Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Comics Themes in iGoogle

If you use iGoogle for your homepage, they now offer custom themes to crank up your page a little. There are now several comic-themed pages including Peanuts, Wildstorm, DC Comics, and Superman.

To see a complete listing of iGoogle comics themes click this link tinyurl.com/md4be5.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter

The following is an article re-posted from Mashable.

Twitter is a great way to connect with others who share your interests or offer information you value. There are Twitter users covering virtually every niche out there. Writers and authors are no exception. Below you’ll find a listing of more than 100 authors active on Twitter (Twitter).
One very apparent trend is that some authors only plug their books or related products in their tweets and never provide any other information. These authors were culled from the list in favor of those writers who are trying to carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they might find valuable, whether it directly benefits them or not. After all, why would I want to follow someone who only tries to sell me something?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life Between the Keys The (Mis)Adventures of the 5 Browns by the 5 Browns

The 5 Browns are five siblings who are all gifted pianists and all trained at Julliard in classical music. This is their story told by themselves. Each one of them authors alternate chapters with memories and impressions. To be so good and successful they began their musical training when very young. They had to decide to commit their lives to practice, training and musical excellence. Their parents are not musicians but they supported the children in their pursuits. The five have not been out of Julliard very long so their memories are fresh of their time and experiences there. Included are their memories of being in New York City not far from the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Connie Goodwin spent years reading and studying the history of colonial America. When she became a candidate for the doctoral program at Harvard she needed to find a primary source for her dissertation. About that time her mother asked her to clean out Granna's house in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to sell for back taxes. Connie was amazed to find that it was built years ago and had never been electrified. She also discovered many bottles and pots with dead plants and vines in the house and some unusual plants and vines in the garden. Her search through books in the house revealed the name of Deliverance Dane. Further research suggested that Deliverance Dane lived during the 1600s in Salem. Was she a witch? This story alternates chapters set in 1691 in Marblehead and Salem, Mass., and 1991 in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass. If Connie could find Deliverance Dane's physick book she would have an amazing source for her research and her reputation. What are the chances of such a book surviving to 1991? Connie's advisor was also interested in the book. Somehow he seemed too interested. Katherine Howe is a real historian and did much research before writing the historical fiction. The reality behind the story was her family connection to the Salem witch trials. Before reading this book I had not thought much about the Salem witch trials or the people accused of being witches. Were the tests done on and to the accused valid or were they prompted by superstition or differing religious beliefs? Were people who came to America for religious freedom requiring everyone to believe the same and act the same or else face punishment? Were the people accused of witchcraft really using home remedies to treat physical ailments? Read the story and then the author's comments at the end of the book. Form your own opinion as to what really happened.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"AnyColor" Add-On for Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the browser I use for 99% of my online activities. On its best day it's much more secure than its competitors, but the big reason I choose Firefox is the limitless customization. Firefox is open source, so a user community has grown that develops its own custom themes, skins, colors, and add-ons, which are then offered for free to Firefox users.

One small drawback to custom user themes is that when Firefox is updated, like recently to version 3.5, the theme I was using is no longer compatible with the updated browser.

Theme creators are usually not far behind in getting their add-ons up to speed, but if you need more than the default grey browser until then, install the AnyColor add-on.

With Anycolor, you can choose from several pre-set color themes that are usually always compatible with any version, and the "Appearance" tab in AnyColor allows you to custom set colors with a palette control, or even use public streams from Flickr as your theme.

To get AnyColor, open Firefox and click TOOLS-->ADD-ONS, then type AnyColor in the add-on search bar.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

We have SO many new Teen books on our shelves right now!

Here is just a sampling - come and get 'em!

Frontier Magic Book 1: The Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede 18-year-old Eff must finally get over believing she is bad luck & accept that her special training in Aphrikan magic, & being the twin of the seventh son of a seventh son, give her extraordinary power to combat magical creatures that threaten settlements on the western frontier.

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann In 1986, when 17-year-old Daniel's father arrives in Madison, Wisconsin, after five years of torture as a political prisoner in Chile, Daniel & his 18-year-old "gringa" girlfriend, Courtney, use different methods to help this bitter, self-destructive stranger who yearns to return home & continue his work.

Jack Tumor by Anthony McGowan 14-year-old Hector, suffering from severe headaches, is diagnosed with a brain tumor which speaks in his head, calling itself Jack Tumor & making an effort to improve Hector's home life, increase his popularity, & win him a girlfriend before the operation that will mean the end of one or both of them.

The Joy of Spooking Book 1: Fiendish Deeds by P.J. Bracegirdle As 11-year-old Joy Wells, proud resident of the nearly-abandoned town of Spooking, tries to stop construction of a water park in a bog she believes is home to a monster & the setting of her favorite horror story, a man with his own mysterious connection to Spooking will do anything to stop her.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison 17-year-old Annika tries to cheer up her little brother Jeremy before his surgery to remove a cancerous tumor by bringing home his favorite television actor, Steve Raleigh, the star of "Teen Robin Hood."

Third Annual FOHO Blockbuster Book Sale!

Friday, August 14 - Monday, August 17

Friends of the Homewood Public Library are planning their Third Annual FOHO Book Sale in August. Special donations of books are being reserved for this sale. These books have never been seen in the bookstore and will not be revealed until the first day of the sale.

Bring your book donations to the Homewood Public Library now, so that we can make this the largest sale in the history of the Homewood Public Library.

Join us Friday night for the opening event. Get first choice of the books, enjoy light refreshments, and have a great time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get your tickets for the Children's Summer Reading Finale!

The Children's Summer Reading Finale on Tuesday July 28th at 10:30 is a TICKETED event! Summer readers who are registered here www.homewood.lib.al.us/TCL/summerReadingForms/summerReadingReg.asp can pick up their tickets in the Children's Department between Sunday July 19th and Saturday July 25th.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NewSouth Books to publish the Alabama Big Read edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Montgomery, Alabama—It doesn't happen often, according to Molly Thomas-Hicks at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), that a regionally based publishing house is selected to publish a work for its Big Read program. So NewSouth Books was especially honored to learn that it had been named to publish an Alabama edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain for the NEA’s 2010 Big Read. Thanks go to the NEA and to many folks in Alabama for identifying NewSouth as the publisher of choice, including Patty A. Pilkerton at UAB’s Mervyn H. Sterne Library; Jay Lamar, director of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill; and to all nine Alabama Big Read regional coordinators.

NewSouth's edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is unabridged and annotated. It features a letter from Alabama Governor Bob Riley, foreword by local Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben, and includes the NEA Reader's Guide. The book will be available for purchase in trade cloth and paperback on September 1, 2009.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens.

According to Pat Ryan, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative and member of the Statewide Big Read Committee, this is Alabama’s first statewide Big Read.

Adds Jay Lamar, director of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Auburn University: “The Big Read in Alabama is a unique and wonderful opportunity for the state to be a model for the nation. The production of an Alabama edition of Tom Sawyer, complete with AUM professor and Twain expert Alan Gribben's contextualizing essay and the reader's guide materials, commemorates the project. NewSouth Books, an Alabama-based company that has long contributed significantly to our state's arts and letters, has done a great service to all the participants in Alabama's Big Read by producing this unique and beautiful volume and by making it available to all Big Read participants.”

NewSouth Books is a leading independent publisher based in Alabama. It publishes regional books of national merit. Recent award-winning titles include The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement by Bob Zellner, winner of the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award, and A Yellow Watermelon by Ted Dunagan, winner of the Georgia Author of the Year Award for young adult fiction. Other recent noteworthy titles include Nobody But the People, an authorized biography of former Governor John Patterson by Warren Trest, and Spit, Scarey Ann and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another by celebrated storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. Forthcoming shortly: a memoir called Teddy’s Child: Growing Up In the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars, by Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton.

For more information about the Alabama Big Read edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or NewSouth Books, call 334-834-3556 or go to the NewSouth website at www.newsouthbooks.com. Tom Sawyer will be available to libraries, schools, and by retail to the general public.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Mermaid in the Basement a Lady Trent Mystery by Gilbert Morris

In London, 1857, the Newton family was part of the peerage and the genteel society. Dr. Newton had raised his daughter, Serafina, to be a scientist and very serious minded. Her sister, Dora, and brother, Clive, were neither logically minded or serious. Clive was more fun loving which is why he spent time with the actors and actresses at the Old Vic theatre. He was especially attracted to the actress Kate and he was often seen and heard giving her his attentions. Therefore, it was no surprise when Clive was arrested by the Superintendent and Inspector of Scotland Yard for the murder of Kate. Clive had wanted Kate and when she treated him badly he had been heard threatening to kill her. This was an upsetting blow to the Newton family and Serafina vowed to investigate and do whatever possible to see her brother released and to find the real murderer. She soon realized that she was unfamiliar with most of London life and districts so she enlisted the help of one of the actors who was acquainted with the London of the lower classes. Though the evidence against Clive was great and it seemed a simple case, Serafina and Dylan Tremayne were not easily discouraged. Along the way Serafina and Dora learned to value another side of life which until recently was not known to them.

Teen Rock Band Tournament @ HPL, Summer '09

Teens rocked out with their friends at our Wii Rock Band Tournament! Some brought their own bands and some formed bands at the program. Prizes were awarded for the winning band and individuals!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

51 Essential Programs For A Freeware Only PC

I was browsing online for a free audio converter and ran into this site, 51 Essential Programs For A Freeware Only PC at www.freewaremission.com. This page was published almost a year ago, but most links are still working. Here you can find media editors, partitioning utilities, anti-virus programs, and drive cleaners, all free!

Free software is great, and there are quality open-source tools out there, but always be cautious installing any software you're unfamiliar with to your PC, especially if you run a home network. Viruses and other mal-ware programs are often packaged as legit products.

Whenever I find free tools, I usually go to www.cnet.com and search for a review of the product before installing. CNet's reviews are very reliable and CNet also provides safer links for downloading free software.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Romantic Beach Reads - we've got 'em!

Paperback romances are perfect books to take to the beach because they are compact, light-weight & easily fit into purses or beach bags. Just click the links below to reserve in the catalog & drop by to pick them up!

    So here are some suggestions for terrific summer reading.

    If you like fantasy, try Truly, Madly Viking by Sandra Hill, which features a time-traveling Viking. Or Thoroughly Kissed by Kristine Grayson, a modern variant of the Sleeping Beauty story. Finding Mr. Right by Emily Carmichael, is about a vet & a photographer/dog rescuer who meet over a stray dog who is the reincarnation of a woman with a big debt to repay. In Patricia Gaffney's Outlaw in Paradise, a lovely saloon-keeper falls in love with a gunslinger. At least, she thinks he's a gunslinger. Isn't he?

    The heroic exploits of Whip Montana, in Geralyn Dawson's The Kissing Stars, have made him a folk hero among the people of west Texas, but to Tess Cameron he is no hero at all, he's the husband who walked out on her twelve long years ago. Mason St. Clair in Elizabeth Boyle's No Marriage of Convenience needs to marry a fortune, & quickly -- however, he falls in love with an actress who's definitely in debt. In Victoria Alexander's The Husband List, it is Lady Gillian Marley who must marry & within two months, or else she forfeits her inheritance. So she proposes to Richard, Lord Shelbrooke -- but finds he wants more than a marriage of convenience. In Susan Andersen's contemporary romance, All Shook Up, JD Carver comes into an unexpected inheritance -- part of a resort lodge in the state of Washington. He also falls in love with his new co-owner. Lady Sophia Howard, in Jill Barnett's Wicked, has lots of money for her dowry, but this medieval heroine wants Sir Tobin, the knight she's betrothed to, to love her for herself, not just her money.

    And finally, some of the early titles of Jennifer Crusie are coming out in reprint. Keep your eyes peeled for Getting Rid of Bradley -- but don't read it on an airplane sitting next to your 15-year-old son. You'll laugh so hard you'll embarrass him. ~by Ann Bouricius for Novelist

Shmoop wants to make you a better lover...

“Shmoop www.shmoop.com wants to make you a better lover (of literature, history, poetry and writing). See many sides to the argument. Find your writing groove. Understand how lit and history are relevant today. We want to show your brain a good time.” 

You gotta love a website that seeks to make literature relevant “for students in the digital age!” Shmoop, created by Ph.D. and Masters students from top universities, provides study guides for topics and titles in literature, U.S. history, and poetry. The guides are cited and have all the information you need to write a paper or study a topic further. And several of the Assigned Summer Reading titles are on Shmoop!!

Here are a few of Ms. Heather's favorite things about Shmoop: 
•  Did you know? These are fun facts and information that your teacher may or may not bring up in class. Read ‘em, learn ‘em, and wow your teacher on your next essay!
•  Study Questions & Test Review: Shmoop doesn't stop at just giving you the information; they even help you prep for your test with in-depth reviews and questions that will help you ace that exam!
•  Book Club: This section takes a current book (Twilight was featured when I last looked) and does the breakdown on it just as Shmoop does on the classics and required books.
•  Opinions: I can't say it any better than Shmoop did: “Welcome to Shmoop Opinions! We created Shmoop Opinions for students, teachers, and others to explore ideas, debate perspectives, and learn from each other. Use Opinions to challenge yourself, see multiple sides of an argument, and fall in love (with history, literature, and poetry).”
~from Shmoop's website & Heather Miller, Teen Librarian

Library and information resources at AVL!

Need a reference for that research paper, or you'd like to leisurely read Sports Illustrated, Time or Newsweek? Considering the purchase of a new appliance and you're looking for Consumer Reports? Curious about a prescription drug, or your son needs to access the Encyclopedia Britannica or an Oxford reference book? You can find all this and other essential library and information resources at AVL! Download an AVL brochure for more information. Apply for your FREE AVL card at the Circulation Desk.

There is no fee charged for this service. AVL resources are provided to all Alabama citizens through funding from their tax dollars.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Murder on Astor Place A Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson

1893 New York City
Sarah Brandt, midwife, learned of the murder of Alicia Van Damm when checking on a patient at the home of Mrs. Higgins. This was also when she met Detective Sergant Frank Malloy of the New York Police Department. Sarah had arrived at the boardinghouse while the police were just examining the body, the surroundings and questioning possible witnesses. Mrs. Brandt was questioned, too, since she had been there the previous day attending to Mrs. Higgins and had actually seen Alicia. The more Detective Malloy spoke with Sarah the more he realized that her background and connections could be helpful to him in the investigation of the murder. So began this unlikely association of a midwife and a detective. In the course of this historical mystery we are plunged into the realities of corruption of the NYPD of that day, the tenements and lower class, the habits and secrets of high society, daily life communications, transportation and cooking. Whether Alicia's murderer would even be pursued was in question unless rewards were posted and police paid off. Or maybe people of influence would keep the police from investigating it. But Sarah was determined to discover who killed Alicia and why.