Tuesday, August 27, 2013

March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom August 28, 1963

I Have a Dream by
Martin Luther King, Jr.
This week's Kidz Korner book display celebrate's the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and  Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. 

Extraordinary People of the Civil Rights Movement
by Sheila Hardy and P. Stephen Hardy

Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Jill Wheeler
Riding to Washington
by Gwenyth Swain
Heart and Soul
by Kadir Nelson

Heroes for Civil Rights
by David Adler
King for Kids
featuring recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My Uncle's Big Heart by
Angela Farris Watkins

Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Leader
by Patricia and Frederick McKissack

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson

Even though I've never read any of his other books, it seemed kind of unusual that Bill Bryson wrote A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book about the sciences, because I thought it was a rather different subject from what he usually writes. At the beginning of the book, though, Bryson explains that the reason he wrote the book was because he realized how little he knew about his home planet. He, therefore, started doing research so that he could write a book that explained enough about the sciences to be educational but that was not so in-depth or filled with jargon that it wouldn't be easily accessible. As an average person who doesn't work in a scientific field, I enjoyed his final product.

As the book's title implies, beginning with the Big Bang, Bryson covers a broad range of sciences and scientific history. To various extents, he covers topics as diverse as the forming of the universe, the make-up of Earth, atoms, gravity, weather, cells, DNA, evolution, fossils, and extinction. However, this isn't just a textbook to discuss the facts associated with these topics. While discussing these topics, Bryson also tells stories of the people who made the discoveries. Some of these stories are about famous people you know, such as Isaac Newton, but some are about more obscure people who were probably never discussed in any of your science classes. The stories are often interesting, some of them revealing eccentricities of the people involved in our scientific history.

I think Bryson put a lot of time and effort into learning more about our planet. We are lucky that he shared the fruits of his labors with us because his book is an educational and entertaining experience.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

You've seen the movie, but have you read the book?  Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is an enjoyable Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.  Yes, I'd seen the movie multiple times, but I decided to try the book, and I'm glad I did.  Given how some movies are quite different from the books on which they are supposed to be based, I was surprised how well the classic movie followed the book.  Even many of the conversations seemed to be quoted word-for-word!  Having said that, even if you've seen the movie, the book will still give you new things to appreciate.  You'll learn more of Scarlett's family's backstory as well as meet characters who weren't in the movie.

Of all the new things that I encountered in the book, though, what I probably liked the best was knowing more of what Scarlett was thinking and what motivated her to do what she did.  From watching the movie, I think I had misunderstood some of her feelings and motivations.  Having a better understanding of them probably made me like her character better and, perhaps, made her into more of a sympathetic character than I had previously considered her to be.  I also really enjoyed Rhett's character and, after finishing the book, probably sympathized more with him than I already did.  In the end, I'm so glad I've now experienced the book instead of just the movie.  I encourage you to do the same!

What is your favorite kid's book? JCPL Seymour Branch Staff Picks

What is your Favorite Children's Book?  
Seymour Library Staff Picks

Julia Aker
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
by Judy Blume

Becky Brewer
Head of Information Services
A Girl of the Limberlost 
by Gene Stratton-Porter

Janet Hensen
Information Services
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing 
by Judy Blume

Kim Dringenburg
Information Services
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Kathi Linz
Information Services
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by Frank L. Baum

Joanna Jackson
Information Services
Dear America: Color Me Dark
The Diary of Nell Lee Love 
by Patricia C. McKissack

Beth Duncan
Technical Services
The Secret Garden 
by Frances Hogson Burnett

Benjamin Boyer
Information Technology Specialist
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Christina Hime
Circulation Manager
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Kelsey Killion
Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister

Lyndsay Lyons
Misty of Chincoteague
by Marguerite Henry

Erika Scott
You Are Special by Max Lucado

Melessa Wiesehan
Head of Youth Services
Rabbit's New Rug by Marc Brown

Ashley Vega
Youth Services
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett

Shannon Sumner
Youth Services
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin

Kathe McIntosh
Youth Services
Lilly's Big Day
by Kevin Henkes

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is not an easy book emotionally, because you know from the first page that someone is up to something experimenting with late children and early teens - and you don't know for sure if they have good or evil intentions.
It took a few pages, but not too many, for me to become attached to Thomas, to empathize with his confusion, anger, and fear. It also doesn't take very long for the world as it is first given to change in large and dramatic ways.
Maybe this is giving away too much, but the "Creators" are looking for young people who won't give up no matter what. That should tell you about the types of issues these children face, as well as how the odds are stacked.
I can't say I "enjoyed" it or "liked" it, but I'm interested enough in the story line and the characters to have grabbed the other books in the series. I want to find out what happens once the kids get back to the real world.
The other books in the series are The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. There is also a prequel called The Kill Order.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

Imagine waking up in a hospital in Florence, Italy and not remembering how you got there.  Then a few moments later, a doctor tells you that you have been shot in the head.  That is how Dan Brown's newest book, The Inferno begins.  Robert Langdon, a symbologist from Harvard, flees the hospital with Dr. Sienna Brooks because he is being hunted down.  Langdon soon discovers an artifact in his jacket pocket.  Robert's journey to flee his adversary takes him past architectural wonders, through secret passageways, and by famous paintings and sculptures in Florence and Venice.  While attempting to solve a riddle based upon Dante's Divine Comedy, Langdon is asked to assist the director of the World Health Organization in battling a terrorist who has threatened to release a toxin that could cause a world-wide plague.  An intriguing read

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I've had a heads-up on the arrival of this book in our library. It is being cataloged as I write this and will be on the New Books shelf soon.

Image of item

Knit your own moustache : create 20 knit and crochet disguises / Vicky Eames, a.k.a. wife of Brian.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Victoria Square Mysteries by L.L. Barnett

Of the three Victoria Square mysteries by L.L. Barnett, I have read two so far and am working on the third.

The first one is called A Crafty Killing. As I love crafts, the title called out to me as I walked by the book rack. If I don't care about the main character somewhere near the beginning, I don't waste my time finishing the book. In this case, I not only finished the book, but grabbed the other two in the series and have stacked up four more books from another series by the same author.

Katie, a young widow, suddenly inherits a huge building which houses booths for the local artists. She finds that she has also inherited the business debts - and two people are killed inside the building. Any publicity seems to be good publicity and the curious public comes in droves to see the scene of the crime.

If that weren't enough, she has to sift through the rubble left by vandals (?) and deal with the irate nephew of the previous owner. Two handsome men claim her attention and she is accidentally voted in as the president of the local merchants' association.

The book is fun at the same time that it is suspenseful.

The second book in the series is called The Walled Flower. One of Katie's elder booth renters, Rose, lost her only niece some 20 years earlier. Katie accidentally finds the bones behind a wall she was helping to demolish.

Katie has a love/hate relationship - mostly hate - with the officer on the case, Detective Davenport. He never seems to make any progress or even to care about the dead woman until another woman, one who had information about the first murder, is killed at the same house.

Katie asks questions to help ease Rose's mind about her niece which riles the murderer.

The side complications in Katie's life are that she has to move in only two weeks and another of the older vendors asks her to be her matron-of-honor. Katie thinks that all she will have to do is show up for the wedding, but no, that is not the bridezilla's plan at all. She hands Katie a list with all of the duties she expects her matron-of-honor to do and turns on the tears whenever Katie hesitates. Add to that the mother-of-all-complainers as one of Katie's vendors, and you have huge sympathy for the woman who has to juggle all of these with the skill of a diplomat.

Again, I found this book entertaining throughout the whole mystery.

P.S. Odds are you won't guess the murderer until it's too late.

Kathi Linz

Monday, June 3, 2013

Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer Holm

Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer Holm is the third book in a trilogy. Jane Peck's story wouldn't necessarily have to end here. There are obviously more adventures to be found in the great wilderness of northern California in the days of the first settlers.

Jane has guts.  She stands up for what's right no matter who she has to challenge to do it.

The settlers and the Chinook Indians lived comfortably as neighbors, helping each other out until Jane's former fiance and Mr. Biddle show up for the purpose of land speculation. Arriving with Mr. Biddle is his daughter, Jane's arch-nemesis, Sally. Sally is determined to ruin Jane's life - and she does an admirable job of it. When Jane tries to right things, she only manages to look jealous or spiteful.

An election gone horribly awry makes things MUCH worse, not just for for Jane, but for the whole community, the Chinooks, and Katy, a sweet child of mixed parentage whose white father dies.

The situation deteriorates to such a point that, not more than 20 pages from the end of the book, I asked myself, "How is this going to come out right with only this much to go?"

The author tells a cracking good story. I'm sorry that this is the end of Jane Peck's story - for now.

Kathi Linz

The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley


The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley gives you ideas for ways to decorate ordinary things or use them in ways other than their original purpose.

I enjoyed this book and noted some of the projects I would like to try in the near future.

Kathi Linz

ReCraft: How to Turn Second-Hand Stuff into Beautiful Things for Your Home, Family, and Friends by Sara Duchars and Sarah Marks


Recraft: How to Turn Second-Hand Stuff into Beautiful Things for Your Home, Family, and Friends by Sara Duchars and Sarah Marks has some wonderful ideas for fixing, refinishing and repurposing cast-offs and vintage items in ways you might not have considered.

I thought this was an imaginative and interesting book.

Kathi Linz

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One Summer by David Baldacci

I read the large print version of this book in one day - 500 pages of it. There are very few books that I find so compelling that I can't put them down somewhere along the way. This was one of those precious few.

Jack begins this story in critical condition. He is in a hospital bed a few days before Christmas waiting to die. He has three children ranging from a daughter, Mikki, who is 15, Cory who is 9 or 10, and Jackie, a toddler. Liz, his wife, cares for him patiently.

Liz sees that Jack is out of medication and goes out in bad weather to get his prescriptions. She loses her life in an accident. Jack's children are farmed out to various relatives and Jack goes into hospice care waiting to die.  But he doesn't.

Through nothing less than a miracle, Jack recovers. He collects his children and takes them to South Carolina to the old family homestead for the summer to honor the plan Liz had when she thought she would be the surviving spouse. It's a long road back for Jack to recover from the grief and to become the kind of father he needs to be for his children. Mikki is especially trying, being a teenager and angry about her mother's death. There is also a complication involving Jack's mother-in-law that brings the family into court.

This is a three-tissue story with a soul-satisfying end.

Happy reading,

Kathi Linz

Monday, May 6, 2013

Start Your Own Home Business After 50 by Robert Bly

Being over 50, Robert Bly's new book Start Your Own Home Business After 50 caught my eye.
I read the introduction and skimmed the ideas he wrote up for home businesses well suited to mature adults.

Robert Bly gives the outline of the plan, an action plan for acquiring whatever you need to start, how to market effectively, and some possible drawbacks. All in all, he gives you enough information to make an informed decision. Most of the businesses can be started with a small investment.

Maybe you will find a way to work from home full-time or part-time to enhance your retirement options.

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Floors by Patrick Carman

In the book Floors by Patrick Carman, Leo is the son of the maintenance man at the Whippet Hotel. The two of them live in the basement of the hotel. This building stands in Manhattan on some of the most valuable real estate in the country. It is only a few stories high and is surrounded by a large garden with a pond for the ducks. The hotel was built by Merganzer Whippet who specializes in strange inventions. His hotel has rooms like the Cake Room, the Train Room, and the Robot Room. The eighth floor is built like a haunted house. The guests are odd to say the least.

Mr Whippet is good friends with Leo, but he has been missing for 100 days. Suddenly, Leo starts finding boxes that present him with a puzzle and the answer to the puzzle. There are floors between the floors unlike anything one would find in any other hotel in the world. Often the puzzles have to do with rings. Someone keeps sending Leo messages to help him with the puzzles.

Between his box adventures, the hotel is being sabotaged and Leo and his dad have to fix things. Ms. Sparks, the hotel manager is mean.  She is looking for any reason to fire the employees. A couple of men in a limousine are trying to buy the hotel out from under the missing Mr. Whippet.

Leo manages to survive all the tests and in the end he is rewarded for his love of the hotel he helps take care of.

Kathi Linz

The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl

I admit to having a bad habit about reading mysteries. I tend to read bout 50-75 pages and then look at the end to see who did it.  If no one is dead by page 50, I'm likely to turn the book back in to the library without finishing it.

However, when I started reading The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl, I got so involved in the story so quickly, that I just kept reading without peeking at the end of the book. This is the ninth book in her series, but it is the first I've read by this author.

Valentine's Day starts with a dilemma for Lee the owner of the TenHuis Chocolade shop. One of her recent employees is a woman running away from an abusive husband on the Underground Railroad. This is not approved by local law enforcement, which is another part of the dilemma, since Lee and Aunt Nettie are married to local law.

In the process of helping this woman, two people are killed and the chocolate shop ladies find themselves on the wrong end of the law - including FBI - for impeding an investigation.

I had no idea who were the good guys and who were the bad guys until the end. I didn't guess who did it and I was glad that I hadn't peeked.

Thank you, JoAnna Carl, for this engrossing mystery. I'm certain to pick up more of this series.

Kathi Linz

The Gold Shoe by Grace Livingston Hill

The Gold Shoe by Grace Livingston Hill has the spoiled rich girl, Tasha Endicott, going to a "Great Gatsby"-type house party in the middle of a blizzard. She gets off the train at an unmanned, locked train station, dressed for a house party, but absolutely unready to be outdoors in winter weather.

Fortunately for her, Thurly MacDonald, a young preacher, is trying to get to another town where he has been invited to preach. He arrives at the station, finds her, and hauls her bodily to his mother's house where she can be cared for until the weather passes.

Oddly enough, after a few chapters, both of the young people go their way and the story rests with Thurly's mother and another young lady who comes to stay with her while Thurly is out of town. The story builds but not in the usual romance way. A good deal of the story revolves around a gold dance slipper with a diamond-studded buckle which Tasha leaves behind after the storm. Finally, everything works out as a romance story should.

If you are a fan of literature which has come to us from an earlier time, you may well enjoy this.  If you prefer contemporary romances, I can't suggest that you read this one.


Monday, March 11, 2013

The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat by Dave Tomar

Having been a teacher for many years, I was curious about this book simply because of the title. I wondered about The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat.

Dave Tomar cannot be described as having lived a clean or healthy lifestyle. He partied during college as much as he could with limited means. The college he went to was the only one in his state which he could afford. When he needed to get his car out of tow, he had no way of coming up with the ninety dollars he needed for the fine. A friend offered him ninety dollars to do a term paper for her, and his business was born.

Dave claims he only showed up for class to take exams, and he somehow managed to pass every course without doing his homework. He resented the fact that he wasn't getting his money's worth out of his education. However, once he started writing essays, term papers and even master's theses or doctoral dissortations, he discovered that he was getting the education he wanted by doing other people's homework.

The author dreads the future of America given his knowledge of the entitlement mentality of today's young people. He lays out the seamy underbelly of higher education, both the students and the administration.

This book doesn't make for pretty reading, but you will learn an insider's view of college and university mentality.

Kathi Linz

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elance by Karen Lacey

If you have good writing (or other) skills, you might wish to check out The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elance by Karen Lacey. 

Elance is a website where clients come to pay creative people for their skills. Jobs are posted looking for logo design, articles, web pages, and hundreds of other possibilities.

As in other Complete Idiot's Guides, nothing is assumed.  Each detail is explained, from signing up with the website to posting a proposal, submitting the finished project, and how you get paid. Every clickable button is described and you find out how and when to click it.

This book will be in the New Book section for another month. Come and check it out. Maybe you can put a few extra dollars into your bank account.

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Harry Potter Film Wizardry" by Brian Sibley

Are you a fan of the Harry Potter movies?  If you are, you should check out Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley.  The book discusses the making of all eight films in the series.  (Be aware that there are two versions of this book.  The 2012 version does cover all eight films, but the 2010 one may not.)  It covers many aspects of the film-making process, from how some of the actors came to be involved to the reasons for various decisions about sets and costumes.  Each film is explored by describing various sets and creatures that were introduced in that film.  Scattered throughout the book are pages devoted solely to particular characters and the actors who portrayed them.  In addition to the many pictures (including concept art, models, and movie stills), there are a few extra visual aids to add to the enjoyment of the book.  (Did you think you'd ever get to unfold & view the Marauder's Map?!?)  In case you've been missing Harry Potter but haven't had time to sit down & re-watch all the movies or reread all the books, reading Sibley's book--or even just looking through all the pictures!--will bring back the whole story!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Isle of Shadows by T.L. Higley

Tracy L. Higley writes a series of Christian books based on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In Isle of Shadows, we are on the Isle of Rhodes in the last days before the great earthquake of 226 B.C. The Colossus of Rhodes, a huge bronze statue of Helios, stands astride the harbor of the capital city. 

Tessa, a beautiful and powerful courtesan, must serve Glaucus, the head of the democracy in Rhodes.  She hates her slavery in spite of the gifts and favors she receives. 

Glaucus dies in an accident. However, due to the circumstances, no one is likely to believe that Tessa didn't kill him.  Simeon, the Jewish head servant of the household, and newcomer Nikos help Tessa hide the truth for a short time.

Along with keeping Glaucus' death a secret, they must also discover who is behind certain political maneuverings which include shutting off the water supply to part of the city and the murder of more than one official.

Nikos has his secrets too, which bring about other complications.  Tessa and Nikos find themselves hidden away with Simeon's family in the Jewish section of town during Passover. They are invited to stay for the meal and learn the history of the feast and the promise of the Messiah.

Tessa makes a last desperate stand for her freedom just as the great earthquake hits the island.  The statue of Helios helps secure her freedom in a very compelling manner.

If you like Christian historical fiction, I suggest you read this book.

Kathi Linz

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

Beth Cardill has loved three men in her life.  Mark, her first husband, betrays her.  She doesn't find out that he is cheating one her until her daughter Charlotte comes down with a mysterious illness that is causing dangerous symptoms and the doctors can't diagnose.

Soon after Beth becomes ill, Mark also gets a critical illness. Shortly after this, Beth has to juggle mortgage payments and more bills than her job can pay for.

Enter the tall, dark stranger.  Matthew helps Beth with her problems and suggests the cause of Charlotte's illness.  Everything turns around for Beth. Life is wonderful and beautiful - but...isn't it strange that Matthew knows things about her and Charlotte that he can't possibly know.

When Matthew helps Beth with her financial problems, and then disappears with the money, Beth determines never to trust anyone ever again.

I won't tell you the ending, but don't give up hope for Beth and don't judge Matthew too quickly. The answer to the riddle of Matthew is one you aren't likely to guess before Richard Paul Evans tells you.

Kathi Linz