2014 American Library Association Youth Awards

By , January 29, 2014

Newbery Award

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Winner: Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Honor: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Honor: The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Honor: One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Honor: Paperboy by Vince Vawter




 Caldecott Award

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Winner: Locomotive, written and illustrated by Brian Floca

Honor: Journey, illustrated by Aaron Becker

Honor: Flora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle

Honor: Mr. Wuffles!, written and illustrated by David Wiesner




Coretta Scott King Author Award

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-GarciaWinner: P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Honor: March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Honor: Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers

Honor: Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes





Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

Knock, Knock: My Dad's Dream for MeWinner: Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dreams for Me, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Honor: Nelson Mandela, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson






Printz Award (Young Adult)

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Winner: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honor: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Honor: The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Honor: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Honor: Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool




Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The Nazi Hunters by Neal BascombWinner: The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb

Honor: Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd

Honor: Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin W. Sandler

Honor: Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopersby Tanya Lee Stone

Honor: The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James Swanson


Morris Award (Young Adult Debut Book)

Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Winner: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Honor: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Honor: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

Honor: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

Honor: In the Shadow of the Blackbirds by Cat Winters



What do you think of the selections? Have you read any of the winners? Do you have a favorite book that was not selected? Please tell us in the comments below.

There were many more awards and selection lists presented at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards on January 27, 2014. For a more complete list, see the press release.


























Book review: The Montgomerys & The Armstrongs

By , January 28, 2014

 Never Seduce a Scot (Book 1: The Montgomerys & The Armstrongs)
 By Maya Banks

Ya know…sometimes you just want to read a “trashy” girl book. Not something heavy or life-affirming – just something that you can get lost in for a couple hours, preferably with the requisite and predictable HEA (happily ever after). And while regular library books are good for this, I’ve found that ebooks are an even better source for guilty pleasure reading.

In searching our vast ebook collection for a good romance, I wanted something that had a decent story and wasn’t all bodice ripping. There are probably 9482* Scottish romance stories listed, so I was tempted to write them all off as silly, but something about this one pulled me in. And I’ve seen Maya Banks popping up here and there and just haven’t ever read one of hers…until now.

I just liked this story. Basic premise: two warring clans are reconciled when the beloved Armstrong daughter of one is forced to marry the Montgomery Laird – which I’ll admit is pretty cliche. However, the characters are good and Banks is a pretty good storyteller. Surprisingly it drew me – which is exactly what I was looking for. And when I finished the first one, I went right to the second one…

Highlander Most Wanted (Book 2)

This continues the story from book 1. Instead of the Montgomery Laird, we now follow his brother and a mysterious woman who helped rescue the Armstrong daughter in the previous story (I’d say ooops, spoiler alert, but I already told you there was a HEA).

We have both of these books in book, audio, and ebook form, so pick your poison and get to reading because there is a third book coming out in April. We need to catch up.

Until then, I guess I’ll just have to find another good series to enjoy. When I find something awesome, I’ll clue you in. Thanks NPL and Overdrive ebookland for keeping me entertained (and out of trouble)!

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

*No, I didn’t really count…

The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle You May Not Know

By , January 24, 2014

In honor of the beginning of the next series of Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery, I went to the periodicals stacks to dig up some original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and came across something that interested me even more.  I’m sure I had read at one time about his interest in spiritualism; however, when I discovered an interview with Sir Arthur in the September 1922 edition of The American Magazine titled, “You Start in There Where You Leave Off Here,” I realized the full extent of his belief in spiritualism and was a little shocked.

In this interview, Sir Arthur staunchly defends his position on spiritualism saying, “Would you pick me out as the kind of man who loses his critical faculties in a medium’s dark room? Do I look as if I would be easily swept off my feet?”  He asserts that he has carried on “sustained conversations” with his dead son, exclaiming “Why should I grieve when I know he lives?”  Doyle explains the origins of his interest in spiritualism (beginning with his early medical career), his gathering of evidence, and his eventual acceptance (coinciding with the grief and hardship of World War I) of spiritualism as “something tremendous; a breaking down of the walls between two worlds; a call of hope and of guidance to the human race in the time of its affliction.”

This interview is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the man who created Sherlock Holmes.  It includes a “spirit photo” (never before published in an American magazine) of Sir Arthur with the face of his deceased son.  The caption states, “Sir Arthur took his own photographic plates  . . . to the medium . . . placed the plates in the camera, then sat before it, as for an ordinary photograph.  Afterward he developed the plates with his own hands. The likeness is said by those who knew the son to be unmistakable.”

It is surprising to learn how sincerely Sir Arthur believed in spiritualism and how zealously he tried to convince those who doubted.  He lectured frequently on the topic, wrote many letters to the press along with articles like “Stranger Than Fiction” (published in Collier’s magazine November 27, 1915), and even penned a book titled The Coming of the Fairies in defense of the controversial Cottingley fairy photographs.  In fact, he tried (unsuccessfully) to convert Harry Houdini, the famous illusionist, who was himself on a crusade to debunk spiritualism.  H.L. Mencken states in his review of the book The Believing Mind: Houdini and Conan Doyle in the June 1932 issue of American Mercury that Sir Arthur went to his grave “thoroughly convinced that Houdini himself had been a medium” despite the fact that “Houdini, while they were both alive, protested against this nonsense with great earnestness, and offered the most solemn assurance that all of his tricks . . . were tricks and nothing more.”

This photo of Doyle and Houdini is from the article, “Houdini and the Sprits,” in the July 1928 issue of The American Magazine about Houdini’s personal quest to expose spiritualism as a “fraud that he conceived as a menace to society.”  The caption reads, “Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, warm personal friends, but antagonists on the question of spiritualism.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Sir Arthur, check out some of these titles from our non-fiction collection:

The Coming of the Fairies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Reader: From Sherlock Holmes to Spiritualism edited by Jeffrey and Valerie Meyers

Letters to the Press by Arthur Conan Doyle

Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle by Daniel Stashower




Book review: Burial Rites

By , January 23, 2014

Burial Rites

By Hannah Kent


Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is hands down the best historical fiction that I have read this past year. I cannot say enough about this book, it is so good. The story is compelling and poignant and the atmospheric setting immediately transports the reader to another place and time.

Set in 1820’s Iceland, Burial Rites is the fictionalized tale of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman sentenced to die in Iceland by public execution. Convicted of helping murder two men, Agnes is sent to a remote farm to await her execution. The story centers around the farm’s reluctant family members, forced to house a convicted murderess, young Father Toti, the priest charged with gaining Agnes’s confession, and of course Agnes herself, whose story unfolds through the richly layered plotline culminating with an ending that will take your breath away…..

This book is superb.


- Karen


P.S.    Actress Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly trying to get Burial Rites made into a film. For anyone familiar with Lawrence’s performance as Ree Dolly in the film Winter’s Bone, she is sure to be phenomenal in the role of Agnes.




Book review: Little old lady recipes

By , January 17, 2014

Little old lady recipes: comfort food and kitchen table wisdom
by Meg Favreau

Did your 2014 New Year’s Resolution focus on smart and sensible eating?

Ready to shelve that crazy thought? In that case, have we got a book for you!

Little old lady recipes: comfort food and kitchen table wisdom by Meg Favreau will have you rethinking the way you look at your grocery list. Each recipe is short and sweet with ingredients listed followed by short instructions and a bit of advice. Did you know that crunched cornflakes may be substituted for bread crumbs? That the “surprise” in tuna surprise casserole is a bag of potato chips? Here’s a turnip casserole tip, “small turnips are mild, big ones are stronger. It’s your choice.” And finally, when in doubt, take a covered dish.

Not all the advice given within these pages has to do with food, as evidenced in the following nugget: “Don’t wear dark lipstick. When it shows up on a man’s collar, everyone is going to know it’s yours.”

Every few pages you are greeted by a full page photograph of a sensible looking older lady. These women have hosted a bridge club or two. They provide comfort and encouragement as you unlearn the fundamentals of Nutrition 101. So if you are ready to ditch your 2014 resolution to eat smart, here is your book!

If you prefer a more scientific look at classic recipes, try any of the Cook’s Country TV show cookbooks by the editors of Cook’s Country. You will still get the good old comfort foods, this time though, the recipes are vetted scientifically. The PBS show Cook’s Country is hosted by Christopher Kimball aka. Sheldon Cooper’s older brother.


“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” Erma Bombeck


In Memoriam: Amiri Baraka 1934-2014

By , January 14, 2014

We lost one of our most vibrant and uncompromising voices with the death of poet, playwright, and cultural critic Amiri Baraka. Born LeRoi Jones, Baraka had the distinction of dropping out of three universities and being discharged from the Air Force for communist sympathies before starting his literary career. Gaining fame as one of the few poets of color in the Beat Generation, he simultaneously established himself as a prominent jazz critic with a regular column in Down Beat magazine. In 1964, his play The Dutchman won an Obie award and was subsequently turned in a film. Deeply affected by assassinations of civil rights leaders, he became closely associated with Black Nationalism. Softening his views somewhat after the 1970s, the tag of antisemitism dogged him for years because of political writings during this period. Political controversies never got in the way of him producing work. A few of the honors earned during his long career include an American Book Award, PEN/Open Book Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and induction in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He even served a short, not uncontroversial tenure, as New Jersey’s poet laureate. Here are a few select titles:

Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka (1961-1995)


Dutchman and The Slave: Two Plays


Black Music
This contains reprints of his most influential Down Beat columns.


TV series review: The Fall

By , January 10, 2014

The Fall. Series 1
Created by Allan Cubitt

Scully* is back and she totally kills it in the new BBC crime drama The Fall!

Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson is called away from London to  review the handling of a murder investigation led by police in Northern Ireland. Gibson quickly finds procedural mistakes, and evidence that another recent murder may make this the work of a serial killer.  When yet another victim is discovered, Gibson is put in charge of the investigation.

The Fall is not a whodunnit.  From the very first episode you know who is doing the killing.  Irish actor Jamie Dornan portrays Paul Spector  – a married father of two, who works part-time as a grief counselor and full-time as a murdering psychopath.  An interesting subplot in The Fall involves corruption on the police force, which ends (slight spoiler here) in a very shocking scene at the precinct…  And since this series is set in Belfast, the past political tensions of Northern Ireland are a subtext to the unfolding events.

Fans of Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in TV series Prime Suspect will especially be interested in The Fall.  And for those who are waiting for the Fifty Shades of Grey film,  you’ll want to watch Jamie Dornan in The Fall to experience his potential to play that troubled, dark character Christian Grey.

So check out The Fall, and lets talk after you see the finale! Season 2 is scheduled  to begin filming in February.



*I know Gillian Anderson isn’t Scully.  I’m paying tribute to a gag featured on SNL when Ron Howard hosted an episode in the early 80′s.  In one sketch Eddie Murphy kept referring to him as  Opie Cunningham, much to Mr. Howard’s chagrin.  And while we’re on topic, why hasn’t Gillian Anderson ever hosted SNL?  Let’s all write to Lorne Michaels!

Two Knitting Books to Keep You Warm This Winter…

By , January 9, 2014

Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired By Favorite Books

By Nikol Lohr


Madame Bovary, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Pride and Prejudice and Slaughterhouse-Five were just a few of the books that inspired Nikol Lohr’s quirky new knitting book Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired By Favorite Books.

Lohr‘s knitwear designs capture the essence of the stories with modern wearable pieces. My favorite designs are the beautiful Daisy Cloche hat with velvet band inspired by The Great Gatsby, the Eppie Bonnet inspired by Silas Marner and the charming Laura Pinafore dress inspired by Little House on the Prairie.

There is something for everyone with designs for men, women and children. Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired By Favorite Books is filled with large, lovely colored photos and helpful instructions to help you turn the patterns into reality.


Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book: history technique design

By the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine


This book is a beauty! Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book features a wide selection of hat styles from bowlers, to tuques and trappers, to hoods, cloches and caps. Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book has page after page of beautiful hats to knit. The majority of the patterns are geared toward the more experienced knitter but there are some designs for the novice. For anyone interested in knitting hats, this book is a dream come true, featuring 50 sumptuous hat patterns.





Book list: Hunger Awareness

By , January 7, 2014

NPL and Second Harvest Food Bank’s Food for Fines program is one of our most successful community collaborations. People get their fines paid and Second Harvest gets (literally) tons of food. This year we wanted to go even further to combat hunger. The library is hosting a number of programs to raise hunger awareness. Below are some books that explore our nation’s food problems and how we can fix them.


A Place at the Table: The Crisis of 49 Million Hungry Americans and How to Solve It
by Peter Pringle (Ed.)
I’ll be hosting a screening of A Place at the Table at Main Library auditorium at 11am, January, 11th. If you can’t make it to the Main Library for the screening, you can always check out the DVD.


The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table
by Tracie McMillan


Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giant Hooked Us
by Michael Moss


The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
by Janisse Ray
And keep an eye out for the library’s new seed library. That’s a teaser.


Popmatic Podcast January 2014: The Best of (Last) Year

By , January 5, 2014

This is the best of the year. If you listen the whole way to the end, there is a whole other mini-episode hidden inside.

Hunger Awareness Month


Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Beauty Queens by Libby Bray

MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood

Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him by Randy Jurgensen

Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong

Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music by S. Alexander Reed

audio interview with S. Alexander Reed on I Die You Die site

Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandlin

Wild Tales by Graham Nash


the music of Graham Nash

Reflektor by Arcade Fire

check out of vids of Reflektor

The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles

Night Visions by Imagine Dragons

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk



Upstream Color

All is Lost

Pitch Perfect

Spring Breakers

Leverage (final season of)

Orphan Black

30 Rock (final season of)

Breaking Bad (final season of)


four new Marvel shows on Netflix

James McBride’s band

Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton

Sorcerer on Blu-ray

It was the year of glitter.


A transcript of the show is available upon request.

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