Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just In

In the last few days WTD received 11 new YA (Young Adult) books. Some of these books are not actually new, but they are new to WTD. Below are the titles and product descriptions from with comments from me in the parenthesis.

First Kiss (Then Tell): A Collection of True Lip-Locked Moments
edited by Cylin Busby
Twenty-five bestselling authors for teens recount the story of their first kiss, like Cecil Castellucci, Lauren Myracle, Jon Scieszka and Scott Westerfeld. Whether hilarious, heartwarming, dramatic, or regrettable, there’s something for every reader to relate to. Quotes, facts, advice, and artwork round out the collection. (Sorry, I'm so taking this home)

by Kristopher Reisz
Daniel Morning seems perfect -- handsome, charismatic, intelligent. But living up to everyone's expectations has cost him the right to make his own decisions. The urge to shatter those expectations is beginning to gnaw at his insides. Then Daniel meets Misty. She's smoky, rebellious, tender...and much more. She decides to let him into her pack of outcasts -- and in on their little secret: She and her friends have learned to shape shift, and have been prowling the night as wolves. Daniel soon falls in love with the primal sensation of shifting, just as he's falling in love with Misty. The freedom to follow his most basic instincts is like nothing he's ever felt. But Daniel will slowly come to realize that such freedom comes at a price.... (It's like Twilight, but the guy's a mortal and the girl's a monster.)

by Stephanie Meyer
"Softly he brushed my cheek, then held my face between his marble hands. 'Be very still,' he whispered, as if I wasn't already frozen. Slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, he leaned toward me. Then abruptly, but very gently, he rested his cold cheek against the hollow at the base of my throat." As Shakespeare knew, love burns high when thwarted by obstacles. In Twilight, an exquisite fantasy by Stephenie Meyer, readers discover a pair of lovers who are supremely star-crossed. Bella adores beautiful Edward, and he returns her love. But Edward is having a hard time controlling the blood lust she arouses in him, because--he's a vampire. At any moment, the intensity of their passion could drive him to kill her, and he agonizes over the danger. But, Bella would rather be dead than part from Edward, so she risks her life to stay near him, and the novel burns with the erotic tension of their dangerous and necessarily chaste relationship. (This book brought back to me my love of great vampire stories. The romance between Bella and Edward is amazing. I can't wait for the fourth one and the movie!)
Girl of the Moment
by Lizabeth Zindel
When Lily’s internship at the Museum of Modern Art falls through, she thinks her summer is ruined. Then her dad hooks her up with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to intern for Sabrina Snow—sixteen year- old Hollywood starlet and the girl of the moment. From the pages of Party Weekly magazine, Sabrina’s world looks like a nonstop merry-go-round of glamorous parties, red-carpet events, and designer clothes. But Lily soon learns that catering to a rising star is more work than play. Once she develops a crush on Sabrina’s boyfriend (that may or may not be reciprocated) and a yearning to help a needy fan, Lily’s summer starts to spiral out of control. If she can get things back in order, she will be richly rewarded. But do the costs of working for Sabrina outweigh the benefits? (Definitely a chickette lit book)
How I Changed My Life
by Todd Strasser
Bolita, Bo for short, and Kyle are not exactly in the same clique: She's the shy girl working backstage at the school play, and he's front and center as Time Zone High's star quarterback. But then Kyle blows out his knee, quits football, and joins the school play, and Bo decides it's time for a change. After a D.I.Y. makeover, Bo realizes she and Kyle aren't in such different cliques anymore. Now that she has his attention...can Bo turn Kyle into more than a friend? ( A great light summer read)

H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education
by Mark Walden
Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world's next supervillain. That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class. The students have been kidnapped and brought to a secluded island inside a seemingly active volcano, where the school has resided for decades. All the kids are elite; they are the most athletic,the most technically advanced, and the smartest in the country. Inside the cavernous marble rooms, floodlit hangars, and steel doors, the students are enrolled in Villainy Studies and Stealth and Evasion 101.But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program,and leaving is not an option. With the help of his new friends: an athletic martial-arts expert; a world-famous, beautiful diamond thief; and a spunky computer genius -- the only other people who seem to want to leave -- can Otto achieve what has never been done before and break out of H.I.V.E.?
(Seems like Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks, that I so loved. I have the audiobook at home and am dying to listen to it. And ooh the sequel is already out, The Overlord Protocol:H.I.V.E.)
Walk of the Spirits
by Richie Tankersley Cusick
When Miranda Barnes first sees the sleepy town of St. Yvette, Louisiana, with its moss-draped trees, above-ground cemeteries, and her grandfather's creepy historic home, she realizes that life as she knew it is officially over. Almost immediately, there seems to be something cloying at her. Something lonely and sad and . . . very pressing. Even at school and in the group project she's been thrown into, she can't escape it. Whispers when she's alone, shadows when no one is there to make them, and a distant pleading voice that wakes her from sleep. The other members in Miranda's group project, especially handsome Etienne, can see that Miranda is in distress. She is beginning to understand that, like her grandfather before her, she has a special gift of communicating with spirits who still walk the town of St. Yvette. And no matter where she turns, Miranda feels bound by their whispered pleas for help . . . unless she can somehow find a way to bring them peace. (This is the only clear mystery on the list today)
the rules of survival
by Nancy Werlin
It all starts when Matthew observes a heroic scene in a convenience store: A man named Murdoch puts himself between an abusive father and his son. Matt is determined to get to know this man. And when, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt's mother, it seems as if life may become peaceful for the first time. Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch? And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do? A thought-provoking exploration of self-reliance and the nature of evil and a heart-wrenching portrait of a family in crisis, this is Nancy Werlin's most compulsively readable novel yet. (This is one of those books where once you pick it up, you can't put it down until you're done)
Summer of Secrets (Bluford High Series)
by Paul Langan
Darcy Wills needs help. A frightening ordeal at the end of the school year has turned her world upside down. And her parents, distracted by problems at home, don't seem to notice her troubles. With her ex-boyfriend miles away in Detroit and her beloved grandmother gone, Darcy is more alone than ever. Unable to deny the painful truth she's been hiding, Darcy turns to her remaining friends only to discover one of them has an even bigger secret. Now, forced into a crisis beyond her control, Darcy must take a stand for herself--and for her friend. (This is book #10 in the series. If you like it, we have the rest of the series at WTD and DCPL)

Things Hoped For
by Andrew Clements
When Gwen's grandfather disappears from their home in New York City, he leaves a message saying not to worry--but it's hard when Gwen has upcoming violin auditions at Julliard! But then she meets Robert, a fellow musician, and things seem to look up. At the same time, there are other forces in motion, like the scary great uncle who keeps coming by, and the strange man Gwen sees one day when shopping. Then the even stranger story Robert tells her about what she saw. And finally, the discovery that brings their worlds to a halt, uniting Gwen and Robert in ways neither of them could have foretold. (This is book is creepy scary, not monsters scary, but goosebumpy creepy scary)

SilverFin (Young Bond Series)
by Charlie Higson
What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? In this thrilling prequel to the adventures of James Bond, 007, readers meet a young boy whose inquisitive mind and determination set him on a path that will someday take him across the globe, in pursuit of the most dangerous criminals of all time.When we first meet young James, he’s just started boarding school at Eton in the 1930s, and from there, the action moves to the Highlands of Scotland, where Alfie Kelly, a local boy, has gone missing. James teams up with the boy’s cousin, Red, to investigate the mystery, and they soon discover that Alfie’s disappearance is linked to a madman and his sinister plot for global power. Acclaimed British author Charlie Higson has written a brilliantly crafted tale that reveals the unknown story of a boy who grew up to become one of the most iconic figures of our time. SilverFin is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will mesmerize readers of all ages. (I absolutely love this series! I love this action adventure genre with young James Bond and Alex Rider, a modern day young James Bond, written by Anthony Horowitz)

All of these books are paperback, making them perfect for summer reads! They would be a great addition to any Metamorphosis reading log!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Teen Books

WTD has created an area for new teen books. It's located next to the teen fiction books. Come to see what's new!

Wednesday Storytime

The theme for this week's storytime was food at Watha T Daniel! The storytime started off with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Five Fat Sausages. Then I read Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson, The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons and Pizza at Sally's by Monica Wellington. I also read a huge book Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. The book was so big that I couldn't hold it in my hands. We did some dancing to Food Food Food (Oh How I Love My Food) by the Wiggles and finished up with the Hokey Pokey. Next week the storytime theme will be clothes. One of the books will be New Socks by Bob Shea.

Starting in July I'll be adding a Baby & Me program. The day of the week and time of day is still up in the air. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Classic Film Series
6:00 p.m. Tonight
A Streetcar Named Desire

Tonight the Watha T. Daniel Library will be screening the Tennessee Williams classic film A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. It's southern class and culture clash when Blanche DuBois, who has lost her family's fortune, turns to her sister Stella and her hothead husband Stanley for help.

Join us for a night of hot New Orleans drama.

Next Month: A Night at the Opera

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This Week at Watha T. May 26-May 31

Good afternoon neighbors!

Here's our weekly calendar of events for the Watha T. Daniel Library.

Monday, May 26

Closed for Memorial Day Holiday

Tuesday, May 27

1:30 Magician Mike Rose - part of the "Catch the Reading Bug" series

Wednesday, May 28

10:00 Story Time for 3-5 year olds with Miss Tracy
6:00 Classic Film Series - A Streetcar Named Desire

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Join the Playaway Club!

Feeling Lazy? Join the Playaway Club!

Tracy, our children’s librarian, told me about this rating system she uses for movies. It’s pretty awesome. Instead of ranking movies with stars or upward- or downward-pointing thumbs, she uses a system of her own. Below is the basic Tracy rating system, ranging from one to five:

  1. I would pay ten dollars to see it at the theater.
  2. I would pay five dollars to rent the DVD.
  3. I would watch it, but only if I could check it out for free from the library.
  4. I’d watch it if it was on TV (not free!).
  5. I’m not wasting my time on that nonsense.
I am a movie freak, I admit it. However, I'm also a book addict. Tracy’s rating scheme works a little different with books than it does with movies. Let's focus on two categories relating to books:

1. I like this book so much I’d buy it at the store ($!).

If you always need to have a copy around in case you want to reread it then it's probably one of these. I bought hardcover editions of Ray Bradbury's short stories as well as my favorite collection of Raymond Carver stories.

2. This book sounds great, but too involved to sit and read...yet.

I think we all know that some classics are more of an undertaking than others. In their near-forgotten dialects and flowery prose, they take more time and concentration than a weekend at the beach can provide. I've been guilty of this and I'm not proud of it. The Brothers Karamazov is over a thousand pages with a thirty-five page introduction! Canterbury Tales is like reading a 646-page tongue-twister written in an oblique English dialect from the 1380's. WHAT!? I've been to Canterbury and I still haven't read the book all the way through. I do plan on it some day.

This body of literature might completely fall by the wayside if there weren't an attractive media to present it pleasingly. Well... [drumroll] .... This media is now available at a magical place (Watha T. Daniel Interim Library) where everything is free: books, DVD’s, music CD's and, the focus of this rant: Playaways (pictured below). These units are basically mini-iPods, each with one or more recorded books stored on the attractive little media player. VERY cool). You just wear it around your neck, plug in and go. I listenend to The Collected Stories of Edgar Allan Poe on the bus this past winter, as well as a comprehensive volume of Greek Mythology. A kid on the bus asked me what I was doing and I said, "Reading!" You borrow books and other items and try them out like test-driving a new car. I use as a testing ground--I could try any authors I wanted, from Dostoyevsky to Twain and everything in between. And it's free! Isn't it worth a shot? I think it’s a no-brainer.

Owning books is great, but ask yourself whether you really need to have that copy of Paradise Lost when there's a library in your neighborhood willing to let you test-drive it for free!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Before I Die...

I am not one for sad, depressing books, but Before I Die by Jenny Downham is an exception. I could barely put it down. Tessa Scott is a normal teenager. She worries about her looks, if the guy next door likes her and her best friend being a slut. What makes Tessa different, is that she's been living with cancer for 4 years and now is dying from it. Tessa made a list of ten things, actions, experiences, to do before she dies. With the help of her best friend Zoey, Tessa starts on the "Before I Die" list. Number one on the list is sex. Tessa's first sexual encounter is funny, sad and realistic. It is definitely not at all what she expected. She goes on to break the law, try drugs, say yes to everything, drive, becomes famous, get her parents back together and fall in love. When you're dying, what do you have to lose?

The depiction of Tessa and her family has a very realistic feel. Her mother keeps her distance, not knowing how to deal with Tessa's illness and death. Tessa's father had to give up his job and takes care of Tessa full time. Tessa's younger brother Cal wants a normal life, is angry that Tessa gets so much attention, but loves his sister and is scared of her dying. His keep out death signs are funny and heartbreaking.

I was laughing one page and crying the next. There are as many funny moments as sad. As a librarian, I read a lot of books, but Before I Die is in my top twenties. It is a book that I'll read over and over. If you like these sad, depressing, sometimes funny and engaging stories; I recommend 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss, Deadline by Chris Crutcher and Would You by Marthe Jocelyn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Comic Strip Collection

You may know that we collect graphic novels like the X-Men and Japanese manga like Bleach and InuYasha. But did you know that we also have a growing cartoon and comic strip collection? We do! The Watha T. Daniel Interim Library has collections of
  • The Boondocks
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • Dilbert
  • Doonesbury
  • Family Guy
  • The Far Side
  • Foxtrot
  • Get Fuzzy
  • Pearls Before Swine
  • The Simpsons

Swing by and we'll be happy to share the comic strip love.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tonight: The Great Gatsby

Adult Book Club
7:00 p.m.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Our monthly book club for adults meets on the third wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. and this month we will be discussing the Big Read title The Great Gatsby.

I hadn't read Gatsby since I was in grade school, and, to be honest, I listened to it on audio book this time around. I've got a lot to talk about and I'm really looking forward to seeing our discussion group tonight. I hope you can make it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Metamorphosis: Messed Up Games

Messed Up Games
Thursday, May 22, 3:30 p.m.

As part of our Metamorphosis program for teens I'll be sharing games that have transformation at their core. This thursday I'll be demonstrating some games at the library that you've probably never heard of, and more than likely have never seen played in your life. I'm going to tell you a bit about the games so that you know what you're getting yourself into, because all of these games are a little insane.


This groovy little card game plays a lot like dominoes, but instead of numbers on tiles you have the five classic elements (earth, air, fire, water and ether) on cards. The goal is to get 7 of your elements connected to each other by playing your cards one by one next to each other on the table top. It's beautiful to look at and easy to play.


You are a time traveler from a parallel world and you have become out of sync with your proper timeline. Your goal is to change the history of this world by reversing the fate of important people and events and to make this timeline your own so that you can find your way back home. This game is full of shifting ground, and bizarro actions. You can collect dinosaurs and lost works of art all while preventing the sinking of the Titanic. Who wouldn't like a game like that?


Just as the name implies Fluxx is all about change. The rules change, the goals change, the game play changes and you never know how in the world you're going to win. You may start with simple rules, but people can play new rules, change the object of the game entirely, and force you to discard all the cards in your hand. You never know what's going to happen. It's awesome.


Quiddler is kind of like Rummy and Scrabble. Each player is dealt a hand of cards with letters, and from those letters you have to make words. Each letter and letter combo has a point value and the player with the longest word gets extra points and the player who makes the most words gets extra points. At the end of seven rounds the person with the most points is the winner. The combinations of words that people make in this game often leads to hilarity.


Set is a game about matching. But it's far more complex than you think. The players have to make sets of three out of cards that are different in color (red, green or purple), shape (oval, diamond, or squiggle), number (1, 2, or 3) and pattern (empty, shaded, or solid). To make a set each of these qualities have to be either completely different or completely identical. It makes your eyes bug out after a while but it's incredibly interesting.


Have you ever played a game with a shrinking board? No? Well, then play this. In Zertz the object is to capture a certain number of similar colored marbles either grey, white, or black or a combination of the three. But in order to capture marbles you must force your opponent to make moves that establish the moves that you want to execute. All this is going on while the board on which you play is continually dissolving before you. It looks alien and is incredibly fun.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This Week at Watha T. May 19-may 26

Monday, May 19

4:00 p.m. Doctor Who: The Long Game

Wednesday, May 21

10:00 a.m. Story Time for 3-5 year olds
7:00 p.m. Adult Book Club: The Great Gatsby

Thursday, May 22

3:30 p.m. Metamorphosis: Messed up Games

Monday, May 26
Closed for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Buddha

by Osamu Tezuka
Vertical Press, 8 vols.

Osamu Tezuka, the godfather of modern Japanese Manga, wrote this phenomenal biography of the life of Siddhartha. Each volume follows the life of the Buddha from birth to enlightenment to death. Buddha is loaded with colorful characters and filled with some of the most amazing storytelling you will ever read. Volume 4 is my absolute favorite, because the enlightenment scene was awe inspiring. It gave me chills. The story is totally riveting. It's full of war, political intrigue, contemplation, and the occasional strange events that make up religious histories. I read all eight volumes in a week, and that is no small feat for someone who reads as slow as I do.

Swing by the branch and check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SCI-FI for Warmer Climes

by Casey

If you’re like me, you’re a total nerd for Sci-Fi. The genre whisks us away to Mars, the center of the earth, the future, the past—wherever you feel like exploring there is always a book to bring you there. One of the things I like the most about science-fiction is the dark, dystopian, post-apocalyptic mood. Don’t ask me why I like it, but I’m far from alone in my attraction to dark speculative pasts and futures. However, there are some times when cold and dark is not the flavor of the day. If you’re looking for a sci-fi novel you can really sink your optimistic teeth into, you could do far worse than Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine.

In 1957, Ray Bradbury (my second favorite author) took a step away from Martians (The Martian Chronicles) and book-burning (Fahrenheit 451) to paint a sunny portrait of life in the fictitious small town of Green Town, IL. This semi-autobiographical novel is set in 1928 where 12-year-old boy, Douglas Spaulding, enjoys a simpler time before the next World War, where playing, having fun, and being home in time for dinner are his only concerns. That is, until his grandfather lets him in on a most unusual secret.

In the basement, Douglas’s grandfather has been brewing a special potion of dandelion petals and fruit juices that miraculously stores the merriment of the summer months for all year. All the joys of summer in one bottle. In the boy’s words: “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”

Unlike many of Bradbury’s work that deal with supernatural elements, Dandelion Wine hopes to leave the reader with a sense that nature and the supernatural are one and the same. There are a few other stories thrown in for good measure, similar in their glorification of the joys of small-town America in times gone by, but the overall theme is one of joy all the time. I wouldn’t really call this “summer reading,” but once you’re into it you may disagree. Enjoy!

Farewell Summer, the sequel to Dandelion Wine, takes place during the Indian summer of 1929. Check it out, too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thoughts on Gatsby

So, I've been reading The Great Gatsby for our Young Adult Book Club this month. I actually read the first half in the book and then listened to the second half as an audio book during my recent trip to Ohio for a wedding. One of the themes of the book is the difference in class and culture between the East Coast and the Midwest, so it was interesting to be listening to this story while making a bit of that journey myself.
It has been a while since I've read this book, and on this reading, I found myself reflecting on why this became such an icon of American literature. What is it about this little story (it's pretty short) that seems to say something about our national character? I'm not sure that I came up with an answer, but it did strike me that stories about shape-shifters, characters who mask their past identity in order to succeed, somehow resonate with our myth of the "American Dream." Gatsby is a man who reinvents himself from a common Midwesterner in order to set himself up in the aristocracy of New York society and gain the love of one of its women. He changes his name and invents a new story of his past (or rather lets others do it for him without actually denying it). There is an aspect to this story that is quintessentially American and reminds me of other players in our collective imagination: Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Bob Dylan, even Hillary Clinton to an extent. These stories reflect the American ideal that we can all be whoever we want to be. But, Fitzgerald's story of Gatsby is ultimately tragic, and so we must ponder the ugliness and the violence of this vision of success. This complexity and richness is, I suppose, what makes this book important. I look forward to discussing this book on Thursday at the book club and hearing what others think.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Make a Money Plan for Life

Today at 1:00pm, encore presentation at 7:00pm

Washington, DC residents, did you know that s-a-v-e is not a four-letter word? Find out today how several free programs in D.C. help you begin a Money Plan for Life with Linda Stroman, Financial Education Coordinator of Capital Area Asset Builders.

Bonus presentation: The 529 College Savings Plan covers prepaid tuition at any state college/university in the United States? IMHO: University of Hawaii, anyone? Stop by to learn how this plan benefits you, in Washington, DC and how to start saving for your children, grandchildren, cousins, step-relatives or yourself. Presented by Laurent Ross, College Savings Program Manager of Calvert Asset Management Company.

This Week at Watha T.

Good Morning Neighbors!

Here's a look at what's going on this week at your neighborhood library.

Monday, May 12

1:00 p.m. Make a Money Plan for Life
4:00 p.m. Doctor Who: Dalek
7:00 p.m. Make a Money Plan for Life

Tuesday, May 14

7:00 p.m. Knitting Group

Thursday, May 15

4:00 p.m. Young Adult Book Club: The Great Gatsby

Saturday, May 17

10:00 a.m. PC Basics

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Quick Picks: Eric's Shelf

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
by Jeff Lindsay

I first got into Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series when I saw the Showtime tv series "Dexter". Dexter is a mild-mannered guy working for the forensics united of the Miami-Dade police force. But lurking beneath his hawaiian shirt and donuts in the morning is the heart of a cold blooded serial killer. Dexter, though has an ethic, he only kills other serial killers. Darkly is the first book in the series, and this audio edition from recorded books is AWESOME.

The Penultimate Truth
by Philip K. Dick

War has ravaged the entire world, and all of humanity has been driven underground. People have all been pressed into service building robots to fight in the war on the surface. The only problem is that it's all a lie. The wealthy and the elite have built vast mansions tended and guarded by their robot armies. Once the truth starts leaking out, and people start to realize what's going on at the surface everything is about to change.

Mushishi vol. 1
by Yuki Urushibara

Mushi, 蟲, are primordial creatures who can have strange effects on human kind. The Mushishi (mushi master) has been trained in the ways of the mushi. Using his skill and occasional herbs from his travelling cabinet, Ginko, the Mushishi, cures people of these strange illnesses. This is a beautifully drawn graphic novel series, and each story has its own unique problems. It's one of my favorite stories from Japan.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
By Susanna Clarke

Yes, this is a large book, but I blazed through this in a matter of days it was so good (and I'm a slow reader). Magic, as the gentlemen in this book know it, is something that has been relegated to musty old books, and scholarship. It has not been a practice for ages hence. That is, until, a man by the name of Norrell came along with his personal fortune and bought up nearly every book on magic that ever existed and forced all other gentleman practitioners of magic out of the field. Jonathan Strange, however, is a different case entirely. He began performing magical feats based on the theories, rather than spells and conjurations as they were originally written in the famous texts that Mr. Norrell has so carefully hidden from sight. Together they become a powerhouse of magic serving the British Empire in the fight against Napoleon. But there is a dark secret behind all this magic. The power of Faerie is something that is raw, unusual, and easily twisted against the humans who make deals with them. I know I've rambled on about this, but this story is just absolutely epic and wonderful. It's one of the most engrossing fantasy strories I've ever read. If you're a fan of victorian fiction or fairy tale fantasy stories, this is the perfect book.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Prepaid Tuition Plan for Any State College

Today 12:00pm-3:00pm

Washington, DC residents, did you know that the 529 College Savings Plan covers prepaid tuition at any state college/university in the United States? IMHO: University of Hawaii, anyone? Stop by to learn how this plan benefits you, in Washington, DC and how to start saving for your children, grandchildren, cousins, step-relatives or yourself. Presented by Dan Clarke, a financial advisor with Wachovia.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hansel and Gretel

Students from Seaton Elementary School had a great time at the Hansel and Gretel operetta storytime. They all got a turn to sing in the opera way, which is loud and long. About half of the students got a chance to take part in the story. After the operetta the students made a gingerbread cookie magnet craft. We all had a great time!

There is more! The National Opera is coming back again this summer to perform a Madame Butterfly operetta storytime in honor of the Catch the Reading Bug Summer Reading Program. Stay buzzed in for the time and date!

Go Teens Go

We have now finished the first week of DCPL's Summer Reading Program, Catch the Reading Bug for kids and Metamorphosis for teens. As of right now we have more teens signed up than kids at the WTD! Go Teens Go!

Yesterday we had our first teen program for the summer, it was Adventures in Duct Tape. Teens made duct tape wallets with Casey. Today we have something for the kids. The Washington National Opera will perform a Hansel and Gretel storytime including a craft afterwards. How exciting!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learn Something New About Duct Tape

Adventures in Duct Tape
4:00 p.m.

The first program in our metamorphosis series for teens is today!
Casey will be demonstrating how to transform regular (and colorful) duct tape into awesome things like wallets, roses, neckties, etc. It's going to be pretty cool so stop by and check it out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A couple of treasures in our collections

I have been enjoying Jhumpa Lahiri's new collection of stories Unaccustomed Earth. I have been a fan of Ms. Lahiri's work since the debut of her first collection of stories The Interpreter of Maladies. With considerate, measured prose, she explores the lives of first-generation Indian Americans and their immigrant parents... the choices they make in their careers, their efforts to balance their connections to two different cultures, and the basic human experience of trying to honor all of one's familial commitments. Indeed, in this new collection, I have been very grateful to have a window into these characacters' lives which are pretty different from mind, but I have also been struck by the universality of these stories in depicting the complexities of family life. I guess that's always the mark of a good writer, right?

The other recent addition to our collection that I want to highlight is the DVD of Tanner '88, a TV series made by Robert Altman and Gary Trudeau during the Democratic primaries of 1988. I am a huge fan of both Altman and Trudeau, so I was pleased when one of our patrons donated his copy of Tanner to our library. I watched the entire series (11 episodes) in three sittings, and it is a remarkable project. They created a fictional presidential candidate (Congressman Jack Tanner played by Michael Murphy) who interacted with real political figures... Bob Dole, Kitty Dukakis, Jessie Jackson and many more. Although the whole thing does feel a bit dated in the present political context, I'm still glad to have had the chance to watch this piece from two of my favorites, and it couldn't be more timely. I'll put it on my Staff Picks shelf if you want to come check it out.

Revisiting the Vampire Novel


Monday, May 5, 2008

This Week at Watha T.

Good Morning Neighbors!

Here's a look at our public events this week at Watha T.

Monday, May 5

4:00 p.m.: Doctor Who: World War III

Wednesday, May 7

10:00 a.m.: Picture Book time for 3-5 year olds

6:00 p.m.: Big Kid Movie Night: The Muppets Take Manhattan

Thursday, May 8

4:00 p.m.: Adventures in Duct Tape

Friday, May 9

1:30 p.m.: Washington National Opera presents Hansel and Gretel (pre-registration required)

Saturday, May 10

12:00-3:00 p.m.: DC College Savings Plan Workshop

Friday, May 2, 2008

Book Talk: Gargantuan

by Maggie Estep
Three Rivers Press, 2004

Let me begin by confessing that I am completely in love with Maggie Estep. I first fell in love with her when she was performing on MTV spoken word shows as part of the NuYoRican Poets Cafe. I bought her spoken word album No More Mister Nice Girl about 4 times. I remember her face in black and white calling for "a thousand radiant grandmothers leaping from planes proclaiming themselves queen of the wild frontier." Infatuation, obsession... Well, yeah. Totally.

This is the first novel I've ever read by her though. As I mentioned (at length) I'm way more familiar with her as a slam poet. But let me tell you, this was an awesome novel.

Ruby Murphy is an unusual woman, with unusual friends, and an unusual life. Though she ostensibly works at the Coney Island museum she is deeply, madly in love with the New York race tracks, Belmont and Aqueduct. She's estranged from her boyfriend, Ed Burke an FBI man investigating the seedy side of racing in Florida, and now she's shacking up with a horse jockey named Attila Johnson. Well, Attila's done some shady things, pulling back horses and losing races on purpose, and now that he wants to go legit someone's out to kill him. Between Ruby and her friend Big Sal, they're trying to figure out who's trying to off this guy, while making sure he doesn't actually get killed. The ending is SO incredibly good. Scary, freaky good.

Gargantuan is book three in a series of novels about her race-track loving, mystery solving heroine Ruby Murphy. It's obvious that you're supposed to read these novels in order, since there's very little in the way of back story for any of the characters. So, picking up book three wasn't necessarily the best thing, but it's not the end of the world either. Gargantuan is a great book on its own. One of the more interesting bits of the book, and probably of the other Ruby Murphy mystery series, is that the story is told in a revolving first person. There is no omniscient narrator, but rather you hear the story in the voices of all the major characters, including the killer. It's really fantastic, and each character is written in such a way as to make their voices uniquely their own. You know exactly who you're reading, and it's a really wonderful way to experience these characters.

I would totally recommend this book to people who are fans of mystery novels, though this is not your average solving a murder mystery book, and especially to people who are madly in love with horses and race tracks. She really understands the feel of people who go to the races, who work at the races, and who love horses. That love of the track is poured into nearly every single page of this book, and her passion is evident.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Summer Reading Kickoff Party!

Summer Reading Party
TODAY! May 1
3:30-5:00 p.m.

This summer we've got LOADS of activities planned for children in our Catch the Reading Bug series of programs, and for teens in our Metamorphosis programs. And to kickoff our summer reading series we're throwing a little party at the branch. Stop by and see Tracy at the big tent out front and get signed up today.

We'll be giving away all kinds of free stuff when you sign up. So, make sure and stop by to see us!