Monday, March 31, 2008

What We're Reading - "Campaigning for President"

Imagine a young boy of 10 in 1968 who wanders into a local "Robert F. Kennedy for President" office, and is given the usual assortment of campaign buttons and trinkets and becomes enamored of such campaign memorabilia and begins to seek out items from the other candidates in that race.

Now imagine the boy's collection some 40 years later, standing at some 1.25 million items covering George Washington to George W. Bush and all of the campaigns and candidates in between.

Finally imagine leafing through a wonderful book, heavily illustrated with examples of the best items from that boy's collection and samples of the catchiest slogans to the worst mud slinging from past Presidential election campaigns.

Put it all together and you have the story of "Campaigning for President" by Jordan Wright. As you might have guessed, he was the young boy who started collecting such memorabilia and now has published this beautiful and fascinating book...and just in time to encourage all of us to do our last minute campaign collecting of this year's items. This book well proves, that money, mud, outrageous statements and even a bit of humor are nothing new to Presidential politics and in fact, current practices may even be more civilized than their predecessors!

This book gets my vote!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What We're Reading: Another Thing to Fall

Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman.

I like a mystery and this is a good one. After a series of suspicious “accidents” on the set, Private Investigator Tess Monaghan is hired to be the bodyguard/babysitter for the young star of “Mann of Steel,” a TV show being shot in Baltimore. Tess has to untangle the alliances among the actors and crew and producers on the set, while keeping her charge out of harm's way. I especially like a book that captures a setting as if it were a character in the novel, and Lippman does it with Baltimore. A big Hollywood production moving into a working class, somewhat economically depressed area has its consequences.

If you’ve read Lippman’s other books featuring Tess Monaghan you won’t be disappointed by this one, and if not, start reading. The books in the series have won the Edgar, Agatha, Shamus, Anthony and Nero Wolf awards. Lippman lives in Baltimore and is married to David Simon, producer of HBO’s “The Wire” and she knows her way around both a TV shoot, and a good mystery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What We're Reading: In Defense of Food

A sticky idea is one that sheds everything extraneous until only the core truth remains (See Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die). That's why In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan is so useful. Even my forgetful brain can retain his assertion that it is best to "Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants." It also speaks the language of my brain, which is sentence fragments.

There's certainly more to it than this; he fleshes out the details in a manageable 201 pages, which I was able to digest in only two sittings. I learned quite a bit, especially the sobering reality that label reading may not be the solution to my health. (If it has a label, it's already suspicious.) This is not a diet book, and you will not find dinner ideas here. However, he does provide a set of guidelines that will help you make the best choices when you're in the kitchen or the marketplace. It's definitely a must read, and a welcome addition to his wildly popular The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Trivia Challenge 2008

Burbank Public Library Literacy Services annual fundraiser is March 27 at The Castaway Restaurant.

Dewey & the Decimals will defend their title against 23 local teams. The Challenge begins at 7:00 pm. Join us for an appetizer/dessert buffet and a Silent Auction at 6:30 pm.

Jack O'Neill, Hope Family Estate, is the Master of Ceremonies.

Trivia Challenge Sponsors
Platinum: Community Development Dept. - NBC-Universal
Sterling: The Walt Disney Co. - Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
Silver: Burbank Water & Power

March 27 is also Education and Sharing Day:

In honor of Rabbi Schneerson's efforts for education and sharing for Jews and non-Jews alike. During his lifetime the Rebbe opened scores of centers of education called "Chabad Houses". The day was inaugurated April 18, 1978, by president Jimmy Carter.

Throughout our Nation's history, education has been at the heart of achievement in America, and it is the key to meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities that lie before us. To succeed in the global community of the 21st century, we must provide all our citizens with a world-class, well-rounded education.

Good Guys vs Bad Guys - a new book list

We have a new online book list available for your potential reading, Good Guys / Bad Guys [Women too!] The list features a selection of books about cops and robbers, detectives and killers, con men and investigators from Bonnie and Clyde to Eliot Ness, Charlie Manson to FBI profiler John Douglas. Some of the authors include Truman Capote, Joseph Wambaugh, Ann Rule, Norman Mailer and even Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman.

It isn't a criminal offense to steal away some time and investigate these books!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What We're Reading - "The Codex"

If you are like me, you are "Jonesing" for the upcoming "Indiana Jones" movie. Until it hits the theaters in May, try reading The Codex by Douglas Preston for some treasure hunting, adventure satisfaction.

The basic premise and set-up for the action is simple and perfect, Maxwell Broadbent, a notorious collector and tomb raider, is dying and decides to entomb himself and half a billion in artifacts, collectibles and other treasures somewhere in the world. All he leaves is a videotape that challenge his three sons to find and claim their inheritance.

Of course there are challenges a plenty, bad guys galore, surprises, danger and much page turning adventure ahead for the lucky reader. This was my first Douglas Preston book and it won't be my last.

For other treasure hunting adventure recommendations, The Codex and many other titles can be found on our X Marks the Spot - The Quest for Adventure online book list or on the paper version available in the library.

Happy hunting, and only 2 months until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls hits the screen and the novelization by James Rollins, hits our book shelves!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How do you use your library?

California Public Libraries want to continue to improve and develop services that meet your information needs. Please take a few moments to complete this simple survey [click here]. Your input will be anonymous. Thank you for helping the California Public Libraries serve you better!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New This Week in AskWiki

Two new travel sites!
Unusual Hotels Around the World lists places to stay from tree houses to cabooses with reviews, pricing, contact information and wonderful photographs.How about the Dog Bark Park Inn in Idaho?

Backpack Europe has packing and transportation tips, hostel information and extensive links to other helpful sites.

What We're Reading - A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer.

Ha, I fooled you! When I last posted, I was juggling 3 books at once and which one did I finish first to post about...none of them. What could I do, as the next day, I received a copy of Jeffrey Archer's highly enjoyable new book "A Prisoner of Birth" and this zoomed to the top of my reading list. Archer has long been one of my favorite writers, whether suspense, politics, family drama or short stories [I highly recommend those], I have always found myself in the hands of a writer who above all is an entertaining teller of tales. "A Prisoner of Birth" is no different, this time he's spinning his take on the Dumas classic, "The Count of Monte Cristo", with main character Danny Cartwright, an illiterate London East Ender, falsely imprisoned due to the testimony of 4 upper class friends - "The Musketeers". How Danny transforms himself in Prison, attempts to clear his name and exact his revenge is fun reading as Archer knows how to twist his plot so the journey is far from predictable.

If you haven't read Jeffrey Archer, I'd highly recommend him and after reading "A Prisoner of Birth" one will be tempted to read, as I am, "The Count of Monte Cristo" and given the amount of the story told from behind bars, Archer's own three volume prison memoirs which I am sure greatly influence this piece of fiction.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spotlight on John Adams

If you're like me, you were watching the Sunday debut of the first 2 parts (7 all total) of the new HBO mini-series, John Adams.

Seeing as part 3 isn't shown until next Sunday, whatever are we to do now that our appetite has been whetted? Fear not, below are a few reading and viewing suggestions to get you through the long weeks ahead...and this barely scratches the surface on the many reading options available about the American Revolution and the many individuals that make up this rich period of our history.

Books about John Adams, of course, begin with David McCullough's best selling and Pulitzer Prize winning book, John Adams, that the mini-series is based upon. Other biographies worth considering are the two volume set, John Adams by Page Smith and the slim title John Adams by John P. Diggins from The American Presidents series.

Central to understanding John Adams, is his marriage and partnership with his wife, Abagail Adams. Adams was a great letter writer and the book My dearest friend : letters of Abigail and John Adams well documents their mutual love, support and intellectual exchanges.

Other aspects worth reading about include
A magnificent catastrophe : the tumultuous election of 1800, America's first presidential campaign by Edward J. Larson and Adams vs. Jefferson : the tumultuous election of 1800 by John E. Ferling about the tumultuous election of 1800. Do you get the feeling that this election was "tumultuous"?

Some general titles about the founding of our country include
American creation : triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the Republic and
Founding brothers : the revolutionary generation (another Pulitzer Prize winner) both by Joseph J. Ellis; Revolutionary characters : what made the founders different by Gordon S. Wood and 1776 by David McCullough.

DVD watching leads one to a PBS title, John & Abigail Adams; Founding Fathers from A & E; and my favorite film to watch on the Independence Day holiday, the musical, 1776 (who knew John Adams could sing?!)

I'll leave other books and their joy of discovery to you to find on your own....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Come see the Amateur Photography Contest entries.

Judging is done on the 340 entries in the 2008 Friends of the Burbank Public Library Amateur Photography Contest.

Come and see the winners and all of the other entries and judge for yourself which photograph you think is best.

Shown above, is Best of Show winner, Jaime Perez and his award winning photograph.

The photographs are available for viewing in the Burbank Central Library auditorium during the hours the library is open. Last day for viewing is Saturday, March 29.

Burbank Central Library
110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

Teens in Action

The Burbank Public Library has received and cataloged a new DVD produced by our local Teens in Action group. The title, Under Pressure: teen body image and eating disorders, is the seventh Teens in Action title available for your checkout.

The DVD covers the effects of anorexia and bulimia and how
outside influences can change how teens think about their bodies. Eating
disorders are about more than just food and weight loss--they are serious
disorders that create an obsession with appearance. Counseling, medical
treatment and nutritional advice can help teens regain control of their lives.

All seven of the available Teens in Action titles features teens discussing and exploring ways to help other teens handle a diverse range of important topics from tobacco and alcohol to violence, depression and prejudice.

Stop by your local library and checkout Teens in Action, I think you'll be impressed by what they've done!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What We're Reading: The Invention of Morel

I very nearly replaced this book with something more current...something with crisp white pages. I was naive. If all classic literature was as wonderful as this novella, I think I'd embrace the other extreme and swear off anything written in this decade.

It was chance that I even discovered this gem. In a moment of boredom I was reading a forum on the TV program LOST. While Sawyer is periodically lost in a good book, this time he was reading The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. The fans were pleased, as the story is also set upon a mysterious island inhabited by a fugitive. Neat, yes?

Like the nighttime drama, questions abound - who are the mysterious tourists upon the island? Why do dual suns shine down from the sky? What is the meaning of the disturbing sense of déjà vu, where time repeats like a skipping record? There are no polar bears, no Dharma Initiative - but things are certainly not what they seem in this place.

In 1941, Bioy Casares won the Primer Premio Municipal Award in Buenos Aires. Jorge Luis Borges, in the prologue, says of the story: "I have discussed with the author the details of his plot. I have reread it. To classify it as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole."

It's that good.

Blogs On Parade: Burbank

Local Burbank blogs from Blog Hound:

Storytime Snapshot
~ children’s librarian and storyteller for the Burbank Public Library

Only In Burbank
~ for the people, by the people! This site is written by citizen journalists

Frank Murphy Dot Com
~ thinking about Burbank from Knoxville TN

Burbank Guide
~ articles & videos about Burbank
~ the personal blog of controversial artist and noted futurist Lee Stranahan

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Rocket Boys" video PSA.

OK, so while we are primarily posting Burbank READS related posts onto the Burbank READS blog, I just couldn't resist making mention of the new video PSA [Public Service Announcement] that our Public Information Office produced and is running on Burbank TV6. The video can be found on our Burbank READS blog and if you go to and search Burbank Reads you'll find the PSA for the "Rocket Boy" PSA and the one from last year about "Marley and Me".

What We're Reading: Opium Season

I'll be the first to admit that there are two subjects that don't necessarily tempt me in print - Afghanistan and drugs. However, I happened to catch an interview with the author of Opium Season, Joel Hafvenstein, on one of my NPR podcasts late last year. I was instantly curious; sadly, our library did not own a copy of the book at the time.

It was worth the wait. In Opium Season, Hafvenstein discusses his time in Afghanistan, working on several projects meant to woo farmers away from their profitable poppy fields. The book reads beautifully, with poetic descriptions of the landscape that would make many novelists blush with shame. Sadly, this is not a fictional account. The peace of the first half of the book gives way to increasing instability and danger, and by the end I could barely keep from crying. I believe that this is an important book to read - both for the history and violence of the country's past and present, and the beauty of its vast deserts and ordinary citizens.

On a side note, one of my favorite parts of the book was something that was relatively minor. I did not know that the carrot originated in Afghanistan, and that these vegetables come in colors other than orange. Don't you like to discover interesting factoids in your books?

Monday, March 10, 2008

New in AskWiki

New information in AskWiki:

Price Hub where one can look up the actual value (sales price) of used cars. Results are charted, comparing model, year, actual sale price, mileage, location, condition and transaction date.

Family Search is a remarkable genealogical site. I easily found information about my great-great grandparents and beyond…and they were a shifty lot, carnival barkers and such.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Reading in triplicate...

From time-to-time, I find myself reading multiple books at the same time. Here is what I am currently reading, if you are lucky, I'll even post on all three titles at a later date when I am done!

"The Codex" by Douglas Preston. (a dying multi-millionaire entombs himself and his wealth and challenges his three sons to find their inheritance)

"Dark Delicacies II: Fear" (the second collection of original horror stories edited and under the imprimatur of Burbank's own Dark Delicacies book store...BTW, you missed a lively panel discussion by some of the authors last Wednesday night at Buena Vista and congratulations for the recent Bram Stoker Award nomination for best anthology...good luck on winning. They won the same award for their first short story anthology, two-for-two for a Burbank store would be pretty terrific!)

"Campaigning for president" (featuring wonderful photographs of author Jordan Wright's private collection of presidential campaign memorabilia from George W. to George W.)

So this is what is on my current reading list, what stack of books are you working on? Please leave a comment and let us know!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New this week in AskWiki

Our wiki grows! Our librarians are busy gathering and assessing, ferreting and vetting, hunting and pecking…well, you get the idea…there’s always something new. This week we’ve added a link to our catalog’s Have You Read section of reading lists, a portal to the virtual Shoe Museum and Consumer Facts relating to digital television including a coupon for a converter box. Take a look, make a suggestion Click here!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Read Across America Day: March 3
Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday !

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Dr. Seuss on the Web:

~ Seussville
~ Dr. Seuss National Memorial - Springfield, MA
~ Dr. Seuss Collection @ UCSD
~ Dr. Seuss parody page

& watch a prevue of Horton Hears a Who ! @
~ release date: March 14
with Jim Carrey as Horton
Steve Carell as The Mayor of Who-ville
Carol Burnett as Kangaroo

So Light a Candle, Woodja !
Check Out a Dr. Seuss Book @ Burbank Public Library

What We're Reading - "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich

What do destroyed cars, a horse in an apartment, a rashy and swollen faced mobster, the return of Diesel (and his many talents), Grandma Mazur on the loose gambling in Atlantic City, a wee spot of a man who may possibly be a leprechaun, a duffel bag of money that is stolen, gambled, found, stolen, ransomed and who knows all what and Lula in lingerie all have in common?

Stephanie Plum and her latest mystery adventure "Plum Lucky" (a between-the-numbers novel) is the answer. If you are a fan of Janet Evanovich you are in for the usual chuckles, if you haven't read the Stephanie Plum series, you should start with the first one, "One For the Money".

I know that the Soprano's have the reputation of being the most feared force in New Jersey, but personally, I would be far more afraid of tangling with Stephanie Plum, she causes much more destruction and havoc and is far more unpredictible than Tony ever was!

Visit the author's website which features a nice list of the official order to read the main series and these "Between the numbers" books.