In this gift-giving season, I’m sure it is no surprise that my favorite gift to give is books. It gives me great pleasure to have a recipient come back to me later and say, “I loved that book!” Some of my friends and family receive books I know they want (a frequent request is for the next book in their favorite series), but the gifts I most enjoy giving are books they didn’t know about at all but that turn out to be perfect fits. Columns in the coming weeks will have lists of books published in the last year that I think would make great gifts for teens and elementary-aged children, but I’m starting this week with picture book suggestions for young children. Because these are newer books, published in 2016, I’m hoping they will help me accomplish that goal of giving gifts people didn’t even know they wanted.
Whether you’re a younger person who has recently lost a parent or grandparent, someone missing the comforting presence of a life partner or child, or, yes, one of those missing dear pets, the holidays can be hard. Something—someone is missing. There’s a hole in your heart. You know why. Oh, you know why. You don’t hear the sparkling music at all, or you do and find it forced and irritating. The smoke of memory casts a pall on this year’s festivities. It is not the same. It will never be the same. It can be good eventually, but, for right now, you do need to take time for yourself.
Whether you need to scan documents or photos, you can now do it at your library! All library branches have new machines that are free for you to use. They offer flatbed scanners, perfect for scanning photos, and document feeders that enable you to scan multiple pages with the touch of a few buttons.
You can select features, such as color or black and white, and even specify the resolution at which you want to scan. Files can be saved in PDF, JPG, or TIFF formats, depending on your need. Then you can email yourself your files or save them to a USB drive. Some library branches also have the capability to fax your documents as well. If you need assistance, library staff will be happy to help you.
We believe you can write the Great American Novel during NaNoWriMo. But if you say you just don't have the time this year, here's your chance to prove it: Write your opus in six words! Yes, exactly six words, as inspired by the six-word memoirs concept, by Larry Smith, based on the legend that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a novel in six words and came back with this winner: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Block was born in Los Angeles, sometimes known as "Shangri-L.A.," other times "Hell-A," depending on how the day is going. The daughter of a poet and painter, she attended the University of California at Berkeley. Francesca was a riot grrrl before the term was coined. She read the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez while at college; his magical realism became a major influence. Block's work is grounded in urban realities, though she sees pixies and genies in that "jasmine-scented, jacaranda-purple, neon sparked city." She missed Los Angeles and wrote her first novel to cure homesickness. That novel was Weetzie Bat, and it made a big, wet splash in young adult literature.
If you're shopping after Thanksgiving this year, you may be making runs for Black Friday deals and surfing for Cyber Monday specials, but don't forget your local brick-and-mortar small businesses on Saturday, November 26. As our local merchants thrive, so will our community. The library supports an economically vibrant community and is joining the effort to encourage shoppers to buy local.
Here comes Santa Claus,
Here comes Santa Claus,
To our Grow a Reader meetings!
He’s coming out to see boys and girls,
Who share a love of reading!
See those eyes a-twinkle and a-sparkle,
As so many songs we're singing . . .
Come join your fun-loving storytime presenters for our Grow A Reader Special: Countdown to Christmas! A fun time filled with stories, songs, activities, and a visit from Santa!
Make your own Yule log this holiday season with expert help from Chief Ranger John Fury of Westmoreland State Park. He'll be at the Montross Branch on Tuesday evening, 6:30-7:30, December 13. You'll need to sign up for this special workshop, so call or drop by our Montross Branch soon!
Want to learn more about Yule logs before you create one? Check out our book, Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, by Ace Collins.
Celebrate the holidays with your family, friends, and neighbors at a library open house!
Stafford's Porter Branch starts the holiday fun with music and song, holiday activities for young and old, and a visit from Santa. And, what's a party without treats? We'll have yummy goodies provided by the Friends of the Library. Drop in, and enjoy the festivities on Wednesday, December 7, anytime between 6:30 and 8:00 in the evening.
Speaking of music and song, did you know the library has over 500 holiday music CDs for your listening pleasure? Why not check out one of our newer CDs, such as A Pentatonix Christmas by the a capella group that is all over the Internet? Or, try a mix with oldies by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Burl Ives, Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley, among others, in Now That's What I Call Merry Christmas.
For those of us who love books and reading, there are few things more pleasurable than meeting other readers and bibliophiles. Swapping books, book suggestions, and perhaps even going on a reading retreat are all a thrill to those of us who are avid readers.
There are times, though, when a fellow book lover isn’t available, or you are tired and just want to be alone, but yet you’d still love to discuss books. Did you know that there is an entire genre written for those times? I like to call them books about books, and there are many that have been written, both fiction and nonfiction, just for people like us.