Thursday, January 31, 2008

What's in a Name?

Recently I was ruminating on the bizarre practice of famous authors writing under pseudonyms, pen names, nom de plumes, whatever you want to call them. I was trying to think of possible reasons for doing this. Do they find themselves so closely associated with a certain genre that fans would be disappointed to read something else? During the 18th century pen names were used if the writing was controversial. Ben Franklin wrote as Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue, amongst others. Of course some women wrote as men because of the social codes of the day—George Eliot for example (real name Mary Ann Evans) and George Sand (Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin—pen name seems a good idea in this case). I ran across another author that had eleven pseudonyms—seems a bit much. The popular young adult author Meg Cabot started a new series under the name Jenny Carroll. The first book just has the name Jenny Carroll but subsequent volumes said “from the popular author of the Princess Diaries”--sounds to me like Jenny Carroll wasn’t doing so well on her own. Here are a few current popular authors writing under pseudonyms: Janet Evanovich as Steffie Hall, Stephen King as Richard Bachman. Jayne Anne Krentz as Amanda Quick and others, Barbara Mertz as Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters, Eleanor Wilder as Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb, and Dean Koontz as Deanna Dwyer and K.R. Dwyer.

See if you can match up the real names with the pseudonyms below, check back next week for the answers:

Real Name:
Charles Dickens
Emily Bronte
Eric Arthur Blair
James Alfred Wight
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Agatha Christie

Howard Allen O'Brian

Mary Westmacott
Ellis Bell

George Orwell
Lewis Carroll
James Herriot
Anne Rice

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Whatever You Do, Don't Run

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison

Peter Allison has been charged by elephants, threatened by badgers, squeezed by pythons, and swam with elephants. As a safari guide in remote Africa he rarely has a boring day. His stories are short and often humorous. After being tormented for days by a group of monkeys who used his tent roof as a trampoline, Peter had the brilliant idea of scaring them off with a toy leopard, the monkey’s natural enemy.

I ran back to my tent, where the monkeys were in full swing. They scampered into the branches at my approach, but didn’t move to far from their game. They just sat bobbing and swaying, adding an occasional “Kwo!” which I was convinced was laughter.

“Kwo yourself,” I said, and from under the scarf whipped out the toy—a rather poor representation of a leopard, but it was enough to put the heebie-jeebies into the monkeys. They went berserk. “Kwe! Kwe, kwe, kwe, kwe, kwe! Kwe! The whole troop now moved away a few trees, but still watched the predator I held in my hand. I tossed it from side to side, and the pitch of their calls went up an octave. I was amazed at their gullibility, but took great pleasure in it and derived even more at their reaction when I threw the toy into the air. The whole troop called “Kwe!” in unision; one even fell off his branch. Then they fled, yelling a chorus of “Kwekwekwekwe!,” as they went, and I imagined they were saying, “Holy crap! Did you see that? A flying leopard!”

This is fast, enjoyable read. A good choice for reluctant readers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Always Entertaining Daniel Pinkwater

I was listening to NPR Weekend Edition Saturday recently, and Daniel Pinkwater was on discussing children’s literature with Scott Simon. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Pinkwater here is a description from his web site:

“Trying to adequately describe Daniel Pinkwater is a Sisyphean task, much akin to describing the shape of a four-dimensional hypercube, or an eggplant. In brief, he is the author and sometimes illustrator of over 80 (and growing) wildly popular books and is also regularly heard on National Public Radio's All Thing Considered and Weekend Edition Saturday, where he reviews exceptional kids' books with host Scott Simon. Said books usually go on to become best-selling classics.”

Anyhow, while listening to this very entertaining segment Mr. Pinkwater mentioned that the general public can access free audio versions of some of his books on his web site. It is a small number of books at present but apparently will continue to grow. Access the audio portion of his site here and follow the arrow that leads to the free audio books. The audios are offered through a Creative Commons license—let’s hope more authors follow his lead.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Read one book and call me in the morning…

The English newspaper The Guardian has a fascinating article on shelters, neurological rehab units, psychiatric wards, and hospitals using book groups as therapy for people with learning disabilities, Alzheimers, mental health problems; prisoners, recovering drug-addicts, nurses and carers. They are using bibliotherapy as an “experiment in healing, or, to put it less grandiosely, an attempt to see whether reading can alleviate pain or mental distress.” If you have tried the Library Worth Calculator you know how much money the Library save you every year. One thing we didn’t think to factor in was our capacity to restore well being to readers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gone Gardening

Yes I know it's the dead of winter. The wind is blowing, the snow is falling, and the books that come into the library are icy cold. It's enough to make a gal give up her shovel and hoe. However help for the garden addict is at hand. Along with the many garden catalogs that have started to arrive in our mailboxes, the library also has many books to inspire and appease your garden jones. Now is the time to plan and dream and unlike the catalogs-it's free. One of my all time favorite books to linger over during the winter is Tasha Tudor's Garden by Tovah Martin. The beautiful photography and the hope that one day if I'm very good, work hard and keep up spinal strength and strong knees I too might have this garden keeps me going back every time. Another book with wonderful pictures is Cox's Landscape with Roses. The Reader's Digest Country Garden by Charlie Ryrie and the Perennial Gardener's Design Primer are also full of ideas. If you are into herbs, a fun book to dip into is Phyllis Shaudy's Herbal Treasures. Lots of projects, planting ideas and recipes. If you really want to take a step back from reality, a fellow gardener suggested The Gardens of the National Trust. (Procrastinators and lazy gardeners need not apply) Here you will find pictures of the famous white garden at Hidcote and many of the lesser known gardens. Also that a huge mound of yew is called a tump. Who knew? A bluebell woods anyone?

Book Sale News

We now have room to offer books for sale year round! Make sure to check out our ongoing book sale in the Internet Room. Hardcover books are $3, soft cover books are $2, paperbacks and media are $1. All proceeds go to the Friends of the Dover Library.

The Friends will also hold their Spring sale this year beginning April 26 as well as their annual Fall book sale beginning the last weekend in October.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The War Tapes

The library's next Wednesday Evening Feature Film will be The War Tapes, winner of the 2006 prize for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. The War Tapes is a unique film in that it is the first movie filmed by front line soldiers in Iraq. Sergeant Steve Pink is a wisecracking carpenter who aspires to be a writer. Sergeant Zack Bazzi is a Lebanese-American college student who loves to travel and is fluent in Arabic. Specialist Mike Moriarty is a father who seeks honor and redemption. Part journal, part jokebook, part witness, the film offers a view of war rarely seen from the inside out. We learn what the soldiers are thinking every step of the way, from their views on the media's coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom to how they miss loved ones back home. Join us on Wed., Feb. 6th at 6:00pm in the Library Lecture Hall for this unique perspective of the Iraq War.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Escape to Africa

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda
The premise of this book intrigued me. After serving as an ambulance driver in
France during WWI and seeing her fiancé die in battle, a young woman travels to Africa to solve the mystery of her fiancé’s father’s suspicious death, and find his long lost half brother. Jade del Cameron is a modern woman, with bobbed hair, great courage, a great shot, and a disregard for convention. In order to find out the truth, she must outwit stuffy British colonials and a witch doctor with the power to control the deadly animals of Africa. She faces down charging lions and lingering shell shock with the help of her outspoken friend Lady Beverly Dunbury, and a taciturn Somali gun bearer. The only mark against this novel was its heroine’s improbable name Jade del Cameron. I look forward to reading about her further adventures on the Dark Continent.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What is your library worth to you?

One of our librarians recently came across a library worth calculator on a Maine library’s web site. This calculator was designed to put a dollar amount on the goods and services that you take advantage of from your library. How it works is you are required to think about your yearly use of the library in terms of how many books, DVDs, music CDs, etc. that you borrow; how many programs you attend; how many hours you use our Internet computers or wireless access; etc. We were intrigued enough to look into adapting the calculator to our library, and with a little help from some friends we did just that. Follow this link to calculate what the Dover Public Library is worth to you on a yearly basis. My own use came to a whopping $4,190—what a geek, and I had co-workers that came in even higher--even geekier (my spell checker says this isn’t a word, but I think it is). With the price of books, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks…it is no wonder that the dollar figure can climb so high. Follow this link to see what the DPL is worth to you and we would love to hear what you came up with.

The Library Will be Closed Monday, January 21

Monday, January 21st the library will be closed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi." From the "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Try This Tough Guy

One of the Library staff members has been raving about Bob Trueluck’s series about Florida Private Investigator, Duncan Sloan. She says they are reminiscent of Dashiel Hammett with a noir atmosphere and terse sentences. So if you like to read about tough guys with a heart of gold; give this offbeat series a try.

"Despite the up-to-date contemporary setting, Truluck's style recalls that of Mickey Spillane in its straight-ahead, get-it-done fashion. The dialogue crackles with staccato sentences, flip wit, the ever-present tension of violence and sex. Readers can expect a nonstop thrill ride with a skilled driver at the wheel, and lots of collateral damage before the checkered flag." Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Literary Awards Announced

While we were digging out from the snow the American Library Association was announcing the 2008 award winners for youth literature. Here is a run down of the winners:

Newbery Medal
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature.
Winner: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, written by Laura Amy Schlitz
Honor books: Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt, and Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson.

Caldecott Medal
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Winner: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, illustrated by Brian Selznick.
Honor books: Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine, First the Egg, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, illustrated and written by Peter Sís, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, illustrated and written by Mo Willems.

Printz Award
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.
Winner: The White Darkness, by Geraldine McCaughrean.
Honor Books: Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet, by Elizabeth Knox, One Whole and Perfect Day, by Judith Clarke, Repossessed, by A. M. Jenkins (on order), and Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath, by Stephanie Hemphill (on order).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Calling All Artists

The Library is always looking for local craftspeople and artists who would like to display their work at the Library throughout the year. We specifically need some pictures for our bare walls this winter. If you are interested please contact Sandra Erdmann.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Downloadable Audio Books

Have you looked at the downloadable audiobooks recently? New titles are constantly being added. These are some of the titles that were added in December:



Adam Canfield of the Slash

Winerip, Michael

Adam Canfield Watch Your Back!

Winerip, Michael

Best of Gunsmoke Volume 1

RadioClassics, Inc. © 2005

Blue Heaven

Box, C. J.

Dragon Harper

McCaffrey, Anne


Patterson, Richard North

Last Call

Grippando, James

Secrets of a Proper Lady

Alexander, Victoria

Stumbling on Happiness

Gilbert, Daniel

Gods Behaving Badly

Phillips, Marie

In Defense of Food

Pollan, Michael

Precious Blood

Hayes, Jonathan

Size 12 is Not Fat

Cabot, Meg

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Have No Reservations About This

I don’t know what it is about Anthony Bourdain. He is opinionated, brash, often foul mouthed, and yet I can’t help but like the guy. It must be that terrific sense of fun he has, as well as the straight shooting attitude. His books and his television show are always entertaining if quirky. His latest book No Reservations; Around The World On An Empty Stomach is no exception. No Reservations is a pictorial essay on Bourdain’s travels around the world, sampling all sorts of exotic meals. Its slightly cranky, brutally frank, and amusing, just like its author.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's In to Write for Teens

I find it interesting when successful adult authors try their hand at books for teens. Are they simply bored and want to try something new? Do they want to feel like kids again? Who knows but I started thinking about this when Sherman Alexie’s first book for teens, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, which includes The Angel Experiment, School’s Out –Forever, and Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, has been extremely popular. The Angel Experiment was a New Hampshire Flume Award nominee for 2007. FYI—the Flume Award is a New Hampshire book award for kids in grades 9-12. Here are some other adult authors that have strayed into the world of young adult literature:

Isabel Allende: City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, & Forest of the Pygmies

Michael Chabon: Summerland

Carl Hiaasen: Hoot & Flush

Alice Hoffman: The Foretelling & Incantation by Alice Hoffman

Nick Hornby: Slam

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Whole Dog Journal

The dog lovers in the Library are very excited to discover that the Library is now receiving the Whole Dog Journal. The Whole Dog Journal is like a Consumer Reports for anything canine. They do not take any advertising so they are free to review products critically and accurately. They cover equipment, training, and health issues. The February issue is going to cover one of their most popular topics; what are the best kibbles available for your companion. Make sure to check it out!

Friday, January 04, 2008

A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar

T is for Trespass is the 20th title in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone mystery series. The beloved series is twenty five years old now; A is for Alibi premiered in 1982. I wonder what title she will come up with for Z. Z is for Zip, Nada, No More? I would love to hear what titles you can come up with for the remaining books in the series!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A New Year...but No New School

I always get a bit nostalgic as the new year starts and I wish I could be starting a new semester. I am one of those foolish (or life-avoiding) people who could have stayed in school forever. I loved getting my new textbooks, the reading lists, the syllabus calendar, and even the assignments. Luckily, working in a library is a bit like being in school all the time and I can content myself with very entertaining books about life at school.
I think I fell in love with books about prep schools in the late '60s when I read Caroline Glyn's Don't Knock the Corners Off. Does anyone out there remember loving this book about life at boarding school by its brilliant and funny 15-year old author? I was in 6th grade and couldn't believe someone just a bit older than I could actually write this wonderful book! Anyway, Glyn's book started my infatuation with school stories ranging from A Separate Peace to The Chocolate War to, of course, the students at Hogwarts.
Here are some others in that category that may be less familiar but are awfully good too. They run a wide gamut from coming-of-age stories to humorous tales to sinister plots! All are Grade A+ reads!

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Headmaster's Dilemma by Louis Auchincloss
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Headmaster Ritual by Taylor Antrim
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Still Undecided?

The Presidential Primary is January 8 and up to 40% Of New Hampshire voters still haven’t decided who they will vote for. If you are still tussling over the issue like me, these web sites may help you make up your mind.

Project Vote Smart 2008 Presidential Candidates
Washington Post 2008 Presidential Candidates
CNN Election Center 2008
PBS Vote 2008
New York Times Election Guide

Find out where to vote in Dover; polls are open from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM so plan accordingly. Not sure what ward you are in? Go to the street finder and type your street into the search box to find out.