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Library Blog

Information on events, library related happenings, and other deep thoughts from our library staff.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff was especially interesting to read while history was recently being made in Egypt. Schiff sifts through centuries of conflicting accounts to extract the lady from the legend. What emerges is an epic biography of a woman who was more sage than seductress; “formidable, spirited, disciplined and resourceful” and an era when women enjoyed legal autonomy over 2,000 years before “women’s lib” entered our vernacular.

Cleopatra by Stacy Shiff is currently #5 on the New York Times list for best-selling nonfiction. Schiff's 1999 book, Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Beirut by Samir Kassir

Interested in the history of Beirut, known as the "Paris of the East" ? Check out the new book Beirut by Samir Kassir.

"Widely praised as the definitive history of Beirut, this is the story of a city that has stood at the crossroads of Mediterranean civilization for more than four thousand years. The last major work completed by Samir Kassir before his tragic death in 2005, Beirut is a tour de force that takes the reader from the ancient to the modern world, offering a dazzling panorama of the city's Seleucid, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French incarnations. Kassir vividly describes Beirut's spectacular growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, concentrating on its emergence after the Second World War as a cosmopolitan capital until its near destruction during the devastating Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. Generously illustrated and eloquently written, Beirut illuminates contemporary issues of modernity and democracy while at the same time memorably recreating the atmosphere of one of the world's most picturesque, dynamic, and resilient cities." University of California Press

Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Something to Blog About

Shawna's great article about blogs was too extensive to feature in its entirety in our Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Connections, our elementary education newsletter. So here is the unabridged version.


Blogs are public journals which are viewed in reverse chronological order and can be on any subject the author wishes to discuss. Depending on the creator, posts might be made daily, weekly, or monthly. They are a wonderful and entertaining way to stay up-to-date on any subject of interest to you. The Hoover Public Library’s blog,, includes posts on upcoming events and book reviews. Here is a short list of blogs on children’s literature. You’re sure to find something to fall in love with.

Author/Illustrator blogs
Tom Angleberger and Sam T. Riddleburger:
Eoin Colfer:
Sharon Kay Creech:
Jessica Day George:
Ingrid Law:
Wendy Mass:
Pat Mora:
Ian Schoenherr:
Jonathan Stroud:
Mo Willems:

Book Review Blogs
"Great Kid Books" -- A blog dedicated to books for children ages 4-14

"Kiddosphere" -- A youth service librarian's book reviews for children and teen books.

"Rebecca Young Books" -- One school librarian's blog reviewing books for children

"Kids Lit" -- Reviews of books for toddlers to teens.

"Tweendom" -- Reviews of books for tweens.

"Good Comcis for Kids" -- Comic book reviews from School Library Journal

"I.N.K." -- I.N.K. stands for Interesting Nonfiction for Kids, which says it all

"Reading Tribe" -- Book reviews from

"Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast" -- Includes book reviews and interviews

More Children's Literature Blogs

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance blog

Book reviews, author and illustrator interviews, and more!

Everything relating to children's literature. Be sure to check out the Caldecott predictions.

Fun ways to get kids excited about reading and writing.

Discussions and book reviews on African-American children's literature

A guide to Latino children's literature.

A site for discussing Asian children's and young adult literature and the people who create it

Discusses the way Native Americans are portrayed in children's literature

Covers all aspects of Caribbean children's and young adult literature


A blog about multiculturalism in books.

Book recommendations and tips for reading to children

Maria Salvadore discusses how to use books "in and out of the classroom"



And if those aren't enough blogs for you, be sure to check out this list of the best children's literature blogs available on the web!

Katiem's picture

What does a librarian do on vacation?

What does a librarian do on vacation? Visit libraries of course!

Susan Spafford, Nonfiction Department Coordinator, recently cruised aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam to Curacao, a small island in the southern Caribbean. Besides enjoying the well-appointed library on the ship, she also visited the local library in Willemstad, the capital. Check out the photos below!

Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Opposing Viewpoints Expand Your Mind!

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” First Amendment to the US Constitution

“The basic foundation of our democracy is the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression. The Opposing Viewpoints Series is dedicated to the concept of this basic freedom and the idea that it is more important to practice it than to enshrine it.”

Every book in Greenhaven Press’s Opposing Viewpoints series begins with this simple statement. This series is perfect for anyone hoping to better understand the timely issues and debates we hear about in the news every day. Each book focuses on one controversial issue and features essays from notable voices from every side.

Nonfiction has several new Opposing Viewpoints titles now available for checkout! New titles include:

  • Globalization
  • Islamic Militancy
  • Censorship
  • Political Campaigns
  • Abortion
  • America’s Prisons
  • Biological Warfare
  • Gangs
  • Male and Female Roles
  • Global Warming
  • and more!
Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Nonfiction Graphic Novels of Joe Sacco

Joe Sacco is a Maltese-American comic artist and journalist that forged a name for himself by combining his love of drawing comics with his journalism education. While traveling in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he eventually wound up in the Middle East and did a series of comics called Palestine. After his travels in the Middle East, he visited Eastern Europe (specifically Sarajevo and Goražde in Bosnia) and chronicled his experiences there during the Bosnian War in books such as Safe Area Goražde.

Sacco’s works combine his journalism training with cartooning and his razor sharp wit. His works have earned him widespread recognition and accolades including the American Book Award, the Eisner Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

Hoover Library carries many of Sacco’s works and they’re worth checking out for a different take on non-fiction and journalism writing.

Safe Area Goražde - 949.7 SAC
Palestine: The Special Edition - 956.94054 SAC
Footnotes From Gaza - 956.04 SAC New Book
War's End: Profiles From Bosnia 1995-96 - 949.7 SAC
The Fixer and Other Stories - 949.7 SAC
Target Age: 
Joelg's picture

Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love

As a first-time homeowner and big fan of DIY, I am desperate for good solid advice on how to get things done in and around our new home. How exactly do you install an interior door? What’s the best way to choose paint colors? How long should the grass be cut? How often? Can we build a deck ourselves? How hard is it really? Above all of these concerns is the big question – How will our home and landscaping best fit our family’s personality and lifestyle? How do we want to live?

I love thinking about these questions and rely on the books at our library to lead me to new and exciting ideas. That’s why I’m so pleased to introduce you to Julie Moir Messervy’s new book Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love. It is truly the best book I’ve read on planning a landscape for your home. It discusses why landscaping matters at an individual and community level, and how Americans have become disconnected from nature and slave to the boring “democratic front lawn”.

The thing I like most is that this is a process book. It leads you through steps that help you to imagine and create a holistic landscaping plan that will fit your personality and neighborhood. Primary to the process is mapping out your property and noting characteristics like trees, good and bad views, prevailing winds, sun and shade. Small exercises help the reader hone in on design and style preferences. All of this is supplemented with plenty of good photographic examples.

For the first time, I’m thinking about my yard as a whole! Not just how one or two corners look and where I’m going to put the compost bin. Highly recommended for those with both big yards and small.


Target Age: 
Denio's picture

The Dardanelles Campaign

After listening to Joan Baez sing a wonderful rendition of the classic "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", my interest in the Dardanelles Campaign in the Turkish theater during WWI was sparked.

I checked out two new books on this subject and I suggest reading them both as I did. They are Dardanelles Disaster: Winston Churchill's Greatest Failure by Dan Van der Vat and Gallipoli: the End of the Myth by Robin Prior.

Also watch the library's DVD Gallipoli which is highly acclaimed and one of Mel Gibson's first movies.


The Dardanelles disaster : Winston Churchill's greatest failure / Dan van der Vat.
940.426 VAN.

Gallipoli : the end of the myth / Robin Prior.
940.426 PRI New Book.

Gallipoli / Paramount.

Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

When Australian reporter, Sarah Turnbull, was in her twenties she decided to take a year long leave of absence from her job and travel around Europe. While in Romania she had a chance encounter with a French attorney named Frederic. They had only one dinner together in a group of other people, but hit it off, and Frederic invited Sarah to visit him for a week or two in Paris. She hadn’t planned on going to Paris – but, her logic was that she was out for adventure; she liked him, so why not pursue it and see where it took her.

Well, that has been over twenty years ago and she is still in Paris and married to Frederic. Her book, Almost French, is a great read about her life in Paris as an expatriate adjusting to Frederic's culture, family and friends. Her candid experiences with the French and their acceptance, or unacceptance of her, in many cases gives the reader intelligent perspective on what living in France as a foreigner is like.

Americans have always heard that the Parisians’ are not as warm, friendly, and accepting of us as we would hope, and Ms. Turnbull gives background and history about their cultural practices and beliefs that help us in better understanding the French and she graciously offers advice on ways to bridge the gap between cultures. Most of all she encourages us not to take their rebuffs personally because they treat everyone the same way.

If you’re looking to get a true perspective on what an extended stay or short visit to Paris will be like, this would be a highly recommended book for you to read.

Since the book has been written, Sarah and Frederic have a precious little one named Oliver in their home. You can see the family by looking at their blog about a six-month caravan trip in Australia in 2008 online at


Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Check Out Our Magazines!

Many of the back issues of our popular magazines are available for a three-week checkout period. Popular subjects include business, cooking, crafts, entertainment, health, home decorating, home improvement, sports, travel and weddings. Several times a year, we purchase special interest magazines that are also available for checkout. These subjects range from cars to crafts to photography, sports, tattoos and cinematography.

Stop by the newstand on the Plaza to see the current issues of our magazines, though not all of our current issues are displayed there. Business magazines are displayed in the business area of the Nonfiction Department and Spanish language magazines are displayed in the Spanish area of the Fiction Department.

We are always happy to consider requests for new titles. If there is a title that you would like for us to consider, please fill out a comment card and drop it by the Nonfiction Deparment.

Target Age: 
Denio's picture