EVPL Communities: kiya@evpl's Blog Postshttp://evpl.org/community/blogs/All of kiya@evpl's blog posts on the EVPL Communities site.en-USCommunityServer 2008 SP1 (Build: 30619.63) <![CDATA[You Gotta Do When the Spirit Says Do]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2012/12/15/you-gotta-do-when-the-spirit-says-do.aspx Sat, 15 Dec 2012 15:04:00 G12T 2424 kiya@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/2012/12/15/you-gotta-do-when-the-spirit-says-do.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket     book jacket Speed Knitting     book jacket 7 day Afghan Book     book jacket Knitter's Year     book jacket One Skein wonders

Whether you need to make a gift for someone, or just keep your hands busy so you don't eat all the Christmas cookies at one time, the library has plenty of books and videos that tell you how to stay busy making things.  My particular fascination at the moment is knitting, so here is a smattering of the kinds of things the library has about knitting.

For a quick knitting project, take a look at these books:

Big Needle Knitting, edited by Bobbie Matela

Speed Knitting: 24 quick and easy projects, by Kris Percival

7-day afghan book by Jean Leinhauser

The Knitter's Year: 52 make-in-a-week projects, by Debbie Bliss

One Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant

If you are a beginning knitter, there are many books and DVDs to teach you how to knit. Here are a couple:book jacket

The Easy Learn to Knit in Just One Day

The Absolute Best Way to Learn How to Knit, with Leslye Solomon

For the experienced knitter, there are books about knitting with different

materials, or all kinds of projects beyond the traditional scarves and sweaters:

Knitting with Beads, by Jane Davis

Knit 2 Together, by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark

Fast Fun and Easy Fabric Knitting, by Cyndy Lyle Rymer

Easy Accessories: 50 chic projects to knit and crochet, from Family Circle

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet, by Lesley Stanfield

Cowlgirls: the neck's big thing to knit, by Cathy Carron

Home Knits: luxurious handknits for every room of the house, by Suss Cousins

Easy Toys: 25 delightful creations to knit and crochet, from Family Circle

The only real risk to checking out what the library has on your hobby is that you will end up like me, with too many projects and too little time!

book jacket knitting with beads book jacket Knit 2 Together  jacket knitting with fabric  jacket

jacket 100 flowers to knit  jacket Cowlgirls  jacket Home Knits  jacket Easy Toys

nonfiction knitting crafts
<![CDATA[Curiosity's big day: the Mars landing]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2012/08/03/curiosity-s-big-day-the-mars-landing.aspx Fri, 03 Aug 2012 11:17:00 G8T 2403 kiya@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/2012/08/03/curiosity-s-big-day-the-mars-landing.aspx to post your comments!

There's always been something special about Mars, and the way it has captured our imagination. This weekend marks the book jacket Exploring Marsopportunity to learn more about the planet that we have so long imagined.

Last November the new Mars rover, Curiosity, was encased in a space capsule launched toward Mars via Atlas rocket. I've been vaguely following it in the news, but never stopped to think about what a mission like this might entail. Saturday Sunday night (well, Sunday Monday morning at 12:31 am CDT) Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars.  I had given even less thought to what that might be like; after all, I've seen plenty of splashdowns and shuttle landings.  No big deal anymore, right?  Then the president of Caltech sent me a link to a 5 minute video about the difficulties involved in just the landing of the rover, and how the planners have dealt with each of the problems along the way. Take a few moments to watch "Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror."

book jacket NASA's Next Giant LeapPresident Chameux also said:

Since its launch in November 2011, the MSL mission and Curiosity have captured the world's attention.  The promise of science and planetary exploration continues to inspire millions across the world, from school children and educators, to scientists, public officials and journalists. On August 5th at 10:31pm PDT we hope to begin a new era of discovery on Mars.  But it won't be easy. Historically, about 1 in 3 missions attempting to approach Mars have been successful.

MSL is the most ambitious mission in the history of robotic planetary exploration. It is not just important for our nation, it is important for the world.  The Curiosity rover will allow us to explore big questions-mainly, could Mars have ever supported life? Determining Mars's past or present habitability would be a game-changer. In addition, we want to investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and learn more about this planet's atmospheric processes.

The data retrieved from Mars will be used in research centers around the world to expand knowledge and to chart new pathways for exploration. Students of all ages will be exposed to new insights in planetary science. And science and engineering discoveries will continue to impact society in unimaginable ways. In short, the opportunities are endless.

On Sunday, we will hold our breath in anticipation during a seven-minute period as the MSL spacecraft blazes through the Martian atmosphere at 13,200 mph, puts on the brakes, and lowers Curiosity to the planet's surface.... In life, nothing is guaranteed, and given the boldness of the MSL mission, many things could go wrong. Luckily, MSL has the most innovative technology available guiding it safely to the surface of Mars.

Want to learn more?                                                       

                                                                      jacket of Packing for Mars

Mars astronomy NASA
<![CDATA[If you could live your life over again]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2012/04/24/if-you-could-live-your-life-over-again.aspx Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:59:00 G4T 2378 kiya@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/2012/04/24/if-you-could-live-your-life-over-again.aspx to post your comments!

Ever wanted a second chance?
Ken Grimwood's novel "Replay" is story of the ultimate second chance. Jeff Winston, the main character, leads a "successful" but not very happy life, until at age 43, he has a heart attack and dies at his desk. The next thing he knows, he's waking up in his college dorm room, at the age of 18, with all his 43 years of memories intact.

This is a book I loved the first time I read it, and have re-read several times since then. I continue to enjoy it, but in somewhat different way twenty years later. I'm not the only one.

cover of audiobook of Replay

Brad Meltzer, best-selling author says:

"Of course, this being a thriller, there's a love interest and a bad guy. But the best part of Replay isn't the plot; it's the fact that the book is about you - yes, you.

The moment Ken Grimwood has his authorly hooks in you, you can't help but look at your own life and think, 'What would I do differently if I could live my life again?' And not in the way we all casually play this game. Really - What would I do differently?"

Join us Tuesday, May 1, 2012, from 6:30pm - 7:30pm in the North Park Branch meeting room as we discuss this fascinating novel, and what it has to say about a life well-lived.


Grimwood's novel has inspired lots of fans, multiple rumors of movies to be made, and even has its own Wikipedia page. [warning - the Wikipedia entry contains spoilers]

One fan made his own video reviewing the book and providing information on this little-known author.

Brad Meltzer's episode on NPR's You Must Read This

Copies of Replay at EVPL


Discussion Questions that other Book Groups have used:

1.    Discuss the differences between the lives of Jeff Winston and Pamela Phillips.

2.    Jeff Winston tries to re-connect with his first wife, Linda on the exact day, at the exact same beach where they first met but fails. Would there have been any way for him to do that that wouldn't be creepy? 

3.    Jeff and Pamela finally meet. What was your first reaction to this?

4.    Is there a parable in the story? What is it trying to say about life?

5.    What conclusion do you draw from the epilogue?


fiction Ken Grimwood time travel Replay
<![CDATA[April showers bring.. ...rain delays - this season's baseball books]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2012/04/12/april-showers-bring-rain-delays-this-season-s-baseball-books.aspx Thu, 12 Apr 2012 10:53:00 G4T 2376 kiya@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/2012/04/12/april-showers-bring-rain-delays-this-season-s-baseball-books.aspx to post your comments!

Baseball season is here, and with it, a whole new lineup of baseball books.  book jacket driving mr yogi

I just finished reading Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift  by Harvey Araton, and it is a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Yankees' spring training.  For years, former pitching ace Ron Guidry has been the designated chauffeur and companion to baseball legend Yogi Berra at this spring ritual.  Araton examines their relationship, and the love, tenderness, and loyalty that has long been a tradition that baseball hides behind the more visible traditions of trash talking and chewing tobacco.

Spending time with Yogi Berra means learning about all the others whose lives he has touched. The reader meets the other players who have played with or for Yogi. Did you know that Don Mattingly wears number 8 on his Dodgers uniform in honor of Yogi Berra? There is more than one glimpse of George Steinbrenner, and the 14 year estrangement which ended when Steinbrenner flew to New Jersey to apologize to Yogi.  I recommend this book about the magical relationship between men, and between men and baseball.

Other baseball books from the 2012 season include:



nonfiction Yankees baseball Yogi Berra
<![CDATA[He Says, She Says -- Getting Both Sides of the Story]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2012/03/31/he-says-she-says-getting-both-sides-of-the-story.aspx Sat, 31 Mar 2012 09:46:00 G3T 2370 kiya@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/2012/03/31/he-says-she-says-getting-both-sides-of-the-story.aspx to post your comments!

It's intriguing to hear both sides of a story - especially if you aren't personally involved, or stuck in the middle.

I like books which cover the same events from two or more perspectives. There are a lot of books coming out now which show multiple viewpoints, and the ones I've found have been enjoyable:

jacket Notes from the Blender  jacket Will Grayson  jacket Girl Meets Boy

                     jacket Jenna and Jonah      jacket of Boy Girl Boy 

    Sometimes the author will use two (or more) books to show the different sides of a story.  

jacket misfits  jacket Totally Joe  jacket Addie on the inside

Stephanie Meyer had intended a fifth book in the Twilight series:  Midnight Sun, which told the story of the first book again, but from Edward's point of view, rather than Bella's.  When someone leaked the first part of the manuscript as she was writing it, Meyer stopped work on the project, and posted the work-in-progress on her website. As far as I know, she has no plans to go back and finish it.

If you have other titles to suggest that show two or more viewpoints, I'd like to hear them.  Movies, too - I can only think of one right now.

fiction books point of view
<![CDATA[Finding a Good Book]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2012/03/11/finding-a-good-book.aspx Sun, 11 Mar 2012 15:14:00 G3T 2365 kiya@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/2012/03/11/finding-a-good-book.aspx to post your comments!

How do you hear about new books to read? Friends' suggestions? YouTube book trailers? Recommendations from Amazon? Best seller lists? Just browsing at the bookstore? Authors' blogs? [Here's a link to one of my favorite author blogs.] Asking your librarian? NoveList Plus from the EVPL databases and catalog?

I found a new place the other day to look for a new book: http://flamingnet.com/index.cfm.

Flamingnet is a website started by a teen reviewing Young Adult books for other teens. It now has thousands of reviews by reviewers across the US. You can browse the latest reviews, or search for specific authors or titles.

Several of my friends use Good Reads as a place to share and discuss books.  Similar sites are Library Thing and Shelfari.

One of the blogs I found is Teen Fiction Café, which is written by 12 authors of Teen Fiction, all talking about the books they love to read. Below are some of the books the library has with suggestions for reading.

book jacket  Book Crush  best books for teens  ultimate teen book guide

Let me know what you like to read, and how you find those books, or if you have one to recommend.

reviews books
<![CDATA[What Stories are For]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2012/03/06/what-stories-are-for.aspx Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:03:00 G3T 2362 kiya@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/2012/03/06/what-stories-are-for.aspx to post your comments!

 "Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a lifetime ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

-Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried, p.36

War and Our Communities: the 2012 Community Readbook jacket: The Things They Carried

The Community Read is a community project where various groups read The Things They Carried, written by Vietnam War veteran Tim O'Brien, and discuss the effects of serving in an active combat zone, how it affects soldiers and their families, and how the community can help ease veterans' reintegration.

The Reader's Guide describes the book:

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried (1990) is considered one of the finest books about the Vietnam War. Far from a combat story of pride and glory, it is a compassionate tale of the American soldier, brimming with raw honesty and thoughtful reflection.

The book's narrator follows a platoon of infantrymen through the jungles of Vietnam. We see them trudge through the muck of a constant downpour, get hit by sniper fire, pull body parts out of a tree, laugh while they tell their stories to each other, and fall silent when faced with making sense of it all-both in the moment and twenty years later.

The book is available at EVPL. Book discussions are being held at two EVPL locations:

  • Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 pm at North Park Branch Library
  • Monday, March 12, 3:30 pm at Oaklyn Branch Library

If you are interested in joining another group and are curious what groups are accepting new members, contact Helen D. Azarian by phone at 812/759-7635 or by email. If you are a veteran looking for a group, contact Greg Wagoner. Join an online discussion at the Community Read's Facebook page, or learn how to start your own online discussion.

Many other events are planned for the month of April.

north park branch oaklyn branch book discussions war military adult fiction community interest Vietnam The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien
<![CDATA[Are you App Happy?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2012/03/02/are-you-app-happy.aspx Fri, 02 Mar 2012 10:43:00 G3T 2360 kiya@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/2012/03/02/are-you-app-happy.aspx to post your comments!

EVPL is presenting two programs on Apps for your Apple and Android products.

  •  Apps Galore! is this coming Monday, March 5th, at North Park Branch, 6:30 pm.
  •  Amazing Apps will be Thursday, April 19th, 6:30 pm at Red Bank Branch.

Come join us to learn more about cool stuff for your smartphone or tablet! Share your favorite app!

In the meantime, take a look at these books to learn more:

     book jacket: Amazing Apps for Android     book jacket: incredible iPad apps     book jacket: incredible iphone apps

If you are in to developing Apps, there are even more books available!

north park branch red bank branch smartphones apps
<![CDATA[College Admissions, round 2]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2011/10/11/college-admissions-round-2.aspx Tue, 11 Oct 2011 16:14:00 G10T 2331 kiya@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/2011/10/11/college-admissions-round-2.aspx to post your comments!


My second child is now a high school junior, and we are once again getting overwhelmed by mail from colleges, the alphabet soup of tests - PSAT/ACT/ SAT/CLEP, and sometimes even the kindly questions about where she will go to school from every adult she meets.

If you, too, need help finding your way through this process, I highly recommend the College Prep series of programs scheduled at Red Bank Branch this month. This Thursday, the 13th, will be a presentation on Choosing the Right College, followed on Thursday the 20th by a talk on Applications and Admissions.  The series wraps up on Thursday the 27th by a program on Paying for College and Financial Aid. All programs begin at 6pm, and are presented by those who work in the field.

Once you have those under your belt, check out some of these materials:


8 first choices : an expert's strategies for getting into college / Joyce Slayton Mitchell

College admission : from application to acceptance, step by step / Robin Mamlet, Christine VanDeVelde

The financial aid handbook : getting the education you want for the price you can afford / Carol Stack and Ruth Vedvik


Then take a look at the following databases, available to you free through our website:

  • Career Transitions: Career Transitions walks users through the job-search process from beginning to end. Users can return to their profile in their library - or remotely - to track and update their progress. Career Transitions employs a step-by-step approach to help people: 1) explore new career possibilities; 2) assess their interests and experience; 3) identify ways to improve their prospects, including networking and education; 4) prepare for a job search; and 5) search and apply for jobs.
  • Testing & Education Reference Center: A start-to-finish resource with all the information and support materials needed to make informed, confident decisions to shape the rest of your life. Includes High School Tools, College Prep Tools, and Career Tools.




red bank branch education databases college help programs
<![CDATA[Visiting Another World - Welcome to Westeros]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2011/02/21/visiting-another-world-welcome-to-westeros.aspx Mon, 21 Feb 2011 12:57:00 G2T 2265 kiya@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/2011/02/21/visiting-another-world-welcome-to-westeros.aspx to post your comments!

Lately, my reading time has been spent in Westeros, a world created by George R. R. Martin for his series, A Song of Ice and Fire. My son is a longtime Martin fan, and many library customers are as well: all are anxiously awaiting Book 5 in the set. Meanwhile, HBO is producing a TV series based on Martin's works. Called A Game of Thrones (also the title of the first book), the first episode airs April 17, and the first season is supposed to roughly correspond to the first book.  I decided it was time to read the books - before the TV show airs. I'd been putting it off, because these are big books, and I have to be in the mood to read fantasy. I was soon captivated by the world of Westeros, and the intrigue and complications of life in a somewhat medieval society.

Martin has lots of realistic, complicated characters. It isn't easy to tell the heroes and villains apart. The heroes have flaws and make mistakes, and even the worst villains have some redeeming qualities (well, maybe not one of them...). Entranced by the first book, I started the second as soon as I finished the first. I enjoy piecing together bits of information to figure out something, and that happens in these books.

When I finished reading the books, I listened to the audiobooks and caught some details I had missed. Roy Dotrice, who performs the first 3 audiobooks, is marvelous; he brings the characters to life. Realistic characters I can care about are very important to my enjoyment of a book, and Martin's books are well and intricately plotted, too. There is profanity in the books, as well as graphic violence and sex. If that isn't a problem, then I highly recommend these books for folks who like to spend some time in another world.

 cover Game of Thrones    cover clash ofkings    cover storm of swords    cover a feast for crows

Writing this, I‘ve remembered some of the other worlds I have loved to visit. I was in junior high when I discovered Sylvia Louise Engdahl, and her 3-book Children of the Star series, as well as her Enchantress from the Stars/The Far Side of Evil set. These are favorites which I reread every few years. Mercedes Lackey has written several related series taking place in a world she calls Valdemar.  Marion Zimmer Bradley created a world called Darkover, and even invited readers in to play. Along with Bradley's books, there are collections of short stories by other writers which take place in the world Bradley created.

children of the star     enchantress from the stars     exile's honor    age of chaos 

I love getting immersed in another place and time, and seeing the world from that different point of view.  J. K. Rowling created a wonderful magical world with her Harry Potter series.  In his Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer created another magical world, just as wondrous, and completely different from the Potter world.  I enjoyed Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, and am hoping that the sequel, The Wise Man's Fear, will be just as wonderful when it comes out this week.

harry potter              


audiobooks fiction sequels Science Fiction Fantasy series J K Rowling Patrick Rothfuss action speculative fiction Mercedes Lackey George R R Martin Eoin Colfer Marion Zimmer Bradley Sylvia Louise Engdahl
<![CDATA[Thinking of buying an e-reader? ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2010/11/23/thinking-of-buying-an-e-reader.aspx Tue, 23 Nov 2010 15:56:00 G11T 2234 kiya@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/2010/11/23/thinking-of-buying-an-e-reader.aspx to post your comments!

Wouldn't it be nice to look over all the major brands at once, seeing what the print looks like, learning how they feel in your hands, all without the sales pressure found at a store?

Now you can drop by the library on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 6:30-7:30 pm and MEET THE E-READERS!

Come to the Large Group Room. We'll have the best known e-readers for you to try.

See how they work!

Learn which ones accept FREE downloads from Overdrive @ EVPL, the library's digital collection!

Find out which readers require you to purchase content, and what sources are available to you.

It's your chance to look them over, try them out, and ask questions of someone who isn't trying to sell one. See you there!


Helpful links:


What has your experience been with e-readers?

I use the eReader app and the Kindle for iPhone app on my iTouch, but it is too small for me to use on a regular basis. Still, it is great for an emergency book, and while traveling. The backlit screen even lets me read at night in the hotel room without bothering others who are sleeping.


Central Library, Large Group Room

200 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 6:30-7:30 pm




overdrive ebooks ipod touch Sony Reader gifts ebook readers kindle nook
<![CDATA[Great Scott! It's that Rocky Horror time of year again!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2010/09/30/great-scott-it-s-that-rocky-horror-time-of-year-again.aspx Thu, 30 Sep 2010 15:51:00 G9T 2212 kiya@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/" target="_blank">Movies Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2010/09/30/great-scott-it-s-that-rocky-horror-time-of-year-again.aspx to post your comments!

October is almost here, and along with the scarecrows, the rustling leaves, and Halloween candy everywhere you look, there are signs of The Rocky Horror Picture Show all around...

This year, a whole new generation of folks will be introduced to the movie and music on October 26th, when the kids of Glee tackle the music of Rocky Horror in a brand-new episode.  The accompanying soundtrack will be released on October 19th.  Details are found here.   

35 years after it's release, the campy b-movie tribute has loyal followers who never miss it. It has been shown at Mesker since 2003 - this year's showing is Friday, October 1st. Details in the C&P article here.

It's been reported that Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf from the original movie will be making appearances on the Rocky Horror episode of Glee. If your Rocky Horror knowledge needs refreshing, copies are available for checkout from EVPL.

And if you are interested more in an analysis of the movie, it's making,  and it's popularity, we also have that:

Rocky Horror: from Concept to Cult  by Scott Michaels and David Evans

horror Glee camp Rocky Horror
<![CDATA[Thinking About College - for students and parents]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/09/22/thinking-about-college-for-students-and-parents.aspx Wed, 22 Sep 2010 16:39:00 G9T 2206 kiya@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/2010/09/22/thinking-about-college-for-students-and-parents.aspx to post your comments!

I'm a college mom now -  dropped our son off at campus and came home alone. The school feels like a good fit for him, and we're pleased with how the admissions and financial aid worked out, though he is a little farther away than we had first imagined.

We got a tremendous amount of help from his school, which is small, with an exceptional counselor who gave him lots of individual attention.  Still, I learned a lot from the College Prep programs we've hosted at Red Bank for the last several years. Many parents whose kids have gone to larger schools tell me that the programs have been invaluable to them.

Learn more about the programs here:

In the meantime, here are a few of our new books on the subject:


red bank branch families college admissions parents
<![CDATA[The Last Lion of Baseball]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/07/14/the-last-lion-of-baseball.aspx Wed, 14 Jul 2010 15:08:00 G7T 2175 kiya@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/2010/07/14/the-last-lion-of-baseball.aspx to post your comments!

George M Steinbrenner  cover of Steinbrenner: the Last Lion of Baseball

7/4/1930 - 7/13/2010


I am not a fan of George Steinbrenner. So when someone recommended Bill Madden's new biography of the man, Steinbrenner: the last lion of baseball, I wasn't too interested. Still, sometimes you learn the most reading about folks you don't really understand, so I took the book home to give it a try.

Madden does a great job of depicting Steinbrenner in all his facets: the well-known verbally abusive "Boss", the less obvious philanthropist, and all the contradictory parts of his nature that fell between those poles. Madden's focus is on Steinbrenner's adult life, especially the Yankee-owning years.  I learned a lot about Steinbrenner, and more about the impact he has had on baseball, a game I love to watch and read about, but haven't lately had enough time to fully pay attention to.

While reading this book I know my family heard me say at least a half-dozen times, "I am SO GLAD I don't work for George Steinbrenner!"  I am still not a fan of the man, but I did learn enough to appreciate him more than I ever had before.

Books at EVPL about George Steinbrenner

Major League Baseball's tribute to George Steinbrenner

biography Yankees baseball George Steinbrenner
<![CDATA[Happy Father's Day: The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/06/11/happy-father-s-day-the-council-of-dads-by-bruce-feiler.aspx Fri, 11 Jun 2010 14:43:00 G6T 2165 kiya@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/2010/06/11/happy-father-s-day-the-council-of-dads-by-bruce-feiler.aspx to post your comments!

My brother-in-law Angelo died of cancer at the age of 43, when his daughter was less than two years old.  I thought of him often as I read The Council of Dads, by Bruce Feiler. Feiler was also in his 40s, active and seemingly healthy when his bone cancer was discovered.  His twin daughters were barely three years old. As Feiler learned about his chances for beating the cancer (not high) and the regimen that would be required for the battle (daunting -  a full year of radiation and chemo, followed by surgery to remove much of his thigh bone and muscles, followed by more chemo), his worries mounted.  He worried not only about his own health and prognosis, but also about how his wife could manage her growing business, parent two young children without much help from him, and the stresses that the year would place on her.  Most of all, he worried about his daughters, and how they would survive the family strain of what he soon called "The Lost Year." Beyond that, he pondered what they would miss if he didn't survive.  He said:book jacket of The Council of Dads

...I kept coming back to Eden and Tybee and how difficult life might be for them.  Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my discipline, my love?

My voice.

A few days later, I woke up suddenly before dawn and though of a way I might help re-create my voice for them.  I started making a list of six men - from all parts of my life, beginning with when I was a child and stretching through today. These are the men who know me best. The men who share my values. The men who helped shape and guide me. The men who traveled with me, studied with me, have been through pain and happiness with me.

Men who know my voice.

Feiler gave some thought to the project, and contacted the men. All agreed to become part of his Council of Dads.  In his book, published just this month, Feiler shares with us the story of that year, and also the stories of his life with the men who became his Council of Dads, and the lessons he learned from them. The book ends last summer, not too long after his year of treatment ended. He survived the treatment, and has a decent chance of becoming a long-term survivor. Should he not survive, the gift he left his daughters (and all of us) in this book is tremendous. Spend a little time with Bruce Feiler's story, then take some time to think about all those who have acted as father to you along the way.  It might be time to give them a call, or drop them a line, or share their story with someone else.  Angelo, my brother-in-law, was the only person who managed to teach me to drive a stick shift, though many tried.  His patience, his confidence in me, his sensitivity to my fear of humiliation (the previous tries were disasters), and his caring all worked when nothing else had.  I still miss him.

Happy Father's Day.

illness fathers Bruce Feiler cancer
<![CDATA[Summer Adventures: How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2010/06/01/summer-adventures-how-to-build-a-house-by-dana-reinhardt.aspx Tue, 01 Jun 2010 19:42:00 G6T 2160 kiya@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/2010/06/01/summer-adventures-how-to-build-a-house-by-dana-reinhardt.aspx to post your comments!

Harper Evans is 17, and just lost her best friend and stepsister when their parents divorced. Anxious to get away from all the drama and heartache, she volunteers for a summer of community service, building homes in Tennessee, in a town devastated by a tornado.  The story alternates between HERE - the summer in Tennessee, and HOME - the story of her family, and how they came together and then apart. It is a difficult summer for Harper, but she reaches out of her comfort zone, and learns a lot about what she wants from life, and what she needs from people.

I really liked this story, and am now anxious to read other books by this author. EVPL has a couple:

Harmless (2007)

When Anna, Emma, and Mariah concoct a story about why they are late getting home one Friday night, their lie has unimaginable consequences for the girls, their families, and the community.

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life (2006)

Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom's life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.

Reinhardt's fourth novel, The Things a Brother Knows, is due out this September.

cover of how to build a house   cover of harmless   cover of a brief chapter in my impossible life

teens Dana Reinhardt families community service
<![CDATA[Happy Belated Mother's Day: The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/06/01/happy-belated-mother-s-day-the-gift-of-an-ordinary-day-by-katrina-kenison.aspx Tue, 01 Jun 2010 10:17:00 G6T 2158 kiya@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/2010/06/01/happy-belated-mother-s-day-the-gift-of-an-ordinary-day-by-katrina-kenison.aspx to post your comments!

cover of The Gift of an Ordinary Day

I meant to write this several weeks ago, before Mother's Day, but I've had trouble sitting down to try and put into words what this book meant to me.  I picked it up last fall when it was new. The flyleaf  calls it "a memoir of a family in transition" and mentioned children becoming teenagers, and the search for the right college for Kenison's older son.  Because my children are teens, and my son was in the midst of the college search, I took it home.

Kenison was in the midst of more transitions - her family also moved from a Boston suburb to rural New Hampshire, they ended up with a house requiring much renovation, and there were job changes for the parents, as well. Though Kenison's choices were different than the ones I probably would have made, I deeply understood her feelings of struggling to see what would be best for her family, and to balance the sacrifices of each against the benefits for each. Sometimes she took my breath away with the honesty in her descriptions of the arguments with her sons, especially her younger, newly adolescent son who hated the move to New Hampshire. Still, they weathered it all, and came through a stronger family, though one that was beginning to move in different directions.

What brought this to mind as Mother's Day approached, was the sense that while parenting encompasses lots of sacrifices on the part of the adults, the gifts in parenting go both ways, and Kenison clearly shows this in her story. The greatest gifts, she believes, are not in the big days, but in the ordinary days.

Katrina Kenison's website

Katrina Kenison's blog

EVPL copies of The Gift of an Ordinary Day

                  EVPL copies of Mitten Strings for God, Kenison's earlier book


families memoir community college admissions parents mothering New Hampshire
<![CDATA[It's a Disaster!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2010/04/08/it-s-a-disaster.aspx Thu, 08 Apr 2010 10:57:00 G4T 2140 kiya@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/2010/04/08/it-s-a-disaster.aspx to post your comments!

Susan Beth Pfeffer wasn't getting any writing done.  The author of many books for children and teens just couldn't think of anything interesting to write.  And then one afternoon she watched an old movie on cable.  Meteor, with Sean Connery and Natalie Wood, was a not-very-well regarded 1979 movie about an asteroid headed for the Earth. The movie didn't hold her interest, but it did start her wondering what it would be like for teenagers to live in such world-changing times.  The eventual result was her YA novel, Life as We Knew It (2006), about Miranda and her family in small town Pennsylvania. An asteroid is involved, but it doesn't hit the Earth. Instead, it bumps Earth's moon, and nudges it considerably closer to Earth, which in turn affects the tides, the weather, and eventually the climate as volcanos erupt more frequently, and the sky is filled with so much ash that sunlight reaching the plants is diminished. It's hard to say that this book is enjoyable, as the topic is so grim, and Pfeffer doesn't pull any punches about hunger, lack of reliable electricity, lack of modern communication and such would do to our daily lives.  It is compelling, however, and does say something about the will to survive, and the capacity of people to look out for each other.  

Still, the idea didn't leave Pfeffer, and two years later she wrote a companion book The Dead and the Gone (2008) about another teen and his family coping with the same disaster, but in the middle of New York City.  The problems for Alex and his sisters are a little different than those Miranda faced, and the details may be even grimmer.  But still, there is good as well as evil in Alex's life, and he learns to appreciate what remains, even when so much is lost, and to continue to look to the future.

This month, a third volume in what is now being called The Last Survivors series is being published.  This World We Live In brings Miranda and Alex and their families together a year after the world changed. Trying to move on with their lives, they try to discover whether it is worth the risk to become attached to people in such a dangerous world.

I'm not sure why folks like watching disaster movies, or reading about devastation, but there is something about it that attracts. Maybe we are measuring ourselves against the disaster - would we cope? Could we survive? A while back, TeenLibrarian blogged about some hurricane books. I still remember the first disaster books I read.  They are pretty old now, but I might have to re-read them to see how they have held up over the years. On the Beach, by Nevil Shute is set in a post-nuclear war world. I liked it, but the one that really caught me emotionally was Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, also with a post-nuclear setting. Condominium by John D MacDonald was about a level 5 hurricane in Florida, and the descriptions felt so real to me that I remember being amazed when I stopped reading to answer the door that the sun was shining outside - it wasn't pouring down rain.  By the way, I'm not sure I do have what it takes to survive when things get that tough. What about you?


hurricane teens disasters asteroid
<![CDATA[Book Characters as old friends]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/04/06/book-characters-as-old-friends.aspx Tue, 06 Apr 2010 16:11:00 G4T 2139 kiya@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/2010/04/06/book-characters-as-old-friends.aspx to post your comments!

Long-running series sometimes grow a bit stale, but some authors are great about keeping their characters alive, growing, and interesting. I was lucky enough this past month to revisit three old friends.


Kinsey Millhone, the prickly PI from Sue Grafton's Alphabet mysteries, shows up in U is for Undertow, which came out late last year. Since Grafton started with A is for Alibi, it is clear Kinsey has been around for awhile. There were a few in this run where I was getting a little tired of Kinsey, but in the latest book, she is fresh and likable again, as she struggles with a long-cold case of a missing 4 year old girl. She struggles even more to adjust her ideas and attitudes about her own long-estranged family as she discovers that she didn't have the whole story before.

Kate Shugak, an Alaskan park rat, PI, and Native tribal chief is back in Dana Stabenow's latest: A Night Too Dark. Tensions are high as a huge new gold mine prepares to open within the park boundaries. It means great things for the economy, but major changes in the daily life of Niniltna. Throw in environmental activism, a suicide who won't stay dead, and there is plenty of excitement to keep you up until you finish the book. There are so many things I liked about this book: the mystery is great; Kate is learning to live with some peace and happiness; and there are some beautiful passages describing the short but intense growing period of Alaska.

Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator/psychologist in England between the World Wars, is a creation of Jacqueline Winspear. I really enjoy the thoughtful and deliberate investigations Maisie does, as well as the fact that she doesn't feel a case is over until her client is at peace with the answers. Winspear does sometimes withhold some of the information Maisie discovers for a "reveal" later on in the book, but that is a minor irritation compared with the magnificent characters she creates for us to meet. The latest book is The Mapping of Love and Death, and quite a worthy successor to the earlier books in the series.

sequels series dectectives Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs Kinsey Millhone Kate Shugak Dana Stabenow Sue Grafton
<![CDATA[But what happens AFTER happily ever after?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2010/03/10/but-what-happens-after-happily-ever-after.aspx Wed, 10 Mar 2010 10:42:00 G3T 2114 kiya@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/2010/03/10/but-what-happens-after-happily-ever-after.aspx to post your comments!

covere of after ever afterJordan Sonnenblick's new book, After Ever After, explores that question.  Jeffrey is in 8th grade, and doing pretty well, considering that he is a survivor of childhood leukemia. Even though he's glad to be alive, his life now has some added struggles beyond those expected in adolescence. The powerful drugs that saved his life also caused a fair amount of collateral damage. The possibility of the cancer recurring is diminished, but never goes away. And Jeffrey's older brother Steven, the rock he used to lean on, has gone to Africa to study drumming. [Steven's story of the year Jeffrey got cancer is told in Sonnenblick's first book: Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie.]

Jeffrey struggles through his year, finding more support than he realized was available, but not before stumbling a few times. The story never stops being interesting, and is by turns funny and heart-breaking.

I highly recommend Mr. Sonnenblick's books!



Jordan Sonnenblick's books at EVPL

Jordan Sonnenblick's website



        cover of drums girls and dangerous pie             cover notes from a midnight driver             cover zen and the art of faking it

death and dying teens Jordan Sonnenblick
<![CDATA[My Dick Francis addiction]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/02/16/my-dick-francis-addiction.aspx Tue, 16 Feb 2010 18:46:00 G2T 2094 kiya@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/2010/02/16/my-dick-francis-addiction.aspx to post your comments!

Dick Francis  jockey, mystery writer    10/31/1920 - 2/14/2010

jacket of Reflex   jacket of Decider   jacket of Blood Sport

My friend Theresa turned me on to Dick Francis and his mysteries. Her whole family was already hooked. And it only took one before I was, too. Francis' books followed a certain formula, but that formula included honorable men of integrity, often with a secret sadness or some emotional damage, and a determination to get to the bottom of whatever problem the bad guys were causing, no matter the cost. The heroes in these books are people you feel good about liking. They did tend to get beat up a lot, and because of that, I don't recommend reading too many in a row. Dick Francis is very realistic in his descriptions of pain - as a steeplechase jockey, he was well-acquainted with injury and pain.

In addition to having characters I liked, the books were very well-researched.  I always learned things I didn't know while reading a Dick Francis novel.  It might be about horses and racing, but it could just as well be about photography, wine, glassblowing, planes, acting, marksmanship, investment banking, or hurricanes. Folks often had the perception that because he had been a jockey, Dick Francis only wrote about horses. Not only was that wrong, even the books that were about horses and racing, were also about life, and loyalty, and knowing when you had to stand up for something, no matter how difficult.  The critic John Leonard once said, "Not to read Dick Francis because you don't like horses is like not reading Dostoevsky because you don't like God."

If you've never read Dick Francis, you have a treat in store. Where do you start? Nearly all are standalone novels [exceptions: 4 about Sid Halley: Odds Against, Whip Hand, Come to Grief, and Under Orders; and 2 about Kit Fielding: Break In and Bolt], so you can start almost anywhere without worrying about order. So what about my favorites? Reflex is great, and you'll learn a lot about cameras. Risk introduces you to the most interesting accountant. Blood Sport is his first set in the US, and gave me the first glimpse at depression where I thought I actually understood for a moment what living with depression is like. Nerve was the first I ever read, I'm pretty sure. Oh, and The Danger looks at the psychology of kidnapping.  The Edge takes place on a train ride across Canada......well, it's clear I can't pick a favorite for you. So, start with his earlier books. His later books, written with his son, are good, but not quite as wonderful as the ones he wrote with Mary, his wife.  And if you like it, don't read them all at once. Promise yourself the next one at a certain time in the future - re-create the sense of anticipation his fans always felt as the seasons changed and it was almost time for this year's Dick Francis. Ah well, rereading Dick Francis is almost as good as reading him for the first time.

mysteries author books and reading Dick Francis jockeys
<![CDATA[Charles and Emma: the Darwins' leap of faith]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/02/13/charles-and-emma-the-darwins-leap-of-faith.aspx Sat, 13 Feb 2010 14:32:00 G2T 2085 kiya@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/2010/02/13/charles-and-emma-the-darwins-leap-of-faith.aspx to post your comments!

image of book jacketYesterday was Charles Darwin's birthday, and tomorrow is Valentine's Day. That makes it the perfect time to tell you about an enchanting book called Charles and Emma: the Darwins' leap of faith by Deborah Heilingman. Heilingman opens the book with the scene of Charles Darwin, newly returned from his voyages on the HMS Beagle, trying to decide whether a scientist so devoted to his work has any business getting married. Darwin wants a wife and a family, but he knows already what some of the implications of his work will mean to those close to him. Eventually he decides in favor of a family, and finds a bride in Emma, a cousin he has known and been comfortable with his entire life.  Their fondness for each other deepens into love, and they both find themselves happier than they had ever expected to be. Still, there are clouds in their life as well.  Like many families of their time, some of their children die young, and the grief tears at them. Those deaths also touched on one of the other tensions of their relationship: Emma was a Christian with firm beliefs in Heaven and Hell; Charles struggled with the traditional religious view in light of what he had learned from science. Still, despite the tensions these opposing world views brought to their life, their marriage remained a partnership, with Emma remaining one of his first and best readers and critics. Heililngman brings her subjects to life, helping the reader understand the importance and impact of Darwin's work.  The book is relatively short, and a quick read - I heartily recommmend it for a slightly different view of Darwin.


biography love stories science Deborah Heiligman Darwin
<![CDATA[Reading everything I can find by...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2010/02/08/reading-everything-i-can-find-by.aspx Mon, 08 Feb 2010 18:38:00 G2T 2075 kiya@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/2010/02/08/reading-everything-i-can-find-by.aspx to post your comments!

S. L. Rottman!jacket of Out of the Blue

A book review caught my interest a few weeks ago, and I found that EVPL did own the book, and it was on the shelf! I checked it out, took it home, and really enjoyed Out of the Blue, the latest from S. L. Rottman.  The story opens with Stu and his mom arriving at the Air Force Base in Minot, ND. Stu was born there nearly 16 years ago, when his mom and dad were both stationed there. Now his mom is returning as base commander. They are also returning without Stu's brother, starting his freshman year at college, and without Stu's dad, who is officially "taking care of his ill mother in Nevada" and unofficially on a trial separation from Stu's mom. The author, who has lived on many Air Force bases over the years, gives what feels like a realistic depiction of life on base - both the good and the bad.

Stu struggles with the changes in his family, and also with finding the line between keeping his nose out of other folks' business and stepping in when someone needs helps. I enjoyed the story, and really cared about several of the characters. In fact, I liked it so much, I wanted to read more by this author.  I looked, and the library owns all of the author's titles.  It turned out I had read one several years ago, have now read three more since Out of the Blue, and have two left to go.  Here they are, most recent first, with summaries provided by the publisher.

Out of the Blue (Oct 2009) -

After moving to Minot, North Dakota, with his mother, the new female base commander, Air Force dependent Stu Ballentyne gradually becomes aware that something terrible is going on in his neighbor's house

Slalom (2004) -

Seventeen-year-old Sandro, having always lived in poverty with his mother in a wealthy ski resort town, finds his life transformed when the father he has never met suddenly returns and wants to be part of the family.

Shadow of a Doubt (2003) -

As his sophomore year in high school begins, fifteen-year-old Shadow joins the forensics team, makes new friends, and struggles to cope with the return of his older brother, who ran away seven years earlier and now faces a murder trial

Stetson (2002) -

Seventeen-year-old Stetson meets the sister he never knew he had, and together they try to make sense of their pasts

Hero  (2000) -

After years of abuse from his mother and neglect from his father, ninth-grader Sean Parker is headed for trouble until he is sent to do community service at a farm owned by an old man who teaches Sean that he can take control of his own life

Head Above Water (1999) -

Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming competitively.

Rough Waters (1997) -

After their parents' death in an automobile accident, two teenage brothers are sent to Colorado to live with an estranged uncle, owner of a white water rafting outfit


I've liked all the titles I've read so far, but my favorite would have to be Shadow of a Doubt or Hero. Have you found an author that you really enjoy? Enough to read all his/her titles, and recommend them to others?  I'm nearly out of S. L. Rottman books, and always enjoy finding a new author.

                         jacket for Slalom   cover of shadow of a doubt   jacket of stetson                

                         jacket of Hero   jacket of Head above water   cover of Rough Waters

fiction high school S L Rottman
<![CDATA[Losing Mum and Pup: a memoir]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/12/15/losing-mum-and-pup-a-memoir.aspx Tue, 15 Dec 2009 10:56:00 G12T 1979 kiya@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/2009/12/15/losing-mum-and-pup-a-memoir.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket for Losing Mum and PupChristopher Buckley usually writes funny, satirical novels (Supreme Courtship; Thank You for Smoking). I have read a few of his novels and enjoyed them. Still, I almost didn't pick up his newest book, Losing Mum and Pup, about the year during which both of his parents died. Writes Buckley: "They were not - with respect to every other set of loving, wonderful parents in the world - your typical mom and dad." William F Buckley (father of the modern Conservative movement) and his wife, Patricia Taylor Buckley, were both larger-than-life figures, with indomitable will and strong personality. As their only child, Christopher Buckley had an interesting and complicated relationship with his parents. This book made me laugh and cry, and reading it was a touching, enjoyable experience. I highly recommend this well-written, moving memoir.  It is also available as a downloadable e-book, audio on CD, and a downloadable audiobook. The audio versions are read by the author.

memoir death Christopher Buckley parents William Buckley
<![CDATA[Books are the BEST Presents!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/12/05/books-are-the-best-presents.aspx Sat, 05 Dec 2009 14:24:00 G12T 1972 kiya@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/2009/12/05/books-are-the-best-presents.aspx to post your comments!

At our house, we give a lot of books as gifts - that may be a librarian thing, or maybe just because our whole family loves to read. Some of the books we're giving this year:

For a nearly 11 year old:

When You Reach Me and First Light, both by Rebecca Stead

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin

Do you have favorite books you like to give as gifts? What has been your favorite book you received as a present?

books Christmas presents
<![CDATA[Religion and Fiction]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/12/05/religion-and-fiction.aspx Sat, 05 Dec 2009 11:59:00 G12T 1971 kiya@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/2009/12/05/religion-and-fiction.aspx to post your comments!

I'm teaching World Religions to Middle-schoolers at church this year, and as I plan out the year, I'm looking for novels dealing with the religions we are studying.  I find that a story helps the kids be more interested in the religion, and to process and remember the information better.

I've found a few, but thought I would ask for suggestions from all of you for other titles I might suggest to the kids. What have you read that deals with kids/teens and religion? Was it any good? Did it present information about the religion along with the story?  I enjoyed all of these books, but some were better than others at giving information about the religion, and some are more appropriate for 5th to 8th graders than others.

looking for bapu     confessions of a closet catholic     devil's arithmetic     zen and the art of faking it

Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee

When his beloved grandfather dies, eight-year-old Anu feels that his spirit is near and will stop at nothing to bring him back, including trying to become a Hindu holy man

Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Littman

To be more like her best friend, eleven-year-old Justine decides to give up Judaism to become Catholic, but after her beloved, religious grandmother dies, she realizes that she needs to seek her own way of being Jewish

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

When thirteen-year-old San Lee moves to a new town and school for the umpteenth time, he is looking for a way to stand out when his knowledge of Zen Buddhism, gained in his previous school, provides the answer--and the need to quickly become a convincing Zen master

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in

Roots and Wings by Many Ly

While in St. Petersburg, Florida, to give her grandmother a Cambodian funeral, fourteen-year-old Grace, who was raised in Pennsylvania, finally gets some answers about the father she never met, her mother's and grandmother's youth, and her Asian-American heritage

Myrtle of Willendorf by Rebecca O'Connell

A bright and artistic young woman with a fondness for junk food experiences a kooky modern-day coming of age by way of the Goddess within

          wednesday wars               roots and wings   

fiction teens religion
<![CDATA[One Book Leads to Another]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/10/18/one-book-leads-to-another.aspx Sun, 18 Oct 2009 15:23:00 G10T 1905 kiya@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/2009/10/18/one-book-leads-to-another.aspx to post your comments!

I was intrigued by the story of Gregory William's life in Life on the Color Line, and decided to look for other books about folks who cross racial lines. 

In fiction, I found 3 titles:

          jacket for Nothing but the truth          cover for face relations          cover for hot sour salty sweet

Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)     by Justina Chen Headley

          Patty Ho (yes, she's heard all the jokes about her name) is finishing up her freshman year of high school, wondering how she will get through the summer with her demanding mother. Patty's mother was a Taiwanese student when she fell in love with an American man studying in Taiwan. They married, and had two kids, moving to the United States. And then things fell apart. Patty's dad left when she was two, and she is finding it hard to live up to her mother's expectations. Math camp at Stanford wasn't her first choice, but when she realizes it will get her 900 miles away from her mom, she thinks it may work out after all.  And it does, though not the way she had imagined.

Face Relations:  11 stories about seeing beyond color    edited by Marilyn Singer

          Eleven stories by well-known authors, all about exploring the possibility of tearing down the walls between us.  Some funny, some sad, but all are hopeful.

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet     by Sherri L. Smith

          Ana Shen is about to graduate from eighth grade, which would be a good thing if it didn't mean that both sides of her family were there to celebrate.  Ana loves her parents, and her grandparents, but there is discomfort and competition between her Chinese grandparents and her African-American grandparents. Not to mention the Japanese-American parents of the guy she's crushing on. There is much to think about, as well as lots to laugh at, in this tale of Ana's graduation day.

In non-fiction, I found One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets, written by  Bliss Broyard after her father disclosed to her and her brother, that both his parents were mixed race, and that he had been "passing" for white most of his adult life. Bliss began her own search to understand her father, meeting relatives she had never known, visiting New Orleans, where her father was born, and coming to grips with what race does and doesn't mean to her.

Previously, I had read Shirley Taylor Haizlip's memoir: The Sweeter the Juice: a family memoir in black and white and Loving Across the Color Line: a white adoptive mother learns about race by Sharon E. Rush.

                    jacket of the sweeter the juice          jacket of loving across the color line

What have you read on the subject?  Anything you recommend?

books racism race
<![CDATA[College Admissions - where to start?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/09/30/college-admissions-where-to-start.aspx Wed, 30 Sep 2009 15:58:00 G9T 1876 kiya@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/2009/09/30/college-admissions-where-to-start.aspx to post your comments!

First, take a look at these programs coming up (FREE - at Red Bank Branch Library), and bring a friend or parent and come listen to professionals explain Choosing a College, Applying and Interviewing, and Financial Aid. You'll be glad you did!

You can also find lots of books on the subject in the Career section at your library - ask someone at the reference desk if you don't know where that is.

You can work on improving your test scores with the free online test prep available through the library.

Or if you are tired of learning the facts and procedures, you can read fiction about teens in the midst of choosing a college and the Admissions process.

  • Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman  -  Friends attempt to game the system and get an "unworthy" candidate admitted
  • Getting In: a novel by James Finney Boylan  -  Four high school seniors and their three chaperones take to the road in a Winnebago to interview at nine prestigious New England colleges
  • Better Than Yesterday by Robyn Schneider  -  Three seniors from an exclusive Connecticut prep school go to New York City to find their runaway friend, and in the process discover themselves and the true value of their friendship
  • Finding My Voice by Marie G. Lee  -  As she tries to enjoy her senior year and choose which college she will attend, Korean American Ellen Sung must deal with the prejudice of some of her classmates and pressure from her parents to get good grades
  • Very Far Away from Anywhere Else by Ursula LeGuin  -  Owen Griffiths, a seventeen-year-old outsider, learns to find his own way to a future in science through a friendship with a girl whose life is dedicated to music


red bank branch high school college admissions Learning Express college test prep
<![CDATA[Jane Brody - speaking at Central Library - Tuesday, October 6th, 7pm]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/29/jane-brody-speaking-at-central-library-tuesday-october-6th-7pm.aspx Tue, 29 Sep 2009 17:59:00 G9T 1874 kiya@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/2009/09/29/jane-brody-speaking-at-central-library-tuesday-october-6th-7pm.aspx to post your comments!

Most folks recognize Jane Brody as an advocate of healthful living. Her early books were all about good diets, healthy foods, and maintaining a good relationship with your doctor. But even healthy lives come to an end. Brody explains in the preface of her new book, Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond, that when we are fully prepared for the end of life, we are in a much better position to fully enjoy the time we have left.

Brody, the Personal Health columnist for the New York Times, provides clear practical help on recognizing the things we can do NOW to help make things easier when the end comes, whether it is sooner or later. She looks specifically at issues like:book jacket

  • What is a "good death"? Figure out what you want.
  • Planning ahead for a funeral or memorial service.
  • Uncertain Future: when you are living with a bad prognosis
  • Coma
  • Caregiving: tending someone at the end of life
  • Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Spiritual Care
  • When a Child is Dying - surviving the nightmare
  • What to Say: conversations at the end of life
  • Grief: it's not a disease
  • Organ and Body donations
  • Lasting Legacies: leaving memories and life lessons

Brody is resprectful of the people she writes about, but she also knows how and when to inject some humor into the discussion. While these issues are not fun to read about and sometimes hard to consider, Brody's book makes it easier. Highly recommended.

Don't miss your chance to hear Jane Brody in person, discussing these issues and her book. She will be this year's Lottes Lecturer at Central Library on Tuesday, October 6th, at 7pm in the Browning Room. The program is free, and open to the public. More information available here.

central library author visit illness death 2009 end of life issues Jane Brody Lottes Lecture
<![CDATA[College Admissions - what is a parent to do?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/23/college-admissions-what-is-a-parent-to-do.aspx Wed, 23 Sep 2009 17:35:00 G9T 1865 kiya@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/2009/09/23/college-admissions-what-is-a-parent-to-do.aspx to post your comments!

     cover of Get Into College          cover of Acceptance          jacket for Admission 

It's late September. This year's juniors are getting ready to take the PSATs, and seniors are squeezing in one last SAT or ACT while starting college applications and essays. What is a parent to do? How do you help, but still let the kids take the lead in this College Admission process?

You could read all the books that give more than anyone needs to know about how to apply, where to apply, what to put on the essay... and share that information with your grateful teen.


You could go online and meet other overwhelmed (and sometimes overwhelming!) parents on some of the online discussion boards. [note - be careful - some of these folks are REALLY intense]


You can make sure your kid knows about the free online test prep available through the library, and the free programs at the library offered by college counselors, university admissions and financial aid officers. And you can read some narrative non-fiction designed to let you look at the process.


Or you can read fiction about the Admissions process - and learn a little bit, in a more enjoyable way.

Whatever you choose, I wish you, and your teen, good luck.

red bank branch teens college college admissions Learning Express test prep
<![CDATA[Fake Boyfriend]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/09/16/fake-boyfriend.aspx Wed, 16 Sep 2009 09:51:00 G9T 1856 kiya@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/2009/09/16/fake-boyfriend.aspx to post your comments!

jacket for Fake Boyfriend

What is the right thing to do when your best friend is hung up on a jerk who keeps breaking her heart over and over again?

Lane and Vivi decide they need to protect Isabelle from her own tender heart, and hatch a plot to prove to her that there are other wonderful guys out there in the world. Unfortunately, the plot includes making up a guy on MySpace to chat with her. Of course it doesn't take long before things escalate, and more conspirators are brought in, and the plot gets wilder and more impossible. Kate Brian, who writes creepy YA fiction for the series Private and Privilege, also does humor well. Pick up Fake Boyfriend, and give yourself a laugh or two. Be prepared to be a little exasperated, as well.  My daughter kept saying, "If everyone would only tell the truth, it would all be okay."

Other romantic comedies from Brian:jacket for Princess and the Pauper

The Lucky T

The Princess and the Pauper

The V Club



Kate Brian's MySpace page





love stories teens chick lit Kate Brian
<![CDATA[Brendan Buckley's Universe - and everything in it]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/09/14/brendan-buckley-s-universe-and-everything-in-it.aspx Mon, 14 Sep 2009 16:26:00 G9T 1851 kiya@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/2009/09/14/brendan-buckley-s-universe-and-everything-in-it.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket for Brendan Buckley's universe

Brendan is a ten year old scientist.  He likes to understand the world and how it works. He has a whole notebook of the questions he has about the world, and the answers he has discovered.  Brendan is ten, and one day at a rock show at the mall, he accidentally runs into the grandfather he has never met - his mom's dad. No one will tell him why his grandpa Ed lives ten miles away, and they've never met.  Brandon begins to suspect that it is because his mom is white, and his dad is black.   Brandon is already struggling to understand why the color of his skin makes a difference to people he doesn't even know, and finding that some questions just don't seem to have good answers.

This is an interesting, thought-provoking book about a subject that can be hard for kids to understand. Sundee Frazier, the author, is multi-racial, and makes the subject accessible to pre-teens.


fiction boys multiracial race
<![CDATA[Eight Years Ago - 9/11 in books]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/11/eight-years-ago-9-11-in-books.aspx Fri, 11 Sep 2009 12:02:00 G9T 1840 kiya@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/2009/09/11/eight-years-ago-9-11-in-books.aspx to post your comments!

I've read a few books about 9/11 that really touched me, and brought the events of that day home to me in a more personal way.

jacket of Touching HistoryTouching History: the untold story of the drama that unfolded in the skies over America on 9/11 by Lynn Spencer

This book explores the events of 9/11 as they unfolded to the folks who were right there - the air traffic controllers, the FAA decision makers, and the military and reservists who responded while the rest of us had not yet heard, or had just turned on the TV or accessed CNN online.  Quite enlightening, Spencer gives a real sense of how difficult it was to figure out what was going on and how to deal with it. It was difficult for the air traffic controllers to recognize that a hijacking had happened (so 80s, you know), and then the wrench of realizing that these hijacked planes were not being flown to Cuba, but turned into weapons of mass destruction.  By the end, I was in awe of the men and women who worked through the crisis.


The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFedejacket of Day the World

So when the USA closes its airspace, what happens to all the international flights already en route to the US? On 9/11/01, 38 jetliners headed for the US were forced to land in Gander, bringing over 6500 passengers and crew members to a small town of about 10000 to stay for several days, until American airports reopened. This charming book tells of how the folks of that small town opened their hearts, their homes, and their arms to welcome these strangers. Food was cooked, beds were found, pharmacists called doctors all over the world and filled prescriptions, and volunteers took care of the animals that had been traveling in the cargo holds of the planes. This is a heartwarming book that demonstrates that whatever weaknesses were exposed during that attack, the human strengths of our society were exposed as well.


jacket of Dear ZoeDear Zoe by Philip Beard

The events of 9/11 are beginning to show up in fiction as well.  There are many fine novels that begin to explore those events directly. This book, however, is about 15 year old Tess DeNunzio, who is trying to survive her family's personal 9/11 tragedy.  On 9/11, while Tess and her mother watched the news coverage, her 3 year old sister Zoe wandered from the yard to the street, where she was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Tess and her family struggled to keep their grief from getting lost in the larger tragedy and its aftermath, finally lapsing into silence. This book shows Tess' struggle to break the silence, and to bring her heart and family back to life.


These are three of the books dealing with 9/11 that resonated with me. Do you have a favorite to share?

9/11 grief Gander Philip Beard
<![CDATA[The Night of the Roundtable]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/14/the-night-of-the-roundtable.aspx Fri, 14 Aug 2009 13:11:00 G8T 1766 kiya@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/2009/08/14/the-night-of-the-roundtable.aspx to post your comments!

I looked at my daughter's soccer schedule, and said, "Oh, great! You don't have practice on Aug 25th. That's the night of the Roundtable." 

My son looked at me quizzically, and said, "the Knight of the Round Table?"

It took me a minute, but then I realized what was going on, and explained.  I wasn't expecting Sir Lancelot  but rather, I wanted us to attend the One Book One Community Roundtable Discussion at Barnes and Noble on the evening of the 25th. Held at 7pm, it will feature many local leaders talking about this year's One Book title:  Life on the Color Line by Dr. Gregory H. Williams. jacket of life on the color line

More information on the Round Table Discussion

More information on this year's book and author

Dates and times of book discussions at the local libraries

Remember the most important date:

Dr. Gregory H. Williams will be speaking to the community at Bosse High School on Thursday, Oct 1  at 7:30 pm.  



book discussions one book one community families poor author visit growing up Racism African Americans Gregory Williams
<![CDATA[A Road Story that nearly wasn't published]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/11/a-road-story-that-nearly-wasn-t-published.aspx Tue, 11 Aug 2009 13:01:00 G8T 1753 kiya@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/2009/08/11/a-road-story-that-nearly-wasn-t-published.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket of Memory of RunningThe Memory of Running by Ron McLarty tells the story of Smithson Ide, a fellow who sort of let life get away from him. After his world is drastically shaken up by the unexpected deaths of his parents, Smithy almost accidentally finds himself riding his bicycle cross-country. What began as a short, drunken bicycle ride becomes a transformative journey that allows Smithy to rediscover himself and America.

That explains the "Road Story" but what about the "that nearly wasn't published"?

For most of his adult life, Ron McLarty has made his living as a character actor, but never quite made it into the big time. He also worked as a performer of audiobooks, which became a steady gig. McLarty is also a prolific writer, but his ten novels were ignored by publishers, though. These days, many publishers won't take a chance on an unknown author, especially an older author.  In 2000, McLarty showed one of his bosses at Recorded Books his manuscript of The Memory of Running, which began life as a play before growing into a novel. She liked it, and decided to produce it as an Audiobook Original.

In 2003, Stephen King listened to the audiobook, and loved it. Then he wrote about it in his Entertainment Weekly column, calling it the "best book you can't read," and encouraging readers of the column to buy or rent the title from Recorded Books.  It wasn't long after that the agents and publishers started calling.  The book was edited a bit more, and then published (which is why the audiobook version is different from the print version) to good reviews. Since then, the book has been optioned for a film, with a tentative 2010 date. McLarty has had two other books published as well: Traveler and Art in America. 

There will be a book discussion of The Memory of Running at Red Bank Branch on Wednesday, August 12th, at noon. Join us to talk about this thought-provoking book!

audiobooks book discussions bicycling road trip Ron McLarty
<![CDATA[Finding a Favorite Author again]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/03/finding-a-favorite-author-again.aspx Mon, 03 Aug 2009 17:36:00 G8T 1725 kiya@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/2009/08/03/finding-a-favorite-author-again.aspx to post your comments!

book cover for A heartbeat Away

Many years ago, I discovered the wonderful novels of Barbara Rogan, and quickly read all that she had written. Each was different from the others, but all were well-written.  I loved A Heartbeat Away so much that I chose it for a book discussion title many many years ago. It is still my favorite romantic ghost story.  When I realized it was going out of print, I bought several paperback copies, and have now given away all but my last copy.  I reread it again recently, and found that I love it still.  Crow, Elias, Alice, Pilar and Dr. Graystone are unforgettable characters. There was a tiny part of me that was surprised to find them just as I had left them - they seemed real enough to have gone on with their lives after I closed the book...

After finishing A Heartbeat Away, I checked to see if Rogan had anything new since I had last looked - she is not on a book a year pace like some authors, and it is easy to lose track of her titles.  I found one I hadn't read, and saw on her website that another one is almost ready to be published, so I have new treats to anticipate. Why don't you give her books a try?

Barbara Rogan's website

ghost stories love stories music Barbara Rogan medical stories grief
<![CDATA[Newman’s Own - Shameless Exploitation for the Common Good]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/07/29/newman-s-own-shameless-exploitation-for-the-common-good.aspx Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:22:00 G7T 1713 kiya@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/2009/07/29/newman-s-own-shameless-exploitation-for-the-common-good.aspx to post your comments!

          Paul Newman a life jacket  jacket of People magazine book about Newman  jacket of shameless exploitation

I’ve always been a Paul Newman fan, and was aware that a couple of books had been published about him since his death, but couldn’t remember the titles. Along the way to finding those two books (Paul Newman: a life by Shawn Levy and the People Magazine Tribute: Paul Newman), I ran across another title that caught my interest.

Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good: the Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple was written by Paul Newman and A. E Hotchner, and describes the many experiences that grew out of Newman’s desire to bottle a few jars of his homemade salad dressing to give to friends. While breaking nearly every business start-up rule that exists, they somehow developed a company and product line that gives away its profits (over $265 million, to date) and positively affected the lives of thousands of folks.

The book travels from the unexpected birth of the company, to the amazing success of the first years (they had been so sure the business would fail, the only furniture in the office was the pool furniture from Newman’s back yard), to the problem of choosing which charities should receive the money. There is a good-sized section on the development of the original Hole-In-the-Wall-Gang camp for children with serious/terminal illness, and all the related camps that followed. I found the book truly delightful, and enjoyed how good it made me feel to read it.

My favorite quote from the book:  “I never thought I’d get into science, but being able to turn salad dressing into a school bus – that’s the kind of chemistry that tickles the fancy.”  Paul Newman, p124.

·         Newman’s Own website – includes recipes and coupons

·         Newman’s Own Organics website (run by daughter Nell Newman)

·         Newman’s Own Foundation website

·         Newman’s Own Cookbook

·         The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Cookbook

charity Paul Newman A E Hotchner business
<![CDATA[The Mystery of the Secret Ingredient in the Chocolate Chip Cookies]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/06/23/the-mystery-of-the-secret-ingredient-in-the-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx Tue, 23 Jun 2009 17:26:00 G6T 1631 kiya@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/2009/06/23/the-mystery-of-the-secret-ingredient-in-the-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx to post your comments!

           jacket for The girl who ran off with daddy           jacket baker's field guide to chocolate chip cookies           jacket for the cold blue blood

David Handler started it all.  I had enjoyed his mystery series about the ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his dog Lulu, so when he started a new mystery series, I was one of the first to read about Mitch Berger, a New York film critic, and Lt. Desiree Mitry, a Connecticut State Trooper. There are now six Berger & Mitry mysteries, and I enjoyed them all, and always eager to see a new one arrive. I definitely recommend reading them in order, as the relationship between Mitch and Dez grows.

An interesting sidelight to this recommendation is that the early books mention Mitch's neighbor, who makes the best chocolate chip cookies, but won't share the identity of her secret ingredient.  Mitch does her grocery shopping, so he has a pretty good idea that the secret ingredient is sour cream, but he doesn't inform his neighbors (only the readers of the book). The recipe, however, is not included.

I'm always looking for good cookie recipes, so I've kept my eyes open for a chocolate chip cookie recipe with sour cream as an ingredient, but never found one.  Even A Baker's Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies didn't have one that looked right. Then last month, Shh I'm Reading blogged about finding recipes online, and while playing with those sites, I located several chocolate chip cookie recipes with sour cream as an ingredient.  My daughter and I are testing them now, and when we declare a winner, I'll post a link to that recipe.  Meanwhile, enjoy some David Handler mysteries!  (And if you have a good sour cream chocolate chip cookie recipe, feel free to post it!)

jacket the hot pink farmhouse jacket for the bright silver star jacket the burnt orange sunrise sweet golden parachute jacket the sour cherry surprise

Mitch Berger and Desiree Mitry:

Stewart Hoag and Lulu: (these books have all been out of print, but the first four have recently been reprinted by Busted Flush Press, dedicated to reprints of fine hardboiled crime fiction)jacket the man who loved women to death

David Handler's website

Busted Flush Press


mysteries mystery series recipes baking David Handler chocolate chip cookies
<![CDATA[A Good Time to Buy a New Car]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/06/22/a-good-time-to-buy-a-new-car.aspx Mon, 22 Jun 2009 13:18:00 G6T 1625 kiya@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/2009/06/22/a-good-time-to-buy-a-new-car.aspx to post your comments!

A customer was in today looking for the book she used many years ago to buy a new car. The book gave a breakdown for each model, what the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price was, and what the vehicle actually cost the dealer, showing her how much room there was to negotiate a lower price.

We finally decided that she was looking for Edmund's New Car Guide, which isn't available in print anymore, but only because Edmund's offers a free car-pricing service online that is more up-to-date, and can offer more features.

When you look for Edmund's New Car Guide in our catalog, you will be directed to the website "Don't Get Taken for a Ride! at www.edmunds.com . When we went to the site, the customer found the details she remembered, including a feature that allowed us to specify exactly which options or option package she desired. Then, after giving her the MSRP and the Dealer's Invoice, it also used her zip code to look at market data to see what customers in the area have actually paid for the car recently, which turned out to be lower than the Dealer Invoice. Then it gave details on the various discounts and rebates available. Finally, it offered her an opportunity to send her contact information to local dealers so they could call her with a deal, knowing that she had seen this information, and had contacted other dealers as well. She decided to forgo that, but was quite happy to have the printouts from Edmunds in her hand to help her negotiate.

Other sources of information:

                              jacket for don't get taken every time                    jacket for Buy or Lease a Car

consumer automobiles websites
<![CDATA[Seriously, now...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/06/03/seriously-now.aspx Wed, 03 Jun 2009 17:11:00 G6T 1559 kiya@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/2009/06/03/seriously-now.aspx to post your comments!


Some teen books are of a more serious nature: more emotionally charged, and sometimes gut-wrenching in subject.

A few titles I've recently read, good for older teens:

          jacket of Things Change          cover of Story of a Girl          cover of Thirteen REasons

Things Change by Patrick Jones

Johanna wants nothing more than to be Paul's girlfriend, even defying her overly controlling parents to spend time with him. Now if only he'd stop hurting her...


Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

I picked this book up because the author's name is very similar to my niece's name. Once I started reading, I couldn't put down this story of Deanna, who made a bad choice as an eighth grader, and 3 years later is still trying to cope with everyone knowing what happened, and having their own idea of who Deanna is.


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jenson receives a package in the mail, and is distressed to discover it is 13 cassette tapes from former classmate Hannah Baker, explaining why she killed herself, and how the twelve folks she has sent the tapes to have factored in her decision to end her life.


Just Like That by Marsha Qualey

Hannah is 18, and one winter night has a brief encounter with 2 teens who die in an accident soon after. Struggling to deal with her sense of guilt and responsibility, Hannah tries to lose herself in her art.


Cathy's Book: if found call...  by Sean Stewart

Cathy has stumbled into a mess she doesn't understand, and the only thing she can think to do is disappear. She leaves her sketchpad and notes for a friend, so that someone will know what's going on. That sketchpad IS this book, so the reader puts the puzzle together from Cathy's journal and drawings.


Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Naomi, a high school junior, suffers a head injury that wipes out her memory of the last five years. She has lots of clues to the woman she is becoming, but is somewhat bewildered by her life. Zevin, who wrote Elsewhere, again gives readers a beautifully written, engaging story.


       cover of Just Like That           cover of Cathy's Book           cover of memoirs of a teenage amnesiac

teens Patrick Jones Sean Stewart Jay Asher Sara Zarr Gabrielle Zevin Marhsa Qualey
<![CDATA[Pay Attention!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2009/06/02/pay-attention.aspx Tue, 02 Jun 2009 09:42:00 G6T 1555 kiya@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/" target="_blank">Movies Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2009/06/02/pay-attention.aspx to post your comments!

I had never heard of Vantage Point (2008) when my son brought it home.  He had seen previews on other DVDs, and thought it looked interesting. I Vantage Point coverwasn't even planning to watch it, figuring I'd just continue reading my book.  Well, it caught me right away, and 90 minutes later, it was over, and I don't think I'd looked at my book once.

The movie tells the story of an assassination attempt on the President of the US (the Secret Service guys call him POTUS, which is an unfortunate acronym).  Dennis Quaid plays Secret Service Agent Thomas Barnes, back on his first assignment after taking a bullet for the president six months ago. They are at a counter-terrorism conference in Spain as events unfold.  And unfold again. And again. And again.  Our understanding of what really happened grows as we see the same events from another vantage point. There is a Spanish undercover cop, a TV news director (Sigourney Weaver), the President (William Hurt), an American tourist complete with camcorder (Forest Whitaker) among others. The action never stops, only pausing while the clock rewinds and starts again. It takes paying attention to follow all the twists and turns, so don't try to watch this while you do something else. The story and the acting really held my attention - when it was over I was astonished that 90 minutes had gone by.

This won't ever be my favorite action movie, or my favorite puzzle movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent watching it, and have found myself thinking of it again several times over the last few days. What do you think?

Lots of violence and intensity in the scenes, no sex or nudity, a little cursing.  The MPAA rated this film PG-13.

action suspense William Hurt Forest Whitaker Dennis Quaid
<![CDATA[An unusual mix]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2009/05/27/an-unusual-mix.aspx Wed, 27 May 2009 10:22:00 G5T 1534 kiya@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/" target="_blank">Music Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2009/05/27/an-unusual-mix.aspx to post your comments!

I’ve been going through the CDs at Red Bank lately, trying to figure out how to fit more in, and have come across a couple I’ve enjoyed listening to.

The first is Low Strung, which has 11 rock classics arranged for and performed by master cellists who got a little tired of always playing the harmony line…  I love the sound of the cello anyway, and these were very pleasing to listen to.  I went to the band’s website, and found that they have a new CD due out soon. I also learned that they performed in Evansville a little over a year ago – they provided a link to the great review Roger McBain wrote for the C&P about the show.  You can listen to a couple of the songs on their MySpace page.

·         Low Strung’s website

·         Low Strung’s MySpace page


I also found a singer from my past – J. D. Souther.  I had a couple of his albums on vinyl, and loved them. I particularly remember “The Moon Just Turned Blue”  and “‘Til the Bars Burn Down” from my grad school years. (My neighbors from that time might recall them, too.  I used to crank the volume when cleaning house.)  Somehow, when everything changed over to CD, I never got around to replacing Souther's, and sort of forgot about him. EVPL owns two of his CDs (and his new one will soon be here), and now JD is back in my life.  The bonus? While writing this blog post, I discovered he’s also the narrator on the downloadable audiobook of Jimmy Buffet’s A Salty Piece of Land.  I’m loading it onto my mp3 player now – this should be interesting!

·         J D Souther’s website

·         J D Souther’s MySpace page


alt-country classic rock J D Souther Low Strung cello
<![CDATA[The Library might be a solution to your problem...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/05/23/the-library-might-be-a-solution-to-your-problem.aspx Sat, 23 May 2009 12:07:00 G5T 1529 kiya@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/the-library-might-be-a-solution-to-your-problem.aspx to post your comments!

The problem:  A customer needed to locate a relative of a deceased friend, but couldn’t remember the relative’s name.

Her solution:  Look up the obituary online, and find the name in the list of survivors.  She went to the Courier and Press website, and searched for the obituary.  She found a listing for the obituary but the text of the obituary was no longer available for free.  They kindly offered to sell it to her for a small fee.

The alternative solution:  She came to the library hoping to find the obituary in our old newspapers, and was disappointed to find we didn’t have the newspaper itself at our branch. However, I checked the Browning Genealogy Database, and found the entry for her friend’s obituary, complete with the list of survivors. Then a quick look at the phone book, and she had located her missing person!

I continue to be grateful to Mr. Charles Browning and family, for all the long hours and hard work that went into constructing this extremely useful database, which can be found at http://browning.evpl.org/

What puzzle are you working on?  Maybe the library can help! Ask us.  


reference questions Browning Genealogy Databse AskEVPL
<![CDATA[A Sparkling Story]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/05/02/a-sparkling-story.aspx Sat, 02 May 2009 12:50:00 G5T 1466 kiya@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/2009/05/02/a-sparkling-story.aspx to post your comments!


book jacket of Sassy: Little Sister is NOT my name!Sharon Draper writes some of the best books for teens, so I was excited to see her new book for younger kids. Sassy: Little Sister is NOT my Name! is about Sassy Simone Sanford, a fourth grader who loves her name. Unfortunately, no one at home calls her that. They all call her Little Sister, and she is tired of being reminded that she is the smallest, youngest member of the family. You'll enjoy Sassy, her friends, and her family as she learns to let her inner sparkle shine - even when she's wearing her "boring" school uniform.

Other things to know:

  • This is the first book in a series all about Sassy.
  • Draper has also written a series called Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs, also geared to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. 
  • Draper used to be a teacher.
  • If they act quickly, teachers can get a FREE media kit to use with Sharon Draper's books in the classrooms.  See the link below.
  • Draper has also written books for teachers, including Not Quite Burned Out but Crispy Around the Edges


school stories Sharon Draper
<![CDATA[High School Chick Lit]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/04/23/high-school-chick-lit.aspx Thu, 23 Apr 2009 17:03:00 G4T 1446 kiya@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/2009/04/23/high-school-chick-lit.aspx to post your comments!

I went looking for some lighter, romantic comedy sorts of books this week - here's what I found:

cover of It's a Mall WorldIt's A Mall World After All by Janette Rallison

Charlotte is working at the mall when she sees her best friend's boyfriend with another girl. She tells her friend, only to later be accused of trying to break up the couple.  And it is true she pretty much despises the guy. There are plenty of laughs as Charlotte tries to sort out how to be a good friend in an impossible situation.


Learning to Swim by Cheryl Klamcover of Learning to Swim

Steffie's mom has a bad habit of falling for the wrong (married) guy, getting her heart broken, and moving herself and Steffie to a new place to start over.  No wonder Steffie is a bit leery of falling in love. Now she's working for the summer as a maid at the Country Club, and trying to pretend she doesn't have a crush on Keith...


cover of Forever PrincessForever Princess by Meg Cabot

The last in the Princess Mia series, we follow Mia through the last of her senior year.  She's coping with her senior project, choosing a college, her father's upcoming election, her new boyfriend, and the return of her old boyfriend.  As always, Mia will keep you smiling!


Fame, Glory and other things on my to do list by Janette Rallisoncover of Fame Glory and other things...

This story starts out with Jessica nearly getting carjacked after her shift at WalMart, and then realizing that the guy is trying to get her out of the car because it's his car - her silver Honda is a few spaces over. [It sounds absurd, but when I was in high school, there were two of us who worked at the library who got picked up by men (my father, her husband) in little red Vegas, and more than once I climbed in the wrong car.] Jessica is a junior, and dreams of being an actress. Right now that means a small part in the school production of West Side Story, which the director wants to do without any violence.  There are lots of giggles in this book, as in every book by Rallison I've read.


cover of When You WishWhen You Wish by Kristin Harmel

Star's story is a little more serious, though still with plenty of amusing parts. Star (born Amanda) is the hottest pop star around at the age of sixteen. She's really frustrated though, at how little say she has in her own life.  After getting really angry with her mom, Star runs away to find the father who left when she was three. She enjoys a chance to be "normal" even when it involves learning to be a waitress.




       Other suggestions for high school chick lit

       Chick Lit for Teens from InfoSoup




fiction love stories high school chick lit
<![CDATA[The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher, with a cameo appearance by ... Chris Crutcher?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/04/21/the-sledding-hill-by-chris-crutcher-with-a-cameo-appearance-by-chris-crutcher.aspx Tue, 21 Apr 2009 15:58:00 G4T 1442 kiya@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/2009/04/21/the-sledding-hill-by-chris-crutcher-with-a-cameo-appearance-by-chris-crutcher.aspx to post your comments!


Chris Crutcher writes controversial books.  Some folks don't like the language he uses, though he will argue that he only uses language that teens themselves use. Some folks don't like the issues he addresses, and he will respond that the issues he addresses are issues that teens face, and that they need ways to explore those issues.

There are similarities to many of Crutcher's books. Most take place in small towns in the Northwestern part of the US. Many of his characters use sports to cope with some aspect of their lives. Most of the issues Crutcher talks about don't have clear-cut right or wrong answers, which is often the source of the conflict in the books.book jacket of The Sledding Hill

Crutcher's characters always seem real to me, and Eddie from The Sledding Hill enchanted me from the start.  His friend Billy explains:

In fifth grade, when my dad discovered Eddie scored sixty-five on his IQ test, he asked Eddie what happened, because Dad knew that couldn't be right. "I was answering the questions," Eddie said, "and then I started seeing what a neat pattern I was making filling in those little ovals, and before I knew it I was making neater and neater patterns."

The Sledding Hill is about Eddie, and his learning to cope after suffering two great losses in a short period of time.  One of the things he finds that helps him is the book Warren Peece that his English class is reading.  The book (which doesn't really exist) is written by Chris Crutcher, the controversial author. Surprise - some folks object to the book, and Eddie's minister tries to get it removed from the curriculum. Suddenly, Eddie is in the middle of another mess, and trying to find his way out. Crutcher even makes a guest appearance at the school board hearing.

This wasn't my favorite book by Crutcher, but I laughed out loud at parts of it, and enjoyed meeting Eddie and his friends.  If my kids weren't so busy with schoolwork right now, I'd make them read it, but it will have to wait for summer vacation.   Oh, what IS my favorite Crutcher book?  Ummm, Whale Talk.  No, The Crazy Horse Electric Game.    Or maybe Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes...  It's hard to pick just one...

death and dying Chris Crutcher banned books
<![CDATA[Saving Lots of Files to a Flash Drive? You need to know--]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/04/16/saving-lots-of-files-to-a-flash-drive-you-need-to-know.aspx Thu, 16 Apr 2009 15:53:00 G4T 1431 kiya@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/2009/04/16/saving-lots-of-files-to-a-flash-drive-you-need-to-know.aspx to post your comments!

flash drive 

While browsing on a new found blog, the Swiss Army Librarian (aka Brian Herzog), I learned something I didn't know about saving files to a Flash Drive. Most folks will never have this problem, but people who save lots of small files to their flash drive might.  It turns out that there is a limit to the number of files a root directory can hold. The limit is pretty high - about 700 or so - but once you hit it, you can't save any more files to that drive (or disk) no matter how much space you have left.  So if you save lots of small files, be sure to set up some folders and save your files into those, instead of in the main directory. Otherwise, you might be seeing a file permission error that suggests your drive is "full, write-protected, or damaged." 

Blog post by the Swiss Army Librarian

CNET forums post on same topic

technology computers Swiss Army Librarian error messages flash drives
<![CDATA[The Author gave me... ...breakfast? ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/04/05/the-author-gave-me-breakfast.aspx Sun, 05 Apr 2009 16:46:00 G4T 1396 kiya@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/2009/04/05/the-author-gave-me-breakfast.aspx to post your comments!

You never know what you might find when you go exploring on authors' websites.  Maybe there will be a contest - a chance to win a signed book or other prize. Perhaps some short stories about minor characters in an ongoing series. With Google or other search engines it can be easy to locate author websites. Here are some interesting things I've located lately.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes modern romances with engaging characters, strong women, and very descriptive love scenes.  When I went looking for her website I found an epilogue for one of her books, a contest, writing tips, information about the charities she supports, a message board, and the grand prize - RECIPES! So far, my favorite is the Baked Oatmeal - a casserole that can prepared ahead and pieces reheated in the morning for a quick and easy hot breakfast - SO much better than instant oatmeal, and just as easy in the morning. The whole family likes it, and I've started experimenting with adding different fruit before baking. My kids also liked the Harvest Soup, and the Pumpkin Dip was yummy for dipping apple slices.

Emilie Richards writes a mystery series about a minister's wife, occasional romances, and what is often called "women's fiction" - including her Shenandoah Valley Quilt series. Her website includes her blog - I loved this entry about her recent trip to Guatemala. Also included on her website is information about quilting, and the quilts she describes in the Shenandoah Valley series, along with other treasures.

Jeffrey Cohen mostly writes mysteries and screenplays, but he also has a couple of nonfiction books about raising children who are somewhere on the Autism spectrum.

Whatever he is writing, you can be sure his sense of humor shows through. Cohen's latest gift to his readers is a song about all the different subtypes of mysteries: cozies, noir, hard-boiled, etc.  Take a couple of minutes to watch the video, and see why his fellow authors are taking up a collection to buy him a trench coat.

Last but not least, Len Fisher writes about science for those of us who are interested in science, but not especially well-educated in the field.  At least one magazine describes him as "the guy who puts the Fizz in Physics." His website features cartoons, his blog about the writing he does, some humorous stories from the media about science.

Please share the authors' websites that you like to visit.

EVPL has books by:

mysteries author cooking recipes books and reading science Emilie Richards autism Susan Elizabeth Phillips Len Fisher Jeffrey Cohen
<![CDATA[I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I can tell you anyhow, I'd rather see than be one.]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/02/20/i-never-saw-a-purple-cow-i-never-hope-to-see-one-but-i-can-tell-you-anyhow-i-d-rather-see-than-be-one.aspx Fri, 20 Feb 2009 13:44:00 G2T 1289 kiya@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/2009/02/20/i-never-saw-a-purple-cow-i-never-hope-to-see-one-but-i-can-tell-you-anyhow-i-d-rather-see-than-be-one.aspx to post your comments!

That poem by Frank G. Burgess might be the first one I ever learned, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. At least until I turned 8 or so.

I don't think of myself as much interested in poetry, and certainly don't write any. (Well, except for when I write new words for familiar tunes and drive my kids crazy with them. But that's hereditary. My mom used to do that to me.) Every now and then, though, some poem or poet really catches my interest, and for a little while, I'm really into poetry, or that poet, or performance poetry. And then I forget until next time.

So while I'm thinking about it - here are some of the poets, poetry, and links that have caught my fancy in the last couple of years.

1. Bryan Owen, who will be here, in Evansville, at Central Library, on Sunday, March 8th. He will be presenting a poetry workshop at no charge to the participants. More info here! Below is one of his poems that I really like:

She said I'm like an onion -
I had so many hidden layers.
I told her that
if she stopped peeling
she wouldn't cry so much.

© Bryan Owen 2006

"Onions" was recently published in chicago writer Sean Chercover's novel Trigger City in which Bryan's collection Blue daffodils and other poems becomes part of the plot.

2. Taylor Mali writes and performs poems. For many years, he also taught school, and while I enjoy nearly all of his poems, the school poems are really terrific.

"Like Lilly Like Wilson", about a recovering "like" addict, was the poem that brought Mali to my attention.


"Labeling Keys" is funny and poignant.


"How To Write A Political Poem" is just one of Mali's poems that you can read on his website. I had a hard time choosing one to post...

3. The power of Audre Lorde's poetry always resonates with me.

4. Ted Kooser and Billy Collins, both former poet-laureates, intrigue me.

I had a teacher who made us memorize Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," swearing it would come to mind each and every spring for the rest of our lives. She was right. I wish now I had memorized more poetry when I was younger, and could learn it easier. I guess it's not too late.

What's your favorite poem?

central library teens author visit poetry Bryan Owen
<![CDATA[Hoops are Here!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2009/02/17/hoops-are-here.aspx Tue, 17 Feb 2009 13:43:00 G2T 1276 kiya@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/2009/02/17/hoops-are-here.aspx to post your comments!

It won't be long before March Madness is here, and even folks who don't usually watch basketball are cheering for teams. I've never been much of a basketball player, but enjoy reading stories about the sport and its players.  In some books, the game is central to the story, in others, it serves as the stage for a story about other issues.

Some of the best basketball books I've read this year:

book jacket of Travel Team  Travel Team  Book jacket of Summer Ball Summer Ball                       

both by Mike Lupica

          Lupica creates great characters that the reader soon cares about a great deal. Travel Team and Summer Ball are both about Danny Walker, who loves basketball and is lucky enough to be really good at the game, too.  Travel Team opens just after Danny learns he didn't make the travel team because the coach thought he was too short.  Some long odds bring a new chance on an unlikely team. Danny works hard to play beyond his height, and to hold his team together through some hard times. Summer Ball brings further adventures and more to learn about basketball and teamwork.


Boost by Kathy Mackel book jacket of Boost

          The characters in this book grabbed me right away. The pressures these two sisters feel in their sports to be "the right size" and the temptation of steroids as an easy path to that size are quite clear.


book jacket of Night HoopsNight Hoops by Carl Deuker

What happens -

  • when a parent needs more from a child-athlete than the child wants to give?
  • when different priorities about sports come between parents and split up a home?
  • when the neighbor kid you aren't allowed to play with is on your team?
  • when the younger sibling outshines the older sibling on the court?

This book kept me involved from the start, seeing how Nick and Trent and Scott would work it all out.


Other suggested titles:




fiction Mike Lupica basketball Carl Deuker sports Kathy Mackel
<![CDATA[Has the Boil Order ended?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/02/13/has-the-boil-order-ended.aspx Fri, 13 Feb 2009 14:08:00 G2T 1266 kiya@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/2009/02/13/has-the-boil-order-ended.aspx to post your comments!

What is the easy way to find out when a Boil Order has begun or ended? Or what exactly is the designated area?

Browsing on the City of Evansville webpage, I located the Water Department, and found they have an e-mail advisory list.  Anytime an order is prepared, the exact announcement is e-mailed to anyone who has signed up for the list. The same for when the Boil Order expires.

This is what the Water Department's Page says:

Boil Advisory E-Mail Notification

E-mail marmacost@amwater.com to receive e-mail notification of boil advisory information

evansville water useful web sites boil orders
<![CDATA[Basketball is a beautiful game - and I like reading about it ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2009/02/13/basketball-is-a-beautiful-game-and-i-like-reading-about-it.aspx Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:53:00 G2T 1265 kiya@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/2009/02/13/basketball-is-a-beautiful-game-and-i-like-reading-about-it.aspx to post your comments!

Just as there are basketball leagues for all ages of kids, there are also some great basketball stories for all sizes of kids, and all levels of readers.

Some of the best basketball books I've read this year:

Picture Booksbook jacket of Swish

Swish by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson - the pictures and text capture the excitement of the last minute of the girls' championship game between the Cardinals and the Blue Jays - I could almost hear the sneakers squeaking on the gym floor.

Salt in his Shoes by Deloris Jordan - a story of a young Michael Jordan chasing his basketball dreams

jacket of Gus and Grandpa at basketballEasy Reader

Gus and Grandpa at basketball by Claudia Mills - Gus likes basketball and does well at practice, but has problems during the hustle and bustle of games.

Chapter Books 

Basketball Bats by Betty Hicks (gr.2-5)

Five friends who play basketball find themselves challenged to beat a real team.

The Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman (gr. 4-6)jacket of The Million Dollar Shot

Talk about pressure - If Eddie Ball sinks a free throw during halftime at the NBA championship, he can win a million dollars!  Gutman, as always, writes with humor, compassion, and action.  Exciting and fun!

Miracle on 49th Street   by Mike Lupica  (middle school )

Molly Parker is twelve, and living with friends since her mother died. Her secret is that the father she never met is Josh Cameron, the MVP for the Boston Celtics. She schemes to meet the star, and  persuade him that he's her father, but is this a good idea? The man only cares about basketball and himself - how can he be the father Molly deserves?

Toby Wheeler, Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer by Thatcher Heldring (middle school)

Toby Wheeler loves pick-up basketball, but he goes out for the team at school, because it's his only chance to spend time with his best friend. Toby finds basketball a little different when playing on a team.

other good basketball stories for middle schoolers:

jacket for Salt in His Shoes jacket for Basketball Bats jacket for miracle on 49th street jacket of Toby Wheeler, 8th grade benchwarmer jacket of Basketball or something like it jacket of Boot Camp jacket of Dunk under pressure 

books basketball sports stories
<![CDATA[The Heart of the Game: Basketball on the screen]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2009/02/07/the-heart-of-the-game-basketball-on-the-screen.aspx Sat, 07 Feb 2009 12:13:00 G2T 1237 kiya@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/" target="_blank">Movies Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/movies/archive/2009/02/07/the-heart-of-the-game-basketball-on-the-screen.aspx to post your comments!

jacket of documentary The Heart of the GameMy favorite basketball movie is The Heart of the Game. By the end of this documentary, I felt like the Roosevelt Roughriders of Seattle were my team. I was cheering for these high school girls through tough practices and tougher games. Their coach is Bill Resler, a moonlighting tax law professor with an unusual style and great respect for the girls he coaches. Directed by Ward Serrill, who followed the team for six years, this film held my attention and taught me a few things about basketball. 

So what's your favorite basketball movie?

documentary basketball Roosevelt Roughriders
<![CDATA[Authors doing good works with their written words]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/13/authors-doing-good-works-with-their-written-words.aspx Sat, 13 Dec 2008 14:48:00 G12T 1009 kiya@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/2008/12/13/authors-doing-good-works-with-their-written-words.aspx to post your comments!

This week I heard about a fundraiser that author Patrick Rothfuss has been doing for Heifer International. After having run a successful contest on his personal blog, Rothfuss decided to try raising a little money for his favorite charity, Heifer International. On November 10th, he announced the fundraiser on his blog, offering to match reader contributions dollar for dollar, hoping to raise a couple thousand dollars. In less than four days they contributed over $5000 (not including Rothfuss' matching donation), and he increased the goal again, and again. When the fundraiser ended on December 11th, readers had contributed over $50,000 to Heifer International, and Rothfuss promises to match every dime. Rothfuss, who only quit his day job this past year after The Name of the Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series, sold well in the US and internationally, is delighted, and so is Heifer International.

Then I started wondering about other authors, and what similar projects they might have done. I know that J. K. Rowling's new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is a fundraiser for a charity she helped found. The book is the collection of stories that Harry and friends use to reach their goals in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Both these stories help me feel good about the authors I love to read. Do you know of other authors who use their public attention to help others?

celebrities blogs author charity Heifer International J K Rowling Patrick Rothfuss
<![CDATA[10 lucky things that have happened to me since I nearly got hit by lightning]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/12/13/10-lucky-things-that-have-happened-to-me-since-i-nearly-got-hit-by-lightning.aspx Sat, 13 Dec 2008 13:52:00 G12T 1007 kiya@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/2008/12/13/10-lucky-things-that-have-happened-to-me-since-i-nearly-got-hit-by-lightning.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket for 10 lucky things


   Effie Maloney's family has had a rough few years, but lately, things have turned around. Effie is now keeping a list of all the good luck she has had in recent months. The only black cloud is her bossy older sister, Maxie. Then Valentine's Day arrives, and Effie's luck starts to turn.  I laughed a lot as I read of Effie's attempts to reclaim her good luck, and felt bad for Effie remembering how hard 4th grade can be.

book jacket for My Big Sister

   I was a little puzzled about why the book didn't have the story about Effie being almost struck by lightning mentioned in the title. Finally, I realized that story is told in an earlier book called My big sister is so bossy she says you can't read this book.

   the author's webpage

   EVPL titles by Mary Hershey





humor school stories tweens Mary Hershey
<![CDATA[Twilight Party at Red Bank!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/11/19/twilight-party-at-red-bank.aspx Wed, 19 Nov 2008 09:58:00 G11T 895 kiya@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/2008/11/19/twilight-party-at-red-bank.aspx to post your comments!

Come celebrate the release of the Twilight movie.  We will have Twilight trivia, crafts, and vampire snacks you can sink your teeth into.    cover of Twilight soundtrack

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Red Bank Library – Howard Room


Registration is required and available online.

official movie site with trailer

Stephenie Meyer's website

red bank branch twilight series Stephenie Meyer
<![CDATA[Jack and Miss Stretchberry are back.]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/11/18/jack-and-miss-stretchberry-are-back.aspx Tue, 18 Nov 2008 14:54:00 G11T 892 kiya@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/2008/11/18/jack-and-miss-stretchberry-are-back.aspx to post your comments!

 book jacket Love That Dog  book jacket Hate That Cat

Miss Stretchberry loves poetry, and makes it part of her classroom every day.  In Love That Dog, we meet Jack, who thinks poetry isn't for boys, and that he can't understand it. The story is told through Jack's poetry assignments. As the year unfolds, he finds that poems do have something to say to him. Meanwhile, the reader learns a lot about Jack.

Now, we have Hate That Cat, and find out that both Jack and Miss Stretchberry have been promoted to the next grade. Once again, a story develops as we read Jack's assignments, and learn about his family.

Sharon Creech includes the text of some of the poems Jack and his classmates study in school. Both books are touching, funny stories, even as they arouse the reader's interest in poets and poetry.

Love That Sharon Creech.

fiction animals school stories poetry Sharon Creech
<![CDATA[If you only had a short time to live...]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/11/18/if-you-only-had-a-short-time-to-live.aspx Tue, 18 Nov 2008 14:28:00 G11T 891 kiya@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/2008/11/18/if-you-only-had-a-short-time-to-live.aspx to post your comments!

What if you only had a short while to live? What would it change about how you live? Would you take more chances or fewer risks? Would you tell everyone, a few close friends, or no one? Would you make plans for the future or focus on making memories for those you would leave behind?

book jacket DeadlinChris Crutcher explores this issue in Deadline, the story of 18 year old Ben Wolf. While at the doctor for his sports checkup, he learns that something is not right with his blood. Further tests show that he has a rare blood disease that is certain to kill him - aggressive treatment might extend things a bit, but there is no "long-term" left in his world. All of this happens in the first ten pages of the book. Then Ben starts wrestling with the big questions - what is the best use of the time he has left? What meaning will his life have had once he's gone? What risks are worth taking? As always, Crutcher explores these issues with a side order of humor. 

book jacket Forever Changes

Forever Changes, by Brendan Halpin, also looks at these questions.  Brianna Pelletier is a high school senior, gifted in mathematics, who also has Cystic Fibrosis.  Her case is fairly severe, and she doesn't think she has a whole lot of time left.  All of her friends and classmates are making plans for college and the future, and she's not so sure she has a future to consider.  Halpin is good at grabbing the reader's interest.  My son picked up the book, thinking he'd read a chapter or two, and finished the book a few hours later. 

Interestingly enough, both books have a music link.  Ben Wolf finds that the song Too Old to Die Young resonates with him, while Brianna discovers a CD called Forever Changes by the group Love touches her deeply. You can find both of these at EVPL - see the links below.

Love's Forever Changes concert


Moe Bandy's version of Too Old to Die Young



Brendan Halpin death and dying Chris Crutcher
<![CDATA[Time to Vote! ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/10/14/time-to-vote.aspx Tue, 14 Oct 2008 19:29:00 G10T 730 kiya@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/2008/10/14/time-to-vote.aspx to post your comments!


book jacket Vote for Larry  book jacket First Boy  book jacket Long May She Reign  book jacket Wide Awake

Several fiction books about Elections and the Presidency:

Vote for Larry by Janet Tashjian

Josh Swensen made national news as Larry, an anti-consumerist blogger, in The Gospel According to Larry. He's back, and running for President in Vote for Larry. He knows he's too young to serve, but wants to use his near-celebrity status to raise issues important to young people that aren't being addressed by the major party candidates. Very thought-provoking, and a good follow up to the first book. Rumors are that a third book, Larry and the Meaning of Life, has just been published. Maybe you'll see it on our shelves soon!

First Boy by Gary Schmidt

Cooper Jewett lives with his grandfather on their dairy farm in New Hampshire. He's a pretty ordinary high school freshman, but one day notices that men in suits driving black sedans start showing up around his hometown, and they seem to be watching him. What he doesn't know is why, and how much trouble he might be in, and how on earth he might get out of it.  This was pretty interesting - even when I thought I had things figured out, there was a twist or two at the end waiting to surprise me.

Ellen Emerson White's series about The President's Daughter

I've only read the last book in the series, which was published recently. The first three books have been ordered, though, and will be here soon. Meg, who is sixteen in the first book, has just moved to Washington DC after her mother was elected President. Suddenly, Meg and her family have many adjustments to make. Meg has a wicked sense of humor, a complicated life, and a love for the Boston Red Sox. The other titles in the series are: White House Autumn, Long Live the Queen, and Long May She Reign.

Wide Awake by David Levithan

Set in the future, the candidate running for President in this book will be the first gay, Jewish president if he is elected. It's fun to figure out what must have happened between NOW and the time this book takes place by putting together all the clues and bits of information dropped as Levithan tells his story.

What books and novels about politics and elections have you read and enjoyed?


Links of Interest:

fiction Janet Tashjian presidents elections
<![CDATA[What if your MOTHER were running for President?]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/10/14/what-if-your-mother-were-running-for-president.aspx Tue, 14 Oct 2008 19:15:00 G10T 729 kiya@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/2008/10/14/what-if-your-mother-were-running-for-president.aspx to post your comments!


book coverVanessa kind of likes living in the Governor's Mansion with her mother, the governor of Florida. The food is really good, and you never know when you'll run into somebody famous, like Governer Schwarzenegger! But Vanessa is not happy that her mom is running for President - she's off campaigning A LOT, and can't always come to Vanessa's school events. Worst of all, Vanessa is afraid that somebody might try to hurt her mom. Then, some creepy notes start showing up in Vanessa's locker! The book is suspenseful, but it is also funny. My daughter and I laughed out loud at some of the embarrassing things that happen to Vanessa.

Pick up a copy of  as if being 12¾ isn't bad enough, my mother is running for president! by Donna Gephardt. You'll be glad you did.


Have you read other books about elections or children of politicians that you liked?

Link to Donna Gephart's website

some other stories of politics and elections at EVPL

school stories presidents elections
<![CDATA[I've heard there are TWO sides to every story - maybe even THREE]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/09/17/i-ve-heard-there-are-two-sides-to-every-story-maybe-even-three.aspx Wed, 17 Sep 2008 16:07:00 G9T 575 kiya@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/2008/09/17/i-ve-heard-there-are-two-sides-to-every-story-maybe-even-three.aspx to post your comments!

cover of Millicent Min bookMillicent Min is having a bad summer -

  • 1. Her mom signed her up for volleyball
  • 2. Her grandmother is about to move away
  • 3. She doesn't really have friends, though Emily is a possibility
  • 4. She has to tutor awful Stanford Wong
  • 5. Her mother might be really sick



Or maybe Stanford Wong is having a bad summer -  cover of Stanford Wong book

  1. He flunked English and has to go to summer school
  2. His dad canceled Basketball Camp (see #1)
  3. His parents are fighting, and his dad works too much
  4. He has to be tutored by that geek genius, Millicent Min
  5. His grandmother has to move to a retirement home
  6. He likes Emily, but she's always hanging around Millicent


 Emily's summer starts out bad, but it might be improving -

cover Emily Ebers book

    • 1. Her parents split, and she and her mom are moving across the country Stick out tongue
    • 2. She misses her dad a lot Sad
    • 3. Her dad sends her a credit card - for emergencies only...Yes
    • 4. Her mom signs her up for volleyball Hmm, but she meets Millicent there Confused
    • 5. Millicent knows this cute guy Stanford Smile, but something doesn't ring true Hmm
    • 6. Her dad doesn't think needing ice cream after volleyball is an emergency No



 Lisa Yee wrote Millicent Min, Girl Genius in 2003. It won lots of awards. She wanted to write a book about a girl who was lonely, so she chose a character who was very smart, and in school with much older kids.

Three years later, Yee's 10 year old daughter said she hated boys. Yee decided to write a book from a boy's point of view, and show that they were okay, just sometimes different from girls. She decided to tell the story of that same summer that was in Millicent's book, only from Stanford's point of view, in Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time.

Her readers loved it, and asked for a book that showed how Emily saw that summer, too. Yee followed up with So Totally Emily Ebers, which came out this spring.

It's fun to see the same events from different points of view. Do you know other books like this?


humor Lisa Yee point of view
<![CDATA[Two pieces of news from Stephenie Meyer about the Twilight series:]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/09/12/two-pieces-of-news-from-stephenie-meyer-about-the-twilight-series.aspx Fri, 12 Sep 2008 10:57:00 G9T 527 kiya@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/2008/09/12/two-pieces-of-news-from-stephenie-meyer-about-the-twilight-series.aspx to post your comments!

Twilight book cover  book cover of New Moon  book cover of Eclipse  book cover of Breaking Dawn

1/  Twilight (movie) release 3 weeks earlier than planned.

When Warner Brothers decided (on their own) to postpone the new Harry Potter movie, that decision  left an opening in the Fall schedule, so the Twilight movie starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella will now be in theaters November 21, 2008.

Official movie website


2/  Midnight Sun indefinitely postponed.

Book 5, Midnight Sun, which is Edward's version of the events in Twilight, has been indefinitely postponed after a portion of an early draft of the novel was released on the Internet by someone the author had trusted.

Go to the site below to read Meyer's explanation, and find her link to the leaked material.

Midnight Sun


Check out Stephenie Meyer's website for lots of extras from the books, including:

  • scenes that didn't make it into the final versions,
  • playlists of the music she associates with each book,
  • pictures of the cars and motorcycles the various characters drive/ride,
  • links to fansites and places to buy shirts and jewelry,
  • the book covers she designed and used when the books were works in progress, and
  • lots of other great stuff!

Stephenie Meyer's books are available at EVPL in print, on CD, as downloadable audiobooks, and as e-books.

fiction books movie adaptations twilight series Stephenie Meyer
<![CDATA[Reading Other People's E-mail]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/08/28/reading-other-people-s-e-mail.aspx Thu, 28 Aug 2008 19:16:00 G8T 324 kiya@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/2008/08/28/reading-other-people-s-e-mail.aspx to post your comments!


 book jacket for My Most Excellent Year

I am a curious person.  Especially about other people. To be honest, the best word is probably NOSY.  I hope this is news to you.  I work very hard to keep my curiosity (nosiness) reined in tightly enough that unless you know me very well you might not suspect. (I hope.)  I think that NOSINESS is why I love books that are made up of letters, emails, diary entries - they let my, ahem, curiosity run wild. And it's OK! I don't have to feel guilty, or firmly turn away and distract myself with something it is okay for me to see.

The latest book I've found that feeds this disreputable part of me is by Steve Kluger. He likes to write books where the story unfolds in letters, blogs, emails, etc. The newest is called My Most Excellent Year (a novel of love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park). The frame of the book is an English assignment given to 3 Juniors, in which they each recap the development and changes in their friendships over the past several years. Through their text messages, their blogs, their emails, we see them fall in love, discover things about themselves and their parents, and figure out what they want after high school. Augie, TC, and Ale became people I would want to meet as I got to know them in this book.  And, in fact, Mary Poppins does make a cameo appearance...


Links of interest:


fiction teen zone Steve Kluger email epistolary fiction letters
<![CDATA[There's No Such Thing as a DRAGON!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/08/28/there-s-no-such-thing-as-a-dragon.aspx Thu, 28 Aug 2008 18:19:00 G8T 323 kiya@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/2008/08/28/there-s-no-such-thing-as-a-dragon.aspx to post your comments!


book jacket of There's No Such Thing as a Dragon





You will certainly giggle at least once while reading this delightful story by Jack Kent.  Billy Bixbee wakes up one morning to find a tiny dragon on his bed! He tries to tell his mom, but she keeps insisting that dragons don't exist. And the dragon begins to grow...


Another favorite by this author is The Caterpillar and the Polliwog, a story about changing and growing.



picture books Jack Kent
<![CDATA[Andrew Clements makes me laugh]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/kids/archive/2008/07/28/andrew-clements-makes-me-laugh.aspx Mon, 28 Jul 2008 13:41:00 G7T 97 kiya@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/2008/07/28/andrew-clements-makes-me-laugh.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket "No Talking!"Andrew Clements makes me laugh. Even when his books are a little bit sad, they still have funny spots. Clements writes books for all ages of children - there are picture books, easy chapter books, harder chapter books, and books for teenagers.

book jacket "Circus Family Dog"One of his most recent books is called No Talking - it's about a school where the fifth grade boys and the fifth grade girls compete to see who can do better at not talking for almost two days, and without explaining it to their teachers or parents!

Clements has a series of picture books about a dog named Slippers, but my favorite is Circus Family Dog. In that book, a dog named Grumps learns that his circus family loves him, even if he can't do all the tricks that another dog can do.

book jacket "Frindle"Clements taught school for many years - fourth grade, eighth grade, and high school. Most of his chapter books are set in and around schools. His first published book was about a boy who makes up a new word, and tries to get everyone to use it. That book is called Frindle. It has been published in many countries and languages. I think of it as special, because it was the first book by Andrew Clements I ever read.


Do yourself a favor, and read a book by Andrew Clements!


Andrew Clements' website

The official Frindle website

Books at EVPL by Andrew Clements (below are a few of Clements' books)

book jacket "Things NOt Seen"  book jacket "The Jacket" book jacket "The Janitor's Boy" book jacket "Lost and Found" book jacket "Room One" book jacket "Jake Drake, Bully Buster" 

book jacket "Brave Norman: a true story" book cover "Dogku" book jacket "Slippers at Home" book jacket "Temple Cat" book jacket "The Workshop"

fiction Andrew Clements
<![CDATA[How Ya Like Me Now]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/teens/archive/2008/07/21/how-ya-like-me-now.aspx Mon, 21 Jul 2008 16:54:00 G7T 45 kiya@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/2008/07/21/how-ya-like-me-now.aspx to post your comments!

book jacket  EVPL catalogI've always enjoyed the adult books that Brendan Halpin writes, so I was excited to see a new novel for Young Adults from him.  How Ya Like Me Now pulls the reader in pretty quickly, as we meet Eddie just as his life is changing yet again. First his father died, then his mom retreated into whatever pills she could find to numb her pain, leaving Eddie to manage his own life. He did pretty well for a fifteen-year-old, but it came to an end when his mother was arrested for forging a prescription. The book opens with Eddie getting ready to leave his suburban home to move in with his aunt and her family in downtown Boston. Suddenly he's trying to get along in a place where everything is different - a loft in the city, surrogate parents, a cousin his same age, and a small charter school in the middle of the city - his new life is completely different from anything he's ever experienced.

It didn't take me long to begin caring about Eddie, and cheering for him as he finds his way.  After finishing the book, I took it home and gave it to my 16 year old son. He was slow to start it (what teen wants to read his mom's suggested book?), but once he began the book, he read it in one sitting. He liked how "real" the characters felt to him, and the interaction between Eddie and the other students.  We both recommend this book.

More Information:

fiction reviews Brendan Halpin