My Favorite Shorts

Short story collections.

I haven't had much time for reading lately so I've been checking out short stories by my favorite authors. Short stories are a good way to satisfy my reading needs without committing to a lengthy novel. They're also fun to read aloud in book clubs or to share with a loved one before going to sleep. And May is short story month so what better time to pick up a short story collection. I've listed some of my favorites below.

The Water Museum       

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Barbara Rhine’s List of Activist Fiction

Local author recommends her favorite “activist fiction.”

Oakland resident Barbara Rhine is a lawyer, activist and writer whose work has appeared in The SF Chronicle, Oakland Tribune and Counterpunch. Her vast personal history as an activist reaches back to her college years and has included participation in Martin Luther King’s demonstrations in Skokie, an attempt to travel to Cuba with a National Lawyers Guild delegation that ended in imprisonment and deportation from Mexico, and service as staff attorney with the United Farmworkers Union during the largest agricultural strike in California history.

So it comes as no surprise that the theme of social justice looms large in her 2014 novel Tell

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Fiction That Changed Our Lives

Sixteen transforming tales.

One of the fun things about being a librarian is getting juicy readers advisory questions, so when Rockridge librarian Emily Weak was asked by a young woman, "What fiction have you read that changed your life?” she instantly sprang into action, sending the query around the library system.  We nerded out about it for a while, giving it all the weight deserved by a question regarding the transformation of one’s very life. Emily compiled a list of nearly 100 titles. That ought to prepare our young friend for the rest of her life, no? Here is a mere sampling, with a focus on less current titles:

 

Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

 A rich epic

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in April 2016

We're looking forward to these April fiction releases.

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Let Us Help Your Garden Grow

OPL has new gardening books to help you with spring planting.

Spring is in the air and that means time for spring planting. We've received many new gardening books to help you plan and maintain your garden. If you need seeds to get your garden started, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland and the Chavez and Dimond branches all have seed libraries where you can choose from a selection of free vegetable and flower seeds.

If you need help determining which seeds to plant in the coming months, check out the The Alameda County Master Gardener's Seed Planting Guide.

Happy gardening

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Janet Dawson’s Favorite Crime Novels

Award-winning local author Janet Dawson recommends some of her favorite crime stories.

Janet Dawson is well known to local readers as the author of eleven novels featuring Oakland private investigator Jeri Howard. Jeri first appeared in the novel Kindred Crimes, which won the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America contest for best first private eye novel and was been nominated for the Shamus, Macavity and Anthony Awards.

Her newest series takes

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Go Big or Go Home

In praise of the very long novel.

Does a long book intimidate you? Can a high page count fill you with despair? Are you the one who slipped Cryptonomicon back onto the shelf? Read the Spark Notes for Great Expectations but not the book? Fear not! Some of the best fun you can have as a reader is with a long novel. Here's a not-so-long list of some juicy doorstoppers to try. You'll be staying up half the night turning pages in no time!

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March 2016

Wondering what to read next? Here are 10 great books coming out in March.

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Politics and Campaigning

New titles on the history of presidential campaigns and voting rights.

It's impossible to turn on the television or radio, log on to a computer or open a newspaper without hearing or reading about the presidential campaign. If you want to learn more about the history of presidential campaigns, the struggles for voting rights in the U.S., and even how comedians engage with political life, check out these new titles at OPL.

All descriptions are provided by the publishers.

Give us the Ballot    

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Remembering Harper Lee

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

Readers around the world were saddened Friday to learn about the death of author Harper Lee, beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Miss Lee died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, at the age of 89.

The fame that came her way after Mockingbird’s publication in 1960 took her completely by surprise, as did the Pulitzer Prize that followed, and the iconic film that came along in 1962. Miss Lee was never comfortable with the attention that came her way. She valued her privacy, rarely granting interviews.  She became, as New

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