- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
According to healthstatus.com’s calorie calculator you can burn 100-250 calories during a San José Public Library write in. What better way to burn off that second helping of pumpkin pie and feed the inner author within?
No Registration Required. Baked Goods a Distinct Possibility.
National Novel Writing Month is a nationally organized writing event. Participants aim to write 50,000 words, the average length of a novel, in a single month. Come to the write in to ask questions about the writing process, enjoy a quiet place to write, or to draw support from the knowledge that over 3,000 people in the South Bay alone are writing along with you. There is not set structure, no rules about what or how to write, and no reason for a would-be author not to attend. It’s never too late to start.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment below or visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/.
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
With the arrival of the film version of Cloud Atlas, there's sure to be increased interest in the 2004 novel by David Mitchell on which the film is based. From my perspective, that's great - this novel should be reintroduced, so that readers who have not yet delved into the extravagant prose and complexity of plot and language of this extraordinary story can experience a truly original work of literature.
I've heard that the novel can be compared in structure to a Russian matryoshka doll: opened in layers until the center piece is reached, then reassembled piece by piece to form the whole.
And the novel's structure does have that kind of symmetry. The novel is the clever blending of six novellas, wildly divergent in setting and tone, but with a common thread that emerges at crucial junctures in each story. The first is the story of a nineteenth century American, Adam Ewing, whose innocence and faith in humanity is tested on a voyage through the south Pacific. The subsequent tales are set in Belgium in the 1930s, California in the 1970s, present-day Britain, Korea of the future (the 23rd century?), and, at the book's center, a post-apocalyptic Hawaii where civilization is reduced to a few small agricultural tribes surviving in one of the few areas of the world that has not be made uninhabitable by pollution and the depletion of natural resources. After this central piece, the other stories unfold in reverse order until we finally return to the nineteenth century and discover the fate of the Adam in the middle of the Pacific.
If you want a challenging read with beautiful prose and a timeless theme of hope in the midst of man's inhumanity to man, I recommend Cloud Atlas: Available in print, and as an e-book from San José Public Library.
Question for Week 4:
What can be done internationally, nationally and locally to stop human trafficking?
First as an individual educate yourself about human trafficking and what governmental and nongovernmental organizations are doing. Then, as you are able, volunteer your time and resources to organizations such as the following:
Humantrafficking.org gives guidelines and suggestions for self-education about trafficking in the United States and other countries including how to recognize victims and ways to approach and help someone who may be a victim.
Other good sites are the Polaris Project National Human Trafficking Resource Center (which has a toll-free hotline) and Stop Child Trafficking Now.
Two local organizations working to end human trafficking are:
The Online Book Club will take a break in December 2012, and begin reading the Silicon Valley Reads selections when we return in January 2013. Get your copies of The Long Walk and Minefields of the Heart today!
The Harry Potter series has been chosen by the children at Almaden as their favorite. In the past month or so, we had our own election of sorts, and we have just tallied our results. The numbers are in: Harry Potter received 14 votes out of the 120 titles entered. Children were asked to nominate their favorite titles: some nominated up to 5 titles. Of the top five, the other titles are: Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Hunger Games, Swindle, and Geronimo Stilton. Only one title is a single title, Swindle, by Gordon Korman. Here is the run down:
Harry Potter 14
Percy Jackson 12
Hunger Games 10
Geronimo Stilton 7
Happy Reading! If you haven't tried one of these titles, perhaps you may be enticed to try one, since so many children have read them and can attest to their quality. One caveat: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Lightning Thief) and The Hunger Games are considered teen titles in other words for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
Partners in Reading (PAR) is the adult literacy program of the San Jose Public Library. Following is some information for new volunteers and for adults who need help with reading, writing, communication, and computer skills.
Imagine that you could not read a medicine label. What problems do you think might happen as a result?
Consider becoming a volunteer tutor to help change someone’s life, quite possibly your own. Become a volunteer tutor and work with an individual or a small group to tutor basic literacy skills. The next orientation and training begin on March 13, 2013. The 90-minute orientation is followed by two all-day training sessions at the King Library on Saturday, March 16 and Saturday, March 23.
The next learner orientation for adults who want to be part of PAR’s regular tutoring program for basic literacy will be on Wednesday, February 6, 2013. Learners need to be over 18, live or work in San Jose, read or write below the 9th grade level, and be able to make a 6-month commitment.
For information about any of these opportunities and to sign up, please call (408) 808-2361. You can also find out more about Partners in Reading by visiting us online.
Seraphine is a beautiful, poignant French film that explores the life and art work of Seraphine Louis. Orphaned by the age of seven, Seraphine led a humble, isolated life working as a house cleaner in Senlis, France at the turn of the 20thCentury. Without friends or family, Seraphine found solace in solitary walks in the countryside and prayer in church. Her one secret passion in life was an obsessive, spiritual urge to paint what she experienced and saw in nature during her long walks in the meadows and forests surrounding Senlis. Seraphine spent her evenings painting flowers and fruits using paint that she made from plant dyes and melted candle wax. Unable to purchase canvas or fine paint brushes, Seraphine painted on discarded slabs of wood and often used her fingers to apply paint. It was by chance that in 1912 that one of her wooden slab paintings - a still-life of apples - was discovered by Wilhelm Uhde, a German art collector who happened to be visiting one of the homes where Seraphine worked as a house cleaner. Uhde was astonished to learn that the artist was the strange and reclusive domestic, Seraphine. Uhde befriended Seraphine and supported her artistic efforts until WWI erupted and Uhde left France. He reunited with Seraphine after the war and encouraged her once again to continue with her painting. Although Seraphine died impoverished and institutionalized in a mental asylum, her work lives on in the Musee Maillol in Paris, the Musee d’art de Senlis, and the Musee d’art naïf in Nice. Seraphine was directed by Martin Provost. In 2009 this film won seven Cesar Awards, (the French equivalent of the Academy Awards ), including Best Film and Best Actress for Yolande Moreau.
Do you like reading mystery novels? Cambrian’s Mystery Book Club meets monthly in the library. Currently the club is reading Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time. Inspired by a lifelong passion for Jane Austen, James masterfully re-creates the 1803 world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story of murder and mayhem, as only James can write it.
The club meets Nov. 28, 2012 in Room "B" on the 2nd floor from 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm. Request your copy of the book now. New members are welcome.
The Black Count is a biography of Alexandre Dumas. No, not the novelist: his father. Born the mixed race son of a disgraced minor noble and his slave mistress, Alex Sr. grew up in a fugitive family in the backwoods of the island that would become Haiti. His father eventually returned to France, which voyage was funded by selling Alex’s mother and his siblings back into slavery, but favorite son Alex remained free and came with the old count as he schemed to reclaim the family fortune. Alex Sr. thus arrived in France at a transitional period in which blacks could be owned as slaves, but there were no legal limitations upon free blacks. When the family fortune proved to be largely a scam, Alex Sr. joined the army, where he proved to be such a fierce fighter and able leader of men that he was rapidly promoted to general in command of one of the French armies which were fighting to spread the revolution to the rest of Europe (whether the rest of Europe wanted it or not). The elder Dumas had quite a stellar military career, and has only been overshadowed because of the even greater success of his fellow general and personal rival, Napoleon.
And that’s only the part of this book that takes place before the strange events of Alex Sr.’s later life, upon which misadventures Alex Jr. would go on to write some of the world’s most beloved and enduring adventure novels.
During the month of October and the first few days of November, kids at the Edenvale Branch Library voted for their favorite books and series. After the 151 votes were counted, we discovered that these are the most popular books in order of number of votes they received:
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald
Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows
Our Online Book Club for November continues our discussion of Little Princes by Conor Grennan. Each week, there's a different question to prompt reflection on the book and its ideas. Feel free to participate in the discussion by leaving comments below.
Question for Week 3:
What did you find the most inspiring after reading Little Princes? What did you find discouraging?
Conor refused to give up when it seemed he was losing the battle to help children, but found ways to work around difficulties. When he learned there was no assistance for reuniting children with parents, Conor set up a foundation for raising money, and then went to graduate school to learn how to administer such an organization. He also cooperated with other individuals and organizations doing similar work.
I find most discouraging that Golkka, the trafficker, remains unpunished and Grennan's claim that for every child rescued and reunited with parents, there are over a hundred children whose families cannot be found. It's also discouraging that traffickers showcase children in orphanages under impoverished conditions as a scam to raise money from tourists and visitors.
Dialogue on "Human Trafficking: A Global Concern"
Featuring SJSU professors Noam Perry (Justice Studies) and Miranda Worthen, (Health Science)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 3:00 - 4:30 PM
King Library, Room 255/257
See our Online Book Club page for more information about this book and to preview the next weeks' questions.