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Monthly Archives: July 2012

All Good Things Must Come to An End

I’m sad to report that Adult Summer Reading is officially over here at the library.  I wanted to thank everyone who participated in our reading club by reading and attending our events, especially our finale party and quiz show last week.  We had 151 participants who read a total of 5,940 hours, which works out to be 356,400 minutes.  Wow!  And I thought I read a lot.  Also, our top reader did 250 hours of reading!

Thanks to all those who came out to test their literary smarts at our quiz show last Thursday.  There wasn’t one question that went unanswered, and we had some pretty tricky ones in there.  For example, do you know how many digits are in an ISBN?  Can you remember who won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction last year?  We also raffled off our big prizes and some smaller door prizes and then of course ate some yummy cake.

Finally, I wanted to send out a heartfelt message of gratitude to all of our wonderfully generous sponsors.  We could not have done it without Azle Albertson’s, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble (University Park Village), Carol Presnell, the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, Half Price Books, JJ’s Fast Stop, Jodi Thompson, Kwik Kar, Pinnacle Bank, and Salon Galleria.

So if you happened to miss our Adult Summer Reading Club, don’t be too sad – I have a feeling it will return next year.  And I already can’t wait!

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Soul Mates Don’t Come Along Everyday

I was preparing our flyer for the upcoming Main Street Book Club, so I began leafing through the book we’re reading next month – Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.  I read this book for the first time back in an honors English class.  I remember picking it up to read to get ready for the quiz we’d have the next day, and I ended up falling in love with it while just reading the foreward.  Shaara had this unequaled ability to make his readers live his story.  He was also, simply put, a gifted writer.  He had a way of structuring sentences that captured your interest and were very detailed and intimate.  All I had to do this time was reread the forward and I fell in love with the book all over again. 

This made me think about the fact that I haven’t felt this way about a new book in some time.  I can’t think of another book that I’ve read in the past year that I took such pleasure in reading.  There have been many that I enjoyed, but none that I savored – none that I can imagine rereading again and again over the years.  One or two have come close, though – Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty and Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.  

I don’t know to what I should attribute this.  As a librarian, I am reading now more than I ever have.  I am also reading a wider variety of books.  Am I becoming pickier as I get older?  Do we experience literature differently now than we did when we were younger?  I’m not so sure, especially since some of my current favorite books I read only a few years ago in college.  Maybe those books really are just few and far between.  And I’ll just have to keep reading until the next one comes along!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Finale Time!!!

I think I look forward to summer as an adult just as much as I did when I was younger.  And do you know why that is?  Summer Reading Club, of course!  This year we had something for every age group, and the library was busier than ever.  We had clowns, magic shows, crafts, even archery.  But the fun isn’t over yet!  You won’t want to miss our finale parties that are taking place this week.  The children’s ice cream party is tomorrow, Tuesday, July 24th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Come for a cool treat, prizes, and to find out who the top readers are!  The teen’s finale party is Wednesday, July 25th from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and we’ll have nachos, drinks, and prize drawings.  And for the first ever Adult Summer Reading Club Finale Party, we’ll be testing your literary smarts to see if you truly “Mastered the Art of Reading” with a literary quiz show!  For every question you get right, you’ll earn a chance to win one of our smaller door prizes.  Plus, we’ll have some yummy cake, and we’ll be announcing the winners of our big raffle prizes.  Be sure to join us Thursday, July 26th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  All parties will take place in the Library Community Room.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Come Make a New “Discovery” at the Main Street Book Club

Have you noticed the trend that no one can write just one novel anymore?  Everything has to become a trilogy.  Which is a real problem for someone who is as impatient as I am.  Because of course the books are never released all at once – it’s a year at least in between the rest of the series.  I can still remember where I was when one of the books in the Twilight series was released.  My best friend and I were on a vacation in San Francisco, and we stayed up late to go to the midnight release party at a local bookstore and then read it together in our hotel room.  We actually tried to stop at the same point so that the other wouldn’t read ahead and give anything away when we discussed it.  The anticipation makes it fun, but then there’s just a general let down when you realize you have to wait several more months before you can continue the story.

This is exactly how I felt when I read A Discovery of Witches last year.  Deborah Harkness’ debut fictional novel was hard to get into at first, but the reader’s persistence has been amply repaid by the end of the book.  She weaves a magical story about witches, vampires, and demons.  Diana Bishop, a witch and a scholar has tried to do all she can to deny her magical heritage, but once she is able to unintentionally summon a lost manuscript from the Bodleian Library, there is no escaping her destiny as a very powerful witch.  Of course she has the help of a devastatingly handsome vampire, Matthew Clairmont, who is there to protect her from all the otherworldy creatures who want to get their hands on the manuscript.

I have often heard this book referred to as the adult version of Twilight.  This is probably a fairly accurate statement.  Diana can be just as annoying as Bella, and Matthew is just as ridiculously good-looking and possessive as Edward.  For some reason, Matthew is always having to physically support, sometimes even carry, Diana because she’s just so tired.  She barely keeps it together in some scenes enough to climb a few flights of stairs.  I know the extra adrenaline and magic coursing through her body make her tired, but it is just a bit much.  However, the history is fascinating, the settings are gorgeous, and most of the characters are charming.  The second book in the series, Shadow of Night, was released last week, and I can’t wait to read it!

If this sounds intriguing, you’ll want to join us at the Main Street Book Club’s discussion Tuesday, July 17th at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Community Room.  We’d love to see you there!

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Review of “Gold” by Chris Cleave

I’m still not sure how I felt about this book.  I’ll admit I was pretty excited to read it.  How could I not be when it combines two things I happen to really like a lot – cycling and the Olympics? (Have I mentioned that I am an Olympics junkie?  I imagine you’ll hear more about that as we get closer to them…)  Gold is about a love triangle among three elite cyclists, who have all set their sights on the upcoming London Olympics.  Jack and Kate met on the track while training and are now married, with a daughter, Sophie, who is sick with leukemia.  Zoe is the cyclist who completes the triangle, having had a short-lived relationship with Jack before he and Kate were serious.  Zoe is ruthless and initially pursued Jack just to get into Kate’s head.  She honestly can’t imagine her life if it does not involve winning Olympic gold again (she won in Athens and Beijing).  Kate, who, just considering pure talent is better than Zoe, allows her personal life to trump her cycling aspirations.  She puts family first and gives up her dreams of gold in Athens and Beijing to take care of her daughter.  Sophie is a darling little girl who hides her true condition from her parents to lessen their worries.  She is also obsessed with Star Wars.  There are long passages that involve Sophie imagining herself as a Jedi, and I found these scenes to be distracting and hard to get into – I ended up skimming those parts, grateful when they were over. 

Another important character in the book is time.  A cyclist is obsessed with time – when you can win or lose a race by one thousandth of a second, it matters.  There never seems to be enough time – not for their coach, who mourns his glory days, not for Sophie, for whom chemotherapy does not seem to be working, and not for Kate, for whom there are not enough hours in the day to train, and take care of Sophie.  Zoe, too, is obsessed with time – she seems to be racing against it in that she is always running from her past.  She’s a tragically flawed character, but she does such extreme things that it’s very difficult to like her or even want to understand her. 

The insights Cleave gives to the sport of track cycling are just fascinating.  These men and women ride to such extremes that they begin to lose their vision on the bike.  Their heart rates push 200 bpm.  They drive their bodies to unimaginable pain.  And yet they’re addicted to it.  Cleave makes you feel like you’re on the bike with them.  I found myself tensing my muscles and leaning into turns as I read.  However, my main problem with the book is that there are too many coincidences – somehow something always goes wrong right when Kate seems to catch a break.  It becomes a little hard to believe.  Also, Sophie is a little hard to take sometimes.  But read this for the experience of immersing yourself in a world unlike one you have before.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Magical Evening

I really don’t think kids should have all the fun, which is why we’ve asked local magician, Larry Heil, to come to the library and perform a magic show for adults!  He’ll be brewing magic potions and showing us some mind-bending tricks Tuesday, July 10th at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Community Room.  Because this show is in conjunction with our Main Street Book Club’s pick of the month, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, Mr. Heil will also be discussing the history of witches and wizards and their evolution in literature.  This show is really only appropriate for adults, so please leave the kiddos at home and come for an evening of fun and magic!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Month of the Zucchini

In her wonderful book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver tells a funny story about living in a rural community and dealing with zucchini in the summer.  People grow zucchini, invariably have too much of it, and then dump their excess on the porches of their unsuspecting friends.  She said people actually start locking their doors so their neighbors can’t creep in and ditch some of their unwanted squash.  My parents have a big garden back home, so I know this problem well.  I don’t think they ever resorted to entering people’s homes, but my dad always brought some into work, and they’ve always highly encouraged neighbors and friends to take some off their hands.

As someone without a garden, I’m happy to relieve my friends of their zucchini burden.  I’m a sucker for this versatile vegetable.  It’s wonderful because it’s good steamed, sauteed, baked, and fried.  I stuck some in my omelets this weekend, and then had some sauteed with garlic powder.  Delicious!  You can add it to most baked goods and it really takes on the flavor of the surrounding ingredients and just adds lots of moisture.

So do you have too much zucchini?  First of all, the library is currently accepting zucchini donations (and you thought we only asked for books!).  Second, come to What’s Cookin’ next week on Monday, July 9th at 4:30 p.m. in the Library Community Room to learn how to put some of that good zucchini to use.  We’ll be making zucchini orzo, zucchini bread, and possibly even zucchini fries.  And you know we’ll be sticking some zucchini into something sweet and chocolately.  How could you resist?

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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