Showing posts from December, 2008

Fiction Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society , by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows , a delightful novel of letters beginning with writer Juliet Ashton,who in January 1946,writes to her publisher to say that she is tired of covering the “light-hearted” side of the war. Later, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a Guernsey Island farmer, who has discovered her name in the front cover of a Charles Lamb novel. He would like to order more of Charles Lamb's writings by post. Dawsey tells her of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a unique book club created by a few individuals during the German occupation as a way to protect its members from arrest. Juliet Ashton becomes more absorbed in Guernsey and its inhabitants. She learns of their struggles, their hopes, their fears, and the lives of these individuals are soon intertwined. They share common interests and new friendships develop. Book club members write letters to Juliet describing how reading has made a diff

Now Read the Book

Been to the multiplex lately? Despite the harsh economy, many of us are flocking to the cinema's latest offerings including those movies based on books like Twilight or short stories like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button . It is hard not to compare the book and the film adaptation. Reading the book is almost always better. When watching a movie, you typically miss out on details. Many details are cut due to time or excluded due to the "director’s vision”. It is not unusual for entire characters to be cut out of a film. Also, reading the book allows your imagination to run. As you read, you get to delve into characters’ thoughts allowing you to feel as though you are on the journey with them. Go ahead see the movie, but also consider reading the book.

Book Trailer: Contagious by Scott Sigler

Contagious , a new Scott Sigler horror novel, is the bloody sequel to Sigler 's masterful thriller Infected . Booklist calls Contagious , "A definite must-read, whether you’ve read Infected or not." Contagious will be released on December 30. Click here to reserve a copy today.

WORD UP! Deadline Extended Until Jan. 9

You get another chance to join in on WORD UP!, the county-wide spoken word contest for high school students. The deadline has been extended until Friday, January 9. High school teachers or principals please call us at 226-3670 or email us at to let us know your school would like to participate. Details about the contest may be found here . Photo of 2008 WORD UP! winner Erika Wade

Holiday Schedule

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed December 24-December 26 and January 1-January 2. Happy Holidays! P.S. You can always visit BPL's online library which is open 24/7 at .

Rick Bragg Named 2009 Harper Lee Award Recipient

Calhoun County native Rick Bragg has been named the 2009 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year, the Alabama Writers’ Forum announced recently. Bragg will receive the award at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville on May 1 at the annual luncheon. The conference will meet April 30-May 2. “I was honored to hear I had been chosen to receive the Harper Lee Award, named for a writer whose book, and its message, have spanned decades,” said Bragg. “I am also honored to join a list of people I have admired and respected all my writing life, people who have helped establish this state as a place where good writers just seem to come out of the dirt.” Bragg is the best selling and critically acclaimed author of Southern non-fiction, including a trio of books on his Calhoun County family that have become anthems of working-class Americans— All Over but the Shoutin’ , Ava's Man , and The Prince of Frogtown . The books, award winners in both

Birmingham Public Library Presents the National Traveling Exhibit "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World"

“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World,” a traveling exhibition opening at the Birmingham Public Library on January 5, 2009, tells the remarkable story of the man who began his life as a poor printer’s apprentice and ended it as a revered elder statesman known throughout the world for his wisdom, wit, and resourcefulness. Benjamin Franklin ’s achievements in diplomacy, science, philanthropy and other fields profoundly influenced the path of a new nation and continue to inspire us more than three hundred years after his birth. Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments were the result of a lifelong dedication to improving the world around him. “I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully,’ than ‘He died rich,” he once wrote to his mother. Franklin also placed great value on self-improvement and believed that integrity and moral responsibility were the foundations for a successful life and a strong community. “Franklin has a particular resonance in twenty-first century America,” b

Library Confessions: Pay Fines Online

Paying late charges online is convenient, fast and easy! Access your account. Click on any unpaid fines and bills. Click pay online. Click here for more information.

Brown Bag Program ~ A Touch of Piano

Dr. Anthony Pattin, Professor of Music at the University of Montevallo and Director of Music at Chapel In The Pines Presbyterian Church , will present a diverse program of music performed on the piano. This program will feature the music of Bach, Liszt, Brahms, and Ravel, as well as hymn tunes, popular standards, and some holiday favorites. Come and enjoy the artistry of this talented and gifted pianist. Wednesday, December 17, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs . You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Birmingham Native Odetta Dies at 77

Odetta , a singer whose voice resonated throughout the Civil Rights Movement , died on December 2nd in Manhattan at the age of 77. According to her manager, she had been hoping to perform at the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama . With a career that spanned decades, Odetta has influenced a generation of musicians. In fact, her solo debut album, Sings Ballads and Blues (1956), is cited by Bob Dylan as one of the reasons he switched to acoustic guitar. Odetta was born December 31, 1930 in Birmingham, AL. In 1937, her family moved to Los Angeles and she began taking music lessons at the age of 13. Although she performed in musical theater after high school, her introduction to the West Coast folk music scene changed the direction of her career. She made quite a name for herself performing in clubs on the West Coast and in 1953, traveled to New York to perform at the famous Blue Angel folk club. In 1954, she recorded her first album, The Tin Angel , with Larry Mohr. Dur

Birmingham African-American Genealogy Study Group Meeting

The Bennett Family of Gee's Bend, 1971-1980 Photo courtesy of BPL Digital Collections The staff of the Southern History Department will be on hand to assist African Americans in family research. Sunday, December 14, 3:00-5:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. For more information call 226-3665.

BPL @ Night presents An Evening with Foxxy Fatts

With his trademark toothpick hanging from his lips, Foxxy Fatts guides his band. An Alabama Music Hall of Fame and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, Fatts began drumming around 8 years of age. Among his many credits are playing with Percy Sledge on " When a Man Loves a Woman" and Larry Graham's platinum single "Your One in a Million." The unique blend of rock, R & B, fussion jazz, swing and Motown played by this multi-dimensional performer is not to be missed. Music Sample 1 from Music Sample 2 from Event Details What: An Evening with Foxxy Fatts When: Tuesday, December 16 Where: Five Points West Regional Library Time: 6:00 p.m. Cost: Free BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts .

Birmingham Public Library Board Elects New Board Officers

At its annual meeting in November, the Birmingham Public Library Board elected two new officers: Mrs. Gwendolyn Bowen Welch as President and Mrs. Nell Allen as Vice-President. Both Mrs. Welch and Mrs. Allen have served on the BPL Board for seven and six years respectively. In keeping with Birmingham Library Board procedure, President Welch appointed Shanta Craig Owens, Esq to Parliamentarian, the position in which Mrs. Owens has previously served. Also, Rev. Anthony A. Johnson was appointed to the Library Board to complete the term of the late Mrs. Emily Norton. Former Library Board President, Mrs. Lillie M. H. Fincher, stepped down from her post as President this year. She served for three years in this position. She continues to serve as Past President and board member. The Library Board is BPL's governing board, and it consists of eleven members who serve in non-salaried positions. The Library Board faithfully promotes BPL’s mission, which is “to provide the highest quality lib

Brown Bag Program ~ A Christmas Memory Starring Dolores Hydock

Join us for our annual tradition with Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock as she presents A Christmas Memory . Truman Capote 's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama is brought to vivid life in this wonderful holiday performance. Wednesday, December 10, noon. Learn more about Dolores Hydock's stellar career at Storypower . Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs . You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Scott Sigler Alert

I hope my fellow horror fans are as excited as I am about the sequel to Scott Sigler 's book Infected (read my review of this book) . Infected is one of those great stories that I had to read and listen to on CD . The fact that Sigler himself narrated his story made it that much more affective. Contagious continues the story of Perry Dawsey, the tough ex-linebacker who survived his infection by cutting the triangles out of his body; Margaret Montoyo, the epidemiologist who was called on to track the infection when it first broke; and Dew Phillips, the tough CIA agent who dealt with the trail of bodies left by the psychopathic attacks of the infected. They stopped an alien invasion the first time around, and now these three must work together to somehow save humanity the second time around. More about Contagious from Scott Sigler's Web site : Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien age