Riverside Public Library

City Manager

Summer Reading Program

Dos Equis: Our Week 9 and Grand Prize Winners

Hello, my Fellow Readers!

Here we are--our final week of the Adult Summer Reading Program. Mizz Reader is reminded of the Seinfeld episode "The Serenity Now," where Jerry finds himself unexpectedly affected by a bad break-up:

Jerry (wiping at his face): "What is this salty discharge?"

Elaine: "Oh my God--you're crying."

But not to despair! This is what Mizz Reader likes to refer to as our Dos Equis Week! The week where, like chewers of Wrigley's Doublemint Gum (if not to mix metaphors, then certainly to mix commercial memes), we double our pleasure, double our fun! We have TWO randomly-selected prize winners:


Our Week 9 prize winner is tc5995! tc receives a $15.00 gift card from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Main Street and a copy of California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera's latest book Senegal Taxi.

(Mizz Reader loves this line: "Taxi! Taxi! People call. In the Brooklyn. Where? Senegal! I tell them. I come from Senegal! No one knows Darfur...")

Fun Fact: For all you poetry writers out there (br6085, Mizz Reader is looking at you), Juan Felipe Herrera's website has a huge section devoted to offering everyone the opportunity to get involved with poetry.  Check out the participatory projects Answer Cancer with a Poem, The Most Incredible and Biggest Poem on Unity in the World,  and I Promise Joanna/Yo te Prometo Joanna (your poems about being bullied).   As he says on LoWriter of the Week : " I’ll be looking for you. Really want to encourage young teen writers, children and poets of all ages – all styles, all voices, all languages and worlds. California & Global. It is good to meet each other and hear each other."


And: Our Grand Prize winner--randomly selected from all participants who submitted 5 or more book reviews over the course of the 9-week program--is sp3087! sp receives a brand-new Nook HD 7" tablet.


Congratulations, tc and sp!


P.S. Can you believe we had only one troll attempt to register and submit a review this summer? (Mizz Reader would be beyond thrilled if Bruce Campbell--star of Evil Dead and author of If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor--actually DID possess an RPL library card. And we most certainly agreed with the many good things his imposter had to say about the memoir. Nice try!)

Here are a few of the highlights from this week's non-troll Fellow Reader reviews, which seem to have a theme of Voice, Hero Worship, and Salad (not in that order):

al9156's review of the cookbook Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season by Patricia Wells:

"While I like the idea of salad as a meal, I did not find this book to be appetizing or compelling. The author sounds like she has quite a luxurious life, yet her personal notes about how she enjoyed the salads at her various homes paired with various wines seemed a bit pretentious to me."

The title of this book, coupled with al's review (we feel you, al) had Mizz Reader heading straight over to Antonious Pizza on Main St. for lunch this week, where we scarfed a large pepperoni and black olive pie. All by ourselves. Three days in a row.

mm9417"s review of  the non-fiction book Lost Languages by Andrew Robinson:

"As a linguistics student my primary interest is historical linguistics, and this book was a great read for me. Lost Languages gives you a variety of languages across the world that have yet to be deciphered."

Under the Summary provided in our catalog (expanded versions of which you can find for most RPL titles by clicking on the cover image), the publisher describes this book as "an archeological mystery book":

"Maybe it's the tantalizing possibility of giving new voice to long-hushed peoples and civilizations. Perhaps it's the puzzle solver's delight in the mental challenges posed by breaking their codes. Whatever the reasons, the public has long been fascinated with undeciphered ancient scripts and the ongoing efforts to crack them..."

Giving new voice to long-hushed peoples--Mizz Reader is queue-jumping this book to the top of her "must read" list.  Thanks, mm! (Your entire summer reading cache is pretty much awesome, btw.)



mc6966's review of Tenth of December, a collection of short stories by George Saunders:

"This collection of short stories is written so artfully it makes up for the fact that the stories themselves don't all appeal to my taste in fiction.  I am just amazed at the exquisite skill of the author who takes on different personae so completely that there is no hint of the actual writer's voice.  The topics are edgy but the book is well-worth reading."

Mizz Reader herself is a fan--both of George Saunders in particular and writers in general who can create voices so disparate from their "own." We are especially reminded of Eudora Welty's 1963 short story "Where is This Voice Coming From?," which she wrote in response to her rage over the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Miss Eudora wrote from the first-person point of view of the killer--before Byron de la Beckwith was even identified or caught. And she nailed de la Beckwith's "voice" so perfectly that the New Yorker requested she change certain crucial details before they published the story one month after the murder. [Mizz Reader has decided not to include a link to the short story because some readers may find the strong language objectionable. You can find it for free on the interwebz, however.]


Speaking of voice and civil rights, and as we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," Mizz Reader would like to invite you to check out our display at the Main Branch celebrating the new release of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis's graphic novel March: Book One.


This is the first in a planned trilogy with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to share his story with a new generation: "March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis's personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement."

For your reading pleasure, the display includes a reprint (in both English and Spanish) of the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story," which inspired the idea for this new graphic novel.

1958 MLK comic book republished by FOR

(You can also read the full copy online here.)

Side note:

This happened:

(Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., with RPL Director Tonya Kennon)

Along with our Riverside Public Library Director Tonya Kennon, Mizz Reader got to meet John Lewis at the American Library Association's Annual Convention this past June, where he and his co-creators spoke about March Book One. (Mizz Reader is not in this picture because she dead-fainted at the Congressman's feet. He and our Director allowed Mizz Reader to maintain a modicum of dignity by graciously overlooking our fan girl-like faux pas. The photographer, bless her heart, was kind enough not to step on our hair while we lay prostrate.***)

Well, we hope you have enjoyed the community connection of our inaugural online Adult Summer Reading Program as much as Mizz Reader has. Here's to hoping next year we can add our avatars, along with enabling an enhanced profile feature. Feel free to shoot us an email with feedback on what worked or didn't work with the program and what you'd like to see added or changed next year. Until then: Stay thirsty, my Fellow Readers!

P.P.S: ***This is not true. We are making this part up. Tina Fey would call this a "joke-lie."

Mizz Reader

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Our Week 8 Prize Winner is…

Welcome, Fellow Readers, to the penultimate week of our Summer Reading Program!

(Do you know how long Mizz Reader's been waiting to use "penultimate" in a sentence? Since, like, the 8th grade. Finally!)

And our randomly-selected penultimate weekly-prize winner is sr7332!

sr receives a $10.00 Gift Card from Cellar Door Books in Riverside's Canyon Crest Town Center.

If you have not yet had the amaze-ball experience that is Cellar Door Books, Mizz Reader recommends that you step away from your computer right this second and go. We stand in awe of the sheer energy and passion behind this independent bookstore. If you are looking for a Book Discussion Group, a Writing Workshop, a Story Time, an Author Event--check out Cellar Door Books' website. (And fellow book-lovers, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the store's Facebook page and Tumblr, too.)

Congratulations, sr!


P.S. Mizz Reader hearts Goodreads, but there is nothing like finding new books to read that have been selected and reviewed by fellow book-lovers in our local community! Mizz Reader has greatly enjoyed the sense of connection--and hopes you Fellow Readers have, too.

The first review Mizz Reader would like to re-post is rc3790's for the Young Adult novel Hush by Eishes Chayil:

(Small cheat here: this is not the cover for the copy we have in our RPL catalog. Mizz Reader feels, however, in her humble opinion, that this cover for the paperback better suits the source material than the cover for the hardback. Talk amongst yourselves.)

"Even though this book is very good and in spite of the fact that it's on a topic that *needs* to be discussed I don't recommend it. It's absolutely heart wrenching. The author's name is obviously a nom de plume and after reading the book it becomes quite obvious why she wanted to write it anonymously."

So what did Mizz Reader do immediately after reading rc's review NOT recommending the book? She put a hold on it at the Orange Terrace Branch, of course. Why? Because:



Mizz Reader also checked out another of rc3790's picks: the J EZ book Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. (Which rc described as: "Adorable pictures and story. Kinda reminds me of Thursday Next for the tots.")

Who could resist the title alone? This story is hysterical! We demand a sequel for this plucky little red chicken!

Mizz Reader added two more books to her must-read list this week. The first, recommended by si8677, is Drift: the Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow:

"She intelligently and clearly explains the history, present, and likely future of the U.S. militarism and the intelligence industry. From the historic citizen-soldier to the commercial private armies, she relates how attitudes, public and government, changed."

Mizz Reader herself comes from a military background, and she cannot wait to read this. Thank you, si, for putting this on our radar.

The second, recommended by dp5215, is Little Bird of Heaven: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates:

"This novel is about some very dark reality that can come with living less than a stellar life. It's what happens to families when alcohol, adultery, drugs, loneliness and much more. Murder is also involved and it wreaks havoc in many different ways. The thing I liked about this book was not only was it written in three different perspectives of children affected by this horrible crime, it also show the angst of teenagers and how they might desire more or different love from the parents they were born to. Has a surprising end. At least it didn't  end with disappointment like "We Were the Mulvaneys," which is written by the same author and was one of Oprah's Book of the Month several years ago."

Mizz Reader is a long-time fan of Joyce Carol Oates, but she must take long emotional breaks between reading her novels. (She also finds it helps to meditate on puppies and kittens several times a day for at least two weeks afterwards.) But she has a plan: she will, immediately after finishing Little Bird of Heaven, check out and read bm7038's recommended Spanish juvenile book Hilario el Veterinario by Sergio DiGiorgi.

LOVE the sound of the title! And the cover art is pure squee.

Until next week--when Mizz Reader will try to find a way to use "titivate" in a sentence--Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader


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Our Week 7 Prize Winner is…

Hello again, Fellow Readers!

Our randomly-selected Week 7 prize winner is nw6816!

nw receives a $25.00 Gift Card from Target. (Also known as The Red Dot Boutique. Or, as Mizz Reader's auntie likes to pronounce it, Tar-zhay. Auntie Reader feels this gives her favorite shopping destination a French flair.)

Huge shout-out to Mizz G at the Target on Arlington Blvd for supporting our Summer Reading Program--and congratulations, nw!

P.S. This week's review roundup has a theme: New York, Politeness, and Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl.

Because: Mizz Reader would like to inform you that she finally caved and boarded the Gillian Flynn Gone Girl train. (A very trusted Fellow Reader told her she MUST. READ. THIS. BOOK. MUST.) And Mizz Reader is glad she listened, because this novel is NOT what she'd been expecting at all. (Mizz Reader had certain preconceptions based on the knowledge that the author is a former writer for Entertainment Weekly. This will teach Mizz Reader not to be such a snooty-snout.) Rich plot, rich characterizations, AND rich language--a trifecta of kapow. If you like the literature of T.C. Boyle, you will love Gillian Flynn.


Which leads us to me8569's review of Jodi Picoult's novel The Storyteller:

"This book was recommended by a friend and I read it just to be polite, however I was really surprised by it. I expected fluff and feelings, like something on the Lifetime channel, but got a story that was well researched on Nazi Germany and life in a concentration camp.  Jody Picoult is a very good storyteller herself and I will look for her other books as well now."

Mizz Reader herself has, on occasion, braved the possibility of fluff and feelings by reading a title recommended by a friend. (See above.) One does what one can to keep the wheels of a civilized society greased with politeness, yes? It's such an amazing feeling when the effort leads you to the discovery of a talented author. (See above.) Kudos to you, me8569!


And finally, here is dp5215's review of the novel These Things Happen by Richard Kramer:

"This is a story of some very complicated characters that are focused around a teen coming of age. It is a very "modern family." I thought it was an interesting book but the dialogue and the inner thoughts of the individuals are sort of spacy and disconnected sometimes. The book is based in New York and the characters are very involved in their 'NewYorkyness.' "

That last line made Mizz Reader LOL--and it also made her think of this line from Gone Girl:

Detective Boney questioning Nick in Carthage, Missouri about his missing wife Amy: "Okay. Well, then, tell me about her. Is she outgoing? Is she--I don't know how to say this--is she New Yorky? Like what might come off to some as rude? Might rub people the wrong way?"

Another huge shout-out to our Fellow New York Readers--Mizz Reader hearts NewYorkyness!


Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader




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And Our Week 6 Prize Winner is…


Our randomly-selected Week 6 prize winner is ng2061!

ng receives a $15.00 gift certificate for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Main St. and a hardback copy of our fantabulistic hometown author Susan Straight's latest novel Between Heaven and Here.

(Fun Fact: Susan's novel was published by McSweeney's. MCSWEENEY'S. All the cool people--or the people who know cool people--know how cool this is.)

Congratulations, ng!

P.S. The best part of Mizz Reader's day is getting to read all the reviews you wonderful Fellow Readers are posting. Here are a few that especially jumped out:


First is bh4331's review of the non-fiction book Newborn Puppies: Dogs in Their First Three Years by Traer Scott:

"Puppies!!!!! Seriously an adorable book. This is a photo journey of all different kinds of puppies from one day old to twenty-one days old. So cute. The photographs are absolutely amazing."

How could Mizz Reader NOT post the cover of this book? As the lolcat fans on the interwebz say, "Nom-nom-nom..."


Next is nw6816's review of the Juvenile book Doodleday by Ross Collins:

"A book where the imagination runs wild. Oh, if our drawings actually did come to life. I'd draw myself a boyfriend."

This made Mizz Reader laugh out loud. It also got her to thinking about what she would draw for herself. Definitely a publishing contract with McSweeney's for the draft of her novel tentatively titled The Lonely Mustache. (The opening sentence reads, "He was stuck somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow. Let's just call it today...")


Finally, rc3790's review of Jasper Fforde's novel The Woman Who Died A Lot: Now With 50% Added Subplot:

"I was thrilled to be back with the real Thursday Next. Spoiler alert: They finally resolve the Jenny issue. It's heart wrenching but absolutely satisfying.    (It's "speculative"...why isn't that an option?)"

The subtitle of this book alone sold Mizz Reader.

And rc has a great point here about expanding our genre selection range on the review submission page. It would be much more helpful to other participants looking for specific kinds of titles. (Steampunk, anyone?) We will for sure expand the genre options next year!

Feedback like rc's is exactly what Mizz Reader likes to receive! This call will go out again in the final week of our Summer Reading Program, but any ideas/suggestions/comments you Fellow Readers have for improving the program next year, please share them!


Happy Reading, Everyone!

Mizz Reader


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And our Week 5 Prize Winner is…

  Hello again, Fellow Readers!

Can you believe we are now half-way through with Summer Reading? As of this week, we are 249 participants strong with a total of 611 reviews posted! Mizz Reader has been so impressed by the diversity of titles submitted. Most titles have no overlapping submissions (with the notable exception of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn--our most-reviewed title at 7 posts), and many of them weren't even on Mizz Reader's radar until she read the reviews. (Such as: Mizz Reader has some serious catching up to do when it comes to graphic novels and Jo Nesbo. And she cannot wait to read Howl: A Collection of Contemporary Dog Wit, the review of which was submitted by our Week 5 prize winner. Which brings us to...)

Our randomly-selected Week 5 prize winner is jh1668!

jh will receive an overnight stay for two with complimentary breakfast at the Downtown Marriott. Congratulations, jh!


P.S. Here are three reviews Mizz Reader would like to highlight:

First is si8677's review of Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell:

"It's a harrowing joy to see how he copes with monsters within and without."

That juxtaposition of "harrowing" with "joy" is so striking--Mizz Reader plans on stealing this phrase for herself! (It also made her add this book to her "must read" list.)

Next is sc4001's review of the Local History book entitled The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute:

"A good Historical book about the boarding school in Riverside, CA and the changes and reasons it came to be here in Riverside and the untold stories that people don't know about. Informative and sad the way that history shapes our cultural experiences but how it can also rise and turn a negative into something better. From trying to erase a culture to now helping preserve a culture."

Beautifully stated, sc.

And finally, br6085's plug (Mizz Reader swears no money exchanged hands!) for RPL in general and our Orange Terrace Branch in particular in her review of The Everything Sign Language Book:

"Also I am really starting to learn how great the library books are and the many books you can check out. I never realized how much they carried. The library is an amazing place to go. Especially I have learned when you need to save money. If you want to spend under 5 dollars on a new book the library has them [for sale through the Friends of the Library]. You can read anything and relax anywhere. Not to mention Orange Terrace has a park next to it. Read and take a walk someday. No need to go to a gym...Thank you, Riverside!"

Thank YOU, br--and way to tie in your summer reading with the theme of "Let's Move! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds"!

Happy Reading, Everyone,

Mizz Reader


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Our Week 4 Summer Reading Prize Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers!

Before we announce this week's winner, we'd like to give a special shout-out to br6085. Mizz Reader tips her sweatband to br for the sheer range of books read and reviewed--non-fiction, fiction, inspirational, self-help, YA, poetry, health and fitness...thank you, br, for motivating Mizz Reader to pick up her own reading pace and range this summer!

And now: our Week 4 prize winner is al9156!

al receives a Friends of the Library canvas tote bag and a $10.00 FOL gift certificate good towards Pay DVD rentals and FOL items at any of the Library's 8 branches. Congratulations!


P.S. Mizz Reader had three reviews in particular that caught her fancy this week.

The first is sr7332's review of the novel A Week in Winter:

"Each chapter was a sneak into someone's life and what brought them to this quaint hotel in Ireland."

Love love LOVE the use of  the word "sneak" here! (Mizz Reader has often been told she is nosy--although she herself prefers the term "curious." Or "intently engaged." Either way, sr7332's phrasing resonated.)


The second is lo6425's review of the mystery Naked in Death:

"Ah, you have got to love seasoned writers. They know what they're doing. I have been reading a lot of free Kindle books which makes me appreciate a good writer even more."

Mizz Reader hearts her Kindle, and it has changed the way she browses books (a good discussion topic for another day), but....Mizz Reader feels you, lo6425.


The third is jc1447's review of the local history book Riverside's Camp Anza and Arlanza:

"A few months back I'd been researching the history on Riverside, and I'd Wiki'd info on Camp Arlanza. My Wiki search proved fruitless with nothing directly related to Camp Anza. One day at the library, this title caught my eye. I grabbed it up quickly and anticipated reading it. Fascinating facts regarding the military camp set up there during WWII. For myself, it was everything I'd needed to know. I have a wonderful knew insight now on my neighborhood and today when my 6 yr old son and I returned to the library here on Philbin St. I pulled out the book and showed him some the pictures of the old military structures, and barracks, and where some of them still remain today, just yards away from the library!"

This buoyed Mizz Reader's spirit after an awkward exchange she had with someone last week while she was out and about. She will not divulge her location, but the person standing in front of her in line noticed Mizz Reader's nametag identifying her as a Library employee. "That's so cool!" this person said. "I used to go to the library all the time as a kid! And now I'm like, with Google and eBooks and stuff, I'm wondering who, like, actually GOES to the library anymore!"

Thank you, jc1447, for providing an eloquent answer.

If any of you Fellow Readers have a story like jc1447's on the impact a public library has had on your life, Mizz Reader would not only love to hear it (a sneak into your life!), she will share it here on the blog.

Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader

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The Week 3 Adult Summer Reading Prize Goes To…

Hello, My Fellow Readers!

Our randomly-drawn Week 3 prize-winner is ar4624!

ar will receive a $25.00 Gift Certificate for the Downtowne Bookstore on Main St.

Fun Fact: Can you believe the Downtowne Bookstore has been selling used books in Riverside since 1979? 1--9--7--9. The year Michael Jackson released Off the Wall. The year McDonalds gave us the Happy Meal. The year V.C. Andrews published Flowers in the Attic and John Irving's The World According to Garp was a finalist for the National Book Award. The year Mizz Reader was rocking a Stevie Nicks-wannabe perm and had a big ol' crush on Ponch from CHiPs. But I digress...

Congratulations, ar!

P.S. Mizz Reader had two favorite reviews this week:

The first was submitted by nw6816 for the graphic novel Gakuen Alice Volume 1:

"The Bear is almost like a version of Chucky except he definitely has less of a creepy aura about him and more of a ninjaness to him...I know that's not a word but it sounds awesome!"

Indeed it does, nw. Indeed it does.

The second was submitted by jc0344 for the novel A Fine Balance by Rohinton Misty:

"This is about the caste system in India.  It is the most difficult book I have read because the content is so heavy.  It is the only book that has actually made me cry from sheer anger.  It is not a light read.  I don't know if I can ever read it again."

The power of the written word to move people in this way is awe-inspiring. Thank you, jc, for sharing this very personal and honest review.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Mizz Reader



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And our Week 2 Prize Winner is…

¡Hola, mis compañeros lectores!

The winner of our randomly-drawn Week 2 Prize is lj2287!

lj2287 will receive 2 tickets to attend the Riverside County Philharmonic's Christmas Concert. Because this event won't take place until Christmas, and because we are all in Summer Reading mode, we've added a bonus prize: a $20.00 gift certificate for Antonious Pizza in Downtown Riverside! (The problem with delayed gratification is that it isn't instant. If that's not an Oscar Wilde quote, it should be.)

Congratulations, lj!

P.S. Mizz Reader had 2 favorite reviews this week:

The first was submitted by fn8423 for the children's book Gus and Grandpa and Show-and-Tell by Claudia Mills. The description of Gus and his grandpa as a "wonderful intergenerational team" and Grandpa as "Colorado history" touched Mizz Reader, who was very close with her own granny. It's been awhile since Mizz Reader has read a children's book, and she plans to check this one out from the Main Branch as soon as it's returned. Thanks, fn!

The second was submitted by si8677 for the book A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George:

"Murder. Loneliness. Guilt. Death of a sibling. Heartache. Hate. Sex. Beautiful music.The facts point to the musical genius, but Lynley and Havers get into the whole story. The meat of the human condition is pared to the bone, and the pretty veneer is shed to show the soul's true grain. Or just give it a pass. Your call."

Mizz Reader not only admires the spunk (which made her LOL)--she returned to re-read the line "The meat of the human condition..." several times. si, please let us know when YOUR book is published. We will buy it. In hardback. And give copies to our friends.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Mizz Reader


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A Little Tuesday Humor