Monday, April 30, 2012

Debut Mondays: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night—a desperate measure that proves calamitous when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road.
Ella awakens in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a wise root doctor and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka Forest. As Ella heals, the secrets of her lineage are revealed.

Shot through with Cherokee lore and hoodoo conjuring, Glow transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to the Blue Ridge frontier of 1836, from the parlors of antebellum manses to the plantation kitchens where girls are raised by women who stand in as mothers. As the land with all its promise and turmoil passes from one generation to the next, Ella’s ancestral home turns from safe haven to mayhem and back again.

Publisher Description

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Harper Lee!

We all know and love Harper Lee as the writer of To Kill a Mockingbird.  If you are interested in her biography and her influence on contemporary authors, I highly recommend the documentary Hey Boo and Charles Shield's very readable biography Mockingbird.  To whet your appetite, here are a few little known facts about Ms. Lee.

  • A rough-and-tumble child, Harper Lee frequently defended her less rambunctious friend Truman Capote in the schoolyard.
  • Harper Lee’s mother was Frances Cunningham Finch. Lee uses all three of her mother’s names for characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • She studied for a law career, but in 1950 headed to New York to embark on a life of writing.
  • Because she writes so slowly, Lee has referred to herself as "more a rewriter than a writer."
  • Lee is reportedly working on her memoirs (fingers crossed!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oh No They Didn't!

Last week, the Pulitzer Prize board said it would not award a Pulitzer in fiction for the first time in 35 years.  As you can imagine, this has caused quite an outrage among readers, publishers, librarians, and booksellers. You can get the full scoop here and Ann Patchett, author of the fabulous State of Wonder, eloquently describes her disappointment here.  But who needs a fancy-pants committee to tell us the best book of the year!  Tell us your favorite fiction read below!  My personal faves were The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, and The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Animal Baby Stories for Your Baby!

Little Elephant's Song by Hanel Wolfram

Baby elephant has learned to do many things like catch bananas with his trunk and spray water, but he has not mastered the trumpeting sound that will keep him safe.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.
If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan

A mother tells her baby how she would care for it if it were a bunny, a kitten, or other animal infant; she then sings a lullaby about each baby animal.

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles
Tired of being an emu, Edward decides to try being like other animals at the zoo, but he soon discovers that being himself is the best after all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!

William Shakespeare, English poet, dramatist, and actor, often called the English national poet, is widely considered the greatest dramatist of all time.   Today we celebrate his birth, life, and work by bringing you ten facts you probably didn't know about William. 

  1. No one knows the actual birthday of Shakespeare! April 23rd has been generally used - the same day as St. George's Day, the Patron Saint of England.
  2. We do not really know what Shakespeare looked like. No portraits were painted of Shakespeare whilst he was still alive.
  3. The majority of the plays of William Shakespeare were only published seven years after his death in a collection of works called the First Folio.
  4. Many eminent Authors, Actors and Politicians do not believe that William Shakespeare wrote his plays including Mark Twain leading to the great Authorship debate.
  5. William Shakespeare's three children, Judith, Susanna and Hamnet were all illiterate.
  6. Many of William Shakespeare life facts are unknown - these years are referred to as the 'Lost Years'.
  7. William Shakespeare and his company built TWO Globe Theatres!
  8. William Shakespeare and the Globe Actors were implicated in the Essex Rebellion of 1601.
  9. William Arden, a relative of Shakespeare's mother Mary Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth 1, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.
  10. In the Last Will and testament of William Shakespeare he left his wife his "second best bed".

Debut Mondays: When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man by Nick Dybek

Every fall, the men of Loyalty Island sail from the Olympic Peninsula up to the Bering Sea to spend the winter catching king crab. Their dangerous occupation keeps food on the table but constantly threatens to leave empty seats around it.

To Cal, Alaska remains as mythical and mysterious as Treasure Island, and the stories his father returns with are as mesmerizing as those he once invented about Captain Flint before he turned pirate. But while Cal is too young to accompany his father, he is old enough to know that everything depends on the fate of those few boats thousands of miles to the north. He is also old enough to feel the tension between his parents over whether he will follow in his father's footsteps. And old enough to wonder about his mother's relationship with John Gaunt, owner of the fleet.

Then Gaunt dies suddenly, leaving the business in the hands of his son, who seems intent on selling away the fishermen's livelihood. Soon Cal stumbles on evidence that his father may have taken extreme measures to salvage their way of life. As winter comes on, his suspicions deepening and his moral compass shattered, he is forced to make a terrible choice.

Publisher Description

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charlotte Bronte!

Charlotte, one of six children of Maria Branwell Brontë and her husband, Anglican priest Patrick Brontë, lost her mother while she was very young, and was raised by her father and an aunt, Elizabeth Branwell.
Charlotte and her sister Emily attended the Clergy Daughters' School, the harsh conditions of which were reflected in the school in Charlotte Brontë's novel, Jane Eyre. Charlotte took various jobs as well as taking some time at home teaching and playing with her sisters. She worked variously as a teacher and as a governess.
In 1846, she published Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell with her sisters (Charlotte wrote as Currer Bell, using a man's name as was common for women writers in the early 19th century). She wrote a novel, The Professor, which was rejected during her lifetime but was published posthumously. In 1847, she published her best-known novel, Jane Eyre.
The years 1848 and 1849 were tragic ones: first her brother, Branwell, died, then Emily and then Anne. Charlotte, now nearly alone, wrote and published Shirley: A Tale, and began to make connections in London with other literary figures including William Makepeace Thackeray, Harriet Martineau and Elizabeth Gaskell.
She turned down several offers of marriage, finally accepting that of her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls. They were married in 1854 and returned to Yorkshire, where she died of complications of pregnancy in 1855, another novel, Emma, barely begun. Two stories, "The Secret" and "Lily Hart," were not published until 1978.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Friday Five: Jane Eyre Edition

To celebrate Charlotte Bronte's upcoming birthday, we give you some of our favorite quotes from one of literature's most beloved heroines.

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”

“If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last.”

I would always rather be happy than dignified.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

If You Like the 39 Clues Series,

If you like fast-paced adventure stories with a bit of history and archaeology thrown in, give a 39 Clues read-alike a try.

The Name of this Book is Secret by Psuedonymous Bosch

Two eleven-year-old misfits try to solve the mystery of a dead magician and stop the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais, who are searching for the secret of immortality.

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers

Eleven-year-old Theo uses arcane knowledge and her own special talent when she encounters two secret societies, one sworn to protect the world from ancient Egyptian magic and one planning to harness it to bring chaos to the world, both of which want a valuable artifact stolen from the London museum for which her parents work.

The Golden Hour by Maiya Williams

Thirteen-year-old Rowan and his eleven-year-old sister Nina, still bereft by the death of their mother the year before, experience an unusual adventure through time when they come to stay with their two eccentric great-aunts in a small town on the Maine coast.

The Discovery by Gordon Korman

When four kids on a marine expedition for the summer discover a sunken treasure, it is a race against time, sharks, and each other to bring the goods to shore.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Debut Mondays: Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan

A captivating novel that explores the little-known romance of a beloved American icon

Helen Keller has long been a towering figure in the pantheon of world heroines. Yet the enduring portrait of her in the popular imagination is The Miracle Worker, which ends when Helen is seven years old.

Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines a part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke of or wrote about: the man she once loved. When Helen is in her thirties and Annie Sullivan is diagnosed with tuberculosis, a young man steps in as a private secretary. Peter Fagan opens a new world to Helen, and their sensual interactions—signing and lip-reading with hands and fingers—quickly set in motion a liberating, passionate, and clandestine affair. It’s not long before Helen’s secret is discovered and met with stern disapproval from her family and Annie. As pressure mounts, the lovers plot to elope, and Helen is caught between the expectations of the people who love her and her most intimate desires.

Publisher Description

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Friday Five: The Hobbit Edition

To celebrate the upcoming release of the movie adaptation of The Hobbit, we bring you these top 5 quotes.

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."

"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something."

"I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself."

"The mere fleeting glimpses of treasure which [the dwarves] had caught as they went along had rekindled all the fire of their dwarvish hearts; and when the heart of a dwarf, even the most respectable, is wakened by gold and by jewels, he grows suddenly bold, and he may become fierce."

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There young Beverly learned to love books. However, when the family moved to Portland, Beverly soon found herself in the grammar school's low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of struggling readers.

By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves, funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and her other beloved characters were born.

When children ask Mrs. Cleary where she finds her ideas, she replies, "From my own experience and from the world around me." She included a passage about the D.E.A.R. program in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (second chapter) because she was inspired by letters she received from children who participated in "Drop Everything and Read" activities. Their interest and enthusiasm encouraged her to provide the same experience to Ramona, who enjoys D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class.

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Art from the National Endowment of the Arts and the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books, respectively.

Among Mrs. Cleary's other awards are the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a prestigious international award.

Equally important are the more than 35 statewide awards Mrs. Cleary's books have received based on the direct votes of her young readers. In 2000, to honor her invaluable contributions to children's literature, Beverly Cleary was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. This witty and warm author is truly an international favorite. Mrs. Cleary's books appear in over twenty countries in fourteen languages and her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. And her popularity has not diminished.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Debut Mondays: The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields

Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, in the summer of 1892, a grisly new witch hunt is beginning....

When newly appointed Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork. He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.

Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Distrusted by officials because of his mixed Abenaki Indian ancestry, Grey is even more notorious for combining modern investigative techniques with an almost eerie perceptiveness. Although skeptical of each other's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England.

Before the killer closes in on his final victim, Lean and Grey must decipher the secret pattern to these murders—a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Introduction to eBooks

Nooks, Kindles, and iPads, oh my! The use of eReaders at the Southlake Library has exploded over the last year with a growth of over 113%. These numbers excite us at the Southlake Library, because we recognize that this new convenience allows us to reach out to busy readers in a whole new way.

Last year, we launched the Southlake Digital Library, which offers downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks compatible with your favorite portable devices. Customers with new devices often struggle with their first download experience so we want to do what we can to make sure you can enjoy this fantastic new service.

We are offering Intro to eBooks, on Thursday, April 5th at 7 p.m. in the Library. Bring your Nook, Kindle, or iPad and we will show you the features of the Digital Library and guide you through set up and download for your device. If you have a different device, contact the Library at (817) 748-8243 to set up a one-on-one appointment with one of our librarians. Registration is not necessary for this class.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Backlist Best Bets: Women's Lives

Nice to Come Home to by Rebecca Flowers

Panicking when her relationship with a mediocre boyfriend ends at the same time her friends are committing to marriage and parenthood, Prudence Whistler redefines her concepts of happiness when she opens her home to her dysfunctional family.

How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

Entreated to visit her ancestral family in Japan in place of her ailing mother, Sue uncovers family secrets that influence her life in unforeseen ways, offer insight into her mother's marriage to an American GI, and reveal the role of tradition in shaping personal choice.

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at. She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise.

Wedding Season by Katie Fforde

Sarah Stratford is a wedding planner hiding a rather inconvenient truth--she doesn't believe in love. Or not for herself, anyway. But she somehow finds herself agreeing to organize two more, on the same day and only two months away. Luckily Sarah has two tried and true friends on hand to help her. As the big day draws near, all three women find that patience is definitely a virtue in the marriage game. And as all their working hours are spent preparing for the weddings of the year, they certainly haven't got any time to even think about love. Or have they?

Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Ladies' Society for the Conservation of Martinis--once dissolved under life-shattering circumstances and now reunited again after the death of one its members--discovers a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey ... proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong drink.