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Showing posts from August, 2010

2009 World Fantasy Award Finalists Announced

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The World Fantasy Awards nominees have been announced, and local (for a while, at least) author and past Alabama Bound attendee and speaker Caitlin Kiernan is included for her book The Red Tree. Kiernan was born in Dublin, Ireland, but spent much of her childhood in Leeds, Alabama, and her teen years in Trussville. She worked at the Red Mountain Museum and attended The University of Alabama at Birmingham to study geology and paleontology. She started writing fiction in 1992 and published her first novel, Silk, in 1998.

The awards will be presented at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio, October 28-31, 2010.

Nominees for Best Novel:

The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan
In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
Finchby Jeff VanderMeer
The City & The City by China Mieville
Blood of Ambrose by James Enge

Locus Online has the complete list of nominees.

Movie Review—The Unknown Woman (La sconosciuta)

Don’t let the plot of The Unknown Woman fool you into thinking it’s an Italian The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, because it’s not. Yes, a woman worms her way into a nanny job for the wealthy Adacher family through some devious means, but she has a good reason, and that reason is slowly revealed as Irena's past as a blonde hooker and her present as a mousy brunette converge.

In the Ukraine Irena worked as a prostitute for a sadistic pimp nicknamed Mold (he’s buried many bodies in his career, get it?), but she escaped with her life and something else equally important to her. In a small Italian town she rents an apartment across from the building where the Adacher’s live, and begins to gain access first to their building, then their apartment, and finally their lives.

As with any trauma victim, innocuous daily events can trigger painful memories. Images of Irena's past as a sex slave flash across the screen: masked and naked at an auction, hogtied and beaten, and eventually handed …

Tutor.com Career Webinar Series

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Tutor.com presents three career webinars this fall at the Birmingham Public Library. From finding writing resumes and finding jobs online to interviewing skills, these webinars cover topics essential to finding the job you want. Free of charge.

Central Library
Wednesday, September 29 at 2:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium
Find Hidden Job Leads Online and at the Library
There is a wealth of free and low-cost information available to job seekers. Learn what research and job information tools are available, both online and elsewhere, and how to incorporate these tools into your job search strategy.

Central Library
Wednesday, October 27 at 2:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium
Write a Resume That Gets the Job
Learn to write a resume that hiring managers will notice by transforming your lists of job duties into success stories. Find out how to write a powerful profile and skills summary, and how to prove that you have the “right stuff.”

Central Library
Wednesday, December 1 at 2:00…

Scenes from Powderly's Grand Re-opening

On August 26, 2010, Powderly Branch Library held a Grand Re-opening.

Didn't make it to the grand re-opening?

Watch the video above to view some scenes from the Grand Re-opening, click here for a virtual tour of the updated and expanded building, or drop by Powderly Library to take a look.

eBooks Available Through JCLC

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Downloadable electronic books (eBooks) are now available for checkout at www.jclc.org. Up to five eBooks may be checked out with a valid library card for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one days. Download titles to a PC or MacIntosh, or an e-Reader such as the Sony Reader, the Barnes and Noble Nook, or Borders Kobo eReader. The Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad are not compatible for the library service.

The digital eBook collection was started by the Hoover Public Library. There are currently 698 titles to choose from, but the collection is expected to grow as more libraries in the cooperative add more eBooks.

For a list of compatible eBook readers, click here.

2010 US Open

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The US Open starts in the Big Apple on Monday. This has been a very interesting tennis season and I can’t wait to see who emerges from the tournament with the trophy. Rafael Nadal took a break after his Wimbledon victory so he could be healthy for the hard court season. He didn’t get a chance to play in the Open last year due to injury, so he is hungry to win the Grand Slam title that has eluded him so far. He is also the French Open champion, so if he wins at Flushing Meadows, he will have 3 of 4 Grand Slam victories this season.

This summer, there has been a lot of speculation about whether Roger Federer’s best days are behind him. Since he only won one Grand Slam this year (Australian Open), people are talking like his career is over. Anyone who writes off Roger Federer will be doing it at his own risk. He lost the final to Andy Murray at the Rogers Cup in Toronto (5-7,5-7), but he played a tough match against Mardy Fish in Cincinnati. Neither could break the other’s serve until the…

Tour the "New" Powderly Library Virtually

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The Powderly Branch LibraryGrand Re-opening is today at noon.

Curious about Powderly Library's new look, but can't be there in person?

Take a virtual tour by clicking the image above.

The updated building features a community meeting room, new computer lab, expanded Books-by-Mail area, and contemporary furnishings.

See a related video from the Birmingham News here.

Food For Fines in September

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.

BPL@Night @ Avondale Presents Farmer Jason

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When internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Ringenberg created his family music character Farmer Jason in 2003, he had no idea he was launching the most successful creation of his storied career. What started out as a simple side project has grown into a world-touring bandwagon pulled by a tractor and a singing farmer. Climb aboard and grab a pitchfork–or a guitar!

Details
Avondale Regional Branch Library
Tuesday, August 31
6:30 p.m.

The Slap Leads in Man Booker Sales

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Well, with a title like The Slap, how could it not? I'm an opinionated person, and Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas' book sounds like something that could make me debate for hours. In fact, The Slap has sparked heated discussions across Australia since it was published in 2008.

The Slap narrates the point-of-view stories of a group of eight people who attended a barbecue where a man slapped a three-year-old child who was not his. The story touches on middle-class values, racism, machismo, domestic violence, and envy; it questions the loyalty of friends and family alike. The book has been accused of being misogynistic, but Tsiolkas explains that it's not the book that's misogynistic, but the "infantile men" in the book that are misogynistic.

The Slap has won five prizes and been short- and longlisted for several others.

Here is the longlist of Man Booker Prize 2010 nominees. The shortlist will be announced on September 7 and the winner on October 12.

Peter Care…

Powderly Branch Library Grand Re-opening

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The Powderly Branch of the Birmingham Public Library will re-open on Thursday, August 26, at noon. Closed since July 2009 for renovation and expansion, the updated facility features a community meeting room, new computer lab, expanded Books-by-Mail area, and brightly colored contemporary furnishings. Please come by and visit our "new" library.

Brown Bag Lunch—Social Security and You

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The Social Security Administration is responsible for the administration of retirement, disability, and auxiliary programs as approved by the Social Security Act. Social Security reaches almost every family, and at some point will touch the lives of nearly all Americans. This presentation is designed to introduce you to Social Security and to provide basic information to help you plan for you and your family's financial future. Wednesday, August 25, 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Rickwood Field Celebrates 100 Years

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Birmingham Public Library Presents Annual Storyteller: Lee Bryan, That Puppet Guy!

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Atlanta based puppeteer, Lee Bryan "That Puppet Guy" is a nationally recognized touring artist who combines live vocal characterizations and songs with innovative puppet designs for wholesome family entertainment. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls Bryan a “playful mimic, a shameless punster, and a silly lyricist who's not afraid to take literary liberties in the name of a good rhyme.” Bring the kids for one—or more—of his shows at various Birmingham Public Library locations! All shows free.

Monday, September 20 – The Big, Bad, Little Red, Pig Show
Central Library 11:00 a.m.
East Ensley Branch 3:00 p.m.
Five Points West Branch 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 21 – Princess and the Pea, Y’all
Titusville Branch 10:30 a.m.
Smithfield Branch 1:00 p.m.
Avondale Branch 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 22 – The Big, Bad, Little Red, Pig Show
Springville Road Branch 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Branch 1:00 p.m.
Wylam Branch 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 23 – Princess and the Pea, Y’all
North B…

BPL Offers 1, 2, 3 Play with Me Early Literacy Program at Four Locations

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1,2,3 Play with Me at North Birmingham
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is offering four sessions of the popular 1, 2, 3 Play with Me early literacy program this fall. As part of the nationally recognized Family Place Libraries network, each 1, 2, 3 Play with Me workshop offers five 90 minute programs featuring free play, an art activity, circle time, and great resources for parents including health information from experts. Spend quality time playing with your children in a safe, fun, and interactive environment. Centers include trucks and cars, puzzles and blocks, musical instruments, and much more! Contact one of the Family Place Libraries listed below for more information.

Avondale Regional Library
509 40th St. S, 35222-3309
(205) 226-4003
September 8-October 6 (Wednesdays)
10:00-11:30 a.m.

Smithfield Library
1 8th Ave. W, 35204-3724
(205) 324-8428
September 14-October 12 (Tuesdays)
10:00-11:30 a.m.

Springville Road Regional Library
1224 Old Springville Rd., 35215-7512
(205) 226-4081
Octobe…

BPL@Night—American Tribal Belly Dance Featuring the Devyani Dance Company

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Megha Gavin is the director of the Birmingham-based Devyani Dance Center, a hub of international and ethnic dance styles. Over the last nine years, Devyani Dance Company has performed at countless festivals, weddings, corporate events, and private parties, and has been nominated for multiple cultural and artistic awards. Bring the whole family for a riveting performance of this ancient dance form!

Details
Central Library, Atrium
Thursday, August 19
6:30 p.m.

BPL@Night is a series of high quality evening performances offered free-of-charge by Birmingham Public Library in an effort to bring enriching cultural programs to downtown Birmingham and the city’s neighborhoods. BPL@Night highlights local and regional performers that reflect the diversity of our community and draw from a wide range of personal experience. Through programs such as these, the library seeks to provide Birmingham citizens of all ages opportunities for entertainment, ongoing education, and personal growth.

BPL@Night—Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark

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In chronicling Rickwood Field’s history, noted author and journalist Allen Barra tells of segregated baseball and the legendary Negro Leagues. Though Rickwood Field was once a place where the Ku Klux Klan held rallies, it has now become a symbol of hope and triumph that reflects the evolution of a city where baseball was, for decades, the sole connecting point between blacks and whites.

Details
Central Library, Richard Arrington Auditorium
Tuesday, August 17
6:30 p.m.

BPL@Night is a series of high quality evening performances offered free-of-charge by Birmingham Public Library in an effort to bring enriching cultural programs to downtown Birmingham and the city’s neighborhoods. BPL@Night highlights local and regional performers that reflect the diversity of our community and draw from a wide range of personal experience. Through programs such as these, the library seeks to provide Birmingham citizens of all ages opportunities for entertainment, ongoing education, and personal growth.

Brown Bag Lunch—The Story of America’s Classic Ballparks

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Relishing the glory days of unique baseball parks, this documentary relives the times with rare, major league film segments, period photos, and insightful comments from Hall of Fame players and announcers who share their inner most feelings about the parks, the game, and the fans. Wednesday, August 18, 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Backseat Saints Buzz

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Last year it was Kathryn Stockett's The Help, this year it's Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. What do they have common? Buzz. Word of mouth has it that Backseat Saints is one of those books you'll be up reading right before your alarm clock goes off.

Backseat Saints is about a victim of domestic abuse living in the small Alabama town of Fruition. Left by her mother with an abusive father when she was 8, Rose Mae Lolley jumps from the frying pan into the fire when she runs off to Texas when she comes of age, smack dab into the arms of abusive an husband.

To cope with the abuse, Rose creates an alter ego in Ro, the "good girl" who acts the way she thinks her husband expects; Rose, the "bad girl," is obedient up to a point, but is not afraid to goad her husband to more violence.

Then a gypsy gives Rose a reading, and warns her that the only way out of her situation is to kill or be killed.

Joshilyn Jackson grew up on the beaches of Florida's Redneck Ri…

Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts

On a book board I belong to, an Eat, Pray, Love discussion got a little heated between two camps: the camp that hated the self-indulgent story of a woman who runs for the hills instead of facing head-on the troubles in her life, and the camp that loved the true story of a woman who traveled the world to heal herself and ultimately others by sharing her memoir.

Elizabeth Gilbert was a married, successful 31-year-old writer who left her unfulfilling "good life" to travel to other countries, eating her way through Italy (Eat), getting in touch with her spiritual side in India (Pray), and falling in love in Indonesia (Love).

The movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts will be released on August 13. If Julia Roberts isn't one of your favorite actors, you might go just to gawk at her on the big screen and smirk at the ten pounds she claims to have gained eating pizza in Italy. But, then again, the joke will be on you. She's so tall you can't see the ten pounds, and …

September BPL@Night Features Gospel Music and Improv Theatre

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The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host local improv troupe Extemporaneous Theatre Company (ETC) and gospel singer L. Spenser Smith in its September BPL@Night programming line-up. ETC will offer a special performance at the Springville Road Library on Thursday, September 16, and Mr. Smith will perform music from his new album at the Central Library on Thursday, September 23. These events are free and open to the public.

Springville Road Library
September 16 at 6:30 p.m.
ETC: Extemporaneous Theatre Company
Birmingham’s premier improvisation troupe has put together a special evening for their Springville Road performance. Founded in 2008, ETC is a repertory-style company comprised of professional artists in theatre, comedy, and a variety of specialties. Their goals are to bolster the theatre community in Birmingham and to provide training for aspiring young actors.

Central Library
September 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Atrium
The Music of L. Spenser Smith
Gospel singer L. Spenser Sm…

If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Come Sit By Me—Andrew Morton Has the Scoop On Angelina

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The world’s biggest gossip is about to drop some bombs about the world’s biggest celebrity: Angelina Jolie. InAngelina: An Unauthorized Biography, Andrew Morton talks off the record with Angelina's friends and coworkers and learns some interesting things about Angelina's ex-lovers, her unconventional childhood, and her current life with Brad and the Brood.

Did you know that for the first year and a half of Angelina's life, her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, made her live three stories above the family in a white room with white walls and no furniture save for a crib in the middle of the room? She looked too much like her father, Jon Voight, and her mother couldn't bare to look at her because of Voight's philandering ways.

I enjoyed Morton's biography about Diana, a celebrity I always admired, and am looking forward to this one.

Morton has also written unauthorized biographies on Tom Cruise and Madonna, collaborated with Monica Lewinsky to tell her story, and even pe…

Brown Bag Lunch—Take That Extra Long Lunch Break and Join Us for a Classic Baseball Movie

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Plan an extra long lunch today and join us for a baseball classic starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Esther Williams as they mix baseball, vaudeville, and romance in this 1948 musical masterpiece (90 minutes). Wednesday, August 11, 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Book Review—The Glass Castle

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Recently I’ve read two of the bigger kahuna memoirs that have stood out in the ongoing memoir publishing trend. The first was Running With Scissors; the second is The Glass Castle. I wrote a piece on Running for the library’s Season’s Readings, a booklet containing write-ups from the staff on their favorite books of the year. The trope for the bigger-selling memoirs is a dysfunctional family; in fact it seems that the more broken the family is, the more the memoir sells. Memoirists have been accused of competing with each other to see who can put the sickest family between covers. But of course the family must be more than merely unhappy. They have to be captivatingly presented by the author, and there needs to be judicious humor to leaven the onslaught of tragedy. Avoiding exploitation is also recommended. Both these books succeed in all of the above, but you’re probably wondering, “Yeah, but which family’s the craziest?” You’ll get no such satisfaction here. It isn’t really fair to …

Smithfield Branch Opens

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The Smithfield Branch of the Birmingham Public Library has it's new roof and reopened today at 9 a.m. as scheduled.