Monday, June 29, 2009

Library Closed for Independence Day!

Attention dear readers and library patrons:

The library will be closed this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday in honor of the 4th of July Holiday!

We will re-open on Monday, July 6th at 9:00 a.m.
Have a safe week and weekend!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Evening Bookgroup Tues June 30th @ 6:30pm!

People are usually surprised to find out that one of my very favorite genres of fiction to read is dystopian fiction, which Wikipedia defines broadly:

The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal world, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of a nightmare world, or dystopia. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres, and arguably are by definition a type of speculative fiction.

Dystopias usually extrapolate elements of contemporary society and function as a warning against some modern trend, often the threat of oppressive regimes in one form or another. When looked at closely many utopias can be seen as dytopias in regard to their treatment of the issues of justice, freedom and happiness. Samuel Butler's Erewhon can be seen as a dystopia because of the way ill people are treated as criminals, but as far as the people 'living' in his novel they are in an utopia. The main point of a dystopia is to make people think about the world in which they live and to see how the idea of happiness can be perverted providing the society know little else.

I've heard a variety of opinions on this type of tale, usually summed up with one word. Depressing. I don't find that to be the case at all. If you'd like to know more about this fascinating genre, join the Genre Reading Group on Tuesday June 30th at 6:30pm where our members will share with everyone the books they read, why they chose them, and what they liked (or didn't like) about these stories.

New members always welcome! Light refreshments served. For more information, contact Holley at 205/445-1117 or

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Only 81 More Days!

Visit the countdown website for Dan Brown's upcoming book, The Lost Symbol (Get on the reserve list now)!

Dan Brown exploded into popularity with the publication of his religious conspiracy thriller, The Da Vinci Code, in 2003. The book spent not weeks but years on the New York Times Best-seller list and hit the big screen in 2006.

Angels & Demons was recently released in theaters as the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code although it is actually the first of Brown's novels to feature Dr. Robert Langdon. It became highly popular after the publication of The Da Vinci Code.

Other Dan Brown titles include the stand-alone novels Digital Fortress and Deception Point.

Happy reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birding in Birmingham!

Calling all bird watchers! EOL is hosting a program tomorrow evening that you won't want to miss!

Flock to the library on Tuesday June 23rd from 6:30pm to 8:30pm to hear Greg Harber from the Birmingham Audobon Society speak about the ins and outs of birding in our area. In addition, all participants will complete a birding-related craft to take home and enjoy in their own backyard! Give us a call if you'd like more information, 205/445-1121!


"Decatur: North Alabama Birding Trail" by Alabama Bureau of Tourism@Flickr

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Listen Up!

I can tell you from experience, that summer road trip goes by so quickly while you enjoy an audiobook! In everyday life, I have a fairly long commute that is made mIsErAbLe if I don't have a great book to listen to! Luckily for the audiobook lovers among us, audiobooks have their own awards so that we can pick through the cream of the crop for our listening enjoyment, The Audie Awards! The Audies, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), is the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

Duma Key by Stephen King

Literary Fiction
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis

Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

Science Fiction
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer

Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction
Prague Counterpoint by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens



Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age by Arthur Herman


Children's Titles for Ages 8-12


Children's Titles for Ages Up To 8
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (also won Audiobook of the Year!)

Inspirational/Faith-Based Nonfiction


Short Stories/Collections

Original Work
Louis Vuitton Soundwalk, China: Beijing by Stephan Crasneanscki

Personal Development

Multi-Voiced Performance
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Audio Drama
The Odyssey by Homer narrated by Tim McInnerny, Amanda Redman, and a full cast

Audiobook Adaptation

Happy Listening!
"Read OR Listen?" by suchitra prints@Flickr

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NPR Summer Reads

So yesterday it was Oprah's reading list, today I'm serving up NPR's Summer Reading List.
Check out a title below (from us, of course!).
Happy Reading

Below you can find the complete list of recommended reading for Summer 2009. To print this list, choose the "Print Page" icon in the upper righthand corner. Click on the titles to read an excerpt from the book.

Independent Booksellers Pick Summer's Best Reads

Recommended by Booksellers to Susan Stamberg

Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen, Paperback, 256 pages, Picador, List Price: $14

The Four Corners of the Sky, by Michael Malone, hardcover, 560 pages, Sourcebooks Landmark, List Price: $24.99

The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Ogawa, Paperback, 192 pages, Picador, List Price: $14

The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, by Kao Kalia Yang, Paperback, 296 pages, Coffee House Press, List Price: $14.95

Laura Rider's Masterpiece, by Jane Hamilton, Hardcover, 224 pages, Grand Central Publishing, List Price: $22.99

Mirrors, by Eduardo Galeano (translated by Mark Fried), Hardcover, 400 pages, Nation Books, List Price: $26.95

Oh! A mystery of mono no aware, by Todd Shimoda, with artwork by Linda Shimoda, Hardcover, 310 pages, Chin Music Press, List Price:

The Photographer, by Emmanuel Guibert (text & illustrations), Didier Lefevre (photographs), Paperback, 288 pages, First Second Books, List Price: $29.95

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick, Hardcover, 291 pages, Algonquin Books, List Price: $23.95

The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister, hardcover, 256 pages, Putnam Adult, List Price: $24.95

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, by Reif Larsen, hardcover, 352 pages, Penguin Press, List Price: $27.95

The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue, Paperback, 336 pages, Anchor, List Price: $13.95

Stone's Fall, by Iain Pears, hardcover, 608 pages, Spiegel & Grau, List Price: $27.95

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories, by Kevin Wilson, Paperback, 240 pages, Harper Perennial, List Price: $13.99

Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities, by Amy Stewart, Hardcover, 223 pages, Algonquin Books, List Price: $18.95

Celebrating Summer By Opening The Books

Recommended by Alan Cheuse

The Increment, by David Ignatius, Hardcover, 400 pages, W.W. Norton & Co. List Price: $26.95

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin, Hardcover, 256 pages, W.W. Norton & Co. List price: $23.95

Lark & Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips, Hardcover, 272 pages, Knopf. List price: $24

Road Dogs, by Elmore Leonard, Hardcover, 272 pages, Morrow. List Price: $26.99

The Servants' Quarters, by Lynn Freed, Hardcover, 256 pages, Norton. List Price: $24

Shannon: A Poem of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, by Campbell McGrath. Hardcover, 128 pages, Ecco. List Price: $23.99

Sonata Mulattica, by Rita Dove, Hardcover, 224 pages, Norton. List Price: $24.95

The 10 Best Summer Cookbooks Of 2009

Recommended by T. Susan Chang

Cooking Know-How, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Wiley, Hardcover, 416 pages, List Price: $34.95

The Flavors of Asia, by Mai Pham for the Culinary Institute of America, DK Publishing, Hardcover, 272 pages, List Price: $35

Memorable Recipes to Share with Family and Friends, by Renee Behnke with Cynthia Nims, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Hardcover, 256 pages, List Price: $35

The Modern Vegetarian, by Maria Elia, Kyle Books, Hardcover, 160 pages, List Price: $24.95

Preserved, by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton, Kyle Books, Paperback, 224 pages, List Price: $22.95

Real Cajun, by Donald Link, Crown Publishing Group, Hardcover, 256 pages, List Price: $35

Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill, By Elizabeth Karmel, Wiley, Paperback, 352 pages, List Price: $19.95

The Spice Kitchen, by Michal Haines, Interlink Publishing Group, Hardcover, 192 pages, List Price: $29.95

Tacos, by Mark Miller, 10 Speed Press, paperback, 176 pages, List Price: $21.95

Vefa's Kitchen, by Vefa Alexiadou, Phaidon Press, Hardcover, 704 pages, List Price: $45

Best Fiction For Every Kind Of Summer Day

Recommended by Glen Weldon

Cecil and Jordan in New York, by Gabrielle Bell, Drawn and Quarterly, Hardcover, 195 pages, List Price: $19.95

The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 305 pages, List Price: $25

Genesis, by Bernard Beckett, Hardcover, 150 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, List Price: $20

The Manual of Detection, by Jedidiah Berry, Penguin Press, Hardcover, 278 pages, List Price: $25.95

Woodsburner, by John Pipkin, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, Hardcover, 370 pages, List Price: $24.95

The Five Best Novels Of Summer

Recommended by Jessa Crispin

Castle, by J. Robert Lennon, Hardcover, 224 pages, Graywolf, List Price: $22

Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn, Hardcover, 368 pages, Shaye Areheart Books, List Price: $24

Follow Me, by Joanna Scott, Little Brown, Hardcover, 432 pages, List Price: $24.99

The Good Parents, by Joan London, Grove Press/Black Cat, Paperback, 368 pages, List Price: $14.95

The Scenic Route, by Binnie Kirshenbaum, Harper Perennial, Paperback, 352 pages, List Price: $13.99

For Summer Sleuths: Best Mystery, Crime Novels

Recommended by Maureen Corrigan

Awakening, by S.J. Bolton, Minotaur, Hardcover, 352 pages, List Price: $25.95

Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Fiction by African-American Writers, edited by Otto Penzler, Pegasus, Hardcover, 384 pages, List Price: $25

The Scarecrow, by Michael Connelly, Little, Brown, Hardcover, 384 pages, List Price: $27.99

The Shanghai Moon, by S.J. Rozan, St. Martin's Minotaur, Hardcover, 384 pages, List Price: $24.95

The Way Home, by George Pelecanos, Little, Brown, Hardcover, 336 pages, List Price: $24.99

Pretty Interesting ...

It appears that in researching some of Agatha Christie's notebooks at her family's home in Devon: Greenway; a writer for HarperCollins stumbled across a body, so to speak. A body of work, that is.
Aren't I funny?
Two new Hercule Poirot stories never seen in print will be published this fall. Read about it here!
Happy Reading

Monday, June 15, 2009

You Know, Everyone's Got One ...

A summer reading list, that is!
And, I feel most fortunate that Holley and I have scooped a lot of these titles already. Especially in the case of Oprah's newest list. You know Oprah, right? Sure you do. Here's her list for summer.
Oh, and if you go here, you can conveniently download her bookmark with the list. There is also a schedule - seems more like summer school to me :0
Happy Reading!


Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment
Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy

Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich
What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure

Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Glister by John Burnside
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz - I read this one in the spring. It was longish, but pretty decent.

The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky - Holley and I talked about this one at our summer reading preview, in fact, I am reading it AS WE SPEAK! Take that Oprah!
The Peep Diaries by Hal Niedzviecki

Farm City by Novella Carpenter
Plan Bee by Susan Brackney

Stormy Weather by James Gavin
Eye of My Heart edited by Barbara Graham

One D.O.A., One on the Way by Mary Robison
The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
by Robert Boswell

A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth
Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle

Essential Pleasures edited by Robert Pinsky
Poems from the Women's Movement
edited by Honor Moore

Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some Great Summer Reads!!!!!

So I just finished two GREAT books for summer:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The first was a charming, witty and wonderful little mystery - perfect for a summer day. The second was suspenseful, atmospheric and full of tension and mystery. BOTH would make great beach reads!
Bradley (author of Sweetness) is a 70 year old first time author. He wrote Sweetness and was immediately signed for a six book contract for his new series called The Buckshaw Chronicles. Our protagonist in this new mystery series set in Britain is Flavia deLuce, an eleven year old pigtailed chemist and amateur sleuth. When, exasperated from lack of sleep one evening, Flavia climbs out her bedroom window to wander the kitchen garden and stumbles over a dead body in the cucumber patch. Rather than leave the investigation to the local detectives, Flavia decides to begin her own research into the case. This particular reviewer and librarian loved the fact that Flavia's research sent her to the village library many, many times. Flavia's love of chemistry recurs throughout the novel in inventive ways, as does her father's habit of philately, both great reasons to love this story. I just adored Flavia, her eccentric family, village friends and her masterfully told story. I simply cannot wait for the next books in this new series! Although the story is told from the viewpoint of a young girl, it is not at all a childish book and Flavia is a fantastic new voice in detective fiction!
Sarah Waters' third novel is set in Britain after World War II. The main characters include the Ayres family and their family physician, Dr. Faraday. Dr. Faraday is called in for an innocent visit with the family's new maid, Betty, who lets slip during their interview that she has a strange feeling about the house. The good doctor passes this off as her naivete - she is young and not used to such a grand residence, nor in being away from her family. But, soon, the reader begins to see the cracks in the surface. Roderick, the heir to Hundreds Hall and the hope for the survival of the family's existence in the small village, begins to experince bouts of anxiety, depression, and something more. Soon the family hears noises in the hall, finds scratches in the woodwork, and
The Little Stranger reminded me very much of Shirley Jackson's fiction. Full of psychological suspense and tension, the novel will make you wonder - is the Ayres' family's residence, Hundreds Hall, haunted or not? Is there a taint on the Ayres family as some in the village suggest? Are they all mad? Dr. Faraday does not seem quite sure, and neither will you, dear reader! Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down. However, sleep with a night light on - you'll need it! If you liked previous Gothic summer hits such as The Thirteenth Tale or The Historian, then check out this title!
Happy Reading!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Group Meetings today and tomorrow!

The Great Books discussion group meets tonight at 6:30pm in the library's Conference Room.

The Bookies meet tomorrow Tuedsay June 9th at 10am in the library's Conference Room to discuss Denis Lehane's The Given Day.

We love new members at ALL of our book groups so make plans to join us even if you haven't read the selection.  Meet the members, learn about some great books and you'll soon find you become a regular participant!  For more information about the Great Books meeting or the Bookies, call Katie Moellering at 205/445-1118.  

If you'd like to try a different kind of book group, one where you have the choice of what you read each month, call Holley Wesley at 205-445-1117 and ask about the Genre Reading Group which meets the last Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm in the library's Conference Room.  June 30th, we are discussing dystopian fiction!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Attention iPod Users!

Good news!  Last week OverDrive announced that starting in mid-June, new and existing users with PCs will be able to install OverDrive Media Console 3.2 with enhanced transfer capabilities for iPod, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod nano, as well as Zune and thousands of other portable devices.  

The new 3.2 Console will expand the largest selection of iPod-compatible audiobook titles by making most titles in a library's OverDrive WMA audiobook collection instantly iPod-compatible for users with Windows PCs.  Best sellers such as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, John Grisham's The Appeal, and Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy will become iPod-compatible downloads, along with highly anticipated releases like Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol and Tami Hoag's The Trouble with J.J.

For OverDrive users with Mac computers, the growing collection of iPod-compatible, Mac-friendly Mp3 audiobooks will still be available!  Call Holley today at 445-1117 for more information!

Happy reading!

Apple iPod by finprkl@Flickr

Fresh and Dried Flowers!

I've been enjoying tremendously my morning walk with a cute little puppy dog I happen to be caring for at the moment, both because he is cute and because I get to see what beautiful plants are blooming in the neighborhood!  All this rain, moisture, and heat has the local flora poppin'!  

If your yard is the same, we have a program coming up this Saturday that you won't want to miss!

Join Katie and I at the library this Saturday June 6th from 2-3:30pm for a program presented by Suzy Reynolds Smith from Four Seasons Gallery.  She will be demonstrating easy techniques for arranging fresh and dried flowers into the most beautiful arrangements you can imagine!  Along with the stunning food for the eye, we'll offer a snack as well with fresh cherry almond scones from Continental Bakery and cold lemonade.  Make plans to join us and bring a friend! 

Take time to sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program to be entered in the drawing for the Grand Prize Treasure Chest containing over $300 in gift cards to area restaurants and businesses!  For more information, call us at 205/445-1121!

Happy reading!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Food, Fun, and Folklore!

We are starting the Adult Summer Reading program off with a rollickin' good time tomorrow night!

When: Tuesday June 2nd, 6:30pm
Where: Emmet O'Neal Library Community Meeting Room
Who: Joyce Cauthen, local folklorist and musicologist
What: Please Pass the Folklore!

Food traditions are among the most enduring forms of folklore. Because the preparation and eating of food is central to our family life, our richest customs, sayings and stories are created and passed on at the dinner table –be it at home or McDonald’s.  In this interactive program, Cauthen will discuss food folklore and its importance as a means of preserving family, community and regional identity and will give examples of dining traditions that she has collected across the state. She will ask the audience to take part in a conversation about foods that are traditional to their families because of geography and ethnicity, foods they associate with particular family members, unique names for foods coined by children, traditional table graces, superstitions associated with eating, cleaning up after meals and more. As folklore is not just about the past, the program will explore newer traditions involving take-out foods, supper clubs, school cafeterias and urban legends involving foods.

A special thank you to the Irondale Café for donating the yummy snacks we'll have out, plus we'll be giving away gift certificates to Irondale Café to two lucky attendees!  Take this opportunity to sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program and you will be entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize Treasure Chest containing over $300 in gift cards to area businesses and restaurants!

Call the reference desk for more information at 205/445-1121!
Happy reading!