Archive for December, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #49

The Agatha Awards (named after Agatha Christie, mystery writer extraordinaire) are given for material first published in the United States by a living author. They are specifically for more traditional mysteries (no sex/gore, generally amateur detective/localized setting). Next Thursday will be Christmas, so the library will be closed. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

13 Winners of the Agatha Award for Best Novel:
1. If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb (1995)

2. Up Jumps The Devil by Margaret Maron (1996)

3. The Devil In Music by Kate Ross (1997)

4. Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman (1998)

5. Mariner’s Compass by Earlene Fowler (1999)

6. Storm Track by Margaret Maron (2000)

7. Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen (2001)

8. You’ve Got Murder by Donna Andrews (2002)

9. Letter From Home by Carolyn Hart (2003)

10. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (2004)

11. The Body in the Snowdrift by Katherine Hall Page (2005)

12. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (2006)

13. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2007)

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With the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still in theaters now, I thought it would be fun to post a clip from youtube of the original 1951 version. In this clip, you can see what the spaceship landing looked like so many years ago, without the benefit of computers or the amazing special effects moviemakers have at their fingertips now. The original film was directed by the immensely talented Robert Wise and starred Michael Rennie as the peaceful alien invader, Klaatu. Michael Rennie, a British actor, was relatively new to Hollywood when he made this movie. I always enjoyed seeing Rennie in films; he was never a big star, but I think he’s a great actor. The very beautiful Patricia Neal plays Helen Benson in the film. She was a Fox contract player at the time, and while she is quite good in this movie, she would go on to be in some really excellent films. Hud and A Face in the Crowd come to mind. If you’re in the mood for some more classic sci-fi, you might also take a look at Howard Hawk’s 1951 film, The Thing from Another World and the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They’re old, yes, and the special effects may not be on par with what you’re used to, but the tension and suspense created by the superb storytelling is hard to beat.

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If you are a frequent visitor of Centerville Library, you might remember seeing Filene, a therapy dog from Ohlone Humane Society’s “Hug-a-Pet” Program. She visited our library a few times last year during the Read-With-Me hours. She has returned on December 9th and this time, brought along two of her friends–Kula and Ernie. Many of the Read-With-Me children had a great time reading to their special guests. Some visiting children also greeted the dogs and watched Filene perform her flip trick. “Please come again”, says Andrew. Here is the good news–yes, they will be back in 3 weeks. Non Read-With-Me participants are also welcome to read to the dogs. Just bring your favorite books between 4 and 5 P.M. on Janurary 6th, 2009.

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This video is originally from the NBC Nightly News, reporting on how libraries are becoming even more popular during the economic downturn. Makes sense to me.

Libraries Offer Free Relief from Tough Times:

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Review: Frederick


Frederick is a classic picture book by Leo Lionni, that features a mouse who gathers a different sort of provisions to help his family get through the long winter. Lest you think that this little mouse has not been popular, Frederick is a Caldecott Honor Book, an ALA Notable Children’s Book, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. Quite a lot of awards for such a little fellow! As you can likely tell from the cover, the full color art in this book appears to consist of photographed paper cut-outs. I love the effect that this creates. I especially enjoy Frederick on the cover and on the last page. Reading this story again, it strikes me as something that is obviously from the time in which it was published. The other mice seem willing to understand Frederick’s more cerebral contributions to their tangible preparations for the winter. I wish that we could get back to that way of thinking in our fast-paced, high stress world. As it is, reading Frederick reminds me that not everything important can be held in your hand. I know that’s a lot of conclusions to get from a children’s book, but once you’ve read it I think that you’ll see what I mean.

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Thursday Thirteen #48

Forty-seven Thursday Thirteens ago I did a list of folks who have played Sherlock Holmes. This week I’ve moved on to another often portrayed character: Dracula.

13 Actors Who Have Portrayed Dracula:
1. Bela LugosiDracula (1931) (“I never drink…wine.”)

2. Lon Chaney Jr.Son of Dracula (1943) (Called Son of Dracula, and yet it features a certain Count Alucard…)

3. John CarradineHouse of Dracula (1945) (Lon Chaney Jr. plays The Wolf Man in this one.)

4. Christopher LeeDracula (1958) (also in Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) and in a bunch of other films.)

5. David NivenVampira (1974) (a.k.a. Old Dracula.)

6. Peter LoewyDracula Bites the Big Apple (1979) (Mysteriously his only role listed in the IMDB…)

7. Klaus KinskiNosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) (Written and directed by Werner Herzog.)

8. George HamiltonLove at First Bite (1979) (I had no idea that 1979 was so full of Dracula. Also, George Hamilton as a night dweller??)

9. Jon Pertwee – In an episode of 3-2-1 called The Magic of Merlin (1985) (This is the only television episode I will list, but I couldn’t resist this one. Jon Pertwee (the 3rd Doctor from Doctor Who) as Count Dracula???)

10. Gary OldmanDracula (1992) (Not a films to watch with historical costume experts…as I discovered.)

11. Peter FondaNadja (1994) (Fonda also plays Dr. Van Helsing in this film that I still haven’t seen.)

12. Forrest J. AckermanAttack of the 60 Foot Centerfold (1995) (I’m including this one to honor the memory of the recently departed SciFi Fan extraordinaire, Forrest J. Ackerman.)

13. Richard RoxburghVan Helsing (2004) (Sexiest Van Helsing ever? You Decide.)

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heirapparent Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde is the book we are reading for The Centerville Kid’s Book Club ( Thursday 4-5). I was going to give a quick description, but Unshelved, a library on-line comic, give a great description here. Actually , if the you are between the ages of 10-15 and are looking for something to read , check out the book club pages at Unshelved every Sunday.

If you join us for the book discussion on Thursday,here are some questions to think about:

If you could have one of the magical objects in the game, which would you choose?

Do you think games can be dangerous? Why or Why not? Who should protect children from dangerous or violent games?

Jannine gets a number of chances to try again. Each time she ‘dies’ ,she does better. Have you ever wanted a ‘do-over’ ? Do you think you would do better if you had a second chance?

Join us Thursday form 4 to 5 at the Centerville Library.

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