Saturday, August 29, 2009

Resource Spotlight: Foundation Center

Are you looking to start a new business but need some help with start-up funds? Maybe you're involved in a non-profit organization that needs money for a project. Or, you might be a student looking for help to finance a college education. You're in luck! Arlington Public Library (Central branch) is now a Cooperating Collection Network member of the Foundation Center! The Foundation Center provides access to the most up to date grant information through print resources and databases. The Central branch has two computers upstairs dedicated to the use of Foundation Center databases. Foundation Directory Online allows users to search for grants and grant makers. Foundation Grants to Individuals Online allows individuals to search for funding resources for purposes such as scholarships, internships, research, student loans, and general welfare. Much of this information is also available in print. Staff members can help you get started using databases to help ensure you get good results. Come check out this great resource (but remember, right now it is only available at the Central branch)!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brand New Day

Waiting on the telephone for your electric company to speak to you isn't very fun. I had the experience today when something actually pretty fun happened: I heard a song I hadn't heard in years! What was this song that "brightened" up my day? Sting's "Brand New Day" on his album by the same name. It reminds me that there are things at my library that I've forgotten about and it took a five minute wait on the phone to remind me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's cold somewhere.

During the baking heat of a Texas summer, sometimes I like to immerse myself in books that are set in cold places. Like The Cage by Audrey Schulman. This brief but compelling novel transports readers to the Canadian tundra. An expedition sets off from Churchill, Manitoba into the frozen north, vast and unpopulated, home of the polar bears they’ve come to document. One woman and three men set out, but not all of them will return.

The sun may be beating down outside, but you may feel like wrapping up in a nice warm blanket while you’re reading this one!

Quality Trash

A reader of this blog sent me this picture of Garrison Keillor's book store and I thought it was too funny not to pass it along to you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Deweying it by the numbers: 700s Baseball

The 700s caught my attention recently. They often do: a whole entire section dedicated to THE ARTS. But these aren't just painting and sculpture: the 700s have comic books and movies and even books on how to decorate your house. Sports are even considered an art. Why? Sports are a recreational art.

You wouldn't think sports were an art around my husband: they are an obsession. He's been engrossed in the highlight of the baseball season: Pudge Rodriguez has returned to the Rangers! Baseball has been on every night since that announcement and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. Although I have started noticing that I am watching the screen more and more and having opinions on Nippert's pitching against Tampa Bay and the amazing win over the Twins. Maybe there is something to this sports thing (as long as we don't have to watch Field of Dreams again--he watches it once a month it seems!).

New Books to Read about Baseball:

Heart of the Game: Life, death and mercy in Minor League America
by S.L. Price
Based off an article for Sports Illustrated, this is a poignant look at the lives of two minor leaguers whose lives drastically altered in 2007 when Tino Sanchez Jr. hit a foul ball that instantly killed Mike Coolbaugh, one of the teams coaches.

Satchel : the life and times of an American legend
by Larry Tye
A portrait of the Negro League pitcher and pioneer in the integration of baseball evaluates the role of discrimination in limiting his career, the Jim Crow biases that prevented his signing with the big leagues until he was in his forties, and his lasting legacy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Odd books for curious readers

I've discovered that I probably shouldn't suggest books for my Tuesday night book club anymore. Or maybe I should be a little more selective. The typical reaction to some of the books I choose is, "This book was really weird." I can't help but smile at that because on one hand, I don't mind. For me, weird stuff is good stuff. On the other hand, a comment said in that way usually means the reader did not enjoy the book.

When it comes down to it, that's okay. We all like different subjects, genres, and styles. The world would be pretty boring if we all liked the same thing.

So, for those of you who are curious about the weird books I enjoy reading and for my fellow weirdos who want to catch up on titles they may have missed, here is a list of some of my favorite oddball reads that you can find at the Arlington Public Library. If you read one of these books and really do think it was weird (whether you liked it or not), send me an email! I'd love to hear from you.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
The Binewski's traveling carnival is about to go under, so Aloysious and Lillian Binewski set out to give birth to a family of freaks in order to bring more gawkers and money to their business. Their plan works and ends up producing: Arturo, deemed the Aquaboy because of his flipper-like limbs, conjoined twins Iphy and Elly, albino hunchbacked dwarf Oly, and seemingly normal (but far from it) Chick.

Told from Oly's point of view, this book will make you question what normal really is.

The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
Billy Argo, with the help of his sister and best friend, solves mysteries in his town and becomes something of a celebrity. After Billy goes off to college, his sister commits suicide and Billy, not able to handle it, is placed in a mental institution. When Billy is released from the institution at age 30, he sets out to prove that his sister did not commit suicide. He befriends two children, who need his help with another mystery, and discovers many strange things about his town.

Throughout the book are clues at the bottom of every few pages and a decoder ring at the back so that the reader can solve a mystery on their own.

Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link
Kelly link is one of those writers you can't really pigeonhole. She writes a bit of everything, and most of it is strange and sometimes even beautiful.

This collection of short stories focuses on a blending of supernatural with reality. In "The Faery Handbag", an entire village escapes to the safety of a handbag. "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" follows a young man, obsessed with always having an escape plan just in case zombies attack, who is recently released from prison and crashes a house party. A reader on describes "The Hortlak" as ". . .Clerks meets Shaun of the Dead."

Trumpet by Jackie Kay
Joss Moody was a brilliant trumpeter, celebrated by everyone in the jazz world. But when he dies, Joss's wife Millie realizes that the secret they've kept their entire marriage is about to be revealed to the entire world.

What's worse is the effect this secret has on their son, Coleman, who was also kept in the dark.

Scottish author Jackie Kay re-evaluates identity of self and others, love and devotion, loyalty, and forgiveness.

A Red Heart of Memories by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Matilda "Matt" Black can communicate with any object and see into other people's dreams. Matt is homeless and trusts no one but the objects with which she communicates. But then she meets Edmund, who emerges from a months-long stay in a crumbling, ivy-covered wall, and she begins to trust someone for the first time ever. Matt sets out with Edmund, a witch, on a quest to help others in need. Their journey takes them to Edmund's sister and her family, where extraordinary things happen, and to Edmund's childhood friend Susan, who has closed herself off from everyone.

Hoffman's work is always surreal reality that is somehow comforting to read. People hurt, but they also find unusual ways to begin healing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good Grounds For Books, August 2009 meeting

This morning's monthly Good Grounds For Books group produced a wealth of reading ideas for nearly every type of reader. You can join us on the third Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Woodland West Branch. Enjoy a free cup of coffee and talk about the latest book (or books!) that you've read. We love seeing new faces because that means more book ideas.

Here's what our group has been reading:

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Masterpiece by Elise Broach

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Deception by Eric Lustbader

Tsar by Ted Bell

Abraham: a journey to the heart of three faiths by Bruce Feiler

Strange Pilgrims: twelve stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Broker by John Grisham

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Hunting Eric Rudolph by Henry Schuster

The Aviator by Ernest Kellogg Gann

Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Ian Stewart

Prisoner of Trebekistan: a decade in Jeopardy! by Bob Harris

Murder on the Leviathan by B. (Boris) Akunin

This series beings with The Winter Queen.

The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the fight over presidential power by Jonathan Mahler

Savage Beauty: the life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford

The Case of the Missing Servant: from the files of Vish Puri, India's "Most Private Investigator" by Tarquin Hall

The Pyramid: and four other Kurt Wallander mysteries by Henning Mankell

Sashenka by Sebag Montefiore

Brodeck by Philippe Claudel

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

The Unknown Reader (Sorry, but we never got your name!)
44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Dad! Mom! There's nothing to do!"

Does that sound familiar? If your family is running out of ideas as the summer stretches on, come to the library to refuel your imagination & get ideas for more activities than you can fit into three summers!

Unplugged Play: No Batteries, No Plugs, Pure Fun
by Bobbi Conner

I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
by Jennifer Wood

Exploring Fort Worth with Children
by Michael Bumagin

The Everything Games Book: Hundreds of Classic Games for All Ages
by Tracy Fitzsimmons and Pamela Liflander

Yum-O!: The Family Cookbook
by Rachel Ray

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trion Rising: a summer reading club review

Trion Rising and The Owling, by Robert Elmer, are books of the Shadowside trilogy. The series is teen science fiction but with a unique twist. They retell the Bible's New Testament stories on a futuristic planet. Similarities and differences make the books both entertaining and bizarre readings. This series is not just for teens but for any science fiction lvoer or curious reader wanting to try something different.

--Amy N.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

If you like HGTV, you'll love...

If like me, you love houses and gardens, I know of an author you would enjoy reading. His (yes, his!) name is Beverley Nichols, he was English, and he lived from 1898 to 1983. One of my favorite quotes comes from his book Merry Hall. He is describing house-hunting in England after the end of WWII, and how, no matter what is wrong with the place, real estate agents rhapsodize about mature oak trees on the property:

"Did it face North, was it Edwardian Gothic, was there a lunatic asylum over the wall, and would a sensitive spaniel have howled itself to death at the mere sight of it on a rainy night? All quite correct. But kindly remember, there was a Wealth of Old Oak. Or, as I began to think of it, a W. of O.O."

Merry Hall tells about the house he finally finds and how he refurbishes it and its garden with the help of (or inspite of!) local characters and neighbors.

Other titles by Beverley Nichols include:

Firebird: a patron review

Raised a wastling in the royal house of Netia, Firebird has no future beyond one battle, where she is ordered to die. Captured by Sentinal Caldwell, who is frustrated by her wish to die for her planet's beliefs, he tries to convinve her to live and trust him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Castaways: a summer reading club review

The Castaways
- Good beach or vacation read. Story of 4 couples and their trial and tribulations as best friends on Nantucket Island.

-- Myra S.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Written in Bone- a summer reading club review

Written in Bone- a fascinating account of the archaeological work in and around the site of Jamestown, Virginia. It's amazing how scientists can read bones, layers of earth, and more, and tell us who people were and how they lived and died. Many of the stories are sad, and you begin to see the people of Jamestown as real, not just figures in history books.

-- Tiger J.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Testimoney: a summer reading club review

Testimony by Anita Shreve- Timely and relevant and keeps you glued to the story. Anyone who is a fan of Anita Shreve would enjoy this story. It's told from the different angels of all the characters who's lives are effected by the behavior of these high school students and the mistake they made one evening.

-- Heather M.