JULY 28, 2007
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Let's talk abouat this is the eagerly anticipated second book by the author of The Kite Runner. A Thousand Splendid Suns spans 30 years in Afghanistan. It tells the story of two women whose lives intersect in unexpected ways, against the backdrop of their country’s turbulent modern history. The author creates a strikingly intimate portrayal of Afghan family life, social customs, and religious tradition, and describes in vivid terms the harrowing Afghan experience from the time of Soviet invasion, through the rise and fall of the Taliban. This book is sometimes very painful to read. It made me cry at least four or five times, and only once they were tears of joy. But this not-to-be-missed book is beautifully written and the author develops two characters who you will not soon forget.
1) One of my favorite chapters was involved the trip that Laila took with her father to Bamiyan to see the enormous Buddahs carved into the rock cliff. Why do you think this chapter was included in the story?
2) Which of Mariam's parents do you think did the most to help her cope with her difficult life?
3) What is the most important message that Laila carries from her upbringing and how does that form her character? Compare that to Mariam's.
4) Here's your chance to vent about Rasheed.
Category: Staff Reads
JULY 20, 2007
Wow! What a week...
I'm writing this on the tale end of Friday night after an event-filled week at the Monterey Public Library.
From our weekly Tuesday storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers to a gala evening of wine and chocolate tasting sponsored by the Friends of the LIbrary to tonight's triumphant "Harry Potter Trivia Contest III" - whew, what a week!
Thursday evening's fundraiser for the Library featured delectable chocolate treats from many generous business sponsors, delightful music by Library staff members Kyle and Glenn, a chocolate cookie contest. And a library filled with almost two hundred community members feasting, catching up with their neighbors, enjoying good times. As someone told me last night - "Besides books, this Library holds the heart of our city - and shares it with everyone."
Tonight's Harry Potter Trivia contest brought together over two hundred kids, teens and adults - all good-humored and very knowledgable fans of the J.K. Rowling series. Three teams of contestants, divided by age, took the stage. It was disparate group in many ways - and yet all were united by a love for the Harry Potter series - and possibly a need to fill the hours before tonight's midnight release!
The "Harry phenomenon" leaps across 63 languages and over 4 million books in eager readers' hands. No book has been as anxiously awaited as this last one - in my lifetime as a reader. And yet, it will be with very mixed emotions that I finally open the cover tomorrow morning, and dive inside.
I can't wait to find out what has become of Harry, Ron, Hermione and all those familiar friends. And yet, I know it will be our last new journey together - and I don't want to close the cover on that magical world. I will slow as I read through the chapters, savoring and delaying every page.
And I will cherish the hush that will rise around the world tomorrow - the peaceful sound of pages turning, indrawn breath - the quiet of millions of readers travelling together. One last time.
Categories: Director's Blog, Harry Potter
JULY 3, 2007
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Let's take a moment to look back to book six...
In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Harry finds that his life is becoming darker and more dangerous. Voldemort is back and Wizards and Muggles are dying, but it's back to school for Harry, Ron, and Hermione as usual. They find yet ANOTHER new 'Defense Against the Dark Arts' teacher, begin their NEWT classes, and Harry gets Potions help from the mysterious 'Half-Blood Prince'. Quidditch is as popular as ever, and Harry finds himself having to throw together a whole new Gryffindor team. Plus then there is the ever popular 'Slug Club' with the new Potions teacher. Romance comes to Hogwarts, and is a welcome balance to the grim happenings elsewhere. Harry deeply questions his own feelings while trying to understand the effect it is having on his friends. And yet while life at Hogwarts continues, the deaths also continue, and someone is trying to bring it into Hogwart's. Danger seems to lurk around every corner, and Harry is as determined as ever to unmask it. Dumbledore continues to guide Harry and together they try to unlock the secret of Voldemort and find a way to stop him before it is too late. Harry finds he must decide between what's right and what's easy.
Here are some questions to discuss in the comments area below:
1) Which character made these comments while in conversation with Ron:
"'Harry Potter knows that he can confide in me with complete confidence,' I told them. 'I would rather die than betray his trust.'"
"That's not saying much, seeing as you're already dead," Ron observed.
"Once again, you show all the sensitivity of a blunt axe," said _______ in affronted tones.
2) What do you think of Draco Malfoy's attitude change?
3) Who is this mysterious "Half Blood Prince"?
4) Who's side do you think Snape is really on?
5) What do you think will happen in book 7?
And here's a special bonus for our loyal blog readers. I have TWO extra tickets for the opening of the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie and I'm giving away them away here!
a) These tickets are only good for Wednesday July 11th showing at 12:05am taking place at the Century Theatres at the Del Monte Center here in Monterey. (You will be arriving at the movie theater Tuesday evening, and watching the film right after the clock flips to Wednesday.) Please make sure you are able to see the movie at this date and time!!!
b) To enter, send an *email* to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number.
c) Emails will be accepted until the end of the day Saturday, July 7th
d) On Sunday, July 8th, I will randomly pick one winner who will receive both tickets. The winner will be notified by phone and then you'll need to pick up the tickets in the library.
Categories: Harry Potter, Teen Zone