Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Great North Road

Book Jacket for: Great north roadThe Great North Road is a science fiction novel by Peter F. Hamilton.  This behemoth of a novel (more than 900 pages) is intricately and fabulously plotted.  I never really cared for the characters (I even found more than one of them downright obnoxious) but I never stopped reading the book because the events depicted kept me intrigued & drew me on.  Basically the story involves the near future (events are depicted 110-130 years up) and includes a possible serial killer, a possible avenging alien, catastrophes on more then one world, military expeditions, and the future of the human race in the universe.  All the myriad storylines are masterfully pulled together in the eventual resolution.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book.  I guess one benefit to not really liking the characters is that it doesn’t matter as much (and in some cases is even appreciated) when bad things happen to them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

History of Highland Park...

Check out this article ( from the 9/4/1975 edition of the Highland Park News Herald.  It examines the land boom that occurred in the area in 1887.  It mentions early streets & their layouts and prominent businesses and business fields of the time.  Interesting.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In February we will be reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta.  Now I haven’t yet read the book so let me start by providing the jacket copy here:
Book Jacket for: The leftovers   What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?    That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.
    Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne.  Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.  Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
     With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.
 Sound interesting?  Pick up a copy at the library and plan to join us in discussion on February 23 at 3:00.

Trivia of the Week...

This week’s trivia question comes to us from the world of science.  What is a radio interferometer, how is it used, & who invented it?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Events for the Week of January 28…

Things going on at the library during the week include:
  • Baby & Toddler Storytime on Wednesday (1/30) at 10:30
  • LACMA Art Class for Teens also on Wednesday at 4:00
  • LACMA Art Class for Kids & Families on Thursday (1/31) at 4:00
  • Desktop Publishing Basics also on Thursday.  It starts at 6:30
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (2/1) at 3:30
  • SAT Practice Test on Saturday (2/2) starting at 10:00
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: Dictionary of languages : the definitive reference to more than 400 languagesThis week’s trivia question was where is Sinhala spoken?  Sinhala is spoken in Sri Lanka.  It has approximately 12,000,000 speakers.  It is one of the Indo-Aryan languages and is separated from its linguistic relatives by hundreds of miles (the languages immediately neighboring Sri Lanka are Dravidian).  History (mythology) suggests that the language came to Sri Lanka with settlers in 504 BC.  Which linguists have concluded is probably close to the truth.

The question and answer are found on p. 558 of the book Dictionary of Languages by Andrew Dalby.  The book was published by Bloomsbury in 1998. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Universal Class

Universal Class is a new option from the library’s collection of electronic resources.  You will find it on the library’s database page (  It offers you the opportunity to take online classes in a wide range of subjects (they have more than 500 offerings).  Business, Career Training, Cooking, Real Estate, Crafts and Hobbies and Psychology are a few of the subjects covered by these classes.  Each class has an instructor who will answer your questions as well as evaluate & monitor your work.  Here’s your chance to learn something that interests you because you want to. 

Check out this document ( for more information.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Words and Rules

Book Jacket for: Words and rules : the ingredients of languageWords and Rules by Steven Pinker takes an exhaustive look at verbs and verb formation in an attempt to tease out some of the processes people are using when they use language.  Do we generate verb tenses by applying universal rules?  Do we simply memorize a list of all words & their related forms?  Are we doing some sort of mixture of the two?  Is the answer something else entirely?  How can we find out?  These are the questions Pinker is trying to address in this book.

I enjoyed the book but then I have a fascination for books about language and the process of language.  The book is quite technical & very detailed.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Events for the Week of January 21…

Please note that the library will be closed on Monday in Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Things going on at the library during the rest of the week include:
  • Baby & Toddler Storytime on Wednesday (1/23) at 10:30
  • LACMA Art Class for Teens also on Wednesday at 4:00
  • LACMA Art Class for Kids & Families on Thursday (1/24) at 4:00
  • Telescope Night also on Thursday.  It starts at 6:00
  • Drop in Computer Lab on Friday (1/25) at 3:30
  • Arroyo Book Club on Saturday (1/26) at 3:00
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: Dictionary of banking termsThis past week’s question was what is a lien?  Well, a lien is
 A “creditor’s claim against property to secure repayment of a debt.  A lien encumbers the borrower’s property pledged as security, up to the amount of the debt, and guarantees the lender’s right to collect payment through legal means…”
The question, and answer, were taken from p. 266 of the Dictionary of Banking Terms.  This book was edited by Thomas P. Fitch and published by Barron’s Educational Services in 1997.

Friday, January 18, 2013

History of Highland Park...

This article ( published in the Highland Park Journal on 3/3/1984 takes a good, solid look at the Judson Stained Glass studios.  The studios were founded in 1895 on Ave. 66 (and can still be found there today).  Read the article for a fascinating look at the Studios’ history and check out their website ( for some lovely images of their work these days.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Diana Wynne Jones…

Book Jacket for: Howl's moving castle [videorecording]
Diana Wynne Jones is an author of books aimed at the middle age child (4th grade through early high school).  She has always been one of my favorites.  I re-read her books even now as an adult and enjoy them just as much as I did when I first read them.  Her books are a nice mixture of whimsy, magic, and ordinary life.  If you saw that animated Miyazaki movie Howl’s Moving Castle a few years ago then you know Jones, the movie was based on her book.

Pick up some Jones titles for the children in your life & treat yourself by reading them too. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Websites I Use…

Martindale's Calculators ( provides an extensive list of available online calculators, spreadsheets and applets listed by subject.  This online collection of calculators contains over "24,425" Calculators & Spreadsheets, over "4,150" Courses, Lectures, Manuals, Handbooks, & "1,000's" of Movies, Videos, Simulations & Animations.  You can find these calculating applets in subjects ranging from agriculture through stocks/bonds to religion.  Kind of a fun site to browse around & learn things in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trivia of the Week...

What is a lien?

Skating on the Edge

Book Jacket for: Skating on the edgeIf you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich and are looking for something similar you might try Joelle Charbonneau’s Rebecca Robbins series.  The series is set in a small town in Illinois.  The narrator is Rebecca Robbins busy running the skating rink left to her by her mother when she is not involved in the shenanigans of her fellow townspeople.  It has the traditional slew of quirky characters, two potential love interests, and plenty of humor.  The latest entry is Skating on the Edge.   Here Rebecca investigates a number of separate mysteries all spurred by the death of a roller derby girl.

Worth looking at if you like light, humorous mysteries.

TOW (& Answer)...

This week’s question was what are some traditional wedding customs from Bohemia?  Some traditional wedding customs from that country include:
  • The groom gives the bride a rosary, a prayer book, a wide belt with three keys, a fur cap, and a silver wedding ring.
  • The bride gives the groom a shirt sewn with gold thread blended with colored silks and a wedding ring.
  • Guests each receive a handkerchief at the wedding breakfast.
  • Before the ceremony, the groomsman wraps the groom in the bride’s cloak to keep evil spirits from creeping in and dividing their two hearts.
  • The bride’s mother-in-law greets the bride outside her new home with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  After drinking, the bride tosses the glass over her shoulder; it is considered a good omen if it does not break.
The question (and answer) were taken from p. 19 of the Bride’s Book of Etiquette.  The book was published by The Berkeley Publishing Group in 1999.