Thursday, February 28, 2013

Featured Author: Amy Stewart

As we prepare for March to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, our minds are turned towards the coming of spring!  What better time to discuss an author whose interests include earthworms, floriculture, plants, and bugs?  Amy Stewart is "the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world", according to her website, along with being the co-founder of the popular blog GardenRant and a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine.  Stewart has written for many other magazines and newspapers, been featured in the PBS documentary The Botany of Desire, and two of her books, Wicked Plants and Wicked Bugs, have been adapted into national traveling exhibits that appear at botanical gardens and museums nationwide.  She had received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award, and a California Horticultural Society Writer’s Award.  Stewart's books, while factual, are often described as "darkly comical" and "quirky". Check her titles out from the library catalog!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Worlds of Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger -- the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of young adult novels like Pirate Cinema and Little Brother, nominated for the 2008 Hugo, Nebula, Sunburst and Locus Awards, and novels for adults like Rapture of the Nerds and Makers. In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called him, "The William Gibson of his generation." He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.
~from his website

Cory Doctorow, who famously allows his novel Little Brother to be downloaded for free, comes to town today, and as a celebration here's a tantalizing glimpse of some of the works from his oeuvre: 

His short stories are featured in several anthologies, including:

For a complete list of Cory Doctorow titles, take a peek at the library catalog!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Forgers and Thieves

When the book The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro came out I was excited to read it since art theft and forgery has always fascinated me.  All my life I have been drawn to books and documentaries about famous art heists.  When Edvard Munch's famous paintings The Scream and Madonna were stolen in 2004 I spent months checking the Internet for details.  The paintings were recovered, the thieves were supposedly identified, but the police have never said how they came about this information.

It is an interesting thing to consider that so many paintings have gone missing and then turned up years later.  For example, the DaVinci's Mona Lisa, was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, taken right off the wall, it what is assumed to be broad daylight.  (It wasn't discovered to be missing right away, so of course, no one really knows when it was taken.) Two years later, the thief tried to sell the painting to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy where he felt it rightfully belonged.  The painting was returned to the Louvre in France. 

For those who are intrigued by these stories, or who have their own fascination with the theft of art, the library offers many books on the subject.  Many of these books have been among my favorites for a long time.

Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists by Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg 
Written by a security director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a Boston reporter, this book goes over every lead the museum followed up on after the infamous theft in 1990.  The interviews with art crooks is one of the best parts of this book.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt
There are some amazing pictures of famous works that have been stolen over the past several hundred years.  Some of it has been recovered, but much of it is still missing, and seeing the full color reproductions of missing art makes it more poignant.

Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World by Roger Atwood
It seems the world has a history of ripping through temples, graves, and galleries, and taking whatever they like best back to their homes which are often on other continents, or ruining what offends them.  This book attempts to document the destruction.

Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman
This is a good companion book to Stealing History, as it tells about the fight to bring artifacts back to the countries they have been taken from.

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art by Hector Feliciano
The Nazi's were some of history's worst art thieves, and many works they took are still missing today.  The author attempts to track French collections that were plundered.

Irish Game: A True Story of Art and Crime by Matthew Hart
In The Art Forger, a character briefly mentions that stolen art is used as collateral on the black market.  This book goes more into depth about what that means, following the crimes of Irish mobster Martin Cahill.

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick
This book reads like fast-paced fiction, with a colorful cast of characters.  Focused mostly on the 1994 theft of Munch's painting, The Scream, which was stolen during the Winter Olympics, this book attempts to explain why art theft is such a problem, and why it's not as glamorous as it seems.

The Art Forger talks about the most famous art forger in history, a man named Han Van Meegeren, who copied Vermeer paintings that later fell into the hands of the Nazis.  These two books explain a little more about his life, his motivations, and the forgery that nearly took this life.

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick

I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger by Frank Wynne

There is lots of fiction about art theft, but these ones are my favorites.  You can also search the library catalog under the subject Art Thefts Fiction.

The Mona Lisa Mystery by Pat Hutchins; illustrated by Laurence Hutchins
A juvenile fiction mystery that first piqued my interest in art theft, this is a fun and easy read about a group of school kids who witness the theft of the Mona Lisa painting.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Another juvenile fiction mystery about two kids who embark on a journey to track down a missing Vermeer painting. This is the first of a trilogy, but it is the best one.  (In my opinion.)

Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle
The author of travel narratives like A Good Year and A Year in Provence wrote this mystery about a fictional art heist of a Cezanne painting.  His descriptions of France are, as ever, amazing.

Vidalia in Paris by Sasha Watson
A young student goes to Paris to study art, but in order to impress a boy she becomes part of an art-theft ring.  This book is shelved with YA fiction.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Mysteries in Translation

With the success of books like Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and the Wallander mysteries by Henning Mankell (his standalone Man from Beijing has also been made into a movie), mysteries in translation have never been more popular!  If you have so far bucked this trend, perhaps you'll consider giving some of the library catalog's latest offerings a try.  We have mysteries translated from Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Italian, German, even Afrikaans!  Go ahead...take a dip in a truly international pool, and see what the rest of the world is reading! 

The Russian Donation by Christoph Spielberg

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Cell 8 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

The Stranger's Woes by Max Frei

A Pimp's Notes by Giorgio Faletti

Never Coming Back by Hans Koppel

Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff

Seven Days by Deon Meyer

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

The Last Good Man by A.J. Kazinski

Farewell to Freedom by Sara Blaedel

Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin

Invisible Murder by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Death in August by Marco Vichi

Also take a gander at our Booklists LibGuide, which has a wide selection of mystery lists!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Diaries and Memoirs

If you have ever wanted to snoop through a loved one's diary....resist that impulse and read someone else's instead. Your local library is a treasure trove of diaries, journals and memoirs that will let you dig deep into the recesses of someone's soul without dire personal repercussions.

Fictitious Diaries

The Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend delves not only into the angst-ridden life and hopes of Adrian from age 13 to 45, but also into the growing pains of Great Britain from the early 1980's to present day confounding, austere realities. A complex cast of characters perseveres through family dysfunction, political turmoil, wars, and economic difficulties with sometimes unintentional wit and humor.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 & 3/4

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years

Additional fictitious memoirs and diaries in our collection include:

Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Mountstuart by William Boyd

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

For non-fiction lovers, we offer a wide variety of diaries, journals, and memoirs from some fascinating people. Author Anais Nin (1903-1977)  kept diaries for 60 years, from the age of 11 until shortly before her death in 1977. In addition to her diaries, she wrote novellas, short stories, and erotica, such as Little Birds and Delta of Venus.

Notable Nin diary compilations from our library collection include:

Henry and June: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin

Fire from "A Journal of Love" : The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1934-1937 [eBook]

Nearer the Moon : From A Journal of Love: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1937-1939

If you have ever wondered about how introverted bookworms end up working with the public, two librarians' memoirs will give you behind the scenes access. Quiet, Please: Dispatches From a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas and Free For All : Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas In the Public Library by Don Borchert are highly recommended.

There is an abundance of off beat memoirs to choose from including:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened : (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Hypocrite In a Pouffy White Dress : Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman

My Horizontal Life : A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir by Carl Reiner

Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges

Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins: A Memoir With Recipes by Ellen Sweets

Two modern American artists, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Keith Haring (1958-1990) wrote journals that have contributed so much to understanding their visual masterpieces. Warhol's tome: The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Pat Hackett is an occasionally tedious catalog of his daily expenses, social life, and work, that is intermingled with scintillating tidbits about his famous friends, from Jean-Michael Basquiat to Truman Capote. You will feel like a privileged best friend and a glamorous insider if you make it through all 807 pages, which was whittled down from 20,000 original pages.

Keith Haring's premature and tragic death from AIDS in 1990 robbed the world of an open-hearted street artist and social activist. The Keith Haring Journals are an artistic and personal journey that allows readers to journey with Haring from his promising, adventurous youth to great artistic achievements, to the American front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980's.

One of history's most moving diarists is of course Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929-1945). Her wartime diary has been translated into 67 languages and sold over 30 million copies. The Diary of Anne Frank : The Critical Edition is an especially fascinating edition to explore, because it contains two versions of the diary, along with the version edited by her father Otto Frank.

Otto Frank, the sole survivor and caretaker of his daughter's legacy, was a fascinating man in his own right. Carol Ann Lee's biography The Hidden Life of Otto Frank is a haunting portrait of a sensitive, cultured man and devoted husband and father who recognized his daughter Anne's universal message of hope and resilience. Lee is not afraid to also consider Otto Frank's few flaws and motives for secularizing the diary, and even in some instances slicing out unflattering passages regarding Anne's mother. Lee also constructs an excellent theory about who betrayed the Frank family and their friends to the Gestapo.

Miep Gies, the Frank's humble and heroic protector also wrote a memoir about her experiences with co-author Alison Leslie Gold. Anne Frank Remembered : The Story of the Woman Who Helped To Hide the Frank Family is a deeply moving memoir that details the complexities and perils of righteous Gentiles who put their lives on the line to save their Jewish friends and neighbors.

Despite the catastrophic loss of life during World War II, many courageous voices are still with us and our library also offers the following diaries and journals:

Rutka's Notebook : A Voice From the Holocaust

The Journal of Hélène Berr

The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak : Five Notebooks From the Łódź Ghetto

An Interrupted Life : The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943

The Heart Has Reasons : Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage

If you or a loved one are inspired to write a memoir or start keeping a journal for posterity, the library can help you in this endeavor with the following books:

The Art of Writing Memoir [eAudioBook] : Finding the Past In the Present by Natalie Goldberg

Writing & Selling Your Memoir [eBook] by Paula Balzer

The Memoir and the Memoirist : Reading and Writing Personal Narrative byThomas Larson

Note To Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O'Shea

Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal: The Art of Transforming a Life Into Stories by Alexandra Johnson

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Knight Life for Kids and Teens

If your child is interested in history, you might want to consider exploring medieval times together!  There are several books in the catalog about knights that might capture any curious kid's imagination and provide hours of infotainment, such as making your own coat of arms! Consider:


What if You Met a Knight by Jan Adkins, scribe and illuminator

Knights: Warriors of the Middle Ages by Aileen Weintraub

Knights & Castles: Exploring History Through Art by Alex Martin

Knight by Christopher Gravett

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Medieval Knight! : Armor You'd Rather Not Wear by Fiona Macdonald

The Short and Bloody History of Knights by John Farman

How to Draw Knights, Kings, Queens & Dragons by Christopher Hart

Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages by Avery Hart & Paul Mantell

Knights: Facts, Things to Make, Activities by Rachel Wright

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales retold by Marcia Williams

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight retold by Michael Morpurgo

Picture Books

A Good Knight's Rest by Shelley Moore Thomas

The Totally Awesome Epic Quest of the Brave Boy Knight by Pranas T. Naujokaitis

Night Knight by Owen Davey

Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler

The Bravest Knight by Mercer Mayer

J Fiction

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

The Seven Swords by Nils Johnson-Shelton

The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated by Gerald Morris

Darksolstice by Sam Llewellyn

Digory and the Lost King by Angela McAllister

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

Young Adult Fiction

The Legend of Lady Ilena by Patricia Malone

The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde

Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur by Jane Yolen

Rift by Andrea Cremer

The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell

Damosel: In Which the Lady of the Lake Renders a Frank and Often Startling Account of Her Wondrous Life and Times by Stephanie Spinner

Pagan's Crusade by Catherine Jinks

Monday, February 18, 2013


Arrrrr.  Avast, me beauties, Talk Like a Pirate Day isn't until September, but is there a wrong time to hoist the Jolly Roger and go on account? Go ahead, get in touch with your inner drivelswigger. Here are a few titles that should have you dancing the hornpipe with glee, and we're not talking bilge!

Booty for young mateys

A Pirate's Guide to First Grade by James Preller

I Wonder Why Pirates Wore Earrings: And Other Questions about Piracy by Pat Jacobs

A Thousand Years of Pirates by William Gilkerson

The Book of Pirates: A Guide to Plundering, Pillaging, and Other Pursuits by Jamaica Rose and Captain Michael MacLeod [eBook]

The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash

Pirateria: The Wonderful Plunderful Pirate Emporium by Calef Brown

Lilly and the Pirates by Phyllis Root

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King [eBook]

The Time Pirate: A Nick McIver Time Adventure by Ted Bell

Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer

For the mature sea dog

Hornblower in the West Indies by C.S. Forester [eAudiobook]

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard [eBook]

Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas by Sara Lorimer

Ganymede by Cherie Priest

The Mountain of Gold by J.D. Davies

Bride of the Wind by Heather Graham writing as Shannon Drake [eBook]

Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion

Put one of these movies in your duffle!

Pirates! Scourge of the Seven Seas

Pirates Galleons and Treasure

The Pirates!: Band of Misfits

Treasure Planet

The Princess Bride

Cutthroat Island

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae

Horatio Hornblower: The Adventure Continues

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chasing Flavor: Memoirs by Chefs & Food Writers

Here at abcreads we love food.  We love making it, eating it, and of course reading about it!  Everybody has their favorite celebrity are some memoirs by a couple of our favorites, along with some other foodie reads.

If you like full flavor, try: Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, now an American citizen living in Harlem, Samuelsson's memoir of his long journey "chasing flavors" is an interesting read.  From his childhood helping his grandmother Helga in the kitchen to winning the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: New York City" in 2003 when he was executive chef at Aquavit (you can also find his Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine cookbook in the library catalog), you will admire his focus in the kitchen despite intense anxiety and stay for the story of his rediscovering his African roots even as he puts down new roots in the U.S.

If you like unconventional dining, try: Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Endorsed by heavy-hitters such as Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, this memoir by New York restauranteur Gabrille Hamilton is a fierce and lyrical history of her journey to becoming a chef.  It's about food, family, the difficulties on the road to finding your life's work, and making to-do lists that include "Why is meringue weeping?  Braise rabbit.  Tweak gremolata ratio.  Have baby."

But you don't have to be a chef to write a foodie memoir!  Here are some of the latest gastronomic reads from the library catalog for the gastronomically inclined:

Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen by Donia Bijan

Four Kitchens: My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris by Lauren Shockey

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo

Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life by Kim Severson

Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey

For older posts about cooking, search the blog for posts labeled "cookery" and/or "food".

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Zombie Romance

We run through trends so fast these days, don't you think?  Vampires are passé, werewolves barely got off the ground, witches and fairies are old hat.  Zombies are where it's at. 

With shows like The Walking Dead, and movies like Warm Bodies (in theatres now) and World War Z (coming out June 2013), zombies are the paranormal prom queen.  Zombies are so much more than the lurching, disentegrating wrecks from Night of the Living Dead.  Now they are fast, smart, and have love interests?

What may surprise you, for it certainly surprised me, is the burgeoning sub-genre of Zombie Romance.  Why not sink your teeth in something a little different this Valentine's Day? 

Warm Bodies: A Novel by Isaac Marion
I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
Breathers: A Zombie's Lament [eAudiobook] by S.G. Browne
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
My Zombie Valentine by Katie MacAlister et al.
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Stories of Paranormal Love edited by Trisha Talep

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Women of Suspense

Last summer, the novel Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn was all anyone could talk about.  It was a well written mystery about the disappearance of a young wife, but it was also a great novel about the marital problems and family issues of the couple.  After staying up late into the night to finish this story I was anxious to find more books like Gone Girl, that featured a gripping mystery that could also be called an amazing novel.

Luckily, there are other authors out there who write the same kind of literary suspense fiction that drew me into Gone Girl.  The ones I find myself most intrigued by are women writers.  These are the ones I read and enjoyed:

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman has written lots of mysteries.  Some of them are part of a series that feature journalist turned detective Tess Monaghan.  Others are stand-alone novels that feature murder, disappearances, and secrets. 

The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah
Sophie Hannah's books feature the same two detectives in every story, but it isn't necessary to read them in order.  (After I read The Wrong Mother I realized it was the second book in the "series".  The first is Little Face.)  Each book presents a situation that you can't help but be intrigued by, and then are impossible to put down. 

Promise Not to Tell: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon
Jennifer McMahon has written several suspense novels that feature grown-up women who are confronted with the demons of their past when a crime is committed in the present.  Many of the stories also feature a supernatural element too, such as ghosts or fairies.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Heather Gudenkauf writes suspense novels centered around children and this book gives the point of view of several characters.  This is one I stayed up late to finish.

There are other women authors of suspense fiction that have been recommended to me that I haven't gotten around to trying yet:

Nicci French

Rosamund Lupton

Denise Mina

Ruth Rendell

Chevy Stevens

Erin Kelly

Tana French

And of course, Gillian Flynn also wrote two novels before Gone GirlDark Places and Sharp Objects share similar themes to Gone Girl.  And of course, they keep you up until the small hours of dawn trying to finish them!  Happy late nights! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dotty about Downton

Tonight marks the penultimate episode of PBS' Masterpiece Classic Downton Abbey, Season 3!  Can you not get enough of the drama?  Ready to watch Season 4 already? (Or perhaps you haven't watched Season 3 yet - place your hold now!)  ABC Library can help.  We have several items in the catalog you can use to while away the long hours between episodes, pique your interest in Edwardian England, and feed your daydreams about Matthew Crawley.


The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell

Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a Century Ago by Jacky Hyams [eBook only in our catalog]

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapés to Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding - More than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs by Emily Ansara Baines

Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell

Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants by Alison Maloney

Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison

The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm and The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson

Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age by D.J. Taylor

The Titled Americans: Three American Sisters and the British Aristocratic World into Which They Married by Elisabeth Kehoe

Habits of the House by Fay Weldon

Park Lane by Frances Osborne

Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide

The Edwardians by V. Sackville West

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes


Upstairs, Downstairs (original series)

Manor House

House of Eliott

The Forsyte Saga

Before there was Downton Abbey, screenwriter Julian Fellowes collaborated with director Robert Altman on an upstairs-downstairs drama called Gosford Park, starring a regular who's who of of English actors, including Maggie Smith!  Also check out The Remains of the Day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Literary Links: Book Suggestions and More!

The American Library Association's Listen List
The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration seeks to highlight outstanding audiobook titles that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them.

The American Library Association (ALA) gave the Louis Shores Award for Achievement in Book Reviewing to the Next Reads team from NoveList. Have you signed up for a Next Reads newsletter through ABC Library yet?  Sign up for our e-newsletters and get great book suggestions by email, and you can limit to your favorite genres. We'll deliver reading lists right to your inbox along with new gems, bestsellers, and related titles.

Have you visited our Collections guide yet?  It's an easily navigable page that rounds up lists of (and links to) collections available at our libraries and online - from "search the catalog" to eResources to Special Collections!

Looking for a list of this year's Caldecott and Newbery Award winners?  We've got them - and more - just visit our Book Awards - Books for Kids subject guides!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Down-to-Earth Movies and More for the Season

Romance means different things to different people, but when it is mentioned most people conjure up images of flowers and candy, sunsets and diamond rings.  With Valentine's Day a few weeks away lots of people have romance on their minds, but after the day is done, what happens to our relationships?  How can we keep up the momentum of romance?  Even if we don't celebrate every day with wine and roses, most of try to keep our relationships happy with little sacrifices, like getting up at three in the morning to help a partner out with a cause he believes in.

For all those of us who like to remember that there will be certain times when romance won't be present, here is a list of movies that show the realistic side of love, both the good times and the hard times.

Blue Valentine

Days of Wine and Roses (Not in the library catalog, but a great movie!)

500 Days of Summer

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

A Separation

Lars and the Real Girl


He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Kramer Vs. Kramer


Like Crazy

Revolutionary Road

An Education

Mozart and the Whale

Here is a list of memoirs written by women who write about the good and the bad in their relationships:

No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage, Then I Tried to Make it Better by Elizabeth Weil

Why I'm Still Married: Women Write their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex and Who Does the Dishes edited by Karen Propp and Jean Trounstine

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir by Kate Braestrup

The Other Woman: Twenty-One Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal edited by Victoria Zackheim

Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India by Anita Jain

Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee by Pamela Druckerman

Monday, February 4, 2013

Romantic Movies and More for the Season

There are so many great romantic movies, and this is the time of year to curl up with a glass of wine, some chocolate, and watch them!  These are the best escapist movies, the ones that have you believing in love at first sight, in never having to say you're sorry.

Here is a short list of some of these romantic movies we have available at the library.  Put your holds on them now, to have them available to watch on Valentine's Day!

Gone With the Wind

It Happened One Night


Adam's Rib

Born Yesterday  (Not the library catalog, but a wonderful romantic comedy!)

Roman Holiday

An Affair to Remember


The Apartment

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

The Sound of Music

Love Story

Annie Hall

When Harry Met Sally

Pretty Woman

Princess Bride

Sleepless in Seattle


Shakespeare in Love


The Notebook


He's Just Not that Into You

The Five Year Engagement

Hope Springs

This is but a few wonderful romantic movies.  Let us know if your favorite romantic movie didn't make it onto our list in the comments section.  Or check out these links that claim to list the greatest romantic movies of all time:

The 50 most romantic movies of all time (Time Out)

50 Greatest Romantic Movies (AMC)

The Top 15 Greatest Romantic Comedies (TCM)

These books of love poems, love letters, and love memoirs are fun to look through this time of year:

Will You Marry Me?: Seven Centuries of Love edited by Helene Scheu-Riesz

The Vow: The True Events That Inspired the Movie by Kim and Krickett Carpenter

Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson

Two Rings: A Story of Love and War by Millie Werber and Eve Keller

Love Letters: An Anthology of Passion compiled by Michelle Lovric

The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time edited by Leslie Pockell

The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing edited by Sam Hamill

I love novels about people falling in love that are not paperback romance novels.  Here is a short list of my favorites:

Forty Rules of Love: A Novel by Elif Shafak

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Literary Games

Brrr!  It's been cold outside, and maybe you are looking to have some fun with friends indoors for a change, but are tired of all your video games and board games.  Why not try some old school games with a literary bent?  Put your heads together for a selection of fun literary games you can play to while away the time!

Write your own 6-word memoir!

Use Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (edited by Larry Smith) as a memoir creation guide!  Will your memoir sound more like Chuck Klosterman's "Nobody cared, then they did. Why?" or Amy Sedaris' more obscure ""Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched"?

Play Book Title Hangman!

The website has their own book title hangman ready for you to play, or use Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot-Potato, and Ha, Ha, Ha: A Rule Book of Childhood's Games by Jack Maguire to start your own game if you've forgotten the rules.

Be a 140 Character Author!

The TwitterFiction Fest was last October, but if you want to hone your tweeting skills, try writing a story in 140 characters.  The book The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems, edited by Georgia Heard, has some poems created from words found in Twitter feeds, and you can also take a look at Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World by Alan Beard and Alec McNayr for more ideas.

Be a Book Spine Poet!

What kind of poetry can you make from book spines?  Check out these entries from last year's LibraryThing contest!  So easy, but such entertaining results!

Book spine poetry by abcreads

Adapt other classic games to literary purposes! Search for books about classic games using the subject "Games - Rules".
Just-for-fun links

10 Literary Board Games for Book Nerds

What's Scrabble When You Can Play Novelist?

Notable Novelist: A Card Game for Book Lovers

LitLovers' Games and Icebreakers for book clubs!