Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Girls by Lori Lansens

Rose and Ruby Darlen are conjoined twins attached at the head. Given up at birth by a teenage mother, the girls are raised by a nurse from the local hospital, Aunt Lovey and her husband, Uncle Stash. In the style of a dual autobiographer, Rose and Ruby narrate together to guide the reader through their unusual childhood experiences and unique adult lives.

Sweet, uplifting, memorable and heartbreaking, the reader is guaranteed to feel a multitude of emotions from the first chapter through the end of the book. It's about more than the plot of their shared lives. This novel is about the relationships of twin sisters, family, and friends.

This story will stay with you long after you've finished the last page. Be prepared. You won't be ready to let these girls go.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This Week in Reading Feb. 25 - Mar. 3

It's another week of prolific writers and seminal events. Most authors born in this week are well known, a few are well-worn, and several were in worlds of their own. Three were known also for what they did to bring the work of others to the public as well as for their own work.

If you would like to name your favorite books by authors born in this week, or any other, or share a few brief words about what an author or event or the library means to you we invite you to COMMENT here on the blog. (Once the comment window opens, SCROLL to the top to see the comment textbox. Enter text and then either sign in if you have a blog account or send it anonymously with no username or password needed. All comments are subject to the rules of the Glendale Public Library blog policy and will be reviewed first by a blog editor before being posted.)

This Week's Question: Which writer got married in Glendale? If that is too obcure for you, which writer's book was the inaugural choice for California's One City One Book program in 2004?

The Answer to Last Week's Question: Nobel prizewinner Toni Morrison has had four of her books in Oprah's Book Club: The Bluest Eye, Paradise, Song of Solomon, and Sula. Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter also appeared on the list. http://www2.oprah.com/books/books_landing.jhtml

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Classics of the genre, pt. 2

Asimov's robot stories comprise a far less coherent body of work than his Foundation series. The vast majority of them are short pieces with little in common with each other save the presence of robots. Even so, his mastery of world-building provided his readers with an easily grasped theoretical underpinning for the robot stories, such that his many compilations still hang together thematically.
The robots in Asimov's stories all behave according to a set of rules, formally introduced in his 1942 story "Runaround"--his "Three Laws of Robotics": 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. A "Zeroth" law was added much later to account for some robotic actions not quite sensible under the 3 original laws: 0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. (The original laws were thereupon adjusted to conform to this heretofore implicit zeroth law.)
As in the Foundation series, Asimov's interests in the inner workings of philosophy, though, whether human or robotic, merely serve to provide the rational underpinnings for explorations of the human condition. His robot stories, paradoxically, contain his most emotionally affecting storylines and characterizations.
In the 1950s, Asimov wrote his lengthiest treatment of robots in a series of novels that resembled nothing so much as a series of mysteries. The central character, a robot named R. Daneel Olivaw, is shown to be the culmination of robot technology, and indeed, Asimov uses Olivaw in his final two Foundation novels (which were among the last of his writings) as well. This surprising, and quite unforeseeable, tying together of his two previously completely separate bodies of literature provided a neat final twist to his life's work.

Robot collections available from GPL:

R. Daneel Olivaw stories:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Books, and Reading, and TV--Oh My!

The Library will host a visit from the C-SPAN2 Book TV Bus on Wednesday, February 28.
The Bus is a customized 45-foot long motor coach that contains a mobile television production studio and media demonstration center. The public is invited to tour the studio set and learn how a television show is produced, participate in interactive demonstrations about Book TV programming, sign up for programming alerts, and view clips from Book TV weekend programs and author interviews.
The Bus will be parked at the Central Library, 222 East Harvard Street, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at the Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 West Mountain Street, from 1:30 - 3 p.m. For more information please call (818) 548-2042.
Since C-SPAN2 launched the Book TV Bus in September of 2005, the Bus has made more than 400 stops at book festivals, libraries, colleges & universities, publishing houses, and bookstores. The Bus traveled over 76,000 miles to over 200 cities and thirty-nine states across the country. The crew has interviewed over 150 local authors and produced 20 video vignettes for air on Book TV.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Los Angeles Observed

The Los Angeles County Library system has put together a timely booklist in honor of Black History Month. Check out their list 'Los Angeles Through the Eyes of African-American Fiction Authors'.


The King of California


When you’re speeding up the I-5 or Highway 99 from L.A. to San Francisco, have you ever wondered about the miles and miles of cotton fields you whiz by? The King of California, by journalists Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman, tells the story of J.G. Boswell, the largest farmer in America. The Boswells began growing cotton in the Tulare Lake wetlands in the 1920s and expanded into an empire headquartered in Los Angeles with operations all over the world. The authors present a very readable history of the Boswell family, big agriculture in California, and labor relations which will interest those curious to learn more about the California landscape than the location of the next gas station or fast food restaurant.
Click on the book cover to check availability of this title in the Library's catalog.

New Book on Armenian Genocide

A new book has been published on the Armenian Genocide.

Genocide and Life Insurance: The Armenian Case, by Hrayr S. Karaguezian, hopes to illuminate the arguments that prove the existence of the atrocities committed against the Armenians during World War I.

Mr. Karaguezian lives in Studio City and primarily works in the health sciences. He spent the past 20 years researching information for the book.

The book will be part of the Library's Genocide Memorial Collection and will be available for check out soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This Week in Reading Feb. 18 - Feb. 24

What authors, editors, and publishers go through just to get reading material out there is fascinating, oft times amusing, as in this delightful tome by the wry cartoonist, Edward Gorey: The Unstrung Harp, or, Mr. Earbrass writes a novel.

Women’s experiences and recollections from different times, places, and social conditions also appear prominently in this week’s list of author birthdays.

This week’s question: Which author has had four books on the reading list for Oprah’s Book Club, surpassing others on the list? Which other author, born this week, has a book on the list?

Answer to last week’s question: France’s Georges Simenon sold over 500 million copies of his Inspector Maigret mystery series in the Twentieth Century. However, it has also been estimated that Agatha Christie's books sold over two billion copies in various languages around the world. Neither, though, has outsold the Bible. There is actually no exact way to tell.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Photography in Glendale & Pasadena!

The Collectible Moment: Photographs in the Norton Simon Museum edited by Gloria Williams Sander is a current publication with a local connection because its editor is a Glendale resident. The Collectible Moment is a catalogue of a corresponding exhibition held at the Norton Simon Museum (closing Feb. 26). It celebrates the artists, directors, curators, and donors who helped shape the museum’s photography collection that was primarily collected between 1969 and 1974. This was a time when the medium of photography was not widely accepted as a collectible art form.

This publication also has a special relationship to the Brand Library. Not only is the book in the library’s collection but Gloria Williams Sander recently collaborated with the Brand Library staff to curate the exhibition Photo-Chimera: Ten California Photographers. Works of art in this unique exhibition challenge the popular expectations of photography as a reproductive, objective and even two-dimensional art form. Williams Sander wanted to create an exhibition that would differ from the one at the Norton Simon but also compliment its intent of celebrating the artistry and medium of photography. Photo-Chimera is currently on view at the Brand Library Art Galleries through February 23rd.

Do YOU have a secret?

In 2004 small business owner Frank Warren began a community art project called PostSecret. With this project, he invited anyone to mail to him an anonymous postcard with details of a secret that no one else knows. He encouraged those interested to mail him unique 4x6 postcards using old maps, collages, crayon drawings, magazine articles or anything else imaginable, along with the details of the secret.

Mr. Warren has a blog with sample postcards (
http://postsecret.blogspot.com/) and has published two books about his project: PostSecret: extraordinary confessions from ordinary lives and The secret lives of men and women: a PostSecret book.

Click on the book titles to check availability of these books in the Library's catalog.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Distant Land of My Father

The Glendale Central Library Public Book Group will discuss Bo Caldwell's novel, The Distant Land of My Father, on Tuesday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. in the Special Collections Room. Caldwell's exciting story of a family torn apart by the father's fierce love of place is set in pre-World War II Shanghai and locally in South Pasadena. The book is the 2007 selection for Pasadena Public Library's One City/One Story program. Check out their website at www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/library/1bookdefault.asp for author information and other related programs.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Classics of the genre, pt. 1

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was one of science fiction's brightest stars. Even though the genre had been created in the early 19th century (most enduringly by Shelley's Frankenstein), it took until the late 1930s for a broad spectrum of writers to really explore the spatial and temporal boundaries of the imagination. Asimov penned some of the most influential stories in sci-fi, centering around two separate series of novels and short stories, both set in the distant future: the Foundation series, and his writings on Robots.
The Foundation series revolves around the concept of "psychohistory", the fictional science of predicting the future through a rigorous mathematical analysis of social forces. (Indeed, the initial hero of the series, which spans hundreds of years, is a mathematician.) The protagonists struggle to prevent the imminent collapse of the vast and peaceful interstellar empire into a foreseen chaos, or at least to shorten the period and intensity of barbarism. The series focuses on a number of central figures in times of psychohistorical crisis, where events threaten to diverge from the calculated course of history. If all of this sounds a bit too philosophical or dry, be assured that Asimov's flair for characterization and succinct writing style allow the human side of these stories to shine through. The Foundation stories are all about people who care deeply about the welfare of others known and unknown, born and unborn yet.
Next up: Robots!
Books in the Foundation series found at GPL:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This Week in Reading February 11-17, 2007

The stars may indeed shine on this time of year. As prolific as the authors in last week's list were, this week's group includes one who sold over 500 million copies making that writer the number one bestselling author in the Twentieth Century. (Hint: you've not seen the name in this blog before. Answer next week.)
This week also gives us the anniversary of several things that have helped readers directly: the incandescent light bulb, a milestone in computers, and the first magazine published in America. But it was, surprisingly, not the one shown, published by Ben Franklin. The other one hit the streets three days earlier by his ex-partner who reasoned he could make more money quicker. He didn't.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri's novel of Gogol Ganguli, a young man struggling to reconcile his Bengali heritage with his American upbringing, will have its movie debut in April. Gogol was "accidentally" named for the author of a collection of short stories which may have saved his father's life. However, Gogol feels his name represents everything foreign about him and he eventually rejects it. Not until after his father's death and his own divorce does Gogol begin to understand his father's legacy and his own place in the world. Both older teens and adults interested in reading about growing up in two worlds will enjoy Lahiri's beautifully written story.

Click on the bookcover to check availability of this title in the Library's catalog.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera

Get in the mood to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story of the unrequited love of Florentino Ariza for Fermina Daza, a passion that has to wait over 50 years to find fulfillment. This story which takes place in an unnamed South American country follows the separate histories of the two would-be lovers, Florentino’s many affairs and Fermina’s loveless marriage while challenging the reader to consider the real meaning of love.

Click on the book cover to check availability of this title in the Library's catalog.

This Week In Reading - February 4 - 10, 2007

If you were an astrologer would you say that this is one of the best weeks of the year to give birth to a bestselling novelist? How many books do you imagine that the authors born this week have sold?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Verdugo Monthly Special Literature Issue

Better late than never! There's lots to browse for the lit lover in last month's special literature issue of Verdugo Monthly. Check out the cover story about Glendale's Action Publishing company and much more.


Get Ready, Harry Potter Fans!

The publisher just announced the July 21, 2007 release date for J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Don't get caught at the end of the line,
click here to put on a hold a Glendale Public Library copy now so it will be held for you after we receive it!

Molly Ivins 1944-2007

Molly Ivins, irreverent, slang creating, Texan humorist and columnist who skewered politicians of many stripes, particulary the president, whom she called "Shrub," died yesterday in Austin. Obit and Columns from Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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