Sunday, March 26, 2017

This week at the library...

Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

The club has read and will discuss Crash, by Lisa McMann. This book club is for enrolled teens only. To be put on the waiting list, contact

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Suitable for beginning artists as well as those with some experience. Supplies are provided, and registration is required. This session is full; to be placed on the wait list, call 818 238-5580.

Noah Fontana works as a story artist, animator, illustrator, and visual development artist. He has worked in animation for Netflix, Comedy Central, and Explosm.

Central Library, 6:00 p.m.

MOON TALK with the
Inside the library, the Sidewalk Astronomers will present a talk on the Sun, Earth's rotation, orbits, and all the different types of Moons (super, pink, harvest, blue ) etc. Then, move outside to view the moon through their giant telescopes!

Buena Vista Branch, 7:00 p.m.

Using diaries, letters, publications, and biographies, Amy Simon's one-woman show for Women's History Month takes us back and forth from the past to the present. Experience suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, and others. Learn about bloomers, suffrage, maternal profiling, the road to Seneca Falls, abolition, and more!

Amy Simon is a playwright, actress, mother, improviser, published writer, producer, and self-proclaimed cultural herstorian. She has been writing, acting in, and producing theater for most of her adult life.

Proof of attendance will be provided at the end of the program to teens attending this program for extra credit.

Central Library, 6:00 p.m.

Burbank Public Library offers FREE one-to-one tutoring to adults, 18 or older, who speak and understand English but who read and write below the 8th grade level. If you would like to learn to be a literacy tutor, call 818 238-5577 to sign up for this orientation session.

Buena Vista Branch, 6:00 p.m.
MOON TALK (see details above)

Central Library, 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Literacy helps parents read to their children, improves job prospects for adults, and leads families toward positive life choices. Call 818-238-5577 for more information and to sign up.


A story and song program for children ages one and two, accompanied by an adult.

Tuesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Fridays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 11:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Registration is required to attend Toddler Storytime at Buena Vista Branch.

Stories and songs for children age three and up, accompanied by an adult.
Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch
Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months.
This Thursday @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch

Thursday, March 23, 2017

What we're reading: A teen book for superhero fans

If you like Marvel movies about superheroes and evil geniuses, there is a young adult novel you might want to try: Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart. We teen librarians just read this book with our 6+7 Book Club, and were pleasantly surprised by it. It didn't feel like a book written for teenagers, but more like a book written for anyone who enjoys stories in which villains take over the world and heroes rise up to fight them. In other words, all you people who lurk around the graphic novel sections and pretend to be tying your shoe when we notice you standing there (ha ha). But seriously, it's a good addition to the superhero franchise.

The premise of Steelheart is that our world has been changed forever by an event that everyone calls Calamity. There aren't many specifics about the event; there was a big burst of light in the sky, and then afterwards, some of the population developed superpowers. But with the acquisition of great gifts came a lust for power and domination, and the Epics, as they're called, turned into monsters, wreaking havoc on the portion of humanity that stayed human. They fight amongst themselves for ascendency, destroying infrastructure and driving people underground or enslaving them for their purposes. Many parts of the world have been turned to wasteland, and even the cities that have been preserved by those Epics who wish to rule a cooperative populace are no Eden. People are increasingly unable to remember the good old days, and only hope for such basic amenities as power, clean water, and somewhere dry to sleep.

The protagonist of the book is David, who is now 18 years old, but had his major run-in with an Epic 10 years ago, when he was eight. At that time (soon after Calamity), some humans, including David's father, still believed that some of the Epics would turn out to be good, would become superheroes to defend humanity from the others. But David's father's faith was shown to be misplaced, and David has spent the 10 years since his father's death at the hand of the Epic Steelheart plotting his revenge.

A big part of his plan is to find a group of humans called Reckoners, an underground organization that studies the Epics, finds their weaknesses, and assassinates them. He has tracked the activities of the Reckoners with almost as much attention as he has given to the quirks and skills of the various Epics, and now he is in position to try to make contact and insinuate himself into this band of resistance fighters. And he has a secret that he thinks will gain him a welcome: He is perhaps the only human who has ever seen Steelheart bleed.

There are two sequels to this book: Firefight, and Calamity. Immerse yourself in the world of Epics and Reckoners!


By the way, if this kind of fiction makes you happy, there are a few other titles you will definitely want to try: Carrie Vaughn's books After the Golden Age and Dreams of the Golden Age; and V. E. Schwab's book Vicious.


Monday, March 20, 2017

What we're reading: Comedy fiction

Reviewed by Laura M., Reference Librarian

Amy Falls Down, by Jincy Willet, is a comedic novel about Amy Gallup, a once critically acclaimed writer whose books have been out of print for a couple of decades. She’s been making a living teaching online writing workshops when a fan and reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune decides to interview her for a sort of “Where are they now?” piece.

The only problem is, right before the reporter shows up, Amy falls in her backyard and knocks herself out on her birdbath. She revives quickly, but ends up giving such a bizarre interview that it goes viral. Her old literary agent gets back in touch with her, and starts her on a whirlwind media tour to capitalize on this newfound fame. Prodded by her agent, Amy starts writing again and becomes something of a sensation.

Amy is such a forthright, cantankerous character, she is impossible not to like. Now in her sixties, she doesn’t suffer fools lightly, but when she decides to be kind it makes you love her even more. Throughout the course of the story, you see her soften towards the wacky characters who populate her life--most notably her pushy agent, Maxine, to whom she hadn’t spoken in years before the viral interview came out. The evolution of their working relationship is more masterfully done than most romantic comedies I’ve read.

That being said, there is a scene where Amy is in fine form reading submissions for a writer’s workshop she will be teaching, wherein she critiques the writing so ferociously and hilariously that I was in tears from laughing so hard. I think aspiring writers could learn quite a lot from this book. It takes on the publishing industry and what it means to be a writer in the age of social media, as well as the writer’s greater place in society.

Willet has written a novel that is at once smart, bitingly funny and sentimental. I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in writing and publishing (or to anyone who just needs a good laugh).

Editor's note: Although this book stands alone, it is actually the author's second book about the life of Amy; the first is called The Writing Class, which is more of a murder mystery involving the members of her class. BPL doesn't own that book; but after Laura's review of this one, perhaps we will purchase it!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This week at the library...

Central Library, 12:00 noon

This month, the club has read and will discuss Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes. Feel free to bring your lunch and join us. Questions? Call Naomi at 818 238-5620.

Buena Vista Branch
7:00 p.m.

The club will talk about No Rest for the Dead. The book's author is listed as Andrew Gulli, editor, because 26 New York Times bestselling authors teamed up to create this "gripping, spellbinding mystery." Please add your voice to the conversation. For more information, call Naomi at 818 238-5620.

Buena Vista Branch
7:00 p.m.

English actress and author Diz White will take us to the Cotswolds by sharing the story of her quest for a 17th-century cottage in the United Kingdom. She will also combine slides and video clips for a behind-the-scenes tour of Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle, with a dip into this 8th-century building's fascinating history.

Books will be available for purchase and signing, and tea and biscuits will be served.

Buena Vista Branch, 6:30 p.m.

Your teddy bears and favorite stuffed animals came to stay at the library last week, and now, at Pajama Storytime,you will see a slide show of their awesome adventures at their library sleepover! Sing songs, listen to stories, and find out what they were up to while you weren't watching! (And then take them home.)

Central Library, 6:30 p.m.


Two sessions: Thursday, 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m.
Buena Vista Branch

Discover new searching techniques and tips and tricks for navigating online. Learn how to determine if a website is reputable and how to protect your privacy. Both sessions of this class are full.

Central Library, 10:15 a.m.

A program for preschoolers and their families. Join us for a fun introduction to movement, coordination, rhythm, and dance! We'll be dancing using shaker eggs & scarves, and listening to music.

No other story times this week--it's our spring break too!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What we're reading: Suspense

Reviewed by Margaret B., library page

In The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, travel journalist Lo Blacklock is given an assignment to write about an exclusive luxury cruise with a small number of participants (only nine). While on board, Lo witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. When all the passengers are accounted for and Lo’s concerns are dismissed, the suspense begins as we start to question reality.

The Woman in Cabin 10 is a combination of Girl on a Train and Gone Girl...and as such, is a little formulaic. Specifically, the narrator is a woman who is already on anxiety medication, so how reliable is her judgement? Nonetheless, the book is a good, engaging, quick read. The end was exciting and satisfying, with a surprising twist.

Burbank Public Library offers this in book form as well as on Overdrive (as an e-book) and as an audio book.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What We're Reading: Philip Levine

My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry, by Philip Levine

This is a posthumous collection of essays by the late, celebrated American poet Philip Levine (1928-2015). Levine knew many of the major American poets of the latter part of the 20th century, including John Berryman, Robert Lowell, and Thom Gunn, and he was a revered teacher and mentor for many years at California State University, Fresno. Roberta Spear, Larry Levis, and Gary Soto were among his students. In 2011, Levine was Poet Laureate of the United States. Among his many honors are two National Book Awards, for Ashes and for What Work Is, and a Pulitzer Prize for The Simple Truth in 1995.

Levine’s 1994 book The Bread of Time: Toward an Autobiography, like this book, is a collection of essays, but it is a more personal and integrated collection than My Lost Poets. My Lost Poets is an eclectic collection of introductions and lectures and also includes a number of appreciations of students and mentors. My favorite essays in this collection are “My Lost Poets,” in which Levine talks about his early influences and his fellow students in the Miles Poetry Room at Wayne University (later Wayne State University) in Detroit, Michigan where Levine grew up. These are affectionately drawn portraits and formative encounters in which Levine tells us about some of the important moments, poets, and poems in his development as a young poet. In one of my favorite passages, Levine talks about the concern young poets have to develop a distinctive poetic “voice.”
"For the most part, American poets make this search for a voice automatically--it’s part of our native Yankee gift for marketing, this straining after a voice that will make one’s poetry sound utterly unlike the work of other poets and hence a unique commodity. It is something like the equivalent--to cite another Detroit effort in the same direction--of adding gigantic tail fins to our cars to make them distinctive. And like the tails fins, it’s a mistake…. Years later I realized that developing a voice before you knew what you needed to say was pointless at best, self-defeating at worst. You could spend years trying to sound as lyrical as Edna St. Vincent Millay or Hart Crane only to discover you wanted to write poetry incendiary enough to burn down General Motors or the Pentagon.”
Which was, as it turns out, the poetry that Levine came to understand he wanted to write, and wrote so passionately and movingly.

Another essay that will be especially enjoyable to those of us living in the Los Angeles area is an account of Levine’s trip here in 1960 for a poetry reading with John Berryman, Thom Gunn, and Henri Coulette, hosted by Christopher Isherwood at Valley College. For one thing, we know all the cities and landmarks in this little peripatetic remembrance, a familiarity that makes the story feel a little closer to us and oddly immediate in spite of the passage of time. But it is also a poignant story, in that it is a moment of realization and change for Levine, as he understands that a mentor he revered, John Berryman, has changed in tragic ways.

Prose by poets, a rarity, is always something special. It is filled with the same feeling and sharpness of observation as a poem, and there is a grace and a precision in the way things are said in all of these essays. These essays will send you back to the poets Levine admires--Keats, Whitman, and William Carlos Williams, and others, friends and students. But, most importantly, every one of these essays will tell you something more about Levine as a poet and about his poetry, and will prompt you, as a collection like this should do, to revisit his poems, something you will do with greater understanding and appreciation after reading My Lost Poets.

You Can Have It

My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.
The moonlight streams in the window
and his unshaven face is whitened
like the face of the moon. He will sleep
long after noon and waken to find me gone.
Thirty years will pass before I remember
that moment when suddenly I knew each man
has one brother who dies when he sleeps
and sleeps when he rises to face this life,
and that together they are only one man
sharing a heart that always labors, hands
yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps
for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?
All night at the ice plant he had fed
the chute its silvery blocks, and then I
stacked cases of orange soda for the children
of Kentucky, one gray boxcar at a time
with always two more waiting. We were twenty
for such a short time and always in
the wrong clothes, crusted with dirt
and sweat. I think now we were never twenty.
In 1948 in the city of Detroit, founded
by de la Mothe Cadillac for the distant purposes
of Henry Ford, no one wakened or died,
no one walked the streets or stoked a furnace,
for there was no such year, and now
that year has fallen off all the old newspapers,
calendars, doctors' appointments, bonds,
wedding certificates, drivers licenses.
The city slept. The snow turned to ice.
The ice to standing pools or rivers
racing in the gutters. Then bright grass rose
between the thousands of cracked squares,
and that grass died. I give you back 1948.
I give you all the years from then
to the coming one. Give me back the moon
with its frail light falling across a face.
Give me back my young brother, hard
and furious, with wide shoulders and a curse
for God and burning eyes that look upon
all creation and say, You can have it. 

Night Thoughts Over a Sick Child

Numb, stiff, broken by no sleep, 
I keep night watch. Looking for 
signs to quiet fear, I creep 
closer to his bed and hear 
his breath come and go, holding 
my own as if my own were 
all I paid. Nothing I bring, 
say, or do has meaning here. 

Outside, ice crusts on river 
and pond; wild hare come to my 
door pacified by torture. 
No less ignorant than they 
of what grips and why, I am 
moved to prayer, the quaint gestures 
which ennoble beyond shame 
only the mute listener. 

No one hears. A dry wind shifts 
dry snow, indifferently; 
the roof, rotting beneath drifts, 
sighs and holds. Terrified by 
sleep, the child strives toward 
consciousness and the known pain. 
If it were mine by one word 
I would not save any man, 

myself or the universe 
at such cost: reality. 
Heir to an ancestral curse 
though fallen from Judah's tree, 
I take up into my arms my hopes, 
my son, for what it's worth give 
bodily warmth. When he escapes 
his heritage, then what have 

I left but false remembrance 
and the name? Against that day 
there is no armor or stance, 
only the frail dignity 
of surrender, which is all 
that can separate me now 
or then from the dumb beast's fall, 
unseen in the frozen snow.

Monday, March 13, 2017

This week at the library...

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

At three years old, a chatty, energetic little boy named Owen Suskind suddenly stopped speaking and disappeared into autism. Almost four years passed, and the only thing that seemed to engage Owen were Disney films.  Then one day his father donned one of his son’s puppets—Iago, the wisecracking parrot from Aladdin —and asked “What’s it like to be you?” Suddenly Owen responded to his father using dialogue from the movie. Life, Animated tells the remarkable story of how Owen found a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world through Disney animated films.

92 minutes / Rated PG

Buena Vista Branch, 4:00 p.m.

Family Films presents...
Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana convinces the mighty demigod Maui to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
103 minutes / Rated PG

Buena Vista Branch, 6:30 p.m.

Twilight Cinema presents...
Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

123 minutes / rated PG-13

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.
The club has read and will discuss Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson. This club is for registered teens only, and is full. Please email to be placed on the waiting list.

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

Sound of Strings Concert Series presents...
A modern-day bard, Dennis Doyle is a Celtic harpist, singer, and storyteller. His delightful program of traditional Irish harp music, stories, songs, bits of history and jokes has been performed all over North America, Japan, and Ireland. In addition to his musical career, Dennis teaches at Glendale Community College, lecturing in English, Humanities, and Irish History & Literature.

Central Library, 4:00 p.m.

Family Films presents...
(see description and run-time above)

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

A place for Millennials and Gen-Xers to hang out, drink coffee, and read short, interesting books. At this month's meeting we will discuss Bitch Planet, Vol.1: Extraordinary Machine. In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman's failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?

Central Library, 2:00 p.m.

Friday Matinee presents...
Lee Chandler, a quiet and reserved handyman in Quincy, Massachusetts, receives word that his brother Joe has had a heart attack. Arriving at the hospital too late, Lee then goes to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea to break the news to Joe's son, Patrick. Staying in Joe's home while arranging Joe's funeral, he is shocked to learn that Joe named him as Patrick's guardian.

137 minutes / rated R


A story and song program for children ages one and two, accompanied by an adult.

Tuesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Fridays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 11:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Registration is required to attend Toddler Storytime
at Buena Vista Branch.

Stories and songs for children age three and up,
accompanied by an adult.

Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch
Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months. Last meeting of the winter session.
This Thursday @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch

A fun introduction to music, dance, and communication.
This Tuesday @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Who: Any child who has difficulty sitting through a traditional storytime.
What: A small inclusive program of stories, songs, and activities that provides freedom to children with special needs, within a structured space.
Pre-registration is required:  Limited to 10 children. (A small group is what makes Sensory Storytime engaging for the children participating.) Please call 818-238-5630.

This Wednesday @ 12:00 noon, Buena Vista Branch

This is a read-aloud program for children in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade.

Sign-ups are required. Parents may sign up their child at the Buena Vista Branch Children's Library or by calling 818-238-5630.

This Thursday @ 4:30 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Story Times will be on SPRING BREAK next week, and will return the following Tuesday.