Thursday, June 30, 2005

Breast Cancer Fiction

"Breast cancer is the illness that many women fear most, though they're more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than they are of all forms of cancer combined. Still, breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer deaths in American women. Although rare, breast cancer can also occur in men — in the United States, more than 200,000 women and around 1,500 men will develop the disease in 2005." That means just about everyone in the U.S. is touched by this disease in one form or another. Sometimes it helps a bit to read fiction about people dealing with a disease. Here is a list of fiction dealing with breast cancer.

Joni Mitchell in Fiction

Check this out on the Joni Mitchell Discussion List site: a list of movies, novels, etc., where you'll find mentions of Joni Mitchell or her work.'s Summer Reading Lists's Summer Beach Reading List includes The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw. Powell's Books talked to her on the occasion of her publication of her latest, All Fishermen are Liars, which The Seattle Times liked.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Did you like Kite Runner? Try Snow

Mike Littwin of the Rocky Mountain News says: You probably don't need me to recommend The Kite Runner, a paperback best seller about sin and redemption set in Afghanistan. But there's a more political novel that goes to the intersection of Islamic and Western worlds: Snow, by Orhan Pamuk.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What's Coming Out in July???

A Sudden Country by Karen Fisher is about the trip west on the Oregon Trail, and is one of several that look pretty good.

Talk of the Nation's Summer Reading Picks

The Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile is among many on this nifty list from the popular National Public Radio show.

The Brautigan Library: a Collection of Unpublished Works

"One of [this library's] famous decorative touches was jars of mayonnaise used as bookends.
Then the inevitable happened.

A 13-year-old took one of the jars and dropped it off the balcony overlooking the circulation desk. "We had this huge mayonnaise explosion on the first floor," Collins says, grimacing. "Thank God nobody got killed."

"And it was probably eight-year-old mayonnaise, so it didn't smell that great," Lockwood adds.
The mayonnaise jars were promptly retired."

You'll find this collection, a memorial to the work of counterculture author and '60s icon Richard Brautigan, in the Fletcher Free Library in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Call first, though: the collection may move to San Francisco soon.

Book Lover Turns Silo Into Library!

"Using designs prepared by their son, the Connerys hired a carpenter who spent nearly a year building the floors and the shelves, which extend in a circular fashion around each level of the silo. On the top floor, he had the roof raised and windows installed all around, which offers the visitor a feeling of being on top of the world, surrounded by books." Cool! Alas, no photos seem to be available online... is very handy. This is great if you need some reviews of books you're going to discuss at a book group, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, for example.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Connect Via Books

Hmmm...take a gander at this website, Connect Via Books, which "allows people to meet kindred spirits in the safe and culturally neutral setting of cyberspace. As the name implies, these encounters are forged through a shared love of books." Cool idea. If you've tried it, let me know?

Knit and Listen to Short Stories

We have this thing here at the Lake Oz Public Library where I read stories to people as they knit -- or crochet or cross-stitch or whatever. It's called Fiction Allsorts, and it's the 3rd Thursday of every month at 10:30 a.m. Today, instead of a story, I read a really great essay by Perri Klass called "Two Sweaters for My Father," from the book of the same name. It usually takes about 45 minutes to read the story, then we talk for a while, and the knitters can hang out and knit or talk for however long as they like.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Summer Book Highlights

A sampling of fiction and nonfiction titles that are catching buzz in the publishing world and among readers. Weird formatting on this article. Some book titles are highlighted, some aren't. Pore with care. Note: today might be the day to get a place on the hold queue for Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Salon said of Historian: "It's a multigenerational mystery about the search for the tomb of the Medieval Wallachian (not Transylvanian!) tyrant Vlad Tepes (the real-life Dracula), conducted by a handful of historians who become convinced he is still alive -- or, rather, undead." How to Be Really Bookish at the Beach

Just three books on this slight list, but descriptions of the books include the words juicy, sexy, and robust. How can you go wrong?

Monday, June 13, 2005

NPR's Susan Stamberg and Summer Reading

NPR's Susan Stamberg talks with independent booksellers across the country and gets their summer reading suggestions. The Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini is one of them, but I'd advise being willing to wait if you're interested in reading a copy from the library. It's extremely popular. I think all of the book groups in the universe are reading it.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Summer Reading Lists at

The staff of, ever-attentive to our reading needs, has compiled lists of reading suggestions to keep us turning the pages from Memorial Day to Labor Day...

Do you already know about NoveList?

Are you looking for a good novel to curl up with? Or is it time for your book discussion group to choose a new title? Or maybe it's your turn to lead the book discussion and you want to get some background information about the author…?

A veritable cornucopia of information about books and authors can be found in NoveList, an online database available through LINCC, the Library Information Network of Clackamas County, Oregon. NoveList is a database with annotations and reviews of more 120,000 contemporary fiction titles. You can search by author, title, subject or series, and you can even provide a plot description and get a list of recommended titles. The database includes full-text book reviews and makes suggestions for “read-alikes” of favorite authors. You can search for a favorite book – John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief, for example – then click on a button to find similar titles. A detailed checklist lets you decide which descriptors to search. If you decided you wanted to read more legal thrillers featuring judges, NoveList suggests 14 other titles.For book groups, NoveList has in-depth discussion guides for hundreds of titles. A special “Features for Teachers” section includes book talks, curriculum guides and suggestions for activities related to books. There is also a feature that lets teachers and parents search for titles by reading level. NoveList is available on computers inside the library as well as from home or office computers.

For access, visit the public library websites: or Follow links to Online Databases; you will need your LINCC library card number to log in. The library card number is found on the back of your library card.

Man Booker: New International Prize

Hey, they've created a new Man Booker prize, one to honour a body of work by a living author. It will be given every two years – unlike the Man Booker Prize, which goes to a specific book by a Commonwealth author. Nominees for the international version can be from any nation, but their work must have been translated into English.

First winner: Ismail Kadare.

Speaking of book groups

Speaking of book groups, if you're in the vicinity of our humbly wonderful library here in Lake Oswego, you should know that we the library can be very helpful to your bookgroup. Here's the skinny:


The Fiction/Adult Services Librarian can:

1. Help you find how-to information on starting and running a book group
2. Help you find books your group might enjoy reading.

Library staff at the Circulation/Check-Out Desk can:

Create a library account for your group.

How does this account work?

1. Choose a name for your group: ”The __________ Book Group.”

2. Decide which member of your group will be the liaison with the library.

The liaison contacts the Fiction Librarian about what items to place on hold and how many holds are needed for the members of your group.

(or the liaison can use the computer to place holds on selected copies of your choice – we can show you how this is done)

3. As the hold items arrive, the liaison is notified by the library.

Also, the liaison can call 503-697-6581 and ask if holds for the _______________ Book Group have arrived.

Or, with the card number for the account, group members can check online to see if holds have arrived at the library.

4. To pick up items on hold:

Each member of the group picks up their own copy at the Circulation Desk, asking for it by telling staff the name of the group.

The items are checked out to each group member’s own personal library card.

Contact the Fiction Librarian, Kiera K. Taylor, at 503-697-6581 or

Contact the Circulation Desk at 503-697-6582

Don't feel obligated to finish a book

Famous librarian Nancy Pearl -- hey, she was the model for Archie McPhee's librarian action figure -- says that we don't have to read more than 50 pages of any book. If you don't like it, DUMP IT. Life is too short. Hey, even better: if you're over 50, you get to take away 1 page for every year. You're 52? You only have to read 48 pages of a book before you get to decide if you want to finish it or not.

I know, you don't have to finish ANY book. This is just Pearl's guideline for herself, so that she feels she's giving a book a sporting chance.

Another smart person who says Don't Feel Obligated to Finish a Book is Steve Leveen, owner of the Levenger company. Leveen's written a book, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life: How to Get More Books in Your Life and More Life From Your Books, which outlines a how-to program for becoming a Serious Reader. He especially recommends joining or starting a book group. "Reading is a contact sport," says Leveen.

Summer Reading for Intellectuals

Pretend you're college-bound and catch up on these classics. The Reader is alternative newspaper in that alt-stronghold, Nebraska.

NPR Has a Summer Reading Page

Check it out. This is a wrap-up of NPR's recent fiction stories. Includes web extras, like William Vollman reading from his book, Europe Central.

Read at Your Own Risk

The pundits at Human Events, "the National Conservative Weekly" asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help them compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. None of them, alas, are fiction.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

for my GLBT friends: the Lambda awards

The 17th annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced last week.

Book Babes: Interesting Women in New Fiction

Ellen Heltzel used to work for the Oregonian, now she's one of a pair of book reviewers who call themselves "the Book Babes." They define the term "Babe" thusly: "Resourceful female. 2. Strong feminine spirit. 3. A woman with a beautiful soul." They recommend these new novels and their "babes."

Dream Life

How cool is this? Sue Henry travels the country in her RV, writing mystery novels. Sheesh. Sign me up.

Oprah's Summer 2005

What's Oprah reading this summer? All Faulkner, all the time. Well, all summer, anyway.

Beach Reading Links!

What should you read this summer? Everyone has an opinion.

The Boston Globe's list includes Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's list includes Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair. Which, for what it's worth, I found nowhere near as good as her The Secret Life of Bees. Phfft. I'm not even sure I can recommend it, though I will say that the way she uses language is just lovely.

Over at The Blog for Democracy, Paula G has a Summer of Doom Reading List. She's a little cranky about the current administration in Washington and says it has reminded her of nothing so much as a seriously scary dystopic science fiction novel. actually sent a reporter to a Florida beach to interview readers. What are they reading? Jimmy Buffett's novel, A Salty Piece of Land, for one thing.

And then there are the brainiacs over at UC Berkeley. Every summer, they send new UC Berkeley freshmen a list of books suggested by various people on campus. The newest book on that list is Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Here's Malcolm Gladwell's writeup from the New Yorker on Collapse. Note the bit at the end about Oregon and Measure 37.

Now. Back to Work!

The Small Print: Adult Summer Reading 2005

Adult Summer Reading Program:

the fine print

Who is eligible to win our fabulous prizes?
If a library patron or volunteer is age 18 or over, has a library card, and has registered as a participant in our Adult Summer Reading Program, they are eligible to win prizes. Alas, employees of the Lake Oswego Public Library are not eligible to win prizes.

How do participants enter?
For each book read or listened to, participants may fill out an official WIN BIG entry form. All required information must be on the form in order to be entered in the drawing. Required information: Name, Card Number, Contact Info, Book Title. The form is placed in the official WIN BIG Adult Summer Reading Program Entry Box.

How and when can people register to participate in the Adult Summer Reading Program?
Participants can register June 1 through September 6, 2005, at the Adult Services/Fiction Desk on the first floor, which is generally staffed all hours the library is open. To register, the participant’s card number is entered in the Adult Summer Reading Signup Log. Participants may register by supplying their card number in person or by telephone.

Must participants read books in the library’s collection?

How long does a book have to be to count for the contest?
We consider a ‘book’ generally a volume of 175 pages or more. A ‘book on tape or CD’ is typically three or more cassettes or the equivalent on CD.

No, we don’t check up on this. It’s an honor system thing.

What’s the scoop on prizes?

The Adult Services Librarian will draw names for the weekly prizes. This weekly drawing will usually be done on Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. Winners will be notified via the contact information they’ve provided on their WIN BIG Adult Summer Reading contest entry forms. As the summer progresses, an individual may win only one weekly prize, but all entries (including those of weekly winners) will be entered in the Grand Prize drawing. We plan to draw the winning entry for the Grand Prize at high noon on Wednesday, September 7, 2005. There is no need to be present at a drawing to win any of our Adult Summer Reading Program prizes. All prizes will be held for winners until the end of September, 2005; prizes not claimed by September 30 must, alas, be forfeited.

Our Grand Prize is a gift certificate for two nights lodging at the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Weekly prizes include library book bags
and gift certificates for area merchants.

Thanks for participating in our WIN BIG
Adult Summer Reading Program!

Adult Summer Reading Program

Sigh Up Now for the Adult Summer Reading Program 2005!

June 1 till September 6, 2005

Read books! Win prizes!

How it works:

This program is open to library card holders 18 or older.
Register for the adult summer reading program at the Adult Services Desk on the main floor. You may register at any time during library hours
starting on June 1 and ending on September 6.

For each book you read or listen to, you may enter a card
in our weekly prize drawing -- just place the card in
our prize drawing box on the first floor.
(A ‘book’ generally is a volume of 175 pages or more. A ‘book on tape or CD’ is typically three or more cassettes or the equivalent on CD)

Weekly prize drawings will be held on Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and winners will be notified by telephone. An individual may win only one weekly prize during the summer, but all cards (including those of weekly winners) will be entered in the Grand Prize drawing. The Grand Prize Drawing will be at high noon on Wednesday, September 7, 2005.
There is no need to be present at a drawing to win any of our
Adult Summer Reading Program prizes.

Our Grand Prize is a gift certificate for the Stephanie Inn in
Cannon Beach, Oregon. Weekly prizes include library book bags
and gift certificates for area merchants.

For more information, contact Kiera K. Taylor at the Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 4th Street, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034, 503-697-6581,


The photograph hyperlinked above is of a sailor in his boat on Lake Oswego and
is from the library’s collection of historic Lake Oswego photos.

I Mean Business. But Mostly I Mean Fiction

Okay. I've had some aborted attempts at setting up a fabulous BLOG, but this is really, really it. This is The Big One.

I am the Fiction Librarian/Adult Services Librarian/Fic Chick at the Lake Oswego Public Library in Oregon. I've been here at the first floor desk for six months now, and I like it a lot. I buy the fiction, the large print (fiction and non-fiction), books on tape or CD (again, fiction or non-fiction), movies, and magazines. If you have suggestions along those lines, drop me an email ( and we'll see what we can do.

This blog will have some Lake Oz Fiction Desk/Reader's Advisory news, as well as links to stuff I find interesting or amusing, mostly from a Fic Chick point of view. It's all about helping you use your library's resources.

We are begining this inaugural edition of the Fic Chick blog by linking to lists of books for beach reading.

This one's for those of you who read INVESTING books to relax. I don't really understand you, but I love you dearly. Here' the Beach Books list from the Motley Fool guys. You may have to register with their site to see it.