Recommended Reads have moved

Please visit our new Hot. Right. Now. page for the latest Recommended Reads and much more.

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September is Library Card Month!

Yes, your library card can open new doors for you and your family.  There is something for everyone at the library:  books, films, music, magazines, computers, cultural programs, visiting authors, story times, also welcoming community spaces where you can study, browse, and read!   Here is the easy online application or you can visit any of your friendly SDCL branches and get your card in person. It is free to California residents.  Did you have a card, but you haven’t used it in a while or you are  not sure where you put it?   SDCL can help you replace your card.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to get back into the library!  Sign up for your library card this month!

Remembering…

Two literary giants  passed away this week.  To see their complete San Diego County Library holdings, click on their names below.   And a final quote from Gore Vidal:  “Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge,” he once wrote, “all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here.  Because there is nothing else. This is it.  And quite enough, all in all.”

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Gore Vidal

Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills on  July 31 of complications from pneumonia; he was 86.  The New York Times called Vidal “the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization… He published  25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy.” He also ran for public office twice, appeared on talk shows regularly and famously feuded with William F. Buckley, Jr., Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and others.    

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Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy, who was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed authors in contemporary Irish literature, selling more than 40 million books, died July 30,  at a Dublin hospital after a brief illness, according to Irish media. She was 72.  “We have lost a national treasure,” said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.  A former teacher and journalist, Binchy didn’t publish her first novel until 1982, the year she turned 42.  When it became a commercial success, the author compared it to winning the lottery.  It was the first of many best-sellers by Binchy, who joked that she could write as fast as she could talk. Although her novels were marketed as romances, many reviewers said her realistic and complicated approach to storytelling made them transcend the category.

Her 18th novel, “A Week in Winter,” is scheduled to be published later this year.              

Courtesy of  Los Angeles Times, The New York Times,  & Huffington Post

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National Cookie Month recap

Now that the (flour and cocoa) dust has settled, and the SDCL bakers have had a chance to recover, a brief recap of National Cookie Month.  The complete list of books we used can be found here.

We definitely found some keepers – Chunky, Chewy Blondies from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking and the Black Mamba Cookies from Celebrate with Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers were both definite favorites.

We also learned a few things.  This was a great way to force ourselves into trying books and recipes that we never would have tried.  The Brown Sugar and Sea Salt Cookies were actually really good, and we probably never would have made them ordinarily.  Cookbooks for kids, that those of us without kids would normally never look at, yielded some really creative, easy, tasty recipes.  And e-book versions of cookbooks are really handy if you have something portable on which to read them in the kitchen (or if you need a recipe now and don’t have a book handy).

As a result of this little challenge, we’re trying to come up with ideas for future challenges to broaden our horizons further – anybody got any ideas?  (I’m pretty sure none of us could handle a book a day, before anyone suggests it!)

31 days, 31 cookies, 31 cookbooks – the halfway point!

We’ve made it a little more than halfway through the month, and so far we haven’t missed a day!  We’ve even mixed it up a bit, using traditional cookbooks, e-books (available for free through the library), and a couple of novels that include recipes.

If you haven’t caught our daily Twitter updates, here’s the book list thus far.  We’ll update it again at the end of the month and add it to the Book Lists page here on Hot.Right.Now.

If you haven’t done so yet, follow us on Twitter to see what the next two weeks have in store!  (They include Emma’s Cashew Fudge Brownies and the brand new Gourmet Cookie Book, if you need extra enticement).  And if you’ve gotten to try any of the cookies, make sure to let us know what you think!

31 days, 31 cookies, 31 cookbooks

October is National Cookie Month.  In celebration, we are going to bake a different kind of cookie each day of the month.  Each cookie recipe will be from a book in our collection.  31 days, 31 cookies, 31 cookbooks.Stack of cookbooks

Follow us on Twitter (@hotrightnowsdcl) for a daily summary of the cookie, the cookbook, and photographic evidence that we really baked it.  And check back here regularly for cookie reviews in the comments.

And who is going to eat and review all of those cookies?  Each day, a library branch or department (or two, since we have 31 days and 35 branches, plus our administrative departments) will be the recipient of our endeavors.  Keep an eye out here and on Twitter to see who got what and what they thought, or go old school and start a conversation with staff next time you visit your library.

Hungry yet?  If you want to try the recipes for yourself, go to www.sdcl.org to place your book requests.

Oprah, Oprah, Oprah… Oh?!?!

It’s here. Kitty Kelley’s latest tawdry tell-all unauthorized biography. The unfortunate subject of her eagle-eye scrutiny this time around? The beloved institution known as Oprah Winfrey.

The few reviews that are out of Kelley’s book, Oprah : A Biography, suggest it may not give readers as many “Oh My Gosh!!!” moments as many of her previous works have. But she still puts her spicy spin on well-known “secrets “discussed by Oprah and those close to her.

One really juicy bit of Oprah gossip that comes out of the book, according to Janet Maslin’s New York Times book review is that Kelley was able to extract the name of Oprah’s biological father out of one  Oprah’s relatives. The kicker: allegedly, Oprah has tried for years to pry the identity of her father from her relatives. Kelley will not tell the world who he is, though, until Oprah is told by her mother first. How thoughtful. But she’ll tell you just about everything else!!!

Request this latest book by Kitty Kelley here, or check out some of her other jaw-dropping works below!!!
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The Royals Gossipmonger Kelly narrates her latest unauthorized biography, this time targeting Britain’s royal family. She has included some interesting factual information about the royals, describing the early-20th-century history of the family and its ties to Germany. But the biography is a mix of fact and tawdry, unsubstantiated innuendo (Phillip may be bisexual, one son may not be his, etc.). Wherever possible, Kelley’s inflections as narrator make events seem naughtier still. –Library Journal
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The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty Generations of Bushes have given her plenty of material. She presents Prescott, the alcoholic senator who beat his children; George H.W., the tightfisted husband with a mink-clad mistress; and a supporting cast of uncles and brothers embroiled with dictators and Japanese Mafiosi. There is Barbara’s grudge-bearing (a streak so mean one feels almost sorry for Nancy Reagan), Laura’s reputation as a college drug source, and ex-daughter-in-law Sharon’s tales (since recanted) of cocaine at Camp David. Capping it all is George W., who—from financial shadiness and substance abuse to a suspect military record and a blithe confidence that he deserves all he has been given and more—is portrayed not as the family’s black sheep but as the epitome of its values. –The New Yorker
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Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography A shocking portrait of the 1980s, America, and the woman whose position helped shape the values and policies of the Reagan administration. Through over 1,000 interviews collected during four years of exhaustive research and reporting, Kelley reveals Nancy Reagan as a superb public performer, a vain, materialistic social climber, a bitter foe and formidable strategist–an American phenomenon. –Red Room
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Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star The unauthorized, best-selling biography of one of America’s brightest – and most flamboyantly glamorous – stars. Elizabeth Taylor has beguiled audiences since National Velvet, and her many loves and peccadilloes have provided endless spice and interest for the movie-going and star-watching public. Biographer Kitty Kelley tells all – even the parts Liz would rather keep secret! – in this uncensored biography. –Publisher
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Jackie Oh! She was the definition of White House style for too brief a time. And as a private citizen, we couldn’t seem to get enough of her. Here is the inside, outside, upside and downside of our own American princess. Tragic, heroic, private: the image of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis remains the image of an American icon that will never lose its ability to charm and fascinate. –Book Jacket
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Gossipmonger Kelly narrates her latest unauthorized biography, this time targeting Britain’s royal family. She has included some interesting factual information about the royals, describing the early-20th-century history of the family and its ties to Germany. But the biography is a mix of fact and tawdry, unsubstantiated innuendo (Phillip may be bisexual, one son may not be his, etc.). Wherever possible, Kelley’s inflections as narrator make events seem naughtier still.

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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine is the latest book from Michael Lewis who wrote the book The Blind Side (the fodder for the touching movie of the same name for which Sandra Bullock won her very first Academy Award last weekend). In his latest book, Lewis provides a clear, character-rich and darkly humorous account of how the U.S. economy was driven over a cliff.

This book is SUPER hot right now, and within the next week will be featured/discussed on: Sixty Minutes (this Sunday), The Today Show, Jon Stewart, NPR’s All Things Considered (on Monday), and on Fresh Air and Charlie Rose (on Tuesday). Request it here now before all your neighbors do!!!

Lewis explains how the event we were told was impossible—the free fall of the American economy—finally occurred; how the things that we wanted, like ridiculously easy money and greatly expanded home ownership, were vehicles for that crash; and how shareholder demand for profit forced investment executives to eat the forbidden fruit of toxic derivatives.

Lewis’s splendid cast of characters includes villains, a few heroes, and a lot of people who look foolish: high government officials, including the watchdogs; heads of major investment banks; perhaps even the face in your mirror. In this irresistible narrative, Lewis writes of the goats and of the few who saw what the emperor was wearing, and gives them, most memorably, what they deserve. According to some, he is the finest and funniest chronicler writing today. Click here to request this book to read what all the hype is about!
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