Women in fiction beware: Someone’s out to get you

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 31, 2019

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

If you’re a character in a literary work, and a woman, watch out. You could be in mortal danger. I’ve noticed several books coming and going from Rowan Public Library and they all have hinted at how perilous a time it is for female book characters. If you’re brave enough, come into the library and check out these alarming titles.

“Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn, has been out for several years now and has even been made into a movie. From the moment the book hit the shelves, it was very popular and library patrons couldn’t get enough of the story of Nick and Amy Dunn.

The Dunns are getting ready to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy suddenly disappears. As the reader learns more about the troubled couple, it’s not clear if Nick should be consoled or convicted of murder. There are definitely some plot twists that will shock you and keep you turning the pages.

The clever turns in “Gone Girl” left readers hungry for similar titles and several authors were happy to oblige. “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins, enjoyed its own popularity and was also made into a movie.

The book’s protagonist is Rachel Watson, a thirtysomething divorcee who rides the same train and looks out the same window on her daily commute. Rachel’s loneliness and frequent drunkenness cause her to imagine she knows the couple she sees in the house across the tracks. When that woman disappears, can Rachel find out what happened or did she even exist in the first place?

“The Woman in Cabin 10,” by Ruth Ware, is a psychological thriller set on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. The main character is Laura “Lo” Blacklock, a writer for a British magazine, who is reporting on the inaugural cruise of the boat.

Meeting the woman in the cabin next door doesn’t seem like a memorable event until a woman’s body is thrown overboard from that same cabin and no one besides Lo had ever seen her. Lo attempts to solve the mystery, but being tipsy and over-medicated makes that difficult and could even cause her to become the next victim.

Yet another title with a lonely, inebriated woman in danger is “The Woman in the Window,” by A.J. Finn. The setting this time is a New York City brownstone where Anna Fox lives as a recluse with a few bad habits. Anna likes to watch old movies, drink too much and spy on her neighbors. In a very “Rear Window”-ish plot, Anna sees something through her binoculars one night that sets some dangerous events in motion. Soon, her insulated world starts to crumble.

If these book titles have piqued your interest, come into Rowan Public Library and check them out. They are available in regular and large print and most are in CD and electronic format, as well.

Spring Fever Scavenger Hunt: Headquarters, April 1-30. It’s time to beat the winter blues and see how everything comes to life in the spring with a scavenger hunt in the children’s room. Children who complete the scavenger hunt will be entered into a contest for a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Who Was?: East, April 1-30. Can you recognize famous scientists from their picture? This scavenger hunt features our popular Who Was series. Find them all and be entered into a contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Steam Into Adventure: Virtual reality, headquarters, April 6, 11 a.m.-noon. Children ages 6 to 11 are invited to learn about the science behind virtual reality with hands-on experiments, and try out some simulations using virtual reality goggles.

Random Fandom: Nickelodeon vs. Cartoon Network. Headquarters, April 2, 4-5:30 p.m.; South, April 3, 4-5:30 pm.; East, April 4, 4-5 p.m. Teens will review new and classic cartoons from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network and decide which channel is the best. Questions? Call 704-216-8258.

Chapter Chats: East, April 2, 5:15-6 p.m. Weekly book club for teens 14-17, intended primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. For more details, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Makerspace DIY: 3D printing, headquarters, April 6, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn how to make a design using 3D modeling software. Participants will use Tinkercad to design a 3D model and have the opportunity to print their creation during open sessions. Sessions are available for people of all ages. Please register online, by phone at 704-216-8242, or by emailing Amber.Covington@rowancountync.gov.

Lunch at the Library: East, April 5, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy a clean, Wi-Fi-accessible, peaceful place to eat lunch. The East Branch meeting room will be open. Lunch not provided, but tables, chairs and ambiance supplied. While in the library, check out upcoming programs and free resources. For more details, call 704-216-7840.

DIY — Greening Your Life: South, April 1, 6-7 p.m. Explore how to make and use natural alternatives for everyday living to help minimize or eliminate harmful chemicals from your home and life. Learn how to make natural cleansers, body and bath salts, natural bug sprays and more using easy recipes and easy-to-find natural ingredients. This program is part of the Learn.Act.Grow. series. For more information, call 704-216-7731.

Gardening Party Saturdays: South, April 6, 11 a.m. Gardening is cheaper than therapy – and you get tomatoes. Join us Saturday mornings for Gardening Party, a new monthly club. For gardeners from beginners to experts, country to city, there are topics for everyone to enjoy. This month’s topic is TBA. Questions? Call Paulette at 704-216-7731.

Moonstruck: A Star Party: South, April 12, 6-9 p.m. Learn about the moon and other night-sky objects. All ages are invited to this special after-hours sky-watching event. In collaboration with Horizons Unlimited Planetarium and Science Center, the party will include “Yoga Under the Sky” with Salisbury’s Samadhi School of Yoga, STEAM activities, face-painting and more. Horizons staff will lead the outdoor sky-watching. In the case of inclement weather, outdoor activities will move inside for an online exploration of the evening sky. Members of the Astronomical Society of Rowan County will be on hand to guide sky-watching. The event is part of the 2019 Statewide Star Party, sponsored by the NC Science Festival. The  annual Statewide Star Party is made possible with the support of the NC Space Grant and the NC Science Festival. http://www.ncspacegrant.org/

Displays: Headquarters, Sexual Assault Awareness Month by Rowan Helping Ministries, Robotic Found Art by John Michael Deal, North Carolina Railroad Maps; East, Rockwell Civitans; South, Family Crisis Council.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.