High Tea at Downton Abbey comes to the Plainfield Public Library!

While working the check-out desk at the library in 2011 a patron started gushing about a television series called Downton Abbey.  She explained that the series was about an aristocratic family in England, they had servants, etc.  I listened to the patron while thinking the series didn’t sound like my cup of tea.  Just when I was thinking that the patron said, “You would really like it. I just know you would.” That comment surprised me especially since I didn’t know the patron at all, and they didn’t know me. Inwardly I thought, “Challenge accepted.”  From that moment on I was prepared to hate Downton Abbey.

When Downton Abbey’s first season came out on DVD I put a hold on it at the library and finally one day I sat down ready to hate its guts.  But I didn’t hate its guts.  I absolutely freaking loved its guts!
I loved following the lives of the Grantham and Crawley families and their servants. The series began with the death of Downton Abbey’s heir in the sinking of the Titanic and then delved into securing a new heir, the distant and quite modern cousin Matthew Crawley.  Lord Grantham is of course interested in marrying off his daughters, which backfired on more than one occasion. Lady Mary, Lord Grantham’s eldest daughter, is my favorite of the upstairs characters. She can be selfish, arrogant and cold, but she feels very deeply and cares about the servants downstairs.  

http://evergreen.lib.in.us/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/9781608833894And then there are the servants, the people who make it possible for the aristocratic family to enjoy the cushy life they are accustomed to.  They are the grunt laborers who spend the majority of their time and lives cleaning, primping, cooking, and caring for their masters. There are so many great servant characters but my favorite is Daisy, the scullery maid. She is young and unsure, but a completely genuine spirit who never fails to make me laugh.  

So now that I am an official Downton fan I thought it might be fun for other fans of the series to take part in a very special High Tea at Downton Abbey on Sunday, May 19 from 2:00-3:00pm. Participants will get a taste of Downton Abbey life with a special English high tea at the library. Tina Jesson from Tina’s Old Traditional English Tea Kitchen will talk about life during the time of Downton Abbey, etiquette, and master/servant relations during the post-Edwardian era.

Participants will enjoy scrumptious scones served with several jams and clotted cream, a variety of delicious sandwiches, as well as English Breakfast Tea with cream served straight from the pot. Attendees are encouraged to dress up and bring their own tea cup and saucer. Registration for this event can be done at the main Desk in the library beginning April 1. A registration fee of $13 will be accepted at the time of sign-up.

If this sounds like your cup of tea (pun intended) please give me a call and I can point you in the right direction!

-Joanna Carter
317-839-6602 x2159

Joanna’s Top 10 Movies

One Fine Day
This is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney are both amazing in this movie as they play characters who get thrown together for a day when they need help finding a babysitter for their children. They end up having a wild time and learn a few things about themselves along the way.

Nanny McPhee
Nanny McPhee is about a single father searching for a nanny to tend to his seven children. After the children drive away 17 nannies, Nanny McPhee mysteriously comes into the picture to give the children some much needed discipline. I especially love that Emma Thompson and Colin Firth are together in this movie as they are two of my favorite actors of all time. This is a great movie to see with the family!

The Queen
Another favorite actor of mine is Helen Mirren, who does an excellent job playing Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen. This movie focuses on the tragedy of Princess Diana’s death and the difficulty Queen Elizabeth II faced when it came to leading the nation in mourning in the loss of the People’s Princess. The inside glimpse into the Royal perspective during this difficult time in England’s history is riveting to say the least.

Gone With the Wind and Scarlet
Gone With the Wind is a classic for many reasons. My main reason for loving GWTW is the psychology behind the characters Scarlet and Rhett. They always think about what is in it for them and don’t care if someone gets trampled along the way. Scarlet is a sequel movie to GWTW and I like it because it does a fairly good job of continuing the GWTW story. 

The Silence of the Lambs
This is my #1 favorite movie of all time. Those of you who have read my True Crime: Serial Killers blog will know why. I saw the movie poster for SOTL in D. Rose (the local video store in Plainfield back in the 1990s) and I remember seeing this giant moth over Jodie Foster’s mouth, and in the design of the moth’s back were the bodies of five women. Clearly the image stayed with me for years and when I was in college I saw the movie for the first time. I was horrified by the serial killer Hannibal Lecter and his insights into the twisted mind of Buffalo Bill. Even after seeing this movie more than 50 times I still get freaked out.

Gone Baby Gone
This movie is about two detectives investigating the disappearance of a little girl in Boston. The police are making very little progress and something just doesn’t seem quite right. The detectives run into all sorts of criminals from gangs to pedophiles along the way to finding the missing girl. At the end there is a scary twist that earns the movie a place on my Top 10 Library Movies to see.

The Prince and Me
I’m a bit of a sucker for a sappy romance every now and then. The Prince and Me is about a young Danish prince who is sowing his wild oats. The prince takes a hiatus to Wisconsin to seemingly “get it together” and attend college, which is where he meets and falls head over heels for a woman with determination and drive. This movie is pretty much a “wash, rinse, repeat” romance, but I love it for its sentimental predictability.

Into The Wild
True-life stories are one of my favorite things of all time. Into The Wild is based on a true story about a young man named Christopher McCandless who leaves his life behind to pursue his own path in the wilderness of Alaska . The movie is adventurous, funny and truly inspiring. Other favorite true-life movies include: Grizzly Man, which is about a man who video taped his close interactions with bears; Kinsey is another great movie that is about the Alfred Kinsey, the American biologist who studied and taught human sexuality at Indiana University in the 1940s and 1950s; 127 Hours is about a young man who gets trapped between a boulder in a canyon crag in Utah. It is not for the faint of heart and is also an amazing movie!

Jurassic Park
OK, so here’s the deal: I could watch Jurassic Park every single day for the rest of my life. I’d even throw in Jurassic Park II and III and I would be a happy camper. Every single time I watch the “real life” dinosaurs walking around I get a giddy excitement that I just cannot compare to any other movie. I recall vividly back in 1993 when Jurassic Park was released I wanted to see it soooo badly but my parents would not let me. A few years later I watched it and loved it.

Fargo is about a Minneapolis car salesman who is in a lot of trouble. He hires some thugs to kidnap his wife in hopes that the ransom will help him with his troubles. Many things go wrong during the kidnapping, and when Police Chief Marge Gunderson gets on the case things begin to unravel at a rapid pace. The Coen brothers do an excellent job making this movie. Just be prepared for some dark comedy if you decide to see it!

True Crime: Serial Killers

My curiosity regarding serial killers began during my second semester at Marian College in 2004. I was taking a speech class and we all were given an assignment where we were to present an informational speech. I had recently read an article on a serial killer who had been captured in Asia that had both chilled and fascinated me. So, without much thought as to what I might discover, I signed up to research and present a speech on serial killers.

I began my research on serial killers on www.crimelibrary.com. The website had an entire section just for serial killers and I went through page after page reading about the horrible deeds these people committed. After finding out about some of the more well-known serial killers, I searched for books at the library. I was thankful that the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library had a large true crime section. I checked out the book My Life Among the Serial Killers by Helen Morrison, M.D. The book is written by a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed and profiled more than eighty serial killers, all the way from John Wayne Gacy, to Ed Gein to Richard Macek. 

I was chilled by the stories I read, but also strangely pulled in. It was difficult for me to believe that we walk this earth with people who are capable of such horrible actions. After my speech I found myself continuing to read books and do research on serial killers. Last year I read Erik Laron’s Devil in the White City, a novel about the infamous serial killer H. H. Holmes who killed dozens of fairgoers during Chicago’s 1893 World Fair. Recently I read I, Monster by Tom Philbin. This book is by far the most unnerving book about serial killers I have read, as nearly all of it is pieces of writing from actual serial killers. At one point while reading the book I hid it in my car while I slept at night. It really shook me up.

Now, just to set the record straight: I read other things besides books about serial killers. I am a non-fiction fan, so true life stories are always calling my name. Several people know about my strange serial killer curiosity and joke about it with me. I am sure I am not the only person on this earth who finds this topic interesting.

Joanna amidst a favorite non-fiction subject of hers: true crime & serial killers

What is something you have an odd curiosity about? Please share them with us in the comments below!


My Life, My Library

Me & My Mother

My relationship with the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library began before I was born. My mother, Susan Miller Carter, began working at the library in the 1970s. When I was born in 1985, my baby shower was attended by library staff, including the then library director, Mary McMillan. I grew up coming to the library on a more than regular basis – checking out books and videos, wandering in the staff only areas, and visiting with my favorite library employee, Jan Owens. As I entered middle school I came to the library after school with my friends and did “homework”. We mostly giggled and ate snacks, really. The library was a wonderful place for us to relax and socialize with a reasonable amount of freedom and independence.

I began working at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library on May 23, 2001. I was sixteen and a sophomore in high school. After school I would trek up Hobb’s hill to the library where I would begin my shift at 3:00 pm in the Children’s Room. Being a library page meant sorting and shelving returned materials, as well as tidying up the shelves. I loved my job and continued to work part-time throughout my high school and college career.

After graduating from Marian College in 2007 I began working full time in the Youth Services Department. I did programming for children of all ages – my favorite being my Bookie Boogie Woogie, a program series for toddlers. We read books, sang songs and danced along to lots of fun music – it was a blast!

In 2009 I moved to the Community Central Department, which focuses on adult programming, community outreach, advocacy and marketing for the library. This move was a big change, moving from the Children’s Room to Community Central, but I felt right at home right away. Now I get to go out into the community and let people know what their library has to offer beyond “just books”. It is a wonderful job and I love it!