Wednesday, May 08, 2013
No matter how chilly the weather feels, I know it is almost summer when our son returns from college and the authors return to the Gaithersburg Book Festival. On Saturday May 18, booklovers and authors will gather on the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall to to celebrate books, writers and literary excellence. In its forth year, the Festival features talks and book signings by authors, a story time tent, a coffee house with singers and poets/songwriters, and several panel discussions.
Download the one page Author Program Schedule, like the Festival on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, so you can plan your visit. It's a perfect time for kids,'teens and grown-ups to make a summer reading plan or to gather suggestions for a new or ongoing book group.To prepare for the Festival, look at the photos and videos from last year or read an entry from this year's short story contest for high school students.
MCPL can help booklovers prepare for the Festival, too. Let the Reader's Cafe guide your author presentation selection. Read or listen to a book by one of the featured authors. Fiction and mystery writers visitng the Festival include , Jane Green, Manil Suri and Phillip Margolin. Non-fiction writers include Mark Shriver, Kitty Kelley, Evan Thomas and Lynne Olson. MCPL offers many of these works as downloadable audio books or ebooks, too. MCPL is one of the event partners this year. The Gaithersburg Interim Branch at Lakeforest Mall is displaying authors'works throughout the month. Stop by, browse and take one home with you to enjoy.
Get the kids ready, too. Share a book or audio book. Children's and young adult authors appearing in the Jim Henson, Ogden Nash and Willa Cather Pavillions include Jon Scieska, Walter Dean Myers, Fred Bowen, Mac Barnett and Mary Quattlebaum. Try not to miss the free craft and other hands-on sessions for children at the IMAGINATION STATION are offered too.
Visit the library, then grab your sunscreen, a pen for autographs and get ready to collect ideas for summer reading!!
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Winter is coming and some books are best read on a cold, blustery day or night. The Game of Thrones books that I have recently been devouring have their fair share of snow and ice scenes but I have always thought that any book by Charles Dickens is best read in the winter. There is something about the despair and struggle of his characters to a better life that makes me think of winter.
So here are some books that will make you cozy up to the fire place with something hot to drink.
The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale by Jan Brett. A fun story where several animals try to squeeze themselves into a mitten. Will they all fit inside?
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. A delightful book in rhyme describing what snowmen do at night while everyone is asleep.
Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. What every kid hopes to wake up to. The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. On a cold, winter night many animals gather to party in the cave of a sleeping bear. But what happens if the bear wakes up?
Kid's Chapter Books and Nonfiction
7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell. Sam finds himself involved in a dangerous adventure when he and his new friends set off for the Arctic to rescue kidnapped professors from a mad scientist.
White Star: A Dog on the Titanic by Marty Crisp. Sam, a passenger on the Titanic, volunteers to help care for the dogs in the ocean liner's kennel and becomes fast friends with the Irish setter of the ship's owner.
I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer by Carole Weatherford. True, dramatic story of Henson's journey with Robert Peary to the North Pole.
Poles Apart: Why Penguins and Polar Bears Will Never Be Neighbors by Elaine Scott. No penguin has ever lived at the North Pole, nor any polar bear at the South Pole. Find out why in this lively and informative book.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn. What is more entertaining than a winter scavenger hunt in New York City? This story is told in the alternating voices of Dash and Lily.
Shackleton's Stowaway by Victoria McKernan. My feet were cold the entire time reading this book. The tragedies and triumphs of a stowaway aboard Shackleton's ship Endurance during his 1914 Antarctic expedition.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.
Trapped by Michael Northrup. Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a blizzard. Will they survive?
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. A snowstorm provides the backdrop for this story of the murder trial of a man accused of killing a local fisherman in December 1954.
Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. Love alternate timelines? Try this murder mystery set in the imaginary Alaska Jewish homeland.
Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Alaska, 1920. A childless couple builds a child out of snow. The next day the snow child is gone and in its place they see a blonde-haired girl running through the woods. Who is she?
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Love locked-room type mysteries? A journalist in Sweden goes to investigate the disappearance of a girl 40 years ago for her grieving uncle.
Happy winter reading!
Saturday, August 04, 2012
I have a reading confession to make… I read promiscuously
. I just can not limit myself to one genre, one style, one writer, one age level or even one format. I read cereal boxes and I read articles from the New York Times. I read books about social psychology and I read blog posts of all sorts. I listen to books in the car and I read them on my nook©
in bed. Heck, I even “read” TV shows and movies because I am hearing impaired and use closed captioning. Reading has kept me awake all night, it has made me late to work and it has always been one of my favorite escapes when life gets rough. One of the great pleasures of being a librarian (for me) is getting to introduce people to new authors or genres that they have never before tried. It may not lead to a long-term reading relationship but it could spark some flirting with different styles.
Adults, allow me to introduce you to Young Adult Fiction. You may dismiss this section of the library as being beneath your adult tastes… but you will also be missing some great stuff! Young adult fiction is a booming category these days, especially with the recent blockbuster print and film successes of Twilight and The Hunger Games. Here are a few suggestions for testing the waters:
Books by Laurie Halse Anderson, especially Speak, Twisted and Wintergirls. These books set in contemporary times are powerful tales dealing with serious topics. Her portrayal of teens is sympathetic and realistic without being overly dramatic or exaggerated. Try Anderson if you like Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve or Chris Bohjalian.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Young Billy Jo’s harsh life in dust bowl Oklahoma during the Depression is told in poetic form. Readers who liked Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time should definitely seek this one out.
The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy—Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue—by Kristin Cashore. This trilogy packs a punch with action and strong female protagonists who use both physical strength and supernatural powers in battle. The trilogy is set in a well-crafted fantasy world rich with political intrigue and a bit of romance. Fans of George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Orson Scott Card or Ursula LeGuin should give these a try or look for books by Garth Nix (Abhorsen series), Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper series) and Catherine Fisher (Incarceron series).
Other great teen books for adults to try:
So, go on... have a book fling with a younger book. I promise not to tell your regular books.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
It is time for the Gaithersburg Book Festival! On Saturday May 19, booklovers and authors will gather on the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall to to celebrate books, writers and literary excellence. In its third year, the Festival features talks and book signings by authors, writing workshops, a coffee house with singers and poets/songwriters, a Children's Village and several panel discussions. One discussion, Separating Fact from Fiction, will include audience participation. Another will tackle the future of bookstores and books. Take a look at the festival program to decide how you want to spend your Festival Day. It's a perfect time for kids, 'teens and grown-ups to make a summer reading plan or to gather suggestions for a new or ongoing book group.
To prepare for the Festival, look at the photos and videos from last year or read an entry from this year's short story contest for high school students. MCPL can help booklovers prepare for the Festival, too. Let the Reader's Cafe guide your author presentation selection. Read or listen to a book by one of the featured authors. MCPL offers many of these works as downloadable audio books or ebooks, too. This year's featured authors include novelists and mystery writers, Sandra Parshall, Christopher Tilghman, and Tim Wendel. Non-fiction writers include Buzz Bissinger, John Feinstein, Marvin and Deborah Kalb, and Jim Lehrer.
Get the kids ready, too. Share a book or audio book. Children's and young adult authors appearing in the Jim Henson and Willa Cather Pavillions include Fred Bowen, Andrew Clements, Mary Downing Hahn, Laura McNeal and Matthew Quick (aka Q). Free craft and other hands-on sessions are offered for children, too.
Grab your sunscreen, a pen for autographs and get ready to collect ideas for summer reading!!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
One of the glories of gardens is the space and visual stimuli they provide for quiet contemplation and for reading. The garden design books give lots of examples, lush, austere, expansive, cozy; whatever your available space and inclination allow. Reading or drawing while sitting amongst plants is a great pleasure.
Here are a few pictures from garden design books of contemplative spaces suitable for reading, and adaptable for city or suburban environments.
Welcome into the garden through a wooden moon gate arch and down a path to relax and enjoy the sunlight or the shade with a good book. From: Well-designed Garden
Or enjoy a garden bench among poppies, foxglove and catmint You
You may enjoy sitting in a woven-willow arbour in the rose garden which has had its lower criss-crossing stems stripped bare so that the pattern remains visible but the canopy becomes dense by midsummer. From Dream gardens
Sit and enjoy chair for reading nestled in a lush composition of texture and color. A
A bench made of living pin oak planted in its traveling crate. The leaves are pruned off the lower shaped areas to make the piece look more attractive.
From Eden on their minds
Enjoy a garden floor with a variety of size, shape, and colored stones that adds its own organic vitality mingling with the plants. From Stone in the garden
And relax into your surroundings in a comfortable chair and sit among the colors and textures of stone, terra cotta, flowers and greenery with your book.
From Town gardens
For more ideas, find these books and more in the 710-719 section of the non-fiction in your local library.
With thanks to Sun Chong at Little Falls for her editorial advice.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Not your typical question...but it's a question I'm asked quite often. As the Library Manager at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Clarksburg (and yes, we're part of MCPL!), I see a very diverse readership within our population. Inmates have varied tastes in literature and interests, just as folks do in the general community. Following is a smattering of our hotter titles:
* The Alex Cross series by James Patterson
* "Chasing Destiny" by Eric Jerome Dickey
* The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
* The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
* "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo
* "Classic" titles such as "Old Man and the Sea," "The Outsiders" and "Where the Red Fern Grows"
NONFICTION - TOPICAL:
* "33 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene
* "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli
* "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne
* "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slam Poetry" by Marc Kelly Smith
* "Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene
* "Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents" by Nicholas Ganz
NONFICTION - BIOGRAPHIES:
* "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"
* "The Diary of Anne Frank"
* "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"
* "Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall" by Frank Brady
The MCCF Library offers free and equal access to services and resources to help the inmate population find the general and legal information they need to improve and enrich their lives, and enable their successful re-entry into the community. A wide variety of reading material is available, comprised of a collection of approximately 15,000 fiction and nonfiction titles, paperbacks and reference books, including materials in several languages. Inmates have access to the library on a biweekly basis, and may check out up to seven books to take back to their cells.
You can read more about what services we provide: go to the drop-down menu at the upper right side of the screen (it'll say "Most Popular Pages") and select "Branches and Hours."
See what's happening at The Jail that Reads!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
A BOOK of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
Sounds like an invitation to a picnic to me!
What do we need for a picnic? Food, an outdoor place in which to eat, and good company! Amusements, activities and ants are extra.
Originally, a picnic was a communal meal to which everyone contributed... what we today would call a potluck. Try The Garden Entertaining Cookbook for inspiration and whip up a batch of Basmati Rice Salad with Fresh Peas, Corn and Chives (page 100) to go with anyone else's main dish.
Where shall we eat? Especially with children, a short trip to a new a different (but not too different) place is fun and exciting. There are lots of free picnic locations in local parks and many of them have sports or other amusements for the family.
Why don't you read Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack to the youngest children before you go? You can make a game of finding things from the book at your picnic destination. And if the neighborhood is devoid of blankets, ducks, eggs, goats and hens, you can always make your own alphabetical list of facinating objects sighted.
But what about that book of verse? Omar Khayyam is classic, but he doesn't suit every occasion. Choose Books and Authors from our Reading & Literature resources and you can zero in on just the kind of rhyme (or free verse) that touches you.
And if Omar is your cup of tea, you can always download the "Rubaiyat" to your e-reader from Project Gutenberg.
What's left? Ants, of course! The kids will be facinated by Pestworld's take on ants.
Or, if it rains, pop in the classic movie "Picnic" or, for the kids, try this one!
Have a great summer!
Montgomery County Public Libraries