Dear Friends,

I hope that all of you are well underway in the process of getting back on your feet after Hurricane Ian. The library did not suffer much damage and was used to help the community in various ways.

The meeting rooms were used for childcare assistance to help county employees because power and Internet were available. Because of this, residents were able to access wi-fi and borrow laptops to communicate with family, insurance companies, and businesses. This was in addition to providing its usual functions and operating seven days a week. We have a dedicated library staff and supervisor and we appreciate them!

What stood out in my mind in the aftermath of the storm, was the spirit of community that was present in Punta Gorda. I would like to share a small example of this in my neighborhood. A tall palm tree on the side of our house was pushed during the storm, began leaning, and eventually fell across our driveway, blocking our car in and forcing everyone to climb over it in order to communicate with us and us with them. This was impractical and even dangerous for some, so it became easier just to sit outside on the trunk and reassure neighbors over a cup of coffee, conduct business over the phone or find out what the next step was, rather than to climb over and come inside, so it became a meeting place.

One of my neighbors named it the Conference Room because there were times when there were several neighbors coordinating work schedules and insurance adjuster visits, all sitting down in one place. The Conference Room was eventually dismantled and although I was happy to see it go, I hope we will keep alive that atmosphere of community.

I am pleased to announce that the Friends’ annual Literary Luncheon is scheduled to take place on February 22, 2023. William Kent Krueger, the New York Times best- selling author of the Cork O’Connor mystery series as well as stand-alone books such as Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land will be the guest of honor. Tickets will go on sale to Friends members only on November 17, 2022. You can fill out the form printed in this issue or download it from our website. Forms and checks may either be brought to the bookstore or mailed to the library.

Friends Always,

Membership Renewal

Only Friends members can purchase tickets for the Literary Luncheon. If you wish to become a member, please use the Friends Membership Application in this newsletter. You may also pick one up in the Friends book store or download one from

Annual memberships last the entire calendar year. Forms received after October 1 will validate memberships for the rest of that year and the following year.

Business patrons will be contacted directly with renewal information. If you wish to become a business patron, please email the membership committee at for more information.

We appreciate your support!

From the Bookstore

By Katie Mazzi, Bookstore Manager

My husband and I stayed in our home during Hurricane Ian. In the days following the storm while waiting for water, power, cable tv, and internet to return, I found comfort with an old friend, Agatha Christie. I pulled out my complete set of the Miss Marple books and started reading. I was transported to places where I could forget about my surroundings and get lost in well-plotted stories with interesting characters.

After the first six of the 13 Miss Marple books, I started reflecting on the novels and authors I have read in my lifetime and what I liked and disliked. I considered what draws me to pick up a book and read it.

I believe all of us have certain genres we gravitate toward. For me, it is mysteries of all kinds from the light cozy to the deep psychological twisters. Still, some of my favorite books are not mysteries.

I have been able to expand my reading and get outside my normal comfort zone by participating in book clubs. In fact, one of my favorite books of all time, “A Man Called Ove”, by Fredrik Bachman was a Copperfish Books book club selection. I would have never read this book if not for participating in their book club. I have read and reread A Man Called Ove several times and I love it just as much as the first time.

There are many book clubs in our community including a monthly book discussion group at our library. I have been a member of a neighborhood book club as well as one at Copperfish Books. A number of years ago I decided I really wanted to spend some time reading or re-reading books published between 1900 and 1960. I sent an email out through my neighborhood and asked if anybody wanted to join me. I was overwhelmed by the response. After a few months, the group settled into about a dozen ladies who enjoyed good in-depth discussions about the books. The novels included A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Great Gatsby, The Yearling, Rebecca, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Not everyone enjoyed every book but there were lively discussions. We did some socializing and had light refreshments, but the focus was on the books.

If you have never been a member of a book club and you enjoy reading, I encourage you to join one. If you cannot find one, start one of your own. You can make it a full afternoon or evening with everyone bringing food or drink or you can set aside an hour or so and ask everyone to bring their own beverages.

Some authors are now including discussion questions at the end of the books or you can find them online. Some authors will even Zoom into a book club gathering if you reach out to them on their Facebook page.

I highly encourage you to read outside your comfort zone. If you aren’t participating in a book club, stop by the Friends Bookstore and ask the Bookstore volunteer to recommend a book they liked. You might just find your next favorite read.

Meanwhile, I am back to the next Miss Marple book!


Helping Kids Cope by Tony Farina, Friends Director

As 2022 comes to a close, we hope that 2023 is the year without a crisis. We wish that the pandemic is over, for the political and racial tension that is everywhere to stop, and that next year not only will the hurricanes pass us by, but they all fizzle out in the Atlantic or the Gulf with sound and fury, signifying nothing. It is true that the past three years have been rough on everyone.

As adults, we can find ways to cope with all of this by reflecting back on our past experiences or by coming to terms with the fact that as bad as things have been, they could have been worse for a plethora of reasons. What we need to remember, however, is that the younger members of our community don’t have that perspective that we do and they may not be lining up to talk to us about how they are feeling. They feel isolated and sad. They think that at this moment in time, living through a global pandemic followed by a massive hurricane is only happening to them. We know it isn’t, and we can tell them that, but that doesn’t mean they will believe us.

There is one great way we can help these kids cope and work through some of their issues. The solution can be found on the stacks of our library and on the digital apps, Hoopla and Cloud Library, on our tablets and phones. For years, Young Adult and Children’s writers have been telling stories about kids who survive
world-altering events.

These books may focus on a historical event like Walter Dean Myers’ Riot, a Young Adult book that looks at an 1863 race riot or Jewell Parker Rhodes’ children’s book series, The Louisiana Girls, that focus on different historical moments of crisis. Sometimes the books are fantasy like Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Last Survivor series where the moon falls out of its orbit. The main point of these books is always the characters. How do the young people in this story survive? What do they do? On whom do they lean? What does it look like on the other side?

These books show young readers that no matter how bad things are, no matter what they are going through, they are not the first, nor unfortunately, will they be the last people to go through these events. Reading builds empathy, but reading also shows sympathy. Kids feel less alone when they know that someone in the world, be they real or fictional, understands them.

Next time you are in the library, take a minute to peruse the catalog and see what is there that might offer your young people some solace. Ask a member of the staff for help. Goodreads offers some great suggestions in their Listopia section at Search for “Natural Disaster,” “Social Justice,” or “Pandemic” and you will find all kinds of great recommendations.


Book Review by Hank Bauman, Friends Director
“Shadows Reel” by C.J. Box (P.G. Putnam and Sons, 2022)

This is the 22nd mystery novel in the Joe Picket series authored by C. J. Box and continues with the familiar characters of Joe Picket, a Wyoming game warden; his wife Marybeth Picket, the director of the local library and Joe’s best friend, the dark knight Nate Romanowski, presently a falconer but with a shadowed past.

The main plot in Shadows Reel involves the discovery at the doorstep of the local library of a photo album created by a senior Nazi official, the contents of which may affect Hungarian politics. Two Hungarians have been dispatched to recover the album and their efforts result in several gruesome homicides. Although a game warden, Joe becomes a major participant in the efforts of local law enforcement to identify and apprehend the culprits, much to the consternation and frustration of the local sheriff.

The secondary plot is the effort of Nate Romanowski who must locate the thief, who stole his trained falcons and recover his flock. The thief is a senior member of Antifa and is traveling through Western states with the birds while actively promoting violent revolution with the purpose of overthrowing the US government.

C.J. Box is a master at creating situations in the development of story plots that are captivating, surprising, and believable. His writing style is easy to read and will hold your attention to the end.

My problem with the book is the author’s use of Joe Picket’s occupation and Picket’s investigation of criminal activity. The plot has nothing to do with protecting the wildlife of Wyoming, so what is his authority to be actively involved with the homicides? Having been in law enforcement, I find this a bit unbelievable.

Aside from this minor blemish, if you enjoy reading a murder mystery that involves unique homicides, interesting plot twists, and terrorism, this would be a good book to read and you can get it from the library.

A Note for our Friends

If you are an active member of the Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library and, like several of our active Board Members, you want to recommend something or review something, we want to hear from you!

You can review books, audiobooks, or movies that you checked out from our library, that you got via Interlibrary Loan, or that you found on one of the excellent online resources. Additionally, if you have attended a library event or used a library service, we want you to write about that experience as well. We know the library is the center of our community and we want to share all it has to offer.

Beginning in February, we hope to expand the voices we include in this section. We will be calling it, “A Note from our Friends.” If you would like to submit a 200-300 word review for possible publication in the Bookmark, please email it to with the subject line: A Note from our Friends Submission.

The submission cut-off dates for each issue are: January 10th, April 10th, and September 10th. If you miss the date, your review will be considered for the next issue. We will review each submission and do our best to include as many as we can. This means we may need to revise them for content to fit them all.

We look forward to hearing from you,
The Editors

All Around the Library

Book Adaptation by Tony Farina, Friends Director

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a book reader sees a film adaptation, that reader almost always thinks the book is better. We can agree, for the most part, that is true. There are a few notable exceptions of course. Die Hard was much better than the novel upon which it is based, Nothing Lasts Forever. The film version of The Commitments literally brought the band to life and while the book is good, it lacks the toe-tapping fun that comes with the big screen and live-show adaptations.

Some of our all-time favorite adaptations that are not better than the books, but that deserve a watch are Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly, the 2005 big screen take on C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and if you can’t get to a local theater to see the stage musical adaptation of Les Misérables, checking out the 2012 film is time well spent. While HBOMax is currently showing a TV series adaptation of Philip Pullman’s ground-breaking Steampunk series His Dark Materials, we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend the 2007 film based on the first book of the series, The Golden Compass. It had a perfect cast.

We are excited about the upcoming adaptations:

White Bird is based on R.J. Palacido’s book of the same name which is a spin-off of her book, Wonder, which was also adapted. Bring a tissue to that one.

Netflix is finally bringing Scott Westerfeld’s dystopian series Uglies to life starring actress and producer Joey King. If the show has the pace of the books, this one will be something you have to binge.

Gabrielle Zevin wrote a love letter to books and the beauty of creating a found family in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. The trailer captures all the charm of the book and we can’t wait.

Finally, as Katie Mazzi mentioned in her piece in this issue, A Man Called Ove is a book that deserves to be read and read again. While there has been a Swedish film for years, the American one, starring American Treasure, Tom Hanks, with an American title, A Man Called Otto, will be in theaters just in time for Christmas.

Ultimately, even if the books are superior, the reality is, people watch more movies than they read books. So, whenever a movie or TV show adaptation is released, we want to support it because those movies help book sales and increase interest in those books and DVDs at the library. We hope that you peruse the catalog and find an adaptation of your favorite book and give it a watch.

Friends Present 2023 Literary Luncheon Featuring The New York Times Bestselling Novelist and Mystery Writer William Kent Krueger Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Located at Isles Yacht Club, 1780 West Marion Ave, Punta Gorda Doors open at 11 a.m., opening remarks at 11:45 a.m., luncheon at noon, presentation at 1:00 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale to Friends members on November 17, 2022

Copperfish Books will be at the venue selling Kent’s books and he will be available to sign copies. To reserve your seats, submit this completed form, along with a check made payable to Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library, in person at the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library Bookstore, or by mail to: Friends of Punta Gorda Charlotte Library, 401 Shreve St., Punta Gorda, FL 33950.

Seating, at tables of eight (8), is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Payment is required to make a reservation. There are no paper tickets. You will be given your seat assignment at the “check-in table” the day of the event.

All paid reservations are final. If you have questions, please call 941-661-6679 or e-mail

Friends of the Library Business Patrons

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

Amberg Insurance Center
Andreae Group at ReMax Harbor Realty
Animal Medical Clinic of Punta Gorda
Avant Construction, Inc.
ShorePoint Health Punta Gorda
ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte
Bohall’s Total Comfort, Inc.
C&R Graphics
Cayo Costa Dental
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

Michael P. Haymans Esq.
Hometown Title & Closing Services
Isles Yacht Club

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
Nonprofit Organization
U.S. Postage
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Permit No. 24

Current Resident or:

Friends Punta Gorda Library, Inc.
401 Shreve Street
Punta Gorda, FL 33950-5906

Friends of the Library Business Patrons

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