Monday, November 24, 2014

The Kraken Project

Douglas Preston has once again wrote another thriller, The Kraken Project, that hopes to keep you spellbound as it did myself. This is the first time ever reading anything by Preston, so when I read the review for this novel I thought how can a computer bot run away from its computer programmer? It seems a little far-fetched but it did pique my interest into reading it. 

NASA is building a space probe that would explore the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on the Saturn's great moon. Melissa Shepherd, a computer programmer for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, has created a self-modifying Artificial Intelligence (AI) software named "Dorothy" that would be used in this space exploration exhibition. During the ongoing research and development, catastrophe hits and Dorothy escapes into the horrific wasteland of the Internet. Retired CIA agent Wyman Ford and Shepherd have to find this rogue software before a pair of Wall Street traders who want to capture her code and turn her into a high speed bot. As the pursuit of Dorothy converges on a deserted house on the coast of Northern California, can Ford rescue Dorothy before she annihilates mankind?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Latest Freading Newsletter

FREADING EBOOKS NEWSLETTER- OCTOBER 9, 2014
 
WHAT IF?
*#1 New York Times Best Seller
By Randall Monroe
*Amazon.com "Best Book of The Month" September 2014
*#1 "Most Wished For" book on Amazon.com
Are fire tornadoes really possible? What would happen if the earth stopped spinning? The many readers of the exceedingly popular web-comic "xkcd" send in all kinds of questions to it's creator, Randall Monroe. The former NASA robotocist has all the answers. This brand new publication includes never before seen quandaries and the responses that are as funny as they are informative. 
 
AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DIGITAL FORMAT
 
*Some Trees is a winner of the Yale Younger Poet's Prize
According to a September 2014 article in the New York Times, the first time Pulitzer-Prize winning poet John Ashbery saw his work in digital format, he was so taken aback that the books were withdrawn. At the time, there were no line breaks and his work did not at all appear as it was written. Fortunately for everyone, he has given the format a second chance, and he seems to be satisfied by his choice. Upon the final agreement of Mr. Ashbery's works being put into ebook form, Robert Polito, the President of the Poetry Foundation commented "John Ashbery is our T.S. Elliot, our Gertrude Stein. It is vital that his work be authoritatively available in as many formats as possible." His books are now on Freading for downloading.
 
FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES
By Charles M. Blow
*A New York Observer "Top Ten Books of The Fall" pick
*A BookRiot "Five Books to Watch For in September" pick
The astounding memoir of New York Times Columnist Charles M. Blow and his childhood in Louisiana. It's a story of poverty, fear, racism, anger, and also love. Mr. Blow's story teaches us that you always have to believe in yourself, even at the darkest of times.
 
"A luminous memoir"- Alice Walker
 
"Brave and powerful"
- Publisher's Weekly
 
"Ferocious...heartbreaking beauty"- Writersbone.com
 
         DEBUT FICTION
 
What if you could know your romantic future? Would you want to know? Or would you continue your life as it is?  In the magical debut novel by Gregory Shirl entitled "The Future for Curious People", the author envisions a time when a doctor can put your name into a computer, along with that of your mate, and tell you if it's a good match.
 
"Comic and exuberant...a fine and tender tale"
- Author Rhonda Riley
 
"Entertaining"- Kirkus Reviews
 
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         SHARE THE NEWS !
Share this newsletter on your website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Use the link below to share the view in your browser:
 
 
 
 
BOOKS BY ALICE HOFFMAN
Best-selling author Alice Hoffman has had her amazing work published in twenty different languages all over the world. Her short fiction and non-fiction have been published in The New YorkTimes, Architectural Digest, and The Boston GlobeMagazine. Her novels have received notable mentions from Library Journal, The New York Timesand People Magazine among others. Multiple novels from Ms. Hoffman are now available on Freading. Just a few of them are highlighted below.
 
 
At Risk
Stunning novel that tells the story of a family fractured by illness and how life can stop any of us in our tracks at anytime.
 
"deeply impressive...powerful"- Newsweek
"Compassionate...this is a serious, honest novel"-Village Voice
"Brilliant"- The Chicago Tribune
 
Illumination Night
Set in summertime on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. It is the story of several seemingly ordinary lives that are intertwined in unexpected ways.
 
"Daringly mixing comedy with tragedy...a narrative that somehow makes a myth out of the sticky complexities of contemporary marriage...her characters are branded into one's memory"- The New York Times Book Review
" Reading an authentic prose stylist of high order is an uncommon privilege"- The Boston Globe
 
Property Of
The narrator is a lonely, intelligent 17-year-old girl who feels like an outsider and just wants to belong. She joins a street gang in her attempt to feel a part of something.
 
"A reader is in good hands with Alice Hoffman, able to count on many pleasures"- USA Today
"She is a born storyteller"-Entertainment Weekly
 
Fortune's Daughter
A young woman is abandoned by her boyfriend when he discovers she is pregnant. The girl hopes to find comfort in visit to a fortune teller but does not know that her visit will start a new chain of events in the fortune teller's life.
 
"Breathtaking...heartwarming...intimate and lovely"- People Magazine
"One of those rare books that isn't comparable to other books at all"
- The Boston Herald
" A seductive exploration of the nature of friendship, the exquisite presence of beauty and magic"- Publishers Weekly
 
                                STUDY HELP
If you or someone in your life is currently a student, don't forget that Freading has a profusion of exceptionally helpful study guides in addition to many titles at that are required reading. Need help studying for that exam about World War I or writing an essay about The Great Gatsby? Sparknotes are like tutors that are available to you 24 hours a day. 
 
     
 
TELEVISION HISTORY
Fall is back to school time, but it is also a time when brand new television programs are aired. Some shows become a part of our cultural history, others might just simply be a way to tune out the troubles of your day. These books are fun, but also an informative look at a world-wide form of entertainment and communication that most of us have access to. 
 
Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live
By Doug Hill & Jeff Weingrad
SNL was a groundbreaking show when it started, and it made stars out of comics that are now legends of their craft such as Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi and Eddie Murphy. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make the show happen. This book takes you there.
 
"It reads like a thriller and it may be the best book ever written about television"- The Associated Press
 
"An engrossing, compulsively readable history"
- Library Journal
 
Show Me The Funny
by Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis
Have you ever watched a favorite television program and wondered how the writers keep coming up with such interesting or funny lines week after week? This book brings together the brilliant minds behind incredibly successful, top shows such as Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond among others. The writers are put in a room together to deal with an assignment they have no previous knowledge of,  so there is no previous preparation for it. You get a front row seat as to what happens by reading this book.
 
"Clever and educational...a testament to the creative process"-An Amazon.com reader review
 
The Oprah Effect
by Nancy Mehagian
Whether or not you watched Oprah Winfrey's show, and whether or not you actually like her, there is no denying she is an incredibly successful woman who may have a few ideas that we can all learn a little bit from. This book compiles a thoughtful list of lessons to take away from her show, and from the woman herself. One of the stories that stayed with me was an entry written by a man who used to work for Oprah. He was not a high man on the totem pole by any means and saw her infrequently. He still learned from her. What he took away is that Oprah is not the empire we know today by pretending she can do it all herself. She is nice to everyone, she makes a point to know something about everyone, tries to help whomever she can, and she lets people help her. She builds her support system around her.
 
"inspirational..powerful, life changing lessons"- An Amazon.com reader review
 
Sitcom
by Saul Austerlitz
Captivating and entertaining book on the history of the Sitcom and the changes that have occurred from The Dick Van Dyke Show, to M*A*S*H, all the way to Seinfeld and 30 Rock.
 
"A smart new book"- The New Yorker
"Astute and bursting with information"- Kirkus Reviews
"A compulsively readable and often laugh-out-loud study of the American sitcom"- Library Journal
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed, portrays a sweeping story of love, adventure, and discovery. From the 18th Century, The Signature of All Things follow the fortunes of the Whitaker family. Alma, a clear minded botanist, who inherits her father's fortune and his brilliant mind, falls in love with Ambrose Pike, an Utopian artist. Gilbert takes you on an adventure across the globe  from London to Tahiti to Peru to Philadelphia and beyond. The novel is peopled with many unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, and astronomers. Alma born into the Age of Enlightenment then bears witness to the Industrial Revolution and realizes that extraordinary moment when old assumptions burst into dangerous new ideas.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Snake Man in Brookhaven!

Just minutes ago, Ms. Donna introduced the snake man who is doing his program now for hundreds of excited children and parents.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles--Review by Lynn Richardson

Thanks to Lynn Richardson for providing this great review of Greg Iles' latest thriller, Natchez Burning. After reading her review, I can't wait to check it out!

I really do hate to sound trite, but this book is really a page turner. Be warned, it is long, 788 pages. But worth every minute spent reading it. I confess, no housework or cooking got done until I had finished it. This is the first of a trilogy and it is going to be hard to wait for the next two books. The writer left a number of characters in place for more books. The setting is present day, but the past of the civil rights era of the early sixties is what started the events in play. The early murders of civil rights activists in Ms., and La. and the murders of the informants who infiltrated the KKK. Some of the references are based on fact and others are inspired by real cases. The present day and they are set in the present, bad guys are very believable and are just as evil as the old KKK. In fact, some are descendants of the early members of the Klan. The plot involves a reporter who has focused on three fictional murders in Ferriday,La. in the early sixties. He has done a great deal of research, talked to friends and family members of the victims and is trying to bring FBI attention to these cases. This threatens the people who committed the crimes, so he talks to attorney Penn Cage, who has been featured in earlier works by the author. When he finds out his father may have been somehow involved with one of the victims, he decides to help the reporter. Things go downhill from that point and his father is accused of a mercy killing of one of his patients. She was a nurse who had worked for his father for some years, then moved to Chicago. She had come back to Natchez very ill with cancer and was being treated by Penn Cage's father. If I write much more, it will give away too much of the plot and you would not have to read the book. Since this is a book that is really enjoyable I will say no more, just happy reading and read slowly. Lynn Richardson

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fizz, Boom, Read

The children's summer reading program at the Franklin County Public Library was literally a blast during the month of June. This year's reading program was Fizz, Boom, Read. 

Every Wednesday, the children enjoyed taking on science in a BIG way with our science theme. Mississippi State University Extension Service set up work stations and discussed colors, food, and the environment. Meadville native and 5th grade science teacher, Lequinda Washington shared many exciting experiments with the children. The children especially enjoyed the exploding sea foam experiment.

Several children participated in our robot contest by either drawing, coloring, or making their own robot. Those who participated in the contest received a small prize. 

We had a tremendous turnout this year with over 100 children enrolled and hope to see more next year!






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I often think of "modern classics" as those books I read in school but didn't like. Studying three novels a week per class (with several classes per semester) made it difficult to really pay much attention to anything but what would work well in my next essay. One of the wonderful gifts of old age is that we can return to some of those blurred works and actually pay attention. Reading East of Eden recently was a wonderful experience of a great book by a great author which deserved much more attention that it got in my 20th century novel class.

East of Eden is often relegated to a lower status than Grapes of Wrath in Steinbeck's cannon, but it is without a doubt a masterwork. Steinbeck's writing is superb. His characters are absolutely true to life. His settings and descriptions put the reader in exactly that place at exactly that time. Perhaps the only slight weakness of the book is the scatter shot plotting and its daunting length.

Based on the Book of Genesis, East of Eden is the multi-generational study of two families as they move across the country and through time. While the literary references and symbolism may seem at times a little heavy handed, they add much depth for the careful reader. Through these families, the book present a wonderful picture of America as it grew and matured along with its citizens. Steinbeck gives us a deep study of what it means to be human in the most classical sense through his very "modern" novel.

If you haven't read East of Eden, please don't hold the James Dean movie against it--it really is a great book. And if you haven't read books from the canon of American literature since college, please take the time to really read a few giving them the attention they deserve. They deserve their fame!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

Ever since moving to Mississippi I've heard that the Delta is its own special world. Driving through it, you see that it is a land of cotton fields and swamps, churches and blues joints. But people told me, it isn't the geography that makes it different it's the people. They are different. They don't live in the same world we do. Reading Being Dead Is No Excuse by and about Delta people will help you understand just what "eccentricity" means.

Even the book format is eccentric. Short humorous chapters about the people and social events of the Delta are followed by party recipes commonly served at funerals. The writing is light and the juxtaposition of social grace and careless decadence leads to irony laid on with a trowel. And a hint: the most important element in any Delta social event (including funerals) is a well-stocked bar.

This book is total fluff, but it is fun to read these catty Delta ladies skewering their closest friends and neighbors. The recipes tend to include lots of canned soup and cake mix, but as long as the bar is well stocked, nobody seems to notice.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

The Long Fall is the first book in Walter Mosley's Leonid McGill series. Mosley leaves Easy Rollins and Los Angeles behind and moves to New York with former prizefighter and current P.I. McGill. McGill has lots of baggage, and his biggest problem is that he wants to be good and do the right thing. Somehow, that seems almost impossible in McGill's world.

Temptation is everywhere in 21st century New York. McGill is old school and more that slightly connected with some really bad guys. His attempt to go straight is stymied by some seemingly innocent jobs that turn out to be much more complicated than expected. In addition, McGill's ex-wife and children add to the drama and his beautiful landlady is something of a siren, calling him into additional complications that he really doesn't need but really, really wants.

Mosley is one of the best crime writers. His books combine grit with colorful characters whose imperfections often include a heart of gold.

Burn by Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr's 16th Anna Pigeon novel is a much darker and more violent study than her earlier books. Here Anna is in New Orleans after Katrina and deals with the dark side of humanity--including horrific child abuse.

In Burn, Anna is on leave from her job to recover from emotional wounds that are taking much longer to heal than her physical ones. She goes to visit her park service friend Geneva who is a singer in the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Anna finds herself immersed in world filled with evil that she simply can't ignore. She gets involved in situations that are not what they seem to be on the surface, but are much more evil than they seemed at first.

I am one of Nevada Barr's biggest fans, however some of her newer books are losing long time readers because they have become so filled with evil and foreboding. I also miss the wonderful descriptions of glorious landscapes--including cityscapes--that here take a back seat to the ruminations on evil and depravity. Still, I enjoyed this book because of Barr's great storytelling and her use of language. It would just be nice to have a little more sunshine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Franklin County Public Library Receives Special Recognition

Franklin County Public Library received special recognition from the U.S. Forest Service for helping hunters obtain permits to hunt with dogs on the Homochitto National Forest. For many years, landowners and leaseholders near the Homochitto National Forest have suffered having dogs turned out on private land from non-local deer hunters. Starting in the 2011 hunting season, the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and U.S Forest Service passed a permit system for dog-deer hunters. The online permit system runs from November 1 through January 31 and requires that all dog hunting groups or individuals hunting with dogs obtain a permit to hunt any animal or to train dogs on areas open to hunting on Homochitto National Forest. Many hunters who needed the permit would come by the Library for assistance. It is just one of many services that the Library provides to the residents of Franklin County.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Divine Milieu by Teilhard de Chardin

Following my recent reading about one of my favorite writers, Walker Percy, I felt I had to look into one of his favorites: Teilhard de Chardin.

Teilhard de Chardin was a French Jesuit monk who was also a scientist--a combination Percy, as an MD and an artist with a spiritual bent himself, would understand. Pere Teilhard did extensive research and fieldwork in the fields of human paleontology and geology in the early 20th century, contributing to the advancement of the theory of evolution. He viewed his scientific research as an act of worship, as developing the awareness of Christ as the center of the universe and the entirety of the universe.

The Divine Milieu is probably Pere Teilhard's most important spiritual book. Here he addresses the spirit and the role of the world in the spirit. This book is extremely heavy going. It is definitely not the book to bring to the beach, but a careful reading will be repaid with a much greater insight into what our place in the world is and ought to be.

The library does not currently have a hard copy of The Divine Milieu (I re-read the dog-eared paperback I bought for an undergraduate philosophy class many, many, many years ago), however it is available free as an e-book here.

And speaking of e-books, if you haven't explored our collection of e-books available for check out, please visit our web page and sign up! With vacation season here, you'll find it is much easier to carry around a reader with e-books than a stack of hardbacks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie

As we near Easter, I have completed my "assigned reading" for lent: The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie. The reading was assigned by me to me to help celebrate the season of patience and waiting that is lent. Subtitled, "An American Pilgrimage," the book is a collective biography of four of the greatest 20th century American Christian writers. Elie's theme is that these four were on a great pilgrimage in life to more fully know the love of God and their fellow humans.

The four authors are the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, the founder of the Catholic Worker Dorothy Day, the southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor and physician and philosopher (and Mississippian) Walker Percy.

Elie's excellent book presents these important thinkers not as saints, but as humans with many weaknesses to overcome who are aspiring to make the world better through their love of God. The book is long and occasionally a little tough going, but it is well worth not just reading but studying in depth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brookhaven Children's Room Taking Shape

The renovation of the children's room of the Lincoln County Public Library in Brookhaven is in high gear now! The walls have been painted, the furnishings returned from the refinisher and the new furniture installed. While a few new surprises haven't arrived yet, the room is almost "ready for its close-up."



Friday, April 4, 2014

61 Hours by Lee Child

The fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series are among the most devoted in all of series novels. On the surface, Reacher seems an unbelievable character--in addition to being frighteningly intelligent and strong, he is a Christ-like figure with his refusal to own any possessions and his devotion to charity.

While these characteristics would seem to make a character into a caricature, in Child's capable hands, Reacher becomes not only real but extremely likable.

And while Child has created a character that has a legion of fans, his writing is also in the first rate of thriller writers.

In 61 Hours, Reacher has hitched a ride on a tour bus traveling through the northern tier of states during the coldest time of the year. Of course, the bus crashes and the elderly tourist are saved by Reacher and the local police. While stranded in a small town in South Dakota, Reacher is enlisted by the locals to solve an international crime that reaches from South Dakota to Mexico and Russia via the CIA and the Pentagon.

Child's Reacher books have been described as "airport thrillers." And while I suspect those critics mean that as an insult, I think it is a great description--the books are fast moving, exciting and well written with believable characters that the reader cares about. If you like thrillers and haven't discovered Jack Reacher, do yourself a favor and pick up any of the books.