Monday, December 31, 2007

This Week in Reading December 30 - January 5

We should be very excited about getting to the end of the year, and we are, but this blog and this feature started in the last week of January and it was several weeks after that before we learned how best to put it together every week. So we'll wait a few more more weeks to celebrate our first full year. We'll let you know.

In the interim, that's no reason for you not to have a very Happy New Year this week reading from the very famous authors born on either side of the yearly cusp. Looking backward there's Rudyard Kipling, J. D. Salinger, one of the brothers Grimm, and even the famous Roman orator Cicero, but we can look forward and elsewhere this week and find no less than Isaac Asimov and J.R. R. Tolkein.

Here ae two favorites you might not know too much about. Italy's Umberto Eco whose The Name of the Rose was a challenging but very rewarding novel, better than the movie, holds special interest for library lovers. And for the older readers among us the biting humor of Canada's Stephen Leacock from nearly a century ago was absolutely delightful. Try him. He's worth it.

This Week's Question: About which author born this week was the following said?: "... between the years 1910 and 1925, [author] was the single most widely read English speaking author throughout the world."

Answer to Last Week's Question: The 15th Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1974 changed from a simple alphabetical listing of entries in many volumes to a three-part division called the Propaedia, the Micropaedia, and the Macropaedia. Its creator, the philosopher and great books popularizer Mortimer J. Adler explained it thusly, "The whole of the Prop├Ždia’s synoptic outline of knowledge deserves to be read carefully. It represents a twentieth-century scheme for the organization of knowledge that is more comprehensive than any other and that also accommodates the intellectual heterodoxy of our time." The Micropaedia was a 12 volume summary of the ideas in the 17 volume Macropaedia. They were merged back into one set in 1985 but the 15th edition is still the current one. While editions change every quarter century or so, in this twenty-first century age of digital access we may expect other changes, but much easier access. There are still purists who say the 1911 edition of this venerable encyclopedia was the most literary, despite its cultural incorrectness, but hard as it is to use, the 15th is much more comprehensive. Librarians and patrons have complained about Adler's arrangement for years.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tempting Titles 800 - 900 - 92s (3 of 3)

These books are either already in the system or on the way. To get to the online catalog record, click on the image or the book title link. There you can place a hold request, see similar subjects or other books by the same author, read first chapters, reviews or summaries, and enlarge the image.

Dewey Decimal 800s (Literature)
I Am America (and so can you) by Stephen Colbert

"Realizing that it takes more than thirty minutes a night to fix everything that's destroying America, Colbert bravely takes on the forces aligned to destroy our country—whether they be terrorists, environmentalists, or Kashi brand breakfast cereals. His various targets include nature (I've never trusted the sea. What's it hiding under there?), the Hollywood Blacklist (I would have named enough names to fill the Moscow phone book), and atheists (Imagine going through life completely duped into thinking that there's no invisible, omniscient higher power guiding every action on Earth. It's just so arbitrary!). Colbert also provides helpful illustrations and charts (Things That Are Trying to Turn Me Gay), a complete transcript of his infamous speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner, and a special Holiday DVD" (Publishers Weekly)

Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda

"In this casually brilliant collection of great book recommendations, Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize–winning critic for the Washington Post Book World, discusses titles ranging from well-known favorites such as Sherlock Holmes and Beowulf to more obscure writers such as Jaroslav Hasek and John Masefield. Dirda is a charming and exceedingly well-read host, erudite without slipping into pretension. He is more generous and less canonical than Harold Bloom, to whose work Dirda owes a debt in style and substance. The book creates a pleasurable but somewhat maddening sensation in the committed reader, who will be tempted to read most of Dirda's selections based on his brief summations." (Publishers Weekly)

Taz, the Blog Dog says "What's so 'maddening' about wanting to devour everything in a library? Four holiday woofs!"

Dewey Decimal 900s (Geography, travel, history)

Down the Nile: alone in a fisherman’s skiff by Rosemary Mahoney

"This is travel writing at its most enjoyable: the reader is taken on a great trip with an erudite travel companion soaking up scads of history, culture and literary knowledge, along with the scenery. The genesis for the trip is simple: the author's love of rowing. Her plan, 'to buy a small Egyptian rowboat and row myself along the 120-mile stretch of river between the cities of Aswan and Qena,' is less so. Mahoney (The Singular Pilgrim; Whoredom in Kimmage) conveys readers along the longest river in the world, through narrative laced with insight, goodwill and sometimes sadness." (Publishers Weekly)

Smile When You’re Lying: confessions of a rogue travel writer by Chuck Thompson

"An aggressively funny account of the world from an acerbic, energetic professional traveler who tells it like he sees it and has no reservations about sharing his stockpile of outrageous (mis)adventures and advice." (Kirkus)

"Although the Hellenistic Age flourished for barely 300 years, its contributions to world history are countless. Eminent historian Green offers a marvelous survey of the key people, places and events of the years from 337 B.C., when Alexander came to power, to the death of Cleopatra in 30 B.C." (Publishers Weekly)

"In more than 107 original essays organized by quotations from A to Z, James discusses some of the great thinkers, artists, humanists, and politicians who have shaped the 20th century, e.g., talk-show host Dick Cavett, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, jazz musician Louis Armstrong, and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Preceding each essay is a brief biography of the luminary. Throughout, James states that we need a universal humanism and questions how to get it." (Library Journal)

"In 1998, the auction house Christie's sold a medieval prayer book for more than $2 million. The price owed to a startling discovery: the prayers had been written over the earliest surviving manuscript of Archimedes (287–212 B.C.), the ancient world's greatest mathematician. In a delightful and fast-paced archeological and scientific detective story, Netz, a Stanford classicist, and Noel, director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, make palpable the excitement this discovery evoked." (Publishers Weekly)

92s (Biographies)

Agent Zigzag: a true story of Nazi espionage, love, and betrayal by Ben MacIntyre

"Meticulously researched—relying extensively on recently released wartime files of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service—Macintyre's biography often reads like a spy thriller. In the end, the author concludes that Chapman 'repeatedly risked his life... [and] provided invaluable intelligence,' but “it was never clear whether he was on the side of the angels or the devils.” (Publishers Weekly)

Zhou Enlai, the last perfect revoluationary: a biography by Wenqian Gao

"Exhaustively researched biography of the revered Chinese premier who helped guide China through its infancy onto the world stage. Zhou Enlai is probably best known for arranging the famous visits of President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger to China in 1972. But the fingerprints of this skilled diplomat and statesman remain all over the growing giant that is modern China." (Kirkus)

American Jennie: the remarkable life of Lady Randolph Churchill by Charlotte Mosley

"Biographer and journalist Sebba (Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image) has written a well-researched book on the life of Jennie Jerome Churchill, the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and mother of Winston Churchill. While recent popular biographies (e.g., Charles Higham's Dark Lady) have dwelt much on her affairs during her marriage, this book focuses more on her domestic role. The author uses Churchill family papers and previous biographies to provide a vivid portrait that gives readers a good understanding of Lady Churchill as both vivacious and intelligent. Sebba quotes Winston Churchill saying of her 'Her life was a full one. The wine of life was in her veins.' (Library Journal)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tempting Titles - Nonfiction 400 - 700 (2 of 3)

These books are either already in the system or on the way. To get to the online catalog record, click on the image or the book title link. There you can place a hold request, see similar subjects or other books by the same author, read first chapters, reviews or summaries, and enlarge the image.

Dewey Decimal 400s (Language and languages)

Stuff of Thought: language as a window in human nature by Stephen Pinker

"In this book, Steven Pinker explains how the mind works by examining the way we use words. Pinker takes on scientific questions - such as how language affects thought, and which of our concepts are innate - as well as questions from the headlines and everyday life. Why does the government care so much about dirty words? How do lobbyists bribe politicians? How do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating? Why do so many courtroom dramas hinge on disagreements about who really caused a person's death? Why have the last two American presidents gotten into trouble through the semantic niceties of their words? And why is bulk e-mail called spam?"-- (Book summary)

Dewey Decimal 500s (Sciences)

Elephants on acid : and other bizarre experiments by Alex Boese

"Very well-researched and delivered in an engaging, breezy, wink-wink tone, this will likely be enjoyed equally by science buffs and casual aficionados of the curious."

"Will obviously appeal to armchair scientists, but the short, witty, ceaselessly amusing entries should delight anyone with a healthy sense of morbid curiosity." (Publishers Weekly)

Dewey Decimal 600s (Medicine, health, technology, home economics, gardening, pets)

The Art of Learning: a journey in the pursuit of excellence by Josh Waitzkin

"Using examples from both his chess and martial arts backgrounds, Waitzkin draws out a series of principles for improving performance in any field. Chapter headings like 'Making Smaller Circles' have a kung fu flair, but the themes are elaborated in a practical manner that enhances their universality. Waitzkin's engaging voice and his openness about the limitations he recognized within himself make him a welcome teacher. The concept of incremental progress through diligent practice of the fundamentals isn't new, but Waitzkin certainly gives it a fresh spin." (Publisher's Weekly)
Dewey Decimal 700s (Art, music, entertainment, sports)

The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance, by Fritjof Capra

"Capra describes a Renaissance man who integrated traits that we view as peculiar to a scientific mind with the sensitivity and skill of a great artist. Leonardo exemplifies for Capra what science needs today, an 'integrative, systemic thinker.' A theoretical physicist who transitioned to popular science writing, Capra has an engaging style and a thorough understanding of the science behind Leonardo's inventions and thinking." (Library Journal)

Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould.

"Brilliant biography of the Beatles… Page after page, you can hear the music; Gould's deft hand makes the book sing. This is music writing at its best." (Publishers Weekly)

Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton

"Guitar wizard Clapton bares his soul in a starkly honest first attempt at autobiography. This bold, intimate, and revealing look at an icon of rock 'n' roll will satisfy all readers, especially his myriad fans." (Library Journal)

Brass diva : the life and legends of Ethel Merman. by Caryl Flinn

"Flinn's extensive use of Merman's 50+ scrapbooks enables her to cover Merman's professional career with microscopic precision. [She] masterfully analyzes Merman's work on stage, screen and TV with a sophisticated eye for detail that will delight theater buffs." (Publishers Weekly)

Conversations With Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking, by Eric Lax

"Woody Allen biographer Lax has been conversing with the elusive, beloved film director for 36 years, and here’s the proof. From the tremendous stable of actors Allen has directed-especially former muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow-to the deceptively intriguing details of editing Another Woman, Lax’s interviews are penetrating but far from formal, giving readers the unique opportunity to hear Allen’s thoughts on projects-in-progress and to join him on location. Even casual fans will appreciate this work [with] something interesting on nearly every page." (Publishers Weekly)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tempting Titles - Nonfiction 000 - 300 (1 of 3)

These books are either already in the system or on the way. To get to the online catalog record, click on the image or the book title link. There you can place a hold request, see similar subjects or other books by the same author, read first chapters, reviews or summaries, and enlarge the image.

Dewey Decimal - 000s (Generalities, computer software, news)

Machinima for Dummies by Hugh Hancock

"Machinima, or the technique of making films in virtual worlds (such as video games), has a growing online fan base. This entry in the series moves from the basics of how Machinima is created through the basics of filmmaking (cinematography, storytelling, editing, distribution), advanced creation, and a final section on Pro Machinima (3-D modeling and other advanced techniques). Its DVD contains Moviestorm, tutorials, some top Machinima films, and additional open source, free, and trial software." (Library Journal)

How to Do Everything with Web 2.0 Mashups by Jesse Feiler

Mashups are the combinations of software programs that allow you to use features in new ways not dreamed up by the company or programmer that made the original program. You don't have to be a programmer anymore to do a mashup.

"This step-by-step guide to creating mashups provides full-code examples using Google Maps, eBay, Flickr, and Amazon." (Library Journal)

Quicken 2008: The Official Guide by Maria Langer
"tips on managing money and investments, tracking income and expenses, automating bill-pay, reconciling checking, savings, and credit card accounts, creating reports, and more." (Book summary)

"An official guide endorsed by Intuit, this covers the basics of the software, plus insider tips and hints on maximizing capabilities." (Library Journal)

Dewey Decimal 100s (Philosophy, metaphysics, psychology)

What Would Socrates Say: philosophers answer your questions about love, nothingness, and everything else edited by Alexander George
"Since its inception two years ago, more than 3,000 questions from doctors, lawyers, immigrants and children have been posed on Creator Alexander George, a professor of philosophy at Amherst College, has here compiled some of the site's most intriguing and widely relevant Q&As, covering, in the "grand tradition of human reflection," perennial topics like death, love, ethics and the origins of each. More than that, George seeks to make clear that philosophy is, indeed, for the thinking person, but that everyone is a thinking person. Organized broadly into four parts, entitled "What can I know?", "What ought I to do?", "What may I hope?" and "What is man?", the answer to each question ("Why isn't it just as good to be happy as to be sad?") is attributed to one of 22 contributing professors, who do a fine job, in short passages, of establishing a personal link to what could otherwise seem distant or abstract theory." (Publisher's Weekly)

Teach Yourself to Meditate in 10 Simple Lessons: discover relaxation and clarity of mind in just minutes a day by Eric Harrison

"Each lesson takes only a few minutes, yet each one relates a valuable meditation skill, including breathing, posture, body awareness, visualization and detachment. In the end, the reader will possess everything needed to develop a healthy practice." (Book summary)

"This humorous, first-person narrative details Guyatt's exploration of an end-times-obsessed subculture of Christianity in which the words rapture, tribulation, and Armageddon are part of the everyday vocabulary. Guyatt examines the motivations and personalities of some of the biggest names in the end-times business—e.g., John Hagee (Jerusalem Countdown), Tim LaHaye (the "Left Behind" series), Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth), and Joel Rosenberg (The Last Jihad)—as well as some smaller names. (Library Journal)

Dewey Decimal 300s (Social Sciences)

Father Knows Less or Can I Cook My Sister?: One Dad's Quest to Answer His Son's Most Baffling Questions by Wendell Jamieson

"Jamieson, city editor for the New York Times , whose seven-year-old son, Dean, has been in 'full-bore question mode' for the past few years, decided that the best strategy for giving Dean the answers was also to give himself a challenge. He would get each answer 'from a real person who knows it by heart, whose very livelihood depends on the knowledge' that Jamieson would present without sugarcoating or simplification. The result is a compendium of hilariously insightful questions from kids (age seven and under) with often insightfully hilarious answers from adults." (Publishers Weekly)

Sell, Keep, or Toss?: How To Downsize A Home, Settler An Estate, And Appraise Personal Property by Harry L. Rinker

"A unique guide to dealing with personal property during life's transitions. Whether downsizing to a smaller home or dispersing the contents of a loved one’s estate, collectibles expert and professional appraiser Harry Rinker helps to simplify the complicated personal, familial, and financial decisions involved in clearing out a house." (Book summary)
"Using the popular CBS prime-time TV crime series Numb3rs as a springboard, Keith Devlin (known to millions of NPR listeners as “the Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon) and Gary Lorden (the principal math advisor to Numb3rs) explain real-life mathematical techniques used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to catch and convict criminals." ( description)

Monday, December 24, 2007

This Week in Reading December 23 - 29

Merry Reading days and nights this week. There are a few well known authors who wrote about this time of year like the irascible Henry Miller, (whose rant about bourgeois Christmas in Nexus I do not recommend to anyone), and Mary Higgins Clark, who has written a few Christmas books with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark.

Others born this holiday week are the poets Robert Bly, Matthew Arnold, and even comedians like Steve Allen and Alan King (who share the same day on different years), as well as huge pop culture names like Rod Serling and Stan Lee, but, by and large, most of this week's offerings are authors that are known only to their niche audience of readers. That doesn't make them any less interesting to explore, however, as there are some real gems.

Some of us like to bring out a Charles Dickens book of Christmas stories and read one or two each year and also read Clement Moore's poem out loud to family and guests. You may wish to rest your eyes and listen to a recording of The Christmas Carol.

This Week's Question: Which author born this week completely restructured the Encyclopaedia Britannica to make it presumably better to use? And, furthermore, what do you think of how he rearranged it? Have you even used an encyclopedia other than Wikipedia lately?

Answer to Last Week's Question: What? I can't remember what I asked last week. Not really. Actually, for those of us who read, our memories stay very much active. It was philosopher, poet, aphorist George Santayana who said that people are condemned to repeat the past if they cannot remember it. (Now, what in heaven's name is an aphorist? Hint, use an encyclopedia of some kind.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Crafts @ Grandview Library!

Miniature Christmas trees made of green and white felt were decorated with sparkly wire, ribbons and glitter today at Grandview Branch Library. Armine, Melany, Julia and Anaeis all had a great time!
Miss Sue, crafter extraordinaire, put this program together.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

This Week in Reading December 16 - 22

Jane Austen heads the list of authors born this week. There have been been over forty movies made, and remade, of her novels, according to the Internet Movie Database, and films made from her novels by setting them in other times, (Clueless, Bride and Prejudice),and even a film about just reading the novels, (The Jane Austen Book Club), plus one about her life, (Becoming Jane). Masterpiece Theatre on PBS has shown several British made mini-series of Austen's works already but they've recently announced they are going to run The Complete Jane Austen starting on January 13th. In addition to productions of all six novels there will be one about Jane Austen herself, based on her letters.

Also born this week are literary wits, like playwright Noel Coward, George Santayana, H.H. Munro, Rebecca West, V.S. Pritchett, and William Safire. Poets are strong with John Greenleaf Whittier, Kenneth Rexroth, and Edwin Arlington Robinson. The week also gives us some very well known Science Fiction / Fantasy names with no less than Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Michael Moorcock.

This Week's Question: Which author born this week said "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it"? You're right. No one said it that way. Who said it as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Answer to Last Week's Question: The other author born last week who endured a trial by his government for what he wrote was Gustave Flaubert whose serialized Madame Bovary in 1856 was considered obscene for its portrayal of an adulterous woman. The trial lasted less than a month and Flaubert was acquitted. When it came out as a book it was an immediate bestseller.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Fiction

Peggy, the library's new fiction selector, put together a list of Christmas mysteries and novels to enjoy. Here are some brand new holiday books the library has or will have soon.

In Kingsbury's charming third holiday-themed Pennyfoot Hotel mystery (after 2006's Slay Bells), hotel proprietor Cecily Sinclair Baxter is supervising the final details of the decorations in the ballroom while her husband and the stable master head into the woods to gather holly. All too quickly, the horse-and-carriage return driverless, bearing only the corpse of a stranger. Frantic and dissatisfied with the Badger's End constabulary, Cecily takes it upon herself to find the missing men and identify a murderer. The Edwardian England setting ... in this fast-paced cozy will provide warm holiday entertainment for Kingsbury's many fans. (Publishers Weekly)

Best-selling mystery author Perry continues her yearly Christmas offering (e.g., A Christmas Secret), this time featuring a character from her William Monk series, Superintendent Runcorn. Investigating the murder of a young woman, Runcorn finds himself distracted by the unlikely attentions of a former love interest. (Library Journal)

From the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Christmas Shoes" comes the next inspiring novel in her Christmas Hope series: a deeply moving story about second chances and the power of love. (Book Summary) Also, The Christmas Hope.

The Gift by Richard Paul Evans

Evan's latest Christmas offering (after The Christmas Box and Finding Noel) is the story of Nathan Hurst, a man with a troubled family past. Nathan, who has Tourette's syndrome, travels across the country as a detective for a retail chain. While stranded at the airport just before Thanksgiving, he invites a stranger, Addison, and her two children to share his hotel suite until a storm passes. Nathan finds himself falling for Addison and mysteriously cured of his syndrome by her son's touch. Evans's inspirational titles are perennial best sellers. (Library Journal)

Santa Cruise, a holiday mystery at sea by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

At the start of the lighthearted fourth yuletide mystery from the bestselling mother-daughter Clarks (after 2004's The Christmas Thief), Randolph Weed, "self-styled commodore," launches his newly refurbished boat, the Royal Mermaid, from Miami with a "Santa Cruise" to raise money for charity and reward 400 "Do-Gooders of the Year." Meanwhile, Weed's greedy nephew, Eric Manchester, has made a secret $2 million deal with escaped felons Bull's-Eye Tony Pinto and Barron Highbridge to keep them hidden aboard the Royal Mermaid until it reaches Fishbowl Island, where they can make trouble out of federal jurisdiction. Fortunately, there are plenty of Do-Gooders to foil the bad guys, notably the mystery mavens of the Oklahoma Readers and Writers group and sleuthing philanthropist Alvirah Meehan. Full of mystery-lite cheer ... (Publishers Weekly)

A Christmas Visitor, a Cape Light novel by Thomas Kinkade

[Yes, that Thomas Kinkade, the artist!] Christmas comes again to the little town of Cape Light and the spirit of the season gives its residents hope and happiness. (Book Summary)

And. finally, here's a book with has at least one story dealing with other, equally interesting traditions at this time of year:

Mystery Midrash, an anthology of Jewish mystery and detective fiction edited by Lawrence W. Raphael

"This is not `Christmas in the country', Mother," I snapped, too sharply. That "old flame" had hurt. "Russo's just an old friend now, and he asked me to do him this favor. It's a huge family wedding, his mother can't make it, and somebody's got to represent Mike's side of the family. (Excerpt from first story.)

Raphael serves up a feast of well-chosen tastes and textures in this collection of 13 original stories by well-known authors whose characters span the spectrum of American Jewish experience, from secular to orthodox. (Publishers Weekly)

Monday, December 10, 2007

This Week in Reading December 9 - 15

Events to Read About are as strong as the list of Authors Born This Week. To begin with, Al Gore is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and two authors who became literary Nobel laureates were born in this week. Basketball was invented this week. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is celebrated in this week every year, and coincidentally America's own constitutional Bill of Rights became effective in this week and is celebrated annually with Bill of Rights day on December 15. (Don't miss The People's Guide to the United States Constitituon author Dave Kluge speaking and teaching in the Glendale Public Library next month.)

But, with public librarians providiing the fanfare, this week brings us the birthday of Melvil Dui. Who? He's otherwise known as Melville Dewey the brain behind the Dewey Decimal classification system. Despite his obsessions with order he did start the first library school to train librarians, allowing women to join the profession (but was chastised for becoming overly familiar with them.) He created the publication Library Journal and was instrumental in forming the American Library Association. For good or ill, as it may turn out, most American public libraries, as ours, use his cataloging system still. The Library of Congress system, with letters instead of numbers and thus allowing more conceptual expansion, is used primarily at colleges and universities with larger collections.

This Week's Question: Shirley Jackson's The Lottery was reviled by many and banned from libraries for a time for suggesting there could be anything negative in American small town life in 1948. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich followed it on the banned books list. Solzhenitsyn did not go to Sweden to pick up his Nobel Prize on December 10 because, like Boris Pasternak who had to refuse, he wouldn't have been alllowed to return to the Soviet Union. After he was deported he did pick it up in 1974. What other writer born this week had to endure a trial by his government for the act of having written his now famous book?

Answer to Last Week's Question: James Thurber, who wrote Men, Women, and Dogs, said them both. One wonders if John Osborne's famous play title came from "Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Quirky Christmas Books

It's the holiday season. Time for cheer and warmth. And you know you can borrow all sorts of wonderful, cozy holiday books by just entering subjects in the catalog like Christmas, Christmas -Cookery, Christmas - Decorations, even Christmas -Fiction. Or maybe Hannakuh, Hannakuh - Fiction, or Kwanzaa, and even Kwanzaa - Fiction.

But suppose you want to curl up with a hot chocolate and read something quirky for Christmas? Here’s a few unusual holiday titles you might not have realized are also here in the library:

"Roger Highfield, science editor of London's Daily Telegraph and co-author of the highly acclaimed The Arrow of Time, has taken a long-overdue look at our most cherished holiday from the rigorous (but highly entertaining) viewpoint of a scientist." (Book summary)

An idiot girl's Christmas : true tales from the top of the naughty list by Laurie Notaro.

"Humorist Notaro takes on the standard fare of holiday horrors in this slim volume of essays, rejuvenating well-worn territory with gonzo humor and a few touches of sentiment. Notaro proffers up an ironic gift list." (Publishers Weekly)

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

"Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris's most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as an emergency coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, in the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And oh, what a book it is!" (Book summary)

Christmas letters from hell : all the news we hate from the people we love by Michael Lent.

"This hilarious collection spoofs the obnoxious and ridiculous newsletters and cards that people send each Christmas telling of everything from family escapades to intimate details that should never be shared--especially during the holidays." (Book summary)

The Haunted tea-cosy : a dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas by Edward Gorey.

"In his Preface to "A Christmas Carol", Charles Dickens wrote that he tried "to raise the Ghost of an Idea" with readers and trusted that it would "haunt their house pleasantly". In December 1997, 154 Christmases later, the "New York Times Magazine" asked its own Edward Gorey to refurbish this enduring morality tale." (Book summary)

But you can still get back into a warm mood with a touch of both quirk and humor with this one:

Christmas at The New Yorker : stories, poems, humor, and art from the editors of The New Yorker ; foreword by John Updike.

"Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever, E.B. White, and Alice Munro are just a sampling of the many impressive authors who have contributed holiday writing to The New Yorker over the past 75 years, and they are well represented in this collection of holiday stories, poems, and humor. Organized into eight sections covering topics like family matters, Christmas carols, and the spirit of giving, the diverse pieces range from Nabokov's "Christmas" to Garrison Keillor's "A Christmas Story" and reflect the various moods indicative of the season." (Book summary)

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