Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sherlock Holmes Revisited

Even if you’ve never read any of the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, chances are you recognize the name Sherlock Holmes. In fact, the name probably conjures images of deerstalker hats, magnifying glasses, curved pipes, and maybe a choice phrase, like “Elementary my dear Watson.”

But the new Sherlock Holmes movie to be released on Christmas Day holds little in common with that cocaine-addicted brainiac of old. Robert Downey Jr. is an action-hero Holmes, complete with mad fighting skills, love scenes and explosions never imagined by the character’s creator.

But the filmmakers insist that their movie is closer to original stories than it appears. The original Holmes had experience in baritsu, swordplay and gunfighting. Furthermore, the long-suffering sidekick, Dr. Watson, was not the bumbling, clueless assistant as popularly believed. (Jude Law as Watson fights alongside the new movie Holmes.)

Members of The Diogenes Club of Dallas, a local Sherlockian society, told me they are looking forward to the movie if for no other reason than it will reignite interest in the original Sherlock Holmes stories and the pastiches that followed, both in print and in film. (Members of the society will be discussing the movie and all other things Holmesian at the Northeast Branch Library on January 9.)

As a librarian, I love movies that are based on books, especially if the film encourages reading. In fact, here’s a list of recommended titles that can be found at Arlington Public Library. (This is in no way a complete list!)

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
by Laurie King

The Empress of India: A Professor Moriarty novel
by Michael Kurland

The Return of Sherlock Holmes
DVD Collection
Jeremy Brett as Holmes

So what’s next in the Sherlock Holmes lexicon? A comedy film starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Holmes and Will Ferrell as Watson is in the works, and the makers of this year’s Holmes are looking to make a sequel.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Creativity Corner at Woodland West Branch

The first meeting is:
Monday, January 11th
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Woodland West Branch Library

If you remember from my post Not Your Mama's Crafts, I came into my own as a crafter a few years ago after a childhood spent cursing my owned failed attempts at perfecting the crochet techniques my mother passed down. I now spend a lot of my free time frantically crocheting gifts and trying to create my own patterns for everything from casual scarves to funky fingerless gloves. And now I can finally show off my projects to someone other than my family and skeptical co-workers (they're beginning to think that I crochet even in my sleep).

The Woodland West Branch will begin hosting a monthly craft night called Creativity Corner. This will be a place to relax and work on your own craft projects among other crafters, a place to bring your projects to show off or get advice, and, in general, just a place to be crafty. Every crafter is welcome, female or male, teen or senior, crocheter or knitter, seamster or quilter, scrap-booker or jewelry-maker. This group is also open to those wanting to learn a particular craft, so don't be shy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Ancestry Images

Ancestry now has enhanced census records. In a blog post on their main website, Ancestry announced that they went through over 200 million records and enhanced records, removing tape residue from the images and adding clarity. As you can see from their example, this is amazing and has put something on my to-do list: go back over old census records and see if I can read the names now!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting to Know Us: Lee Shqeir

Lee Shqeir
Administrative Services Coordinator, Central Administration

I can’t ever remember a time when reading wasn’t part of my life. I always had access to books at home, school, and the base library. I grew an Airforce “brat” and we lived in many places including Suitland, Maryland, Okinawa, Japan, Naples, Italy, San Antonio, Texas, and Montgomery, Alabama. One library or another has always been part of my memories. I remember as an elementary age child I would have to go to my mother’s work after school, the base pre-school, to wait for her to get off work. I spent every afternoon just reading through the books on the shelf. As I got older, my mother let me go to the base library after school, it was only two blocks from my house and I went there often, just to browse and read whatever caught my eye that day. Sometimes the distant draw of the base pool, playground, or the afternoon matinee at the base theater won over my attention for the day, especially during the summer, but I was a regular fixture at the library. The pool and the theater require some of my allowance; however, the library and the playground were always free.

I was also an avid comic book reader, which I spent my weekly allowance on as fast as I got my hot little hands on it. I would dash down to the PX and buy whichever one suited my fancy that day. – All the Marvel super heroes, Archie, Richie Rich, Wendy and Casper, and even the horror comics. I always dreaded it when it was time for my dad to receive new orders. Not because I didn’t like to move, I knew my mother was going to make me take my treasured box of comic down to the base thrift store to get rid of them before the movers showed up to box up our belongings. I would have gold mine if I still had all those comics today – I usually had a box about the size of a paper case by the time it was time to move again.

My reading style is the same as an adult, I’m not a slave to any particular genre or format, I read any and everything. I also find myself re-reading books that I enjoyed in the past. Why not, it was good the first time. I mostly read fiction–I love a good story from authors such as Stephen King, James Patterson, Anne McCaffrey, Amy Tan, Frank Herbert, Patricia Cornwell, or Larry Niven, to name a few. I even purchased Bulfinch’s Mythology as a young teen at the thrift story and read it cover to cover. If it doesn’t captivate me in the first few chapters, I usually move on–a good story is key for me.

Part of my ritual when I visit home is to browse the bookshelves in my mother’s home and read all her magazines. She always has Reader’s Digest, Reminisce, Birds and Blooms, Popular Science, Time, and Ladies Home Journal. I have my name on a post-it note in the front of several of my favorite books so they can come to my book collection when she passes on. I like science fiction, horror, fantasy, mystery, and novels. Right now, I’m listening to 206 Bones by Kathy Reich, and reading Run for Your Life by James Patterson. I just finished re-reading The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven and listening to Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. It’s all fair game to me, there’s nothing better than a good read.

Favorite Movies that I have watched more than once:

Color Purple

Favorite TV Series:


Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

This last month, we all agreed at the morning book club at the Southwest Branch that our December read wasn't as fulfilling as some of our other selections have been (sorrry The Beach House!). The next day I went ahead and hoped that our January selection would be better. And so far it absolutely is. This is my first Philippa Gregory book and it doesn't matter if I know history, because I am hoping in vain for Mary, Queen of Scots, to pull through in the The Other Queen. In fact, I can already tell this is one of those books that makes me look up everything I can about it, starting with Wikipedia and on through what type of embroidery Mary stitched. Come check it out with us at 11 a.m. on January 13 at the Southwest Branch.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gnooks: tells me what I want to read

I don't know if this is a new website or not, but it sure fascinates me. Gnooks has a literature map, where you type in an author and it gives you a spacial view of where another author is relative to that author. Type in John Grisham and Tom Clancy and Ken Follet are right next to him. Type in Neil Gaiman and you get Terry Pratchett. Anne Rice and Clive Barker are shades away from Stephen King. What makes it fun, if not incredibly useful, is the graphical nature of the words floating around.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Robert Langdon bio

I loved the Da Vinci Code, but when I tried to crack open the most recent novel by Dan Brown, the Lost Symbol, I was, well... lost. I will probably try to read it again after everyone else has read it, but until then I will be content to read these biographical facts about Robert Langdon, including my favorite: "Did you know: Professor Robert Langdon wishes someone would ban the word awesome."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Fiction to brighten your holiday spirits

I thought I would share a few Christmas fiction titles to help really get you in the spirit and geared up for this holiday season. Just click on a title and you will be directed to that title in our online catalog where you can make a request if a particular book strikes your fancy. Enjoy!

The Christmas Glass: a novel
by Marci Alborghetti

The Christmas List
by Richard Paul Evans

The Perfect Christmas
by Debbie Macomber

Lakeshore Christmas
by Susan Wiggs

A Rumpole Christmas
by John Mortimer

An Amish Christmas
listed under Amish

The Memory Quilt
by T.D. Jakes

Christmas Jars Reunion
by Jason F. Wright

The Christmas Clock
by Kat Martin

A Creed Country Christmas
by Linda Lael Miller

Home in Time for Christmas
by Heather Graham

A Christmas Blizzard
by Garrison Keillor

A Wish for Christmas
by Thomas Kinkade

Christmas on Mill Street
by Joseph Walker

One Imperfect Christmas
by Myra Johnson

Home for Christmas
by Andrew M. Greeley

The Christmas Secret
by Donna VanLiere

A Christmas Promise
by Anne Perry

A Blue and Gray Christmas
by Joan A. Medlicott

The Christmas Lamp
by Lori Copeland

The Christmas Dog
by Melody Carlson

Wishin' and Hopin'
by Wally Lamb

The Unfinished Gift
by Dan Walsh

Knit the Season
by Kate Jacobs

The Gift
by Cecelia Ahern

One Week in December
by Holly Chamberlin

Christmas Cake
by J. Lynne Hinton

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reference Question of the Month: the Law of Attraction

Where are the books on the law of attraction?

We do have a couple of books that are specifically on the law of attraction, for instance The Soulmate Secret or The Answer.The law of attraction became very popular in 2006 with the movie, The Secret, and the book by the same name that was published the next year. But the idea of the law of attraction goes back thousands of years and is even in the Bible (Mark 11:24; "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.")! Most of the books on the law of attraction don't specifically mention those words in the title, so here is a list of those books you won't be able to find just by doing a search on "the law of attraction."

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This edition is "updated for the 21st century", but this book has been around since 1937. Hill never explains what his "secret" is, but many believe that he is really talking about the law of attraction.

Life's Missing Instruction Manual by Joe Vitalee
Bestselling author and marketing guru Joe Vitale offers insights and life lessons for achieving success. This title is available through our Overdrive service.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, argues that everyone is responsible for their own experiences, tells how to lead a more creative and fulfilling life, and discusses work, health, success, and personal relationships

Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles. Another "oldie but goodie", Wattles offers a primer on "prosperity consciousness".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Resource Spotlight: Reference USA

As we all know, the Arlington Public Library subscribes to some excellent online databases that can be accessed at the library, as well as at home. Do you know much about these databases? The library provides descriptions of each database, but these little blurbs can't even come close to describing all the cool things these resources can do for you. Sometimes, it is often best to just dive right in, play around, and see what these resources are all about.

One database that I think truly needs to be explored to be appreciated is Reference USA. It is often described as a "business" database, which it is, but it is useful for so much else that you wouldn't necessarily think were of a "business" nature.

Several times, I have used this database to find contact information. Reference USA is useful to find the contact information of a manager from such and such business. But the other day, I had a gentleman tell me he would like to contact the owners of such and such house so that he could make them an offer to buy their home. We were able to use the residential database to find this information.

Reference USA can really help take the stress out of event planning. A custom business type keyword search for "reception"provided a code for "Halls and Auditoriums" which I limited to the Dallas metro area. In less than 15 seconds I had a list of names , addresses and phone numbers of 109 potential places to throw a party.

Last minute holiday shopping? Your kid wants a Zhu Zhu pet (or whatever) and you can't find it at the last three toy stores you visited. Well, a custom business type keyword search for "toy store" brings a code for "Toys-Retail." Limit it to the however far you are willing to drive for the silly thing, and you've got a list of stores that you can frantically call.

I use this database often. I'll probably use it today. Where do I want to eat for lunch? I am to indecisive to think of a place without help. A custom business type search for "restaurants" with a mile radius from my zip code gives me a list of 30 choices. Fantastic!

I encourage you to play around with Reference USA and see what it can do for you!