Friday, March 26, 2010


It's that time of the year, folks! The Friends of the Arlington Public Library is hosting their Spring Book Sale March 24-28 at the Meadowbrook Recreation Center (1400 Dugan St.). Friday and Saturday the sale will be open 9am-7pm and Sunday hours are 11am-4:00pm. Many great titles are still available. Books remaining for sale on Sunday will be marked down to half price. These books make great gifts since you never have to return them. If you like to read while relaxing in the tub, this sale is a great place to find paperbacks (not as costly as library books if you drop them). If you travel a lot and can't always make it to the library, stop by the booksale to stock up on titles for the whole summer. Whether you want romance novels, cookbooks, or National Geographic, the booksale has a little of everything and surely has something you will enjoy. Don't have room on your bookshelf for new titles? Consider donating some of the books you no longer read for next year's sale!

Twilight from an Adult Perspective

Don't know what's up with the "Team Jacob" shirts or the current obsession with Robert Pattinson, who recently had fans that entered a contest to touch the wax version of him in London (and screamed at it like it was him)?

I unfortunately do. I read all four books that have been published (the fifth one on hiatus indefinitely). And I enjoyed reading most of the books, except perhaps the last one which smacked too much stolen from Poppy Z. Brite, a horror author from the 1990s (without the drugs and murder).

The Monkey See Blog over on NPRs website has just finished a blog series on the books that are entertaining all by themselves, but I think are also a good discussion as to what merits being a "classic" or what is just fun reading. They will tell you everything you ever needed to know, if you are not inclined to reading the books (they even suggest reading Wikipedia entries for those that want the full story without watching the movies or reading the books). They are even doing a live chat today at noon for an online book discussion. If you have time check it out, or check out one of the thoughtful posts (and read the comments too!):

The Writing Style Of 'Twilight': We Kick Off The 'I Will If You Will' Book Club
More 'Twilight': Is Bella A Sympathetic Teenager Or A Weird Marble Fetishist?
'Twilight': Edward The Vampire Sulker And His Beloved: Does This Story Work?
'Twilight' Odds And Ends: Generations, Curiosity Levels, And Summing Up

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mashups: Redux

A woman just bought two coffees from our coffee machine at the library. She then mixed them together to create a new flavor. "Mashups" like this are not uncommon; I remember mixing all of the flavors of soda at the skating rink up into a "tornado". And our 2.0 culture does the same thing: think Glee's "Ballad" (The Police and Gary Puckett, featured on Glee, the music. Volume 2 or the Green Day/Oasis mashup that you can still sometimes hear on KDGE.

There are many book remixes getting attention these days. Check out our post yesterday on the subject. But a new non-fiction book caught my eye that is a mashup of different authors to create an essay on what is real. Reality Hunger: a manifesto by David Shields mixes such various sources as Darwin, Philip Roth, John Hodgeman, and an anonymous White House aid during Bush 43's presidency. This can make the book feel disjointed, but that perhaps is Shield's point: the line between what is "real" literature and art is changing in our world where everyone has access to so much information. I'm looking forward to browsing through this book and gleaning wisdom from it, especially since he is
...trying to regain a freedom that writers from Montaigne to Burroughs took for granted and that we have lost... A major focus of Reality Hunger is appropriation and plagiarism and what these terms mean. I can hardly treat the topic deeply without engaging in it. That would be like writing a book about lying and not being permitted to lie in it...Who owns the words? Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do--all of us--though not all of us know it yet. Reality cannot be copyrighted.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mash-Up Mania

I know you are all aware of mashups—two unrelated songs that are spliced together to create a remix that combines the lyrics of one song with the rhythm of another. However, are you aware that the same craze is happening in the publishing industry? Mash-Up Books are all the rage. Mash-Ups take one storyline and combine it with another seemingly unrelated storyline creating a “remix” of plots.

It started when Seth Grahame-Smith took Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, and added elements of zombie madness and mayhem creating Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This awesome book revisits the Bennet Sisters as they deal with suitors and zombies who are systematically eating their way through Regency England. Our heroine, Elizabeth, is blessed with intelligence, wit, “fine eyes”, and kick butt ninja moves. No wonder Darcy can’t resist her!

Then Seth Grahame-Smith took on American history in his recently released, Abraham Lincoln vampire hunter. This brilliant book relates an alternate history where Abraham Lincoln not only uses his axe to chop trees but also to slay evil vampires bent on forever separating the Union and taking over America. You will definitely find yourself wanting to verify historical facts and at the same time laughing aloud at the vampire elements introduced.

I just saw that Little Vampire Women, an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, is due out in May. I cannot wait to read this “remix”. Maybe bratty little Amy will finally get her comeuppance for burning Jo’s manuscript.

While I appreciate the humor of these mash-ups and feel that ultimately they might lead people back to reading the original classics, there has been criticism of this art form. Some people think that classic literature should not be tampered with at all. Some people feel it borders on plagiarism. Some just think it is in bad taste. What do you think? What classic literature would you like to see mashed up?

Other Mash-Ups to read or wait for:

Pride and Prejudice and
Zombies: dawn of the dreadfuls

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Android Karenina

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter

Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn and Zombie Jim

War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts, and Zombies

Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights

Written by Angela J.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lisa Kudrow found her Ancestors; find yours!

I watched Who Do You Think You Are last night and nearly cried through half of it. Lisa's ancestor's came from Eastern Europe as Russian Jew's in the early 1920s. But her great grandmother stayed and was massacred by the Germans some 20 years later.

The most familiar part of the show was where she was looking up ship manifests for her father's cousin. She was using! And then she actually went to Poland and he was there, 60 years after her father saw him.

So if you haven't used Ancestry: Library edition, please consider it. While it can only be used in the library, it is simply the single most powerful database of genealogy information. Matthew Broderick is going to be on the show next week, searching for his Civil War roots. This is going to be a great show!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Your country needs your help

Many of you have already received your questionaire in the mail. It does not take very long to complete. Should you have trouble filling out your census questionaire, U.S Census staff is available at the George W. Hawkes Central Library every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (March 19-April 24) between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm to provide assistance.

Census information is important, and can help determine how many seats your state gets to occupy in the U.S. House of Representatives. This information is also used to help determine how tax dollars should be spent. If you choose not to mail your census information, a staff member will come to your house to collect the information in person.

If you are not able to make it to the library for help, telephone questionaire assistance lines are available:

English: 1-866-872-6868
Chinese: 1-866-935-2010
Korean: 1-866-955-2010
Russian: 1-866-965-2010
Spanish: 1-866-928-2010
Vietnames: 1-866-945-2010
TDD: 1-866-783-2010

For more information on this year's census, visit the website:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My favorite Irish-American author

It is always sad when your favorite author dies. How can they write more books? Last summer, I was very saddend to hear about the passing of one of my favorite authors, Frank McCourt. On a day that we celebrate everything Irish, I think I might have to check out one of his titles for a reread. You should too. If you haven't read them yet, even better.

Hopefully his brother, Malachy McCourt will hang in there. I like his books too. A Monk Swimming is my favorite of his books.

I just discovered the youngest brother, Alphie McCourt writes too! I'll pick up his book right after I'm done reading my much anticipated celebrity biography.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Getting to Know Us: Lina R.

Lina is a Customer Service Assistant at the Woodland West Branch. The accompanying image is Lina's "self-portrait".

10 facts about Lina:

1) Totally Awesome
2) Work at two libraries: Woodland West and UTA Central Library.
3) Working at two libraries makes me even more awesome.
4) Studied languages but speak neither one (Russian and French - I prefer to read them.)
5) I do however speak Cambodian with a rather horrible accent.
6) Applying for graduate studies in library science at UNT to be an academic/reference librarian.
7) Just started with polymer clay crafts.
8) Favorite things to do with friends: karaoke, trying new food, and just chilling.
9) Clumsy. Really clumsy.
10) Will be starting a swim class entitled Swimming for the Terrified Adult soon. Thought it might come in handy.

Some stuff I really like that you can find at the library:
Emma by Jane Austen
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Super Taranta by Gogol Bordello
Dimanche a Bimako by Amadou & Mariam


Friday, March 5, 2010

Good Grounds For Books - February 2010 selections

Check out the books that the Good Grounds for Books members read in February. If you ever need book suggestions, these are the people to talk to!

The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky by Alephonsion Deng
Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

Gifts of War by McKenzie Ford
The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall-Smith
A Hidden Life: a memoir of August 1969 by Johanna Reis

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Wild Women and Books: bibliophiles, bluestockings, and prolific pens from Aphra Behn to Zora Neale Hurston and from Anne Rice to the Ya-Ya
by Brenda Knight
Literary Life: a second memoir by Larry McMurtry

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Mrs. Astor Regrets: the hidden betrayals of a family beyond reproach by Meryl Gordon

Dawn of Man by Robin McKie

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Steampunk revival

I was looking through some images from the Library of Congress and this one of a 1910 racecar driver had a tag on it that said "steampunk".  It seems I can't turn around without someone talking about steampunk, because today I also was reading the Library Journal website and it came up again in an article on the top steampunk books.

For those that are unfamiliar with steampunk, the word was coined in 1987 when K. W. Jeter, a science fiction author, was trying out a variant of cyberpunk (science fiction in a dystopian future). Steampunk books are set in settings involving steam power (think locomotives, or steam powered guns and computers) and involving Victorian elements (think tea and crumpets, or cool clothes) and can be science fiction or fantasy or a mix. One of my favorite books that should be considered steampunk (but isn't) is the Diamond Age or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson. Others that are actually in the genre are listed below.

Steampunk was influenced by:
G K Chesterton
Charles Dickens
Arthur Conan Doyle
Robert Louis Stevenson
Bram Stoker
Jules Verne
H.G. Wells
Mark Twain
Mary Shelley

Steampunk Firsts:
Titus Alone (part of the Gormenghast series) by Mervyn Peake
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

Steampunk in its Prime (right now!):

Monday, March 1, 2010

March is National Nutrition Month!

As mentioned above, March is National Nutrition Month. Consider celebrating by trying some new, healthy recipes. A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertention, and cancer. The library has many great books that will help you eat right!
Superhealth: 6 Simple Steps, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life
The Mayo Clinic Diet: [Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Lose Weight]
So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week
Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes
Cook This Not That: Kitchen Survival Guide: the No-Diet Weight Loss Solution

Don't worry, for those of you who are like me and don't eat as healthy as should, the library also has titles that promote fried foods and well as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.