Showing posts from August, 2009

Dominick Dunne Dead at 83

Dominick Dunne , American writer and investigative journalist, died Wednesday, August 26 at his home in New York City, after a long battle with bladder cancer. He frequently examined the relationship between high society and the judicial system. He was successful both as a television and Hollywood film producer and a writer. Dunne was born on October 29, 1925 in Hartford Connecticut. He was known to childhood friends as Nick and grew up one of six children of a wealthy Connecticut surgeon. His brother was the author John Gregory Dunne. He was the father of actors Griffin Dunne and Dominique Dunne. He began working in show business around 1950, as a stage manager for The Howdy Doody Show. He eventually met many actors including Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty whose photographs, along with hundreds of other pictures, according to People , filled "a stack of scrapbooks four feet high." Dominick Dunne battled drugs and alcohol for years as a Hollywood film producer i

Public Invited to Share Memories of Central Library's East Building

The Birmingham Public Library is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Central’s East Building . And, as with any celebration, the more the merrier, so we're inviting the public to share their memories and thoughts about the East Building. Do you remember what was located at the site prior to the new addition? Were you at the groundbreaking or grand opening ceremonies? What did you think the first time you walked into the "new" library? Click on the comments link to post your memories. Thanks for sharing!

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Birmingham Artwalk 2009

Artwalk is an arts festival that transforms Birmingham’s loft neighborhood into an arts district, featuring the work of more than 100 visual artists, live musicians, street performers, food and drink vendors, and children’s activities. The event is free to the public and in the last three years has become a much anticipated fall event, drawing visitors from all over to downtown Birmingham. For the past two years, more than 10,000 people walked the streets of downtown during the two-day event. Join us for an inside look at this year’s Artwalk taking place on Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12, 2009. Wednesday, September 2, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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. photo by Bob Farley

The Secret of the JCLC

Birmingham Public Library is a member of the JCLC . For more information visit .

ProjectRead: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

If you enjoyed our 2008 Big Read: Project Mockingbird , you will also like ProjectRead. The Public Libraries of Jefferson County's fall selection is Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. This is the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa, who was found dirty and shivering in a library book drop one cold morning and ended up staying and melting the town's heart. Libraries will hold book discussions, film series, and children's activities during September and October. Check with your local library for programs. Visit the Calendar of Events at for the latest program information.

Food For Fines

Yes! We are doing it again. During the month of September any Jefferson County library patron may bring in donations for our food drive and have overdue charges waived for participating. Our food drive benefiting local food banks is open to anyone, even if that someone doesn't have overdue books. For those with late materials however, this is a golden opportunity to take a bite out of library overdue charges and help someone else at the same time. One dollar will be waived up to a maximum of $10 per patron for each dated canned or packaged food item the patron donates. These waived fees applies only to fines for overdue materials, not lost materials.

A Farewell to Don Hewitt

When someone asked Don Hewitt about the secret to the success of "60 Minutes," he would answer, “Tell me a story.” And he did. The creator of the long-running news magazine series even wrote about it in Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years. But on Wednesday, Hewitt succumbed to his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 86. He was reportedly surrounded by family at his home in Bridgehampton , New York . Having a journalism background, I was influenced by news pioneers such as Hewitt, Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow . They weren’t flashy. They weren’t even handsome in today’s news anchor standards. But they were authentic. It was storytelling, pure and simple. It was brilliant. As a reporter, I learned to be tenacious in my pursuit of the truth and tell it with eloquence. It is one place where passion and compassion merge. After all, truth without heart is just harsh. That’s how you win awards as a journalist. Hewitt should know. He won eight Emmy and two Peabody award

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Trash or Treasure?

We are pleased to present Birmingham Public Library’s version of the Antiques Roadshow. Birmingham’s own Bill Carner will be a guest appraiser. Mr. Carner is a certified member of the International Society of Appraisers specializing in Antiques and Residential Contents. If you have an item you would like to know more about and its approximate value, bring it down and let Bill take a look. No coins or stamps, please. Wednesday, August 26, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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.

Book Review: Abandon

I’ve never been a fan of thrillers. The tried-and-true thriller formula goes something like this: person disappears; detective is called; detective interviews people whose names you can’t keep straight; red herrings are tossed about; person is found, sometimes dead, sometimes alive. The end. If you want to read an outside-the-box thriller, then get in line for Blake Crouch ’s Abandon . Abandon is a parallel story that seamlessly moves from 1893 to the present day. It begins on December 28, 1893, when a mule skinner rides into the once bustling mining town of Abandon, Colorado. But now it’s all but deserted, 123 townsfolk vanished, leaving balls of crumpled wrapping paper under Christmas trees and frozen holiday dinners on kitchen tables. The only resident left behind is little curly-haired, coal-eyed Harriet. She greets the skinner with an army revolver hanging at her side. She knows the gun is used for killin’, and she promises him he’ll feel better directly. It is 2009 and freelance

School Supply Giveaway

Councilor Roderick Royal will be sponsoring his annual School Supply Giveaway at Wylam , Pratt City , and North Birmingham Branches Saturday, August 15, from 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Graphic Novel Review - Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Written by Neil Gaiman, Art by Andy Kubert and Scott Williams Batman is dead. The mourners, friends and enemies alike, arrive one by one at a seedy dive in a Gotham back alley to pay their respects. The wake is being held in the bar’s back room. One by one the eulogies begin, but it quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems – for none of the mourners remember Batman the same way, neither in the details of his life nor the manner of his passing. Witness to this procession, and narrating the whole affair, is the watchful spirit of the Bat-Man himself. Superheroes are the myths of the modern age, and who better to write the capstone for one of the most iconic comic-book legends of all than the modern master of myth himself, Neil Gaiman ? In comics, death has always been a revolving door, and it is without a doubt that Bruce Wayne will soon return to once again prowl the night. However, no legend is complete without an ending, and

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Fall Gardening in the South

Edwin Marty of Jones Valley Urban Farm Don't give up on your garden just because cooler weather is coming! In Alabama you can garden into the fall and not have to worry about excessive heat or pesky mosquitoes. Edwin Marty, Director of Jones Valley Urban Farm, will be at the Library to talk about the wonders of fall gardening in the south that will keep you in fresh produce into the winter months. Wednesday, August 19, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Purvis

Birmingham Heritage Festival Canceled

Does anyone remember when the Birmingham Heritage Festival used to be held at the Alabama State Fairgrounds? I'll never forget that hot August summer when my sister, my cousins and I went to see The Whispers and O'Bryan. That was so long ago, I can't remember any of the other acts. I do remember how hot it was being outdoors in the sun with all those people. The fair was in operation, so you could ride the rides between acts. We finished the day by getting in trouble for calling my mom too late to pick us up. That was back in the days when you actually had to use a pay phone to make a phone call. It was our cousin's fault that we waited so long to call, but my mom didn't buy it. However, we weren't allowed to go anywhere else with that cousin in the future. This year's event, scheduled for August 14-16, has been canceled , but you can still stop by your local library to check out some CDs. Most libraries will send CDs to other locations, so if you don't

Thomas Pynchon Alert

He's so quiet you might not have noticed he went anywhere, but Thomas Pynchon is back with a new book, Inherent Vice . I won't even attempt to explain what this book is about; I'll let the publisher's summary fill you in: It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merma

John Hughes: Writer, Director, Producer

John Hughes , whose movies about teenage life became classics, died yesterday at the age of 59. He dominated 1980s box office with hits like Pretty in Pink , The Breakfast Club , and Sixteen Candles . His movies also turned young actors like Molly Ringwald , Anthony Michael Hall , and the Brat Pack ( Ally Sheedy , Judd Nelson , Emilio Estevez , et al.) into stars. Most of the movies Hughes made about teenage angst came out when I was a teenager. Even though I came from a different cultural background than the kids in the movies, I could relate to everything they were going through. My favorite movie was The Breakfast Club . I'm not a person who collects movies, but I liked The Breakfast Club so much that I bought it. “... what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely Yours, The Breakfast Club .” The strength of John Hughes and the reason I love the movie so much is that

Central Library to Host Birmingham City Council and School Board Candidate Forums

The NAACP Birmingham-Metro Chapter in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham have agreed to head up this massive undertaking, arranging for over 60 candidates to get their message out. Natalie Davis, Birmingham Southern political science professor and political commentator, will moderate the first night; Virginia Randolph, past president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham, will moderate the following nights. Each candidate will have the opportunity to state why they are running, why they are the best candidate, and what they hope to accomplish if elected. As time allows, questions will be taken from the audience. There will be a reception for candidates and constituents each evening at 5:30 p.m. at the library. Details Who: Birmingham City Council & School Board candidates Where: Central Library , Arrington Auditorium on the 3rd floor of Linn-Henley Dates and Times: Tuesday, August 11, City Council candidates, Districts 1-5 Wednesday,

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Express Yourself

Check out the great happenings at the library as we wind down the summer fun and get ready to kick off a fantastic fall! Wednesday, August 12, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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.

On the Horizon: New Books in September

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown In his first new novel since The Da Vinci Code , Brown takes Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon on a twelve-hour journey unlike any of his previous adventures. An Echo in the Bone – Diana Gabaldon In the long-awaited seventh Outlander novel, Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall are drawn into the tumult of the American Revolution. South of Broad – Pat Conroy In his first book in fourteen years, Conroy tells the grand story of Charleston, South Carolina, through the eyes and tempestuous life of a Southern gossip columnist. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory The queen of historical romance and intrigue turns her talents toward the War of the Roses in the first volume of her new series, The Cousins’ War. Spartan Gold – Clive Cussler Treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo take up the trail of a long lost Greek treasure, stolen by the Persion emperor Xerxes and hidden by Napoleon himself. Day After Night – Anita Diamant Based on a remarkable true story, the autho