Linda Stevens's blog

Psst...Have You Heard? We're Having Summer Reading Fun!

girls at programSince we're being scientific this summer, Fun is defined by Merriam-Webster as "what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically :  playful often boisterous action or speech."  I think these pictures from some of the library activities across the county give you a much better idea.  It's not too late for you to sign up and join in - the fun runs through August 9th!

laporte    

Keeping Up with the Reading Stack

Amazon just released a list of the best romance books published so far this year, according to their editors.  I am kind of appalled at myself that I've only read one of them -- Laura Kaye's Hard as You Can, the second book in a great new romantic suspense series.  I have a couple of the others in my pile of books to read and I am fan of many authors on the list, but I don't guess that counts in my favor.

What about you?  Have you read any on this list?  Do you think they're the best romance books so far this year?

Barbara Bush Library Friends Honor Librarian Nancy Agafitei

Barbara Bush Branch Librarian Nancy Agafitei will be retiring at the end of June, after working 25 years for Harris County Public Library.  Her coworkers, community colleagues and the Barbara Bush Library Friends hosted a reception today to celebrate her career and accomplishments.

Here Barbara Bush Library Friends President Penny Boozman presents HCPL Interim Director Ron Lucik with a check for five thousand dollars in honor of Nancy Agafitei.  Happy retirement, Nancy!

Guess the Birdies & Support the Friends of the Library

hcfolThe 2014 Shell Houston Open will be held on March 31- April 6, 2014 and the Harris County Friends of the Library will be raising funds through Birdies for Charity .  How is the money used?  The Friends help pay for the summer reading activities,  educational and cultural programs at library branches, and eBooks for the collection.  

How can you participate?  It's easy.  You make a minimum pledge of a penny for every birdie made Wednesday through Sunday by the pros at the Shell Houston Open or make a donation of $20 or more.  For every penny per birdie pledged, you get a guess as to how many birdies will be made this year.  For every $20 pledged, you get a guess. If you guess correctly, you have a chance to win the Grand Prize!  Total birdies for the past five years have been:   1,722  1,528  1,786  1,750  1,615.  Deadline for pledges is Monday, March 31, 2014.

If you would like to participate or would like more information, please contact Peggy Kruckemeyer at reginahenke@gmail.com.  

Try Out the New Library Catalog

Don't panic!  We've got the new library catalog ready for you to test, but the same familiar search is still the one you'll be using from the library website.  We think you're going to like the new features that make it easier than ever to access all of the resources in our collection, no matter the format.  Look for:

  • Smarter search technology that makes it easier to find exactly what you're looking for
  • Featured NYT Bestseller Lists and New Items Lists
  • New texting and social media features
  • Spell Check
  • Individual "My List" creation
  • Ability to place multiple holds at once

Take a test run of our new catalog: hcpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/webcat.  We want to hear what you think, so please share your discoveries in the comments.

I Heart Historical Romance Series

sweet revengeI know it is more fashionable in the romance genre right now to be reading about billionaires in dire need of therapy, but my personal favorites have always been the historicals.  Recently, I've discovered two series in particular that have really kept my Kindle clicking.

Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane Series

Delightful Romantic Comedy

rosie projectNormally, I write about books that live strictly in the romance genre and about topics more than specific titles.  I recently finished one that is making me break out of my rut and post a review of a book that is more fiction than romance -- The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion.  Imagine the character of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory was Australian and actually someone interested in finding a wife. Then set him in a romantic comedy worthy of Richard Curtis.  I found this book to be that funny and cinematic -- I think it is actually already optioned to become a film.

New Adult Romance at the Library

beautiful disasterHave you noticed the sudden increase in the number and popularity of books about people who are no longer high schoolers, but not quite grown-ups?  It has been such a publishing phenomenon that those of us who like to categorize things came up with a genre label -- New Adult.  Usually these books feature main characters between 18 and 25, just discovering who they are and what they might want out of life.  

I could no longer even be considered a new-ish adult, but I have tried and enjoyed a few of these titles.  They are usually dramatic and intense, most dealing with overcoming a serious trauma or circumstance and becoming involved in a tumultuous relationship.

Introducing HCPL eSelect: Our Exclusive New eBook Collection

eselectHarris County Public Library is proud to introduce HCPL eSelect, an exclusive new eBook collection made up of titles purchased directly from independent authors and publishers. The items in this collection are owned and managed by HCPL, so they can be directly checked out from the library’s catalog and are listed in your main library account with any other paper books, DVDs or CDs you borrow.

HCPL’s eBooks are so popular that over 637,000 were checked out last year – about the same circulation as one of the system’s largest physical libraries. Most of us already know about the popularity of eBooks.  What you might not know is that many major publishers won’t sell their eBooks to libraries. By working directly with independent authors and publishers, HCPL is able to expand our collection and increase the variety and value of materials available for library cardholders.

Short and Sweet

governess affairI'm going to just come right out and admit it -- I am a fan of the novella.  There are some nights I come home tired and simply want to relax and read a book I can finish before I go to bed.  It seems like novellas have been experiencing a boom in popularity lately, particularly in eBook format.  Some are part of a theme, stories based on a holiday or a love of pets, for example.  Some bookend a series, giving a glimpse into the beginning or the end of a story.  Some occupy the same world as a popular series, but completely stand on their own.  So, there's bound to be something to appeal to your reading tastes and limited schedule.

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