Tag Archives: booklists

Have You Done It Yet?

Well, have you? And by “it,” I refer to the Adult Summer Reading Program. (What were you thinking? Get your mind out of the gutter . . .)

Novel Destinations is the theme for this year's Adult Summer Reading program.

Novel Destinations is the theme for this year's Adult Summer Reading program.

It’s almost half over, but you can still sign up. All you have to do is register, and then if you read, and log, at least 5 books or other items by August 13th, you will be eligible for the grand prize drawing at your selected Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location. Each library has its own grand prize specifically chosen for its customers. For example, the grand prize for the Main Library is a $50 Big Burrito gift card.

And really, how hard is it to read five books over the summer? If you belong to any of our book discussion groups and read the books selected for June, July and August, you’ve already got three on your list.  Then you only need two more.  Might I suggest one of our staff picks? Or a book from our Adult Summer Reading themed booklists? Or you could turn to your fellow readers for suggestions.

So c’mon, you were going to read anyway. You might as well get something for it.

-Melissa M.

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Lists, Lists, and More Lists!

Did you know that librarians like to make lists?  I’m not talking about grocery lists or to-do lists. (Although I am fond of both of those.) I’m referring to booklists.

Part of our job, and one we find quite enjoyable, is developing lists of books our readers might find interesting. We make lists of new books. We make lists of fiction and non-fiction titles. We compile lists of mystery, science fiction, and romance books. There are lists of cookbooks, no matter what your eating or drinking preferences. We make lists of books we liked and some we may not have, but that other people might. There are lists of books for people who want to travel far away and for those who stay closer to home. We make lists that recommend other authors based on who you already like. And there are lists to tide you over until that book you’ve been waiting for actually arrives.

Given all of these lists and the fact that we add new lists every month, we have great book recommendations available 24/7, only a few mouse clicks away.

Do you have any ideas for booklists you would like to see ?  We do take suggestions . . .

-Melissa M.

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Making My List, Checking It Twice…

Librarians love to make lists, especially lists of books.  We keep lists of books we’ve read, books we’d like to read, and lists of books for you to read (though we will probably read them first–we’re funny that way).

Although I cherish shelf-browsing, serendipitous book-finding, and suggestions from friends, I’m forced to admit that I’m not getting any younger.  If I truly want to read as many books as possible, I need to have a plan for tackling them.  Luckily, there are more than 250 books about books and reading available countywide, so I’ve been able to scour them for suggestions on crafting an organized reading schedule.

While I’ve deliberately left space for bibliomancy in my plan, I pretty much already know which works I’ll be tackling in 2011.  All of them are books I’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t gotten around to.  Sharing them gives you an opportunity to try them on for size as well, and forces me to put my money where my mouth is, stick to the plan, and report back next December.

Here are a half-dozen of the titles I’ll be tackling for certain:

The Tale of GenjiThe Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki Shibiku. After researching the different versions of this classic work of medieval Japanese literature, I decided to start with Tyler’s translation. It’s abridged, which I normally don’t care for, but I’ve also never read a medieval Japanese novel! We shall see.

Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey. I’ve been besotted with the Victorian era since time out of mind, but I can’t really call myself an aficianado until I read this classic history, can I? Methinks not!

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier. I never read the “must-read” novels when anyone else is reading them. If it’s truly a good book, it will still be worth reading once the hype has died down, right? I think enough time has passed, in this case, to find out.

Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe.   I suppose if I were a true completist, I would have spelled out the novel’s full title.  But at least I’m enough of a completist to go back and make up for this gap in my reading of the classics!

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov. Russian novels aren’t my long suit. However, in the past six months so many people have asked whether or not we have this novel that I am now intrigued. Will it trump Tolstoy? Time will tell.

Time and AgainSpeaking of time, it’s definitely time for Time and Again, Jack Finney. I’m a sucker for a good time-travel story, and the conversations that flowed from Don’s recent post on the subject have convinced me it’s time to try this one on for size.

I could go on, but I’d much rather hear about your reading plan for 2011, if you have one.  How do you decide what you want to read and when?  Are there any books you know you’ll tackle in the months to come?

–Leigh Anne


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Think Warm Thoughts

With the forecast calling for more snow and cold temperatures over the next couple of days, it looks like it should be a perfect weekend for wrapping yourself up in your Slanket or Snuggie and reading a few good books.  Not sure what to read?  Check out a few of these tools that librarians at CLP have put together to help you pick exactly what you’re in the mood for:

  • Booklists: This page on our website has booklists on a variety of topics, from fiction that features Stalin as a central character to books on bicycling or cooking.  We’ve even got booklists that suggest the perfect books for the winter months.  And don’t forget to take a look at our booklists for teens and kids as well!
  • Staff Picks: Looking for a recommendation from someone who’s already read the book?  The Staff Picks section of the website highlights books that staff have recently read, and gives a short annotation of each book.  It’s the next best thing to asking a librarian (which we also encourage!)
  • Reader Reviews: On this page, you’ll find short reviews on adult, teen, and children’s books from other library patrons.  If you’ve read something you’d like to share, you can also write a review of your own. 
  • New Fiction, New Non-Fiction, and Fiction and Non-Fiction Bestsellers: Here you can discover some of the newest books we’ve added to the collection, and find out what everyone else is reading these days. 

Of course, if you’re still stuck, you can always ask a librarian. Stay warm this weekend! 



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Notes From an Intern

Today’s guest post is from Tanya, one of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Minority Interns for 2009. The CLP Minority Summer Intern program is a grant-funded internship program–courtesy of the Heinz Endowments designed to encourage minority participation in the field of library/information science. The internship offers students of varying backgrounds the opportunity to learn about and experience the internal workings of a dynamic library. The internship was directed toward students who are enrolled either in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program.

So what’s a job at the library like?  Maybe you know the library from the few simple clicks it takes you to request the books and DVDs online that neatly end up on a shelf with your name on them that day.  Or perhaps you know the library from the attractive and abundant displays of bestsellers and online booklists created by a team of professional librarians.  Behind the scenes, myriad decisions are made daily just to keep the library humming at a pace that includes hundreds of new library card sign-ups and thousands of items moved around the system every month. 

I have never been witness to more individuals caring about the progress and development of the whole “library family” than during my internship.  Puzzled over a question about electronic resources?  A colleague will be by your side in no time.  Unsure about where to find railroad statistics from 1876?  A reference librarian who has worked with older periodicals will know.  This patient and caring attitude extends beyond customer service into the dealings between colleagues behind the scenes.

While at the Carrick branch, I faced questions like “How do I set up my DTV converter?” and “Can you help me find tax forms?”  I managed to answer both of these to the patrons’ liking.  While in Oakland I made my first booklist and book displays, and selected new titles for the upcoming year from small press catalogs.  My greatest joy, however, was teaching a patron how to request his own materials online.  This made my job worthwhile—the act of teaching people to help themselves is incredibly rewarding.

I met many people during my stay at the library and had many bits of essential information passed on to me.  The statement that stuck with me the most was that of a long-time manager telling me, “The library is the last great social contract.  You come in, you give us your address and phone number, and we let you leave with hundreds of dollars of materials, no questions asked.”  But the truth of the matter is that a lot of time and diligence goes into replacing, repairing and paying for lost, stolen, or damaged items.  What does it say about us—the citizenry—when we accept educational budget cuts in the name of something more important?  Or about the individual who returns an item tattered and dog-eared? 

If you are curious as to where the future of our country lies, morally and as a republic, I suggest taking a look at your local library and its future.  How important is your library to you, and what will you gain or lose should it no longer be “free to the people”?

I can’t be grateful enough to everyone and everything that made my internship possible, from the Heinz grant to my bosses, who trusted me enough to give me  real responsibilities.  In the future, the library will be in the forefront of my mind.  I hope that the library will continue to function in the capacity it does today, including the support of internships like mine.


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graphic novel booklists

By now, we all know that graphic novels are (let’s say it together) Not Just About Superheroes.  The question now is “So which ones do I read?”  Since the graphic novel format offers as many genres and styles as prose fiction, that’s a very good question.  And, as you might have guessed, we can help with that. 

We recently added two new graphic novel booklists to our Book Lists page.  One lists Surreal Graphic Novels that blend reality, hallucination and visual delirium to create captivating, disorienting tales.  These stories include demonic talking cats, philosophizing infants, multi-dimentional houses and shifting landscapes. 

The other list showcases Graphic Novel Memoirs, starring real people or their fictional graphic alter-egos.  These stories span the halls of high school to the streets of Mexico City.  They cover topics like adolescent humiliation, refugees, HIV, family, famous comics creators and plenty more.

Both lists include older titles and brand-new classics-to-be, veteran comics-makers and newcomers.  Maybe you’ll find your new favorite book on one of them!


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