| June 2010
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By Susan Higgins, Noe Valley Adult Services Librarian
How do you go about finding something good to read? There are plenty of strategies, from browsing the shelves at the library, to reading book reviews, to asking your friends for recommendations. Some people choose an author and read all of his or her works. Others pore over lists of literary awards, such as the Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, or the Nobel Prize. In addition to providing a big selection of books, the San Francisco Library also offers you tools to help you identify books and writers you will enjoy.
Browsing at the Library
When you're at the Noe Valley Library, you'll find the most recent acquisitions in the New Books areas. There are separate sections for fiction, non-fiction (including biographies), new mysteries, and new science fiction. The library often displays interesting older books you may have missed in the display area surrounding the stairwell.
Copies of current and past One City One Book and On the Same Page: San Francisco Reads selections are located in the display area next to the elevator. These books are a great resource when you're in a hurry and want to grab something entertaining or thought-provoking.
Bookmarks is a bimonthly magazine designed to provide readers with ideas for what to read next. It's full of book reviews, articles about contemporary authors, and lists of new and upcoming titles, readers' recommendations, and award-winners. Bookmarks also features profiles of book groups, where members share their favorite book selections. Issues are available in the library's magazine area.
Using Online Resources
You also can get help in making your choices at www.sfpl.org. Click on Books & Materials, then click on Reader's Corner. In addition to information on One City One Book and On the Same Page, you will see links to a variety of resources offering book reviews and recommendations.
From the New Books Shelves
To tide you over until your next visit to the library, here are a few books culled from Noe Valley's New Books shelves:
Fiction for Adults
* Lorrie Moore's first novel in 10 years, A Gate at the Stairs, tells the story of a Midwestern woman coming of age in the year after 9/11.
* First published in Arabic in 1966, Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies, is the story of a young man who returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan after years of study in Britain.
* Captain Jake Hines investigates an eastern European gang operating in Minnesota in Elizabeth Gunn's mystery The 10-Mile Trials.
* After 12 years at sea, a captain returns to the island of his birth, and to his wife, children, and lover in the award-winning book Swell by Ioanna Karystiani, translated by Konstantinos Matsoukas.
* A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates is the story of 16-year-old Katya and a much older, mysterious rich man.
* While Wallace and his wife are squeezed between raising children and looking after an elderly parent, they stake everything on a startup company in the darkly comic Life as a Sandwich by Eric Peterson.
Nonfiction for Adults
* Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, by Gordon Edgar, is an entertaining book about cheese and punk rock by the cheesemonger at San Francisco's Rainbow Grocery.
* Don't Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette, by Judith Bowman, provides practical, up-to-date tips on networking, meetings, presentations, email, travel, entertainment, and business attire.
* Fans of astronomy will enjoy the story of the reclassification of Pluto to dwarf planet in The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference, by Alan Boyle.
* Musician David Byrne pedals through cities around the U.S. and throughout the world and shares his observations in Bicycle Diaries.
* Trotsky: A Biography is the final book in a trilogy about the founding figures of the Soviet Union by Oxford University Russian history professor Robert Service.
* The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again, by Robert McChesney and John Nichols, offers hope for the resuscitation of journalism in the next decade.
New Books for Teens
* Going Bovine by Libba Bray, winner of the 2010 Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, tells the story of a 16-year-old slacker who sets off on a madcap road trip along with a punk angel, a dwarf sidekick, a yard gnome, and a mad scientist.
* Fantasy fans will enjoy exploring an alternate world that exists inside paintings in Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks.
* Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwasney is the story of three teenage girls from different generations who struggle to build better lives.
* Snap by Carol Snow combines romance, mystery, and the supernatural in a story about a teenage girl who discovers bizarre figures in the photos she has taken.
* Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron is a coming-of-age story about Sammy, a musician trying to keep his band together while also dealing with a grandfather's deteriorating health and a friend who wants to be his girlfriend.
New Picture Stories for Younger Children
* Sammy hates lima beans, so he buries them in the garden. Unfortunately, they turn into The Lima Bean Monster, by Dan Yaccarino.
* Ann and Paul Rand inspire children to think about how much there is to know in the world in I Know a Lot of Things.
* Children learn about conquering fears when Felix encounters some scary animals in Dark Night by Dorothée de Monfreid.
* Are there chairs to spare for pairs of bears who stare? Read Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau.
New Fiction for Older Children
* A father invents a robot to keep his daughter organized, in Margaret Chang's Celia's Robot.
* In Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Dembar Greene, Rebecca goes off to summer camp, where she has a secretive bunkmate. Meanwhile, a girl in camp goes missing.
* Helen Stringer's Spellbinder tells the story of 12-year-old Belladonna Johnson, who lives with the ghosts of her parents until one night all the ghosts of the world vanish.
* Twins Camille and Truman discover their grandmother is the gatekeeper to the frightening Breath World, in The Ever Breath by Julianna Baggott.
Paule Dominique shows how to soothe and relax your baby, at an infant massage class on Tuesday, June 8, 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Bring a blanket for your child. Space is limited.
Marine Mammal Center Visit
The Marine Mammal Center presents a hands-on look at the interdependence of animals, humans, the oceans, and the planet. Children of all ages are invited to this event on Tuesday, June 22, 4 to 4:45 p.m.
San Francisco Baykeeper
Learn about San Francisco Baykeeper, the pollution watchdog for San Francisco Bay, at a lecture and slide show on Tuesday, June 22, 7 to 8 p.m.
Films for Children
On Tuesday, June 15, the library will have two screenings of films for children to age 5, at 10:15 a.m. and at 11 a.m.
Spotlight on Shadow Puppets
On Tuesday, June 15, from 4 to 4:45 p.m., master puppeteer Daniel Barash and his cast of handmade puppets will use light and shadow to create magic.
Bubble Lady Blows
The celebrated Bubble Lady will thrill her audience with unexpected and unusual giant bubbles, on Tuesday, June 29, 3 to 3:45 p.m..
Toddlers 18 months to 3 years old will enjoy songs, rhymes, and finger play at Toddler Tales, held Tuesdays, June 1, 22, and 29, from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.
Preschool Story Time
Family Story Time, which features books, songs, and movement for kids 3 to 5--happens on Tuesdays, June 1, 22, and 29, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
Summer Reading programs for children and teens begin this month. Stop by the library to sign up.
All events take place at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey Street near Castro Street; 355-5707.