Friday, November 27, 2015

Recovering from Black Friday

What better way to get over the stress and craziness of full-tilt shopping than to stay home and relax with a good book? Here are some titles from our New Books shelf:

How about Gregory Maguire's new book, After Alice, an imaginative continuation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland?

John Irving also has a new novel, called Avenue of Mysteries, set in Oaxaca, Mexico, in which Juan Diego, a famous writer, tells the story of his past, and his little sister Lupe, a mind reader and clairvoyant who believes she knows the future.

If you're in the mood for intrigue, Anne Perry has written another Victorian-era holiday mystery, called A Christmas Escape, and the title is a double entendre--the initial escape is to a romantic Mediterranean island but, later on, rumblings from the local volcano and an unexpected murder provide different reasons for escape!

Thomas Kenneally, author of Schindler's List, has written a novel about two Australian sisters, both nurses, who carry away a guilty secret from their home town as they sign up for the cataclysm that was the first World War. Find The Daughters of Mars at both libraries.

There are many other choices for new books, but we all know they tend to check out more, since people are waiting for them. So how about some other suggestions? How about, say, starting a series?


Deborah Crombie's two-detective series alternates perspectives from book to book between Detective Inspector Duncan Kincaid and Police Sergeant Gemma Jones, starting with A Share in Death.

Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries begin with Still Life, and keep getting better.

There are four books and counting in Alex Grecian's Scotland Yard Murder Squad saga, including The Yard, The Black Country, The Devil's Workshop, and The Harvest Man.


How about a little "Space Opera"? For instance, John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, or the Dune chronicles by Frank Herbert?

Try some time travel books from Connie Willis--one serious (The Doomsday Book, wherein time travelers get trapped in time during the Black Death) and one hilarious (To Say Nothing of the Dog, a French farce of a book with its hapless characters time-hopping into ever more ridiculous situations).

The classic fantasy series that starts with A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin, is timeless and beautifully told. Plus, dragons!


Try something contemporary, such as JoJo Moyes' books Me Before You and After You, or a classic Regency romance by Georgette Heyer, like The Grand Sophy or Arabella.


It's politics season: How about a presidential biography or autobiography? We have 'em all (more than 150!), from Washington to Obama.

Are you fascinated by war? Check out our many books about the Civil War, World Wars I and II, or our Veterans' Collection.

Sports, music, gardening, travel, building a green home...there's something for everyone.

Whether you saw something here that piqued your interest or you still feel the need to browse, Burbank libraries (Central and Buena Vista) are both open on Saturday, and Buena Vista is open on Sunday. Stop by and check something out for your weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving and Storycorps

Do you love listening to stories? Everyone around you has a story they will tell you...if you ask them. Some of these stories will be lost if they're not recorded, especially those of the older generations. Storycorps, an American non-profit organization whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs, was founded in 2003 by radio producer David Isay, and this year, with the help of many supporters, Storycorps has created an app to help you with recording stories, and has initiated a project called the Great Thanksgiving Listen. They are encouraging you to take time tomorrow to learn a little more about those you love the most.

How it works:
1. Download the app to your smartphone.
2. Choose someone to interview.
3. Pick great questions, find a quiet place to record, and listen closely.
4. Share your interview with the world (or your family or whoever you like!).
5. Help create an archive of the wisdom of generations.

You can go to Storycorps' website to hear the stories of people from all around the world, and you can go here to find more about the app.

How better to celebrate Thanksgiving than to add your story, or that of your loved one, to the narrative?

What We're Reading: Story of a Marriage


Lauren Groff's novel Fates and Furies was published in September of this year to much critical acclaim, and was quickly short-listed for the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize. I snagged an advance reader copy right before its publication, without even realizing that this is the same author whose short story collection, Delicate Edible Birds, I read and enjoyed immensely almost a year ago.

The story starts with the childhood of Lancelot "Lotto" Satterwhite, the son of a Florida self-made man and a New Hampshire transplant seeking her fortune. Lotto's childhood is full of love and comfort, until his father passes away. A trouble-making episode causes Lotto's grieving mother to ship him away to boarding school, where a tragic event pushes Lotto deeper into his misery, until he meets Mathilde, a love at first sight that ends in marriage two weeks later. Having found his calling in theater in high school, Lotto soon finds himself unable to find a job, and although barely making ends meet, Lotto and Mathilde thrive in their love for each other and the close-knit circle of friends they share.

Years later, the couple are in middle age and much better off financially. The story shifts its focus to Mathilde, going back into her childhood and the story of their marriage. This is where the story picks up its pace, and we learn the other side of the story. Some people compared this book to Gone Girl because of its two distinct stories, but I thought this was far from a good comparison. It has better writing and character development, making it a work of literary fiction that deserves its National Book Award Nomination. It is also not a condemnation of the institution of marriage, but a wonderfully nuanced look at the relationship of two people.

Those who enjoy literary fiction and lyrical writing will enjoy the book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

December Adult Book Club Selections

Now reading for December meetings of a Burbank Public Library Book Club
near you!

Brown Bag Book Club will discuss The History Boys, by Alan Bennett. 
at their meeting on Tuesday, December 15th at noon, at the Central Library:

An unruly bunch of bright, funny, sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool.

In Alan Bennett's classic play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.

The History Boys premiered at the National in May, 2004. It has won multiple awards, including the 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play.

Descriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service.

The Scene of the Crime Mystery Book Club will discuss The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, at their Tuesday, December 15th meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the story time room at Buena Vista Branch.

When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.

When a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing 10 years ago. Since her disappearance, he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.

The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory - and in serious danger.

Descriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service

Genre-X Book Club (not your mother's book club) will meet on Thursday, December 17, to discuss Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The club meets at the Central Library at 7:00 p.m.

As former members of a disbanded group of superheroes called the Crimebusters start turning up dead, the remaining members of the group try to discover the identity of the murderer before they, too,
are killed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This week at the library...

Buena Vista Branch, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Learn about your health plan options, estimate premiums, find out about financial assistance, and begin the application process.

November 3 – January 26
(except Dec. 22 and 29)

All Library Branches

EARLY CLOSING at 6:00 p.m.

All Library Branches

All branches of the Burbank Public Library will be CLOSED on Thursday and Friday, for the holiday. We will reopen for regular hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Buena Vista Branch, 11:00 a.m.

Holiday Movie Matinee features...
Rated TV-G / 46 minutes

Wayne gets a new rookie partner, Lanny, after his previous partner got the promotion he wanted. Lanny has to remind Wayne of the Spirit of Christmas and the importance of being an elf in Santa's Prep and Landing elite unit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What We're Reading: Essays

Bad Feminist is a collection of essays by writer and blogger Roxane Gay. In this eclectic collection, Gay explores a broad range of topics. Some of the essays are personal, and many are social and literary commentary. Although (as the title suggests) there is quite a bit about feminism and gender issues, there is also a great deal in this book about race, class, and popular culture.

Despite Gay's academic background and strong opinions, she is a person to whom it is easy to relate. I particularly enjoyed the essays in which she talks about herself. The story about her involvement in professional Scrabble tournaments was one of the most engaging stories in the book. In the next essay, however, she gets serious as she talks about her experience as a first-year professor--the good and the bad. She talks about her experiences of growing up and going to school, and the experiences of her students. She shares an incident in which she overheard some offhand racist remarks from her colleagues about her that made her feel that she did not fit in.

The next section in the book focuses on gender and sexuality. These essays, in my opinion, were the most thoughtful, and definitely worth reading. They range from firm to haunting, and talk about rape culture and sexual violence, for instance how some jokes are decidedly unfunny, like comedian Daniel Tosh's rape joke at the Laugh Factory in 2012. In "Dear Young Ladies Who Love Chris Brown So Much They Would Let Him Beat Them," instead of ridiculing the said girls, she asks "Do you know what you're saying? Do you really?" She attempts to explain to girls everywhere the reality of violence in intimate relationships and the importance of having a say in how one is treated.

There were some sections of the book with which I failed to connect. Many of the essays in the book focus on popular culture and literature, with each directed at one work. There were some essays that I did enjoy reading, like the biting review of the Fifty Shades trilogy (despite the fact that she puzzled me by admitting to actually enjoying the books) and the Sweet Valley High series, but many of them missed their mark. Gay definitely has a lot of negative things to say about each work she discusses, but many times she admits to enjoying certain popular media even with their shortcomings regarding how they treat women. This is meant to lead back to her overarching argument about feminism and the danger of putting feminists on a pedestal only to knock them down if they don't conform to the ideal. I thought this was a book definitely worth reading, and even if you're not willing to commit to reading the whole book, many of her stories are available online at The Rumpus.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

This week at the library...

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

OPERA TALK,  featuring...
Join us for a multimedia presentation and discussion of the opera, led by our guest speaker, Bill Green, from LA Opera's Community Engagement Program.

Central Library, at noon

Please join us as we discuss Second Honeymoon,
by Joanna Trollope.

Buena Vista Branch, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Learn about your health plan options, estimate premiums, find out about financial assistance, and begin the application process.
November 3 – January 26
(except Dec. 22 and 29)

Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

Join the club to discuss Past Crimes, by Glen Erik Hamilton.

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Family Night presents...
Join Broadway and film actor Duffy Hudson for this fast-paced romp as your favorite Dr. Seuss classics come to life!

Buena Vista Branch, 6:30 p.m.

Warner Bros. and Burbank Public Library present a screening of The Iron Giant, plus a fun photo op! The film has been re-mastered and enhanced with two all-new scenes.

In times like these, you really find out what your friends are made of… sometimes, it’s even metal.

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Since the 1980s, Roy and Terry Dayton have amassed one of the largest collections of Bob's Big Boy memorabilia in the world. Come and hear the story behind the collection, meet Roy and Terry, see some of their favorite items, and share in an evening of pop culture and local history.

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Not your mother's book club...

The club will discuss Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.

Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

For teens in grades 6-12 only...


The creator of Mirrorworld will talk about the newest book in the series, The Golden Yarn. The book will be available for purchase, and Cornelia will autograph. There will be book-talking and coffee house treats! Teens only, please!

Cornelia will also present the prizes to the top writers in the "Once Upon A Time" Retold Fairy Tale Writing Contest! So if you entered a story, definitely plan to be at Book Cafe!

Buena Vista Branch, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.






And mark your calendar: Don’t miss our epic night of all things Star Wars on Wednesday, Dec. 2. We’ll have costumed volunteers (perfect for photo ops), Star Wars origami, trivia, prizes, and much more! Fun for all ages! Star Wars costumes are encouraged!

Central Library, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Learn about your health plan options, estimate premiums, find out about financial assistance, and begin the application process.
November 3 – January 26
(except Dec. 22 and 29)


Preschool Storytime:
Tuesday 10 a.m. Buena Vista
Wednesday 10 a.m. Northwest
Thursday 10 a.m. Central

Toddler Storytime:
Wednesday 10 a.m. Buena Vista
Friday 10 a.m. Central, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Buena Vista

Baby Storytime:
Thursday 10 a.m. Northwest

Rhythm and Reading for Preschoolers:
Thursday 1:00 p.m. Buena Vista

Friday, November 13, 2015

What we're reading: Thriller

Although I found Canary on the adult New Fiction shelf, after reading it all I could think was that someone should nominate it for an Alex Award, because although it would be appealing to adults, it's also the kind of thing I can see our high school book club teens devouring.

Sarie Holland is a 17-year-old honors student in her first year of community college. She has so far avoided the "party hearty" habit of most freshmen, instead opting to keep up her grades and bolster the spirits of her dad, who hasn't been the same since her mom died. But towards the end of the semester, she is persuaded into attending a party, where she makes a connection with D., a charismatic guy she has admired from afar. When he asks her for a lift home, even though it's way out of her way, she says yes; then he asks if she can make a stop along the way, so he can "pick up a book from a friend." She realizes that he's actually using her to make a drug run, but by the time she figures this out, he has taken off, leaving his drugs in her car to be discovered by a lurking policeman. She is (foolishly) loyal to D., so she refuses to give him up; the cop, a Philly narcotics officer named Ben Wildey, is looking to bust somebody higher up the chain, and thinks if he can keep his claws in her and threaten prosecution (five years for possession), she'll rat out her "boyfriend," who will lead him to bigger players. Instead, Sarie turns herself into the perfect Confidential Informant by scouring Philly to find alternate people to sacrifice to Wildey. As he continues to hound her, she lets her desperation make her take risky chances that bring her to the attention of the wrong people...

Some of the events of this book are so preposterous that you find yourself saying "C'mon!" at regular intervals as you read it. And yet, it's so well plotted, with such an engaging voice, that you keep reading despite your doubts. It reminded me of The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton, one of my faves that was also highly rated by high school book club. Readers of previous books by Duane Swierczynski compare Canary unfavorably to his other works, but if that's the case, then this is a guy whose books I need to seek out, because I thought it was a real page-turner! It has multiple points of view done well, lots of twisty turns in the plot, and a stellar ending. Teens and adults, check it out!