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.
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.
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.
I sound like a broken record sometimes about the power of books, but I think one of the most magical things about reading is how it can sweep us up and transport us to other worlds and times and help us experience something without actually being there. Reading stories set in the past can help us understand that time, bringing the past alive to show us what it was like to live in a different time by putting us right in the middle of a story. As a reader, I like having some excitement in the stories to make them even more enjoyable. Here is a selection of books set in the past with page-turning drama, including mystery, murder, and adventure.
The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis
In early 1900s Canada, the neighboring communities of Buxton and Chatham share the legend of the “Madman of Piney Woods.” When Benji of Buxton, a descendant of American slaves, and Red of Chatham, a descendant of Irish immigrants, meet at a school event and strike up a friendship, they find they have much in common, including feeling the strange presence of the Madman of Piney Woods.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold." I always thought this meant that if you waited until you cooled off the need for exacting revenge would lessen or maybe go away altogether. I guess I'm just way too naïve and forgiving because, when I actually looked up the meaning of the phrase, it seems to mean to wait until the person who wronged you has forgotten all about it, and thus your revenge will be in cold blood—and all the sweeter. Who knew?
What are you doing reading this article? Go take a hike! No, seriously. Take a Hike Day is on November 17, so you should go take a hike. Not only is Virginia filled with a variety of trails for all levels of hikers and all interests, but local trails are plentiful, too.
CRRL has earned the Library Journal four-star Star Library rating for the third year in a row. CRRL has received a star rating every year since Library Journal began publication of the Index of Public Library Service nine years ago. This year, CRRL is one of only three Virginia libraries to receive a star rating.
The Library Journal index groups U.S. public libraries by operating expenditures, then rates them based on physical materials circulation, electronic circulation, branch visits, program attendance, and public computer use. The 2016 Library Journal index is based on Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) data for FY14.
Kathryn Miller, Chair of the Library Board of Trustees congratulated CRRL Director Martha Hutzel, saying "CRRL continues to set the bar for public libraries in Virginia."