Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What We're Reading: All Fall Down

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (FICTION WEINER)

Allison Weiss supposedly has it all, but it’s fraying at the edges. She’s doing well as a blogger, much better than her newspaper journalist husband. Her father’s dementia is getting worse, but her mother doesn’t want to face it. Her young daughter challenges her at every opportunity. Life is exhausting -so what’s the solution? It starts with a little white pill (leftover from a prescription for back pain ) that gets her through the day. Soon it’s multiple pills, gotten by any means she can. She ends up in rehab, a solidly middle-class woman who made a wrong turn. After rehab is a different life, a hard road to staying clean and a different happy ending:
Life on life’s terms. It was an absolute bitch. There was no more tuning out…no more using opiates…to fill in the cracks… I would try to be grateful that I’d stopped when I had instead of berating myself for letting things get as bad as they’d gotten. I had learned what I needed to learn. 
I thought Weiner had exaggerated the ease of slipping into addiction, but the news says otherwise. Prescription drug abuse made the front pages of the September 7 San Jose Mercury News, detailing the rise in fatalities from prescription drug overdose. A recent New Yorker feature (September 8) detailed the overdose epidemic in middle-class Staten Island. No happy endings, just grieving families.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What We're Reading (and Doing): LEGO Architecture

LEGO Architecture by Philip Wilkinson (720.22 Wilkinson)

Did you play with LEGOs as a child? When it comes to LEGOs, the sky is the limit and it’s no longer just for children. LEGO Architecture highlights the many models that enthusiasts can recreate with LEGO bricks et al. The cover draws you in immediately with silhouettes of famous landmarks in black on a silver background. Inside, vivid color pictures of the original structures –the Sydney Opera House, New York’s Empire State Building, Chicago’s John Hancock Center , Rome’s Trevi Fountain,  Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel and London’s Big Ben among others- and the models  created with LEGOs demonstrate the intricacies involved in the building process.  You may not visit all these sites in the flesh, but you can build these replicas

If the price tag for a set is a little steep, check out this book as a first step.  Then join us this Thursday, October 16th,  for Lunchtime Legos for Grown-Ups. See if it's still as fun as you remember. Drop-in anytime between 12:30 and 1:30.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bit of France comes to the Library

France was on my mind when I went to Thursday’s accordion concert, Lunch at the Library featuring Linda Gibson. She gave the history behind her accordion and the kinds of music she played: gypsy swing, Cajun music and zydeco. She performed “Under Paris Skies” and tunes popularized by Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Clifton Chenier and others. Toddlers and adults swayed to the music; the concert ended with everyone joining in on “Jambalaya”. My neighbor mentioned to me that all we needed were berets and loaves of French bread to complete the experience.

 Why had France come to mind?

The song “Under Paris Skies” is featured on the DVD series Maigret and I had just read a reissue of an early Georges Simenon novel featuring Maigret, Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien. I could easily picture myself trailing along with Maigret as he follows a shabbily-dressed traveler who then commits suicide. Maigret keeps investigating; it leads him to a crime ten years earlier whose consequences continue to haunt a group of young men.

Simenon’s novels are short but very atmospheric; not police procedurals per se, but philosophical views of crime, criminals and the human condition. The DVD series captures the mood of the books perfectly.

For more of that touch of France, watch Maigret and/or read further Maigret adventures. If music is your thing , we have many CDs of Reinhardt and Grappelli. You can also catch performances of Reinhardt and Grappelli on Youtube.

Bonne chance!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What We're Reading: John Harvey

Good bait by John Harvey (M HARVEY) 

I’d forgotten how much I liked John Harvey until I picked up Good bait. 

Two cases intersect for DCI Karen Shields in London and DI Trevor Cordon in Cornwall although they never meet. Harvey lays out the connection between the body of a dead teenager from Moldova found frozen on Hampstead Heath and a missing young woman with past history to DI Cordon. He tells a good story as always-Eastern European thugs, money laundering, organized crime and the vicious crime of murder all come together.

Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey (M HARVEY) 

Charley Resnick’s final case: a body turns up during excavation. Charley is retired from the police, but a colleague asks him to help her officially investigate it. The victim is a woman who disappeared during the Miner’s Strike thirty years earlier, and Charley knew her. He remembers the violence and double dealing on both sides during the Strike- hard feelings still remain. Was the victim collateral damage to the Strike or was there another reason? 

John Harvey created a wonderful character in Charley Resnick of the Nottingham police. I’m really sorry that he’s decided Charley has come to the end of the road. If you haven’t read the others in the series (and his other books), do so. They are excellent.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

eBooks, eBooks - What’s it all about?

September 14-20 is eBook week at the library!

What’s the advantage of reading an eBook? They're great for trips-you can download many books on one device and really lighten your load.  If you like to read in bed, some eReaders have their own light - no need to use that flashlight under the covers. They can be checked out from anywhere in the world, at any time! There are no late fees with eBooks - they virtually return themselves. And some readers find they just prefer eBooks over the traditional paper book.

Next week you can learn the ins and outs of library ebooks, whether you're new to the format, or just want to know more about what we offer. Join an eBook tour to be amazed and delighted by the wide world of our eBook collections.

Tours will take place in the Second Floor Training Center:

  • Monday September 15, 2 pm 
  • Tuesday September 16, Noon 
  • Wednesday September 17, 7 pm 
  • Friday Sept 19, 10:30 am 

The Library is going on the road to the Senior Center, Tuesday September 16, 7 pm for a special presentation on eBooks for readers with visual impairments.

Thursday September 18 is Read an eBook Day. Join others across the nation and try it out! The Library will have a dedicated computer for patrons to read a portion of an eBook.

Drop in on the eReader Fair on Saturday, September 20, between 11:30 and 12:30. If you’re in the market for a reader or tablet, you can try out different devices-we’ll have versions of Nooks, Kindles, Ipads and we'll have the Nexus7, which we also lend (the Library has these for checkout).  Library staff members and some special guests will be on hand to answer questions as you explore.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Happy Birthday, ESL club

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!

Did you know that the tune is the same in other languages? I heard it in Russian, Chinese, Thai, English and Spanish as the Library marked the first full year of the drop-in ESL Conversation Club on Wednesday, August 27, with a birthday cake and other treats. We don’t always have food, but we always have fun learning about other cultures.

There are usually about forty people at our ESL Conversation Club every Wednesday, 5-6 pm in the Community Room. We use different formats to spark conversation.  On special occasions, we have a party.  Sometimes we have a "speed dating" style meeting, where we have seven minute conversations with lots of different people.

And sometimes we sit in small conversation groups - one native English speaker per table and then four or five non-native speakers with different levels of English. Last week, my table had citizens of Japan, Thailand, Iran, Turkey and Argentina eager to improve their conversational English. Every week is a different topic; sometimes we stay on topic, other times we digress. I’ve gotten some great tips from my table mates on good restaurants to try featuring their cuisines.

We can always use more native speakers –please drop in any Wednesday for some great conversation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reader Rabbit Recommends: Anyone But You

maggie the reader rabbit

Our Adult Summer Reading program is petering out, but Maggie is still hopping along with her reading. Maggie is not only a wonderful pet, she loves to sink her teeth into a good book.  

This week Maggie (our Reader Rabbit) recommends:

Anyone but You

By Jennifer Crusie
Fiction Crusie

This light-hearted, feel-good novel is a perfect summer read.  Divorcee Nina Askew celebrates her newly acquired freedom by adopting a dog.  While Fred is not the bouncy puppy she's been dreaming of, he's got character - slow and smelly basset hound character.  Through Fred, Nina meets the handsome (and ten-years younger) doctor downstairs.  Their growing relationship is a great story.  Crusie writes funny, endearing characters, both animal and human.  Anyone but You is very enjoyable.