Quick Picks from CMCL

April 18, 2014

Checking In: Spy Thrillers

ipcressI’ve been on a spy thriller kick recently, first inspired by the classic BBC miniseries adaptation of John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and fueled by the more modern flair of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels. Somewhere in the middle of all this cloak and dagger, I decided the list was getting long enough that I’d better share a few of the better ones here. A couple of them have even been adapted to the screen!

It was recently recommended that I read Len Deighton’s “The IPCRESS File,” and I decided to put it next on my list. I had just finished a pair of James Bond books, which are practically parody as far as the world of spycraft goes, and I was hoping for something with a little more grit and realism to it. The IPCRESS File, delivering a great mix of classic spooks and strange, fantastic science, is now near the top of my list as far as favorite spy novels go. IPCRESS follows a nameless narrator, who has worked for British military intelligence his entire adult life. In stark contrast to action packed, bullet-spitting, lady-bedding, martini-drinking James Bond, our narrator is an awkward man, sarcastic and self-deprecating, and sometimes even a little bit naive. He’s paranoid, far less sure of himself than Mister Bond, and is not at all accustomed to killing or death, despite the occasional necessity of the act. At the beginning of the novel, he is transferred to a different, more secret and elite branch of intelligence to work with a man named Dalby. What happens next is for you to discover, but I can say it is full of chasing and betrayal with a hefty dose of conspiracy. AND, this is also one of those books where the film is just as good- if not better! Featuring a young Michael Caine as the main character (who receives a name – Harry Palmer – for the film), the plot was tweaked in all the right ways and none of the wrong ones.

bondspinesSince I feel bad for knocking on James Bond back there, I’d better feature him as well. In the early Cold War days, Ian Fleming decided to take a distinct anti-Communist slant and invent James Bond, the ultimate Western spy. Most of you have certainly seen him portrayed by one or more super suave British men in the plethora of films that have been made, but reading the novels is a different experience entirely. Bond reads more like a well-written pulp novel than a complex thriller, but that makes the novels fast paced and easy to digest – much like the movies. You may also be surprised how much the plots differ between page and screen – Moonraker is an excellent example of a film that went completely off the rails when compared to the book. Although Bond often comes across as an arrogant jerk, you find yourself unable to argue with him – after all, he is undoubtedly much cooler than you or I could ever be.

kill artistIn the modern day of espionage authors, Daniel Silva has begun to take the reins as the Chief Spymaster with his books featuring Gabriel Allon. Allon is a spy for Israeli Intelligence (in the novels, his employer is called “The Office,” not quite mentioning that it is really the Israeli Mossad) while maintaining cover as an artist and art restorer. His first job in intelligence was to uncover the killers of Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics, but left The Office after his wife and son were attacked in a revenge-bombing by Tariq al-Hourani, the leader of the Munich Massacre. Pulled out of retirement by a man who wants to assassinate Tariq for his own reasons, Allon joins a small team of agents and begins the story of The Kill Artist. Allon has an unconventional background and personality for a secret agent – while most of them tend to be old, British men (see next paragraph for the reason why), Allon is native Israeli, with a character history tied deeply to his culture and a personality shaped by his experiences and heritage. He is highly intelligent and introspective, speaks five languages fluently, and more than anything wants to restore people, even as he is constantly coerced into destroying them. If you like the first one, you can look forward to at least thirteen more novels, and more as soon as he writes them. A movie adaptation of one of his novels is in the works – supposedly – but there’s been no official peep about it yet. Stay tuned.

And now we come to the Grand Master, the one who took a niche genre and flung the shutters open on it: John Le Carre. His novel, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold is almost certainly the most famous spy thriller ever written, and it’s the one that most thoroughly sets up Le spy who came inCarre’s complex world of espionage: the Circus. Headed by a man known only as Control, and kept in line by perpetually (but never truly) retired spymaster George Smiley, the Circus is the nexus of power for British intelligence. In the novel, Control asks the narrator, named Alec Leamas, to “go back into the cold one more time;” that is, to re-enter the land beyond the Iron Curtain for one last mission. This mission is to trick the East Germans into executing one of their own for treason – no easy task, and one which puts Leamas at the point of a very long spear stretching from England all the way to the dismal reaches of East Germany. No author portrays the intense paranoia and moral poverty of the Cold War era like Le Carre, and although that rarely means a happy ending for his characters, it always makes for a riveting story.


To place holds on the film versions of any of these titles, click on their respective covers:

ipcress film     bond dvds     spy cold cover

April 17, 2014

Kid’s Corner: Yum, Yum Baby! Early Literacy Activities at the Grocery Store

Filed under: Kid's Corner, Kids — Tags: — jennytf @ 8:15 am

Exposing your children to the world around them and talking about what they observe helps build their early literacy skills while going about your daily routine: driving in the car, waiting for appointments, and even at the grocery store!

The grocery store is chock full of opportunities to build your child’s print awareness, vocabulary, phonological awareness and narrative and letter knowledge skills. Here are some fun activities and games to do with your child on your next trip to the store.

baby store

Ideas for Babies

Bring board books for baby to play with while riding around in the shopping cart. Skill: Print Motivation

We recommend: Black on White and White on Black by Tana Hoban; Global Babies by Global Fund for Children; Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz; and I Like It When by Mary Murphy

Point out what you’re buying and tell your baby what it is. “Bananas! Your favorite” Skill: Vocabulary
toddler apple

Ideas for Toddlers

Point out word and picture relationship on cans, signs, etc. “See the picture of peas? This words says peas. The picture and word tell us what’s inside” Skill: Print Awareness

Some great toddler books for building print awareness are: My Car by Byron Barton; Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh; The Big Red Bus by Judy Hindley; and Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee

Make ‘his’ shopping list with pictures of a few items for him to look for in the store. Skill: Vocabulary, matching skills and visual discrimination- Letter Knowledge

Talk about how you’re going to use the grocery items. “We have some peanut butter, bread, and apples. When we get home, we’re going to make sandwiches and slice the apples. Then we’re going to eat them for lunch.” Skill: sequencing- Narrative Skills

Play a guessing game for a grocery item by giving your child hints. “The next thing on the list is something we drink. We have it at breakfast. We put it on cereal.” Skill: Vocabulary

Point out and describe something in the produce section, then look for other things that fit that word. “I see tomatoes- they’re red. Can you see anything else that’s red?” Give her the name of red items she doesn’t know. (Buy one and have it for lunch). Skill: Vocabulary

kid store

Ideas for Preschoolers

‘Her’ shopping list: Let her scribble a list while you’re making yours (children copy the actions of the grownups in their lives). Share the shopping list. Let her have a few items on her list to look for, and check them off when you find them in the store. Skill: Print Awareness

Recommended books for preschoolers that show how print is useful: Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells; Put It On the List! by Kristen Darbyshire; and Polly Jean Pyjama Queen by Steve Webb

Play “I Spy” with the sound of the letter in your child’s first name. “I spy something that starts with the sound ‘puh’ like Paul.” “Yeah- potatoes!” Let’s see how many other things we can spy that start with your sound.” Skill: Phonological Awareness

Let her pick the sound you’ll look for in the store that day. On the trip home, see how many things she remembers. Skill: Phonological Awareness

Rhyming “I Spy”: “I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with silk” Give another hint if necessary for success. “It goes on cereal.” Take turns being the person spying and the person guessing. Skill: Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary

Shop the alphabet. Starting with an ‘a’, see how far up the alphabet he can spot the letters sequentially. Or find all the letters in a word you choose- like his name. Skill: Letter Knowledge

Happy Shopping! Do you have your own favorite early literacy tips for the grocery store? We’d love to hear from you.  -Marianne




April 16, 2014

Inside Scoop: Spin a Good Yarn

Filed under: Info, Inside Scoop — Tags: , , , , , , — ErinM @ 9:20 am

To start at the very beginning, yarn is spun from fiber. Fiber could be derived from plants such as flax (linen), cotton, bamboo or hemp. Fiber also comes from protein sources such as wool from sheep, goats (cashmere) , llama, alpaca or rabbit (angora). Other protein sources are silk, soy and milk.

A great resource is The Field Guide to Fleece : 100 Sheep Breeds and How to Use Their Fibers by Deborah Robson. Fibers are spun with tools such as a hand spindle or a spinning wheel.

Learn to spin your yarns -

The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs : Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns by Sarah Anderson ; foreword by Judith MacKenzie

Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin.

Spin, Dye, Stitch : How to Create and Use Your Own Yarns by Jennifer Claydon

There are annual fiber festivals in Oregon where you can see fibers in action – and the animals in action too:

Columbia Gorge Fiber Fest, Hood River in April

Black Sheep Gathering, Eugene in June

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, Canby in September

– Lisa

Jacket01 Jacket02 Jacket03 Jacket04

April 15, 2014

Blurbs From the Branch: Whodunnit???

Filed under: Blurbs from the Branch, Books, Books to Film — Tags: , , — Becca B @ 8:00 am

murderorientexpressOne dark and stormy night, I had the chance to watch the old classic movie, Murder on the Orient Express. It was the perfect, dreary setting for watching this gem of a movie. Full of mystery, intrigue and an A+ cast—Sean Connery! Albert Finney! Lauren Bacall! Anthony Perkins!—this thriller does not disappoint. Set on a train in 1935, things go from bad to worse for a random group of strangers after the train gets stuck in a snow storm. A mysterious murder occurs, but who did it? The brash American? The hostile Mafioso? The timid missionary? Watch this excellent movie and see for yourself why it is one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time. You might also really enjoy reading the masterful novel by Agatha Christie that the movie is based on!


April 14, 2014

Off the Shelf: a tool for every project, a project for every tool

Filed under: Books, In the Know — Tags: , , , , — Mark @ 10:32 pm

cool toolsIf you’re like me, this is the time of year when you get that irresistible urge to hit the spring cleaning really hard, get fantastically dirty in the garden, tackle those back-burner projects or create that new thing you’ve envisioned all through the long dark winter. You feel renewed and recharged just by opening your front door and stepping into solar power. And as these things go, you’ll find yourself trekking to your hardware store of choice to pick up the tools and other materials you’ll need. Before you get started, put your feet up and relax in the porch swing with a glass of wine (Becca B’s April 1st post can help you with this part!) and peruse Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, by Kevin Kelly and his knowledgeable staff at http://kk.org/cooltools/.
antique toolsWithout underestimating the value of digital tools that quickly become obsolete, Cool Tools focuses on any tangible, physical object that qualifies as a tool, and not just any tool, but a cool tool. A cool tool is defined as “anything useful that increases learning, empowers individuals, does work that matters, is either the best or the cheapest or the only thing that works.”  The tools featured in this marvelous catalog will encourage you to try something new on your own, inspire you with new ideas, provide fresh insight into persistent problems, and finally fix that old hitch in your get-along once and for all.

And if you’d like to hang out in that porch swing just a little bit longer, reminiscing about projects of long ago, you might enjoy indulging your procrastination by comparing Cool Tools with the library’s copy of Encyclopedia of Antique Tools & Machinery, by C. H. Wendel. It’s fun to see how basic designs have developed over time and how technology continues to evolve.

OK now. Get busy. And enjoy every minute of it. –Lynne

April 11, 2014

Checking In: The Day the Crayons Quit

Filed under: Books, Checking In, Kids — Tags: , , , , , , — Eric D @ 9:00 am

I decided to get in touch with my inner child this week when a book came across the returns desk called The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. The story is told through letters from a box of crayons to their owner, a young boy named Duncan. Duncan just wants to do some coloring, but for one reason or other, his crayons are dissatisfied with their treatment, and they’ve decided to go on strike until their demands are met. Black Crayon, for example, is tired of being only used for outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all the sky and water all the time. And Orange and Yellow both think that they are the REAL color of the sun. What is a little boy to do?

You may recognize the art style from Oliver Jeffers’ other children’s titles – notably, The Incredible Book Eating Boy and Stuck, which he wrote in addition to illustrating. Both books are wonderfully absurd and just a little bit surreal, and would be excellent additions to any afternoon of reading. In the first, a little boy named Henry just loves books, but the only way he can experience them is by EATING them! Somehow he’s going to have to find a way to digest his reading material without literally digesting it. Stuck is about a boy who gets a kite stuck in a tree, and the story of how he gets it out is- well, I don’t want to spoil it…!

Book Eating Boy     Stuck

But, we were talking about The Day the Crayons Quit! It’s a hilarious book, and not just for the kids. It’s not a great leap to imagine this as a slightly more colorful version of The Office, and I found myself grinning or outright laughing at most of these beleaguered crayons’ letters. The book is perfect for young artists, and it has healthy doses of both persuasive writing and conflict resolution without ramming the lessons down anyone’s throat. So give this one a try and, the next time YOU open a box of crayons, remember: they have feelings too.

April 9, 2014

Kid’s Corner: Hate to Wait? Early Literacy Activities in the Waiting Room

Filed under: Kid's Corner — Tags: — jennytf @ 9:00 am

Building your child’s early literacy skills is something you can do throughout the regular routine of your day- in the car, at the grocery store, or even while waiting for appointments. The next time you find yourself at the pediatrician’s office, try some of these activities to help pass the time while having fun with your child and developing their early literacy skills!

Ideas for Babies    ?????????????????????????

Pack board books in your diaper bag and read in small segments while you are waiting. Talk about the photos and pictures in the books you are reading. Skill: Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Narrative Skills

Some of our favorite board books: I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy; Look Look Outside by Peter Linenthal; Hugs and Kisses by Rachel Hale; and Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Annie Kubler

Sing songs, rhymes and finger plays: Peek-A-Boo; This Little Piggy; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Hickory Dickory Dock, etc.  Skill: Phonological Awareness

Talk with your child about what’s going on around you in the waiting room. Skill: Vocabulary, Narrative Skills

Ideas for Toddlers   toddlers

Look for your child’s letter in books you are reading. Have them find their letter in magazines and other print (posters, signs, etc.) in the waiting room. Skill: Letter Knowledge

We recommend: Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells; Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen; ABC Zooborns! by Andrew Bleiman; and Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting

Draw a face on fingers and have a conversation with your child.  Skill: Narrative Skills

Use songs and rhymes that include a story (beginning, middle, end): Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hey Diddle Diddle, Grand Old Duke of York, etc.  Skill: Phonological Awareness, Narrative Skills

Play matching games (“Can you find something in this book that is red like my sock?) Skill: Letter Knowledge

Show your child a family picture you brought in your wallet or on your phone. Let your child tell you who is in the picture, what they’re doing, etc.  Skill: Narrative Skills


Ideas for Preschoolers   preschoolers

Say a word and ask your child to say another that rhymes with it (Dan/can, Mike/bike, etc.)  Skill: Phonological Awareness

Take turns making up stories or re-tell a favorite story (“Once upon a time..”). Skill: Narrative Skills

Talk with your child about what will happen next once you see the doctor/dentist/etc. and what you will be doing after the appointment.  Skill: Narrative Skills

Bring wordless books and let your child “read” the pictures to tell you what is happening in the story. Skill: Narrative Skills

We recommend: Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage; Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann; A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka; and Wave by Suzy Lee.

Bring a pad of paper and crayons and let your child draw and scribble. Write words that interest your child. Say the letters as you write the words.  Skill: Letter Knowledge

Stay tuned for our next post on activities you can do at the grocery store!  -Marianne


Inside scoop: New kid’s magazines en Español!

Filed under: Inside Scoop — Tags: , , , , , — klsseong @ 8:00 am

ask ladybug

We are excited to introduce 2 children’s magazines in Spanish: Ask en Espanol and Ladybug en Espanol.  Ladybug en Espanol is a children’s literary magazine geared toward 3 to 6 year olds.  While motivating children to keep up with learning Spanish, it bolsters learning new vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling.  Ask en Espanol is an arts and science magazine that targets 6 to 9 year olds.  Reading short science pieces in Spanish will help our young readers foster interest in science as they develop a second language.

April 8, 2014

Blurbs from the Branch: GO! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design

Filed under: Blurbs from the Branch, Books, Kids — Tags: , , — Becca B @ 8:00 am

goWorld-renowned graphic designer Chip Kidd is responsible for the look of more than 1,000 book covers, including the iconic Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, the bloody silhouette of No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, and his most recent masterpiece of intrigue: Haruki Murakami’s IQ84.  If you haven’t experienced his TED Talk, it’s just a click away.

Kidd’s newest book cover design, for his own Go! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, sports a giant red octagon sign with the titled word “GO!” instead of “STOP.”  On the inside flap, Kidd refers to his cover as “weird and seemingly at cross-purposes with the message and possibly even a little pretentious.  But you opened it anyway.”  So it worked, thus proving his thesis: “whether you realize it or not, most of the decisions you make, every day, are by design.”

Just like with any book, the guts are what really matters.  As one of the first kids’ books I’ve read on the subject of graphic design, Go! is a goldmine for any budding artist.  I sure could have used it back in the early 1990s.  Not only does it help young people identify and understand how concepts like positive/negative space, color theory, typography, juxtaposition influence the decisions we make every day, but more importantly, it also gives them the inspiration to be designers themselves. Now please, Go! and put this book on hold for the next great designer of the 21st century!


April 7, 2014

In the Know: Saturday Tech Tutor Appointments

Filed under: In the Know — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Mark @ 11:00 am

Kindle w glassesCedar Mill Library now offers one-on-one Tech Tutoring sessions by appointment on most Saturday afternoons.

These ½ hour sessions with a volunteer instructor can be reserved for Library2Go and E-book questions, as well as, basic computer help.  This is a great place to get assistance loading e-books on your smartphone or tablet, formatting your resume or getting your first email account set up.

Limited reservations are available each week so visit the Adult Reference desk or call 503-644-0043 X114 to reserve your spot.

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