Thursday, April 28, 2011

I love those Pulitzer Prize winners!

     I don't know about you, but I'm already planning my summer reading.  For some reason, the warm weather makes me want to read more.  I know...most people do lots of their reading in the winter when they have to stay inside more.  But me...well, I just seem to love reading outside on my porch, in my favorite chair, with a big glass of cold iced tea, where every once in a while I can rest my eyes by looking at the tall green trees, the blue sky, and the puffy white clouds.
     For this summer I plan to do my reading from the Pulitzer Prize winners list for the past ten years.  I found just what I was looking for by checking out Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.  Believe me, I have some good reading I'll be doing.  Such as:
2000 - Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx, Waiting by Ha Jin.
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Blonde by Joyce Carol Oats, The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams.
2002 - Empire Falls by Richard Russo, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead.
2003 - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Servants of the Map: Stories by Andrea Barrett, You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett.
2004 - The Known World by Edward P. Jones, American Woman by Susan Choi, Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins.
2005 - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, An Unfinished Season by Ward Just, War Trash by Ha Jin.
2006 - March by Geraldine Brooks, The Bright Forever by Lee Martin, The March by E. L. Doctorow.
2007 - The Road by Cormac McCarthy, After This by Alice McDermott, The Echo Maker by Richard Powers.
2008 - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Shakespeare's Kitchen by Lore Segal, Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson.
2009 - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, All Souls by Christine Schutt, The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich.
2010 - Tinkers by Paul Harding, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet.
     So!  How about that list?  Surely, there is a Pulitzer Prize winner there for everyone to read.
     I noticed that Ha Jin is on that list twice.  I've made Waiting one of my books to read.  I think I'll put Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout on my list also.  And since I've read several other books on the list, I'll just have to ponder over what my third book will be.  It's really a toss up since I like Annie Proulx, Marianne Wiggins and Alice McDermott.  Maybe I should read Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, or The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, or American Woman by Susan Choi.
     Gee!  I didn't think it would be this hard to pick several Pulitzer Prize winners for my summer reading.  Hopefully by June 1st, I'll have my list completed and will be starting on my first book.
     I can hardly wait...comfortable chair on the front porch, big glass of cold iced tea, and a great read!  Couldn't ask for much more than that...unless it's lots of time to read!
     Join me!  Pick a winner and READ.
(Source: Wikipedia, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our 4th annual authors' event is here!

     We are down to the wire in finalizing our fourth annual authors' event!  From this point on, things will either be ready or very scarey.  You've probably been in a situation like that too.  So, we are going to take a deep breath and
     This Sunday, May 1st, "An Afternoon with the Authors" will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  The address (in the event you're in the vicinity) is 204 5th Street, Southeast.  You'll find us near McDonald's, Rose's Department Store, and the Museum for Colquitt County History.
     About 2 p.m. there will be an authors' group discussion in the adult reading area.  Our moderator, director Melody Jenkins, will ask the authors some interesting questions.  But better than that will be their interesting answers.
     After the discussion, the auditorium will be opened and the authors will move to their tables where the public can meet them, talk to them about their books, and purchase copies of their books.  This will be a good time to have the books autographed, too.  And remember, Mother's Day is coming up!
     There will be light refreshments of cookies, punch, and flavored tea.  A little something to soothe the stomach between lunch after church and supper time.
     As for those wonderful authors who will be on hand to talk to you, you're going to meet:
  • Jackie K. Cooper of Perry, Georgia.  He is the author of six books, the latest "Back to the Garden."  This book continues his series of short stories about life in the South as seen through his eyes.  He's not only an author, but a film critic, a guest speaker on radio and television, a teacher of writing memoirs, and one of the founders of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, as well as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
  • Patience Arline-Hicks and daughter Wendi Hicks of Moultrie.  This writing team has authored two children's books, "Old Mean Molly" and "Sitting on My Mama's Porch."  Patience holds a second Master of Education degree from Grand Canyon University in special education and is employed by Williams Middle School here in Moultrie.  Wendi graduated from Mercer University in Macon and is admission counselor at Virginia College.
  • Dean Poling of Valdosta is the author of "Waiting for Willie," which was nominated in the 46th annual Georgia Writers Association in the first novel category.  He's also written "Cowboy Boots and Pony Tales."  He is a multiple winner of the Georgia Press Association's first-place award for his serious and humorous newspaper columns.  Dean has been with The Valdosta Daily Times since 1989 and is the assistant managing editor.  He is also associate editor, contributing writer and photographer with Valdosta Scene magazine and teaches a "Learning in Retirement" creative writing class.
  • Niles Reddick of Tifton is the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's Vice President for Academic Affairs.  He recently published his second book, "Lead Me Home," which has been nominated this year for an award by the Georgia Writers Association in the category of first novel.  Dr. Reddick is originally from Hahira, and he uses the South Georgia towns of Pavo and Nashville for the book's setting.  His first book was a humorous short story collection titled "Road Kill Art and Other Oddities."
  • Cheryle Reeves of Moultrie is on staff at Moultrie's Heritage Church where she is the Discipleship and Connections Coordinator.  She said she originally wrote "Authentic Life" to be used as church-wide curriculum.  However, the book was later published as a companion piece to a marriage conference where she and her husband, Roy, served on a speaking team.
     And believe it or not, when our publicity went from Tallahassee to Tifton to Valdosta to Albany, and who knows where else, we had authors contact us to ask if they could be part of our 4th annual authors' event.  Of course, it was too late to add them to this year.  BUT, people!  I do believe we have our 5th annual already in the making.  Come see us Sunday and enjoy "An Afternoon with the Authors."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have you really looked at our website's home page?

     Stop!  You need to go back and look at our home page.  That's where you clicked onto the MCCLS Bookworm blog.  Have you noticed all those icons on the lefthand side of the page?  If not, you're really missing something.  Like...
     The Pines System Catalog.  That's where you can look for books and audios in not only our library, but the entire PINES library system.  You can check by title, author, keyword, etc.  Very useful when you're looking for that specific book or audio.
     Galileo, Georgia's Virtual Library.  I especially like to click on Books, Reading & Literature.  Then I click on Reader's Advisory.  From there I click on Novelist.  That's where I find book lists, adult fiction, authors, and much more.
     World Book Web.  You can find World Book Online for Kids, as well as an Information Finder and Reference Center.  And there's a Specialty Site in Spanish.
     Gale Testing and Education Reference Center.  This is where you can find help to prepare for High School Success by looking at preparation for GEDs and AP Tests.  In the College Section, it will help you with SATs, PSATs, and ACT tests.  In Your Perfect Career Section, you can find help with resumes, cover letters, and such.  In the Advanced Degree Section, you'll find information about scholarships and admissions.  And under Your Next Big Adventure, you'll find information about TOEFL, TOEIC, and U. S. Citizenship.
     The Georgia Legal Forms will give you more forms than you can ever imagine; forms for things such as adoption, bill of sale, certificates, divorce, employment, wills and much more. is a free inside look at jobs and companies.  There are millions of job listings, plus salaries, reviews and more posted by employees on the inside.  It's like a "sneak peek."
     A to Z the USA is one of my fun sites.  This is where you get all kinds of informaiton about U.S. States and Territories.  There is a map of the U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.  All you have to do is click on a state or territory (try Georgia) and it will tell you everything you want to know about that particular place.
     Issues and Controversies will give you the facts on file of in-depth investigations of today's top issues, such as budget deficits, gun control reform, health care reform, and more.  All interesting topics.
     The UGA-Colquitt County Archway Project will be of great interest to people who want to visit Moultrie (or even if you're living here in Colquitt County).  The historic tourism initiative gives maps of Moultrie-Colquitt County, not only for walking but driving.  They show the location of historic markers, placques, monuments, cemeteries, and other places.
     Ask a Librarian will help you with those questions you have about references and genealogy.
     And the last icon you'll see is the Moultrie weather and forecast.
     You know what?  That's just the lefthand side of the home page!!!  Did you notice that colorful picture about the Summer Reading Program?  No?  Well, you just need to go back and check the entire page!  Just think what you might be missing?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We've been doing book reviews

     Our fourth annual authors' event is coming and we've been doing book reviews to promote the six authors who will be our special guests.  We're very proud of these writers and would like to encourage you to join us on Sunday, May 1st, at 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. so you can meet them.  But right now I want to tell you about their books that we are showcasing on our "MCCLS Friends Recommend" shelf.
     One of my favorite authors is a lovely Southern gentleman named Jackie K. Cooper from Perry, Georgia.  He is one of the best storytellers you could ever want to meet.  He is forever telling you something fascinating about himself in his books (and he's written six), as well as his family, his friends, a movie he's seen, or just a beautiful sunset.  His latest book, "Back to the Garden," will warm your heart, tickle your funny bone, and inspire you to be a better person.  And best of all, you have the opportunity to meet him at "An Afternoon with the Authors" on May 1st.
     We have two children's books co-authored by a mother and daughter team from Moultrie, Patience Arline-Hicks and Wendi Hicks.  "Old Mean Molly" is about a cow, who eventually comes to live at the Arline farm.  The little girl telling the story is afraid of Molly.  When Molly runs away, the little girl finds the cow and helps her.  It's during this time that the little girl realizes she's not afraid of Molly anymore.  This is a wonderful read for adults and children alike.
     The second book by the Hicks is "Sitting On My Mama's Porch."  Like "Old Mean Molly," it is written in rhyme. However, this book was written for a little different reason.  It was written to help young children become independent readers and is appropriate for preschoolers up through middle grades, especially for struggling readers.  Both books have charming verse and delightful illustrations and are a joy to read.
     Dean Poling of Tifton has written two books, but we reviewed "Waiting for Willie."  This novel was nominated for an award in the first novel category by the 46th annual Georgia Writers Association.  It's the story of a young boy haunted by the dead father he barely remembers.  While Jessie struggles to find the "water bandit" (something you'll have to read about in the book, not here), he is also trying to learn more about his father.  And he also learns that Willie Nelson is coming to town. much will he learn about his father's life and death before...?  This is a great read by a man with a way for words and stories.  His other book is "Cowboy Boots and Pony Tales."  (Just goes with his long blond pony-tail.)
     The first book I read by Niles Reddick was "Road Kill Art and Other Oddities" and I couldn't imagine why he'd name his book that.  But reading it helped me understand.  His latest novel "Lead Me Home" has been nominated for an award this year by the Georgia Writers Association in the first novel category.  Only
Dr. Reddick, who is an Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College professor, could write about an Aunt Catfish, a cousin in detox with a religious conversion, and a minister asked to resign because of an affair with a widow who shot her husband.  His book is visual, quirky, and just plain fun to read.  And it takes place Pavo and Nashville, Georgia.  Makes you feel right at home if you live here in South Georgia.
     "Authentic Life - A 40-Day Adventure to Real Living" is by the sixth author who will be here on May 1st.  Cheryle Reeves of Moultrie is on staff at Moultrie's Heritage Church, where she is the Discipleship and Connections Coordinator.  She said she wrote her book to be used as church-wide curriculum.  However, the book was later published as a companion piece to a marriage conference where she and her husband, Roy, served on a speaking team.  This book will not only inspire you, but give you words of wisdon to carry through your adventure to real living.
     As I said earlier, these books can be found on the "MCCLS Friends Recommend" shelf in the bookcase next to the circulation counter at the front of the library.  We recommend them all.  In fact, we recommend that you join us on May 1st so you can purchase your own copy of these books.  They make great reads and great gifts...and Mother's Day is coming up! 
     Think ahead.  Put Sunday, May 1st, on your calendar.  Plan to support our Georgia authors and your local library.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

S-h-h-h! Filming in progress!

     Imagine this...a living room setting...small couch, two comfortable chairs, ferns on side tables, a coffee table with tea cups and napkins.  That's one side of the room.  On the other side of the room are three cameras on tripods, a table full of electronic equipment, and electrical lines and cables covering the floor.  On the outside of the auditorium door, signs say, "No entrance."  "Filming in progress."
     Today Beau Sherman of SGGA, a South Georgia firm for regional distance learning and teleconferencing, is taping an upcoming show, "Home Front: Behind the Scene."
     Every Veterans' Day in November the country honors those who served and are still serving in the various branches of the Armed Forces.  This coming June 12th, the library is planning a special event to celebrate those at home, on the home front, who were and are working to help our service members involved in war. 
     The filming today covers the time of World War II and the Korean War.
     After an introduction by our director, Melody Jenkins, about the Home Front project, the cameras will swing to show a group of ladies sitting together and talking about what they were doing during the war.  They'll reflect on how people were encouraged to buy war bonds, how ration books were used, and how people saved everything from tin to food.  They'll talk about victory gardens, the work at Spence Air Field here in Moultrie, and how the war affected each of them.
     The ladies today (in the first of what we hope will be several tapings of community volunteers) are Ann Sherman, Ginger Horkan, Myrtle Lofton, and Elois Matthews.  They will share things they brought that remind them of the war times...things like newspaper clippings, those ration books, pictures, and letters.
     We scheduled the filming from 10 a.m. to noon.  But, as Beau said, if they end up talking longer than that, then he'll keep filming.  After all, how often do you get to document these memories of the home front during war time?  We already see how we are losing our World War II Veterans.  Every story we can capture to help our future generations understand their heritage, the better off we will be.
    And for that reason we are inviting you in the community to let us know your story.  What were you doing when World War II and the Korean War were going on?  How did you handle events here at home?  Do you have a story to tell?
     If so, please share those stories with us.  Your memories are precious and need to be documented.  All you have to do is call Melody Jenkins or Ann Glass, Chairman of the Veterans History Project, here at the library - 229-985-6540.  Or you can email us at and let us know you have a story for us.
     We'd like to keep this project going and your contributions are vital to the Veterans History Project.  Please let us hear from you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ah! The challenged books!

     I'm usually a day late and a dollar short, but I just read another article about the 2010 challenged books.  It never ceases to amaze me as to why some of these books are challenged, but then I may have a different outlook on life.
     For some reason, I just knew that Stephanie Meyer's book Twilight would be challenged.  I mean, there are people who like Halloween, vampires and ghouls, and then there are those who don't.  Twilight, coming in at the #10 spot, was challenged because the idea of vampires and other supernatural entities is opposed by certain religious viewpoints.  So is Halloween.
     Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie was new to me.  It fell into the #9 spot because a complaint from a resident led to the removal of the critically acclaimed LGBT anthology from high school and public libraries in Burlington County, N.J.
     At #8 was Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. This was an account of the author's struggle to make a living at various minimum-wage jobs across the country.  The book was challenged in  Bedford, N.H., high school due to offensive language, negative depiction of capitalism and references to drug use.
     Now, What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones has been on the list before.  So, it was not a surprise that it landed in the #7 spot.  Challenges cited reasons such as sexual content and being unsuited to age group.  And the picture of the laughing kid on the cover didn't make it liked any better.
     I hadn't heard of Lush by Natasha Friend, probably because I don't have any children in middle school.  But at #6 it was challenged because it is a realistic portrayal of a girl with an alcoholic father who is struggling with her own decision-making vis-a-vis alcohol and boys.  And the book is often challenged in middle schools.
     It's amazing how many challenged books are teen books.  At #5 is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which involves teens who are forced by a postapocalyptic government to fight a televised battle to the death.  In 2010, a New Hampshire parent asked the School Board to remove the book from her daughter's class, claiming that it could numb students to the effects of violence.
     And then along came Crank by Ellen Hopkins at #4.  This book was inspired by Hopkins' daughter's struggles with methamphetamine addiction.  Hopkins donated a school visit to a charity auction in Oklahoma in 2010, but was dis-invited after a parent challenged her books for "inappropriate content."
     Suddenly we're down to the wire!  At #3 is (of all things) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (how long has this book been around?)  Stimulating would-be censors almost continuously since its publication in 1932, this book has been challenged as anti-family,
anti-religion, racist and due to sexual content.  But it's amazing how many people have read it!
     The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, which was a National Book Award Winner, by Sherman Alexie, was #2 on the list.  The Stockton (Mo.) R-1 School Board voted to ban the book from both the high school curriculum and library due to violence, language and sexual content.
     And NOW we come to #1!  The same #1 that has been on the list for what seems like forever!  Can you guess what it is?  Yep!  You're right...And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.  This children's picture book is based on two real-life male Chinstrap Penguins, Roy and Silo, at New York's Central Park Zoo who were found trying to hatch a rock.  The zoo staff gave them an egg to hatch and the result was a female chick who the staff named Tango.  Although this book has won many awards, it will probably be #1 for a long time to come, even though it is a tender story with beautiful pictures.
     There's no telling what 2011 will bring when it comes to challenged books.  And it's understandable why the books are being challenged.  Just like there is the "Freedom to Challenge," there is always the "Freedom to Read."  And (how wonderful it is) the "Freedom of Choice."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Remember when we talked about spring cleaning?

     There are great things going on around here.  Remember when we last talked about spring cleaning?  Well, that's what's going on around here right now.
     I walked down the long white hallway and was about to turn into our short hall to the office when I was stopped by police "caution" tape.  It was taped to the walls and across the restroom doors, and it was taped to several orange cones where I couldn't cross the "caution" line.
     Yesterday our maintenance crew cleaned out the old grout on the bathroom floors and put new grout in.  And you'd be surprised at how much difference that new grout can make.  Today the crew is back with huge fans to dry the grout faster.  And later they will put a sealer on the floors, which will make cleaning much easier.
     In  fact, when they're finished, we will look like we have entirely new bathrooms!
     Not only are the bathrooms being spring cleaned, but we have a new phone system.  That was a much needed improvement.  Strange things had been going on with the old system and several of us thought we were losing our minds.
     Out went the old tan-colored phones and in came the new sleek black phones.  There are even several features to the new system that we didn't have before.
     This morning a group of staff members had a crash course on how to use the new phones.  We learned how to use voice mail within the library and how to transfer a call.  Now, that was one I really needed to learn.  There have been quite a few times in the past when I totally lost someone, who needed to be transferred to another staff member, simply because our little button didn't push down all the way.  I even learned how to make a correct page, not that I'll ever need to make one.  But it's nice to know how anyway.
     Oh, and one last thing that speaks of spring cleaning.  This afternoon a few of us staffers will take our little two-seater couch and some chairs from the adult reading area and give them a good cleaning.  Plus our janitor has pulled out his big bottle of cleaner and has been dusting along the tops of counters and tables.
     I just love it when this time of the year is here.  Things start to sparkle and smell like a bowl of flowers.  And the next time you come to visit us, we hope you'll notice all the spring cleaning we're doing.  It's not just for us, you know.  It's for you, too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I just can't resist children's books

     There I was...minding my own business...when I walked past the table that we decorate with children's books every month.  This month we have yellow books on the table, and Keva is the person who does an outstanding job keeping the table filled.
     Like I said, there I was minding my own business, when this book on the children's table caught my eye.
     Bright yellow, of course, with very colorful people on it and one weird bird with a long beak.
     The title...well, it's just as eye-catching.   "What is a Wise Bird Like You Doing in a Silly Tale Like This?"
     There was nothing I could do but pick it up and bring it back to the office for a thorough look-through.
     On the inside front and back covers of this book, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, there is a map of places called Terra Incognita, Mackleberry, Tickleberry, Cackleberry, Bewarybeary, and Pickleberry.  There are pictures of the national flag of the Empire of Pickleberry, the national dessert of pickle pudding, and the national sun and moon.
     Some of the inhabitants of the Empire of Pickleberry (population 26-1/2 and 4-1/2 acres of land) are the Emperor, the janitor (who is the Emperor's twin brother), Lou (the bird who could talk), the invisible half citizen, and a dead candlestick.  Pickleberry is a place where stories wildly intertwine, deceit runs rampant, and wisdom ultimately prevails over so, so much nonsense.
     Well, Lou lived in a cage and he was miserable (he thought).  So, he played like he died and the Emperor had the janitor throw the bird away. A traveling salesman came along, found the bird, and decided to sell him.  But the bird decided to let the salesman know he was alive and talked.  Of course, the salesman thought a talking bird was the best thing ever. 
     Thus begins the tale of how the wise bird ended up in a silly tale like this.  I can't tell you the end of this story.  Even if you don't have children to read it to, you should see the book for yourself, as an adult.  It all makes sense what Uri Shulevitz wrote.
     In fact, Shulevitz has many outstanding books worth your reading, such as: 
          -Snow, a Caldecott Honor Book,
          -The Secret Room, a New York Times Outstanding book of the Year,
          -The Treasure, a Caldecott Honor Book,
          -Rain Rain Rivers, an ALA Notable Book, and
          -Dawn, an ALA Notable Book.
     Others he has illustrated are:
          -The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship by Arthur Ransome, a Caldecott Medal Book, and
          -Hosni the Dreamer by Ehud Ben-Ezer, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.
     This is my invitation to you to stop by the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library and walk by the children's table.  I just dare you to stop and look at the great books on that table.  Then I double-dare you to pick up a couple, check them out, and take them home.  Find a child to read to...or just read them yourself.  Wonderful stuff in children's books.