Monday, March 28, 2011

Still Alice

Join us for a lively, insightful discussion of the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova on Wednesday, March 30th in the basement of the Pleasant Grove Library.

Eloise Fugal will lead the discussion and there will be refreshments.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind.

This award-winning book is a favorite of book clubs all over the country.

Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. She has done research on the molecular etiology of depression, Parkinson's Disease, drug addiction, and memory loss following stroke. Her second novel, LEFT NEGLECTED, also a New York Times bestseller, is about a woman with a traumatic brain injury. She is currently writing her third novel, LOVE ANTHONY, about a boy with autism. Lisa lives with her husband and three children on Cape Cod.

What inspired Lisa to write the book:
Her grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's. She started doing research on it, but could never answer the question, "What does it feel like to have this?" because her grandmother was already too far gone.

Lisa's research:
Lisa did a ton of research. Her "Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard was like a golden, all-access pass" with neurologists, genetic counselors, researchers and about a dozen people who were suffering from Alzheimer's. They e-mailed almost daily while she was writing the book and made sure her writing rang true.

Lisa's previous writing experience:
The only writing Lisa had done previously was scientific research papers, with the exception of a Short Story class her freshman year in college. However, she was training as a Meisner actress at the same time she was writing the book and felt that the skills she learned in acting class translated well in the writing process.

The writing/publishing experience:
Lisa wrote Still Alice at Starbucks while her daughter was in school. She was too distracted by things at home--phone calls, laundry, food in the fridge. She wasn't successful initially with finding an agent or a publisher so she self-published, selling the book out of the trunk of her car. It paid off. Simon & Schuster took it on and it became a best-seller and has been translated into over 20 languages.

Lisa Genova talks about Still Alice:

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Picture Books

Enjoy a sampling of our new picture books.

This book will become a new favorite. It's a great book for mothers and their young sons:

All the Things I Love About You by Leuven Pham
In All the Things I Love About You, Mama lists the reasons she loves her little boy: the way his hair sticks up in the morning, the way he says "Mama" (even in the middle of the night), and the way he laughs. Simply written and beautifully illustrated, All the Things I Love About You honestly speaks to the unconditional love between a mother and her child. Children and parents alike will treasure this heartwarming book and, in reading it together, appreciate the small actions that make love grow stronger every day.
Looking for a book on friendship? 
Here are two you might like:

I'm Not by Pam Smallcomb

Here is the perfect book for children who feel like their outgoing friend is oh-so-talented . . . and they're not. Our shy narrator lists all the things that her best friend, Evelyn, is good at—from jumping on the bed to roller skating really fast. Luckily, Evelyn points out what makes her so special: she's a one-of-a-kind true blue best friend. Robert Weinstock's hilarious illustrations wonderfully complement Pam Smallcomb's simple text, perfect for young children. This sweet depiction of friendship shows—in a completely fresh, original way—that everyone is special.
Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon
Noodle and Lou are unlikely friends. One is a worm and one is a bird. When Noodle is having a bad day, Lou knows just what to say to cheer up his wormy friend and help him see what it means to be liked just the way you are.
A great addition to your wordless book collection:

Where's Walrus by Stephen Savage
A happy-go-lucky Walrus escapes the zoo in search of adventure in this wordless instant classic.
Bored with life at the zoo, an adventurous walrus escapes to the outside world. With the zookeeper in hot pursuit, Walrus cleverly tries on all sorts of hats to disguise himself. Will a yellow hardhat point to a new life as a construction worker? Or will a red swimming cap reveal his true talents? Follow this happy-go-lucky runaway and find the surprising answer as he hides amongst firefighters, street painters, businessmen, and even high-stepping dancers!

For those with a great imagination:

My Name Is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry
Alexander takes a rip-roaring historical adventure! Through his imaginative journey, Alexander discovers how great men become heroes: the roughest rider can be surprisingly gentle, a strong leader is also the most peaceful, and sometimes, being brave about what makes you different will not only help you break records, but inspire others.
Join Alexander as he learns how these remarkable men changed the world and encouraged him to find the hero within himself.
If you like horses and fairy tales, this book might be the one for you:

Ponyella by Laura Numeroff

Some picture books are just as much for the parents as the child:

Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo
From Roman Holiday to Breakfast at Tiffany's, when Audrey Hepburn starred in a movie, she lit up the screen. Her unique sense of fashion, her grace, and, most important, her spirit made her beloved by generations. But her life offscreen was even more luminous. As a little girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, she learned early on that true kindness is the greatest measure of a person—and it was a lesson she embodied as she became one of the first actresses to use her celebrity to shine a light on the impoverished children of the world through her work with UNICEF.
This is Audrey Hepburn as a little girl, an actress, an icon, an inspiration; this is Audrey just being Audrey.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crowned in Terabithia

We welcomed the girls and their moms to Terabithia last Wednesday for Great Reads for Girls.

The book we discussed, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, deals with friendship, imagination, bullying, family, differences, fear, and death.

There was a lot to discuss.

The girls and their moms had some great comments.

(Warning: spoilers)

Though the end of the book is tragic, this quote puts it into perspective:

He thought about it all day, how before Leslie came, he had been a nothing – a stupid, weird little kid who drew funny pictures and chased around a cow field trying to act big- trying to hide a whole mob of foolish little fears running riot inside his gut. It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king. He had thought that was it. Wasn’t king the best you could be? Now it occurred to him that perhaps Terabithia was like a castle where you came to be knighted. After you stayed for a while and grew strong you had to move on. For hadn’t Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world – huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile? . . .

Now it was time for him to move out. She wasn’t there, so he must go for both of them. It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.

Activity: The girls and their moms used their imaginations by creating one-third of each picture without seeing what the others had drawn.

Craft: They created their own Terabithia crowns.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bridge to Terabithia

Great Reads for Girls, our mother-daughter book group, will be discussing Bridge to Terabithia tomorrow evening, Wednesday, March 9th at 7 p.m.

We'd love to have you join us!

There will be an on-time drawing, an activity, and refreshments, along with the discussion of the book.
Bridge to Terabithia is a touching novel about a boy and a girl who create a magical kingdom in the forest.

It won the Newbery Award in 1978.

And it was made into a movie twice.

The PBS adaptation in 1985

The 2007 Disney movie

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson's first language was Chinese because her parents were missionaries in China and she spent the first years of her childhood there. After graduating with a Master's Degree in Christian Studies she became a missionary in Japan.

She has received many awards for her work and is now serving as the Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a two-year position created to raise national awareness of the importance of lifelong literacy and education.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

R.E.A.D. Book Group for March

On Thursday, March 3 at 10:00 a.m. Eloise Fugal will review Driven: An Autobiography by Larry H. Miller and Doug Robinson at the library for the R.E.A.D. Book Group. Everyone is invited to attend.

When he was sixteen years old, Larry Miller came home one summer night to find all his possessions sitting in three bags on the porch of his darkened house. The door was locked. From those troubled and humble beginnings rose a man whose influence has touched, according to reliable pollsters, more than 99 percent of the population of Utah as well as myriads of people worldwide. Seven months before Miller passed away, he began working with Doug Robinson on this biography. Written in first person, the book talks about the many facets of Larry's life and legacy and speaks candidly about the people and experiences that influenced him. It doesn't just tell Larry Millers story, it shares painful lessons as well as joyful lessons he learned from his many experiences. 

This fascinating and inspiring autobiography includes a moving foreword by Utah Jazz great John Stockton, 

an epilogue written by Gail Miller, Larry s wife, and numerous photographs.

It gives a firsthand look at the incredible breadth of Larry Miller's work and contributions in business, in sports, in the arts, in his support of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, as well as his personal humanitarian service.  It has a full section addressing the question Larry was most often asked: How did you do it? 

We hope you will plan to join us for the book review and discussion about this interesting man.