Dear Friends,

A literary genre that has sparked my interest lately is that of Nordic Noir. This genre is categorized as dark, complex mysteries and detective fiction taking place in Scandinavian or Nordic countries.

One of the authors whose work I find thrilling is Ragnar Jonasson. His Hulda Series whose main character is Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police Department is one of my favorites.

You may also recognize the names of Steig Larsson, author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Jo Nesbo, author of the Oslo detective Harry Hole crime novels. These Scandinavian authors’ work is also a part of this genre.

These Nordic mysteries take place in bleak and isolated backdrops and have violent plots, but this dismal environment is also the place where a warm, cultural tradition was established.

In direct contrast to the harsh winter, the cozy Icelandic tradition known as Jolabokaflod helps to diffuse the gloom during Christmas. Jolabokaflod loosely translated means “the Christmas book flood”, a tradition that residents have been following for over 75 years. On Christmas Eve, people give and receive books as gifts, but the most interesting part is that they then spend a relaxing night reading the books they were given.

This tradition started in World War II when paper was available and not rationed in Iceland. Books were then given as gifts and the tradition continues today among Icelanders. Additionally, the Reykjavik Book Fair is held in mid-November and catalogs of new books are made available to everyone in the fall so that they can choose the right book to give to family and friends.

This sounds like a wonderful way to spend some essential reading time during the hectic holidays. Whatever faith or traditions you follow during the holiday season, I hope they are as meaningful as this one practiced in Iceland.

Friends Always, Minerva

All Charlotte County libraries will be closed the following days:
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Friday, December 24, 2021

Local Events

Books & Brunch Author Extravaganza

Copperfish Books hosted “Books & Brunch Author Extravaganza” on October 25th at F.M. Don’s restaurant. Attendees were treated to a lovely brunch while listening to the four New York Times best-selling authors Kristi Woodson Harvey, Mary Kay Andrews, Patti Callahan and Kristin Harmel. The authors shared their writing experiences, talked about their latest books and answered questions from the audience. The authors were happy to sign copies of their books and speak personally with attendees. Friends directors Minerva King, Judi Beaumont, Georgia Buda, Susan Cravens, Katie Mazzi and Geri Saunders attended the event and assisted Copperfish by bagging the books and preparing them for signing. They were also available to answer questions about Friends membership. The Friends are proud to be a part of this community collabora-tion and look forward to other literary events such as this one.

Book Reviews

In this fourth installment of the Peachtree Bluff Series, we find the Murphy family coming together for Thanksgiving and follow their lives leading up to Christmas. You don’t have to have read the first three books to be able to enjoy this holiday story.

he book focuses on three generations of the Murphy women. There is the mom, Ansley, the grown daughters Sloane, Emerson and Caroline and the troubled teen granddaughter Vivi. Throw in spouses, significant others, ex-husbands and toddlers and you will find family secrets, family dramas and Christmas romances.

knew this was going to be a different kind of Christmas setting as I was thumbing through the book and found one of the chapters started with Jim Cantore! I am used to holiday settings with ice and snow; but since the locale is a fictional coastal town in Georgia it could only mean a late season hurricane which in fact, one does strike between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Family dynamics and forgiveness are at the heart of this story plot when the storm of the century puts some of the characters in peril. Lives and relationships are re-evaluated and we find the joy that comes with the hope of the season.

his book might be described as a southern beach read or even a holiday romance book; but either way, someday we may see the Peachtree Bluff stories on the Hallmark Channel.

By Director Katie Mazzi

Once Upon a Wardrobe is based upon the life of C.S. Lewis, specifically as it relates to his Narnia series. It takes place in 1950 Great Britain, where Oxford student, Meg Devonshire, makes a promise to her little brother George. George, who has a heart illness that limits him physically, has read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and has become fascinated with the book. He is now eager to know more about the story’s origins. He finds out that Mr. Lewis is a professor at Oxford and makes his sister Megs promise to ask him about Narnia. Megs is not happy about imposing on a professor, but she finds that her promise to her sick brother is more important to her than being rebuked by Mr. Lewis. She eventually comes across Mr. Lewis’ brother Warnie, who hears her story and invites her to their home for tea and to meet Jack, as he is called. Jack is sympathetic and agrees to tell her more about Narnia, but not in the way she was expecting. Rather than giving her a simple explanation, he tells her stories about his and Warnie’s childhood and she has to infer meaning from them. She passes on the stories through the course of several days and George is enthralled by them. This was interesting and enjoyable read and was much more than just the surface story if the reader is familiar with C.S. Lewis and his writing.

By Director Minerva King

If you are in the mood for a quick and fun read that will lift your spirits just in time for Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews’ most recent book, The Santa Suit would be a good selection.

Newly divorced Ivy Perkins decided she needed a major change in her life after her traumatic divorce, so she bought, sight unseen, a 106-year-old farmhouse called The Four Roses in the small North Carolina Mountain town of Tarburton (population 1500). Ivy is a businesswoman from Atlanta and knows not a soul in the town to which she and her mostly English Setter rescue, Punkin, are moving. She has plans of raising chickens, nights in front of a fire sipping wine and listening to classical music or perhaps learning to knit and/or crochet as part of her healing. As the book opens, she and Punkin are traveling from Atlanta in advance of her movers. No surprise, the pictures on the website looked very different than the reality. The former owners had not disposed of the clothing and furniture in the house, so she was faced with clearing everything out before her own belongings arrived. During her cleaning, she came across a box with a beautiful vintage red velvet and white fur Santa suit. In the pocket of the suit was a note from a little girl named Carlette, asking Santa to send her daddy home safely from the Vietnam war. The note touched Ivy because it reminded her of a similar request of Santa when she was a little girl. For reasons unexplainable even to herself, Ivy sets off in a search to learn who Carlette was and if her daddy ever came home. That search sets off a series of encounters with the local oddball characters who populate the small town, each of which has his or her own particular connection to the Santa suit.

As with some of the author’s other books, there are many references to Southern cooking and traditions and she captures small town life humorously yet respectfully. The Santa suit connections the various characters have provide fun scenarios, some mystery, and a little romance. Thanks to the author for this well written novella that pays homage to the magic of Christmas.

By Director Judi Beaumont


Gary Paulsen

In 1986, the novel Hatchet first appeared on the shelf. The book rightfully won the Newberry honor for best book for children that year, but more than that, it changed the way Young Adult fiction was written and it paved the way for “tween” authors like Brenna Thummler, Raina Telgemeier, and Gary Spinelli. The novel, about a boy who survives the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash with some luck, his wits, and you guessed it, a hatchet reminded readers both young and old that children are capable. They can do anything. They are more resilient than we think and maybe, just maybe, we should give them some space to be their own people.

He told his life stories in his books and it was books, that ultimately changed his life. His parents were both alcoholics and so, to get away from them, he ran to the public library in his Minnesota town. It was there that a helpful librarian helped him get a library card, taught him about books and gave him a pencil and a notebook so he could work through his life. Those stories, became the framework for his novels.

Gary Paulsen sadly passed away on October 13th of 2021 at the age of 82. I will admit to being choked up. While I never had the honor of meeting the man, his books were important to me and to my family. All of my children at one point or another read one of his books. He wrote with honesty and passion. He taught children that nothing was impossible and that adversity was just a word that started with the letter “A.”

Paulsen belongs next to Alcott, Twain and Blume on the Mount Rushmore of American writers for young people. If you have never read his works, there is no time like the present. Like Mr. Paulsen himself, get to the library, and check out some books that will change your life.

Middle School Author Visit

On February 9th, thanks in part to the generous support of the Shively Charitable Foundation, the Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library will be bringing children’s graphic novelist, Brenna Thummler, whose newest work, Delicates was released to rave reviews, to speak to the Punta Gorda Middle School’s 6th grade class. Ms. Thummler will spend an hour with the whole group giving a presentation about literacy and art. She will also spend an hour with students in the media center teaching them how to storyboard and create visual story telling techniques. Ms. Thummler hopes to do a reading and signing at Copperfish later that evening as well as do a program in the library.

Friends Present 2022 Literary Luncheon – Sold out!

Featuring New York Times Bestselling Author Melanie Benjamin Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Isles Yacht Club, 1780 West Marion Ave, Punta Gorda Doors open at 11 a.m., opening remarks at 11:45, luncheon at 12:00, Presentation at 1:00 p.m. Copperfish Books will be at the venue selling Melanie’s books and she will be available to sign copies.

Silent Auction Item

This hand made quilt sewn by Linda Bauman will be featured as a silent auction item at the Melanie Benjamin luncheon, so attendees should come prepared to bid for this beautiful book-themed quilt. Raffle tickets will also be on sale at the luncheon for baskets representing various themes.


Family Storytime Fun

There were some young library patrons trick-or-treating around the library in October as part of the Family Storytime program led by youth librarian Liz Lee. The children and parents had a good time as they walked around the library including the Friends’ bookstore. Bookstore volunteer Diana Miller got into the spirit of the event and passed out candy. Family Storytime is for children ages 0 to 6 years and is held in the library each Friday from 10:30-11:00. Its design is to improve listening and group interaction skills through stories, movement activities, music and dramatic play.

Friends’ Bookstore by Director Katie Mazzi

The Friends’ mission statement outlines its purpose of promoting and fostering usage of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library through community advocacy and financial support. This financial support comes from membership dues, donations, grants, special events and the Friends’ Bookstore. The Friends’ Bookstore has been a dependable source of revenue since 1999 when a few books were placed on a shelf in the corner of the old library on West Henry Steet. It didn’t take long before the little corner shelf became so popular that the county provided the Friends with a small room for a real bookstore. The bookstore remained in that space until the new library was completed in 2019.
Prior to the design of the new library, the county held public input meetings in 2016 for community members to express their desires for what should be in the new building. The community was clear that the Friends needed a larger space for the bookstore. The county listened and now the “new” bookstore is larger and provides the volunteers with more shelving for donated books, CDs and DVDs.

The first bookstore manager was the late Nancy Vuic. Since that time, Sara Benson, Sarah Davis, Diane Strandberg and Sue Galvin each donated their time to manage the bookstore. Now Katie Mazzi and 30 bookstore volunteers keep the store open Monday through Saturday from 10:15 am to 4:00 pm.

The bookstore is located near the doors that open to the front of the building facing Shreve Street. Most people park in the lot behind the library and enter from the double doors under the portico. Instead of turning left to go into the library, just walk a few steps and look to the left to enter the bookstore where you will find a volunteer ready to greet you.

As a small non-profit shop, the bookstore accepts only cash and all sales are final. There are many loyal patrons who purchase books, movies and music and at a later date, donate them back to be resold. This support is appreciated.

Amazon Smile

The Punta Gorda Friends of the Library can receive a small percentage of your purchases from Amazon through Amazon Smile. Participation in this program does not add anything to your bill; Amazon will just donate 0.5% of your purchases to the Friends. To participate, simply go to and make your purchases as usual. You will even be able to see how much of your purchases have been donated. We appreciate your support!

Friends Membership Application

The mission of the Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library is to promote the usage of, appreciation for, and provide support for the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library.
Friends provide the library with vital funding, which may not otherwise be available, for increasing media collections, funding children, teen and adult programs, and procuring furniture and equipment.
Friends raise money through membership dues, special events and the bookstore. Donations are also given by individuals, businesses, non-profits and corporations.
Please become a Friend! Annual memberships are January 1st through December 31st. Memberships dat-ed after October 1, 2021 will be for the entire 2022 calendar year.
Thank You for your continued loyalty and support!

Friends of the Library Business Patrons

Share this information with your business friends and encourage them to become a Friends Business Patron.

mberg Insurance Center
Andreae Group at ReMax Harbor Realty
Animal Medical Clinic of Punta Gorda
Avant Construction, Inc.
Bayfront Health Punta Gorda
Bayfront Health Port Charlotte
Bohall’s Total Comfort, Inc.
C&R Graphics
Chapman Insurance Group
Charlotte State Bank & Trust Punta Gorda Charlotte State Bank & Trust Port Charlotte Comfort Keepers of Port Charlotte
Copperfish Books
Don Gasgarth’s Charlotte County Ford
Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr & Holmes, P.A. Florida Cancer Specialists
F.M. Don’s
Friendly Floors
GFWC – Punta Gorda Woman’s Club, Inc.
Gould Family Trust
Graddy Insurance Group
Gulf Island Sails, LLC
Hometown Title & Closing Services
Isles Yacht Club
Jeffrey Joffe, DMD, P.A.
Jim Koinis, Edward Jones Investments
Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute
Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management McCrory Law Firm
Mike Martin Agency-State Farm Ins. Punta Gorda Nix & Associates Real Estate LLC
Nolan Family Insurance
Olsen, Lynch & Wright, CPAs, P.A.
Pineapple Storage
Presley Beane Financial Services
Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce
Punta Gorda Downtown Merchants Assoc.
Punta Gorda Symphony
Rivera Professional Plaza
Sanchez, George DMD
SandStar Homes, LLC/SandStar Remodeling Towles Corp. of SW Florida
Twin Isles Country Club
Village Fish Market & Restaurant
Webb, Lorah & McMillan, PLLC