Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. A sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago.

 Beyond Absolution : a Mystery set in 1920s Ireland by Cora Harrison
Reverend Mother Aquinas must discover who murdered a much-loved priest in the third of this compelling new Irish historical mystery series. Pierced through to the brain, the dead body of the priest was found wedged into the small, dark confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds: gunmen and policemen; prostitutes and nuns; prosperous businessmen and petty swindlers; tradesmen and thieves. But who knelt behind the metal grid and inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear?

 The Irish Inheritance : a Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery by M J Lee (Downloadable audiobook)
July 8, 1921. Ireland. A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublinches. November 22, 2015. United Kingdom. Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father. How are the two events linked? Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery: a killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

 Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict
Clara Kelley is not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as steel coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer.

18 Books Hitting the Big Screen in 2018

Film adaptations of books have hit the ground running in 2018, with bestsellers Horse Soldiers, The Death Cure, and Fifty Shades Freed released in theaters already, and we’re barely into the year. Here’s some of what’s in store for the rest of 2018 (release dates may be subject to change), if you want to read them before you see them:

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  1. Every Day by David Levithan (release date Feb. 23). A 16-year-old girl falls in love with a spirit named “A”, a traveling soul who wakes each morning in a different body.
  2. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (release date Feb. 23).  A group of female scientists undertakes an expedition to “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity.
  3. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (release date Mar. 2).  Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is recruited to ‘Sparrow School’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon.
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (release date Mar. 9). After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend across the barriers of space and time to find him. The all-star cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine.
  5. The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (release date Mar. 9). An elderly couple suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s decide to sneak away from their doctors for one last hurrah and escape on a cross-country trip.
  6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli (release date Mar. 16).  Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online.
  7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (release date Mar. 30). The buzz about this film adaptation began almost before the book was even published.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, this dystopian thriller takes place in a future where more and more people are escaping into a virtual reality world that’s more bearable than the real one. Expect a kind of Matrix-y vibe with a bunch of 80’s pop culture references.
  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows (release date Apr. 19).  A writer doing research learns about a unique book club that the residents of Guernsey formed as a front during German occupation in WWII.
  9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (release date May 11). after her eccentric, agoraphobic mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track her down, discovering her troubled past in the process. Starring Cate Blanchett in the title role.
  10. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (release date Aug. 17).  American-born Chinese economics professor Rachel Chu  accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding only to get thrust into the lives of Asia’s rich and famous.
  11. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (release date Aug. 31). After being summoned to treat a patient at dilapidated Hundreds Hall, Dr. Faraday finds himself becoming entangled in the lives of the owners, and the supernatural presences in the house in this horror-thriller.
  12. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (release date Sep. 14). In this sci-fi thriller, sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run “rehabilitation camp” for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children.
  13. The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs (release date Sep. 21). A young orphan aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world. Starring Cate Blanchett (again), Jack Black, and Kyle MacLachlan.
  14. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley (release date Sep. 28).  In the film adaptation of thie memoir, the son of a baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program. Starring Lucas Hedges in the title role, with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his parents.
  15. First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen (release date Oct. 12). Ryan Gosling stars in the title role in this true story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961–1969.
  16. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (release date Oct. 19). Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
  17. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (release date Oct. 19). Young and adventurous Mowgli meets Bagheera (Christian Bale), Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), and other animals while growing up in the jungle.
  18. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (release date Dec. 14). Millennia after much of the world was destroyed in a cataclysmic event,  cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

A Delicious Mystery Series

I recently stumbled on the Verlaque and Bonnet mysteries by M.L. Longworth. These delectable stories are set in Aix-en-Provence and begin with Death at the Château Bremont.

Death at the Château Bremont‘s description says “Antoine Verlaque, the handsome chief magistrate of Aix and his sometimes love interest, law professor Marine Bonnet, investigate the death of a local French nobleman who fell from the family Chateau in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence.”

Simple, non? Well, that one-sentence blurb does not even begin to cover the colorful world waiting for you within its pages. Not only do you get a good mystery, the descriptions of the town and countryside are a virtual tour of Provence. Longworth, who has lived there since 1997, obviously loves her adopted home.

And the food! As the characters eat and drink their way though the story, I often became more engrossed in their meals than in their sleuthing. They partake of fine wines and cheeses. They visit vineyards and cafes.  They meet friends for scrumptious dinners at small restaurants owned by skilled chefs. I was completely consumed by lifestyle envy.

The story is liberally sprinkled with passages such as this:

He tore open the cannele and bit into the soft inner cake made of rum and vanilla. Crusty and caramelized on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, it was perfect.

The mystery floats in the background as the characters sit in cafes consuming fine French food and debating the merits of various wines. Verlaque often despairs of Marine. He is a gourmet and she will eat anything! Still, they enjoy an on-again, off-again love affair amid some meals that made me want to pack and move to France.

There are currently six books in this cozy mystery series. Warning: They are not only a good read, they will make you hungry!

Murder in the Rue Dumas

Death in the Vines

Murder on the Île Sordou

The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne

The Curse of La Fontaine

Winter is Here, Jon Snow

Some people love winter, love the brisk air, the blinding glare, the crystal-clear night skies, soft fluffy snow and cups of steaming hot chocolate. Other people hate the freezing cold, the knifing winds, the treacherous roads, bare trees, and endless brown mud and slush clinging to shoes, cars, and pet feet tracking through the house.

For me, winter is a romantic time, curled by a fireplace (wood, gas, or electric) before a window with long velvet drapes (one of my favorite possessions), reading a book in a favorite chair while snow swirls outside the window and an animal lounges at my feet. It means a stew bubbling on the stove, fresh bread in the oven, or perhaps fresh shortbread cookies and a cup of Earl Gray tea by that fire. Perhaps it’s a holiday, with candles and lights and decorations, waiting for company to make it through the snow. Yeah, yeah, there’s no groundsman to shovel the walks when it’s over, I have to do it myself, but for a few hours I’m lost in an old English fantasy, there’s a mystery in the air, a challenge ahead, but love and fortune win in the end (note: I have never achieved this fantasy, but I keep hoping).

English Tales of Winter

Which made me think: why are all those images we cling to English fantasies? Sure, that period of literature is within what’s called the Little Ice Age, which ran from the 1300’s to the 1890’s, killing off the Vikings in Greenland and creating all those iconic Currier and Ives scenes, but it also put those chunks of ice in Washington Crossing the Delaware, and in 1816, with the dust of the exploded volcano Mount Tambora in the air, summer never arrived, and temperatures were still below freezing in June. Where is the American winter tale? American stories tend to be about blizzards, hardship, starvation, and ghosts. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and Washington Irving are hardly on par with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. Reading about the Donner party probably isn’t a good idea before eating stew.

American Tales of Winter

The only American “winter” tales I know well are children’s literature: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Left By Themselves by Charles Paul May, the semi-historical Seven Alone by Honore Morrow, and the absolutely timeless endearing tale of Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards (Yes, Mary Poppins herself. Adults will love this, too!). But where are the adult books? Problem is, not much adult American literature of that period gives off that type of security.

That period of literature we think of is called the Romantic movement and includes Gothic literature, dealing with mystery, spiritualism, ghosts, hauntings, and torturous love – Frankenstein, Les Miserables, Dorian Gray, Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist – some of our most famous classics, running from about 1760 through the Victorian age, around 1890.  America in 1776 was not only new and still forming, it was mostly unsettled, and people in the colds of Fort Duquesne, Fort Niagara, and Fort Cumberland were more concerned with staying alive than writing literature. Of course you still had authors, but not to the degree England – a stable civilization for 1200 years – did. While Heathcliff was brooding the lonely moors, Americans were exploring and giving us stories like Last of the Mohicans, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Moby Dick, and The Scarlet Letter. Not the same, and certainly not the same as being snowed in and wringing one’s hands on the family estate. The American experience is uniquely American in that regard.

Just because our snow stories don’t go back to King Wenceslas (ok, Wenceslas was Bohemian/ Czechoslovakian, but the song, 900 years later, is English) doesn’t mean American literature isn’t good, it just means it’s different. Maybe you’ll have to settle for cotton twill drapes and a medium double-latte with a space heater and a Snuggie. If you love gothic literature, delve into a classic or something newer; there are hundreds of books (and films!) to choose from. If you love reading about snowy days while curled in a chair listening to the winds howl, try some of these modern tales (and films):

Office Girl by Joe Meno

The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

 Snow by Orhan Panuk


  Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

The Snow Child  by Eowyn Ivey

Wolf Winter by Celia Ekback

Winter Solstice  by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Book Thief by  Markus Zusak

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

 The Shining  Stephen King

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg, 

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin