Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teens Only | Urban Legends

An urban legend is a secondhand story told as true and just plausible enough to be believed....about some horrific, embarrassing, ironic or exasperating series of events that supposedly happened to a real person.

We've all heard an urban legend or two. But which ones are true? And which ones are just myth?

As you probably know, you can go to the Snopes website and find out which legends are truth or myth. But let's try our own "urban legend" knowledge. Admittedly, these are pretty mild. Do you know which ones are truth and which ones are myth?

1. Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell out of a tree he was sitting under and hit him on the head. The height of the Eiffel Tower changes by as much as six inches depending on the temperature outside.

3. During the day, you can see the stars from the bottom of a well.

4. Bats are blind.

5. A Japanese man -- hoping that his father would miraculously come back to life -- kept the man's corpse in a coffin-sized freezer for 13 years before authorities intervened.
Coconut milk for plasma?
6. Coconut milk can be used as a blood plasma substitute in an emergency.

7. A 22-year-old New York waiter was drowned in Coca Cola by a Russian mobster angry that his drink was removed from his table before he was finished with it.

Still thinking? If you'd like to check out some books filled with urban legends, stop by one of the SSJCPL branches. If the one you want isn't on the shelves, ask library staff to help you place a request! Here are a few cool ones:

Urban Legends: The Truth Behind All Those Deliciously Entertaining Myths That Are Absolutely, Positively 100% Not True! by Richard Roeper

And now for the answers: 1. (Myth); 2. (True); 3. (True); 4. (Myth); 5. (True); 6. (True); 7. (Myth)

See you next Saturday!

Books On Film | Supernatural

We all know that books are frequently made into movies, but the reverse also occurs. The process of adapting a movie or television show into a book is called novelization.

Novelizations take two forms: direct screen-to-book adaptions and "spin-off" books. "Spin-off" books are written in the same universe with the same characters, but with plots not seen in the source material. Direct screen-to-book adaptations are more common with movies and "spin-offs" more common with television shows, particularly science fiction and fantasy shows with large fan-bases.

The fantasy, horror show Supernatural, which is about two brothers who hunt supernatural creatures, was first novelized in 2007. Since the show is in it's eighth season and the show has put it's own spin on classic monster mythology, there is plenty of story to draw inspiration from.

If you like to watch Supernatural check out the books below. Are they as good as the show? You tell me!

1. Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido 
2. Witch's Canyon by Jeff Mariott  
3. Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido 
4. Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. Decandido [Link+]
5. The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber [Link+]
6. War of the Sons by Rebecca Dessertine [Link+]

If you are looking for other supernatural novelizations, checkout out the Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Charmed books.
Have you checked out the novelization of one of your favorite movies or television shows? How did it compare? Comment below and let us know!

For more information about our Link+ borrowing system, please click here.
[Bibliographic Source: Good Reads - Supernatural TV Show Books

[Cover images uploaded by Candace]  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food, Food, Food | Meet Mr. Burt Reynolds

So my blog is about food, but I am going to bore you with stories about my dogs from time to time so I thought I might introduce them to you.
Burt Reynolds, the human
My oldest dog is a sweet, fat, Border Collie mix named Mr.  Burt Reynolds.  He recently turned 7.  He lives with me and two female dogs that you will meet in the future.  He has had many other girlfriends as he is aptly named.  His favorite activities include sleeping, eating, sleeping, kissing me, sleeping and what we call basically: “Reynolds-ing.”  The “Reynolds-ing” primarily includes him barking and destroying my living room window sills. 

This dog talk has made me wonder what you pet owners do for food for your animals?   I buy food but one of my good friends makes food for her dog.  We have books at the library for people who want recipes for food for their dogs.  I am hardly capable of cooking for myself and my imagined dinner partner  George Clooney. 

Check these out:

Something else to remember in case reading about Mr. Burt Reynolds has made you wonder about the movie star he shares a name with is our Biography Database: Biography in Context.  It’s a great place to learn things like Burt’s middle name (Leon) and about how many movies and television shows he’s been in (a lot!) 
See you next week when you will read about the adventures of one Mazie Reynolds.  (My dogs share a surname that is not my own.)

Picture courtesy of Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride

Constant Curiosity | Hunting & Gathering

[Cover]A few years ago, I decided that owning a whole lot of plain old books wasn't enough (this was before e-book readers came out) and that I had to own first editions and even autographed first editions.  I think  this particular obsession was an offshoot of other collecting enthusiasms plus that old treasure hunting lust, that took me to a local thrift store.  While browsing books, (and why not?) I happened upon an autographed, first edition copy of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde  in almost new condition. 

Well.  I was like a duck on a junebug.  A big juicy junebug.   Then came research on first editions, first state, second state, number of printings and a whole arcania of terminology and information that I never knew existed. 

Since I do nothing by half, I not only looked into identification and price guides, but also read books by other collectors:  Used and Rare by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone and of course, fiction on book collecting such as John Dunning's Cliff Janeway mystery series.  It was all fascinating and kept me happily busy for a year or so. 

[Cover]Finally, I had had plenty of fun and was able to go on to collecting other things.  But I did ask myself: does owning more than two of anything make one a collector?  Or is it a desire to own more than two of anything?  When does the hunting and gathering gene kick in, causing one to become a devotee of ebay and estate sales and second-hand (aka antique) shops?   Is it a trip to the bookstore or library to study one of the many antiques and collectibles identification and price guides?  Is it the need to watch Antiques Road Show on PBS every week?  Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

Actually, I've decided that it's probably not a good idea for me to delve too deeply into my own collecting habits, for fear of inviting comparisons to the famous Collyer brothers of New York.   It's still a lot of fun, though, and feeds my habit of research, the need to know all about whatever it is I'm interested in at the time.  And that's when I'm glad the profession I'm in chose me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Wanderlust Librarian | San Diego Comic-Con

Shameless picture of me and Nathan Fillion! 
(He's on Castle!)

I know what you're thinking, "Am I at the right blog? Doesn't this girl write about travel?" Don't worry, you're at the right place and I'll be taking you into the annual magic that is San Diego Comic Con (affectionately known as SDCC). This year marked the third time I made my way to San Diego. The convention runs every July for four days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center.

There are a "few" people walking around. 
Staggering fact:
Attendance for SDCC 2012 was over 126,000! (Manteca's total population was 68,410 as of January 1, 2011). It sells out every year by February or March when tickets are released.

Disturbing fact:
I don't read many comic books. In fact, I rarely read them.

Why would I attend SDCC, you ask? For the simple fact that it has more than comic books! It's everything from science fiction / fantasy / video gaming and animation . I love movies and television. When studios want to advertise new or returning shows and new movies, they go all out. Stars from the movies and shows frequently show up to the panels. The most popular panels are held in Hall H (capacity 6,500) and Ballroom 20 (capacity 4,900) and are packed with fans clamoring to hear about their favorite shows. 

Doctor Who Cast: (Left to Right) Matt Smith,
Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan
Popular panels from this year's SDCC:

  • Firefly 10th Anniversary panel 
  • Game of Thrones
  • True Blood
  • Doctor Who
  • Dexter
  • Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Walking Dead
  • Iron Man 3
  • Frankenweenie

The fun doesn't end once you leave the Convention Center. The area called The Gaslamp Quarter comes alive after sundown with the hoards of attendees and celebrities walking the streets to grab a bite to eat, catch an off site show or making their way to a multitude of restaurants or parties. Companies rent out restaurants and transform them into Adventure Time, or shows from The Hub! Nerdy pursuits from the world of the Interwebs show their presence outside of the SDCC. Geek & Sundry, Nerd HQ and CNET stake their headquarter claims in the Gaslamp during the Con.

Picture of me and Joss Whedon
He wanted to remain in his hood and hat. I was okay with that! 

If Comic Con had a king, it would most definitely be Stan Lee. It's amazing just how much his work has influenced entertainment! The list of books and dvds the library carries bearing his brand are staggering! If Comic Con had a prince, his name would be Joss Whedon. Never heard of him? Maybe you've heard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or a little movie called ...The Avengers? Yeah...both of them Joss. If you think this man is small potatoes, check out the list of items that bear HIS name!

Traveling is pushing yourself to learning and experiencing new things. Don't be discouraged from visiting a new place because you think that you may not like it. In the case of Comic-Con... I'm thrilled that I went to check it out because it's now one of my favorite things!

Remember, readers: Adventure, Daleks and Avengers are out there!

Book Bucket List | J. K. Rowling

I first picked up J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I was eleven years old.  Everything about the books is so engrossing that I can go back and pick up any one of the seven books and be just as excited about it as I was the first time. The Harry Potter series is one of the most influential and entertaining series of our time.  The books inspired a whole generation to get into reading, a huge eight part film series was created, and college kids are even picking up their broomsticks and playing a "muggle", or non-magical, version of wizard soccer.  

If you have never read the series, at least read the first one to see what all of the fuss is about.  
Here are the titles in the series:

Rowling also wrote two of Harry's textbooks and donated all of the profits to charity.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione is given the book Tales of Beedle the Bard by Professor Dumbledore to assist in the fight against Voldemort.  After the series ended, Rowling actually published the book, which contains fairy tales that are told to children in the wizarding community, and never heard by non-magical children.
 "Ron, you know full well Harry and I were brought up by Muggles! We didn't hear stories like that when we were little, we heard Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella"
 "What's that, an illness?
           - J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Even after the series ended, Potter fever didn't die down.  In 2011, Rowling released her Harry Potter universe website, Pottermore.  Here, readers can go through interactive pages of each chapter of the books.
In the first book, when Harry goes to buy his first wand, the user takes a quiz designed by Rowling herself which tells them which kind of wand they would receive.  Similarly, when Harry gets sorted into his school house by the Sorting Hat, the user takes a quiz and gets sorted into their own house.  The great thing about this website is that it gives readers the opportunity to experience, at least in some way, the things Harry got to experience.

On September 27, J. K. Rowling released her first adult novel.  The Casual Vacancy is in no way a children's book.  It is set in a small British village and follows the lives of its residents after a parish council member dies unexpectedly.  The book contains references to many adult themes and situations including drug abuse, murder, and sex.  Readers familiar with Rowling will be interested to read this, just to see what her writing is like beyond Harry.  It is definitely different.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Learning | Choosing a College

Titles from SSJCPL for adults helping 

teens to choose a college

As a parent, I've always found it helpful to hear about different ways to handle a problem or situation.  Even if they don't have the perfect solution, other parents help me look at the matter differently, and think of something that will work. I try to walk that fine line, between being supportive enough, or smothering my child with good intentions -- a line that sometimes seemed invisible, as college-bound teens grew more independent. After all, we can't follow them around at college.

The public library can provide valuable tools for the sometimes overwhelming process of  choosing a college. Every person is different, and the perfect school for one young person may not be the best for another. A young adult needs to be responsible for making decisions, applying and meeting deadlines, but parents, counselors and teachers are valuable support staff. 

Dog Races on Picnic Day at UC Davis. 

 Photo by simonledesma on Some rights reserved.

It's never too early to start thinking about how to best help your child explore options. My eldest son was smitten by the charms of UC Davis at eight years of age, when we visited the campus for Picnic Day. We just went there for a day of family fun -- we saw dog races, farm animals, and experimental cars! 

Visiting the campus and touring some of the buildings left a lasting impression on him.  His intended majors changed over the years, but never his choice of college. Even though he had already set his sights on Davis, I was happy that he had opportunities to explore at least half a dozen other schools before sending out applications in his senior year of high school.

Try visiting campuses with your children, whenever you are on a road trip.  Encourage them to take part in any school-sponsored field trips to colleges. The more colleges they see, the more they develop a sense of whether they want to be at a small, medium, large -- or huge -- campus.  Visiting a school's website is a good start, but there's nothing like being there in person and taking a tour.  

Photo by Inkyhack from Some rights reserved.

Cardboard Regatta 2010 at University of the Pacific. 

Photo by Inkyhack from Some rights reserved.

My youngest son took much longer to decide on a school. There was one university, several hundred miles away, that intrigued him, until we visited.  "It's nice," he said, "But I just can't see myself living here." Sometimes his search seemed like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; this one was too far away from family and friends, that one had too many courses led by graduate assistants, or not enough course offerings in different areas of engineering.  He always wanted to major in engineering, but he wasn't sure where he wanted to study. He visited at least nine schools over the years, probably more. He decided on Pacific after attending an admissions preview event. Yes, he grew up in Stockton, and always knew Pacific had a beautiful campus. He just didn't know he would like the engineering school so much. The "just right" campus  is only a fifteen minute bicycle ride from our house. 
The following books will lend some insight for adults hoping to help teens in their college admissions quest:

Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College Here's a humorous recollection of one father's adventures with his son's college admission process, from beginning to end. The author, Andrew Ferguson, is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

I'm Going to College -- Not You! Surviving the College Search With Your Child As you might guess from the title, some of us have trouble remembering not to hover too much. This book is a collection of essays from different parents' experiences with the college selection process.  This is a good source to get some perspective from others, and learn from their mistakes, successes, and humorous observations.

Acceptance: a Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges -- and Find Themselves shares how legendary guidance counselor Gwyeth "Smitty" Smith, who "gets to know students better than their parents know them," helps college applicants make meaningful decisions about finding the right fit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

4 Kids | It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

It's dark outside. The wind is howling. Trees brush up against the house. A thump. A bump. It's late. You're scared. BOO!
Just wanted to get you in the mood for some great mystery reading; after all, Halloween is just around the corner! Join me as we pay a visit to some of SSJCPL staff's favorite mystery books for kids.

There's a dollhouse with a weird ghostly light. The dolls in the dollhouse move around when no one is watching. That's not all! The dollhouse holds a secret....a deadly secret that hasn't been talked about in years. And that secret has to do with a murder that happened many years ago. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite mysteries, but my colleague John also recommends it. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. Read it!


Two SSJCPL ladies, Peach and Christine, recommend this one. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. So there are sixteen people invited to the reading of a very strange will of the very rich Samuel W. Westing. They could become millionaires, depending on how they play the game. All they have to do is find the answer -- but the answer to what? Are you confused? I am.  But I just checked out a copy of this book and am going to figure it out. Join me. Check it out, read it, and tell me what you think!

Today's final mystery recommendation comes from my friend Suzanne. It's Howliday Inn by James Howe. This is the sequel to my favorite book, Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery. There are plenty of strange things going on at Chateau Bow Wow, the place where Chester and Harold are boarded....they're animals, by the way....when the Monroe family goes on vacation. Read it and help Chester and Harold figure out what happened to Louise the French dog. And what is all that howling at night? A fun mystery for young readers!

So there you have it. Some great mysteries, recommended by SSJCPL staff, to get you into the Halloween mood! Read them and let me know what you think!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Professor O | Batman: Hush

Professor O here, with one of the best Batman stories I have read in a long time, courtesy of the SSJCPL. If you can get your hands on this gem, it will reward the reader with one one of the most enjoyable of The Dark Knight's daring exploits.  

Batman: Hush, written by Jeph Loeb (of Superman/Batman fame), with art by the incomparable, Jim Lee (X-Men) is a fine tale, and a worthy adventure for our caped crusader. If one ever wants to see the Batman at his very best, it is in this story arc. The reader will enjoy looking at the Batman's gadgets, and Jim Lee's art is fantastic at showing the technological do-dad's of what The Dark Knight employs in his battle against crime. Professor O loves night vision and HUD's (that's Head's Up Display, for you non professor types).

With appearances by Superman, Nightwing, Catwoman, and my personal friend, The Joker, Hush is not to be missed. Professor O, who is very fond of armored vehicles and fast cars, feels the Batmobile looks great with Jim Lee's futuristic, anime/manga inspired style. What is your take? Batman: Hush is a wonderful story and one of the modern classic tales of The Dark Knight. 

Go grab this comic at your local SSJCPL, and while you are there, do yourself a favor and finish the story off in Batman: Hush Vol. 2

Until the next time, fellow adventurer, be ever vigilant, read on, and Professor O will continue to bring you tales of daring and excitement from your library! Tough work!

Did I mention Batman and Superman fight?  Spoiler: Batman wins, of course.

Life & Style | Who Is Afraid Of The Dark

Who is afraid of the dark.


Don't tell this to my kid. I pretend to be the Brave Heart when I am with her.

I am afraid of so many things that I am sad to report that I would be the last person on earth to receive a medal for bravery.

Here are just a few of my phobias:

Ghosts, cemeteries after dark, scary movies, tarantulas, cockroaches and white chocolate.

Since I am so fearless, I am checking out this cool site called; "Goosebumps, the science of fear" to understand the science behind it.

I was thinking since Halloween is right around the corner, I should read a couple of scary books to add more gray hairs to my head.

Here is what my husband has recommended me to read:
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 

Here is a recommendation from my friend Amy:  
The haunting of the Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Here is a recommendation from my friend Jim:
Dracula by Bram Stoker

Here is what I have finally decided to read for Halloween:  

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha