MARCH 27, 2008
What We're Reading
Spring has sprung! Some people love to sit in a lounge chair in a sunny spot in the backyard with their books; some people prefer to curl up by the fire on a rainy day with a good book. Where do you like to relax with your books? Here are some reads the Circulation staff have been enjoying lately...
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
The Appeal by John Grisham
Rex and the City by Lee Harrington
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
A Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Category: Staff Reads
MARCH 27, 2008
This month the Literary Circle is reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Set in 1666, the story describes what happens in a remote English village during an outbreak of the plague ("The Black Death"). Led by their impassioned minister Michael Mompellion, the villagers impose a quarantine. They close off access to their village so that the plague won’t spread. Through the eyes of Anna Frith, the minister’s housemaid, we watch as friends, family and neighbors sicken and die, and survivors struggle to keep their faith and their sanity. The tale is grim, but eloquently told, and surprisingly uplifting. I found myself mesmerized by the rich historical detail - the joys, sorrows, and simple pleasures of daily life in a seventeenth century village. While this is a work of fiction, it is based on the true story of the villagers of Eyam in Derbyshire, England. I won’t spoil the ending, but I must say that the last 20 pages left me wondering aloud! Join us and share your views on Monday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room.
Categories: Staff Reads, In the Know
MARCH 21, 2008
Read 'em and Reap
It was rainy and windy on Saturday, March 15, but that didn’t deter local gardeners, horticulturists, or the library from participating in the City of Monterey Parks Division's 52nd annual Cutting Day. This wonderful event features exhibits and demonstrations, expert gardening advice, information about propagation, drip irrigation, pest control and waste management, and best of all, free plant cuttings and tree seedlings culled from the City’s parks.
You might wonder how the library figures into this event. Well, the library has something to inspire, delight, and educate all, including gardeners! We have books, videos and DVDs with information on just about everything that might interest a gardener, from aphids and azaleas to zinnias and zucchini. In fact, we've just added some great new gardening titles to the collection, so come and check them out. You'll read 'em and reap!
Category: In the Know
MARCH 20, 2008
Guy Montag ignites book discussion at Monterey's Big Read
This past Saturday at the Monterey Public Library, Guy Montag, the protagonist in Bradbury’s futuristic novel, Fahrenheit 451, made a guest appearance in the Community Room and threw a little more kerosene on a burning fire that’s been flaming since 1953. Chris Graham, a Western Stage actor, read from a script, warming up the audience.
For the fifty adults and teens who were asked what book they would save the overwhelming consensus was The Bible, followed closely by the dictionary. Others in the book discussion, for example, chose writers such as Homer, Shakespeare, James Joyce, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, Frank Herbert, and Shel Silverstein.
Afterwards, when asked what they thought of the event, one teen said, "It opened my eyes to everyone else’s opinion." Another teen said, "The book was deeper than I thought." Someone else said, "A passion for reading survives in our society."
If you never knew Ray Bradbury, after reading 451, you might think he could be a pyromaniac.
Categories: Fahrenheit 451, In the Know
MARCH 17, 2008
What a fascinating country! This spring the Monterey Chamber of Commerce is going on a Tour and Trade Mission to China. Are you going along? Or have you always dreamt about going to China?
We here at the library have prepared a list of books to help prepare you for your trip, be it going in person, or a 'visit' while on the couch. All these fiction and nonfiction books are available here at the Monterey Library. Have fun!
Category: Staff Reads
MARCH 12, 2008
Books I would save from the fires of Fahrenheit 451
If I could choose only one book to save from the fires of censorship what would it be? I could not limit myself to one. Here is my top ten list:
Complete works of Shakespeare
Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
Poetry by e.e. cummings or Emily Dickinson
Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Cat in the Hat Dr. Suess
Piggies by Audrey Wood
Tale of two Cities or
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Category: Fahrenheit 451
MARCH 6, 2008
If This Goes On...
Fahrenheit 451 is a classic dystopian novel. Dystopias are the opposite of utopias: worlds that, for one or many reasons, none of us would want to live in. The word "dystopia" comes from Greek and means, roughly, "bad place".
Why would anyone want to write or read about such a "bad place"? First of all, dystopian fiction is often designed to comment on the writer's own society by exaggerating hidden flaws or pointing out the danger of emerging trends. The title of Robert A. Heinlein's 1940 short novel about an American theocracy would fit many dystopias: If This Goes On- .
Second, dystopias show how characters we care about resist, escape, survive, or succumb to the evils of the society the author has imagined. These stories can be very moving, and they encourage us to think about how we would-and do-react when we find some aspect of the world we live in fundamentally unpleasant or unfair.
You may want to check out more classic, influential and recommended "bad places" in the Library collection:
It might be discouraging to read these dark books all at once!
Please recommend your own favorite dystopias-and utopias-in the comments.
Categories: Fahrenheit 451, Staff Reads
MARCH 5, 2008
Fahrenheit 451 Readalikes for today's teenagers
Fahrenheit 451 is a great book for all times and all ages, but while reading it I kept thinking of some modern good books. If you'd like something written more recently and especially for young people, try these favorites:
Feed by K.A. Anderson is about a time in the future when everyone has a "feed" installed in the brain. It sends out advertisements for products of personal interest as you pass the store. Sounds like the convenience of some online sites today. But what else does the feed do to its customers? Scary, with a bit of romance.
The Last Book in the Universe by W. R. Philbrick is about a kid who meets an strange old man who can actually read and write. That survivor remembers when there were books, instead of mindprobes that "drug" the poor into complacency.
After by Francine Prose is a creepy tale of what happens after a Columbine-like incident. To prevent violence in one school, a new administrator initiates several measures to control kids, teachers and even parents. They say its for protection, but then students begin to disappear! If you've ever wondered about what's at the bottom of the slippery slope that starts with locker inspections and metal detectors, try this book.
Uglies by Scott Westerfield is the first in a trilogy of novels about where our obsession with appearance and good times might take us. In this future teenagers are considered uglies until they have the operation that makes them "pretties" filled with "pretty thoughts". After that, parties are constant, and there are no worries. Yet, the main character hears of a place where people remain "ugly" and know about books, art, and a time when what you thought mattered - and she is determined to - escape.
These are the books 451 brought to my mind. What about you?
Categories: Fahrenheit 451, Teen Zone, Staff Reads
MARCH 1, 2008
Bookmobiles Around The World
Did you know that in the early 1900's, Monterey County's first librarian, Anne Hadden, traveled on a donkey in order to deliver library books to people in remote areas of Monterey County?
In other parts of the world, librarians transport reading materials to people on boats, camels, elephants and even wheelbarrows!
Aren't we lucky to have easy access to so many books etc. at Monterey Public Library and Bookmobile?
To learn more about these "bookmobiles", you may want to check out, "My Librarian Is A Camel" by Margaret Ruurs.
MARCH 1, 2008
Tune In @ Your Library
March 2-8 is Teen Tech Week! Every year, the Young Adult Library Services Association celebrates technology and the teens that use it. In libraries across the country, teens and librarians are getting together to share their wisdom about the best and worst techie gadgets and to discuss the uses of technology in libraries. This year, the Monterey Public Library is celebrating technology by participating in The Big Read. Books are technology! ( Check out this YouTube video.) The Big Read book this year is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In this book, reading is forbidden and books are burned as a consequence. So here is a question for you: If you could save one tech gadget from burning (e.g. books, DVDs, iPod, T.V., Xbox, Blackberry, etc) what would you save?
Categories: Fahrenheit 451, Teen Zone, In the Know