Saturday, September 29, 2012

Current New York Times Bestsellers Top 5

Many library patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest popular reads @ your Abilene Public Library.  Part of finding those reads is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers list we make available to checkout that popular item, or get yourself on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog to discover the latest titles to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

Author: Ken Follett
Weeks on List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Summary: In Book 2 of the Century trilogy, members of five interrelated families from five countries, some of them children of characters in the previous book, Fall of Giants, grapple with the tumultuous historical events of the years 1939-49. 

Author: Lee Child
Weeks on List: 2
Position Last Week: 1
Summary: A carload of people involved in a conspiracy pick up a disheveled hitchhiker, Child's vigilante Jack Reacher. 

Author: Gillian Flynn
Weeks on List: 16
Position Last Week: 2
Summary: A woman disappears on her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer? 

Author: Mitch Albom
Weeks on List: 3
Position Last Week: 3
Summary: A fable about the inventor of the world's first clock, who returns to our world after centuries of banishment; from the author of Tuesdays with Morrie. 

Author: Sandra Brown
Weeks on List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Summary: A woman makes disturbing discoveries - and acquires a stalker - when she writes a book about her sister's murder. 

Hardcover Non-Fiction Top 5

Author: Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer
Weeks on List: 3
Position Last Week: 1
Summary: An account by a former member of the Navy SEALs, written pseudonymously, of the mission that killed bin Laden. 

Author: Bob Woodward
Weeks on List: 2
Position Last Week: 2
Summary: Inside the debt-ceiling negotiations of 2011 with the Washington Post journalist. 

Author: Salman Rushdie
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Summary: The novelist's life for nearly 10 years under the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence for writing The Satanic Verses. 

Author: Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
Weeks on List: 52
Position Last Week: 3
Summary: The host of The O'Reilly Factor recounts the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. 

Author: Jeffrey Toobin
Weeks on List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Summary: The ideological battles between President Obama and the Supreme Court.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover for yourselves why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, don't hesitate to get on the reserve lists to and make sure you secure your spot in line for these popular titles. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Author Read-Alikes with Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum Series, focusing on an ex-lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter who ends up in some of the most comedic action-packed situations imaginable.  Having gotten the idea for this series after watching the film Midnight Run, which starred Robert De Niro, readers everywhere have devoured each of the books in this series.

Allow your Abilene Public Library to introduce you a little more to this author, and the series she's most known for, so we may highlight additional authors who write in similar styles.  We do this in hope to show you even more great reads to look out for at your library.

Humor, action, slapstick and wisecracking dialogue, over-the-top characters and more is what you'll find at the center of this series, driving each one of the entries in the Stephanie Plum Series since the release of One for the Money in 1994.  Keeping the humor at the center of her novels, she peppers each entry with a host of characters you can't help but find yourself completely engaged in.  With fast paced action, comedic dialogue, smart-mouthed attitude and more, this is the series she's most known for.

Focusing on a strong female heroine in each of her many stories, if you're looking for more great comedic mysteries, which will also provide you with a little romance as well, check out some of these read-alike authors who may provide you with more delightful mysteries to dive into.

Read-Alike Author: Jennifer Crusie
Crusie is a great author to suggest if you're looking for a female author who fashions her novels around smart-mouthed females, much like Evanovich's Stephanie Plum character, while throwing in some romance as well.  Fans of Evanovich will enjoy the quirky situation Crusie sets up for her characters, which also contain some light paranormal elements as well...of which Evanovich also has some titles she's written in the Wicked Series that adds the supernatural/fantasy element to the mysteries.  Although primarily an author of standalone titles, she just may be worth a shot for readers who enjoy some wacky adventures. 

Read-Alike Author: Stephanie Bond
Bond is an author who will focus primarily on the romantic side of her mysteries, with the Body Movers Mysteries that resemble the Stephanie Plum books.  The series focuses on the character of Carlotta Wren, a member of Atlanta's social scene who works at Nieman-Marcus by day, but then jumps in to start solving crimes by night.  Much in the vein of Stephanie Plum's background, fans will also delight in the smart-mouthed dialogue and relatable heroine so start with the first in the series titled Body Movers, and work your way through the rest. 

Read-Alike Author: Harley Jane Kozak
Kozak is best known for authoring the Wollie Shelley Chick Lit Mysteries, which are just as smart, fun, and sassy as Stephanie Plum herself.  One of the main differences between this series and Evanovich's is that you won't be immersed in the outlandish and comical situation Plum finds herself getting into, but readers will find six-foot tall Wollie to be an interesting character.  Designing greeting cards as her day job, she also makes ends meet as a serial dater, and then a dating expert, while also happening to clear herself and her friends of murder charges along the way.  With decent comedic elements throughout, try working your way through this series, which began with the novel Dating Dead Men.

So if you're a fan of the softer side of mysteries, featuring strong female heroines, tons of smart-mouthed and witty dialogue, comedic and screwball situations, and more (much like Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Series), you won't want to miss out on your chance to try out one of these author suggestions at your Abilene Public Library.  Plus, if you ever need any help, be sure to Contact Us and staff will be more than happy to assist you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Staff Book Review: The Cousins' War Series

Author: Philippa Gregory
Reviewed By: Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Philippa Gregory is a well-known historical fiction writer and author of the book-to-movie bestseller The Other Boleyn GirlHer latest book, The Kingmaker's Daughter, is part four of a new series about the Plantagenets, the ruling house before the Tudors.  As with all English monarchies, they are a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.  The novels are set during the War of the Roses, or as Gregory terms it, The Cousins' War, which took place between 1455 and 1485.

I recently picked up book four, The Kingmaker's Daughter.  Not having read any of the other installments in the series, I momentarily thought about setting it aside and starting with book one - in a gesture of sensibility - but fortunately that thought was fleeting.  Gregory's books are just as good as a standalone as they are read together and this book drew me in from page one.

Written in the first person, Anne Neville begins the tale of her adventurous life with the coronation of Edward IV at the stronghold and palatial castle, the Tower of London.  Anne's father, "The Kingmaker" Richard of Warwick, has successfully deposed the late Henry VI and installed Edward on the throne, hoping to rule the kingdom in the process.  Warwick's plans are abruptly ended however by Edward's bride, Elizabeth Woodville, and her family the Rivers.

Deposed from power and plotting revenge readers begin to realize, as Anne does herself, that she is merely a pawn in her father's grand plans.  Moved from place to place and married at age 14 to a cousin from France, Anne's life path seems all but certain.  Despite the obstacles against her, Anne manages to break free from her father's power.  She elopes at age 15, a young widow, to marry a man she has always secretly admired and loved - the future Richard III of England.  Yet in a few short years in a wonderful sense of life turning full circle, Anne's own actions and inactions as her husband rises to power force her to realize a universal truth - she is "The Kingmaker's" daughter.

Available at all three library locations to checkout, here's a quick overview of each book in the Cousins' War.

The White Queen (2009): The story of Elizabeth Woodville, the queen consort of King Edward IV of England and mother of the Princes in the Tower.

The Red Queen (2010): The story of Lady Margaret Beaufort and her quest to place her son Henry Tudor on the English throne.

The Lady of the Rivers (2011): The story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville.

The Kingmaker's Daughter (2012): The story of Anne Neville, wife to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales and second wife to Richard III of England, and Isabel Neville, wife of George Duke of Clarence.

Events @ Your Library (Oct. 1-6)

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check blog for a look at these events, or visit our website for complete listing.  Remember, all events are free, and if you need any additional information, click on the title of the program to be redirected to the event post on our online calendar.

"Making Masks"
Ages 8-15
Oct. 1 @ 6:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info
Youth are invited to this quick and easy crafting session where we'll supply all the materials and instruction to show you how to make your own masks!!! 

Guest Speaker: Marcie Prachyl
Oct. 2 @ 6:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info
Marcie Prachyl (Dietitian with Hendrick Medical Center) will be on hand to share tips on healthy eating to adopt as a part of your lifestyle.  Come ready to take some notes, and also come ready to ask some questions to get the expert advice you need on living a healthy life. 

"Fall Trees"
School-Aged Kids
Oct. 3 @ 4:00 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info
Kids are welcome to join us for this afternoon crafting workshop where we'll be showing you how to make some Fall Trees, which will be perfect for this season.  We'll supply all the materials, you supply yourself.  Then you can look out for great books to checkout from your library. 

"Me & My Robot"
All Ages
Oct. 4 @ 6:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info
It's time for the first Family Fun event for October where kids and parents will delight in stories, songs, games, crafts, and more that all have to relate with some form or fashion. 

Guest Speaker: Becky Green
Oct. 4 @ 6:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info
Becky Green (Texas Tech University's Small Business Development Center) will provide a great workshop on getting the best out of hiring the right people.  Join us for this business-related workshop and get the advice you need and directly from the pros.

Also don't forget all locations offer weekly storytime sessions for youth, as well as Book-A-Librarian sessions for adults.  Contact Us for information on signing up.  Also, don't forget to catch the library's long-running Crafty Creations show for kids, as well as our Project Teen series for teens and young adults available online.  Your Abilene Public Library has much to offer you so don't hesitate to join in on the fun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Staff Book Review: "Bloodlines" by: Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Reviewed By: Marianne Vadney, Library Assistant (South Branch)

Book Summary: When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California.  Populated with new faces, as well as familiar ones, this novel explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

Personal Review: Richelle Mead does it again.  Best known for her phenomenal Vampire Academy Series, she has started this spin-off series and Bloodlines is utterly addicting.  While Vampire Academy followed the feisty Rose, her new series focuses on the brilliant and level-headed alchemist Sydney, and the charming, if not volatile vampire Adrian.  These two characters played an important part in the original series so people new to the world might want to start there.

I cannot praise this series enough.  I loved Vampire Academy, but Bloodlines has managed to exceed my already high expectations for this author.  Sydney is the kind of girl I would love to see more in YA fiction.  She's smart, witty, and not afraid to show it, and even though she tries to come off tough as nails, she still has a kind of passionate heart.

Her character has shown a tremendous amount of growth through both series and has untold potential to keep going.  Having her character share the spotlight with Adrian in the new series is pure genius.  As an alchemist, she was taught to hate vampires her entire life, and her job is to clean up their messes so it doesn't spill into the human world.  Adrian is a high society vampire who is often considered a reject joke, but has a wonderfully complex soul.

With a cross between her hard analytical views and a compassionate heart, Sydney finds Adrian rocking her already precarious view of the world.  Their tentative friendship is one of the best relationships I've seen written for YA fiction in a long time.  It's funny, frustrating, and truthful in a way that often falls out in fantasy/supernatural novels.

This series starts with Bloodlines and you should definitely look out for it at your Abilene Public Library as we own three (3) copies in regular print.  If you like what you do read, then follow that up with the sequel in that spin-off series titled Golden Lily as we also have three (3) copies of that title as well.  For teen and young adult fans of vampire lit, this should be right up your alley.

@ the Library Article: "Learn on the Go with Mobile Resources"

As printed in the Abilenian, as part of the Abilene Reporter-News, by Dennis Miller, Business Librarian at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.

Among the vast information resources of the Abilene Public Library are nearly 70 databases covering a wide range of subjects, all but one accessible to APL cardholders from your home or office PC or handheld device.

This is the third in a series of four articles describing these authoritative resources that are ideal for students writing research papers and for anyone researching local history or health information, doing genealogical research, needing automotive repair help or a legal document, investment data...the list goes on and on.

From the library's webpage, click on E-Resources.  The databases are arranged by categories/.  Enter your library card number to begin your search.

Experienced family history researchers spend a great deal of time in Ancestry Plus, our sole database that is searchable only in the library.  Although the database is accessible at our two branch locations, our main library affords access to additional genealogical materials.

Among the data: U.S. censuses from 1790 through 1940 (1940 just completed); more than 15 million Texas birth records from 1903-1997; Texas marriage records from 1814-1909 and 1966-2002; Texas deaths from 1903-2000; and Native American census rolls from 1885-1940.  Also included are immigrant ship passenger lists and draft registration documents.

Heritage Quest is another genealogical tool and is searchable off-premise.  Census information dating back to 1790 is accessible, along with people and place information from more than 28,000 books and 2.3 million journal articles.

The database Historical Newspapers - Dallas Morning News allows access to the newspaper's contents from Oct. 1, 1885, through April 10, 1982, by either subject matter or date.  The same can be done in Historical Newspapers - New York Times & Wall Street Journal, with full-=text articles from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal from 1889-1994.

Newspaper Source is another full-text source of articles from more than 40 leading national and international newspapers, including The Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, from 1995 to the present.

Current News and Issues has thousands of U.S. and international news articles dating back to 1940, thus "current" may be a misnomer.  Search options include by keyword, within a date range or by country.  It contains in depth coverage of many current issues, such as the 2012 presidential election.  It is a good source for "controversial issues," as is its sister database, Issues and Controversies, which focuses on the pros and cons of just such topics.  

The World History Collection has articles from some 150 journals on anthropology, art, culture, economics, government, heritage, military, politics, regional issues, and more from Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Business Source Complete has full text and abstracted articles on any business topic imaginable from more than 1,300 business journals dating back to 1886, found by keyword or subject.  Company and industry profiles and market research reports provide valuable information for businesses or those wishing to establish a business.  Another great feature is a collection of instructional videos by Harvard Business School faculty on a variety of business topics.

The Vocational and Career Collection database draws from such diverse trade and industry-related publications as Modern Machine Shop, Pediatric Journal, Restaurant Business, and Drug Store News - more than 330 altogether.

Also under the category "Find a Job" is Glassdoor, which has commentary about companies from current and former employees as well as salary information.  Discover the pros and cons of a multitude of companies.  With registration, this website allows unlimited searching.

For assistance with any of our databases or for any information request, contact an information services librarian at 325-676-6025 between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday, or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book-to-Film Adaptations: October 2012

Books inspire great films and there are quite a few hitting the theaters in October.  Check out this blog entry to see what they are, and be on the lookout for seeing them in the theaters and checking them out from the Abilene Public Library if we house them.  There's something for everyone this month from thrillers to crime to sci-fi to drama to a musical comedy and more so be sure to get your look at what they are.

Pitch Perfect (Oct. 5)
Starring: Anne Kendrick & Brittany Snow
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Certain to be a crowd pleaser for fans of shows like Glee, this story follows an all-girls a cappella group who rebuild so they can make their way to the championship and take on the boys.  This ultimately leads to a competition, and new girl Becca is determined to revamp the set-list so it includes more up-to-date music.  This film is based on the non-fiction novel by Rapkin after covering a season of competitive collegiate a cappella as a senior editor of GQ magazine. 

The Paperboy (Oct. 5)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey & Zac Efron
Rated: R
Based On: The Paperboy by Pete Dexter
Summary: With a great cast, this thriller follows a reporter and his younger brother as they investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row.  Adapted from the 1995 novel of the same name, it was described as being an "eerie and beautiful novel" by the New York Times.  With big names attached to the film, it should garner a respectable turnout in the box office. 

Alex Cross (Oct. 19)
Starring: Tyler Perry & Matthew Fox
Rated: PG-13
Based On: Cross by James Patterson
Summary: Alex Cross is back for a third feature film in which he's told that a member of his family has been murdered, and now, he has no other choice but to track down the killer and bring him to justice.  Adapted from the twelfth Alex Cross novel by James Patterson, this is the first role actor Tyler Perry will be starring in that he hasn't directed, written, or produced, having taken over the role played twice by actor Morgan Freeman.  If you've been reading this popular series, you certainly won't want to miss this next film that looks amazing from the trailers. 

Starring: Brad Pitt & Ray Liotta
Rated: R
Based On: Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins
Summary: In this American crime thriller, Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.  Based on a novel published in 1974, the film adaptation has already received positive reviews from the critics, having competed for the Palme d'Or award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, which is the highest prize at the festival presented to the director of the best feature film of the competition. 

Cloud Atlas (Oct. 26)
Starring: Tom Hanks & Halle Berry
Rated: R
Based On: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Summary: Running in at a staggering 2 hours and 44 minutes, this film is an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.  Based on the 2004 novel of the same name, and a budget of over $100 million, the film premiered at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.  Read the book, watch the movie, and see if it holds up to all the hype...just be prepared to be awake enough to make it through the entire film.

And there you have it, your look at Octobers book-to-film adaptations to be on the lookout for.  Don't miss them, if they sound of interest to you, and look for some of the books to checkout from your Abilene Public Library. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Internet Sites of Interest: Occupational Outlook Handbook Online

Your Abilene Public Library uses a number of online sites to assist patrons with a number of reference questions.  Each week, we'll introduce you to a different website we use on a regular basis, to show you a number of credible sites to use whenever you need them.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a valuable resource, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, to provide jobseekers with the information they need on virtually any type of career in the nation.  What's so valuable about this site is not only will it provide you with job descriptions, but also the nature of the job, the work environment, education you'll need, average pay, the outlook for that career in the future, and more.

Although we do own copies of this at the Abilene Public Library for checkout, this is the online version of that same resource you can use any time, day or night.

To get started, access the Occupational Outlook Handbook and you'll be taken to the main site.  It may appear to be confusing, but navigating your way through the cite can be done with relative ease.  Here's what you will find in the first screen...
  • Occupation Groups: located in a vertical menu bar to the left hand side of the screen, you'll find group listings of occupations you may search across.  Upon choosing a heading provided, you'll be given a listing of occupations that fall under that category.  Each will come with a brief job summary, education needed, and a median salary pay.  For more information about a specific occupation, click on the title in Blue.
  • Select Occupations By: towards the center of the screen you will see an area to use as another search option.  Using a series of drop down menus, select a salary you're interested in, education level, expected job growth, and more.  Click the Go button once you're done to see a listing of job results  based on your selection limiters.
  • Browsing Features w/A-Z Index: this is another feature allowing you to browse through interested careers if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, or want to make sure you don't miss an entry.  By selecting a letter, you'll be taken to the listing of all careers indexed into the site, along with a listing of the categories those careers are found under.  Simply make a selection to view the entire entry.
  • General Search Features: the general search tool is found at the top of the screen, which allows you to enter the profession you want using the search box and then click the Go button to get your listing of results to choose from.
These tools should be all you need to help you get started with your search.  So let's go through a general search to see the information you'll find.

But let's perform a search, and I'll be a little biased and choose to look up Librarian in the database.  Once I do, either by using the search areas for Occupation Groups, A-Z Index, or the General Search Feature, I'll be able to get to the main entry for librarians.  Here, I'll be provided with a summary of the position, and using the tabs of the top of each entry, I will be able to find out even more information (i.e. What They Do, Work Environment, How to Become One, Pay, Job Outlook, Similar Occupations, etc.).  By viewing each, you'll be provided with the latest information compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get the credible and reliable information you need.

Use the online version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook to learn all you need about the job or career of interest to you.  Whether you're looking for a career change, a profession to enter after college, a new job, etc., you're sure to find all you'll need to get started and make informed decisions.  This site is always recommended to patrons on a regular basis based on immediacy and accuracy of acquiring credible information.

Don't take our word for it, try it out for yourself and see why it's such a great database to keep in your arsenal of online places to visit.  Plus, be sure to look out for more Internet Sites of Interest blog entries, where each time, we'll introduce you to another great site staff at the library use often to assist patrons with.

Remember, these aren't databases subscribed to by the Abilene Public Library, so anyone with access to the Internet is more than welcome to use them at any time.  Plus, if you need any assistance, feel free to Contact Us and staff will be more than happy to help you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

October's Cover-to-Cover Book Club Selection

If you're looking for a great book club discussion group, try our Cover-to-Cover Book Club at your Abilene Public Library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, non-fiction, classics, etc.

For October, the featured selection for the month will be The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and we invite you to look out for a copy at your Abilene Public Library and look at attending this book club discussion group meeting on Thursday, October 18 @ 7:00 p.m.  For more information about this book club, be sure to contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025.

Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing
Pages: 240 
Copies Owned: 2 copies regular print; 1 copy large-type; digital e-Books
Call Number: 92 DIDION

Book Summary: Didion's husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, died of a heart attack, just after they had returned from the hospital where their only child, Quintana, was lying in a coma.  This book is a memoir of Dunne's death, Quintana's illness, and Didion's efforts to make sense of a time when nothing made sense.  "She's a pretty cool customer," one hospital worker says of her, and, certainly, coolness was part of the addictive appeal of Didion's writing.  The other part was the dark side of cool, the hyper-nervous awareness of the tendency of things to go bad.  In 2004, Didion had her own disasters to deal with, and she did not, she feels, deal with them coolly, or even sanely.  This book is about getting a grip and getting on; it's also a tribute to an extraordinary marriage.  

Be sure to check out this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend if you'd like, and then come ready to discuss this title with other avid readers in the community.  Again, the Cover-to-Cover Book Club will meet on Thursday, October 18 @ 7:00 p.m. to discuss this title, so be sure to get in on the reading fun.

Author Read-Alikes with Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton was one of the first females to break through the male dominated world of penning private eye mysteries, and created the character of Kinsey Millhone, a P.I. who made her debut in 1982 in the novel A is for Alibi.  Starting off with the title of that sole book, you might recognize the remainder of the series as each sequel starts with the next letter of the alphabet, and Grafton is currently up to letter "V."

Allow your Abilene Public Library to introduce you a little more to this author, and the series she's known for, so we may highlight additional authors who write in similar styles.  We do this in hope to show you even more great reads to look out for at your library.

Narrated in the first person, the character of Millhone is known for being tough, stubborn, and self-assured.  Never one to be pushed around, or told what to do, her witty and smart-mouth dialogue help to drive the series, while still retaining a dark tone to her novels to steer them away from being cozy or comical ones.

That being said, although her novels do contain some physical violence, what stands out in this series is that based on the time Millhone first arrived in the series, it was the 1980s, which meant that instead of using modern science to help her solve her cases, she was left with her skills of being a gumshoe.  That meant using down and dirty investigative techniques, which truly served the character well throughout the series.

If you happen to be a fan of Grafton's series, which may be coming to a close depending on what course of action the author will take once she makes it to the letter "Z," there certainly are some additional authors to suggest who may be able to please you with new lady P.I.'s to enjoy.

Read-Alike Author: Nevada Barr
Barr also is known for authoring a bestselling series featuring a female private investigator with the Anna Pigeon Series beginning with 1993s release of Track the Cat.  Being primarily set in national parks, Pigeon works as a ranger, who not only has to brave the dangers that come with her job, but she must also battle her own personal demons, which make her a relatable character much like Kinsey Millhone.  With 17 novels in the series thus far, each takes place in a different national park, to offer you a nice transition from Grafton's series. 

Read-Alike Author: Laura Lippman
Tess Monaghan is the name of Lippman's lady P.I. in a series that began with the release of Baltimore Blues in 1997.  With ten (10) additional sequels having been written, Monaghan may share some of the qualities of Millhone, such as being a tough and smart woman in a male dominated field, but the main difference is that Monaghan doesn't always like to work alone to solve the case.  Offering strong dialogue, interesting plots and a sense of humor throughout, this certainly would be an interesting series to try out for yourselves once you've got caught up on Grafton's series. 

Read-Alike Author: Marcia Muller
Muller may just be the closest author to suggest if wanting the same feel of a novel that Grafton produces.  The star of her series is another private investigator, Sharon McCone, who was also one of the first female P.I.'s to hit the literary world.  First appearing in the 1977 novel Edwin of the Iron Shoes, this is her most established series to date containing a total of 29 novels since 1977, with the most recent entry being City of Whispers.  Fans of the Kinsey Millhone character will also be able to easily relate to McCone, which should provide you with a slew of additional novels to start diving into.

So if you're a fan of strong female P.I.'s, written by female authors, each of who have fashioned bestselling series much like the featured author Sue Grafton.  Don't miss your chance to look out for these authors at your Abilene Public Library to try them out for yourself.  Plus, be sure to Contact Us if you need any additional help.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dive In...Ins & Outs of Your Abilene Public Library: BookMyne App

Looking for books while you're on-the-go?  BookMyne is Abilene Public Library's great app for quick and easy access.  Users can search the catalog, download items, manage their account, and find suggested reading instantly with an iOS device (i.e. compatible smartphone or tablet device).

Here's a list of what the app can do:
  • Keep track of your library account with notifications and view your checked out items, holds, fines, and account information.
  • Add books, CDs, DVDs, and other media to your bookshelves for later reading or recommending to friends.
  • Use your device's camera to scan the barcode on a book, CD, DVD, or other item at a friend's house or bookstore and search for available copies at your library.
  • Search for libraries by name & address or find your local library on a GPS-enabled interactive map.
  • And much more...
To get this free app, go to the library's home page,, and click on the app icon, or you can also find BookMyne in your app store on your compatible device.  Follow the directions provided to download and you'll be searching the library's catalog via your smartphone in no time.

Post Contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Events @ Your Liblrary (Sept. 24-29)

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check our blog for a look at what they are, or visit us online for a complete listing.  Remember, all events are FREE and if you need any additional information, click on the title of the program to be redirected to the event post on our calendar. 

All Library Locations
Sept. 1-30
325-677-2474 for Info
Celebrate this national event by getting yourself one of the Smartest Cards you'll ever own...a Library Card.  With access to a number of great services at your fingertips, stop by your library and get yourself a card today...if you don't already have one. 

"Six Hogs on a Scooter"
Kids of All Ages
Sept. 24 @ 6:30 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info
Join us for an evening of stories, songs, games and crafts that relate to a fun story of three generations of hogs who find unique forms of transportation on their quest to make it out to the opera.  Designed for the entire family, don't miss out on this enhanced evening storytime event at your library. 

All Ages
Sept. 25 @ 4:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info
Youth are invited out to this after school gaming session at the library where we'll having several gaming stations featuring the Nintendo Wii, some traditional board games, light refreshments and more.  Don't miss out on this fun program. 

"Altered Book"
Ages 8-15
Sept. 27 @ 4:00 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info
Youth are invited to come out for an afternoon of crafting fun where we'll show you how to transform old and unused books into works of art.  We'll supply the materials and some basic instruction, and you bring your creativity to make something that will be truly unique. 

"100% Gross"
Ages 12-19
Sept. 27 @ 6:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info
Halloween's approaching and we're ready to show you how to make some gross-looking, yet tasty treats that are sure to be something you'll be making for family and friends time and time again.  From moldy sandwiches to edible moles, you won't want to miss out on this creative workshop.

Your Abilene Public Library has much to offer you so don't hesitate to join in on the fun to be had.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Staff Book Review: "Child 44" by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: Stalin's Soviet Union strives to be a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs.  One of its fundamental pillars is that its citizens live free from the fear of crime and criminals.

But in this society, millions do live in fear...of the State.  Death is a whisper away.  The mere suspicion of ideological disloyalty, owning a book from the decadent West, the wrong word at the wrong time, sends millions of innocents into the Gulags or to their executions.  Defending the system from its citizens is the MGB, the State Security Force.  And no MGB officer is more courageous, conscientious, or idealistic than Leo Demidov.  

A war hero with a beautiful wife, Leo lives in relative luxury in Moscow, even providing a decent apartment for his parents.  His only ambition has been to serve his country.  For this greater good, he was arrested and interrogated.

Then the impossible happens.  A different kind of criminal, a murderer, is on the loose, killing at will.  At the same time, Leo finds himself demoted and denounced by his enemies, his world turned upside down, and every belief he's ever held shattered.  The only way to save his life and the lives of his family is to uncover this criminal.  But in a society that is officially paradise, it's a crime against the State to suggest that a murderer, much less a serial killer, is in their midst.  Exiled from his home, with only his wife, Raisa, remaining at his side, Leo must confront the vast resources and reach of the MGB to find and stop a criminal that the State won't admit even exists.

Personal Review:  All I can say is what a taut and thrilling debut novel this was from an author I had never even heard of before until stumbling across this book on the library's shelves.  Inventive, edgy, gripping, etc., are definitely terms I'd use to describe this novel by a relatively new author with only three (3) books under his belt.

Having been inspired by the true-life case of Andrei Chikatilo, who committed a series of child murders in Soviet Russia, this novel will draw you in from the start and keeping you turning the pages chapter after chapter, until you've made it to the end.  Having been awarded the 2008 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, as well as being named on the long list for the Man Booker Prize the same year, this is a book I'd highly recommend to fans of crime fiction and authors such as Stieg Larsson.

Although he does have the tendency of getting a little too caught up in the prose at times, it's used as a means of fleshing out the lead protagonist.  Although I found it hard to relate to the main characters in the story, especially Leo Demidov, what I did enjoy about the author's writing of these characters was the fact that they're not "good" by nature, but flawed  individuals trying to make the best out of the situations they've found themselves in.  This, in my opinion, made the character more human, but not stereotypical of most stories which seek to define an archetypal hero from the start.

Without being too much of a history buff, I did find myself intrigued with learning more about the Stalin era, other than the basic knowledge I already possessed.  Without becoming preachy in his prose, I do feel the author was able to capture the state of the Soviet Union well enough to not lose readers with no background of this time in history.

I was also excited to learn that not only have the movie rights been bought for the novel, director Ridley Scott has been attached for directing the film, and it's also a complete trilogy with the remaining two books being The Secret Speech and Agent 6.  This gives me something to dive right into, while also seeing how Smith's writing improves.  For me, especially in crime fiction and police procedurals, I count on the dialogue amongst the characters to drive me along in the story, and although the dialogue was adequate, it could have been much stronger.

All around, I thought the novel was well done and I would highly recommend it to any fan of crime fiction.  I just hope there will be more to come from this author in the future because I am a big-time fan.

Look out for this title at your Abilene Public Library as we own three (3) copies in regular print, two (2) in large-type, and a digital audiobook copy.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed...and if you are...well, I don't know what to say.

@ the Library Article:: "West Texas Book Festival Gets Back to Its Roots, Brings in Texas Authors"

As printed in the Abilenian, as part of the Abilene Reporter News, by Janis C. Test, your Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.

The 12th annual West Texas Book Festival is under way at your Abilene Public Library, and if you haven't put any of the programs on your calendar, now's the time to do so.

The festival, which had been the West Texas Book & Music Festival for several years, is returning to its original literary roots this year, focusing on books by Texas authors, who will speak and sign books throughout the week.

Today, short stories will be the subject during the free brown bag program at noon at the downtown library at 202 Cedar St.  Local authors Murray Edwards of Clyde and Glenn Dromgoole of Abilene will be featured.  Edwards will read stories from his new collection, Chicken Ranch Charm School, and Dromgoole will present his latest book, Coleman Springs, USA: Stories from a Small Town with a Generous Scoop of Good Will.  Bring your lunch and we'll supply the drinks, or lunch is available for $5.

On Thursday, the inaugural Culinary Cuisine Luncheon will feature cookbook authors/chefs Lisa Fain, Lou Lambert and John DeMersFain, a former Texan now in New York, wrote The Homesick Texan Cookbook.  Austin/Fort Worth restaurateur Lambert's cookbook is Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook: Recipes from Lambert's Texas Kitchens.  DeMers is the author of Lone Star Chefs: 13 Masters Share Their Culinary Creations.

The luncheon will feature dishes from each chef's cookbook married into a harmonious, gourmet meal cooked by students from the Texas State Technical College Culinary Institute.  The event will be at the institute, 901 N. First St., in the T&P Events CenterReservations are required.  For information on availability, call 325-691-1868.

Texas storyteller extraordinaire Donna Ingham, who has written several books on Texas lore, including Jerks of Texas History and Mysteries and Legends of Texas, will speak at noon Friday.  Ingham, of Spicewood, also will visit Abilene and Wylie fourth-graders through the festival's Author in Schools program.

Authors featured during Saturday's festival at the Abilene Civic Center include Clyde editor and author Robyn Conley, known as the "Book Doctor," who will conduct a Saturday workshop for writers on getting published beginning at 9 a.m.  She will be available for one-on-one critiques by appointment.

Steven L. Berk, author of Anatomy of a Kidnapping: A Doctor's Story, about his abduction from his home in 2005, is dean of the Texas Tech University School of Medicine and provost of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, which includes pharmacy and nursing branches in Abilene.

Mansfield resident Diane Kelly, author of a popular new series of sassy romantic mysteries featuring IRS special agent Tara Holloway, has been compared favorably to best-selling writer Janet Evanovich.

Berk, Kelly, and John Erickson will participate in a Saturday morning session, Conversations with Texas Authors, beginning at 10 a.m.  Kelly will be interviewed by Alice Specht, Berk will be interviewed by Dr. Steve Faehnle and Erickson will be interviewed by Dromgoole.

Later Saturday, the Boots & Books Luncheon will be catered by Sharon's Barbeque.  During the luncheon, the A.C. Greene Award will be presented to Erickson, and the other featured authors will speak.  The world famous Hardin-Simmons University Cowboy Band will provide the entertainment.  Afterward, the authors will sign copies of their books.  Reservations are required.  For more information on availability, call 325-691-1868.

Last but not least, Erickson will head to the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature for Cookies with Hank the Cowdog, where kids can meet the man who created one of the favorite characters of Texas schoolchildren.  Reservations are required: call the NCCIL at 673-4586.  Tickets are $2.50 each.

Information on all things festival is available on our website,, or by calling the library at 325-676-6025.  We hope to see you at one or more festival event this week, if we haven't already.