Saturday, March 28, 2015

Books On Film | The True Meaning of Smekday & Serena


Two book to film adaptations come out this weekend. One is an animated feature for kids and the other is a live-action movie for adults.

The first is an adaptation of Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday into the animated film Home with voice work by Rihanna and Jim Parsons.
When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas Eve (or "Smekday" Eve since the Boov invasion), 11 year-old Tip hops in the family car and heads south to find her and meets an alien Boov mechanic who agrees to help her and save the planet from disaster.

The second is an adaptation of Ron Rash's novel Serena into a film of the same name starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
This is a violent story about ambition, privilege, and ruthlessness played out in an Appalachian timber camp in North Carolina during the Depression. The novel opens with the camp's wealthy owner, George Pemberton, returning from Boston with his new bride, Serena.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Award-Winning Reads | Care to Meet a Winner?

Hello Everyone!
I want to let all you award-winning book lovers know that there is an easy, convenient way to meet and connect with attractive, intelligent, eligible books - books that will leave you remembering them long after you close the covers (but no promises)! It's the library catalog's page for Recommended Reading

The Recommended Reading list has a sampling of some of the most popular prizes. It includes awards for various genres (e.g., Mystery, Science Fiction, Children's), so no matter what type you like, you might just find "the one" for you. Simply pick an award/prize that catches your eye, and browse the selection of carefully chosen champions to your corazon's content (I'm not ashamed to admit that along with award -winners, I also appreciate alliteration).

You can click on a title to get details about a particular item, "keep" them to add to your personal list, or see if they're available. If they're not immediately available (because of being simply oh-so popular and such), you can "place hold" on them and then when they're ready and waiting for you, you'll get a phone call or email to check them out and take them home to enjoy. 

aawiki_logo.pngAnd don't worry about the wait, because some of the best things in life are worth the wait, right? Right! Some of the best things in life are also free, right? Right again! (Glad we agree. You're so smart)! Guess what? Library items are both!

If you want a more comprehensive list of award-winners, take a peek at the Award Annals website. Just click on an award and select the year you want to look at under "Annals." Whatever your tastes, I hope you find an award-winning, perennial favorite.

Next week, find out about one of mine. A boy. A monster. A mom. And a haunting truth.

Until next time, have a good reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Learning | Ook.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on March 12, 2015.  Readers around the world mourn the loss of the creator of the comic fantasy Discworld series. Discworld is a flat world that rests on the backs of four elephants; those elephants, in turn, are standing on the back of a giant turtle.  If you are able to accept that premise, and even laugh at it, you would probably enjoy reading books in the Discworld series.

0504 9757 Sir Terry Pratchett,
from Steve James' photostream on
Some rights reserved.
 My friend, Elsbeth, pointed out that there is no need to read Discworld books in the order that they were published. It's true. Different books satirize different aspects of the real world. (There are even parodies of the fantasy genre.) Various titles spoof tourism, war, bureaucracy, prejudice, jingoism, Ancient Egypt, opera, journalism...the list goes on and on. Characters recur in subsequent books, but there are always new characters. 

For instance, there is a certain librarian in the first two books, who works for Unseen University.  He is accidentally transformed into an orangutan in the second book.  He won't allow anybody to change him back (after all, he can climb up to the highest shelves with ease.) He recurs in many of the later books. 

You'll sometimes see a piece of luggage wander into the action at the most interesting moments. It wanders around because it's made of sapient pearwood (which is magical.) It can sprout hundreds of little legs, enabling it to run away very quickly. It has multiple functions--carrying its owner's luggage, and acting as a bodyguard. In the novel Sourcery, it is described as "half luggage, half homicidal maniac." (Note: SSJCPL no longer has any copies of Sourcery in its catalog. You'll need to get it from Link+.)

Pyramids, Discworld #7, from
 sdoble's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
It seems as though there's a guild for everything in Ankh-Morpork, the large, bustling city that provides a setting in many of the Discworld books. 

There's even a guild for assassins. Here's a nice, juicy quote about the members of that guild, from Pyramids: 

"All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed."

Pyramids is a good book to start with, if you haven't read anything else about Discworld.

"Pratchett is my hero..."
 from Robert N's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

Most of Pratchett's books were written for an adult audience, but there is also a series for children ages 8 and up, called the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy.

Pratchett wrote a number of books for a teen audience. I am especially partial to the Tiffany Aching series.  You'll want to read those in order, to follow Tiffany's progress as she grows up; start with The Wee Free Men.

You may be wondering about the title of this blog post. When the Librarian at Unseen University became an orangutan, he lost all speech, except for "ook," and the occasional "eek." He communicates remarkably well, using different inflections for "ook." It might be "ook?" or "ook!" or "oooooook!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

She's Crafty | Fun Mugs

I've taken my habit of doodling on everything to the next level, coffee mugs. Yes, the smooth, curved surface of a mug is no longer safe from my pen. Oil-based paint pen to be exact.

In today's post I will be talking about the craft craze known as the DIY decorated mug, or commonly known as the Sharpie mug since the most common oil-based paint pen that crafters choose to use for this project is made by the Sharpie company.

DIY Tribal Triangle Mug by Emily May. Some rights reserved.

The internet is bursting with how-tos and tutorials for DIY decorated mugs. I combed craft blogs and forums for all the information I could possibly manage, digested it all and developed a plan of attack before visiting the craft store. There is a LOT of buzz about this craft and a LOT of handy tips. What I noticed right off the bat that this project can fail if you do not use the right materials. Do not be tempted into decorating a mug with an ordinary Sharpie. 

I'll tell you more after the jump...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Life| Persian New Year 1394

Last Friday, at 3:45 pm was the start of yet another Persian New Year for millions of Iranians around the world. The Persian New Year or (Nowruz) is the most celebrated holiday in Iran. 

The Iranian calendar changes on the first day of Spring and we just entered the year 1394 in the Persian calendar.

Before Iranians can enjoy this celebration, they do spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is anything but fun. As a kid, I hated it since I had to help out my mom to do the spring cleaning for numerous days before the start of our New Year. I am happy to report that I skipped the Spring cleaning this year and I don't even feel guilty about it one bit.

Another celebration before the Persian New Year, is called " Char Shan Be Sori". On the last Tuesday of the year, we get together with family and friends to make bonfires and we jump over them and we chant special songs hoping for a healthy and prosperous year. Fireworks are also a major part of this celebration.

Jumping over the bonfires for Char Shan Be Sori

Before the start of the New Year, we set a very special table called " Haftsin". 

There are some very specific items that are placed on this table year after year. 

We should have at least seven items on this table that starts with letter "C" in Persian.

Here are these items:
  • Sib (Apple)
  • Sir (Garlic)
  • Sekeh (Coins)
  • Sabzeh (Germinated wheat or lentil. They look like grass)
  • Serkeh (Vinegar)
  • Samano (A special sweet paste made from wheat)
  • Sonbol (Hyacinth)
  • Senjed (Fruit from lotus tree)
  •  Saat (Clock)

Each of these items has a special meaning but this blog isn't long enough to explain them all and to be honest I am far from being an expert on this topic.

This is the Haftsin in my house this year.

The Haftsin table should also include a large mirror, candles, a large bowl of water with a few red goldfish and colored eggs.

This is Haftsin at my aunt's house this year.

Depending on your taste, the Haftsin can be as fancy as you want to make it or as simple as you wish. But no matter what, you have got to have it. 

This year, there was even a Nowurz Celebration at the White house hosted by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. It was an honor to have the Persian New Year being recognized by the first lady of United States.

Nowruz is the time that we visit family and friends. In Iran, schools and universities are closed for 13 days and most people go on vacation during this time. 

New Year dinner at my aunt's house this year

On the 13th day of our New Year, Iranians end their New Year celebrations with a good picnic. In Stockton, we all get together in Oak Grove Regional park to have a great picnic with more than 100 other Iranians. 

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha