Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "The New New Rules" By Bill Maher

The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their A**
Click to Place Hold
Author: Bill Maher
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Summary: New Rule: If one of your news organization's headlines is about who got kicked off Dancing with the Stars last night, you're no longer a news organization.  Sort of like, if you were on Dancing with the Stars last night, you're no longer a star.

Media, celebrity, Democrats, Republicans, religion, children - when it comes to lighting up his targets, Bill Maher is an equal-opportunity destroyer.  This book offers his new and best-loved observations about the world around us, along with some modest tips for its improvement.  Because wouldn't life be a little better if the inside of the office microwave didn't look like a Jackson Pollock painting, or if father stopped signing up their 9-year-olds to win free hunting trips?  Scathingly funny and relentlessly unafraid of sensitive topics, Maher's hilarious brand of realism is more welcome and necessary than ever.  So sit back, read on, and enjoy.  You may not agree with all his views, but one thing's for certain: If you're listening, you're laughing.

Personal Review: I'm a big fan of Bill Maher, and that was my main draw for reading this book.  Maher is the host of the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher," and although I don't subscribe to the channel, a podcast of the show is released every Sunday, and I listen to it that way.  Maher is not a Democrat, and he's certainly not a Republican, he's more of an Independent, but doesn't hold back his thoughts when it comes to talking about the Republican Party.

Maher has no filter on his show, and this carries on to his book, as he shares his "new rules" with readers.  Maher doesn't hold back on his thoughts, and if you easily get offended, this is not a book you'll want to read as Maher has never been one to hold back his thoughts...which is what I admire about him.  If he has an opinion, he's going to say it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Visits to Amish Country and a Morgue Inspired Writer" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article by Scott Kirk, Abilene Reporter-News

Linda Castillo at Book Signing
Linda Castillo was forging a pretty solid career as a suspense-romance novel writer, working for two different publishing houses when her editors suggested she quit concentrating so on the suspense aspect of her books and more on developing the characters in her books.

"In other words, I needed to quit killing off my characters," Castillo said to a luncheon at the Abilene Public Library.  Castillo is one of the featured authors at the 15th Annual West Texas Book Festival.

"It occurred to me I was probably writing the wrong genre," she said.

So Castillo took the advice of her editors and began working in the mystery genre, where she has written seven books in which the main character, Kate Burkholder, is the chief of police in the fictitious town of painters Mill, Ohio, located in Amish Country.

Although Castillo is a transplanted Texas (currently living in Bushland, west of Amarillo) from Ithaca, Ohio, she was not familiar with the Amish until a 2005 trip with her sister and brother-in-law to Amish country in Ohio.  The pastoral setting triggered a somewhat perverse thought.

Kate Burkholder Series

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 library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, nonfiction, classics, and more.

For October, the featured selection is In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and then attend the book club on Thursday, October 15 @ 7:00PM.  For more information, be sure to contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025. 

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Call Number: 910.916 PHI
Summary: The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th-century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th.  In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard.  In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale.  The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

Be sure to check out this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend, and come out ready to discuss this title with other avid readers on Thursday, October 15 @ 7:00PM.

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest releases in books & DVDs, and we receive them on a regular basis at your Abilene Public Library.  Tuesdays are the biggest days of the week in the world of libraries, as these are the days the bulk of all new materials are released for the week.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles coming to your library.

Marvel's The Avengers - The Age of Ultron
Starring: Chris Evans
Summary: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.  As t4he villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure. 

Poltergeist
Starring: Sam Rockwell
Summary: The classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces.  When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever. 

Spy
Place Hold
Starring: Melissa McCarthy
Summary: Susan Cooper is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency's most dangerous missions.  But when her partner falls off the grid, and another  top agent is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global crisis.

Entourage
Starring: Adrian Grenier
Summary: Movie star Vincent Chase, together with his boys, Eric, Turtle, and Johnny, are back; and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold.  Some of their ambitions have changed, but the bond between them remains strong as they navigate the capricious and often cutthroat world of Hollywood. 

The Murder House
Author: James Patterson
Summary: It has an ocean front view, a private beach, and a deadly secret that won't stay buried.  Noah isn't superstitious, but there's one beach house that has a troubling history of violence and mystery: when Noah was a kid, No. 7 South Ocean burned down in a devastating fire, killing the couple trapped inside.  Investigators has no explanation for what happened, and many believe it was no accident.  Rebuilt after the fire, the gorgeous, ocean front property is still known by locals as The Murder House.  Now, 16 years later, a powerful Hollywood player and his mistress are found dead in the Murder House - and the police unearth proof that the couple is undeniably linked to Noah's past.  To prove his innocence, Noah must uncover the house's dark secrets - and reveal his own. 

The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut's Windlass (Cinder Spires Series #1)
Author: Jim Butcher
Summary: Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.  Captain Grimm commands the ship Predator.  Loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy's shipping lines by attaching their cargo vessels.  But when his ship is damaged in combat, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion - to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring his ship to its fighting glory.  Undertaking this dangerous task, Grimm learns the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come...and death will follow.

Look out for these great titles at your Abilene Public Library, and get yourselves on the reserve lists so you're certain to keep up with some of the popular releases of the week.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Celebrate Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 - Oct. 3

It's Banned Books Week, hosted every September and celebrating your freedom to read the materials you choose.  Libraries and bookstores across the nation support the mission of offering access to the books you want, and this initiative brings together the entire book community to support the freedom to seek out the materials you want.


Having begun in 1982, Banned Books Week began after a surge in the number of books begin challenged across the nation.  More than 11,000 books have been challenged since that time, and this designated week is set aside to draw attention to the dangers of censorship by allowing readers the opportunity to seek out books they want, be they banned or not.

For 2015, books for young adults and teens will be the focus of this program, as these materials are challenged more frequently than any type of book according to Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.  Platt states, "These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends.  These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world.  This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices."

Books are usually challenged for three reasons, according to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom including...

  1. The material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
  2. The material contained "offensive language"
  3. The material was "unsuited to any age group"
While the majority of challenges reported come from parents, and are aimed at school libraries, many still come from the public library sector too.  Despite the challenges made, public libraries affirm people have the right, privilege, and freedom to read the materials they choose, and many work diligently to support access to literature for everyone.

Each year the Office for Intellectual Freedom puts out a list of the 10 most challenged books, and for 2014, those titles were...
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie | Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence, depictions of bullying.
  2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi | Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint, politically, racially, and socially offensive, graphic depictions.
  3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell | Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, promotes the homosexual agenda.
  4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison | Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, contains controversial issues.
  5. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris | Reasons: nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, alleges its child pornography.
  6. Saga by Brian Vaughan & Fiona Staples | Reasons: anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini | Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.
  8. The Perks of Being Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, date rape, and masturbation.
  9. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard | Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  10. Drama by Raina Telgemeier | Reasons: sexually explicit.
Celebrate this week however you'd like, but a good way would be simply to visit your local public library and celebrate your freedom to read by checking out anything you desire.  After all, it's your right.

"Plenty of Zany Zombie Action @ Your Local Library" | @ the Library Article

"They're coming to get you, Barbara."  A line from the first zombie movie in 1968 by George A. Romero - it's certainly one that most have heard.  Shocking the system with a culturally significant piece, Romero's work went on to include additional sequels and spawned a surge in the popularity of zombies.  Because it had such a strong impact on society, regardless of whether you're a fan or not, Night of the Living Dead was not just a horror movie.  It spoke on the current social and political climates and issues facing the United States at the time.  I'm not saying all related works after Romero's have been as profound, but zombie literature continues to be on the rise with more published works in print than ever before.

If you don't mind a little gore, and don't scare easily, you might want to look out for some of the zombie fiction housed at your Abilene Public Library.  Aimed at adult readers there's something for everyone, whether you're looking for traditional horror or action.  The overall themes of zombie hysteria doesn't have to just be about the undead feeding on the living, so allow me to introduce you to a few titles I've read, which are available for checkout.

I couldn't begin my coverage without mentioning The Walking Dead series.  Although first released as graphic novels, there have been traditional novels added to the entries including 2013's The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor Part One and Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Descent.  This series follows the aftermath of the zombie epidemic and a small band of travelers trying to survive.  With the graphic novel series having been adapted to AMC in the hit TV series of the same name (which happens to be the best show ever, in my opinion), it's more than just a series about zombies.  Of course they're there or you couldn't call it The Walking Dead, but the storylines delve more into the struggles of the living to come to terms with their new world, while trying not to self-destruct in the process.  "Zombie" is a term that's never even used in the series; they're referred to as "walkers" instead.  Filled with as much drama and moderate horror, it's an engaging series with an incredible fan following.

Another popular title is Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War published in 2006.  Instead of focusing on the actual carnage of the zombies, this novel takes place a decade after the zombie war has ended.  Readers are taken through the accounts of what happened during the war as collected through the stories of those who survived the outbreak.  Filled with social, political, religious, and environmental themes, this proved to be a strong and different entry in zombie novels.  Plus, it was adapted to film in the summer of 2013 starring Brad Pitt.  It was a major blockbuster hit and attracted new readers to the book.  I must warn you, bot the book and the film are two entirely different stories with the film taking place during the start of the outbreak, and in the book, the outbreak is long past.

A third title worth mentioning is Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! by Otto Penzler.  Published in 2011, this title provides a large anthology of monster stories, 57 to be exact, to offer you a wide selection of assembled zombie stories in one place.  The superstars of horror have come together in this book, including Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Joe R. Lansdale.  Each provide entries in this compilation of stories that will delight horror fans everywhere.  Making up a definitive collection of zombie short fiction, it's a great title to check out if you want a little bit of everything.

And that's only three of the title available through your Abilene Public Library in the category of zombie literature, but know that there are many others.  From John Joseph Adams' The Living Dead to David Wellington's Monster Island to Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there are a ton of great zombie reads for you to acquire at your library.  It may not be a genre for everyone, but it certainly is for a vast legion of followers who have kept this genre alive in book, film, and TV.  Try it out for yourself...you might just like it.

Article Contributed by Tremain Jackson, Branch Manager of the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Abilene ISD Librarian Honored for Her Inventive Work" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article by Scott Kirk, Abilene Reporter-News

Kristy Compton, like other people in the audience at the Boots & Books Luncheon at the Abilene Civic Center, was trying to figure out who the winner of the Ricki Brown Librarian of the Year Award was as she listened to the introduction.

Then she heard something that sounded familiar.

"When they talked about high school genrification, I thought, 'Hey, we did that,'" said Compton, the librarian at Cooper High School and the second winner of the award named after the late Abilene City Librarian, who died in December 2013.

The award to Compton was part of the luncheon which culminated the 15th Annual West Texas Book Festival.  Bill O'Neal of Carthage, the author of more than 40 books primarily on Texas history, received the A.C. Greene Award.

The criteria for the Ricki Brown Award includes being a librarian in Abilene, possessing a master's degree in library science and having membership in a professional organization as well as contributing to literacy in Abilene.  Compton was praised for her organization of the library by genre as well as developing a program to check out old, out-of-circulation books to students who were unable to pay library fines.

"I have students who are unable to check out books because they can't pay their library fines," said Olga Cisneros, who helps run the library at Woodson Center for Excellence, where Compton also serves as the librarian.  "She's awesome."

Cisneros and Theresa Morales, who works in the Cooper library with Compton, had nominated Compton for the award and knew that Compton would be the recipient.  They managed to keep her from learning about it.

"This is the only award I've ever wanted to win," said Compton.  "This is better than the lottery.  This means more to me than money."

O'Neal, likewise, was as humbled by his award.  He said when he read the list of past recipients, he was struck by the fact that he didn't deserve to be in the same group.  However, he quoted cowboy actor Gene Autry when Autry received an award he felt he didn't deserve.

"I also have rheumatism, and I don't deserve that, either," he joked.

O'Neal said that he knew early on that he would never be a great writer, but he felt he could become a competent writer who knew how to tell a story.

"I worked very hard on becoming a craftsman," he said.

O'Neal's ability to tell a story in the vernacular of Texas was evident in his acceptance speech.  At one point, he told how he would sometimes grab a prairie dog by the nape of the neck while he was talking about the pestilence the rodent had caused the cattle industry at the turn of the last century.  O'Neal quit the practice after an occasion when he failed to secure a firm enough grasp on one critter's neck.

"He fanged me," recalled O'Neal.

In addition to O'Neal and Compton, the audience heard form Abilene authors Penny Klostermann and Jay Moore, both of whom have written books for young readers: "There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight" by Klostermann and "Abilene A to Z," which Moore co-wrote with Glenn Dromgoole, the founder and chairman of the festival.  Moore told the audience that every author who writes an A to Z book faces the same challenge.

"What do you do for Q  and Y?" he asked.  "All I could think of for Q was quaaludes, that didn't seem to fit this audience."

He later told the audience that if they wanted to know what he and Dromgoole chose for Q and Y, "Buy a book."

"One of the pleasures of working with Jay is getting to have a lot of coffee with him," said Dromgoole.  "We would talk a lot and every so often write something.  But mostly, we talked."

Another native Abilenian, Mary Helen Specht of Austin, the author of the novel, "Migratory Animals," also spoke and said that her novel contained characters who had been raised in Abilene in a house near Rose Park.

"You may recognize landmarks in the book," she said.  "If you think you recognize yourself, address all questions and concerns to my attorney."

Lubbock authors Barbara Brannon and Kay Ellington, the authors of the Lone Star Literary Life Blog, explained how Abilene earned the ranking of fifth on the Top Bookish Destinations in Texas.

Among the factors was, "I don't know of another town that has a parade for books," said Ellington.

O'Neal also praised the city for its support of authors and readers.

"I'm knocked out by the support of the community," he said.

Friday, September 25, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Sept. 27)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available to locate that popular title.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Make Me
Author: Lee Child
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: M CHILD
Summary: In his 20th appearance, Jack Reacher pries open a missing-persons case that takes him across the country and into the shadowy reaches of the Internet.

#2: The Girl in the Spider's Web
Author: David Lagercrantz
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: F LAGERCRANTZ
Summary: Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are back in this continuation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series.

#3: Devoted in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M ROBB
Summary: Lt. Eve Dallas races the clock to save a woman kidnapped by a couple on a murder spree.

#4: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 10
Call Number: F LEE
Summary: In the mid-1950s, a grown-up Jean Louise Finch returns home to Macomb to find that her adored father is not as perfect as she believed.

#5: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 6
Weeks On List: 72
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy when their paths cross in WWII.



Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: Why Not Me?
Author: Mindy Kaling
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: NOT HOUSED
Summary: More personal essays from the comedian and actress.

#2: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 10
Call Number: 92 COATES
Summary: A meditation on race in America as well as a personal story by the national correspondent of The Atlantic, framed as a letter to his teenage son.

#3: The Art of Memoir
Author: Mary Karr
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: 809.93 KAR
Summary: The author of "The Liars' Club," "Cherry" and "Lit" offers instruction in memoir-writing and discusses her favorite writers' work.

#4: Fast Girl
Author: Suzy Favor Hamilton
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: NOT HOUSED
Summary: Bipolar disorder drove a former Olympic runner to become a high-priced Las Vegas escort until she received treatment.

#5: Killing the Messenger
Author: David Brock
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: NOT HOUSED
Summary: A former right-wing operative describes his transformation and passionately defends Hillary Clinton.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, get yourselves on the reserve lists.

"Van Vleet: Forget Calgon - Books, Take Me Away" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article Taken from the Abilene Reporter-News by Janet Van Vleet

As the 15th Annual West Texas Book Festival wraps up its six-day run on Saturday, it seems like an appropriate time to talk about books, reading, and literacy.

Saturday offers conversations with seven different authors, both local and from across Texas, at the Abilene Civic Center, with five sessions beginning at 9AM.  The subjects range from children's books and mysteries to history and fiction.

All the morning sessions are free and last 20 to 30 minutes.

At 1:30 p.m., seven authors - Bill O'Neal, Penny Klostermann, Mary Helen Specht, Kay Ellington, Barbara Brannon, Jay Moore, Glenn Dromgoole and Roger Moore - will be signing copies of their books at the Civic Center.  For more information and the full schedule, visit www.abilenetx.com/apl.

Earlier this week on Facebook, I saw a graphic about who reads books in America.

As a lifelong reader (well, nearly lifelong - since I was five), the numbers saddened me.

It stated that one-third of high school grads never read another book; that 42 percent of college graduates don't read a book after graduation; that 80 percent of American families did not buy or read a book last year; that 70 percent of adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years; and that 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

I can't imagine.  At my house, I always have at least one book with my place saved with a bookmark or sitting open on a table in my house.  Sometimes three or four.  Bookstores are one of my favorite places to shop.  I can't imagine not wanting to read.

But what about those stats?  Knowing that you can't believe everything (anything?) you see on Facebook, I knew I had to see if I could verify any of it.

The search found something attributing it to a study by the Jenkins group, a publishing services firm, in 2003.  I continued researching and found a 2012 blog written by Robert Brewer; he had delved deeper into those stats.  Turns out that company never published that report.

According to a 2011 FB post by the Jenkins Group: "The reading statistics which are circulating on the Internet have been incorrectly attributed to the Jenkins Group research.  The data was presented by Jerrold Jenkins in a presentation to small publishers over 10 years ago.  The data was sourced from a number of organizations including: Book Industry Study Group, American Book Sellers Institute and U.S. News and World Report."

After looking into the original graphic, Brewer created another graphic with numbers attributed to the Pew Research Center, the National Center for Education Statistics and Scholastic, the children's book publisher.

Those stats seem equally sad: 25 percent of people over age 16 have not read a book in the last year; 34 percent of eighth-grade students read at a proficient level; 46 percent of adults score in the two lowest levels of literacy, 61 percent of adults in the two lowest literacy levels live in poverty; 71 percent of prison inmates score in the two lowest literacy levels; and reading frequency declines after age eight.

But turning that first statistic around makes it look more hopeful - it means that 75 percent of American adults read at least one book.

Plus, a National Endowment for the Arts study showed that the number of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who read for pleasure has stopped declining from 2002 to 2012, sitting right around 52 percent of those surveyed.  In 1992, nearly 60 percent of that demographic read for pleasure.

So the state of readers in America isn't as hopeless as it might seem at first glance, but we can do better.

Read to your children, encourage them to find books they love.  Take them to the library.  Teach them that a book can transport the reader to another time or place.  And don't forget about the West Texas Book Festival this weekend.

Another FB post captured my feelings about books perfectly.  It was an image of an open book, with the words, "Books fall open: you Fall in."  That's what I'm talking about - new characters, new places, new stories.  Reading is magical.

Abilene Public Library Introduces Flipster: A New Way to Access Digital Magazines

Abilene Public Library cardholders may now access popular digital magazines using a new service called Flipster, a next-generation digital service allowing people to browse the latest digital versions of popular magazines, courtesy of the library.  Such titles in the collection's lineup includes People, US Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Car & Driver, Food Network Magazine, Men's Health, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Time, Southern Living, and more.

Your library has been providing access to physical magazines at all three library locations, but Flipster will allow you to access a great selection of titles wherever you are.  This service will allow even more patrons with the option of accessing digital magazines, which are even available for downloading to compatible mobile devices and for offline reading anytime, anywhere.

Flipster offers an easy, browseable reading experience.  Users can browse magazines by category as well as perform searches for specific periodicals.  An online newsstand provides a carousel of the most recent issues, as well as a carousel of all issues allowing for quick access to magazines.  The table of contents contains links to quickly go to articles of interest and hotlinks within magazines are hyperlinked, opening in separate tabs when clicked.  In addition, there is an option to zoom in and out for better readability.

The library is excited to offer this new digital service to our lineup of additional content including OverDrive and Hoopla, and we invite everyone to take this new digital magazine service out for a spin.  It's the easiest way to access a wide lineup of magazine titles at no charge, as long as you have a valid library card and a compatible device.

If you have questions, contact us or learn more about the Flipster service online.

"Abilene Native, Author Amuses Dyess Students: Klostermann Tells Story of Hungry Dragon" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article Contributed by Timothy Chipp, Abilene Reporter-News

Penny Klostermann
Standing in the library of Dyess Elementary on Tuesday, local author Penny Klostermann figured something out.

Though her first children's book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, has been on bookshelves since it was released on Aug. 4, she really had no idea how children felt reading it.

As one of the featured authors for the West Texas Book and Author Festival's Authors in Schools programs, she's been able to figure out her tale is a hit.

"My book's a hit," she said.  "The kids are reading it, which is why I wrote it.  I like silliness, so I'm happy they're getting that from what I wrote."

All of the Abilene ISD elementary schools, as well as Wylie Elementary, will be visited by Klostermann and her fellow Authors in Schools guests speakers Glenn Dromgoole and Jay Moore, who are talking about their book, Abilene A to Z.

Written to the same rhyming pattern as the nursery rhyme, "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," Klostermann's Dragon flies around swallowing things, beginning with a knight.  It swallows a horse, a moat and other items, each working to either aide or counteract the previous thing ingested.

Her love of silliness brought about the idea, which began years ago when she was teaching in the Jim Ned Consolidated Independent School District.  She put together a first draft, revised it multiple times, sent it out to publishers and was eventually accepted for publication.

It's a typical story for authors securing their first book deal.

Dragon's story is a one-off, she said, with no sequel planned for at least the immediate future.  But it didn't stop her from writing a second story specifically for her talks with the children this week.

This time, the dragon has made its way to a school building and looking to swallow stuff stuff that's more readily available to the students hearing her speak.  Things like homework, which brought on a few cheers from the students, teachers, librarians, and the principal.

Eventually, the dragon swallowed the school, which brought on a few laughs.

"I want them to be entertained," Klostermann said.  "I want them to laugh."

Continuing with her approach to writing, she said her second book, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale, will be published in 2017.

"West Texas Childhood Helped Author Develop" | Abilene Reporter-News Article

Article by Titus Falodun of the Abilene Reporter-News

Jodi Thomas (Left)
A New York Times bestselling author detailed how a writer's mind work to a packed room of reading enthusiasts Monday during the West Texas Book Festival at the Abilene Public Library.

Jodi Thomas, an Amarillo-born writer, attributes her success to her childhood environment.

"Writers develop in very rare air," she said.  "I grew up in a neighborhood where I saw all kinds of people.  And I grew up with parents who love to read."\

Thomas, who signed copies of her book Ransom Canyon, recalled how most of her childhood was spent observing the people around her.

"I watched the way people acted, reacted, and tried to figure out why they did," she said.  "And that fascination of people has followed me all my life."

For the acclaimed writer and the 2013 A.C. Greene Award recipient, stories have been playing out of her mind for as long as Thomas can remember.

"Stories have always been dancing in my head," she said.  "People say, 'Where do your stories come from?' I always want to say, 'Where did yours go?'"

Jodi Thomas Book Signing
But the ability to write did not always surface for Thomas, who admitted to not being much of a reader as a child, as well as saying English was her worst subject.

"When I went to the counselor my senior year (of high school), she took one good look at my grades and suggested that I go to beauty school," Thomas said.

"My sisters had just finished beauty school, and I barely had any hair left - I was not going to beauty school," she joked.

It took stints as a grocery store clerk, college student, home economics teacher, and marriage counselor before Thomas became a proofreader and discovered her knack for recognizing believable stories.

In proofreading, Thomas discovered writings that seemed far-fetched and lacked a genuine feel.  For her, stories about opposites attracting and sharing passionate moments in intimate spaces was not authentic enough to the experiences of most people.

Thomas said this was her catalyst to begin writing, because she wanted to read books that detailed the gamut of human experience, emotions and relationships without losing the realism.

And write she did, as she has more than 40 published works to her credit.

"I don't know how 42 books got there with my name on it; I don't remember writing all those," she said.  "I think that's because they were always in my head; they were always there."

Thomas currently serves as Writer-in-Residence at West Texas A&M University.  And she has garnered awards, such as the National Press Women's Novel of the Year, the Romance Writers of America's RITA award, the National Readers' Choice Award and she was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 28 - Oct. 3)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing of events, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Make & Take: Pumpkin Crafts
Oct. 1 @ 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Don't miss the first Make & Take crafting session of the month as we are inviting kids of all ages to come out, after school, and join us for a fun activity.  For October, we'll supply all the materials needed to show you how to make a cute pumpkin for the Fall.

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Oct. 1 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17 and you enjoy writing, come hone your skills at your library with a group of your peers in our weekly writing club.  We'll collaborate on a number of writing prompts and activities to help you build your skills in all forms of writing.  No registration needed.

Family Fun: All About Science
Oct. 1 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Gear up for Family Fun at your library where kids of all ages, and parents too, are invited to an evening enhanced storytime event that's all about science.  Come out and enjoy stories and fun experiments in the library, that will certainly have youth learning while having a little bit of fun.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "Revival" by Stephen King

Revival
Click to Place Hold
Author: Stephen King
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers.  Jamie looks up to see a striking man, the new minister.  Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church.  The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about the reverend...including Jamie's mother and sister.  With Jamie, the reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.  When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own.  Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family's horrific loss.  In his mid-30's - addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate - Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men.  Their bond becomes a pack beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

Personal Review: I went into reading this book for no other reason than it was written by Stephen King.  Admittedly being a fan of his earlier horror novels, I decided to give this one a try.  In a nutshell, I have some mixed feeling about the novel.  I'm not saying King isn't an amazing storyteller with the ability to engage readers in all genres, but for me, this novel was a swing and a miss.  I found it to be a little lacking (especially the ending), which I know, it's bad to say about Stephen King...sue me.

The meat of the story is this "connection" Jamie has with Reverend Jacobs, but the buildup was simply way too long to keep me interested and as invested as I could have been.  As I felt I should have been.  King is always great at supplying enough teasers to keep you reeled in a bit, but with the multiple changes in the directions of the lead characters, leading up to a disappointing ending, I just couldn't get completely on board with this novel, feeling as if I was forcing myself to continue.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest releases in books & DVDs, and we receive them on a regular basis at your Abilene Public Library.  Tuesdays are the biggest days of the week in the world of libraries, as these are the days the bulk of all new materials are released for the week.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles coming to your library, and be sure to get yourselves on the reserve lists!

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Author: Jenny Lawson
Summary: Author of the hilarious bestseller "Let's Pretend this Never Happened" is back with a new book as she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness.  A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety?  That sounds like a terrible idea.  And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.  Although this book is about mental illness, under the surface it's more about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways - and who doesn't need a bit more of that. 

Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault that Changed a Presidency
Author: Bill O'Reilly
Summary: O'Reilly & Dugard return for another entry in their nonfiction works, and this one covers the career of President Ronald Reagan and his rise to power, as well as those who tried to bring him down.  Just two months into his presidency, Reagan lay near death after a gunman's bullet came within inches of his heart.  His recovery was nothing short of remarkable - or so it seemed.  But Reagan was grievously injured, forming him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face.  Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world? 

Come Rain or Come Shine (Mitford Series #13)
Author: Jan Karon
Summary: Father Tim Kavanagh's adopted son has graduated from vet school and opened his own animal clinic.  Since money will be tight for a while, maybe he and Lace Harper, his once and future soul mate, should keep their wedding simple.  So the plan is to eliminate the cost of catering and do potluck.  And once mucked out, the barn works as a perfect venue for seating family and friends.  Piece of cake, right? 

The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Summary: Gaiman provides a re-telling of a classic fairytale with a much-needed twist.  In this captivating and darkly funny tale, he's twisted together the familiar and the new as well as the beautiful and the wicked to tell a brilliant version of Snow White's (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty's (almost) stories. 

Library of Souls: Third Novel of the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Summary: Time is running out for the Peculiar Children.  With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob and Emma are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions.  They'll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever...Will Jacob come into his own as the hero his fellow Peculiars know him to be?

Look out for these great titles at your Abilene Public Library, and get yourselves on the reserve lists so you're certain to keep up with some of the popular releases of the week.

Monday, September 21, 2015

"West Texas Book Festival a Weeklong Page-Turner" | @ the Library Article

Seems like we've been waiting forever, but...the West Texas Book Festival is here, packed to the brim with great authors, books and programs!  Today at noon at the Abilene Public Library downtown, New York Times best-selling author Jodi Thomas, who won the A.C. Greene Award two years ago, will be our lunch program speaker.  She will be talking about her new series "Ransom Canyon."  Thomas' books are full of characters you feel you know, and grow to care for even more as you read about them - and the first book in the series is no exception.  Bring your lunch, or purchase a tasty lunch for $5 and enjoy meeting this outstanding author.

Tuesday's lunch program features western writers Patrick Dearen and Kathleen Kent, who will talk about their latest novels.  They will also discuss the state of the western genre in general.

Tuesday evening at 5:30, come meet fellow Abilenians who have had a book published within the past year.  The Abilene Author Showcase allows them to talk about their books, and you can pick up a copy to take home with you if you like.  You'll be astounded at the number of local authors we have and the wide range of things they have written.

Wednesday, another New York Times best-selling author will be our lunch guest.  Linda Castillo writes murder mysteries set in Amish country, and her latest is "After the Storm."

On Thursday, while the Culinary Cuisine Luncheon is sold out, there are still tickets available for the Texas Cookbook Gala at 6:00PM at the Abilene Country Club.  Cookbook author/chefs Terry Thompson-Anderson, Tiffany Harelik and Grady Spears have put together a delicious menu of their dishes, and paired them with wines from Texas vintners.  If you enjoy great food, you won't want to miss this.  Call 325-673-6212 to find out about tickets.

Friday cookbook author Tiffany Harelik will offer a free "Write Your Own Cookbook" workshop at the Main Library downtown beginning at 10:00AM.  Our noon program will feature Texas State Historian Bill O'Neal who is our A.C. Greene Award winner for this year, and Roger Moore of Merkel, who has written a new book of Texas history cartoons.

And of course, on Saturday at the Civic Center, we have a full day of great programs with seven different authors, the Boots & Books Luncheon at 11:30AM (tickets are still available - call 325-691-1868) featuring great BBQ, the World Famous Hardin-Simmons University Cowboy band, presentations of the A.C. Greene Award and the Ricki Brown Abilene Librarian of the Year Award, and more.  Finish the week by meeting our authors, and getting your copy of their books signed.

We hope you've marked your calendar for all of our programs, because you won't want to miss one of them.  Complete Festival information is available on our website or you can give us a call at 325-676-6025.  We'll see you there!

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New York Time Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Sept. 20)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available to locate that popular title.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Make Me
Author: Lee Child
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M CHILD
Summary: In his 20th appearance, Jack Reacher pries open a missing-persons case that takes him across the country and into the shadowy reaches of the Internet.

#2: The Girl in the Spider's Web
Author: David Lagercrantz
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F LAGERCRANTZ
Summary: Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are back in this continuation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series.

#3: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 9
Call Number: F LEE
Summary: In the mid-1950s, a grown-up Jean Louise Finch returns home to find that her adored father is not as perfect as she believed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 21-24)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog.  For a complete listing of events, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.  And remember, all programming is offered FREE of charge.

Author Lunch Program with Jodi Thomas
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 21 @ 11:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas (Canyon, TX), a fifth generation Texan, will kick off the festival with a free event to discuss the first book in her latest series titled "Ransom Canyon."  The winner of numerous awards, you'll not want to miss her presentation.  Copies of her works will be available for purchase, you can participate in a book signing and meet and greet, and feel free to bring your lunch or purchase one from the Friends of the Library. 

Family Fun: Puppet Theater
Sept. 21 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Kids of all ages, and parents too, won't want to miss another exciting Family Fun event, which will be told by puppets.  Come enjoy stories, games, crafts, and more in a great afternoon activity for the entire family. 

Tween Time: Fun with Jars
Sept. 21 @ 6:30PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Tweens, ages 8-15, are invited to another crafting workshop at the library where we'll supply all the materials needed to show you how to make something creative with jars.  Everyone loves fun craft projects, and we're going to show you how to make something cool from ordinary items. 

Author Lunch Program with Pat Dearen & Kathleen Kent
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 22 @ 11:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Award-winning author Pat Dearen (Midland, TX) and Kathleen Kent (Dallas, TX) will be the featured authors at the next lunch program at the festival.  Each will provide a great presentation on their latest works for the community to enjoy for free.  Copies of their works will be available for purchase, you can participate in a book signing and meet and greets, and feel free to bring your lunch or purchase one from the Friends of the Library. 

Make & Take: You Choose
Sept. 22 @ 4:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Don't miss the final Make & Take crafting session at the library after school, as kids of all ages are invited to come out and choose a craft to create from a variety of ones we'll have in stock.  It's complete up to you, and when you're done, you can look for some great books to checkout and take home. 

Abilene Author Showcase
West Texas Book Festival
Sept. 23 @ 5:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Local writers in the community, who have had a book published in the past year, will be recognized in an evening reception at the festival, which is open to the community to attend for free.  Hear words from each of the authors present and peruse their latest works.  You won't want to miss out on your chance to meet local writing talent right here in our community. 

Author Lunch Program with Linda Castillo
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 23 @ 11:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Bestselling author Linda Castillo (Amarillo, TX) will be the next featured author at a lunch programs that's open to the community to attend for free.  As the author of a popular Amish mystery series, one of which was adapted to a TV movie starring Neve Campbell, it will be a great presentation to attend over the noon hour.  Copies of her works will be available for purchase, you can participate in a book signing and meet and greet, and feel free to bring your lunch or purchase one from the Friends of the Library. 

Ready Set GO! Tournament
Sept. 23 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Teens and young adults are invited to come out to a great afternoon of gaming where we'll be teaching you how to play Go, an Asian strategy game that's popular in Japan and China.  Practice on our game boards and then challenge your peers to some friendly competition to see who will be the victor. 

Culinary Cuisine Luncheon
West Texas Book Festival - TICKETED Event
Sept. 24 @ 11:30AM
TSTC Culinary Institute
901 N. 1st St.
PH: 325-676-6025
As a great ticketed event of the festival, you'll want to see if there's a chance you can still snag a ticket where you'll meet the three featured cookbook authors/chefs at the festival this year including Tiffany Harelik (Austin, TX), Grady Spears (Fort Worth, TX), and Terry Thompson-Anderson (Fredericksburg, TX).  Peruse their featured cookbooks, participate in a book signing, enjoy a great lunch prepared by students at the TSTC Culinary Institute (taken from the recipes of the authors); hear presentations from each of the featured chefs, and more. 

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Sept. 24 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17 and you enjoy writing, come hone your creative writing skills at your library with a group of your peers in our weekly writing club.  We'll collaborate on a number of writing prompts and activities to help you build your skills in all forms of writing.  No registration required. 

Texas Cookbook Gala
West Texas Book Festival TICKETED Event
Sept. 24 @ 6:00PM
Abilene Country Club
4039 S. Treadaway Blvd.
PH: 325-676-6025
We hope you were able to get a ticket to the major fundraising event of the festival, as a special black tie event featuring the finest Texas chefs and vintners in an evening to remember at the Abilene Country Club.  You'll enjoy a wonderful meal, a great selection of wines, and more as part of one of the biggest events of the festival each year. 

"Write Your Own Cookbook" with Tiffany Harelik
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 25 @ 10:30AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Featured cookbook author, Tiffany Harelik (Austin, TX), will present a free workshop for those interested in putting together and publishing their own cookbooks.  She'll offer a quick course so you can understand the entire process as she has self-published, published, and e-published too.  This will be a free event at the festival and a great publishing workshop to get you started in bringing your own cookbook to life. 

Author Lunch Program with Bill O'Neal & Roger Moore
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 25 @ 11:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Featured authors Bill O'Neal (Carthage, TX) and Roger Moore (Merkel, TX) will be the guest speakers at the final lunch program at the festival this year.  O'Neal is this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient, Texas State Historian, and decorated author/writer, and Moore will share his colorful coverage of Texas history through cartoons.  You won't want to miss their free presentations this afternoon.  Copies of their works will be available for purchase, you can participate in a book signing and meet and greets, and feel free to bring your lunch or purchase one from the Friends of the Library. 

Conversations with Penny Klostermann
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 26 @ 9:00AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Join us at the Abilene Civic Center for a series of free interview sessions with featured authors at this year's festival.  First up is local children's author Penny Klostermann, author of "There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight." 

Conversations with Jay Moore & Glenn Dromgoole
West Texas Book Festival
Sept. 26 @ 9:30AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Join us at the Abilene Civic Center for a series of free interview sessions with featured authors at this year's festival.  Local authors Jay Moore and Glenn Dromgoole will be on hand as the next guest speakers, who collaborated on a children's book titled "Abilene A to Z: A Book for Young Readers on Abilene History and Culture." 

Conversations with Kay Ellington & Barbara Brannon
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 26 @ 9:50AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Next up will be Lubbock authors Barbara Brannon and Kay Ellington, authors of the Paragraph Ranch novels, who will be at the festival with their latest entry titled "A Wedding at the Paragraph Ranch."  They are also the creators of "The Working Writer," a blog combining their half century of experience in every aspect of books and media from concept to critique, and publishing promotion. 

Conversations with Mary Helen Specht
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 26 @ 10:20AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Join us for a free interview session featuring Austin author Mary Helen Specht, whose first novel is titled "Migratory Animals," and it's already receiving praise from the New York Times, Apple iBooks, the Austin American Statesman, and more. 

Conversations with Bill O'Neal
West Texas Book Festival Event
Sept. 26 @ 10:50AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
The final author to speak at the free conversation series will be Bill O'Neal, this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient and the Texas State Historian, who has written 42 books and more than 300 articles, along with being on a number of national TV documentaries, and more. 

Boots & Books Luncheon
West Texas Book Festival TICKETED Event
Sept. 26 @ 11:30AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
PH: 325-676-6025
We hope you have a ticket to the final exciting book festival event where you'll be entertained by the HSU Cowboy Band, enjoy a lunch catered by Sharon's Barbecue, hear remarks by authors Penny Klostermann, Mary Helen Specht, Kay Ellington, Barbara Brannon, Jay Moore, and Roger Moore, see the presentation of the A.C. Greene Award to Bill O'Neal, and see who will be named the 2015 Ricki Brown Librarian of the Year.  It will certainly be a great event to wrap up the festival events this year.  Following the event at 1:00PM, there will be book signings with the featured authors that everyone is welcome to attend. 

Movies @ Mockingbird
Sept. 26 @ 2:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Join us for an afternoon movie at your library where we'll be showing one for the general adult audience in a recent film starring Helen Mirren.  Movie showings are free to attend and for a look at our lineup, view our Movie Schedule online.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.