Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I only retrieved 24 of the logs from this year's program, so what was reported read may not be exactly typical for all who participated. Nevertheless...

Participants were to read 3 books, one set in the past, one in the present, and one in the future--a Time Travel theme. Of the 24 books set in the Past, none were duplicated. Two were by the same author, David McCollough, 1776 and Truman. Several books were updates/treatments of Greek myths and gods, particularly Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus and Sara Douglas' The Troy Game series [didn't say which one]. A couple of the books dealt with the fairly recent past, Dennis L. Breo's The Crime of the Century (about Richard Speck) and Bill Brooks' Bonnie and Clyde: A Love Story . As usual, some people reported on books that didn't quite fit the theme, like Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?: A Tour of Presidential Gravesites [based on a C-Span series], which sort of covers Past and Present. The rest were primarily romances, Westerns, and mysteries.

Of the books reported for the Present, two books were mentioned by two readers each, Malpractice in Maggody by Joan Hess and Marker by Robin Cook. Actually Hess probably qualifies for a third book as someone just wrote Maggody for a title. Only one book was non-fiction, Richard A. Clarke's Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. One author, Christina Dodd, had different books mentioned in both the Past list--My Fair Temptress--and the Present list--Close to You. The rest were primarily mysteries or suspense titles.

From the Future lists, one author had seven different books listed, J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts); all were from her ...in Death series. One of them, the most recent, Memory in Death, was reported on by three readers, the most of any book. Robin Cook's Terminal was on two people's lists. Most of the other items reported were Science Fiction or Fantasy, except for Steven D. Levitt's Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything--not quite fitting in with the theme.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I just returned from a trip to Angers, France, and its vicinity, where I had gone for a wedding. We traveled there straight from Charles de Gaulle Airport on the SNCF TGV train (the super fast one). We were able to print our tickets straight from the Internet and just had to show the conductors the printouts (which were personalized) along with our passports. Angers is a beautiful city!--at least the parts we saw. There are fountains, statues, little streets with many, many brasseries and cafes, shops of all kinds, buildings that range from the 12th century St.Maurice Cathedral and the Chateau d'Angers (a fortified castle with parts going back even further) to the 15th century half-timbered Adam's House to newer Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings to the very modern. The Chateau houses the impressive Apocalypse Tapestry, the longest one in the world.

Not far from there is the Chateau de Brissac (the only "real" chateau we had time to visit), very impressive (but cold that day)--lots of tapestries and paintings (and mounted deer heads). We had an excellent tour guide and were given "cheat sheets" in English so we could follow along. The family still lives there. We even got to taste some of the wine produced from the chateau's own vineyards.

We actually stayed at a very small hotel in the town of Chemille, the Capital of Medicinal Plants, about 34 km from Angers. It's a very charming town, though the famous Medicinal Plant Gardens had not really begun to bloom yet.

Besides the usual guidebooks and travel videos (look in the 914.4's), the Elk Grove Library has a couple of other books concerning this region:

Chateaux of the Loire (1982) by Christopher Hibbert (944.5 HIB)
Chateaux of the Loire (1969) With a pref. by the Duc de Brissac (728.82 DUN)

Monday, March 13, 2006


The grueling annual Iditarod race is almost over for this year. But interested readers can still get pictures and other information at many Internet sites:

Anchorage Daily News Coverage--includes daily archives, photos and bios of the mushers, videos, and photos
Ultimate Iditarod--includes special section for teachers and kids as well as a "for Dummies" section; current updates, too
Cabela's Iditarod Race coverage--updates, stories, bios, photos
Iditarod on Wikipedia--also lots of links, including info on the various locales the trail touches
Dogsled.com--the musher viewpoint; some audio interviews and on-trail photos
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race--Working Dog Web's site, with lots of excellent links, with a special emphasis on the dogs
Iditarod Air Force--the site for the volunteer air support provided during the race; photos and info

Some books to read about the Iditarod, and dogsledding in general, available at the Elk Grove Public Library include:

Iditarod Spirit (1991) by Kim Heacox (798.8 HEA)--photographs
My Lead Dog Was a Lesbian: An Iditarod Rookie's Tale (1996) Brian Patrick O'Donoghue (798.8 ODO)--account of participation in the 1991 race
Yukon Alone: The World's Toughest Adventure Race (2001) by John Balzar (798.83 BAL)--account of the 1998 race by a press liason who went along with the mushers
Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery (1999) by Sue Henry (MYS HEN)
Murder on the Iditarod Trail: An Alaska Mystery (1993) by Sue Henry (YA PB HEN)
(actually, all the Alex Jensen/Jessie Arnold mysteries by Sue Henry at least feature her lead dog, Tank, if not all her dogs and sledding in general)
Murder in a Cold Climate (1990) by Scott Young (MYS YOUNG)

Also the film:
Disney's Snow Dogs (J DVD SNOW) and (J VHS SNOW)