Saturday, August 29, 2009

Down River by John Hart

Adam Chase has been living an anonymous life in New York City for three years, trying to lose himself. When an old friend calls from North Carolina, demanding that he return, he refuses; but the familiar voice brought old nightmares to life, and he's drawn back despite himself. In this dark mystery/thriller by John Hart, family means sacrifice, lies, and pain, but Adam goes home anyway.

In the past, Adam was accused of murder by his stepmother but found not guilty; in the present, he is treated with suspicion and disgust. When new deaths and disappearances occur, he's a natural suspect. In addition, Adam's father is the only holdout against an incoming nuclear plant that most in the community believe would bring jobs and prosperity to the rest of the community, and threats are being made against the whole family. Is he being set up?

This Edgar-award winning novel is a beautifully written exploration of family ties, greed, and madness in the best Southern tradition. Check it out--click on the cover art to reserve it in our catalog.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is That?

I’ve been in Newport for just over eight months now, and I still spend most of my free time on the beach or at the bay watching the fishing boats come and go. Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of beachcombing, I’m doing some fishing – none on the ocean, yet – but I just can’t seem to get enough “outdoors” time.

Newport is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I love it here! The ocean abounds with life. New treasures wash ashore every day. The tides are a clock I don’t yet understand and the land is covered with flora and fauna that are new to me.

I lived in the Midwest most of my life. Growing up in that region, I could identify trees, birds, fish, mushrooms and many of the wild flowers. I knew when storms were coming in and I had a pretty good idea from looking at the clouds how bad the storms were going to be. I also had a clear understanding of the geology of the area. Here, I don’t know what I don’t know. Everything is new and I’ve gotten to the point in my excursions that I want to know what it is I’m observing.

What better place to find out than at Newport Public Library?

Did you know our library has over 200 identification guides, with access to 400 more from libraries in our consortium! We have identification guides for almost every need. Here are a few examples: Dragonflies, Birds, Shore Wildflowers, Butterflies, Seabirds, Western Forests, Wild Mushrooms, Frogs & Toads, Wetland Wildlife, Rocks & Minerals, Insects, Seafood, Bird Songs (cd), Wild Orchids, Wild Berries, Seaweed, Aquarium Fish, Dolls, Depression Era Glass, Weeds, Weather, Seashells, Airplanes, Guns, Reptiles, Poisonous Plants, Collectible Glass, Fossils, Posters, Cacti, Stamps, Currency, Coins, Antique Quilts, Lighthouses and MANY, MANY MORE.

If you’ve got a desire to identify something, chances are we have a book that will help you do it. Check out our online catalog at , or come to the library and start getting answers to that nagging “What is that?” question.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

History Comes Alive: BBC Documentaries With Michael Wood

I am an avid reader of history: U.S., European, Asian, Ancient, Economic. you name it, I read it. Lately, I’ve also been checking out Newport Library’s collection of historical documentaries on DVD, especially those titles hosted by historian Michael Wood. Aside from his dashing good looks and nerdy English academic charm, what appeals most about Wood is the rapt enthusiasm for his subjects. Newport library has a number of his BBC programs, including several of the book tie-ins.

The Story of India is Wood’s most recent film. This two-disc series looks to India’s wondrous past to explain its current dynamic presence on the world’s socio-economic stage. Exotic and colorful, filled with music, art, warfare and religion, The Story of India is one my favorites.

On the opposite side of the globe, in England, Wood goes In Search of Shakespeare. So little is actually known about the Bard, his family and friends, that Wood’s inferences, based on the historical context of the times, fill in the color surrounding Shakespeare’s life. It is this contextual coloring that breathes wonderful depth into the world of the English language’s bravest writer.

One of Wood’s earliest films, first presented in 1985, In Search of The Trojan War, is an ancient history buff’s dream come true. Wood presents an in-depth examination as to the likelihood of the Trojan War. He wonders if history can prove the existence of its main chracacters, Agamemnon, Achilles, and the woman whose face launched a thousand ships, Helen of Troy. You probably already know that most of these questions are unanswerable, but just for sheer depth of Wood’s historical imagination, I give In Search of the Trojan War top marks.

We also have:
(Some of the titles are available only in VHS format and downloadable video from Library2Go.)

Woods has a great talent for placing his subject in a broad cultural context and weaving disparate historical elements together to present an informative and entertaining television program. And his enthusiasm for his topic, be it a Spanish Conquistador pillaging across the Andes or the emotional depth of a Shakespearean tragedy, is sure to win you over.

Click on the highlighted title to reserve it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gunpowder, velvet, swashbuckling, and so on

Renaissance fiction is hot right now: several authors are writing it, and that HBO series about the Tudors seems to be doing well. But the truth is, I was spoiled for tales of Renaissance politics and intrigue by Dorothy Dunnett and her peerless series, The Lymond Chronicles. I read these over ten years ago, and nothing has come close ever since.

The Lymond Chronicles tells of Francis Crawford, the Master of Lymond, a Scots nobleman and soldier of fortune. Lymond is one of the most interesting characters of literature: a baffling, frustrating, and compelling rogue whose extraordinary talents lead him to meddle in espionage and politics at the highest levels.

I admit that the first book in the series, The Game of Kings, is a bit confusing and difficult. (Well, it was the first book she ever wrote.) Lymond, convicted of treason against the Scottish crown, reenters Scotland by guile and promptly sets fire to his mother's house (his mother is inside at the time). War is brewing between England and Scotland; having betrayed both countries, which side will Lymond fight on? If you can follow the plot's twists and turns, you will see him clear his name and preserve the life of the five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots.

In subsequent books, Lymond goes to France, where Queen Mary is being raised at the court of King Henri II. He travels to the court of Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He becomes the servant of Tsar Ivan, later to be known as The Terrible, in the barbaric kingdom of Russia. He is on hand for English seizure of Calais in 1558, and for the siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks in 1565. He drinks too much, endures tragedy and heartbreak, falls in love. Dozens of people try to kill him, not without reason.

The plots are serpentine, the historical settings are highly-detailed, the protagonist is a maddening antihero, and the whole thing goes on for about three thousand pages. They are also fabulous. Once you get into this breathtaking series, you won't be able to put them down until you've read them all. If you enjoy historical fiction, I could not recommend any series more highly.

These are the books in the series:

The Game of Kings Queens' Play
The Disorderly Knights

Pawn in Frankincense

The Ringed Castle


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Have you discovered the Amlingmeyers?

Take one salty hard-nosed illiterate cowboy with one hulking charmer of a little brother, and throw them into the dusty Old West, complete with sheriffs, taverns, and ladies of ill repute. Oh, and add a whopping case of Sherlock Holmes-- or rather several cases, all to be solved with the cowpoke version of Holmesian deduction.

Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer and his brother Otto "Little Red" Amlingmeyer are introduced in Steve Hockensmith's first book, Holmes on the Range. A little hard-up for cash, the two rootless cowboys take a job on a ranch, where the general manager is soon discovered unpleasantly dead after a stampede passes. Fortunately, Old Red has been inspired by Otto's reading of a Sherlock Holmes tale, and when more suspicious incidents occur, the brothers are on the case like fleas on a dawg. I mean dog.

Number two is called On the Wrong Track, and in it, the Amlingmeyers do a little "Orient Express". More precisely, Old Red tries out his "deducifyin'" in a professional capacity, when the brothers land a guard job on the Pacific Express railroad.

The Black Dove is number three, with the brothers delving into San Francisco's Chinatown to help an old friend; unfortunately, the old friend's gone up the flume (deader n' a doornail), and the brothers have to mix up with a bunch of hard cases to figure out what's what.

Hockensmith's latest effort, A Crack in the Lens, shows poor Old Red's detecting skills breaking down under the pressure of a true love that never had the chance to flourish, or even leave the cat house. Why, without Little Red to keep him on course, he'd probably have got his plow cleaned! (That means to git a thorough whippin', if you're wonderin'.)

Rassle yerself up some of these here books; they're fine as cream gravy (really good)! Click on the cover art to go directly to the books in our catalog.

Oregon Road Trip In Your Future?

There are few books that can be characterized as indispensable, but to my mind the Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer, published by DeLorme, might just be one of them.

Filled with detailed topographical maps of the entire state, the Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer is a great road atlas, recreational guide, vacation and travel guide, and is the perfect place to start researching your next Oregon adventure. The maps are detailed enough to get a sense of road surfaces, from multi-lane expressway to unpaved logging road, and the topographical features let you know just how up and down your trip is going to go. Global Positioning grids also allow you to synch up your own GPS to the atlas to know where you are down to the foot! Also included is a list of campgrounds with basic information on their sites and services. The atlas suggests outdoor adventure locations for hunters, fishers, skiers, bikers, hikers and boaters. A list of family outing locations and unique natural features rounds out the terrifically informative introductory pages.
I keep one in my car at all times. I never know when I might come to an unknown intersection and wonder “just where does that road go?” With the Oregon Atlas, I always know.

We also keep a reference copy on the atlas stand next to the lower level information desk, so one is always available for your perusal.

The Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer: don’t leave home without it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's next in that series?

One of the questions we're often asked is, "What is the next book in the series by 'So-and-So?'" Sometimes this information can be found in our catalog, but not readily enough to find the answer quickly.

What we often refer to is a website calledWhat's Next? Books in Series, which was created by a library in Michigan. The What's Next database can be searched many different ways; if you only know the author’s first name, give it a try. Searching by the first name 'Janet,' I find there are 14 authors with that name. I see the name I wanted was Janet Evanovich, so click on her name, and then I see a list of the series she has written. I click on the Stephanie Plum series, and get a list of all of the books in order.

You can also search by the author's last name only. A search on the last name 'King' shows ten authors with that last name. Authors with the names Kingsbury, Kingsley, and Pilkington also show up in that search.

If you know a word or two in the title of a series, or a word in the title of a book in the series, you can try searching by one of those. Sixteen authors have a series with the word 'Mary' in the title, and eight authors have a series with the word 'Bees' in the title of one of the books in the series.

There are other ways to refine the search, selecting books for adults or youth, or choosing a genre. If you know what you are searching for, the best results come from picking one field to search, and entering a word or two that you know. However, if you want to look for new authors in a genre like 'Horror,' 'Inspirational,' or 'Western,' you can just click on one of the genres without entering anything else, and you’ll get a long list of authors and titles for that genre.

What's Next? is a great, free website. Give it a try and let it help you decide what you want to read next!

Friday, August 14, 2009

How Popular is Your Name?

Expectant parents often come to the library looking for books on name origins. Naming a new person can be a challenge: you want something that reflects the baby's personality--something individual, not too common, not too weird.

I recently discovered a really delightful website called the Baby Name Wizard. It has a searchable database of name origins and meanings, as do many baby name sites. But what makes the Baby Name Wizard special is its features.

For instance, there's a Style Search function that lets you search for a particular type of name: say you want a traditional boys' name, one that begins with R, with no creative spellings. You can select those features for your search. Then there's the Name Mapper, which shows your name's popularity on a U.S. map.

Best of all is the Name Voyager, an extremely cool interactive chart that shows you how popular a name has been over the years.

This illustration shows that my name, Jennifer, was given to about 17,000 girls per million in the 1970s, making it -- as I suspected -- the number one girls' name of that decade.

When I found the Baby Name Wizard, I spent a lot of time exploring the names of the people I know. It's a lot of fun to play with -- even if you don't have a new addition to your family on the way.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I heard it on the radio!

The Newport Public Library has its very own radio personality! For the past two years, Supervising Librarian Rebecca (Storyweaver) Cohen has been interviewing authors, poets, librarians, and others connected to the world of books and literacy. When no one is available to interview, Rebecca draws from her vast storehouse of tales and weaves a story or two.

“Rebecca’s Book Talk” is aired each Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. on KCUP, 1230 AM or 100.7-2 HD FM.

The library’s website has an archive of radio shows going back to March of this year. You can find them at Just click on a link to download a show and listen to it.

The most recent interview is with Ashland writer Dori Appel, who will be speaking at Writers on the Edge this coming Saturday, August 15. Appel won the Oregon Book Award in Drama in 1998, 1999, and 2001, and her most recent play, Hat Tricks, published by Samuel French, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in 2008.

We hope you make time to listen to “Rebecca’s Book Talk” on the air or online. We are fortunate to have so much literary talent in our community!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creature sleuths

We here at the Newport Library hope that if anyone ever commits a crime against us, the matter will be investigated by human beings. But we cannot deny the growing popularity of mystery novels with animal detectives.

(I'm not talking about mysteries where a human detective has a helpful animal companion; I mean the ones where animals are sentient, and actually do the detecting.)

Here is a quick rundown of the ones we know about.

The Midnight Louie mysteries by Carole Nelson Douglas: Midnight Louie is a black cat.

The Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy: Joe Grey is a gray Manx cat.

The Cat Detective series by Gilbert Morris: Jacques and Cleo are a black cat and a ragdoll cat, respectively.

Dog Gone It by Spencer Quinn: Chet is a mixed-breed dog.

The Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown: Mrs. Murphy, a tabby cat, is aided in her detections by Pewter, a gray cat, and Tee Tucker, a corgi.

The Cottage Tales by Susan Wittig Albert: human author Beatrix Potter solves the mysteries, but the books are populated by a variety of cats, squirrels, rabbits, and other creatures, who talk, and some of whom wear hats and waistcoats.

The Unscratchables by Cornelius Kane: Max "Crusher" McNash is a bull terrier; Cassius Lap is a Siamese cat. They investigate crimes in a world populated only by animals.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann: A flock of sheep investigates the murder of their shepherd.

The Dinosaur Mafia mysteries by Eric Garcia: Los Angeles private eye Vincent Rubino is a Velociraptor disguised as a human.

Are there any other animal detectives missing from this list? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Print Media From Across The Street & Around The Globe

Did you know that Newport Library subscribes to 15 different newspapers? From the Newport News Times to the Financial Times of London, our newspaper collection offers you the best in local, national and international journalism from a variety of perspectives and political persuasions. Below you’ll find a complete list of the papers we carry and their publication frequency.

Newport News Times (twice weekly)
Lincoln City News Guard (weekly)
South Lincoln County News (weekly)
Corvallis Gazette Times (daily)
Eugene Register Guard (daily)
Salem Statesman Journal (daily)
Oregonian (daily)

Christian Science Monitor (weekly)
New York Times (Sunday)
Seattle Times (Sunday)
San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday)
Wall Street Journal (daily)
USA Today (daily)

Financial Times (daily)
Guardian Weekly

Stop by the library, pull up a comfy chair next to the fireplace and read all about what’s going on in the world.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Family Tree by Sheri S. Tepper

Some authors are like composers, arranging lines of melody into a musical whole. Some are like weavers, working the threads over and under for a complex and subtle pattern. Sheri S. Tepper is a painter-- vivid, stylized, bold and brave. Her style is unmistakable; after becoming familiar with her work, you could recognize her from a paragraph, even a sentence.

The Family Tree is one of Tepper's many science fiction books. It reads like a fairy tale, with a deceptively simple tone. Dora Henry, a police officer recently separated from her husband, is investigating the deaths of three geneticists when the world changes. Mother Nature is rebelling against humanity's dominion; plant life of all kind seems determined to reclaim the earth. Henry finds that the murdered geneticists were involved with experiments that have shattered life as we know it. She ends up with more power than she expects, and a terrible choice that will affect the whole world.

Tepper's work always has strongly stated and illustrated themes, which is part of what makes it enjoyable; her storylines are entertaining enough that even if you don't agree with her viewpoint, you'll want to know the whole story. If you enjoy apocalyptic science fiction, environmental or feminist themes, or modern fairytales, and you want to try a writer with a distinctive voice, check out The Family Tree or one of Tepper's other science fiction works.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Newport Library's Twenty-First Century Services

Newport Library offers a full range of information technology services, both in-house and online, available to patrons and visitors alike.

The library has 13 public access internet computers (30 minute and 1 hour stations). We also maintain two stand-alone multi-media PCs available for 2-hour use. Library users may also access the internet via their own devices as we have Wi-Fi capability available throughout the building.

The library’s online presence starts with our homepage, the virtual portal to a world of services. There you’ll find basic information such as library hours and contact info, as well as a schedule of special events, computer classes, literary readings, films, children’s storytimes and adult book-club information. But our homepage is just the start of what we offer online. You can browse our two-county-system catalog of material and request those items either through our reserve system or Interlibrary loan request for those items not available locally.

Internet users can access L-Net, a state-wide web-based reference service accessible 24/7. Users can either chat directly with a librarian or email their questions for later response.

Patrons with reserves can enable email notification, eliminating annoying phone messages and paper notices for reserves and overdues.

From the homepage, library patrons can log on to our subscription databases which give them access to magazine articles, health, business and legal information as well as an extensive collection of resources for the genealogically inclined. You will need your library card number to log into these databases.

Newport Library’s blog, Salmagundi (the one you’re reading right now), is filled with reviews, information on services, and is a good way for patrons and visitors alike to comment on the job we’re doing.

In the future, Newport Library hopes to expand its online presence even further. Look for exciting changes here at Salmagundi and at some of our other online locations. You could live your whole library life online at our site. But, hey, stop by, we haven’t seen you in a while.