Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marvelous Monday! : Sock Bunnies

Check out the cool sock bunnies we made yesterday!

The bunnies were easy to make, requiring only a sock, some rice, yarn, glue, and decorations.  Come in next Monday at 4:15 to see what we're doing!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Julie's Journal : Are you a re-reader?

Lately, I have been in a bit of a reading slump.  I am having the hardest time finding something new to read that I like.  I have read several books in the last couple of weeks, but none of them have really struck a chord with me.  In fact, to finish up the last few, I have found myself skimming large parts of the story, just so I could see how it ended and be done with it.  I think I may need to change my reading criteria because even the books that sound really good when I read the synopsis end up leaving me disappointed. 

However, when this happens, I like to go back and re-read some of my favorite books and authors.  I know that not everyone does this.  In fact, in my time working at the library I've had a chance to observe the reading habits of lots of people and my observation tells me that not many people enjoy re-reading books.  Many of our patrons actually mark our books with a small symbol in the back pages so that they know that they've read a book and don't accidentally check it out again.  (We don't mind.) 

I actually googled re-reading and found countless discussions about the pros and cons.  Readers seem to be firmly entrenched on one side or the other.  The main argument on the con side seems to be that there are so many books to read that a reader just doesn't have time to go back and re-read, which I certainly understand.  The argument on the pro side is that books have many different nuances that may need to be re-read to be properly digested. 

For me, re-reading is about knowing what book suits my current mood, and any discovering of new nuances is just a bonus.  I love knowing that if I loved a book the first time around, I can always go back and fall into its world again.  Some of my favorite books to re-read are:

The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery,

Anything by Grace Livingston Hill,

and of course the Harry Potter series.

Of course, I only re-read books that I truly loved the first time around.  Which camp are you in?  Are you a re-reader, or do you read a book once then never again? What types of books do you re-read?  For me, fiction lends itself to re-reading much more than non-fiction, but I'm sure other people have the opposite opinion.  Do you wait years between re-reads or can you re-read almost immediately?  Let me know in the comments below.   

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lisa at TLA

Lisa is in San Antonio this week for the annual Texas Library Association conference.  This morning she was very fortunate to get to meet James Patterson and get a signed copy of his new children's book House of Robots which won't come out until November! 

I haven't gotten to talk to her about it yet, but I know she's excited!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New York Times Bestseller List


1.       Power Play, by Danielle Steel

2.       Night Broken, by Patricia Briggs

3.       Be Careful What You Wish For, by Jeffrey Archer

4.       Stone Cold, by C.J. Box

5.       Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson

6.       The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

7.       The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

8.       The Bootlegger, by Clive Cussler

9.       Private L.A., by Mark T. Sullivan

10.   The Chase, by  Lee Goldberg

1.       10% Happier, by Dan Harris

2.       The Promise of a Pencil, by Adam Braun

3.       Uganda Be Kidding Me, by Chelsea Handler

4.       Killing Jesus, by Martin Dugard and Bill O’Reilly

5.       David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

6.       Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

7.       Not Cool, by Greg Gutfeld

8.       The Future of the Mind, by Michio Kaku

9.       Story of the Jews, by Simon Schama

10.   Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
Highlighted titles are available at Franklin County Library.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter in the Library!

It's that time of year again!  We've hidden Easter eggs all over the library!  Just come on in for your first Easter egg hunt of the season! 

All we ask is that you limit yourself to five eggs per day and that you return the empty eggs to the basket on the front counter.  All ages are welcome to hunt!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flat Stanley

Have you heard of the children's book Flat Stanley.  It tells the story of a boy who is crushed by a bulleting board in his sleep and wakes up flat.  In his new flat state he is able to go places and do things that regular "round" people can't.  He has many adventures!

Franklin County Library has several of the Flat Stanley books.  Recently, an article on USA Today's website caught Lisa's eye.  It tells the story of an elementary student who wrote a letter to a soldier and asked that he carry a cutout of Flat Stanley with him and then return him with a chronicle of his exploits.  The story of Stanley's adventure with the soldier is extraordinary as is his return to the young student.  Read the full article here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Debbie's Beekeeping Adventures!

Debbie is in her second year of beekeeping and last night she robbed her bees of their honey.  She has a few tips of what not to do when robbing your bees!

  1. Make sure your smoker doesn't go out!  She has a very swollen hand from the bee sting she got while trying to relight her smoker!
  2. Wear a bee suit and wear a long sleeve shirt and pants underneath the bee suit.
  3. Don't hurry!
  4. Wear boots and don't tuck your pants into your boots.  Rather, duct tape your pants to the outside of your boots.
  5. Have everything you need ready to go before you start.
Debbie is trying to keep all-natural bees without using any chemicals.  She says she doesn't want to keep them if she has to use chemicals because she doesn't want that stuff in her honey.

Right now, she has a swarm of bees hanging out in a tree in her yard.  They've been there for three days.  She says if anyone wants to come get them, they are welcome to them.  She doesn't have another hive to put them in. 

Debbie says that it is "just magic" when you open the hive and look at them.  Listening to her talk about bees and remembering my childhood when my dad kept bees has made me want to get into bees myself.  Maybe after I get the goats figured out!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tom's Two Cents: Some Great American Novels, and is there THE Great American Novel?

Everybody in America who writes has wanted to write, at one time or another, THE Great American Novel.  Has anybody done so?  I'm not sure, but if anyone has, it's probably Herman Melville with Moby Dick.  However, in a country as diverse as America, it's almost impossible to think of one novel as truly representative of our geography, our history, and our people, much less our "essence." There are also many great novels written by Americans but not about America.  The one I can think of right now is Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.

When I was in college, everyone I knew was trying to write like Hemingway.  Now I'm not at all sure that any of Hem's novels, set in Spain, Italy, Cuba, relate the American experience, whatever that may be.  Faulkner is much closer to the American Experience, but certainly his work is not representative of the Mid-west or Western Experience.  Americans in various regions have had different sorts of experiences and not all of it relates to the American experience as a whole.

Two 20th century novels of that kind do come to mind-- Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Dreiser's American Tragedy.  The former is beautifully written but perhaps has less to say than the latter, which, unfortunately, is not so beautifully written.  This brings us to another highly complex question--what is a great novel, American or otherwise?  We really have to deal with that before we can deal with the great American novel...

Apropos of the above, Gatsby is a classic example of style over substance, whereas American Tragedy is just the reverse.  Is this all that matters?   Well, hardly!  Novels, at least the so-called classics, are stories with characters that should matter, in some sense, good or bad, to the reader.  The stories are often compelling in themselves, but foremost in my mind are the characters, and what they think, feel, say and do.  Likewise, setting may provide its own contribution, which may be integral or peripheral.

Last, but surely not least, are the elements of tone, theme and style.  How does an author handle the emotional anchor of a book?  What does he/she really have to say about life, the cosmos, the human condition, or all of these?  And finally how does he choose to say it?  All of the above should be considered to a greater or lesser degree in the determining of greatness in any novel.  But more often than not, that is not the case--rather it's the total impact that the novel makes.

Such is the case with Moby Dick, perhaps not the Great American Novel, so much as the greatest novel yet written by an American.   Epic in scope, brilliant and Lear-like in its conception of its protagonist, Captain Ahab, compelling in its narrative, and so complex in its thematic interpretation that even today readers and scholars scratch their collective heads over its meaning, Moby Dick remains at the top of a very selective heap, but in the last analysis, does it really focus on the American Experience?  I'm not sure.

I do know that if you divide the above into certain areas or classifications, such as the American Experience in the great American West, you would certainly have to give very high marks to McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, one of the finest American novels I've read, though it has to do with our past rather than our present.  Nonetheless, it meets all my requirements for a great novel and then some!

The more I think about this, the more I would agree that there are certain restrictive categories that great American novels fall into, and that there is really no one novel that says it all.  Even Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, perhaps the two finest novelists of all time, couldn't grasp hold of the Russian Experience or Essence in one novel, and in some quirky ways, I find our two countries similar--not politically of course, but culturally and geographically.

As much as I would like to say that War and Peace says it all, it obviously doesn't speak to all people, not even all literary people.

Anyway, what in my estimation are the Great American novels?  At least up to 1950--I can't go much beyond that in ANY field of the arts--I would say:

The Scarlet Letter--our earliest great literary work

Moby Dick--need I say more?
The Adventures of Huck Finn--a literary avalanche

Portrait of a Lady--American in subtle ways
An American Tragedy--great in spite of itself
The Sound and the Fury--a precursor of the Moderns and Beyond? 

I don't feel qualified to say, given my biases!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Upcoming Calendar


what’s happening at

Franklin County Library

 April 1st – May 6th  Spring Computer Classes

                                    Tuesdays only at 5:30

May 29th – Recipe Exchange at 5:30


             June 17th – July 22

            Session  I  -  9:30 for ages 4-12

            Session II  -  11:00 for ages 4-12

            Session III -    1:00 for ages 13 – 17

            sign up will begin May 1st


             6th  - Bubble Day at 10:00 on the Plaza

            10th – Petting Zoo 10:00 – 12:00 on the Plaza

            12th – Pint-sized Polka – 3:00 at First Baptist Gym

           16th - Children's Concert - 2:00 at Mt. Vernon Music

             27th – Miki the Monkey – 2:00 FBC Gym



             11th – Whirled on a String – 2:00 FBC Gym

            18th – Dr. Flake-N-Stein – 2:00 FBC Gym

            25th – Ice Cream Sundaes – 10:00 on the Plaza



            1st – Watermelon Day – 10:00 on the Plaza



             2nd – 12th Craft Show

            11th – Craft Supply Swap – 5:30

            16th – October 21st  - Fall Computer Classes

                                                    Tuesdays only at 5:30

·         Marvelous Mondays will be every school Monday that the library is open at 4:15

·         The Seed Sharing Library is open all year

Monday, March 17, 2014

Julie's Journal : Around the Web

Today, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite websites.

As you might imagine, I read lots of book related blogs.  A few of my favorites are...
           Sarah Reads Too Much
           Entomology of a Bookworm
           The Classics Club
           Daily Cheap Reads - free and cheap books for Kindle

If you are like me, you are doing more and more of your shopping online.  In addition to my go-to website, amazon.com, I have recently discovered zulily.com.  Zulily offers womens', kid's, and home fashions.  It is separated into "stores", each of which are open for a short time.  After the "store" closes Zulily places an order for everything ordered from that store.  Although shipping speeds are not fast, they offer great discounts.  You can read more abut how Zulily works here

Speaking of Amazon, did you know that if you start out at smile.amazon.com rather than www.amazon.com you can donate .5% of your purchase total to the charity of your choice?  There are thousands of charities to choose from.  I chose Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. 

Do you have one of the new Pandora style charm bracelets?  I love mine, but can't afford genuine Pandora charms.  I use Bauble Lulu for cute charms in tons of styles.  If you sign up for e-mail notices they send good coupons.

For recipes, I go to Pinterest of course, but I also read a few cooking blogs.  For healthy recipes try Two Healthy Kitchens.  Their most current post is a healthy version of the Shamrock Shake.  Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.  For less than healthy recipes I like Butter with a Side of Bread.  Today's post is called Cookie Salad.  Sounds interesting to me!!

What are your favorite websites?  Where do you find yourself going everyday, sometimes more than once a day?  Let me know.  Your favorite might become one of my favorites, too!

Disclaimer : I am not affiliated with any of the above websites.  I just really like them!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Veteran's Interviews Going On Now!

We thank Jerry Hubbell for his interview along with 6 others that we have conducted so far.  We have about 45 more interviewees signed up.  If you know a veteran from Franklin County or one who lives in Franklin County now that we need to interview, let us know.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chance's Corner: Gravity

Of all the Oscar contenders for 2013, Gravity is the only one I've seen. Sad? Nah. Truth is, it's the only one I cared about seeing. I needed to know, was all that critical acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes (a site that amasses all critical scores for a movie and compiles them into a Rotten or Fresh status) just a bunch of hype? I mean, it has a 97% Fresh rating! That's CERTIFIED FRESH. While some might agree that it was a load of hype, I wholeheartedly disagree.

I believe that some might assume that this is just some action-packed space thriller with lots of explosions and popcorn-chugging cinema fun. It's not. Gravity is an experience. Sure, there is destruction and heavy doses of thriller-like elements, but that's not the central focus. Thematically, this film is about Dr. Ryan Stone's (Sandra Bullock) re-birth through adversity. And there's A LOT of adversity. There's space debris that lingers and attacks like Jaws every 90 minutes. There's lack of oxygen. There's out-of-control spiraling into space. Just A LOT. Sounds intense, which it is, but at times it comes slowly. Yes, there are slow parts, but thank goodness! Otherwise, Dr. Stone would of had a heart attack!

You may be asking, what do you mean that Gravity is an experience? Well, it's a mixture of hard and easy to explain. What really struck me was the use of sound. Of course, there is no sound in space, and that's how it's presented in this movie. It's silent... desolate... dark. There's a huge universe out there to explore, but it comes off as confined and claustrophobic. That doesn't mean there isn't any soundtrack (which is wonderful all in itself). Also, all the physics involved add to the overall experience. I could talk about it all day, but what you really need to do is watch it yourself and see what I mean.

Overall, Gravity swept away seven Oscars from the other contenders in the Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects categories. All were well deserved.

We have other Oscar winners here at the Franklin County Library such as Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine, The Great Gatsby and 12 Years a Slave. Of course we have the nominees such as Nebraska and Captain Phillips too.