EVPL Communities: myzticrhythmz@evpl's Blog Postshttp://evpl.org/community/blogs/All of myzticrhythmz@evpl's blog posts on the EVPL Communities site.en-USCommunityServer 2008 SP1 (Build: 30619.63) <![CDATA[Elizabeth II, in Film and Fiction]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2013/01/14/elizabeth-ii-in-film-and-fiction.aspx Mon, 14 Jan 2013 13:45:00 G1T 2434 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2013/01/14/elizabeth-ii-in-film-and-fiction.aspx to post your comments!

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Britain’s Royal Family is always a source of curiosity, and their Monarch is no exception.  Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, has been featured in a number of films, documentaries, and books over the past several years. Here are a few to enjoy.

The Queen, a 2006 feature film starring Oscar-winner Helen Mirren, portrays the turmoil in the Royal Family in the days following Diana, Princess of Wales’ death.  This film portrays the public’s strong sentiment in favor of the Princess, as the Queen struggles with a proper response to her former daughter-in-law’s death. Mirren’s portrayal is sensitive, with a bit of humor thrown in, and well worth the viewing.

As Queen, Elizabeth has sometimes seemed detached from her subjects, and fiction authors have responded by imagining her in creative ways. Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader poses a unique notion: What if Queen Elizabeth became such an avid reader that she loses interest in her “duty,” and becomes more introspective and sympathetic to others? This novella is a quick, pithy read, and sure to bring a smile.

Author William Kuhn creates a different scenario for the Queen.  In Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, the longtime Sovereign of the United Kingdom  ponders what she might be find missing in her life. The answer, strangely enough, is Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, the former Royal Yacht of the British monarch. Alone on an inclement winter’s day, Elizabeth grows restless. First, she decides to visit one of her horses, also named Elizabeth. Then she’s off to the cheese store to buy Elizabeth (the horse) some of her favorite cheese.  And finally, Elizabeth boards a public train bound for Scotland to visit her beloved yacht. The chaos that ensues among the Queen’s staff and acquaintances by her unexpected journey helps cement relationships, and demonstrates loyalty beyond “duty” to their Sovereign.  This book, like The Queen and The Uncommon Reader, adds a bit of warmth and compassion to a celebrated historical figure.

 

 

For more in the Library’s catalog about Queen Elizabeth, click here.

Grab a warm cup of tea and your favorite QEII tale, and enjoy!

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humor fiction London biographical fiction movie England book review Royal Family Queen Elizabeth II
<![CDATA[Matchless is just that ...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/12/23/matchless-is-just-that.aspx Wed, 23 Dec 2009 19:00:00 G12T 1983 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/12/23/matchless-is-just-that.aspx to post your comments!

     Every year some of your favorite authors pop up with a new title for the holiday season, and this year is no exception. Richard Paul Evans, Linda Howard, Garrison Keillor, Wally Lamb and several others have new books this Christmas.

My favorite this year is a simple little book by Gregory Maguire, author of the Wicked series of Wizard of Oz books. It's called Matchless, and it is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Match Girl. In this retelling, the match girl's story is woven into that of Frederik Pedersen, a little boy whose widowed mother is the seamstress to the queen. The pair are poor, down to their last bit of tea and last matchstick. Next we meet the match girl who, loses her shoes (one of which Fredrik takes) and is freezing, and she lights her matches one by one until they are gone. Maguire takes us through the sadness of the girl's passing and the story ends happily, as a new family is created.

This story is beautiful in its simplicity and its brevity. Maguire wrote Matchless after being asked by National Public Radio to create an original story with a Christmas theme. The author will read his work Christmas Day on NPR's All Things Considered. Tune in and listen, or snuggle into a cozy chair, grab your favorite read, and have yourself a merry little Christmas!

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fiction Christmas christstmas stories Little Match Girl Gregory Maguire fairy tales Matchless
<![CDATA[Double Take worth a look]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/12/11/double-take-worth-a-look.aspx Fri, 11 Dec 2009 09:13:00 G12T 1978 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/12/11/double-take-worth-a-look.aspx to post your comments!

You're walking down the street and a legless man on a skateboard zooms by. Your first reaction--shock? disgust? pity?

Welcome to Kevin Michael Connolly's world.

Author of the recent memoir Double Take, Connolly was born without legs. Instead of being institutionalized or coddled, Connolly's parents allowed him the freedom to experience life and grow into a remarkable young man. He attended public school, made friends and got into the usual high school escapades (such as dousing a parade crowd with permanent red dye), became a professional skier, and graduated from Montana State University with degrees in film and photography.

On a trip abroad, Connolly began paying attention to the reactions he received from the people he passed on the streets. As a kind of catharsis, he began to photograph passersby. These photographs became the basis for an exhibit, The Rolling Exhibition, as well as this book, Double Take.

Connolly brings his own unique voice to this work, and it is wonderful to read. The prose is clear & direct, without being maudlin. There are moments of disappointment and sadness, but they are never dwelt on for long. As he finally reaches the limit of his frustration with people staring at him and starts firing back (with his camera), Connolly realizes through his photos the impact his appearance has on others. This awareness, along with a visit to Sarajevo where his leglessness is not out of the ordinary among Bosnian war survivors, suggests a burgeoning maturity and selflessness.

Be sure to check out the author's promotional trailer for Double Take, as well as a feature ABC's 20/20 did on Connolly in 2007.

It will be interesting to see where Kevin Connolly's skateboard takes him next, and what he will show us on the way.

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nonfiction books biography memoir Photography human behavior skiing Kevin Michael Connolly travel social attitudes
<![CDATA[Kissing Coyotes (& otherwise keeping your word)]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/11/25/kissing-coyotes-amp-otherwise-keeping-your-word.aspx Wed, 25 Nov 2009 15:19:00 G11T 1954 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/" target="_blank">Kids Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/11/25/kissing-coyotes-amp-otherwise-keeping-your-word.aspx to post your comments!

Kissing Coyotes by Marcia Vaughan

Jack Rabbit likes to brag. First he tells his friend Roadrunner he can dance with a rattlesnake. Next he tells Gila Monster he can scare a herd of longhorn cattle, all by himself. Finally he boasts to Fox that he can run through a skunk's den without getting sprayed.

His friends finally get tired of Jack Rabbit's bragging and challenge him to "walk his talk". Jack Rabbit starts with the coyotes, and all goes well until the recently-kissed coyotes wake up. Read the story to see how Jack makes good on the rest of his boasts.

This is a really fun book to read, and the pictures are great, too. My kindergarten-aged daughter loved it, and Jack's visit with the skunk always cracks me up!

 

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animals books folktales southwest
<![CDATA[Great Scot! (aka, Grateful American)]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/10/23/great-scot-aka-grateful-american.aspx Fri, 23 Oct 2009 12:11:00 G10T 1914 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/10/23/great-scot-aka-grateful-american.aspx to post your comments!

american on purpose book coverMany celebrity biographies possess certain similarities: ambition, failed relationships, struggle, and frequently, addictions and/or abuse. So much of the success of the book depends not only on how the author has dealt with these situations in real life, but also on how they are able to share the details with their readers.

For me, American on Purpose: the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson is a success.

Born into a middle-class family in Glasgow, Scotland, Ferguson was pudgy boy who was beaten up pretty frequently. A lifelong passion for the United States was kindled by a letter exchange with NASA and a visit to the U.S. as a teen. Along the way, he discovered music (with a brief career as a punk rock drummer), alcohol and drugs, and eventually stand-up comedy and acting. Following a failed suicide attempt (he was diverted by a friend's offer of a drink) he eventually entered rehabilitation, and has been sober since 1992.

Throughout it all, Ferguson remains refreshingly gracious and unpretentious. He recounts the events and people in his life without malice, but instead with candor, equanimity, and a large dose of humor.

A bit of a warning here: the language may be offensive to some readers. Listening to the audiobook, which Ferguson narrates with that lovely brogue of his, probably made things a bit easier on the ears.

Okay; I'll admit it. I don't think I've ever stayed up to watch The Late Late Show. School nights, household duties--the usual reasons. But after reading American on Purpose, I just might.

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humor audiobooks books alcoholism celebrities memoir Scotland Craig Ferguson talk shows
<![CDATA[For all you "Da Vinci Code" fans out there ...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/14/for-all-you-quot-da-vinci-code-quot-fans-out-there.aspx Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:30:00 G9T 1848 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/14/for-all-you-quot-da-vinci-code-quot-fans-out-there.aspx to post your comments!

... Dan Brown's latest installment in the Robert Langdon series, The Lost Symbol, will hit your local library's shelves tomorrow.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

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fiction books suspense bestsellers action Dan Brown
<![CDATA[Why I will never Master the Art of French Cooking]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/22/why-i-will-never-master-the-art-of-french-cooking.aspx Sat, 22 Aug 2009 08:46:00 G8T 1792 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/22/why-i-will-never-master-the-art-of-french-cooking.aspx to post your comments!

julia child

Lately I have been doing a bit of catching up on my reading. My most recent audiobook is Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, read by the author. For those of you unfamiliar with the book and /or new movie,  Julie Powell was a young New Yorker in a dead-end job and seeking some sort of meaning in her life. When her husband suggested she attempt re-creating the recipes in Julia Child's massive classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie dedicated the next year making 524 dishes from the book. In addition she wrote a blog detailing the joys and trials of the process, which earned Powell a number of online readers.

While I found the details of preparing classic French cuisine interesting, I think my real fascination with the book was the way Powell doggedly dedicated herself to the project, a quest if you will, and the way it changed her. I think we all hit points in our lives when we feel "stuck" and frustrated with our lives. Julie & Julia is a marvelous example of how to channel those frustrations in creative and life-changing ways.

And so, why I will never master the art of French cooking. As a working mom, I find it difficult many days to even get dinner on the table, let alone take several hours (and a lot of butter) to do it. I find myself drawn not only to meals which can be prepared with some expediency, but also to more homegrown fare. The cookbooks I use most frequently? Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (mine is a dog-eared paperback, but several well-illustrated hardbacks are available throughout the system) and Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Feasting With Your Slow Cooker. Another new favorite is The Garden-fresh Vegetable Cookbook, which is great for all the fresh produce available right now.

Whatever your taste, sample your library's vast collection of cookbooks soon--and bon appétit!  Smile

 

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<![CDATA[For those Illinois legal questions ...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/05/23/for-those-illinois-legal-questions.aspx Sat, 23 May 2009 12:25:00 G5T 1530 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/05/23/for-those-illinois-legal-questions.aspx to post your comments!

Here at the Information Desk we get a number of Indiana legal questions, and we are glad to direct people to the Law and Legal Sources - Indiana section of the Useful Websites portion of our Web page for guidance.

Recently I was asked for legal information for the State of Illinois. The University of Southern Illinois School of Law has a Self Help page with information, free forms and links to cover a variety of legal issues.  If you have questions about the do-it-yourself legal process in Illinois, this is a very helpful site.

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reference questions legal Illinois forms
<![CDATA[A new Barbara Kingsolver book is on its way!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/05/11/a-new-barbara-kingsolver-book-is-on-its-way.aspx Mon, 11 May 2009 16:14:00 G5T 1486 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/05/11/a-new-barbara-kingsolver-book-is-on-its-way.aspx to post your comments!

Barbara Kingsolver fans, take note: her newest novel, The Lacuna, will be published in November 2009. Kingsolver's last fiction work, relased in 2000, was Prodigal Summer, a lovely book and book group favorite.

According to BookPage's blog The Book Case, The Lacuna is set in Mexico and the U.S. during the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and its main character will be involved with historical characters such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

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fiction Barbara Kingsolver
<![CDATA[Elementary, my dear Peabody ...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/04/20/elementary-my-dear-peabody.aspx Mon, 20 Apr 2009 15:37:00 G4T 1439 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/04/20/elementary-my-dear-peabody.aspx to post your comments!

pyramid

There are some books you read to stay current and informed, and some that you read because you "should" or you "have to". Then there are the books you read simply for the pure enjoyment of reading them.

One of my favorite fun reads is the Amelia Peabody mystery series by Elizabeth Peters. This series features intrepid Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson (aka "Peabody") and is set between 1884 and 1923, mostly in Egypt. Our heroine is a wry, progressive woman, madly in love with her husband Professor Radcliffe Emerson (aka "Emerson," or the "Father of Curses" to the native Egyptians), and ever-watchful of her precocious son Ramses. What makes this series so appealing is the interplay between characters, the witty dialogue, and the realistic way Peters paints turn-of-the-twentieth-century archaeology.

I have not read this series in order but have gone back to the beginning to pick up some of the first books. My most recent read was Lion in the Valley. This story has Peabody, Emerson, Ramses and their entourage excavating pyramids, accompanied by a companion for Ramses and a wayward young woman in Amelia's care. The latter come with their own troubles, and when you add a couple of kidnappings, a couple of murders, and the return of Amelia's arch-enemy, the "Master Criminal," the Emersons (and readers) are in for quite an adventure.

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humor fiction historical fiction mysteries mystery series women detectives Amelia Peabody Egypt Elizabeth Peters
<![CDATA["If you could do it all over again and change something, what would it be?"]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/03/06/if-you-could-do-it-all-over-again-and-change-something-what-would-it-be.aspx Fri, 06 Mar 2009 15:23:00 G3T 1347 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/" target="_blank">Teens Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/03/06/if-you-could-do-it-all-over-again-and-change-something-what-would-it-be.aspx to post your comments!

This is the big question for Jeremy Dance, aka Lil J, in Walter Dean Myers' Dope Sick. Lil J is a 17-year-old on the run, part of a drug deal gone wrong in which an undercover cop's been shot. He finds himself hiding out in an abandoned building in the company of Kelly, a weird vagrant with a television that can show Lil J's past, present, and maybe his future. It's Kelly who asks Lil J the question about what he would change in his life if he could, and much of the book covers Lil J revisiting his downward spiral: a painful home life, drugs, jail time, fathering a child.

This is a fascinating book where a kid from the streets is compelled to stop at a pivotal point in his life and consider that he may actually have options. He wasn't a bad student, has a gift for the rhythm of rap, and seems to care for his son and the child's mother.

Walter Dean Myers has taken a very contemporary, real-life situation and infused it with a bit of mysticism and fantasy. He also leaves the reader with some questions: Who was Kelly?A real, "spooky" guy? A ghost? A drug-induced hallucination? Will Lil J be able to turn his life around?

And by all means, stick around for the ending. It's not what you'd expect.

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fiction supernatural teens urban Dope Sick Walter Dean Myers
<![CDATA[Lucky "Thirteenth"]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/02/25/lucky-quot-13th-quot.aspx Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:59:00 G2T 1298 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/02/25/lucky-quot-13th-quot.aspx to post your comments!

thirteenth tale book coverI'll admit when it comes to literature, I am something of a late bloomer. It took a book group assignment last year for me to finally read Jane Eyre, and of course, I fell in love with it. Recently I  followed some friends' recommendations of a book that's reminiscent of that classic novel.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a dark, Jane-Eyre-on-a-roller-coaster kind of book. In the story, renowned English author Vida Winter is dying, and has called upon a bookseller's daughter and sometime-biographer, Margaret Lea, to write Winter's life story. What follows is a well-paced, very Gothic, sometimes creepy tale, replete with twins, ghosts, a governess, mistaken identities, and a bit of madness thrown in for good measure.  Though parts of the ending seemed a bit contrived, there were still enough surprises to be satisfying.

If you haven't tried The Thirteenth Tale yet, by all means do so--and let us know what you think!

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reviews suspense gothic fiction women authors -- Fiction ghost stories twins -- Fiction English Diane Setterfield Thirteenth Tale
<![CDATA[Celebrate with us!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/02/celebrate-with-us.aspx Tue, 02 Dec 2008 16:48:00 G12T 956 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/02/celebrate-with-us.aspx to post your comments!

 north park branch library

On December 9, 1968,  Meadow Park Branch Library opened. In June of 1984 its name was changed to North Park Branch.  And in April of 2005 the new North Park Branch was dedicated at its present location, 960 Koehler Dr, next to Central High School.

On Tuesday, December 9, North Park Library will celebrate 40 years of serving Evansville's North Side. From 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm join us for refreshments, and a concert of Jazz and Dixie Land music with Evansville's own DixieLanders.

Hope to see you there!

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events north park branch reception anniversary
<![CDATA[Is it "Hot" in here, or is it just me?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/21/is-it-quot-hot-quot-in-here-or-is-it-just-me.aspx Fri, 21 Nov 2008 10:25:00 G11T 904 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/21/is-it-quot-hot-quot-in-here-or-is-it-just-me.aspx to post your comments!

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when gasoline prices rose from under eighty cents to the staggering price of $1.40 a gallon, the United States government implemented measures to reduce oil imports and improve energy efficiency.

Flash forward twenty-plus years. Larger vehicles are again the norm, gas prices top $4.00 a gallon, and development and consumption across the world are rampant.  The environment is more at risk than ever. What to do?

Enter New York Times columnist and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman, and his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution, and How It Can Renew America.

Hot, flat & crowded are concepts that are, individually, not new. "Hot" refers to global warming, an issue that has become increasingly, well, hot, recently, especially during the last election. "Flat" is an idea presented by Mr. Friedman in his previous bestseller, The World is Flat, and represents the level economic playing field and globalization. "Crowded" indicates humanity's continued growth & expansion, and its negative effects on biodiversity and the world's limited resources.

Friedman's solution to "hot" & "crowded" is to utilize the U.S. (& potentially global) markets. He suggests a competition, largely enforced by government regulation and taxing, to stimulate the U.S. to become more green than China.  The goals here are two-fold: to reduce dependence on foreign oil, thereby depriving "petrodictators" and potential terrorists a livelihood; and to help preserve Earth's ecosystems and resources and, thereby, ourselves.

I listened to the abridged audio version of this book and would probably recommend reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded instead. With so many concepts and so much information, you'll want to take your time with it.

And let us know what you think!

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nonfiction reviews books economics bestsellers globalization Thomas Friedman global warming
<![CDATA[Early Voting begins today]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/14/early-voting-begins-today.aspx Tue, 14 Oct 2008 09:28:00 G10T 727 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/14/early-voting-begins-today.aspx to post your comments!

Beginning today and running through October 31, Vanderburgh County residents may vote early at several of our EVPL locations: Central Library, McCollough Branch, North Park Branch, Oaklyn Branch, and Red Bank Branch. The hours are Monday through Thursday, 1:00-7:00 PM, and on Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

A sample ballot may be found at the Evansville Courier's Web site, http://www.courierpress.com/voterguide/, and Vanderburgh County's ballot may be found on the County Clerk's Web site at http://www.vanderburghgov.org/Index.aspx?page=1943

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central library mccollough branch north park branch oaklyn branch red bank branch Vanderburgh County early voting evpl
<![CDATA["Mockingbird" author Charles Shields coming to North Park Branch]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/10/01/mockingbird-author-charles-shields-coming-to-north-park-branch.aspx Wed, 01 Oct 2008 17:31:00 G10T 674 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/10/01/mockingbird-author-charles-shields-coming-to-north-park-branch.aspx to post your comments!

Author Charles Shields will visit North Park Branch's Popular Books Discussion Group to discuss his book Mockingbird: a Portrait of Harper Lee next Tuesday, October 7, at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited, so please register online, or by calling 428-8237.

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north park branch book discussions author
<![CDATA[Life on the colonial frontier]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/26/life-on-the-colonial-frontier.aspx Fri, 26 Sep 2008 15:55:00 G9T 654 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/26/life-on-the-colonial-frontier.aspx to post your comments!

I always enjoy a well-done piece of historical fiction. Granted, sometimes it can be *too* well done, when the history outweighs the fiction.

 This is not the case with Midwife of the Blue Ridge, by Christine Blevins. As a first-time novel, this is a pretty good book.

 It's the mid-1700s, and midwife-apprentice Maggie Duncan comes to the American colonies as an indentured servant. After surviving a harrowing voyage and the unwanted attentions of a British nobleman, Maggie arrives in Virginia and is purchased by Seth Martin to help his family on their homestead. Though her life with the Martin family is difficult and sometimes dangerous, the midwife makes friends and finds a place among the settlers. Longhunter Tom Roberts is present as Maggie's sometime love interest.

 Blevins included a lot of detail about life in colonial America that was new to me, especially the elements of day-to-day existence. I was not always clear, though, on whether this book was trying to be a romance, an adventure story, historical fiction, or a combination of all of them. I found the instances where Maggie was practicing her midwifery skills fascinating. I would have loved to have seen some notes on where the author found her information on eighteenth-century herbalism and medical practices.  Also, there are a few somewhat violent scenes that might not appeal to those looking for a gentle read.

 Overall, this was a good, easy-to-read book. If you enjoy historical fiction, give this a try and let me know what you think!

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reviews historical fiction Blue Ridge Virginia frontier midwives
<![CDATA[Keeping a weather eye]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/09/10/keeping-a-weather-eye.aspx Wed, 10 Sep 2008 18:33:00 G9T 498 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/09/10/keeping-a-weather-eye.aspx to post your comments!

If, like me, you're keeping an eye on the coastal hurricane activity these days, you'll be interested in a Web site called Stormpulse. You'll find a huge amount of hurricane information there, from as far back as 1851. Great maps, satellite images, Yahoo! News articles, and present weather conditions are all there. Check it out: http://www.stormpulse.com/

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<![CDATA["Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/06/twilight-by-stephenie-meyer.aspx Sat, 06 Sep 2008 14:09:00 G9T 418 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/06/twilight-by-stephenie-meyer.aspx to post your comments!

 

twilight cover

Okay; I admit it. I have never liked vampires. From a very young age, I have been really very scared of them.

 

So when the Twilight books came out, I was reluctant to take them on. Sure, Harry Potter had his Dementors, but you could be pretty sure Harry would come out okay. With vampires, though, you never know.

 

But folks kept requesting the books, and other adults were telling me how good they were. So, as if drawn by the proverbial apple on the cover, I bit.

 

This is a well-written book for teens that has some appeal for adults as well. Bella is the quintessential misfit, the new girl at school. When she sees Edward, she is instantly enthralled by him, as are most of the other girls. That Edward and his family have a somewhat "unconventional" lifestyle doesn't seem to bother Bella. How the vampires cope in the human world, as well as with other supernatural beings, kept me reading on, and also sets the stage for other books in the Twilight series.

 

I'm glad, ultimately, that I read Twilight. The author has a very lyrical style, and seems to deal with the supernatural in ways that people can relate to - it's not gory or sensational. And, setting aside my cynical-adult hat for a moment, I have to say that the misfit teen/grand, eternal passion theme had a familiar, wistful resonance for me, as well.

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reviews fiction teens Vampires
<![CDATA[The brief but fascinating journey of a full-time hero: "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-brief-but-fascinating-journey-of-a-full-time-hero.aspx Tue, 26 Aug 2008 16:18:00 G8T 289 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-brief-but-fascinating-journey-of-a-full-time-hero.aspx to post your comments!

At first glance, Arnold Spirit Jr. has nothing going for him. Born with a number of physical maladies, he's the son of alcoholic parents living in poverty on Washington's Spokane Indian Reservation. He's beaten up on a regular basis.  Arnold has two saving graces, though: his friendship with Rowdy, the local bully who takes a shine to him; and his gifts as an artist and student.

One day, in a fit of frustration, Arnold picks up his thirty-year-old textbook (which his mother had also used) and indiscriminately hurls it across his classroom, breaking the teacher's nose. The teacher, Mr. P, sees something more in the action (and the student) than meets the eye. While Arnold is at home serving his suspension, Mr. P visits with a suggestion: Leave the reservation school, he says, and go to school in the rich white people's school twenty-two miles away. "You have to take your hope and go somewhere where other people have hope."

So Arnold does. Suddenly he finds himself split between two very different worlds: home on "the rez," with its rampant poverty and alcoholism, where people resent him for trying to better himself; and his new school and its wealthier community, where he is the only Indian (aside from the school's mascot).

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a teen book, and the misfit theme is nothing new in teen literature. But here's what makes it different, according New York Times reviewer Bruce Barcott: "Working in the voice of a 14-year-old forces Alexie to strip everything down to action and emotion, so that reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home." Combined with "Arnold's" drawings (done by Seattle artist Ellen Forney),  which illustrate the teen's anger, frustration, and humor, what might otherwise be a difficult or depressing story becomes a one of insight, possibilities, humor, and hope.

This is a terrific read for teens and adults alike.

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reviews fiction Native American teens
<![CDATA[Where (almost) no one has gone before]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/08/22/where-almost-no-one-has-gone-before.aspx Fri, 22 Aug 2008 17:05:00 G8T 268 myzticrhythmz@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/08/22/where-almost-no-one-has-gone-before.aspx to post your comments!

Found on one of my favorite blogs, Boing Boing, Good Magazine has created an interactive site documenting "history's greatest journeys." For all you armchair travelers, or students with the infamous "explorers" report, this Web site looks really nifty--check it out!

http://awesome.goodmagazine.com/features/011/Wanderlust/

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students history explorers