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At the Library: Benefits to a library membership include tickets to Gulf Coast Symphony concerts

By Staff | Dec 31, 2014

In honor of the New Year’s holiday, all Lee County Library System Libraries including the Captiva Memorial Library will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 31 and remain closed all day Thursday, Jan. 1 and Friday, Jan. 2. The libraries will reopen for business at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3.

The Gulf Coast Symphony and the Lee County Library System leelibrary.net are partners in building general arts awareness in Lee County, developing new audiences for the arts in our community and to assist in the development of potential future performers. How? Any Lee County Library System patron with a valid library card may reserve a free Gulf Coast Symphony Ticket Pass. The pass can be used for the following: four tickets to Classical Access Concerts, or four tickets to Holiday Concert, or two tickets to Symphonic Pops Concerts. The Pass must be picked up at the issuing Lee County Library System branch library reference desk three days prior to performance or it will go the first patron on the waiting list. The pass is redeemable the week of the concert (or on day of concert), and must be presented in-person at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Box Office. Patrons MUST bring the Gulf Coast Symphony Ticket Pass along with them to the performance for entry. Performances are held at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center. The seats are the best available at the time of the performance. Registration is limited. One use per household per calendar year. Passes may be reserved online at leelibrary.net or by telephone at 239-479-INFO (4636).

Sometimes personal trials inspire one to help others:

“Slow Dancing With a Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer’s”

by Meryl Comer

” a profoundly personal, unflinching account of her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease that serves as a much-needed wake-up call to better understand and address a progressive and deadly affliction. When Meryl Comer’s husband Harvey Gralnick was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 1996, she watched as the man who headed hematology and oncology research at the National Institutes of Health started to misplace important documents and forget clinical details that had once been cataloged encyclopedically in his mind. With harrowing honesty, she brings readers face to face with this devastating condition and its effects on its victims and those who care for them. Detailing the daily realities and overwhelming responsibilities of caregiving, Comer sheds intensive light on this national health crisis, using her personal experiences-the mistakes and the breakthroughs-to put a face to a misunderstood disease, while revealing the facts everyone needs to know Deeply personal and illuminatingoffers insight and guidance for navigating Alzheimer’s challengesan urgent call to action for intensive research and a warning that we must prepare for the future, instead of being controlled by a disease and a healthcare system unable to fight it.” *

“The Invisible Front:

Love and Loss in

an Era of Endless War”

by Yochi Dreazen

“Major General Mark Graham was a decorated two-star officer whose integrity and patriotism inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. His wife Carol was a teacher who held the family together while Mark’s career took them to bases around the world. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other-Kevin commits suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq-Mark and Carol are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons’ deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin’s death is met with silence, evidence of the terrible stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Mark and Carol commit themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their livesThe Grahams work to change how the Army treats those with PTSD and to erase the stigma that prevents suicidal troops from getting the help they need before making the darkest of choices. Their fight offers a window into the military’s institutional shortcomings and its resistance to change failures that have allowed more than 2,000 troops to take their own lives since 2001Dreazen places Mark and Carol’s personal journey, which begins when they fall in love in college and continues through the end of Mark’s thirty-four year career in the Army, against the backdrop of the military’s ongoing suicide spike, which shows no signs of slowing. With great sympathy and profound insight, ‘The Invisible Front’ details America’s problematic treatment of the troops who return from war far different than when they’d left and uses the Graham family’s work as a new way of understanding the human cost of war and its lingering effects off the battlefield.” *

“Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion”

by Jon Katz

“In the spring of 2011, Jon Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about mercy and compassion. An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. Jon wasn’t planning to add another animal to his home on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connectionJon and Maria decided to take him in. Simon’s recovery was far from easy. Weak and malnourished, he needed near constant care, but Jon was determined to help him heal. As Simon’s health improved, Jon would feed him by hand, read to him, take him on walks, even confide in him like an old and trusted friend. Then, miraculously, as if in reciprocation, Simon began to reveal to Jon the true meaning of compassion, the ways in which it can transform our lives and inspire us to take great risks. In the great tradition of heroes-from Don Quixote to Shrek-who faced the world in the company of their donkeys, Jon came to understand compassion and mercy in a new light, learning to open up ‘not just to Simon, not just to animals, but to the human experience. To love, to risk, to friendship.’ *

* Book jacket/publisher description

-Senior Librarian Ann Bradley is branch manager Captiva Memorial Library