Elena is finally free of her mean stepmother and stepsisters, but isn’t sure what to do without any family or position to go to. Fortunately her fairy godmother swoops in to clarify the situation. Apparently, Elena was supposed to be a “Cinderella”, but the kingdom’s prince was only a child, so she has been reassigned as a fairy godmother. Elena takes quickly to the role, only regretting the loneliness of the position, when she encounters the rudest man she ever met and punishes him by turning him into a donkey. As he learns humility, she ponders whether she has the strength to question tradition. The Fairy Godmother is a delightfully funny tale filled with magic, adventure, and romance.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
Eat your vegetables if you want to grow big and strong, at least that’s what our parents and teachers have always told us. Remember: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Our entire lives we’ve been told to eat right to feel right. Some of us have heeded this advice; some of us haven’t. Vegetarians and vegans have taken this advice to heart. October is National Vegetarian Month, and the perfect time to remind ourselves of the variety of eating experiences on offer from the greens, reds, yellows, purples, and other colorful fruits and vegetables available in garden and market.
Vegetarians and vegans are not synonymous. According to Merriam-Webster Online, a vegetarian is someone whose diet is one “consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products.” This type of vegetarian is also referred to as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Vegans, on the other hand, are strict vegetarians who do not consume animal or dairy products. All vegans are vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are vegans.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just want to eat like one, Manhattan Public Library has a wide selection of the cookbooks you’ll need to help you create a royal feast. If you like to cook outdoors, Grilling Vegan Style by John Schlimm delivers a full plate of meal options. From creative vegetable classics like Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce, to the art of grilling faux meats, this guide fires up 125 recipes for the backyard chef.
Also for grilling enthusiasts, Jolinda Hackett presents 225 backyard favorites in Cookouts Veggie Style. Learn how to make delicious and unique vegetarian dishes such as Crisped Camembert and Mango Quesadillas and Cajun-rubbed Portobello Caps. You’ll never miss burgers and hotdogs again.
For reluctant vegans, try Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin. Featuring mouthwatering photographs, this book explains that the key to good vegan cooking is substitution. Vegan versions of meat-eater favorites include the Avocado Reuben and “Chick’n” Pot Pie.
Former Bon Apetit columnist Marie Simmons begins Fresh & Fast Vegetarian with pages of fast cooking techniques, suggested tools, and lists of favorite ingredients. Only then does this author present recipes for 150 of her favorite dinners. From soups (White Bean and Fennel; Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Cheese) to salads (Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado) to main dishes (Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Quick Black Bean Chili), this book has it all.
Vegetarian recipes are often a godsend to individuals on a gluten-free diet. Carol Fenster offers quick and delicious dishes for the healthy cook in 125 Gluten-free Vegetarian Recipes. From snacks and appetizers like Baked Kale Chips, to filling dinners like Chili Cornbread Casserole and Eggplant Parmesan Stacks, to decadent desserts like Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse, Fenster makes gluten-free eating fun.
Joy Tienzo draws from a variety of influences to feature a diversity of innovative vegan dishes in Cook, Eat, Thrive. This author uses a series of symbols to indicate which recipes are raw, low fat, soy-free, and wheat-free, as well as recipes you can prepare in 30 minutes or less. Recipes range from well-known favorites (Buttermilk Pancakes) to more exotic dishes (Sage-Ricotta Gnocchi with Spicy Squash Mash).
Many cuisines have a tradition of meatless cooking. Troth Wells takes us on a gastronomic tour of the world with her One World Vegetarian Cookbook. Recipes include Indian Creamy Mixed Vegetable Curry, Greek Cheese Pies, Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush, and even good old Boston Baked Beans from the U.S.A.
A vegan diet isn’t strictly about fruits and vegetables. Vegans do sometimes like dessert after a meal. Lickin’ the Beaters 2 by Siue Moffat includes a wealth of vegan chocolate and candy recipes to drool over. Presented with useful hints and a handy quick recipe indicator for those who simply cannot wait for their sugar fix, recipes include favorites such as pralines, cookies and cakes.
For the ultimate one-stop vegetarian cookbook, from the author of the classic How to Cook Everything, pick up How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. This is the definitive guide to meatless meals that will appeal to everyone who wants to cook simple but delicious meatless dishes, from health-conscious omnivores to passionate vegetarians.
Manhattan Public Library has an extensive collection of cookbooks for all levels of culinary expertise. Check them out. They’re guaranteed to make you hungry for more.
Exhausted of being in the public eye, recently widowed First Lady Cornelia needs some time away. Slipping away from her security detail she finds herself traveling across country in a yellow RV with a cranky steel worker and two crazy and lovable children.
Mat is taking a break from his disappointing job when he discovers that his ex-wife has left him with the guardianship of two children that aren’t his. He takes them across the country to find their grandmother and picks up a woman after her car is stolen. She’s odd but helpful and seems vaguely familiar.
Stuck in a RV with a surly teenager and a cranky baby, they learn to depend on each other and eventually appreciate each other even as they wittily bicker. First lady is a book that will tug your heartstrings and your funny bone.
Manhattan Public Library’s Assistive Technology Center is the recipient of a $2,500 matching grant from Pilot International Foundation and the Little Apple Pilot Club. This is the third and final year of this grant. The grant has enabled the library to upgrade the Assistive Technology Center with new furniture, computers, software, and the addition of devices including an iPad, Kindle Touch, and a Livescribe Smartpen.
The focus of the grant this year is service to children. The Center is equipped with different software solutions in the areas of reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and math. One such software solution is the family of programs from the company, Inspiration. Inspiration is recognized as a leader in visual thinking and learning. Inspiration has been available for several years in the Assistive Technology Center, and we have just added Kidspiration for younger children, and Inspiration Maps app for the iPad. Visual thinking is a style of learning that presents concepts in a visual way such as diagramming and outlining. To understand visual thinking, it’s easiest to think about brainstorming and being able to quickly put your thoughts down by either using images, words, or both. For many students, the writing process can be overwhelming. By using visually mapping, this process can be broken down into more manageable components. The user can then edit the content, and when ready, the software can convert the images to a traditional text outline.
Along with software and the addition of devices, part of the grant monies have been used to purchase books concerning brain health and related topics for the library’s collection. I recently read one of the books purchased, All About IEPs: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs by Peter W. D. Wright, Pamela Darr Wright, and Sandra Webb O’Connor. The school year has begun and for many students, their Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an important component in their pursuit of an education. For many students and parents, the IEP process can be daunting. This is a self-help book that takes the reader from the planning stages to resolving disputes with the school and everything in between. The authors have included a helpful glossary of terms and a list of the statutes and regulations pertaining to IEPs.
The book is divided into chapters related to the issues and decisions each IEP team needs to address, from measurable goals to transition after school. One chapter is devoted to the use of assistive or adaptive technology. The law defines an assistive technology device as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” Some of the assistive technologies that can benefit students with disabilities include text-to-speech, voice recognition, word prediction, screen readers, screen magnification, and talking dictionaries. Dr. Katherine Seelman, associate dean of rehabilitation science and technology at the University of Pittsburgh, is quoted in the book as saying, “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.”
The authors of this book are no strangers to special education. Peter Wright is an attorney who represents children with special needs and their families. Pamela Wright is a psychotherapist with training in psychology and clinical social work. Sandra O’Connor is the editor of “The Special Ed Advocate,” a newsletter about special education legal issues.
The Assistive Technology Center is a community resource equipped with technological solutions for children. Parents, teachers, and children are encouraged to take advantage of this resource. If you would like more information, or if you would like to make an appointment, call the library at 785-776-4741, extension 202. The Assistive Technology Center is open twenty hours a week from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for Wednesday, with hours from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager
Along with our customarily full calendar of stellar activities for kids and youth, Manhattan Public Library and its co-sponsors will offer some unusual opportunities for fall fun to families and individuals of all ages this October. The beauty of the season and the crisp, cool weather make it a great time to be out and about, so plan to join us for any or all of our events which, as always, are free and open to the public.
Starting this week, the public will be unleashed on the streets of downtown Manhattan in search of gargoyles, Aesop’s fox, a relic of an historic flood, and the letter W. A new and updated edition of our popular Architectural Scavenger Hunt, co-sponsored this fall by Downtown Manhattan, Inc., will be held during the entire month of October. To begin the hunt, pick up a brochure at the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, or print one from the library’s website. Next, search for the architectural features pictured in the brochure and write down their locations. Then, bring your results back to the library and enter the drawing for a chance to win prizes donated by Downtown Manhattan businesses including the Pathfinder, Brown’s Shoe Fit, Cary Company, AJ’s Pizzeria, and DMI. Prize drawings will be held at the end of the month, and winners will be from among those who completed the hunt successfully. This is a fun activity for all ages and a great way for you, your family, or visiting friends or relatives to explore Manhattan! More information can be found by visiting the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, at the website, or by calling 785-776-4741, extension 141.
Attend another blockbuster movie event at Manhattan Public Library on Saturday, October 13, when we’ll show the film that started it all on the big screen in the library auditorium at 2:00 p.m. The festivities will include refreshments and special prizes and activities, and movie-goers are encouraged to come in costume if they wish! Local sponsors include Varsity Donuts, Wal-Mart, and Hastings. The celebration is part of Star Wars Reads Day, a national event created by LucasFilm, international publisher Dorling-Kindersley, and other publishing partners. This film is rated PG.
If you enjoy a brain challenge along with your entertainment, come to Manhattan Public Library on Saturday, October 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. when the KSU Math Department and Math Circle Seminar will host a drop-in birthday celebration and math games event in honor of world-renowned mathematician Martin Gardner (1914-2010) in the library’s Groesbeck Room. Gardner, a math and science writer who specialized in “recreational mathematics,” wrote a monthly column, “Mathematical Games,” which ran for over 25 years in Scientific American magazine. His writing introduced a wide popular audience to math puzzles, games, and paradoxes, such as Soma cubes, Tangrams, the works of M.C. Escher, Penrose tiling, and the Golden Ratio. Gardner authored books of brainteasers, puzzles, and logic problems for thinkers of all ages, and many of his books are available from Manhattan Public Library. The program is appropriate for older children, youth, and adults, and will include opportunities for participants to work on a variety of math puzzles and games.
When starting a book, the anticipation can be tremendous.
Who will these characters be? Which ones will I like/love/despise? Where will the story take me? Will there be adventure? Tragedy? Laughter? Tears?
If we are lucky, a few chapters in we have settled in with good friends, in a familiar setting. We have become comfortable in this new world. We can’t wait to see what each turn of the page will bring.
We’ve settled in and become comfortable. Yes, twists and turns in the plot may make us anxious, but with luck, our heroes/heroines will come out of the situation without too much damage. Though they, and we, may not see it for some time, hopefully they have learned and grown from their ventures.
Then, many times before we know it, the story is coming to a close. We begin to realize we will soon have to let go of all of the people, places, and things to which we have become attached. We know the end our time with them is near.
Then, it is over. You put the book down and reflect on everything that just happened. Whether it took a few hours or a few weeks for us to get through the story, if it is one we enjoyed, it is a bittersweet moment. We hope for a sequel, but know that more often than not, this is the end.
Now we can only imagine what happens next. For our favorite characters, we imagine greatness in their future. Happiness, love, and all good things.
I’m sure I am not the first person to realize that books really do reflect life. Even if the adventures are way beyond anything we would actually experience in real life, the jest of the scenario is relatable.
Such is true for me this week.
After six and a half years as Young Adult Librarian at Manhattan Public Library, I say goodbye this week to head off to the next adventure in my career.
From my first day at MPL, I have always known this was a special position at a special library. In my time we have been able to take the Young Adult area from a single isle of books in a far corner, to a welcoming section with seating, displays, and a booming programming schedule.
While I am apprehensive about leaving MPL, I take comfort in knowing that staff and teens will work to keep the programs going and continue to build this crucial area.
So many people have worked alongside me over the past few years to encourage teen reading and get teens active at the library that I could never thank them all; but I hope the next YA Librarian at MPL will have the wonderful experiences that I did in meeting teens, community members, educators, parents, and all those involved in other community organizations.
The hardest thing for me this week will be to say farewell to some teens I have known for many years now. When I came some were just approaching middle school, and now those same kids are in their last year(s) of high school. I have seen so many of them grow into wonderful young men and ladies and can’t wait to hear about all of their accomplishments in the near future.
Looking back on the first time I ever wrote this column as a staff member at MPL, I was able to speak more about what a Young Adult Librarian is and what they do.
I pointed out that telling someone you work with teenagers causes one of three reactions: fear, sympathy, or confusion. To this day, that is still true.
However, I am now able to add in the description of my job that “my” teens are so much fun and appreciate me for who I am and what I can do for them that every day is an adventure, and every time I get to be around the teens I learn more about teens, about my job, and about myself. Working with teenagers for more than nine years has given me a unique perspective on the world, one which I believe keeps me young.
The volume of my life that has taken place around Manhattan Public Library has been a good one. With lots of twists and turns, but ultimately with a happy ending that leaves us all looking forward to what happens next.
With all this in mind, I leave you with a quote I recently found by Terry Pratchett in his YA book Nation.
“No more words. We know them all, all the words that should not be said. But you have made my world more perfect.”
Every year a handful of Kansas book lovers have the difficult job of choosing their favorite books written by Kansans or about Kansas. This group of representatives from the Kansas Center for the Book, choose a list of the best books published the previous year by Kansas authors or about our state and then forward this list to the State Librarian for the final selections.
They must consider many titles including fiction, nonfiction, adult and young adult books. In early July the 2012 list was announced. Yesterday, the winning authors were awarded medals at the Kansas Book Festival in Topeka. The following titles were chosen as the winners of the seventh Kansas Notable Book list.
8 Wonders of Kansas! Guidebook by Marci Penner
The 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook is a 272-page book filled with over 800 beautiful photos of the 216 entries in the 8 Wonders of Kansas contests. Author Marci Penner has created another useful tour guide to help us enjoy our state’s highlights.
The Afterlives of Trees by Wyatt Townley
This new collection of poems by Wyatt Townley uses trees as a motif to explore the theme of transformation.
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
This is the thrilling story of America’s most celebrated female flyer, Amelia Earhart, who was born in Atchison. It is told alternating between Amelia’s life from childhood up until her last flight and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. Level: middle graders.
Bent Road: A Novel by Lori Roy
Arthur Scott tries to escape the race riots of 1967 Detroit by returning with his family to the tiny Kansas town he left 25 years ago after the violent death of his sister.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
For a man forced into the presidency, the legacy of James Garfield extended far beyond his lifetime, Destiny of the Republic revisits his meteoric rise within the military and government with meticulous research and intimate focus.
Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
Dr. John Henry Holliday, an ailing Southern gentleman, arrives in Dodge City with a prostitute who helps him find high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. The unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins here.
The Door in the Forest by Roderick Townley
Roderick Townley spins a magical tale of lies and truths, of secrets kept and secrets revealed in this adventure story for youth or the adventurous at heart.
Liar’s Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce
One of Kirkus Blog’s Favorite YA Novels of 2011, Liar’s Moon is a sequel to StarCrossed. These are high-fantasy, forbidden magic with castles, prisons, poisons and passion.
My Ruby Slippers: The Road Back to Kansas by Tracy Seeley
At 39, settled in San Francisco, a midlife crisis shakes Seely to her roots — she tells the story of a search for Kansas roots, the tale of a woman with an impassioned if vague sense of mission: to find the meaning of home.
The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory
by James N. Leiker and Ramon Powers
The Northern Cheyenne in 1878, attempted to flee from Indian Territory back to their Montana homeland. This important event in American Indian history is equally important in the history of towns like Oberlin, Kan., where Cheyenne warriors killed more than 40 settlers and in turn suffered great losses through violent encounters with the U.S. Army.
Osa and Martin: For the Love of Adventure by Kelly Enright
Legendary filmmakers and adventurers Osa and Martin Johnson, via film, brought the jungles of Africa and the South Pacific to millions of Americans from the 1910s to 1940s. Kelly Enright brings this amazing couple fully to life, chronicling their journey from a honeymoon among cannibals to safari camps in lion country.
Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History by Julie Courtwright
This traces the history of both natural and intentional fires from Native American practices to the current use of controlled burns as an effective land management tool, along the way sharing the personal accounts of people whose lives have been touched by fire.
Rode by Thomas Fox Averill
This is the imagined story behind Jimmy Driftwood’s ballad “Tennessee Stud”, a story of the legendary exploits of the greatest horse that ever lived and his owner.
Send Me Work: Stories by Katherine Karlin
In this collection of short stories, Karlin offers rare insight into the place of work in the lives of women.
Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts by Matthew Polly
At the age of 36, author Matthew Polly decides to immerse himself in Mixed Martial Arts training and competition in order to write a book about it.
This is the only honor for Kansas books by Kansans, highlighting our lively contemporary writing community and encouraging readers to enjoy some of the best writing of the authors among us.
Izzy Spellman never really had a chance for a normal life. Raised by private investigators, she joined the family business at 12, establishing a pattern of snooping and distrust that doesn’t bode well for healthy relationships. Her parents routinely run background checks on her boyfriends. Her uncle Ray regularly disappears on binges of his assorted addictions. Her brother David, the supposedly normal one, has been hiding something. Even her baby sister is mastering the art of extortion within the family. Meanwhile Izzy tries to solve an unsolvable case and maintain a fairly normal (if completely dishonest) relationship with the dentist of her dreams.
I was told to read The Spellman Files because I like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Both series are hilarious mysteries with entertaining young female characters who can’t quite get it together, but Spellman is less slapstick and more clever. This tale of mystery, suspense, and family dysfunction will keep you laughing all the way through.
Dan Zevin is a stay-at-home dad in Brooklyn. There is nothing earth shattering in his story of taking care of his kids, walking the dog, trying to make a living, and wondering if his life is headed in the right direction. That may be the true gift of his writing, the ability to take the everyday struggles that all parents face and show the humor. Dan Gets a Minivan won’t provide you with any helpful advice, but it will make you laugh out loud – at Zevin, but also a bit at yourself. A must read for anyone who has children.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
Each year from September 15 to October 15 we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month “by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.” What better time of year to explore mysteries written by Hispanic or Latino authors of many nationalities?
Mexican-American writer, Rudolfo Anaya, for example, features New Mexico private investigator Sonny Baca in a seasonal quartet whose titles include Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Shaman Winter, and Jemez Spring. Sonny Baca is not your average private investigator. A divorced former high school teacher, he’s the grandson of a legendary lawman, whose backup includes an extra-large sociopath, coyotes, and a curandera (folk healer). Sonny routinely deals with drug dealers and medical experiments, as well as the mysticism and magic of Chicano culture.
Marcos McPeek Villatoro brings El Salvadoran policewoman Romilia Chacon to life in a series of novels that take her from the Nashville Police Department to the FBI in Los Angeles, as the Latina detective hunts for her sister’s killer. Titles in the series include Home Killing, Minos, A Venom Beneath the Skin, and Blood Daughters.
Inspector Espinosa is the protagonist in a series by Brazilian writer Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Lush in setting, these mysteries take place in steamy, exotic Rio de Janiero. Titles in this Rio-noir series include Silence of the Rain, December Heat and Pursuit. Inspector Espinosa is an everyman character, a public servant, a solitary individual, who does not consider himself a hero. Garcia-Roza has created an ethical policeman often out of his depth in the seedy world he serves.
Cuban-born writer Leonardo Padura is the author of a colorful series featuring Police Lieutenant Mario Conde. Havana Gold, Havana Red, Havana Blue, and Havana Black blend dark police procedurals with vivid images of contemporary Havana. Lieutenant Conde is a cop who would rather be a writer, feeling himself drawn to other writers, crazy people, and drunks.
For thrillers with a mystery twist, Spanish author Juan Gomez-Jurado offers several titles written with both energy and a sense of the cinematic. The Traitor’s Emblem involves a daring rescue at sea, a mysterious gold emblem, Nazis, Masons, and a son’s search for the truth behind his father’s death. Other titles by Gomez-Jurado in English include God’s Spy and The Moses Expedition.
Michele Martinez is a Puerto Rican-American attorney and former federal prosecutor in New York who shares many characteristics with her protagonist, Melanie Vargas. Martinez features Vargas and FBI agent Dan O’Reilly in several novels. In Most Wanted, the first book in the series, Melanie Vargas takes the case of a prominent New Yorker found tortured and murdered in his posh townhouse. Other titles in the series include The Finishing School, Cover-Up, and Notorious.
Cayetano Brule is the private investigator in a series of mysteries by Chilean author Roberto Ampuero. In The Neruda Case Cayetano meets the poet Pablo Neruda at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. The novel is set against the dangerous political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro’s Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin.
Cuban expatriate Jose Latour delivers a suspenseful, atmospheric novel of intrigue set in contemporary Havana and Miami in Comrades in Miami. As Colonel Victoria Valiente, the Havana-based spymaster of greater Miami, her husband, and $2.7 million in stolen money set sail for Key West, little do they know that the FBI is on their trail. This novel gives an insider’s view of the Cuban regime’s darker corners.
Learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month at hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.
September is also “Library Card Signup Month.” Visit the library to sign up for your card today, or click the Library Card button on our web page to register online. Your library card will open up a world of adventure, information, and knowledge, not to mention mysteries by Hispanic authors.
Lately we’re hearing about a great deal of local interest in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. In fact, this newspaper recently ran Chris Banner’s review of that 2010 title. Readers who have read the book know that on one level, it can be approached as the personal account of a woman’s death as a result of cervical cancer. On another level, there’s the phenomenal extent to which her cancer cells have been used in the last sixty years to combat other ailments like polio. On yet another level, there are the inevitable ethical questions about the harvesting and the sharing of human tissue without patient consent. Perhaps it’s the last concern, the ethical treatment of patients, which accounts for so many strong reader reactions about the book’s contents.
I just finished reading this book, and I found that I really struggled to finish it. It’s not that it was badly written or that the content was dry; in fact, the book was fascinating in a gut-wrenchingly painful way. I struggled with the revelation of the many awful situations it conveyed. The appalling series of treatments to which Henrietta, a black woman from Baltimore, was subjected (the radium implants and the heavy doses of radiation that she suffered) were shocking. The fact that various tissue samples (designated as “HeLa cells”) were harvested without the family’s permission during her autopsy, let alone the manner in which the samples were shared and later sold commercially, was repugnant. And the gradual awareness on the part of the Lacks family that Henrietta’s tissue had attained a state of “immortality” was truly disheartening.
Why the local attention some two years after initial publication?
The K-State Book Network, the all-university reading program, selected this title as the 2012-2013 school year common reader. Committee members made this choice based on the book’s variety of discussion topics and its easy availability in different formats, among other criteria. The university kickoff ceremony was held early last spring, but there is ample time to attend one of several book-related events yet to occur.
One such event is scheduled for Thursday, September 20th, at 7:00 p.m., in the K-State Union Ballroom. Attendees are invited to share a visit with the Lacks family. Another event is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10th, at 7:00 p.m., in the K-State Union Forum Hall. At that time, guest speaker Yvonne Reid, PhD, Manager and Scientist in Cell Culture Contracts, will address the aspects of biological research impacted by HeLa cells. Her address is entitled “HeLa Cells and Biomedical Research: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” A third event will take place on Tuesday, October 30th, at 7:00 p.m., in the Hale Library Hemisphere Room. The topic for the evening is “Speaking the Silences: Women and Race in Kansas.” Each of these events is free and open to the public.
Manhattan Public Library is also hosting a related event. The library auditorium has been reserved on Tuesday, September 18th, at 7:00 p.m., for a discussion of the book. Dr. Irma O’Dell, Senior Associate Director for Administration/ Associate Professor of the School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University, will be the facilitator for the evening. This event is also free and open to the public.
If you have not yet read this worthy book, you still have time to do so. Manhattan Public Library has multiple copies of the Skloot book in a variety of formats. Beyond print copies, also available in large print format, there are books on cd and a loanable book kit available for book groups. MPL also has website links that will allow cardholders to download both audiobooks and ebooks of the title.
Again, this is not enjoyable reading, but in an age of explosive medical advancements and ethical dilemmas about sharing information and tissue samples, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a necessary reminder of human dignity and responsibility. I would strongly encourage you to explore this book and to actively seek answers to your own questions about the contents.
More and more I talk to adults who are reading Young Adult literature. A phenomenon which delights me to no end! It is great to see those beyond their teen years read materials aimed at teens. I believe it is a testament to the quality, variety, and pure number of materials now being produced for teen readers. Many times, with teen and adult readers alike, the problem is finding that next title that will truly interest them and keep them coming back.
Earlier this summer, I was sent a link by a colleague for a graphic titled “Are You New to YA?” It was a flow chart plotting recommended books, series, and authors for those who have dipped their toe into the endless pool that is YA fiction but don’t know where to go now. I was so excited to see all of the great recommendations it contained and the possibilities it would open up for readers looking for something new. The chart was posted on the book review blog stackedbooks.org. The site states that it reviews “books for readers while simultaneously enticing non-readers to think about reading in fun and interesting ways.” Founders of the blog include: Kimberly Francisco – “a public librarian with a weakness for genre fiction”; Kelly Jensen – “a compulsive consumer of all things books and blogs”; and Jen Petro-Roy – “a voracious reader and 17 at heart.” The three review a wide variety of genres, styles, and formats, including audio and digital books, videos, music, zines, graphic novels, and more. The “Are You New to YA” chart was featured in a column that runs a few times a month, called “So You Want to Read YA” which is written by guest authors to the blog. This particular post was contributed by the creators of another book blog, www.thereadventurer.com. Below is the introduction to the chart by “The Readventurers,” Catie, Flannery and Tatiana.
The three of us have only been blogging together for a short time and we’ve never actually met in real life, but all of us are around the same age (in the adult years…other than that we’re not commenting) and we all love to read young adult literature. In fact, that’s pretty much what brought us together – that and an obsessive love of Goodreads.com.
They came to the conclusion, that most adults enter the YA arena through one of three avenues:
a) Harry Potter
I also find this to be true. Most often it is because of the pop-culture popularity of these series. All have been among the best-selling books for weeks and even years, they all have movies based on the books, and they all seem to appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests. These three series have helped to break down whatever barriers or stereotypes may have been in place in regards to teen fiction. Catie, Flannery and Tatiana say they wanted to use these three entry points to help readers be able to explore further into YA.
The journey through the chart begins with one simple question – Are You New to YA?
Where you go from there is based on one of three answers: Yes; I’ve tried one or two but I want to try more!; and No, it’s old hat to me.
From there it is a matter of deciding on what genres, themes, and quirks of books appeal most to the reader. With lots of stand-alone titles, series, and authors on the chart, almost anyone should be able to find something that would appeal to them. More often than not, there are two or more recommendations along the way.
This is a sample of a pathway search I did:
Are You New to YA?
I’ve tried one or two but I want to try more!
Do you want to read more dystopian?
Fine, we wanted to work harder anyway! Which of these genres do you prefer?
We’re assuming you’ve read The Book Thief?
Interestingly, I don’t believe I’ve ever read either of these authors! So, even for someone who has read many, many YA books, there is something new to be found.
Click here to see the complete flow-chart. This is such a great tool, I know I will be using it to get recommendation ideas in the future.
by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager
The long hot days from late July through August have been known as the Dog Days of summer since ancient times, when the proximity of Sirius, the Dog Star, to the sun at that time of year was believed to cause of the hottest days of the year and all the evil thereof. This year our Dog Days have set new records for high temperatures and duration, causing us grave discomfort and occasionally short tempers, so this August especially is a good time to pour a tall, cold drink and read something short, light, and quirky. Try something from this list of books that take unexpected subjects and make them delightfully entertaining.
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield. For over 500 years the printed word has surrounded us, usually without our appreciating the artistry and graphic nuances of the typefaces we see. With the arrival of the IBM Selectric typewriter and its revolutionary changeable typeballs in 1961, this began to change. Suddenly, an ordinary individual was able to change the typeface on a document at will and creative sensibilities were piqued, although at the time our choices were limited to such sober typefaces as Courier or Prestige Elite. Just over 20 years later, Steve Jobs marketed the first MacIntosh computer with a selection of typeface choices and suddenly “font” became a household word and the creation of new and more evocative typefaces exploded. Now there are fonts for every emotion and message. We all have our favorite classic fonts – Helvetica, Goudy Old Style, Albertus – and some fonts have acquired the stature of pop cultural icons. There are even a few fonts – Papyrus, Brush Script, Comic Sans – that have caused the occasional online “font war” or have been reviled for misuse or overuse. This amusing and enlightening book will introduce you to the social history of type design and the words we see all around us.
In Praise of Chickens: A Compendium of Wisdom Fair and Fowl by Pulitzer-prize nominee Jane S. Smith offers a sublime escape into poultry lore galore. A bright and sunny book of chicken history and trivia with excerpts and quotations from Aristotle to Twain, filled with antique illustrations and handsome portraits of chicken breeds, this small book is a summer delight.
In London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets, Peter Ackroyd, prolific author, historian, and biographer, tells tales of the thousands of years of history buried beneath the streets of London. Underground rivers, forgotten prisons, buried monasteries, ancient sewers and canals, Roman galleys, Anglo-Saxon graves, hideouts, tunnels and shelters, creatures of the underworld real and surreal – all appear in their own time and context in this absorbing and atmospheric book.
Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey. If you’re a Person of a Certain Age like me, you may remember diagramming sentences on the blackboard for your sixth or seventh grade teacher (requiescat in pace, Miss Johnston of MJHS). Diagramming was introduced to American schools in 1877 as a standard technique for teaching grammar and it endured through most of the 20th Century before being largely abandoned. Sentence diagramming was a way to visually depict the structure of sentences, a cross between puzzle-solving and graphic design. It was an illuminating and effective way to learn grammar and an oddly satisfying mental exercise. In this charming and humorous book, author Florey revisits her own memories of sentence diagramming and the challenges, elegance, and clarity offered by this forgotten skill.
Good to Go: A Guide to Preparing for the End of Life by Jo Myers. What?! A book about dying that’s quirky and light? Yes, and it’s fun to read as well. Myers offers practical advice and a basic template for preparing for the end of life, your own or another’s, with acceptance and love. With chapter headings like “Making an Ash of Yourself” and “Let’s Put the Fun Back in Funeral,” this book offers reassurance and encouragement with tenderness and humor.
Lyle Lovett is coming to McCain! My heart is all aflutter. There’s nothing in the world like that man’s voice. He’s been considered a Country & Western singer, but his music is really a mix of Country, Blues, and Rock. Lately I’ve been listening to his Live in Texas album, over & over & over. Recordings of live performances in the late 90s, Live in Texas highlights the amazing talents of his Large Band as they perform Lovett classics like “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)” and “She’s No Lady.” Lovett is never easy to classify, but always easy to appreciate.
It is the quietest time of year in Manhattan. Most of the summer activities have come to an end and we still have some time before the energy of returning students and school starting up. The recent heat has caused us all to be a bit wilted. A good laugh can help you through the end-of-summer doldrums so you can be cheerful when all our new residents come pouring in.
You might have heard of Lisa Scottoline’s suspense novels. What is less well known is that she partners with her daughter to write nonfiction that will crack you up. Her latest, Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: the Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter talks about the close and challenging relationships in families, while making sure to see the humor in life. Another nonfiction favorite is Bill Bryson, known best for his travel memoirs. Whether he’s on a trip across the pond in Notes from a Small Island or traveling back in time with The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bryson’s work is known for causing annoyance to those near readers because of the constant chuckling and the repeated phrase “You’ve got to hear this.”
Romance is a genre ripe with scenarios of people making idiots of themselves for our reading enjoyment. In Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro, Jamie Newman escapes New York for the beach in an attempt to regroup after a failed relationship, only to face a run-down shack, an ever-present family, and a difficult (but of course attractive) neighbor/landlord. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig takes us back to the French Revolution with the story of Amy Balcourt. Amy heads out to France with hopes to become a spy with the league of the Purple Gentian. Secrets, misunderstandings, and clumsy spying attempts don’t bode well for her career, but the Purple Gentian finds that he wants her close by anyway.
If you like your romance heavy on the humor but light on spice, you might like these Christian authors. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist tells the story of Washington settler Joe Denton who needs a wife to keep his land and Ana Ivey who unknowingly signs off as a bride when she just hopes to escape to the west to find a job cooking. Full of witty dialogue and likeable characters, Gist’s books are a treat. In Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake, Lady Syndey Hathwell escapes to her long lost uncle’s ranch disguised as a man. Ranch manager Tim Creighton is disgusted by his new ranch hand’s hardworking but inept and weak attempts to live up to his expectations.
For humor with a more mysterious turn, you might try The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, takes up the case when characters suddenly begin to disappear from great works of literature. A mix of fantasy and mystery is delightfully witty. Alan Bradley takes you into the world of the engaging Flavia de Luce, eleven year old chemist in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. When she discovers a dying man in the garden, she revels in the joy of investigation.
Some of us like our humor to be a little otherworldly. In A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, neurotic hypochondriac and recent widower, Charlie Asher, is faced with the challenges of a new baby and a new and unwanted job as a merchant of death. Scott Rockwell has adapted Terry Pratchett’s Discworld into Graphic Novel format, maintaining the bizarrely humorous feel from the original novels about a parallel world that rests on the backs of four elephants balanced on a giant turtle hurtling through space.
When the hot, slow days start to get you down, just remember the words of MarkTwain, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”