Saturday, March 28, 2009

April Program Schedule

Every Tuesday
Laptime at the Library

10:30-10:50 AM: Children's Room
Come sing, read, and play with us! Admission is limited to the first 20 participants. Ages 4 to 18 months

Every Thursday (except April 16th)
Neighbor Time!

10:30-11:00 AM: Children's Room
Song, dancing, and stories! It's big, it's active and it's fun! Admission is limited to the first 90 participants. Tickets are required for entry; you can pick up your tickets starting at 10:00 AM on the day of the program. Ages 4 months to 4 years

Every Saturday
English Conversation Circle
10:00-12:00 PM: Large Meeting Room
Make new friends by speaking with English language learners! Ages 14+

Wednesday, April 7th
Spring & Easter Crafts
3:30-5:00 PM: Children's Room
Drop in for some creative fun! Ages 4-14

Wednesday, April 8th
Video Games!
4:00-7:00 PM: Children's Room
Play family-friendly video games projected onto a large screen! Ages 10+

Wednesday, April 8th
Picturing America: Jacob Lawrence
4:00-4:30 PM: Children's Room
Follow the Great Migration of African-Americans through the bold, colorful work of Jacob Lawrence. Ages 6-12

Sunday, April 26th
Washington National Opera's Madame Butterfly for Children
1:30-2:30 PM: Children's Room
Music, arts and crafts, and more! Ages 6-12


We are closed Sunday, April 12th for Easter.

We are open April 16th, Emancipation Day, but the Neighbor Time! program is cancelled for that day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review - Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Nearly 60 years ago, Joseph Campbell wrote a seminal work, the Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he argued that among all the world's narratives existed a common pattern. Somehow, I doubt he could have ever imagined a story like Otsuka's Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service - about a group of university students who make money by transporting dead bodies.

The main characters are social outcasts - too strange be accepted by the "in" crowd and too average to get ahead professionally among the living. They find solace in each other and earn their income using their unique talents working for the deceased, who arrange for karmic payoffs. One satisfied client rewards them with a winning lottery ticket.

The genius of this manga series is how it manages to balance the tragic with the comic. The heroes' task is to liberate troubled souls, which often belong to victims of murder, abuse, and illness - both physical and mental. These stories within the story are profoundly disturbing. In one case, a "loving" father stores the body of his dead daughter at home to keep him company.

And yet, Otsuka's work is also downright hilarious. The most rational character in the Kurosagi crew is frequently one who communicates via a hand puppet. The heroes, often short on dinero, complain about having to transport corpses using mass transit. It gets to the point where one has to ask: who is more twisted, the story or the reader?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Review - Bartimaeus Trilogy

What do you get when you cross "Harry Potter" with "V for Vendetta?" Answer: Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy.

The series takes place in an alternate world where the
British Empire is a superpower ruled by an elite class of magicians. The story follows the lives of three main characters: Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, and Kitty. Nathaniel is a precocious boy whose magical talent will bring him fame and power in magician society. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, this attention makes him powerful enemies and he finds himself constantly having to outmaneuver political rivals seeking to undercut him for personal gain. For assistance, he often conjures the powerful, but witty djinn Bartimaeus, whose humorous dialogue is one of the story’s highlights.

Adding depth to the story, the author also delves into the life of Kitty, a commoner who has witnessed first-hand the brutality of magician oppression. Kitty joins a secret group comprised of commoners with special talents of their own that plans to overthrow the authoritarian regime. In the process, Kitty’s fate crosses paths with those of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus and all are forced to question their beliefs.

If you're interested, these are the three books in the series:

  1. Amulet of Samarkand
  2. The Golem's Eye
  3. Ptolemy's Gate