Friday, October 31, 2008

This Week in Reading Oct. 26 - Nov. 1

This week, as in most, there are more novelists than poets and playwrights, but only a few and several of these wrote in various forms, If you throw in story writers, essay writers, literary critics, historians, editors, biographers, politicians, celebrity journalists, and celebrity humorists it's a well rounded group.

Some of the more well known novelists are Stephen Crane, Evelyn Waugh, Sylvia Plath, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Pat Conroy. Genre writers are historical mystery writer Anne Perry, mystery writer Dick Francis, and fantasy / science fiction storyteller Frederic Brown.

Big names in poetry are John Keats, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas and Paul Valery. Restoration comedies by Richard Sheridan and fantasies by Jean Giraudoux played in many theatres. James Boswell, Henri Troyat, and Edward Said's literary ruminations have been studied in many a college.

This Week's Question: Two of this week's authors, contemporaries in the first half of the twentieth century, were extremely influential writers for patrons of libraries. Emily Post was the first name to go to for etiquette advice and Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, about how to achieve success, has been one of the most frequently requested books in libraries. Many other books have been created in their names to continue offering advice about success and behavior. Both Hill and Post published more than one book and both many wrote columns and articles for magazines. One of them even edited a magazine. Which of them, however, also wrote novels?

Answer to Last Week's Question: We asked you to look at the Recommended Reads of the Glendale Public Library online resource Novelist Plus to tell us which of twenty-seven types listed there you might like. Nothing official there, but besides the usual categories of historical mysteries, flatfoots and gumshoes, noir or cozy mysteries, amateur sleuths and police procedurals, you can find mysteries around many kinds of themes. There are mysteries with humor, mysteries with seniors, mysteries about food, about books, about dogs ...

"Woof what?" says Taz, the Glendale Library Blog Dog. "Hey, there's too many cats in here!"

Okay, about pets of many kinds. From the Novelist Plus recommender: "If you enjoy pampering your own pets, you might like these light mysteries. In some, the story is told from the animal's point of view. While in others, the owner solves the mystery."

Give it a look. Before you set your clock an hour back this Saturday night you might find a new series or mystery writer with whom you'll really like to spend your extra hour.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tony Hillerman 1925 - 2008

Immensely popular mystery writer Tony Hillerman passed away at the age of eighty-three Sunday night. A chronicler of the Southwest, his nineteen mysteries and other nonfiction works explored the archaeological tensions and parallels between the past and present. His two main sleuths were members of the Navajo tribal police, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Sargeant Jim Chee, whose skills included the understanding of mythic ritual, unspoken codes, mixed with psychological and sociological insight. Booklist reviewer Bill Ott said of him, (reprinted in our Biography Resource Center database,) "Nobody uses the power of myth to enrich crime fiction more effectively than Hillerman."

Among his more acclaimed mysteries were A Thief of Time, Coyote Waits, and The Shapeshifter. Also, Hillerman was an outstanding journalist throughout his initial career and later taught journalism at the college level. He did not begin writing novels until his mid-forties, giving more time to his literary career after retirement. His nonfiction books, as well as the bestselling mysteries, all gave rich detailed description of New Mexico and native-American culture.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Forgotten Modern: California Houses 1940-1970

Forgotten Modern reveals the work of the innovative architects building homes in California from 1940 to the 1970s. With innovative examples of what now exemplifies typical California architecture, the author, Alan Hess, and photographer, Alan Weintraub, focus on examples of early mid-century modern, variations on minimalism, and organic architecture.

Some of the architects included in the book are Jack Hilmer, William Krisel, Beverly David Thorne, A.E. Morris, Fred and Lois Langhorst, and Charles Warren Callister. Though these names may not be recognizable to most, the images of the homes they designed will certainly be reminiscent and have a certain familiarity.

The furniture and design details that furnish the homes will certainly elicit fond memories and also serve as a reminder of their influence on later designs. This concept is explored in the author’s conclusion.

A fairly easy to read non-fiction book and a great source of images to muse over! Books on domestic architecture in California are a great source for design ideas in your own home, and there are many more in the library’s collection.

Recent Tempting Titles 700s - 800s

Click on any image or title link to place a hold via the online catalog. You can also now see a full list of the books librarians have ordered in the last two months by clicking on the Coming Soon button on the left of any library web page or as a tab on the catalog page. (Not all are in the online catalog yet as these few selections are but they're on the way.)

The nonfiction books of Tempting Titles are arranged by Dewey Decimal order, just the way they would be arranged on the New Book Shelves. Here are today's offerings:

700s - Art, Music, Entertainment, Sports

“The 25-year-old Chinese piano prodigy chronicles his coming of age. . . A true rags-to-riches story told with fervor and variety.” (Kirkus Reviews)

We don't have the first one, but the subject headings say it all.
Celebrities -- conduct of life;
Celebrities -- caricatures and cartoons;
Celebrities -- pictorial

“In this light biography of Siegfried and Roy, the authors note that the entertainers kept their intimate lives private, leaving little for would-be biographers to reveal. ... This isn’t a comprehensive study of the work of Siegfried and Roy, but fans will still have fun with it.” (Publisher Weekly)

“This is an eye-opening, fair-minded bio of a woman who brought a lot of joy to fans but has found very little herself.” (Publisher Weekly)

800s - Literature

"A straightforward compilation of the four major writing-style manuals -- American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), Council of Science Editors (CSE), and the Modern Language Association (MLA) -- this fully revised handbook distills the major concepts into easily understandable terms and provides complete citation examples for each source type." (Publisher description)

"For the purposes of this book, I am dealing with the slice-of-life memoir in which you identify one potent period and you explore it through vivid imagery, honest voice, stunning compassion, and a deep awareness of the larger issues at play that guide your story in a subliminal way—myth, metaphor, and current issues of the day." (Book excerpt)

How Fiction Works byJames Wood [No image available]

"What makes a story a story? What is style? What's the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in How Fiction Works, the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation. Ranging widely--from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from What Maisie Knew to Make Way for Ducklings--Wood takes the reader through the basic elements of the art, step by step." (Publisher description)

Speeches, interviews, unauthorized views and reactions to Los Angeles' own library loving free speech hero. (Summary)

Mother on Fire: the truth about parenting by Sandra Tsing Loh

"Radio commentator and performer Loh (A Year in Van Nuys) has penned a hilarious memoir with the same title as her one-woman comedy show, which ran for seven months in Los Angeles. The story begins as a droll little breeze that soon sucks the reader into a frenzied whirlwind as Loh recounts her harrowing quest to find a suitable kindergarten for Hannah, her four-year-old daughter (Loh habitually calls Isabel, her two-year-old, simply The Squid.)" (Publisher Weekly)

Chronicles the life of the master writer, offering insight into his involvement in the politics and religion of his era, and covering such topics as his writings against King Charles, his troubled relationships, and the impact of the Restoration on his survival. (Book summary)

"For those wearied by doorstop biographies, this lean and urbane dual portrait is a breath of fresh air. As lawyer and writer Lebedoff (Cleaning Up) makes clear, on the surface no two British writers could be more different. Evelyn Waugh was a loud convert to Catholicism, an even louder social climber and very much a man of Empire. George Orwell (Eric Blair) could best be described as a long-suffering atheistic humanist, a utopian socialist and dreamer." (Publisher Weekly)

"Virginia Woolf is a feminist icon, and her husband, Leonard, was a committed socialist and supporter of workers' rights. Yet, says Light, in this fresh take on Bloomsbury, the couple perpetuated the class system by paying a pittance to their charwoman. In her attempt to restore the servants to the Bloomsbury story, Light also ruminates about whether the dependence of Woolf and her sister, Vanessa Bell, on their assorted live-in maids and cooks plays havoc with the idealized image of them as bohemian, free women creating a new kind of life." (Publisher Weekly)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This Week in Reading October 19 - 25

This week is one with very successful, prolific authors, among them, the golden age mystery team of two writers who called themselves Ellery Queen, espionage writer John Le Carre, fantasy writers Phillip Pullman and Ursula LeGuin, and blockbuster writers Michael Crichton and true crime presenter Ann Rule. Playwright Moss Hart, novelist Anne Tyler, and Batman creator Bob Kane also saw their work enjoyed by milllions.

Nobel prizewinners include England's Doris Lessing who won last year, Austria's Elfriede Jelinek, who won three years ago, and a very early one, Miguel Angel Asturias of Guatamala who won in 1899. Poets include Robert Pinsky, a prior US Poet Laureate, John Berryman, Denise Levertov, Arthur Rimbaud and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

This Week's Question: The Ellery Queen mysteries of the first half of the twentieth century were part of what has been referred to as the Golden Age. Whodunits at the time were generally straightforward with clues laid out fairly as a logic puzzle so that readers could solve the case on their own just before the main detective or his or her less intellectually capable sidekick did at the end. In the Queen books there was even a page near the end asking the reader to do so.

While today's taste have run to police procedurals, suspense, and thrillers, there were "rules" for the Golden Age detective genre that were rarely broken, except by some masters on purpose. In fact, one crime fiction essayist at the time actually did write down what he considered to be the rules of detective fiction. Now mysteries are all over the place. Novelist Plus, the database available to Glendale Public Library card holders lists twenty-seven different types of mysteries in its Recommended Reads. Which ones do you like?

Answer to Last Week's Question: Perhaps not all the good end happily. Perhaps he wasn't that good (in behavior - in writing he was great), but in the last few years of his life uberplaywright Eugene O'Neill had a neurological disease, misdiagnosed at the time as Parkinson's, that prevented him from holding his hand steady enough to write normally. He already had won the Nobel prize for Literature ten years earlier, (1936), but in a flurry to finish before his disease stopped him he wrote in tinier and tinier script using a box of freshly sharpened pencils each day at his house in Danville, California, now a National Park. He completed the Iceman Cometh and Long Day's Journey into Night that way among other works which came to be called the "Tao House plays" from 1939 - 1943. He lived another ten years unable to write. (Today's adaptive technology would keep him writing as long as his brain worked.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Called from the Wild: Our Canine Contract

How far back can we trace our relationship with the dog? Is modern man improving the dog or has form failed function?

Please join us for our final Big Read event Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00 pm.

Liz Baronowski, of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA’s Vice President of Education Outreach will take you from early man and the canines in their world to the modern human animal contract.

Free at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Week in Reading October 12 -18

Playwrights and philosophers highllight this week's strong authors. Starting with Alice Childress early in the week, Oscar Wilde and Eugene O'Neill were both born on the 16th, Arthur Miller on the 17th, and the 18th gives us Heinrich von Kleist, Sidney Kinglsley, and Wendy Wasserstein. Heavy thinkers include Henri Bergson, Hannah Arendt, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Michael Foucault, while social thinkers include John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr, C. P. Snow and John W. Dean.

Bergson, O'Neill, and Gunter Grass won Nobel prizes in Literature. Other literary names of note on the list this week are the classical poet Virgil who always wrote in caps (because all literate Romans did), the modern poet e. e. cummings who didn't use any, and the short story master Italo Calvino.

Mario Puzo, Conrad Richter, P. G. Wodehouse, Ed McBain, Shel Silverstein, and Terry McMillan are very popular authors but none sold more volumes than Noah Webster, the dictionary maker.

This Week's Question: We all know Oscar Wilde is one of the most often quoted authors, and his witty aphorisms fill many pages. For example, "The good end happily, the bad unhappily -- that's what fiction means." and "All morning I worked on the proof of one of my poems, and I took out a comma; in the afternoon I put it back." One of the other writers born this week, however, probably had to work that way in the later years of life, so encumbered by a disease that it forced small movements of the hand such that only very tiny words could be written using the points of many pencils. Who created some of literature's most compelling, but most microscopic works this way?

Answer to Last Week's Question: As seen here, the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature went to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, an author of intercultural sensitivity with strong critical approval. We expect to see more of his works gaining American interest as this country now moves toward greater acceptance and understanding of world culture differences and similarities.

Recent Tempting Titles 500s - 600s

Click on any image or title link to place a hold via the online catalog. You can also now see a full list of the books librarians have ordered in the last two months by clicking on the Coming Soon button on the left of any library web page or as a tab on the catalog page. (Not all are in the online catalog yet as these few selections are but they're on the way.)

The nonfiction books of Tempting Titles are arranged by Dewey Decimal order, just the way they would be arranged on the New Book Shelves. Here are today's offerings:

500s - Science

Flat Earth: the history of an infamous idea by Christine Garwood

"Garwood, historian of science at the Open University in England, presents a thoroughly enjoyable first book….Garwood is respectful throughout, analyzing the philosophical underpinnings of those who have doubted, and continue to doubt, the Earth’s rotundity." (Publisher Weekly)

"Kenneth R. Miller, professor of biology at Brown University, examines the landmark Dover I[ntelligent] D[esign] trial as a symptom of a much greater struggle in American society. Miller opens his argument by dissecting the claims of the ID movement. But Miller's concern here is less the deficiencies of ID than what its claims to legitimacy and its increasing popularity represent." (Publisher's blurb)

"As the title implies, this work is an examination of a world without the top predators of an ecological niche….The easy-to-read and captivating prose will introduce readers to species of animals they've never heard of before, as well as give a greater awareness and appreciation for the complexity of the world in which we live." (Library Journal)

600s - Health, Technologies, Home Economics, Business

Human: the science behind what makes us unique by Michael S. Gazzainga

"As wide-ranging as it is deep, and as entertaining as it is informative, the latest offering from UC–Santa Barbara neuroscientist Gazzaniga (The Ethical Brain) will please a diverse array of readers. He is adept at aiding even the scientifically unsophisticated to grasp his arguments about what separates humans from other animals. His main premise is that human brains are not only proportionately larger than those of other primates but have a number of distinct structures" (Publisher Weekly)

"One grand search engine for all the qualities that make Homo sapiens different from other species….A savvy, witty guide to neuroscience today. " (Librarian comment)

Medication Madness: a psychiatrist exposes the dangers of mood-altering medications
by Peter R. Breggin

" Breggin joins the growing group of experts who argue that the FDA is 'more dedicated to serving the drug companies than consumers,' relying on doctored or incomplete evidence and botched tests. Breggin's assertion that psychotropic drugs induce rather than treat brain imbalances is controversial, but this book is a reasoned look at these drugs, which have come under increasing scrutiny in the media as well as medical world." (Publishers Weekly)

Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt

'Traffic emerges from chaos, and chaos emerges from traffic. There's too much of both, and entirely too little honesty—a quality that has much to do with travail on the roads.Say what? Well, writes I.D. and Print editor Vanderbilt ... the nations of the world that are the least corrupt "are also the safest places in the world to drive," Fluently written and oddly entertaining, full of points to ponder while stuck at the on-ramp meter or an endless red light." (Kirkus Reviews)

Heirloom: notes from an accidental tomator farmer by Tim Stark

"On a whim, Stark started 3000 tomato seedlings in his New York City apartment, transplanted them to his parents' Pennsylvania yard, and then sold his crop at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Then, like Keith Stewart in It's a Long Road to a Tomato, Stark gave up his consulting career to become an organic farmer. ... Stark's vivid descriptions and his real knack for character development, whether speaking of his immigrant ancestors, dubious neighbors, urban foodies, or errant groundhogs, place the reader into his rural world and into Manhattan's restaurant scene, too. His wit and self-awareness make us want to visit often." (Library Journal)

Hungry Girl: recipes and survival strategies for guilt-free eating in the real world by Lisa Lillien

"Lillien started her web site,, in 2003, and she now has close to 400,000 subscribers to her free daily e-newsletter. She doesn't have a food background but describes herself as a "foodologist," someone who is 'obsessed with foods that taste great but don't pack on the pounds.'" (Library Journal)

The Essential Best Foods Cookbook: 225 irresistible recipes featuring the healthiest and most delicious foods by Dana Jacobi

"This follow-up to food writer Jacobi's 12 Best Foods Cookbook focuses on 60 "best foods"—the original dozen, of course, plus other healthful ingredients from avocados to red wine (in moderation)." (Library Journal)

Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's father-son cookbook by Tony Danza, Marc Danza, and Jennifer Carrillo
"Every Italian American favorite and some new surprises are generously served up in this warmhearted cookbook, which conveys the close-knit Danza family's passion for food. Family anecdotes accompany the recipes, ... and there are plenty of pictures throughout the book of TV star Tony Danza and his son Marc, a chef, as well as extended family members," (Library Journal)

"In The Answer, John Assaraf, a key team member behind the phenomenal success of The Secret, and business growth expert Murray Smith reveal the specific tools and mental strategies they have used to become internationally successful entrepreneurs." (Book jacket)

"If you are ready to start making your own biodiesel, then this book is for you Do It Yourself Guide to Biodiesel provides up-to-date information, step-by-step instructions, and tried-and-true methods as well as helpful tips and tricks. With detailed photos, illustrations, and charts, this book makes it easy to understand the procedures and equipment you will need to make biodiesel at home-in small or large batches." (Book jacket)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dog Sledding in Glendale!

On Saturday, October 18 the Glendale Public Library brings you Adventures in Dog Sledding.

Robert Stradley, Director of Adventure Quest Institute will demonstrate dog sledding with stories, equipment and his team of sled dogs.

Children of all ages will have a chance to meet the dogs and enjoy hands-on experience with heavy Klondike coats, snow shoes and other sledding equipment.

So mush to the library at 3:00 pm and check it out. It’s free.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nobel Prize in Literature - 2008

The 2008 Nobel prize for literature was awarded yesterday to France's Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio who is a novelist and nonfiction writer. He is little known here as his work has been published by small presses.

While it's another year without an American winner, Le Clezio does spend a great deal of time here. He teaches one semester a year at the University of New Mexico and has written about Amerindian cultures, most notably those in pre-Columbian Mexico. He also has written about Africa, racism, and cross cultural conflict. The most recent translated novel available in our libraries is Wandering Star, about a Holocaust escapee who meets a Palestinian camp sufferer briefly.

The Nobel committee has highlighted that he is an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This Week @ Brand Library

Brand Library starts its annual Los Angeles Opera Talks this Saturday, October 11 at 2:00pm. Speakers from the Los Angeles Speakers Bureau will present a series of talks focusing on the magical and powerful world of opera. The first talk An Introduction to Wagner, Themes and Stories will be given by Los Angeles Opera Speaker's Bureau member Joann Porter Toll. The full schedule of opera talks can be found on the Brand Library’s website.

Continuing in the Brand Library Art Galleries is Brand 37: Works on Paper. This is the thirty-seventh annual national juried exhibition produced by the Associates of Brand Library & Art Center. Eighty-five works on paper in a variety of media, including etchings, photography, pen & ink, various print techniques including intaglio, linocuts, and monotypes, watercolors and mixed media works have been selected. Juror
Kim Abeles made selections based on the technical quality of the work and the successful expression of the exhibition’s theme, Here & Now. Ms. Abeles is an internationally recognized artist, whose work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Brand 37 is on view during Brand Library’s open hours and will continue through October 31st.

These events are free and open to the public!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This Week in Reading October 5 - 11, 2008

There are three Nobel prizewinners this week yet it is unlikely that many of us have heard of more than one of them. Francois Mauriac, who is known for writing about the life of Jesus, is only one of two French novelists born this week to win the Literature prize; the other is Claude Simon. Serbo-Croation novelist Ivo Andric is the third.

Otherwise there are writers from around the world with a few bestseller names among them, hugely successful romance writer Nora Roberts, who also writes mysteries as J. D. Robb, fiction, mystery and western author Elmore Leonard, who also gives writers advice, adventure novelist James Clavell, horror novelist Clive Barker, and historian-novelist Thomas Keneally.

This Week's Question: Significantly, this week is when the Nobel prizes are given out. Last year's prize went to England's Doris Lessing. The one for literature this year will be announced Thursday, October 9. Will it be someone you have read? Or will it not be given out this year?

Answer to Last Week's Question: The two authors from last week that most appeared on lists of books banned in America were Truman Capote and Ann Rice. Capote's novel In Cold Blood was on the list of Top 100 Novels and was banned for its violence, profanity, and sex. Ann Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure had the 53rd most frequently challenged book between 1990 - 2000 for her erotic Sleeping Beauty trilogy. The first novel in the series sold more copies than Rice's Interview with the Vampire and many of our nation's library copies of her books from this era are now missing or lost. Rice has recently returned to her religious roots, and after being "called out of darkness" writes bestsellers about the life of Jesus now.

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