Readers Recommend what to read, watch, and listen to
These titles are brought to you by the means of the Texas Book Festival Collections Enhancement Grant of $2,494.33. This grant expanded and updated the Spanish Language collection at the East Branch Library to include a range of nonfiction books (175 new titles!) including current autobiographies, cookbooks, nutrition, self-help financial and lifestyle.
Texas Christkindl Market at Globe Life Park.
One of my favorite memories as an Army brat growing up in Germany was the Christmas markets or Christkindlesmarkt which magically appeared every year. They were huge, taking up the entire town square. They also marked the beginning of Advent and the countdown to Christmas Eve.
The sights were awesome, the smells delicious, and the atmosphere indescribable. For me, this was like the opening scenes from “A Christmas Story:” the town decorated for the holiday, children with their noses pressed against store windows, parents enjoying the beginning of the season. It was overwhelming in a fabulous sort of way.
At each of the markets, we sampled lots of amazing German gingerbread and marzipan. There was usually time for a bratwurst on a roll with lots of spicy mustard. We visited the nativity scene and strolled by all the vendor stalls. I was always allowed to select one or two decorations to add to our collection, which was a most difficult task as there were way too many choices!
As an adult, I made a return visit to tour Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Amazingly, the memories were not tarnished by my now grown-up perspective. The markets were even larger and provided even more delicacies and treasures than I remembered. I traded my hot chocolate for hot apple cider and gluewein. And, I confess to having bought mementoes and munchies with abandon.
You too can experience the wonderment of a German Christmas Market right here in Arlington. November 28 – December 21 will mark the fourth year of the festival, which has been renamed the Texas Christkindl Market. The market is returning to its usual location at Globe Life Park. I have been each year and hope to see you there this year. You will not be disappointed! Your grandchildren might even take away some of those same wonderful memories I experienced as a child.
For the latest information go to the Texas Christkindl Market site.
by Barbara Transki, Library Volunteer and Senior Advisory Council Member
Radiance of Tomorrow
by Ishmael Beah
You may recognize Ishmael Beah as the author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, which is the true story of his youth as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. Radiance of Tomorrow is his first novel and it follows the story of an immigrant’s return home to his village after years of civil war. There are struggles and hardship, but also community and hope. Radiance of Tomorrow is an intimate account of a massive event. International news can seem distant or abstract, but novels like Beah's put a personal face on history.
Interested in this book? Click on the cover and sample the eBook below!
If you read this book and want to talk about it, come to the next meeting of the Southwest Morning Reading Group! The group meets at 11 am on the second Wednesday of the month, in the Southwest Branch Community Room. The next meeting is December 10 at 11 am. Radiance of Tomorrow is December’s book. Come discuss!
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William Talmadge’s entire life revolved around the maintenance of his apple and apricot trees. He had little social contact other than the pickers and his woman friend in town. The land with the magnificent trees full of fruit lovingly tended year after year kept Talmadge going, a lonely existence but one that he enjoyed, the trees fully productive, well cared for, and healthy, his meticulous organizational skills keeping his trees alive.
One day, his life completely changed because two runaway teens entered his life, girls who had come from mysterious circumstances, ones that impregnated both of them. In the beginning, only physical contact existed when he left plates of food out to feed them and eventually, with winter weather, bedding and quilts for sleep. Social contact was non-existent!
Talmadge knows that the birth process would be coming, had alerted his woman friend in town when the girls began the labor process. Only one child, Angelene, and one girl, Della, survived. The other girl hung herself.
Talmadge, throughout the remainder of his life, dedicated himself to the girls, his love one of sharing all he had, protecting his charges, and teaching them, his parental skills those of survival. Della eventually left home, difficult to manage, unwilling to accept guidance. Angelene is gentle, nurturing, and open to learning and caring for her guardian by making sure he eats, keeping the cabin clean, and helping with the orchard. She loves the trees and eventually develops her own acreage. Conversation is minimal; communication is maintained through the land.
This is a beautifully written book, the words crafted so that the image comes alive with description, especially the trees as they actually feel visible to the mind’s eye, as if you could reach out and touch. The character’s personalities are well developed, their features clearly evident, the compassion Talmadge feels reaching across the pages, all evident without conversation! The author cleverly omits quotation marks to reflect the lack of words. The chapters are identified simply with a small twig of fruit!
This story is a labor of love, one that is especially evident in the last stages of his life when Talmadge’s health is deteriorating and he tries to bring a resistant Della home. I was disappointed in the ending but, perhaps, it’s because I enjoyed the book so much that I didn’t want it to end! Enjoy this wonderful story because it is a special treasure trove for the senses and will give “you” the true meaning of what it means to love unconditionally!
Written by Joy B., Lake Arlington patron
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Right now I need lots of help. I’m moving from one house into a new one and I seem to be surrounded by stuff that needs to get done. I could have used the Home Improvement Reference Center before I started all of this! The articles on patching drywall and painting techniques are useful for updating the old house for putting on the market. And, the videos on installing ceiling fans and chair railings are giving me ideas on how to customize the new house.
GED Registration has a new and improved sign up process!
Registration will now be done completely online. All you have to do is go to the event sign up at http://www.arlingtonlibrary.org/calendar/english-ged-prep-registration.
Registration opens on Monday, January 5 and is open until Saturday, January 10, 2015. It is still first-come, first-served, so be sure to sign up as soon as you can that week.
No library card is necessary! No guest pass is needed! There are public computers in all Arlington libraries where you can access the calendar and sign up for the program there. Or you can ask a library staff member for assistance.
The registration form will tell you how many slots are left. All individuals will be contacted, whether they have a spot in the program, or are on the wait list, with further instructions.
If you have any questions, please call the Literacy House at 817-460-2727.
GED Prep Registration, Spring 2015
An email address is required for registration and enrollment.
Spring semester will run from January 26-May 9, 2015, (15 weeks) with required attendance at the Enrollment and Orientation sessions.
Enrollment includes filling out paperwork and taking an assessment test. This session will be three hours.
Individuals enrolled will pay a $25 registration fee, payable at the Orientation session.
Please call Arlington Reads at the Literacy House with any questions: 817-460-2727.
Space is limited and will fill up quickly.
We will keep a waiting list and contact interested students if space becomes available.
Online registration will open on January 5, 2015.
Here are the books being adapted into movies this November. It's a month of biographies! Check one out before or after you go to the theater to see how they compare. Below are publisher summaries for the books. Click on the cover pictures to find a copy in branch near you or to place one on hold.
You’ll like this if you want to see Theory of Everything, in theaters since November 7
“Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.
My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty, and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of physics and cosmology.
Writing with characteristic humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time—one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.
Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.”
- (Random House, Inc.)
In theaters since November 14
“When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he’d be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by his smell: Rosewater.
For the Bahari family, wars, coups, and revolutions are not distant concepts but intimate realities they have suffered for generations: Maziar’s father was imprisoned by the shah in the 1950s, and his sister by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. Alone in his cell at Evin Prison, fearing the worst, Maziar draws strength from his memories of the courage of his father and sister in the face of torture, and hears their voices speaking to him across the years. He dreams of being with Paola in London, and imagines all that she and his rambunctious, resilient eighty-four-year-old mother must be doing to campaign for his release. During the worst of his encounters with Rosewater, he silently repeats the names of his loved ones, calling on their strength and love to protect him and praying he will be released in time for the birth of his first child.
A riveting, heart-wrenching memoir, Rosewater offers insight into the past seventy years of regime change in Iran, as well as the future of a country where the democratic impulses of the youth continually clash with a government that becomes more totalitarian with each passing day. An intimate and fascinating account of contemporary Iran, it is also the moving and wonderfully written story of one family’s extraordinary courage in the face of repression.”
- (by Random House, Inc.)
You’ll like this if you want to see The Imitation Game, in theaters November 21
“To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary programmable calculating machine. But the idea of actually producing a "Turing machine" did not crystallize until he and his brilliant Bletchley Park colleagues built devices to crack the Nazis' Enigma code, thus ensuring the Allies' victory in World War II. In so doing, Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, formulating the famous (and still unbeaten) Turing Test that challenges our ideas of human consciousness. But Turing's postwar computer-building was cut short when, as an openly gay man in a time when homosexuality was officially illegal in England, he was apprehended by the authorities and sentenced to a "treatment" that amounted to chemical castration, leading to his suicide.
With a novelist's sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity -- his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor -- while elegantly explaining his work and its implications.”
- (by Norton Pub)
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Ignored by his grandfather, William Bellman, showed his gift for leadership early on when he chose to go to work for the family mill. He worked as an underling, learning the business from the ground floor, getting his finger nails dirty, roughing up his hands, willing to endure all that the workers did in order to understand exactly what the business was about. His uncle, tutoring him along the way, was proud of him, encouraging his social gifts for mediation, and especially, his willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful.
Time passes, William’s grandfather dies, the two remaining heirs die, marriage and children follow, and William becomes sole owner of the family mill, his initial ground work paying off. Not afraid of hard work or long hours, his creative juices for improvement move the mill forward, challenges along the way met head on and solved, his workers feeling the positive energy of success. Reading about this progress is energizing, powerful, one that encourages the fast-paced enjoyment of the story!
All of a sudden, a serious life-threatening illness faces the town, his family, and his children. Despite every precaution: sanitizing the house, throwing away toys, and everything that involves personal contact, he loses his wife, and all but one of his children! He is in the depths of despair, he has trouble concentrating, and his mind becomes paralyzed from the loss. At the funeral, not completely in his right frame of mine from the extreme grief, he “meets” a stranger, one that he has fleetingly seen at other funerals of family members, one he doesn’t know, one who is dressed all in black to honor the deceased. From this brief encounter, he decides to start another business dedicated to the deceased and to every facet imaginable for the loss of a loved one. He travels all over the world to get the exact color of black, special wood grains for caskets, family apparel, jewelry, stationery, and everything related to death and dying to make the experience a beautiful one. He helps design the building down to the most minutiae details. With his hands on approach, he checks out the staff’s qualifications to include counseling the bereaved and the dressmakers, nothing left to chance. Naming the facility, he uses the name “Bellman and Black” since he doesn’t know the name of the stranger he met in the graveyard and he thinks he made a business deal with this man but doesn’t know his name and no contract was signed!!
This story will exhaust and exhilarate the mind at the same time with all the energy that William uses to achieve his goals. It is a feat beyond imagination what he is capable of doing, all the while suffering from the loss of his loved ones. In fact, he gives up his homes for others to run, to manage, living on the premises of his work toward the last days of his life, ignoring health issues, avoiding most social contact, always plowing forward with one more plan to succeed.
As a 10 year old boy, William used a sling shot he personally carved to kill a rook, this unexpected kill metaphorically affecting his life. Italicized mini-chapters are inserted throughout the book relaying the life of the rook, the raven, and the crow, giving food for thought to the path of life taken by William Bellman, the answer lies in the interpretation!
The unknown Mr. Black is another metaphor to give the reader an opportunity to wonder: Who is he? How is he related to the story? Why doesn’t he make himself known? Again, questions are there for individual interpretation…..
I loved this book and was disappointed when it ended. After reading the story, I closed my eyes one evening surrounded only by the evening sky and considered my own personal meaning for the mysteries that weave themselves seamlessly throughout the story and suddenly, I knew the answers! Much like a roller coaster, this read will leave you breathless but stimulated!
Written by Joy B., Lake Arlington patron
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