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October Sky



October Sky/Rocket Boys is a book by Homer Hickam Jr. telling the story of how he and his friends shook Coalwood's foundation by exceeding the boundaries of their culture and  their believed potential. It's a true story of a NASA engineer's childhood in Coalwood, West Virginia where becoming anything other than a miner was out of this world. Now that this book is an award winning movie by Universal Pictures some people don't read the book. I strongly encourage you to read it because movies have never included everything from a book and this book and its movie are no exception.


No Fear Friday


Don’t be afraid of the dark, at Shreve Memorial library on June 21st!

What happens in the library once everyone goes home and the librarians turn off the lights and lock the doors? According to some people the library is haunted. Families are invited to find out what lurks in the dark in the historic Main branch of Shreve Memorial Library, but have no fear, we will create proper ghost hunting gear and outfit ourselves with head lamps and flash lights. Then  Dr. Spaghetti will help us  gather our courage with Lemony Snicket’s latest book The Dark. Finally, we’ll explore the depths of the library guided through the dark by only our headlamps and flashlights.


We can start the program at 6:30p.m; please print out a permission form here, fill it out and bring it with you when you come in!


Book Review: I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers

I can't be the only one out there fascinated by criminal psychology...right?  Who's with me?!  When I came across this book I knew I needed to read it.  If you like thrillers, mystery, and crime novels this is the book for you.  It's dark and grotesque and gruesome and everything in between...and it's fantastic!  I mean let's face it...when we're teens our parents are always awkward--what if yours was a serial killer?  Imagine that instead of homework help from dad you're taught the best way to dissolve a human body.  That's what childhood was like for Jasper Dent and this story follows him as a 17-year-old who is now putting those lessons from Dear Old Dad, the infamous Billy Dent, to good use when another killer strikes.  Don't take my word for it--here's the book trailer--see for yourself...


The skies, they are a-falling

Space, the final frontier. These are not the voyages of a particular Constitution or Galaxy class starship. Not even the voyages of Firefly class ship. Nope, and if you get any of those references, silver stars to you. In truth, I’m not talking about going to space but space coming to us. To Earth.

Recently I got to go to my first ever festival/con/whatnot. Technically it’s a festival, and it was for one of my favorite things – TV! I brought my mom along because I’m just that kind of gal, and she was somewhat interested in the whole adventure. That was until a particular show had a viewing and panel. Mom fangirls; I’m talking little squealing glee with the squinched up arms in miniature flailing mode (think Kermit the Frog post announcing the guest on a more constricted scale). She was so very happy and excited; funny thing, it’s for a show by all rights I should be interested in. I should be, if I were given to it, fangirling right along with her.

Now, I can’t say the writing’s bad. It isn’t. I can’t say the effects are bad; they aren’t.   The acting is pretty darn good. So, that’s not a problem.

It’s about aliens and their taking over the Earth. They want it; they attack it, and they use humans for slave labor, like any alien would. I wouldn’t say they’re smart aliens because anyone who’s seen anything about humans we do tend to revolt, unless the alien has plans to serve man (‘nother star if you get that one). The humans fight back, but it’s not a perfect rebellion. In fact, it’s grimy, dirty, hard fought, barely won – or not won at all. This is a fight, and this particular fight is now going into its third season, which means it’s a pretty darn good fight. Yet, it doesn’t click with me.

No, it clicks with the woman who raised me. The woman who started me on my way to space adventures, mutants, and superheroes. The one who let me dabble in the macabre, the undead, and the night creatures when they just didn’t speak with her. So, there’s got to be something to this show.

It’s not Earth Final Conflict (humans aren’t exactly in such dire straits or that aware), V (again, pre-all out rebellion by the humans, mostly), or even Spaced Invaders (not a tv show!). The show I’m talking about that made my mother get so adorably excited was and is Falling Skies.

Noah Wylie takes a turn at the action-y good guy stuck in some very tough situations, a nice turn from the action-y camp in the Librarian series (oddly, I have seen all of those). Wylie’s character has three boys, each dealing with the aliens in different ways, including abduction and destruction, or being abducted and destructed(?). The show doesn’t focus solely on Wylie’s character, and it does bring in some really great actors and stories, creating a decent alien-war-survivor drama.

Yet, it’s just not my show. So, why bring it up at all? Because sometimes it’s not about my things; sometimes it’s about others’…things – in this case, one of my mom’s favorite shows. Maybe it’ll be yours; give it a try.


Movies That Never Get Old

There are a few movies I have seen that never get old. I can watch them over and over again and never seem to get tired of them. If I get lucky, I might catch them on T.V, but if I’m in the mood to watch one of these movies without having to wait, I search the DVD shelves at the library. These are some of the movies I’ve found at the library that I can’t seem to get enough of!

Ironically, I could watch this movie over and over. Cue Sonny and Cher - I Got You Babe...






When I think of a good horror movie, this is it. The Shining includes the most memorable scene that I think tops all other scary flicks. Jack's son riding through the long hallway on his bike until he is stopped by two young, seemingly normal "undead" girls. He then sees flashes of them on the ground in pools of blood. Come play with us, Danny...This vision is hard to forget and it's also the scene that pops in my head when I think "horror movie".







Sportran Public Meeting Notice

Sportran is holding a public meeting to discuss moving the Sportran bus terminal from Crocket Street and constructing a new intermodel transportation terminal on Murphy Street. The first exhibit viewing is on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM, located at the Sportran Bus Terminal. There is an additional Exhibit viewing on Thursday, June 13, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, directly followed by a Presentation at 6:00. The June 13th event takes place at Airport Park, located at 6500 Kennedy Street. Discussion may include new bus stops and extending the stops farther North.


Persons with special needs and/or accomodations who are interested in attending the meeting are asked to contact Bill Spickerman, ADA Coordinator at (318) 673-7415, at least five working days prior to the meeting.


Book Review: Lud-in-the-Mist

ludinthemistLud-in-the-Mist had been on my radar for quite a while: it popped up in my Goodreads recommendations all the time. I read the blurb, and it sounded like something I’d like, except that my local library doesn’t have it and I couldn’t find an inexpensive copy. Until Amazon got the Kindle version, and it randomly appeared one day in the Kindle Daily Deals. I was like, whaaaaat? Click. Download. I finished Pretty Monsters and dug in.I read a lot of fantasy when I’m stressed out. It helps me forget about what’s going on for a while and relax my mind. It takes me somewhere else, I guess. (Though Hemingway‘s For Whom the Bell Tolls did that, too. After I finished reading it, I was stuck in the hills of Spain for hours. Also: why did I start blogging so late? I talk about all these books I’ve read, and there’s no blog post to link them. Ugh.) Right now, the plan is to stick to fantasy for a few books.

ANYWAY. Off to Lud.

I’m not sure where this book fits age-wise. It seems to be stuck in teen fiction, but it’s not, really. The main character is a middle-aged mayor – most of the kids run off. Which brings me to the plot. You’ve already got the middle-aged mayor part and the Lud part. It’s a city close to the border of Fairyland, but it’s citizens don’t like fairies and any words associated with them are considered dirty. They don’t like imagination or creativity: they like money and the law. But Fairyland is creeping in by way of fairy fruit, which is smuggled into Lud. Many citizens eat it and go a little crazy or run off to Fairyland. That includes the mayor’s children and lots of the other politicians’, too. And Things Happen.

I really enjoyed this novel, though the fact that it bleeds allegory irritated me a little bit. It’s the Most Obvious Allegory Ever about the importance of imagination and creativity, which, I guess is why it gets put in the teen boat. None of that makes it a bad novel – it’s just a little corny, and corny can be soothing. Lud-in-the-Mist is considered a classic. It’s 1920s fantasy before Tolkien and was very influential among fantasy writers, including Neil Gaiman, who loves it. (He has a new novel coming out very soon, by the way.) It’s also the best-known novel Hope Mirrlees wrote (which, I guess, isn't saying very much). She sounds like an interesting character.

So read the book if you like fantasy. I certainly liked it.

Bonus: Hope Mirrlees wrote the best description of a sunrise I think I’ve ever read. Here it is:

It was not so much a modification of the darkness, as a sigh of relief, a slight relaxing tension, so that one felt, rather than saw, that the night had suddenly lost a shade of its density…ah! yes; there! between these two shoulders of the hills she is bleeding to death.

At first the spot was merely a degree less black than the rest of the sky. The it turned grey, then yellow, then red. And the earth was undergoaing the same transformation. Here and there patches of greyness broke out in the blackness of the grass, and after a few secondsone saw that they were clumps of flowers. Then the greyness became filtered with a delicate sea-green; and next, one realized that the grey-green belonged to the foliage, against which the petals were beginning to show white–and then pink, or yellow, or blue; but a yellow like that of primroses, a blue like that of certain wild periwinkles, colors so elusive that one suspects them to be due to some passing accident of light, and that, were one to pick the flower, it would prove pure white.

Ah, there can be no doubt of it now! The blues and yellows are real and perdurable. Color is steadily flowing through the veins of the earth, and we may take heart, for she will soon be restored to life again. But had we kept one eye on the sky we should have noticed that a star was quenched with every flower that reappeared on earth. And now the valley is again red and gold with vineyards, the hills are clothed with pines, and the Dapple is rosy.

Then a cock crowed, and another answered it, and then another–a ghostly sound, which, surely, did not belong to the smiling, triumphant earth, but rather to one of thise distant dying stars.


Book Review: Pretty Monsters

prettymonstersA friend has been trying to get me to read Kelly Link‘s story collection, Pretty Monsters for, what?, a couple of years now. I’m generally not into short stories, but I’m glad I finally picked up this set. I really enjoyed it.

I think my favorite story is “The Wizards of Perfil,” about a kid who gets sold into a wizard’s service – and her cousin. And wizards, and things. The plots of some of these stories are hard to explain. There’s also “The Faery Handbag,” about a mysterious handbag that one can jump into and come out of many years later. Oh! And “Magic for Beginners,” which involves a TV show called The Library that sounds fascinating – and a phone booth and things. (Kelly Link really seems to like libraries. They appear in lots of her stories.) “The Constable of Abal,” too, where a woman and her daughter carry small ghosts around, tethered with ribbons.

These stories are so good. It’s really hard to choose a favorite. An Amazon reviewer put my major criticism (and the reason I gave Pretty Monsters four stars on Goodreads) well: "Most of the stories were written well and for most part, I enjoyed them. Then they would abruptly end and I would be thinking… what the heck? With most of the short stories she spent a long time describing to us what was going on, getting to know the characters, etc and then it would just end."

(My first instinct was to end this post there, but I can’t help but note that I was intentionally ending it that way… Frustrating.)

So since I so unsuccessfully tried to end this post like Kelly Link seems to like to end her stories, I’ll add this: Pretty Monsters is a great short story collection, and I think the endings just might be part and parcel of short-story writing, or else they’d all turn into novels. Which might be why I tend to read novels instead of stories and plan to continue doing so. That said, Kelly Link is definitely worth a read.


TEEN Summer Reading @ Shreve Memorial Library

Teen Summer Reading Program 2013 officially begins on June First, but online registration is already open. To register, choose the appropriate program on the Summer Reading registration page. Once you are registered, you may log your book titles and authors. When you reach your initial goal of two books you may receive a prize as well as a certificate of achievement, redeemable online or at your primary library branch. For every ten books you read after you meet your goal, you will be eligible for even better prizes. Keep checking our website because there will be special grand prizes announced for the top teen readers this summer!

It’s not all about reading this summer. There will be super fun special programs for ages 11-18 check our events calendar for more info.


Book Review: Over the River and into the Trees

acrosstheriverI’ve been putting off writing this post for long enough. The idea of writing it bores me about as much as reading the book did. I gave Across the River and into the Trees two stars on Goodreads, not because it’s a bad novel, per se, but because it’s a bad novel for Hemingway. It’s also his last completed novel, which was a bit of a draw for me. (He committed suicide before completing another novel, and his tone sounds kind of like he'd already lost interest in life.) And for that, it’s almost what one would expect – in hindsight, at least.

It’s about a 51-year-old retiring America colonel in Italy. He’s hopelessly in love with a 19-year-old contessa who won’t marry him (or do any of the things that go along with marriage with him). During the week, he works, but on the weekends he travels back to Venice, stays in a hotel, and spends his time with the girl. They eat in restaurants and float around in gondolas (in which there’s a gross kind-of sex scene in the vein of the stumpy one in To Have and Have Not). And that’s about it. There’s also the not-so-shocking almost twisty ending.


That said, it’s exactly what I’d expect from a depressed, aging Hemingway with one foot in the mental grave. It’s sad. The whole thing is sad – but in a boring way. The first fifty pages was just his trip to Venice for the weekend. I almost put it down at that point because it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. Just military talk. He hadn’t even mentioned the contessa yet. The only thing that kept me reading at that point was the description on Goodreads. I’m not sorry I did, but, well, meh.

The only Hemingway novel I don’t like is The Old Man and the Sea, and the more Hemingway I read, the less sense that makes to me. It’s not like I actively dislike this one, either. I’m not interested enough in it to dislike it. Which is why I felt like I should go ahead and write this review: Across the River and into the Trees will be one of those novels I forget with a month.


Overdrive's Big Library Read

Welcome to the pilot version of Big Library Read! This is an opportunity to unite readers – and loyal library supporters – all over the world around a single eBook. Together with Sourcebooks, the leading independent publisher, OverDrive and your library are providing a compelling novel for all to read – with a valid library card, of course.

This pilot runs from May 15–June 1, 2013, and during that time the Big Library Read will be available to enjoy on all major devices, including Kindle® (US only) and iPad®, as well as in the browser via OverDrive Read.


National Train Day @ Shreve Memorial Library !

It’s National Train Day and the Shreve Memorial Library's Main Branch has planned a locomotive adventure! Scott Gerardy of Dirtfoot  and Kern Courtney will perform train songs by Woody Guthrie and various others  in the Eaves room at 10:00 a.m.  Following this sing along concert will be crafting, train stories with Dr. Spaghetti, and refreshments. This is a family focused, all ages event.


This event is occuring in conjunction with Downtown's Railroad Past tour courtesy of the DDA.


Book Review: The Bell

bellI’m not sure why I picked up Iris Murdoch‘s The Bell, especially since her first novel, Under the Net, which has been on my list for months, was sitting right on my coffee table. I really have no idea. I’m definitely a fan, though: I first hear of her from the movie Iris, which is about her life. She seemed like an interesting character. I stumbled upon her again, at some point, and bought and read an old library copy of The Unicorn, but that was a long time ago (before I started writing this blog!). I really liked The Unicorn, by the way.

Anyway, I somehow started reading The Bell (which I also own but don’t know how or why), and I was instantly hooked. It’s just so good. It was one of those of which I enjoy every single page – which is why I guess I finished it so quickly.

It’s about a lay religious community that lives next to a comment. Dora Greenfield, who had left her husband, Paul, decides to return to him, but he is researching old documents at the convent, so they stay with the community for a time. It’s tense, as I’m sure you can imagine. Many years before, the convent had lost its bell, and a new one is about to be installed, and Things Happen because of that, too. The community’s leader, Michael, has his own problems: he’s gay, in an Anglican religious community, probably in the 1950s, and his former student with whom he had had a relationship has come to live there. That’s tense, too, to say the least. And there are other characters with their own issues, which interweave with these two primary ones. It’s a mess.

I think I liked The Bell so much because I identified with a lot of the characters. Their actions and motivations seemed not necessarily right, but reasonable, to me, under the difficult circumstances. Or at least I understood why they did what they did. Murdoch weaves together the story and creates such full characters and setting that I was engrossed. Murdoch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Bonus: Here’s the trailer for Iris!


Music Recommendation: Robert Johnson

“At first the music almost repelled me, it was so intense, and this man made no attempt to sugarcoat what he was trying to say, or play. It was hard-core, more than anything I had ever heard. After a few listenings I realized that, on some level, I had found the master, and that following this man's example would be my life work.” ― Eric Clapton

Robert Johnson – “The King of the Delta Blues” – was born 102 years ago today. Johnson’s legacy and influence still reverberate throughout popular music. Your library offers a few opportunities to explore the music of Robert Johnson. I recommend you check out the following titles:

Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers includes many of Johnson’s classic recordings from the 1930’s.

Eric Clapton’s Me and Mr. Johnson serves as a full-length tribute to the blues master.

Big Head Blues Club released a great Robert Johnson tribute album in 2011 entitled 100 Years of Robert Johnson . This album was recorded by the band Big Head Todd & The Monsters along with legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Musselwhite, and Honeyboy Edwards.

Bob Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased, 1989-2006 includes a fitting solo-acoustic version of Johnson’s “32-20 Blues”.

Cream’s The Very Best of Cream has an excellent cover version of Johnson’s “Crossroads”. 


Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes

somethingwickedI’ve gone back and forth on whether to give Something Wicked This Way Comes four or five stars on Goodreads. Not that it’s a really important decision. What made me think so much about it is how corny it is, especially at the end, though that corniness is part of its charm, why it’s so good. Which is why I decided on five stars.

Anyway. I first read this book when I was 14, or so, the same age as the protagonists. I had just moved to New Orleans and just started high school, and I was right in the middle of that awkward teenager phase. I totally understood this book from the Will and Jim’s perspective. I’m so glad I read it then so I could come back as an adult to read it again. It’s told from a nostalgic point of view, by an adult. Now I understand that end, too, and I like it all the more.

It’s about two young teenagers, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, and Will’s dad, Charles. Will is content to let his life go on as it is, as it should, but Jim can’t wait to grow up and hit twenty. Charles, who is fifty, would like to be younger so he can relate better to his son. Everyone in town wants something he or she isn’t supposed to have. Then a carnival appears overnight, late in the year for one. And it’s not an ordinary carnival: something’s off. Jim and Will visit one night and stick around afterward. They get into trouble when they see a carousel that’s somehow magic. Mr. Dark and Mr. Cooger, the carnival’s owners, seem to be after them, and strange things start happening all over town.

So I’ve already said that I like this book, and I think I’m lucky to have read it twice like I did. It really is good: just keep in mind that it’s supposed to be a little corny. Isn’t most nostalgia somehow corny? If you’ve read it before and it’s been a few years, pick it up again. If you know a teenager, suggest this one, as it’s really worth reading. And it’s a nice, fast read, which I needed after A Game of Thrones and before the inevitable A Clash of Kings. Next, I think I’ll relive another chunk of my childhood with The Catcher in the Rye.


Music Recommendation: GRRR! by The Rolling Stones

I know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do!

The Rolling Stones, arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. To commemorate this occasion they released GRRR! in November 2012.

My dad was a huge fan of The Rolling Stones. He still talks about listening to them and Jimi Hendrix on his transistor radio in Plain Dealing, LA back in the 1960’s. He was lucky enough to see The Stones when they played the Hirsch Youth Center in 1965. Man, I wish I could have been there with him!     

GRRR! contains 40 of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs of all time. My personal favorites include “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Honky Tonk Women”, and “Beast of Burden”. If you are like me, sometimes you need that cheesy/gritty type of music that The Stones are simply the best at. I cannot listen to the opening chords of “Tumbling Dice” without wondering how Keith Richards is capable of making a guitar sound like melting butter. These songs are that good!

GRRR! was released in numerous formats. You can check out the two-disc version from Shreve Memorial Library.

You might also enjoy these selections:

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