Laurie.'s blog

2014 Spur Awards

Light of the World by James Lee Burke

The Spur Award was initiated in 1953 by the Western Writers of America to recognize the best in Western fiction. Over the years, the award grew in number to acknowledge the diversity of Western literature for adults, teens, and children. If you are looking for a story "full of souls filled with concern, fear, joy and desire," you won't be disappointed with one of these award winning Westerns.

Me In America: Immigrant Stories

Cover art, Vietnamerica

Writers and philosophers have grappled with questions like, "How do you measure the value of a man?" The same question could be asked about a country. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, had a litmus test: "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in...and how many want out."

Book Discovery: Podcasts

Baker Street Babes Podcast

You've finished the book. There's no sequel. You've got no back up options. "What do I read next?" may be your literary existential crisis but our raison d'être. Library staff use a number of discovery tools, like podcasts, to learn about books, movies, and music you may enjoy. Coincidentally, these are all the things we enjoy too!

Did You Miss This?

The Delta Sisters

If you browse the book stacks at the Central Library, chances are you'll spy a "Did you miss this?" bookmark tucked in a title. Staff periodically flag a book that may have fallen off your reading radar. Who knows? You may discover a new, favorite title!

Come, My Little Angel by Diane Nobel
A slim novella tells the story of 10 year old Daisy who is praying for a miracle in the High Sierras. If you like the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, this story may be for you!

Autodidacts Walk Among Us

Hat with "Autodidact University"

Unlike zombies, autodidacts or the self-educated, are difficult to spot. You won't recognize a road scholar (as opposed to Rhodes Scholar) unless you talk to them, especially if you hit on a subject of interest. The clerk at your local 7-11, the man standing in front of you at the bus stop, or the teen carrying groceries - all could be amateur scholars.

Life experience, observation, and study are primary tools for autodidacts. And the Library is the epicenter of many of their lives. Ray Bradbury, a noted autodidact, shared his experience: “Libraries raised me…I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Even if money or privilege isn't an issue, these passionate learners determine the establishment can't give them what they need.

Curiosities and Wonders

Thanksgiving Bread Basket

It's no secret the holidays can challenge even the most harmonious family relationships. Someone, somewhere, will be uttering "less is more" while dodging a dinner roll. Table conversations can escalate faster than a Facebook firestorm. Knowing how to navigate discussions around dueling politics or between divided sports fans is a prized holiday survival skill. 

So how can you keep the holiday sparkle alive and the goodwill flowing? Think trivia! Curiosities and wonders appeal to all ages. Ensure a harmonious (and educational) meal with the people you love most by taking one of these books to your next family gathering.

Celebrate Reading with Latino Authors

Bird of Paradise by Raquel Cepeda

Every day is a reason to celebrate reading. And there is no better way to do so, than to read new titles by Latino authors. Normally only read fiction? Switch it up and try a memoir. Eschew fiction because real life is stranger? Go ahead, select a new fiction title and prepare to be surprised. Don't put off reading a good book till tomorrow, when you can read one of these great books today!

Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez shines the light on "Terry" also referred to as "the Mexican Girl," in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Researchers have spent nearly 60 years trying to locate the real woman Kerouac had met, Bea Kozera (Franco), until Hernandez succeeded in 2012. Fortunately for all of us, Hernandez prevailed because Bea died this August at 92 years of age. 

Colour My World

Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland once noted, "The Key of D is daffodil yellow, B major is maroon, and B flat is blue." The beloved jazz pianist and host of NPR's Piano Jazz for over 30 years has left the recording studio, after sharing a rainbow of musical journeys with fellow artists.

If you are new to jazz or want to pay tribute to McPartland and her musical family, visit NPR's tribute Twilight World. McPartland interviewed her guests with the language of music, co-creating unique musical experiences. She had a gift for drawing musicians out, and the intimacy of their conversations drew listeners in. 

Put On Your Thinking Cap

Pop Quiz

There's no better way to ease into the new school year than with a pop quiz. For every tagline below, guess the corresponding movie title. No pencil or paper needed for this challenge but please, do keep your eyes on your own screen.

To get started, click the link for the title and place a hold for those you haven't seen or wish to view again for extra credit. (The Library doesn't give extra credit but it sure sounds motivating.)

Hint: all movies feature middle school or high school angst without one John Hughes film in the mix.

Did You Miss This?

Did you miss this?

If you browse the book stacks at the Central Library, chances are you'll spy a "Did you miss this?" bookmark tucked in a title. Staff periodically flag a book that may have fallen off your reading radar. Who knows? You may discover a new, favorite title. Recent titles sporting the bookmark include a few multicultural novels (and one memoir) you may have missed.

An Apartment Called Freedom by Ghazi A. Algosaibi was originally published in Arabic. The story takes place in Egypt during the 1950s, a time of bitter international conflict over the Suez Canal. Within this political climate, four young men from Bahrain arrive in Cairo to complete their education.

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