Friday, April 18, 2008

Libraries are Life-Changing!

As we come to the close of National Library Week,

here are a few titles about the importance of books in peoples lives:

You've got to read this book! 55 people tell the story of the book that changed their life
We all have memories of a book that stirred mind and soul; that became more resonant over time. When a book sweeps us away, we remember and tell people. Sharing the experience is a double gift: it reveals us meaningfully while extending the possibility of pleasure and insight to others.

YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK! is just such a double gift. In it, some of today's most interesting and prominent people share the books that have been transformational to them, and why. Readers will encounter well–known names in personal motivation, business, entertainment, and more, such as Malachy McCourt, Christiane Northrup, M.D., Dave Barry, Stephen Covey, Mark Victor Hansen, and John Gray, among others, as well as Canfield and Hendricks themselves. These essays will inspire, inform, and motivate readers to recall and pursue their own transforming experiences with books, charting a path to a more resonant life.

1001 books you must read before you die
Handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries, a treasure trove of book reviews from around the world covers a century of memorable writing and offers authoritative critical essays describing the importance and influence of each entry with its publishing history and career details about the author.

Book smart : your essential reading list for becoming a literary genius in 365 days
Like taking a private class with an engaging literature professor, Book Smart is your ticket for literary enlightenment all year long and for the rest of your life. Whether you're a passionate turner of pages or you aspire to be better-read, Book Smart expands your knowledge and enjoyment with a month-by-month plan that tackles 120 of the most compelling books of all time.

Throughout the year, each book comes alive with historical notes, highlights on key themes and characters, and advice on how to approach reading. Here is a sampling of what you can expect:

January: Make a fresh start with classics like Beowulf and Dante's Inferno
April: Welcome spring in the company of strong women like Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, and Vanity Fair's Becky Sharpe
August: Bring a breath of fresh air to summer's heat with comedic works from Kingsley Amis and Oscar Wilde
October: Get back to school with young people struggling to grow up in classics like Little Women and recent bestsellers such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
December: Celebrate year's end with big prizewinners such as The Remains of the Day and Leaves of Grass

The Polysyllabric Spree
For those who prefer an edgier approach to reading, Nick Hornby,
the author of High Fidelity and About a Boy shares samples from his "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns in The Believer, focusing on various books he has found interesting, in a volume that includes selected passages from the novels, poetry, biographies, and comics discussed.

Walking a literary labyrinth : a spirituality of reading
Draws from authors including Franz Kafka, Saint Augustine, and Margaret Atwood and ranging in subject from childhood reading to erotic literature to examine how reading affects self and identity.

Kathleen Odean has compiled a series of recommended reading for children ages 3 to 14, for toddlers, for boys, and for girls, such as
Great books for girls : more than 600 books to inspire today's girls and tomorrow's women
A unique guide for parents and teachers contains more than six hundred annotated listings of a variety of books for girls, from toddlers to adolescents, that feature female protagonists who solve problems and shape their own destiny.

There's also more recommended reading for youth in
Spirited minds : African American books for our sons and our brothers

How to get your child to love reading : a parents guide
Offers advice and guidelines on how to expand a child's world through books and reading, introducing three thousand teacher-recommended book titles, craft ideas, projects, recipes, and reading club tips.

and, a novel to ponder the role of libraries in an exotic manifestation:

The Camel Bookmobile
A novel about establishing a bookmobile in a destitute Kenya village, well-intentioned Fiona Sweeny inadvertently renews a decades-old tribal feud involving a camel-powered bookmobile and prior efforts to promote local education.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Libraries are weirdly wonderful

Sometimes, strange things happen in libraries.....

A Gentle Madness: bibliophiles, bibliomanes, and the eternal passion for books
True stories about bibliomania, and bibliophiles, this book was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.
A history of book lore, book culture, and book lovers begins in Alexandria more than 2,500 years ago and passes through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present, offering special emphasis on collecting in Great Britain and North America.

Followed by:
Patience and Fortitude: a roving chronicle of book people, book places, and book culture which explores the history and continuing relevance of books, introducing readers to librarians, readers, writers, scholars, bookbinders, and booksellers around the world.

Library : an unquiet history
Provides an intriguing historical study of libraries and books, their preservation, and destruction, from the U.S. to Europe and Asia, from medieval monasteries and Vatican collections to the ever-changing information highway of today

The Grand Complication
Confronted by both professional and personal crises, reference librarian Alexander Short gains a new lease on life when he meets Henry James Jesson III, a collector who shares a number of Alexander's unconventional interests and who hires him for some after-hours research into an enigmatic eighteenth-century inventor.

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart
When a shy librarian in Santa Fe sees Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard, she risks her career and relationships to follow them, building a cult following comprised of hippies, bikers, anthropologists, and survivors of the atom bomb to mount a massive march on Washington.

Time Traveler's Wife
Passionately in love, Clare and her librarian husband Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.

The Ice Queen
After a small town librarian survives a lightning strike, she seeks out a fellow survivor in a quest for meaning, only to begin an obsessive love affair between two opposites joined by a single common thread.

The Name of the Rose
In 1327, Brother William of Baskerville is sent to investigate charges of heresy against Franciscan monks at a wealthy Italian abbey but finds his mission overshadowed by seven bizarre murders.

Stones from the River
Follows Trudi Montag, a dwarf who serves as her town's librarian, unofficial historian, and recorder of the secret stories of her people, in a novel that charts the course of German history in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Giant's House
Befriending an adolescent boy who is ostracized for his unusual height, bereft Cape Cod librarian Peggy Cort finds a soul mate in James and comes to love him as he grows into a man of eight feet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Libraries are Romantic

Romance can be found in anywhere--
Montana, Oregon, Denver, Seattle, Sicily, Philadelphia, New York, and yes, even libraries.

Dewey Decimal System of Love
Forty-year-old librarian Alison Sheffield finds her proper, staid, and quiet life turned upside down when she falls head over heels in love.

La Cucina: a novel of rapture
In a novel set in modern Sicily, a librarian who has recently suffered heartbreak is drawn to a charismatic chef through their shared love of cooking.

Drive Me Crazy
When Miss Alex Forrest, a prim and proper librarian, and sexy big-city art professor Duncan Forbes team up to investigate a bizarre case involving murder, missing masterpieces, family secrets, dangerous desire, and death threats, the town of Swiftcurrent, Oregon will never be the same.

Die for Love
Librarian Jacqueline Kirby poses as a romance author, to attend a conference on Historical Romance Writers in New York, as a tax-deductible vacation.
What follows is a hilarious send-up of the romance field, plus some dead bodies and lots of romantic confusion, entanglements and suspense.

Island of Dreams Haunted by a lifetime of unusual memory lapses, Ana begins a new life as librarian of a Denver girls' school, until an encounter with Pierce Rourke brings her face to face with the man who can free her from the past.

Perfect Partners
Midwestern librarian Letitia Thornquist didn't have the right stuff to run Thornquist Gear, Inc. That was the bottom-line opinion of Joel Blackstone, the seasoned CEO who had built the small Seattle sporting goods store into an industry giant. But Letty's rich Uncle Charlie willed her the company, and now she was bubbling with enthusiasm to have Joel, a perfect mentor, show her the ropes.

Silver Bells
Troubled by haunting memories of the past, a rugged Christmas tree farmer from Nova Scotia and a reclusive young librarian from New York City come together amid the holiday magic of a glittering city.

Morning Comes Softly
A shy Louisian librarian, Mary Warner fears she'll always be alone -- so she answers a personals ad from a rancher in Montana," a guardian of three orphaned children who agrees to marry the mysterious Southern woman sight unseen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Libraries are Thrilling!

The Rover by Mel Odom Follow the hobbitlike librarian, Wick, in this Tolkienesque fantasy series of 4 books, as he is captured by pirates, sold into slavery, and adopted by a gang of thieves. Forced into battle with a dragon that could hold the fate of the entire world in his claw. Wick soon finds himself with more adventures than even a halfling librarian can imagine.
Rival gangs, goblin marauders, evil wizards, and monstrous dragons are soon after the wee adventurer and his newfound allies in a tale of treasures and treachery, magic and mystery, where even a little guy can rise to the occasion and save the day.

The Librarian by Larry Beinhart The author of American Hero (later made into the film Wag the Dog) follows university librarian David Goldberg as he begins a side job as a conservative activist, a position that lands him in hot water with a conspiratorial clique of wealthy right-wingers who want him gone.

Open Season by Linda Howard Plain, small-town librarian Daisy Minor is tired of not having a life and sets out to transform herself, but her plans go awry when she witnesses a deadly crime and becomes the target of a killer who will do anything to stop her from revealing her secrets.

Ex-Libris by Ross King Hired to restore a once-magnificent library that had been ravaged during the English Civil War, London bookseller Isaac Inchbold becomes embroiled in the search for a missing manuscript and a conspiracy of spies, smugglers, and forgery

The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters
Introducing Jacqueline Kirby, "Jake" to her friends, on an art history/archaeological excavation tour in Rome, a dead body is found at the Temple of Mithras. First is of 4 books featuring librarian Kirby, these include the Peters trademark elements of suspense, humor and a little romance. Followed by Murders of Richard III,
Die for Love, and Naked Once More

Monday, April 14, 2008

Libraries are mysterious

Libraries are the unexpected setting for mysteries-places of order, quiet and intellectual activity, suddenly disrupted by mayhem and murder. And librarian and rare book sleuths are detail-oriented, persistent, and researchers -hence, natural investigators.
Sometimes, they are also nosy.

Here are some mysteries involving libraries, librarians, rare books, archivists,
and all manner of mysteries related to the bibliography world.

Real Murders First in the Aurora "Roe" Teagarden mystery series. Petite librarian Roe Teagarden joins forces with police detective Arthur Smith and mystery writer Robin Crusoe to investigate a series of killings in which the victims are slain in the fashion of famous historical murders

Miss Zukas and the library murders First in a series, Meet Miss Zukas . . . the very proper, exceedingly conscientious, and relentlessly curious local librarian of tiny Bellehaven, Washington—and one heck of an amateur sleuth!

The Bellehaven police are baffled when a dead body turns up right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks. But Miss Helma Zukas—who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation from the norm of everyday life—is not willing to let this rather nasty disruption stand. Her precious literary sanctuary has been violated, and if the local law cannot get to the bottom of this case, Miss Zukas certainly intends to—with the help of her not-so-proper best friend, Ruth, a six-foot-tall bohemian artist with a nose for gossip and a penchant for getting into trouble. But their research project is bringing them a little too close to a killer . . . who'd like nothing better than to write Helma and Ruth out of the story completely!

Murder by the Book
When librarian Megan Clark keeps stumbling upon dead bodies, she becomes the number one suspect and must match wits with a clever killer who has read too many Agatha Christie novels to prove her innocence.

Stolen Blue
New Mexico rare books librarian, Claire Reynier, is hired to work with a collection of valuable southwest books at an isolated ranch. The owner, her former lover, dies and she is left to work with the dysfunctional family and missing masterpieces.

Dewey Decimated
Someone is whispering that the rare Gutenberg Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Werner-Bok rare books library are forgeries-could these be a cause for murder?

Case of the Missing Books Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he had in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming—but where are the books? The rolling library's 15,000 volumes have mysteriously gone missing, and it's up to Israel to discover who would steal them . . . and why. And perhaps, after that, he will tackle other bizarre and perplexing local mysteries—like, where does one go to find a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper?

Murder at the Library of Congress Commissioned by the Library of Congress' magazine, "Civilization," to write an article on a recently discovered, supposed diary of Christopher Columbus, Annabel Smith finds herself matching wits with a ruthless wealthy bibliophile, an ambitious TV journalist, and a killer to complete her assignment

Booked to Die First in the series. Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he's an avid collector of rare and first editions. After a local bookscout is killed on his turf, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect's spine. But the suspect, sleazeball Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding murder convictions. Unfortunately for Janeway, his swift form of off-duty justice costs him his badge.

Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a bookshop -- all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. But when prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now Janeway's life is about to change in profound and shocking ways as he attempts to find out who's dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.

For more titles, see Murder in the library at the Encyclopedia Britannica Blog Part 1 and Part 2

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Surprises

Rivers and Tides
Follows Andy Goldsworthy's bohemian free spirit on this DVD as he travels all over the world to demonstrate and open up about his creative process. From his long-winding rock walls and icicle sculptures to his interlocking leaf chains and multi-colored pools of flowers. Goldsworthy's painstakingly intricate masterpieces are made entirely of materials found in Mother Nature - who threatens and often succeeds in destroying his art, sometime before it is even finished.

A trail through leaves : the journal as a path to place An exquisitely illustrated guide to cultivating intimacy with the natural world through journal-keeping explores the things we usually overlook and helps readers claim their senses through the creative disciplines of writing and drawing.

Cultivating delight : a natural history of my garden Diane Ackerman delights in her garden through all the seasons. Whether she is deadheading flowers or glorying in the profusion of roses, offering sugar water to a hummingbird or studying the slug, she welcomes the unexpected drama and extravagance as well as the sanctuary her garden offers. She chronicles instances of violence in nature but also intuits loneliness and desire in the clamor of male crickets in the spring. And there is wonderment and marvel as she happens upon a tiny frog asleep inside the petals of a tulip. Visitors to her garden range from botanical explorers of earlier centuries to the nature mystic John Muir to the brilliant British garden writer Gertrude Jekyll. The author's garden nourishes its creator, who imaginatively returns the favor and seizes privileged moments to leap from science and metaphor to meditation on the human condition. Written in sensuous, lyrical prose, Cultivating Delight is a hymn to nature and to the pleasure we take in it.

The Virginia naturalist A collection of essays by John Trott which were originally printed in the Fauquier Times Democrat.
Compiled and produced by the Virginia Native Plant Society and the Middleburg Garden Club

Beautiful madness : one man's journey through other people's gardens Accounts of the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Chelsea Garden Show reveal what the author learned about some of the Western world's most influential gardens and gardeners and describe some of the more exotic plants presented at the shows.

Herbal Treasures: inspiring month-by-month projects for gardening, cooking, and crafts
A compendium of the best herb crafts, recipes, and gardening ideas.

Death at the Spring Plant Sale
Hoping to get some good deals at the Bethesda Garden Club's spring plant sale, Louise Eldridge, Host of "Gardening with Nature," finds herself cultivating a murder investigation instead when the club president is murdered.