Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Hereby Resolve...

The cynical joke about New Year’s resolutions is that we tackle them with vigor at the start of the year, gradually lose momentum, and succumb to our former habits; however, you needn’t look further than your library to find guidance and encouragement for whatever goal you want to achieve.  The following are samples of titles at our library which can help you towards your goal of achieving a healthy body, healthy eating habits, and a healthy mind.

Healthy Body

Water exercise by Melissa Layne
Water Exercise is ideal for cross-training workouts and beginning to advanced fitness workouts. It will also help you recover from injury or manage a chronic condition. With underwater photos and simple instructions for each exercise, you will learn fun exercises in Water Exercise you can do in shallow or deep water. 

Better body workouts for women by Dean Hodgkin and Caroline Pearce

In Better Body Workouts for Women, fitness experts and elite athletes Dean Hodgkin and Caroline Pearce provide you with your own personal training toolkit. You’ll discover the best methods for assessing your current fitness level, identifying physical strengths and deficiencies, setting and refining training goals and selecting and customizing the programs to make an immediate, lasting impact. 

Body trainer for men by Ray Klerck  

Fitness expert and writer Ray Klerck, one of the world’s most sought-after personal trainers, has produced a comprehensive fitness guide specifically tailored to the unique needs and goals of men. In this book, you will find workout programs that can be performed at home or in the park as well as in the gym, making this resource completely accessible and convenient. 

Flow yoga for beginners (DVD) a Yoga, Tribe and Culture production for Acacia 

Flow yoga, also called vinyasa yoga, combines flowing movement with rhythmic breathing for a dynamic mind-body workout. Like a moving meditation, flow yoga unites mind, body, and breath. Your mind clears, your body calms, even as your pulse quickens.

Healthy Eating

The whole life nutrition cookbook : over 300 delicious whole foods recipes, including gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free dishes 
by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre

Food is powerful medicine and whole foods, or foods in their natural unrefined forms, offer us vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that prevent diseases and create a state of balance and health within us.  Readers will learn to prepare foods that promote optimal health, prevent disease, and energize the body. 

by Patricia Barnes-Svarney and Thomas E. Svarney

Your fitness, health, and well-being depend on food and proper nutrition. Yet, knowing what is in the foods we eat, understanding the differences between good and bad fat, learning which foods are good sources of vitamins, keeping up on the latest scientific discoveries, or discerning the effectiveness of different diets can be challenging.

Everyday detox : 100 easy recipes to remove toxins, promote gut health, and lose weight naturally 
by Megan Gilmore  

Most diets and cleanses have all-or-nothing rules that encourage unhealthy cycles of intense restriction followed by inevitable bingeing. In this healthy guide to detoxing naturally, nutritionist and blogger Megan Gilmore shares 100 delicious, properly combined recipes that will leave you feeling satisfied and well nourished while promoting weight loss and improving digestion and sleep.

Reinventing the meal : how mindfulness can help you slow down, savor the moment, and reconnect with the ritual of eating by Pavel Somov, PhD

In Reinventing the Meal, you’ll learn how to reconnect with your body, mind, and world with a three-course approach to mindful eating. Inside, you’ll find mindfulness exercises to help you slow down and enjoy your food, pattern-interruption meditations to infuse presence into your eating life, and unique stress management tips to prevent emotional overeating. 

Healthy Mind

8 keys to practicing mindfulness : practical strategies for emotional health and well-being by Manuela Mischke Reeds  

This book will invite you to sharpen your awareness and ask yourself with more frequency, “What do I notice right now?” or “How do I need to respond or be with this situation?”  Whether you are new to mindfulness or a seasoned practitioner, you can make the conscious decision to change your approach to life. Moment by moment you have the opportunity to cultivate awareness that will make a difference in how you engage with the world on a daily basis.

How to relax  by Thich Nhat Hanh

With sections on healing, relief from nonstop thinking, transforming unpleasant sounds, solitude, being peace, and more, How to Relax includes meditations you can do to help you achieve the benefits of relaxation no matter where you are. 

Big magic : creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.
Rewire : change your brain to break bad habits, overcome addictions, conquer self-destructive behavior by Richard O'Connor, PhD

Rewire gives readers a road–map to overcoming the most common self-destructive habits, including procrastination, excessive worrying, internet addiction, overeating, risk-taking, and self-medication, among others. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Have yourself a Merry Hoopla Christmas!

What do Frank Sinatra, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Charles Dickens, and the Muppets have in common? They all are featured in a Christmas album, eBook, audiobook, or movie that you can download for free from Hoopla!  We usually offer up to four checkouts a month, but from now until January 1st, you can download up to eight items!

Four of over 2,000 Christmas albums in Hoopla!

You can get to Hoopla from our home page. After you create an account with your Newport Library Card, you can log in and have access to thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, albums, and movies.

Hoopla has over 200 Christmas audiobooks

There is never a wait for an item in Hoopla. If you want to listen to Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, just log in and start listening! 


You can even download an Illustrated Classics comic book version of it! (Does anyone besides me remember reading Illustrated Classics as a kid?)

When you want to kick back and watch a holiday movie, there are plenty to choose from. 

And last but not least, you can choose from over 500 Christmas-themed eBooks to read on your computer or electronic device!

Happy holidays, and we hope you give Hoopla a try!

Friday, December 11, 2015

El Viejo y el Mar por Ernesto Hemingway

 “Él era un viejo que pescaba solo en un bote en la corriente del golfo y se había ido ochenta y cuatro días, ahora sin tener un pez.” Y así comienza la historia del Viejo y el Mar por Ernesto Hemingway.

Esta historia  de un viejo pescador, tomando sus viejos huesos en su sencilla barca para intentar una vez más volver a pescar, aunque todos sus vecinos creen que la suerte le ha dejado. Lo miran con lástima y lo juzgan con el juicio del joven, maduro y fuerte...que él es el pasado, acabado y demasiado viejo. Solo una persona aún tiene fe en él. Un chico...el anciano le ha enseñado a pescar. Él es el héroe de su joven vida, aunque el chico no le puede ayudar porque tiene que ir a pescar con su padre, aun así el anciano se aventura a pescar solo en el inmenso mar, una vez más.

Este es un cuento muy fácil de leer y entender, que nos da una muestra muy grande de lo que nosotros como seres humanos somos capaces de lograr cuando nos lo proponemos, nos transporta a lugares tan maravillosos así como peligrosos.  Dentro de esta historia Ernesto Hemingway no fue solo un escritor maravilloso, él fue el maestro.

Este es un libro muy interesante y para toda la familia y está disponible en la Biblioteca Pública de Newport. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best of the Best 2015

LibraryReads, the site devoted to highlighting the favorite new books of librarians and booksellers, has revealed its highest ranked books of 2015! Click on the covers to place holds. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Atlantic by Simon Winchester

How do you write a book about an ocean? Well, if you’re Simon Winchester, you begin at the beginning and tell stories. Winchester explains the various geological forces that created the Atlantic Ocean, and then goes on through history explaining how the Atlantic influenced people and events. The subtitle of the book is “Great sea battles, heroic discoveries, titanic storms, and a vast ocean of a million stories”, and that covers some of what you get in this entertaining book.

There are a couple of maps in the beginning of the book, but Winchester describes so many places I’d never heard of that I read with my iPad locked on to Google maps. I have to admit that I skimmed over most of the chapter dealing with sea battles, but there were dozens of other stories I thoroughly enjoyed. One of my favorite sections was Winchester’s description of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago northwest of Scotland that is still part of the kingdom of Denmark. Winchester describes his own journey out to the Faroes through the heaving seas of the North Atlantic and I got side-tracked for several minutes looking at Internet photographs of these amazing islands.  

“Atlantic” covers plenty of history, from the first hominids who migrated from central Africa down to the coast of South Africa; to the Phoenicians who first ventured past Gibraltar; on through the decades of early explorers like the Vikings, Columbus, and Ponce de Leon; then the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the many attempts to lay the trans-Atlantic telephone cable; and the over-fishing of cod in the North Atlantic.

Simon Winchester really is a gifted storyteller and "Atlantic" is a fascinating read. Newport Library has a copy in regular print, a copy in Large Print and it’s also available to download from Library2Go

Blog by Kay 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Bryan Denson: The Spy's Son

Spies are not just the stuff of Hollywood; they are an essential part of each nation's security strategy.  Sometimes, however, a spy will cross over to the other side.  Such was the case with Jim Nicholson, the subject of Bryan Denson's new book, The Spy's Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia. Denson will talk about his book on Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Newport Library. 

Jim Nicholson was one of the CIA’s top veteran case officers. By day, he taught spycraft at the CIA’s clandestine training center, The Farm. By night, he was a minivan-driving single father racing home to have dinner with his three kids. But Nicholson led a double life. For more than two years, he had met covertly with agents of Russia’s foreign intelligence service in locations around the world and turned over troves of classified documents, including the identities of hundreds of trainees. In 1997, Nicholson became the highest ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage. But his duplicity didn’t stop there.
Jim Nicholson and his children (Nathan is in the white shirt)
While behind the bars of a federal prison, the former mole systematically groomed the one person he trusted most to serve as his stand-in: his youngest son, Nathan. In his early twenties, Nathan was easy prey for his father. When Nicholson asked him to courier messages out of prison to his Russian contacts, Nathan saw an opportunity to not only make something of himself but to make his father proud by following him into the spy world.

The Spy’s Son was published in May 2015. Paramount Pictures has optioned the rights of the book. Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf will play a father-son spy duo in Spy’s Kid.
Bryan Denson

Denson is a veteran journalist who specializes in telling hard-to-get stories in long-form narratives. He spends weekdays as a federal courts reporter and national security writer for The Oregonian and OregonLive.

His work has helped uncover scandal in the government’s biggest work program for disabled Americans; pressured the U.S. Air Force to rewrite deadly flight manual instructions; and exposed wasteful and duplicative efforts to clone monkeys at a national primate lab. His award-winning series “The Slaying of a Generation” chronicled a 300 percent increase in the gunfire deaths of Houston's African American teens in the early 1990s.

Copies of The Spy’s Son will be available for purchase and signing. This program is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet

Elizabeth Taylor, famous for her luminous eyes and scandalous marriages, had her first starring role at the age of twelve in National Velvet. Based on the 1935 novel by Enid Bagnold, this 1944 film tells the story of Velvet Brown, a 12-year-old girl who won a horse in a raffle. National Velvet is December’s Literary Flick. It will be shown on Tuesday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Velvet decides to train her horse for the Grand National Steeplechase, and wants to be the jockey, although female jockeys are banned from the race. Mickey Rooney stars as Mi, a former jockey who is drawn into helping Velvet train her horse. Angela Lansbury has a supporting role as Edwina Brown, Velvet’s older sister.

Taylor called it "the most exciting film" of her career. MGM wanted an actress with a British accent and the ability to ride horses. Taylor was cast, but as she was deemed too short, filming was pushed back several months to allow her to grow.  She used that time to practice riding.

National Velvet became a box office success upon its release on Christmas 1944. Of Elizabeth Taylor, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times stated "her whole manner in this picture is one of refreshing grace," while James Agee of The Nation wrote that she "is rapturously beautiful ... I hardly know or care whether she can act or not."  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Browsings, by Michael Dirda

I consider myself the stereotypically well-read library employee. It’s what I do. But after spending a rainy weekend in front of the fire with Browsings, Michael Dirda’s latest essays about all things books, I feel humbled. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read most of the authors he recommends.

But I shouldn't be too hard on myself, because Dirda is a fan of late 19th and early 20th century genre fiction, especially mysteries, science fiction and para-normal fantasy. And his fandom borders on the fanatical, as he freely admits. His basement is filled with boxes of books. His attic: boxes of books. And he probably keeps countless more in storage units sprinkled around the Washington DC area. Scary, no?

Although, technically a book reviewer, Dirda doesn’t really consider himself a critic at all. "I’m a bookman, an appreciator, a cheerleader for the old, the neglected, the marginalized, and the forgotten. On sunny days, I call myself a literary journalist.”

His reading is eclectic to say the least. Fancy an early 20th century locked room mystery? How about Death From A Top Hat, a thriller by Clayton Rawson about the magician-detective, The Great Merlini. Lost-race novel more your thing? The Lost Continent, written by Cutcliffe Hyne and published in 1900, should be on your reading list. And if your tastes run to the classic English gentleman sleuth, Dornford Yates’ Perishable Goods from around 1930 might be more your cup of tea. Dirda is on a mission, a “personal crusade: to entice people to try unexpected books, old books, neglected books, genre books, upsetting books, downright strange books.”

Are you looking for something to read but not in the mood for another Patterson, Steele, or Jance? I guarantee you’ll find something unexpected, neglected, and probably out of print in Michael Dirda’s delightful new collection.

And then you can talk to Katie, Newport Library’s Interloan Librarian. Because I can also guarantee that you won’t find many of these titles on our shelves. But don’t let that stop you.

You can reserve Michael Dirda’s Browsings here.

And should you find something that tickles your fancy, you can order it with our Online ILL Form.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Feast Your Eyes

It’s that time of year when many of us share our favorite treats with friends and family, and Newport Public Library’s collection of cookbooks might expand your options. We feature an extensive variety of offerings along many dietary disciplines. Here are gems to be mined for those with the time to explore and ponder and, as always, staff are more than willing to help you find what you seek.

Then there are the periodicals where editors have sifted and sorted and rated some of the best seasonal treats for each month of the year to amuse and amaze. The most recent month’s publication is on display only; however, for these we allow five free copies which makes a reasonably structured recipe yours on demand.

Bumping around in back issues lately rewarded my curiosity. The November 2014 issue of Saveur surprised me with a recipe for Navy Bean Pie on p.18. Touted as a top fundraiser for the author’s Chicago church, the “silky custard like filling” recipe comes down from a best friend’s immigrant grandmother.

My own aunt sends me her copy of Cook’s Illustrated which I recommend for the science of cooking as well as the section “Quick Tips” in each edition. This magazine brought me up to speed on banana cream pie when it suggested slicing banana into orange juice to coat and prevent browning. Much better!

Cooking Light, December 2014, has us parboiling cut potatoes then roughly tossing them with a bit of olive oil for a slightly mashed surface prior to roasting for an extra crisp crust. Low fat and fun eating here.

My friend Judy shared her secret of roasting fruit for dessert toppings last summer and I see that Bon Appetit (January 2015) includes a roasted citrus with avocado salad for a more savory dish.

Rustic, elegant, and retro Thanksgiving menus are featured in Country Living (November 2014). The photos are enough to satisfy the ravenous, but add in the recipe for baked kale gratin and it’s time to get cooking.

My future includes snooping into Vegetarian Times magazine for tips on vegan main course options for this year’s Christmas dinner.

What better way to spend the increasingly wet and windy winter months than exploring our cookbook and magazine collection at Newport Public Library? Come feast your eyes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Seven Types Of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman

How do I rave about a book without actually raving? How do I tell you that Elliot Perlman’s Seven Types of Ambiguity is certainly the best book I’ve read this year? And possibly the best book I’ve read in many years. With literary parallels to the masterworks of Dickens, Tolstoy, and Thomas Mann, Perlman’s 600-plus page novel takes its time. Be prepared. It’s worth every minute.

Since being down-sized from his teaching job, 30-something Simon Heywood rarely leaves his Melbourne apartment, preferring a meal of cereal and Scotch and reading the Classics to dealing with modern life. His principled naiveté and an unhealthy obsession with ex-girlfriend Anna, whom he hasn’t seen in ten years, are catalysts to a life spiraling out of control. And Simon sinks to an all-time low when he kidnaps Anna’s young son, Sam.

Simon’s downfall is told from seven different points of view, from the people (including Simon), most affected by this foolish act of romantic desperation. Their own separate versions of what happened, their own weaknesses and prejudices, are given like testimony at Simon’s trial. And we readers must act as jury. Like any trial, there are extenuating circumstances, dramatic confessions, and piercing cross-examinations that inevitably lead to the truth.

Seven Types of Ambiguity was published way back in 2003. I don’t know how this bulky gem of a book has sat on our library’s shelves all this time without me knowing about it. And I’m eternally grateful to a Newport Library patron for putting this book into my hands. Thanks, Rose!

If you like intricate plotting, exquisitely beautiful prose, and an almost retro literary styling, like me, you’ll love Elliot Perlman’s Seven Types of Ambiguity. And you can reserve it here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Color your way to calm!

I remember when I was a kid, the thrill of opening a new box of crayons, smelling the fresh waxiness and admiring the bright colors.  Later as a teenager, I enjoyed using felt pens to color psychedelic Peter Max-style designs. Now adults are coloring with a passion; even my 86 year old mother has joined the frenzy!  When I heard that libraries were hosting adult coloring clubs, I thought, "Why not?"  So next week, will be the first meeting of our new Coastal Colorists Club.

The program will take place from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18.  We have a variety of coloring pages to choose from, and a supply of colored pencils.  If you are already into coloring and prefer your own tools, feel free to bring them.

 Once I started researching adult coloring books, I realized what a huge phenomenon they have become! They are being promoted as a means of reducing stress, and compared to meditation for their cognitive and mental health benefits.

I'm not making any promises, but I do hope those who come will enjoy themselves, feel relaxed, and possibly make new friends!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Zeroes: fun paranormal YA from Westerfeld, Lanagan, and Biancotti

Zeroes is a new young adult book by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti, which is very reminiscent of a fun but short-lived TV series I liked a lot—anyone see Misfits, the show about a group of teens unexpectedly given superpowers by a freak storm? If not, don’t worry, it’s still available free on—and, on a further tangent, it stars Iwan Rheon, now of Game of Thrones fame, playing a VERY different and interesting character.

Back to the book—Zeroes has six main characters with (you guessed it) superpowers. They don’t know why they have these powers: their best guess so far is that it has something to do with them all being born in the same year. Their powers are handy, but most have an unavoidable flip side. Each has a special nickname as part of the group.

Scam (Ethan): Some people hear voices that don’t belong to them in their heads. Scam’s “voice” isn’t just in his head—it comes out of his mouth, saying whatever it takes to get whatever Scam currently wants. Problem: it’s not big on taking the long-view or considering consequences.

Bellwether (Nate): He can see the energy that ties a group or a crowd together, and lead them where he wants them to go, making them think it was all their own idea. But what’s his end game? And how can his friends ever trust him?

Flicker (Riley): Blind since birth, she’s developed the ability to see through other people’s eyes. Her power seems to have the least amount of downside; maybe that’s why she comes across as the most ‘normal’ one.

Anonymous (Thibeau): Nice not to be noticed, to be able to sneak around and spy—or is it? Anonymous’ family abandoned him when he got sick at the hospital, because without his constant presence at home, they forgot his existence and moved his grandmother into his bedroom. Now he lives unnoticed in a luxury hotel—but even his friends can’t remember his name.

Mob (Kelsey): Like Bellwether, she can see and manipulate the energy of groups of people, but in more of a crowd-surfing way and less of a leadership way. If he’s a scientist, she’s an artist. But unfortunately, the crowd affects her back, sometimes filling her with fear or anger, and she can’t always resist.

Crash (Chizara): Her power comes with a hunger to destroy anything electrical, seemingly at the circuit level, and an ability to do it with the strength of her mind. She must stay far away from hospitals or prisons for fear of losing control and causing serious damage. The joy of crashing systems is like a drug which she must constantly resist, and she’s harangued by the constant buzz of modern life.

A really fun book, and presumably the opening of a series. Scam’s mouth leads him into the kind of serious trouble that involves guns and warehouses and large sums of dirty cash, and the others converge to rescue him, testing their bonds and strengthening their purpose as they go. Can’t wait for the next one.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Musical Misery Tour

No, this isn't about the Beatles, though Sir Paul and Ringo would have been great in cameo roles. This is about Les Misérables, a film in which police inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) sings as he taunts and torments former convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman).  

We'll be showing Les Mis on Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. as our monthly Literary Flick.  Based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel, the film tells the story of Valjean, who is released after spending 19 years in prison. Unable to find shelter or work because of his status as an ex-convict, Valjean violates his parole, and assumes a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine. (He cleans up well!) In time he becomes a wealthy factory owner and mayor of a small town in France. He is always alert to the risk of being captured again by Javert, who is ruthless in hunting down law-breakers, believing they cannot change for the better. 

One of Valjean's factory workers, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), is fired by her foreman because she resisted his advances. Desperate to support her daughter, Cosette, she falls into prostitution. Valjean finds out what happened, and agrees to take care of Cosette when Fantine dies. When Cosette is grown, they are swept up in the political turmoil in Paris, which culminates in the Paris Uprising of 1832. 

The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won three: Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. It also won three Golden Globe Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman), and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway).

Be sure to bring a hanky or two. It isn't called Les Misérables for nothing.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the opening book of a new steampunk series by Jim Butcher, and I love it!

Butcher is well known for both The Dresden Files, a paranormal fantasy series about a modern-day wizard with a storefront business in Chicago, and The Codex Alera, a fantasy series about a boy who’s bullied and demeaned because he seems to have no magical ability. Both series were excellent, and The Dresden Files made it in a short-lived but enjoyable way to television.

Steampunk, the strange melding of Victoriana and a projection of steam and gear-based technology that never evolved (think clockwork man), is not a passion of mine.  Love the aesthetic but the fictional occurrences haven't tickled my fancy.  However, Jim Butcher. Enough said.
 A few interesting characters draw you in immediately—a dishonored but eminently honorable airship captain, a young etherealist who sadly seems half mad, a bossy rich girl trying to rebel against social expectations, and a sheltered young woman who wants nothing but to stay home and talk to cats. Next thing you know, you’re a hundred pages in and have barely bothered to breathe. A fascinating world opens before you, where the planet’s surface is a frightening wasteland, long abandoned, and humanity lives within towering spires, traveling from one to another in airships powered by ethereal energy. Each spire has its own economy and culture, and political rivalries arise within and between them.

But it’s about more than politics. Something terrible is coming up from the surface, hiding in the tunnels of Albion Spire. Why now? And who's behind it? Our heroes must find the answers to these questions, and quickly, if they want to survive.

Fans of epic fantasy and science fiction will enjoy The Aeronaut’s Windlass—perhaps fans of nautical books too, because of the descriptions of shipboard life and the battles between airships. Also, fans of talking cats. (If you think that’s too cutesy, don’t worry—these cats are sweet and furry, yes, but also red in tooth, claw, and mind, like good hunters should be.)
 Photo by Dennis Carr/Postal 67 via Flickr/creative commons

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Talking about dying

Death is often an unmentionable topic, but sooner or later, it touches all of us. A beloved pet dies, then a distant great-aunt. Then a parent, a sibling, or a spouse. How do we prepare for these losses? Or for the prospect of our own death? One approach is to talk with others.

The Newport Public Library will host Talking about Dying on Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 p.m., facilitated by Bob Daley from Benton Hospice Service in Corvallis.

Talking about Dying is a community discussion that provides an opportunity to reflect on the stories and influences that shape what we think about death and dying, and to hear different perspectives and ideas from fellow community members.

Participants will explore essential questions: What do we think about when we think of dying? As people we’ve known have moved closer to death, what seemed to work well for them and the people close to them? What seemed difficult? When we think about our own dying, what do we want most?

Daley has worked as the Transitions and Caregiver Support Program Coordinator at Benton Hospice Service in Corvallis, Oregon for over five years.  In this role, he discusses issues surrounding death and dying with family caregivers on a daily basis and connects families with appropriate information and resources.  He also has ten years of group facilitation experience in various settings, and has a Master’s degree in Teaching from Oregon State University.

Talking about Dying is a statewide initiative by Oregon Humanities, created in partnership with Cambia Health Foundation, to bring conversations about death and dying to communities throughout the state.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Scary Stories Are My Bag

 “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” W.B. Yeats

 Ahh .. Halloween approaches and here at the library are the scariest stories ever! Nightmares born not of over consumption of candy corn, but from examination of human potential gone awry.

With horror, everyone has their limit. I found mine with Mo Hayder’s The Devil of Nanking, a story based on the confused imaginings of a mistreated child. This is historic fiction unbound and a shocking view of humanity under duress.

Time for a non-fiction reality check? Check out The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout. In laboratory settings when asked to view pictures of people experiencing emotions, a typical sociopath’s brain emits signal patterns more commonly found in subjects solving arithmetic problems, and they don’t like to lose.

Speaking of sociopaths, has it been awhile since you’ve read Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris or Rules of Prey by John Sandford? Where, indeed, is Dexter?

I prefer metaphysics with my misgivings and offer up Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in keeping with our small town ethic. Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 will definitely rev you up while Preston and Child’s Cabinet of Curiosities might rivet your attention. Never overlook Stephen King or my favorite of his, The Stand. Finally a sweet little treat, Dean Koontz’s Brother Odd, to add to your bag of goodies.

Sometimes a good scare is just the ticket.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Librarians' October Favorites

The votes are in! LibraryReads, a list created by librarians and booksellers of the month's best titles, is a great resource for choosing your next read. October's list is full of goodies! Click on the cover photo to place a hold.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Future tense

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead snagged my attention as soon as I saw it.  On the cover, city blocks are laid out like a giant monopoly board, with one or two objects on each square; a key, a shoe, lamp post, a two dollar bill. Intrigued, I read the inside front dust jacket, and was hooked!

The story is narrated by Miranda, a sixth grader who lives in New York City with her mother.  Miranda is best friends with Sal, the boy who lives in the apartment below. When Sal is punched for no reason on his way home from school, he stops speaking to her.

Miranda gets to know Marcus, the boy who punched Sal, and they find they share a common passion; the book "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.  They enjoy debating the paradox of time travel, and wonder if it would be possible for a future self to meet a past self.

Mysterious notes start showing up, imploring Miranda to help the writer save someone.  At first she thinks the notes are a joke, but events they mention start to come true.

While this book was written for middle-school children, it has an honesty and appeal that go beyond age categories. Miranda is a young girl branching out with new friendships and having her first crush.  She has a close relationship with her mother, yet they sometimes argue. And then there is a homeless man who sleeps under the mailbox by her apartment. Who is he, and why does he behave so bizarrely?  Like the pieces on an intricate board game, the players move through their paces to an inevitable, but unexpected conclusion.

When You Reach Me won the 2010 John Newbery Medal, an award for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. You can reserve your copy here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Faithful Place by Tana French

I am completely hooked on the books of Tana French. Every one I read, I’m now up to three, gets better and better, even though I’m reading them in no particular order.

It just so happens that Faithful Place is the third installment in her Dublin Murder Squad series. Although the books contain some of the same characters, each book features a different investigator as protagonist; we see events unfolding through her or his eyes. And it is in constructing these main characters, with their distinct and complex voices narrating their stories, where Tana French’s talents truly shine.

Undercover detective Frank Mackey grew up on the gritty hardscrabble streets of Dublin’s inner-city neighborhood, Faithful Place. As a teen he’d planned to run away to England with Rosie, the love of his life. They agree to a midnight rendezvous at the top of the street. But she never shows. Despondent, and thinking that Rosie’s father has somehow thwarted their plans, Frank leaves Faithful Place, never to return.

That is, until 20-plus years later. Rosie’s suitcase and their ferry tickets turn up in an abandoned house. Returning to Faithful Place. Frank must now reunite with the dysfunctional cess pit that is his family. He must maneuver neighborhood feuds and interrogate old friends and enemies who are now mostly bitter, alcoholic, middle-aged wrecks. Nobody takes kindly to people who leave the neighborhood, and among the Faithful Place crew, Frank, himself, becomes a suspect.

I’ve never read mysteries for their “whodunit” qualities. With the books of Tana French, I can simply sit back and enjoy some great writing, get inside the heads of complex and interesting characters, and imagine such a place. Faithful Place.

You can reserve Tana French’s Faithful Place here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Now you see him, now you don't!

Get a head-start on Halloween by coming to this month's Literary Flick, The Invisible Man.  The movie will be shown on Tuesday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m.

Filmed in 1933, the movie is based on H. G. Wells' novel of the same name, published in 1897. Claude Rains stars as Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist who discovered the secret of invisibility while conducting a series of tests involving an obscure drug called monocane.

With his face swathed in bandages and his eyes obscured by dark goggles, he takes a room at The Lion's Head Inn in an English village. He is evicted because of his behavior, and flees from the police. The drug has driven him mad, and he devises a plot to dominate the world through a reign of terror.


The film was named by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Films of 1933, and is best known for its clever and groundbreaking visual effects.  The original New York Times movie review can be read here.

Literary Flicks are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ex Machina

Caleb, a naive young programmer who works for the world’s most advanced search engine, is invited by Nathan, the company’s enigmatic and reclusive founder, to assist him on a top secret new project. The programmer’s job: to interview a robot named Ava and find the flaws in her programming. How human is she? Does she pass the Turing test? As Caleb spends ever more time with Ava, he develops feelings for the AI that lead him to ask uncomfortable questions about the research work and his involvement in it.

Thus begins Ex Machina, one of the most thought-provoking, and frankly, terrifying, films I’ve seen this year. Just like the characters in the film, I felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under me. Just like Caleb, Nathan and Ava, I was never sure who was really in charge. Like Caleb, I feared that all was not as it appeared. I wondered along with Ava what would happen if she failed the test. What happened to the earlier versions of Ava? Is Nathan a prophetic genius or a dangerous psychopath?

And what does it mean to be human anyway?

I pondered questions like these for weeks after seeing Ex Machina. You might too.

You can reserve Ex Machina here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fancy A Trip To Mallorca?

Some of my friends traveled to far away lands this past summer: Russia, Greece, Italy. I was not so lucky. However, thanks to Peter Nichol’s wonderful new novel, The Rocks, I spent a delightful few weeks transported to the sun-drenched Mediterranean isle of Mallorca. But this is not just a light-hearted beach read. Underneath the sunny exterior, The Rocks tells a double love story and reveals a tragic secret as the plot unravels backwards in time.

Lulu is a free-spirited expat Englishwoman who runs a hotel, The Rocks, overlooking the sea. Her ex-husband Gerald, owns a small olive and citrus orchard a few miles down the road. Once, deliriously in love, they separated inexplicably the day after their honeymoon and haven’t spoken in 50 years. Luc, Lulu’s son from a second marriage, and Aegina, Gerald’s daughter with his beloved Mallorcan wife, try to overcome their parents’ enmity, but their own love is thwarted by a family history they don’t understand.

By telling the tale in reverse, moving backwards through time as characters become ever younger, The Rocks is propelled by a kind of fatalistic energy that is both engaging and discomforting. We already know what has happened (I won’t give that away), because it’s related in the first few pages. Now we want to know why. It’s a conceit, but one that works well.

A great story coupled with a beautiful location, told in an unusual way. That about sums up Peter Nichol’s The Rocks. It was a book I looked forward to reading every evening; like going on vacation and meeting some very interesting characters along the way. I hope you like it as much as I did.

You can reserve Peter Nichols, The Rocks, here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lucy in the Sky with Banned Books!

Picture yourself in a chair by the window
With chamomile tea, curled up with a book
Suddenly, someone peers over your shoulder,
The censor, with flames in his eyes.

You should not read that book, it’s full of blasphemy,
Sex, and political lies,
I must protect you from thoughts that will harm your mind,
To implement my designs.

Celebrate the freedom to read,
Don’t give in to others' creeds,
That’s what makes a democracy! 
R E A D   F R E E

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Banned Books Week is observed every year at the end of September.  Don't let the censors win; celebrate your freedom to read freely!

Banned Books display at Newport Public Library