Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paris: Tre Magnifique!

Lunch in Paris: a Love story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak'spink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, this is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Katherine Flynn

A delightful true story of food, Paris, and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream—a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.

Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton

This is a memoir for anyone who has ever fallen in love and anyone who has ever had their heart broken or their life upended. In this remarkably honest and candid memoir, award-winning journalist and distinguished author Kati Marton narrates an impassioned and romantic story of love, loss, and life after loss. At every stage of her life, Marton finds beauty and excitement in Paris, and now, after the sudden death of her husband, Richard Holbrooke, the city offers a chance for a fresh beginning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All in a Day

Check out these diverse fiction reads, which all take place in the span of a single day.

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

The Uninvited Guests: A NovelSomewhere in the English countryside, isolated manor house Sterne nears ruin -- most of the servants have left, and patriarch Edward Swift is in Manchester trying to find a solution to the family's financial problems. Meanwhile, his wife, Charlotte, and stepchildren Emerald, Clovis, and Imogene "Smudge" Torrington remain at home to celebrate Emerald's birthday. But the celebrations are interrupted by refugees from a nearby train accident. Not quite the social class with which the Torrington-Swifts socialize, the third-class passengers are relegated to the library. But a sense of menace lingers, for everyone in this novel seems to be hiding a secret...many of which are revealed during an unusual parlor game orchestrated by a malevolent interloper. Set ambiguously sometime in the early 20th century, this novel in which class divides are a distinct theme veers from a comedy of manners to something else entirely.

SaturdaySaturday by Ian McEwan

As successful, happily married neurosurgeon Henry Perowne negotiates his way through the crowds protesting the invasion of Iraq (he's on his way to a squash game), he gets drawn into a confrontation with Baxter, a small-time thug, whom he embarrasses in the course of defusing the situation. That same evening, Baxter visits the Perowne home to exact revenge for what he sees as his public humiliation, resulting in a scene so tense you'll be able to feel it. Though the events of this novel take place during the course of a single Saturday, Henry is a compassionate man who considers the world around him, so discourses on surgery, terrorism, art, and gratitude are all part of this "wise and poignant portrait of the way we live now" (Publishers Weekly).

Seek My Face by John Updike
Seek My Face

A day-long interview between 79-year-old Hope Chafetz (a well-known painter and, possibly more importantly, muse to two great artists) and a young journalist named Kathryn serves as the medium for author John Updike's treatise on American art following World War II. Hope, who has married three times and raised three children, opens up under Kathryn's probing into personal and professional topics, and her memories span decades (two husbands offer echoes of Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol). Art historians may be interested in Updike's thoughts on these matters, while other readers will simply be absorbed by his verbal artistry.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!

Lewis Carroll, a pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was born on 27 January, 1832. He was educated at Richmond School in Yorkshire, Rugby School and Christ Church, Oxford. From 1855 to 1881, Lewis Carroll was a mathematical lecturer at Oxford, where he was a somewhat eccentric and withdrawn character. He loved being with children and wrote many nonsense poems and books to entertain them. He died of bronchitis in his sister’s home in Guildford on 14 July, 1898. Lewis Carroll’s most famous works are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (published in 1865) and the sequel Alice Through the Looking-Glass, which contained the nonsense poem classic The Jabberwocky (published in 1872). He wrote these tales to entertain Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coming to TV Near You: The Selection

Set 300 years in the future,The Selection is described as an epic romance centering on a working class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Balancing her loyalty to family, true love, and kingdom, she must attempt to remain true to herself as she navigates the cutthroat competition and palace intrigue, all while a budding rebellion threatens to topple the crown. 

And now, it's being turned into a TV series!  Look for The Selection coming next Fall!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

If You Liked the Wizard of Oz . . .

"No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home."
~ L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), American author, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Disney after Dark (Kingdom Keepers Series #1)
Using cutting-edge technology called DHI (Disney Host Interactive), the Disney Imagineers capture the images and voices of Finn Whitman, a young Orlando teen, along with four other kids, then transform them into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are thrilling and scary when Finn finds himself transported into his DHI form at night. Is it a dream or reality? Finn and his four DHI friends must do battle with the evil witch, Maleficent, and her Overtakers in order to save Walt Disney World.

Zita the Spacegirl: Far from Home by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl
After pushing a button she probably shouldn't have, brave young explorer Zita must travel to a faraway planet to rescue her friend Joseph from aliens. Once there, Zita befriends some of the planet's strange (and occasionally adorable) inhabitants and recruits them to help her journey to the castle where Joseph is being held. While the fantasy land of Oz isn't exactly an alien planet, Zita's and Dorothy's stories have a good bit in common -- richly imagined landscapes and characters, menacing villains, and even a slick inventor who may (or may not) have Zita's best interests at heart. 

A Boy and His Bot by Daniel H. Wilson
A Boy and His Bot
In this "campy down-the-robot-hole adventure" (Publishers Weekly), brainy and bashful sixth-grader Code Lightfall tumbles into a hole during a school field trip to an ancient mound...and finds himself in an underground world populated almost entirely by mechanical beings. The only other human in Mekhos, as it turns out, is Code's grandfather, who had originally crowned himself king of Mekhos but is now being held captive by the evil sentient robot Immortalis. If Code can't execute some sort of daring rescue, his grandfather will be killed -- and both Mekhos and Earth will be destroyed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, A. A. Milne!

Today we celebrate the life of Alan Alexander Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, and other beloved children's classics including When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.

Many of the origins of Winie-the-Pooh are based on facets of Milne's life.  The character Winnie-the-Pooh was christened after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. Christopher's toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl, Rabbit, and Gopher, who were added in Disney's version of Winnie-the-Pooh.  And Pooh's forest, the Hundred Acre Wood, is based on  Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England.

Thank you, Mr. Milne, for inviting us into the enchanting world of Winnie and his wonderful friends!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caldecott Medal Turns 75!

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Some of my favorite picks for recent Caldecott books include:

A Ball for Daisy book cover image2012 Winner

A Ball for Daisy by Chis Raschka

In a wordless book with huge children’s appeal, Chris Raschka gives us the story of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidently destroyed.  With brilliant economy of line and color, Raschka captures Daisy’s total (yet temporary) devastation. A buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship.

cover image from "the man who walked between the towers"2004 Winner

The Man Who Walked Between Towers by Mordicai Gersetin

his true story recounts the daring feat of a spirited young Frenchman who walked a tightrope between the World Trade Center twin towers in 1974. His joy in dancing on a thin wire high above Manhattan and the awe of the spectators in the streets far below is captured in exquisite ink and oil paintings that perfectly complement the spare, lyrical text.

hugo cabret book cover image2008 Winner

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

From an opening shot of the full moon setting over an awakening Paris in 1931, this tale casts a new light on the picture book form. Hugo is a young orphan secretly living in the walls of a train station where he labors to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. In a work of more than 500 pages, the suspenseful text and wordless double-page spreads narrate the tale in turns. Neither words nor pictures alone tell this story, which is filled with cinematic intrigue. Black & white pencil illustrations evoke the flickering images of the silent films to which the book pays homage.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book to Make You Smile

I Feel Bad about My Neck (Export Edition)I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

Major Pettigrew's Last StandMajor Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more.

Family: The Ties That Bind.... and GagFamily: the Ties that Bind   and Gag! by Erma Bomeck

A cherished family reunion sets the stage of Erma Bombeck's predictably hilarious recollections of raising a family. Her conclusion: you can't live with them, you can't live without them...or can you...?

Watermelon by Marian Keyes 

WatermelonClaire 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.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.  

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

From Publisher's description.

Monday, January 07, 2013

New Year, New Opportunities

January may be the official time to make changes, but so often our resolve falls flat.   I prefer to think of the time of year as an opportunity for fresh possibilities.  As the frenzy of the holidays dissipate, I’m eager to try something new.  Here are some of the things on my to-do list for the New Year, all made convenient and easy by the library:
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter 
Learn a Language
I’m planning to go to Greece this Fall, with only one problem: I don’t speak Greek . . . yet.  But with the great foreign language collection, I plan to change that (although I’ve been known to procrastinate, so I may be using the Learn before you Land series’ In-Flight Greek..  I’d also like to learn more about Greek history and I plan on listening to Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-dark Sea: Why the Greeks matter to educate myself. 

Product DetailsGo Cultural
I feel so fortunate to live in a place that offers so much in terms of cultural diversity.  Unfortunately, I don’t take enough advantage of these offerings.  With the library’s Cultural Pass, I can go to some of the best art museums in the metroplex — and the country — absolutely free.  Use the Dallas Museum of Art pass to check out the Toulouse Lautrec and the Posters of Paris exhibition before it closes at the end of the month!

Engage Intellectually
Great American Bestsellers: The Books That Shaped AmericaOne of my favorite things as a student was constantly learning.  With the Lifelong Learning Collection, I can expand my knowledge in diverse fields, such as philosophy, history, literature, and science.  Each set includes a book and multiple video lectures led by some of the world’s best professors and experts.  Some of the most appealing to me include: Great American Bestsellers:  the books that shaped America, Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: what we think we know may be hurting us, and Optimizing Brain Fitness.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Enhanced Edition)Read Outside My Comfort Zone
I’ve always been a voracious reader — hence my choice of profession — but I tend to stick to fiction. These next few months, I plan on trying out some nonfiction reads.  One of the books I’m most excited to start is Behind the Beautiful Foreversby Katherine Boo.  Heralded by everyone from Oprah to The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

Questions on any of these services?  Call 817.748.8247 to learn more!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Family Movie Night Tomorrow at 6:30pm

Join us for a screening of Ice Age: Continental Drift!  We'll watch Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.