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Geronimo Stilton Goes Graphic

Book cover of Geronimo Stilton: The Secret of the SphinxCalling all Geronimo Stilton fans! Great news! Geronimo Stilton has gone graphic. What does this mean? It means that a new series of Geronimo Stilton books are now available as graphic novels: all illustration, just like comic books. Check out these new Geronimo Stilton titles. Not only will you have fun reading these colorful books, you will also learn a lot of history as you follow Geronimo‘s adventures during the time of the dinosaurs and during the Ice Age. Travel to Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt with Geronimo or join him as he  explores with Marco Polo. Then move on to Renaissance times in Italy where Geronimo is determined to stop those nasty pirate cats from stealing the famous painting Mona Lisa. Looking for fun Summer Reading? Try the All-New, Full-Color Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels.

Hãy Quyến Khích Các Em Đọc Sách Vào Mùa Nghỉ Hè!

Children summer reading flyer Teens summer reading flyerAdults Click Here

Chủ đề cho Chương Trình Đọc Sách Vào Mùa Hè năm nay là "Một Thế Giới, Nhiều Mẫu Chuyện".  Cũng như mọi năm, chúng ta cố gắng thi đua đọc thật nhiều sách để được tặng nhiều quà.  Đây là một khích lệ nho nhỏ dành riêng cho các tí hon để tập cho các em thú đọc sách. 


Năm nay, Chương Trình Đọc Sách Vào Mùa Hè sẽ bắt đầu Ngày 18 Tháng 6 và kết thúc Ngày 30 Tháng 7.  Từ già đến trẻ, tất cả mọi người đều có thể tham gia.  Xin quý vị phụ huynh và quý ông bà làm cái gương sáng cho các em nôi theo.  Quý vị hãy ghi danh đọc sách và hãy quyến khích các em ghi danh và đem các em đến Thư Viện để tham gia những buổi trình diễn hoặc chương trình đặc sắc và nhiều thú vị của mùa hè năm nay!

The Magician's Book--A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller

Book cover of The Magician's BookThe Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller


When she was in grade school, Laura’s teacher gave her a book and said, “I think you’ll like this one”. The book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Reading it began a lifelong love of the Narnia series of C.S. Lewis that has still not left her in adulthood. Indeed, who would not want to be part of Lewis’ creation, where animals talk, magic thrives and the world has yet to be discovered? Unlike the extensively detailed adventures in Lord of the Rings, there is more imagination and less detail in Narnia. This makes it more appealing to younger readers, and perhaps lays the groundwork for those readers to enjoy Tolkien’s work at an older age.


There were two things I particularly liked about this book. The first was that the author glossed over the nature of Lewis’s religious beliefs, which were quite strong. Much has been written about C.S. Lewis’ piety, and it was not the intention of this book to delve into that subject. The second was the real focus on the author’s love for this series, and of many other people’s reactions as well. Lewis intended that these books would draw young readers to Christianity, but if that was the intention then this fact was lost on the author. She was far more drawn to the people, to the magic and to the wonder of this marvelous fantasy land than to the allegory that Lewis had envisioned himself. This is, I think, the correct attitude to have in any work dealing with the land of Narnia. This is the type of love that classics are made of: wanting to become part of the author’s world, to be engaged by what he wrote but not necessarily what he intended to write about. The author makes an important point as part of the book when she goes back to see where C.S. Lewis grew up, and tried to find the landscapes that might have inspired Lewis’ creation. Despite visiting the same countryside, the author could not see where he might have drawn from life to create Narnia’s geography. That’s okay, however—Narnia existed in the mind of the creator, and that’s really all we need to know.


I read this book because I had recently read “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to my 11-year-old daughter. I also had a deep love for the series as a child—I even played Aslan in my 3rd grade play (the other kids wanted me to be the witch, but the teacher vetoed that idea). This book reawakened my love for Narnia. I realize now that I might have done my daughter an injustice by pointing out some of the things that Lewis wanted to say about moral attitudes and beliefs. The important thing, as the author points out, is to enjoy the story. It is really up to the reader to draw what they want from it regardless of who the author is. As Stephen King once pointed out, “It is the story, not he who told it”. The fact that these stories have persisted as favorites over the decades certainly indicates that we can all gain something from them—even if they aren’t what the author had originally intended.

Posted by Bill Bowman on May 21, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt by Daniel Rasmussen

Book cover of American UprisingHistorically, the most frequently told story of a slave revolt in America’s history has been that of John Brown’s ill-fated attack at Harper’s Ferry. This is, as Daniel Rasmussen points out in American Uprising, was not the biggest revolt of slaves. It is simply the one that is the best known. In January, 1811, a group of about 500 slaves living in appalling conditions gathered behind two of their own, Kook and Quamara, and set out to attack the city of New Orleans. They had many things in their favor: the element of surprise; two leaders who were well versed in warfare; a rigid order of command; and well laid-out plans. In pouring-down rain between the dates of January 8 and January 11, 1811, they attacked their owners and went on to attack the city. Their plan might well have worked if not for several factors: a few slave owners surviving the attack and warning others, a lack of weapons and the reluctance of many fellow slaves to join the plan. By January 18, many of those who participated in the rebellion were dead. Had it been up to the slave owners, the account of the rebellion would also have been equally laid to rest. It is fortunate that a few remembered, and kept the memory alive, for us to be aware of it two centuries later.


As we currently read about atrocities happening overseas, one is reminded that such appalling oppression also happened on our own shores. The average life expectancy of a slave on a sugar plantation was just four years. Punishment and torture were common-place. One wonders how the owners could be blind to such suffering, and yet they were. Furthermore, the establishment did their best to wipe this matter from the record, to have it be forgotten lest others try to do the same—attempting to claim their freedom, their humanity, and their dignity. As I read this, I wanted the revolt to succeed, and knew it could not.  I was more curious as to how far the revolt went before it was suppressed, and found myself quite disappointed that it did not get very far indeed.


If there is one thing that disappointed me about the book in particular, it is that it did not spend very long on the rebellion itself. The author lost himself in other matters—how the white ruling class ignored the signs of rebellion and discontent (while at the same time being terrified of the monster they themselves had created); the aftermath of the rebellion, and how the revolt resurfaced as a historical fact. Certainly the author is not to blame too much for this; the attempt to suppress the record was very thorough. Yet the rebellion itself was far too brief for me to really appreciate what they must have gone through to nearly reach the point of victory--it's climax is far too brief. Nevertheless, I am indebted to the author for bringing attention to this event for us to appreciate several centuries after the fact. This is just the type of thing that books are meant for: to shine light where there once was darkness, and to be aware that unwritten events can be written once again. The efforts of Kook and Quamara were not in vain.

Posted by Bill Bowman on May 14, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

How Do I Get There?

magnifying glass and mapI love my portable, electronic, navigation device. It got a work-out recently while visiting family back east. Besides local attractions and friend's addresses it also listed local libraries for me to visit. If you are wondering how to locate a San Jose library near you and do not have such a device we got you covered. Just go to our homepage > and select Locations. Once you're there you can input your address and find a branch closest to your location. Clicking on the branch, then on the more info link will take you to the branch page where you will find a Google map, driving directions, and bus routes. We hope to see you soon.

I Want to Read Another Book Just Like....

NovelList K-8 Plus logoToday at the library a fifth grader asked me this question:  “I just finished the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I loved it. Could you please help me find another book like that one ?” Although I am a librarian, and I have read a lot of books, I am not always able to come up with a title to satisfy a question like that. But I do know where to go for help. I went to NoveList K-8 Plus and found a listing of books that are similar to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. You can do the same thing from home! Just go to our Kids Homework Help page. Then click on the link for NoveList K-8 Plus. You will be asked to enter your name, library card number and pin and then you will be in the NoveList database. Put in the title of that book that you love and up will come the review of the book as well as a list of suggested titles that are similar to that book. In the case of the Hugo Cabret book, NoveList suggested the following books that are very similar in tone, setting and pace: The Clockwork Three, Half-Moon Investigations and Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief. Try NoveList K-8 Plus the next time you are looking for another great book to read.

Gunn's Golden Rules

Book cover of Gunn's Golden RylesI try to incorporate a little fun reading during my lunch/dinner hour at the library.  This week a new book caught my eye:  Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work, by Tim Gunn. Hmm… there was Tim Gunn on the cover, looking perfectly groomed as an old fashioned teacher with a twinkle in his eyes. What in the world could I learn from this icon of the television reality series Project Runway? Thinking it was light, fluffy stuff to read during my break, I checked it out and waited for lunch hour. Well, as I expected, the book was totally entertaining, with lots and lots of dishy stories about Gunn’s encounters  with celebrities and  designers as well as heartwarming stories about his pre-Runway life. Much to my surprise, the book was well written, humorous with a serious undercurrent consisting of Gunn’s guidelines for making life a little better for yourself and others. What comes through is Gunn’s civilized philosophy of life in a world that is often way too informal and rude. Gunn is one polished gentleman who knows style: in fashion and in living a well mannered fulfilling life.   

Origami Yoda Says, "Read This Book You Must!"

Book cover of The Strange Case of Origami YodaIs Origami Yoda just a green paperwad or is he actually a source of surprisingly wise advice? This is the question that sixth-grader Tommy and his friends debate in the amusing novel, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger. One day, Dwight, the nerdy guy who “wears shorts with his socks pulled up above his knees” and stares into space “like a hypnotized chicken” shows up at school with a folded paper Yoda stuck on his finger. Yoda proceeds to offer odd yet helpful counsel to Tommy’s friends. Tommy isn’t quite sure whether he should trust Origami Yoda with the really big question on his mind: should he ask a certain girl to the dance? So, he decides to use a scientific approach to figure out whether Origami Yoda is real or not. He has asked several students to write down their first-hand eyewitness accounts of their encounters with Yoda. The result is a series of funny stories about everyday life in middle school accompanied by zany hand-drawn illustrations. Instructions to help you construct your own Origami Yoda are included in the back of the book!

Swashbuckling History

Book cover of The First Samurai Many people avoid history because they’re afraid it’s just a list of facts and dates, and sometimes it can be. But in the hands of a skilled writer, history can read like a novel. Karl Friday is just such a skilled writer, and The First Samurai, his tale of an ambitious noble’s rebellious bid for power, is reminiscent of a James Clavell yarn. Friday is a historian who has figured out the trick of how much detail to leave out and how much to include, so that his books are both highly informative and highly readable.

Cutting for Stone, eAudio Style

Audiobook cover of Cutting for StonePossibly, you’ve already heard about Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese; the epic novel that follows its characters from India and England to Ethiopia to New York.  I had, too, and was anxious to get my hands on it. Daunted by the long waiting list for the print version, I decided to try out the e-audiobook version.  I am so glad I did.  For one thing, the waiting list was a whole lot shorter, but more importantly, the audiobook reader, Sunil Malhotra, tells the story beautifully. He convincingly performs distinctive voices for a large cast of Indian, African, British, and American characters.  I was taken in and totally engrossed by this skillful narration of a magnificent story. Would you like to hear a sample? Visit the e-audiodownload page for Cutting for Stone where you can play an excerpt.


But we don't stop there, Cutting for Stone is also available in EPUB format and of course, in paper print.