David Baldacci’s latest thriller The Hit, featuring Will Robie (The Innocent is the first in this series) is a fast-paced, action packed story with plot twists and surprises at every turn. Robie, a CIA assassin, is asked to hunt down and eliminate a fellow agent Jessica Reel. Reel has killed two CIA employees and it appears she has turned on the US. But are things as they initially appear? As Robie gets more involved in the case, and more mysteries and murders are revealed, he begins to doubt the reasons for the mission he has been assigned. He uncovers a plot that could have far-reaching effects on the world and must race to prevent a global catastrophe, all the while searching for a rogue agent. Complex and compelling characters, conspiracies and an intricate plot make this a fascinating and memorable story.
Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager
Get ready to Dig Into Reading all summer at the library for our summer reading theme. Storytimes and clubs will be focusing on underground animals, dinosaur fossils, gardens and worms, construction trucks and more. June 29 is International Mud Day, so this year our Saturday storytime that day will be all about glorious mud, with a mud pie-making contest at the end (outside). But there’s lots more going on, so be sure to add the library to your summer schedule.
Our summer reading kick-off party is June 1 from 10:00-12:00, and all ages are invited to visit the library to sign up for summer reading and find treasure! We will provide a treasure map for anyone interested in seeking out various desks and locations within the library, playing fun games for prizes and learning to talk like a pirate. Kids can create pirate costume pieces for themselves and watch Pirate Pete’s Puppet Show in the auditorium.
The library’s summer reading program is a fun way to motivate kids to read during the break from school. Continuing to read on a regular basis is critical for kids to maintain and improve their reading skills so they are prepared to enter the next grade in the fall. Summer reading also motivates parents to read aloud to their younger children, and teens to read books, magazines or graphic novels that interest them and that don’t come with any assignments or reports attached. Adults can also join in and have some extra incentive to tackle some titles from their “Too many books, too little time” list.
Participating is easy. You can register at the library or online, and then just keep track of your reading time to earn prizes like free books, restaurant or store gift certificates, toys, mugs, etc. Our sponsors are amazingly generous, with Vista Drive-In donating 1000 free ice cream cone coupons, as they have done for more than 10 years, and many other fabulous donations.
Storytimes begin June 3rd with options for babies, toddlers and preschoolers throughout the week, including Saturdays. Baby Rhyme Time for ages 0-18 months meets Mondays at 11 and Thursdays at 10. In addition to bouncy rhymes, songs and music, each parent/baby pair gets to read a “choral reader” book together during each session. One week will focus on construction vehicles with our new choral reader board book Dinosaur Dig, which has lots of fun language and colorful pictures.
The “Move & Groove” storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers will feature lots of great story books, flannelboards, action rhymes and dancing to music, parachute play, and digging for treasures or crawling through our cloth tunnel to go along with the “dig” theme. Our goal is for kids to emerge excited about books and reading every day.
Summer clubs for kids going into kindergarten through 6th grade will be busy with lots of cool stories, games and crafts. The youngest set will join the Precocious Prairie Dogs Club and will feature some funny and strange underground animals, and one week will include a wiggly-jiggly worm relay outside. The Digging Detectives Club for 2nd-3rd graders will focus on dinosaurs one week, and they will make their own mini dinosaur island using play dough, sticks, grass, and other natural materials.
Ms. Rachel likes to come up with fascinating and “very grown up” activities for the 4th-6th graders, who can attend the Archaeo-Paleo-Anthro-Pologists club on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Each week will cover a different ancient culture, plus one week on dinosaur fossils. When they learn about ancient China, Rachel will show the terracotta warriors and then allow kids to try to piece together pottery shards.
We’re showing free kids’ movies every Friday afternoon at 2:00, including several titles based on popular children’s books that involve digging, living underground, saving burrowing animals or traveling inside a giant fruit.
A couple of special treats for animal lovers include the Milford Nature Center program on June 14, and the monthly ZOOfari programs on June 28 and July 26. Staff from Milford will present “Can You Dig It? Life in a Dog Town,” with amazing facts about prairie dogs and all the animals that depend on them. Did you know prairie dogs have kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms in their homes? Learn about burrowing owls, turtles and salamanders that call these tunnels home, too, and meet a black-footed ferret. The June ZOOfari Tails will focus on animal dads, and in July the stories will be about pond animals with a visit from a live salamander or toad.
We will also be continuing our Sunday afternoon “R.E.A.D. With Dogs” program during which kids can sign up to read to a Reading Education Assistance Dog (certified therapy dog) for 15 minutes or so. The dogs are beautiful, kind and nonjudgmental, creating the perfect environment for reading practice. Of course, this time can be included on the summer reading logs as kids work toward earning their prizes.
You can already get a little taste of the summer theme this Saturday at our “Holey Moley” Stories on the Lawn at 11:00. Just meet on the Poyntz side lawn, bring a blanket or chair or maybe a picnic lunch, and be entertained with funny stories and a cute craft to take home.
Little Bertie visits the home of a playmate and discovers the grass is greener in Ranald Braveheart MacPherson’s home Bertie can eat as much chocolate cake as the wants at the MacPherson home. Ranald suggests that Bertie might find new parents if he puts himself up for adoption on eBay, and Ranald can help since he knows his Dad’s computer password. Meanwhile Matthew and Elspeth bring their triplet sons home and find their new life impossible to manage until an au pair arrives. Domenica and Angus are responsible for selling Antonia’s next door apartment as she has decided to join a nunnery in Italy. They must make the difficult decision of where to live after their marriage. Who will give up their current home and all the comforts they had while they were single? Bertie Plays the Blues is number seven in the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall-Smith. The fun continues as we commiserate with Bertie regarding his impossible mother and enjoy the many problems that seem to be insurmountable for the quirky characters on 44 Scotland street in Edinburgh.
Can a woman be in love with her husband and hate him at the same time? Marilyn is tired, tired of playing a role she doesn’t feel. After 27 years, leaving was her only hope of getting the man she married to wake-up and love her like she needed to be loved. The end of her happiness with Jim began the day they were married and the moment he failed to join her on the dance floor.
Marilyn loved to dance and had asked Jim to take dance lessons with her many times over their years together. So, signing-up for dance lessons was her first order of business after leaving Jim. When the dance instructor becomes enamoured with Marilyn’s dancing skill and asks her to join him in a dance contest, feelings of romance begin to grow.
The Dance is about relationships, growing and overcoming fears that keep us from truly loving our partner as they need to be loved. With Dan Walsh’s ability to write and Gary Smalley’s ability to deal with relationships this is a very enlightening & touching story.
For centuries, wolves have been demonized in legend and fiction, despite being so closely related to our beloved dogs. Amidst the controversies surrounding releasing wolves back into the wild in the west, the Dutchers set out to document the social lives of wolves, living closely and for several years with a pack in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. In The Hidden Life of Wolves, they reveal the wolf as an intelligent, highly social animal capable of displaying emotion much like our own pets. Wolf packs in nature have a social order of dominance, from the alpha male and female down to the omega, or lowest wolf on the social scale. The alphas are the only ones to mate, and the entire pack is involved in feeding and babysitting the indulged pups, allowing them to climb, nip and wrestle. Although the omega is the least dominant, his role is to initiate play and alleviate tension in the pack. In the Sawtooth pack, a mid-level wolf often came to the aid of the omega, protecting him from the others and playing with him. The pack demonstrated a sense of mourning when one of their members was killed by a mountain lion–the wolves revisited the site of the killing and quietly roamed the area for many weeks. The authors discuss many instances of social behavior among the pack that discount the stories of the vicious killing machine described in fairy tales.
This book is filled with spectacular photos and gives us a new understanding of the complex lives of these amazing animals. The authors also discuss the controversies around hunting and ranching in the areas where wolves are present, and discuss the benefits of the presence of wolves to the environment. The wolf is an amazing animal that deserves our respect and protection, and the insights offered into their lives by this book will hopefully inspire more protection of these spectacular animals.
With summer just around the corner, our thoughts naturally turn to that vacation ritual, the road trip. Load the car, load the map, then forget the map, but don’t forget the kids, for the gleaming highway awaits you. North, south, east, or west, all directions lead to adventure, new sights, new experiences, or homecomings. Manhattan Public Library has a large travel section on the second floor that includes hundreds of titles about venturing onto the open road in search of new and exciting places.
What was perhaps the first road trip was taken by Horatio Nelson Jackson who, to win a 50 dollar bet, claimed he could cross the country by automobile in 90 days. Jackson left San Francisco on May 23, 1903 and drove into New York City 63 days later. You won’t need quite as much time to drive coast to coast, but a good guide could come in handy. “Let’s Go: Roadtripping USA: The Complete Coast-to-Coast Guide to America” features eight classic cross-country road trip routes, along with hundreds of suggestions for places to eat, drink, and sleep along the way. For more about that first road trip, read “Horatio’s Drive,” by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns.
If you want to get your kicks on Route 66, check out Tom Snyder’s “Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion.” Manageable sections are highlighted for the entire 2,448 mile length of the Neon Road from Chicago to Los Angeles. The second half of the book features facts and trivia about places and people along the route.
The Interstate Highway System is the envy of the world, but sometimes those old narrow state and U.S. highways offer a truer picture of America. Try “Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways” by Jamie Jensen. The guide covers 35,000 miles of blacktop through the heart and soul of America.
Feel like rambling? Then “Ramble: A Field Guide to the U.S.A.,” by Eric Peterson is the book for you. Celebrating 250 American attractions and six mythic road trips, this travelogue describes each regional chapter using maps, out-of-the-ordinary statistics, and listings of not-so-run-of-the-mill tourist destinations. Chapters are divided into sections including Big Things and Other Road Art (unique sights), R.I.P. (famous graves), Vice (something naughty going on), Sleeps (where to stay), Grub (where to eat), and Huh (the unusual).
“USA 101: A Guide to America’s Iconic Places, Events, and Festivals,” by Gary McKechnie, is a reverential yet lighthearted look at America in all its quirky diversity. From the Grand Ole Opry to Mount Rushmore, from polka festivals to monster truck rallies, this guide showcases legendary places and hometown events that identify America.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, “Weird U.S.: A Freaky Field Trip through the 50 States,” will take you there. Author Matthew Lake shows you where to find the world’s biggest ball of twine, among other weird, freaky, and unbelievable creatures and places.
Summer crowds can be unbearable, so a guide to uncrowded spots is just what the doctor ordered. “Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More than 1,000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting,” fills the prescription for an enjoyable road trip. The guide features quick day outings as well as longer vacation trips.
For the more historically inclined, there are several excellent guides from which to choose. “Progressive Nation,” by Jerome Pohlen, for example, is a travel guide to over 400 inspiring landmarks and left turns highlighting the Progressive Movement in the U.S. “America’s Best Historic Sites,” by B.J. Welborn lists 101 places to see, spanning more than 1,000 years of history.
Civil War enthusiasts will be interested in “The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide,” by Michael Weeks. The book outlines ten suggested itineraries for short road trips that cover every major battle of the war and contains complete information on and reviews of almost 450 historical sites across the United States related to the Civil War.
Remember to visit the library before you leave, and be careful on the road. Just in case you’re wondering: That big ball of twine could be in Cawker City, Kansas or Darwin, Minnesota or even Branson, Missouri. It all depends on who you ask.
This documentary by Mark Wexler deals with the sometimes scary topic of aging. It presents people in various stages of life and interviews gerontologists, scientific researchers and others involved in final life matters. More well-known interviewees include Jack LaLanne, Ray Bradbury and Suzanne Somers. One subject nears her 114th birthday and earns a Guinness World Record. From Japan to Iceland, some of the world’s hot spots with unusually older population statistics are revealed along with possible causes for increased longevity in those areas. How to Live Forever is entertaining for adults of any age and the plethora of ideas presented from laughter theory to diet guarantees you’ll find something of interest.
Daniel is a boy that has lived most of his life being made fun of because of his weight. The last thing he wants to do is go to Leizure World were sports and exercise is the thing. But his father, who is depressed and has been drinking too much, insists that it will be the perfect healing place for them both. On the way to the resort, Daniel saw a girl in the middle of the road and made his dad swerve to miss her. He thought he saved her life. Later, he sees her again, swimming in the lake. When he finally meets her, he notices that she has wounds & bruises that seem to be getting worse instead of better. Another thing Daniel notices is that her watch is ticking backwards. One more strange thing happened when he took some of the boys to the lake to meet her and they could not even see her and then of course they think he is crazy. Daylight Saving, is a book of friendship, a different kind of friendship but an endearing one.
Pat Head Summit has been in the news many times as the all time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. As head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vol’s her abilitiy to create amazing teams of winning girls is unsurpassed. Most recently she has been in the news for the announcement of her devastating diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Sum It Up is Pat Summit’s memoirs of a life with incredible accomplishments and difficult challenges. As the only girl in a very hard working farming family, her only past time activity was trying to keep up with her brothers in their nightly games of hayloft basketball. Her demanding father pushed her to her limits and as a coach she demanded the same in the girls she coached. The many quotes throughout the book from her family and friends verify what a strong challenger she was no matter whom or what she was up against. Pat battled back from a terrible knee injury after her journey to Russia with the Olympic team. Her drive to rehabilitate was not enough to be able to play to the level of where she had been so she was able to put her abilities into coaching. She coached an undefeated season, co-captained the first women’s Olympic team, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. She always saw that her fame was of little importance in this world of ever changing victories.
Pat Summit is a courageous woman facing a difficult future with optimism, hope and a zest for life even though most others with that diagnosis feel the opposite. She recognizes that nothing is certain with Alzheimer’s and everything is possible. There are people in the best medical institutions working on a cure and her faith and their science together can work miracles.
Technical Services & Collections Manager
Judging by the circulation of films from Manhattan Public Library, most library customers are well aware of our holdings. We’ve got multiple copies of “Lincoln,” Life of Pi,” “Les Miserables,” and “Wreck-it Ralph,” to name but a few of the many available films. Most folks who hear that the library owns some 8,600+ films are reluctant to believe it, as the shelving would not seem to have that capacity, but so many titles are always checked out at any one time.
In addition to features films, the library has an extensive collection of documentaries. Those do not circulate as much as some of the other offerings, but there are treasures to be found among them. Just recently added are the following which have received excellent reviews:
“Joffrey”: A favorite of the San Francisco Film Festival as well as the Dance on Camera Film Festival, this lovely piece of work follows the historical dance company’s founding in 1956 by creators Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino. Dogged by financial woes, the dance company managed to re-create itself several times to become one of the premier organizations of the world. Of special note is the wealth of historical footage of glorious performances. Testimonials by some of the dancers, choreographers, and the founders themselves allow viewers to trace the growth and tradition-breaking techniques of this highly esteemed company.
“Deadliest Tornadoes”: Though we don’t want to think about it, our region is already immersed in one of our most dangerous seasons of the year. This NOVA PBS presentation recounts the incredibly high occurrences of tornadoes that took place in April of 2011. Extended footage of Joplin’s horrific storm is a quick reminder of the potency of such winds. Interviews with scientists and with weather forecasters demonstrate how wind rotation begins, and victim testimonials highlight an informative program.
“How to Survive a Plague”: This historical documentary follows the path of AIDS activists in the early 1990s who demonstrated in the streets and who demanded that the Food and Drug Administration take immediate action to approve AIDS-fighting drugs. They worked to help identify new treatments and move them through safety trials in record time. Their determination reduced the numbers of AIDS-related deaths and offered new hope to sufferers. This drama earned both the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Gotham Award and was nominated for an Academy Award as well.
“Planet Ocean”: This beautiful film has a two-fold purpose. Stunning footage of ocean currents taken from well above the Earth and shots of the feeding mouths of a coral reef are particularly striking. But this film is also a plea for the protection of the ocean’s vast resources. Researchers cite the drifting of crucial fish populations toward more temperate waters to the north as an alarming trend. They also describe populations, like that of the Bluefin tuna, which are nearing extinction because of over-fishing. This environmental gem was the 2012 Official Cinematography Winner at the Blue Ocean Film Festival.
“You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t”: This film has not yet arrived at MPL, but will be available shortly. A documentary by Scott Kirschenbaum, this touching film recounts the life Of Lee Gorewitz in the Traditions Alzheimer’s & Other Dementia Care Unit in Danville, California. This in-depth character study reveals that many of our perceptions of Alzheimer’s disease are misguided. The film premiered on PBS and has received much praise from physicians and university instructors for its content.
“Secrets of Highclere Castle”: For the many fans of “Downton Abbey,” this PBS special is a rare treat. Highclere Castle is the opulent location for the filming of the Masterpiece classic. Interested viewers can learn about the current owners, Lord and Lady Carnavon, they can listen to the actual butler’s philosophy of service, and they can explore the beautiful rooms and grounds of one of England’s more famous estates. They can also learn about Lady Almina’s huge investment in upkeep and restoration during the 19th century. A visual delight.
“The Abolitionists”: This PBS drama follows the interactions of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, William Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Angelina Grimke. At a time when the country was fast approaching the Civil War, those individuals struggled to expose the horrors of slavery. Their selflessness laid the groundwork for civil rights at a time when violence was a given. This historic piece generates a lasting respect for those courageous few.
For these titles and a wide selection of others, take a look at the many fine documentaries your library has to offer.
In her latest romantic suspense, Nora Roberts takes us to Whiskey Beach, an idyllic village on the ocean, outside of Boston. Attorney Eli Landon has been accused of murdering his wife, but without enough evidence, prosecutors are unable to charge him with the crime. Harassed by police and the media, fired from his job and depressed, Eli heads to Whiskey Beach and his family home Bluff House. The most recent resident was his grandmother, who is recovering from serious injuries from a fall in the house, but Landons have lived in the huge old house since the 1700′s. Eli meets the quirky and beautiful Abra–a local woman who teaches yoga, is a housekeeper and cook and a jack-of-all-trades in the village. Abra and Eli slowly develop a relationship and Abra encourages Eli to fight back–to regain his confidence, believe in himself and his new writing career and to try to prove his innocence. On the hunt for his wife’s murderer, they discover the stories of hidden treasure and try to solve the mysteries of an unknown attacker and the murder of a private investigator. Likeable characters, a plot with twists and turns, an intriguing mystery and a sweet romance combine to make this another winning story by Nora Roberts.
Need a subject for small talk at your next happy hour? The origins what goes into our drinks makes a great topic of conversation in The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. Did you know that the agave-based tequila is based on a drink called pulque, which dates back to 200 B.C.E.? Or that clove, which is used to flavor many popular liquors, is also used as a dental anesthetic? These factoids make The Drunken Botanist a fun, easily digestible read. Part botanical encyclopedia, part cocktail recipe book, this new popular science title explores the plants that are involved in brewing; the herbs, spices, and plants that flavor drinks; and the methods bartenders and home mixologists use to concoct them.
Even teetotalers can enjoy The Drunken Botanist. One of the best things about this book is how Stewart marries her botanical knowledge with an appreciation for human ingenuity (and charming illustrations). If you’ve ever wondered, “Who in the world figured out that you could eat this?” then you will appreciate this book.
In his new crime thriller, Suspect, Robert Crais introduces two characters who are traumatized and in need of a partner. Scott James is a police detective who was involved in a shoot out that left him severely wounded and his partner dead. Maggie is a German Shepherd and a marine bomb dog who was injured in the line of duty when her handler was killed by a bomber in Afghanistan. They become partners when Scott is accepted into the canine unit of the LAPD. Each comes to rely on the other as they cope with nagging injuries and PTSD and have to learn to trust each other. As Scott goes through the canine unit training, he also is investigating his own shooting and trying to determine who killed his partner. He encounters corruption, greed and murder and he and Maggie must learn to protect each other in order to survive. This is a gripping, fast-paced mystery with well-drawn characters and a complex plot. The connection between Scott and Maggie is touching and their eventual dependence on each other provides a poignant aspect to the story–a tale that grips the reader from the first page! Hopefully there will be more stories about Scott and Maggie as they work together.
The first novel of Irish journalist, Kathleen MacMahon is a compelling love story that hints at a tragic end almost from the start. Addie is an unemployed architect that designs dream swimming pools, takes daily swims with her dog, and cares for her recently injured father, a self-important surgeon. An American banker, Bruno, who is divorced and just finding himeself unemployed after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, travels to Ireland to research his family tree and locate Irish cousins. The two second cousins meet and begin a romance in 2008 against the backdrop of the presidential elections. (Bruno vows that he won’t return if Obama doesn’t win). As they spend their time traveling around Ireland, adjusting to each other’s cultural differences and meeting family and friends, Addie is ignoring a pain that her sister keeps nagging her about. In This is How It Ends, lighthearted banter, interesting characters, challenging times all unite to create a memorable story that keeps begging to be read.
Weaving together three subplots from different times, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is the story of an author’s life and events he has experienced over an interval of several years. One strand involves his present day life on an unnamed Caribbean island and the tolls of living in a drunken blur. Another storyline details his memories of his father’s battle with cancer. The third plotline focuses on the woman he loves and their past relationship. This book was an enjoyable read, interesting from the beginning. Currie’s eclectic style works well as he bounces from one thought to the next. I recommend this book to readers looking for a bit of adventure and constant entertainment.