Saturday, July 5, 2014

Books On Film | Hemlock Grove

The second season of the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove will premiere Friday, July 11th. The series is based on the 2012 horror-mystery novel Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy. 

The novel takes place in the fictional town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania where a young girl was brutally murdered on the full moon. The town rumor mill places the blame on Peter Rumanchek, a Romani teenager who recently moved to town with his mother, whom they believe to be a werewolf. As more murders pile up, Peter forms an unlikely friendship with Roman Godfrey, the only son of the powerful Godfrey family, to investigate the murders and clear his name.

Cover courtesy of LibraryThing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | Keep me away from Japantown!

Places that make my heart go pitter-pat:

Office Depot. 
Office Max. 

I know it sounds weird, but I love office supplies. At a young age, my parents always encouraged me to write letters and Thank You notes. When we would visit Indonesia (often for 2-3 months at a time), I would buy pens, notebooks and stationery from Japan (readily and cheaply available to me!). My friends would often get gifts of erasers shaped like food, cool pencils (with fun designs and no erasers) and fun papers with cartoon animals on them upon my return to the United States. Needless to say, this obsession did not wane as I grew older. 

In fact... it grew. 

My friends often make fun of me because I carry a pencil case in my purse. No, not a metal one...but one with a zipper. I believe that one should always have a writing utensil at the ready. 

See? A pen (and some pencils) for
EVERY occasion
My motto: 
A pen for every occasion!! 

They may make fun of me, but my friends also know they can count on me for writing tools. 
One of my favorite places to go is Japantown. I can always count on a delicious meal and adorable things to look at. This trip to Los Angeles was no different. My favorite (and ONLY) Japanese bookstore I love the most is Kinokunia. This bookstore chain has locations in major cities around the United States but I've only visited the Los Angeles and San Francisco locations. The offerings in the stores are the same: Japanese books, toys, DVDs, stationery and tools for writing. 
Ginger Broth
Fried rice for breakfast?
Acceptable in Asia!! :D 

It's hard to be an adult. Especially an adult who likes cute things. Kinokunia was the apex of my office supply love. No... I take that back. These weren't merely office supplies... they were my destiny and my desk just HAD to have them all! Look at what I was up against! 

Asian notebooks!!! 

Books of tiny book-related stamps! 

I am proud to say I only spent about $30 that day on some little things for friends and a cloth bag for me. This doesn't mean that I won't be back to spend more money, it just gives me a little space between all those cute things and when I return to assess IF I really need them. Try to contain yourself when you see how awesome everything is! 

 Bookmarks: cuter than a
napkin, but more expensive!

Every. Color of Pen. I drool.

Japanese Pens

Pen cases for every occasion! 

Holy cow... MORE STAMPS! 

Zentangle is awesome!
So are these pens! 
So MANY cute sticky notes!! 

Book Bucket List | Kindred

Happy July!  The beginning of July marks the half way point of the summer reading program.  Throughout the system, we've had many fun and exciting programs and thousands of books read by out patrons!  (If enough books are read by July 31, some lucky library staff members will get a pie in the face, so keep on reading!)  This year's theme is "Fizz, Boom, Read!" celebrating science.  So I figured this is the perfect time to read a book that's been on my bucket list for awhile.

Kindred by Octavia Butler is technically classified as a science fiction novel.  The story follows the strange experiences of Dana, a writer living in the 1970's.  However, she starts getting transported back in time to a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation where her ancestors are kept as slaves.  Somehow, she starts going back and forth through time between the present and the past.  As her trips back in time start to get longer and longer, she gets tangled in the conflicts that her ancestors had to face in their daily lives.  Kindred is often used in schools and reading programs because of it's engaging narrative, realistic descriptions of slavery in America, and the powerful female protagonist.   

Once again, here is a book that I've put off that I'll finally get around to reading.  I will do my best do finish it by the end of summer reading!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning | Programmable Microprocessors

For those interested in learning to use programmable microprocessors, Make Magazine's Alisdair Allen posted a really useful article written by Roger Meike, discussing the pros and cons of these three most popular products for beginners:
Arduino Uno vs BeagleBone vs Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi sounds like something delicious to eat, but it isn't intended for eating. You may have noticed that it contains the word Pi, instead of pie, like the pie we eat.  Pi is often written with the Greek letter, π.

Raspberry Pi, from John Biehler's photostream on Some rights reserved.

If you have had any contact with the Maker movement, you have probably heard or seen the name Raspberry Pi already.  It's a little (two inches by three inches--the size of a credit card!) inexpensive computer which operates on the Linux system. It can be plugged into a television or computer monitor; it uses a standard keyboard and a mouse. I have a friend who bought her young son a Raspberry Pi, so he could learn to write simple programs. 

I was excited to see that SSJCPL has a few books on Raspberry Pi now. If you want to learn more about it, you can check out a book for children, or one for adults.

The children's book is simply titled Raspberry Pi. It's part of a series of new books that SSJCPL has purchased, called the 21st Century Skills Innovation Library: Makers as Innovators.  These books are a simple introduction for young readers (or anybody who wants a quick description of one of these concepts.) If you're looking to rummage through technical details, these are not the books for you, but they will help you understand the general topic and terminology.

Arduino Family Photo, from Arnaud Boudou's photostream on Some rights reserved.

So far, the programmable microprocessor of choice in my household has been Arduino. Arduino has been available longer than the other two products; there is a substantial community of users who have created tutorials and projects. Arduino comes in a variety of sizes (sometimes those smaller models are really handy, when you are making a teensy little gadget.) There is also a book about Arduino in the Makers as Innovators series mentioned above.

BeagleBone Black Starter Kit, from Adafruit Industries' photostream on Some rights reserved.

BeagleBone Black is another small computer, about the same size as the Raspberry Pi.  Like Raspberry Pi, it needs to plug into a television or monitor, and uses an SD card for memory. It also has a Linux-based operating system. I wish I could say that SSJCPL has books about this product, but I would be lying if I did. Luckily, Link+ has plenty of books on the subject. They probably have even more on Arduino and Raspberry Pi, too.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

She's Crafty | Morse Code Jewelry

Next Thursday, July 10th at 2:00pm I will be doing a craft program at the Manteca branch! My first craft program ever. I'm pretty excited about this bit of business.

I was asked if I could come up with something crafty for teens as a part of the summer reading program. Wanting to stick with the theme of science, I tried to think of something a teen might like to make that still had some element of science involved. Then I remembered a program Kaye did at the Mountain House Branch a while back: Morse code jewelry.

You may find this surprising but, Morse code jewelry is not only a thing, it's a popular thing. Check out Etsy, an online "mall" of handcrafted items, and you'll find loads of listings. While you're poking around on the internet, take a peek at all the pins at Pinterest devoted to the myriad ways of translating Morse code into wearable art. Fun stuff!

The dits and dahs of Morse code
For those unfamiliar with Morse code, it is a form of communication that uses electrical signals sent over wires. At one end, a message is translated into a collection of dits (dots), dahs (dashes), and pauses and tapped out on a telegraph key. Each letter and number of the message has it's own unique combination of dits and dahs. At the other end, the signals are received and interpreted into the intended message and can be sent over large distances. It was a breakthrough in long-distance communication in 1836.

A telegraph key
Working the design out
When I thought about doing my own spin on creating Morse code jewelry I wanted something minimal and stylish. I wasn't ultimately concerned with the readability of the code. Who wants to actually sit there and stare at someone while decoding their jewelry? Nope, not gonna to happen. Talk about awkward! Then I started to hone in on the idea of hidden messages in jewelry. Hidden messages that will be talked about too. The pieces end up looking like they have specific meaning, that they aren't completely random, and that will catch interest.

"Do those necklaces mean something?"

"Why, yes they do! This one says, 'My patronus is a kitten,' and this one says, 'Okay? Okay.' Cool, huh?!"

The first prototypes for the program ended up being a pair of necklaces that states, "Hello beautiful." I decided to represent the dits with one bead of one color and dahs with three beads of a second color. At first I added beads in between the letters and I didn't like the look. And this is the point at which I went for style over readability and chose to run all the letters of one word together. Looking back, I may go back to adding beads between the letters since I forgot what one prototype bracelet says and had trouble deciphering the code!

Hello beautiful!
This may be my first craft program and I might be quite nervous, that's just the type of person I am, but I think we're going to have fun! I want to provide enough instruction so anyone regardless of their experience with making jewelry can feel confident in their end product but also give participants freedom to play with representing the code. I hope it will be fun and interesting for all involved!

For now, I'm off to make informative handouts, yay!

Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | At the Giants Game

Here was our spectacular view at Sunday's Giants game: 
Photo courtesy of A-Fay Photography

I spent the day with my good buddies cheering for the San Francisco Giants. We didn't win, but I will keep cheering anyway. That's what a true fan does.

I digress. 

While enjoying lots of food, watching the game, and being with my friends, I happened to glance up at a young guy sitting in the row behind us. He was reading. A book. During a baseball game. A book. 

My initial shock turned into: "Right on! He reads!!" Because I get pretty tuned into baseball games, you won't find me reading at a baseball game. Ever. But I have been known to read in some pretty strange places, including the bathtub and at the top of the Statue of Liberty. Hey, I'm afraid of heights so the book kept me calm!

What about you? What's the strangest place you've ever found yourself reading a book?

It's July 1, and I'd like to propose that we all read one book this whatever strange place we wish!

And here are a couple of book suggestions, in case you're looking:

For you young readers: Two Tough Crocs by David Bedford

This is the story of Sylvester and Arnold -- two crocodile bullies -- who are competing with each other to be the toughest animal in the swamp. And along comes Betty. Betty the bad. I'm not going to tell you how this turns out, you'll have to read it yourself to see! But it does end with a positive message. Enjoy!

This is a little bit historical fiction and a LOT of medical mystery!
Set amid the 1854 London cholera outbreak, this attention-grabbing story of Eel, an orphan who survives by combing the filthy banks of the Thames for anything he might sell, is a delightful combination of race-against-the-clock medical mystery and outwit-the-bad-guys adventure. Eel, a hardworking and bighearted kid with no shortage of crummy luck, is being hunted by a notoriously mean crook, who happens to be his stepfather. When the first cholera case hits, the town blames the polluted air, but Eel and his mentor, Dr. Snow, have a different theory-that it's being spread through a local water pump-which they set out to prove before the death toll escalates further. 
And last but not least...for teens: The latest from the ever-so-popular author John Green: Paper Towns

Here is a little bit to whet your appetite: Weeks before graduating from their Orlando-area high school, Quentin Jacobsen's childhood best friend, Margo, reappears in his life, specifically at his window, commanding him to take her on an all-night, score-settling spree. Quentin has loved Margo from not so afar (she lives next door), years after she ditched him for a cooler crowd. Just as suddenly, she disappears again. 

Fans of Green's books -- such as The Fault in Our Stars -- will want to get their hands on this one!

Read wherever you want....just read! And you've still got the whole month of July to finish your reading logs for the Fizz! Boom! Read! Summer Reading Club. 

Stay cool!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Just Life | Travel Books

Summer is the perfect time to take a family vacation. Did you know that you can check out travel books from your local library for free?

I recently came back from a much needed vacation with my family and I tagged along two travel books with me. I was really happy that I took these books with me.
Since I was stuck in an airplane for five hours, instead of reading my usual chick-lits, I started reading these travel books. It was cool to learn a bit about the history of the city I was going to visit. My travel books recommended ideal places to visit and great place to eat. By the time I landed, I had a pretty good idea which places I wanted to visit.

One of my travel books even came with a nice city map and that map was a great backup to our phone GPS while we were navigating through unknown roads.

 So if you are planning any trips this summer, don't forget the travel books from your local library.

 Here are a few of these travel books:
I wish you a happy summer.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha