Jack Staub

Jack Staub is the author of Private Edens: Beautiful Country Gardens. With his partner Renny Reynolds, he is the owner of historic Hortulus Farm in Wrightstown, Pennsylvania. Rob Cardillo, photographer of Private Edens, has been photographing gardens, plants, and the people that tend them for over twenty years.

Books in order of publication:

75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden – 2005

75 Exceptional Herbs for Your Garden – 2008

75 Remarkable Fruits for Your Garden – 2008

Alluring Lettuces: And Other Seductive Vegetables for Your Garden – 2010

Private Edens: Beautiful Country Gardens – 2013

Private Gardens of South Florida – 2016

The Illustrated Book of Edible Plants – 2017

Chasing Eden: Design Inspiration from the Gardens at Hortulus Farm – 2020

Tsarina by Ellen Aplsten

Tsarina is a historical novel set during the reign of Peter the Great. Peter was the Russian Tsar who thru force of will and law tried to transform Russian society from an Asian perspective to a European prospective.

This story is told from the point of view of his mistress and later 2nd wife, Catherine Alexeyevna who starts life as a serf. She flees her life as a serf, she travels thru parts of what was Swedish controlled territory and gets caught up in the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia.

She works her way up from war captive to become the mistress of the Tsar of Russia, Peter. The book gives a strong sense of place and you feel that you are there in the wild and turbulent times while Russia fights Sweden and Catherine repeatedly pregnant has trouble producing a male heir.

As a historical novel, it is a good read. The only problem I had was the jumping back in forth from the present to the past. It was difficult sometimes to tell when the story was taking place. I would rate a 4 star out of 5 stars for this novel.

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Keep an eye peeled for this new murder mystery that will be in book stores in November 2020. If you like murder mysteries set in foreign lands, this is definitely a book to consider. “Murder in Old Bombay” is set in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s during the height of the RAJ. I loved the setting. It reminded me of a series of murder mysteries by Sujat Massey set in the 1920’s in the same neighborhood as this book takes place. I liked the characters and the idea of a former military officer getting involved in a mysterious story. The only thing I did not like about the book was the pacing. It seemed to drag in the middle a bit and wander. For a murder mystery in a foreign country, it a was an overall good read with a lot of background to give you a sense of place and time during the height of the “Raj”. I hope that the author can continue this story.

Author Pages – Update 100120

I have now created 1300 author pages since the virus began. It started with my personal collection of books as I began creating order out of clutter since I was staying home a lot.

Since then I have added books I have recently read, books I want to read and other authors that have been suggested by friends. For each page, I try to provide a brief bio (where available), a list of books that have been written in date order or by series and a YouTube interview (where available).

This is allowed me to learn more about my favorite authors or authors that I may read in the future. It is almost the same as attending a book festival but from the safety of my home.

I try adding a few pages every day to the website. Some days I add more than others. If you enjoy this website, please share it with your friends who love to read. If you have a favorite author who is not listed, please send me a note and I will add them as soon as possible.

Library To Go Program Update

Library To Go

Library To Go
Curbside pickup is coming to 16 library locations around Dallas on June 9. Hold requests are being processed and will be held until we can announce pickup instructions.

Biblioteca Para Llevar
Recogida de Curbside en 16 ubicaciones de bibliotecas alrededor de Dallas a partir del 9 de junio. Las solicitudes de retención se están procesando y se retendrán hasta que podamos anunciar instrucciones de recogida.

Library To Go Locations

The rest of our locations will remain closed during this time. If you need help or would like to talk to a staff member you can reach us Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 am. to 5:30 p.m. at any of our Library to Go locations. You can also call 214-670-7809 Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Holds for All Locations

Holds at closed locations will be transferred to a nearby location. Please use the chart below to see where requests were sent. If you want your items sent to another location, library staff can assist with this or you can log in to your account and change the pickup location.

Holds for:Go to:
Central LibraryCentral Library
Forest Green and Audelia RoadAudelia Road
Arcadia Park and Dallas WestDallas West
Skillman Southwestern, Lakewood and Oak LawnLakewood
Grauwyler Park and Bachman LakeBachman Lake
White Rock Hills and LochwoodLochwood
Kleberg-Rylie, Pleasant Grove and Prairie CreekPrairie Creek
Polk-Wisdom and Hampton-IllinoisHampton-Illinois
Renner Frankford and Fretz ParkFretz Park
Bookmarks, Park Forest and Preston RoyalPreston Royal
Mountain CreekMountain Creek
North Oak CliffNorth Oak Cliff
Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest and Martin Luther King, Jr.Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest
Highland HillsHighland Hills

E. L. Doctorow

The American author, professor, and editor Edgar Lawrence “E. L.” Doctorow was best known internationally for his outstanding works of historical fiction. His novels made him be described as one of the most important U.S.A based novelist of the 20th century. He has authored a couple of novels, a stager drama and short fiction. These include The March (2005), Billy Bathgate (1989) and Ragtime that all worn him awards.

Many of his books places fictional characters in recognizable historical figures, uses different narratives, and are often written with known historical figures. Again, his stories are recognized for their versatility and originality, and Doctorow is also praised for his imagination and audacity. His first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, was published in 1960 and the western fable was described by a Ney York Times book review as dramatic and taut, successfully symbolic and exciting. To support his family, E.L. Doctorow spent nine years as a book editor at NAL working with Ayn Rand and Ian Fleming among others. From 1964, he worked as editor-in-chief at Dial Press publishing work.

The Bronx native was the son of David Richard Doctorow and Rose (Levine). His father had a small music shop. After attending city public grade schools, E.L. Doctorow joined The Bronx High School of Science. He also enrolled in a journalism class for his love for writing. At Kenyon College, Ohio, he acted in theater productions and majored in philosophy. Thereafter, he completed a year of graduate work at English drama at Columbia University. He was then drafted into the United States Army and served as a corporal in the signal corps in Germany during the Allied occupation. It was when in West Germany that he married fellow Columbia University student Helen Esther Setzer. The couple has three children: Caroline, Jenny, and Richard. After his military service, Doctorow returned to Ney York and was employed as a leader for a motion picture company. He died of lung cancer in Manhattan in July 2015.

When he left publishing in 1969 to pursue a writing career, he was given a position as a visiting writer at the University of California, Irvine. It when he was here when he completed The Book of Daniel. Despite being a distinguished researcher, Doctorow has a passion to create stories based on real characters and real events. Doctorow was a lecturer at Princeton University, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Utah, the Yale School of Drama, and Sarah Lawrence College. In addition, he was the Lewis Glucksman and Loretta professor of English and American Letters at New York University as well. Doctorow donated his papers at Fales Library of New York University in 2001.

A couple of Doctorow’s books were adapted for the screen. They include Daniel, starring Timothy Hutton, Billy Bathgate, starring Dustin Hoffman, and Welcome to Hard Times, with Henry Fonda. Doctorow’s most notable adaptations were for the film, Ragtime, and the Broadway musical of the same name, which won him four Tony Awards. Among his novels that worn him honors are Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and The March, which all worn him National Book Critics Circle Awards. He also won the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner awards, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Creative Arts, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction in addition to the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

His first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, is centered in a small settlement in the Dakota Territory referred to as Hard Times. For most of the novel parts, his name is not disclosed, he is simply known as Bad Man from Bodie. In Welcome To Hard Times he single-handedly vandalizes, rapes, in addition to burning the entire town. He, however, never says a word. The survivors of the Bad Man’s wrath choose to leave to look for better fortune elsewhere. But, a murdered carpenter’s son, a half burnt prostitute, a local Indian healer, and the town’s unofficial mayor, Blue chooses to stay behind. Blue stays found of the new town for a defeatist acceptance of their fortune, but not for an angry venomous determination to fight back. His life has to go on, and not in any other town, but this burned down town.

Blue, a human in all aspects, is the leader of all sorts and kind of coward. He must raise and fall in the town he exists in. He incites a level of revilement in those with whom he desires closeness and ekes out a position of modest respect. The Bad Man of Bodie as the dark force of the evil, hovers around to destroy the meager gains that Blue and his fellow settlers find.

The second novel, Big As Life, features a middle aged professor of history, Wallace Creighton, and jazz musician, Red and his girlfriend Sugarbush. The storyline begins with two enormous humanoid figures, one female and one male, appearing off the southern tip of Manhattan in one morning. They send the entire city into a panic. The government also goes into increasingly militarist mode. The post 9-11 reality, although Big As Life, can’t help, but evoke an attack on the World Trade Center and its aftermath. They eerily take place just inland from where E.L. Doctorow plants his twin towering figures. Afterwards, they proceed to just stand there, barely moving. They truly exist in in a different dimension where time is severely slowed, so it takes them months to just blink. After 9-11, all the government activity seals off the southern portion of Manhattan in the aftermath of the giants’ appearance. Also, the ordinary New Yorkers scramble among themselves to get back to their normal life. The physical reminder of the day of panic remains very prominent though.

In this book, however, Doctorow is a lot more pessimistic than post-9-11 reality turned out to be because he posits rationing, social pathologies, martial law, and economic hardships that continue for many months after the initial shock. The rampage by religious fanatics resembles ace riots with its wholesale violence, looting, and burning. In this novel, Doctorow tried to justify the point that the strange can bring out the worst in some people.

Standalone Novels

Welcome to Hard Times(1960)
Big as Life(1966)
The Book of Daniel(1971)
Drinks Before Dinner(1979)
Loon Lake(1980)
American Anthem(1982)
World’s Fair(1985)
Billy Bathgate(1989)
The Waterworks(1994)
City of God(2000)
The March(2005)
Homer & Langley(2009)
Andrew’s Brain(2014)


Short Story Collections

Lives of the Poets(1984) 
Three Screenplays: Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake(2003) 
Sweet Land Stories(2004) 
All the Time in the World(2011) 
Poems for Life: A Special Collection of Poetry(2011) 


The Best American Short Stories 2000(2000) 

Non-Fiction Books

Essays and Conversations(1983) 
Jack London, Hemingway, and the Constitution: Selected Essays, 1977-1992(1993) 
Poets and Presidents: Selected Essays, 1977-92(1994) 
Lamentation: 9/11(2002) 
Reporting the Universe(2003) 
Creationists: Selected Essays, 1993-2006(2006)

Author pages

We are adding a new section for author pages. Each page will have a brief biography of the author, a list of the books that they have published in order and a video interview with the author when available.

Author pages will be added several times a week to this website.