DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

Books

VictHow many of you have watched the PBS series Victoria? This show is based on Queen Victoria of England. She was one of England’s longest reigning monarchs. At the library we have many opportunities to explore the various lives of women. Daisy Goodwin has, in her latest book Victoria, created a great a companion to the PBS program.

I find it so fascinating to read about another life. One that I will never experience. What is it like to be royal or a head of state? What constrictions does it place on one’s life? Can they truly have the freedom to marry who they choose or live where they want to?

 

Victoria became queen after her two uncles died with no heir. Her early life was spent at Kensington Palace. Where she often felt like a prisoner. Upon her uncle the King of England’s death she achieved the throne and her independence. What kind of monarch would she become? Who would her husband be?

Ms. Goodwin also introduces us to other characters such as: Lord Melbourne (Lord M), the Duchess of Kent, Sir John Conroy, King Leopold of Belgium, and Prince Albert. There are many others as well.

Readers will fly through the pages of the fabulous book on Victoria. The library has other books on Victoria listed here:

Victoria A Life by A.N. Wilson

We two: Victoria and Albert Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

Queen Victoria At Home by Michael De-La-Noy

We also hYoung Elizabethave books that follow the lives of other monarchs of England who also are featured on current television shows, such as The Crown and The White Princess.  If you are not familiar with The Crown it follows the rise of Elizabeth II to the throne of England.  It also delves into the personal lives of the Queen and her family.  The White Princess on the other hand follows the conclusion of  the War of the Roses or the Cousins War.  It follows the perspective of the young princess Elizabeth of York.

 

Other titles include: 
Young Elizabeth: the Making of a Queen by Kate Wililams

Prince Philip: the turbulent early life of the man who married the Queen Elizabeth the Second by Philip Eade

 

The White Princess by Philippa GregoryPrincess of York

Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York, the mother of Henry VIII by Nancy Lenz Harvey

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How many of you check magazines and newspapers for the next best read?   Such as Red Book, Real Simple, Glamour, or USA Today?  These lists usually comprise what is currently the hottest books in the market.  I myself usually find these lists interesting to see what the selections are and which authors areThe Sun Is Also the Star included.

A website or blog has recently joined these hot magazines in offering the hottest books.  This site is Pop Sugar.  The posts are written by author Brenda Janowitz.  We currently have her latest book  The Dinner Party.  I thought it would be fun to see what titles DCPL has that were recently noted on her 50 Books of 2016 list.

So here are some titles from the best of 2016 that you can find at DCPL:

THE SUN IS ALSO THE STAR by Nicola Yoon

THE TRESPASSER by Tanya French

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Every Song Ever:  twenty ways to listen in an age of  musical plenty  by Ben Ratliff

Sons and Daughters of Ease and PlentySons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

The Lonely City: adventures in the art of being alone by Olivia Liang

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeliene Thien

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Moon Glow by Michael Chabon

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott

And more…

Many of these books are available in audiobook format, ebook, and downloadable audio.  If you are looking for reader advisory then visit Pop Sugar for the 2017 list.  Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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Dec 7 2016

Meet Anita Hughes!

by Jencey G

I have had the opportunity to get to know Anita Hughes through her bookshughes-1135 and my personal blog Writer’s Corner.  She is debuting with us at DeKalb County Public Library with her book Christmas in Paris.  Anita is stopping by so that our readers here could have an opportunity to get to know this great author.

So Anita what are five interesting facts that readers should know about you?

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.

I live on the beach in Dana Point, California, and love to walk along the ocean.

I have five children! And still find time to write.

I am a huge frozen yogurt fan and have it every night for dessert.

I love 19th century British literature: Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins.”

 

christmas-in-paris_final-cover-1Since this book is set at Christmas time what is your favorite aspect of Christmas?

My favorite thing about Christmas is that the whole family is together. The children are now old enough to buy each other presents, so it is a very festive time and everyone really enjoys it. We usually spend three full days together and walk on the beach and cook and have ping pong tournaments.”

One aspect of your writing I love is how you have your heroine set in a high position in both her career and family background. This aspect reminds me of authors such as Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford.  How have these ladies influenced your writing?

Yes! I have read everything by Judith Krantz and many books by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I am the biggest fan of Krantz’s books and Princess Daisy and Mistral’s Daughter really influenced my writing. I have always been a huge reader and devoured all the big, glossy, blockbusters.

Do you plan to continue to use exotic locations for your settings of your future stories?

Yes, my next book, White Sand, Blue Sea, is set in St. Bart’s and comes out in April. Emerald Coast, set in Sardinia, comes out next August and there will be a Christmas book set in a gorgeous location next year too.”

Has your childhood played a part in where your stories are set?

My parents were European and as a child we traveled a lot. I also grew up with a large world view, living in Australia and being exposed to different cultures. I use a lot of the places I fell in love with as a child – Lake Como, Cannes, Rome, Paris, in my books.

How much experience do you have using libraries in the various places you live?

I adore libraries. When my children were small, we were in the library almost every afternoon. I would park them in the children’s section and read everything in the fiction section. I love our local library in Dana Point, which is a block from my house.”

What is your favorite activity to do in the library?

I like to read the first couple of pages of a dozen different fiction books. There are so many authors I am interested in, but don’t get the time to read.

Why is self-discovery so important in your novels?

As a wife and mother, I know women don’t get a lot of time for introspection. But it is important to take care of oneself at every stage in life. So I think self-discovery is very important for growth and self esteem.

Do all your novels start with the character in their lowest position to rise by the end of the novel?

I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I think they all start with the character having a dilemma. And usually in solving the dilemma, she discovers her best self along the way.

Thank you, Anita Hughes, for joining us today.  I am a fan of Anita’s work and cannot wait to see more of her books at DeKalb County Public Library.  Please check out Christmas in Paris.   If you like Anita then you might also be interested in: Elin Hilderbrand, Fannie Flagg, and JoJo Moyes.

Thank you so much for the support, Jencey! And I hope your readers enjoy my books.

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Oct 24 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

by Jencey G

How many of you remember Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn?  You probably either read the book or saw the movie.  Sister Dear has a similar feel to it.  This story is about two sisters, Allie and Emma.  sister-dearAllie is in prison for a crime she did not commit.  At the beginning of the story we meet Allie as she is departing from prison.  She has one goal and that is to prove her innocence.  The only consistent visitor she had during her time in prison was her sister Emma.  Allie’s young daughter Caroline only came and visited once or twice.  Emma told her sister that visiting made Caroline upset. Or did it really?  Is there a future for Allie in Brunswick Georgia?

The story is told from alternating points of view.  We hear from Allie, Emma, the sheriff, Caroline, and another character, Natalie the vet.  Emma and the sheriff are hiding a secret about what really happened.

The author slowly introduces the antagonist of the story which may catch readers by surprise.  Readers will want to skip to the end to find out if Allie is able to prove her innocence? Who really committed the murder?

The theme of the story is forgiveness and being able to move on from the past.  Can we let that go or be forever prisoned by these events?

This story really resonated with me.  I have a younger sister, so I was totally able to identify with the relationship between these sisters.  This book is one of the best that I have read this year! What is even more exciting is the author, Laura McNeill, will be at the Clarkston Library to discuss the book on Saturday, November 19th at 2:00 pm.I hope that you can join us for the discussion. Click here for information.

Please visit the catalog for a copy or drop by the Clarkston branch.

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JulieI have the book for you!  The book is Juliet by Anne Fortier, and is available to check out as a physical book.  It is also available in  downloadable audio in Overdrive.   The author Anne Fortier explores the real story behind Romeo and Juliet.   I have always said there is a little truth in all fiction.  This book also includes the genres of Fiction, Romance, Mystery, and Historical.

Julie and Janice Jacobs are coming home for the funeral of their recently deceased Aunt Rose.  Each women hopes to gain something from her estate.  Julie just wants a little money to cover her expenses and a place to live.  Janice just wants money.  Instead Janice is left with the house and all of its possessions.  Julie receives a mysterious key.  This key is linked to her past.  She is sent to Italy in hopes of finding treasure.  The first people she meets initially are Anna Maria Salenbini and her god son Lisandro on her way to Siena.   The first task is to go to the bank where her mother’s safety deposit box is located.   It includes the real story of Romeo and Juliet and the explanation of a curse on her family the Tolemaes and the Salenbinis.  Julie takes up the role of the modern Juliet.  Her given name from birth is Guiletta Tolemae.  But where is Romeo?  Why does Janice then make an appearance as well in Italy?  Is there really a treasure?

I loved this book!  Cassandra Campbell narrates the tale alternating between English and Italian accents.  She does an excellent job!  The story has many plot twists that will keep the reader guessing till the very end.   It had a slow start but became more interesting as the story evolved.  The reader will be left with a desire to meet their Romeo!

Please visit Overdrive for downloadable audiobook or the Catalog.  For  those of you who would like to read about the real story of  Romeo and Juliet read Understanding Romeo and Juliet by Thomas Thrasher.  See Romeo and Juliet a Duke Classic.

 

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May 16 2016

1,000 Books and Mrs. Kimbrall

by Hope L

1000books_1DeKalb County Public Library and the DeKalb Library Foundation have launched the wonderful  1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and it has made me think that  I’d like to focus on reading more myself.

I wonder if I could launch my own campaign, say, A 1000 Books Before I Retire, or A 1000 Books I Really Should Have Read While in School, or even A 1000 Books I Shall Read Before I Go to the Big Library Upstairs.

When I think of the earliest books I enjoyed, I think of the Dick and Jane and Spot books, and of course, Dr. Seuss and Curious George. These books bring back memories of the smell of paste and working with construction paper, painting pictures and all the fun stuff we did in kindergarten.  Prior to that I don’t remember much except for digging a deep hole outside by my dollhouse with a spoon from the kitchen drawer while Mom would hang up the laundry.

I don’t believe anything too highbrow came through our household at that time, probably the lone classics being my brothers’ copy of  “The Last of the Mohicans,” or “Treasure Island,” which of course were way above my level of reading.  My parents used to read their paperback novels in bed while we kids watched TV.

And so it was with a pinch of luck later on that I was allowed to select a title  from my fifth grade teacher’s collection of paperbacks, which she invited us all to do as she was leaving after that year.

Mrs. Clarissa Kimbrall was retiring.

Grand Canyon School’s elementary students’ greatest fear was the mere presence of Mrs. Kimbrall.  At some 5’5″ tall, with her stern wardrobe of a floral dress, light pastel sweater, hose and military-cum-old lady shoes, her intimidating stature struck terror in even the wildest or toughest juvenile delinquent or goody-two-shoes alike.  Everyone in our elementary school got a knot in the pit of their stomachs when they thought about Mrs. Kimbrall waiting for them when they, too, finally reached the fifth grade.

We were so … um … fortunate to be blessed to be the final class to have Mrs. Clarissa Kimbrall at Grand Canyon School, in Grand Canyon, Arizona.

But along with everybody else, I stayed awake nights dreading the next day with Mrs. Kimbrall.  It was when worry was formally born in my psyche.  But we all lived to tell the story.

When somebody would have a birthday Mrs. Kimbrall would break out her infamous raisin cupcakes with pink frosting that were tough as a cheap steak. But we politely ate and smiled, for to leave that ‘treat’ (read: rock)  uneaten – that which the old woman would bake once a year (it might’ve been years before!) and would store in her freezer to bring every birthday – would be to face the wrath of Clarissa Kimbrall.

One never knew what the day would bring:  would Rusty Kemper fall asleep during reading?  Would Mrs. Kimbrall herself nod off whilst reading aloud to us from “The Hardy Boys’ Mysteries,” her pinky finger gently resting at the side of her nostril just so?  Would the class giggle and act up and awaken Mrs. Kimbrall, who would then unleash her wrath upon everyone?

But besides the gifts of respect, awe and terror, Mrs. Kimbrall gave me my first book.  Sure, I had books that were hand-me-downs from my three older brothers, and I read their “Boys’ Life” magazines, but this book that I selected from Mrs. Kimbrall’s large collection was my own personal book, my first.

And the book I chose was … “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek,” by Evelyn Sibley Lampman.  I shall never forget it … or Mrs. Kimbrall and her raisin cupcakes.

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May 12 2016

The Book of Joan

by Hope L

BookofJoan

It will soon be two years since Joan Rivers passed away, and her daughter has written a touching, sarcastic, book about her mother:  “The Book of Joan – Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation,” by Melissa Rivers.

Anyone who loved Joan Rivers’ humor will love this book.  Interspersed within the reflections are both jokes used by the comedienne in her act over the years and new ones the younger Ms. Rivers herself includes; “The Book of Joan,” by Melissa Rivers is available at DCPL, as are titles by the comedienne herself:

“Still Talking,” by Joan Rivers with Richard Meryman

“Bouncing Back : I’ve Survived Everything– and I Mean Everything– and You Can Too!” by Joan Rivers with Ralph Schoenstein.

“Don’t Count the Candles – Just Keep the Fire Lit,” by Joan Rivers

“I Hate Everything – Starting with Me,” by Joan Rivers

“Diary of a Mad Diva,” by Joan Rivers

“Joan Rivers:  A Piece of Work,”  by Ricki Stern, DVD recording

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May 9 2016

So You Want to Write a Book!

by Jencey G

How many of you have on your bucket list publishing a prize winning book? Where do you begin? What are your next steps?  How do you start a manuscript and see it through to the end that includes publication?  What makes for good plot and character development? Or just a good story?

The library can help.  One way to do this is to visit the experts.  You can attend programs at Georgia Center for the Book.  There is usually at least one program each week with many different authors and genres represented.  There almost always is a question and answer session at the end of the author’s talk for those with writing questions.

The next option would be to attend a writer’s group program at one of our many branches.  These groups can provide accountability and or work on skills that help progress your writing.  There are groups that have met at our locations at Wesley Chapel- William C. Brown, Stonecrest, Clarkston, Dunwoody, among others.  Some branches have speakers that come and focus on a certain skill in writing.  We had a program at Clarkston about the psychological effects of characters within your writing. Dunwoody has had a gentleman who comes and helps you work on the tools of writing.

There are many books that are perfect to help you wiJanet Evanovichth your writing and are also available on audiobook.   They may also be available in e-content as well. Your favorite authors get asked questions all the time about writing.  Janet Evanovich is one of those authors who has written a book about her writing process and the publishing field.  You can find, How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author at DCPL. I found it to be insightful.  One of the most recommended is Stephen King On Writing, A Memoir of Craft.  There are books available that focus on plot, character development, or how to read as a writer.

Please visit the catalog and see what can make writing your manuscript happen.  Please also visit the events page on the DeKalb Library website.  Maybe I will see you at a Georgia Center for the Book program!

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Apr 19 2016

Monkey Town, U.S.A.

by Hope L

Smiths

While reading the latest issue of my favorite DCPL mag, Smithsonian, I learned that one can still visit Monkey Town, U.S.A. ( actually Dayton, Tennessee), where they celebrate annually one of the most controversial trials in our nation’s history.

“Pretty much every summer since 1988, this tiny Appalachian town (pop. 7,200) has roused itself to celebrate that publicity stunt gone viral.  The Scopes Trial Festival, held over two weekends in July, features live bluegrass, tractor and craft shows, and a fried-Oreo food truck.  A storyteller spins his tales like a barker at a sideshow.  The centerpiece of the festival is a town-commissioned musical, Front Page News, which re-enacts the trial in the vast courtroom where it was held.

The play, performed by members of the nearby Cumberland County Playhouse, is essentially a rebuttal to Inherit the Wind ( both the DVD of the film starring Spencer Tracy and the book by the same name are available at DCPL).  The Hollywood version of the trial is widely loathed in Dayton, and the Front Page News does hew much more closely to the court transcript.”

Both the book and the DVD are available at DCPL.

 

inherit

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Mar 18 2016

Tastes Funny

by Dea Anne M

If you read this blog with any regularity, you might assume that I read only thrillers, memoirs and cookbooks. Of course, having just said that, I realize how very flattering to myself I’m being to even imagine that you’d devote a spare moment toward considering my reading habits. In any case,  I am, in fact, a huge fan of humorous writing – both fiction and non. Of course “funny” is subjective but I consistently find myself favoring sly, ironic, often British, writing such as that practiced by H. H. Munro – better known as Saki – and Pelham Grenville Wodehouse – better known as P. G. Wodehouse. I have also enjoyed some of Dorothy Parker’s and Christopher Moore’s writing as well aseducation  the absurdities and antic word plays of James Thurber. But one of the writers I have most enjoyed over the years is someone who is still active today – Calvin Trillin.

Trillin, primarily a print journalist, has worked for Time magazine as well as The Nation and is currently on the staff of The New Yorker. In fact, it was his reporting for the latter on the integration of the University of Georgia that became his first book,   An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes and the integration of the University of Georgia.  Trillin is also a well-known poet – particularly on the teppersubject of politics. The George W. Bush presidency, in particular, receives his wry treatment in Obliviously On He Sails and A Heckuva Job. More recent poems appear in Dogfight: the 2012 Presidential campaign in verse.  Trillin is also the author of a well-received (and very funny) novel Tepper Isn’t Going Out. As may be apparent, Trillin addresses a wide range of subjects in his writing but the concerns that seem to be closest to his heart are travel, food and family. In fact, it is Trillin’s family stories which are some of the most interesting and emotionally rewarding.

His daughters, Abigail and Sarah, have appeared often in his essays – and still do even though both are adults now with families of their own. Both girls, even raised as they were in the culinary paradise of New York City by parents with adventurous tastes, were apparently extremely picky eaters. Which is perhaps odd…or maybe familynot odd at all.  The young Sarah, for example, always insisted on carrying a bagel with her on family trips to New York “just in case.” Abigail, who sounds like the soul of kindness, was “complimenting me on my Cheerios until she wised up at about the age of three.” Trillin’s Family Man is a delightful meditation on the anxieties and joys of raising children written by a man who clearly – and very happily – has always put his family at the very center of his life. Just as lovely, and to my mind incredibly moving, is his portrait of his wife, Alice Stewart Trillin who died of heart disease on September 11, 2001. About Alice is a wonderful tribute to a woman who he clearly adored and who, from the moment he first met her in 1963, never stopped trying to impress.

It was Trillin’s food writing though that hooked me first, most specifically, the so-called Tummy Trilogy – which consists of the books American Fried, Alice, Let’s Eat and Third Helpings (you can find the first and the third of these at DCPL). Trillin makes it clear that he isn’t much of a cook saying that, in the kitchen, he is “more of an idea man.” Still his culinary writing reveals the open mind, liberal taste buds and zestful approach to living that signify a gourmet of the best sort. Some of Trillin’s funniest quotes come from these books, for example:

(on revolving dining palaces situated at the top of tall buildings) “I never eat in a restaurant that’s over a hundred feet off the ground and won’t stand still.”

(on his mother’s cooking) “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

(speaking as a proud Mid-Western son about his native city) “The best restaurants in the world are, of course, in Kansas City.”

(on the hazards of venturing an opinion about what actually constitutes chili) “I like chili, but not enough to discuss it with yensomeone from Texas.”

You can find more of Trillin’s very amusing culinary essays in Feeding a Yen: savoring local specialities from Kansas City to Cuzco. For a worthwhile general sampling of his writing, check out Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin; forty years of funny stuff.

How about you? Are you a fan of humorous writing and, if so, who do you recommend that I read next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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