Riverside Public Library

City Manager

Summer Reading Program

And Our Week 5 Winner is…

Bienvenido, Fellow Readers, to Week 5 of the happy place that is known as Summer Reading. The time when we can look at that dusty copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses sitting at eye-level on our bookshelf, staring at us, trying to guilt us into cracking its spine and finally making it past page 22–the farthest we have ever gotten before hurling it to the ground and stomping on it; a pox on you, Modern Library, for ranking it number one on your list of 100 best novels!…yes, that time when we can look at Ulysses sitting on our bookshelf and shamelessly reach right past it to grab our copy of Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews and re-read it for the 11th time–and not feel like a philistine.

Well, Gogol has been on his best behavior this week, and we are pleased to announce that he has pinned the tail on the donkey, and the randomly-selected donkey this week is braerog90‘s review of the novel The House at Riverton by Kate Morton:

I read something about this book online and thought right away I will read this book. It was great and more than great. Grace Bradley worked as a servant when she was just a young girl. At a society party at her house Grace was a witness to a poet who shot himself. When Grace is older a director is making a film about what happened that summer. This book is full of so much history and I love books like that. I am constantly looking for more. And a book with several pages Mizzreader give me ideas I like huge books filled with historic adventure :)

We, too, are a sucker for big historical novels, and two titles that immediately come to mind are The Blind Assassin and Alias Grace, both by Margaret Atwood. (We are such a fan of Ms. Atwood that when we rescued a kitten who’d been left in the garbage can outside the Main Branch library, we skipped the suggestion that we name her Libby—in honor of the library—and named her Woody as a tribute instead.*) Congrats, braerog90, for scoring a $10 gift card to Farmer Boys! (Huge shoutout to Jill, who took pity on us when we were trolling for donations because she thought our Southern accent was adorable.) Muchas gracias to Team Farmer Boys for your support of Summer Reading!

Fellow Readers, if you have any historical novel recommendations for braerog90 or us–or if you have a persuasive argument for why we should finally just read Ulysses already, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Here are a few reviews that jumped out at us this week:

Strength Training for Beginners by Joan Bassey and Susie Dinan

Reviewed by butterfly2:


Strength Training for Beginners is written for women to strengthen bone and muscle. The pictures assist in making sure you do the technique correctly. The exercises are simple enough to do. I wish the book came with time and motivation as well–things I lack.

We could not agree more. While we do understand the importance of physical fitness, this picture sums up Mizz Reader’s attitude:

How to Make a Friend by Rozanne Williams

Reviewed by 2beornot2be:

Too simple, way too overdone. If you’re going to go with a phrase for kids to truly understand about friendship it should be, “Make new friends and keep the other. One is silver and the other is gold.” Now that’s a phrase to take into adulthood. Treasure your friends. That’s all I have to say.

Again—we could not agree more.

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Reviewed by met427:

I am soooo hooked on Ted Dekker! He is a Christian author that writes thrillers! The Bride Collector is a thriller about a police detective trying to  catch a serial killer.  He enlists the help of some patients in the Center for Wellness and Intelligence — which is a fancy name for a place for highly intelligent people that are psychotic — anywhere from schizophrenia to illusions of grandeur.  How does he come up with this stuff!?!? I didn’t want to put the book down!  It’s a must read! I’ve read some reviews of people who want a mystery/thriller without a lot of romantic stuff — then Ted Dekker is the author for you! So far, all the books I’ve read from him have chemistry between characters without all the “extra” romancy stuff.

We <3 you, met 427. We are not against romancy stuff in general. We just don’t want to find it in our mystery/thriller/detective novels.

Until next week—Happy Reading!

*For your viewing pleasure,  pictures of little Woody:


And (finally!) Our Week 4 Winner is…

Gogol has been chastised, Fellow Readers, and he sheepishly apologizes for holding up our Summer Reading because of his love for techno music and the urge to get his party on. (He says it won’t happen again, but we noticed he could not look us in the eye when he said it.) Anyway, he has spun one of his empty, broken bottles, and the lucky recipient of this week’s prize is cristi1 for her randomly-selected review of the audiobook Turn Coat by Jim Butcher:

True to form, this next book of the Dresden series was awesome. I love this world Jim Butcher has created.

Mizz Reader has not acquainted herself with Jim Butcher yet, but our boss, Jefecita, is a huge fan. When we asked Jefecita what she enjoys most about Butcher’s novels, she said his sense of humor and called him something that rhymes with smart-bass. We love us a good smart-bass, so we plan to start the Dresden series TONIGHT.

cristi1 is now the owner of a $10 gift certificate from the Friends of the Library and an FOL canvas tote bag. Big ol’ thanks to the Friends for their generous support of Summer Reading!

We may have finally found a Summer Reading goal for ourselves: just go down the list of everything ejhall14 submits and be a copy-cat. We’ve already checked out Be Safe, I Love You by Cara Hoffman (mentioned last week). This week, we have been sucked in by two more of ejhall14′s military-themed picks—fiction this time: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of J.K. Rowling—we did not know this) and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. We are especially excited, however, based on ejhall14′s review, to get our hands on Frog Music by Emma Donoghue:

Frog-catcher Jenny Bonnet, an unorthodox young woman often jailed for wearing men’s clothing, is shot to death one evening, the bullet narrowly missing her friend Blanche Beunon, a former circus horseback rider turned burlesque dancer. In Frog Music, Emma Donoghue takes this actual unsolved murder from the intense heat wave and smallpox epidemic of 1876 San Francisco and creates a powerful story. Frog Music is  exciting, suspenseful, appalling, unsavory, heart wrenching and scandalous. Its characters are gritty and flawed. A good summer mystery to read.

“Appalling” and “unsavory” are like honey to Mizz Reader. Thanks for putting this book on our radar!

We also loved loved LOVED the review submitted by theta5494 for The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

Another book on the Amazon 100 list.  I read this book as a teenager and now again many years later.  Definitely a different perspective. I then found this on the web: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/04/the-strange-triumph-of-the-little-prince.html, which is a discussion of the book — he says it is a war story — written during WWII. I prefer to read it at a not so deep level. 85 children pages long.  Easy to read — even has pictures.

Not only did the review make us go back and re-read this book, but the link to the New Yorker article turned this from a book review into a book discussion! We wish our appreciation came with a cash stipend, theta5494. Unfortunately, all we can offer is this shoutout.

As you probably know by now, Mizz Reader loves a good laugh. Special shoutouts to a few reviewers who made us snort like a donkey this week:

Boxing Mastery: Advanced Technique,Tactics and Strategies from the Sweet Science


Becoming a boxer is not my idea of fun. It is way intense. This book really broke it down well. I think I will stick to yoga.

You and us both, braerog90. You and us both.

(And P.S. Mizz Reader would love to get you a Beagle. Really.)

Snow Drop. Volume One


I think I have fallen in love with a new anime series. This is kind of like a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet only this version is much better than the 90′s movie. I mean, really. You’re gonna drive a sports car and say the words “doth” and “thou” in the same sentence? Anyway…on to the review. I love the characters. And I just think it’s absolutely hilarious that Ha-da is falling for a girl that’s really a boy and he’s the only one that doesn’t know it. Classic!



Pooh Gets Stuck


Since it’s a Winnie the Pooh book, I can finally check off the “poo humor” category, can’t I?

Well played, compadre. Well-played.

Until next week, we’ll leave you with this little tidbit of squee. Happy Reading!


A Slight Glitch…

Well, Fellow Readers, it seems that Gogol decided to host a rave in Mizz Reader’s computer last night, and we are still trying to sweep up the debris. (We are not so much mad at Gogol’s irresponsibility as we are hurt that he did not invite us.) The selection and announcement of our Week 4 randomly-selected prize winner may be delayed until Monday. We’ll keep you posted. If anyone knows any good jokes while we’re waiting, feel free to post them in the comments.


And Our Week 3 Winner is…

Semana tres of Summer Reading, Fellow Readers, and time for a new randomly-selected book nerd! (Can we agree that being called a book nerd is a good thing? If not, let us know, and we will go back and edit this sentence to read “randomly-selected bibliophilistic lucky duck.”)

The object of Gogol’s whim this week is kjj5766 for the review of Joel Osteen’s book I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life:

This is a wonderful, positive, and uplifting book.  Joel Osteen’s words of wisdom should always be applied in our daily living.

Mizz Reader should probably check this book out; we need to introduce a little positivity into our mental attitude to counterbalance our daily visits to Despair, Inc, a company that produces Demotivational products that—their words—”offer the cure for hope”:

At Despair, we know [motivational slogans] only raise hopes to dash them. That’s why our products go straight to the dashing! Enjoy!

Mizz Reader has this one on a coffee mug:

Never be afraid to share your dreams with the world, because there's nothing the world loves more than the taste of really sweet dreams.

We are sorry we find this so amusing.

Kind of sorry.

Okay, not really sorry at all.

Yes, Mizz Reader definitely needs to check out an uplifting book. Thank you, kjj5766, for putting I Declare on Mizz Reader’s radar.

kjj5766 wins the $30.00 gift certificate to the Downtowne Bookstore on Main St. (The Downtowne Bookstore is Mizz Reader’s hobbit-hole, and we were sorely tempted to hork this gift certificate for ourself.) Huge thanks to owners Vera and Nadia Lee for their generous support of Summer Reading!

In addition to checking out an uplifting book, Mizz Reader seriously needs to get a book on setting goals; we stand in admiration of techia1, whose summer reading goal is to check out every book in the library by children’s author and illustrator Steve Jenkins (we put a hold on his book Actual Size based on your review, techia1) , and braerog90, whose goal is to read the entire C.S. Lewis Narnia series and the Winnie the Pooh classics. (We did once set a goal of reading all of the library’s true crime selections, starting with Ann Rule…which ended up being kind of depressing and, frankly, started to make us a little paranoid—why exactly does Mister Reader need to keep a chainsaw in the garage? We don’t use THAT much firewood. So we bailed after book 5.) Our goal is to have a goal for next year, and we’ll be mining ideas from you guys.

[Side note: Despair, Inc. has a Demotivator for goals. They have a Demotivator for every occasion. Like a Hallmark of the morose.]

Two book reviews that particularly stood out to us this week–because we are in the Demotivator frame of mind–were by slhess1 and kew601, both of whom were willing to go there: call out an author for disappointing fare.

Here’s slhess1′s review of Howard Fast’s novel Greenwich:

This is the first Howard Fast I have read and hated it.  Can’t figure out why he is so popular.  Written so shallowly and kept repeating the same thing which didn’t make it any more believable.  Sorry Howard, this will be my last.


And here’s kew601‘s review of Ben Bova’s New Earth:

Of course, sci fi is NOT about the future. It is a chance to mull over the problems of today. New Earth works only if it is considered a musing on the stupidity & venality of man.The protagonist, the world’s greatest diplomat, throws everything away in about 3 days in order to get into the beautiful aliens’ pants. His brother, the bright-not brilliant scientists has the cognitive & emotional abilities of a bratty 11 year old. Half the characters are mentioned but have no lines, never mind personalities. The technology is right out of 1928 in order to support the plot of this 2013 copyrighted book. Ben, you can do better than this!

Mr. Fast and Mr. Bova, this Demotivator is for you:

When your best just isn't good enough.

Finally, we’d like to end on a positive note and give a shoutout to 2beornot2be‘s review of the children’s book Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond:

This story as so adorable. You have Charlie and Suzy. Two dogs living on a farm and both have very different personalities. While it really is Suzie that is responsible for doing a lot of the help around the house Charlie thinks he’s the one doing it when he really just keeps falling asleep. But you can’t help but love him. And his laziness came in handy because when everyone left and he was the only one home…he was able to stop the cows from eating the carrots in the garden…so he really did become a hero!

We <3 stories where laziness wins the day. Why? There’s a Demotivator for that, too:

Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

Until next week—Happy Reading!


And Our Week 2 Winner is…



Hola, Fellow Readers! Another week of summer reading, another weekly winner! But always remember: although there can be only one randomly-chosen winner, we’ve all completed a second a week and we’ve all read (or listened to) at least one book, which means that we are all winners. (Mizz Reader is a huge Seinfeld fan. We did not get to see him perform at the Fox Performing Arts Center in May. If YOU did, we would like to say we are happy for you, but that would be a lie. We are envious. Please send pictures Mizz Reader’s way anyway if you have them.)

Gogol has spoken, and Fellow Reader sdtp43 is now the recipient of a $10 Friends of the Library gift certificate and an FOL tote bag in which to stash the loot from said gift certificate. Here’s sdtp43′s selected review of Heat Wave by Richard Castle:

I love the Castle series and the book was not disappointing either. The book is written as if he is the writer on the series using different names, etc. Rook (ha ha on the name pun, Castle) is a news writer rather than a book writer in the series, following his muse Detective Nikki Heat (in the series it’s detective Becket) in order to write an article about her adventures in crime solving. It is full of the same humor and twists but different story line than the series. Together they solve a double murder and art theft. I am looking forward to reading more of the Castle books and watching the series.

Mizz Reader is a mystery fan herself. We lean towards the tastes of fattycakes17 as expressed in the review for The 8th Confession by James Patterson:

I’ve been following this “detective” story and loving it. However, this one has a bit too much romance in it for me. I’m not into the “electric shock pulsed through my body when we accidentally touched pinky fingers.” It’s supposed to be a “detective” story. I would have given it 4 1/2 to 5 stars if it didn’t have all that.

We, too, prefer our detective and mystery stories to be icky-romance free.  (AKA no cooties allowed).

On another personal note, Mizz Reader is currently engrossed in the book What It is Like to Go to War, which not only is one of our Week 8 prizes but is also the community read pick for California Reads this November.

Riverside Public Library is the regional host for a reading by author Karl Marlantes on November 20th at the Municipal Auditorium. We’ll have more info on the event on our library’s homepage soon.

Mizz Reader, many moons ago, served in the Air Force*, so we are drawn to books on military culture and war—as are several of you Fellow Readers based on the number of reviews submitted this week on the subjects:

Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen

braerog90‘s review:

I fell in love with this book from the beginning. It truly brought what a soldier goes through into my heart. It made me see the young boy as a hero. He started out at fifteen and by nineteen was known as having a soldier’s heart. This is a book sure to touch your heart.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

lovz2cycle‘s review:

When I first started Ghost Soldiers the introduction grabbed me. The writer had a way with the words that made you feel like you were in the jungles sitting in a fox hole with the story unfolding around you, but then I got to chapter 1 which to be honest it was a little painful to get through. I’m not sure if it was too many places and names and stories in such a short time but it took a week for me to get through it. I was greatly pleased to find that the writer got back to telling a story that was gripping with such detail that you could feel every emotion that each man was going through. This story is another fantastic book on the strength of the human soul and the heroism of our great country. It is raw and real in every way. There isn’t any sugar coating, it tells all; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman

ejhall14′s review:

Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman is a tale about the corrosive effects of war on the mind. Lauren Clay enlisted as a soldier and returns with deep psychological scars after a tour of duty in Iraq. Hoffman paints with powerful words a portrait of PTSD and the disconnect of a returning female veteran. The reader is challenged to imagine how extraordinarily difficult it must be to reconcile the innate protective instincts of the caregiver with a culture of violence and orders to kill. The symptoms and fallout of PTSD are realistically presented as well as the guilt and shame of war veterans, both in Iraq and previous wars. Other themes are introduced in this modern war fiction: parental desertion, broken families, class division and the choices the working poor must often make. Highly recommended.

All three of these picks are now on Mizz Reader’s must-consume list.

Finally, we’d like to give two special shoutouts this week:

The first goes to theta5494, whose reading goal is to work through Amazon’s 100 Best Books List. Please keep us informed on your progress!

The second goes to iamth3m. In honor of your brillz review of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, we have added “Poop Humor” as a genre selection.

Until next week,


*Mizz Reader likes to joke that when kids played the dozens with our son and hurled the maternal insult “Your mama wears combat boots,” they were, in fact, correct.


And Our Week 1 Winner is…

Hello, Fellow Readers–and congrats on completing Week 1 of the Summer Reading Program!

It warms Mizz Reader’s heart to see many returning readers from last year. (We are looking at you, 2beornottobe—even though we disagree with you on the Yu-Gi-Oh!/Pokémon graphic novel debate—and we’re looking forward to your wildly eclectic reading list again, braerog90.) Mizz Reader particularly admires those readers who have set reading goals for themselves for the next 9 weeks: we, too, would like to read all the Newberry Award winners as Cristi1 is doing, and 11lsing, if you make it through the ENTIRE Sue Grafton alphabet series, Mizz Reader will personally escort you to the Hideaway on Main Street and buy you the beverage of your choice.

Okay, so: the winner of our Week 1 random prize drawing is 1goldengirl. The pixie in Mizz Reader’s computer (we call him Gogol) who is responsible for selecting the winner snagged on 1goldengirl’s 5-star review of the CD Book Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin:


First of all I would describe this book as delightfully written.  A fictional story based historical facts of the life of  Alice Liddell who the story Alice in Wonderland is based on. A girl who longs to roll down a hill and wonders why she can’t wear brown dresses as white ones always get dirty. The story takes a turn when suspicion is aroused regarding her friendship with Mr. Dodson (aka Lewis Carrol).

(Mizz Reader has never worn a dress in her life. Ever. Except that one time when our grandma traveled from out of state to attend our sixth grade graduation and threatened to withhold Mizz Reader’s cash gift if we refused to wear a skirt like all the other proper young ladies. Photographic evidence of the event has been destroyed, however, so really, it doesn’t count. Mizz Reader’s point here is that we can’t wait to check this CD Book out for ourself.)

1goldengirl is now the proud owner of 2 free movie passes to the Regal Cinema at Riverside Plaza. Enjoy!

P.S.–A special shoutout to fellow reader iamth3m for introducing Mizz Reader to the word “tentacular” (we have found a way to use this in a sentence three times this week!) and for reviews that made us laugh out loud. Such as:

The science fiction classic that spawned a religion,  the Church of All Worlds, though against the author’s intention — unlike the birth of Scientology from the fevered mind of L. Ron Hubbard. I didn’t think the book was THAT good, but allegedly Heinlein was able to buy a new swimming pool from the royalties.


And if you missed iamth3m‘s review of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, you owe it to yourself to search it out. We will never see Oprah in the same light again.



Let the Summer Reading Fun Begin!

Hello, Fellow Readers!

Registration for the 2014 Adult Summer Reading Program is now open! (Mizz Reader hasn’t been this excited since she found an Easton Press signed first edition of Orson Scott Card’s book Maps in a Mirror on a Friends of the Library sale table for 10 bucks.)

Here’s how to sign up:

Go the the Login link. (This link is on the right-hand side of your screen.)

Enter your information in all the required fields and hit “Register.”

(You’ll notice that this year, rather than being assigned a username, you get to create your own. Someone beat Mizz Reader to the handle “AngryBeard1″ so she will probably go with the fallback “Spanky3.” Just remember the wisdom of Ron Burgandy and Stay Classy, Riverside!)

You will receive email confirmation  once you’ve successfully registered. Then, the moment of magic: log in and behold your very own spiffy profile page, where you can upload an avatar*, see all your reviews cached in one spot, and submit new reviews.

All book reviews are moderated, so your review won’t appear until it has been approved.

Feel free to contact Mizz Reader if you have any questions.

Happy Reading!

Mizz Reader

*Of course, you are free to keep the generic little grey man. But the generic little grey man makes Mizz Reader sad. Please don’t make Mizz Reader look upon the sad grey man.

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