Riverside Public Library

City Manager

Adult Summer Reading Program

And Our 2015 Grand Prize Winner is…

Well, Fellow Readers, imagine if you will Dale Evans and Roy Rogers singing “Happy Trails to You” (or click on this link if you are so inclined) as we come to the end of the 2015 Summer Reading Program. We had 215 participants this year with a total of 1399 reviews submitted. We were so impressed with the quality of reviews and there are several of you who should be writing your own blogs—you know who you are. :-)

Our final Special Guest Stars are Woody and Bo Peep from the upcoming Toy Story 4—where, apparently, Woody and Peep are going to be in a ‘ship. Our soon-to-be lovebirds took time out from making googly-eyes at each other to select our Grand Prize winner, and their smitten little hearts randomly landed on lv2read’s review of Saucer: The Conquest by Stephen Coonts:

I read this book because I enjoyed the one previous to this sequel so much. It was also a page turner continuing with the same cast with more action. It was great to see more into the characters and just think about the possibilities. Once again Stephen Coonts delivers with a very enjoyable story.

Congrats, lv2read! You are now the possessor of a Kindle Fire 7″ tablet, generously made available by the Friends of the Library.

MUCHAS GRACIAS to all of you for making Riverside Public Library part of your summer reading this year. Until next year, Happy Reading!

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Our Week 9 Winner is…

Welcome, Fellow Readers, to the final week of the this Ground-and-Pound Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fight we call Summer Reading. Our Special Guest Star is Marsupial Sue from the John Lithgow juvenile CD book. (Thank you, techia1, for introducing us!) Marsupial Sue graciously took time out from staging a performance of “The Runaway Pancake” to select a winner, and her generous little kangaroo heart landed on aqffather1‘s review of America in the ’40s: A Sentimental Journey by Reader’s Digest Books:

America in the 40s captures the major events of the decade.  The slow but certain recovery from the economic devastation of the 1930s brought with it great great optimism.  As the decade began the NY World’s Fair thrilled millions of visitors with a glimpse of a bright and exciting future.  Industry was developing at a feverish pace.  Small town America was thriving.

Congrats, aqffather1! You are now the possessor of a $25 gift certificate to Antonious Pizza Cafe on Main Street in Downtown Riverside.

Our Grand Prize drawing will be held tomorrow, 16 August, and the winner will be posted on the blog. ¡Buena suerte, mis amigos lectores!

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Our Week 8 Winner is…

Welcome, Fellow Readers, to Week 8 of this pie-eating contest we call Summer Reading. Our Special Guest Star this week is Cortana, the intelligent personal assistant who is spying on you will make your Windows 10 experience more enjoyable. Cortana graciously agreed to take time out from spying on you her busy schedule to randomly select this week’s winner, and her eager-to-be-of-assistance little heart landed on sassy1‘s review of the eBook The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson:

This novel was a little bit of a mystery.The main character is Kitty/Katharyn and she is having these dreams about her life. She doesn’t know which life is her real life, and the reader doesn’t either. I enjoyed the storylines and didn’t know until the end what her reality was.Good book.

Congrats, sassy! You are now the possessor of the $20 gift certificate to the Back to the Grind coffee house.

Until next week–when we will have both a Week 9 Winner on Saturday and a Grand Prize Winner on Sunday–Happy Reading!

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Our Week 7 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers, and welcome to Week 7 of this No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker game we call summer reading. Our Special Guest Stars come to us this week via spiotrowski5‘s review of The Evil Elves by Bruce Coville. Moongobble, Edward, Urk, the Rusty Knight, Fireball the Dragon, and Arfur took a break from their hunt for the magical stone known as the Queen’s Belly Button to randomly select our winner, and collectively they alighted on doryann2‘s review of Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark:

This is not her best work.  I get some of the stories were started almost 40 years ago, but some of the stories were so short that they seem to only have a beginning.  Where’s my plot? Where’s my ending? Why aren’t some of the mysteries solved? I should have given it a lower rating but I love her work and I didn’t want to discourage you from at least attempting it.

Congrats, doryann2! You are now the possessor of a $25 gift card from Target.

Until next week, Happy Reading!

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Our Week 6 Winner is…

Welcome, Fellow Readers, to Week 6 of this biblio-hootenanny we call summer reading. We invited Library Defense Force babe Iku Kasahara, star of the manga series Library Wars: Love & War by Kiiro Yumi, to be our Special Guest Star this week. And do you know what that little minx did? She randomly selected techia1 for her review of Volume 2 of the Library Wars series. (We have to admit: this week feels like an Escher painting:)

Maybe my review of volume 1 didn’t make this series seem appealing enough. Maybe I should have given a little more detail on the plot. I already mentioned it’s set in Japan, but it’s a Japan of the future (’cause that’s never been done before!). In this case there’s a conflict between the national government and its decision to regulate the media (through censorship and confiscation of offensive materials) and the local governments and their support of libraries (this isn’t too far away from our current reality, the library employees of today are our champions in the cause of freedom of information. My heroes! (。♥‿♥。) ). Consequently both sides in the conflict have the law on their sides and now homicides that take place in libraries are decriminalized. Libraries are combat zones and librarians are soldiers. (I told you it’s sexy!) This is a shojo manga so we can expect a legitimate romance to develop at some point. I’m still waiting.

(Underlined portions are the sentences we had to read multiple times in order to wrap our mind around the concept. We have a feeling we will be buying this series for our own personal library.)

Congratulations, techia1! You are now the possessor of a $15.00 gift card to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!

Until next week, Happy Reading!

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Our Week 5 Winner is…

Step right up, Fellow Readers, to this amusement park sideshow we call summer reading. This week’s Special Guest Star comes to us via sunset17‘s reviews of the manga detective series Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama—where teen detective Jimmy Kudo has a little run-in with the “Men in Black” and finds himself shrunken into the body of a 6 year-old. (All we can say is this series reads like Encyclopedia Brown as envisioned by Willy Wonka. We are hooked.) We’d like to share a page from Volume 1 just to give our Fellow Readers a taste (the panels read from right to left):

We invited boy detective extraordinaire Jimmy Kudo–cum–6 year-old Conan Edogawa to randomly pick our Week 5 winner, hoping he might let us try out his sweet bowtie voice modulator. He refused the latter request but accepted the former, and did a little sleuthing, and deduced that our winner is…..YOU, summer2015, for your review of The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson:

A brilliant writer!! I read such wonderful reviews before reading, and I agree with other readers. This is not just any fantasy story. The depth of each subject, such as love, politics, and leadership, is amazing.

It’s well over 500 pages with encyclopedia size fonts… It looked a little depressing in the beginning ^^; but, some time later, I didn’t even notice that I was on the last page.I would recommend this book to any one who wants to dig the REAL fantasy!

Congrats, summer2015! You are now the possessor of a $20 gift card from Farmer Boys.

Well, Fellow Readers—maybe it was summer2015‘s sentiment that the number of pages and small fonts of The Well of Ascension was off-putting. Or maybe it was the heat this week. Or maybe it’s just that there’s a reason for the phrase “lazy days of summer.” Whatever it is, we’ve been feeling it when we’ve tried to make our own reading choices this week. Here are a few books we hope to eventually check out…in the fall:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simple Home Improvements by David Tenenbaum (reviewed by hummingbird1):

 This book was a little more involved than I wanted, but it was informative. It covered your basic improvements in the kitchen and bathroom.

We’ve had an epiphany for why we get so irritated with the “Complete Idiot’s” guides and the “For Dummies” guides.  We are not looking for simplified explanations on how to improve our home. No, we want a tiny little craftsperson to actually step out of the pages of the book and just DO the home improvements for us. (Libraries lending THINGS is a thing now. We’d love to borrow a handyman for two weeks. We promise to return him on time and undamaged.)

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone (reviewed by michelle131):

I have been flirting with the idea of going vegan so I have been reading up on all types of vegan cookbooks/books. This particular book is a bit too stringent and far out there for me. Very few recipes looked enticing and many ingredients unfamiliar. The idea of a macrobiotic diet was also introduced but I did not feel that there was enough info for me to know exactly what it is and why I should try it.

Just reading the title of this book exhausts us. Excuse us while we go order a pizza delivery.

Finally, two books we plan on reading back-to-back thanks to reviews submitted by shirleygirl1 and reader 2015:

Memory Man by David Baldacci (reviewed by shirleygirl1 this week, highlighted below, and kathy33 awhile back:)

David Baldacci is always good. This story is about a man who gets injured in football and now has the “gift” of memory. He remembers everything forever. One night he comes home and his wife, her brother and his daughter are all slaughtered. After hitting rock bottom of homelessness he is trying to come back into society when they have someone in custody that confesses to the crime. He knows this person is lying because he doesn’t ever remember meeting him, but yet the guy knows certain things that only the killer would know.

This book is very intriguing and suspenseful. Must read.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova (reviewed by reader2015):

When Dr. Alice Howland first starts forgetting things like words when giving a speech, she thinks it might be because of menopause. But when she gets lost jogging near her house, on a route she has taken many times, she knows something is seriously wrong and seeks medical help. Not quite fifty, she is totally unprepared for the diagnosis – early onset Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses, Alice and her husband John learn everything they can about the disease and treatments, but Alzheimer’s quickly takes its toll.
STILL ALICE is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel about the devastating effects of Early Onset Alzheimer Disease (EOAD). Genova’s choice of a young, 50 year old intelligent woman ( a reknown linguistics professor at Harvard) – shows that Alzheimer’s can strike anyone. The book is written from Alice’s viewpoint, but shows what EOAD does to her family (husband John, and their children – Anna, Tom, and Lydia) as they struggle with the changes in Alice. Genova’s description of the dementia progression over a relatively short period is frightening. In fact, Genova does such a good job that I forgot Alice was a fictional character. Well written, skillfully capturing Alice’s bewilderment, the book easily rates five stars. The reaction of Alice’s family as they deal not only with her having Alzheimer’s but the fact that her children may inherit the disease is very realistic. Quick read, emotional content, highest recommendation possible.

A man who remembers everything forever and woman who is losing all memory. We wonder which condition would be the worse to suffer from? (Talk amongst yourselves.)

Until next week–Happy Reading!

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Our 2015 Week 4 Winner is…

Do-si-do, Fellow Readers, and welcome to Week 4 of this square dance we call summer reading. This week’s invitation to be our Special Guest Star was extended to Barbie, as in the doll—seeing as how books about her and her lifestyle have been quite popular this summer. Barbie blushed at the offer. (That’s a lie. She is, as the young people like to say, a big ol’ attention-ho.) She only agreed to participate, however, if we promised to (1) plug a few books about her on the blog this week and (2) change her title from “Special Guest Star” to “Reigning Queen of the Summer Reading Pageant.” So our Reigning Queen randomly crowned braerog90 as the first runner-up for her review of Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley:


 A great book that teaches kids all about force and how things move.

Here’s a line from this very funny book that brought back a fond memory for us: “If the [toy] car doesn’t hit a wall or your big brother, or the couch or the cat or anything else you can see, it still stops. What is pushing on the car to make it stop? A force called friction!” (Once upon a time, when we were in junior high, we threw a can of StarKist tuna at our older brother. Unfortunately for him, it was not friction that stopped the tuna. It was the back of his stupid head.)

Congratulations, braerog90! You are now the owner of a $25.00 gift card from Cellar Door Books.

Okay, Barbie—here’s the fulfillment of your condition #2. Allow us to present mayagb1‘s review of Love Is in the Air by Apple Jordan:

I read this book to my daughter. Don’t be fooled by the cover. The cover shows Barbie the doll, but the pictures inside the book are hand drawn. I like this because there is so much debate over Barbie being a positive or negative play item for girls. I liked the message of the story. The title makes the book seem like it is about romantic love, but it is actually just about happiness being shared in various ways: families, friends, pets, relatives.

Oh, yes—the Great Barbie Debate. Whether one is pro- or anti-, we think our Fellow Readers will love the book Kinky by Densise Duhamel—a collection of poems all about Barbie.

Titles include :

“Differently-Abled Barbies”

“Beatnik Barbie”

“Barbie as Mafiosa”

“Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program”

“One Afternoon When Barbie Wanted to Join the Military”

“Why Barbie and Ken Don’t Dress in Underwear”

We will follow the rules of our own FAQs and donate a copy of this book to the library so our Fellow Readers can check it out and enjoy. (Warning: don’t read these poems in public unless you are willing to have strangers stare at you because you’re laughing so hard liquids are squirting out your nose.)

Speaking of sometimes needing a little privacy to experience a good read—we’d like to highlight cristi1‘s review of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green:

Very often, when I read a super hyped book, I find myself significantly disappointed. Because I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about the book, it becomes this huge literary giant in my head, and most of the time, the book cannot live up to this. And so, I finish up the book feeling like it let me down in some way, though I know it’s not the book’s fault. It’s all the hype. For this reason, I tend to avoid overly hyped books. However, I only took 9 books with me on my trip, and yesterday I realized I had read all but 2 of them. So, I pulled out The Fault in our Stars and hoped for the best.

And I’m very pleased to say that this overly hyped book did not disappoint in the least. I found myself fully engaged throughout the entire story, and connected to the characters. While I’ll agree that Green’s teens are often too mature, clever and witty, I still really like reading them. And, with this being the 3rd Green book that I’ve read, and I’ve liked or loved each one, I’m very much looking forward to obtaining and reading the rest.

Folks told me to make sure to have tissues, and they were right. Though, I got to the emotional bits while sitting in a minivan with my entire family. This meant that I had to do my very best to keep my emotions in check so my family didn’t notice I was losing it over fictitious characters. I’m proud to say that, with angling my body just right and keeping quiet, I was able to keep my tears to myself.

I’m so glad I finally read this and I’m looking forward to watching the movie as soon as I can.

We are totally picturing cristi1 all pretzeled-up in the corner of that minivan with a wad of Kleenex hidden in her sleeve. :-)

We’d also like to give a shoutout to techia1 for making us laugh out loud with her review of Rustic Chic Wedding: 55 Projects for Crafting Your Own Wedding Style by Morgann Hill:

Ok, I just want everyone to know I’m not actually planning a wedding. (Although one of my best friends is recently engaged, for some reason he has not requested my assistance in planning his upcoming nuptials.) I just really like looking at the elegant crafts. That’s all.

If we ever decide to dive back into the marriage pond, techia1, we are absolutely asking for your planning assistance.

Finally, props to danascully1 for reviewing Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn:

When I read Flynn’s other novel “Gone Girl” I believed that no other book could be darker or weirder (in a good way). I was wrong. “Sharp Objects” is dark and is filled with twists that make you incredibly confused but in the best way possible. It’s a great book but if you have a problem with psychological issues in novels, don’t read it.

We posted last year about our raging conversion to the Gillian Flynn fan club. We are currently re-reading her novel Dark Places–which we loved even more than we loved Gone Girl. BUT—we are just going to throw this out there:

Are these not THE MOST bland titles for the most amazing and engaging books? (Talk amongst yourselves.)

Until next week—Happy Reading!


Our 2015 Week 3 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers, and welcome to your Week 3 helping of this all-you-can-eat buffet we call the Summer Reading Program. We extended an invitation to Mort—Death’s apprentice from the Terry Pratchett Discworld series—to be this week’s Special Guest Star. (Props to wundrfundr76  for introducing us through her reviews of Mort and Reaper Man.) Mort graciously accepted, and his randomly chosen winner is harry123 and her review of the Robert B. Parker mystery Death in Paradise:

This book is part of a series featuring Jesse Stone.  It’s a well written plot, but sad.

(We will have to admit that while we have not read this novel, we have watched the movie version more times than we can count. Why? Two words: Tom Selleck.)

Congrats to harry123, who is the recipient of a $30.00 gift certificate from the inimitable Downtowne Bookstore.

P.S. We had already highlighted another submission by harry123 we wanted to mention this week: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah:

We totally misread this title as “The Mammogram Murders”—and oh, man, did we want to read that novel! (Mammograms leave us feeling all stabbby, too.)

And so we’d like to thank nasubichan23 for helping to rid us of those stabby feelings by making us laugh with the review of Barbie, Life in the Dreamhouse: Licensed to Drive:

Oh my gosh! This book was hilarious…especially for those of us that have had to put the various assembly-required Barbie accessories together. I read it so that I could quiz my 7-year old niece on the book and ended up thoroughly enjoying the nonsensical idiosyncracies that characterize life with Barbie and her friends in her dream house.

But seriously, how can such an accomplished young woman with so very many careers under her belt not know how to drive? And yet, an incident in the book testifies to her capabilities and savvy…I’d like to label this as “not just for kids”…especially for those of us with a quirky sense of humor.

“Not just for kids” is now a genre option. Thanks, nasubichan23!

Happy Independence Day, Fellow Readers!








2015 Week 2 Winner


The randomly-selected Week 2 Winner of the Adult Summer Reading Program is reader2015‘s review of The Home Place by Carrie Le Seur:


In The Home Place by Carrie L eSeur,  the author admires and aptly describes the sweeping vastness and beauty of the mountains and the majesty of the land surrounding Billings, Montana. The  HOME PLACE however,  is first a story of a broken family and the death of one of its members. Vicky, the youngest in a family torn apart by an accident years before, has been found dead, a victim of the winter elements. It’s January and her older sister, Alma, a high powered corporate lawyer from Seattle, has less than a week to get everything squared away, including figuring out where to settle Vicky’s daughter, Brittany, before she has to be back  for her work. The problem is the land and the hardy, down to earth Montana people  immerse Alma in memories.  Alma struggles to figure out what it is she really wants.  It’s the background and the secondary characters and the feelings those evoke in the reader that makes this debut novel so readable.

This week’s prize is a $10 gift certificate from the Friends of the Library good towards FOL sale books or Pay DVDs at any of the 8 RPL branches and also a canvas FOL tote bag. Congrats, reader2015!

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And Our 2015 Week 1 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers! Welcome to Week 1 of this backyard barbeque festival we call Summer Reading. If you were with us last year, you may remember that we employed an impish pixie named Gogol to randomly select our prize winner each week. You may also remember that Gogol likes to get his party on and isn’t the most reliable used car on the lot. So Gogol, bless his devilish little heart, has been made redundant, and we have invited Nico, the 400 year-old dwarf to whom we were introduced through reading jmcbeauty37‘s review of City of Dark Magic, to be our Special Guest Star this week, and Nico randomly selected kayo19‘s review of the board book Opposites by Sandra Boynton:

Product Details

Sandra Boynton’s books are always fun, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s fun and colorful for my one year old, and humorous for me, as well. I like that the book isn’t just about teaching him to parrot words back to me, but also about understanding concepts (such as tall and short).

It amazes us that this book is celebrating its 30th Anniversary!

Congratulations, kayo19! You are now the owner of a $40.00 gift card to the Regal Cinemas Riverside Plaza Movie Theater.

Since we will need to find a few more Special Guest Stars to replace Gogol this summer, we’d like to offer muchas thanks to readingmom1 for providing us an excellent source list by putting Neil Gaiman’s M is for Magic on our radar:

Gaiman is an excellent storyteller, and ˆM Is for Magicˆ certainly upholds that reputation. Where else but in Gaiman’s work can you find not only trolls, witches, and ghosts, but aliens, modern London, and even the Holy Grail (hidden under a discarded coat in a second-hand shop)? Though this book is meant for a YA/teen audience, Gaiman doesn’t shy away from darkness or difficult themes, and many of these stories grapple with growing up, or growing older, as well as with their overt plots in the fantasy realm.  Gaiman posits in his introduction (worth a read, even if you typically skip those), that an excellent short story can be devoured in a single sitting but remain with you, become part of you, long after. And in that, his collection delivers. The stories are exceptionally well paced and engaging, making each story easily read in one sitting. Yet, these are not neatly resolved tales tidily wrapped in a glittering bow; they are stories that ask something of the reader, but also give much in return.

We love love LOVE the All Hallow’s Read tradition that Neil Gaiman started, and we are sure that if we ever met Mr. Gaiman in person, we would  be all weeping and fainting and stuff like those girls in the audience for The Beatles when they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show.

As you know, Fellow Readers, this year’s reading theme is Read to the Rhythm, and as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program, Riverside Public Library will be offering a free 3-part lecture and book discussion in July with professor and author Jonathan Friedmann centered on his book Music in Our Lives: Why We Listen, How It Works. So we also offer muchas thanks to ABCDecay123 for submitting this review:

Future editions of Music in Our Lives should be given a different title. My suggestion: Our Lives in Music, reversing the order of immersion, perhaps with the subtitle Il N’y a Pas de Hors-Texte, where Texte [text] is crossed out and replaced with Chanson [song]. (Anyone familiar with Derrida will recognize in the alternative subtitle a play on one of his slogans, often mistranslated as “There is nothing outside the text.”) The content of the book should then be revised to accommodate this reversal, resulting in a series of meditations on music conceived not as an object of investigation but as something prior to objectivity itself, thereby accounting for such discontinuous developments in the history of music as John Cage’s avant garde composition 4’33″, consisting of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of “silence” or “background” noise while the ensemble refrains from playing its instruments. As it stands, the book mentions Cage only once, and in the most superficial way possible. Then again, the author professes up front to look at music “through a humanistic lens”–that is to say, to the tune of humanism, which happens to be fairly restrictive in terms of creative improvisation.

We are an English major. This unexpected reinsertion of Derrida into our consciousness made our eyesballs feel all hairy. But you are our new BFF, ABCDecay123.

(We’ll be posting more info about Mr. Friedmann’s program in the next few weeks. If you have any questions before then, just shoot us an email.)

Finally, we’d like to end Week 1 on a note of elephant-butt humor, thanks to techia1 and her review of the book Elephants Can Paint, Too!:

This is another favorite that we borrow a few times a year. The little one really gets a kick outta the pictures of elephants painting flowers (yes, elephants can paint representational art!) and eating cookies and being somewhat naughty (stealing each other’s artwork and bringing it into the water or painting another elephant’s bottom instead of the canvas for example). 

Until next week–Happy Reading, Fellow Readers!

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