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Want to add some serious lit to your summer reading list? Here are some suggestions provided by Voice bookworm Karol Barske. And for the kids, we've got books chosen by San Francisco librarians Pam Ow and Carol Small. To check out a book's availability at the library, stop by your local branch or visit the library online at www.sfpl.org. Note: The Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street remains closed for renovation (until 2008). For a renovation update, e-mail Carol Small at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joyce Carol Oates' 36th novel, The Gravedigger's Daughter, tells the story of a woman whose life has been shaped by violence and betrayal--including the death of her mother at her father's hands.
- The three novellas in Rick Moody's Right Livelihoods are post-9/11 tales whose heroes include an office manager who suspects a conspiracy based on messages in a suggestion box and a journalist dealing with drug addiction after a dirty bomb has destroyed much of Manhattan.
- Two aging academics are reunited in a coastal town decades after their brief disastrous marriage, in The Sea Lady: A Late Romance by British author Margaret Drabble.
- In her historical novels Empress Orchid (2004) and The Last Empress (2007), Anchee Min uses first-person narrative to draw a sympathetic portrait of Empress Tzu Hsi, once derided by Westerners as China's "Dragon Lady."
- Psychologist Philip Zimbardo, mastermind of the 1971 "Stanford Prison Experiment" in which college students were randomly assigned to be guards or inmates, examines The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
- In Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West, Beatrice Hohenegger traces the history, politics, and etiquette of tea from its accidental discovery in 2732 B.C. to its huge popularity today.
- Cognitive problems and their possible solutions are considered in Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife, by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin.
- Iris Chang's Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus tells the story of mid-century American pop songwriter Jerome Felder, creator of "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Viva Las Vegas."
--Karol Barske of the Voice staff
- Nancy Tafuri tells a cozy, rhymed story of Five Little Chicks and their search for food. Illustrated in Tafuri's characteristic bright style, this story is perfect for sharing with a young child. Ages 2 to 5.
- "'R,' roared the captain," as he ordered his motley pirate crew to find the other letters of the alphabet on the desert island and in the ocean, in Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC, by June Sobel, illustrated by Henry Cole. Ages 4 to 7.
- My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World is the subject of Gilles Bachelet's matter-of-factly-told story, skewered by his very humorous illustrations. His cat looks suspiciously like an elephant! Ages 4 to 8.
- Readers will agree that nothing beats baseball when they read about the special friendship and athletic abilities of Sam, a horse, and Jackson, a cat, in Roasted Peanuts by Tim Egan. Ages 5 to 8.
- Katharine McEwan's colorful pictures contribute to the zany fun of Allan Ahlberg's book about the Gaskitt family's misadventures in The Children Who Smelled a Rat. Dad chases the baby in a runaway shopping cart, the twins' teacher is not herself, Mom finds mysterious packages in her taxi, and Horace the cat is hypnotized by a bird. Ages 7 to 9.
--Pam Ow, Children's Librarian
Eureka ValleyHarvey Milk Memorial Branch Library
- Did you know that the White House in Washington, D.C., has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms? Did you know that our national bird, the bald eagle, is not really bald? These are just two of the fascinating facts you will learn if you read O, Say Can You See?: America's Symbols, Landmarks and Inspiring Words, by Sheila Keenan, illustrated by Ann Boyajian. Ages 7 to 10.
--Carol Small, Children's Librarian,
Noe ValleySally Brunn Branch Library
Lapsits and Story Time
- Come enjoy stories, songs, and finger plays with your baby or toddler at lapsits sponsored by the S.F. Library on Tuesdays, July 3, 17, and 24, at 10:15 a.m. Preschool story time, for children ages 3 to 5, follows at 11 a.m. Because the Noe Valley Library is closed for renovation, programs are held at Bethany Church, 1268 Sanchez Street at Clipper Street.
Sherrie's Puppets Sing Songs and Tell Stories
- Your little ones will enjoy meeting singer, storyteller, and puppeteer Sherrie Dobrott on Tuesday, July 10, at 10:30 a.m., at Bethany Church at Sanchez and Clipper.
It's Jump-Up Time with Chris Molla
- Chris Molla plays music that will make kids and moms and dads want to dance, starting at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31, at Bethany Church, 1268 Sanchez Street.