Two Old Favorites

My public library is just plain awesome.  I love it.  Nothing beats the library.
logo  Every year, give or take a couple of months, I get a craving to read an old favorite.  I’m getting ready to take a road trip to visit the Munchkin at her graduation.  I wanted to get something to read on the plane up and the drive back.

An all time favorite is Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown.  This is one book that I have read and enjoyed every year since I discovered it at the Munchkin’s seventh grade book fair.  I especially wanted an e-book for my iPad or audio version for my iPhone.

My library has a couple of different options for ebooks and audio books.  You can check out the Kindle or audio version of a book using the OverDrive Media Player app. Audio books are available from Recorded Books on their OneClickDigital app.

The e-book version of Hero and the Crown isn’t available on Overdrive, so I checked the library’s OneClickDigital page.  Lo and behold! A Recorded Books audio version was right there, available to check out.  The Library is closed today, but that is not a problem.  I downloaded the book and started listening on my commute home.  Wow!

I mentioned two favorites.  This other was a very copacetic find.  While browsing the catalog for The Hero and the Crown, another Newberry Medal winner came up in the search results: The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli. This book won the Newberry Medal in 1950.  The title jingled a bell in my distant memory, so I checked out the Kindle version.  I was reading it on my lunch hour and it became more and more familiar.

I read The Door in the Wall when I was in seventh grade.  I was volunteering in my middle school library at the time.  I became lost in the monastic life portrayed in the early chapters of the book.  This book further fueled my love of reading and kindled a longing for the monastic life.  I only recently ‘fessed up to this secret desire while sharing in our local small group discussion.  I thought it was buried beneath thirty-three dusty years of accounting, but the spark still burns.

Thus ends the story of my two latest finds among the stacks of the digital library system.

What are your favorite reads, and how did you find them?

Answered Prayers

Prayer works.

I was getting bored and frustrated with random reading.  There’s too much dystopia in the bookstores these days, don’tcha think. What happens when the lights go out?  Or an asteroid hits the moon? Or the rapture comes and I’m Left Behind?  I get enough dystopia just reading the newspaper every day.

It’s depressing.  Vampires, shmampires. It seems like everyone is trying to write the next The Twilight Series. Yawn.  “What does this have to do with prayer,” you ask? Hold your horses.  I’m getting to that.

I did enjoy Justin Cronin’s The Passage and The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy).  It’s quite different from the usual smarmy vampire romance. The characters are interesting and engaging.  Enough interesting things happen and with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter the story keeps rolling along. What will happen in book three I wonder.  (Hurry up Mr. Cronin!)

Now that’s done and I need a new fictional fix.   I’m craving something without vampires for a change.  There’s a certain kind of story that just makes you feel good. Hmmmm.

Here’s my list of feel-good favorites that I turn to when I’m burned out.  Like Mom’s baked macaroni and cheese, they’re comfort food for the brain.
The Hero and the Crown & The Blue Swordby Robin Mckinley.  I can never get enough of these two stories.
Dances With Wolves 
Watership Down
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Random Harvest, by James Hilton

I found myself standing in front of my bookshelf, looking at this collection.  I wasn’t really in the mood to re-read any of them, but wanted something like them. I prayed a little prayer and it trickled up to heaven. I prayed quietly, so silently that I almost didn’t hear it myself, feeling guilty that I wasn’t praying for something more providential, like ending world hunger, or for an end to human trafficking. (That’s whole ‘nother post.)

Somebody upstairs must have been listening. (Maybe Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of libraries?)  While browsing the online audio book collection of my local I found an available copy of The Hollow Hills (Book 2 of The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart).

After a quick download on the Overdrive Media Player app, I started listening to it on my commute.  I could tell right away that this would be another of those feel-good favorites. But I really hate to start a series in the middle (pesky spoilers).  Book 1, The Crystal Cave, was not on audio.  Eager to start at the beginning, I checked out a really beat up first edition (1970) hardback from the library.

Yep, it’s an answer to prayer. It’s not even Christmas yet, and God has given me a personalized gift of love, a new book by a new author, custom made for me.

In my devotional this morning I read,
“Without God’s love, there is no way to establish [a foundation for a true family]. Without God’s love, there is no way for us to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Love is truly the source and wellspring of our life and happiness.”Exposition of the Divine Principle

I have received many answers to prayer over the years. They are usually related to work or mission.  More like a, “Let’s get this job done,” kind of answer (James 2:18); a soldier’s marching orders.  But this answer was special, because it was purely unconditional, from God’s heart of love to my heart.

I want to abide in Your heart of love always,
To be inundated, overcome,
Swept away by that sweet love.
No agenda,
Just Your loving presence.
With every beat of my heart,
Every breath I take.
Every day fresh and new.
Every morning amidst the sparkling dew.
Soak my feet with Your love as I walk barefoot in the grass.
Freshen me and breathe me in,
as I breathe You in
to dwell in the altar of my heart.

New Teen Territory at the Hermosa Beach Public Library

The new Teen Territory section at the Hermosa Beach Public Library

The Hermosa Beach Public Library at 550 Pier Avenue at Valley Dr. held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Teen Territory section. Dorothy Yost, the President of the Hermosa Beach Friends of the Library said that the library received two matching grants of $1,000 each and raised the matching funds to create a cozy new section for their teen patrons.

Someone had the idea to use a surfboard to decorate the new section, but the Friends of the Library thought it would be too expensive to buy one. They put out feelers to their network because, “Surely someone has an old surfboard they don’t need in their garage”.

Surfboard donated by Rick Koenig and decorated by Bill Febbo

Rick Koenig, President of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society, donated an old surfboard. Bill Febbo, a local artist and owner of Coast Signs & Graphics, painted the sign on the surfboard.

The Manga shelf

The Teen Territory Section has a shelf devoted to Manga and graphic novels such as Spider-Man: Saga of the Sandman and Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur.

Two large shelves hold the latest in teen fiction, including the latest dystopian fiction that are really popular now.

There is a seating area around a very nice game table with Chinese checkers, a wooden chess set on a inlaid board and backgammon. All of this creates a warm and relaxed atmosphere conducive to relaxing with the latest book.

Game Table

One Reason I Love My Library

Hermosa Beach Public Library
I’ve been reading up on networking for introverts.  As an introvert (off the chart!) networking is more terrifying than . . . well, just about anything. I read a blog on on introverted leaders that intrigued me. The majority of people feel that leaders need to be over-the-top extroverts to be successful. It turns out that this is not the case. Introverts can be great leaders too, if they learn to utilize their unique strengths. This is the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time.

I’ve decided to take responsibility to make my life as successful as I think it should be. I went on the library’s online catalog to look up some resources to study. I put a few books on hold through the online catalog.  That’s right, anyone with a library card can do it.  And it’s free!  At least it is still free at the County of Los Angeles Public Library.  Other libraries around the Southland are starting to charge for holds.

Here’s the email I got today notifying me that the books I requested have arrived and are waiting for me to pick up. You see, it doesn’t matter that your local branch is small. That local branch has access to all of the materials in all the other branches in that library system. In this case, that is the Los Angeles County Library system with about ninety branch libraries. That is a lot of resources.

County of Los Angeles Public Library Home Page

The best thing is that the majority of these resources are free. Totally free! That makes your library card the best card in your wallet. All of your other cards, bank cards, debit cards, credit cards, all cost you money. You have to pay up for all the stuff you bought with them. Pay up plus interest!

But everything you get with your library card is free. As long as you return everything by the due date.

Subject: County of Los Angeles Public Library
Friday, August 26, 2011

Hermosa Beach Library
90254  310-379-8475

The items you placed on hold are now available.  You can pick them up at the
library listed above.

They will be held for two weeks, until the date listed below.
You can check your account by visiting our website at

Confessions of an Introvert: The Shy Girl’s Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most Out of Life / by Meghan Wier.
Wier, Meghan.
call number:650.1 WIER                                  copy:1
Pickup by:9/8/2011

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength / Laurie
Helgoe, Laurie A.
call number:155.232 HELGOE                              copy:1
Pickup by:9/8/2011

Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money / Frederica J. Balzano with Marsha Boone Kelly.
Balzano, Frederica J.
call number:650.13                                      copy:1
Pickup by:9/8/2011