Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What if Book Reviews Were Written Like Text Messages? BR=TM

A while ago I wrote a blog post in which I wondered...What if Book Reviews Were Written Like Wine Reviews?


Recent 'Incoming' text messages which I have had to decode by 'Googling' the acronyms sent to me by younger, hipper people (ahem, my kids) got me to thinking about...

What if book reviews were written like text messages with a bit of Twitter hashtags thrown in?
Or should I say #whatif? BR=TM ROTFL because YOLO, I literally can't even um like imagine, but here goes.

In our continuing series of posts about what is new on our non-fiction shelf, LMK if u like these books:



Get What's Yours, the Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J Kotlikoff
(368.4 KOT) Our BR=TM: How is that even possible? Define 'yours' #getmoreSS$$

The Teenage Brain, a neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults by Frances E. Jensen, MD (612.6 JEN) Our BR=TM: RUH ROH enter the teen brain AYOR The Struggle is Real! But seriously folks, if it's quiet, too quiet, check their rooms.

Biscuits, sweet and savory southern recipes for the all-American kitchen by Jackie Garvin (641.815 GAR) Our BR=TM: OM NOM NOM #nuffsaid WTF (Well that's *fantastic, right?)

 How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest et al (305.409 BER) Our BR=TM: Ladies and Germs...I am sure the Academie Francaise is rolling in its collective grave at the very perish-the-thought of les messages SMS. Mais, non! #Jamais! #SacreBleu


I aw8t 4 u 2 reply to this post.
IMHO this post rocks!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nurses Write!

Two books currently on the New Non-Fiction Shelf are nurses' accounts of what it is like to work in their much admired and appreciated profession. The library  has many books written by doctors about their profession, but  it is harder to find similar autobiographical accounts by nurses or nurse memoirs. I don't know why this is, but I am sure that a statistical look at Amazon or Books in Print would bear me out on this inbalance of health care provider's authorship.* When the local high school students come in to research a profession, which is a perennial assignment, we now have two fascinating new nursing memoirs as well as a few from previous years.

Becoming Nursey: from Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Care for Your Patients and Yourself by Kati Kleber, BSN RN (2014) (@nurseeyeroll on Twitter and the blog NurseEyeRoll.com) (610.73 KLE)
I follow Kati Kleber's Twitter account @nurseeyeroll which I find very amusing. In the last year or so, she has been tweeting about her new memoir 'Becoming Nursey' which is meant to help new nurses understand what it takes to become a nurse after graduating from nursing school. She writes that she could not find any book that helped new nurses make the transition from school to actually practicing nursing. So for anyone interested in the profession, or about to start out, diploma in hand, this book tells not only the practical aspects of nursing, but also the emotional side.

The library also owns a collection of essays by nurses and about nursing:
I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse, edited by Lee Gutkind (2013) (610.73 IWA).
This book would also make a good introduction to anyone interested in the nursing profession.

Books about nursing that have been on the library shelves for a little longer:

Critical care : a new nurse faces death, life, and everything in between by Theresa Brown (2010) (616 BROWN)

Intensive Care, the Story of a Nurse by Echo Heron (1987) (610.73 HERON)

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (2002) The PBS TV series is based on this memoir.
(BIO WORTH)


And finally, the classic of nursing theory and practice:

Notes on Nursing by Florence Nightingale (1860) (649.8 NIGHTINGALE)

* My unscientific statistical look at published doctor memoirs versus nurse memoirs bears out my hunch that doctors write about what it takes to become a doctor and what it is like to be a doctor more than nurses write their memoirs.
Amazon search of the terms 'doctor memoirs' (1909) versus 'nurse memoirs' (763)
Google Books search of the terms 'doctor memoirs' (1,020,000) versus 'nurse memoirs' (319,000)
BHPL catalog of books, using the search term 'doctor biography' (51) versus 'nurse biography' (25)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bullets that Remain and the Problems They Cause

 The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly (2015) is a new thriller by journalist Kelly that kept me so engrossed on my day off that I put off my to-do list til the next day. Georgetown professor Caroline Cashion feels increasing pain in her wrist which turns out to be caused, not by carpal tunnel syndrome, but by a stray bullet buried deep in her neck - despite the fact that she has no memory of ever being shot. The story takes off like a, oh yes, a shot, and provides a page-turning adventure. Cashion finds out how and when she got shot and follows up the cold case that is the story of her childhood trauma. 

This was not the first book I have read about a bullet left in a shooting victim who lives, only to experience side-effects years later. The library book group read Traveler by Ron McLarty a few years ago. The blog review is below. Kelly's book is a thriller in the style of Gone Girl where the plot may sometimes seem improbable, but the suspense about what happens next pushes the reader on quickly. McLarty's book is beautifully told and elegiac in style, so the books are not similar other than the premise of the bullet that was never removed as the driver of the plots. Thanks to Jean F. at Circulation Desk for the recommendation of The Bullet. By word of mouth, the book is circulating well at BHPL and there are several holds on it now. While you are waiting, read Traveler.

Traveler by Ron McLarty

first posted in 2010

The library evening book group will discuss Ron McLarty's Traveler on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. Traveler, actor and author McLarty's second novel, has lived up to expectations of readers and critics after his critically acclaimed The Memory of Running.

The plot: middle-aged and middling part-time actor and bartender, Jono Riley returns to his working-class hometown of East Providence, Rhode Island, when he hears of the death of Marie, a childhood friend. A bullet left in Marie's body after a random and unsolved shooting in her childhood traveled to an artery and killed her in her sleep. Jono travels home to find that his gang of friends, now dispersed or dead, have changed. Narrated in the first person, Jono's memories of growing up are interwoven with the present day trip. During his visit, Jono and retired policeman Kenny Snowden solve the cases of the unsolved shooting of Marie and several other local unsolved shootings.

The beauty of this book, as with Art in America, the only other McLarty novel I've read, is in the voice of the narrator. Jono Riley's story is told in a conversational style that just flows like someone who can hold a group of friends spellbound with his storytelling ability. The mystery in the plot certainly holds the readers interest, but I felt that the trip down memory lane, revisiting old haunts, remembering old friends from highschool, re-experiencing the old neighborhood and the remaining parents of old friends, all of these things most people will relate to. So many people leave home after highschool graduation and really never live at home again, that the experience of trying to recapture the old days is almost universal. I don't know how it feels to be one of the people who stay in the hometown, but for everyone else, the nostalgia that comes with leaving home will resonate.
Jono Riley after helping Officer Snowden uncover a cache of guns in the old priest's trunk wonders:
"Standing alone, some wind whipping around and gray clouds rolling in, I felt it seemed to be the perfect time to ask myself what the hell I was doing here. Rhode Island. East Providence. The bartender/actor sinking in memories and mysteries...I remain essentially a child of the working class, seeking at the very least a modicum of order." (158) Jono Riley decides he needs to go back to New York City, his girlfriend, his present-day life to get his life in order.

Area Bear Seeks Chair

Bear Taking the Trash Out
I posted these bears-in-fact-and-fiction thoughts a few years ago. Don't worry, there are no bear reports at this time in the area as far as I know. I am more careful about leaving my back door open though, just saying - in case any Bear Burglars are reading the library blog.

'The blinking telephone message light greeted me last night when I got home from work. The police reverse phone emergency system informed me that a "free-ranging" bear had been spotted near Summit Middle School and was last reported heading in a "westerly" direction.  Last time I got that message was the day I had left the outside door propped wide for my dog and forgot to close it when I left for work;  what if a  bear had headed into my house and found a "just right" sized bed or chair or perhaps raided the cupboard looking for porridge? I wonder what they mean by a "free-ranging" bear. Would that be something different from a bear with a plan or a GPS? While I was pondering that mystery, I started to think about how bears are portrayed in children's books, so cute and cuddly and, well, human. Some well-known literary bears spring to mind:

The many versions of the story of Goldilocks and her nemeses, the Three Bears, who I think of as Mr. and Mrs. Three and Little Three, Jr.
The Berenstain Bears, whose eponymous (always wanted to use that word in a sentence) series features moral lessons for young children about proper behavior in school, at the doctor, with the babysitter, on a boat, at night etc. There's no situation these books don't address. Every day has teachable moments for these poor bears. My son was addicted to this series; me not so much. I prefer:
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson as a read-a-loud for preschoolers, Michael Bond's Paddington series is fun to read to older children. My (now grown) kids still refer to Paddington "having a tussle with a sticky bun" in the station cafe. It is one of those family catch-phrases. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is a classic; I love McCloskey's illustrations and the old-fashioned 3-tones pictures. And Daniel Pinkwater's stories about Larry the Polar Bear who floats on an ice flow and ends up in Bayonne, NJ is a must read.
If approached by a real bear, remain calm and report it to the NJ bear hotline    
1-877-927-6337 
For more information about real bears, read the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's 
Bear Facts page.'



[Originally posted April 2011]

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cozy Mysteries Set in Nice, France

What could be better than to escape from a rainy, northern climate to the warm southern coast of France? For a bookish escape to Nice on the French Riviera, try 'Not Quite Nice' by Celia Imrie or 'Toured to Death' by Hy Conrad. Ms. Imrie, a well-known British actress, has written a fun story of escapism about a divorcee and grandmother. Short on money, under-appreciated by her awful grown daughter and bratty grandchildren, Theresa decides to sell her London house and retire to a small seaside village near Nice. There she meets a merry band of eccentric ex-patriots, starts teaching cooking classes to make a little money and becomes involved in solving some criminal capers with a little romance thrown in. It's all here: beautiful scenery, fun friends, a new lease on life and a little adventure, plus a few recipes to  try. Read the review on 'We Love This Book' for a few more plot details.
By coincidence, the next mystery I picked up at random off the library shelves was also set in Nice, at least in the beginning. 'Toured to Death, an Amy's Travel Mystery' by Hy Conrad follows a group of mystery fans who have signed up for a mystery tour that starts in Nice and wends its way through Italy ending up at the solution in Rome. Along the way, a few people really are murdered of course. The mystery was rather clever and the escapist element of travel and acting out a mystery made this book appealing for a dreary winter or chilly wet spring.

Below is one of my favorite paintings of 'The Riviera' by Pierre Bonnard. His beautiful colors and paintings of dreamy vistas in the south of France are mesmerizing. This painting is owned by the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

The Riviera by Pierre Bonnard, Phillips Collection

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring at the Berkeley Heights Public Library


Winter into Spring, 

a slide show made with Animoto's free video maker app for iPad.

Just a few weeks ago, the Berkeley Heights Public Library, and most of New Jersey, was covered in snow. Now spring is beginning to appear as a few intrepid daffodil shoots poke up through the bare, muddy ground. The days are getting a little longer and a little warmer.
I searched our 'Columbia Granger's World of Poetry' database for a poem to express the feeling of relief that the winter of 2013 - 2014 is over. I found hundreds of poems about spring and April. Willliam Leighton's 'April' tells it like it is, don't you think?

'Gusty March is dead and gone!
 April heard his parting sighs,
 Smiling through her tearful eyes
At the sweet days coming on.'

There's more to this poem. To find this and other poems by first line, last line, subject or poet, search the Granger's Poetry database from our  'Databases and Articles' webpage. Type in your Berkeley Heights Library barcode number at the prompt.

  MLA
Leighton, William. “April.” Columbia Granger's World of Poetry Online. 2014. Columbia University Press. 4 Apr. 2014.

[Originally posted on this blog in April 2014 ]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nutrition Information You Can Trust on the Internet

March is National Nutrition Month, but where can consumers find believable nutrition advice on the internet? If you search for information on vitamins or nutrition, you will be barraged by advertisements for costly so-called dietary supplements that may put a dent in your pocketbooks, but may not have any proven medical value or, even worse, might be harmful to your health.

The library Reference Department recently got an email regarding a post on this blog about 'My Pyramid Tracker' which was a website designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people track their food intake and make the best food choices for their health. The Pyramid Tracker was replaced by 'Choose My Plate' so the links in the old blog post no longer work.

Take a look at the new Department of Agriculture website called 'ChooseMyPlate.gov.' People can create an account for free with the 'Supertracker' to keep a list of what they eat and all the calories and nutrients of the foods. There is a daily food plan for various age groups from pre-schoolers to mothers-to-be to dieters, and a BMI calculator on the website. There are daily tips, budget advice for shopping, a Supertracker Toolkit for employers to encourage employees to eat a healthy diet and maintain regular exercise habits. There is so much on this website and it is all free and all supported by credible research about nutrition and health. The website 'About Us' page states:
" ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information. As Americans are experiencing epidemic rates of overweight and obesity, the online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children."

USDA Choose My Plate Logo



Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Group Reads Hannah Kent's 'Burial Rites'

The Berkeley Heights Public Library's evening  book group read Hannah Kent's 'Burial Rites' for our March 10 discussion. This first novel by Australian author Kent retells the story of the last public execution in Iceland in 1830. The story of Agnes Magnusdottir, a poor servant accused and convicted of murdering her lover and employer, is told partly from Agnes' point of view and is accompanied by some archival documents from the case as well as poetry written by Agnes and another Icelandic poet. The book group members liked the book and found the historic rural Icelandic setting very well described. Obviously the conclusion is known and the character of Agnes and the subject matter are dark and depressing. The rural poverty and the brutally cold weather set a bleak tone to the book, but for fans of historical fiction, this book is very well researched and will interest fans of other Nordic fiction and mysteries. The book will be made into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence as Agnes, so check this one out now before the movie drives demand.


Reviews:
The Guardian review of Burial Rites
New York Times review of Burial Rites 
Sydney Review of Books review of Burial Rites
Hannah Kent's author page
Literary Iceland, the library's Pinterest board includes photographs about 'Burial Rites'



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

A new Bryant and May 'Peculiar Crimes Unit' mystery is always eagerly awaited by fans of Christopher Fowler's British crime series and this one lived up to the anticipation for me. 'Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart' (2014) showcases Arthur Bryant, the more eccentric detective of the venerable old pair. Bryant always meanders to the solution by studying ancient London archaeology and myths and consulting his extensive network of psychics, witches and warlocks and other arcane researchers and experts. This mystery somehow brought together New Resurrectionists (grave-robbing medical students) and missing ravens from the Tower of London. The PCU is now under attack, or management reform, by an MBA-wielding young woman who spouts lines like, 'I've objectivised an agenda for an informal intracommunicational face session... I'm here to discuss administrative flexibility and workforce incentivisation, bringing you up to speed on the public interface components of your skill sets.' (39) To which Bryant reacts just as we all wish we could in that kind of meeting,
'Bryant tapped at his hearing aid. 'I'm sorry,' he said loudly, 'I think this thing's on the blink. I can see your lips moving but all I can hear is rubbish.' (40)
Wonderful satire of this kind of management style and the usual arcane London history and archaeology plus smart, unconventional, but highly successful characters make this a perfect mix for fans.
Resurrectionists (1847), by Hablot Knight Browne.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dreaming of Summer



I want tomatoes in my yard.

I also want lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, strawberries and pretty flowers and green grass. I miss all those things. As I was shoveling snow (again) from my walkway to get to my car so I could brush the snow off (again) and dig the snow mound left by the plow (again) I took a mental inventory of what I remember is buried under all that snow and what I will plant in my postage stamp sized garden patch this year. Tomatoes are first. I perused the garden books in 635 and found the tomato books in 635.6. There it was - American Tomato: The Complete Guide to Growing and Using Tomatoes (635.6 HEN). This book not only talks about growing tomatoes and eating them, it gives a brief history of the tomato. The plant is native to South America and was first cultivated in Central America long before it traveled to Europe then back to the new world to be grown in New Jersey. I know I will need compost for a successful garden so I plan on reading a few of the compost books in our collection. If you are interested in composting (and who isn’t?) you can find books on the subject in 631.87. I also found books on gardening in a small space (Grow Great Grub: Organic Foodfrom Small Spaces by Gayla Trail. 635.0484 TRA) and growing herbs to add flavor to next summer’s bounty (635.7).

Thanks to Melanie E. for this blog post. We are all really, really ready for summer. Take out a gardening book from the 635 section to start dreaming of and planning your garden.
Forsythia Hedge behind the Library - we are waiting
 
Winter 2013- 2014 at the Library
Winter 2013 - 2014

Reading about Very Bad Winters

People everywhere are commenting (I am trying to avoid saying 'complaining') about the long, cold, snowy winter we are having here in New Jersey. The stiff-upper lip to which we all aspire is getting kind of old, or whiny even, if a lip can be described as whiny. Plus, it is required  by law that New Jerseyans cannot complain about snow without qualifying the complaint by saying 'at least it's not as bad as Boston.' Boston has the distinction this winter of making Buffalo, New York look, if not tropical, at least not as snowy as it usually looks. Early in the season, Buffalo got something like a gazillion feet of snow all at once, but now Boston is taking the lead with at least two gazillion tons of snow since the New Year. I say a gazillion because I just don't want to look up the actual depressing statistics, but the gist is that the Northeastern part of the United States has had way too much snow this year and we are all awaiting spring eagerly. While we are awaiting spring, you could read about winters that were way worse than this one. Two titles leap to mind immediately:
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (J WIL) which is the 'Little House' book about the winter of 1880 - 1881. Laura and her family almost starved and were stuck in that prairie house that probably wasn't as cozy as it appeared on the Little House TV show.
The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin (978.02 LAS) describes the huge blizzard of 1888, the harrowing storm which shut down the Northeast and piled so much snow that it lingered well into spring.
Now those were terrible winters and what made it all worse is that the modern conveniences we now take for granted were not even invented yet, like the ability to drive in heated comfort to the supermarket before a storm to get more milk, bread and frozen pizzas or to curl up in front of a fake fire app on our tablet. No, a little appreciation of truly awful winters might just warm you up while you are waiting for spring to arrive.

Read Ellen's review of an Icelandic winter mystery in Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason  
(MYS ARN,  note that this title is filed by the author's first name in the Icelandic tradition.)
Research the blizzard of 1888 in the library's New York Times database for coverage of the event as it happened. Go to the Databases and Articles page to find this and other library databases that you can use from home.
Browse through the beautiful art book  Impressionists in Winter, effets de neige by  Charles S. Moffett (758.1 MOF) which documents the exhibit of the same name at the Phillips Collection in 1998, featuring paintings from the late 19th century which was very snowy in the United States and Europe. The Sisley painting below is owned by the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. If you visit Washington, DC, be sure to add the Phillips Collection to your list of museums to visit.
Snow at Louveciennes by Alfred Sisley 1873




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

'Every Patient Tells a Story' - especially if they are 'highlighter yellow'


This book review was originally posted on our blog on 8/29/2009. Today, while looking for books on health careers for a patron, I spotted the book on the shelf at 616.075 SAN among the many books written by doctors about medicine.  I recommend this book for young people interested in a health career, for patrons who enjoy medical TV shows, and for anyone who likes a good medical puzzle.

Every Patient Tells a Story

Lisa Sanders, MD writes the monthly column Diagnosis for the New York Times Magazine and is a consultant for the television series House, MD. Dr. Sanders was a broadcast journalist specializing in medical stories before deciding to become a doctor as her second career. She now teaches at the Yale School of Medicine as well as being a practicing internist. She collects stories of interesting diagnoses and writes about them in her NYT column and now has a book out, Every Patient Tells a Story, medical mysteries and the art of diagnosis (2009) which recounts not only the stories of patients whose illnesses were hard to diagnose, but also discusses the diagnostic process and the importance of the physical exam, a fast-disappearing art apparently as high-tech tests replace that skill in many cases.

In the introduction, the case of a young woman so jaundiced that she is "highlighter yellow" (p. xii) but does not have hepatitis, is solved by an internist who takes her history again, examines her, rereads her chart and test results and has an "aha" moment where he puts together all the clues to come up with a rare disease which he then verifies by a trip to the library and a close look at her irises to see if there is a golden ring around the outer edge. If you have watched the TV show House, you may recognize this disease from one episode.

I suspect that my friends, family and colleagues will be glad that I have finished the book so that I will no longer regale them with alarming stories of medical near-misses while they are dining. Librarians who took their lunch in the staff room this week provided a captive audience for my chapter by chapter synopses of this book. I will check it in and now it goes to the patron who saw it on my desk and asked to be put on hold for it. Enjoy, but don't come down with every symptom you read about. That's "Intern's Disease," a manifestation of the power of suggestion.

Every Patient Tells a Story is non-fiction that will appeal to fans of medical novels by Patricia Cornwell, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, Michael Palmer, Abraham Verghese or Tess Gerritson.
Also of interest: The Medical Science of House

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Miss P. the Best in Show Beagle and the Doggy Dewey Decimal Number

Congratulations to Miss P., the adorable Beagle who was selected Best in Show last night at Westminster Dog Show. If looking at her cute little face doesn't make you want to run out and get a dog, I don't know what will. The library can help with that. Run directly to the shelves with the
Doggy Dewey Decimal number which is:
636.7
in libraries around the world that use the Dewey Decimal system. There you will find books on all breeds and on selecting, raising and training dogs.

For more Beagle mania, take a look at our post about Miss P.'s Grand-uncle Uno who won Best in Show in 2008: Uno the Beagle Wins Westminster Dog Show.
Miss P, (NBC photo of the Dog Show Winner)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our Valentine's Day Conversation with the Library Computer

Art by AsdeF
Why don't I just blog about romance books today?  Searches of the library OPAC (Online Public Access Computer, formerly known as the card catalog) tell us that:
# items (books+) in library with keyword 'Valentine' = 203
# items (books+) in library with keyword 'Valentine' upstairs only (ie: not kid's books) = 106
#DVD's in library with keyword 'Valentine' = 25
#books with keyword 'love' in library = too many to count. That query caused our online catalog to give up and answer '250', which is what it says when the number is larger than 250. It just gives up and expects the term to be narrowed or qualified in some way to bring the number below 250. Sometime it is difficult to 'heart' the library catalog. It is an ornery computer servant, like HAL, that has its own rules, regardless of what we want to ask it. I imagine my conversation with HAL/OPAC would go like this:

Anne the Librarian: "How many books about love do we have, oh library computer?"
OPAC: "I'm sorry, Anne, I can't do that."
Anne the Librarian: "OK, so how about just adult books about love?"
OPAC: "I'm sorry, Anne, I can't do that."
Anne: "OK, would you believe, just books with the Library of Congress Subject Heading 'Love'?"
OPAC: "I'm sorry, Anne, you sound like Maxwell Smart, that is the wrong video entertainment format. I can't understand you."
Anne: "I am going to power you down now, OPAC. Good bye!"
OPAC: "Nooooo...."
Anne: "Mwah ha ha."

Happy Valentine's Day! We've got lots of books about romance and love at BHPL, more than 250 I'm guessing. Just ask at the Reference Desk.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Florida Authors for a Cold Winter in the Northeast

Funny Florida authors Picasa collage
New Jersey is experiencing another cold, snowy, icy, icky, or as the Scots would say, 'dreich,' winter season. Some of our snowbird patrons have escaped to Florida for the duration, but for those of us bundled up in our sweaters and boots and hats (and that's just indoors) -  who are toughing it out at home, some funny books from Florida authors may help warm you up, carry you off to warmer climes, or at least make you laugh and escape this northeast winter for a little while.

Dave Barry wrote a humor column for the 'Miami Herald' for years which was laugh-out-loud funny, especially if your sense of humor is an only slightly grown-up appreciation of the humorous potential of words like booger and laughing until milk comes out of your nose. Think third-grade lunch-room hijinks as related by a grown-up who never grew up. But don't take my word for it, read some of Dave's old columns on his website. Then for a novel-length dose of Dave Barry, read his latest book, Insane City.

Carl Hiaasen also writes for the 'Miami Herald', is also very funny, writes terrific books for adults and young adults and, if that isn't enough for one person, is friends with Dave Barry! In fact, Barry and Hiaasen played in 'The Rock Bottom Remainders,' a rock group made up of authors who write well but whose musical talent was more enthusiastic than skilled.

When I started thinking about Florida authors I enjoy reading, I discovered Tim Dorsey, who is now on my 'to read' list. Like Barry and Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey was also a journalist at a Florida newspaper and as I began to ponder what it is that causes Florida journalists to become humor writers, a quick Google search revealed a column by Janet Maslin of the New York Times comparing and contrasting these three authors. The three authors are considered to be what we in the library world call 'read-alikes.'  Read Ms. Maslin's review for more on these three authors. I love Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen's writing so I'm off to the stacks to grab a Tim Dorsey novel starring 'Serge Storms' for the weekend.

Happy reading and stay warm!