"Gold Soundz" from the slacker kings

Looking for something that's a little off the beaten path (or at least off the current pop charts)? Take a stroll through the charming little collection of alternative rock selections we've got. There are some beauties from the eighties and ninties, such as Pavement's 1997 Brighten the Corners and the Jesus and Mary Chain's singles. I have a particular soft spot for Pavement, as well as their ex-singer's new solo work, since it has that slacker quality of sounding both lazy and intense.

For some hints on searching for music by genre in the catalog, follow the "read more..."

The Other Awards Show

Everyone knows that the Oscar winners will be announced on Sunday, but did you also know that the Independent Spirit Awards are being awarded on Saturday? Held annually in a big tent on the Santa Monica beach, these awards are given to the year's best work in independent films. To see clips from this year's nominees, visit the IFC (Indepdendent Film Channel) website.

The library's film collection includes many of the Independent Spirit Award winners from past years. Here are some of them:

Sideways, Lost in Translation, Far From Heaven, Memento, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Election, Gods and Monsters, Fargo, Short Cuts, The Player, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

A Great Resource for Women's History Month

Jane Addams
Jane Addams, 1860-1935

In celebration of Women's History Month, Thompson Gale has launched a free website of information on the history of women--biographies, a historical timeline, a downloadable calendar, quizzes and activities to facilitate classroom discussion. Also included is Women's Rights on Trial, which includes information on 101 key trials of historical importance to American women since the settlement of the colonies.

My Nana and Me by Irene Smalls

My Nana and Me is a warm celebration of the grandmother and grandchild relationship. Irene Smalls captures the little moments that are shared between a little girl and her grandmother in this touching picture book.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #9

A former researcher at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics and currently a student at Stanford Medical School, Josh Spanogle’s debut medical thriller will bring to mind The Andromeda Strain; written by another young medical student named Michael Crichton some years back.

…"(F)rightening, scalpel-sharp, surprising, challenging," Isolation Ward takes hold of you immediately when young, brash Dr. McCormick must race against time to identify the baffling and unstoppable virus that racked the bodies of three female mentally impaired patients in a Baltimore hospital, and threatens to become an epidemic.

Starred review in Kirkus. A sure bet from a promising newcomer. Read an excerpt

Aquamarine: Another Movie Based on a Book

This Friday Aquamarine will hit theaters. This movie based on the book by the same name by Alice Hoffman and is toted as a Fish-Out-Of-Water comedy. A love-struck mermaid played by Sara Paxton is discovered in a swimming pool by two twelve-year old best friends, played by Emma Roberts of Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous and singer JoJo.

Celebrate Women's History Month through reading

In 1977, the schools of Sonoma County designated March as Women's History Month to raise awareness of women's history and to encourage its inclusion into the public and college curriculum. To help celebrate, here is a list of recent titles that explore the meaningful contributions of women throughout the ages.

Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom. Chess as a courting ritual? The rise of female power is seen through the history of female players of the game as well as many other women of royalty from the ancient Arab world to eleventh century Europe.

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham

And Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is one of them. Interviews with Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig discuss how Zingerman’s made decisions on whether and how to grow and on what was important to them in running the business.

The book discusses fourteen companies that chose to focus on product quality, quality of work life, customer service, community involvement, and company soul or mojo rather than on expansion, IPOs, or merging with corporate conglomerates.

A nice cheerleading account of the history and philosophy of these fourteen “Small Giants.” The concluding paragraph: “There are no businesses that hold themselves to higher standards than do the small giants. Having more of them can’t help but make our world a better place."

Wal-Mart: Recent Books and Movies

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer with $312.4 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending on January 31, 2006. Wal-Mart is also the largest private employer in the United States with 1.3 million employees.

Wal-Mart says:
"The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want," Sam wrote in his autobiography. "And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.”
The Wal-Mart fact sheets provide an interesting counterpoint to these books and movies.

The books:

Bully of Bentonville: the High Cost of Wal-Mart’s Everyday Low Prices by Anthony Bianco
The Wal-Mart Effect: the High Cost of Everyday Low Prices by Charles Fishman
The United States of Wal-Mart by John Dicker
Wal-Mart: the Face of Twenty-First Century Capitalism edited by Nelson Lichtenstein

The movies:

Wal*Mart: the High Cost of Low Price from Brave New Films
Is Wal-Mart Good for America? from PBS Video

The Play Ground

Life Science

The Play Ground has attended all Life Science Orchestra concerts since the group's inception and, not coincidentally, is related to one of the players. We are therefore thrilled that members of the orchestra will be performing Downtown at the Library on March 5th at 2pm. There will be several small ensembles and the players will speak briefly about their careers in medicine, science and related fields, and why they make music a part of their lives. The Play Ground has heard that there will be at least one Haydn and one Beethoven piece.

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