Saturday, November 28, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Nov. 29)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available at all locations.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Tricky Twenty-Two
Author: Janet Evanovich
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M EVANOVICH
Summary: The New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum pursues a fraternity member arrested for beating up a college dean and investigates a murder.

#2: The Guilty
Author: David Baldacci
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F BALDACCI
Summary: The government hit man Will Robie investigates murder charges against his estranged father in their Mississippi hometown.

#3: Rogue Lawyer
Author: John Grisham
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 5
Call Number: F GRISHAM
Summary: The attorney Sebastian Rudd is a "lone gunman" who hates injustice and the system and defends unpopular clients.

#4: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: F KING
Summary: Twenty stories, some never before published.

#5: See Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Position Last Week: 5
Weeks On List: 6
Call Number: F SPARKS
Summary: A couple in love are threatened by secrets from the past.

Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: Killing Reagan
Author: Bill O'Reilly
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 9
Call Number: 
Summary: The host of "The O'Reilly Factor" recounts the events surrounding the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981.

#2: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
Author: Brian Kilmeade
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: 
Summary: The war against the Barbary pirates in 1801.

#3: Destiny and Power
Author: Jon Meacham
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: 
Summary: A biography of George H.W. Bush.

#4: Troublemaker
Author: Leah Remini
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: 92 REMINI
Summary: The actress describes her life in Scientology and the aftermath of her break with the church in 2013.

#5: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Position Last Week: 8
Weeks On List: 19
Call Number: 92 COATES
Summary: A meditation on race in America as well as a personal story by the Atlantic's national correspondent.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, get yourselves on the reserve lists.

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Nov. 30 - Dec. 5)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing of events, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Annual Food for Fines Drive
Dec. 1-31; All Day
All Library Locations
PH: 325-677-2474
It's that time of year again where all month long you can waive those pesky late fees by donating canned goods and other nonperishable items to the library.  Each item donated will waive $1 in late fees and all donated materials will benefit the Food Bank of West Central Texas.  Please note, you're not able to waive charges for printing, lost/damaged items, replacement cards, etc. 

Movies @ Your Library
Dec. 1 @ 2:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Don't pass up on your chance to come to your library for an afternoon movie where we'll be showing a holiday classic from the 1940s starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.  There's no need to register, just come out and get into the holiday spirit at your library.  For more information on the featured film, visit our Movie Schedule Page online. 

City Sidewalks & Christmas Lights Parade
Dec. 1 @ 5:30PM
Downtown Abilene
While you're out and about enjoying the city's official kickoff to the holiday season, we invite you to stop by the Main Library (202 Cedar St) for holiday cheer.  Enjoy the sounds of the season from the Craig Middle School Orchestra and our little library elves will offer holiday facepainting. 

Kids' AR Club
Dec. 1 @ 6:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Kids, in grades K-5, are invited out to our regular evening storytime session where we'll share stories that are on the current AR lists for schools.  Come enjoy great books and the possibly test on them at school to earn points in this club that meets twice a month. 

Anime Club @ Your Library
Dec. 1 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Teens and young adults, ages 13-24, are welcome to become a part of the Anime Club at the library, where we share our passions for anime and manga with other fans in the community.  Come enjoy anime shows and additional activities in this club that meets every month. 

Make & Take: Holiday Ornaments
Dec. 3 @ 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Gear up for a series of holiday craft workshops for youth and head out to the library after school to learn how to make some festive ornaments.  Use them to decorate your rooms or trees and we'll supply all the materials necessary. 

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Dec. 3 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17, join our weekly writing club at the library where we'll help you hone your creative writing skills in all forms from fiction to poetry.  Join your peers in a collaborative club where you can feel free to work on, and share your writings, with a fun group. 

Family Fun: Happy Holidays
Dec. 3 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Attend our monthly evening storytime event for kids of all ages, and parents too, as we get ready for the upcoming holidays.  We'll share stories, songs, crafts, and more, and we'll even serve hot chocolate and cookies to those who come out.  It's the perfect way to spend an evening at the library. 

Celebrate the Season! Holiday Music @ Your Library
Dec. 3 @ 6:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
We're bringing back another round of live holiday music at the library, featuring the local musical group called The Crazy Eight.  You're invited to join us for this family-friendly event and hear some great holiday tunes in the activity room.  We'll even offer hot coffee and cider, while supplies last, so come on out to your library and get a little holiday cheer.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "After Alice" by Gregory Maguire

After Alice
Author: Gregory Maguire
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3 Stars

Book Summary: When Alice toppled down the rabbit hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind.  But what of that world?  How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice's disappearance?

In this new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings, and understandings (old and new), offering an inventive spin on Carroll's enduring tale, Ada, a friend of Alice's mentioned briefly in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late - and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from the surreal world below the world.  If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life.  Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

Personal Review: After being a huge fan of Maguire's earlier works including Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Mirror Mirror, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and more, it's great to delve into his unique retellings of classic stories we've all grown up with.

I very much wish I could have given this entry much praise, but this title was just a little...slower for me.  Perhaps it was because I was never fond of the Alice in Wonderland series (sue me), but this novel wasn't able to capture my attention as much as his other titles have.

Before I get into what I didn't enjoy about the novel, let me highlight the areas I thought the book was strong in.  Maguire was able to fashion a new story in the Wonderland universe, and giving the series a new character to follow, Ada, as she's on-the-hunt for finding Alice.  A.though we're taken back to this world we're familiar with, Maguire puts his own stamp on Wonderland.  It's not as stylized, magical, and whimsical as the children's series, but that holds true to how Maguire interprets the tales he re-imagines.  I appreciated that; however, his version will still be recognizable to loyal fans of the "traditional" Wonderland.

Additionally, I liked how this story belonged to Ada, as Alice didn't show up until the final pages of the novel, so it became a story all its own.  Plus, if there's anything that Maguire knows how to do well, its being able to craft strong characters, especially while focusing on those lesser known character from the original series.  For instance, you'll be able to learn about the Tin Bear and the Ballerina, which gave the book a little more flavor by offering something new.  Additionally, I liked the humor throughout the book as it was age-appropriate for its target audience and cleverly written.

That being said, there were some aspects of this novel that left me wanting for more...the first of which was the title.  With a title like "After Alice" I went into it thinking it was going to be a story about what happened to Alice after her adventures.  Instead, it was a clever play on words to describe her friend who went after her to find her in Wonderland.  Fair enough.

Next, in Maguire style no less, it offered deeper critical thinking in many areas and it didn't quite work for me.  Themes of slavery and freedom resonate throughout the book; however, if that's where the focus needed to be, I would have rather had that emphasis than delving too much into the nonsensical world of Wonderland.  Plus, the characters of Lydia (Alice's older sister) goes on her own storyline with Darwin, and it just started skipping all over the place, making it a bit tiresome of a read.

Although the novel is somewhat focusing on what happened to Alice's family during her disappearance, and what impact it had, he used his storytelling skills to help fill in the gaps, but it took a while to actually get there for my liking.  Although Maguire's books are written to not only be fun, but clever and smart, this book was just "trying" too hard, covering too many characters at once (as well as their stories) and in a span of less than 300 pages, it was too much to try to tackle in that length of a book.

Unless you're an avid fan of t4he Wonderland world, or a diehard fan of the author's, this may not be the book for you.  Although it is relatively short in length, it was not a quick read, and may cause for some people to just want to put it down altogether.  Again, I may be biased as I've never been a true fan of the Alice stories, but I still enjoy Maguire's style of writing and retellings.  This one may have missed the mark for me, but that won't keep me away from looking out for his future novels.

If you want to try it for yourself, feel free to check with the Abilene Public Library and reserve a copy...after all, the true beauty of any book is always in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest releases in books & DVDs, and we receive them on a regular basis at your Abilene Public Library.  Tuesdays are the biggest days of the week as that's when the bulk of all new materials are released for the week.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles coming to your library.

Ricki and the Flash
Starring: Meryl Streep
Summary: In this film, loaded with music and live performance, Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock and roll stardom, but is now returning home to make things right with her family.  Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki's long-suffering ex-husband. 

No Escape
Starring: Owen Wilson
Summary: How far will one man go to protect the ones he cares about most in the world?  An intense international thriller, centers on an American businessman as he and his family settle in to their new home in Southeast Asia.  Suddenly finding themselves in the middle of a violent political uprising, they must frantically look for a safe escape as rebels mercilessly attack the city. 

American Ultra
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg
Summary: Mike shares a small-town life with his girlfriend Phoebe.  But Mike's sleepy world goes wild after he discovers that he's actually a CIA sleeper agent with lethal fighting skills, and the target of government hitmen.  Mike, the ultimate slacker, transforms into an ultra-attacker as he and Phoebe fight to survive in this exhilarating adventure. 

Cross Justice
Author: James Patterson
Summary: When his cousin is accused of a heinous crime, Alex Cross returns to his North Carolina hometown for the first time in over three decades.  As he tries to prove his cousin's innocence in a town where everyone seems to be on the take, Cross unearths a family secret that forces him to question everything he's ever known.  Chasing a ghost he believed was long dead, Cross gets pulled into a case that has local cops scratching their heads and needing his help: a grisly string of socialite murders.  Now he's hot on the trail of both a brutal killer, and the truth about his own pasts - and the answers he finds might be fatal.

Look out for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and get yourselves on the reserve lists so you don't miss getting your hands on them.  Then stop back each week to see what else will be coming out.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Let Library Show You How Much Fun Wreaths Can Be" | @ Your Library Article

Wreaths are a most popular decoration in the fall and for the holidays.  However, the beauty and fragrance of wreaths can fill a home wonderfully at any time of the year.  Wreaths can be as simple as some fir boughs wired together or as elaborate as a chandelier created from Christmas lights, greenery, flowers, ornaments, and pendants.  Your Abilene Public Library has some how-to resources if you'd like to give it a try.

In Taylor Hagerty's Wreaths from the Make it In Minutes series, ideas for wreaths made of all types of items abound.  Some of them aren't even round!  There are wreaths of netting and seashells, jewelry, feathers, and even board game pieces.  Filled with instructions for making all types of non-traditional wreaths, there is also a section on the tools that will be needed.  The list includes several different adhesives, tapes, and wires as well as glitter, ribbon, and silk flowers.

For some innovative wreaths, take a look at Wreaths for Every Season by June Apel and Chalice Bruce.  There are sections in this title on choosing a base and selecting flowers, basic tools and techniques, and bow making.  Another section provides ideas and examples for wreath makeovers as well.  Apel and Bruce also include some great gift wreaths including lace-wrapped keepsake wreath with picture frames and mementos and a terracotta pot topper that would make a  unique gift for the gardener in your family.

Winding up this wonderful title are instructions for several seasonal wreaths.  For Spring, the wreath features woven ribbons that suggest an Easter basket.  An edible cornucopia wreath that can be used as a centerpiece or cake stand accent is great for Thanksgiving.  Finally, the let-it-snow chandelier wreath (complete with sparkling light strings) will throw some light on your Christmas celebrations.

Chris Rankin's The Complete Book of Wreaths includes an extensive section on wreath making basics incorporating bases, tools, and materials and some safety tips.  Each of the 200 wreath designs has a gorgeous, full color photo of the finished design.  This title will be better for a more experienced wreath maker as it lacks step-by-step instructions.

If you prefer an online resource, try Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center in the E-Resources Do-It-Yourself section on our webpage.  This database is available anytime and anywhere you have access to the Internet, as long as you know your library card number.  A simple search for 'wreaths' brings up more than two thousand results for wreaths of all kinds, made from all sorts of materials.  Step-by-step instructions make it easy, even for the inexperienced crafter.

Try a new hobby this year and utilize materials from the backyard or garden.  Learn a craft that will enhance your home decor and unleash your artistic spirit.  Your Abilene Public Library can help by providing "get you started" resources with ideas and techniques to wreathe your home with beauty.

Article Contributed by Marie Skufca, Information Services Librarian at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Nov. 23-28)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing of events, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Make & Take: You Choose
Nov. 24 @ 4:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Don't miss the final Make & Take session of the month where kids will get to choose what craft they want to make.  We'll have a variety of different types and we'll supply all the materials you'll need.  Get in the crafting spirit in this fun afternoon activity for kids of all ages. 

Holiday Closings: Thanksgiving
Nov. 26-27; All Day
All Locations
PH: 325-677-2474
All locations will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving.  For your convenience, outside materials returns are available at all three locations and you may also take advantage of our Digital Services available 24/7.  We'll resume our normal hours of operation on Saturday, Nov. 28 @ 9AM. 

Mockingbird Movies
Nov. 28 @ 2:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Closing out the month, join us at the library for a Saturday Family Film as we show a Disney favorite from 1995 where history gets the Disney treatment and a politically correct interpretation in the studio's 33rd feature-length animated movie, which is also the first to be based on actual events and people.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Celebrate the Season with Holiday Music @ Your Library | Dec. 3

Music @ Your Library
The holiday season is right around the corner!  To kick things off in style, the Abilene Public Library is hosting two family-friendly musical events during the first week of December: City Sidewalks: Craig MS Orchestra at the Main Library and Celebrate the Season: Holiday Music @ Your Library at the Mockingbird Branch.

On Tuesday, December 1, head downtown for Abilene's 27th Annual City Sidewalks Parade and the lighting of the tree.  Before the parade starts, stop in at the Main Library from 5:30-6:30PM to hear the Craig Middle School Orchestra, directed by Elizabeth Blatchley.  The orchestra will share a wonderful medley of holiday classics for everyone to enjoy.

Then on Thursday, Dec. 3, join local band The Crazy Eight for "Celebrate the Season: Holiday Music @ Your Library" at the Mockingbird Branch.  Everyone is invited to this family-friendly event, featuring classic pop tunes and holiday songs.  Hot coffee and cider will be provided while supplies last.

For more information on these free programs, please phone the Mockingbird Branch at 325-437-7323.

Tremain's Book Corner: "City of Lost Dreams" by Magnus Flyte

City of Lost Dreams (City of Dark Magic #2)
Click to Place Hold
Author: Magnus Flyte
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary: In this action-packed sequel to "City of Dark Magic," we find musicologist Sarah Weston in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill and who may not have much time left.  Meanwhile, Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical care for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him.  In Prague, Prince Mas tries to unravel the strange reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own.

In the city of Beethoven, Mozart, and Freud, Sarah becomes the target in a deadly web of intrigue that involves a scientist on the run, stolen art, seductive pastries, a few surprises from long-dead alchemists, a distractingly attractive horseman who's more than a little bloodthirsty, and a trail of secrets and lies.  But nothing will be more dangerous than the brilliant and vindictive villain who seeks to bend time itself.  Sarah must travel deep into an ancient mystery to save the people she loves.

Personal Review: To kick things off, this is not a book/series I would have normally picked up on my own, but while perusing the shelves for something different, I decided to give it a shot, and so far, I sort of like it.

This is the second book in the series, and this second novel, although featuring the same protagonist of Sarah, feels a little different to me in how her voice in the story has somewhat changed.  Not in a bad way, it's just different.  The author still knows how to construct a good novel that's fast-paced, interesting, and offers something a little different from what I've been usually reading.  Although I generally don't get into novels that delve in history, Flyte brings both history and present-day together, in a story that worked well and doesn't confuse the reader along the way.