- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
Treat yourself at the end of the year and listen to a poem, such as Al Young reading "What December Remembers." I appreciate Al Young sharing with us his distillation of California experiences in verse by reading a poem a month all through 2012. His reflections lift me above my immediate concerns; his references comfort me with an intense identity with the people and the land of California.
Knowing time never returns, I try to remember my days by marking the natural rythms and wonders surrounding us. And the march of our days are better accented and appreciated by reading some poems. Among the numerous poetry sites, Poetry Foundation provides direct access to some seasonal poems and holiday poems that are good to explore (and listen to.)
There are volumes and volumes of poetry in the library collections awaiting you. If you would like to sample poetry that’s rather timeless, then try to look up World poetry : an anthology of verse from antiquity to our time please.
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2012 –
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?"
Do you have enough things in your life? Do you have too many things, or do you need more? How do you know when you have too much? During this season of giving and any time, it might be interesting to consider reducing the amount of stuff you have and consume, and giving it to others. The Power of Half by the father/daughter team of Kevin and Hannah Salwen describes their family's journey from having a lot of stuff that they thought they really needed to their group decision to get rid of a lot of it. They chose as a family to downsize by half and give the proceeds to charity.
The Salwens changed many things about the way the live when one day co-author Hannah Salwen noticed a homeless man looking for food and other help at a busy city intersection and the expensive luxury car that was stopped in front of them. She asked her dad what would happen if the driver in front of them didn't have such a nice car. Would the homeless man then be able to eat? As a result, the family started having weekly, in-depth discussions about what they needed to live comfortably as opposed to what they wanted. Soon the discussions turned to whether they should sell their large house and get rid of a lot of the things in it that they had collected. They soon discovered that much of the stuff that they had invested in was holding them back. They barely missed it at all.
This award-winning video from Hannah's brother, Joseph shows what they gave up and what they gained. It describes the family's desire to help people in a small village in Africa while keeping in mind the homeless man they had seen at the intersection.
It's a very interesting story. While you're reading it, you might want to think about how you could make a significant difference, or even a small difference, by giving back to your community. You don't have to sell your house to help others. Each chapter ends with suggestions from Hannah about activities that families can do together to give back.
In Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the book of Revelation, Elaine Pagels does a helpful job of putting the Book of Revelation in historical context. It was written not long after the fall and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Out of distress over the state of his country, the writer uses dream-like images to portray the forces of heaven coming down to destroy the evil doers. Pagels says it conveys a message of hope, giving the message that as bad as circumstances are now, in the end the righteous will prevail. Unfortunately, it has also been used over the centuries to label opponents as evil. Her book goes on to describe a number of other books of revelation that were written in the first century c.e.
Feliz Navidad is a fun book in which artist David Diaz created pictures accompanying the lyrics of the beloved song “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano. The reader views beautiful illustrations of Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico as well as in colder climates.
In the book Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid, written and illustrated by Xavier Garza, Santa Claus needs some extra help delivering gifts to children who live along the Texas/Mexico border. Whom does Santa Claus ask? Vincent’s uncle: Tío Pancho, also known as “Charro Claus.”
The Legend of the Poinsettia, retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola, is a retelling of a Mexican legend about the origin of poinsettia flowers, also known as flores de Navidad and flores de la Nochebuena. This book is also available in Spanish.
Too Many Tamales, written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez is a story about a family celebrating Christmas Eve by making tamales. This title is also available in eAudiobook format, Spanish book, and Spanish Book and CD Kit.
The first part of the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Journey", opens this Friday in theaters. No surprise - interest in the book has increased as evidenced by the amount of hold requests on our library copies (check out this edition if you still need a copy). So, let's say you've read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and you want more Middle Earth. What's next?
Tolkien spent most of his career as a writer refining the mythology that would become the "back story" to the published "Rings" era (the Third Age) but these tales only saw publication following his death in the form of The Silmarillion. This is very much "The Bible" of Middle Earth in both content and narrative approach. It tells the epic history of the world from its very creation to the end of the First Age as Elves (and later, Men) struggle against the evil forces of Morgoth (the Lucifer figure) and attempt to regain the three holy jewels, the Silmarils, he stole from them.
Despite its beautiful and ambitious scope, readers familiar with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings can sometimes find The Silmarillion a bit hard to get into. Because it covers a millennia or so, there is less dialogue, characters are less defined, and events are concise and compressed. The narrative approach is rather similar to the historical Appendices at the end of The Lord of the Rings (you didn't skip those, right?). The Silmarillion is also lacking a single overall protagonist; instead, characters come and go between chapters as they fall victim to the passage of time and frequent tragic deaths. There are also no familiar cross-over characters or places from the Rings books (except briefly for Galadriel, and a small role for Sauron); in fact, most of the lands of The Silmarillion no longer exist by the time of The Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien does a lot of "name-dropping", and since everyone and everything tends to have multiple names, I found it useful on my first reading to constantly be double-checking every name reference in a companion book such as The Complete Guide to Middle Earth. Yes, you get some spoilers, but it also helps keep you focused on the big picture - where things are going and which details you should pay attention to.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by The Silmarillion and want an experience closer to The Lord of the Rings, try the recently released The Children of Hurin. This takes the Tale of Turin Turambar, a 28 page chapter in The Silmarillion, and expands it to a 200+ page novel (with big print, for a change). Hot-headed Turin battles Morgoth's forces but is cursed to unintentionally carry out Morgoth's will, leading to the destruction of one of the three hidden kingdoms of the Elves and Turin's own tragic fate. The story is self-contained enough that it can be enjoyed without knowledge of its place in the greater scheme of events told in The Silmarillion. Tolkien often attempted to tell stories of the First Age in longer formats like this, but The Children of Hurin is the only one that was complete enough to stand on its own, with a bit of patching. (You can see the original version with holes intact in Unfinished Tales)
Stay tuned for more highlights of the First Age from Tolkien's incomplete and miscellaneous writings...
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (P.L. 101-336) is the most comprehensive civil rights legislation adopted to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. Public and private businesses, state and local government agencies, private entities offering public accommodations and services, transportation and utilities are required to comply with the law as quoted on en.wikipedia.org.
San Jose Public Library:
Among surveyed homeless people, 39 percent have some form of mental health problem, and SAMHSA estimates that between 20 percent and 25 percent meet criteria for serious mental illness. In addition, 38 percent of surveyed homeless people have an alcohol problem, and 26 percent report problems with other drugs. Untreated addictions and mental illnesses present serious barriers to employment and permanent housing, perpetuating an ever-worsening cycle of poor physical health, hospitalization, social dysfunction, incarceration, poverty, and homelessness. These are tragic outcomes for homeless persons and their families; burdens on healthcare, social service, and corrections systems; and costs to taxpayers as quoted on nationalhomeless.org/advocacy.
San Jose Public Library:
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth is a nicely illustrated book depicting adorable mice celebrating Hanukkah. The "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah" song that starts out with the words "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, oh light the menorah" accompanies the colorful collage illustrations. Susan L. Roth's website contains other pictures from her books, as well as some pages describing her collage techniques.
Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap, written by Deborah Bodin Cohen, and illustrated by Shahar Kober, features Ari, a train engineer who steers his train toward his destination. On the way, Ari sees a camel is resting on the railroad tracks. What will happen next? Will Ari get to celebrate with his friends in time? Read and find out!
Hayim, the poorest man in the village, asks the local scribe write a letter to the Almighty. In his letter, Hayim requests enough oil to light all menorahs in town. Will Hayim receive a response? Read Letter on the Wind: a Chanukah Tale, written by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, and illustrated by Neil Waldman in order to find out!
Biblioteca Latinoamericana and Washington United Youth Center will present the annual Posada de la Comunidad on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.
The entire community is invited to participate in this traditional Latino event, with folkloric dancing and other entertainment. Refreshments, including delicious buñuelos will be provided free of charge.
Children and teens will receive a gift book while supplies last.
This special event is co-sponsored by Los Amigos de la Biblioteca, Santa Maria Urban Ministry, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, RW Garcia Co., Brenda Lopez Folklorico Group, Grupo Folklorico Yolotly Guerrerente, Antonio Avalos, and other community groups.
Would you like to learn more about the celebration of Las Posadas? Here are some books that you and your children may enjoy:
Do you want to see a real camel? Come on a journey to the Biblical city of Bethlehem. Be a part of history and witness the events that led up to the birth of Jesus Christ. See Joseph and Mary search the city for a place to stay, see the lowly shepherds get visited by an angel and then proclaim the good news, see the noble entry of the wise men and their entourage looking for the new born king. Enjoy the music, drama, lights, and exotic animals as you "Experience the Birth" as quoted on bethlehemsc.com.
Look at the Review on Yelp at Bethlehem.
Invite your friends through Facebook.
December 6 - 10, 2012
Thursday - Monday
Open from 6:30PM - 9:00PM
Five 30 minute Performances Nightly
Free Admission & Hot Drinks
Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
San Jose Public Library Collections: