Reading Room Blog

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them, by Elif Batuman

Odd, the things one finds when browsing the shelves. I found this jewel the other day, when I was looking for something, anything to read. What a great way to start summer reading: a visit to Samarkand, hi-jinks at graduate school seminars,encounters with strange yet endearing characters , dark hints about Tolstoy's death, and the link between King Kong and Isaac Babel.

Listen to a Good Book This Summer

 

          With the last day of school on the horizon, be sure to stock up on audiobooks for summer car trips. Whether you’re ferrying kids to day camp, day care or day trips to Kings Dominion, you’ll find that a good audiobook makes up for any traffic jams or backseat quarreling.
 
          Second grader Stink Moody is the shortest kid he knows. No matter how often he checks, he measures just three feet eight inches tall. He’s always in the front for class pictures, and he usually plays the mouse in the school play. Then something terrible happens – his big sister Judy discovers he’s shrunk a whole quarter of an inch since the morning! Listeners five and up will be entertained and sympathetic to his plight, as told in “Stink, The Incredible Shrinking Kid” by Megan McDonald. Narrator Nancy Cartwright, familiar to “Simpsons” fans (she plays Bart), voices each character with energy and humor. Kids who like this can listen to a half-dozen additional books about Stink and his family.
 

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 272

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Whether we like it or not, we live with the awareness that death is always close at hand, and in this poem by Don Thompson, a Californian, a dead blackbird can’t be pushed out of the awareness of the speaker, nor can it escape the ants, who have their own yard work to do.

Yard Work

My leaf blower lifted the blackbird—
wings still spread, weightless,
floating on the loud, electric wind
almost as if it were alive.

eSequels Database: A New Resource for Book Lovers

The eSequels database, a new addition to the CRRL database offerings, is a great resource for book lovers. eSequels is "a reader's guide to novels in series," and allows you to browse by not only author and title, but also by character, location, and subject, allowing you to identify any series easily.

Series are also listed in the correct reading sequence, and annotations do not reveal any spoilers. The keyword search is a wonderful tool for discovering new series. The listings include only adult titles.

To access eSequels, click on the database title in the listing and then enter your 14-digit CRRL barcode on the main page.

New eAudiobooks: May 2010

Each month we receive new downloadable audiobook titles. In May we added 31 adult titles, 25 of which are are available in MP3 format (suitable for iPods, iPhones, iPads, etc.). We also received 7 new children's/young adult titles (4 available in MP3). Check out our most recent additions!

Browse our newest downloadable audiobooks in the library catalog,  or go directly to the NetLibrary web site (free account needed) or Media Center (install required) to download. If you don't have a NetLibrary account, follow these simple instructions to create one.

New eAudiobooks: May 2010

American Life in Poetry: Column 271

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Barnyard chickens, which are little more than reptiles with feathers, can be counted on to kill those among them who are malformed or diseased, but we humans, advanced animals that we think we are, are far more likely to just turn away from people who bear the scars of misfortune. Here’s a poem by Ned Balbo, who lives and teaches in Maryland.

Fire Victim

Monsters of Men

If you're a fan of the Chaos Walking series, you'll be excited to hear that the third book in the trilogy, Monsters of Men, will hit U.S. bookstores on September 28, 2010. In the meantime, you can enjoy this trailer and maybe re-read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer.

If you haven't heard of this series yet (and you love intense, action-packed, dystopian novels), check out this blog post.

Creeps from the Deep

          The Gulf oil spill, terrible though it is, has focused attention on one of the least-known environments on earth. Scientists used to believe that the deep ocean was uninhabited. As scientist Tim Flannery explains, “The eternal dark, the almost inconceivable pressure, and the extreme cold that exist below one thousand meters were, [scientists] thought, so forbidding as to have all but extinguished life. The reverse is in fact true....(Below 200 meters) lies the largest habitat on earth.”
 
          While less than 10% of this area has been explored by humans, what we have discovered to date has found its way into children’s books filled with tantalizing glimpses of ten-foot-long red worms and the enormous clams, crabs and tube worms that thrive around deep hydrothermal vents. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 269

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It is enough for me as a reader that a poem take from life a single moment and hold it up for me to look at. There need not be anything sensational or unusual or peculiar about that moment, but somehow, by directing my attention to it, our attention to it, the poet bathes it in the light of the remarkable. Here is a poem like this by Carolyn Miller, who lives in San Francisco.

 

The World as It is

American Life in Poetry: Column 270

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We are sometimes amazed by how well the visually impaired navigate the world, but like the rest of us, they have found a way to do what interests them. Here Jan Mordenski of Michigan describes her mother, absorbed in crocheting.

Crochet

Even after darkness closed her eyes ?
my mother could crochet. ?
Her hands would walk the rows of wool ?
turning, bending, to a woolen music.