Halfway Home : San Francisco

Hello Fellow Readers!

How are you liking our trip to San Francisco so far? Do you have an overwhelming urge to eat Rice-a-Roni? (omg that aged me!) Have you managed to soak up some of the atmosphere and culture and history of this lovely city?

If you’re having trouble settling on a book, you might want to try a movie. Some great classics are set in San Francisco including Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood and Vertigo with James Stewart. Or check out the award winning Milk starring Sean Penn (who won an Oscar for his performance) about the first openly gay man to hold an elected public office. Or try a TV series set in San Francisco such as Monk starring Tony Shalhoub as a private detective with OCD.

And don’t forget, we have lots of Books on CD, especially nice for a summer road trip. Or check out Overdrive which has both ebooks and audio books – your local library is never far away, no matter where you are in the world!

Now Departing for: San Francisco

San Francisco, the beautiful city of fog and cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and Victorian “painted ladies” houses. There’s a lot of history here too, from the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 to the site of the former prison Alcatraz. This month’s reading adventure is sure to be action packed!

As for reading choices, there seems to be a lot – I mean, a huge number – of murder mysteries and private detective stories. You can go with the classic, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (or the film starring Humphrey Bogart) or go contemporary with any of James Patterson’s titles from the Women’s Murder Club series (shelved in Fiction under “Patterson”). Also check out Locked Rooms by Laurie King or the “Nameless Detective” series by Bill Pronzini.

If murder isn’t quite your cup of tea, I’d recommend Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. This is a YA novel, a quick read but thoughtful and charming, and modern San Francisco is woven expertly into the story. (It’s also the follow-up to Anna and the French Kiss so if you read that for our month in Paris, this would be perfect for June!)

This would also be your chance, if you haven’t read it already, to dive into Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, a beautiful book about mothers and daughters, the weight of the past and the struggle to find balance between the old ways and new. Because of the large immigrant populations from China and Japan, there are multiple books that examine this clash of cultures including Lisa See’s China Dolls and Isabel Allende’s The Japanese Lover. Check our displays at all three library buildings for lots more titles.

My choice this month is Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan about a bookstore (duh) that is hiding something larger. It comes highly recommended – I’ll let you know what I think.

Now it’s your turn – what are you going to read this month?

YA (Canadian) Spotlight: Little Brother

We’ve been playing a lot of Canadian Spotting in our office as we gear up for the Winter Olympics, so I was gleeful when I came across a list of Canadian Authors which included Cory Doctorow–co-editor of the popular blog BoingBoing and author of several books including the YA bestseller Little Brother.

I will say up front that Little Brother has made me an extremely paranoid little lady. If you ever needed a book to slap you into paying attention to privacy and online security issues, this is it. Little Brother begins when a very technologically savvy high-schooler (aka Hacker) named Marcus skips school with his friends to play their favorite ARG (Alternate Reality Game) when they are interrupted by a bomb blowing up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Marcus and his friends are picked up by the Department of Homeland Security within minutes of the attack and spend the next several days being interrogated and tortured. Upon his release, Marcus discovers that they are still imprisoning his best friend and have completely stripped San Francisco of personal privacy. So he begins to use those hacking skills the DHS was afraid of in order to create an underground movement to bring down the DHS–actions that soon lead his peers to proclaim him a hero and the American media to declare him a terrorist-supporter.

Check out Cory Doctorow’s website for Little Brother where you can download a free copy of the book and other readers’ remixes (Remixing ain’t just for music anymore, baby!). You’ll also want to mark your calendars for the ICON 35 conference held in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 5-7, 2010 where Doctorow will be the guest of honor!