Thursday, May 31, 2012

C.A.L.F. (Children's Art & Literacy Festival)

Kids, parents, and families are invited to participate in a wonderful upcoming event that's all about the beloved Dr. Seuss.  The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council (ACAC) is putting together an amazing Children's Art & Literacy Festival (C.A.L.F.) that will kick off Thursday, June 14 in downtown Abilene!!!

Plenty of businesses will be participating in this joint effort including...
June 14 will serve as the official kickoff with plenty of great activities during ArtWalk night, which of course will be Dr. Seuss themed.  From brown bag lunches to book readings to a Green Eggs & Ham Brunch to a parade and so much more, downtown Abilene will be turned into a virtual Dr. Seuss paradise.  There will be much to do, see, hear, taste, and explore throughout this festival, so be prepared for your senses to go into Dr. Seuss overload.

Map of Festival Events
And what will your Abilene Public Library be doing?  Our Summer Reading Club will feature Dr. Seuss and we'll have a number of great themed events for youth and tweens throughout June and July including special storytimes, crafting days, workshops, and more...and we'll be participating in the official festival with readings provided at our Main Library (202 Cedar St.), along with showing you how to make Dr. Seuss Finger Puppets on ArtWalk Night, and more.

Don't miss out on this exciting chance to participate in all things Dr. Seuss during this festival and for more information, you may visit the Main Website for the event at  There you will find information on registration, the planned events, additional activities, and more.

You may stop by any Abilene Public Library branch to pick up a free brochure for the festival while they're in stock.  Plus, as we get closer to the summer, you'll also be able to pick up information about our special Dr. Seuss Reading Club running in June and July.  You won't want to miss out on the amazing fun planned this summer.

Post contributed by Tremain Jackson, Manager of the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Events @ Your Library (June 4-9)

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check our blog for a look at these events, or visit our Website 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 online calendar.  

Summer Reading Clubs @ Your Library
June 4 - July 28
All Library Locations
All Ages
325-677-2474 for Details
Your library has three (3) summer reading clubs to cover all ages of the community.  Starting June 4, stop by any location to pick up your reading club information.  These clubs include a Summer Reading Club for youth up to Grade 4, a Teen Reading Club for youth in Grades 6-12, and an Adult Reading Club for ages 18 and over.  Read books throughout the summer to earn some great prizes you won't want to miss out on. 

"Homemade Puppets"
Ages 8-15
Jun. 4 @ 6:30 p.m.
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Details
Youth are invited to this hands-on crafting workshop where staff will supply all the materials to show you how to make some unique little puppets.  Bring your creativity and come ready to make some awesome puppets at your library. 

"Paper Zombies & Other Creatures"
Ages 12-19
Jun. 4 @ 6:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Details
Teens are invited to this unique crafting program where we'll be showing you how to make some fun and quirky zombies and creatures out of paper patterns.  You'll be amazed at these little creations we'll show you how to make and in no time at all.  Don't miss out on this awesome teen event at your library. 

Guest Presenter: Joy Harsh, Abilene Zoo
Kids of All Ages
Jun. 5 @ 3:00 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Details
Kids won't want to miss this school-aged event featuring Joy Harsh, from the Abilene Zoo, who will be coming with some of her animal friends to teach kids about different creatures.  Plus, you might get the chance to touch many of them too.  We never know what she might bring so you won't want to miss out on this visit at the Main library.  If you can't make it, don't worry, there will be two more sessions held later this summer at the remaining branch locations. 

Ages 5-12
Jun. 7 @ 3:00 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Details
Youth are invited out to this first of many Coloring Day events throughout the summer where we invite you to come out to our activity room and re-discover how fun coloring can be.  We'll supply all the materials, you just supply yourself. 

"Dr. Seuss Green Eggs & Ham"
Jun. 7 @ 6:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Details
Don't miss out on this Dr. Seuss themed Family Fun Night that sticks with the Summer Reading Club theme for kids.  Enjoy stories, songs, games, crafts, and more that's all related to Dr. Seuss that you won't want to miss out on.  Great for kids of all ages, and parents too, if you like Dr. Seuss, this will be the place to be. 

Jun. 7-10
Abilene Civic Center
1101 N. 6th St.
325-676-6025 for Details
It's time for the Annual Friends of the Library Book Sale, where the Civic Center will be the place to be if looking for the best deals in a wide array of books, videos, music, audiobooks, and so much more.  It only comes once a year so don't miss out as you'll find so many great items to purchase at the best prices around.  The hours of the sale are as follows...
  • Thurs., Jun. 7; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. - the first evening is a Preview Sale open to current members of the Friends of the Library.  Be one of the first to see what's being offered and you can join by visiting any branch location to pick up a membership form or purchase a membership the night of the sale at the Civic Center.
  • Fri., Jun. 8; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. - Normal Book Sale Day, open to the general public.
  • Sat., Jun. 9; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Normal Book Sale Day, open to the general public.
  • Sun., Jun. 10; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. - Bag-O-Books Sale, open to the general public.  On this day, $6 will get you a bag and you may take anything you can fit inside for a closeout sale for the year. 
"Wild Animals"
Jun. 8 @ 2:00 p.m.
Main Library 
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Details
The Main Library will come to life on Saturday afternoon at the next Family Fun event that will feature a theme of Wild Animals.  From stories to songs to games to crafts and more, there will be tons of great activities to get involved in if looking for a great family activity to participate in this afternoon.

Also, don't forget all locations offer weekly storytime sessions for youth of all ages, and you can also sign up to get assistance from library staff on using computers and various other applications through our Book-A-Librarian program.  Contact Us for more information on signing up, or for information on any of our upcoming programs and events at the library.  We have so much to offer so don't hesitate to join in on the fun.

Post contributed by Tremain Jackson, Manager of the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Staff Book Review: "The Fairy Godmother" by: Mercedes Lackey

The Fairy Godmother
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Reviewed By: Alyssa Crow, Children's Librarian (South Branch)

Book Summary: In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale...

Elena Klovis is supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella - until an accident of fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince!  Determined not to remain with her step-family, Elena sets out to get a new job - and ended up becoming a Fairy Godmother for the land.

But "Breaking with Tradition" was no easy matter.  True, she didn't have to sleep in the chimney, but she had to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who kept trying to rise above their place in the tale.  In fact, one of them was so ornery that Elena could do nothing but change him into a donkey.

Still, her practical nature couldn't let him roam the country, so she brought the donkey - er, the prince! - home to her cottage to teach him some lessons.  All the while keeping in mind that breaking with tradition can lead everyone into a kettle of fish - sometimes literally!

And so begins a whole new tale...

Personal Review: I am a fan of fairy tale retellings.  I like the different takes on what is basically the same story.  Each author makes a new addition, and Mercedes Lackey certainly does in The Fairy GodmotherThe main character, Elena, is quite believable as the 'Cinderella' of the tale, but does her story get a happy ever after?

Elena's life takes an interesting turn when she becomes a Fairy Godmother, instead of Cinderella.  All very original, I must say.  I enjoyed the parts of the story regarding the magic, Tradition, etc., but the romance aspect of the book felt a little forced, thought the 'Prince' did make me laugh (in a good way).

As this book is the first in Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms series, there is quite a bit of a set-up, but I found the fantasy a fun read.  There are six (6) books in the series so far, and each deals with at least one different fairy tale, sometimes combining two or three.  The series is fun and interesting, especially the bits and pieces of tales I wasn't quite as familiar with at first.  But after reading these stories, I was tempted to go back to look up the ones I didn't know.

So be on the lookout for a copy of this book, if it sounds interesting to you, at your local Abilene Public Library branch location as we own two (2) copies in regular print.

@ the Library Article: "Summer Library Programs Offer Something for All Ages"

As printed in the Abilenian, as part of the Abilene Reporter-News, by Marie Noe, head of Children's Services at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.

Summer is just around the corner - and the staff at your Abilene Public Library is putting the finishing touches on the summer programs.  There will be reading clubs for all ages as well as storytimes, special programs, and our ever-popular Young Audiences shows.

Summer Reading Clubs are a time-honored way of keeping kids involved with books while they are away from school.  This years' reading club for kids is Oh the Books You Will Read and features Dr. Seuss.  Kids ages 0-12 can pick up reading club material along with their first prize starting June 4 and ending July 28.  Every week, we will change prizes.  Kids can pick up one prize per week (while supplies last).

The Teen Reading Club theme is TSI: The Realm of the Unknown. We invite teens to explore mysteries, adventure, and global cultures through books.  As with the kids, teens can pick up reading club material and their first prize starting June 4.  For every six books that teens read during the summer they will be entered to win an e-reader (graciously supplied by the Friends of the Library).

Adults!  If you are a kid at heart and slightly jealous of the kids, don't despair.  Novel Destinations, a reading club just for adults, will let you explore your inner child.  Read six books and get a free book bag.  Keep reading and be entered to win some great prizes.

Library programs for the summer promise to be exciting.  All three library locations will have activities for all ages.  Our normal story programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children will continue throughout the summer.  There will also be special visitors and activities.  Look for visits from the Zoo Lady and the Abilene Kennel Club as well as times to sit and read to specially trained canine companions.  There will also be craft and game programs at all three locations.  The library will also be participating in the first annual C.A.L.F. (Children's Art and Literacy Festival) in June.  Information on the festival can be found at

The Main Library will again play host to four Young Audiences programs this summer.  On June 12, Angela Davis, a storyteller from New Orleans, will entertain audiences with tales from the Mardi Gras Indians.  On June 26, the library will be filled with the music of the Key City BrassThis quintet of local musicians features music ranging from classical to popular kids' tunes.  On July 10, Storybook Theatre returns with a fun take on the story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse.  This show takes the two mice on a world tour, introducing kids to the wonderful cultures along the way.  July 24 rounds out the Young Audiences series with Terrence Taps, better known as the Tap Dance Man.  Part history lesson and all fun, audience members are sure to be tapping their toes along with the music.  Young Audience shows are geared for ages 7 and up unless noted.  Storytimes for younger children will be available during these performances to accommodate families with children of different ages.

Information for all summer programs can be found by visiting our webpages online or by calling the Abilene Public Library at 325-676-6067.  There is a printable schedule on the website or you can pick up a schedule at any library location.  Remember, all our programs are free, so we hope to see you at the Abilene Public Library this summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Zoo Education @ Your Library

Kids with Jojo, the Ball Python
Your library will again offer a popular series of programs combining education, fun, and animals in the library.  Seems a bit taboo doesn't it?  Well not at the library's Zoo Day visits for school-aged children.

Zoo Day visits at your library will be held on three (3) separate days, across all three (3) branch locations, on the following days...
  • Tues., June 5 @ 3:00 p.m. (Main Library, 202 Cedar St.)
  • Mon., June 18 @ 3:00 p.m. (Mockingbird Branch, 1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.)
  • Thurs., July 19 @ 3:00 p.m. (South Branch, 1401 S. Danville Dr.)
Guest presenter Joy Harsh, Educator at the Abilene Zoo, will return with some of her animal friends to teach kids about our featured animal guests for the afternoon.  You never know what she'll bring with her, but kids have been entertained with a host of live creatures including snakes, creepy crawlies, alligators, and the list goes on.  As a bonus, not only will kids learn about teach of the featured animals, but they'll even get the chance to get up close and personal, as well as touch some of them, if they'd like.

Alligators @ the Library!!!
No registration is required for these events, and there's no fee to attend.  If you have a passion for animals, these are events you won't want to miss.  Please note, each of these programs draw in HUGE numbers from kids and parents, so be sure to arrive early to ensure you get a great seat as, depending on the location, space will be limited.  Attend one session, or attend them all, you're sure to have a blast during the Zoo Day Visits at your library.

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

Weekly Program Highlights: Baby Steps

Each week we'll be highlighting one of the various programs and activities at your Abilene Public Library as a reminder of all the wonderful things we have to offer.  We hope this list serves not only to inform you, but to inspire you to join in an participate!

Baby Steps @ Your Library

Interactive Baby Steps Activities @ Your Library

What: Infants ages 0-12 months along with parents or grandparents. 

What: We share simple songs and rhymes and being to develop hand and finger motions by moving along to the songs.  We have the same format for each class, since the main goal is repetition, which serves to stimulate and calm children at this age.  Also important is the independent play portion of class.  This is a great bonding time for mom & baby, as well as an introduction to early socialization with babies of the same age.  Developing a sense of self and a sense of others starts early, according to most research.

  • Mockingbird Branch; 1214 N. Mockingbird Ln., Abilene, TX 79603
  • Main Library; 202 Cedar St., Abilene, TX 79601

  • Wednesdays at 10:45 a.m. - Mockingbird Branch
  • Thursdays at 10:15 a.m. - Main Library

Why: English is a complex language.  We start learning the rhythm and tones of language at birth, by hearing people talk and hearing the repetitive sounds imbedded in the language.  By imitating the sounds of a language, putting them in order and giving them meaning we learn to communicate.  This class seeks to purposely expose young children to English in a structured manner in an effort to jump start English literacy development. 

How: To get involved simply join us at the times they're offered.  No reservations are required.

For more information about the Baby Steps program at your Abilene Public Library please feel free to Contact Us at either participating branch library locations.  We hope to see you there!!!

Post Contributed by Anne Ellis, Manager of the Mockingbird Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Today's New Book & DVD Releases

Take a look at a selection of today's new book and DVD releases hitting the shelves at your Abilene Public LibraryIf they're not available, get yourself on the reserve lists to secure your place in line.

Series: Book 10; NUMA Files
Author: Clive Cussler & Graham Brown
Summary: Kurt Austin is back in his latest adventure in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The NUMA research vessel collects some water samples when a crew member spots a sheen of black oil ahead of them, but when they get closer they discover it's not oil after all.  A swarm of black particles attacks the ship and kills everyone and Kurt is on his way to find out what happened.  What he will discover is one of the most audacious schemes ever known: a plan to permanently alter the weather on a global scale.  Follow the latest in this bestselling series by the writing team of Clive Cussler and Graham Brown, who began co-authoring this series during the ninth book (as the previous eight were co-authored by Paul Kemprecos), by looking for it at your Abilene Public Library.

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer
Summary: An ensemble cast of actors hits the big screen to celebrate love, hope, forgiveness, second chances, and fresh starts in intertwining stories told amidst New York City and the most dazzling night of the year.  A follow-up to the breakout film Valentine's Day, which used the same premise and an ensemble of A-List actors, New Year's Day may just be a great film to see if you didn't catch it in the theaters.  Be sure to look out for it at your Abilene Public Library.

Starring: Sam Worthington
Summary: In this thriller, ex-cop Nick Cassidy escapes from prison to plan the ultimate heist: steal a $40 million diamond from cutthroat businessman David Englander, and in the process prove his innocence.  From the ledge of a hotel, and the whole world watching, Cassidy plays a game of cat and mouse with the NYPD while his dutiful brother works against the clock to extract the diamond and clear his brother's name.  With a great cast of actors including Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell and Kyra Sedgwick, try looking for this DVD at your Abilene Public Library.

Starring: Dolly Parton & Queen Latifah
Summary: Musical powerhouses collide in this film where the town of Pacashau, Georgia has fallen on hard times and the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the national Joyful Noise Competition.  The only problem is that the bad blood between its two leading ladies threatens to tear them apart.  Vi is the newly appointed director who wants to stick with their tried and true traditional style while G.G. thinks that translates to tired and old and together they must come up with a way to join forces and win the competition together.  Look for this great comedy and musical at your Abilene Public Library.

Starring: Amanda Seyfried
Summary: In this thriller, Jill comes home from a night shift to discover her sister Molly has been abducted.  What's more is that she has been kidnapped by the same person who abducted her a year before.  Having escaped the serial killer once, it's up to Jill to now save her sister, while trying to convince the authorities that her former kidnapper has resurfaced.  Although this film didn't strike a chord with audiences in its low box office results, this may be more of a rental so be sure to look for it at your Abilene Public Library.

Don't miss your chance to get your hands on some of these popular releases.  While you're here, take advantage of all the additional resources and services we have to offer you.

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spotlight on E-Resources: Business Source Complete

Your Abilene Public Library subscribes to a number of respected online databases available to all library cardholders.  In this Spotlight on E-Resources entry, we'll introduce you to the Business Source Complete resources powered by EBSCO.

To access the majority of our online databases, you will need to visit the Abilene Public Library's website and click on the E-Resources text link.  You will be directed to our complete listing of databases, and if required, you will then need your 13-digit library card number. 

Business Source Complete is touted as being "the world's definitive scholarly business database."  As listed on EBSCO, a company established in 1944 that became the world's leading information agent for research purposes, Business Source Complete is your one-stop resource for obtaining reliable business information.  This business resource exceeds all other databases available in terms of its premium content of peer-reviewed, business related back as far as 1886.

Once you have access this site through your library, from the main screen, you'll have all you need to begin your basic search using the search box included in the center of the screen.  Search for your business-related topic across many areas including Keyword, Company, Industry, Subject, etc., or use the advanced search features to include more criteria for performing your search.

For instance, if wanting to access information on managerial leadership, you would enter that search term into the site and perform a search.  A listing of results will be generated in the center of the new screen that loads.  You'll see the titles of the articles listed in Blue, which will link you to the abstract and citation for the article, or the full-text article if available.  What's also handy is the number of clickable text links for authors of the article, keywords attached to the entry, subject headings and more to offer you even more search suggestions you may not have thought of yourself.  That truly does come in handy in some circumstances where you might find yourself a little stuck.

After each search you perform, this database will allow you to further limit your results using the vertical toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen.  Limit your results by the dates the article was published, to view full-text results, limit by subject, source type, company, and more.  This is perfect for narrowing down a particular search that might provide you with thousands of result listings.

Another benefit this EBSCO product offers is the ability to save documents through the site for use at a later time by choosing the Add to Folder option.  You may also use the toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen to access more options including printing the article, e-mailing a copy, saving the document, getting the citation, and more.  All of these tools will display once you have selected an article to view.

But let's go back to the main screen for the database.  We only focused on how to do a basic search for your queries, but there's more this site has to offer.  You also have the ability to choose additional features on the main screen including...
  • Business Videos: see results which include videos to access directly.  You will need the Adobe Flash Player installed to view them.
  • Industry Profiles: gain more knowledge on the leading industries around.
  • Author: browse through the author index in the database.
  • Company Information: obtain detailed information about companies around the globe.
  • Market Research Reports: gain insights and emerging trends from a source you can trust.
  • Company Profiles: acquire detailed company information and analysis across many of the leading companies to learn what they do, who their top competitors are, who the key employees are, and more.
The Business Source Complete database is a great resource for anyone to use, especially if you have any business-related questions you need to find more information on.  With access to a wealth of credible and reliable journal articles, company profiles, videos, reports, and more, this will be a great place to start your own research.

Be sure to look out for more Spotlight on E-Resources blog entries, where each time, we'll introduce you to another great database.  With subscriptions to a long list of online tools, your library truly is a one-stop resource for knowledge and information.  If you need any assistance, feel free to Contact Us and staff will be more than happy to help you.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalists Announced

On May 17th, the American Library Association (ALA), along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, announced six (6) finalists for the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.  This new award will honor books written for adult readers and published in the previous year in the United States before the winners are chosen on June 24th at the ALA Annual Conference, in Anaheim, California.  Check out the titles that made the cut for this year to look for checking them out at your Abilene Public Library to see why they’ve been nominated.

2012 Finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

Author: Robert K. Massie
Publisher: Random House
Library Copies: 4 copies regular print; 1 digital eBook; 1 digital audiobook
Summary: Massie, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, presents a narrative biography of Catherine the Great, the empress of Russia, centering on her 34-year struggle to rule backward Russia using the ideals of the Enlightenment philosophers.  Covering her life from childhood to death, the book reveals the human drama of her rule, offering details on her relationships with friends, enemies, family, and lovers, in addition to analysis of how she coped with political crises.

Author: James Gleick
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Library Copies: 1 copy regular print; 1 digital eBook
Summary: Gleick presents a chronicle that shows how information has become the modern era’s defining quality – the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.  The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born.  From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness.  He provides portraits  of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information.

Author: Manning Marable
Publisher: Viking
Library Copies: 3 copies regular print
Summary: Touted as being the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.  Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age 39.  Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans for to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man.  This book will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

2012 Finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

Author: Anne Enright
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
Library Copies: 3 copies regular print
Summary: In Terenure, a pleasant surburb of Dublin, it has snowed.  Gina Moynihan, a girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for “the love of her life,” Sean Vallely.  As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers their affair: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial.  Now, as the silent streets and falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina awaits the arrival of Sean’s fragile, 12-year-old daughter, Evie, the complication, and gravity, of this second life.  In this extraordinary novel, Anne Enright speaks directly to the readers she won with The Gathering.  Here again is the momentous drama of everyday life.

Author: Russell Banks
Publisher: Ecco Press
Library Copies: 3 copies regular print
Summary: After doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, the Kid is forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather.  With nowhere else to go, the Kid takes up residence under a south Florida causeway.  Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he struggles to comprehend.  Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies, and who finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research on homelessness and sex offenders.  But when the Professor’s past resurfaces, the balance in the two men’s relationship shifts.  Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider everything he has come to believe. 

Author: Karen Russell
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Library Copies: 2 copies regular print
Summary: This debut novel takes us back to the swamps of the Florida Everglades, and introduces us to Ava Bigtree, an unforgettable young heroine.  The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly #1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness.  Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their family business from going under.  Ava’s father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage 98 gators and the vast inscrutable landscape of her own grief.  Against a backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life animated by ancient lizards and lawless hungers, Russell has written an utterly singular novel about a family’s struggle to stay afloat in a world that is inexorably sinking.

Those are this year’s finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.  Be sure to look out for some of these at your Abilene Public Library to discover why they’ve been selected, and hopefully we’ll be able to follow up this blog by letting you in on the winners later in June. 

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

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5

Keep up with what's popular in mainstream literature by checking out what books cracked the Top 5 on this week's New York Times Bestsellers list in Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction titles.  If they sound of interest to you, look for them at your Abilene Public Library.

For a list of the Top 15, try listening to our Podcast on Mondays, or stop by any of our branch library locations to view our printed lists.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

Position #1: Stolen Prey
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: Putnam
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Summary: When a Minnesota family is murdered, the Minneapolis investigator Lucas Davenport believes a Mexican drug gang is involved.

Position #2: 11th Hour
Authors: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Publisher: Little, Brown
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks on List: 2
Summary: Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club investigate a possible serial killer.

Position #3: Deadlocked
Publisher: Ace
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks on List: 3
Summary: The telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse investigates a murder that has more to do with her than she imagines.

Position #4: The Columbus Affair
Author: Steve Berry
Publisher: Ballantine
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Summary: The daughter of a disgraced journalist is held by a man who wants to force her father to help him discover a secret left by Columbus. 

Position #5: Calico Joe 
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday
Position Last Week: 7
Weeks on List: 6
Summary: A pitcher beans a promising rookie, ending both their careers; years later, the pitcher's son brings them together.

Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

Position #1: The Amateur
Author: Edward Klein
Publisher: Regnery
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Summary: A journalist argues that President Obama is callow and unable to lead.

Position #2: The Passage of Power
Publisher: Knopf
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks on List: 3
Summary: From 1958 through the Kennedy assassination; the fourth volume of "The Years of Lyndon Johnson."

Position #3: The Art Intelligence
Author: Henry A. Crumpton
Publisher: Penguin Press
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Summary: The former operations officer who led the C.I.A.'s fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11 reviews the lessons he learned from his 24-year career.

Position #4: My Cross to Bear
Author: Gregg Allman & Alan Light
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Position Last Week: 8
Weeks on List: 3
Summary: The musician's memoir.

Position #5: Most Talkative
Author: Andy Cohen
Publisher: Holt
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks on List: 2
Summary: The Bravo executive vice president who oversees "Top Chef" and "The Real Housewives" looks back on his career.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library, along with even more great reads to see about checking them out for yourselves...or getting on the reserve lists for them.  With three (3) convenient locations to serve you, stop by and allow our wonderful staff to assist you.

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