Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What We're Reading: Rita

Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way by Ruth Reichl.
Ruth Reichl entertained friends and readers of her earlier memoirs (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me With Apples) with many “Min stories” about her mother Miriam’s eccentricities, but eventually, Miriam’s increasingly erratic behavior strained their mother-daughter relationship. Years after her death, Ruth delivered an acceptance speech at an awards banquet in which she credited her mother with inspiring her by "being everything I didn’t want to be”. After the speech, Ruth went in search of her mother’s diaries and letters; this book is the result of what she discovered in those papers. This is a heartrending portrait of a woman forced into unwanted conformity by her family and the social attitudes of her time and her absolute determination that her daughter Ruth would never feel the same pain. A lovely exploration of the often thorny mother-daughter bond and a beautiful tale of a daughter’s discovery of the mother she never knew.

What We're Reading: Tracy

The Animal Family, by Randall Jarrell, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

An enchanting book with a dreamlike quality, The Animal Family tells the story of a lonely hunter who falls in love with a mermaid. Their unusual family grows with the addition of a lost bear cub and then a shipwrecked boy. The simple story, quietly told with beautiful prose, conveys strong themes of family, memory, tradition, and hopefulness. This is a rare book that stays in the minds and hearts of its readers for a lifetime.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What We're Reading: Tracy

The Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann.

In 1925, famed British explorer Col. Percy Fawcett set out for the Amazon with his son, searching for a lost civilization that he was convinced existed deep in the jungle. He was never heard from again, which might not seem too surprising, except that Fawcett was the most accomplished Amazon explorer of his time, a nearly legendary figure with an almost mythic quality to his exploits. The mystery of his disappearance captivated the public for decades and led to many further expeditions, some of them fatal. In 2004, author David Grann set out on his own journey, determined to find out what happened to Fawcett and whether there was, in fact, a lost city of Z. Both Fawcett's and Grann's stories make for compelling reading: I was unable to put this book down until I finished.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What We're Reading: Barbara

the dead & the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

If you had to steal food to survive, would you? What if you had to steal food in order to feed your little sisters, and their survival depends on yours? These are some of the tough decisions seventeen-year-old Alex Morales must make after an asteroid hits the moon, wreaking devastating climate changes on Earth. These changes have isolated their New York City neighborhood, making it difficult to get food and other dwindling supplies. Uncertain of what has befallen their parents and their older brother, Alex turns to their church for help and guidance.

Think this could never happen? Think again – check out http://www.spaceweather.com/ or http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ for information about near earth asteroids.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What We're Watching: Tracy

House on Haunted Hill, directed by William Castle, starring Vincent Price.

Recently released is a special 5oth anniversary edition of the classic William Castle/Vincent Price film, House on Haunted Hill. Price plays a millionaire who invites five strangers to a haunted house party that doubles as a contest: he promises $10,000 to any of the guests who can last the night. More kitschy and kooky than truly spooky, House on Haunted Hill is a fun, campy horror film, very different in tone from its recent remakes. This special edition features a new transfer, original trailers and television spots, and an interesting mini-documentary about the actual house used for the exterior shots.

What We're Reading: Tracy

A-Frame, by Chad Randl.

A-frame houses have always appealed to me. Their kitsch factor is unbeatable, as is their nostalgic quality, reminiscent of trips "up north" where a-frames abound. In this engaging history, author Chad Randl traces the development of a-frame architecture and explores its sociological import. Included are original ads, vintage family photos, cartoons, even blueprints, so you can build your own a-frame in a weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What We're Reading: Laurie

On the Run: Chasing the Falconers, Book 1 by Gordon Korman

Aiden and Meg Falconer are their parents' only hope for proving their innocence, but are faced with many obstacles. They are currently being held in a juvenile detention center against their will. When Aiden and Meg escape, they find themselves on the run from the authorities and from an unknown attacker who has his own reasons to keep them quiet. Join the Falconers on an amazing adventure full of thrills and mystery.

If you enjoyed Book 1, follow Aiden and Meg on the rest of their journey:
On the Run: The Fugitive Factor, Book 2
On the Run: Now You See Them, Now You Don't, Book 3
On the Run: The Stowaway Solution, Book 4
On the Run: Public Enemies, Book 5
On the Run: Hunting the Hunter, Book 6

What We're Reading: Laurie

Shredderman: Secret Identity, Book 1 by Wendelin Van Draanen.

Nolan Byrd is a hard working, shy fifth grader who doesn't have a lot friends. Nolan is constantly being picked on by the class bully, Bubba Bixby, who has dubbed him "Byrd the Nerd". When Nolan's teacher doles out a writing assignment on the topic "Is there something that you feel angry about? An injustice you see in the world?" Nolan decides to write about the injustice of being tormented by Bubba Bixby. Nolan secretly uses his digital camera to catch Bubba in his acts of terror while creating a secret identity for himself at his web site shredderman.com. Shredderman gives Nolan confidence and allows him to bond with other students who want to see truth and justice prevail. This book is full of hilarious moments and will keep you laughing out loud.

If you like book 1, check out the rest of Nolan's adventures in the series:
Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger , Book 2
Shredderman: Meet the Gecko, Book 3
Shredderman: Enemy Spy, Book 4

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The Nic Costa mystery series by DAVID HEWSON is a intriguing mixture of a historical mystery linked with modern mystery. Be sure to read the series from the start to fully enjoy the development of Nic and his fellow Italian policemen.


Canton Clan to breakdance for teens this Thursday

The Canton Clan will be breaking and popping at the library on Thursday, June 25, from 3-4 p.m. The free performance will take place for teens in sixth through 12th grade in the Programming Center on a drop-in basis. The Canton Clan promotes the art of bboying and bgirling (the proper name for break dancing) and the various funk styles (popping and locking) through teaching, performing and holding events. The dancers will provide background on the history of break dancing, demonstrate some of the different styles and even teach a few of the moves. Registration is not necessary for this event.

What We're Reading: Laurie

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Nick's girlfriend just broke up with him, and Norah is not sure she wants to get back together with her boyfriend. When Nick's ex-girlfriend Tris shows up to see his band with another guy in tow, Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes to make her jealous. Nick and Norah believe they have nothing in common except for their taste in music until they spend a stressful, yet magical, evening together in Manhattan.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What We're Listening To: Tracy

Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Composed and conducted by John Williams.

Star Wars Day is this Saturday at the library, so we've been listening to the latest soundtrack to get in the mood. In this culmination of the saga, Williams artfully blends old and new themes, creating a stirring and powerful work in his trademark style.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What We're Watching: Tracy

Local Hero, directed by Bill Forsyth, starring Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert.

Local Hero is, on the surface, an unusual film about an eccentric Scottish town and the materialistic American oil executive sent to buy it out. The film's quirky, dream-like quality belies its deeper themes, however, and makes for a truly enchanting experience.

What We're Reading: Tracy

Dry Storeroom No. 1: the Secret Life of the Natural History Museum, by Richard Fortey.

Museums are fascinating places. Having worked in several myself, I can say that what takes place behind the scenes is often even more intriguing than what appears on the public floors. Richard Fortey, a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, shares his rare insights into the private spaces of museums in this wittily written book.

What We're Reading: Tracy

Weird Michigan, by Linda S. Godfrey.

Take a walk on the weird side with this collection of Michigan's strangest stories and oddest travel destinations. Plan a summer road trip that's off the beaten path, and check out haunted houses, Bigfoot sighting areas, outhouse races, folk art installations, and much more.

What We're Reading: Tracy

Cheap Laffs: the Art of the Novelty Item, by Mark Newgarden.

Ever wondered how classic pranks like the joy buzzer, whoopie cushion, or fake doggy poo came to be? Mark Newgarden, creator of the original Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, shares some of his favorite items in this beautifully illustrated and hilariously written volume.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What We're Reading:Edward


If you can't afford that African safari this year, you can still enjoy the flavor of pre World War I Africa in WILBUR SMITH'S "ASSAGAI". Follow the adventures of Leon Courtney as he helps lead a safari for Teddy Roosevelt and his son Kermit. Learn about the way a young Masai boy kills a lion and becomes a man. Smith ends this adventure with a love story entwined with a tale of warfare between the British and the Germans as World War I comes to Africa.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What We're Reading: Barbara

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Opal comes from a family of glassmakers and has a remarkable talent for making glass animals herself. She is sent to magician’s school when it is found that she infuses magic within her glass creatures. Taunted by her schoolmate Pazia as a one trick wonder, she hopes other magical abilities come to her, but when she seems to be developing the frightening ability to steal other magicians' magic, for which she may be viewed as a threat, she regrets those yearnings. In between classes and setting up a glassmaking shop at the school, she becomes involved in intrigues and relationships with both Ulrick, a student with a similar glassblowing ability who she recruits to the school, and Kade, a Stormdancer, whose clan of magicians harness the power of storms in glass, and whose clan’s glass orbs appear to have been sabotaged, having recently killed several Stormdancers, including his sister.

Storm Glass is the first book in the Glass series and will be followed by Sea Glass this fall. This series takes place in the same setting as Snyder’s Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study, also recommended) and some Study characters make appearances in Storm Glass.

What We're Reading: Kathryn

On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

"Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born."

This is my favorite book to read my son before bedtime. Beautiful illustrations of all creation rejoicing in a new baby accompany lyrical text that summarizes what any parent would want to say to his or her child: You are special and loved and when you were born, the whole world – my whole world – changed for the better.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What We're Reading: Alice

Just finished reading Long Lost by Harlan Coben, the latest Myron Bolitar thriller.

Kidnapping, terrorists, genetic engineering, murder, love lost, love found will keep you turning the pages. A fast, suspenseful, great beach read!

What We're Listening to: Cathy

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler.
Six people - some old friends, some new - get together to discuss all of Jane Austen's books. While they discuss the book, we learn about their lives past and present. I used to live in the town where this book takes place and it's great fun to hear references to places I know and love.

What We're Listening To: Kathryn

The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists

This – or indie-band The Decemberists' last album The Crane Wife – is not one to set to shuffle on your iPod. Through lush orchestral strings paired with heavy guitar licks and pulsing drums, the literary Decemberists are out to tell a story and their thematic albums do just that from beginning to end. In the group's latest, The Hazards of Love, lead singer Colin Melloy and a cast of other singers take listeners through a folktale-like story complete with heroes and villains. Those not looking for a story with their music will still enjoy the lush tunes on this album. The Crane Wife was actually based on a Japanese folk tale. The band has been compared to Jethro Tull and Belle & Sebastian.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What We're Reading: Tammy

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

This is the latest title in the Sookie Stackhouse Novels series. The HBO tv series True Blood is based on these novels. It's a fun read!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What We're Watching: Laurie

Cries and Whispers a film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman.

This is the story of three sisters, one of whom is dying, and explores their individual struggles as well as their pettiness, jealousy and dislike of one another as a family. In Swedish with English subtitles. Rated R.

What We're Watching: Laurie

In the Shadow of the Moon. A documentary directed by David Sington.

A documentary about the American voyages to the moon between 1968 and 1972. The film includes archival material from the original NASA film footage as well interviews with the surviving astronauts who were involved in this amazing part of history. Jim Lovell, Dave Scott, John Young, Gene Cernan, Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt are the interviewees. Rated PG.

What We're Watching: Laurie

Harold and Maude a film starring Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner and Ellen Geer. Directed by Hal Ashby. Songs composed and sung by Cat Stevens.

A black comedy about a rich, disturbed young man, fascinated with death and funerals, who has an affair and a series of adventures with an eccentric and extremely independent 80 year old woman. Rated PG.

What We're Reading: Judy

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Although the book starts out with a graphic scene, it gently evolves into a strange "ghost story" set in a graveyard where Bod is nurtured by friendly spirits. I feel that this story has potential to develop into a "Tim Burton" type film for the big screen. I can envision it already. This title may not appeal to everyone, but it is well written-it won the Newbery Award- and its storyline is extremely unique. If you were caught up with this "Gothic Ghoulish Tale" you may enjoy listening to the CD.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What We're Listening To: Laurie

Rubber Soul
The Beatles

What We're Listening To: Laurie

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

What We're Watching: Laurie

Once a film starring Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, Senan Haugh, and Leslie Murphy.

This is a film about a young man who is an aspiring singer/songwriter from Dublin. He meets a young woman who is a flower seller, and as it turns out, a pianist and singer. Once he discovers her talent, the two forge a strong bond, and the young woman encourages and supports him in his quest to record a demo and pursue a record deal.

This is a beautiful story, and although the actors wrote and recorded all of the music for the soundtrack, it is not a musical in the traditional sense. Rated R.

What We're Watching: Laurie

Taxi to the Dark Side a documentary written and directed by Alex Gibney.

This film about the torture of alleged terror suspects by the U.S. Military is both a highly emotional and political subject. This documentary may not be for everyone. Be aware that the content is graphic, yet true. Rated R.