Saturday, June 28, 2014

Books On Film | The Leftovers

An adaptation of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, published in 2011, premieres tomorrow night on HBO. The author will serve as a writer and executive producer along with Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost) who will also act as showrunner.

The book takes place in the small town of Mapletown, New Jersey several years after the sudden, mysterious disappearance of millions of people from earth, including friends and family members of Mapletown citizens. It follows several members of the Garvey family, including Mayor Kevin Garvey whose family has fallen apart in the wake of the "Sudden Departure." His wife Laurie left to join the Guilty Remnant, a cult whose members take a vow of silence, his son Tom falls under the spell of a "prophet" named Holy Wayne, and his straight A student daughter starts rebelling.

Watch the trailer below.
Or the extended trailer (for mature audiences) on YouTube.

Cover courtesy of LibraryThing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Reader Digests | Saying Goodbye

This will be my last blog with SSJCPL (unless they let me come back as a guest blogger someday...pretty please). I have accepted a job at another public agency in Stockton.  It's a different opportunity to help our community, so I hope you won't hold it against me, dear readers!
Ripon Staff
I hope you have all enjoyed reading my  misadventures with my Short Attention Span Challenge, my money saving tips in Miss Moneypennypincher Blog, and yummy food talk in The Reader Digests.  They might have seemed a little random and unrelated, but I hope they conveyed my overall message: 

The library is an awesome, useful, empowering, and necessary place!  
Staff at Tracy Mall for flash mob
 I have been so lucky to work here for the past 8 years, with wonderful and dedicated coworkers, enthusiastic customers, and a community of wonderful library friends! I will miss seeing you all everyday!
Thanks everyone! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | The Beauty of the Snap Decision

My life is ruled by a schedule.

When I'm at work, it tells me what desk I work at a specific time. When I'm at home, my daughter's soccer dictates where I'm supposed to be to take her to practice or games. The alarm blares and tells me when to wake up in the morning. At night, Jimmy Fallon is a gentle reminder that it's close to (or past) midnight and it's time for me to go to bed. 

About a month ago, a friend had offered me a chance to see a movie in a private screening about 3 weeks before its general release. It was in Los Angeles. The schedule-bound bloggess told him to "have a great time". I was sad. I really wanted to see the movie. This movie is based on a best selling book. To read a fair review of the book, please click here. If you'd like to request this book in the library system, make sure and click this link and pick your format! 

My daughter, Scout, told me that I would be stupid if I didn't take a chance and just go. In less than 40 minutes, I made the decision to do it. I was terrified. Never in my life had I made any travel decision as quick as this one. Take a good, strong look at this post that I wrote. I'm a planner by nature. I have binders dedicated to the trips I take!  Then I read my own words: 
        There is no perfect way to plan any trip.

Oh, bloggess... were you so wise as to know that there was going to be a time when you would be advising yourself? Because it certainly felt like it when I read it. 

I had the mode of transportation, but I still needed to make sure I had lodging. In a loving act of kindness and heart, friends eagerly offered up a couch to me for the duration of my last minute travels. 

This decision, though, was not without its challenges. On my drive up to Los Angeles, I started to cry because this was the scariest thing I've ever done! My schedule-bound self was distraught and manifesting itself in tears and tantrums. It must have looked weird to the people in their passing cars to see a girl crying and blathering on to herself. 

Everything turned out fine. I got to Los Angeles safely, saw a fantastic movie (that I paid to see again) and made it home without any incident. 

Would I do this again? Probably not in the near future. It's just too scary and unknown (and I'm a chicken!!). 

Readers, I will say... Take a chance on yourself! Take a chance on doing something different! Surprise yourself! You're definitely worth it! 

The Bloggess

Book Bucket List | LEGEND!

Last September, I was lucky enough  to get to spend some time with author and librarian, Nancy Pearl.  She was speaking at the kick off of the One Book, One San Joaquin program and unsurprisingly, we talked a lot about books.  We got on the topic of books being turned into movies and we were discussing the pros and cons of The Hunger Games movie, the soon to be released Divergent movie, and Maze Runner.  Pearl asked me if I had read the Legend series and I hadn't.  She was really excited about the book and the author, who resides in the Bay Area.  So whenever I saw someone check out Legend, I always remembered that Nancy Pearl recommended it to me, but I still never checked it out... and I never checked it out...and I never checked it out.

Last week, I was at home with nothing to do and had just finished both books I was reading. (The life and times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the couple who taught America how to love by Thomas Maier and The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski)  I was scouring the library's Overdrive site for something to read on my kindle, when it occurred to me, I still hadn't taken Nancy Pearl's recommendation!  I was still skeptical, (because really, how many dystopian teen series can there really be?)but I figured I couldn't find anything else.  

So I started Legend, and I finished it that day.  I loved it.  I always find it interesting when I like one of the main characters, but don't care much for the other.  The story is about a very divided class society in a fledgling military nation.  June is a prodigy as far as the Republic is concerned.  She scored a perfect score on her trial (Sort of like our SAT but it determines your life even more than our test) and lives with her brother since her parents were killed in a car accident.  Day is a homeless teenager, fighting to survive on the streets of Los Angeles while doing all he can to bring the corrupt Republic to it's knees.

The Legend series consists of three books, Legend, Prodigy, and Champion.  If you liked the Hunger Games or Divergent, I would read these in a hurry.  Also, if Nancy Pearl ever gives you a personal book recommendation, take it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Learning | Abracadabra, Boom, Read!

It may look like magic, but it's all science!

To celebrate our 2014 Summer Reading theme, the Troke Branch library has arranged for Don O'Brien to perform his Xtreme Science Magic Show on Thursday, June 26, at 6:00 p.m.

Mr. O'Brien will show the whole family how much fun science can be, especially if there's some magic in the mixture. Those of us who have seen Mr. O'Brien's shows know there will be plenty of audience participation; will you be chosen to assist him?

After the show, you may wish to check out some books about science magic, to see if there are any activities you might want to try for yourself. 

Recently, I searched for books about magic using scientific principles. I was very happy to learn a new library catalog term in the process. If you put the words scientific recreations in the search box, and choose "subject" from the drop down menu, you will find more than fifty titles that will help you learn science in fun ways.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

She's Crafty | Making Jewelry with Guitar Strings

A couple of years ago, I noticed my grandson wearing an interesting bracelet. It looked like a coil of wire-wrapped wire woven in and around itself. It fit him kind of like a masculine bangle. Very cool. When I asked, he said it was a guitar string, one of the bigger ones on a six-string electric guitar. His girlfriend had made it for him. At the time I thought it was a pretty nice way to make an item that would mean something to a guitar-playing recipient, but since he already had one, I forgot all about making bracelets out of guitar strings until my granddaughter, who plays the bass guitar, asked for a bass string bracelet for her upcoming birthday. Well, I thought, here's my chance to try my hand at making a guitar string bracelet. 

A guitar string bracelet
First I thought it would be really cool to make her a bracelet with a string from her own guitar. So, I asked her brother if there was any way to hijack her bass, maybe change all of the strings (for her birthday), and then make a bracelet out of one of them. All without her knowing. Well, as it turns out, strings have a way of getting kind of dirty after they've been on the guitar for a while, and the ends of them might get trimmed during installation. Then, they are also pulled very taut on the guitar and might loose some of their flexibility. And, besides, there's no way we could get that bass out of her room long enough to do the deed without her knowing. She loves her bass guitar!

Oh, well. My next idea was to go down to one of the local music stores and get busy with a new string. I went up to the desk and said to the nice man, "Hi, I'd like to buy a bass guitar string." He said, "What brand do you like, and what size?" Oh, boy. Did you know bass guitar strings come in LOTS of sizes? After the guy at the desk put some strings out for me to see, I finally selected one that turned out to be one of the middle string sizes, not too big, not too small. I paid my $8.45 and took the thing home to play with for a while. 

A bass guitar string has a small brass ring at one end with a length of steel wire attached. This same steel wire gets wrapped with a smaller steel wire almost to the other end, with about 3 inches or so of the bigger wire exposed. Steel wire is very springy, more so than any other wire I've worked with. Harder to bend too. I'd have to get out my heavy-duty pliers for this stuff. On the other hand, the springiness of the wire allowed me to coil it in and out around itself and have it hold it's shape very nicely. When I was about to run out of wire, the little brass ring was nearby, so I coiled the naked wire at the end of the string around that a few times and I was done. Nice and tidy, and very pretty. Also very big, I found out, when she tried it on a few days later. 
See the unwound wire at the end?
Back to the drawing board. I made a smaller coil next time, but the little brass ring was not close by to use as an anchor to finish it off. Maybe I could pass the wire-wrapped part of the wire through the ring and then find a way to finish off the naked wire elsewhere among the coils. Hmmm, no matter what I tried, it didn't look good that way. I needed to find a way to make the bracelet end at the brass ring. It was Malia who figured out what to do. She found out you could unwrap some of the smaller wire, leaving more of the larger wire exposed. Now I could unwrap just enough wire to get the larger wire exposed close enough to the brass ring so I could wind it around the ring a few times and cut off the excess. Success! 
A Dunlop 105 bass string--as a bracelet.

Now we had a nice looking bracelet that fit just right. And, I didn't even have to buy it online, which is where anyone can buy one. I hope you try making your guitar or bass player a guitar string bracelet soon, or check out some of the cool jewelry books at the library. You will find you can make really cool jewelry out of just about anything!
The granddaughter's bass string bracelet!

Until next time--Stay Crafty!

Kaye & Malia

Ms. Suzy Reads | In Outer Space?

Ever since the movie Gravity came out, I have had a rather crazy idea: I'd like to travel to space. I know, I know....only really, really rich people will be able to afford space travel when (and if) it becomes available for non-astronauts. But I can't help thinking how darn cool it would be.
So I thought I should do a little research, and voila, I found the perfect book: You Can't Ride a Bicycle to the Moon by Harriet Ziefert with pictures by Amanda Haley. It's a quick read packed with a whole lot of interesting information about the moon AND travel to the moon.
Here's just a little of what I learned:
To travel to the moon from earth, it will take 8 hours and 35 minutes by rocket. (Too bad I can't travel by the speed of light! That would only take 1.52 seconds!)
Astronauts have to wear special suits when they're visiting the moon. In fact, I got to see real spacesuits worn by Apollo astronauts when I visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. But here's a little gross tidbit I read in the book: spacesuits can be made with built-in toilets.
What? Yes, that's what I said. I'm starting to rethink my dream of space travel.
Another interesting fact I learned from this book involves food. Now we've all been told by our parents -- at some point when we were sitting down to the family dinner -- that we should not play with our food. Right?
Well I learned in this book that astronauts play a food game in which one astronaut throws a cookie into the air, and another astronaut, floating by, of course, has to catch the cookie in his or her mouth. I think I would do pretty well at that game.
So what do you say? If you had a chance, would you travel to the moon?
Here's another question: If you could read just 10 books (t-e-n books) to get a really cool prize, would you do it? Who wouldn't, right? That's all kids have to do for this year's Summer Reading program. And teens, you only have to read 3 books (t-h-r-e-e) and write short reviews to win a great prize. AND, there will be a grand prize drawing at the end of Summer Reading and one person from every library branch will win a FREE Kindle Fire.
We've got it going on at the library. So check us out! And check out a book!
Until next week, happy reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Just Life| Easy Readers

Easy readers are a wonderful way of keeping your K-2nd graders busy during the summer. Each of our libraries has a designated " Easy Readers Area".

The easy reader books are tailored toward kids from kindergarten through 2nd grade.

When you open an easy reader book, you will see only a few lines on each page. This allows your child not to get overwhelmed by too much text.

When my daughter was younger, she loved the following easy readers:

- Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant- About a boy and his giant dog Mudge

- Mr Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant- About an old man and his cat

- Poppleton series by Cynthia Rylant- About a giant pig and his friends

- Minnie and Moo series by Denys Cazet- About two mischievous cows

- Piggie and elephant books by Mo Willems

 So, on your next visit to your local library, make sure to visit the easy readers area.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha