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Joan Knows: Book lovers rejoice over ‘Under the Dome’


In the current weather situation, low temperatures, rainy days, etc., and with the start of the school year now approaching rapidly, shouldn’t we punctuate the seasons? Give summer the question mark, a colorful and mild autumn an exclamation mark, and, perhaps, a dollar sign for winter and a comma for spring to indicate that we never know when it ends.

 Among the casualties of the season so far, my garden is kaput. Roses are scrambling for cover and tomatoes are frozen in time with blossoms that went “all in” and were undone by a full house of rabbits and cool breezes.   

There are alternatives for all of us who are crop busted, If you move quickly, the farmers market at the Baker United Methodist Church will have the usual Friday fare available. The handsome guy with the distinctive apron is Rob Murphy, local Man of Cheese, musician and market manager. (Tell him “Joan sent me.”)  

A drive westward to Norton’s Farm Stand will be another choice. On any day you might find me supplementing the vegetable garden and the forlorn flowers. If patriarch Dexter Norton is around, see if his almanac has any explanation for the lousy weather.  Watch for the wink, which will tell you that he might be pulling your leg.

 My refuge from the weather, and all other distracting issues, has been reading. 

The public library was my favorite place to be, a destination after nearby piano lessons at Mrs. Eva Hunt Lacy’s house or a day in Helen Munhall’s home room, across the road from the original Haines. Raise your hand if you, too, were greeted with the enthusiasm of Louise Keuck, Lois Miller and Pauline Hall.

May Jordan was gracious to share her library space at STCHS (Thompson building, second floor) with what was euphimistally called study hall, the precursor to Facebook.

These ladies are mentioned as part of the linkage that made reading so fulfilling – a real person who would validate the process by saying something like, “I read this too,” or did you like the story?” Better yet might be a thought-provoking question.

The adult version, if not a book club, might be the perfect mix, such as Town House Books. 

Books, plus food, plus lively conversation. Right on, David Hunt!

Here’s a case in point. After weeks of disclaiming any interest, I finally watched “Under the Dome.”

When I learned that the series had been renewed, implying many more episodes before the  end of the story is revealed, I underwent the one minute transaction to download Stephen King’s  novel to my Kindle ... I started to read it, discovered that the two versions are quite different, the book was more fulfilling, and it was soon 3 a.m.  Now what? Anybody out there want to talk about it?

I have tried to be the voice that joins in the reading-a-book process for my grandchildren. 

Mazy loves to  read and uses her books and iPad to fill the empty hours at Richmond Intermediate. 

The nearly 4-year-old Leia and Olivia currently use their books as WMD’s. The mass destruction is particularly effective when using the flat surface of a story book to bop one’s sister on the head. 

The ambiguous phrase “cut that out” usually results in a time out and the book is relocated to a high shelf.

Book ’em, Danno.

• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at

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