Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teens Only | Golden Globes

The nominees for the 2013 Golden Globes awards were announced Thursday morning. Now's the time to see all those movies so you can predict the winners! And hey, while you're at it, read the books some of the movies are based on!

In the drama category, Best Motion Picture nominees include "Argo," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Django Unchained," and "Zero Dark Thirty." 

In the musical or comedy category, Best Motion Picture nominees include "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Les Miserables," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," and "Silver Linings Playbook."

So while I'm sure we'll all be venturing out in the days ahead to see these critically acclaimed movies....or to be really see that ever-hot Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook," stop by any SSJCPL branch library to check out the books these movies are based on!

Here are my two reading recommendations:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This is the story of a boy, a tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean. Can you even imagine co-existing with a huge tiger for 227 days lost at sea? That's what happens to Pi. A great adventure story. Alas, all the copies are currently checked out. But the good news is we have lots more on order. And you can also check out the e-book on the Library's Overdrive site. So request your copy today!

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. If you've missed the trailers for this movie due out on Christmas Day, all I can say is: where have you been? This is the classic tale of injustice, heroism, and love following the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. And of course, Valjean has also sworn to protect the daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty. It's such a moving story. And the music! I can't wait. If you can't wait, either...the library carries the music from the Broadway production, too!  BTW, belated props to St. Mary's High School who presented a very wonderful production of this musical a few years back under the leadership of director Kevin Costello! 

Happy reading AND happy viewing!

Books On Film | Debbie Macomber

Author Debbie Macomber has been writing romance novels since 1982. She has sold over 150 million books and several of her Christmas themed books have been made into Hallmark Channel Original Movies. 


Mrs. Miracle (1996) was adapted into a 2009 movie starring Dawson's Creek actor James Van Der Beek.The book is about a single widower with two boys who finally decides to try his hand at love again thanks to the encouragement his new nanny Mrs. Miracle. The sequel Call Me Mrs. Miracle (2010) was also adapted into a movie by Hallmark.

Last Christmas season, Trading Christmas, one of the stories from the When Christmas Comes (2004) anthology was also adapted into a movie. The story is about two people, Emily and Charles, who decide to houseswap for Christmas. Charles meets Emily's best friend and Emily meets Charlie's brother. Unexpected adventures in love await them both. 

If you like Christmas feel-good movies with a little romance thrown in, then these are the books for you! If you like Hallmark movies, check out the original stories.                                                       

If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber then you may also want to read the Cedar Cove series, which has been adapted into Hallmark's first original series. It stars actress Andie McDowell and premieres in Fall 2013.

Covers courtesy of LibraryThing
Biographical information - Debbie Macomber - About

Friday, December 14, 2012

Food, Food, Food | CarbFest 2012

I am in a bit of a blue funk so I am going to try eating more carbs to see if that makes me feel better.  It's likely to just make me gain weight and get more depressed, but I am willing to submit to potatoes, rice and pasta on the off chance that they make me happier.  In all cases there will be cheese, sour cream and BBQ sauce.  Wish me luck!

One of my best galpals is pregnant.  We're going out to dinner.  I will join her in eating for two.  I am hoping to take her to the crepe place on the Miracle Mile: Midtown Creperie and Cafe.  I am likely to have dessert for dinner because you only live once.  Why waste time eating anything there but something with chocolate or caramel or cream?  I am counting the minutes!!!

Here is a link to a crepe cookbook that you may want to check out:

The Book of Crepes and Omelets by Mary Norwak


Constant Curiosity | O Christmas Tree

"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, we gladly bid you welcome.  You shrink to very tiny size...spun out of silver, gold and glass, a pyramid of light you seem, a galaxy of stars that gleam.  O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree..."

Marquise Christmas tree Pin

Those familiar with this old German Carol might not recognize the order of the verses, but I decided to adapt them to celebrate another kind of Christmas tree--very tiny size, but nonetheless spun out of silver and gold and a galaxy of stars that gleam.

Vintage Eisenberg Ice Rhinestone Christmas Tree Pin Brooch

A few years ago when I became fascinated with vintage costume jewelry, I discovered Christmas tree pins, many made by the same famous designers who made fabulous costume jewelry:  Eisenberg, Weiss, Miriam Haskell, Trifari, Butler & Wilson, Kirk's Folly, Ian St. Gielar, Stanley Hagler, Napier, Coro, Hattie Carnegie, even Avon.

Having always loved miniatures, Christmas tree pins became my new favorite thing to collect.  Plus they were exquisite, whimsical and very, very sparkly (all those rhinestones, dontcha know!) and unlike other holiday decorations, easy to store. 

Not only are these pins small and easier to put away after Christmas than ornaments and tinsel and have no unsightly needles that need vacuuming, they make lovely gifts--for yourself or anyone else on your list (except maybe the boys and they always want those shoot-your-eye out Red Ryder BB guns anyway.)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Wanderlust Librarian | Souvenirs

How do you remember a vacation? Is it through pictures or videos? Food? A special outfit?

There are many ways to reminisce about a trip but the most common of all is buying a souvenir. The Webster's New Explorer College Dictionary defines the word as: 

souvenir: something that serves as a reminder

It's hard to take a mug - shot. :)
I enjoy taking a lot of pictures, but having a tangible item that has come from that destination is something that can never be duplicated. Souvenirs can be kitchy (like a mini Eiffel Tower or a Hawaiian hula girl) or mundane (magnets, snowglobes) but they were collected from a time and place that is special to the collector.

My personal souvenir of choice? Starbucks City Mugs. Never heard of them? I hadn't either until a few years ago when I saw a mug at the Starbucks in Paris. I love coffee and I love Paris!  Most major cities in the United States have mugs for their city. I found a set of mini demitasse mugs when I went to the Starbucks in Jakarta, Indonesia. My local Starbucks carries a "California" mug! 

My friend, Lizzie, collects magnets from the cities that she visits. She has them all over her personal book cart. There's definitely no denying that the cart belongs to her!
I recently found magnets at a store in San Francisco. They were cheap ($1.00) and they LOOK cheap. They're so silly looking that I was immediately attracted to them. I've purchased 8 magnets of the states I've visited. I can't wait to buy more (as soon as I visit more states!). 

I'm not especially crafty, but I really want to look at new ways of displaying my souvenirs and photos. I found a good mix of display ideas in the book: Fun with Family Photos: crafts, keepsakes and gifts.  

I'd love to hear about your travel souvenirs and how you display them in your home. Leave a comment and I'll follow up with you on a future blog post! 

Happy Collecting and Happy Travels! 

Book Bucket List | The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

There are three things that means Christmas is coming at my house. The first is when everyone starts baking cookies for no reason, so that there are dozens and dozens of them around the house.  The second is when the cats knock over the tree because climbing up that giant plastic thing every year is the best thing ever.  And the third, and my favorite, is the annual Lord of the Rings Extended Edition movie marathon!  Every year since the movies have come out, we start on a Friday night and watch The Fellowship of the Ring, and over the next two days we will watch The Two Towers and Return of the King.  I don't know why this has become a semi-holiday tradition, but it is one of the things I look forward to most.

I genuinely love these movies, (though if you do watch them in succession, especially the extended versions, it could be quite the long haul) but these wonderful, wonderful films were based on some wonderful, wonderful books.  J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series is one of the most beloved book series of all time.  Of course, we have them all here at the library.
The main message for me, though there are many in the story, is that even someone who believes that their life is small and insignificant can make a large impact on the world.  If you haven't read this series, you should definetly add it to your bucket list.

This year, the first installment of The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, is coming out TOMORROW!!! December 14!!  This movie is also based on one of Tolkien's books, and follows the reluctant adventurer Bilbo Baggins and his quest to steal from the dragon, Smaug.  The last time a LotR movie came out in theaters, I was in high school.  I CANNOT wait to see The Hobbit on the big screen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning | Figures of Speech

Word nerd that I am, I have a particular fondness for books about  figures of speech.

"You are my sunshine" from Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk
The author/illustrator team of Brian P. Cleary and Brian Gable write a few series of non-fiction picture books. One is Math is CATegorical. Their figure of speech book, Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What are Similes and Metaphors? is part of the Words Are CATegorical series. A visit to Brian P. Cleary's interactive website reveals that he also considers himself a word nerd. Brian Gable is better known as an editorial cartoonist. Perhaps that's why he is so good at making visual representations of concepts.

"They swim across a river that's as cold as...." from Crazy Like a Fox
There's a an author/illustrator named Loreen Leedy, who writes picture books on quite a few non-fiction subjects.  She has a knack for making learning fun, whether the subject of the book is recycling, arithmetic, or symmetry.  Leedy began her artistic career making animal-themed jewelry out of polymer clay, and was later inspired to make picture books using those animal characters. Naturally, she has a few books illustrating figures of speech that are well worth your time.

"She chases after Rufus because she's as mad as..."  from Crazy Like a Fox
Crazy Like a Fox : a Simile Story is just that--an entire story, told with similes. Similes are figures of speech that compare two things with "like" or "as."  The main characters are a fox named Rufus and a sheep named Babette. Rufus is sneaking around, and he has a job to do; what is it, and how is Babette involved?

The book is prefaced by a nice discussion of similes, and the last page lists some great ideas for practicing the usage of the figure of speech.

Bug sayings from There's a Frog in My Throat!
There's a Frog in My Throat!: 440 animal sayings a little bird told me 

Oh, my! Four hundred and forty animal sayings?  What more could a word nerd desire?  This book is full of similes, metaphors, idioms and proverbs, all of which are English language sayings. 

Loreen Leedy partners with collage artist Pat Street on this book, and the result just makes me as happy as a pig in the mud.  Every page has a theme, such as cats or bugs, and it's full of illustrations and captions with translations into regular speech. Since there are so many sayings in this book, the index at the back is designed to help you locate the expressions using a specific subject. 

I must say, Pat Street certainly sounds like a soul-mate of mine. She has been collecting sayings for over two decades. No wonder she has 440 animal sayings to share in that book!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

4 Kids | Let the Games Begin

Some interesting facts on board games:

Did you know that since Monopoly was invented in 1934, there have been 1,240 different versions made?
You've played Clue before, right? You know, the classic murder mystery game? Introduced in England in 1949, it was created to pass the time in underground bunkers during long air raid drills.

And chess....well, get this: the world's most expensive chess set is the Jewel Royale Chess Set and is valued at over $9.8 million dollars. (I'm guessing it's outrageous value is because it's made of gold, platinum, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls and sapphires!)
So what are your all-time favorite board games? 

I love Monopoly. It's fun. It makes you use your brain. And I absolutely loved Candyland as a kid. I would imagine living in a place called Candyland. I've had a lot of success with Battleship, though I must admit (or confess): it was not my proudest moment when I played a game of Battleship with two young friends, and their backs were to a very large mirror in my dining room. If Zach and Joe are reading this, I'm sorry!

So pull out an old family favorite board game and have some fun! And if you want to learn more about board and card games, definitely check out Daniel King's Games: Learn to Play, Play to Win. From Nine Men's Morris to Mancala and Cribbage, this book has got it all! 

And do I even have to mention....board games make a great family night! So enjoy!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Professor O | Dost Thou Jest, Shakespearean Manga?

How now, how art thou?

Or, in another words: Hello, how are you?

Professor O has once again stumbled onto yet another gem of a comic book here at the SSJCPL. These are not scary or filled with horror, but still seem to frighten some readers away. These works are not spoken in another foreign language, yet the English that is spoken seems to be a "deal breaker" for a curious reader who wishes to pick up a work from this writer. I speak, of course, of the bard of bards, Shakespeare! 

"But, Professor O, your blog is about comics," I doth hear ye speak, and most accurately, I might add. 

Yes, but here we have a wonderful example of the power of the graphic novel form. The transition from the stage to a manga is not as far as you may think, oh perceptive of my readers. The bard is meant to be told in dynamic, moving setting and what better way than to bring Shakespeare's plays alive than through the medium of manga? 

One of the titles we will be shedding light on is, every one's favorite star crossed tragic lovers, Romeo and Juliet. A perennial favorite, and one that always brings the professor to tears. This title is an ideal way for a reader to explore the timeless tale of the woeful lovers. The speed lines, the big eyes, and the unbrushed hair are all there, as in any manga, but the story is 100% Shakespeare, which equals 100% tragic. A novel way to revisit the play for a seasoned veteran, or a simpler way to understand the sometimes difficult English through the artwork, for a beginner.

The second manga, and one that Professor O loves to play in his community theater, is Julius Caesar.
This story takes place in a far off, Neo-Tokyo style future, where our tragic hero will be facing his untimely demise. It is fast paced with lasers and there is never anything wrong with that.

Give these manga titles a try, fellow adventurer. Whether you love Shakespeare and appreciate a wonderful,  new take on the classic stories or are one of those who often find it difficult to understand; these wonderful new versions are sure to entertain! Lo, there are other Manga Shakespeare titles at the SSJCPL!

Fare Thee Well!

The Professor cries every time.
Et tu, manga?

Life & Style | What Do You Collect ?

Do you collect anything?

Stamps, coins, fancy plates?

Books on Antiques & collectibles are very popular among our library patrons.  

Some of our customers are so passionate about their collections that they spend hours in the library browsing through books like these:

I collect coffee mugs. Some of my favorites are the ones that my friends and family have brought me from all over the world. 

My daughter on the other hand collects everything and anything. She is what you can call a borderline hoarder. She especially loves cardboard boxes. 

She has a really hard time throwing away things. I usually sneak into her room whenever she isn't around to get rid of stuff.

There is a silver lining in this I assure you!

I am thinking, when I am old and senile, my daughter wouldn't ship me to a far away nursing home and instead, she would keep me at home close to her heart because she just can bear to part with me. 

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha