Check out this haiku-limerick mash-up from our friend Eric!
Check out this haiku-limerick mash-up from our friend Eric!
Do you like stories where families go away for the summer? Author Elin Hilderbrand takes her characters to Nantucket for the summer. OH to have a long vacation every summer! Where weeks bleed into months. Sometimes boredom sets in. Sometimes the need for fun causes tension. All of these elements are evident in this great new graphic novel This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. Two families go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose and Windy have been friends who play together all summer while at their families’ vacation homes. Tensions rise a little bit because of the slight age differences of the girls in this coming-of-age tale. But like the waves on the shore they rise and fall.
Rose’s Mother has come to heal, the girls to grow and the Awago residents to cause sensation. If you like stories about friendship and families and beautiful brushwork illustrations like Craig Thompson’s, then you might like This One Summer. It might be your beach read. It might be your long exhale for vacation. Let the Tamiki creators sweep you away.
Okay, not really. Though I can't blame you for thinking that Hemingway is my favorite author. I admit, it's easy to get the wrong impression. After all, once the facts are considered, I am a little muddled myself about the truth of that statement.
But personally, I find the man a little irritating. I think his characters are flat (especially the women) and there is a too heavy dose of machismo to, well, to everything. And yet—I am fascinated by the man and his life. It was an extraordinary one by all accounts. So what if this lifestyle was funded in part by the inheritances of his wives? They let him after all, and it allowed him to write. And kill lots of animals. Beautiful great wild animals...but I digress.
He must have been an absolute charmer and from time to time, I find myself falling for him. Or at least the idea of himself he was trying to create. I applaude his simple style both in language and drinks, his adventurous spirit, and his ability to call a kudu a kudu.
How many books are in your stack?
Every week, new books are added to my ever growing "to be read" pile. While it’s a pleasant hazard of the library profession, the looming tower of unread tomes has grown a bit too tall for comfort. However, after a recent search through the new titles joining the collection, I think there's some room left...
Sitting shiva for his mother, the greatest mathematician in history, Alexander "Sasha" Karnokovitch, wants to mourn in peace. However, scholars from across the globe have other plans. They flock to her home to pay their respects and, more importantly, search for her rumored solution to an elusive math problem. The Mathematician’s Shiva is the story of life, loss, and the quest for life’s qualitative and quantitative answers.
Did you know that wine tastes different at 30,000 feet? I didn’t. It turns out getting food in the friendly skies wasn’t so easy. Food In The Air And Space: The Surprising History Of Food And Drink in The Skies by Richard Foss promises to take on the subject in a fun and accessible way.
Hannah Hart is amazing. What started as a YouTube video for a friend has evolved into a huge success. Her debut book is My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide To Eating, Drinking, And Going With Your Gut. A comedian by trade, she’s assembled a fantastic collection of recipes and humor. If that’s not enough to sway you, John Green wrote the introduction to the book and the content should appeal to fans of Amy Sedaris’ I LIke You.
Check out the rest of the list to see all the books i’m waiting to add to the stack.
As a librarian I’m often asked for the name of my favorite author. Although at its heart this is not an easy question, time and time again I keep coming back to Nevil Shute. Discussions of Mr. Shute generally revolve around his 1957 novel On the Beach, which leads the way in Armageddon literature. In a nutshell the novel tells the story of the end of the world. As a radioactive cloud moves from the northern to the southern hemisphere all life is slowly extinguished. The citizens of Australia are the last to go and Shute’s novel slowly reveals the story of the end of their lives. It is gripping tale, not just because of the subject matter but because of the way Shute tells it; calmly and gently, as if this imagined yet horrific moment in history was an everyday occurrence.
Born in 1899, Shute started his working life as an aeronautical engineer before chucking it all to write full time. Although he never thought of himself as an author, he became a skilled storyteller. Many of his novels involve long, arduous journeys, both physical and spiritual. Flashbacks, and back story add shape and depth to the characters and their worlds. Shute’s other novels are equally as satisfying. Many are a reflection of his background, with aviation taking center stage. All of his novels benefit from his innate ability to harvest story ideas from the world around him.
Reading a Nevil Shute novel is the ultimate escape – to be taken somewhere so unexpected and to such depths that the stories become a part of the reader’s memory: lived, experienced and treasured. For anyone looking for just such a read, try any of these novels by Nevil Shute:
The relationship between Portland librarians and their bridges has always been a strong one. The library’s 1920 annual report highlighted a new book delivery service to the bridge tenders (Broadway, Hawthorne, and Morrison, and later the Steel and Burnside bridges):
The reading philosophy of one of the bridge tenders is of interest to more than librarians. In stating his reasons for wanting books for his waiting hours, [one bridge tender] said that, though not an educated man, he was greatly interested in reading for as he grew older he observed that the only people who seemed to be contented in their declining years were those who had formed the acquaintance of great characters in books. These characters were often the only friends left after life’s friends had passed us on the journey to the Great Beyond (Library Association of Portland, Oregon Fifty-seventh Annual Report,1920, 36-37).
In 1956, the library’s annual report stated that librarians hand-delivered 672 books to isolated bridge tenders. This special delivery service continued until 1975 when only the Burnside Bridge remained as a deposit station. Some of the bridge tenders’ favorite subjects included travel stories, history, archaeology, and horses. You will agree with the 1944 Oregonian article that stated, “librarians often find they are supplying books to persons whose life stories would make as interesting reading as the books they receive...Such a man is P.J. Hyde a Spanish-American war veteran and one-time sailing ship adventurer” (Books Taken Bridge Men: Library Offers Delivery Service, Oregonian, October 8, 1944, 19).
What woud you request from the library to wile away the quiet and isolated hours as a mid-20th century bridge tender? Here is an imaginative list to get you reading back in time; Multcolib Research Picks: Mid-20th century bridge tenders book club.
But what if you want to read books about the bridges? Are you an aspiring Bridge Pedaler? Do you have a third grader going to a Portland Public School? Are the bridges part of your daily commute? Or are you simply in love with our Willamette River bridges?
Advancements in technology have changed the way the bridge tender stations are staffed, there is not time for reading, contemplation, and handicrafts. Librarians no longer deliver books to the bridges. That being said, I’d like to think that our bridge tenders are still readers in their private lives and I know that Multnomah County Library staff still treasure and hold dear their local bridges.
* Image from 150 Years of Library Memories Collection. Physical rights to this item are retained by Multnomah County Library. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
I recently finished a three-month temporary assignment as a delivery driver here at the library. I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would when first asked. Upon reflection, however, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve always liked to drive; I’ve had a fascination with cars since I was a little kid; and I find the history of the automobile, both from a social and technological perspective, of great interest. Okay, I don’t know how much any of that has to do with driving a box truck full of books around Multnomah County but, hey, it’s an excuse to introduce some of my favorite books about driving.
Most directly related to my experience is Trucking Country, an academic study of the commercial trucking industry in the U.S. and the rise of free-market capitalism in the 20th century. I thought it was fascinating but recognize it may not be for everyone. Much more accessible is The Big Roads. This is a popular history of the interstate highway system. The author, Earl Swift, focuses on the personalities involved in designing and administering what has been one the largest public works projects in the world. Its success can be measured in how ordinary it all seems today, yet 100 years ago nothing like it existed. I-84 certainly made commuting out to East County easy for me!
What is it about abandoned cars that is so fascinating? Here’s an early 1950s Dodge truck in southern Utah I photographed during a 2013 road trip. The 1949 Buick in the background can also be seen in the book Roadside Relics. Naturally, I have to include the travelogue, particularly its most American of subsets, the long-distance road trip. There is a whole romance to the open road in American culture. For example, consider how often in movies and especially car commercials the automobile is depicted as a source of freedom and adventure. This sense of romance has been captured in some truly beautiful books such as William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways, John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, and perhaps best known of all, Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical On the Road. One of my favorites, however, is Driving to Detroit by Lesley Hazelton. Hazelton is a journalist best known for her reporting from the Middle East and her books on Islam, but often overlooked is her love of the car. Born in Britain but a naturalized American citizen, this six-month road trip from Seattle to Detroit and back is many things: her love letter to the automobile; an effort to understand the American affection for the highway; and an admission that cars can horribly damage the environment. Yes, it’s a mixed message, but she pulls it off so well. Her meandering drive brings her in contact with a host of colorful characters that truly reflect the many facets of the automobile in American culture.
If you’re interested in the car, or car culture, try one of the books above or something similar. If you have a favorite book to share, leave me a comment below.
Let’s face it, spending money can be fun. You can use your money to buy new video games, books, tickets to a movie, clothes, yummy food at the food carts, and scores of other things. But just as spending money can be fun, saving money can be fun too.
Knowing how to save your money is an important life skill to have, and there are a couple of different ways that you can save your money. The easiest way to save money is to put it in a piggy bank or money jar. You can also save your money by putting it in a savings account at your bank or credit union.
Did you know that you can earn money by saving money? When you put your money in a savings account you are allowing the bank to borrow your money, and the bank pays you interest. So you earn money by letting your money sit in the bank.
Would you like to learn more about managing your money? Ask a librarian, we'll be glad to help!
Did you love reading and sharing Anne of Green Gables? Author Grace Lin grew up in New York reading this childhood classic, but wishing there were stories like that with a girl that looked like her in them. She explains it best herself in this interview in Publisher’s Weekly.
The children in Grace’s books may have Asian faces, but are anything but stereotypical. These characters are recognizable first for their typical childhood struggles and joys and second as living among different layers of Chinese and American culture. To add to this, she illustrates her books in a bright, folk-art inspired style.
Lin’s book, When the Mountain Meets the Moon, won the Newbery Award in 2010. It was written for the 4-8th grades, but adults will also love this story and it will delight children ages 6-8 as a read aloud. The story is set in old China, with Chinese folktales and a bit of magic deftly woven into the narrative. You can hear Grace read from it on her website.
Grace Lin has also written excellent picture books, easy readers, and realistic fiction. Parents of 4-8 year olds might buy some fortune cookies and enjoy Fortune Cookie Fortunes. Or, after reading Lissy’s Friends, parents of school-age children could discuss how it feels to be left out of a group.
With your beginning reader, you can laugh with Ling and Ting, two twins that look the same, but act differently. (These were inspired by another of Lin’s childhood favorites, the classic triplet series, Flicka, Ricka and Dicka.)
2nd to 4th grade children will relate to Pacy in The Year of the Dog, a young girl who is worried that she has no special talents and can’t imagine what career she’ll have when she grows up. Adults will appreciate the warm family scenes and the interwoven Taiwanese-American culture.
Grace Lin, a new classic author.
N 45° 31.138 W 122° 40.971
These are the coordinates for the geocache that can be found at Central Library, known as Urban cache, plagiarized. The cache, which was created in 2002, has had enough visitors that its “author” had to create a second volume. Central’s geocache is unique, in that it has a call number and an entry in the library catalog, but there are reportedly other geocaches to be found at Capitol Hill, Fairview-Columbia, Gresham, Hollywood, North Portland and Woodstock libraries.
The third Saturday in August is Geocaching Day, created by geocaching.com (The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site), so it’s time to talk a little bit about geocaching. An anonymous geocacher from Iowa visited Central’s cache the other day and he described it as using extremely high-tech equipment to find Tupperware in the woods. According to the history page on geocaching.com, the game began in May 2000, when the data from GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites was unscrambled by the U.S. government and made available to anyone with a GPS receiver. The first cache was planted a few miles from Portland in Beavercreek by Dave Ulmer who wanted to check the accuracy of GPS by posting information about its coordinates to an online user group. He called it a “stash,” which was quickly changed to cache (for just the reason you are thinking) and the games began. Ulmer’s cache is no longer there, but a plaque now sits at the coordinates and there is still a place to record your visit.
The only rules of this game are: Enter your name (and any deep thoughts if you have them) in the cache’s logbook and, if you remove something from the cache, please leave something of equal value. I like that the large majority of goodies left in Central’s cache are those library-sized (2 ¾ x 5 in.) pieces of paper with the call number written on them (O-910.92 B668g). One of our veteran librarians tells me the reason why our geocache is in the 910s instead of the 620s (where our books on geocaching are), is because the owner of the cache selected the number based on his observation that the books on geography and exploration had that 910 number. After the fact (when we realized that we’d need a call number for geocaching), librarians decided the how-to books belonged in the military and nautical navigation section.
(How librarians decide what goes where in the Dewey Decimal System is a topic for another day!)
For more on geocaching, check out one of these books.