E-Books and Your Library--Big News!!
Do you have an iPad, smart phone, nook, or Kindle? Are you interested in checking out e-books from the library? This fall, our digital collection, MyMediaMall, will be offering Cook Memorial Public Library District cardholders not only new materials but also more options for device compatibility. The MyMediaMall website will be undergoing user-focused improvements as well.
We don't have a set date yet for Kindle compatibility, but all generations of Kindle will be compatible with our MyMediaMall digital collection before the end of the year! Also, even though we share much of the material in the collection with other libraries that are part of the MyMediaMall consortium, Cook Memorial Public Library District is part of the Advantage program, which means we are now purchasing copies of in-demand material for our own patrons that are not shared with any other libraries. Our Advantage titles will shorten your wait time for popular titles.
We are working now to prepare for the huge surge of use that will be sure to occur when Kindle becomes compatible. If you haven't tried out this wonderful service that the library offers, consider trying it now. Once you develop the habit of checking out e-books from the library, you will be ready for the improved selection that is growing every day and using the coming new website.
If you haven't come into the library lately, this is a great reason to visit and make sure you have an updated library card!
Visit www.mymediamall.net today!
A delightfully original fairytale that’s not just for kids
A 12-year-old girl named September leads an ordinary life in an ordinary house in an ordinary town in Nebraska. One evening while she is doing the dishes, something extraordinary happens. The Green Wind shows up outside her window, riding on a leopard, and invites her to travel with him to Fairyland. She immediately agrees, and takes off on an amazing adventure as “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,’’ written by Catherynne M. Valente.
September discovers that Fairyland is in turmoil, thanks to the dictatorial rulings of the Marquess. Along the way she is befriended by a dragon-like creature whose ultimate dream is to be a librarian, and a boy-like blue creature who can grant wishes if he is defeated in a wrestling match. The evil Marquess sends September on a quest, and then kidnaps her friends. While the plucky heroine’s life is in grave danger, she is determined to rescue her comrades.
Valente, who has written several science fiction/fantasy novels for adults, first published “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland’’ on her website, where readers could donate what they thought the book was worth. The novel eventually was picked up by publisher Feiwel & Friends, a part of Macmillan Publishers, and complemented by amazing illustrations by Ana Juan. Valente is already working on a sequel.
Winner of the Andrew Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, this sophisticated, humorous tale is considered Youth or Young Adult Fiction, but that shouldn’t scare adults away. If you liked Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland’’ and “Through the Looking Glass’’, or Frank Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz’’, you will enjoy September and her journey through Valente’s clever and original Fairyland. Check our catalog
--Jo HansenAdd a comment
Washington, Mantle and Richards: Three Great Biographies
I’ve been an avid fiction reader all my life and it takes a lot for me to choose nonfiction, even the “so-called” nonfiction that reads like fiction. It’s not that I don’t want to learn—I could get into a whole debate with anyone who thinks nonfiction is “truer” than fiction. Oliver Wendell Holmes says it better than I. “History tells lies about real people; fiction tells the truth about imaginary ones.”
Of course, this debate is unwinnable. We have our reading preferences and we don’t have to defend them to anyone. I majored in History in college so I will gravitate occasionally to a biography and this year I read (or listened to) three biographies that I enjoyed tremendously. Here are a few things I learned about each subject.
"Washington: A Life'' by Ron Chernow
Chernow’s goal is to make Washington less austere and more human. I learned that Washington’s mother was not at all supportive or proud of her son’s accomplishments and their relationship was “frosty.” Washington was self-conscious about his teeth. He never had wooden teeth but over time his fitted and stained ivory or walrus teeth resembled wood grain. By the age of 30, Washington had survived dysentery, smallpox and malaria, diseases that would have killed a less robust man. He lived to the age of 67. Check our catalog
"The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood'' by Jane Leavy
I learned that Mickey Mantle was a tortured and flawed man who was catapulted to early stardom playing a boy’s game. His dad died during his first pro years which left him without a guiding influence as he was exposed to the ultimate celebrity life. I learned that he suffered crippling injuries, that he could be crude yet sweet, unlikeable yet generous. He’s still a hero to many. Check our catalog
"Life'' by Keith Richards with James Fox
I learned that Keith Richards’ life is way more complex than that of a privileged, addicted guitarist in the greatest rock band. His stories are smart, nasty and honest. His relationship with Mick Jagger is more like that of brothers than friends. Keith’s story is a love story about music: "Music was a far bigger drug than smack. I could kick smack; I couldn't quit music. One note leads to another, and you never know what's going to come next, and you don't want to. It's like walking on a beautiful tightrope." Check our catalog
Biographies in audiobook format are entertaining and my preference when I’m commuting to and from work. I learned, too but even better my curiosity is peaked about some of their contemporaries. What will I read next? I’ve already read Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. I’m looking for a good biography of Thomas Jefferson. A biography about Roger Maris would give another side of a baseball celebrity whose life was much less controversial. Too many music stars to choose—maybe George Harrison.
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“Night Circus’’ by Erin Morgenstern
“Le Cirque des Reves’’, or “The Night Circus’’, is not an ordinary “Barnum & Bailey’’ sort of show. The tents suddenly pop up with no warning. The gates open at dusk and close at dawn. The performers create illusions and exhibitions that are beyond reason. Every part of the production, from the tents to the costumes, is done in black and white.
Against this enchanting backdrop, two young magicians, Celia and Marco, are destined to face each other someday in a magical competition. The challenge arises from a cruel wager between Celia’s father, “Prospero the Enchanter’’, and his nemesis, a man who always dresses in a gray suit. They decide to create a magical circus that will one day provide the venue for the duel.
Prospero inflicts great pain on his daughter to prepare her for the eventual match. Marco is picked from an orphanage by the gray man, who coldly trains his pupil in a townhouse in London. Marco and Celia eventually learn they will have to face each other in the duel. They also discover that only one of them will survive. When they realize they are in love, the star-crossed lovers incite the wrath of their trainers.
The novel unfolds over a period of 30 years, starting in 1873. The story is rounded out by delightful characters, including red-headed twins named Poppet and Widget. Beautifully and imaginatively written, Morgenstern's debut novel creates an enchanting but sometimes dark world like no other. Check our catalog
The Doctor Is In ... the Fiction Room!
I’ve just finished reading the lush, lyrical Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, MD, which seamlessly weaves together the experience of being a physician with a compelling family story. Besides laying out fascinating details of illness and surgical procedures (at times more than I could stomach), the book got me to wondering how many other authors are trained as physicians, and why they choose to depart from their professional training to write books.
As it turns out, there is a long literary tradition of doctors writing fiction. A few of the classics are Anton Chekhov, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mikhail Bulgakov, John Keats, and W. Somerset Maugham. (Who knew?) There is also a long and growing list of modern examples. Tess Gerritsen, author of the Rizzoli & Isles suspense series (now also a hit show on TNT), was a successful internist before she became a novelist. Along with fellow doctor-turned-author Michael Palmer, Gerritsen has led workshops for doctors who want to become writers. She states in her blog that often doctors have a hard time accepting that writing is hard work, and it doesn’t always come naturally “for people who’ve been educated in the hard facts of science. They wanted formulas. They expected algorithms. They don’t like this “you’ll know it when you feel it” stuff.”
So why do doctors become authors? Some, like Gerritsen, wanted to write before they became authors. “I was a writer long before I became a doctor,” she says. Others, like Ethan Canin, author of America America, believe that there is a strong connection between the two professions; one inspires the other. Doctors are exposed to extraordinary, life-changing events in their medical work, which becomes great fodder for good stories. They see the human experience in ways that are not often revealed to the rest of us, and books are a great way for them to share what they know.
Whatever their motivation, doctor-authors present us with challenging, emotionally charged tales, whether or not they actually involve medicine. Like many of our library patrons, I was moved and challenged by Cutting for Stone, and I’m eager to read more of what these writers have to offer. Here are some contemporary doctor-authors and books I’d like to try. If you read any of these, let me know what you think!
Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital
Ethan Canin, America America
Michael Crichton, Pirate Latitudes
Tess Gerritsen, Harvest
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
Vincent Lam, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
Daniel Mason, The Piano Tuner
Michael Palmer, The Sisterhood