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Mystery Monday: Dick Francis Gallops Away

Over the week-end came the sad news that noted mystery writer Dick Francis had passed away at the age of 89. Mr. Francis, a championship jockey turned successful crime novelist was one of the most prolific writers in the mystery field. He wrote 42 novels, all revolving around horse racing. Even people who were not particularly interested in horse racing praised these books.  With virtually no sex or bad language (in deference to the Queen Mother who was his biggest fan) Mr. Francis told compelling stories, adored the world over. One of the biggest mysteries involving Mr. Francis was, who actually wrote the novels.  Although he freely gave collaborative credit to his beloved wife, Mary, skeptics felt that an uneducated jockey was incapable of writing such fine work, and ascribed the authorship to the better educated Mary.  After Mary's death in 2000, he announced that there would be no more books, perhaps giving credence to this theory. However, he did produce four more splendid novels albeit working with his son Felix.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR... AND ZOMBIES ARE ON THE RISE!

Valentine's Day is upon us, and this librarian's thoughts are turning to... zombies!  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Move over, sparkly vampires!  Pundits in the publishing world have been predicting since last summer that 2010 will be the Year of the Zombie, and a lot of great titles have been hitting our shelves recently.  The modern zombie has come a long way from George Romero's shuffling, mindless corpses.  Today's zombies are busting out of horror and shambling across genre lines into comedy, sci fi, mystery, fantasy, and yes, even romance.  ("Romantic lead" may seem like a tough sell, but hey, when a zombie gives his heart he really means it.) 

NCLSA SPREAD WARMTH THIS WINTER

The New City Library Staff Association (NCLSA) donated over 50 handmade scarves to the non-profit Sunday Supper organization in Nyack last month. These scarves were given to local people in need, along with a warm meal, on Christmas Day.

Members of NCLSA, with much help from the New City Library Crochet and Knitting Clubs, produced dozens of scarves in a variety of colors and styles during this six-week drive. The association also used the project as the impetus for a scarf raffle to raise funds for the Rockland Family Shelter, which resulted in a $75 donation.

What's Cooking?: A Culinary Journey Around the World

Getting cabin fever? Want to do some traveling? Cookbooks are a great vehicle to expand your horizons to foreign lands. Get a taste of a culture, the people, and most importantly, the foods, just by walking through international cookbooks. You can travel across an exotic country like Tibet, a province like Provence, France, or a region like the Mediterranean. The trek is boundless. From browsing the recipes and their ingredients you can envision the types of spices, vegetables, grains and livestock that are indigenous to that area. Have you ever used turmeric, cumin, tamarind, or lemongrass? Have you heard about stinky tofu or durian fruit from Southeast Asia? How about being adventurous by adding octopus, eel or snails to your menu? Well, if these food items don’t turn you on, there are plenty of scrumptious dishes that are sure to entice you. “Traveling” through these cookbooks also introduces us to new and different methods of cooking.

MY FUNNY VALENTINE

The color red is popping up everywhere.  Chocolatiers and florists are stocking up on heart-shaped boxes and long-stemmed red roses.  Stores are cramming their shelves full of foil hearts and teddies.  Greeting card store owners are rubbing their hands together with glee.  Yes, the Big Holiday approaches... V-Day

As a romance blogger facing my first Valentine's Day posting, I've been feeling the pressure.  Love or hate the holiday, everyone will have romance on their minds to some extent-- what to write?  Then it occurred to me: I'm not the only one stressing about this holiday.  Lonely hearts (or perfectly content singles) have the strain of being solo on a holiday for couples.  Couples are under pressure to be romantic on demand (and since when does Cupid ever stick to a schedule?).  I scanned my shelves.  Could there be an antidote for all this stress? 

Coming Soon...Innovations in Customer Service

Exciting times are ahead for the Circulation Department and our customers upon completion of the lobby and circulation desk renovation project in February. We will be able to offer a variety of new services that are convenient, ensure privacy and minimize the time you spend checking out.  We invite you to try our new self-service checkout machines located at the desk.  Staff will be available to guide you through the process.  Hold books will be within easy reach, find your reserve(s) then use express checkout out or a staffed station.

Nonfiction Chronicles: Money Matters

So, January is almost over -- how are your New Year's resolutions holding up?  Right about now we could all use a little help sticking to our plans to reach goals we've set only a few weeks ago. And second only in popularity to the goal of losing weight or quitting smoking must be the objective of getting our financial lives in order.  New City Library has some great resources to assist you if your aim is to set a budget, spend less, save more of your paycheck or invest more prudently.  Check out these titles:

One Year to an Organized  Financial Life:  From Your Bills to Your Bank Account, Your Home to Your Retirement, the Week-by-Week Guide to Achieving Financial Peace of Mind by Regina Leeds and Russell Wild.

Mystery Monday

Pity the poor first time author!  After years of painstaking writing and re-writing, possibly years of rejections, somehow a book is published.  It will be reviewed, publicized, and ordered by bookstores and libraries.  Now what?  Does it remain hopefully on the shelf, while its better known brethren (yes, you Janet Evanovich and Mary Higgins Clark) are eagerly snatched up?  Is the author's creation doomed to languish on the shelf, unread, ignored, and eventually discarded?  As the librarian who orders the mysteries, I struggle between satisfying enormous popular demand for bestsellers, and purchasing the quiet, well-reviewed gems which the public may not even notice.  To rectify this situation, I want to take this opportunity to introduce some authors who have just published their first mysteries and deserve a wide readership. Try one today!

ONCE UPON A TIME: FAIRY TALES RETOLD

There are certain stories that we never forget.  Fairy tales sleep inside of us, waiting to be rediscovered like flowers that have been dried and pressed between the pages of a book.  No matter how long it's been since we left our childhood behind, these stories lie ready to live and bloom again in our imaginations.  With the smallest reminder, we are magically transported back to a place out of time where anything is possible: serving girls can become princesses, princes can become monsters, animals can speak, true love can break any curse, and one always, always gets exactly what one deserves.  Is it any wonder, then, that the "fairy tale retold" is such a popular motif in fantasy fiction? 

Magazines for the Researcher

Researching genealogy and historical information at the New City Library does not have to be limited to books or the Internet. Have you looked at the periodicals we offer? Two of my favorites are Prologue, a quarterly publication from the National Archives.  The winter issue devotes pages to President Eisenhower and Cold War strategy along with a discussion on the Archives' preservation project of early 20th- century photographs.  Another favorite is  Archives , New York State’s look at its history. This publication is always filled with something of interest for the reader.  We offer other publications such as the popular circulating Family Chronicles that always offers different genealogy researching methods and current Internet sites. This magazine is the only one in the AV department. For all others, stop in at the Rockland Room and take a look.

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