jump to navigation

This Book is Not for Everyone March 26, 2010

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Literature, Mysteries, Public libraries, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

It’s a great joy when you recommend a book to someone, and they just adore it.  Recently I recommended the wonderful British mystery writer, Peter Robinson, to a long time patron.  When she stopped by yesterday, she thanked me and was looking forward to reading more of his books.

However, it can be deflating when you love a book and the person you recommend it to does not share your enthusiasm.  I have had book clubs disappointed with two of my all time favorites, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.  My friend Peggie was lukewarm about another favorite, Raney by Clyde Edgerton, though she truly loved my recommendation of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz.  And my supervisor, a former children’s librarian and outstanding human being, inexplicably does not like Winnie-the-Pooh.

It happens with me, too.  I finally gave up on the immensely popular and critically acclaimed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, mostly because I found parts of it too brutal for my taste.  And both the aforementioned Peggie and another friend, Joanne, highly recommended The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille.  I just bogged down and stopped listening to the audiobook.  I’m not really sure why.

Please keep on recommending books, because when it goes right, you make a truly fabulous connection.  Just remember that we may not love the same books.  But in the library, the good part is that the price is right and we have no problem when you bring the item in for a return or exchange!

Happy Reading,

The Book Goddess

Advertisements

The Fault Tree March 4, 2010

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Just for Mystery Lovers Book Club, library programs, Mysteries, Public libraries, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

I was sorry to miss our most recent Just for Mystery Lovers Book Club here at the Library.  If you like mysteries, please pay us a visit.  We meet on the 4th Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m.  Nice people, interesting discussions.

The book for February was The Fault Tree by Louise Ure.  The “detective,” Cadence Moran, is a blind auto mechanic.  I know – the scenario is unlikely, but the author does a great job of getting inside the head of this character.  Cadence’s automotive sensibilities (recognition of engine sounds, etc.) become an integral part of the plot. 

I did enjoy the story line, but what I liked even more was the insight into Cadence’s unique experience of the world as a blind person.  I’d recommend the book to fans of Laura Lippman and Sue Grafton.

The next meeting of the Just for Mystery Lovers Book Club will be on Saturday, March 27th.  The selection will be Rough Weather:  A Spenser Novel, by the late, great Robert B. Parker.

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess

Just Browsing? Why it’s Important November 30, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Public libraries, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags:
add a comment

Do you enjoy browsing for books?  Many people do, but I believe I read somewhere that this behavior is on the decline.  So I’ve decided to give you permission to browse, and to tell you why I am convinced it’s a good thing for you to do.

I’m aware that there is much to be done and little time in which to do it.  I can be very task-oriented myself.  This is a good thing in certain situations, but taken to excess, it can create a very limited, hunched-over, tightly wound individual.  I suggest browsing for books as a fabulous way to de-stress and open your mind a little.

So – you enter the ground floor of the West Palm Beach Public Library.  You have a few minutes to spare on your lunch hour.  Wander into the collections.  Yes, you may head straight for your favorite (Mysteries?  Food & Wine?) – but how about something completely different?  For now, judge the books by their covers.  Open a few and read the first few paragraphs.  Act on impulse – the price is right!

How do you feel now?  Perhaps you will read about another culture, or learn a new craft.  Maybe you will plan a trip or think about starting your own business.  There is a wonderful feeling of possibility in a library, a sense of new worlds to explore.  I’m feeling better just thinking about it.  How about you?

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess

P.S.  While this article was originally addressed to West Palm Beach Public Library patrons (in the Holiday 2009 issue of Library Currents), I’m sure that most of my readers have a favorite library or bookstore for browsing.  We need to cherish and support these wonderful resources!

Reading for the Stressed September 16, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Fiction, Mysteries, Public libraries, Reading.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

And who isn’t, these days?  If you haven’t personally been afflicted by unemployment, health issues, concerns about children, etc., I’m reasonably certain that you are closely acquainted with people who have. 

Everyone copes with stress somehow, and of course some responses are healthier than others.  Unsurprisingly, I think one of the healthiest resources would be a good book.  For our purposes, books can be useful, or distracting, or in some cases, both. 

Let’s assume that you really can’t do too much about the stressful situation in which you find yourself.  You’re sitting by the hospital bed, you’re waiting for someone to come home, the results of your test won’t be available until tomorrow.  You may want something to distract you.  My regular readers know that I favor mysteries, and one reason is that they almost invariably feature a resolution.  This can be a very welcome vicarious experience when your life has gone awry. 

Your choice may be something other than a mystery, and I say, go for it.  You might even consider nonfiction.  Our next month’s selection for the Second Saturday Book Club is The Worst Hard Time:  The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.  I suggested this book because I thought it might give us some perspective on our own economic crisis.  We shall see how that goes. 

On the other hand, escape reading of any kind will only take you so far, and I want to remind you that the libraries and bookstores are filled with useful books for almost any situation.  If you’re facing divorce, you might be well advised to read a book for laypersons on the topic.  Educating yourself about health issues is essential.  There are lots of books on how to save money and cope with financial difficulties. 

Two important reminders:  Make sure that you are choosing a resource by someone who has the appropriate qualifications for the topic.  And get professional help if you need it. 

What about those books that are both useful and entertaining?  One of my friends, who adores romance novels, claims that they helped her to know what kind of men to avoid and who to marry.  I think she and her husband have been together happily for twenty years or so.  I make no representations that this will work for you, but I am not one to argue with success. 

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess

Loving Frank August 25, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Great Reads, library programs, Literature, Public libraries, readers, Reading, Second Saturday Book Club, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Have you read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan?  There’s a good chance that the answer is yes, especially if you’re in a book club.  Our most recent Second Saturday group had one of our liveliest discussions yet about this one, and I would certainly recommend it to you, for single or group readership. 

Here’s a bare bones, non-spoiler summary of the plot:  Mamah Cheney, a well-educated married woman with small children, falls in love with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  They leave their respective families and journey to Europe together.  There are, of course, consequences for all concerned. 

One of the challenges in reading and discussing the book is remembering that is a fictional account, even though the general outline of events did in fact occur.  In any case, it provoked some very strong responses from our members! 

One person found it very romantic, and thought that Frank and Mamah had found a once in a lifetime love.  Another reader was appalled that Mamah would leave her young children under these circumstances, and yet another had some extremely hostile things to say about Frank.

I enjoyed the book tremendously for a number of reasons, but especially for the portrayal of the life of the mind, not just in the persons of Frank and Mamah, but in the intellectual ferment in Europe and the growing importance of feminism. 

Did I mention that the book is beautifully written and very readable?  Loving Frank is not to be missed!  Highly recommended

Happy Reading,

The Book Goddess

P.S.  Here’s a link to questions for discussion from the publisher.

Doing without Dewey June 9, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Librarians, Public libraries, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

The Rangeview Library District near Denver has decided to discontinue use of the Dewey Decimal system for its shelving arrangements.  They will use an organizational scheme similar to a bookstore.  I do not know all the details of how this will work, but since the Rangeview Director, Pam Sandlian Smith, is my former boss, friend, and generally greatly admired person, I am quite interested in seeing how it turns out.  And let’s just say that most of Pam’s ideas turn out to be very good ones.  (Keep in mind that she dubbed me the “Book Goddess.”) 

We actually considered this approach for our Book Floor at the West Palm Beach Public Library, but eventually chose to use bookstore categories AND keep the Dewey Decimal system.  So – we do have a separate cookbook section, and a history section, and even some more unusual sections like Guys Read and Go Green, but within those sections the books are arranged by Dewey. 

I was a bookseller for eight years before I went to library school, and I like to think that I can see the strong and weak points of each system.  At our library, I believe we have the best of both.  You can walk in the door and go right to the section of your choice (there are about 50) and enjoy browsing as you might at a bookstore.  You can also use the computer catalog or the assistance of a friendly library employee to find the exact book that you want.  

There were a number of considerations that went into our decision making, but I think that we arrived at the best arrangement for our library.  If you visit the Denver Post site, you can see the article and comments about the Adams County Public Library.  I’m happy to see that people care so much about their local library. 

Happy Reading,

 

The Book Goddess

Cookbooks for Summer Reading June 5, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Public libraries, readers, Reading, Reading lists, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

NPR recently released their “Summer Books List,” and this past Sunday’s New York Times featured their Summer Reading selections.  

One similarity between the two is that they both included a selection of cookbooks.  I love cookbooks, and my observations as a bookseller and a librarian are that many people do, whether they like to cook or not. 

And in these trying economic times, it might be a good idea to take an interest in food preparation.  Some financial pundits tell us that we could be wealthy if we didn’t go out to eat so much, though I doubt that applies to restaurant owners.  These are complex issues. 

However, the ability to prepare a good meal for friends, family, or yourself is undoubtedly a useful skill, and can also be an act of generosity, a creative outlet, or a way to take out your aggression by vigorous vegetable chopping. 

We have a wonderful Food and Wine section on the First Floor, and many more food titles in the Grand Reading Room on the Fourth Floor.  I’ve selected some delicious sounding titles from among our new arrivals, and you can link to the list here.  Just keep in mind that there are many more! 

Happy Reading and Cooking, 

The Book Goddess

Browsing for Earth Day April 22, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Public libraries, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

I don’t know if this has occurred to you, but using your public library is one of the greenest things you can do.  Our books and media are used many times over by our patrons, thus saving the earth’s resources and saving you money. 

And while you’re using the West Palm Beach Public Library, please check out some of the offerings in our new “Go Green” section on the Book Floor. 

Many of us are so busy that we’d just like a few simple ideas on how to go green.  You might enjoy It’s Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask, a small, friendly book with a number of painless, briefly stated ideas for green living. 

Some people like to go a little deeper.  For some philosophical underpinnings, you might turn to The World We Have by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who writes eloquently about peace and ecology.  Alternatively, you might enjoy Confessions of an Eco-Sinner:  Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff by Fred Pearce, which has some eye-opening information. 

“Green” books come in many varieties.  You will find selections on greener food, housing, and community.  Weddings and holidays tend to inspire conspicuous consumption in the best of us, and there are books on those topics, too. 

Please consider starting one new green habit today.  I’d suggest a visit to the library!

Happy reading! 

The Book Goddess

The Book Floor at 411 Clematis Street April 20, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Audiobooks, Book Clubs, Book Floor, Books, Fiction, Just Browsing, Literature, Mysteries, Public libraries, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

The first floor of our new library has been designed to provide a delightful browsing experience for the book lover.  We have selected the newest and the best and arranged the entire floor so that you can easily find the books you really love.  There are about fifty separate collections, ranging from the expected, like New Mystery, to the more unusual, such as Just for Fun and Go Green.  

The selections are also organized into “neighborhoods,” so that collections of similar interest will be near each other.  If you love Science Fiction, you may love our nearby Graphic Novels, too.  House & Home is conveniently located near Food & Wine as well as Crafts.   And one of my favorite areas is the small but excellent children’s and teen section, located near books about parenting – designed for the quick drop-in by the busy family! 

We also have two small reading rooms, one of which is populated by a fabulous selection of paperbacks, and the other by great choices for book clubs.  And – do not miss our Staff Picks or our great selection of Books on CD, perfect for the commuter. 

I already love browsing on our Book Floor, and I hope you will too.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Happy Reading  –

The Book Goddess

This Week’s Best Bet in Downtown West Palm April 13, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Public libraries, readers, West Palm Beach Public Library.
add a comment

If you love books and media, you need to take a tour of the wonderful new downtown West Palm Beach Library at 411 Clematis Street.  There are so many wonderful things to see in the new Library, and you don’t want to miss any of them.  So – here is the schedule of tours: 

Monday, April 13

11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14

11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15

11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 16 (Grand Opening Ceremony at Noon)

11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m.,

5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.

Tours in Spanish at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

Friday, April 17

11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 18

10:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 19

2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

I’ll be blogging in more detail about what the Library has to offer – so stay in touch!

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess