Friday, December 21, 2007

Staying Home for the Holidays?

Check out GovGab's tips for safe and healthy holiday cooking! Don't forget that some foods may require more prep time for at risk groups like expectant moms, children, and seniors!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Author Terry Pratchett diagnosed with Alzheimer's

The 59 year old author of the best-selling Discworld series announced he has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's. You can get more details by clicking here. He is still working on at least two writing projects right now. Hopefully we will continue to have best selling novels from this talented author as he battles the disease.


Combat Shopping Stresses!

Visit the US government blog, Gov Gab, for some ways to beat the tiredness, achiness, and stress that may be brought on by the holiday season's shopping marathons.

Happy Reading (and shopping!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Libraries get a nod from the U.S. government

If you haven't checked out your U.S. government blog, Gov Gab, go have a look today! Today they've posted a great little article about the importance of libraries which includes:
  • links to's Government and Public Libraries page
  • access to federal libraries
  • presidential libraries
  • the Library of Congress's Ask-a-Librarian page and more!
I've been subscribing to their RSS for about a month now and have gotten a great recipe (now if I could just remember what I did with it!), car travel tips, ways to live more ecologically and more!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2007 National Book Awards Announced ! ! !

The National Book Foundation's National Book Awards have developed a reputation for recognizing literary excellence in American literature and raising the cultural appreciation of great writing. This year's awardees are no different.

Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
*BookList Starred Review*
Colonel Francis F. X. Sands' wartime exploits made him something of a legend. He rose to the rank of colonel during World War II and joined the CIA in the 1950s, his background in Southeast Asia an asset as the U.S. replaced France in the Vietnamese war against communism. Enter Skip Sands, the colonel's nephew, a young intelligence officer currently a clerk in charge of cataloging his uncle's three footlockers full of thousands of index cards, "almost none of them comprehensible." The colonel enlists Skip in a secret operation involving a double, an agent ready to betray the Vietcong. Skip, an earnest patriot, nevertheless finds himself deep in the unauthorized world of renegade psychological ops, off the grid and outside the chain of command, an ethical quagmire where almost anything goes, where he encounters conflicts of loyalty between his family, his country, and his religion. Johnson (Jesus' Son, 1992) is a gifted writer with a knack for erudite and colorful dialogue, and his sense of time and place is visceral and evocative. With this worthy addition to Vietnam literature, he confidently joins the ranks of Tim O'Brien, Larry Heinemann, and Michael Herr. Segedin, Ben

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
*Publishers Weekly Starred Review*
Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fermenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy. (Aug. 7)

Time and Materials by Robert Hass
*Publishers Weekly Starred Review*
The first book in 10 years from former U.S. poet laureate Hass may be his best in 30: these new poems show a rare internal variety, even as they reflect his constant concerns. One is human impact on the planet at the century's end: a nine-part verse-essay addressed to the ancient Roman poet Lucretius sums up evolution, deplores global warming and says that the earth needs a dream of restoration in which/ She dances and the birds just keep arriving. Another concern is biography and memory, not so much Hass's own life as the lives of family and friends. A poem about his sad father and alcoholic mother avoids self-pity by telling a finely paced story. Hass also commemorates the late Polish Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, with whom he collaborated on translations; condemns war in harsh, stripped-down prose poems; explores achievements in visual art from Gerhard Richter to Vermeer; and turns in perfected, understated phrases on Japanese Buddhist models. Through it all runs a rare skill with long sentences, a light touch, a wish to make claims not just on our ears but on our hearts, and a willingness to wait—few poets wait longer, it seems—for just the right word. (Oct.)

Young Adult
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
*School Library Journal Starred Review*
Grade 7–10—Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library

Reviews pulled from

Happy Reading!

Oprah picks a new one!

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Oprah has chosen a hefty tome this time around, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages. As you may know, Follet just published World Without End, the long-awaited (try 18 years!) sequel to Pillars of the Earth. The two books take the reader back to the cathedral building days of 12th century Britain. The combined page count? OVER 2,000 pages of great historical fiction!

Give us a call (445-1121) today to reserve a copy of either book!

Happy Reading!

Sad News From USA Today

  • Norman Mailer had hoped to write at least one more novel but, in a January 2007 interview at his home in Provincetown, Mass., he added, "at my age, you don't mkae promises," about finishing a novel. "You don't know when the ball will roll off the table (Minzesheimer)." For Mailer, the ball rolled off the table Saturday November 10, 2007 when he died of acute renal failure at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

  • Ira Levin died Monday, November 12, 2007. Levin's career spanned many decades and his writing ranged from television to Broadway to novels. His most famous works included the occult-horror classic Rosemary's Baby, the Nazi thriller The Boys from Brazil and the über creepy The Stepford Wives. "Levin's page-turning bookds were once compared by Newsweek wrtier Peter S. Frescott to a bag of popcorn: 'Utterly without nutritive value and probably fattening, yet there's no way to stop once you've started (Associated Press).'"


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Alabama Driver's License Manuals

Check out what the Alabama DMV has online, including the PDF of the driver's license manual!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Oprah's mistakes?

Word has come out (via the Associated Press) that Oprah is once again speaking out against a book that she previously endorsed.

If you remember, not so long ago Oprah confronted James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces. Frey originally marketed Pieces as a memoir about his battle with drug addictions and the book was later determined to be largely fabricated. Oprah confronted Frey quite aggressively on her show(via Oprah's website):

Oprah: Why did you lie? Why did you have to lie about the time you spent in jail? Why did you do that?

James: I think one of the coping mechanisms I developed was sort of this image of myself that was greater, probably, than—not probably—that was greater than what I actually was. In order to get through the experience of the addiction, I thought of myself as being tougher than I was and badder than I was—and it helped me cope. When I was writing the book … instead of being as introspective as I should have been, I clung to that image.

Oprah: And did you cling to that image because that's how you wanted to see yourself? Or did you cling to that image because that would make a better book?
James: Probably both.

Now Oprah has pulled Forrest Carter's book, The Education of Little Tree, which was originally touted as "the real-life story of an orphaned boy raised by his Cherokee grandparents (Italie)." Long after the Carter's death, his real identity as Asa Earl Carter, KKK member and speechwriter for former AL governor George Wallace (he wrote Wallace's "Segregation today! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" quote), came to light. The book has since been described as "the racial hypocrisy of a white supremacist" with "a simplistic plot that used a lot of stereotypical imagery (Italie)."

Oprah has since pulled The Education of Little Tree from her Book Club website, but James Frey's A Million Little Pieces remains.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Author Event! Thursday Oct. 25th

Evening everyone!
We have a great author coming to the library this Thursday night. Her name is Dr. Joyce Antler and she is the author of the book You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother.
Dr. Antler is a senior faculty member of the American Studies Department at Brandeis University where she is serving as the Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History & Culture. She is the author or editor of eight books, founded the Brandeis Womens' Studies Program and has served as Chair of the Massachusetts Foundation of the Humanities.
Dr. Antler's talk is sponsored by The Alabama Humanities Foundation, The Birmingham Jewish Federation, and The Southern States Jewish Literary Series.
Here are all the details:
Thursday, October 25th
6:30-7:00 p.m. Reception
7:00-8:00 Discussion, Q&A
Book Signing to follow.
Please email Katie with questions at or call (205) 445-1118.
I really hope I see you all Thursday night! This should be a fantastic program and a fun night!


Don't forget about the 1st Annual Nightmare on Oak Street (NOOS) B Horror Movie Marathon (ages 18 & up only please!) going on today until 6:30, when we'll stop the visual horror and move on to the literature of fear!
The horror book discussion will be from 6:30 to 7:30 so come on in and share your favorites or get some great suggestions!
If you want more information on how to get in on the fun, call 445-1121!
Happy Haunted Reading!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spring Publication Schedule for Macmillan

It is always exciting to anticipate the publication of a book by a treasured author and knowing in advance is a heady thing as well. Here is a fairly complete list of some of the hot titles Macmillan is publishing this spring. See if your favorite author is listed!


The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta - October

Pandora’s Daughter by Iris Johansen - October

The Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg - October

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig - November

The Heir by Barbara Taylor Bradford - November

The Race by Richard North Patterson - November

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston - January

The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan - January

Diablerie by Walter Mosley - January

An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg - January

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich - January

Chosen by P.C and Kristin Cast - February

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - February

An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor - February

John by Niall Williams - February

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas - March

The Law of Second Changes by James Sheehan - March

Lush Life by Richard Price - March

A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer - March

The Ex-Debutante by Linda Francis Lee - April

The Finder by Colin Harrison -April

Quicksand by Iris Johansen - April

Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin - June

Stephanie Plum #14 by Janet Evanovich - June

Married Lovers by Jackie Collins - July

Mysteries and Thrillers

Blue Heaven by C. J. Box - January

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear - February

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny - March

The Fourth Man by K. O. Dahl - March

The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd - March

The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black - March

Losing You by Nicci French - April

Science Fiction and Fantasy

A War of Gifts: an Ender Story by Orson Scott Card - October

Confessor by Terry Goodkind - November

The Ancient: Saga of the First King by R. A. Salvatore- March

Keeper of Dreams by Orson Scott Card - April

Graphic Novels

J. Edgar Hoover: a Graphic Biography by Rick Geary - January

Students for a Democratic Society: a Graphic History by Paul Buhle and Gary Dumm - January

A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki, Paul Buhle - March


Gomorrah by Robert Saviano - October

Free for All by Don Borchert - November

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard - November

Unauthorized Biography of Tom Cruise by Andrew Morton - January

In Nixon’s Web by L. Patrick Gray - March

When the Husband Is the Suspect by F. Lee Bailey - March

A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs - May


Happy Reading!


Friday, October 5, 2007

Oprah picks another book!

The new Oprah's Book Club selection is

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez!
Happy Reading!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Author TV Appearances

There are some big names here if you'd like to get more of the low-down on some of your favorite authors! Thanks to Amazon Daily (yet again) for the heads-up on these TV spots!
  • I've been hearing some great, though troubling, things about John Bowe's Nobodies. Anyone interested in the current immigration debates should have a look at this new title!
  • The Thomas Friedman train is still full-steam-ahead with The World is Flat. This book hit the ground running at publication and shows no signs of stopping!
  • John Grisham is again leaving the legal arena in his latest novel. Playing for Pizza tells the story of a former third-string quarterback/current national laughingstock who goes farther than he ever imagined for love of the game. Read the raving USAToday review by clicking here!
  • Ken Burns, master historian and storyteller supreme! PBS, and everyone else, just loves this guy! He and Geoffrey Ward have brought you the story of jazz, baseball, the Civil War, and, now, World War II with The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945.
Monday, September 24th
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart-John Bowe, author of Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy

The Colbert Report-Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Tuesday, September 25th
The Colbert Report-John Grisham, author of Playing For Pizza

Wednesday, September 26th
The Late Show with David Letterman-Ken Burns, author of The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945

Thursday, September 27th
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart-Ken Burns, author of The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945

Happy reading (and viewing)!

World Renowned Exhibit Coming to Birmingham Mid-October ! ! !

The signs that preceeded the eruption of Mount Vesuvius were subtle, passing virtually unnoticed by the people living there in A.D. 79: a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand, another more modestly sized earthquake in A.D. 64, and a succession of minor quakes and tremors over the years that did nothing to warn, instead helping to desensitize the Roman citizens to the looming danger....

The only real warning these people had occured mere weeks ahead of the eruption, but these were warnings they had no ways of understanding. Wells and springs dried up and the small earthquakes began to swarm right up until the eruption began on the afternoon of August 24 A.D. 79.

Lasting two days, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius covered Pompeii, Herculaneum, and several smaller nearby towns in up to 75 ft of fine ash and pyroclastic deposits, burning and suffocating the residents who could not make it out or who did not comprehend the certain death they faced by staying.

Archeaological work at Pompeii and surrounding areas has been ongoing for almost 250 years and this October, the Birmingham Museum of Art is bringing some of that work to our fair city! Pompei: Tales from an Eruption...Herculaneum, Oplontis, Terzigno opens October 14, 2007 and runs through January of 2008. Don't miss your opportunity to see the largest collection of artifacts from Pompeii ever to leave Italy, many of which have never been seen outside that country!

The Emmet O'Neal Library has many resources to get you started on your exploration, click here to see them! Also, our book group, The Bookies, will be discussing Robert Harris' novel, Pompeii, on October 9th at 10am. Please join us! As a special treat, the Bookies will be taking a group tour of the exhibit on October 16th. Tickets are $14 and your money must be turned in by October 1st! We will be touring the exhibit, then, for those interested, gathering for lunch at the Museum. The cost of lunch is not included in your group tour ticket.

If you'd like more information about the Bookies and/or the group tour of the Pompeii exhibit, contact Katie Moellering at 445-1118 or


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Wheel of Time rolls to a stop

The world lost another of its greatest authors with the death of sci-fi/fantasy author Robert Jordan.

His heroic battle with amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, ended Sunday afternoon. It was only last year that Jordan announced that he was battling the disease and expressed his intentions of fighting it:

"I have thirty more years' worth of books to write even if I can keep from thinking of any more, and I don't intend to let this thing get in my way."

"Gone, but not forgotten" is forever how his legions of fans will no doubt feel about this legendary author. Already, over 700 comments have appeared on the Jordan's blog.

According the Amazon, Jordan's family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of James Rigney to the Mayo Clinic Department of Hematology--Amyloidosis Research, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.


Monday, September 17, 2007 sellin' AND bloggin'!

I was delighted to find that Amazon now has a blog, Amazon Daily! I just found it today and have already been hooked with several of the posts, including this one about author TV appearances for the week!

Monday, September 17th Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson Alan Alda, author of Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself

Tuesday, September 18th, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Fmr. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, author of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

Wednesday, September 19th The Colbert Report Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot

Thursday, September 20th The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Fmr. President Bill Clinton, author of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

The Colbert Report Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Friday, September 21st Oprah Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex

Happy Reading (and viewing)!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rock the Vote.... participating in The Quill Book Awards, an initiative launched with the support of Reed Business Information and NBC. This "consumer's choice" book award will be open for votes from Monday September 10th through Wednesday October 10th so don't let this opportunity pass you by! Here is a list of the nominees in 19 popular categories ranging in everything from biography to general fiction to cookbooks and graphic novels!

Click this link to see the winners from each category and to vote on the
Let your voice be heard!

2007 Quills Awards
Nominees in 19 categories for the annual book prize.

General fiction

Brothers Da Chen

American Youth Phil LaMarche

The Road Cormac McCarthy

Special Topics in Calamity Physics Marisha Pessl

Jamestown Matthew Sharpe


Simply Magic Mary Balogh

The Kommandant’s Girl Pam Jenoff

Natural Born Charmer Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The Edge of Winter Luanne Rice

Angels Fall Nora Roberts


Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven Fannie Flagg
I Like You Amy Sedaris

Mississippi Sissy Kevin Sessums

Thirteen Moons Charles Frazier

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee


American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion Paul M. Barrett

Gonzo Judaism: A Bold Path for an Ancient Faith Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Francis S. Collins

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Philip Yancey

Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — And Doesn’t Stephen Prothero

Graphic novel

Making Comics Scott McCloud

Ode to Kirihito Osamu Tezuka

Alice in Sunderland Bryan Talbot

Exit Wounds Rutu Modan

Aya Marguerite Abouet


Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970 – 2005 Alice Notley

One Big Self: An Investigation C.D. Wright

Blackbird and Wolf Henri Cole

For the Confederate Dead Kevin Young

A Thief of Strings Donald Revell


Pork & Sons Stephane Reynaud

Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker

Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon Claudia Roden

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners Matt & Ted Lee

Baking: From My Home to Yours Dorie Greenspan


Is it Hot in Here? Or Is it Me?: The Complete Guide to Menopause Pat Wingert, Barbara Kantrowitz

You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management Michael F. Roizen , Mehmet C. Oz

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting Gina Kolata

How Doctors Think Jerome Groopman

Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents Jane Isay


The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam Tom Bissell
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah

Edith Wharton Hermione Lee

Einstein: His Life and Universe Walter Isaacson

William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism Robert D. Richardson

Ty and The Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals; A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship Tom Stanton

Crazy ’08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History Cait Murphy

Streams of Consciousness: Hip-Deep Dispatches from the River of Life Jeff Hull

The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World Joshua Prager

The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Geniuses Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team Michael Weinreb


I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence Amy Sedaris

25 Questions for a Jewish Mother Judy Gold, Kate Moira Ryan

Spy: The Funny Years Kurt Andersen, Graydon Carter, George Kalogerakis

I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny Bob Newhart

Oy!: The Ultimate Book of Jewish Jokes David Minkoff

History/Current Events/Politics

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power Robert Dallek

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million Daniel Mendelsohn

The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor William Langewiesche

Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Assault on Reason Al Gore


Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas Seth Godin

Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny Suze Orman

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t Robert I. Sutton

Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home David Shipley and Will Schwalbe

Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience Jonathan M. Tisch, Karl Weber


The Collaborator of Bethlehem Matt Beynon Rees
What the Dead Know Laura Lippman

Body of Lies David Ignatius

The Overlook Michael Connelly

A Welcome Grave Michael Koryta

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

Farthing Jo Walton

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) Patrick Rothfuss

Getting to Know You David Marusek

Brasyl Ian McDonald

The Execution Channel Ken MacLeod

Children's Picture Books

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon Mini Grey

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy Jane O’Connor

Flotsam David Wiesner

Orange Pear Apple Bear Emily Gravett

Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship Isabella and Craig Hatkoff, Dr. Paula Kahumbu

Children's Chapter/Middle Grade

Clementine Sara Pennypacker

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney

The Invention of Hugo Cabret Brian Selznick

Pick Me Up Jeremy Leslie and David Roberts

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3) Rick Riordan

Young Adult/Teen

American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang

The Green Glass Sea Ellen Klages

Incantation Alice Hoffman

Life as We Knew It Susan Beth Pfeffer

Sold Patricia McCormick

Debut Author

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah

No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories Miranda July

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession Daniel J. Levitin

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel Diane Setterfield

Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time Rob Sheffield

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Giant Fall Book Preview from USAToday ! ! !

Hot off the presses or, in some cases, not even on the press quite yet!

You must, must, must follow this link to USAToday's peek at the hot books due out this fall...John Grisham, Ann Patchett, Ann Packer, James Patterson, Gregory Maguire, Dick Francis, Tess Gerritsen, Nicholas Sparks, Richard Russo, Phillip Roth and many, many more!

Plus, the little bespectacled leaf guiding your literary tour is terribly cute!

Happy Reading!


Madeleine L’Engle, Gone but Never to be Forgotten...

Sad news arrived today about the death of famed author Madeleine L’Engle, who died of natural causes yesterday at the age of 88. Her wide-ranging career spanned nearly the entire breadth of her life, beginning from the age of 5, and she wrote some of everything: poetry, plays, autobiographies and books on prayer in addition to many books for children. Amazingly enough, the work that would personify her fame, A Wrinkle in Time, was initially rejected by 26 publishers before L'Engle saw her characters come to life for the general public. Talk about perseverance.... L'Engle had a very straightforward approach to writing what was in her heart:

“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer. “It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said,
“faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

The New York Times has a lovely, very flattering article out about L'Engle's life and work and from which I pulled the above quote.


Uncharted Territory

In the vast, mist-shrouded depths of the world wide web it can be both difficult and cumbersome to find new, informative websites for your use and entertainment. Luckily there are plenty of others out there with the resources and know-how to get the job done for the benefit of all Internet users! That being said, PC Magazine has just released their Top 100 Undiscovered Websites of 2007, the new or under-the-radar websites you may not have encountered but should definitely know about! They offer a download option to get all 100 sites in your bookmark/favorites menu or you may peruse them one-by-one at your leisure. There is a table of contents for all the sites on the right side if you'd rather focus on particular areas of interest.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Attention MBHS AP Biology students ! ! !

The first Assignment Alert of the new school year has arrived here at Emmet O'Neal Library and we librarians are ready to help you ace the assignment!
If you have Walt Rogers' AP Biology class, then your research and project on biomes is due...
September 21, 2007.
We have plenty of books that you may check out as well as some great reference books out of which you may make copies! From home, a great place to start your research would be the library's catalog which you can access by going to our website, clicking "online catalog" from the menu on the left, and doing a subject search for "biotic communities". You will find books not only at Emmet O'Neal but also those available at other libraries across the county...all available to you with a couple of clicks and a few days wait! Also, the catalog will lead you to some great electronic resources the Jefferson County Library Cooperative offers you:


Good luck with your assignments!
I'll see you at the library!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lasting Popularity

Sometime in late 2005, early 2006 I read a review for a soon-to-be-published book that immediately piqued my interest. Exciting travel, wondrous food, reflective introspection, romance, humor, honesty…they all seemed to be well represented in the upcoming book. February 2006 finally arrived, along with the publication of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. Initial interest was not white-hot here at EOL and I was deep in graduate school at the time so I let it pass me by. Fast forward several months and I starting hearing the title more and more, but not from peers and coworkers…from patrons. (When a book gets this much attention word-of-mouth, it would silly not to pay attention.) Coincidentally, I was asked to participate in the Library’s book group (The Bookies!) meetings for June, July and August and one of the meetings happened to focus on nonfiction.

So this, dear reader, is how I re-stumbled on Eat, Pray, Love. I read the book voraciously as the author made her way through hidden and forgotten restaurants across Italy, respectfully as she knelt in prayer in an Indian ashram and with a zing in my blood as she struggled through the final leg of her journey of self-realization in Indonesia. I could not help but become one of the legions who had read this book and believed everyone else should to. I recommended it at the book group meeting and to everyone else who would stand still to listen. I even bought a copy for my home library so I would not have to wait if I wanted to read it again in the future. As soon as the book came out in paperback, I began to be mobbed with reserves and questions. That feverish period of interest has not yet waned either as there remains a steady list of holds for all the copies in Jefferson County across all mediums: regular print, large print, audiobook.

Never heard of Elizabeth Gilbert? Perhaps you’ve heard of the movie Coyote Ugly? Gilbert wrote an article for GQ magazine about being a Manhattan bartender which prompted the 2000 movie.
All of these reminiscences have been spurred by yet another great USA Today article from the Life/Book section, which I receive via RSS feed. I knew the book had become outrageously popular and this was confirmed by USA Today as it is plowing a path towards their Top 10 Best-Selling Books, currently residing at No. 11. I have every confidence that it will continue to climb but I do wish that its popularity had been realized during the period of time before it was released in trade paperback, just for the sake of the author.

I am a library patron, just as I am an employee, but I am also a proponent of buying books. My purchases work this way: I read the library book. If I am suitably entranced, then I go out and get a hardcover copy (if available) for my home library. I love books and want people to continue to write them. This process depends so much on us as consumers. Go to your local library and check out every book that strikes your fancy (my current check out far exceeds my eyes’ abilities to keep up!), but if you find something special, something that resonates, something you find yourself checking out again and again just to revisit the friends you made in those pages….support the author and purchase a copy.

Oh yeah, as an aside, Paramount Pictures has optioned the book just for
...are you ready?
....Julia Roberts!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Misguided Geniuses

I will be the first to admit that I have only the most common of knowledges about Charles Lindbergh and most of that revolves around a tragic child abduction. Next week however, you'll be able to get a different view of Lindbergh; a view that many people don't know about and one that just may curl your hair! The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever will be on sale Tuesday August 21, 2007.

Sharing the biographical stage with Lindbergh will be 1912 Nobel prize winner for medicine, French scientist Alexis Carrel. These two men will work together towards their dreams of defeating death and pursuing immortality through "the mechanics of pumps, experimental operating room machines and science." An unfortunate obsession with eugenics takes the experiments from their lofty beginnings of trying to save a family member down to a misguided focus away from science towards social engineering, a research direction in which the Nazis were also very interested.

On one hand it is easy to see Lindbergh becoming so focused on this research to take his mind off the abduction and murder of his child and the suffocating tensions of his household, but racial purity? I will be very interested to hear the buzz about this book after it is published and readers have a chance to form their opinions.

The author of the USA Today article where I found a review of this book listed some alternate subtitles that could be applied:

"Geniuses Do the Creepiest Things" or

"Brains Aren't Everything"

Funny....but sad.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

upcoming releases

Shelf Awareness Daily News has highlighted the following new releases for August!

Selected new hardcover titles appearing on Tuesday, August 21:

Away: A Novel by Amy Bloom (Random House, $23.95, 9781400063567/1400063566) is the story of Lillian Leyb, a Jewish immigrant who arrives in New York in 1924 only to travel back to Russia in search of her sister, who survived the pogrom that killed their parents.

The Chicago Way by Michael Harvey (Knopf, $23.95, 9780307266866/0307266869) follows PI Michael Kelly as he investigates a rape and unwittingly finds himself on the wrong end of a conspiracy involving cops and criminals.

The Sanctuary by Raymond Khoury (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525950295/052595029X) is a thriller about a centuries-old conspiracy surrounded by death and destruction.

Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson (Morrow, $25.95, 9780060527334/0060527331) is the 14th culinary mystery featuring Goldy Schulz.

Power Play by Joseph Finder (St. Martin's, $24.95, 9780312347482/0312347480) follows a group of business executives as hunters attack their lodge during a retreat.

Knit Together: Discover God's Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber (FaithWords, $22.99, 9780446580878/0446580872) uses the metaphor of knitting to persuade Christian women to tie together their lives together.

Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol (Crown, $19.95, 9780307393715/0307393712) gives solutions to some of the gravest problems in the American education system through this memoir of 16 letters written to a first grade teacher in an inner city public school.

Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda (HarperCollins, $34.95, 9780060756659/0060756659) chronicles the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II and his presidency.

Appearing on Wednesday, August 22:

Hard Row by Margaret Maron (Grand Central, $24.99, 9780446582438/0446582433) is the 13th mystery starring Judge Deborah Knott.

Appearing on Thursday, August 23:

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Grand Central, $24.99, 9780446578769/0446578762) follows four women lost at sea in the Caribbean.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced ! ! !

This longlist of 13 books, the ‘Man Booker Dozen’, was chosen from 110 entries; 92 were submitted for the prize and 18 were called in by the judges.

The 2007 shortlist will be announced on Thursday 6th September at a press conference at Man Group’s London office. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 16th October at an awards ceremony at Guildhall, London

Darkmans by Nicola Barker (pub'd 5/07 in UK)
Self Help by Edward Docx (pub'd 7/07 in UK)
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (5/07 in UK)
The Gathering by Anne Enright (pub date 9/10/07)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (pub dat 9/11/07)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn (pub'd 5/07 in UK)
Consolation by Michael Redhill
Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (out of print)
Winnie & Wolf by A.N.Wilson (pub date 9/25/07)

Happy Reading!


Pre-publication Buzz Follows Debut Novel to Shelves

Frank Lloyd Wright was born to William Russell Cary Wright and Anna Lloyd (Jones) on June 8, 1869 in Richland Center, Wisconsin. His father was a musician and clergyman from New England, his mother a schoolteacher of Welsh descent, with strong roots in the Unitarian faith and community. After the family settled in Madison, Wisconsin in 1880, Frank spent summers working his uncle’s farms nearby, shaping his vision of what was to become “organic architecture.”

“You may see in these various feelings all taking the same direction that I was
born an American child of the ground and of space, welcoming spaciousness as a
modern human need as well as learning to see it as the natural human
opportunity”—Lecture, 1935.

After a few unfulfilling years studying civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Wright struck out for Chicago in 1887 and settled finally as an assistant to architect Louis Sullivan. The Adler-Sullivan firm was the most progressive architectural firm of its time, and Wright would later acknowledge Sullivan as his “master and inspiration.” Since Sullivan was primarily interested in skyscrapers, most of the commission for houses fell to Wright and he honed his skills well, developing what came to be known as “Prairie” houses and many other world famous structures.

Wright married Catherine Tobin in 1889 and the couple immediately began a large family as well as some large debts.
(World Authors 1900-1950, H.W. Wilson Company: 1996. entry: Wright, Frank Lloyd)

It is Wright’s family life that Nancy Horan’s debut novel takes as its focus and it is a life fraught with angst, anger, jealousy and adultery. Loving Frank is based on true events surrounding the real-life love affair Wright had with the wife of a client. From all reports and early reviews, this will be a hit with book clubs and a savory read for fans of literary fiction. This title was slated to hit the shelves yesterday and the Emmet O’Neal Library does have it on order, so call us (445-1121) to reserve your copy today! You may also search the county’s catalog via our website at!
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Boleyn Frenzy Continues...

The tale of two sisters caught in the whirlwind of court life during the reign of King Henry VIII took the world by storm with the publication of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. Men, women, teenagers, book groups, garden clubs and more have visited libraries and book stores in waves looking to follow the machinations of the Boleyn clan and now the story is headed to Hollywood. Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman will take to the screen as Mary and Anne Boleyn while Eric Bana takes the role of their brother George Boleyn.

If you haven’t heard of this series or just haven’t gotten to it yet, here is a list!

The Tudor novels
The Constant Princess
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Boleyn Inheritance
The Queen’s Fool
The Virgin’s Lover

The Lacey Trilogy
The Favored Child

Garden novels
Earthly Joys
Virgin Earth

Stand-alone novels
Fallen Skies
The Little House
A Respectable Trade
The Wise Woman
Zelda’s Cut

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Holley Reads Lulu and Loves It!

Move over Sophie Kinsella! Clear a path Lauren Weisberger! Jennifer Weiner just needs to go home! Let me introduce you to my new favorite person, Mia McMurry!

In Danielle Ganek’s debut novel, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, she introduces the reader to the world of the gallery girl.

They call us gallerinas. We’re generally considered a loathsome breed, gallery receptionists. Aren’t we represented almost universally as obnoxious, entitled, pretty girls in great clothes? Yes, yes, stock characters in miniature art-world dramas, we’re pretentious creatures in intellectual fashion and high heels, dripping with attitude and sarcasm, rolling our eyes at visitors requesting something as mundane as the price list. God forbid you want to know where the bathroom is.”

Known for their condescending attitudes and general snobbery gallerinas have acquired quite a nasty reputation that Mia is determined to get rid of single-handedly simply through courtesy. She’s nice to all of the artists, dealers, and collectors who shove their way through the hard-to-open doors of the Simon Pryce Gallery in New York’s Chelsea art scene.

One artist in particular has her smitten (in a sweet kind of way, Mia has sworn off dating any artists or members of their entourage) at the moment and he DEFINITELY doesn’t fit the mold of hot emerging artist. Quite the opposite, Jeffrey Finelli is a short round fifty-eight year old man missing one arm. The night of his very first opening, the pinnacle of his career, the unexpected happens and Jeffrey is struck by a cab and killed. Instantly the popular opinion on his artwork goes from ho-hum effort to ultra in-demand must have and this is most especially true of his masterpiece painting entitled Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, a figurative painting of his niece as a young girl.

As demand heats up for the titular painting, a buffoonish competition erupts between greedy gallery owners, back stabbing collectors with more money than brains and Jeffrey’s niece Lulu who feels she should get the painting because her uncle promised it to her. Mia is torn between loyalty to her eccentric boss, the affection of a new friendship with Lulu, and the possibility of love from an unexpected (and unwelcome) direction. Mia’s in trouble alright, but she finds that years of social training in New York’s art scene have toughened her in unexpected ways and she just may be able to come out ahead of the game.

I truly, truly, truly LOVED this book! Just last night I went to the book store and bought my own copy to add to my personal home library so that I can take it back out and revisit these people at my leisure. Go out to the library and get a copy today!

Danielle Ganek is a former Mademoiselle and Woman's Day editor now living with her husband and three children in New York.

Some of the great reviews from her website (and take note she got one from Vera Wang!):

" amusing, suspenseful novel that delights..." PEOPLE MAGAZINE

"Danielle Ganek truly captures the excitement, intrigue and seduction of the contemporary art world. This book is filled with larger-than-life characters engaged in a glamorous high-stakes game. I loved it." VERA WANG

"Danielle Ganek has crafted not only a page- turning story with engaging characters but a wry look into the world of contemporary art—a delightful journey for anyone who loves getting lost in a good book." ARTHUR GOLDEN

"If I was a copycat I’d take this book and call it mine." RICHARD PRINCE

"She got it right, and that’s saying something. Sometimes a picture is worth considerably more than a thousand words." LARRY GAGOSIAN

"In her debut novel, Lulu Meets God And Doubts Him, Danielle Ganek captures the absurdity of the New York art scene with wide and witty brushstrokes." VANITY FAIR

"...a page-turner set against a refreshingly unique backdrop..." PEOPLE MAGAZINE
Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Fans of Daniel Silva Rejoice ! ! !

Things are looking good for all you Daniel Silva readers out there who've been ready to see his characters brought to life on the big screen. Cinematical reports that Universal Studios paid a hefty sum (over seven figures!) to get their hands on Mossad agent-turned art restorer Gabriel Allon. At this time Universal does not seem to be concerned about following the series from the beginning, choosing instead to start with The Messenger. This storyline involves the Vatican and attacks against the powers-that-be in Silva's invented papal administration.

No screenwriter has been assigned as yet, but Pierre Morel will have the helm as director.

If you are not familiar with Daniel Silva or are now inspired to start the series again, here's a list!

Gabriel Allon, Mossad agent-turned art restorer
The Kill Artist
The English Assassin
The Confessor
A Death in Vienna
Prince of Fire
The Messenger
The Secret Servant

Michael Osbourne, Washington D.C.-based CIA agent
The Mark of the Assassin
The Marching Season

Stand-alone novel
The Unlikely Spy

Happy Reading!


Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Poet Laureate Announced!!!

The nation's new poet laureate, Charles Simic, is described by Librarian of Congress James Billington as being “very hard to describe, and that’s a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears.”

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Join Us For A Summer Concert!

We have a real treat for our patrons this August! The fabulous local storyteller, actress, and performer Dolores Hydock will give a story concert entitled "For the Record: Stories of True Love, Blue Moons, Dumb Luck, and Fast Friends" on Tuesday evening, August 14th from 6:30-8:15 p.m. at the Emmet O'Neal Library in Mountain Brook. We will begin at 6:30 with a dessert reception with Ms. Hydock. The story concert will begin at 7:00 and last until 8:15. Come join us and be part of the live audience as Dolores Hydock records material for her seventh CD of original stories. The evening's concert will include originals such as "Looking for His Luck," "Everything I Know About True Love," "Different Versions," "Age Before Beauty," and other stories for the record. There is no charge for the event, and no tickets, so arrive early! For more information about the program, please contact Katie Moellering at 445-1118 or

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cool Reads for the Hot Sand ! ! !

If you haven't been to the beach yet this year, get thee hence as soon as possible. This blog entry comes to you directly from Seagrove Beach, Florida and I'm sharing the great books I brought with me AND a great USA Today article on some recently published great beach reads you should be able to get additional info on at your local library.

Crowned In a Far Country: Portraits of Eight Royal Brides by HRH Princess Michael of Kent
This delightful biographical work got right to the heart of what I generally want to know about people I'm interested in. How did Catherine the Great really feel about spending her life in Russia? Was Marie Antionnette a spoiled party girl or a misguided youth given too much power too early? Did all dukes, princes and kings cheat on their wives? This is a light, quick read with great intimate detail about the royal lives of women who had to leave all they knew and held dear in the name of duty.

How to Hepburn by Karen Karbo
Kathryn Hepburn was so ahead of her time that it is nearly incomprehensible to understand how she managed to become one of the greatest actresses of all time. From her chronic nervousness and tremors to her constant departure from cultural norms, Hepburn lived life on her own terms no matter the costs involved. Karbo takes some of the most infamous moments in Hepburn's life and refines them down to easy concept ideas and phrases. Should you be of a mind to buck the system and start drumming out your own beat to march to, grab a copy of Karbo's wonderful, funny look at a 20th century icon.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some New Words.....

According to USA Today, Merriam-Webster's newest edition of the Collegiate Dictionary will hit stores this fall containing about 100 newly added words.
  • got a problem that's bigger than gigantic, but not quite enormous....try ginormous

  • venture into India's motion-picture industry, but ask for it by name....Bollywood

  • for those among you who dislike crossword puzzles....try sudoku

  • don't have time for traditional dating and want to meet the greatest amount of people in the shortest amount of time....try speed dating

Other words that have made it into the new Collegiate Dictionary include "crunk," "DVR," "IED," "smackdown," "telenovas," "gray literature" and "microgreens."

Check out the USA Today article for additional details!

Happy Reading!


Monday, July 9, 2007

Nonfiction Knowledge

I love fiction, any kind of fiction, and I find it incredibly difficult to find a nonfiction title that I enjoy. I’m open-minded though; I’ll try any book once…I just don’t promise to like it. Also, I know that not everyone wants to read the latest thriller, chick lit, or romance.

For the rabid nonfiction readers among you, check out this list of Summer Picks from the editors of Seed Magazine. From American climate research to the evolutionary basis of intuition to the beginnings of human language, this list of books is geared to the inner scientist in all of us!
Happy Reading

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two Fabulous New Books For You!

I just finished reading two great new books, and I just have to share them with you. I'd love to hear what you think of these!
For fans of Khaled Hosseini, or contemporary fiction in a realistic setting, check out A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's Hosseini's second book, after the smash hit The Kite Runner. A Thousand Splendid Suns, set in contemporary Afghanistan, tells the story of two very different women and how their lives become intertwined. It is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time. I would say that it was a difficult book to read, but it was so compelling that I couldn't stop. Hosseini is a master at capturing the sacrifice and strength it requires to be a parent and a friend, a patriot and a soldier. It was truly an amazing book. Pick up a copy today!
In a totally different vein, I picked up a copy of Ian McEwan's new novella On Chesil Beach. If you are a McEwan fan, you will recognize some of his common themes, mainly time and memory, and how they can play tricks on you. The story is really very simple (so simple as to be complicated), it is the tale of newlyweds and takes place over the course of one night - the first night of their honeymoon. I won't give away anymore of the plot, because it really is very straightforward, but I will say that this book will make you think. I felt like McEwan wrote this, as a fable of sorts, a way to teach us a lesson about ourselves and our intentions, our blustering and our desire to always be in the right, and to show us what happens when we cannot look beyond ourselves and our own naivete. It was fascinating! I'd love to see your comments!