Listen While You Cook

It’s a week of giving thanks! Of course we are always grateful for the Los Angeles Public Library, but as you prepare to gather your family and friends around the Thanksgiving table, let the Library help you get into the spirit of gratitude. Here’s a few favorite audiobooks available for free download from the Library to offer you a moment of respite amid the buzz of basting, mashing, and whipping. And don’t forget, as your loved ones curl up on the couch in the after-turkey haze, the Library also has hundreds of free movies to instantly stream.

California by Edan Lepucki

California

Angelenos don’t have to worry about arctic blasts this Thanksgiving, but local author Edan Lepucki has imagined a few other troubles on the horizon in her new postapocalyptic novel. The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. But their existence is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. Terrified of the unknown, they set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community. It can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

The Good Lord Bird

This year’s National Book Awards were just announced, so perhaps now’s the perfect time to catch up on last year’s winners. Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Cover of Madame Bovary

What better reminder to be grateful for what you have? In Madame Bovary, his story of a shallow, deluded, unfaithful, but consistently compelling woman living in the provinces of nineteenth-century France, Gustave Flaubert invented not only the modern novel but also a modern attitude toward human character and human experience that remains with us to this day.

Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald

Diet Cults

Before you feel guilty about that second piece of pumpkin pie, maybe you need to hear from the national bestselling author of Racing Weight, who exposes the irrationality, half-truths, and downright impossibility of a “single right way” to eat and reveals how to develop rational, healthy eating habits.

Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Orange Is the New Black

If you haven’t–or even if you have–already devoured the television series, then check out the absorbing book. With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424, one of the millions of women who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Cover of Gift From the Sea

A classic token of gratitude. In this inimitable, graceful, lucid, and lyrical book, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Library Foundation!

 

Zoning in on Ideal Study Spaces

How do you create a space where students will want to crack open their books after school? A space that’s safe and inviting, a space that’s cool, but also functional? “I think it’s really fun to create areas without architecture—like the idea of a treehouse,” says architect Cory Grosser. “If you’re a kid and you build a treehouse, it’s your space that’s separate from the house or from your parents, and there’s some independence and ownership of that space.” Cory Grosser Design + Strategy was contracted this fall by the Library Foundation to reimagine its Student Zones at 10 branch libraries.

Student Zones offer children and teens access to dedicated furniture, computers, and equipment during the after-school hours, including books, free printing, supplies, and learning resources. “Libraries are already a big draw for students—Student Zones are a central space within the Library where they can find the resources they need to complete homework and ultimately graduate high school and pursue their dreams,” says Imani Harris, an associate director at the Library Foundation who is overseeing the renovations of Student Zones.

By using modern furnishings, bright colors, and different seating postures—from stools with a laptop bar area to a sofa or floor seating—these new micro-spaces will accommodate the different work habits of all students. “I just wanted to make these spaces so that kids want to be there,” says Grosser. “Our belief is that good design will increase the usage of the Student Zones and that they will chose to attend their local library for after school activities because it is a cool and functional place to be.”

Last year, over 30,000 used Student Zones, and the Foundation hopes these improvements will inspire even more students to use these hubs, which also serve as access points to other free student resources like Live Homework Help and Student Smart. In addition to the redesign, Student Zone Helpers have been added at 15 branches to assist kids with their homework and computer questions, and the Foundation hopes to expand the zones to all 72 neighborhood libraries within the next five years.

Legend Carlos Santana Rocks the ALOUD Stage

To conclude an illuminating year of programming at ALOUD, come spend a magical evening with one of the most influential and visionary musicians of our time, Carlos Santana. On Monday, December 1st at the Orpheum Theatre, Santana will take the stage with Cheech Marin to share the story of his remarkable life as he discusses his new memoir, The Universal Tone. Santana’s soulful new memoir, which is receiving starred reviews from critics, reflects on his humble childhood in Mexico to his celebrated career as a guitarist that bloomed during San Francisco’s Summer of Love. As The Universal Tone is quickly becoming required reading for fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist, here’s a look at a few of Santana’s own recommended reads to get you amped up for his special appearance at ALOUD. Learn more about getting tickets to An Evening with Carlos Santana.

Many of these authors from Carlos’ Bookshelf can be found at the Los Angeles Public Library:

The Fifth Agreement
by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle

A Mini Course for Life
by Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. and Diane Cirincione, PH.D

End your story begin your life
by Jim Dreaver

The Body of Light
by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

And rounding out his reading list, recently on Twitter Santana called legendary jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock’s new memoir Possibilities “required reading.” The book is now available at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Book Jacket for: Possibilities
Learn more about getting tickets to An Evening with Carlos Santana.
Mon, Dec 01, 7:30 PM [ALOUD]
The Orpheum Theatre
The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light
In conversation with Cheech Marin
Main image: Carlos Santana (credit: RUBÉN MARTÍN)

Membership Matching Gift Challenge: Double Your Donation

The Library Foundation of Los Angeles is launching the 2014 Membership Matching Gift Challenge! Now through December 31, when you become a Member, upgrade your existing Membership, or give the gift of Membership to a friend or loved one, a generous donor will match your gift dollar-for-dollar!

In the Central Library and 72 neighborhood branch libraries, there are reading enrichment, educational and cultural programs, and new technology being offered free of charge to millions of children, teens, and adults. These would not be possible without the support of our Members. Your participation is critical; we need your help to meet this challenge.

Ways to Give:

  • Visit us online at lfla.org/support/join
  • Call the Membership department at 213.292.6242
  • Mail your Membership form and payment to 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Spread the Word!
Think of how many people you know who have been touched by libraries. Encourage your friends and loved ones to join the Library Foundation and give them the opportunity to help millions of people in Los Angeles realize their full potential by supporting equal access to ideas, books, information, and technology.

Take this opportunity to see your contribution go twice as far to enhance the programs, resources, and services of the Los Angeles Public Library. Give $50 and it becomes $100, convert a $250 gift into a $500 impact that will help transform Los Angeles through the power of our Library.

Pictured above Miranda July sharing an interesting read at a Young Literati event.

Get a Jump Start on Holiday Shopping

Jump start your holiday shopping by visiting The Library Store On Wheels at one of these upcoming stops:

Saturday 11/15 @ Artists & Fleas in Downtown LA 11am – 6pm

Sunday 11/16 @ Artists & Fleas in Downtown LA 11am – 6pm

Sunday 11/30 @ Patchwork: Santa Ana Edition 11am – 5pm

Sunday 12/7 @ German Christmas Market 10am – 4pm

Saturday 12/13 @ Renegade in Grand Park 10am – 5pm

Sunday 12/14 @ Renegade in Grand Park 10am – 5pm

Saturday 12/20 @ Artists & Fleas in Downtown LA 11am – 6pm

Sunday 12/21 @ Artists & Fleas in Downtown LA 11am – 6pm

See you there!

On the Horizon at ALOUD

Winter in Los Angeles is all about crisp, clear skies, and there’s definitely something in the stars coming up at ALOUD. From an influential astronomer and a CalTech cosmologist, to a legendary rock star and a comedic movie star, here’s what’s on the horizon at ALOUD this winter:

Kicking off the season, one of the most influential and celebrated musicians of our time – Carlos Santana – sits down with L.A.’s own Cheech Marin for a conversation about his remarkable life story and new memoir, The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light. This special offsite program will take place at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 1. Tickets to this program include a signed copy of Santana’s book, and are available at lfla.org/aloud.

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, on the occasion of his book, Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, writer Scott Timberg assembles a panel of creative thinkers and doers to examine the roots of a creative crisis that has put booksellers, indie musicians, architects, and designers out of work and struggling to make a living.

Novelist Chang-rae Lee stops by ALOUD on Thursday, Jan. 15, for a conversation on alternate realities, the power of a riveting story to change the way we see the world, and his new work, On Such a Full Sea: A Novel. On Wednesday, Jan. 21, author Jeff Chang (Who We Be: The Colorization of America) and filmmaker Justin Simien (Dear White People) discuss how artists and young people are shaping the discussion about race in the waning days of the Obama era.

On Friday, Jan. 23, ALOUD heads offsite again for an evening with Patton Oswalt – comedian, actor, social media genius – at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. During the evening, Oswalt will illuminate the story of his early days in the Los Angeles comedy scene and his unshakeable addiction to the New Beverly Cinema through his new book, Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film. Tickets on sale Nov. 7 at lfla.org/aloud.

In a very special program on Wednesday, Jan. 28, ALOUD hosts a conversation about the first-ever diary published by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo Bay detainee, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has never been charged with a crime. To discuss the book and case, legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky interviews human rights activist and Slahi’s editor Larry Siems and Nancy Hollander, Slahi’s lawyer, whose practice is devoted to criminal cases (including that of Chelsea E. Manning) involving national security issues.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Jill Leovy sits down with KCRW’s Warren Olney to tell the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential American murder – one young black man slaying another – contained in her master work of literary journalism, Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.

Leading comics theorist Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work (Understanding Comics). Now he vaults into fiction with The Sculptor, a spellbinding adult urban fable, which he shares at ALOUD with KCRW’s Elvis Mitchell on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Later that week, on Thursday, Feb. 12, influential astronomer Wendy L. Freedman and CalTech cosmologist Sean Carroll stop by ALOUD to discuss what literally could be on the horizon in this phenomenal period of scientific discovery.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, in a special partnership with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills’ Arts & Ideas series, ALOUD presents a conversation with David Axelrod. During the evening, Axelrod, the great strategist who masterminded Obama’s historic election campaigns, will open up about his years as a young journalist, political consultant, and ultimately Senior Advisor to the President – chronicled in his new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics – with NPR’s Emmy Award-winning reporter Michel Martin.  Tickets on sale Nov. 7 at lfla.org/aloud.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, in partnership with the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies of The Claremont Colleges, ALOUD welcomes artist, composer, and writer Paul D. Miller – also known as DJ Spooky – for a performance and conversation about Afrofuturism. And closing out the season on Tuesday, Feb. 24, two writers who studied fine art – Bernard Cooper (My Avant-Garde Education) and Benjamin Weissman (Headless) – discuss their personal transitions as visual artists to writers now returning to visual art.

The entire ALOUD Winter 2014-2015 calendar will be made available to the public at lfla.org/aloud on Nov. 7, 2014, where you can make reservations to attend.

Main image: Carlos Santana (credit: RUBÉN MARTÍN)

 

Spooky Reads for the Young at Heart

Librarians in the Los Angeles Public Library’s Children’s Literature Department love Halloween season and they celebrate by sharing their favorite books with the young and young at heart. Here is a sampling of some fun and slightly spooky reads for the youngest children in your life, specially curated by Madeline J. Bryant, Senior Librarian, Children’s Literature Department.

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara
Book Jacket for: Ghosts in the house!

A young witch moves into a haunted house and puts the ghosts there to work. High contrast black, white and orange illustrations and a warm, satisfying ending make this particularly good for preschoolers.

 

 


Not Very Scary
by Carol Brendler

Book Jacket for: Not very scary
Melly the monster faces her fears as she encounters a host of creepy creatures while out walking on “the scariest night of the year”. But she’s not scared…or is she? Silly rhymes, alliteration and counting make this a great group read-aloud or for sharing one-on-one.

 

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas

Book Jacket for: Pumpkin trouble

Duck carves a jack-o-lantern for Halloween but accidentally falls in. Pig and Mouse are then terrified by a scary “pumpkin monster”. A laugh-out-loud crowd pleaser that fans of Mo Willems will appreciate.

 

 

 

Space Case by James Marshall

Book Jacket for: Space case
A small robot-like creature lands on earth on Halloween night and fits right in with the trick-or-treaters. He moves in with Buddy and even helps him on a space project at school. A humorous Halloween classic.

 

For older kids craving a few more chills and thrills, try these gripping titles:

Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Book Jacket for: The graveyard book
An action-packed adventure about growing up in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, and escaping a killer, as told by master-storyteller Gaiman.

 

 

 

Night Gardener: A Scary Story by Jonathan Auxier

Book Jacket for: The Night Gardener : a scary story
Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

 

 

 

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book Jacket for: Zombie baseball beatdown
While practicing for their next baseball game, thirteen-year-old friends Rabi, Miguel, and Joe discover that the nefarious activities of the Delbe, Iowa, meatpacking plant have caused cows to turn into zombies.

 

 

 

Boneshaker by Kate Milford

Book Jacket for: The Boneshaker
Deals with the Devil and the fight between good and evil are at the crux of this novel in which nothing is as it seems.  A sophisticated, historical thriller for tween readers ages 10 & up.

 

 

 

Find all of these spooky reads and more at the Los Angeles Public Library.

An Evening with Colm Tóibín and Rachel Kushner

It’s a rare treat to find two authors from seemingly opposite ends of the literary spectrum come together over a deep respect and fascination of each other’s work. In a special pairing on Thursday, November 6, critically acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Tóibín will be interviewed by New York Times bestselling L.A. local Rachel Kushner.  They will take the stage at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills for a conversation about Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster,  and to discuss their shared passion for some of literature’s most memorable characters.

Tóibín’s latest novel, Nora Webster, is a masterful portrait of a young Irish widow and mother of four’s transformation through grief. In Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, a gutsy young artist arrives in New York in 1977 driven to take risks at any cost. Hear these two luminous storytellers discuss and interpret each other’s fierce female protagonists following in the footsteps of the great Madame Bovary and Hedda Gabler. Learn more about getting tickets here, and to get ready for this special event we’ve gathered a few interesting reads below on Tóibín and Kushner’s latest novels.

Critics are around the globe are praising Tóibín’s Nora Webster:

–Jennifer Egan is stunned by its “high-wire act” as she writes in The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review.

–Although you can check out Nora Webster from the Los Angeles Public Library, Kirkus Reviews says don’t borrow, buy this starred “pitch-perfect sonata of a novel.”

The Guardian calls it an “an Irish love story and a love letter to Irish readers from one of Ireland’s contemporary masters.”

–And if you loved Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary, The Washington Post says Nora Webster is even more “believable and, ultimately, more miraculous.”

Critics also unanimously agreed in their adimiration for Kushner’s The Flamethrowers:

–In The New Yorker, James Wood describes it as “scintillatingly alive, and also alive to artifice.”

New York Magazine applauded Kushner in their 2013 “Culture Awards” because she “willfully stands apart” from the literary institution.

–And check out this special curation of art and photography by Kushner in The Paris Review.

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master (winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize); and Brooklyn (winner of the Costa Book Award); as well as two story collections and several books of essays, including Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar. The stage production of his novel, The Testament of Mary, starring Fiona Shaw, ran on Broadway in 2013, earning three Tony nominations. Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York, where he is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia. His newest book is Nora Webster: A Novel.

Rachel Kushner is the author of two novels, Telex from Cuba and The Flamethrowers. Both received rave reviews, were shortlisted for the National Book Award, and were New York Times bestsellers.

Learn more about the upcoming ALOUD event.

 

Angelenos Unite to Read Homer

The epic journey of the Library Foundation’s month-long, city-wide celebration, The L.A. Odyssey Project, docks at the Central Library this Saturday, October 25, for a marathon reading of Homer’s epic poem. The words of Homer were originally spoken aloud to rapt audiences, and to relive this oral tradition “Our Odyssey: A Reading of Homer’s Epic By the People and For the People” will feature over 200 Angelenos, including students, celebrities, scholars, librarians, veterans, Library Foundation Members, and more.

Actors Cloris Leachman, Rhea Perlman, Bradley Whitford, Susan Sullivan, and Roger Guenveur Smith; musicians Lisa Loeb, Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), and Ceci Bastida; sleight of hand artist Ricky Jay; KCRW traffic queen Kajon Cermak; and others will read through the poem over the course of the day and the voice of Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) will provide running commentary, abridging the epic poem for the audience.

Simpsons_OdysseyPoster_R7

Everyone is invited to attend this free event. Bring the entire family and enjoy an Odyssey puppet show in the KLOS Story Theater or craft your own puppet inspired by the epic in the breathtaking Rotunda!

“Our Odyssey: A Reading of Homer’s Epic By the People and For the People”
Presented in collaboration with The Readers of Homer
Saturday, October 25

2nd Floor Getty Gallery, Central Library
10:30am – 5:30pm

To learn more about The L.A. Odyssey Project, visit lfla.org/odyssey.

 

 

 

Coming Soon to ALOUD: From Poland’s Solidarity to Egypt’s Tahrir Square

None of us were here to live through America’s Revolutionary War that secured our own democracy; but revolutions have succeeded and failed in our lifetimes. Come to ALOUD on Tuesday, October 21, to hear from two courageous writer-activists—one from Poland, the other from Egypt—who have lived through the triumph and heartbreak of their countries’ struggles for freedom.

Adam Michnik, one of Poland’s most influential public intellectuals, perhaps one of the most influential journalists in the world—and a key player in Poland’s transition from Communism to democracy—will be joined by Yasmine El Rashidi, visiting Los Angeles from Cairo, where she writes about the aftermath of the electrifying events in Tahrir Square that brought down a president and raised so many hopes for a democratic Egypt.

Michnik and El Rashidi both speak truth to power. They’ve both written extensively about their on-the-ground participation in the revolutions that swept their respective countries—Poland and Egypt—decades apart.  Michnik, imprisoned during martial law in Poland, wrote in his Letters from Prison, “…you score a victory not when you win power but when you remain faithful to yourself.” El Rashidi, in her poignant essay, “The Revolution Is Not Yet Over,” wrote, “It seems that the battle for Egypt will be one not just for power and against despotic leaders and corruption, but about values, principles, and even a more basic vision of what kind of day-to-day life the people want.”

What does a veteran of one revolution that succeeded have to say to someone who’s lived through one that failed, or has yet to be resolved? (or—a revolution, as pointed out by one resident of Cairo, “in the circular sense of the word. You go back to where you started.”) NPR’s former diplomatic correspondent, Mike Shuster, who’s reported from Tehran to Islamabad, Berlin to Moscow, will moderate what should be a lively discussion between our two guests.

This program is co-presented with the Consulate General of Poland. Learn more about Fomenting Democracy: From Poland’s Solidarity to Egypt’s Tahrir Square and make your free reservation.

“… my relationship with this city, with a culture, with my home, has forever been changed, and my memory of the 18 days, the revolution, are mere fragments of a larger journey and a search that I now wait to complete.” -Yasmine El Rashidi, “Cairo City in Waiting”

“In Poland, not a single window was broken, and the dictatorship was overthrown by the ballot. Poland was the first communist state to gain the capacity to decide about its own fate. That freedom brought anxiety and insecurity.” -Adam Michnik, The Trouble with History: Morality, Revolution, and Counterrevolution

–Posted by Louise Steinman
–Main image: Tahrir Square, November 2011. Credit: Hossam el Hamalawy