Friday, December 19, 2008

Want something good to read over the holidays?

Check out the "Staff Favorites for 2008" list on our sidebar for some great suggestions!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't forget!

The library will begin Holiday Hours on Sunday December 21st.  The schedule will be as follows:

Sunday December 21 - Library Closed
Monday December 22 - 9-6
Tuesday December 23 - 9-6
Wednesday December 24 - Library Closed
Thursday December 25 - Library Closed
Friday December 26 - 9-5
Saturday December 27 - 9-5
Sunday December 28 - Library Closed
Monday December 29 - 9-6
Tuesday December 30 - 9-6
Wednesday December 31 - Library Closed
Thursday January 1 - Library Closed
Friday January 2 - Winter Hours Resume (see sidebar for regular Winter Hours)

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"It's hard to do better than free"

The Emmet O'Neal Library has DVDs, books on CD, Playaway digital audiobooks, music CD's, and books on every topic. We have a wide variety of programming options for every member of your family.  We have 3 book groups, a Wednesday lunch program, a documentary film night, Sunday Afternoons at the Movies, video game tournaments and afternoon programs for the teens, and a whole calendar's worth of activities for the little ones.  

Come in today and see what we can do for you!  If you live in Jefferson County you may get a library card free of charge for use at any of the Public Libraries of Jefferson County.  If you live outside Jefferson County, you are still eligible for a library card for a $30 yearly fee. The rewards of a library card return your investment tenfold!  Want to see approximately how much you save each year by using the library?  Use the Maine State Library's Library Use Value Calculator and prepare to be AmAzEd!

For adult programming information, contact Katie Moellering or Holley Wesley at 205/445-1121,, or  For teen programming information, contact Matt Layne at 205/445-1141 or  For children's programming information contact the Children's Department at 205/445-1111.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stephen King's Favorites of 2008!

I found this over at one of my favorite blogs: Amazon's Omnivoracious.

Here are Stephen King's favorite reads of 2008. And you know, I really like Stephen King (not that I know him, but anyway, I digress) because he's a great story-teller, but also a great reader and champion of libraries. So, I would greatly trust his recommendations! Oh, and this list came originally from King's Entertainment Weekly column, in case you are interested.

Here's the list:
  1. The Novels of Robert Goddard ("In Pale Battalions, his second novel, was the first book I read on my new Kindle.")
  2. The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III ("It's terrifying, un-put-downable, and the best novel so far about 9/11.")
  3. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson ( As a reader, I was charmed. As a novelist, I was staggered by Atkinson's narrative wizardry.")
  4. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney ("If you liked Life of Pi and The Secret Life of Bees, this is for you. ")
  5. Nixonland by Rick Perlstein ("It's the best history of the turbulent '60s I've ever read.")
  6. Heartsick/Sweetheart Chelsea Cain ("We've been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn't work...but they do.")
  7. Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh ("Wambaugh's Hollywood is an open-air psycho ward where even the cops need Valium.")
  8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Cindy Stieg Larsson ("The good news is that Larsson delivered two more novels with this one. The bad news is that he died of a heart attack shortly after doing so.")
  9. Old Flames by Jack Ketchum ("Remember Glenn Close as the bunny-boiler scorned in Fatal Attraction? Raise that to the 10th power..." )
  10. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz ("[T]his is Koontz at his Hitchcockiest")
What are your favorites?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Books Discussion Series: Coming to Emmet O'Neal Library!

What do Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Marx, Shakespeare, Darwin, Dante,Chaucer, St. Augustine, and the authors of the Bible have in common?

They constitute a handful of the many writers included in a Great Books reading and discussion group that will begin meeting at the Emmet O'Neal library this January.

What is a Great Books reading and discussion group?

A Great Books reading and discussion group consists of a group of adults who read a series of texts - sometimes the full text and sometimes excerpts - selected by the Great Books Foundation, and who meet monthly to discuss the texts using a process called shared inquiry.
The texts represent many of the great works of philosophy, poetry, drama, and literature that have had a lasting influence on western civilization.

What is shared inquiry?
Shared inquiry is a structured process for discussing the texts. It is based on the following five guidelines:

  • Participants read the text carefully before the meeting; ideally, twice.
  • Participant's conclusions or opinions about what the writer is trying to say are supported by specific references to the text.
  • Participants do their best during the meeting to exhaust what the writer has to say about a particular subject before moving on to other areas of discussion.
  • Participants respond to each other directly - not to the discussion leader.
  • The discussion leader's role is to ask questions, not provide answers, and to keep the discussion on track by bringing participants back to the text when necessary.

What is the value of reading such old and sometimes dense texts?
These texts raise questions that are highly relevant today but often go unnoticed or - if noticed at all - are quickly forgotten or passed over.  For example:

  • What is the basis for our judgments about right and wrong or good and evil?
  • What is the source of these judgments? And should the basis for our personal judgments also serve as the basis for society's judgments?
  • What does it mean to be an individual? How much of you is determined by you, by your work, by your family, by your culture?
  • What do we mean by free will?
  • To what extent are we rational creatures? Or the converse: To what extent are we instinctual creatures?
  • Who is God? Why do we worship God, what does that mean, and what role does God play in any or all of the questions above?
  • What is truth?

The list of questions can - and will - go on and on as the group works its way through the readings.

Participants often leave a good discussion, not with answers to such questions, but with a sense of awe and wonder at their complexity and the compelling, utterly real, ambiguities they raise. A successful discussion is one where a participant says to him or herself, "Wow - I haven't really
ever thought of that in this way. I could spend the rest of my life thinking about this, and enjoy it."

Is this program too difficult for the average reader?

Absolutely not.

The program is specifically designed for the average reader. The selections, the way in which the Great Books Foundation has edited them, the suggested questions for discussion, and the principles of shared inquiry are all intended to make the readings accessible to anyone. The
readings are generally short. Sometimes, they may make little or no sense the first time you read them; but on a second reading you begin to see what the writer is trying to say - and if you don't, you come to the meeting and say, "I just don't get it."

What are the specifics concerning the group?

Meetings will take place on the second Monday night of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Meetings will be held in the conference room at the Emmet O'Neal library. Participants will take turns serving as discussion leaders.

An organizational meeting to go over things such as purchasing reading materials will be held on December 8, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. in the Emmet O'Neal library conference room. For more information, please contact Katie M. at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Genre Reading Group Recap

f you didn’t attend the Genre Reading Group’s science fiction/fantasy meeting last night, then you definitely missed out on some great conversation!  Half of our group was completely new to the genres while the other half had varying levels of experience with both.  We talked about an eclectic mix of alternate history, dystopian fiction, hard-core science fiction, and adventure-filled fantasy.  There was something for everyone! (Reviews taken from Amazon)

Don't miss out next time!  Our next meeting is December 30th at 6:30pm and we will be having a Salon Discussion of our Favorite Books of the Year! Please make plans to join us!  The library will be on Holiday Hours and will close at 6pm but I will be here and I hope you will be too!

The ballot for choosing the next round of genres is now available.  Come by the library to pick up a ballot or send me an email with your name and address and I will get one out to you in the mail.  Choose, but choose wisely...

Without further ado, here is a list of what we talked about:

Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones 
This unique debut thriller combines forensics, fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat suspense like never before. In a world where sorcery is illegal, someone is murdering young women in ways that defy all reason—and all detection. Only one man knows how to track such an untraceable killer…for Dubric Bryerly, head of security at Castle Faldorrah, saving lives has become a matter of saving his sanity. A silent killer is afoot, savagely mutilating servant girls and leaving behind no clues and no witnesses—except the gruesome ghosts of the victims. Ghosts that only Dubric can see.  (READER COMMENTS: feels like historical fiction, gruesome but humorous, this series continues with Threads of Malice and Valley of the Soul

Territory by Emma Bull
Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton.  You think you know the story. You don’t. Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone who knows how to claim and defend it.  Above the ground, power is also about allegiances. A magician can drain his friends' strength to strengthen himself, and can place them between him and danger. The one with the most friends stands to win the territory. Events are building toward the shootout of which you may have heard. But you haven't heard the whole, secret story until you've read Emma Bull's unique take on an American legend, in which absolutely nothing is as it seems... (READER COMMENTS: a good Western tale, but I kept waiting for the magic to happen and it never really did.  I expected more magic and sorcery than actually happened in the book, abrupt ending but a sequel is supposedly in the works)

The Taking by Dean Koontz
A glowing rain begins falling at one a.m. in the San Bernardino Mountains of California, where productive but hardly best-selling novelist Molly Sloan and her ex-priest husband, Neil, live outside a small town. Besides being luminous, the downpour smells strange, Molly thinks, and it brings with it a feeling of oppression. Animals cower from it, as Molly grasps when she sees a pack of coyotes huddling on the porch. They seem to be appealing to her for help, and when she walks out to them, they seem to expect her to lead them. She goes to wake Neil, rescuing him from a nightmare, and to wash--no, scour--her hands where the rain hit them. The torrent continues, taking out the power, but then appliances come on spontaneously, and the hands of clocks run wildly in opposite directions. The Sloan’s conclude they must leave after an interior mirror reflects the house as invaded by ghastly vegetation--but doesn't reflect them at all. Opening sequences come no creepier than this one, and the rest of Koontz's version of the extraterrestrial attack scenario so well lives up to it that the revelation, painstakingly apprehended by Molly, of who the aliens really are, comes as no surprise. Nor do Koontz's authorial insertions about modernity and social degeneracy seem anything but explanatory in the context of this gripping, blood-curdling, thought-provoking parable.  (READER COMMENTS: I snuck away from my family to get in a few more chapters, creepy, atmospheric, I loved it, two other Koontz novels to read are Intensity and Fear Nothing) 

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
American writer William Goldman's The Princess Bride is the result of a huge labour of love. He fell in love with Morgenstern's 'classic tale of true love and high adventure' when he was ill as a child. In 1973 he produced his abridged version which concentrates on the fantasy and adventure elements of the original, following the fortunes of wonderful characters such as the mighty Fezzik, Prince Humperdinck and Buttercup, the 'beautifulest' lady in the world. This cult book defies category - thriller, fairy tale, adventure, love story - and is by turns scary, funny and magical. Brilliant stuff. (READER COMMENTS: Everyone has seen the movie but no one ever reads the book.  It was very interesting to see what the differences were.  William Goldman wrote the screenplay for the Princess Bride movie and also for the Oscar-winning movies Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men)

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting "smartblood" and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds. Scalzi's blending of wry humor and futuristic warfare recalls Joe Haldeman's classic, The Forever War (1974), and strikes the right fan--pleasing chords to probably garner major sf award nominations. (READER COMMENTS: a great series that has romance, humor, and mind-bending discussions of humanity, war, and colonization, highly recommended, readers of the Ender’s Game novels would enjoy this and vice versa, the series continues with The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony.  There is a standalone novel set in the same universe called Zoe’s Tale) 

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Readers of epic fantasy series are: (1) patient--they are left in suspense between each volume, (2) persistent--they reread or at least review the previous book(s) when a new installment comes out, (3) strong--these 700-page doorstoppers are heavy, and (4) mentally agile--they follow a host of characters through a myriad of subplots. In A Game of Thrones, the first book of a projected six, George R.R. Martin rewards readers with a vividly real world, well-drawn characters, complex but coherent plotting, and beautifully constructed prose, which Locus called "well above the norms of the genre."  Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the York’s and Lancaster’s. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest. There is much bloodshed, cruelty, and death, but A Game of Thrones is nevertheless compelling; it garnered a Nebula nomination and won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.  (READER COMMENTS: well worth the investment of time, somewhat resembles Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth but with a bit more violence and adult content.  Brave but deceitful knights, beautiful yet lethal women, back-stabbing court intrigue…this book has it all.  The series continues with A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows and the fall 2009-to-be published, A Dance with Dragons) 

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
In this delightful first novel, the opening salvo of a trilogy, Novik seamlessly blends fantasy into the history of the Napoleonic wars. Here be dragons, beasts that can speak and reason, bred for strength and speed and used for aerial support in battle. Each nation has its own breeds, but none are so jealously guarded as the mysterious dragons of China. Veteran Capt. Will Laurence of the British Navy is therefore taken aback after his crew captures an egg from a French ship and it hatches a Chinese dragon, which Laurence names Temeraire. When Temeraire bonds with the captain, the two leave the navy to sign on with His Majesty's sadly understaffed Aerial Corps, taking on the French in sprawling, detailed battles that Novik renders with admirable attention to 19th-century military tactics. Though the dragons they encounter are often more fully fleshed-out than the stereotypical human characters, the author's palpable love for her subject and a story rich with international, interpersonal and internal struggles more than compensate. (READER COMMENTS: I particularly enjoyed Capt. Laurence’s developing relationship with Temeraire and the secret integration of women into the Aerial Corps.  Great historical fiction with a dash of dragon, readers of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey Maturin series should take note of these titles, the series continues with Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, and Victory of Eagles)

Happy Reading!


Monday, November 24, 2008

This week at EOL!

Looking for something to do this week?  Make the economical choice (in most cases, there is NO COST to attend our programs!) and visit your local library (of course, I most strongly recommend EOL!).  Here is what you may look forward to this week:

Tuesday November 25th, 6:30 pm
The Genre Reading Group will meet to discuss the wonders of science fiction and fantasy literature! We love to see new members so please join us in the Library's Conference Room for light refreshments and diverting conversation!  Contact Holley for more information, 205/445-1117 or

Wednesday November 26th, Noon
The Brown Bag Lunch program will start a great BBC mini-series based on a classic Charles Dickens novel.  Today's program will run until 2pm and the mini-series will run through mid-December.  Please bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert provided.  Contact Katie for more information, 205/445-1118 or

Thursday and Friday November 27th and 28th
The Library will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We will reopen Saturday November 29th at 9am.  

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

National Book Award Winners

The Books for the Holiday's Blog has an excellent rundown of both the NBA winners and the finalists for this year's awards, check it out by clicking here

There are some excellent gift ideas listed there *hint, hint*

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Voyage Long And Strange: The Bookies Re-Cap!

If you don't know the Bookies, you should! The Bookies is our library's own book group. We met recently to discuss Tony Horwitz's non-fiction title A Voyage Long & Strange. We all enjoyed the author's sense of humor but we were split over whether or not we liked the book. Many Bookies felt it was too long and could have used better editing. Others genuinely liked it and did not find it too long.
It was mentioned that Tony Horwitz is the husband of Geraldine Brooks, a fantastic writer in her own right, who has written the following HIGHLY recommended titles:
A Year of Wonders
The People of the Book

Others favorite titles that were mentioned during our discussion (and are related to this title in some way or another) were:
Doris Kearns Goodwin's title Team of Rivals - this title has been ALL OVER the media lately b/c of the current political situation here in the U.S. - is the Obama administration going to be a "team of rivals"?????
Another title - The River of Doubt by Candice Millard about Theodore Roosevelt's exploration of the Amazon basic in South America.
Several other Bookies mentioned the title Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick - this particular title came HIGHLY recommended by your fellow Bookies!
Others said that in reading A Voyage Long & Strange they were reminded of the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.
Some other thoughts from our reading of A Voyage Long & Strange - we wished we had a better idea of what motivated these different groups of explorers. The chapters (or encounters) were so brief because there were so many. We were all appalled by the cruelty of the Spaniards, but others pointed out that this was a cruel time. We were viewing their behavior through our own modern bias ...

We discussed our next few meetings and talked about taking a trip to Florence to see the Frank Lloyd Wright home there. Vicki H. and Katie will work on travel arrangements. This would be a day trip and probably later in January or early February. Look for more details at our December meeting!!!!

I also forgot to mention that we will be hosting a Great Books discussion series here at the library. This series will focus on the Great Books Foundation's course of readings. We will follow a set list of readings and meet once a month in the evenings. If you are interested, please join us for the organizational meeting which will be Monday night, December 8th at 6:30 pm here at the library.

Please try to stop by the library on Sat. December 6th from 2-4 pm. My department will be hosting an "Open House" (not that our "house" is really ever closed ....) we will have hot chocolate, cookies and door prizes. In addition, from December 1st-12th, every time you check out a book drop your receipt off at the front desk or upstairs and you will be eligible to win one of 2 really great Holiday Gift Baskets! Holley and I personally stuffed these baskets to groaning with all kinds of goodies - so check out books early and often for a chance to win!

Just a reminder, next month we will meet on December 9th at 10:00 am for our annual Holiday Party. Please bring a dish - ANY KIND! from your favorite cookbook, or just your favorite recipe. Also, please bring the cookbook or recipe with you. I will make copies for everyone so we can take home a little "Bookies" cookbook - you could call it a "cookbookie"

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you remember Life Magazine?

If so, you'll be thrilled today!  Google has announced that the Life Magazine photo archive will be searchable through Googles Image Search feature!  

If you don't remember Life, here are the particulars:
Life was first published in 1883 as a general-interest magazine and for more than a century was the pre-eminent magazine for American photojournalism. It went through several incarnations in the latter half of the 20th century, was rescued from closing several times and eventually ceased publishing in 2006. 

Revisit the past today by looking through the LIFE photo archive!

Happy viewing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Miss Out!

We'd love to see you at one of our Wednesday Brown Bag Lunch programs!

Tomorrow's Brown Bag program will feature a documentary film on weight issues in our society. What lies behind this epidemic and what can we do, both as individuals and as a society, to change it? We will look at biological barriers and cultural habits that combine to make us who we are. This program will run until 2pm.

Contact Katie M by phone (205-445-1118) or email ( for more information or if you would like to receive the Library's calendar by mail.

Read Happily!

Your Thoughts On Translations?

In reading over Amazon's daily blog, Omnivoracious, I found an excerpt from a review of the new translation of The Canterbury Tales. This translation, by Burton Raffel, is supposed to be a great one, but this reviewer in The Los Angeles Times had an interesting comment:
  • Alexander Theroux on The Canterbury Tales, translated by Burton Raffel: "I commend Raffel for his ambition to get folks to read and understand this complex poem. But the problem is that, in so doing, while giving readers access to the mysteries, he ironically robs those mysteries of their beauty. The genius of this magnificent poem is precisely in its original words.... Translating Chaucer is hazardously compromising at best. Technical words become ordinary. Puns can lose their significance. Rhymes are lost. Colors fade. Substitution can seem like a violation.... Chaucer is the crown, the full flower, of English medieval verse. As Ezra Pound declared in 'ABC of Reading,' 'Anyone who is too lazy to master the comparatively small glossary necessary to understand Chaucer deserves to be shut out from the reading of good books forever.
So what do you think? Is the new translation as valid as the original? If you cannot take the time to read Chaucer in the original, should you be shut out of reading forever? If I cannot read Don Quixote in the original, am I losing the whole crux of the novel? After all, Cervantes was a master of the pun. What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 17, 2008

This CRACKS Me Up!

Voted one of the best book covers of 2008. Do you deny it?
Others are listed here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again!

That's right, people, the holidays are approaching and so is 2009! What does that mean for you, dear reader? Best Books of 2008, that's what!
Last week, released their Top 100 Books of 2008 (editor's picks). Take a look here.

Some of my favorites from the list:

#5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

#6. The Likeness: A Novel by Tana French
I chose this one not because I have read it, but because I just love Tana French. If you have not read the engrossing and fascinating mystery she wrote called In The Woods - READ IT!

#12. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (see my last post!).

#33. A big favorite at the moment at our library is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Our patrons have loved this!

#38. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston - just ask Holley about this one!

#39. The Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri - love her. Love love love love love her!

#50. Paper Towns by John Green - because we love him here at EOL.

#54. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain - again, just ask Holley!

#56. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson - aGaIn - HOLLEY!

#85. Ballistics by Billy Collins - is, I believe, the only book of poetry on the top 100 list. It got rave reviews for being so accessible a collection of poems!

#90. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - like crumbling English houses and a gothic atmosphere? Then you need to read this one!

#91. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh - here's the starred review off of from Publisher's Weekly:
Diaspora, myth and a fascinating language mashup propel the Rubik's cube of plots in Ghosh's picaresque epic of the voyage of the Ibis, a ship transporting Indian girmitiyas (coolies) to Mauritius in 1838. The first two-thirds of the book chronicles how the crew and the human cargo come to the vessel, now owned by rising opium merchant Benjamin Burnham. Mulatto second mate Zachary Reid, a 20-year-old of Lord Jim–like innocence, is passing for white and doesn't realize his secret is known to the gomusta (overseer) of the coolies, Baboo Nob Kissin, an educated Falstaffian figure who believes Zachary is the key to realizing his lifelong mission. Among the human cargo, there are three fugitives in disguise, two on the run from a vengeful family and one hoping to escape from Benjamin. Also on board is a formerly high caste raj who was brought down by Benjamin and is now on his way to a penal colony. The cast is marvelous and the plot majestically serpentine, but the real hero is the English language, which has rarely felt so alive and vibrant.

What have been your favorites this year? Were they on my list? Let me know!

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

On of our favorite bloggers over at Both Eyes Book Blog had this to say about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which is a sleeper hit of late. The premise? Here's the publisher's summary:

A sensation across Europe—millions of copies sold

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.
It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.
It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

 Sounds like a great book, I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Attn all Outlander series fans!!!

Visit Diana Gabaladon's website, click on Excerpts, and feast your eyes on sneak peeks of the newest novel in the Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone!

Get started on the series today so you'll be ready when this book is published!

(to be published) An Echo in the Bone

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Perfect Cold Weather Accessory

Who says the library can't help you if you don't go there?!?  

If it's simply too cold to get out and visit us, check out this database of public domain ghost stories and you may still get the chills!

Did you know there are haunted libraries all over the world?  I have not had any creepy experiences here, but American Libraries editor George Eberhart has put together a list of these spooky sites for different regions of the country each day this week.  So far he has posted about haunted libraries in the Northeast, Midwest, and the South.  Tomorrow libraries in the West are on the menu and international haunted libraries are due on Friday!

Visit the Shadowlands to find the most haunted places in Alabama!

If you do brave our unexpectedly chilly weather this week, there is a horrortastic display of ghosts, monsters, creepycrawlies and lists of haunted places for your scarejoyment.  Visit us today!

Spooky Reading!

Best-selling author Tony Hillerman

Mystery readers worldwide lost one of the best on Sunday October 26, 2008 with the death of Tony Hillerman.  He was best known for his detective novels featuring Navajo Tribal Policeman Joe Leaphorn.  The first novel in the series, The Blessing Way, was published in 1970.  Popularity with series has continued right up through the last installment, The Shape Shifter, published in 2006.  

Tony Hillerman is well represented among the Public Libraries of Jefferson County so now is a great time to revisit this author's work or get acquainted for the first time!


Today's Brown Bag Program!

Come over to EOL at 12:30 today (Wednesday October 29) for our Brown Bag Lunch series!  Bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided along with a great hour of entertainment!

Today's film explores the Appalachian work of renowned photographer Shelby Lee Adams.  In his pursuit of a personal, expressive view of the human condition, Lee has fostered controversy and hot debate amongst critics who contend that the Appalachian people Lee has photographed have been exploited.  This film makes the viewer question the meaning of art itself while allowing us to get to know both Adams and the extraordinary people who stand in front of his camera.

Don't miss out!  Contact Katie by phone (205/445-1117) or email ( for more information.
Happy viewing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Genre Reading Group Meets Tonight!

Tonight's discussion will be about biographies.  Which one, you may ask?  

That's just the thing...YOU get to pick what you read each month!  

I love to see new members at the discussion so if you've read a biography lately that you would like to share with interested readers, join me in the Library's Conference Room at 6:30p.m.!

Next month we are discussion science fiction/fantasy and I will have a selection of books at tonight's meeting or you may certainly feel free to browse your library's sci-fi/fantasy collection to make your own selection.  For more information, call (205/445-1117) or email ( me and I hope to see you here tonight!

Happy Reading,

Friday, October 24, 2008

If you are having trouble sleeping . . .

. . .these books won't really help :)

There is very little that I like better that a good scary book, except maybe a good historical fiction, but for our purposes here it will be GrEaT scary books!

I have been reading THE BEST series of books by Daniel Hecht featuring parapsychologist Cree Black.  After experiencing a harrowing paranormal event, Cree went on to become a parapsychologist so that she could help others deal with paranormal phenomenon.  In the first book, City of Masks, Cree investigates sinister goings-on in an old family mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans.  Darkened hallways, sinister shadows, and terrifying (and traumatic) encounters are numerous and nerve-wracking.  The second in the series, Land of Echoes, finds Cree seeking answers in the case of a possibly-possessed teenage boy on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico.  Haunted canyons, unexplained strobing lights, and a vengeful ghost work to round out this harrowing tale.  The latest in the series to be published, Bones of the Barbary Coast, is a much more introspective novel than the other two.  I am over halfway through it now and can hardly put it down.  In addition to the aforementioned bones, relationships and family dynamics are coming unraveled and making this investigation one of the toughest yet for Cree.  This entry in the series seems much more interested in the dark places of the human soul rather than an exploration of the undead, but the creep-out moments are still there, still striking.  Unfortunately I can’t find any information on when the next in this series will be published, but Daniel Hecht does have some stand-alone novels that I plan on checking out soon: Puppets, Skull Session, and The Babel Effect.

Dean Koontz’s The Taking is another favorite of mine that gave me a serious case of the fantods, especially when I had to go home to a dark house!  When the book first began, based on the behavior of the characters (both human and not), I was SURE I knew what was going on.  I didn’t know.  One of the scariest parts doesn’t even take place on the planet, reinforced what I was already thinking, and then turned my whole hypothesis on its head.  I listened to this after I read it and the audiobook (narrated by Ari Meyers) is OuTsTaNdInG!  I now own a copy of the audio that I like to listen to while I cook.  On the weekend.  In broad daylight only. 

I have to bring up one of my personal favorites, and also an audio that I own and listen to while I cook and that is Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.  I admit up front that I really enjoy dystopian (and postapocalyptic) fiction and film.  Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse, Robert O’Brien’s Z is for Zachariah, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Robert Kirkman’s graphic series The Walking Dead, P.D. James’ The Children of Men (and its film adaptation), 28 Days Later, Doomsday, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Waterworld, Reign of Fire, Day After Tomorrow, the Terminator franchise…well, I could go on and on but you get the point.  Matheson’s chilling tale relates the end of days for Robert Neville, the last man left on earth after the planet has succumbed to an unknown toxin causing vampirism.  It is bleak, gritty, and morose and the reader may be tempted to share Neville’s deepening depression.  Going back to my penchant for cooking while I listen…I have burned my food because I was listening instead of tending my dinner!  I have seen the first film adaptation of the book, The Last Man on Earth (starring Vincent Price), but not The Omega Man (starring Charleton Heston) or the latest adaptation (starring Will Smith).

So, those are just a few of the books I’m reading (or rereading!) this fall, how about you? 

Happy Reading!

Something wicked this way comes....

Come the library, if you dare (!!!), tomorrow Saturday October 25th, noon to 7:30pm for the 2nd Annual 
Nightmare on Oak Street 
Horror Movie Marathon!  

You'll be terrified by ghosts, zombies, and aliens all day long!  Pizza, popcorn and candy will be plentiful!

Ages 18 and up ONLY

Scary Viewing,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

National Book Award Nominees Announced

The nominees for the National Book Award were announced this past week. Have you read any of them?
Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba (Scribner)
Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country (Modern Library)
Marilynne Robinson, Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Salvatore Scibona, The End (Graywolf Press)

Non Fiction:
Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
(W.W. Norton & Company)
Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday)
Jim Sheeler, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin)
Joan Wickersham, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order (Harcourt)

Frank Bidart, Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Mark Doty, Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems (HarperCollins)
Reginald Gibbons, Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press)
Richard Howard, Without Saying (Turtle Point Press)
Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press)

Young Adult Literature:
Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Did you know that October is National Reading Group Month?

Contact your local library and/or neighborhood bookstore to see if there is a group you can join!

See the sidebar for information on Bookgroups @ EOL!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Calling All Alexander McCall Smith Fans!

Alexander McCall Smith is writing his first ever online novel, Corduroy Mansions, exclusively for A new chapter will appear on their page each weekday through February. The best-selling author welcomes your suggestions as the story unfolds.

You can also listen to Andrew Sachs (Manuel from Faulty Towers) read Corduroy Mansions.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Smart Finance

There is no time like the present to get smart about your finances. Today's struggling economy makes financial education imperative. Luckily, GovGab has provided links to some great consumer information to help you get the most out of your investments so take some time to explore these resources.


Don't Miss Out!

Record the vice presidential debate on Tivo and get over to the Birmingham Zoo for the Annual Fall Food & Wine Festival sponsored by Western Supermarkets to benefit the Emmet O'Neal Library!
When: October 2nd, 5:30pm-8:30pm

Where: The Pavilion at the Birmingham Zoo

What: an elegant evening of food and wine to benefit
the Emmet O'Neal Library

Tickets: $45 Advance, $50 at the door

See you there!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Annual Food & Wine Festival Tomorrow!

Don't miss your chance to attend a great event benefiting a great cause!

Tomorrow night, Thursday October 2nd, is the Annual Western Supermarket Fall Food & Wine Festival at the Birmingham Zoo.

From 5:30pm to 8:30pm, you may sample over 400 wines and a delectable selection of foods.

Discounted prices on cases of wine will be available for those who purchase at the event.

You still have time to purchase a $45 advance ticket! Tickets will be $50 at the door.

Purchase tickets from your local Western Supermarket or the Emmet O'Neal Library. For more information contact the Emmet O'Neal Library at 205/879-0459. Proceeds benefit the library.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Calling All Poets (and Poetry Lovers)

Are you in love with the written word? Does a rhyming couplet make you lose your doublet?
Okay, seriously, sorry for the bad rhyme - but I'm not the poet. Our speakers next week are!
Take a look at our recent announcement on the Alabama Writer's Forum:

October 1st
12:30-1:30 pm

Brown Bag Salutes National Poetry Day

Emmet O'Neal Library welcomes poets Jeanie Thompson and Jim Reed. In keeping with the National Poetry Day 2008 theme of Work and the Jefferson County Library Cooperative reading of Rick Bragg's Prince of Frogtown for October, Jeanie & Jim will recite poetry in response. Q & A to follow.

Our Brown Bag series meets every Wednesday from 12:30-1:30 in the library's meeting room. Bring a sack lunch, we'll provide coffee, beverages and snacks.

Now, next week's program will for sure be full of good poetry - but if you like bad poetry (and honestly, who doesn't every now and then) try this link to the poem generator. Enjoy!

Questions? Comments?
Let us know here!
Hope to see you next Wednesday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

October is ProjectRead month!

Jefferson County Library Cooperative presents

The Prince of Frogtown!

Read Rick Bragg's newest book, The Prince of Frogtown and see what the Public Libraries of Jefferson County are doing to celebrate ProjectRead!

Here at Emmet O'Neal Library:

Wednesday October 1st, Noon - The Brown Bag Lunch program will feature a film on the folk musicians and musical heritage of the Appalachian foothills

Wednesday October 8th, Noon - The Brown Bag Lunch program will hear from Alabama Humanities Foundation speaker Joyce Cauthen on "Fiddlers, Banjo Players, and Strawbeaters"

Tuesday October 14th, 10A.M. - The Bookies will be discussing Prince of Frogtown

Wednesday October 15th, Noon - The Brown Bag Lunch program will feature a film about one of Alabama's favorite storytellers, Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Wednesday October 22nd, Noon - The Brown Bag Lunch program will feature a film from the PBS series "The American Experience" which will examine one of America's first families of music, the Carter Family.

Tuesday October 28th, 6:30P.M. - The Genre Reading group will be discussing biographies.

Wednesday October 29th, Noon - The Brown Bag Lunch program will feature a film today about Shelby Lee Adams, who has been photographing the eastern Kentucky Appalachian mountain people for thirty years. Many claim she has exploited these people - our film today explores this controversy.

If you'd like to see Rick Bragg:

Friday, October 10th - Noon
Gardendale Civic Center, Magnolia Suite
Enjoy a special event with Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling All Over but the Shoutin' as he reads from and discusses his latest book, The Prince of Frogtown. This event will be held at the Gardendale Civic Center, Magnolia Suite. For more information, contact Lisa Keith, Gardendale Public Library Adult Services Librarian at 205-631-6639 or

Thursday, October 23rd - 6:30 P.M.
Vestavia Hills Public Library presents An Evening with Rick Bragg, author of The Prince of Frogtown, Thursday, Oct. 23rd, 6:30p.m. at the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church (2600 Vestavia Drive, Birmingham, AL 35216). Bragg will be discussing his latest book, The Prince of Frogtown, his third foray into his family history and Alabama roots. Bragg has again created a wonderful heartwarming story, full of laughs, great stories, and great truths about his perceptions of his father and his own turn at parenting his young step-son. Books will be available for purchase and signing. For more information, contact Vestavia Public Library Adult Services Librarian Leslie West at 205-978-3683, or

Thursday, November 13th - 5:30 P.M.
Annual Birmingham Public Library Friends of the Library Meeting
Birmingham Public Library Friends membership is required to attend the event and you may join at the door. Contact the BPL Friends for more information at (205) 226-3610 or visit their website.

Happy Reading!

Target to Sell Sony Reader

Hi Readers!
I found this article at PW today and thought you might be interested. So for those of you who may have been thinking about purchasing Amazon's Kindle, there is another option. From what I understand, the Kindle device only allows you to download Amazon titles. The Sony Reader, apparently, will allow you to download multiple formats - including Overdrive's e-books.
Mayhaps I should look into purchasing such a creature?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - Oprah's New Pick!

I can honestly tell you, dear reader, I am not ONE BIT surprised that this book is Oprah's newest pick! The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has been getting a lot of buzz since its publication. In fact, back in the spring Holley and I went to the Public Library Association's conference in Minneapolis and heard oodles of praise from all the other book-ish types about this book. In particular, the editorial staff at HarperCollins (Wroblewski's publisher) raved about this hefty book with an even bigger heart.
Briefly, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a coming of age story about a mute boy from America's heartland. Edgar lives in a remote area with his family who run a kennel. Edgar's friends are the dogs his family breeds, and when a tragedy strikes Edgar is forced to flee with some of his family's dogs. The similarities to Hamlet are very real and poignant.
I am eager to hear more about this not-so-little book. I checked it out, but alas, had to return it as I could NOT get to it. At over 500 pages, this is not a quick read, but you won't be sorry you read it, that's for sure. Mark my words - this one is set to be the National Book Award winner this year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a Berretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun...grenades optional

New York Times best-selling author Stephen King lends his considerable talent to Entertainment Weekly and to the topic of "manfiction," a term coined by his son Joe Hill, a best-selling author in his own right. King opines that, "to misquote Mark Twain, reports of the male reader's death have been greatly exaggerated." King backs up his opinion with a solid description of some of the greatest characters in men's fiction ever written. Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Jonathan Kellerman, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, John D. Macdonald, and Lee Child all make the list of King's recommended manfiction. King's article goes on to say that these authors and their characters "satisfy the most elemental male daydream, which is at bottom quite sweet: to ramble around and help out when help is needed. Possibly with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun.
Grenades optional. "

Check out Stephen King's Entertainment Weekly article, What a Guy Wants, AND some of these books!

Happy Reading!