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Authors

Oct 19 2015

Ann Rules Indeed

by Hope L

annrulesAnn Rule wrote 30 New York Times bestsellers, all of which are still in print. I, for one, think she really does rule. Unfortunately, the prolific author died July 26, 2015, at age 83. She had her first bestseller in 1980 with her book about serial killer Ted Bundy.

It may not be the first of Rule’s books that I’ve read, but The Stranger Beside Me definitely is the one that scared me the most and was the most memorable. I think it was the personal connection that Rule had to Ted Bundy that made that book unique and incredible–that, and of course, the subject matter of Ted Bundy, a serial killer whom most of us have heard about.

More recently, I read her book about Gwinnett County dentist Bart Corbin, Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal.

Ann Rule was once a Seattle police officer, and that’s why her writing seems so authentic, so mesmerizing. Right now I’m reading Every Breath You Take: A True Story of Obsession, Revenge, and Murder, and she fleshes out the myriad of details and somehow puts everything into a fascinating  account. Allen Van Houte, the criminal in this book, is truly unbelievable–and she recounts with incredible heartbreak the many people whose lives he ruined.

Bundy

I’ve read a lot of true crime books, and I’d have to say that Ann Rule is right up there at the top of my favorites. She would write forewords to her books that spoke to readers like they were friends, often inviting them to drop her a line or an email.  Indeed, Every Breath You Take was written after Rule received a request from a fan who said that her sister wanted Rule to write her story should she ever die tragically (at the hands of her then ex-husband).

Click here to see what’s available by Ann Rule at DCPL.

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The world is full of awards for literature—the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Edgar Allan Poe Award—but a recent conference introduced me to one I had not been familiar with before.

Named after a child born with cerebral palsy, the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award is given every other year to the authors and illustrators of books, written for children and young adults, that show an accurate portrayal of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The award-winning titles feature characters with a range of disabilities, from Autism or Down Syndrome to intellectual disabilities that cause trouble in school.  The authors give us good stories with a lot of heart and help us genuinely empathize with the characters.

A few books I had read and loved previously went on to win this award:

scarA Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum

In the summer of 1940, all Will wants to do is get away.  He’s sick of working the family ranch, sick of his father holding him back from what he wants to do, and sick of taking care of his twin brother, Denny, who has Down Syndrome.  But when Will decides to run away to compete in a rodeo, Denny follows.

 

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowdlondon

Salim got on the London Eye Ferris Wheel—his cousins Kat and Ted watched.  But when the ride stopped a half hour later, Salim was nowhere to be found.  The police can’t find him, but Kat and Ted, making use of Ted’s unique way of viewing the world, are on the case.

rememberRemember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

Johnny planned on enjoying his summer, but a change in his mom’s plans means he has to stay with his aunt and take care of his older, autistic cousin, Remember.  Will a pet ferret and the weather channel be enough to save Johnny from complete boredom?

 

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award is a collaboration between the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Special Needs Project.  For more information about the award, and a full list of winners, click here.

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There is so much available on our library website. I’d like to discuss the RSS feeds with you today. They are listed on the right side of the DCPL homepage. One recommendation I make to patrons all the time is to check out these feeds, which are updated every Wednesday, to find out about new items at the Library. There are also feeds for popular reads currently available in the system–with no waiting. We have a feed for everyone!

Below are some examples of what DeKalb County Public Library offers when following RSS feeds.

New Adult Fiction

New Adult Nonfiction

Great Reads, No Waiting

Great DVDs, No Waiting

New Adult DVDs

New Young Adult Fiction Titles

New Juvenile Fiction Books

If you have a book club or want to have a movie night, the feeds for Great Reads, No Waiting or Great DVDs, No Waiting can provide the perfect option! If you see items of interest, but all of the copies are already checked out, you can make a request for a Hold to receive the next available copy. (See the information about Holds on Materials on this page.)

I hope you have a chance to check our RSS feeds out and let us know what you think!

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Jul 13 2015

Criminal History

by Hope L

echoesI got excited when my co-worker Camille wrote a review about the true crime book The Stranger She Loved.  True crime stories are some of my favorite, and now I have someone else at DCPL who may be sharing some interesting finds.

My new favorite true crime author is Jerry Bledsoe. His book Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage and Murder is available through DCPL.  He has written about several true crimes from his home state of North Carolina, and his books are  filled with very detailed facts, which must take years of research to write.

I have read many of Ann Rule’s books, but my favorite of hers will probably always be The Stranger Beside Me, her true account of serial killer Ted Bundy. Rule discovered she had known Bundy years ago when they both worked at a crisis center.  Reading about Ted Bundy scared the daylights out of me!

Another book that terrified me (no doubt these books scared me so much because I was living alone when I was reading them) was Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders  by Vincent Bugliosi.

Ancareergirlsother book I recently ran across is Robert K. Tanenbaum’s Echoes of  My Soul,which is sending chills down my spine, but in a different way.  You see, it tells the story of  ‘The Career-Girls Murders’  in New York on August 28, 1963, which,  ironically, occurred on the day of  Martin Luther King’s  iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.  I say ironically because a black man named George Whitmore was bullied by police into confessing to the murders.  This case reminds me of some of the news stories that have been front and center in our country over the past couple of  years.

 

 

 

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juneauI love Jon Krakauer’s books. For some reason I assumed that I had read them all, but then I stumbled upon Into the Wild, Krakauer’s book that tells the story of Christopher McCandless. And it turns out this is probably the author’s most famous one (especially after the 2007 movie of the same name, directed and produced by Sean Penn, which is also available at DCPL).

It’s eerie that I should discover and read this book right before my vacation to the very state where the real-life McCandless journey takes place: Alaska. No, I will not be going out “into the wild,” foraging for berries and sleeping on the ground, trying to eke out precious protein by catching small rodents, or wearing crampons and climbing with an ice ax along mountainous crevices. I will be cruising on an ocean liner in luxurious comfort, receiving massages and eating an abundance of tasty food–being waited on hand and foot like the naive and lazy adventurer that I am–for I am not really an adventurer but a shameless tourist. No doubt I will purchase souvenirs in Alaska that were actually made in China.

glacbayAs of writing this paragraph, I have now returned from my 9-day trip. It was beautiful, as you can see by the photos taken by yours truly, a wanna-be photographer with an iPhone. I can totally understand McCandless yearning to spend time in Alaska. But I would never be willing to “rough it” as he did. I did consider it quite rough, however, when our stateroom commode overflowed in the middle of the night and we had to call maintenance in at 3:30 a.m. I had to use my best wilderness survival tactic: I blamed my spouse.

And now, DCPL has added to its collection The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless, Christopher’s sister. Written almost 20 years after Krakauer’s book, Carine shines some light on her brother’s legendary adventure.

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May 18 2015

What’s In a Story?

by Jencey G

Mary Alice MonroeMary Alice Monroe stopped by DCPLive to discuss her new book coming soon to DeKalb County Public Library. I first met her at a Georgia Center for the Book event while she was giving a talk on The Butterfly’s Daughter. I have had the honor to read and share some of her other books. Her most recent series is the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy, which includes The Summer Girls and The Summer Wind. It will end this year with the publication of The Summer’s End.

Thank you for coming! I am excited to discuss The Summer’s End. Could you tell our readers why it was important to tell this story in three different books: The Summer Girls, Summer Wind, and Summer’s End?

Summer GirlsMary Alice Monroe:  This story required more words! Dolphins are an exceptional and beloved species. Dolphins excel in communication, have strong family and community bonds, and live in the present. Three issues face dolphins that needed attention: feeding of wild dolphins, water quality, and injuries. I needed a strong trilogy with memorable characters to carry through all the themes: communication in The Summer Girls as the estranged sisters reconnect; healing in The Summer Wind as Dora and Delphine heal from wounds, and release in The Summer’s End as each woman discovers her own voice and path.

How did you decide to focus your books around the lives of animals? Why is it important to tell their story?

MAM: The inspiration for my books is always some aspect of nature. I wait for some signal–either from a person or event–to alert me it’s time to write about that species now. For the trilogy, it was learning that 49% of Charleston’s resident dolphins were deemed “not healthy.” That number is 52% in Florida. I didn’t want to write Flipper but a book that was relevant today.

What do you hope it accomplishes?

MAM: I believe in the power of story to effect change. I’m a storyteller. I do not preach or tell my readers what to do. Instead, I create compelling stories peopled with rich, well-rounded characters that will bring my readers into the story world. When my readers connect emotionally with the animals, then they care.

The focus in this novel is the bottlenose dolphin. What other animals have you written about?

MAM: The list is growing. In The Beach House novels I’ve written about sea turtles. I’m still on the turtle team, so maybe another is in the pipeline. The monarch butterfly is in The Butterfly’s Daughter; raptors–hawks, owls, eagles–in Skyward; the shrimping industry in Last Light Over Carolina, The Summer Windand the disappearing grass and craft of sweetgrass baskets in Sweetgrass.

Can you tell us about your next project?

MAM:  In the Lowcountry Summer novels I told the story of three women during one remarkable summer on Sullivan’s Island. There is an engagement, or two…so, you’re all invited to a wedding next summer! I’m writing A Lowcountry Wedding and having the best time. My daughter had a lowcountry wedding so I’ve a lot to share. It will be fun to bring back the summer girls, and especially the dueling grannies Mamaw and Granny James!

Do you think you would write another series?

MAM:  Yes, when the story idea merits the time and effort. Each book of a series must stand alone and yet continue the themes of the series. It’s a complex, challenging process and not every story idea can or should extend beyond one book.

How can readers support your cause that you are so passionate about?

Summer's EndMAM:  When I was young and overwhelmed with all I wanted to do to help the planet, my Daddy told me to just “light one candle.” It was very wise and has guided me throughout my life. My hope is that if a reader is inspired by my book, she will find her own path to help that species through volunteering or donations, or her vote–and, perhaps discover what candle she can light in her own life. One small change in one life can change the world!

Could they visit or support the Georgia Aquarium?

MAM:  The Georgia Aquarium has several ongoing research and conservation programs that all make a difference for species and for the community.

Thank you again.

To learn more about bottlenose dolphins, check out these fine books: Hope for Winter: The True Story of a Remarkable Dolphin Friendship told by David Yates, Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff, and Isabella Hatkoff (and the related story Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again), The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner, Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival by Janet Wyman Coleman, and Dolphins by Anna Claybourne.

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TeegeHow would you feel if you opened a book one day and found out your grandfather was a high-ranking Nazi commandant? That’s exactly what happened to Jennifer Teege.

The Georgia Center for the Book presented Teege in April at the Decatur Library. She spoke about her book My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.

Ralph Fiennes played her grandfather in his haunting portrayal of Amon Goeth, the maniacal Nazi death camp commander in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. Teege, who was adopted, learned the surprising fact that her biological mother was the daughter of Goeth, the “Butcher of Plaszow,” one day as she was looking for a book on depression.  She happened to see a book with the familiar face of her mother on the cover.

According to People Magazine‘s online article by Michelle Tauber:

The first shock was the sheer discovery of a book about my mother and my family, which had information about me and my identity that had been kept hidden from me, Teege, 44, had told Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a story featured on NPR.

“I knew almost nothing about the life of my biological mother, nor did my adoptive family, she said. I hoped to find answers to questions that had disturbed me and to the depression I had suffered from. The second shock was the information about my grandfather’s deeds.”

Teege’s book, co-written by Nikola Sellmair, is available at DCPL. You might also be interested in The Road to Rescue: The Untold Story of Schindler’s List by Mietek Pemper, in collaboration with Viktoria Hertling, or The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible–On Schindler’s List, A Memoir by Leon Leyson, with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson.

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Apr 13 2015

I Challenge You!

by Jencey G

Are you up for a challenge? Are you tired of reading the same types of books all the time and interested in a change? A reading challenge is a great way to do that. There are no prizes, but there are opportunities for you to try something different. Who is ready for something new or different?

Reading challenges, such as Pop Sugar, have tasks to help you pick books that you the reader would not ordinarily read. Since summer reading is coming up soon, this challenge would be a great way to keep track of books for the summer reading program at your local library. This year, Pop Sugar came out with a reading challenge that offers many opportunities for you to grow as a reader.  The challenge offers up tasks such as:

What book can you read in one sitting?

What is the first book that came out by your favorite author?

Read a book that has a number in the title.

Read a nonfiction book.

The Library has all kinds of resources to help you pick a great read.  Take a look at our Shelf Help page, DCPL on Pinterest, or use our online resource Novelist. For other reading challenges to participate in visit Goodreads or Book Riot. See how one of these challenges might fit into your summer reading!  You never know where a good book might take you!

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Terry Pratchett at the 2012 New York Comic Con - © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia CommonsThe world of fantasy literature lost one of its luminaries earlier this month when beloved author Terry Pratchett died at age 66 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Pratchett was a prolific writer who was best known for his Discworld series, which spans 40 novels published over the course of more than 3 decades. He has also collaborated with other popular authors such as Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) and Stephen Baxter (The Long Earth series). The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1998 and received a knighthood in 2009, in both cases for “services to literature.”

Given his prodigious output, readers unfamiliar with Pratchett’s work may wonder at the best place to start. This handy graphic might be useful in making that determination; it lists all of the Discworld novels, grouped by storyline and arranged chronologically, with the connections between individual novels mapped out. Personally, I’d suggest beginning with Small Gods; it is almost entirely stand-alone but provides a great introduction to the Discworld setting and Pratchett’s characteristically humorous and satirical style.

Pratchett’s wit and way with words have resulted in a plethora of notable quotations attributed to him, many of them originating as lines in his novels. The quote used in the title is from the book Going Postal, and I’d like to conclude this post with another from the book Reaper Man:

No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away — until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.

By that measure, Terry Pratchett will live on on our bookshelves forever.

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Mar 9 2015

Survival 101

by Hope L

232In a couple of months I will be going on an Alaskan cruise. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we will have to fly to Vancouver, B.C., to begin the cruise. I’m excited, as this will be my first cruise. Alas, it will not be my first time flying.

When I was growing up my family traveled a lot, so flying was no big deal for me. And frankly, I did not think about how and why that huge thing we were in was up in the air.  But the older I get, the less I want to get on an airplane to go anywhere.  I should not have started reading about aircraft.

You see, some fifteen years ago, I made the mistake of reading about airline turbulence and what can happen when one is not wearing a seatbelt. This was around the time when airlines started asking passengers to keep their safety belts fastened even after the captain turned off the seatbelt sign. It was then that my OCD really started to kick in and I became obsessed with hurtling through the sky in a tube. (It shouldn’t surprise you that during this time I began to experience panic attacks.)

According to Aerospaceweb.org, a Boeing 777 has a typical cruise speed of about 560 mph (900 km/h) at an altitude of 35,000 ft. (10,675 m).  That’s over six miles up, folks.

Now, I know that it is common knowledge that flying is much safer than riding in an automobile (which on I-285 can be a real death wish), but still.

Recently, I read Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival by Laurence Gonzales, and I have learned that yes, it IS possible to survive an airplane crash. So now, I shall choose to meditate on my “Brace, Brace, Brace” position (this is what the flight attendants called out to remind the passengers what to do just prior to when the plane landed -er- crashed in that Iowa cornfield in the summer of 1989).    Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers and crew lived.

A miracle because:

“…the captain has told us that we have lost all our hydraulics.”  (According to a flight attendant informing another United pilot onboard.)

“He stared at her for a minute…. He knew that wasn’t possible. DC-10s must have hydraulics to fly them. Period.”

But the aircraft had lost its hydraulics.  And according to the pilot:

…The plane was traveling northeast at thirty-seven thousand feet. Just east of the Cherokee airport, the fan on the number two engine blew apart, cutting hydraulic lines and disabling flight controls.

“Having hydraulic fluid in the lines is a necessary condition of flight in a DC-10. After a complete loss of hydraulic power, the plane would have no steering. It would roll over and accelerate toward the earth, reaching speeds high enough to tear off the wings and tail before the fuselage plowed into the ground. Or it might enter into an uncontrollable flutter, falling like a leaf all the way to the earth, to pancake in and burst into flames.”

 

And yet the pilots of this aircraft managed to steer and careen, in circles, and somehow lower the 185-ton behemoth. You can see the wild flight in the diagram below.

232path

Evidently, I’m not the only one obsessed. The author of this book has written other books about surviving, the following which are available at DCPL:

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why–True Stories of Miraculous Endurance and Sudden Death

Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

Actually… I’ve just been thinking…wouldn’t the view be just gorgeous to Vancouver on Amtrak…or Greyhound?

 

 

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