Blanco County News
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Blanco Library News and Reviews
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 • Posted March 23, 2010

Jeannette Walls’ newest family memoir has been labeled a ‘true life novel’ and may be found in the fiction section of the Blanco Library. Her best-selling The Glass Castle was based on surviving a uniquely dysfunctional rearing by parents who frequently ‘skedaddled’ to avoid bills, debtors, and sometimes the police.

The prequel (book publisher talk for it was written last, but actually happened first), Half Broke Horses, centers on Walls’ grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, whose priorities were ranch wife, teacher, and mother. Lily’s story is a series of vignettes based on what seems to be family oral history. As a ranch wife Lily managed to put beans and steak on the table most days while riding, roping, and working cattle. As a teacher she inspired students while gambling, drinking, and horse racing. As a mother she provided basic needs, advice, and punishment.

The book is not an indictment of the grandmother for how her daughter, Rosemary Smith Walls, became a non-parent and sweet person, but a factual presentation of how Lily Casey Smith was reared and in turn reared her children. The “voice” of the book is that of Lily herself. It is her story.

Reading The Glass Castle is not necessary to appreciate Half Broke Horses (the term Lily coins both for her half wild mustangs and her children), but it is an intense look into family dynamics.

As a reader, I never felt the urge to rant at rough, hardworking Lily to “Get your act together!” as I did her daughter, Rosemary, in The Glass Castle. If the understanding of the present is based on knowing the past, perhaps we all need to create an oral history for our children and grandchildren.

Library News:

PEC donated and installed recycled telephone poles for our bats. Early Wednesday morning PEC started and finished up the Bat House project by mounting the houses built by a Library volunteer.

They were just in time because one little Mexican free-tailed bat was spotted roosting behind a sign on the Library while the construction was going on. Spring has sprung and our bats (one of Nature’s natural mosquito hunters) are back!

Also, the Blanco Library is currently doing an oral history project funded by Friends of the Library and chaired by Barney Cline. Blanco residents have added their memories of an earlier time to our collection. Hopefully, by summer, these will be available for check-out on DVD for home viewing.

March 24 at 4 p.m.- Kevin Gaines, aka the Sky King, will be doing “Birds over Blanco.” In the Library’s back parking lot, he will show off his birds of prey. He will talk about each bird and fly several of them for the audience.

This will be your chance to see these beautiful creatures up close! He will bring an owl, a hawk, a falcon, a kestrel, and more! Mr. Gaines has shown his birds across America at many different renaissance festivals and used them as part of his business. Do not miss this!

April 19-May 14: One Book, One Community - This year’s book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Jump into this enchanted book to join the fun. You may try reading it outside in our delightful spring weather.

Our main theme is going to be gardening projects. Keep an eye on our website (, Facebook, MySpace, or the Blanco County News to find out what our events are.

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