- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong is a coming of age in the South novel, with the usual themes --a matriarch, an uncle who, at a graduation appears as "a mix of Colonel Sanders, Tom Wolfe and Pee Wee Herman" (and has a secret life), mother-daugher conflicts, leaving home for big city -- add the twist forms the center theme of the novel and isn't fully revealed until well into the end and give the protagonist an unusual sensual gift. This riveting story goes back and forth in time. Give it a try and keep reading -- you'll be rewarded.
Long criminal histories, alcoholism, nightmares, aggressive behavior, and a constant, tormenting voice in the back of their minds -- this was the end result of many male youth who did time at the Florida School for Boys, a youth prison that housed torture, abuse, and murder, disguised as a reform school with its well manicured landscaping and buildings. The Boys of the Dark by Robin Gaby Fisher tells the story of Michael O'McCarthy and Robert Straley, founders of The White House Boys, an organization committed to finding justice and healing for those who also were victims (The White House was the nickname given to the building on campus where these horrible crimes were committed). 50 years after the abuse, O'McCarthy and Straley find each other through much research and investigation and immediately bond because they were both victims in this prison. During this emotionally and physically draining process, they find some justice through a determined youth advocate and congressman who risks his career to help find closure for these men. A book you won't be able to put down, this is a story filled with sadness, but also shows the strength of human will.
The BFG by Roald Dahl -- The BFG is one of those books that seems to harken back to the days where fairy tales had an edge. While the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is a nice guy who only eats snozzcumbers and gives people dreams and his fellow giants are large man-eaters whose favorite dish is children. The book stars a little orphan girl named Sophie who has the good fortune to run into the BFG. Together they plan to stop the BFG's marauding fellow giants.
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster -- Milo is a bored ten-year old boy who swears there is nothing to do. This changes when a tollbooth appears in his room. Curious, Milo dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. Milo finds his way into a strange world where he meets several interesting characters and is tasked with returning two princesses to the kingdom of Wisdom. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will love this book!
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konisburg -- Claudia runs away from home, inviting her brother to come along with her. They end up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Once the place closes up for the night, the two siblings come out of hiding to explore. It is then that Claudia encounters an angelic statue that entrances her. She must find out for certain who made it! To this end, she and her brother track down the statue's former owner, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli -- Maniac is a homeless kid living in the deer pen at the city zoo. He can untie any knot, outrun anyone on two legs or four, he helps out little kids with their problems, and tries to see the good in everyone. In a racially-divided town he doesn't see what the difference between people are.
Written by volunteer Robert D.
Do you like to read? Change an adult's life by becoming a volunteer adult literacy tutor with Partners in Reading (PAR). You can help an adult or a small group of adults build reading and writing skills. Help them write a resume, read a book to a child, write a grocery list, or accomplish many other tasks small and large that will improve the quality of their lives.
Tutor orientation begins on March 13, 2013, at the King Library followed by tutor training on March 16 and March 23. Tutoring can take place in all San José Public Library branches or in other public places. We ask for a minimum 6-month commitment of 3 hours per week after training. Call PAR now at (408) 808-2361 for more information and to sign up, or visit the PAR website.
Rudy is an adult in a library literacy program. In this video he reads a letter he wrote to his tutor about how she changed his life. His tutor has volunteered for more than 10 years and has changed the lives of many adults.
Rat Island by William Stolzenburg shows the darker side of endangered species conservation. Islands make up just 3 percent of the Earth's landmass, but contain more than half of its endangered species. These ecosystems historically existed in isolation, their flora and fauna developing in ways not found on the mainland. The island ecosystems have been catastrophically disrupted either by humans or the animals humans bring with them- rats, cats, goats, and pigs primarily. To save these island ecosystems and their native inhabitants, ecologists have teamed up with a variety of people including professional hunters, semiretired poachers, and many more. Goats are shot from helicopters, rat poison is dropped onto mountainous islands. Rat Island reveals the modern "cruel to be kind" philosophy of conservationism.
Did you know that great white sharks lurk just off the California coastline? On a nasty group of
islands just a few hours boat ride from San Francisco are the Devil's Teeth, also known as the Farallon Islands. Devil's Teeth features Susan Casey's memories and experiences on the islands, which are a seasonal nesting ground for many seabirds, marine mammals and the hunting ground of the great white shark. There are many fascinating anecdotes in the book, such as Casey's attempts to sleep in a boat off the islands stormy coast, the biologist's clash with local "shark seeing" tour boats, and one scientist's mission to be the first man to surf the waves at the Farallons despite the presence of 20-foot great whites known as "The Sisters."
Without sea otters, sea urchins are stripping California's coastline of its kelp. Without wolves to hunt deer and elk, those species are eating Yellowstone's fragile population of young trees. Without large meat eaters to check their populations, smaller predators such as raccoons and opossums are eating through the United States' population of songbirds and other small animals. The disappearing bear and cougar has resulted in an explosion of deer, which have out-competed many other fauna for food and are stripping our wilderness of its flora. Where the Wild Things Were explains how ecosystems depend on these top-tier predators as "keystone species." The removal of these species due to humanity's attempts to manage the wilderness causes the rest of the ecosystem to crash. The book is written well, and in language that doesn't require a degree in biology to understand.
Reviews by volunteer Robert D.
Did you know that there are easy to read books for adults at the San José Public Library? You can go to the Pearl Avenue, Santa Teresa, Evergreen, and Edenvale branch libraries to find many interesting books. Some of them are about music, including an African American ragtime musician named Blind Boone who is pictured here. Imagine what it was like to travel around the U. S. after the Civil War. This book is one example of many. There are also books about sports, hobbies, including car collecting, history, and many other subjects. Take a look and check one out. Ask library staff to help you find interesting books. While you are there, think about becoming a Partners in Reading volunteer tutor or work on your reading and writing skills. You can call (408) 808-2361 to find out more about these books or about the program.