Readers Recommend what to read, watch, and listen to

Book to Movie: Sherlock Holmes

Another Sherlock Holmes film adaptation has come out! Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellan and Laura Linney, is actually a movie version of a Holmes story written by Mitch Cullin. The original stories were written by Arthur Conan Doyle, but a long line of other authors have taken a crack at the classic detective. Here is the newest version to enjoy, with summary by the publisher. You can check it out and see which you prefer, the book or the movie!

A Slight Trick of the Mind, by Mitch Cullin

You'll like this if you want to see Mr. Holmes, in theaters since July 17

It is 1947, and the long-retired Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse, where his memories and intellect begin to go adrift. He lives with a housekeeper and her young son, Roger, whose patient, respectful demeanor stirs paternal affection in Holmes. Holmes has settled into the routine of tending his apiary, writing in journals, and grappling with the diminishing powers of his razor-sharp mind, when Roger comes upon a case hitherto unknown. It is that of a Mrs. Keller, the long-ago object of Holmes’s deep—and never acknowledged—infatuation.

As Mitch Cullin weaves together Holmes’s hidden past, his poignant struggle to retain mental acuity, and his unlikely relationship with Roger, Holmes is transformed from the machine-like, mythic figure into an ordinary man, confronting and acquiescing to emotions he has resisted his entire life. This subtle and wise work is more than just a reimagining of a classic character. It is a profound meditation on faultiness of memory and how, as we grow older, the way we see the world is inevitably altered.

- (Random House, Inc.)

7/29/2015 by Allison Denny Add a Comment Share this:

Book It for Literacy Staff Profile: Marco

Book It for Literacy Runner Marco

Are you still debating signing up for the Book It for Literacy 5K/Fun Run? We know it will be hot, it is August in Texas after all, but we also bet it will be a lot of fun! The individuals and teams that sign up for this 5K have a variety of fitness levels, ranging from friends just wanting to walk and chat to support a good cause to serious runners trying to beat their personal record. 
Meet Marco! Marco is a Customer Service Assistant at East Branch Library and is gearing up to run in the Book It for Literacy 5K for the fifth year in a row! Marco has run in the 5K as an individual the past four years but this year will be running with a five-person team, including coworkers and friends. “I like that it’s smaller and not as crowded as some races, and I like the course at River Legacy.” 
Marco is an avid runner and has run in a variety of 5Ks in the past and has completed six half marathons! He will attempt his first full marathon of 26.2 miles at the Dallas Marathon in December. “I just run for fun and races keep me motivated to run.” The course at River Legacy is flat, so his three fastest 5K’s have been in the last three Book It races. 
When you’re done with the race, we encourage you to mingle, maybe even find some new fitness partners. Or, if you’re like Marco, who bicycles eight miles there and back, go straight home and recover!
We’d love to hear your stories of participating in the Book It for Literacy 5K/Fun Run and see your pictures!
7/28/2015 by Julie W. Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Arlington, Literacy

Get Help With AISD Pre-Registration!

Get help with pre-registering your child for school in AISD at East Branch Library's Family Learning Lab!  Staff will be on hand to assist you with entering your information into AISD's InfoSnap system. Spanish-speaking assistance will be available.

Please bring the following documents:

  • SnapCode - if your child is a returning student, you should have received this by email or regular mail
  • Birth certificate - you need to enter your child's legal name
  • Social Security Card - you are asked to provide your child's social security number

Arlington Public Library staff are providing computer assistance and cannot answer any questions regarding registration procedures.


Obtenga ayuda con el pre-registro de su hijo para el Distrito Escolar Independiente de Arlington (AISD). El personal estará a su disposición para ayudarle a introducir la información en el sistema InfoSnap de AISD.

Favor de traer los siguientes documentos:

  • ​SnapCode - Si su hijo es un estudiante que regresa, usted debió de haber recibido este por correo electrónico o correo regular.
  • ​Acta de nacimiento - tienes que introducir el nombre legal de su hijo.
  • ​Tarjeta de Seguro Social - se le pedirá que indique el número de seguro social de su hijo.

El personal de la Biblioteca Pública de Arlington estará prestando asistencia con las computadoras pero no pueden responder a cualquier pregunta con respecto a los procedimientos de registro.

Dates and Times:

July 27: 1-3 p.m.
July 31: 10 a.m. -12 p.m.

Aug 3: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Aug 7: 1-3 p.m.

Aug 10: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Aug 14: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Aug 17: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Aug 21: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

*All events take place at East Branch Library's Family Learning Lab.

Student Registration Information

7/23/2015 by Julie W. Add a Comment Share this:
Topics: Arlington, Kids

Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 6: Choose Your Own


Welcome the the last challenge of the summer! This final challenge is a fun one - choose your own. Now is the time to pick up that book you have been wanting to get to all summer. It might be from the New York Times bestseller list or it could be the old favorite kept tucked away in your bookcase at home.

Other suggestions: Check out the Lariat list from the Texas Library Association, which is a suggested reading list for the best recent adult fiction. It also might be time to read a book that is the first in a series - think Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game, or Harry Potter. OR Matched by Ally Conde which is a cool teen series that takes a look at the role government could play in our lives.If you loved one of the previous challenges, choose another title from that genre for this challenge! The choice is yours. Also, have you ever wanted to know what titles the authors we read enjoy? Browse through this fun list that names the favorite books of our favorite authors including Maya Angelou and F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Let us know what you are reading below to be entered into our drawing. As always, audiobooks and eBooks are welcomed. I hope you have enjoyed reading with Arlington Public Library! Thank you for participating!


7/20/2015 by Lisa Smant 6 Comments - Add a Comment Share this:

Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 5: Mysteries

Nothing is better than relaxing in the sun while reading a good mystery, which is why Book Page, America’s Book Review has nicknamed this month Private Eye July. Find this publication full of author interviews and reviews at your library. We are joining the fun by reading mysteries and thrillers for our next genre reading challenge. Check out daily for more mystery recs all month long.  

Non mystery readers often ask, why read books about murder and intrigue? Holly Robinson answers that question and argues that no other genre has better characters – believable ones with amazing descriptions! For example, APL staffers love Larsson's Lisbeth in the Girl with the dragon tattoo. Lisbeth's tough, yet waiflike exterior has become a favorite heronie in recent years.

Robinson also suggests that mysteries explore real life issues we all face: economic uncertainty, relationship success and other similar life dramas, which lead to the mystery at hand, such as the surprising murder in Gone Girl by Flynn which explores marriage, success and modern life.

What do you think? Do mysteries explore topics that scare us the most in life? are the characters more unique than other books you have read this summer? Tell us what title you are reading in the comments below to be entered into the genre challenge below.

Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 4: Nonfiction

There is not a subject that nonfiction materials don’t cover! From biographies to decorating books, to travelogues; nonfiction has it all. At the library, you will find these books under the Dewey decimal system with a number starting from 0 – 9 on its spine.

Why do we love nonfiction? Our library staff shares why:

Ellen, Reading Corps site coordinator reads non-fiction because real-life stories can be “just as interesting as made-up ones!” For example, the book Hope recounts the real life story of the women who were held captive in Cleveland.

Echoing Ellen’s sentiment, Wes, literacy coordinator, recommends the book Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk.

Cristen, library service manager, reads nonfiction because “these books inspire me to look at my life and the world around me.” She suggests the book, Things a Little Bird Told Me, by one of the creators of social media platform Twitter.

Melissa, Virtual Services Supervisor, says, “I like reading books like Freakonomics, Tribes, or even Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up because they show me the world in a different way from my own and teach me something true and meaningful. Even recipe books can do that!”

There are so many reasons to love nonfiction. What are some of yours? Read a nonfiction book and tell us the title in the comments below to be entered into our genre challenge!

Patron Review: The English Girl

International in scope, seasoned Israeli spy, assassin, Gabriel Allon, is asked by the Prime Minister of England to locate and pay the ransom for a beautiful woman, his mistress, who has been kidnapped.  Beauty is not her only asset as she also has political ambitions of her own.

The reader is taken on a whirlwind trip from Corsica to France to Russia as Gabriel attempts to second guess his prey using various resources and friends to help along the journey.  Suspense is palpable as the thorough research planned by Gabriel keeps the mysterious circumstances alive.  The path to victory is well outlined, choreographed, all taking place in unfriendly circumstances. Surprises along the pathway to answers change the direction of pursuit as vengeance becomes the final goal.

Mystery, intrigue international in destination, hint of romance, and the surprise of discovery all lead to a page turner.

Written by Joy B., Lake Arlington patron

Other Items You Might Enjoy

6/29/2015 by Add a Comment Share this:

Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 3: Young Adult

Young adult (YA) or teen fiction was first defined in the 1960s by the American Library Association as books for 12-18 year olds about protagonists ages 12-18. Since the 1960s this genre has gone through many makeovers. In the 1970s and 80s readers explored real life topics in books by Judy Blume and Lois Duncan; later in the 1980s and 90s readers devoured mysteries by Christopher Pike and the series of all high school series: Sweet Valley High. In the 2000s readers experienced vampire books like Blood and Chocolate and of course the Twilight books. Romance and coming of age has always been a likable theme, especially with current authors like Meg Cabot and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Today young adult fiction has it all – utopian (The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld); dystopian (think end of the world like This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, which is one great zombie story); realistic fiction (all John Green, Sarah Dessen); and the list goes on. In the future, we look to plots that readers can relate to but have surprise twists like Grasshopper Jungle or I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson. YA readers are always up for adventure.

The genre has also hatched a new type of material called New Adult featuring protagonists aged 18-25. Plots here often deal with a protagonist entering college or professional life, but all genres including science fiction and fantasy are represented.

It has been reported that up to 55% of the young adult book market is comprised of adults aged 30-44. A lot of adult readers like YA simply because the publishing world allows teen authors to take risks that are not often explored in adult fiction. A lot of literature trends take their cues from YA and then move to other adult audiences. For example, check out some of Rainbow Rowell’s books! YA books also often end with a feeling of hope and optimism and that feeling is universal to readers of any age.

If you are an adult YA fan, think about joining the library’s Forever Young Adult book club for adults who love all things YA!

To enter our contest, comment below with your young adult titles read to be entered into our prize drawing! An email address is required but will not be published. This will allow us to contact you if you win the at the end of the summer reading program.

Let us know what you are reading!

Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 2: The Classics

Challenge 2 – The Classics

What makes a book a classic? Merriam Webster defines classic as

  • something has come to be considered one of the best of its kind
  • something is an example of excellence
  • used to describe something that has been popular for a long time

Many books we consider classics come from the Western Canon, which is a list of fiction books traditionally accepted as great works of literature, but many genres have books that stand the test of time. For example, The Secret Garden is a classic example of children’s literature, just as The Hound of the Baskervilles is a classic mystery.  Classic books explore many topics and backgrounds including Sherlock Holmes’ London:

School Library Journal calls the book, “the best Sherlock Holmes story in the canon and one of the classic all-time mystery novels.”

Or read about the industrial revolution in The Jungle which tells readers “the horrifying conditions of the Chicago stockyards are revealed through this narrative of a young immigrant's struggles in America.”  - (Baker & Taylor)

And To Kill a Mockingbird explores life in the South in the 1930s. Called “skilled, unpretentious, and totally ingenious” by the New Yorker, this books is regarded as one of the best works of 20th Century American Literature.

Below are some of our favorites. What are some of yours? Comment below with a title to be entered into our Escape the Ordinary Genre Challenge 2.


May 2015 Good Grounds for Books Report

Welcome fellow readers!

ALLISON started us off with two trade paperbacks in a comic book series she’s reading. A trade paperback is about the length of a graphic novel, but is a collection of comic issues. She read Saga Volume Two and Saga Volume Three, about star-crossed lovers from opposing sides of an intergalactic war, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. She also read Mark Adams’ Meet Me in Atlantis, a nonfiction book about various theories for the famous lost city. Some theories are “out there” but others have very plausible evidence. Next she reported on The Secret Place by Tana French. Allison is not normally a fan of mysteries but enjoyed the relationships between the murder suspects, a group of teenage girls at an Irish boarding school. Finally, she described Paolo Baccigalupi’s The Water Knife. This is a post-apocalyptic near-future novel set in the American Southwest during an extreme drought. She enjoyed it but it reminded her of other novels instead of feeling fresh and original.

RON is on a Jeffrey Archer kick. After reading Mightier Than the Sword, he decided to start the Clifton Chronicles from the beginning. These novels follow Harry, a dock worker who earned a scholarship to an exclusive boys school. Ron has found the series cleverly written and reminiscent of Downton Abbey. He’s finished Only Time Will Tell, set around the time that Hitler declares war, and now is working on Sins of the Father. Up next in the series is Best Kept Secret, Be Careful What You Wish For, and then Mightier Than the Sword again. Ron’s not sure if he’ll reread this last novel once he back around to it, but he may decide to!

BARBARA has researched John Grisham after reading more of his works. She enjoyed Gray Mountain and likes getting to know more about the author. She also reported on Casebook by Mona Simpson and Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. She described Wonder as a sweet YA novel about a bright boy with facial deformities. We discussed the fact that R.J. Palacio joined other female YA authors who write about boys and are published by their first initials instead of their first names. Like Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling and The Outsiders' S.E. Hinton, perhaps Polasio or her publishers thought boys would be more likely to read books by an author they couldn’t tell was a woman. Barbara also told us about Julie Kibler’s Calling Me Home, about an elderly woman who convinces her hairstylist to take her on a trip home. For nonfiction, Barbara read Dave Egger’s Zeitoun, which is the account of a Muslim immigrant’s horrible experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans. Barbara said this book was well-written and that no one could have made up what happened to Mr. Zeitoun.

RONNIE’s first book was Motive by Jonathan Kellerman. This novel’s main character works with the San Francisco police department. Ronnie found the book a fascinating look at a psychiatrist’s home and work life. Like some other members, she also read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. She described the novel’s events as the type of things that happen without a social contract or network, but enjoyed the intertwining historical and modern storylines. Her final book was Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens. Ronnie told us that this author is a neuroscientist who chooses a medical condition and writes a novel about how it impacts people. This novel is about Huntington’s disease. Ronnie found it very much worth reading.

SANDY told us about Candice Bergen's autobiography A Fine Romance. This focuses on her life during and after filming Murphy Brown. Sandy found it a gossipy, interesting read. True to that description, we had a brief but fascinating discussion on Candice Bergen as an actress and person before getting to Sandy’s next book! This was Missoula: Rape and The Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer. Although the book focuses on Missoula, Sandy said she was sure it could have been set in any college town throughout the country. It was a hard read given the topic, but grippingly interesting due to its truth.

BETTY’s first read was Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray, in which women literally (instead of just socially) turn invisible at menopause. She found it an exceedingly sad premise but ripe for funny moments, such as invisible women going without makeup or clothes in order to be unbothered as they run errands. She read a few mysteries so mindless she forgot their titles and authors, and then wrapped up by telling us about Prairie Chicken Kill. This is part of a series about Truman Smith, a fictional detective in East Texas and is written by Bill Crider.

LINDA described Simone St. James’ An Inquiry Into Love and Death and The Other Side of Midnight. These mysteries are set after World War I and focus on ghosts. However, without today’s technology, the characters are limited in how they can prove or disprove the ghost’s existence. She also read The Good Luck of Right Now, by Matthew Quick. This is about smart people with few social skills; Linda thought it was a quirky, feel-good novel. Her last book was Ivy Pochoda’s Visitation Street, which focuses on middle class families in Brooklyn. The characters are mired in poverty and have few options for their lives. Linda thought the families were interesting and thoughtfully written.

TONY joined other members in reading Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club. He also read A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler. This literary fiction novel has no shooting and no killing, so Tony nearly put it aside! He kept coming back to the story, though. It describes a family’s life and Tony particularly enjoyed Abby, the focal character. He is currently reading Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis. This nonfiction book deals with the stock market, particularly the increasing number of public and private exchanges. Tony is enjoying it so far and learning a lot.

DAVID’s first report was on Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. This nonfiction murder mystery tells the story of a young black boy killed in a large city. There are sadly many similar deaths throughout the nation. Leovy suggests that this boy’s case was only investigated because his father was a police detective. David also told us about Reunited, which the Arlington Public Library does not own. This nonfiction book is by Pamela Slaton, an investigative genealogist. She specializes in adoption records and solving impossible cases. Few of us had heard of this profession before, so it was an interesting book to learn about! Finally, David filled us in on the latest in the Safehold Series by David Weber, Midst Toil and Tribulation. This series takes place in outer space, but the characters do not have modern technology. David thought it was an interesting look at 1800s technology.

JOYCE told us about Oxygen by Carol Wiley Cassella. This is about an anesthesiologist dealing with the death of a patient. Joyce was surprised by the ending! She also read French Lessons by Peter Mayle, an enjoyable look at festivals, food, rituals, and other special events in France. In the past, Joyce has read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman. Based on enjoying that novel, she picked up Looking for Me, by the same author. It is always good to find an author whose works you enjoy. Joyce found Looking for Me to be uplifting and enjoyable.

ELIZABETH reported via email on two books the Library does not own. First was The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. It is a coming of age story of an extraordinary young man in South Africa. He was raised among white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers but grew beyond this with help from a variety of people. Elizabeth said the book has an exciting plot but still addresses weighty issues. She also read Plumb by Maurice Gee. The novel is based on one of the author’s grandfathers. It focuses on Plumb’s family, which included ten children! Elizabeth is reading this one again to figure out the symbolism involved with Plumb’s hearing aide – she knows it must mean something, but isn’t sure what just yet.

LAUREEN was visiting family but let us know what she’d been reading. First was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. She bought a copy at an Estate Sale and can see why this tender, realistic story won the Pulitzer. She also liked the wrap-up to the story at the end—again, quite realistic. She also finished a 1928 copy of The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. She bought this elderly book at the last Friends sale and was surprised to see the book format. There is a 2” margin at the bottom of the page, so each page is about the size of an e-book screen. She found it quite unusual and appealing, especially getting a glimpse at 18th Century Hispanic culture. She must have missed this along the line, in school, but is glad to have read it now.

PETE read another book Laureen found at the estate sale, Work Song by Ivan Doig. He has read a couple other books by Doig, who was a Montana author. He passed away in Seattle last April. Work Song is about a young man who travels to Butte, MT, in 1919, to make his fortune. At that time in history, Butte was called the Richest Hill on earth because of the silver and copper mines there. The young man, surprisingly, does not go to work in the mines. He is, at first, hired by a funeral home and then a library. It turns out he is suspected as being associated with the union movement that is trying to make life better for the miners. Anyway…kind of different!

Good Grounds for Books will next meet on Wednesday June 17 in the Woodland West Community Room. Thanks again for coming or reading about our group.

—Laureen the (retired) Librarian, Good Grounds for Books Leader

6/8/2015 by Add a Comment Share this: