Saturday, October 13, 2012

Teens Only | It Came from the Library

October 14-20 is Teen Read Week, an annual celebration of teen books sponsored by the American Library Association. This year's theme is "It Came from the Library," in celebration of books made into movies.

Think you know your books and movies? Ok. Let's try a little trivia. Questions coming up. Answers can be found on the whole list of Teen Read Week books. 

Check them out.

I'll give you the answers to these trivia questions next week (Saturday). Good luck!

1. In this book/movie, an arrogant student is put under a spell that makes him as ugly as his soul.
2. This book was, in large part, the basis for the movie "Mean Girls."
3. The title of this movie is an anagram of the book title on which it is based.
4. Alexis Beidel and Jonathan Jackson star in this movie based on a book published in 1975.
5. The original title of this book is Die unendliche Geschichte.
6. This author was 15 years old when he began work on this first book of a trilogy.

Books On Film | Stephen King

In honor of Halloween, I'll spend the month of October talking about several spooky adaptations of adult and children's books!

Stephen King has been publishing books for thirty-eight years and the large majority of what he's penned has been adapted into films, many of which are now considered horror classics. 


Hollywood Movies

His first novel, Carrie (published in 1974), was adapted into a film starring Sissy Spacek and with that, the title wave of Stephen King adaptations began. Some of his most famous big screen horror films are The Shining (1976) with Jack Nicholson, Firestarter (1979) with Drew Barrymore, and Misery (1987) with Kathy Bates. He also penned movie classics The Shawkshank Redemption (1981) and The Green Mile (2006) with Tom Hanks.

Television Movies & Miniseries  

Not only have his novels been made into big screen movie productions, but also into television movies by network and cable channels. Some of the most famous television horror adaptations include Salem's Lot (1975), IT (1986) with Tim Curry, The Tommyknockers (1987), and The Langoliers (1989).

Television Shows

King's stories have also been adapted into several television shows. The most well known adaptation is the USA Network series based on The Dead Zone (1976), starring Anthony Michael Hall

If you take a look at Stephen King's catalog of titles you will be very surprised at just how many of your favorite movies are based on his books.

Do you have a favorite Stephen King book or movie? Comment below! 
Bibliographic Source: - The Library
[Cover images courtesy of LibraryThing]

Friday, October 12, 2012

Food, Food, Food! | Cooking Competitions on Television: How Your Library Can Assist You with This Obsession

I find myself compulsively watching cooking competitions on television.  My dogs watch with me, although that could have more to do with their interest in cuddling with me than the content on the telly.  I watch every Top Chef version, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef and anything else I stumble upon.  The competition aspect is critical because as one friend pointed out; “If weather could figure out how to compete Peaches would watch The Weather Channel.”  It’s true.  I am very seldom going to make anything I watch someone make, let alone eat it, especially if anything like kale or pretty much anything green is going to be in it. 

Many of the world’s famous chefs have cookbooks that we keep in our libraries.  (I love that there are so many famous chefs now.   People have heard of chefs besides Julia Child and Alice Waters.)  I am going to share a list of some books both about competitive eating/cooking and by chefs who are on tv.

Some cooking from television's favorite chefs that the library carries are: 

Emeril's TV Dinners  by Emeril Lagasse
The Naked Chef Takes Off by Jamie Oliver

Constant Curiosity | Hidden Treasures

     Reading a novel, other than for the sheer pleasure of visiting other people and places, often yields treasures (to me, anyway) beyond what the story is ostensibly about.  Recently I read a book about an artist who was painting "cowboy angels" and as he painted, he listened to Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris singing "Return of the Grievous Angel" (on Sacred Hearts & Fallen Angels) so nothing would do but I had to hear that song.  Right then.  Pandora and Youtube to the rescue.  

Later the artist listened to Carlos Santana and Yo Yo Ma's duet of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps,"  (sung by Indie.Arie.)  Really lovely, and the vision of the artist at work came to three dimensional life in my mind.  The book I was reading?  Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black, unfortunately only available as an ebook.  Full disclosure:  it's a book that might be considered an 'alternative' romance, so fair warning.

This little adventure got me thinking about my many years as a reference librarian and being asked about books that appeared within books (or were mentioned in movies) and how to find them.  This was before the Internet, so it  involved actual research in books.  One of my favorites concerned the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral" when an inquiring mind called the reference desk to ask about the 'William Holden' poem recited in the film.  Fortunately I had seen the movie the past weekend so I knew it was actually by W.H. Auden: "Funeral Blues."

"Funeral Blues", or "Stop All the Clocks" as the Auden poem is sometimes referred to, is an actual poem, but an author might invent books that exist only in his or her extra-fertile imagination, sometimes as MacGuffins or just to further or enrich the plot and sometimes for just plain entertainment, probably for themselves as much as the reader.  Writing is serious business; who can blame a hard-working writer for wanting to dabble in nonsense now and then?

Some of the authors who seem to be having too much fun are J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books:  Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit and Men Who Love Dragons Too Much; Lemony Snicket, a possibly (just saying) made-up author, has a wonderful list of
invented books, such as The Big Peruvian Book of Small Peruvian Snakes and Handbook for Advanced Apostrophe Use

One very popular invented book was Dean Koontz's Book of Counted Sorrows, which readers asked librarians and booksellers about all the time.  Koontz himself said he received up to 3,000 letters a year about this 'book.'  Koontz finally published several editions of his made-up book, now out of print and selling for up to $1800.00.

Of course I had to find more about fictional books. I couldn't help but wish that some of the titles listed were actual books, i.e.  How I Scaled the North Face of the Megapurna with a Perfectly Healthy Finger But Everything Else Sprained, Broken or Bitten Off By a Pack of Mad Yaks  as referred to in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series

What would you call your imaginary book?  My current favorite: (a memoir)   The Hazards of Reading in the Bathtub and Other Unlikely Places:  A Sometimes Soggy Adventure Story.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wanderlust Librarian | Food Trucks

Travel is always a destination (well....almost). Sometimes it's fun to go to a new place just to find new food!

Back when I was younger, there was the taco truck: a big metal box that sold tacos and burritos. More often than not, the best tacos and burritos came out of those trucks at cheap prices. For a high school / college student, they were a sight for sore eyes.

Over the past few years, the big metal boxes have risen to cult status as Food Trucks: big metal boxes that sell all sorts of delicious food at reasonable prices. It's a great way to try a different cuisine without buying a huge meal. In fact, it's a great way to get a lot of different kinds of food for the price of dinner and dessert at a regular restaurant. One of the first food trucks I went to was the Kogi Truck in Southern California. They sold amazing things like Kimchee Dogs and Korean BBQ Beef Tacos.

Food truck gathering at San Diego Comic Con 2011

Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels is a great book that goes over the short history of food trucks and covers some delicious recipes from iconic food trucks around the country!

There are some great food trucks in the area that you can try:
The Cupcake Lady in Turlock
Off the Grid in San Francisco is a weekly gathering of food trucks. The biggest gathering is on Friday nights at the Presidio. 

Sometimes the food IS the destination. Follow your taste buds to your next adventure! 

Bon app├ętit !! 


Book Bucket List | The Great Gatsby

Pretty much everyone had to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby at some point for one English class or another.  Personally, in high school, I didn't completely appreciate it.  However, after recently rereading it, I was able to see it in a whole new light.  Set within the excess, debauchery, and scandal of the 1920's, the novel follows the lives and relationships of young people who have more money than they know what to do with.  What I really loved about this book this time around, was how far the main character, Jay Gatsby, was willing to go to simply get the attention of the girl he loved.  What he does to become the man he thinks he should be may or may not have been even legal, but the way Fitzgerald creates this character for me at least, is unforgettable. Once Gatsby finally achieves his goal, the drama that unfolds is truly heartbreaking.

This book is also being made into a movie as we speak!  Though the release date was pushed back from this Christmas all the way to May 10, 2013, we will get to see Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan as the lead cast in what looks to be a truly spectacular movie directed by Moulin Rouge's Baz Luhrmann.  You can see the trailer for that here or below!  Read the book, see the movie (eventually), and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learning | Change of Seasons

"I feel like I'm wearing my back-to-school clothes," a grinning customer said. I had just complimented her on the beautiful sweater set she was wearing.  It was late September, and it was--at last!--a bit chilly outside. 

Remember the excitement of shopping for back-to-school clothes in the sweltering days of late summer? Most of the stores offer an enticing selection of long-sleeved, heavier clothes that are more suited to fall.  It can be frustrating, waiting for appropriate weather to wear them for the first time.

The library has a wide selection of books related to this season, both entertaining and educational. There are books on making costumes, crafts, or seasonal food; of course we have a wide selection of fall and Halloween-related fiction, which range from silly to scary. 

For a little learning fun, try Stephen Schnur's picture book,  Autumn: an Alphabet Acrostic. It has clever riddles; the first letter of each line spells out a relevant word. Schnur and illustrator Leslie Evans have a series of acrostic picture books matching seasons throughout the year.

Consider making up your own acrostic riddles with your family or students!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

City Librarian | Hooked on Nooks, er...Books!

The Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library has come a long way in the past couple of years. First, we began offering eBooks and digital audiobooks that you can download from home or even directly to your mobile phone. Then we joined the Link+ group that lets all San Joaquin County book lovers borrow books from over 50 libraries across two states. That's an additional 9 million titles beyond what SSJCPL already makes available to you. 

And now this! Starting on October 22, SSJCPL will start lending Nook eReaders loaded with great content that you will be able to take home with you just like any other book, movie, or music that we lend!

Beginning today, you can start searching the Library's catalog to browse the variety of Nooks we'll be offering and you can even start making holds on the devices so you can be one of the first library users in the County to get your hands on these awesome gadgets!

We've purchased over 50 Nooks and they all come pre-loaded with high quality, current titles in a variety of genres. For example, you might be a  lover of romance, so you can take home a Nook with ten different complete romance titles. Or maybe teen fiction is your thing. Sci-Fi? Mysteries? We've got those, too. Just type "nook" (no need for the quotation marks...) in the catalog on our home page and, voila, you can take your pick. And, if you're dying to know exactly what titles are loaded on each Nook, in the catalog, you can click on the Nook genre you want, then click on "catalog record" and scroll down to "Contents". For example, on our Bestseller Nook, you'll see that you can read the latest Evanovich, Patterson, Laurel Hamilton, and, yes, 50 Shades!

You'll also find that, when you search for a specific title, say the popular teen series The Maze Runner, any titles we have on our Nooks will show up in your results page that way, too. In short, when you search for the latest title you've been dying to get your hands on, you'll be able to choose whichever format you want that the Library owns: book, eBook, audio book on CD or in digital download format, and now, on the Nook! Pretty cool, huh?

4 Children | Batter Up

It's October and that means baseball playoffs and the World Series. If you're a baseball fan like me, here are some great books you've got to check out:

Heat by Mike Lupica is the story of pitching ace Michael Arroyo who has been banned from Little League because rival coaches don't believe he is only 12 years old. He's also an orphan, so he doesn't have any parents to prove his age. All he wants is to be able to pitch in the Little League World Series.  This book will grab you; you'll have to read it to find out what happens!
If you like time travel books, you don't want to miss Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures. In Shoeless Joe and Me, young Joe Stoshack travels back to 1919 and meets Shoeless Joe Jackson. Young Joe travels back in time to try to change the infamous Black Sox Scandal. Can he really change history? Read it to find out!
One of my favorite books is Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff. It's 1949 and two girls' softball teams are ready for the annual Bat 6 softball tournament. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the girls. While the softball story is really good, what will really grab your heart is the treatment that Aki, a Japanese-American girl who plays first base, endures upon returning to town after spending several years in an internment camp. I can't tell you how it ends, but I can tell you that you'll definitely be moved by this story.
These books are available for checking out at any SSJCPL library!  (And if the one you want to read isn't on the shelf, ask library staff how to request it!) Read and enjoy! And by the way, what's your favorite baseball book?
Batter up!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Professor O | Superman and Batman: Comic's Peanut Butter and Jelly

Raise your hand if you like Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Raise your hand if you like Superman and Batman! 

Now, you add some bread and you got yourself one of the Professor's favorite food, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Put the two heroes together and have them work as a team, that is World's Finest Comics. 

A late, but exciting hello, fellow adventurers!

It is time to dive back into the comic book collection at the Stockton/San Joaquin Public Library. In this installment, we will take a close look, not at the snack, but at the two aforementioned heroes. They will not be pitted against each other, but teaming up to fight battles too heavy for the other guys, and too big for one of them alone. The ever dutiful and just, Superman, paired with the rough justice and smarts of Batman will have to take on enemies of galactic proportions. It is only fitting, wouldn't you agree? The title in mind today is Superman/Batman: Absolute Power by Jeph Loeb, with Carlos Pacheco on art. Wherein The Dark Knight Detective and The Man Of Steel are evil dictators that rule through pain and terror. What? But, how did this happen? Who could be behind this? The Professor asks that you, fellow traveler, see for yourself, and go borrow the book to answer all piqued questions.


Jeph Loeb brings in one of the Professor's favorites, and sometime collaborator, Darkseid. He does some big damage. Add a little time travel, interesting plot twists, and you've got an epic worthy of the heavy hitters. Recall the Professor mentioning, "galactic proportions"?  What else could be a match for the Titans of comics? Jeph Loeb knows how to focus on the best of their skills and balances well the character's personalities. Ultimately, Batman does not trust Superman. Discuss. 

A good and worthy look into the Superman/Batman's BFF-ness, for lack of a better term. There are other Superman/Batman titles throughout the entire library system, feel free to borrow. Batman kicks butt and outsmarts everyone, Superman takes care of the muscle and lights stuff on fire. Eye beams rule. 

Until the next time, warrior...

Life & Style | Library Fashion File

Style Mafias!

That is what I call my cousins.

They make fun of my lack of style every chance they get.

By Golly, I've got to do something about it.

Library I need you.

So last week, in my quest to become a tiny bit stylish, I checked out numerous style books and magazines from the Cesar Chavez Library hoping for a miracle before my next family reunion. 

Don't laugh, miracles happen you know.  

Here is what I have learned so far: 
  • A wrap dress can turn you in to a goddess. Even Aphrodite was a fan.
  • A Pencil skirt is heavenly. Most men like seeing you in one, including Zeus!
  • Black shirt+red pants+leopard shoes would make Apollo sing for you.
  • Red sheath dress + leather jacket + high heels can bring Ares; the God of war to his knees. (Don't wear this to work. Wear it to your next family reunion to give your cousins what they deserve)
  • To become a Femme Fatale, you must own a little black dress. Legend has it that Hades left the underworld one day just to admire women wearing these LBDs. 
  • Girdles were used as torture devices in Medieval Europe. If you want to torture yourself, go right ahead and use them.
        Anyway, I have got two years before my next family reunion to turn myself in to a Fashionsita. Let's cross our fingers that I can pull it off. 

        If you wish to become more stylish for your next party, visit your local Library to check out style books and magazines for free. How about these books for a start:

        Wear this, Toss that!  by Amy Goodman

        Go ahead, give your Library a chance to make you more gorgeous than ever.

        Signing off for the week- Panteha