David Cherry's blog

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with HCPL!

Hispanic Heritage Graphic dcherryCome celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Harris County Public Library! All of our branches have events planned to recognize the contributions of Latinos to our communities and to American culture. There will be movies, crafts, storytelling, cooking and dance demonstrations, book discussions, and, of course, fiestas!

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for Saturday, September 22, when HCPL will host our special Hispanic Heritage Festival at the Aldine Branch Library with lots to do and see and taste! We’ll have entertainment including a puppet show, folkloric dance and Happy the Clown. We’ll have games provided by the Aldine-Greenspoint Family YMCA, as well as a piñata, lots of crafts and a moonwalk, and what kind of festival would it be without food? We’ll have plenty of treats including yummy paletas to cool you off! 

In Case of Emergency: Grab Your Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone and Stay Informed

Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management Header
Chances are you’ve never found yourself thinking, “Hmmm, my schedule’s pretty light this week. This would be a good time to get that natural disaster out of the way.” Emergencies--much like visits from your cousin, his wife and their kids who somehow maintain a 24 hour a day, Tasmanian devil-style sugar rush--never come at a convenient time.

Complicating matters is the fact that emergencies don’t happen very often--which is good, of course--but it also makes them all the more dangerous. Your memory tends to round off the jagged edges, and you find yourself thinking, “Oh, Ike really wasn’t so bad…” Then there are those emergencies that, frankly, you would just rather not think about, and that is the absolutely worst thing you can do. You need to have a plan. You need to have the supplies on hand. You need to know where to get the latest and most reliable news and information.

Join the Discussion: eBooks, Libraries and Independent Authors

Photo Credit: EBook Reader by goXunuReviewsThere’s no doubt that one of the most exciting developments in the world of books over the last several years has been the exponential growth in the eBook market. Amazon.com now routinely sells more Kindle editions than print. Harris County Public Library has seen a 65% rise in ebook circulation since March over the same period last year.

To the average reader, eBooks are not much different from the good old ink-on-paper variety, but they differ in ways that make the time-honored models for sales and distribution problematic. So the advent of eBooks continues to pose challenges to everyone involved in the business of putting reading material into the hands of the public: from the big traditional publishing houses, to the online megastores, to agents, to authors themselves and, yes, to libraries, as well.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 9

Amazing Read LogoI hope you had a chance to take last week's challenge. With all the news zipping at us from all directions these days, it was nice to be reminded that peeling it off the page is not just a viable option, but in many ways a better one. I had a chance to whittle down the stack of New Yorkers gathering dust on the nightstand. That's right, The New Yorker isn't just a  collection highbrow of cartoons. It features some of the best long-form journalism going today by writers like Susan Orlean and John McPhee among many others.

Ok! Onto this week's challenge! We're moving from earthbound facts to the far reaches of space. We want you to read something out of this world. There are an almost infinite number of directions you can go with this one. How about some straight-ahead, blow-your-mind space travel science fiction, like Firebird by Jack McDevitt, or Leviathans of Jupiter by the prolific and always reliable Ben Bova. Or you can go for some straight-head, blow-your-mind out-of-this-world nonfiction, like Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy by Nick Huggett. Or you could go with a more nuts-and-bolts approach, like the Apollo Mission Reports. Or you could reach back to the beginnings of U.S. space exploration and the people who made it happen with Tom Wolfe's still stylish, The Right Stuff. Whatever you choose, leave us a comment and let us know about it!

Fire and Ice (But Mostly Ice): The Poetry of Robert Frost

Cover Art: The Early Poems / Robert Frost“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken” still hover near the top of any list of America’s best-loved poems. Frost’s hard-eyed New England practicality, craggy jaw, snow white hair, and the singularly apt surname to go with them represent in many people’s minds everything an American poet should be—none of those twee, beret-wearing types for us!--It doesn’t hurt his continuing popularity that he worked in forms as solid and stolid as New Hampshire granite.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 7

Amazing Read Challenge LogoA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library: I've always found it fascinating that so many of our funniest artists lead such unhappy private lives: think comedians like Buster Keaton, W. C. Fields, and Lenny Bruce, or writers like John Kennedy Toole, and Dorothy Parker. So for last week's challenge to read about someone who intrigues us, I read the recently published biography of one of my all-time favorite seriously funny writers, Kurt Vonnegut.

But with this week's challenge, we want to lighten things up a bit. We challenge you to read something that makes you laugh, and HCPL has plenty of books that fit that bill. We've got nonfiction that will make you titter, snicker, giggle, chuckle, chortle, snort and guffaw, like Tina Fey's Bossypants, and David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 5

I loved lastAmazing Read Logo week’s challenge and hope you did too. Not all of us have the money, time or inclination to travel to distant lands. I know it’s trite, but books really do allow us to visit those places from the comfort of our easy chairs without the hassles of security screenings, chatty cabbies who insist on taking the scenic route and that whole foreign language thing. I read Watermark by the Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky, a dark, intensely lyrical meditation on the city of Venice.

Now, on to this week’s challenge! We limbered up a bit with all that globe-trotting last week, so we should be in shape for something that’s active in a different way. This week we challenge you to read about a competition. There are lots of directions you can go with this one. You could (re)read the Hunger Games Trilogy, or one of the many great baseball novels like The Natural by Bernard Malamud or Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 3

Amazing Read LogoI hope you liked last week's challenge to revisit a childhood favorite as much as I did. I dug out some of my old Classics Illustrated and gorged my way down memory lane: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (yeah, I was kind of a creepy kid).

This week, let's saddle up and read a book about Texas, by a Texas author or set in Texas. I encourage you to learn a bit more about the Lone Star State's singular history; enjoy one of our great tale-spinners like Larry McMurtry, Mary Willis Walker or Cormac McCarthy; swoon over a rugged Texas hero; or--in the spirit of all great Texans--strike out on your own and find something that fits you like a good pair a boots. Whatever you choose, let us know about it!

50 Books Your Child Should Read Before Kindergarten

Reading on a Dodo at Evelyn Meador Branch LibraryWe know, parents, we know. It seems like every time you turn around there's another talking head telling you that your child needs to do this and do that, or else...well...the talking head shudders to think of the dire consequences for your kid's future. Of course, this all plays on your natural fears, and of course, you would do anything to help little Joe or Jolene grow up to be a happy, successful adult, so you play Mozart around the clock even though both you and your child would rather listen to something just a little more funky, you flash flashcards at the breakfast table, you tilt the foot of the bed up 3 degrees so that the blood circulating through that precious little body bathes the pituitary gland. The end result? You're exhausted, your kid is bewildered, and a new talking head is lurking inside the TV waiting to pounce the next time you turn it on.

Natasha Trethewey Named U. S. Poet Laureate

US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, courtesy of Wikipedia CommonsPulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th U. S. Poet Laureate. She succeeds Philip Levine as the country's guardian of, and cheerleader-in-chief for the genre.

Trethewey is the author of four books of poetry and a collection of creative nonfiction. In addition to the Pulitzer, her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches literature and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

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