Thursday, May 28, 2015

Double Take: Author Look-Alikes

While recently flipping through Jim Gaffigan’s hilarious new book, Food: A Love Story (818.602 Gaffigan) we couldn’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance the actor and comedian has to geek renaissance man, Joss Whedon. 

Jim Gaffigan & Joss Whedon 

This prompted us to play a little game in which we match up authors, both historic and modern, to their actor doppelgangers.  Take a look below and let us know if you agree with the resemblance, or if you’ve noticed a case of author/actor look-alikes we might have missed.

John Locke & Adrian Brody

Carson McCullers & Kristen Schall

Glenn Howerton & Patricia Cornwell

 Henry David Thoreau & Ellen Degeneres

 Maggie Gyllenhaal & Rose Wilder Lane

Louis C. K. & T.C. Boyle

Tobias Wolff & Richard Dreyfuss

What do you think, did any of these surprise you?  Want more author look-alikes?  Check out this photo collection of dogs who resemble famous poets.  And if you happen to look like Ernest Hemingway, you might consider heading down to the Florida Keys this July for the 35th Annual Hemingway Look Alike Contest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What We’re Reading Now: New Yorker hits 90

New Yorker Magazine (PER NEW Y)

It’s not a golf score, but the number of years it’s been published.  It survived the Depression, World War II and other foreign incursions, the Red Scare and the attack on the Twin Towers. Writers James Baldwin championed civil rights and John McPhee fought hard for the environment in its pages. It became a showplace for photographer Richard Avedon and cartoonists Charles Addams, William Steig, Saul Steinberg and Roz Chast; its cartoons and covers have puzzled and pleased since its inception.
Malcom Gladwell, Ian Frazier and Atul Gawande have contributed outstanding nonfiction pieces over the years.  The magazine isn’t just New York-centric any more: a recent piece (in the May 25 issue) on California’s drought and the Colorado River gives excellent background on a complicated situation.   Fiction stars Muriel Spark, John Cheever, Thomas McGuane and poets Mary Jo Bang, Jorie Graham, Eavan Boland and Leonard Cohen have appeared in the magazine as well.  Current movie critics Anthony Lane and David Denby give the lowdown on what’s good, bad and just average in current cinema. Columnists cover classical and popular music, dance, Broadway, sports, television and recent books of interest.

My one complaint is that it’s hard to keep up with a magazine that arrives 47 times a year.  What have I missed if I don’t read it all? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What We’re Watching Now: Special Bike Month Edition for May


Wadjda dreams of owning a bike-a new green bike. This is Saudi Arabia and her mother refuses to buy it-it is unseemly in Saudi society for a girl to ride a bike. Wadjda is determined to buy that bike-she enters a school competition to earn the money for her bike.  She wins the prize, but the school decides the prize money should not be used for a bicycle.  Is the dream lost forever? 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What we’re watching now: Special Bike Month Edition for May

Breaking away (DVD BREAKING YATES 2001)

It’s 1979.Dave is a blue-collar kid in Bloomington, Indiana .He’s just graduated from  high-school , unsure of what’s next for him in life. He wins an Italian bicycle and focusses on all things Italian-language, opera and especially Italian bicycle racing, much to his father’s dismay. He meets a girl, gets roughed up by her boyfriend but gets a chance to prove himself in another way with his biking skills in Bloomington’s bike race, Little 500. The road to growing up and the bike race are equally bumpy with bruises and falls. How will Dave finish? 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

What we’re watching now: Special Bike Month Edition for May

Bicycle thief  (DVD ITALIAN THIEF)

In post-World War II Rome, Antonio’s  bicycle is essential to his family’s survival. Everyone is struggling to get by; Antonio desperately needs a job to support his family.   He finds that job- putting up posters for American movies. He goes from one site to another with his bicycle.  When it is stolen, he and his son Bruno track the thief all over Rome, but to no avail.  In a moment of desperation, he steals someone else’s bicycle but he gets caught and is shamed in Bruno’s eyes.

Celebrate The Bike Month at The Library

The actress Judi Dench, when asked about her use of email:
 “ I’m afraid it is a non-starter.  I cannot even use a bicycle pump.
If Judi Dench came to Mountain View, she could use the Dero Fixit Station (available any time, in front of the Library); she could see that bicycle pump put into practice at the Drop-in Bike Clinic, on Saturday, May 16, 11 am.

Other programs in May for Bike Month:
Let your cycling lead to recycling-join us for Bike Craft on Tuesday, May 5, 7 pm: bracelets and votive candle holders made from old bike parts (we provide the parts). Registration is required:

More and more people are riding bikes for pleasure, exercise and commuting. Stop in for the free workshop on Urban 
Bicycling, Tuesday May 12, 6:30-7:30 pm, then put your newly-acquired skills to good use with an optional ride, 7:30-8 pm.

Don’t let someone steal your bike. The Library and the Mountain View Police Department will provide tips for the 
Theft Proof Bike, Wednesday, May 20, 7 pm. 

Have you ever pictured yourself as a bike courier? Here’s your chance to strut your stuff. Participate in the Bike Courier 
Challenge on Bike to Shop Day, Saturday May 23, 11 am. We list the locations-you create your route; measure your time against the pros. If you want to join the ride just for the fun of it, that’s fine, too. Get more information at

Are you wondering how to carry that treasure trove of books home on your bike after your most recent Library visit? Learn to make book bags at Simple Sewing: Book Bag Panniers on Wednesday, May 27, 7 pm.  Sewers of all levels are welcome to try their hand at this fun craft. Sign-up sheet will be available in the Lobby at 6:30 pm.

If you can’t make it to any of the programs, the Library has many books to check out about biking.  Stop at the second floor display where we’ve gathered many of our favorites–you’ll find books about bike repair, bike trails to try, and the overall joy of bike riding. You’ll soon find yourself inspired to get on that bike and go!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What We're Reading Now: A Critic Goes to the Movies

Everyone has their favorite films, but Kenneth Turan, the film critic for the L A Times and NPR’s Morning Edition, has the expertise to back his choices.  He covers the twentieth century by decades and includes the twenty-first century as well. He believes these particular films are timeless; he goes behind the scenes to show them as products of their times as well, highlighting directors, actors and actresses and screenwriters for their contributions to the finished product.  He explains why each film appeals to him and includes suggestions for other films to enjoy.
The Library, Netflix and TCM give many opportunities to decide for yourself -and create your own list of favorites.   

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What We’re Reading Now: Why Can’t We Talk About Dying?

Atul Gawande describes himself as both a surgeon and a writer.  Doctors train to fix their patients and the patients expect that; but inevitably the situation is unfixable.  When death is the likely outcome, doctors need to engage in a dialogue about the end with their patients.  The doctor needs to ask the hard questions: What are your fears? What is the most important thing for you in the time you have left? This means the doctor has to listen to their answers rather than just talk to the patient- it’s never easy for either party-and no single conversation can do the job.
People with serious illness have priorities beyond simply prolonging their lives…avoiding suffering, strengthening relationships with family and friends, being mentally aware, not being a burden on others and achieving a sense that their life is complete.
Gawande saw in his own practice how hard it was to have these conversations, but he wanted to do better for his patients going forward.  He interviewed palliative care specialists and oncologists for suggestions on what to say and how to listen; he related cases of his own and his experiences as a son and doctor when his father faced a terminal cancer diagnosis.  He asked his father those tough questions; his father’s responses were not what he was expecting, but they worked together to achieve most of his father’s goals in his remaining time.  
We all want a good death, but as a society we don’t talk about dying or prepare for it; the primary focus has been on living longer, even when living longer may impair the quality of that remaining life. Gawande would like us to talk about it, make it a topic of discussion with our children, our caregivers, our doctors-don’t wait until the quality of life is already gone.  Death is inevitable, but we have choices about our approach to it. Doctors and patients need to work together for a better end to life, even if that life is cut short.
The Frontline documentary “Being mortal” based on his book can be viewed on It’s well worth a viewing.