Saturday, December 1, 2012

Teens Only | Twilight, Harry, etc.

First, the answers to the Twilight trivia from last week's blog:

1. How old is Carlisle? 362 (and I thought I was old!)
2. What do the Cullens have in their house that surprises Bella? A hand-carved cross.
3. Who is the leader of the visiting coven? James
4. How old is Jacob when he meets Bella on the beach? 15
5. What is the name of the 2010 book by Stephenie Meyer about a character introduced in Eclipse? The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Enough about Twilight (yes, I just said that!) 

I'm in a YouTube kinda mood. My awesome niece Madeline just turned me on to Potter Puppet Pals on You Tube. Have you seen them? Oh. My. Goodness. Since they are based on that popular boy wizard of children's and teen literature, Harry Potter, I feel that I'm doing my librarian duty by sharing this with you. My favorite is Wizard Angst.

This weather is sapping my energy. So I'm going to sign off now and wish you a wonderful weekend. Happy reading....Happy YouTubing....Be safe!


Books On Film | The Polar Express

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a Caldecott Award winning children's fiction book originally published in 1986. It is the story of a boy who takes a magical train ride headed to the North Pole. On board he finds other children also seeking Santa and encounters much more adventure than he bargained for.

It is considered by many to be a holiday classic. Perfectly fitting to read with all of your other holiday favorites. The book was adapted into an animated movie in 2004. All of the characters are computer animated and the father, as well as other characters, are voiced by actor Tom Hanks. 

The movie is frequently re-released for the holidays (including in 3-D), so if you haven't seen it on the big screen it may not be too late!

Check out the book and then watch the movie! 


The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento offers a Polar Express Train Ride (FAQs) every year in November and December. The 2012 tickets are already sold out, but take a peek and keep an eye out next year. It's a fun ride with storytime, dancing waiters, hot cocoa, a view of the North Pole, a meet and greet with Santa, and a complimentary day pass to the railroad museum. 

[Book/Movie Cover Source: LibraryThing]
[Movie Information Source: IMDB]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Food, Food, Food | How Was Your Holiday?

Now begins the long wait until Thanksgiving 2013.  Sigh.  I love that there is a holiday that revolves around friends, family, food and football.  (And how cool is it that we have an extra game, now?)

At our house we had standard fare, which is just fine with Peach.  Any meal that involves Crescent Rolls is welcome in my tummy.  We had approximately twelve people over to my mother's house and we had to practically cuddle while we ate so that we'd all fit.  We did the standard saying what we are thankful for and it's always fun to hear the variety of answers.   

Pre-Thanksgiving I went to one of my favorite restaurants: Siamese Street.  If you haven't tried this restaurant you are living a very sad life.  I normally get the Sweet Basil Noodles.  I caution you that if you are a delicate flower, don't get it any stronger than "mild."  I go "medium" but I am just that out of control.  My friend Robert (if you knew how many sentences I start that way...) gets "hot" and he claims to love it but he looks like he might burst into flames.  Other friends I go with like the various curry dishes, but I am so in love with my noodles that I cannot stray.

I'll blog at you later.  In the meantime, Happy Birthday to our City Librarian Mr. Freeman!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Wanderlust Librarian | Staycation

Staycation: having a vacation at home/ close to home. 

Rena's definition of a staycation: Enjoying your personal home space independent from the normal chores and doldrums of keeping your house clean and functional.

Delightful readers, I hope your Thanksgiving was spent with loved ones 

and friends! I didn't stray far from home, in fact, my family and I went to San Jose to have dinner with my brother then came back to town.

picture courtesy of BBC America

Upon coming home on Thanksgiving night, a friend had text messaged me about shopping online. What's that? Shopping online? In my pajamas? Readers, I did it. I shopped in my pajamas. I bought lots of things from the comfort of my bed while watching re-runs of Doctor Who . Imagine the satisfaction of shopping at home, avoiding crowds, wearing slippers and having my packages delivered to my doorstep!! Shopping achievement unlocked! 

Picture from
I woke up on the morning after Thanksgiving feeling accomplished. For the first time, in a long time, I made myself a cup of coffee. Being that I'm the only one in my house that drinks coffee, I made use of my coffee maker. I'm posting a picture of it here because I bought it cheap from a person that never used it! I use it all the time now (admittedly, my house smells amazing when I make coffee).

I'm also ready to decorate for the holidays. My family took turns suffering some kind of weird flu over the Thanksgiving holiday, so it was nice to have a day when I wasn't sick in bed or tending to my daughter while SHE was sick in bed! My cute bell wreath is up on the front door, so it gives a delightful jingle when I open or close the door. 

Make your staycation fun with these suggestions:
  • Make your bed - somehow a clean bed equals maximum relaxation. It's like comfort is waiting for you! 
  • Watch your favorite movie.
  • If you love to cook, make something in the crock pot. The crock pot gives you the luxury of slow cooking and letting warm, happy food smells go all over the house all day. 
  • If you decide against the crock pot, I suggest making cookies. It'll let warm, happy cookies smells go all over the house. 
  • If you decide against cookies or the crock pot, get some takeout and let someone else cook for a change. 
  • Don't do laundry. Would you do laundry on vacation? Exactly. Laundry can wait a day!
  • Warm beverages: cocoa, coffee, tea... ALL make for maximum comfort.
  • Board game night is fun with friends or family. Make the most of your home and invite people on staycation with you!
  • **My favorite suggestion** Take your blanket and throw it in the dryer for about 30-40 minutes before bedtime. When you take it out, it'll be toasty warm! Beware, it'll put you right to sleep. Feel free to thank me later! :D
Adventure is out there, but home is where you hang your hat! Have a productive and relaxing holiday season! 

-Rena the Bloggess

Book Bucket List | A Long Way Gone

Ishmael Beah's biography A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is one of my favorite books.  I first heard of this book when the author was being interviewed about it on NPR.  The author was only twenty four years old at the time and answering questions about when, over a decade previous, he was a soldier in Sierra Leone.  When he was only thirteen years old, Beah was taken from his family during Sierra Leone's civil war, and forced to be a soldier for the Sieera Leonnean government army.  I ran out and got Beah's biography, A Long Way Gone, after hearing his interview.

Beah's biography not only gives a through history of Sierra Leone, but reveals the horrors he had to live through during his three years as a child soldier.  He also goes into detail about his rescue by UNICEF and his eventual move to the United States.  After completing high school in America, Beah enrolled at Oberlin College and graduated with a degree in Political Science.

So if you're looking for a biography that you won't want to put down, check out Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone for a truly inspirational story.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning | What Was That Book I Read?

Often, customers will ask us if we have a record of the previous items they checked out.  Our software really doesn't keep a list of your past checkouts, but there is an easy way you can get some clues about your reading history, right here on the website. The trick is to already be logged into your library card account, before you search our catalog.
Log in to your account
Log into your library account using your library card and PIN numbers.  (Don't know your PIN? See if the last four numbers of your phone number work. If not, bring your card or picture ID into any library branch to view/reset your PIN.)

Tip: click on the picture to view the screenshot.

Click on Search/Home

Logging into your account will take you to a page for My Account options.  For our current purposes, just ignore all the links to view and manage your account.  

Instead, you need to act like you are searching for a book. On the dark blue line, click on the words Search/Home.

Click on More Favorites

This will take you to a page that looks very familiar.  It's almost like the one you see after you click on "New Search," after you have entered a term in the catalog search box on our home page.  

But there is one important difference: since you are logged in, it shows some different lists below the search box. These lists are My Favorite Authors and My Favorite Subjects.  The lists are short on this page, but if you click on the link for More Favorites, on the right, you will be able to view long lists of authors and subjects related to items you have checked out before.

Try clicking on an author or subject. This will generate a library catalog search for that term, and show you what books the library has--and allow you to place a hold on the items you want. 

I like to look at mine once in a while, especially if I'm not sure what I feel like reading next. Looking over the lists helps me remember some of the topics and themes I enjoy, and plenty of authors whose names I would not be likely to recall. If I click on the name, I see a list of books by that person, and can usually remember the title of the book at that point. 

Search results for "Yankovic, Al 1959-"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

4 Kids | Penguins, Penguins, Penguins

Fratello Marionettes in "North Pole Review"

A Penguin Story, by Antoinette Portis, is the story of Edna Edna the penguin who only knows the three colors that surround her: white ice, black night, and blue sea. She is convinced there is something more out there. So she sets out on a quest -- a quest for color. When she finally finds what she's been looking for, it's everything she hoped for and more. But that doesn't mean she will ever stop looking.

Ready to laugh out loud? Read Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard Atwater, and find out what happens when a mild-mannered house painter receives an unexpected delivery of an Antarctic penguin! Seriously. A penguin! It's one crazy thing after another as the Popper family must adapt to the ever-increasing number of penguins in their house!  

Of course, no blog about penguins would be complete without mention of Helen Lester's ever funny Tacky the Penguin. (And for those of you who come to programs at SSJCPL libraries, you've probably seen a puppet show or two starring Tacky the Penguin.) Tacky is an odd bird, and his penguin friends find him a tad bit annoying....until Tacky's quirky behavior saves the day! That's right! Tacky saves the day and the penguin hunters run away! And by the way, this is one of my top ten favorite books in the world.

So come to the Fratello Marionettes' program on Monday, December 3rd....and check out some great penguin books too!

Happy Reading!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Life & Style | Library Staff Fashion File

 Here are some style & beauty tips from my gorgeous coworkers:
  1. Retro look never goes out of style.
  2. Add a leopard-print to a basic outfit to give it some pizzazz.
  3. Do to you neck what you do to you face.
  4. Drink Lots of water to keep wrinkles at bay.
  5. Wash your face every night and moisturize.
  6. Get a facial whenever you can.
  7. Hair color is a godsend.
  8. To update your wardrobe without breaking the bank, shop at second-hand stores.    
Here is what I add to this list:
  1. Don't underestimate the power of a red lipstick.
  2. Wear pencil skirts to look more gorgeous.
  3. Dress up for work and see how it affects your day.
  4. Use a pretty brooch to spice up a simple outfit.
  5. Take your vitamins every day.
  6. Have some dark chocolate. It is good for you.
  7. Smile, it make you more beautiful.
Now it is your turn to share your beauty& style secrets with us.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha