Sunday, December 26, 2010

Odds and Book Ends (Dec. 27-Jan. 2)

Odds and Book Ends features activities and events in the area related to libraries, books and authors. Submit your events at, and check back to The Book Club every week for upcoming events and activities at your local library.

Join in the first meeting of the new Kids at Work Club at 2 p.m. Dec. 29 at Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave. Participants need only bring their imagination and creativity to build with the library's Lego bricks. Children ages 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Parents are welcome to attend with their child. For details, call 440-255-8811.

Friends of the Wickliffe Library will host its annual membership drive beginning Jan. 2, and continuing through the end of February. It is time for membership renewals and applications for new members are available at the library. Each new membership and renewal will be eligible to win one of three library bags filled with goodies. Drawings will be March 1. Membership money is used to support library programs for children and adults and entitles members to advance notice of special programs such as book sales and murder mystery plays.

Mentor Library's Monday Night Book Discussion takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first Monday of each month from October through June, with the next meeting being Jan. 3. For this month's selection, contact librarian Barb Hauer at 440-255-8811, ext. 210. The library provides books, and refreshments are courtesy of the Friends of the Library.

--Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It will be a dark and stormy night

Part whodunnit, part woman in crisis, part psychological drama, "The Truth-Teller's Lie" by Sophie Hannah takes the reader to some pretty dark places.

Who is Robert? What happened to Naomi? Who's the good guy, if there even in such a thing in this tale?

When Hannah introduces us to Naomi she is desperately trying to find her married lover Robert. And she's his wife has done something to him. But she's not exactly honest with the police.
And so it begins.

Along the way there are numerous twists and turns about the nature of the lovers' relationship.
Hannah plunges the reader into the depths of depravity as the mystery unravels.

Yet, somehow, you want to understand her characters, not dismiss them as one-dimensionally good or bad - which is what keeps you turning those pages as fast as you can!

- Tricia Ambrose

P.S. As a side note, this novel was originally published as "Hurting Distance." Makes me wonder if I would have picked it up if that was the title I'd read on the spine. Are you as easily influenced by a title as I am?

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Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm in love

Don't tell my husband.
I think I am in love with Stewart O'Nan.
The latest reason - "Snow Angels."
From these words ... "I was in the band the fall my father left, in the second row of trombones, in the middle because I was a freshman." ... Until the novel's end, I was unable to put it down.
O'Nan is a master at crafting compelling characters, steeped in what I think of as Midwestern values. These are the folks who live in quiet desperation as they say. The people who haven't exactly been dealt the best of hands. The ones who struggle it seems just to survive.
The people who fascinate.
In Angels it's Arthur and Annie. He's the trombone player king with his parents split; she's his former babysitter now separated from her husband. Their paths cross in ways that will bring tears to your eyes.
O'Nan has a knack for drawing characters that I like even as I blame them to a certain extent for the problems in their lives. And that's no easy task!
Consider this from Annie's meeting with her lover,
"The firsth thing that hits her is how empty it looks, how dead. There are no lawn chairs, no Pepsi machines, just glass on the walk, weeds in the cracks. The gutters are rusting. The curtains are drawn across every window but the office."
Even as I want to hate her for what she's doing, I am overwhelmed by how sad and pathetic her life has become.
I'm not sure if I've read all his works yet, but you can bet I'll be checking.
-Tricia Ambrose


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Odds and Book Ends (Dec. 20-27)

Odds and Book Ends features activities and events in the area related to libraries, books and authors. Submit your events at, and check back to The Book Club every week for upcoming events and activities at your local library.

Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., will host Bells, Books and Candles at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. Come for a special night of story telling performed by the librarians from the Children's Department. Enjoy stories, puppets, music and refreshments and share some holiday cheer with the library staff. Registration is required. Call 440-255-8811.

Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., will host Jingle All The Way! A Special Tiddlywinks at 10 a.m. Dec. 21, with stories and songs for ages 36 months and younger (with an adult). No registration is necessary. For details, call 440-255-8811.

Friends of Morley Library will host a Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Lower Level of Morley Library, 184 Phelps St., Painesville.

Join in the fun of an old-fashioned Christmas at the Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., 1t 2 p.m. Dec. 22. Listen to a classic story; make pomanders, a fragrant seasonal decoration; and string some popcorn and cranberries for your tree. Registration is under way. This program is for children ages 8 and younger who are accompanied by an adult. For details, call 440-255-8811.

Get into the spirit of the season with stories, holiday crafts, songs and a seasonal treat at 4 p.m. Dec. 22 at Mentor Public Library's Headlands Branch, 4669 Corduroy Road. No registration is necessary. For details, call 440-257-2000.

Crossroads will hold a Family Holiday Story Time from 7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 22 at its Early Childhood Services Center, 1083 Mentor Ave., Painesville. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas for the family-friendly event, which will feature books, crafts and a seasonal snack. The event is geared for children up to age 8. The event is free, but registration is required at 440-358-7370. The Crossroads Early Childhood Services Center opened in May of this year and provides a broad range of behavioral health services to children from birth to age 5. Crossroads is a nonprofit organization providing behavioral health services to children and their families. Primary support comes from the Lake County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

Mentor Library's Monday Night Book Discussion takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first Monday of each month from October through June, with the next meeting being Jan. 3. For this month's selection, contact librarian Barb Hauer at 440-255-8811, ext. 210. The library provides books, and refreshments are courtesy of the Friends of the Library.

--Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's tough being disillusioned

This is not the man I imagined.
That's all I kept thinking as I read "March" by Geraldine Brooks.
Brooks chronicles the experiences of Mr. March, father to Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, husband of Marmee, largely absent character in one of my favorite works, Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women."
Perhaps that's the heart of the issue. If I hadn't felt such a connection to Alcott's characters maybe I wouldn't have been so bothered by the actions of Brooks'.
None of this is a knock against Brooks as a writer.  (More a knock against me as a reader!)  "March" won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, and I can understand why.
Brooks paints a portrait of a complex man facing his own struggles as best he can.
Check out the readers guide here.
Does he give in to temptation when away from his wife? Does he have the courage to stop the torture of another? Does he have the fortitude to put his beliefs into action?
As he asks himself:
"And now, a year has passed since I undertook to go to war, and I wake every day, sweating, in the solitude of the seed store at Oak Landing, to a condition of uncertainty. More than months, more than miles, now stand between me and that passionate orator perched on his tree-stump pulpit. One day, I hope to go back. To my wife, to my girls, but also to the man of moral certainty that I was that day; that innocent man, who knew with such clear confidence exactly what it was he was meant to do."
But I couldn't stop thinking about what those Little Women were doing at home while March was facing his personal demons.And it was making me angry!
For me at least, favorite characters are best left alone. An author has crafted a moment in time, a chapter of someone's life if you will. A reader forms opinions and is left with perceptions and who wants those illusions to be dispelled?
Not me.

- Tricia Ambrose

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Interested in genealogy research?

If you're one who goes to the library to learn about your family history, you might be interested in genealogy workshops and seminars sponsored by Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library (OHS), the Franklin County Genealogical and Historical Society (FCGHS) and the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Find the list of next year's workshops here on the Ohio Historical Society's Collections Blog. The programs are $35 or less (some are free!), and all take place at the Historical Society or Columbus Metropolitan Library.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a great resource for those interested in genealogical resource. I was introduced to some of the materials in their collection during a workshop I took through Kent State's School of Library and Information Science while earning my master's degree. I haven't had the same exposure at the Historical Society, but I can only imagine the fantastic collections within their walls.

Genealogy can be a difficult but incredibly rewarding field to get into. If you are looking to jump start your family history research, these programs would be an excellent place to begin.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Odds and Book Ends (Dec. 13-19)

Odds and Book Ends features activities and events in the area related to libraries, books and authors. Submit your events at, and check back to The Book Club every week for upcoming events and activities at your local library.

Holiday Family Story Time will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave. Children of all ages and their families can participate in a holiday story time, which will feature stories, songs and crafts. No registration is necessary.

Enjoy hot cocoa and holiday music at the Lake Branch of the Mentor Public Library, 5642 Andrews Road, Mentor-on-the-Lake, while creating a cocoa-related craft to give to a loved one. The event, which starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 13, is for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Register by calling the library at 440-257-2512.

Cards for the Season at Headlands Branch of the Mentor Public Library, 4669 Corduroy Road, will be 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 15, and is open to all ages. Stop by and make that special someone a remembrance card for the holidays. No registration is necessary. For details, call 440-257-2000.

Sleigh Full of Fun will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Lake Branch of the Mentor Public Libary, 5642 Andrews Road, Mentor-on-the-Lake. Join Mr. Dennis for his holiday-themed program, with puppets and magic. For details, call 440-257-2512.

Holiday Playdoh Sculpture Craft at Mentor Public Library will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 for ages 3 to 12 with their families. Children can create a holiday sculpture to take home using Playdoh and other craft items. To register, call 440-255-8811.

Zap will have a magic show with visual merriment and lots of audience participation at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave. Registration is required. Call 440-255-8811.

“The Art of Morton Smith,” a solo exhibit of realist paintings by the Beachwood artist, is at the Clara Fritzsche Library, Notre Dame College, 4545 College Road, South Euclid, through Dec. 17. Details: 216-373-5267.

--Cheryl Sadler

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Go ask Emma

No, not the Jane Austen heroine. Mentor Public Library has a Catbot to answer patrons' questions about the library.

I'm sure there will anonymous comments on the website about how the $1,000 a year robot is a waste of the library's funds, but it's actually a great investment (and paid for by the Friends of the Library, not the library itself). Reference librarians — who work with patrons doing research questions and helping them to find books, DVDs, websites and other materials — can spend more time doing what they are formally educated and trained to do and less time doing what, well, a machine can do. And if they library is faced with cuts in staff or hours, patrons will still be able to get the information they need when they need it.

Head on over to the library's help page to ask Emma your questions.

-- Cheryl Sadler


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

$10 million for one book??? You've got to see it to believe it

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that John James Audubon's "Birds of America" "fetched more than $10 million at auction ... making it the world's most expensive published book."

Closer view of illustration
"Birds of America" on display at CMNH
I have seen the volumes in person, and they are gorgeous. Cleveland is lucky enough to have two: at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (on display in the library) and at the Cleveland Public Library (main branch). If you ever get an opportunity to see the books, do not pass it up! The illustrations are so detailed they look like photographs. It's incredible to think about the time it must have taken Audubon to complete these works. I wonder if he could have imagined how much the books would be worth.
(Pardon my fuzzy photographs, which were taken in low light without a flash, and I am definitely not a photographer.)

Read more of Gregory Katz's story on the auction, Aububon and his birds below:
With its 435 hand-colored illustrations of birds drawn to size, the volume is one of the best preserved editions of Audubon’s 19th-century masterpiece. The sale at Sotheby’s auction house had been anticipated for months by wealthy collectors.
The book sold for $10,270,000 to an anonymous collector bidding by telephone, the auction house said.
Because each picture is so valuable, there have been fears the volume will be broken up and sold as separate works of art.
However, experts believe that’s unlikely. The tome is probably more valuable intact. And collectors hold Audubon in such reverence that the notion of ripping apart a perfect copy would be akin to sacrilege.
“Audubon’s ‘Birds’ holds a special place in the rare book market,” said Heather O’Donnell, a specialist with Bauman Rare Books in New York.
“The book is a major original contribution to the study of natural history in the New World.”
“It’s also one of the most visually stunning books in the history of print: The scale of the images, the originality of each composition, the brilliance of the hand coloring.”
Then there’s the wow factor.
“No one can rival John James Audubon for frontier glamour,” O’Donnell said. “The story of his lonely journey through the American wilderness and his struggle to record what he saw there gives the ‘Birds’ a resonance that no other book can match.”
Part naturalist and part artist, Audubon possessed an unequaled ability to observe, catalog and paint the birds he observed in the wild.
Experts say his book, originally published in 1827, is unmatched in its beauty and is also of considerable scientific value, justifying its stratospheric price tag.
Pom Harrington, owner of the Peter Harrington rare book firm in London, said it has been 10 years since the last complete edition of “Birds of America” was auctioned, going for a then-record $8.8 million.
He said it is unusual to find a copy not in a museum or academic institution.
“If you want to buy an example of a rare work of art, this is one of the best,” he said. “It is valuable in its artistic nature because it is so well drawn.”
The “Birds of America” plates were printed in black and white and then hand-colored by “the best artists of the time,” Harrington said. The collection, made from engravings of Audubon’s watercolors, measures more than 3 feet by 2 feet because Audubon wanted to paint the birds life size.
The size of the illustrations makes them extremely valuable as stand-alone pieces of art, leaving the complete edition vulnerable to being broken up so the prints can be sold one by one. Harrington said the wild turkey depicted in the first big plate of the book can be sold for $200,000.
But Mark Ghahramani, a rare book specialist at Classic Bindings in London, said it is unlikely this “Birds of America” will be divided up.
“There are very few copies left of the entire book, so I would think that whoever bought it at the auction would be quite interested in keeping it whole,” he said. “Anything to do with American natural history is quite valuable.”
Audubon, who died in 1851, represents a unique figure in American history — a Renaissance man with shades of Huckleberry Finn. Like Mark Twain’s fictional character, Audubon made an epic voyage down the mighty Mississippi — but with a scientist’s inquisitive nature.
Taking along only a rifle, an assistant and a drawing pad, he made illustrations of as many birds as he could find.
He did not find a printer in the United States willing to take on the book with its oversize illustrations, so he sailed to Britain, eventually finding printers in London and in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The volume is seen as a vital piece of American history, Harrington said.
“It is the most important natural history book for America,” he said. “That is the main point. It screams Americana. For an American patriot, it is the greatest book on American heritage. There is no competition.”

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oprah's newest selection is two classics

Oprah Winfrey's 65th book club selection is two works by Charles Dickens: "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities."

From The Associated Press:
Winfrey said on Monday’s show that she has never read Dickens before.
“Normally, I only choose books that I’ve read, but I must shamefully admit to you all that I have never read Dickens,” she told her audience.
Oprah’s Book Club has nearly 2 million online members, according to Harpo Productions. Winfrey has said she will take the book club with her when she moves to her new cable station, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which launches Jan. 1.

I've never read along with an Oprah book club selection, nor have I been driven to pick up a book just because her sticker is on the cover. But her most recent pick might make me rethink that decision.

"Great Expectations" was the required summer reading for Honors English 9, and the 13-year-old me had a lot of trouble making it through the hundreds of pages. Some of my friends participated in book-burning parties after their projects were finished, but I just put the text back on my bookshelf and thought I might want to revisit it someday. I've never read "A Tale of Two Cities" -- though I considered its opening line as my epitaph for Jason's final audience participation blog entry. I'm not sure if I own this one; it could be something I picked up at Half Price Books and haven't gotten around to reading (I sure have a lot of those). Maybe Oprah's selection is the motivation I need to try to get through "Great Expectations" again and to read "A Tale of Two Cities," because I'm sure now many more people will be reading and talking about the stories I know little or nothing about. As someone with a master's degree in library and information science, and who considers herself to be a reader, maybe it's about time I return to Dickens.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Odds and Book Ends (Dec. 6-12)

Odds and Book Ends features activities and events in the area related to libraries, books and authors. Submit your events at, and check back to The Book Club every week for upcoming events and activities at your local library.

More on eReaders & Overdrive at the Perry Library, 3753 Main St., Perry Village, will begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 6. Among e-readers, the electronic device designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books and periodicals, the competition is heating up. The e-readers are expected to be a popular gift this holiday season. Join representatives from Barnes & Noble and Borders demonstrating the Nook and Nook Color and Kobo eReaders, respectively. All will be available for purchase, as well as their accessories. An in-depth demonstration of Overdrive, the means to download eBooks from the CLEVNET catalog, is included. Register in advance at 440-259-3300 or

Geauga County Public Library staff will demonstrate different types of e-readers and show how to download e-books from the library website to e-readers at a program taking place 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at Chardon Library on Chardon Square. For more information, call 440-285-7601.

The Hearing Loss Association of America Northern Ohio Chapter is holding a holiday party from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 11 at Morley Library, 184 Phelps St., Painesville. The meetings are open to the public and to all people with hearing loss and their family and friends.

Reel Talk-Book and Movie Discussion Group meets at 2:45 p.m. the second Monday of every month in Morley Library's meeting Room B, with the next meeting taking place Dec. 14. Books and DVDs are available at the check-out desk on the main floor. The library is located at 184 Phelps St. in Painesville. Details: 440-352-3383 or

“The Art of Morton Smith,” a solo exhibit of realist paintings by the Beachwood artist, is at the Clara Fritzsche Library, Notre Dame College, 4545 College Road, South Euclid, through Dec. 17. Details: 216-373-5267.

--Cheryl Sadler

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's all about choices

Who hasn't from time to time wondered how life would have turned out if they had made a different choice? not had that chance meeting? taken that road less traveled?
Ask Wes Moore.
"The Other Wes Moore" delivers a chilling account of just what kind of difference our choices can make.
Author Moore is a Rhodes Scholar, military veteran and businessman. The other Wes Moore is in prison for the rest of his life. Both grew up without fathers in the housing projects of Baltimore. Both found themselves on the wrong side of the law as juveniles.
Why the difference?
Moore conducted hours and hours of interviews with the other Wes Moore and with family members to try to answer that question.
It is incredible to read about the long-lasting effects the actions of our youth can have. Imagine your own younger years, what if you had done this instead of that? Where might you be today?
But our actions don't just affect our own lives. The choice to give someone a second chance or to take the time to mentor another have ripple effects as well.
Author Moore is living proof.
Listen to the author share some of his story here. And read more of the movement it sparked to help youth live up to their potential at

-Tricia Ambrose


Cuyahoga County Public Library's gift-giving guide for kids

If you're thinking books as gifts for the kids for the holidays this year, consider checking out Cuyahoga County Public Library's Great Books for Kids [pdf]. The 20-page pamphlet divides books into age groups, then lists titles, authors, publishers, ISBNs, prices and descriptions to help you pick out the perfect gift. About 20 different titles are listed for each age group. The guide also includes educational toys that might be a good fit for your family.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oprah's next book club selection coming next week

Those of you who picked up Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" in September to read along with Oprah won't have to wait long to find out what her next book club selection will be.

CHICAGO (AP) — Oprah Winfrey plans another pick for her popular book club.
Harpo Productions said Tuesday that current Oprah’s Book Club author Jonathan Franzen will appear on Monday’s episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Winfrey chose Franzen’s latest book “Freedom” in September as the first selection for the 25th and final season of her talk show.
On that same episode, Winfrey will announce her next book club pick. The new selection comes about 11 weeks after Winfrey chose “Freedom.” Since 2008, she has averaged one or two selections a year. Winfrey’s book club choices have vaulted to the best-seller list and given authors instant fame.
Winfrey has said she plans to move her book club with her to cable’s Oprah Winfrey Network, which will launch Jan. 1.

What's your prediction for Oprah's next pick? Will you be reading along with her?

-- Cheryl Sadler

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