As I weeded the shelves at the Twisp Library last week, I came upon two unlikely companions under “J” in fiction. There, touching covers, were E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady. Good grief, what would Henry think about his literary masterpiece rubbing up against the erotic blockbuster that women buy online rather than handing to their librarian for checkout?

Actually, according to Wikipedia, “James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognisable [Brit.] to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting.”

From what I’ve heard (as I wouldn’t be caught dead with E.L.’s masterwork), and if Wikipedia’s entry on James is correct (that can be iffy), then Henry James would have to either eat his words or call Fifty Shades of Grey a “good” novel. I wonder, too, how Isabel Archer and Anastasia Steele are getting along as they sit there waiting to be chosen? As I haven’t read both books, I’ll leave that to those of you who have.

Twisp Library kids who “Dig Into Reading” will win a ticket for each hour they read. They can trade in one ticket for a pencil or a necklace or save up until they have four tickets and win an ice cream cone or a smoothie. Ten tickets and a child can choose a basketball. There are lots of different prizes.

As there will be no grand prize drawing, librarian Terry Dixon says this year’s program “gives more readers a chance to win a prize.” And, of course, the point is to keep children reading through the summer. Join Terry and Lois Caswell next Tuesday (June 25) at 1:30 p.m. for a magic show performed by Alex Nicolazzo, and “Digging in the Dirt” crafts, when the kids will make “grass heads” from paper cups, dirt and grass seed.

North Central Regional Library is also offering the Online Summer Reading Program, which will certainly appeal to middle and high school readers. Participants who log at least 40 hours will be eligible to win great prizes, including Kindles and books. Sign up at

Everyone is invited to the History Book Club, which meets at Confluence Gallery on the third Monday of the month at 8:30 a.m. Join in the discussion of the first half of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning No Ordinary Time, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front In World War II on July 15.

This is one of those wonderful history books that puts all you’ve learned into a new context. It also tells lots of juicy details about FDR and Eleanor’s private lives. It presents lots of opportunities to make comparisons between then and now.

My word processing program has turned into Pac-Man. As my draft of this column was chugging right along, the cursor began moving backwards of its own volition, gobbling up my words. My attempt to “select all” and “copy” were for naught. Gone. Could be the National Security Agency’s PRISM program had something to do with this.