Saturday, October 5, 2013

Teens Only | My Hometown is Magnificent

First of all, I know this is a library blog. And I know our library is an awesome thing that serves the entire San Joaquin County (except Lodi which has its own awesome library). I know. I know.

But today, I want to talk about my hometown, which just happens to be Stockton. Yep. Born and raised and very happy to be here.

The reason I want to talk about my hometown is that today -- October 5 -- there is a celebration happening on the Miracle Mile entitled Stockton is Magnificent from 12 pm to 3 pm. Looks like a lot of fun things going on and I'll definitely be heading over to partake in the festivities.

I love Stockton because, in many ways, it's still a small town. I love going anywhere in town and running into somebody I know. I love that people in this town have huge, generous hearts. If you don't believe me, let me remind you about what happened in 2012 when the Stockton Food Bank had only 7 frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Record ran an article about this. In just a matter of days, people came out and donated turkeys. So for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Food Bank had 2,091 turkeys to share with the needy. From 7 to 2,091 in a matter of days. Did I mention that people in this town have huge, generous hearts?

I could go on and on about my beloved hometown. But I mostly wanted to let you all know about the big event happening today. And then I got a little side-tracked thinking of the many wonderful things I love about Stockton. 

And that reminds me! My friends Gary Dei Rossi and Sue de Polo have written a children's book entitled San Joaquin County: A to Z. It's filled with great pictures and has lots of great information on the history, people, and landmarks of San Joaquin County. So if you're in the mood to learn more about our wonderful San Joaquin County, this is the book for you!

So I'm signing off now. Headed out for some fun community activities.

Happy Reading!

Books On Film | Jaws

Welcome to the scariest month of the year!

One of "the" classic thriller films is Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975). It was the highest grossing film of the time and spawned three sequel films. In the film, local law enforcement, with the help of a marine biologist, try to capture the great white shark that is terrorizing their beach town.

The movie was based on the 1974 book of the same title by Peter Benchley. The book, which was Benchley's first fiction novel, was inspired by real-life shark attacks. The book was a best-seller for 44 weeks and sold 20 million copies. 

Benchley went on to write several other sea-centric thrillers that were also adapted into film.

Cover courtesy of LibraryThing

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | Rockridge Market Hall and College Avenue

I am small town girl with San Francisco tastes. Up until this weekend, I never considered Oakland a place to stretch my adventure legs. The only real experiences I've had with Oakland have been in MC Hammer songs, the airport and at (one, glorious time) Fentons Creamery.

My offspring, Scout, was coming back from a weekend trip to Seattle and was slated to come in late. I didn't have a real agenda planned, but I figured I would try to find a cute food market to bide my time.

This was going to take some research. Searching the words "market" and "Oakland" yielded some interesting choices.  Most Farmer's Markets happen in the morning, so I knew that it would not be a possibility. I love sleeping in on Sundays way too much! In clicking through the sites, one place really stood out to me: Rockridge Market Hall. It looked like a school. Reviews of the Market on Yelp were positive and highlighted different shops within the market.

Rockridge was beyond my expectations! There are separate food stalls that sell different wares: fruits/veggies, flowers, meat/poultry/fish, cheese, pasta, deli meats, hot foods, bakery goods, and (of course) coffee.  

In entering the market, a shop worker was cutting up fresh pears for samples. There were many bowls with other pears for trying. I didn't waste any time and enjoyed a pear-bonanza! I took a quick walk past the fish and meats since I wasn't going to get any that day. Past the meat market was a HEAVENLY smelling area where the pasta shop, cheese shop, deli and hot foods were located. There were jars of so many goodies. Who knew there were so many types of jarred anchovies?

A majority of the fresh items are all local. Other delectable items in jars are a mix of local or imported. This is not the local grocery store! Of course, the prices reflect these specialty items. Why pay more? Sometimes it's just worth it. One a day when I don't have to go to wait at the airport and I have a good cooler with me, here are the things I'll be buying:

  • fresh, handmade pasta and raviolis
  • cheese, glorious cheese
  • chocolate pound cake

A few steps out the Market Hall is College Avenue. It's full of delightful row shops, cafes and a bookstore! There's nothing better than enjoying a walk in the nice weather. I try to soak in as much sun as I can before the rainy season arrives. 

Book Bucket List | Library books about Libraries

So I've been reading my colleague's blogs about what they've found in books over the years.  My favorite so far was in Suzy's post about the boy's phone number with hearts all around it.  I love it, but imagine how sad she must have been once she realized she left the phone number in the book!  I hope she got up the courage to ask for it again.  

So I wanted to feature some books about libraries and bookstores and what happens behind the scenes.

Shelf Life by Jane Green is a memoir about Green's time spent working in a bookstore.  She uses her job to get back into the world after fighting a battle with cancer.

Free for All: Oddballs, geeks, and gangstas in the public library is written from the perspective Don Borchert, a library employee from his first days working a reference desk through his career.
Time was Soft There  by journalist Jeremy Mercer describes the time he spent work in Paris' famous bookstore Shakespeare & Co.  The bookstore has a long history and is known for letting then unknown, but later legendary writers live there in exchange for their work.  Mercer does the same, and has written about his experiences in this very well reviewed memoir.

The Borrower is a work of fiction by Rebecca Mekkai.  The story follows a children's librarian who reaches out to a boy who runs away, and makes the library his new home.

So if you're interested in the ongoing bookmark saga, and see what else happens at bookstores and libraries, you might want to browse through some of these titles too.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Learning | The Conquest of the Ocean

[Cover]Author Brian Lavery tackles a vast subject in this new non-fiction Dorling-Kindersley book for adults. It examines the history of seafaring all over the world, including exploration, ship design, cultures, trade routes, slave ships, and much more.

The Dorling-Kindersley publishing company is well known for its beautifully illustrated children's books on all sorts of scientific and historical topics. I see children check them out to use in reports, but I also see them check them out just for fun. 

I'm glad to see that some of that fun is present in this title for grown-ups. There are beautiful, easy-to-read maps, drawings and photographs that enrich the impact of the informative text. It would be helpful to students doing reports on various subjects, but it's also entertaining for anybody interested in ships, the ocean, different cultures, and history.

Mayan Codex

This book is recommended for readers from 8th grade and up.

The Spanish Armada

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Scary Comic Book For A Scary Night!

(A Very Scary) Greetings and Salutations!
Batman has always been a character happy to live in darkness. He does his crime fighting by cover of night, he wears dark colors to be scary and threatening to bad guys, his mental health is probably a little on the dark side (possibly teetering precariously on the edge of sanity), all this makes for comics that can sometimes be very dark and very creepy. For October, the Professor wanted to find a creepy Batman story, one that can give the reader chills and get them in the mood for the Halloween fright fest.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth by Grant Morrison, is such a story. Set in the most horrible, darkest, and violent detention center in Gotham City (what would you expect from a place that houses all of Batman's worst villains? As expected, it is going to be horrible, dark, and violent place!), the worst possible scenario has occurred: the inmates have taken over the facilities and are demanding Batman as ransom for the staff! Of course, Batman complies to the demented demand and enters into a world where his psyche and strength will be tested to their breaking points. For someone like Batman, who is already messed up in the head, this is going to be true torture indeed. Along with facing his most evil foes, Batman must survive a journey through his own personal hell. What will happen? Well, go read it, dear readers.
The Creepiest Cover? Wait till you see the inside...
Similar to bad pizza nightmares?
Dave Mckean's art perfectly compliments Morrison's story. It is filled with shadowy figures, dark corners, and hidden doors all representing Batman's inner tortured mind. This is no sunny day story, this certainly puts the dark in Dark Knight. For mature readers, of course. One of Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's best, it serves to tell a story that is aimed squarely at the festivities of a dark and scary Halloween. Muahahahaha.....

Until next time, brave comic book readers!
Professor O

Just Life | Football Widow

Football season is upon us and I am officially a football widow.  

My husband is a die-hard football fan. Me on the other hand, I am clueless about football.

During football season, we can't go anywhere or do anything, because there is football on TV.

When I lived in Tehran, the husband of my favorite neighbor was a serious mountain climber. One time, I asked her: "Where is your husband?" she said with a smile: "He is with his other wife."

I feel the same about football.

So, what should I do to get through this football season: 
  • Should I sit in my favorite chair and just read for hours?
  • Should I go shoe shopping?
  • Should I feel sorry for myself?
  • Should I sit next to my husband and be supportive? 
  • Should I visit family and friends and let my husband enjoy his football in peace? 
  • Should I watch funny movies like The Game Plan

As Erma Louise Bombeck once said: "If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead." 

I couldn't agree more.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha