Monday, December 31, 2012

A Dirty Job

Book Jacket for: A dirty jobA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore is a fun book.  It basically has a death personification plot – so it’s fantasy.  It’s set in San Francisco and follows the adventures of Charlie Asher as he copes with his wife’s death in childbirth and then the bizarre onset of mysterious powers.  Powers he develops and powers he sees arise in his daughter.  A diverting book, I recommend it.

TOW (& Answer)…

Book Jacket for: Gemstones of the worldLet’s answer the question what colors does beryl come in?

Beryl is a gemstone.  It comes in emerald, aquamarine, gold-yellow, yellow-green, pink, and colorless.

This question (and answer) were found on p. 96 of Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann.  The book was published in 1999 by the Sterling Publishing Group.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Events for the Week of December 31…

Not much going on this week at the library.  First be aware that our hours are changed for this week.  On Monday (12/31) we will be open from 10-5.  We will be closed on Tuesday (1/1).  Our hours will return to normal on Wednesday.

Things going on at the library this week include:
  • LACMA Teen Art Class on Wednesday (1/2) at 4:00
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (1/4) at 3:30
You can always check the Branch Page ( on the LAPL website for upcoming events or check out the Master Calendar ( where you can search for something specific across multiple branches.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Necromancing the Stone

Book Jacket for: Necromancing the stoneNecromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the second in a series.  While it makes sense as a stand alone it is even better if read after reading book 1: Hold Me Closer.  The book follows the adventures of Sam LaCroix a newly minted necromancer as he deals with the perils and tribulations he finds all around.  The series is not deep but it is entertaining.   

Recommended for anyone looking for a bit of diversion.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Powerspeak Languages…

Are you interested in learning another language?  Give the Powerspeak Languages database a try.  This database provides online language learning in Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, ESL Spanish, and ESL Mandarin - through a series of stories, activities and innovative learning tools.  You will need to make an account once you’ve clicked in so that it can remember what you’ve done and let you pick up right where you left off on your last visit.  You will find the database on the library’s Research & Homework page (  If you are logging in from a non-library computer you will need your library card number.  It is a great alternative to CD or tape sets.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trivia of the Week…

This week’s question is what colors does beryl come in?

Arroyo Book Club Selection for January…

Book Jacket for: The disappearing spoon : and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elementsJanuary is a non-fiction month.  This time I thought we’d turn our attention to science so we’ll be reading The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.  In this book the author collects interesting tales of discovery that revolve around the elements and the periodic table.  Pick up a copy at the library and join us for discussion on January 26th at 3:00.

By the way, if you’re curious about what books we’ve read over the years take a look at our LAPL Reads book list ( The list includes every book we’ve ever read.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Events for the Week of December 24…

Not much going on this week at the library.  First be aware that our hours are changed for this week.  We will be closed on Monday (12/24) and Tuesday (12/25).  For the remainder of the week our hours will be 12:30-5:30 each day. 

Things going on at the library this week include:
  • Word Processing Basics Class on Wednesday (12/26) at 12:30
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (12/28) at 3:30
  • Friendly Scrabble Competition (bring your board) on Saturday (12/29) at 2:00
You can always check the Branch Page ( on the LAPL website for upcoming events or check out the Master Calendar ( where you can search for something specific across multiple branches.

TOW (& Answer)...

Book Jacket for: The complete gods and goddesses of ancient EgyptThe Question was – Who/What is Wepwawet? 

The Answer is - Wepwawet was one of the oldest of Egypt’s jackal gods.  Evidence indicates that the god probably originated in the region of Upper Egypt.  His name translates as “opener of the ways” which can be interpreted in a number of ways.  He was usually depicted in the form of a jackal and occasionally as a jackal headed man.

The question (and answer) were found on page 191 of The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson.  The book was published by Thames & Hudson in 2003.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Daughter of the Sword

Book Jacket for: Daughter of the sword : a novel of the fated bladesDaughter of the Sword by Steve Bein is an interesting blend of police procedural and historical with a little tiny bit of fantasy thrown in & is set in Japan.  The book is told in alternating chapters so it is not a historical police novel but rather alternates between the historical story and the modern investigation.    In the modern section a police detective, Mariko Oshiro, is investigating an attempted robbery of a Samurai sword that soon spins into something bigger.  In the historic sections the story of 3 “fated” swords is followed (all of which come to be involved in the modern investigation).  The historic sections cover a number of different times in Japanese history from 1308 ce up to World War II.

The book was actually quite interesting for its depiction of Japanese life both in the past and now.  I found the historical sections more interesting then the modern ones but enjoyed the modern sections too.  Definitely a book I’d recommend taking a look at.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

History of Highland Park...

This article ( from the 3/16/1984 edition of the Highland Park Journal talks about the history of the Ebell Club, a cultural landmark since 1913 (as the article’s title notes).  Read this article for a fascinating look at the origins and work of the Ebell Club.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Book Jacket for: ExistenceDavid Brin has a new work out with Existence.  This is a broad novel exploring the world of the relatively near future.  As such it almost has more to say as commentary of where we currently are as a society then it does as a tale of where we might be in 100 years time.  Brin has written this sort of near future exploration before, I’m thinking of his novel Earth, and has done a better job.  This isn’t bad and if you’ve liked his other books you’ll like this one.  I wouldn’t, however, start someone new to his work here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Events for the Week of December 17…

Things going on at the library this week include:
  • Baby & Toddler Storytime on Wednesday (12/19) at 10:30
  • LACMA Art Class for Teens also on Wednesday at 4:00
  • LACMA Art Class for Kids & Families on Thursday (12/20) at 4:00
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (12/21) at 3:30
  • Movie Screening (teen friendly flick) on Saturday (12/22) at 11:00
  • Arroyo Book Club also on Saturday (12/22) at 3:00
The children’s librarian is running an extra-special movie week all this week.  Stop by each day at 2:00 for an exciting new movie.  Call the branch for details.

You can always check the Branch Page ( on the LAPL website for upcoming events or check out the Master Calendar ( where you can search for something specific across multiple branches.

TOW (and Answer)...

The week’s question was: who was Mary E. Foy?  Well Mary E. Foy was the City Librarian of Los Angeles from 1880 to 1884.  To quote an interesting tale from the book we got this question from:
“Being informed by her mother that the position was open, and that it might be a good idea to try at obtaining it, Miss Foy betook herself to the City Hall.  She knew most of the members of the council but she did not make the mistake of asking any of the councilmen, whom she knew to be committed to various other candidates, to change their minds.  Instead, she merely asked each of them to support her as his second choice in case of deadlock.  This, as she had suspected, is exactly what occurred, and Mary Foy was appointed as the compromise candidate.”
 Interestingly enough, she was just 18 years old at the time.

The question (& answer) were taken from the book The City Librarians of Los Angeles by John D. Bruckman. The book was published by the Los Angeles Library Association in 1973 and we looked at p. 16-17.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What's a Dog For?

Book Jacket for: What's a dog for? : the surprising history, science, philosophy, and politics of man's best friendWhat’s a Dog For: The Surprising History, Science,Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend by John Homans explores the dog from a number of different perspectives.  Some of the chapters are quite fascinating while others grow a bit maudlin. 

All in all I would recommend this book for browsing through… picking out the chapters that are interesting to you and skipping those that do not appeal to you specifically.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are you a car hobbyist?  Do you like to do your own repair work?  Do you like to know what the mechanic is talking about when she suggests some work?  Try the Chiltonlibrary database.  Their description says:
 ChiltonLibrary provides exclusive photographs, diagnostics designed by instructors, step-by-step repair procedures, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) maintenance schedules, wiring diagrams, recalls and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for automobiles and light trucks…
Like all databases, you access it from the library’s database page ( and if you’re not working from a library computer you will be prompted for your library card number and PIN before you’re in.  Once in you’ll essentially find the complete text of all the Chilton manuals that you are familiar with in book form available via the computer.  An easy drop down menu interface allows you to locate your specific make and model of car.  Once you’ve navigated into the section on your car you can browse the table of contents or use the text box to make a search.  An interesting feature I’ve found with this database is that they’ll include short little video clips demonstrating how to do a particular task in the text where they describe the same thing.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Book Jacket for: Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is an enticing read that provides a vertical bookstore, a mystery coded into books, a cult-like organization with aspirations to immortality, and, of course, Google.  Check it out for an amusing read that makes some thoughtful philosophical points.  Recommended.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scrabble Competition….

Do you love a good game of Scrabble?  I know I do.  In fact, I’m going to brag a bit here, I’m very, very good at it.  Now I’m sure competition level players can beat me easily, but most people – not so much. 

So, now that I’ve thrown down the gauntlet (and left myself open for total humiliation) --- how about joining us here at the library on Saturday, December 29 at 2:00 for a friendly game of Scrabble?  All skill levels are welcome, we’ll just start as many games as we have players for. 

By the way, bring your board if you have one so that we have enough to go around.

Trivia of the Week…

Our question for the week : who was Mary E. Foy?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blue Skies

Book Jacket for: Blue skiesBlue Skies by Robyn Carr was far better than I had thought it would be.  The reviews I read said that it was a chick-lit novel with distracting sidelines into the business of running an airline.  (The book follows the lives of three people two of whom are involved in starting up a new airline).  I, on the other had, found it a fascinating look at the process of running an airline in these post 9/11 days with a minor romance story on the side.

I would recommend it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Events for the Week of December 10…

Things going on at the library this week include:
  • Teen Council Meeting on Tuesday (12/11) at 4:00
  • Baby & Toddler Storytime on Wednesday (12/12) at 10:30
  • LACMA Art Class for Teens also on Wednesday at 4:00
  • LACMA Art Class for Kids & Families on Thursday (12/13) at 4:00
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (12/14) at 3:30
  • Computer Basics Class on Saturday (12/15) at 2:00
You can always check the searchable calendar of events on our website to keep abreast of programming at any of the branches of the Los Angeles Public Library.

TOW (Answer)….

The oldest residence in the city of Los Angeles is the Avila Adobe, built in 1818 by Francisco Avila.

The question (and answer) were taken from p. 90 of Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County by John R. Kielbasa.  The book was published by Dorrance Publishing in 1997.

Friday, December 7, 2012

History of Highland Park...

This 88-page pamphlet ( was put together by the Highland Park News Herald & Journal to commemorate Highland Park’s Diamond Jubilee.  It was published on 10/17/1963.  If you click into the document you will find that the entire thing was scanned so you can see advertisements and community well wishing in addition to a plethora of articles exploring many different aspects of Highland Park over the preceding 75 years.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Trial of Fallen Angels

[Medium bookjacket]The Trial of Fallen Angels by James Kimmel, Jr. is more of a philosophical exploration of the question of justice then it is a novel.  The author, however, uses the novel framework to explore this question right up to the end where things get seriously weird.  In the book, Brek Cutler, a lawyer, finds herself dead and stuck in a sort of antechamber to the afterlife where she is apparently supposed to work as a lawyer defending souls in final judgment.  Don’t worry too much about the plot though because that’s not really what the book’s about.  All in all it is an interesting book though I found the author had too much of a tendency to telegraph where things were going.  I think this is a relic of the fact that he’s really, really trying to make a philosophical point here and not as interested in telling a story.

This book is worth taking a look at if you like to explore questions of justice & don’t mind some religious overtones.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Apocalypse Codex

[Medium bookjacket]Charles Stross has a new Laundry Files novel out.  I gave it a shot even though I had found the previous entry in the series (The Fuller Memorandum) to be a bit disappointing.  I’m glad I did.  In The Apocalypse Codex, Stross returns to his previous standard of excellently written, quirkily plotted work. 

If you haven’t tried this series before pick up a copy of the Atrocity Archives and give it a go.  They mix spying with lovecraftian horror and IT nerds in a truly unique way.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trivia of the Week...

What is the oldest residence in the city of Los Angeles?  Bonus points – when was it built?

History of Highland Park…

Check out this letter to the editor ( about the need to collect the funds necessary to purchase the land where this library would eventually be built.  The letter was written in 1912.  I, for one, am glad they succeeded.

TOW (Answer)…

[Medium bookjacket]To answer this past week’s questions:

What are the top three countries by number of nuclear reactors (as of 2002)?  They are the United States, France, Japan.

What are the top three countries by percentage of electricity supplied by nuclear rectors?  They are Lithuania, France, Belgium.

The questions (and answers) were found on page 625 of the Discover Science Almanac published by Hyperion in 2003.