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…

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Book Fun

It’s here! Memorial Day weekend means the unofficial start of Summer! Perhaps not, looking out to fog through your Monterey Peninsula window, but traditionally this is it. 
And we have books, the perfect thing for the long days of summer (whatever the weather). Find below, a list of a few of the upcoming books we’re looking forward to in the next few months. They are not out yet, but they can be placed on hold in the library’s catalog. Yes! You may now place holds yourself with your library card, on any book, even ones “on order.” Have a great weekend!

May 27: "Tibetan Peach Pie" by Tom Robbins. The author's memoir.

June 1: "China Dolls" by Lisa See.

"Faceoff" by David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, and others.

June 10: "Written In My Own Heart's Blood" by Diana Gabaldon.

"Midnight in Europe" by Alan Furst.

June 17: "All Fall Down" by Jennifer Weiner.

"Top Secret Twenty-one" by Janet Evanovich.

June 24: "The Matchmaker" by Elin Hilderbrand.

"The City" by Dean Koontz.

July 1: "The Care and Management of Lies" by Jacqueline Winspear.

July 15: "The Book of Life" by Deborah Harkness.

"The Heist" by Daniel Silva.

"Wayfaring Stranger" by James Lee Burke.

July 29: "Lucky Us" by Amy Bloom.


Friday, April 18, 2014

New Titles on Nooks!

We've added lots of new titles to our Nooks, including current best sellers!  If you haven't done so already, try checking out a Nook!

Biography/Non Fiction Nook 1
·       Flash Boys by Michael Lewis
·       Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
·       Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer

Biography/Non Fiction Nook 2
·       Duty by Robert Gates
·       Thrive by Arianna Huffington
·       David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Science Fiction/Fantasy Nook 3
·       Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
·       Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
·       Night of the Hunger by R.A. Salvatore

Romance Nook 4
·       Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber
·       Power Play by Danielle Steel
·       Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Mystery Nook 5
·       Missing You by Harlan Coben
·       By Its Cover by Donna Leon
·       Carnal Curiosity by Stuart Woods

Mystery Nook 6
·       Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
·       Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson
·       NYPD Red 2 by James Patterson

Fiction Nook 7
·       Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
·       Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies
·       The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Fiction Nook 8
·       Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
·       The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
·       The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Teen Nook 9
·       Allegiant by Veronica Roth
·       Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's National Library Week!

Did you know there are more than 182 public library systems in California? In 2011, that was 1,654 libraries to visit (including bookmobiles)! If you love libraries, you better get moving to see them all.
    Libraries of all sizes and shapes depend on people visiting them, checking out books, asking questions, using computers. Libraries are not exactly selling things to make a profit; in fact, that is one of the best things about libraries: They have free stuff! They attempt to give free information and resources to all people who want to walk in the door, or visit the website. Library staff review, buy, and organize new materials such as books, movies, music, art and historical documents. Other library staff put it on shelves, on carts and displays, or on a website, and then check it out to you (with the magic ticket, a library card). More staff help with computers, give information for job searches, recommend entertaining books. We thank you for using libraries, so we can share our work with you.

    During National Library Week each April (started in 1958), we celebrate Library Workers Day on April 15, Bookmobile Day on April 16, and Teen Literature Day on April 17. The Declaration for the Right to Libraries states (in part): “We believe libraries are essential to a democratic society... Libraries empower the individual, libraries support literacy and lifelong learning, libraries strengthen families, libraries are the great equalizers...” (, from the American Library Association). We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Thirty Girls by Susan Minot

Susan Minot wrote for the March issue of Vogue that she was"spellbound and absorbed" by her two weeks in Uganda researching the 1996 abduction of 139 young girls from St. Mary's boarding school in Aboke. Taking seven years to write the novel Thirty Girls she successfully brings to light the plight of thousands of abducted children who are torn from their families and made to become sex slaves and killers.  She delicately brings out the details of the true story by juxtaposing a journalist's travels to Uganda with Esther's story as she begins her stint in rehabilitation. The title refers to the 30 girls of the original 139 that Sister Fassera was unable to convince the rebel leader to release.Terrorizing northern Uganda as "rebels," the nefarious Lord's Resistance Army follows the bizarre teachings of Joseph Kony. Originally written as a story for McSweeney's and anthologized by Paul Theroux, Minot found she could not let the story go because of her impulse to "do something to help." Read her interview with The Daily Beast.

Esther tells her story with frankness and in describing the day her best friend, Agnes, was murdered, she says, "Will anyone know the pain I am enduring? I thought. Then, Why would it matter that they did? What difference would it make?"

Susan Minot makes sure that we know the pain and makes it matter. Will it make a difference?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

 The Luminaries The winner of the Man Booker Prize is a hefty novel and a really good read. My review is on Goodreads.

This New Zealand writer's biography can be found on the New Zealand Book Council website. This is only her second novel and is the longest work to receive the prize in its 45-year history.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Audio Alert- The Signature of All Things

 The Signature of All Things

Listening to a lot of audiobooks gives me an appreciation for the truly great ones, and that would include The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

"Elizabeth is best known, however for her 2006 memoir EAT PRAY LOVE, which chronicled her journey alone around the world, looking for solace after a difficult divorce. The book was an international bestseller, translated into over thirty languages, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. In 2010, EAT PRAY LOVE was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. The book became so popular that Time Magazine named Elizabeth as one of the 100 most influential people in the world." See her website for more information.

But this recording of The Signature of All Things read by Juliet Stevenson makes the 22-hour novel go by in a delirious rush, bringing to life the story of Alma Whittaker and the first botanists whose work led up to
Charles Darwin's explosive argument for evolution.