Can't get enough of Giant panda Mei Xiang and her new cub? Check out the Giant Pandas page at the National Zoo for up-to-date news and a live webcam. We also have lots of information on pandas right here in the library. Also today, the New York Times published a review of the new book, [t:the lady and the panda|The Lady and the Panda, The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's M


This gem of a novella is about a young man, Tristran Thorn, who promises a fair maiden that he will fetch a fallen star for her from beyond a wall that is crossed only once every nine years during a magical flea market. The wall (which resides in a rural English town named Wall) separates our world from the land of Faerie. During his travels, Tristran encounters witches, goblins, upset trees, feuding brothers, and farting hair-balls. Eventually, he uncovers his true heart's desire.

The Guild of Geniuses

Frederick Lipton is a Movie Star. As is often the case with Movie Stars, his best friend is a monkey: Mr. Pip. They find themselves in need of the services of The Guild of Geniuses, a co-ed group of four wizened, lab-coated scientists who solve any problem and offer prizes to those who are able to stump them, although it is noted that they haven't yet had to give out a single prize.

This is Dan Santat's first book, both as an author and an illustrator, and while the story is sweet, it's also a bit dull. The art, however, is stylish, colorful, and retro-geeky, reminiscent of Mo Willems' excellent animated works such as The Off-Beats and Sheep in the Big City.

The English Roses

Madonna's music may or may not tickle your daughter's fancy, but this short bedtime book is a favorite with my girls. The story is of three young friends who learn to include a fourth girl into their circle.

If your daughter is poking around the stacks for something to read for the Summer Reading Game, this might be a right fit for her. It comes highly recommended from a five and a six-year old!

Sands of Empire

This morning on the Diane Rehm Show Robert Merry, president and publisher of Congressional Quarterly and a former reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" discussed his views on US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. His new book, Sands of Empire is on order.

Faulkner 101

Oprah's Summer of Faulkner is well underway, but it's not too soon to start reading the master of tragic farce. Check out Faulkner 101 for everything you need to know about Yoknapatawpha County and the three masterworks As I Lay Dying, The Sound and The Fury, and Light in August.

RIP: Evan Hunter (Ed McBain)

Evan Hunter, author (as Ed McBain) of the 87th Precinct Series of detective novels, died Wednesday at 78. We have over 100 of his books, 4 of his full-length books on cd, and 16 of his books on cassette.

Hunter essentially created the police procedural novel in 1956 with Cop Hater, the first of the 87th Precinct novels, and many of the conventions of modern crime drama can be traced back to his work.

Steve Inskeep's Summer Books

This morning, posted the latest in their Summer Books series: a piece from Steve Inskeep, host of Morning Edition.

Steve mentioned several personal favorites that we have at AADL, including the Flashman series of humorous adventures set in Victorian England, and the Big Sleep and the Lady of the Lake, by Raymond Chandler.

Learning PHP 5

In March, I used Learning PHP 5 as the basis for class material when I taught Introduction to PHP Programming at the Mallett's Creek Branch. Sklar does a good job of methodically approaching PHP in a way that will be welcoming to a newcomer to PHP, but also provide a good reference to those who have been programming in PHP for awhile.

Eat a good meal before reading the book, however, as Sklar's examples sound delicious and may make you hungry!

Thirteen and a Day

Today, Salon posted a review of Thirteen and a Day: the bar and bat Mitzvah across America, by Mark Oppenheimer. The book discusses the state and history of the American b'nai Mitzvah ritual, and tells the stories of several contrasting approaches to the event.

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