Thursday, February 25, 2021

Celebrate Women's History Month Online with Your Library

While many science and space enthusiasts were celebrating the landing of the Mars rover Perseverance last week, staff at Forsyth County Public Library were busy planning a series of seven events that celebrate women’s contributions not only to NASA and space exploration, but also their achievements in leadership, art, literature, and culture.

The series, “Celebrating Women’s History Month,” will be presented entirely online and begins with “A Conversation with Nancy Mansfield” on Monday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m.

A Conversation with Nancy Mansfield

Nancy Mansfield, J.D., is a professor of legal studies in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and the founder of WomenLead, a program that equips female students to excel in school, enter the workforce with developed skills, and find their place in leadership positions.

FCPL Programming Manager Tracy Walker says, “Our conversation will include Nancy’s personal memories of second-wave feminism in the 1970s and how women today can find their voice as leaders in their businesses, organizations, and communities.”

Women in the Space Industry

On Monday, March 8, Laura Forczyk, founder of the space consulting firm Astralytical, presents “Women in the Space Industry,” a conversation about female astronauts and women leaders in industry and government. Forczyk will also discuss Artemis, NASA's program to send the first woman to the Moon.

“Laura has such an interesting perspective on space. She’s researched astrophysics and planetary science at three NASA centers, flown two parabolic "Zero G" campaigns – otherwise known as the ‘vomit comet’ – plus, she’s written a book and appears regularly in national media to discuss both space science and policy measures,” says Walker.

Monstrous Regiment of Women: Queens in Europe

Taking a turn from the space-age back to the Middle Ages, Johanna Luthman, Ph.D., will present “Monstrous Regiment of Women: Queens in Europe” on Monday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Luthman, author of Love, Madness & Scandal: The Life of Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck and professor of history at the University of North Georgia, explains that the period from the 1400s to the 1700s actually witnessed more ruling queens and female regents than in the 1800s, or even most of the 1900s, in Europe. 

Luthman will describe how queens like Elizabeth I of England, Isabella of Spain, Christina of Sweden, and Catherine the Great of Russia fought to stay on their thrones, wield power, and have their peers and subjects take them seriously.

Storytelling through Quilts: The Daughters of Harriet Powers

Award-winning fiber artist Kianga Jinaki will present “Storytelling through Quilts: The Daughters of Harriet Powers” on Saturday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m.

“Kianga Jinaki creates art quilts, dolls, and mixed media works that tell the story of her heritage as an African-American. Her conversation will explain how Harriet Powers, a woman born into slavery in the mid-1800s in Athens, Georgia, rose to prominence by telling personal and biblical stories through imagery in the panels of her quilts,” adds Walker.

Alice Walker's "Everyday Use"

Continuing in the theme of storytelling through quilts, Ian Afflerbach, Ph.D., assistant professor of American Literature at the University of North Georgia, will lead a conversation about Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” on Sunday, March 21 at 2:00 p.m.

“Dr. Afflerbach is a popular facilitator of discussions on literature at the library. This discussion will cover a short story Alice Walker wrote a few years before her best-known novel, The Color Purple, was published in 1982,” says Walker.

Copies of “Everyday Use” are available at the Ask Us desk of all FCPL branches, or registered participants can receive a copy via email.

Rosie the Riveter

Historical performer Tracy Lee White will present “Rosie the Riveter” on Tuesday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m.

“Tracy Lee White will give an online living history performance about the real ‘Rosies’ who helped win WWII. Using authentic items such as currency, ration books, government publications, news reels, music, and clothing, she’ll transport our audience back to 1943 and give them a glimpse into war-time life,” explains Walker.

Registered participants will receive a "time travel packet" to fully immerse themselves in 1943 and White will also conduct raffle drawings for five 1943 steel pennies and Rosie the Riveter pins.

Women Painters and the Figure

Celebrating Women’s History Month” concludes with “Women Painters and the Figure” presented by Vivian Liddell on Monday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. 

“Vivian Liddell is the host of the podcast Peachy Keen, where she interviews women on art and the South. She talks with fellow artists about their inspiration and how their individual opinions reflect changes in the region,” says Walker.

Liddell, also an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University of North Georgia, will explore issues of class, gender, and power through images of figure paintings created by women artists in the Western world from the Renaissance to the present day.

Admission is free, register online

Admission to each online event in the “Celebrating Women’s History Month” series is free and open to the public, though several require advance registration. For more information or to register, please visit the events calendar at

February 2021 Reading Challenge: Virgin River by Robyn Carr

You may be familiar with Virgin River by Robyn Carr thanks to the Netflix adaptation, which released its second season back in November. Virgin River is the first book in a series of the same name, which currently has twenty-one books. The story focuses on Mel, a nurse practitioner with a passion for midwifery, who moves to a tiny California town called Virgin River. The town is full of distinctive characters you would easily recognize from the show, including handsome love interest Jack, stoic former Marine Preacher, and nosy store owner Connie. The book also shares many of the same heart-warming, and at times heart-wrenching, events.

Mel’s husband is killed in a tragic accident, leaving her in a state of despair. In an effort to take control of her life, she takes a job assisting an elderly doctor in a remote and rural town. After she decides the move was a horrible idea, a baby is abandoned at the doctor’s office. Mel promises to stay just long enough to ensure the baby is placed with a family, but Jack is smitten and wants her to stay. The whole town falls in love with Mel, and she soon has to decide if this is really the life she wants.

Fans of the show will anticipate some of the plot twists as they come along, but the show hasn’t been completely true to the book. A few characters are not quite the same, and some events were altered to create the characteristic drama of the show. Most of the show’s content comes from book one (Virgin River), but a bit comes from book two (Shelter Mountain). As someone who watched the show before reading the book, I was surprised to discover the book is definitely a romance. Fans of the realistic situations and dramatic reveals might have to adjust to the romance novel happy ending. 

If you enjoyed the show and feel like giving the book a try, you can grab a copy of Virgin River at any branch or place a hold on it from our catalog here. For more suggestions on books that have been made into a movie or television show, please Email a Librarian or visit the Ask Us desk of any Forsyth County Public Library branch. Happy reading!

Brooke Richards
Circulation Supervisor
Post Road Library

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 2021 Reading Challenge: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series about a time-traveling WWII nurse is one of the most popular titles at FCPL and its 2014 adaption continues to draw new fans to the books. Over the years, Outlander fans have recommended the story as a great choice for a science fiction fan like myself but for a long time, the 627-page novel didn’t appeal to me on the basis of time travel. Finally, I stopped resisting and checked out the audio version, and I’ve been engrossed with this fascinating story and its memorable characters ever since.  

Outlander IS a lengthy tale, one that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, epics, and romance more than science fiction readers. (After Claire Randall travels from 1946 to 1743 the time travel is secondary to culture clashes and castle intrigue.) Outlander is also an evocative historical romance that recreates 18th century Scotland with swords, daggers, kilted clansmen, castles, bandits, hostilities between Brits and Scots, and Scottish folklore. Fans of unique romance will appreciate the literal (though not always consensual) bodice-ripping scenes and one of Claire’s most interesting dilemmas: reconciling her loving marriage to a British academic in the 20th century with her forced marriage to a virile young Scotsman in the 18th. It’s an immersive story that uses rich details to bring ancient Scotland to life. 

Participants in FCPL’s 2021 Reading Challenge can complete the February challenge -- read a book that's been made into an adaptation -- by reading the book or listening to the audio version of Outlander. 

Alicia Cavitt
Information Specialist