Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Remember Nothing

November, 28, 2010 On the Road Again…I was lucky enough to visit family downstate for Thanksgiving.  It’s great to visit and also get a chance to indulge in listening to audiobooks.  As long as the weather doesn’t get too dicey, I’m transported to another world and the miles fly by.  This trip was enlivened by Nora Ephron’s  I Remember Nothing and other reflections.  I’d read her previous book  I Feel Bad About My Neck and other thoughts on being a woman and expected another humorous look at aging—a topic with which I’m all too familiar. She certainly didn’t disappoint.  In her wry but aging 69 year old voice, Ephron makes memory loss as amusing as it can be. Her rift on the “joy” of email reminded me of the short lived paean to snow shoveling that made its way around the web a few years ago.  In addition she describes how she broke into reporting and the stages of divorce—“giving a candid, edgy voice to everything women who have reached a certain age have been thinking…but rarely acknowledging”.  All in all a three hour visit with a talented writer, producer, and screenwriter. 
CJ, PWPL Reference Desk

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NoveList -- What every avid reader needs

Everyone knows that libraries aren't just about books any longer-- we provide movies, music, a cafe, programs, and even downloadable audio and e-books.  But a lot of people still love the library because, well, they like to read books--good ones.  And as many books as they can either get their hands on or make time for. 

But if you're an avid reader, sometimes it's hard to find enough new and wonderful titles that speak to your own set of criteria of what makes for a good read.  That is why the library provides NoveList. 

NoveList is a database that comes to PeterWhite Public Library via MeL (aka Michigan electronic Library).  To find it, go the "Resources" button on the Library main web page and select MeL databases.  From the left side of this page, choose the "Books and Reading" gateway from the green column, and you'll find NoveList about two-thirds down the alphabetical list.  If you're doing this search from your home computer, you'll need to enter a Michigan Drivers License or library card number to get access. 

Once you access NoveList, you'll find a search field across the top, some great browsing links down the left side, and rotating through the middle, you'll find book-jacket images of some of today's most popular reads, each with three recommended read-alikes.  Today's featured titles included both Room and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest--the two books I've heard the most talk about recently.  When you click on the book jackets, you get a description of the book, links to other books by the author, links to book reviews and more information about other similar recommended titles and a list of criteria (Such as "character-driven storyline" or "set in Sweden") that you can select from to find even more similar reads.

If you're interested, the staff at the Peter White Reference Desk would be more than happy to demonstrate how to use NoveList.  Call or stop by anytime the Library is open.

EM, Reference desk.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waiting on a Train

What book did I pack when my husband, daughter, and I rode the train from Milwaukee to Portland, Oregon this summer?  Why Waiting on a Train:  The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service by Marquette's own James McCommons.  Not only is this title highly relevant to the trip we took, it's just plain well-written. 

McCommons spent a year riding Amtrak and interviewing people in preparation for this book.  Not only did he talk to fellow riders and staff on the trains he rode, he talked to railroad executives (both passenger and freight), lobyists, and politicians.  In Waiting on a Train, he tries to get a deeper sense of what works, what doesn't, and what needs to be done to make passenger rail service as funtional as possible.

This book was selected as a Library Journal best book of 2009.

EM Reference Desk

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another title from the Great Start Regional Early Childhood Resource Collection

Every time my daughter sees Ants in their Pants:  Teaching Children Who Must Move to Learn on my night stand, she wants to meet the boy on the cover, she wants to play with him.  She recognizes a kindred spirit when she sees one. 

We all know children like this:  spirited, busy, sensory-seeking, active, dynamic, kinesthetic-- there are a lot of names for them.  If you're a parent of one, you can probably think of a few more.  And if you're a parent of one, you've probably learned by now that just because other children will amuse themselves nicely with a box of crayons and a coloring book, does not mean yours will not turn the coloring pages into confetti and throw them about the room and then create an abstract mural on your wall with the crayons. 

In Ants in their Pants, Ariel Cross helps parents and teachers identify the what makes up an extra busy nature.  Because each child is different, she provides a questionnaire  "for finding an extra busy kinesthetic child's formula for ticking."  Other valuable information includes the following:  tips for calming busy children, transitioning ideas, tips for redirecting extra energy, constructive play ides, limited-space ideas, sensory play ideas, dietary recommendations, and bedtime routine advice. 

Peter White Public Library has two copies of this title in the Adult Nonfiction Collection on the top floor. 

EM Reference Department.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New collection from Great Start--Early Childhood Resource Library

The name Great Start started popping up around Michigan on billboards last spring, I think.  So what is Great Start?  Many things!  It is a state-wide program to create bridges between all the different agencies that serve young children.  In the words of their Director, Kathi Lammi:
"We are working to enhance existing early childhood collaboration and coordination, engage all stakeholders in the planning implementation and coordination of services to promote community awareness of early childhood issues, and help advocate for quality early childhood programs and services. Our vision: a Great Start for every child in Marquette and Alger counties; safe, healthy and eager to succeed in their education and in life."
So what does this all have to do with the library and reading?  Peter White Public Library is happily housing Great Start's new Early Childhood Resource Library.  This collection of children's books, parenting books, teaching books, games, puzzles, puppets, DVDs and music Cd's are all available to our patrons for checkout. 

As a parent, every time a cart of newly catalogued items for this collection comes out of Technical Services, it feels like Christmas in the Library. 

Let me tell you about just one of my favorite items.  Manners Time, by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen, is one of the most perfect board books I have ever.  The writing is clear, the pictures are engaging and in a large enough format to share with a small group, and it is fun.  Not only does this book clearly explain, in language your very young child can understand, a concept that is probably pretty important to you that they get, Manners Time makes it fun.  I am not kidding, but when I brought this book home, my child wanted me to read it to her.  And then asked for it again. 

To help celebrate and introduce this new collection, the Library and Great Start are hosting an open house on Thursday, October 15 in the Youth Services Department from 5:00-7:00 pm, refreshments will be served.

EM, Reference Departmet

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Sparrow, as you've probably heard, is this year's choice for Marquette's One Book, One Community series of events.  I finished it last week and liked it.  In truth, I didn't think I would-- I think of myself of more of a literary reader and not that much interested in stories that take place in the future and involve spaceships.  But then this is not the first time I've picked up sci-fi, thought it wasn't for me and been wrong. 

The worst part of the novel is the end.  The best part is the journey.  When I started reading, several weeks back, I had too many other things on my plate.  I'd pick it up as I climbed into bed, read a page and not be able to get any father.  I did this for a couple of weeks, not getting past the first ten pages, rereading the parts I couldn't remember, trying to figure out who was who and why did I care?  Then it all came together.  I read just a little farther, went to bed not quite so tired one night, and that was all it took.  Once I figured out who was who, I liked all the characters. 

One of the appeals to this book is that the author, Mary Doria Russell, holds a Phd. in anthropology.  Perhaps part of the reason why her characters have so much appeal, is that the author has spent a good amount of her career studying humanity.  The field of anthropolgy is both art and science, encompassing world culture, history, linguistics and mythology-- all of which play a part in this novel.

Events take place in the future, but not the distant future.  Our popular culture is still known and discussed.  The role of religion, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuits, is not that different from what it is today.  The variety of attitudes the different characters have toward the Catholic Church is part of what makes the Church's role interesting in this story. 

I find myself not wanting to explain the plot, not because it's not well plotted, but because it is.  I went into this book expecting something other than what I got and found that process so much fun, that I'd like to give that back to you, the next reader. 

EM, PWPL Reference Desk

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Book: Add your own reviews here

Read a good book that you'd like others to know about?  Type in (or copy) into the comment box below (you may need to scroll down) a brief review.  Your review will be e-mailed to the blog monitor who will add it within the next few days.