Tuesday, April 30, 2013

check this out: FPL staff picks

Keith Rogers, Cataloging Librarian

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

“An inspirational true story about a woman who loses her mother and then herself and somehow finds herself deciding to attempt an extraordinary feet by hiking a large portion of the Pacific Crest Trail alone carrying a pack loaded down with everything but the kitchen sink. The book has a great mix of stories from the trail blended with stories from her life. I found her honesty about her troubles refreshing and that set the tone for a heartfelt transition that only could be found through the daily determination and fortitude of logging mile after mile on a trail. I've always wanted to do some extended trail hiking, and this book made that itch even stronger to the point where I actually went and did it this time. I hope that others are similarly inspired and the PCT gets a boost in traffic as a result.”

Son by Lois Lowry

What a great addition to a series I thought was over. Claire is a strong sympathetic character that the reader can immediately feel compassion for. The first part of the story is powerful in that she moves through life in a daze, simply trusting that the system in place is what is supposed to be and is not to be questioned. But once a spark of curiosity is struck, and she meets her son for the first time, she changes forever and it is like Dorothy waking up to the colorful land of Oz. The second part started off a bit jarringly, and that's the only thing keeping me from giving this a 5 star rating. I lost interest for a while as an entirely different cast of characters was introduced and even Claire was left without her memory. Slowly I did start to care about this world too, but I wish the transition had been handled a little differently. Perhaps have some of those characters introduced in a forward. Part three, though it also jumped to a new world, was at least filled with familiar faces from past books. It was nice seeing them again and the ultimate climax of the story was both exciting and touching. Lowry definitely made this trip back to the world of The Giver worthwhile.”

Karen Hart, Assistant to the Director

The Maiden Lane Series starting with Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt.

Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows the area like the back of her hand--- she cares for its children at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk…   from the book jacket

Lisa Wilkins, Library Page

The fault in our stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten….from the book jacket

Cliff Duncan, Circulation Staff

Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Presents the adventures of John Carter, a Civil War Veteran who is mysteriously transported to Mars, where he fights a variety of enemies with the aid of the lovely Martian princess Dejah Thoris...from the book jacket

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FPL hosts A Conversation on India: Photography and Poetry: Wednesday, May 8 at 7pm

A Conversation on India through Photography and Poetry: An evening celebrating the culture of India featuring photographs by Brenda Gottlieb and poems by Kathryn Lane 
This poetic and visual travel narrative is a journey of the heart and a journey of the soul. Through words and photos, Lane and Gottlieb pull readers into an intensely physical and sensual world, and then go further, into a spiritual world that is at once imaginative and real and compelling. A Conversation on India is an exceptional work of art.

—Lowell Mick White, author of That Demon Life 

Poems and photos are from Kathryn Lane and Brenda Gottlieb's book A Conversation on India.


An older woman drawing art
at her doorstep says
it is auspicious,
a daily ritual, to paint
floor art, wall art,
decorating courtyards, doorways---
a colorful welcome for visitors.

The lines, she says, must be continuous, unbroken,  
to ward off evil spirits, appease deities,
invite all things beautiful to her home.
Rice flour is an offering to Lakshmi,
and serves to feed ants and ravens.
For festivals, Rangoli is painted at sacred spots 
where prayer is practiced.

Geometrical patterns, Lakshmi’s footprints,
a lotus flower, coconut and mango leaves,
designs of elephants or horses, eagles and swans,
all embraced in a circle, finger paintings,
using natural dyes --- tree bark, rose petals, indigo,
or simple chalk lines, folk art, I can bring home
to welcome family, friends and even deities.


I stood in both sunlight and moonlight,
watching brightness and counterglow
play the marble, change the mood,
a cool breeze flirting with a symbol
enduring beyond Mughal rule.

At sunset, from the banks of the Yamuna river,
I saw its golden glow, through polluted air
and the smoky haze of funeral pyres,
echoing ghosts of a thousand elephants who hauled
slabs of marble, baskets of onyx and white clay for mortar.

I rose before sunrise to see the dome
awakening, radiant, symmetrical,
surrounded by four silent sentries,
and gardens --- so lush, to shield
squalor beyond sandstone walls.

By moonlight I witnessed silvery shadows
obscuring seductive curlicue script, floral designs
in turquoise, sapphire, lapis and carnelian.
Shooting past the dome, a falling star flew by ---
falling just for you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

FPL Celebrates National Poetry Month with Walt Whitman: Civil War Poems

Dr. Robert P. Craig and Tom Woods recently gave a presentation on Walt Whitman and his Civil War poetry found in Drum Taps, a portion of Whitman’s life-long work Leaves of Grass

Join us on Wednesday, May 8 at 7pm for Kathryn Lane’s presentation A Conversation on India through Photography and Poetry: An evening celebrating the culture of India featuring photographs by Brenda Gottlieb and poems by Kathryn Lane.

l to r: Dr. Robert P. Craig: Tom Woods

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Check this out: FPL Staff Picks

Mary Keever, Circulation Manager

Moving back and forth between Vermont and New York City, Ten Thousand Saints is an emphatically observed story of a frayed tangle of family members brought painfully together by a death, then carried along in anticipation of a new and unexpected life.  With empathy and masterful skill, Eleanor Henderson has conjured a rich portrait of the modern age and the struggles that unite and divide generations.   ---From the Jacket

A blazingly passionate memoir of identity and love: when a charismatic and troubled young woman dies tragically, her identical twin must struggle to survive

Linda Franco, Circulation Staff


New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the extraordinary friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who won her freedom by the skill of her needle, and the friendship of the First Lady by her devotion.

Donald LeBlanc, Reference Librarian

More than just a remarkable memoir by a remarkable person, Living with Honor is a powerful testament to the human spirit and all that one can achieve when faced with seemingly impossible obstacles. 
  ---From the Jacket

Michelle Farthing, Circulation Staff


The Whisperer…is that rare creation: a thought-provoking, intelligent thriller that is also utterly unputdownable.  
---From the Jacket

Matthew Riley, Reference Librarian

Walt Whitman’s work as a nurse to the wounded soldiers of the Civil War had a profound effect on the way he saw the world. Much less well known is the extraordinary record of his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who led his men in twenty-one major battles –from Antietam to Fredericksburg, Vicksburg to the Wilderness –and almost died in a Confederate prison camp as the fighting ended…Robert Roper has constructed a powerful narrative about America’s greatest crucible, and a compelling, braided story of our most original poet and one of our bravest soldiers. ---From the Jacket

You are invited to attend Walt Whitman: Civil War Poems presented by Dr. Robert P. Craig and Tom Woods. In honor of National Poetry Month, FPL Poetry Series invites you to attend this poetry event. An open mic reading of Walt Whitman poems will follow the presentation. Robert P. Craig has earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Loyola University, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Wayne State University. He has taught philosophy at the University of Houston. Tom Woods is a former NASA engineer and president of the Adult Reading Center.  He is currently a computer consultant.

Thursday, April 18th at 7pm at Friendswood Public Library

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cowboy and Western singer Greg English wows the crowd

Cowboy and Western singer Greg English performed a wonderful set of country music and comedy that wowed the Friendswood Public Library audience!

Greg English swapping hats with littlest cowboy

Monday, April 8, 2013

tonight, April 8 at 6:30pm: communication expert Amy Castro

Communication expert Amy Castro will present Conquering Conflict tonight at 6:30pm: Participants in this workshop will learn: To identify people’s individual conflict styles- including their own, specific verbal and nonverbal techniques to use that can throw water on a flaring conflict, and a new way to view conflict- as an opportunity to improve relationships and outcomes rather than something to be dreaded and avoided. Amy Castro is a communication expert with over 20 years of experience in training, consulting, and coaching organizations and individuals in all aspects of communication. Amy is the author of, “Practical Communication: 25 Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Getting Along and Getting Things Done.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

poems: Vanessa Zimmer-Powell


Walking by the clustered ginger
I knew I should have it
if not for words alone
to celebrate how it rolled off my tongue
to say it softly
ginger  clustered  yellow green

It grows wild
you have to cut it back
create a frame
tame it
so that it doesn't spread
but my eye likes it long, endless out of control
fields of clustered ginger

I think of the wild blackberries
that I fought against in my back yard
the more I crushed them
the hardier they became
strangling what I chose to plant

It wasn't until Hurricane Ike arrived
drowning everything in salt
that I missed them
and wished I would have enjoyed
more of their tart sweet black fruit

Vanessa Zimmer-Powell

Grandpa's New Orleans Farm

Junk-land, wonderland
life buried in the crevices
of plantain leaves, falling mirlitons, pecans
and “whatyoumaycallits” seasoned with the salty air
of Lake Pontchartrain

I look for ripe strawberries
near the old Ford truck
alive with its own garden and field mice;
Jack is braying for me to come along and give him
a taste of that which is ripe, red, sweet;
the horses flick their tales

My grandfather calls my name
as he walks between clothes hanging
from the line behind the back porch;
the faint hint of my grandmother
still lingers on clothespins,
her scent brushes him as he passes by

The cry of “Old Smokey”
echoes from his green, paint peeling dog palace
left in place long after

And my grandfather calls our names
asking us not to leave anything behind,
“Remember the shed with the tools,
and the pin ball machine, and 'whatyoumaycallits'—
they been there for years”

My father's wife digs in the mud
under the shed whose door will not open
too full, too old, too tired,
too broken down
and she lifts these “whatyoumaycallits” to the light
saving them from themselves
and the growing “whatyoumaycallits” around them

My father is working
working against the “whatyoumaycallits”
swearing that he'll never have so many
as he puts a few in his pockets, in his car
and gives them to us for our pockets and cars

My grandfather watches
from his homemade hammock under the tree
his hat is low over his eyes
pecans and bottles, and “this and that”
are at his feet

I am inside now
taking a lamp and a chandelier,
“I will take what I can Grandpa
I will take some of the mud and shallots
I will take the chickens and the rabbits,
and the barking hounds
I will take the strawberries, plantains, and mirlitons
I will take all of the rusty old whatyoumaycallits,
and everything that grows from them

I will take Grandma's house-dresses,
her Catholic icons
some moon pies, and the memory of her pain
I will take everything Grandpa”

Grandpa talks about the whatyoumaycallits,
he talks about his Spanish friend and his bread route,
his corner store, pork chop Po-Boys, his brothers
little Lena and the Lezinas

He is still talking as I get into my car
and my father locks the rusty chains
on the gate behind us

Vanessa Zimmer-Powell

Vanessa Zimmer-Powell is a lover of language, literature, and poetry, and has been writing poetry for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English from the University of Texas at Austin, a Bachelor of Sciences with a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin. During the work day she is a speech and language pathologist at a pediatric rehabilitation clinic. During her off hours she writes poetry, participates in poetry open mics, does yoga, aerial fabric climbing, swing dancing, and enjoys art in Houston. Since her move to Houston in 2010, she has become a member of the “Poets in the Loop” writing group and was one of the 2011 juried poets at the Houston Poetry Festival. She enjoys ekphrastic poetry and has been a featured reader at each reading of the Rice Gallery “Words and Art” reading series. Prior to moving to Houston two years ago, she hosted the poetry open mic at Mod Coffee Shop in Galveston, and was a member of the Galveston Poets Round Table.

Vanessa was a featured poet at our FPL Poetry Series in October of 2012 and we hope to have her back later this year.