MAY 30, 2012
A Treat for Janeites and Mystery Readers
If you're a Jane Austen fan, don't miss Death Comes to Pemberley by prolific author P.D. James, herself a stalwart fan of Jane Austen, who in this recent book, has superbly captured the authentic Austen style.
This story picks up the thread of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, five years after the wedding of main characters Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, an event that takes place on the final page of P & P. The Darcys are now living in wedded bliss at Pemberley, the great family estate, together with their two children. We meet up with them as the household is busy making preparations for the annual Lady Anne Ball, a much anticipated event honoring the memory Darcy’s late mother.
On the eve of the ball, Pemberley is thrown into unwanted commotion by Elizabeth’s foolish sister Lydia, who shows up uninvited and in hysterics, claiming that her husband, the rakish Mr. Wickham, has been shot and possibly killed in the nearby woods. From there the tale unfolds as a mystery, as a good P.D. James book is wont to do.
For me, the best part of this book is being reunited with all of my old friends and acquaintances from Pride and Prejudice. It's interesting to note that Jane Austen had heard first-hand stories of the Napoleonic wars from her brothers and others, but she never brought them into her novels. Now we have accounts of military service of some of the original Austen characters, which brings a new dimension to the tale.
If you're not a Janite, but enjoy a lively Regency period mystery, don't miss this delightful read.
Categories: Lets Talk Books, Staff Reads
MAY 22, 2012
Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born on this day, 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Conan Doyle was the creator of the brilliant Sherlock Holmes, probably the most famous detective in fiction, who remains greatly popular to this very day.
The first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet was published in 1887. Since that time Sherlock Holmes has appeared in countless short stories, novels, plays, television series, and films. The third and latest adventures of Sherlock Homes series, has been cleverly adapted to bring these adventures into the 21stCentury!
The first Holmes novel, A Study of Scarlet is included in The Complete Sherlock Holmes located in the Library’s mystery section. If you prefer viewing or listening, the Library has many of the Holmes titles in audio CD and on DVD. There are also some downloadable eBooks of Sherlock Holmes stories available from our catalog.
Categories: Staff Reads, Lets Talk Books, In the Know
MAY 18, 2012
New Book Prize Announced
The American Library Association and the Andrew Carnegie Corporation announced a new literary prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medals. The prizes for fiction and non-fiction will be announced in June 2012. Read more about the award. You might want to add some of the nominees to your reading list!
Categories: In the Know, Lets Talk Books
MAY 17, 2012
"Searching for Democracy WWII and Today" - a Panel Discussion
On Saturday, May 19, at 3 p.m., join us in the Library Community Room for a gathering of readers, scholars, and eye-witnesses for a discussion of the Japanese American experiences during WWII and the questions it raises about democracy in America today. Admission is free. This project is co-sponsored by the Monterey Public Library and the Monterey Peninsula Japanese American Citizens League. California reads programs are made possible with support from Cal Humanities in partnership with California Center for the Book.
Category: Upcoming Events
MAY 16, 2012
Legendary Latin American Writer is Mourned
The loss of Carlos Fuentes, the legendary Latin American novelist and essayist is being mourned across the world. He and other prominent writers of his generation drew much attention to the culture and sometimes turbulent political climate of Latin America. He was 83 years old.
Categories: In the Know, Staff Reads
MAY 11, 2012
“There are all kinds of mix tapes. There is always a reason to make one.” —Rob Sheffield
“Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time” will have you reminiscing over mix tapes from your past, and have you running to your iTunes account to make a new one. In this amazing memoir by Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield about his marriage to fellow music critic Renee Crist, he illustrates how “the times you lived through, the people you shared those times with—nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.”
I gobbled up “Love is a Mix Tape” right after reading the author’s second, and significantly more lighthearted book, “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut.” Cruising along with Sheffield as he relives the adventures and misadventures of his youth, I grooved to the soundtrack of his teen years (along with a few favored hits from his beloved Irish grandfather’s homeland) in the background as he tells of growing up with his three strong sisters in the time of John Hughes movies and Madonna incarnations.
After Sheffield’s books, I was hungry for more song lists and musical taste analysis (such as advice on why to never date a guy who is too into The Smiths) so I dove right into “Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time” by Courtney E. Smith. Smith dishes out wisdom she's cultivated after years of having lived and breathed a career in the music industry discovering and promoting “life changing” new bands, programming for MTV, and DJing underground hole-in-the-wall punk joints in SecondLife. Her music philosophy and insights are pitch-perfect and often hilarious.
If, like me, you’re always aching for more music appreciation, there are so many books and DVDs to explore at the Library, as well as an eclectic and constantly growing collection of CDs . Get started by searching on "Rock Music--History and Criticism" in our Library's catalog.
(For fabulous entertainment value, don’t forget “High Fidelity” or “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”—both mix-tape-inspiring books made into movies.)
After weeks of immersion in other people’s playlists, I was moved to jot down a few favorites from my ghosts of mix-tapes past, and I’m in the middle of compiling a mix-tape to give to my teenage daughter as she nears a milestone graduation. (Sob!)
Do you have music forever memorialized from a mix tape? Here are some of my most treasured:
Philadelphia, Neil Young
Paper Doll, The Mills Brothers
Christine, Siouxsie and The Banshees
Many Shades of Black, The Raconteurs
California Stars, Billy Bragg and Wilco
The General, Dispatch
Planet Called Home, Holly Near
In the Cold, Cold Night, The White Stripes
Right in Time, Lucinda Williams
Non, je ne regrette rien, Edith Piaf
All Mine, Portishead
Categories: Staff Reads, Lets Talk Books
MAY 9, 2012
The Uncommon Writer
Happy Birthday to Alan Bennett, prolific British playwright and screenwriter, born this day in 1934. Bennett is the author of one of my favorite novellas, The Uncommon Reader, published in 2007. This is a charming, fiction about the Queen of England's journey from being a "doer" to becoming an obsessive "reader", after a chance visit to her local bookmobile. It is a delightful little read with a great surprise ending. Happy birthday, Mr. Bennett, Please turn out more works like The Uncommon Reader, for readers like me!
Categories: In the Know, Staff Reads, Lets Talk Books
MAY 8, 2012
Goodbye,. Maurice Sendak
Goodbye, to children's author Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are and many other titles. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/books/maurice-sendak-childrens-author-dies-at-83.html
Categories: In the Know, Lets Talk Books
MAY 5, 2012
Happy Birthday, Helen Smith!
I have a Google News RSS feed set up to alert me when the phrase "Monterey Public Library" appears in the news.
This morning, I read this article from the Ashland, Oregon Daily Tidings, about today's 100th birthday celebration for Ashland resident Helen Smith.
Smith--then Helen Gilbert, we believe--was the children's librarian at Monterey Public library in the 1940s.
We wish her the best!
Category: In the Know
MAY 3, 2012
Farewell to Manzanar - "talk" about it
The Library's California Reads book discussions were so well-attended that it was a bit difficult to really have a conversation about our featured book, Farewell to Manzanar. I wanted to talk more about the breakdown of family structure in the camps. Houston shows very clearly how the fathers lost their leadership roles, how kids became more strongly connected to peer groups, and how the young adults assumed leadership, sometimes in radical ways. Accustomed as I am to looking for deeper meanings in literature, I find myself thinking about the internment camp as a stronger version of what happens more slowly to many immigrant families. Perhaps in some ways it happens to all families today as the peer group takes over for the individual family structure, and many of us, like Houston's family, wonder what happened to our family dinners. I also find myself thinking about the US government's efforts to change American Indian cultures through the reservation and allotment systems, about the effects of the AFDC system on African-American family structure in the 60's. We can have a conversation about the book here!
Category: Lets Talk Books