Monday, March 31, 2008

Current Subscriptions: Magazines & Newspapers

Have you ever wondered if the library has the magazine Cat Fancy or Teen Vogue or Ranger Rick??

(Yes we do!) We subscribe to over 160 magazines and newspapers that cover subjects ranging from art to vegetarian cooking.

Now you can check the list online before you arrive at the library--it can be found on our Resources page.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Andrea Portes to Read and Discuss her Debut Novel, Hick, at the Library

One of California’s brightest new literary stars, Andrea Portes, begins a regional library tour this April and one of her stops will be at the Buena Park Library. She’ll read from and discuss her “knockout” debut novel, Hick.

Saturday, April 12, 2008
Buena Park Library District
7150 La Palma Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620

The novel hit the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, was a May Book Sense Pick, a Midwest Connections Pick, and earned glowing reviews nationwide. All this for a new voice publishing with an independent press, which means, of course, that buzz continues to build about Portes herself, a young, hip, striking nightlife writer who survived a difficult, transient childhood only to reach Bryn Mawr…and now the bestseller list. Indeed, this new literary tour de force comes with as powerful a personal story as the ones she writes.

Hick is the story of Luli McMullen—feisty, precocious, and out on her own at 13. Luli is running away from Nebraska to Las Vegas, where she plans to escape her disturbing present and even less hopeful future by finding herself a sugar daddy. That Luli finds trouble on the road almost immediately is no surprise. But on her perilous journey west, she learns the truth of American rootlessness and discovers both the power and the peril of her own sexual curiosity.

It’s Luli’s voice that makes this novel gripping. She charts her own course with a vivacity and vision that marks her indelibly in any reader’s memory. Hick is quite a ride—raw and edgy, hilarious, hopeful and heartbreaking. It's at once a true-to-life portrait of an inviolable spirit threatened by drugs and alcohol, teen sex and crime, and a stubbornly idealistic novel about growing up in America.

Luli’s story is loosely based on Andrea Portes’ own childhood. Portes is a young writer who is becoming a cultural force in the hippest parts of Los Angeles. She grew up outside Lincoln, Nebraska, later shuffling between Illinois, Texas, Brazil, North Dakota, and North Carolina before attending Bryn Mawr College. She received her MFA in Theater from UC San Diego and became a script reader for Paramount Pictures. She now lives in Los Angeles and is a nightlife columnist for several websites.

Learn more about Andrea Portes at her website:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two New Displays at the Library

Check out the books that are part of the "Spring is Here" and "Biographies" displays.
A huge thanks to Heather for creating these fantastic displays.

Oprah's Online Classroom

Oprah Winfrey is offering a webinar on her new book club selection by self-helper Eckhard Tolle. His book is: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose and the ten week class started on March 3rd -- but you can still sign up at her website.

USA Today featured an article about this new cyber frontier for Oprah's book club stating that 700,000 people are already signed up for this class. The article quotes Ms. Winfrey, "We're going to be streaming live throughout the world," she says. "People are going to be able to stream themselves back and ask questions. We'll go through the book chapter by chapter. And I think the interest will just keep growing."

Staff Picks

Here is what some of the staff is currently reading:

Grand Obsession : A Piano Odyssey
by Perri Knize
From Publishers Weekly
Embarking on piano lessons in middle age, environmental journalist Knize sets out on an ancillary quest to find the perfect piano on a limited budget. She scours North America's piano outlets, immerses herself in the colorful online subculture of piano aficionados and grows fluent in the language of keyboard connoisseurship (a thin, shrill, brittle treble, she sniffs at a Steinway). Then she falls in love with Marlene, a Grotrian-Steinweg grand with the sultry and seductive tone of Dietrich herself; she's so smitten that she mortgages her house to buy it. Then disaster strikes: when shipped from the New York showroom to her Montana home, the piano sounds weird and echoey, and its glorious treble is dead. Desperate to restore Marlene's voice, Knize mobilizes an army of eccentric piano technicians (these lowly craftsmen emerge as wild-eyed artists in their own right), delves into the subtle intricacies that influence a piano's sound and ponders the haunting evanescence of music. Sometimes the mysticism—music 'is a way of exiting the petty self and entering the Over-soul... [i]t's about existing at a certain vibration' —gets thick enough to cut with a knife. But Knize writes in a wonderfully evocative, lushly romantic style, and music lovers will resonate to her mad pursuit of a gorgeous sound.
(read by Chris)

Meet the Beatles : A Cultural History of the Band That Shook Youth, Gender, and the World
by Steven D. Stark
From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Stark wants to tell the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo in a "somewhat new way," focusing as much on the cultural trends that produced the Beatles—and the trends they created—as on the Fab Four themselves. He explores how the band's 1964 arrival in America coincided with both the adolescent explosion of the baby boomers and the cultural void left by Kennedy's assassination. He then backtracks to the Beatles' childhoods in Liverpool, a city with traditions of absent fathers, strong mothers and permissive attitudes toward androgyny—all major elements in the Beatles' music. Their moptop haircuts? A combination of "mild gender-bending" and German art college chic. Their trademark wit? Inspired by the Goon Show, a popular BBC radio program. Their long-term impact? Practically impossible to overestimate, as Stark finds their influence on '60s protest movements, drug culture, women's liberation and more. Stark provides a thorough biography of the band and includes bits of trivia, such as the band's 1960 gig playing backup to a stripper. Throughout, Stark is sharp and insightful, even when he wades into the psychoanalytic waters of the John/Yoko and Paul/Linda relationships.
(read by Bruce)

L.A. Outlaws
by T. Jefferson Parker
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The irresistible antihero of this outstanding thriller from bestseller Parker (Laguna Heat) calls herself Allison Murrieta and claims to be a descendant of Joaquin Murrieta, a 19th-century figure who looms large in California folklore (he was either a ruthless robber and killer or an Old West vigilante and Robin Hood). By day, Allison is Suzanne Jones, an eighth-grade history teacher with three sons in Los Angeles; by night, she dons a mask, straps on her derringer and steals from the greedy. Beloved by the media, she never uses the gun; her victims are never sympathetic; and she gives part of her loot to charity. But while stealing diamonds belonging to a master criminal known as the Bull, she witnesses a gangland-style bloodbath at the hands of Lupercio, a ruthless assassin working for the Bull. As she's leaving the scene of the crime, L.A. sheriff's deputy Charles Hood stops her, and that's when the plot gets complicated. The Bull wants his diamonds back. Lupercio knows Murrieta/Jones took them. Hood wants Jones to identify Lupercio. And the public wants to know who Murrieta really is. This tour de force of plotting and characterization may well be Parker's best book.
(read by Josie)

The Reserve
by Russell Banks
From Publishers Weekly
Like Banks's two most recent novels—Cloudsplitter, a 1998 book about the abolitionist John Brown, and The Darling, about the wages of '60s radicalism—The Reserve looks backward, this time to the 1930s. The reserve of the title is an Adirondack preserve, a membership-only sanctuary where the very rich partake of woodland leisure, hunting, fishing, dining, drinking, utterly remote from the anxiety and want that most Americans experienced in 1936. Jordan Groves, a noted artist and illustrator, makes his life literally and figuratively at the border of the property, along with his wife, Alicia, and two sons, Bear and Wolf. In a note that accompanies the advance reader's copy of the book, Banks says he was drawn back imaginatively to the world of his parents. But this novel is not merely an homage to the class-riven universe of the Depression but also to the way it was portrayed in its own time. Some plot elements nod in the direction of Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night. Much more clearly, the ghost of Ernest Hemingway, who is even an offstage character, treads the pages of The Reserve and leaves his tracks. Banks acknowledges that Jordan Groves is loosely based on the real-life Adirondacks artist, Rockwell Kent, but Groves, as Banks creates him, is a man in the Hemingway mold, whose first name seems to acknowledge Hemingway's quintessential hero, Robert Jordan in For Whom The Bell Tolls. Jordan Groves is a man's man, flying his airplane daringly around the Adirondacks and trekking the world in search of imagery and lovers. As is true of all the characters in this novel—and in Hemingway's—Groves is a person utterly without any sense of irony about himself, and thus any awareness of the degree to which he is a creature of what he claims to despise.Groves's unrecognized conflicts are forced into consciousness through the agency of Vanessa Cole, the twice-divorced adopted daughter of one of the Reserve's member families. Free of her last husband, a European nobleman whom she calls in her own mind Count No-Count, Vanessa is an alluring and determined seductress who sets her sights on Groves in the book's initial chapter. Death, adultery and homicide follow, shattering each of the would-be lovers' families.This is a vividly imagined book. It has the romantic atmosphere of those great 1930s tales in film and prose, and it speeds the reader along from its first pages. In fact, Banks talents are so large—and the novel so fundamentally engaging—that it continued to pull me in even when, in its climactic moments, I could no longer comprehend why the characters were doing what they were doing. By then, the denouement has been determined largely by the literary expectations of a bygone era where character flaws require a tragic end. Despite that, The Reserve is a pleasure well worth savoring.
(read by Kathy)

Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult
From Publishers Weekly
Picoult bangs out another ripped-from-the-zeitgeist winner, this time examining a condemned inmate's desire to be an organ donor. Freelance carpenter Shay Bourne was sentenced to death for killing a little girl, Elizabeth Nealon, and her cop stepfather. Eleven years after the murders, Elizabeth's sister, Claire, needs a heart transplant, and Shay volunteers, which complicates the state's execution plans. Meanwhile, death row has been the scene of some odd events since Shay's arrival—an AIDS victim goes into remission, an inmate's pet bird dies and is brought back to life, wine flows from the water faucets. The author brings other compelling elements to an already complex plot line: the priest who serves as Shay's spiritual adviser was on the jury that sentenced him; Shay's ACLU representative, Maggie Bloom, balances her professional moxie with her negative self-image and difficult relationship with her mother. Picoult moves the story along with lively debates about prisoner rights and religion, while plumbing the depths of mother-daughter relationships and examining the literal and metaphorical meanings of having heart. The point-of-view switches are abrupt, but this is a small flaw in an impressive book.
(read by Phyllis)

by Daphne Du Maurier
A timeless classic, arguably the most famous and well-loved gothic novel of the 20th century.
(read by Virginia)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reference Librarians: a dedicated lot!

A little insight into the world of a reference librarian:

"Reference librarians are a dedicated group! Their aim is to find the information that the customer needs if at all possible. But would you be willing to demonstrate the hokey-pokey to someone standing in front of your reference desk? A librarian in Minneapolis did that recently. Check out this blog entry here! However, should you need to show someone how to do the hokey-pokey, do not despair. There are several YouTube videos demonstrating this classic! And, if you do end up demonstrating the hokey-pokey at the reference desk, you might end up on YouTube, given the ready availability of video recording devices nowadays."

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System (MCLS)

Friday, March 7, 2008

2007 NBCC Winners Announced

The National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced on Thursday, March 6, 2008.
The winner in the Fiction Category is: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

For a complete list of winners see the blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors: Critical Mass.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

2008 Edgar Award Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America have announced their nominees for the 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honoring the best mystery fiction published in 2007.

For a full list of the nominees, go to the Edgar Awards web site. The winners will be announced at the 62nd Gala Banquet on May 1, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Best Novel:
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
Priest by Ken Bruen
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman
Down River by John Hart

Best First Novel by an American Author:
Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell
In the Woods by Tania French
Snitch Jacket by Christopher Goffard
Head Games by Craig McDonald
Pyres by Derek Nikitas

L.A. Times Book Prize nominees announced

The nominees for the 28th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were just unveiled and the winners will be announced April 25th at UCLA's Royce Hall as part of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

There are 9 categories:
  • Biography
  • Current Interest
  • Fiction
  • Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
  • History
  • Science & Technology
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction

The complete list of nominees can be found online at the LA Times website.