Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Read this book on Purpose!

Today’s Book: American on Purpose: the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot, by Craig Ferguson

The plot: The subtitle of this witty autobiography is “the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot,” and that only just begins to describe this hilarious, honest story of Glaswegian Ferguson and his epic trip to becoming an American citizen. Starting as a Glasgow native with a punk-rock soul, the now-famous late-night host waxes poetic on his "ridiculously attractive" parents and tells the hard, forthright truth about being a drunk and a drug addict for chunks of his life, and how he, with the help of friends, managed to rise above it, raise a son, and become the rollicking and uproarious comedian he is today - all while chasing the dream of being an American (on purpose).

Why You’ll Love It: If you're already a fan of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, you don't need any more reason than his nightly shenanigans to pick up this book. If you don't stay up late, or never watched The Drew Carey Show, you'll love this book for the laughter it will inspire in you; it's full of read-aloud quips, like when he speaks of his late-night-show colleagues and predecessor Johnny Carson: "A little bit of cool goes a long way; it lands on you if you are a late-night talk-show host. Consider the other guys: if Dave (Letterman) wasn't the king of late night he'd be just a cranky old man who drives too fast. Jay (Leno) would be a weirdly needy mechanic, and Conan (O'Brien) would have kids following him down the street calling him names. Without his show, Jimmy Fallon is just a thirty-five-year-old giggly adolescent; and Jimmy Kimmel is a good guy, but he'd be the first to admit he's not cool - in another life, he'd be a genial maĆ®tre d'."

Who Will/Should Read It: Fans of Ferguson's turns on The Drew Carey Show as British boss Nigel Wick, of the host of the Late Late Show, or his favorite movies (written and starring him) - Saving Grace, The Big Tease, and I'll Be There, or anyone who enjoys a good laugh while reading a story of growing up Glaswegian and striving for the states. Also, as Ferguson mentions a few times in the book, those who "choose adventure."

Bio Ferguson WCV WMB

B Ferguson ROG SBL CHE

[Saving Grace is available at Warren Civic Center library on DVD and at Roseville and Shelby Township on VHS. The Big Tease is only available through Melcat requests, and I'll Be There can be ordered from Lenox Township and Roseville.]

Soon to be available as an audiobook read by the author!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #66

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Following up our recent post on suggested website gems, we couldn’t resist offering some book-specific websites that offer a variety of support to avid readers everywhere. Selected are websites that librarians love and we hope you, too, will find very useful.

Readers Read – Devoted more to book and publishing news than title suggestions, it’s a worthwhile spot to "check out" if you’re interested in book trends and insider publishing news. An exhaustive list of book blogging links is offered.

Shelf Awareness – A free e-mail newsletter dedicated to helping the people in bookstores, public libraries and those working on the Internet buy, sell, and lend books most wisely. If you want to know what authors will be on NPR, Oprah, Larry King, and many other media outlets, this site will tell you. Also, a fun part of being on their e-mail list is the contests that publishing companies and authors often run.

Generous Books – A growing community for those who love books and love sharing their thoughts with other readers.

Book Muse – Commentary, author biographies and interviews, and loads of reading suggestions make this a useful site for the more literary minded reader.

Last but not least, don’t forget publishing company websites. They often offer free newsletter links that can keep you up to date on favorite titles and authors. A few of the larger publishers include –

Avon Books (an imprint of Harper Collins, specializing in women's literature and romance)

Simon and Schuster (They currently publish Vince Flynn, Sandra Brown, and more!)

Random House(Publishers of the new Dan Brown book "The Lost Symbol" and a host of entertainment biographies, like Kathy Griffin and Tracy Morgan)

Harper Collins (Publishing the PostSecret books and one of our favorites - Neil Gaiman; they also have e-mail lists for children's books and teens)

Penguin (Home of Patricia Cornwell, Charlaine Harris, and John Sandford; they have podcasts every week about new and exciting book selections)

Kensington Books (A great place to find your favorite mystery series writers, like Joanne Fluke and G.A. McKevett, as well as urban lit up-and-comers Kimberla Lawson Roby and Wahida Clark)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's the Suburban Library Cooperative?

Warren Public Library is a member of the Suburban Library Cooperative, an association of Macomb County libraries (which also includes Harper Woods). Since we're members of the SLC, we can request books and movies and many other items from any library in the system - for free! You can also use your Warren Public Library card at any library in the cooperative, too, so if you're ever out in Shelby Township, you can visit their library with your card.

What do all the letters in the Outside of a Dog posts mean?
These are abbreviations of the libraries included in the system. There's is a short list below, but you can view (and print!) the full list, with addresses and phone numbers here.
ARM - Armada
CLL - Centerline
CHE - Chesterfield
EPL - Eastpointe
FRA - Fraser
HPW - Harper Woods
LEN - Lenox Township
LWM - Lois Wagner Memorial (Richmond)
MPL - MacDonald (New Baltimore)
MTC - Mount Clemens
RAY - Ray Township
ROG - Romeo Graubner
ROK - Romeo Kezar
RSV - Roseville
SCS - St. Clair Shores
SBL - Shelby Township
SHL - Sterling Heights
UPL - Utica
WMB - Warren (Maybelle Burnette)
WDB - Warren (Dorothy Busch)
WAM - Warren (Arthur Miller)
WCV - Warren (Civic Center)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #65

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

It’s always a treat to discover a new and useful website. The internet offers so much and so many, it is often easier just to rely on old standbys, but you’d be missing some real gems. Here are a few that you might just want to consider bookmarking the next time you're surfing.

Discover America
As the “official” travel and tourism website of the United States, I honestly can’t think of any place, topic, or travel information it doesn’t offer, including allowing you to search by destination, state, attraction, and find other travel organizations and links. A definite first stop when planning any journey that takes you farther than your own backyard.

Book Club Girl
Not strictly for girls, this is a great site to browse for a variety of reading suggestions, even if you’re not in a book club. Including author information, links to book clubs, book blogs, and author websites, you’ll never again wonder what to read next.
The tag is “government made easy” and it does do a pretty decent job of leading you through whatever government agency, department, or question you might need to research. Everything from financial aid, passport information, addresses of elected officials, currency exchange rates, zip code lookup, and much much more is offered. It also has links to state and local governments.

Ravelry is a knit and crochet community that is rivaled by no other. You do have to register, but don’t worry - it's free! Afterwards you can check out an endless list of free patterns, projects, and needlecraft links. But beware - you might find yourself so addicted to this site that you’ll have less time to actually pick up that crochet hook or knitting needle.

What They Play
If you're a parent of a tech-savvy kid today, you'll notice that video games are one of the biggest "I want that!" items on wish lists. What They Play gives you parent reviews and screenshots (photos of in-game activity) and sometimes videos of the most popular games, so you know what your kids are asking for.

Spread the Sign
The sign language dictionary of the world is live and is it ever a great resource! You can type in any word, number, or even a full sentence, and this search site will help you learn how to sign it - in ASL (American Sign Language), and sign language in Czech, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish!

Flag Identifier
This is the place to go when you see a flag and you don't know what country it symbolizes. Flag Identifier lets you search by the style of flag, what colors it is, or just what symbols were on it. It includes world flags, state flags, and more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #64

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

As promised, now that you're bopping to the groove of great jazz music, tune your brain to one of these books to find out more...
Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
A series of love poems to the music, this kids' book is great for adults, too, bringing to mind the swinging Harlem-Renaissance poetry of Langston Hughes.
JUV 781.65 M WAM

Visions of Jazz: The First Century by Gary Giddins
This is a big book, to be sure, but well worth picking up, especially if you're curious as to how Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker got their nicknames. Seventy-nine chapters are in this labor of love by the Village Voice music critic Giddins, and each one takes you in-depth about a famed jazz musician, and includes some insight into pop musicians who sometimes sing jazz, like Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra.
781.65 G WDB

The Billboard illustrated encyclopedia of jazz & blues by Ted Drozdowski
Billboard is one of the best-known music magazines worldwide, making and publishing lists of hot music in almost any genre you can imagine, so it's no wonder that an encyclopedia by them is a fantastic resource for history and photos. This is a reference book only, though, so you'll have to look at it in the library; you can't take it home with you.
REF 781.65 B WCV

John Coltrane: A sound supreme by John W. Selfridge
It's never too early to get your kids listening to great music, and learning about the most famous artists. "A sound supreme" is a short biography for kids of all ages that details the life of saxophonist John Coltrane, now known for the complex harmonies in songs like "Giant Steps."
JBiog Coltrane WMB

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #63

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

The classic period for jazz music occurred back in the mid-50's to the mid-60's. some of the musical icons of that era included Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. Below is a listing of several musical selections available at Macomb County libraries.

The best of Chet Baker Plays - Chet Baker
CD Jazz Baker WAM

Miles Smiles - Miles Davis
CD Jazz Miles SHL

The Drum Battle - Buddy Rich
CD Jazz Drum MTC

Dave Brubeck's Greatest Hits - Dave Brubeck
CD Jazz 1391 WDB

Charlie Parker Plays Standards - Charlie Parker
CD Jazz Parker WCV

The Symphonic Ellington - Duke Ellington
CD Jazz Ellington WCV

The Very Best of John Coltrane - John Coltrane
CD Jazz Coltrane WCV

And if you're interested about life behind the scenes of this famous music scene, next week, we'll feature some books on the jazz life.