Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

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The Secret Panel (Hardy Boys #25), by Franklin W. Dixon

We recently found the somewhat spooky obituary of the Widow Lankamp, a former Librarian at the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library. Here is a review of her favorite book, as reviewed by one of our current librarians:

The Secret Panel (Hardy Boys #25), by Franklin W. Dixon

Another exciting mystery begins for Frank and Joe Hardy when they help a stranger who has had an accident with his car. The man introduces himself as John Mead, owner of a nearby estate. After he continues on his way, Frank finds an odd-looking house key which belongs to Mead. But when the Hardy’s try to return it, they learn that John Mead died five years ago! They are even more amazed when they find that the intricately carved doors in the dead man’s deserted mansion have no visible knobs or key locks. While working on this mystery, the boys assist their detective father in tracking down a highly organized ring of thieves who are robbing warehouses of television and stereo equipment.

What happens when Frank and Joe discover that there is a link between Mr. Hardy’s case and the mysterious Mead mansion will keep the reader on edge with thrills and suspense.

Fun Fact: The Secret Panel is part of a huge series called “The Hardy Boys.” by Franklin W. Dixon. But Franklin W. Dixon is actually a pen name and never actually existed. The original creator of The Hardy Boys was Edward L. Stratemeyer, and he hired other authors to write more books for his series.

It is no secret to our staff that dear old Widow Lankamp had taken a liking to this book back in the day. Seems she loved mystery and suspense. Too often, this particular book at our library mysteriously falls to the floor for no reason whatsoever. The library did have a first edition copy of this title on our shelves, however it went missing in the 1950’s and the current copies tend to go missing quite often. Check this book out if you dare…


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On the Fence: ‘Go Set a Watchman’

blog on the fence go set a watchman

Over the past month, a few patrons have asked me: “Should I read Go Set a Watchman?” After reading the book myself, allow me to answer that question with this rant.

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Probably not, unless you have a special interest in the craft of fiction.

First of all, let me clear something up: Go Set a Watchman is not a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, even though its publishers have implied that in their pitch to sell it. The two books feature characters that differ in personality and just happen to share the same names. While it’s true that Go Set a Watchman is an early draft of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, I will keep them separate in my mind forever and always. Go Set a Watchman is the caterpillar; To Kill a Mockingbird is the butterfly.

Like many Americans, To Kill a Mockingbird holds a special place in my heart. I’ve read it many times at different points in my life and always find something new to contemplate. When I was a teenager, I was taken with the portrayal of a seemingly idyllic childhood: I envied Scout’s freedom and precociousness. When I was in college, I pined for a parental figure like Atticus or Calpurnia who could always tell me what was morally right. But, recently, as racial tension thickens amid accusations of mistreatment toward black Americans by law enforcement especially, the racism theme in To Kill a Mockingbird has never made more sense to me.

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