Poetry at the Library

April is National Poetry Month.

One of my favorite ways to experience poetry is to hear it read aloud. OPL has a variety of audio recordings of poets reading their works which I've shared with you below, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Essential Hughes     Leaves of Grass    

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Lakeview Book Club Update: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

This blog is a random summary of comments from the Lakeview Book Club's December discussion of Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior.

Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver

There were eleven of us, including two new members, one who said she had been trying to get here for two years!

A little background about Barbara Kingsolver. She was born in 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland. She was raised in eastern Kentucky, where her options were to be a farmer or a farmer's wife. She knew she wanted out! She has a B.A. in biology and graduate degrees in biology and ecology. During her college years she also took writing courses, but she had been making up stories for her family since she was a child. Obviously, this story rings so true, because the themes and events have been an intimate part of her life.

Insomnia led her to write The Bean Trees, her first book. Her style was honed with journalism writing and science writing. She is aware of the need to compel in

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March

Place your holds now on these fantastic new books coming this month.

Book coverBook cover Boy Snow BirdBook cover Redeployment

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's time for spring planting! Check out our collection of gardening books to help plan your garden.

It's nearly spring and if you're a gardener that means time for spring planting. Although we haven't had much rain this year, that doesn't mean you have to forgo your garden.  Oakland Public Library has many books featuring drought tolerant plants as well as books written specifically for Bay Area gardening by local gardeners and urban homesteaders. 

If you're new to gardening or have questions about planting, The Alameda County Master Gardener's website is a great place to find information, including a monthly planting guide.  The USDA PLANTS Database is also a useful resource and includes information about plant classification, as well as plant sheets and fact guides.

And don't forget that the Chavez and Dimond branches both have seed libraries where you can check out

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Boxer or Saint?

I know that we're only in February, but these are the best books I've read all year. Yang's Boxers & Saints are both epic and dramatic and cinematic. I skipped House of Cards to finish these books and that's saying a lot.

Boxers / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
Saints / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
 
 
I know that we're only in February, but this is the best book (actually two books) I'

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Lakeview Book Club Update: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Notes from the Lakeview Book Club Meeting about Edith Wharton's, The House of Mirth

Eight of us discussed House of Mirth and all seemed to really like it a great deal. We agreed that the writing was wonderful and many quotes were shared that pointed out Edith Wharton's fabulous writing style.

Our discussion leader came with a noted biography of Edith Wharton written by Louis Auchincloss, which she passed around so we could see photos of Edith, her home, her husband, her friends and her style of living. Edith Wharton was born a few blocks from Teddy Roosevelt and was of the same incredibly wealthy class of Americans as Teddy Roosevelt. She lived most of her life abroad, (One aside comment was that she may have had to, because her books put her class in a bad light.) During World War I she was involved with raising money from her wealthy friends to aid Belgian refugees and other needed charities. She received the French Legion of Honor for her good works during that war.

 She started writing as a child. Her education was

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

Here's a preview of some great new books arriving in February.

Cover of Kinder Than SolitudeCover of BarkCover of Good Luck

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January is National Hobby Month

Looking for a new hobby in the new year? Check out OPL's offerings.

Although I don't make new year's resolutions, like many people I usually spend the month of January planning and thinking about new hobbies or interests I'd like to pursue throughout the year.  With that in mind, I've highlighted some books covering a range of topics to help you follow your passion and develop a new hobby. 

So, if you've been thinking about starting a blog or making your own spirits or if you're curious about that strange looking bird in your back yard that wakes you up every morning or even if you've ever wondered how a magician makes a 10,000 pound elephant disappear, there's a book for you. 

     

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A Valentine for Jim Dale

To my dearest, favorite narrator Jim Dale, Your voice is like buttered velvet, but not in a gross way. Will you please read the phone book to me?

The plan for this blog post was to reflect on the impressive audiobooks that have come out over the past year, as nominations for the 2014 Audie awards have just closed.  Then I realized that there's really only one voice actor that I hold dear (besides Neil Gaiman, of course, I can listen to him read source code), and that's Jim Dale, ahem, MBE

Dearest Jim Dale,

Your voice is like buttered velvet, but not in a gross way.  Actually, that's a terrible description, what I mean is that your voice is complex and sophisticated and terribly pleasing. Will you please read the phone book to me?  

For me, what makes a great book even better is superior narration, and I'm a big fan of Jim Dale.  With every word, I'm more convinced that our world is filled with magic and wonder.  He seems to almost 

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Lakeview Book Club Update: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Review of the Lakeview Book Club Discussion of Ernest Hemingway's A Farwell to Arms.

Wow, what a Meeting! I think I counted nine of us there to discuss A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

Where to begin? Our discussion leader sent out an email asking us to think before the meeting about:

  • The body of literary ciriticism characteriizes this book as an enduring American classic. Why?
  • Prose style. Can you describe, find examples, and compare to other genres or writers?
  • Are there character traits of this author that are brought to the fore in the writing?

As usual there were reports on the life of our author. Several members took extensive notes of passages that were memorable in their ideas or in the writing style...either in a positive or negative way.

Most of the group read the entire book. A few didn't finish it and one did not read it and did not plan to read it after we had discussed it.

Regarding liking it or not, a few didn't

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