After months of debating which eReader to buy, I finally decided to go with the new Simple Touch Reader Nook from Barnes & Noble. The reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive, with sites like CNET & PC Magazine naming it a top pick. It features a featherweight ergonomic design, amazing battery life, and e-ink technology. I personally prefer it to the Nook Color because I find the Nook Color’s LCD screen a bit harder on the eyes for extended reading. The new Simple Touch Nook doesn’t have the bells and whistles of an iPad or other tablet computer, but if you’re looking for something simple, fairly affordable, and hassle-free to use just for reading books, then this Nook might be for you.
Check out some great Nook-specific instructions on how to get started with SJPL’s OverDrive eBook collection, or visit OverDrive's help page. I’m having a great time so far with the many titles available for download. It’s exciting to be able to continue to use the many great (and free!) resources that the library has to offer, but in a brand new way.
I try to mix up my recreational reading and challenge myself with a variety of genres and themes, but I have to admit that every now and then, it feels good to curl up with a nice piece of well-written chick lit. After having read a few of her books now, I must agree with the masses that YA author Sarah Dessen has truly mastered this art: real characters, a good story with all the right amounts of drama and romance, and a slightly surprising yet happy ending.
I just finished listening to the audiobook Lock and Key via the Overdrive app on my mobile phone. While it's not my favorite Dessen novel thus far, (that award goes to This Lullaby), it's a great story of redemption and second chances. 17-year-old Ruby is reunited with her estranged older sister Cora after her neglectful mother finally takes off for good. Cora and her husband Jamie (founder of a successful Facebook-esque social networking site) are able to offer Ruby all of the things she never dreamed she would have: a beautiful house, new clothes, a good high school, hopes for college, and above all, a real family. Nate, the charming boy-next-door that reaches out to her, is also too good to be true. But despite this amazing new life, Ruby still can't seem to take off the old key around her neck that belongs to the crumbling house where her mom left her. As the story progresses, we begin to see Ruby's transformation, as well as the characters around her. Things aren't always what they seem, family can be a flexible term, and it's never too late to give up hope. Eventually we'll find the right keys to the doors we're looking for.
Sarah Dessen's latest novel, What Happened to Goodbye, is another story about reclaiming identity and coming to terms with not-so-perfect family. Be one of the first to read it, and let us know what you think!
As both May and the end of the school year draw to a close, hopefully many of you are starting to think about spending the summer at a San Jose library near you. We are celebrating our annual Summer Reading Celebration at all SJPL locations with many events and reading incentives for kids, teens, and adults. Our theme this year is travel and world culture, and for the kids, we are exploring "One World, Many Stories", so why not join us at West Valley Branch Library for a unique display of a fascinating culture?
All ages are invited to join us on June 18 from 1-2pm as we kick off the start of the Summer Reading Celebration in the West Valley Library Community Room with Celtic Day, an exciting and free celebration of Celtic music, dance, food, and culture. The Friends of the West Valley Libraryand the South Bay Scottish Societyhave teamed up to offer a fantastic lineup of performers, including young dancers from the San Jose School of Highland Dancing, folk singer and guitarist James McWhirter, Scottish pipers and drummers, and more! You will also be able to sample an authentic Scottish dish. Bring the family!
In the meantime, you can practice your Scottish greetings RampantScotland.com if you'd like: May the best ye hae ivver seen be the warst ye'll ivver see.
The Baby-sitter's Club was one of my absolute favorite book series when I was a kid. In this series by author Ann M. Martin, a group of middle school girls come together to form a neighborhood babysitting service called The Baby-sitter's Club. Throughout the series, these friends experience various middle school adventures, both on the job and off. The stories running throughout the series are funny, heart-warming, exciting, realistic, engaging, and more! I loved getting to know the different characters, each with their own distinct personalities and quirks. There's headstrong and athletic Kristy, artistic and eccentrically-dressed Claudia, shy and sensitive Mary Anne, sophisticated city-girl Stacey, California-girl environmentalist Dawn, and the "junior members," Mallory and Jessi. And now, the burning question that my friends and I used to debate...What BSC member are YOU most like? Now you can find out with an online quiz.
I was happy to discover that Scholastic is introducing the Baby-sitter's Club series to a whole new generation of readers. They’ve republished the first several books in the series (with some minor adjustments to “modernize” the series, according to this article), and Ann M. Martin recently wrote a great prequel to the series called The Summer Before. This book follows the four original BSC members during their summer before 7th grade and before the start of the Baby-sitter’s Club, (which is Kristy’s Great Idea, the official first book of the series). I recommend The Summer Before to readers in grades 3-6 who want to start reading this great series for the first time, or to any former children of the late 80's-90's out there that want to reminisce about these familiar characters from our childhood.
Did you know that it's Children's Book Week? According to the official CBW website:
Children's Book Week is the national celebration of books and reading for youth. Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated countrywide with author & illustrator appearances, parties, storytelling, and other book-related events in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs -- anywhere where kids and books connect.
The Children's Choice Book Awards are announced during Children's Book Week. Every year, kids are invited to cast their vote for their favorite books, authors, and illustrators. Check out this year's winners, including the unstoppable Rick Riordan as Author of the Year for his popular new Heroes of Olympus series and David Wiesner as Illustrator of the Year for his amazing illustrations in Art & Max.
We hope that you'll visit your local San José Public Library location and celebrate this week (or any week, really!) with some good reads.
In the opening chapter of The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, high school junior Jessica wakes up in the hospital to find that the lower half of her leg is gone, damaged beyond repair in a horrible bus accident that also claimed the life of one of her track teammates. Jessica is devastated. Running meant everything to her, and now she can't even get out of bed. However, her will is strong, and with the help of her loving family and friends, she is quickly on the road to recovery and to walking once again with her new prosthetic leg. But will Jessica ever run again?
As someone who also loves to run and gets what that runner's high feeling is all about, I can't even imagine how crushing it would be to have it taken away. Despite the odds and the setbacks along the way though, Jessica is inspiring, positive, and full of hope. While still recovering and confined to a wheelchair, Jessica ends up befriending a girl with cerebral palsy in her math class named Rosa, and as they become good friends, Jessica makes the connection that like Jessica, Rosa wants to be seen as Rosa, not as the girl with a disability. In the end, you can't help but cheer for Jessica like an excited fan along the track.
While losing a limb would surely be an awful tragedy, this story ends up being a feel-good "best case scenario" of what would happen in the aftermath of such a terrible event, thanks to Jessica's determined spirit and her wonderful support network. Parts of the book are certainly sad, but there are plenty of humorous and heart-warming scenes that keep this from being just another tear-jerker. I also found the bits about Jessica's recovery and prosthesis to be really informative. If you're looking for other inspiring stories like this one, try Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham, The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk, or Owning It : Stories About Teens with Disabilities.