In Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, 23-year-old veterinary student, Jacob Jankowski, is looking forward to graduating with a degree from Cornell University and joining his father’s veterinary practice. Unfortunately, fate intervenes and Jacob’s parents are killed in an automobile accident. Jacob learns that his parents have no savings and plenty of debt, having bartered for veterinary payments from cash-poor farmers (it is the Depression, after all) and mortgaged their house to the teeth in order to pay his tuition.
Bereft of both parents and financial future, Jacob despairs and jumps a train moving through the town. It happens to belong to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a poor cousin to Ringling Brothers. Once it’s discovered that he has veterinary experience, he is put in charge of the animals, a task that is at once heartwarming, thankless, and distressing. The circus is run by the greedy Uncle Al and the brilliant but mercurial August, the animal trainer who keeps the circus afloat. August, a paranoid schizophrenic, alters between warmly welcoming Jacob and trying to kill him.
Summer is drawing to a close, and we are celebrating another wonderful summer reading club experience with free and fun events at many of our branches.
Summer Reading Club Party
Popsicles! Crafts! Buckets of fun! Sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Activities sponsored by local community groups. Preschool-Grade 6. Drop in. Wednesday, August 17, 2:30 - 4:30.
Bring the whole family to celebrate the 2011 Summer Reading Club at our neighborhood carnival with games, activities, and lots of fun-don't miss it! Drop in. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Bring the whole family to celebrate the 2011 Summer Reading Club at our neighborhood carnival! Friday, August 12, 10:00-12:00. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
Library Kids' Fest
Join us for our end of the Summer Reading Club party and community festival! Frozen treats, games, prizes, and more! For children up to age 12 and their families. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Saturday, August 6, 10:00-12:00.
Summer Reading Celebration
Activities, crafts, games, fun and prizes for readers of all ages! Sign-up begins July 1st. Friday, August 5, 11:00 - 12:00.
End of Tales Summer Reading Club Party
Party with ice cream and hot dogs. Music provided by guitarist David Smith. Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
The newest addition to the CRRL family of databases, Natural Standard is a powerful tool for researching topics pertaining to integrative medicine. It was "founded by healthcare providers and researchers to provide high-quality, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies."
Database selections include "Food, Herbs, & Supplements;" "Brand Names," "Animal Health" and much more. A grading system is provided that ranks available data about the use of a therapy for a specific condition. The tool section gives you access to a respository of calculaters, patient handouts, and nutrition labels, among other things. In the "Checkers" section, you can examine interactions between herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals. Under "News & Events" you can access Natural Standard's newsletter, blog, and information audio/video podcasts/webinars.
Natural Standard is a powerful database with vital health research, which can be accessed for free by CRRL patrons with just your library card.
During the first weekend in August each year, back-to-school shoppers in Virginia get a break from paying sales tax on qualifying school supplies, clothing, and footwear. This year the tax holiday is Friday, August 5 - Sunday, August 7th. According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, "during this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax." The list of school supplies can be found here.
One of the things I love about getting lost in the stacks at my local library branch is that serendipitous experience of happily looking through the books on each shelf and finding my next great read. Now you can duplicate that experience at home using the new Virtual Shelf Browser feature in the online catalog.
Under the book's (or movie's, etc.) title and publishing information, you will see a snapshot of a "shelf," with your book right in the middle and selections to each side. These are books that theoretically would physically be next to one another on the shelf at your library. You can click on the arrows to the right or left to advance through the shelf. If you click on a book's cover, you go to that book's record in the catalog, where you can read more about the book or place it on hold.
Starting this weekend, the talented storyteller Gary Lloyd will be visiting CRRL library branches and bringing to life familiar (and new) tales of spiders, the creepy critters we love to hate. The program "Come Into My Parlor, Please?" will share fun stories & fantastic facts about our 8-legged friends. Learn the truth about Little Miss Muffett and see storyteller, Gary Lloyd, transform into Anansi, the African spider trickster before your very eyes! Celebrate the 2011 Summer Reading Club, Amazing Tales at Your Library! Sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Grades K-6.
Saturday, July 9, 11 at Newton Branch and 1 at Montross Branch
Wednesday, July 13, 1 at Headquarters Library and 4 at Cooper Branch
Thursday, July 14, 1 at Snow Branch and 3 at Salem Church Branch
Wednesday, July 20, 10 at Porter Branch and 2 at England Run Branch
Ann Patchett's new bestselling novel, State of Wonder, is about "a researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh [who] journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years--a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past."
In this video, watch Ann Patchett discuss the background for State of Wonder, including her own trip to the Amazon.
Lisa See's Shanghai Girls is a riveting book about two sisters who are "beautiful girl" models in pre-war 1930s Shanghai. When the Japanese invade, the sisters' lives are turned upside down and they are forced into arranged marriages and flee their homeland for America.
Watch Lisa See talk about the inspiration for her novel in this interview. The sequel to Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, is recently published and on the bestseller list.
Ahoy, mateys! Learn the finer points of pirate lingo so you can "parley" in perfect pirate. Mango Languages is offering a free pirate language course through June 30th. In just 5 lessons, you'll be able to translate everyday phrases (like "Oh my gosh!") into pirate ( "Blow me down!").
This is a perfect way to brush up on your skills for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th or before you head out to see Captain Jack Sparrow's latest adventure in the theaters. If you like the pirate language course, you may be interested in continuing your language explorations with one of Mango's other language courses, available for free to our library patrons. Use your 14-digit library number as your passport to another country's lingo.
In Jacqueline Davies’ The Lemonade War, Jessie Treski and her brother Evan have a pretty good relationship…usually. But when Evan finds out that Jessie will be skipping third grade and will share his fourth-grade classroom, he gets pretty angry. It’s bad enough that his sister gets all the good grades, but now she is going to mess up things with his friends as well. His anger grows…and grows…and then he explodes, saying awful things to her that he knows he will regret later. Jessie responds and their argument swells until they make a wager with high odds, all riding on who can sell the most lemonade in the last five days before school starts.