Friday, February 29, 2008

LA Times Book Prize nominees announced

The Los Angeles Times announced its 2007 Book Prize finalists Thursday, in the categories of Biography, Current Interest, Fiction, First Fiction, History, Mystery/Thriller, Poetry, Science & Technology, and Young Adult Fiction.

In addition, novelist Maxine Hong Kingston was named the 28th recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which "honors a living author with a substantial connection to the American West whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition.”

The Book Prize winners will be announced April 25th as part of the 13th annual LA Times Festival of Books.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are We Open? - Overheard at the Grandview Library

It was about five minutes to closing at the Grandview branch library the other day. Everything was in motion as library users and staff scrambled to finish last minute tasks. A mom and her son rushed in the door but seemed confused by all the activity.

Mom asked "When do you close?"

The reply came back "In 5 minutes ma'am."

Looking defeated as they walked out the door, we overheard the son say "Mom, I told you we should have gone to a 24 hour library!"

Did you know that while our buildings have day and evening hours the Library's online branch is available 24 hours a day? At any hour of night or day you can access our WWWeb Branch to:

The Glendale Public library is far more than our buildings filled with great books and wonderful people. It is also your round-the-clock, round-the-worldwide-web access point for the best in information and entertainment. Come to any of our branches, including our library branch on WWWeb Street. You can even create an account online.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brand Library 2008 Dance Series starts this Sunday!

The Associates of Brand Library are pleased to present the 2008 Brand Library Dance Series. The first of three dance performances is this Sunday March 2nd at 3:00pm in the Brand Library Art Galleries. The group performing will be the Los Angeles based contemporary dance company Lineage Dance.

Lineage Dance will perform Beneath the Skin: An Exploration of Human Qualities. Based on the text of Ruth Gendler's The Book of Qualities, and accompanied by the music of Billy Mitchell, the dancers will explore the movement behind our many different human qualities.

Admission is FREE.

The performance will include a discussion with the choreographers and dancers and takes place in the Brand Library Art Galleries. A reception for the dancers will follow the performance.

Upcoming performances
Sundays at 3:00pm

March 16: B.E. Productions
In Dark Trees

March 30: Kin Dance Company

For more information about the dance series please visit the
Brand Library website and to view images from past performances please visit the Photo Archive.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Library's Most Wanted Books

Here's a quick look at some of our most requested books at this time.
Click on the book cover images to find them in our library catalog. There you can read summaries and reviews, find other books by the same authors, or place a hold of your own!

Monday, February 25, 2008

This Week in Reading February 24 - March 1

Lots of authors were born this week and a few good and bad things occurred in the events list. The names are mostly well known but don't get into superseller status until the middle of the week as February, the best seller month, winds down toward the juvenile in March. On the 26th we have Victor Hugo who was so popular in France that the country turned his eightieth birthday into a national holiday. After that is Daniel Handler, better known as the wildly popular Lemony Snicket.

Then, Californian Nobel Prizewinner John Steinbeck shows up and then we get some fine literary names for the rest of the week, like Laurence Durell, William Dean Howells, James T. Farrell, and Ralph Ellison. There are other classics both literary and genre related in the same long list.

This week's question: Just like last week it's another big week for poets with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen Spender, Howard Nemerov, Robert Lowell, and Richard Wilbur. Which of them, speaking of writing poetry, which is by nature solitary and without reward, said this? "Yet of course he is pleased when recognition comes; for what better proof is there that for some people poetry is still a useful and necessary thing — like a shoe."

Answer to last week's question: "No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him." was from James Russell Lowell's 1843 poem "A Glance Behind The Curtain."

"No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted," was the satirical statement of W. H. Auden in his 1962 essay about poetry, "The Dyer's Hand."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

This Week in Reading February 17 - 23

February gives us more super sellers this week. There are the mystery writers Margaret Truman and Ruth Rendell along with suspense specialist Len Deighton and humorist Erma Bombeck, all of whom were very popular in years past and still today. While not being a prolific writer, the unique timeframes of Jean Auel's books set in prehistoric times have always been in high demand.

Then there are the literary greats who also have had respectable sales beyond popular interest, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Wallace Stegner. As last week saw two cartoonists this week is shared by the two gothically funny illustrators, Edward Gorey and Gahan Wilson.

This week's question: There are several well known poets born in this week. W. H. Auden, James Russell Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Nobel prizewinner, the Greek poet, George Seferis.

Which of them wrote the following? "No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him."

Which of the poets wrote this? "No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted."

Answer to last week's question: The creator of Maus, Art Spiegelman, was not the first graphic novelist in America, but he was the one who brought the underground comic culture to the attention of mainstream America. His 1986 tale, drawn in cartoons, of his parents' experiences surviving the Holocaust actually won him the Pulitzer Prize. Matt Groening's Simpsons franchise has won him nine Emmys and his series Futurama has won him one.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Self Pick-Up Holds at the Central Library

The Glendale Central Library is undergoing a long, slow renovation process that will affect where things are located in the building. At the moment, in an effort to streamline our services, we have created a Self Pick-Up shelving area for you to claim whatever you have requested from other branches, from the Pasadena library system, or has come in from being checked out. That is, you can pick up anything for which you were notified via email, phone call, or postcard.

You can now go to the holds shelf which is located towards the left as you walk past the Circulation Desk and into the main Reading Room. It's right behind the New Book shelves. Look for the large green sign on top of the shelf and pick up items which are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the requestor. To protect privacy, these items are wrapped in paper.

Please note: If you phoned us at the Reference Desk to have a book or media item retrieved from the shelves by a reference librarian, that item will likely be waiting for you behind the Circulation Desk at the front of the library if we've had time time to get it here. (Usually about an hour or so.) Just ask the friendly Circulation staffer at the loan desk. If you have requested an Interlibrary Loan book from outside the Glendale and Pasadena systems it will be there, too, after it comes in.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This Week in Reading February 10 - 16

More bestselling authors are in another February list this week. France's great mystery writer, Georges Simenon, America's slick pop writer and producer, Sidney Sheldon, fantasist Jane Yolen, and childhood angst maven Judy Blume have all been both prolific writers and sure sellers. The inventor of the Simpsons, Matt Groening, has sold a few million of his print and media products as well, as did blockbuster screenwriter and director Joseph Mankiewicz.

Dr. Zhivago's creator, Boris Pasternak, reached millions of book sales as it was a middle brow Book of the Month Club selection, and millions more saw the movie based on the book. He was one of the few more commonly read winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Millions more copies of Bertolt Brecht's plays of alienation had been printed but rather than being sold in the commercial marketplace they were bought as assigned reading for literature and theatre students. It probably took Brecht fifty years to match the sales in Pasternak's two years of mainstream interest.
This Week's Question: Two authors born this week came into the world on the same day, but in different years, and they are both cartoonists whose works have been extremely influential, nearly genre creating. One won a Pulitizer Prize and the other won ten emmys. Who are they?

Answer to Last Week's Question: Shakespeare, like Marlowe, was baptized in 1564. The prevailing scholarship has generally found no facts of any kind but suppostion for a gap of years between the childhood of Shakespeare in Stratford and his emergence as a playwright of substance in London. From 1594, at the age of thirty -- the age Marlowe would have been had he lived --until his death the plays of Shakespeare we all know about were perfomed by one company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, who changed their name to the King's Men at the death of Queen Elizabeth. While others contend class difference, (Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford) or alphanumerical puzzles, (Francis Bacon), some of us who just like drama by itself wonder about the authorship question with no real proof. Had Marlowe's espionage and extracurricular activities caused reason enough for him to stage his death just before the time William Shakespeare, at the same age, became known as the best playwright in London, usurping Marlowe's expectations?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library

Ever wanted to know what REALLY goes on at your local public library?
First-time author Don Borchert fills you in and lets it rip in Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library. This amusing and informative book tells all--or at least exposes some of the dirty little secrets hidden in plain sight--if you care to look.

Through dozens of anecdotes, veteran library assistant Borchert, who works at a branch of the Torrance (CA) Public Library system, shares his grizzled wisdom and tells us how things really work at the library. Many questions are posited and answered. What exactly is "the renaissance patron"? How do you handle cross-dressing, crackhead trannies in the parking lot? What does the mysterious MMM in your patron record mean? Each chapter addresses various issues such as the civil servant's cycle of life, the Friends of the Library, illegal activity, wild animals in the library and so forth.

Mr. Borchert's writing style is at times clever but often tiring as he tries a bit too hard to impress. Opinions about everything and everyone abound--sometimes ad nauseum. But these are mostly small quibbles with what was overall an amusing look into the life and times of a typical library and its staff. Ultimately, he conveys a real sense of appreciation and passion for his life's work. As someone who has worked in public libraries for over 14 years, I too can attest to the small triumphs, the frustrations and the satisfaction of working in one of the best professions in the world.

If you are interested in what others had to say about the book, here a few links to other reviews.

What's New @ Grandview?

Grandview Library just installed new outdoor seating for your enjoyment. Stop by and take a load off!

Know someone who could use a quick tutorial on how to use the Internet? Thursday, February 21, a Grandview librarian will explain how to log on to the Internet and use search engines to find information. Call the branch for more info: 818-548-2049

In addition, all are invited to participate in the Library's bookmark contest. Official entry forms are available at Grandview and all locations.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This Week in Reading February 3 - 9

As indicated before it's bestselling authors on parade this week. Within this span of a few days in February we have the birth dates of popular and prolific authors Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sinclair Lewis, James Michener, John Grisham, Alice Walker and Andrew Greeley all of whom who have sold books in the millions to readers and to public libraries like this one.

Besides those very popular fiction writers there are also literary names well known to more serious readers, such as playwrights Christopher Marlowe, Brendan Behan, poet Amy Lowell, and countercultural heroes Gertrude Stein and William S. Burroughs, most of whom have sold millions of copies to college libraries and their students after their deaths.

This Week's Question: Christopher Marlowe, perhaps born this week, (no one really knows,) was killed at the age of twenty-nine in May of 1593, according to official transcripts, possibly as a result of his underworld spying activities. Before that time he had written the plays Doctor Faustus, Tamburlaine (parts 1 and 2), The Jew of Malta, Edward II, and his first, at the age of twenty-three, a collaboration called Dido, Queen of Carthage. Because of his poetical and dramatic skills there is little doubt in many literary historians' views that had he lived he would have been not just a contemporary but an equal to William Shakespeare. However, there has been ongoing controversy among only a very few that he, among other candidates, was, in fact, the man who wrote the plays attributed to a front man known as 'Shakespeare'. While recognizing that no one has ever proved, nor likely can, that Marlowe, nor any of the others, was Shakespeare, a few base facts are nonetheless tantalizing. Marlowe was born in 1564. When was Shakespeare born? And at what age did Shakespeare begin his playwriting career?

Answer to Last Week's Question: The Library of Congress was begun anew after its 1814 burning by the acquistion of 6,487 books from the personal collection of Thomas Jefferson.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Supernatural Novels for Teens

Sink your teeth into one of these fantastic new teen books featuring vampires, werewolves, the faerie realm, and other paranormal happenings ...

Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan

"A warrior queen gives birth to a child who links the world to the monsters of a young man's dreams. A nobleman chooses a beautiful commoner for his bride, and the boy who loved her discovers her darkest secret dangling in the forest. In ten sharp tales, Lanagan pushes the short story form and the genre of fantasy to their limits....These stories are turgid with love, loss, hope, despair, and the sense that there must be more to the world than that which can be touched with hands....The result is stories that unsettle and explore. They are a pleasure at every level." (Voice Of Youth Associates)

Repossessed by A. M. Jenkins

"Seventeen-year-old slacker Shaun steps off the curb and is smacked by a cement-mixer truck. Just before he goes under, a curiously sneaky 'fallen angel' named Kiriel steps into Shaun's body. Thus begins Kiriel's near doe-eyed exploration of all the weird, whacked-out wonders of teenage boyhood.... The infusion of Kiriel's inquisitively dogged personality into Shaun's teenaged body humorously amplifies all of Shaun's usual boy instincts: Lust, hunger and love all spring to the center, most affecting when Kiriel's educated near-Shakespearean words spout forth from Shaun's usually blunt and blasé lips....Kiriel's own search for meaning and direction from his own realm in this new life packs an intriguingly deep wallop." (Kirkus Reviews)

The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural edited by Deborah Noyes

"A companion volume to the collection Gothic (2004), this impressive anthology presents original short stories spotlighting the work of ten masters of dark fantasy. Fantasy readers will recognize some authors—Libba Bray, Holly Black, Chris Wooding—while others' stories will introduce whole new bodies of work.... Kelly Link's funny "The Wrong Grave" takes a punk/gothic view of a teen poet's reaction to his girlfriend's death; M. T. Anderson's "The Gray Boy's Work" depicts the aftermath of a man's participation in the American Revolution; and Holly Black's "The Poison Eaters" depicts a venomous family in a kingdom that never was...this potent mix of horror stories, with its literary touches that range from the humorous to the horrific, will attract readers with its promising title and keep them riveted to these splendid tales." (Kirkus Reviews)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

"On the night of each full moon, the five Transylvanian sisters who reside in the castle Piscul Dracului don their finest gowns. They raise their hands to create shadows against the wall, opening a portal to the Other Kingdom, where they will dance the night away with all manner of fantastical creatures. After nine years of full moons spent in delightful revelry, dark forces, both human and otherworldly, arise to encroach upon the sisters' happiness. Told by Jena, the second oldest sister, this detailed and mood-rich story covers much territory, both mundane and magical. Adult fantasy writer Marillier has uniquely reimagined and blended an assortment of well-known tales and characters--including fairies, dwarves, witches, vampires, and a frog who is more than he seems--into a compelling whole in her first book for teens." (Booklist)

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

"Aislinn knows that fairies are real and that they aren't the small, cute, winged beings that most people imagine. She has inherited the gift of Sight from her mother's family, allowing her to see them. She lives by rules that have kept her safe from their notice. All of that changes when Keenan, the Summer King, chooses her as his queen, involving Aislinn in a 900-year power struggle between him and his mother, the Winter Queen. If Aislinn refuses him, summer will cease to exist, killing both mortals and fairies alike. If she accepts, she loses her humanity and ties to the mortal world—as if life as a teenager isn't hard enough when you're 'normal.'" (School Library Journal)

Find these and more suggestions at Glendale Public Library's Teen Central.

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