Wednesday, January 30, 2013

James A. Michener

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 26th at 6:30pm to discuss nonfiction books about the Old West.

Mr. Michener once described himself as a citizen of the world and after last night's Genre Reading Group meeting to discuss his work, I fully believe that.  Michener made the most of his 90 years of life, the details of which you can read on his page on the website for Washington D.C.'s Academy of Achievement.  Highlights include acting as secretary of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, acting as a member of the Advisory Council to NASA, receiving honorary doctorates in five different fields, and receiving the Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.  His honors and accolades by no means end there, so visit Michener's Academy of Achievement page to see it all.  What a life!

The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Young and innocent, they came to a place they had barely heard of, prepared for war. They were American fighter pilots, trained but frightened, facing an an enemy they couldn't understand, and waging a war they had to win.


In his stunning new novel, bestselling novelist James A. Michener draws on his unparalleled gift for storytelling, his deep understanding of American society, and his own life experiences to illuminate the challenges of aging and the folly of youth in a Florida retirement home known as the Palms.
As the new, young director of the Palms, Andy Zorn suffers no shortage of loving support and wise advice from his "elders," a group of five passionate, outspoken residents who refuse to accept the passive roles that both society and family have handed them. Yet past scandal has driven Zorn to despondency, until he meets an extraordinary young woman in the rehab wing, who has been forced to rebuild her life in the face of crippling injuries. Now Zorn finds himself falling in love--and with the help and gentle jabs from his more mature friends, he discovers a wonderful new purpose in life.

Here is the story of an American journalist who travels to Mexico to report on the upcoming duel between two great matadors, but who is ultimately swept up in the dramatic story of his Mexican ancestors. From the brutality and brilliance of the ancients, to the iron fist of the invading Spaniards, to the modern-day Mexicans battling through dust and bloodshed to build a nation upon the ashes of revolution, James Michener weaves it all into an epic human story that ranks with the best of his beloved, bestselling novels.

The Eagle and the Raven
James Michener's narrative based on one of the most exciting periods of American history, when a firebrand renegade from Tennessee, Sam Houston, emigrated to the Mexican state of Texas and helped lead the revolution of 1836. It paints portraits of Houston and his adversary, Santa Anna.

In this romantic adventure of wild Afghanistan, master storyteller James Michener mixes the allure of the past with the dangers of today. After an impetuous American girl, Ellen Jasper, marries a young Afghan engineer, her parents hear no word from her. Although she wants freedom to do as she wishes, not even she is sure what that means. In the meantime, she is as good as lost in that wild land, perhaps forever.

Creatures of the Kingdom

In these sixteen wonderful stories, bestselling author James A. Michener lights up nature's most awesome and beguiling handiwork--from the sublime shaping and reshaping of earth's land and seas to the ridiculous armadillo whose assault on a bit of Texas real estate paid off handsomely. Chosen from Michener's most popular books--including one story never before published in paperback--these mini-masterpieces take us deep into the secret lives of animals and the hidden world of nature. In them we hear the music of the spheres and feel the heartbeat of creation.


The Drifters
In his triumphant best seller, James Michener unfolds a powerful and poignant drama of six young runaways adrift in a world they have created out of dreams, drugs, and dedication to pleasure. With the sure touch of a master, Michener pulls us into the dark center of their private world, whether it's in Spain, Marrakech, or Mozambique, and exposes the naked nerve ends with shocking candor and infinite compassion.

Once again James A. Michener brings history to life with this 400-year saga of America's great bay and its Eastern Shore. Following Edmund Steed and his remarkable family, who parallel the settling and forming of the nation, CHESAPEAKE sweeps readers from the unspoiled world of the Native Americans to the voyages of Captain John Smith, the Revolutionary War, and right up to modern times.

The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., is the woman who has transformed the way the world thinks about death and dying. Beginning with the groundbreaking publication of the classic psychological study On Death and Dying and continuing through her many books and her years working with terminally ill children, AIDS patients, and the elderly, Kübler-Ross has brought comfort and understanding to millions coping with their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. Now, at age seventy-one facing her own death, this world-renowned healer tells the story of her extraordinary life. Having taught the world how to die well, she now offers a lesson on how to live well. Her story is an adventure of the heart -- powerful, controversial, inspirational -- a fitting legacy of a powerful life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Welcome to the Next Generation of your library’s digital collection

Overdrive has updated the digital collection experience for all libraries!  Check it out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Calling All Gardeners! {And would-be gardeners} ...

Hi Readers!
You have no doubt noticed the weather is glum, chilly and damp. However, now is the time to think spring!

We've been doing just that here at Emmet O'Neal with our local garden expert and landscape designer, June Mays. For the past several years June has taught a garden lecture series each January here at the library. This year she started out on the 5th with a talk on the garden as a sanctuary. Last week she talked about the Potager, or decorative vegetable garden.

This Saturday, January 19th at 10:00 am she'll round out the lecture series with a two hour program on creating outdoor rooms. She will discuss design, furniture, plants, kitchens, and other things to consider when planning your outdoor room. An Architect, outdoor kitchen planner and furnishings expert will join us.Those of you who have seen June's lectures before know what a treat it is to hear her. If you are interested in gardening or are just getting started, please don't miss out on the last lecture in this series!

I thought I would re-cap some of her tips from the lecture on decorative vegetable gardens. I'll start with a couple of books June says are a must for gardeners working with vegetables:

Designing The New American Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Bartley
Edible Landscaping by Rosalin Creasey which June called "the bible of edible potager".
Southern Living Garden Book
The Art of French Vegetable Gardening by Louisa Jones

All titles are available from the library.

Some of the magazines June said are indispensable for the gardener are:

The American Gardener which is published by the American Horticultural Society
Fine Gardening
The English Garden
Gardens Illustrated

You can also check out back issues of magazines from the library. Our selection includes:
Alabama Gardener
Birds & Blooms
Garden & Gun
Mother Earth News
Southern Living which has a lovely gardening section both in print and on their website.

Speaking of Southern Living, June suggested you take a look at the idea garden which is tucked away on their campus near the parking deck for Lakeshore Rehabilitation Center. It's a great place for a quiet walk, or to gather ideas!

After the preliminaries were through, we then moved on to the nitty gritty of gardening - the garden itself!
Some flowers that work well in vegetable gardens include Dahlias, Italian White Sunflowers and Nicotiana.
Plants that work great when edging your vegetable gardens include Chives, Marigold, Parsley, Carrots and Salvia.

Of course we talked about what is perhaps the most important part of your garden, for both flowers and vegetables - your soil! For those of you who compost, June reminded everyone not to put meat or bones in your compost. We had several tips from the audience about compost. The biggest one being from a patron who said she picks up coffee grounds from Starbucks for her compost. We also talked about manure. June said unless you know someone with a farm and can get fresh manure, the best way to get it is to buy Black Kow Manure.

We looked at some gorgeous examples of scarecrows including this example of willow weaving

June suggests checking with The Alabama Cooperative Extension for a planting guide. You can find a brief guide here, or visit their website here and browse. This guide lays out for you the perfect time of the year to plant all kinds of fruits and vegetables in Alabama. You'll also find tips for general gardening and soil preparation.

That's it for my notes on last weekend's Garden Lecture Series.  I hope you will join us this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. for more from June Mays!

-katie m.