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!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What we're reading...

You Should Have Known
Jean Hanff Korelitz's You Should Have Known is yet another book in the genre of husbands and wives keeping secrets from each other (think Gone Girl, The Husband's Secret, The Silent Wife, etc.).  That being said, this one is just as good as all the others.  The story centers around Grace, a successful Manhattan therapist married to an equally successful pediatric oncologist.  She is about to publish a self-help book (called You Should Have Known) that tells readers to wise up and recognize their "big mistakes," especially when it comes to choosing a life partner.  Everything seems perfect in Grace's life, until she realizes she has been unable to reach her husband, purportedly on a business trip, for several days.  Things unravel quickly after that, and Grace realizes maybe she should have taken her own advice.  You Should Have Known is definitely a fun page-turner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What We're Reading

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud 

I had been hearing good comments about this author’s new book, and her previous book “The Emperor’s Children,” so I borrowed the audiobook. At first I was enjoying the narrative and the reading, of a 40-something schoolteacher who had been a “good girl” all her life, obeying her parents, disregarding her dream of becoming an artist in favor of a “good job” as a teacher, having practical friends, and nearly getting married to a man with a “good job.” Then Nora began to voice her disappointments (internally) and fume about the repression of middle-class women. The plot of the story involves a new student in Nora’s class, a boy from Lebanon named Reza who is handsome and obedient. His exotic mother Sirena and father Skandar, are enthralling too: a promising artist and a professor of “international ethics.” Nora is inspired to join Sirena in a rented artists’ studio and they work on creative projects. Nora begins going to their house for dinner and staying for conversations with Skandar. I began to worry what scandal was unfolding in this dreamy scenario…not much! Messud’s writing is wonderful, creating tension from everyday situations, but the story twisted from Nora’s average life and ranting to her obsession with the Shahid family. Just before the school year ends, the family moves home to Europe and Nora is distraught. The scandal comes later, check it out!   

Sound interesting? Try these too…

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

  The world is changing. Or shall I say, the Earth is changing. Told from the point of view of 13-year-old Julia, this novel seems futuristic but is set in modern day. Julia is coping with suburban teenage life, trying to make friends, trying to figure out her parents. And then the Earth stops turning. Well, not that it slams on the brakes, but something happens to the rotation of the planet and time begins to slow down. Days grow longer and longer, eventually creating misery for anyone who can’t sleep when it’s light, such as Julia’s mother. Tensions increase, locally and globally; scientists study gravitational pull, governments try to intervene, and neighbors begin to fight. I was intrigued by the story description of “The Age of Miracles” but I must admit, the book is much more of a philosophical tale than a science fiction adventure. Read it and ponder the complexities of society.

Sound interesting? Try this…

The Leftovers, by Tom Perotta (currently an HBO TV series)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Resource: Zinio digital magazines for your iPad, tablet or PC.

Would you like to read popular magazines on your computer, iPad, Kindle, or other mobile device? The Harrison Memorial Library is launching a new digital magazine service, Zinio for Libraries, designed for public library users. We have subscriptions to popular and specialty magazines delivered by Zinio, the world’s largest digital newsstand.

Zinio offers full color magazines – identical to the print edition, intuitive navigation, keyword article search and interactive elements such as audio and video. Any registered library user can read any of the magazine titles on most Internet connected devices such as a computers, e-readers or via a mobile app. There are no due dates or overdues – so you will never have to wait for a magazine to be returned by another reader.

The library’s Zinio collection includes popular titles such as; Discover, the Economist, Dwell, Mental Floss, Saveur, National Geographic and many more.

All you need to get started is your library barcode number. Register at Zinio apps are available for most mobile devices.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sit, Stay, Read! Summer Reading Begins

Every summer, Harrison Memorial Library hosts fun, themed programs for children and adults to encourage them to keep reading. It’s time to sign up for the Adult Summer Reading program, which officially began June 23 and runs through July 19. This year’s theme is “Paws To Read,” all about pets and animals.
            We have two special events planned for the end of the program. On Saturday, July 19 at 11:00am, Monterey County Guide Dog puppy raisers will talk about raising and training dogs to help the blind. They will bring their young trainees (Labradors and Golden retrievers) to meet. In the afternoon that day, 1:00-3:00pm, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue will have adoptable dogs and an information table in the library’s garden. Stop by if you’re looking for a new four-legged friend!
            To participate in the reading program, visit the Main Library to receive your “doggie bag” of prizes, including a pen and a PAWS card, to start. The bingo-style card includes tasks such as “read a book about an animal” or “read a magazine.” Bring the card to the library each week to get a raffle ticket for a weekly prize. When your PAWS card is completely filled, you’ll be entered in the grand prize drawing.
            Two other methods will earn you a raffle ticket: Bring in a photo of your pet (or email it) and we’ll post it on the community board, but include your name and contact info if you want the photo back. You can also find our summer reading mascot, “Bingo,” somewhere in the Main Library. He travels around the library each week. Either of these gets you a dog treat… err, raffle ticket!
            Another treat for coming to the library helps local homeless pets as well. During July, donate one can of dog or cat food (please no bagged food) at the checkout desk and we’ll erase $1.00 of your fines. All donations will be given to Salinas Animal Services. This sounds like catnip for book and pet lovers!
            Woof! Time to go fetch more books…