Monday, January 29, 2007

CD Review: Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard *Click here to request this CD*Chaos & Creation in The Backyard, Paul McCartney

Beautiful! Often, I find one or two favorites on a CD. On this one, I was surprised to find eight songs that reached me. There’s a special touch of the gentle, heartfelt, poignant… I highly recommend it. -Thalia

Inter-Library Loans 101

Here is your chance to learn a little bit more about Inter-Library Loans (ILL). This service is designed to get the materials you want to borrow, but that are not available in the Town of Greenwich Library System, into your hands. Remember, if we don't have it, we can probably find someone who does!

Q. What constitutes an InterLibrary Loan (ILL)?
A. Material, not in our Greenwich catalog system, that comes in for a Perrot patron from a library outside the Greenwich system, or goes out from Perrot to another library.

Q. Where do our ILLs come from?
Mainly from within Connecticut, but in the past year from as far away as Alaska, Florida, California, and, very rarely, from Canada.

Q. How many ILL materials come in per month?
A. On average, about 30 items, mainly books, come in per month for Perrot patrons. In the past year (2006), 94% of all items requested as ILLs were supplied.

Q. Can I request other materials besides books?
A. Multimedia ILL requests are more elusive to fill (they are dependent on the lending libraries' lending policies), but we have succeeded in finding DVDs, videos, CDs, books on tape, and even maps for Perrot patrons.

Q. What subject matter and types of items are requested?
Materials requested are as diverse as our patrons' interests: books that are old, obscure, oversized. . . for children and for adults. . . fiction and non-fiction. . . some in foreign languages. Topics in the past year have ranged from World War II aircraft to French porcelain, Miles Davis to medical therapies, New Orleans to nematodes. . . and so on.

Q. How long can one keep an ILL item, and is there a charge?
A. You may keep an ILL item for 3 weeks, and the service is free.

Q. How long does it take to get an ILL?
A. This varies, but the majority of ILLs arrive within 2 to 3 weeks of requesting.

Q. How does one request an item via ILL?
A. Fill out the white general request card, which is available at both circulation desks, and expect to hear from us when the item is ready for pickup.

Any further questions? Please contact Elizabeth Owen at 203-637-1066, ext. 20, or comment on this post.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

DVD Diva: Chick Flicks

Check out some of our “chick flicks”:*

*The term chick flick is slang for a movie that appeals mainly to women or young girls, either by design or popular consensus. While the term is relatively new – dating back to that bumper crop of women's movies in the 1980s and 90s that included classics like Beaches, Pretty Woman and Ghost – the concept of movies designed to appeal specifically to women has existed since the early days of cinema and has been known by other colloquial terms, including "women's pictures". (

See other titles at:

The French Lieutenant's Woman *Click here to request this DVD*The French Lieutenant's Woman
A woman, ostracized by Victorian society and abandoned by her French lieutenant lover, fascinates a man who resolves to unravel the mystery of her clandestine past. Starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. Based on the novel by John Fowles.
More at Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

Breakfast at Tiffany's *Click here to request this DVD*Breakfast at Tiffany's
Holly Golightly is an eccentric New York City playgirl determined to marry a Brazilian millionaire. Her next-door neighbor, a writer, is "sponsored" by a wealthy patroness. Guessing who's the right man for Holly is easy; seeing just how romance blossoms is one of the enduring delights of this classic film. Based on the short novel by Truman Capote.
More at IMDb

Sense and Sensibility *Click here to request this DVD*Sense and Sensibility
The Dashwood sisters, sensible Eleanor and passionate Marianne, find their chances at marriage seemingly doomed by their family's sudden loss of fortune. Starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant. Based on the novel by Jane Austen.

Book Review: 12: The Elements of Great Managing

Twelve: The Elements of Great Managing *Click here to request this book* 12 : The Elements of Great Managing, by Rodd Wagner and James K. Hart

Drawing on data and interviews from the renowned Gallup organization, Rodd Wagner and James K. Hart have written a book that speaks to employees and managers alike. What makes a satisfied, dedicated employee? How can managers maximize company profits and avoid wasted time dealing with the complaints and turnover of workers? We spend a large portion of our waking hours at work, but how can that be a positive and fulfilling experience for all concerned rather than a grind to be endured day after day?

As they explore the problems of the modern workplace – be it a law firm, construction site, factory, multinational corporation, or small business – Wagner and Harter combine polling data, anecdotes, case studies, and insights into human behavior and interaction to determine how to effectively manage a staff. They offer 12 key elements; questions that, if answered affirmatively by employees, will lead to a strong and dynamic company overall. These include: “My opinions seem to count”; “Someone at work encourages my development”; “Materials and equipment” that help do the job well; and “A connection with the mission of the company”. A few seem obvious (e.g. “Recognition and praise”; “Knowing what’s expected”) but in the hands of these skilled authors are developed in depth to help managers understand just why it makes a difference and the small, cost-effective ways they can change behaviors to boost the bottom line.

The case studies and polling data range across countries, industries, and age groups, bringing even more credibility to this well-researched volume. Unlike so many books based on surveys and sociological studies, The Twelve Elements of Great Managing steers clear of dry recitations; instead, it brings its points to life and allows the reader to ask herself key questions as to her own behavior and the ways that even the best supervisors or company can improve. At bottom, Wagner and Harter follow one of their best tips: they put the people (readers) first. They do not serve a particular agenda or favor a particular management style. Rather, they help incorporate their 12 elements into any personality or company need. Like the exemplary managers they use as models, these authors have “worked hard to do the right thing for their people” – and with it, earned the success they promise the managers they speak to. --Adult Circulation Staff

American Library Association Literary Award Winners

The complete list of the American Library Association Literary Award Winners is now up at ALA's website. Watch for these award-winning books in Perrot's Youth Services New Book Bin!

More award highlights (click on each book cover to request that item):

Coretta Scott King Award Winners (recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children):

Copper Sun *Click here to request this book* Author Award Winner:
Copper Sun, by Sharon Draper
Amari's perfect life is shattered when her family is murdered. She is dragged aboard a slave ship, sent to the Carolinas, and purchased by a plantation owner as a birthday present for his son. Now all she dreams about is escape.

Moses *Click here to request this book* Illustrator Award Winner:
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Lyrical text describes Harriet Tubman's spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her North to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude.

Zelda and Ivy *Click here to request this book*Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Award Winner (for the most distinguished beginning reader book):
Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways, written and illustrated by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
The fabulous fox sisters return in three fresh, funny stories perfect for beginning readers. This time Zelda and Ivy are combating the injustice of cucumber sandwiches for lunch and deciding what to put in their time capsule.

The Pull of the Ocean *Click here to request this book*Mildred L. Batchelder Award Winner (for the most outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States):
The Pull of the Ocean, by Jean-Claude Mourlevat and translated by Y. Maudet
This social fable, a modern reinterpretation of "Tom Thumb," deftly gives life to memorable characters and explores resonating themes of family and brotherhood.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Book Review: Murder 101

Murder 101 *Click here to request this book*Murder 101, by Maggie Barbieri

This mystery follows an English professor, Alison Bergeron, as she goes through her paces as crime victim, then murder suspect, then victim again in this light academic mystery. She teaches at a small Catholic College on the banks of the Hudson River, is recently divorced, and had her car stolen. The car turned up, but with the body of one of her students inside. And that’s just the beginning of her bad day. . . This is a fun read, possibly the start of a series by Ms. Barbieri. -The Reference Librarians

2007 Children's Literary Award Winners

The winners of many of the 2007 literary awards for children were announced this morning at the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference in Seattle. Click on each book cover to request that item, and stay tuned for more awards updates!

The Higher Power of Lucky *Click here to request this book* Newbery Medal Winner:
The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron
Fearing that her legal guardian plans to abandon her to return to France, ten-year-old aspiring scientist Lucky Trimble is determined to run away while also continuing to seek the Higher Power that will bring stability to her life.

Flotsam *Click here to request this book*Caldecott Medal Winner:
Flotsam, by David Wiesner
A bright boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam—anything floating that has washed ashore. While there, he discovers a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera with its own secrets to share, in this wordless picture book.

American Born Chinese *Click here to request this book*Printz Award Winner
(for excellence in Young Adult literature):
American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
This graphic novel alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in popular culture.

Team Moon *Click here to request this book*Sibert Medal Winner
(for best informational book):
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, by Catherine Thimmesh
Celebrating the people behind the scenes of Apollo 11, this book provides insightful research about all the people who were responsible for landing the first man on the moon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Book Review: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds *Click here to request this book* The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds: A Drama in Two Acts, by Paul Zindel

This two-act play-- the 1971 Pulitzer Prize Winner-- about a dysfunctional family makes quite the disturbing read. Paul Zindel claims that this play is semi-autobiographical in nature, with the author changing his name and sex. He becomes Tillie, a young student with a bitter, man-hating, divorced mother with serious control issues and suicidal tendencies. She also has an epileptic and perhaps mentally disturbed sister, Ruth, a pet rabbit that is killed by her mother, and a severely senile woman named Nanny (whom her mother is paid to care for) living with her. All of this may be a little much for some readers. It would also be a difficult play to act out. Firstly, there are no male characters at all. Second, Tillie’s mother, Beatrice, rewards Ruth by providing her with cigarettes, and it is quite likely that seeing young actors light up (or pretend to) on stage will result in controversy. This is not an easy play to digest, whether it is read or performed. Still, it does make a powerful read.
-Adult Circulation Staff

Friday, January 12, 2007

Expanded Wireless Access Now Available

Perrot has expanded its Wireless Internet Access! You may now access the Internet wirelessly in the Rand Room (Fiction), as well as in the Youth Services Department. Wireless Internet is also available in the Waid (Reference) Room upstairs.

Our Network Name (SSID) is PerrotPublic. [Please note that traffic on our wireless network is not encrypted. You are responsible for securing your own equipment.]

Please comment on this post with questions or suggestions. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Owly Book 4 Coming in April!

Owly Book 4: A Time to Be Brave Attention Young Critics and all Owly Fans!

Exciting News! Volume 4 of Owly, by Andy Runton, is scheduled for release this April!

Top Shelf, Owly's publisher, describes the new book, called A Time to Be Brave: "[It] tells the story of new visitor to the forest. He may be misunderstood because of how he looks, but things aren't always what they seem, and everyone soon finds out that the power of friendship can fix just about anything."

Watch for it in April! We'll let you know right here as soon as it comes in.

Remember to Send the Cat a Birthday Wish

Starting today, send the Cat in the Hat a birthday card for his 50th birthday and help support literacy! You can color in one of three cards and send it off. Then you can see which states have sent the most cards (right now Connecticut is number 3!). Remember, Random House will donate one book to charity for every card you send.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Playaways Are (Finally) Here

Playaway: The first pre-loaded digital audiobook Playaways, the first pre-loaded digital audiobooks, are now available at Perrot. For hygenic
reasons, we will not be circulating the Playaways with headphones. However, you may purchase earbud headphones at either of our circulation desks for $1. You may also use your own headphones, or hook the Playaway up to a car adapter. They run on one AAA battery (provided by the library). The loan period is the same as for other audiobooks (3 weeks).

Click here to see a list of our Playaway titles.

Book Review: Inés of My Soul

Ines of My Soul *Click here to request this book* Inés of My Soul, by Isabel Allende
Heat, passion, blood, warfare-- all these elements are the basis of Allende's new novel. The backdrop is the conquest of Chile by the Spanish in the 1500's. Inés, a poor seamstress from Spain, travels to the Americas to find her husband. Later, after learning that her husband was killed, she falls in love with Pedro de Valdivia, who leads a group of swashbuckling Hidalgos. This novel is full of rich language and lush surroundings. However, I still think Zorro is Allende's best so far. --The Reference Staff

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

DVD Diva: Movies with a Twist

Do you like movies with a double twist? If so, check out these DVDs [click on the DVD cover image to request an item]:

Lucky Number Slevin *Click here to request this DVD*Lucky Number Slevin
A case of mistaken identity lands down-on-his-luck Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin begins to be under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat. He finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get to them before they get him.

Following *Click here to request this DVD*Following
From the director of Memento, a story about a young man's obsession with following strangers at random on the street. This life leads him into a dark underworld, when he is caught in the act by a man who becomes part mentor, part confessor and part evil twin. Together they break into flats and pry into the personal lives of their victims.
More at IMDb

The Game *Click here to request this DVD*The Game
In this thriller, Nicholas Van Orton, a shrewd and successful businessman who is always in control, has been enrolled by his brother in "The Game"--"a profound life experience" with no rules, which begins quietly but soon erupts in a confusing maze of devastating events. Terrorized by forces who seem intent on dismantling all that he has built, Van Orton has to win this deadly game or lose control of everything in his life.

A few other movies to consider: The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, The Village

Comment on this post with your favorite movie-with-a-twist.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Book Review: What Is the What

What Is the What, by Dave Eggers *Click here to request this book*What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel, by Dave Eggers

This amazing work, one of Time's 10 Best Books of 2006, features one of the most memorable and finely-wrought fictional characters that I have experienced. The problem? It's not quite fiction.

The protagonist, Valentino (his Christian name), is a refugee from the civil war in Sudan. His village, Marial Bai, was bombed and attacked; he has assumed that his entire family is dead. Valentino set off with an ever-growing group of other displaced boys, headed for presumed sanctuary across the Ethiopian border. He recounts this absolutely harrowing journey, and his life in refugee camps afterwards, through the lens of his admittedly less-than-spectacular resettled life in Atlanta, Georgia. Valentino, as we meet him in the present day, is in the process of being robbed and assaulted in his own apartment. He is telling his story, piece by piece and albeit only in his head, to his assailants, a useless police officer, an unsympathetic hospital employee, and various other people he meets along the way.

By the time you reach the end of this thick book, you really feel as though you have come to know this character, that you've almost been living inside his head. It is so amazing, you think, that an author could create a character who could move you so much, who you have come to feel is a real person. But wait. Valentino Achak Deng is a real person. He has even written the preface to the book! He says that the book approximates "my own voice" and uses "the basic events of my life as the foundation." However, "Because many passages are fictional, the result is called a novel." "AAAAAAAAAH!" you scream. But what was real! What was fake?! Which of the so many deeply affecting moments in the book actually happened, and which did not? Which were embellishments of the truth, exaggerations provided for maximum literary effect? The written voice of the preface and the actual book are indistinguishable. The lengthy list of acknowledgements features the names of several "characters" that have appeared in the book.

Dave Eggers has succeeded in driving me crazy again, having written an absolutely astounding work that I cannot embrace wholeheartedly because it is not-quite-fiction, and yet not-quite-non-fiction (see A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). Maybe he's doing it to push the literary envelope, but Eggers' refusal to commit to one side or the other almost totally invalidates the emotional experience of the book for me. It cheapens the experience, and somehow I feel it does an injustice to the real-life Valentino Achak Deng, who I'm sure is willing to explore nearly any avenue to raise awareness of the plight of his country and that of the other Lost Boys of Sudan. Maybe I'm missing something, or I'm just too literal, but for now I will continue to have a love-hate relationship with Dave Eggers. --Vicky

The Cat in the Hat Turns 50!

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat SEND A BIRTHDAY CARD TO THE CAT IN THE HAT! He is 50 years old in 2007!

Beginning January 9th, 2007, for every official Cat in the Hat Birthday Card YOU SEND by mail or online, Random House Children's Books will donate one book to First Book, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with new books. For details, visit

And don't forget to visit Perrot's special list of recommended Dr. Seuss books n' more at: Our Picks! Happy 50th to the Cat in the Hat.