Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting to Know Us: Melissa J.

Melissa Jeffrey
Adult Services Librarian, Southwest

I started reading fairly early and devoured everything I could find. My family used the library because there was no way we could afford the amount that I read. In fact, when I was 14 years old, my mother made me give away 500 of my own books (I still had about 2000 left). Nowadays my personal collection is much smaller, in part because I only keep books that are important to me, and also in part because I know how heavy 40 boxes of books are to move from place to place! In spite of that I still manage to have more books than shelf space. Which is just one of the reasons the library is so important to me.

I probably read about 50% non-fiction, 50% fiction. I enjoy cooking, history, and all of the craft books. I have also been known to read offbeat non-fiction books on esoteric subjects. When I'm at home, you can catch me baking bread, reading to my kids, or playing video games. I'm firmly stuck in the generation that grew up with Atari and Nintendo and have graduated to the Xbox 360. My kids say I'm a clean freak, but only by a boy's definition of clean. At work, I am acknowledged as knowing a bit about science fiction, genealogy, and romance novels. Above you can see me in one of two gardens at the Southwest Branch.

Book Favorites
by Jude Deveraux
Brief Lives

by Neil Gaiman

by Charlotte Bronte
Salt: A
World History

by Mark Kurlansky

Movie Favorites

Music Favorites
Foo Fighters


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good Grounds For Books - October Meeting

Another great meeting of the Good Grounds for Books club. We frequently have new members and visitors, which makes for a great mix of books to talk about. Third Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. Free coffee and biscotti!

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
The Red-headed Princess by Ann Rinaldi
Generosity: an enhancement by Richard Powers

Stitches: a memoir by David Small

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Horse Boy: a father’s quest to heal his son by Rupert Isaacson

The Webpage Design Cookbook by William Horton
HTML, XHTML & CSS for Dummies by Ed Tittel

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer

Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

Harriet Tubman: conductor on the underground railroad by

South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Anna’s Waltz by Vonnie Kaufman

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
12 Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October is... Vegeterian Awareness Month

Even though October is half over you can still get in on the fun of Vegetarian Awareness Month! For two years in college, I was a vegetarian and ate no meat. While those were some of the healthiest years in my life, my family likes meat too much for me to stop making it at meals. But in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, I present to you the world of vegetarianism. It saves money, helps health, and tastes good! Making a vegetarian meal is as simple as not putting meat in the spaghetti sauce or making bean tacos instead of spending extra on that lean beef. If you have a garden, its even easier (and cheaper!) to go vegetarian every other meal or so. I've even hid tofu in some of my family's meals, but for beginners you might stick to some of these books and websites I've found useful.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October is... National Reading Group Month and One Book, One Arlington

Join us for our kickoff tonight for our One Book, One Arlington at the Southeast Branch as Linda Stogner and Therese Powell present the "Mighty Mites" segment of their Nowhere But Texas 2 documentary. Our book this year is Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent, a sportswriter that covered the Cowboys as a sportswriter for 11 years.

As you read the book, take a look at some websites that flesh out the story and remember to come to one of the four book group discussions scheduled to take place in November:
  • A fascinating Google Map that takes a look at every place that is mentioned in Twelve Mighty Orphans.
  • Official 12 Mighty Orphans blog: "They came with nothing and left with everything"
  • Unofficial Facebook page
  • Nowhere but Texas: website about the documentary
  • Orphan Train Depot: The Museum and Research Center are dedicated to the preservation of the stories and artifacts of those who were part of the Orphan Train Movement from 1854-1929.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Check out stadium the library!

How about that new stadium? Word is that it's pretty impressive, though I haven't had the opportunity to see for myself (inside that is, as I drive by it every time I come to work). We all know the Cowboys play there, but it is also becoming quite the music venue. I've been impressed by the major headlining acts the stadium has been able to attract, and I'm sure more great shows are on their way. For one reason or another, I imagine most of us won't be able to go see every show. That's okay though, because the library has a great music collection that will include many of these artists as well as your other favorites that don't always make it out to Arlington. If you missed a show this year, try checking out some of these titles (and be happy that you didn't have to fight with the traffic).

Jonas Brothers

Monday, October 5, 2009

Still Waiting for The Lost Symbol?

Remember when The Da Vinci Code came out and it was so popular other authors tried to cash in by writing books that either discredited Dan Brown's research or capitalized on his style? Some were good, some were bad, but they fed people's need for more.

Well, here we are again, a new Dan Brown book is on the shelves, and perhaps you, like me, are still waiting for a copy to come in for you. Or maybe you already read it and need another suspense thriller with reference to history, art, religion, and politics.

Fortunately, the Da Vinci Code copycats aren't the only ones with this writing style. In fact, there are several authors who were writing similar thrillers for years before Dan Brown.

My personal favorite is Katherine Neville, who wrote a book in the 1970s called The Eight, about an ancient chess service that held a formula within its board that was alleged to provide absolute power. The sequel, The Fire, came out last year. Arlington Public Library owns both titles.

Another author who immediately reminds me of Dan Brown is Steve Berry. Berry weaves his thrillers around historical events with an imagined twist and a protagonist who appears in more than one book. Some of the topics Berry builds his plots around include the miracle at Fatima, the last of the Romanovs of Russia, the library at Alexandria, and the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.

Whenever you don't know what to read next, you can always find more read-alikes on NoveList, a database provided by Arlington Public Library through our Website. Novelist also recommends authors John Case and Daniel Silva for Dan Brown fans.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday Night Lights book banned from Beaumont schools

While driving to work this morning, I heard a story on the radio that said the Beaumont, Texas school district had received a complaint from one parent about the book Friday Night Lights and decided to remove it from all the Beaumont schools.

This is especially relevant considering that this week is Banned Books Week.

To listen to the radio story, go toTexas Public Radio and scroll down to Show #474, September 25, 2009.

Read Free People Read Freely, the ACLU's annual report on banned and challenged books.

Want to know more about how Arlington Public Library develops the book/music/movie collection for the citizens of Arlington, Texas? Learn more here! Check out Appendix C for Library Vision, Mission and Values Statements and Appendix D for the Library Bill of Rights

Cross-posted on:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October is... World Blindness Awareness Month

A lot of things are happening at the library this month! We've got gardening classes, courtyard celebration at the East Branch, a low vision fair, safety first program, and the beginning of our One Book One Arlington. In honor of this and more, I will be blogging this month about many different ways in which October is important.

October is World Blindness Awareness Month and Meet the Blind Month. The National Federation of the Blind is also celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille. In conjunction with the local chapter of the NFB, the library is proud to spread the word by having its first low vision fair. On October 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. come to the George W. Hawkes Central Library to
  • Connect with low vision resources
  • Try out new equipment Discover new living skills
  • Link to community support groups Get YOUR questions answered!
It's hard to speak about being blind without thinking of Helen Keller. I want to share my favorite video of her from YouTube where she and her lifelong companion, Anne Sullivan, demonstrate how she was able to communicate.