Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What we're reading...

In Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Sedaris displays his usual wit, sharing humorous and painful anecdotes about such divergent topics as the medical world, international travel and its inherent difficulties, school athletics, family, bad parenting, and insect collecting. Like many comedians, some (perhaps most) of the author’s humor comes from pain. No topic is off limits; some of Sedaris’ essays are not for the faint of heart. Available from Harrison Memorial Library in the following formats/locations: NonFiction, Large Print, E-Audiobook (online through Overdrive), and Electronic Book Reader (Nook).

Friday, December 12, 2014

What we're reading....

I’m plugging away at The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human. Author Noah Strycker shares his lifelong fascination—some might say obsession--with our avian cousins, in a way that will make you alternately say, “Wow!,” or “I always suspected that.” How do pigeons find their way around? Experts still disagree, but there seems to be a combination of factors, including but not limited to having a sense of the Earth’s magnetic field, as well as hearing and smell. Did you know that pigeons have a better sense of smell in their right nostril than their left, whereas with humans it tends to be the other way around? What about vultures? Can they smell dead stuff, or do they rely more on sight? People as brilliant as Darwin and Audubon pondered the same question and devised sometimes crude experiments to try and come up with an answer.

We sometimes take these ever-present creatures for granted, yet they are complex, highly evolved beings that we are still striving to understand. The Thing with Feathers can provide you with some of this knowledge and tell you a great deal about where we we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going in our understanding of birds.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What we're reading....

I just finished Dave Egger's The Circle.  I didn't know what it was about when I picked it up, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it grapples with the way the internet has changed our lives and impacted our privacy.  The main character, Mae Holland, gets a dream job at "The Circle," a Google-like technology firm that's on the cutting edge of everything internet-related.  The people who work at The Circle are brilliant and fascinating, and the benefits include gourmet food, on-site apartments, and regular staff parties with lavish entertainment.  Slowly the company becomes  the center of Mae's life, to the exclusion of everything (and everyone) else.  She embraces the corporate culture and doesn't recognize that the company's seemingly altruistic efforts to "improve" human life also result in serious breeches of privacy and personal freedom.  The book explores so many fascinating and timely issues, yet at the same time it's a total page-turner that I couldn't put down. The Circle makes you think--it also makes you just a bit paranoid about what our future holds.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Harrison Memorial Library Partners with Hoopla Digital to Give Patrons Online and Mobile Access to Free Movies, TV Shows, Music and Audiobooks

We are excited to announce the public availability of thousands of movies, television shows, music albums and audiobooks, all available for mobile and online access through a new partnership with hoopla digital – all you need is a valid library card!

Harrison Memorial Library card holders can download the free hoopla digital mobile app on their Android or IOS device or visit to begin enjoying thousands of titles – from major Hollywood studios, record companies and publishers – available to borrow for instant streaming or temporary downloading to their smartphones, tablets and computers.

Hoopla digital has a simple sign-up and attractive, easy-to-use interface, so it’s easy to get to your listening and viewing experience. There’s also no waiting to borrow popular movies, TV shows, albums or audiobooks. And hoopla digital’s automatic return feature eliminates late fees.

To access the system on your mobile device, you will need to visit or download the FREE hoopla digital app from the App Store on your Android or IOS device. Simply ‘Sign Up’ to get started. There is no need to download an app or extension for your internet browser.

We hope you enjoy this new service and encourage you to share your experience on our Facebook page!

What We're Reading

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan


     These days, there are people who love bookstores and paper books, and people who love digital books and the Internet, and probably a sub-section who enjoys both…although some say the popularity of one is bad news for the survival of the other.  Clay, the star of “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-HourBookstore” is likely in that small sub-section. He is doing well as a Web-design artist in San Francisco until he is down-sizing and he tries to figure out his next career move. He spends some weeks hanging out with his friend Neel , who during their teenage years was a sci-fi geek of the highest order and now is a multi-millionaire from building a company that creates digital boobs for video games and Hollywood movies.
     Finally, Clay must get a job. One night he is wandering a certain San Francisco neighborhood and finds a small dusty bookstore that is hiring. The odd place is next door to a “adult film” theater and Clay is a bit nervous of what kind of customers he will have at his new job. The front of the store has a few shelves of used paperbacks, some mainstream fiction and best-selling nonfiction. The back and dark upper levels contain “members’ books,” explains new boss Mr. Penumbra. It’s not exactly a library but the members will come in for a certain book and staff must search through an elaborate system of shelves and ladders to find the very esoteric books, then write down everything about the book and its borrower.
     What follows is a literary code-breaking adventure with kooky readers, Google employees, Eastern European graphic designers, and sinister ancient book thieves, and much more. The language is meant for an artsy Silicon Valley crowd, with its many literary and tech references, and “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is a ton of fun to read or listen to, especially because you don’t know what’s coming next.

If you like it, I recommend “ReadyPlayer One” by Ernest Cline (for readers who grew up in the 1980s or enjoy that pop culture), or “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (for more of a literary mystery book set in Spain), or "The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin for lovers of paper books and traditional bookstores.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Upcoming Events for Adults

Hot off the press! The Carmel Library Foundation has released its calendar of upcoming events for the community. For adults, we have two lectures in September, and a digital media workshop on Aug. 30.

In the past few months, the library has been adding new technologies for you to try.
We’ll be demonstrating the free resources you can access with your library card at a Digital Media workshop on Saturday, Aug 30 from 11:00am-noon. Learn about Zinio, which is a collection of full-text magazines, and Hoopla, which includes recent movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music.     

On Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:00pm, listen to Dr. Laura Markham speaking about “raising emotionally intelligent and happy kids,” based on her book, “Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids.” Markham is a child psychologist and educator whose website is This lecture will be held at Sunset Center’s Carpenter Hall, Lincoln Ave. and 9th St. A $10 donation is suggested.

The next week, Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 7:00pm, meet local free diver Scott Campbell who will show slides of his amazing underwater photography. Campbell can hold his breath for up to 7 minutes, so when he dives and swims without SCUBA equipment, the marine life are not disturbed. Hear the whales talking on his website, This community lecture will also be at Sunset Center. 

          For details on these events, call (831) 624-7323 or (831) 624-2811.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Sale Feast

     When I first moved to Carmel, I marveled at the walkability of the town: the gardens, the cottages, the vistas. Coming from the San Fernando Valley in southern California, where most neighborhood walks involve noise and exhaust, Carmel was lovely. 

     One weekend, I saw the library was having a book sale. I hurried down the hill to All Saints Church (I think that was the location years ago), and was thrilled to find rows of tables stuffed with all kinds of books. After browsing for an hour or two, I filled up two grocery bags full of gently-used treasures, walked into the hazy sunshine… and realized I had no car to haul my new books home, back up the hill past the Father Junipero Serra statue! As I made the slow walk home, I still savored the afternoon, surrounded by nothing but bird songs and an occasional car.

     The 42nd annual Book Sale, organized by the Friends of Harrison Memorial Library, takes place this weekend, starting Thursday Aug. 7 for members (of the Friends’ group). It’s easy to join the Friends for $10 at the door. All are welcome to the sale Friday and Saturday, 10am-4pm, at the Carmel Mission School Gym (Rio Road, next to Larson Field). The volunteers have been gathering and sorting donated books for weeks, and if you can’t find something to happily read amongst the tables, you’re probably not looking hard enough! From past experience, there is fiction, mysteries, non-fiction, children’s books, even collectible books, audiobooks and probably DVDs too. All proceeds go to the Friends of HML, which in turn support library services and materials. Call 831-224-4663 if you have questions. Happy (book) hunting!