After traveling the world and smuggling a suitcase filled with drug money from Chicago to Brussels, Piper reconsidered what her life would be if she continued on this dangerous path. She broke free, created a new life, and was about to be married when her past caught up with her.
Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, CT, the well-heeled college graduate became an inmate. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules.
An adaptation of Piper’s memoir by Jenji Kohan, the Emmy award-winning creator of Weeds, was debuted in July 2013 on Netflix. A contract for season three of this popular show was signed before season two was completed.
Eight out of ten members of “Bound by Books” attended the Fabulous Beekman Boys event at our wonderful library. One of the members wrote the following: The group has been meeting once a month for approximately 15 years . . . the newest member joined eight years ago. We rotate houses and select 10 books to read and discuss each year. We all have children ranging from elementary school age to college graduates. All ten of us have been married 20 or more years to our first/only husband, which we often joke must be some unusual statistic based on current divorce rates and
how many of us there are in the group.
Over the years we have chosen books different ways. At one time, the hostess for the month selected the book. We also tried choosing books by genre. Currently, we each “book talk” three books we like followed by a vote. That way, the hostess has a book she likes and the group has some input as well. We also try to choose books that have discussion questions or are at least books that will spark good discussions. Our January pick was the same as this year's Two Towns One Book pick, so naturally we were thrilled to meet the author and his partner at the wonderful Friends of the Library event. Bound By Books Loved the Fabulous Beekman Boys!
Ryun was the most outstanding middle distance runner of his time. In 1966, at age nineteen, he set world records in the mile and the half-mile runs, and received Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award, as well as the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete, the ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year, and was voted Track & Field News' Athlete of the Year as the world’s best track & field athlete. ESPN.com has him rated as the number 1 high school athlete of all time, beating out people such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James.
Ryun opened the evening by sharing photos and stories of his visit with Louis Zamperinin. Ryun showed pictures from when he and his wife Anne met with Louis and pictures of Zamperini’s running medals and Olympic torches. Ryun laughed about how the 96 year-old Louis skipped his afternoon nap because he was having so much fun visiting with Jim and Anne. Jim remarked on how energetic Louis remains even at his age. Ryun spoke glowingly about Unbroken and what a great book it is and encouraged everyone in the audience to read it.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the presentation was when Ryun talked about his own Olympic experiences. He traveled to Tokyo in 1964 as a wide-eyed 17 year old. Ryun was not yet ready to compete well at that level, but he had a great experience with the culture and the people of Japan. This presented an interesting contrast to the experiences of Louis Zamperini in Japanese prison camps only two decades earlier. Jim pointed out that those Olympics certainly helped the healing process as the United States and Japan were beginning to become allies.
In 1968 the Olympics were held in Mexico City, roughly 8000 feet above sea level. Although Jim Ryun was considered the favorite, he had to “settle” for the silver. One of the most thrilling moments of the evening was when he showed the audience his medal.
Ryun’s stories about the 1972 Olympics in Munich were very moving for two reasons. First, Ryun was tripped by another runner and fell in the semi-finals, even though he was again favored for a medal. The fact that he was not allowed to advance remains to this day one of the most controversial decisions in Olympic history. Even more infamously, those games were marred by the Black September terrorist group. Both Jim and Anne Ryun talked about what it was like to be present at those events, and, like Louis Zamperini, what it has been like to move on in life with a spirit of forgiveness.
Another exciting moment for the audience came toward the end. Ryun showed an ABC Wide World of Sports video from his world record mile race in 1966. Even though the race happened almost 50 years ago, the members of the audience were still on the edge their seats watching the race, even letting out a cheer at the end of the race.
Afterward, Jim and Anne spent over 90 minutes meeting people, signing books and magazine covers, and taking pictures. Having an Olympian at the library, especially one who is so down-to-earth and engaging, was a terrific way to cap off TTOB for 2013.
McElligott's lively sense of humor and brilliant creativity pervade both his wide variety of books for school age children and his author talks. An associate professor of Graphic and Media Design at the Sage College of Albany, McElligott has written and illustrated more than a dozen books. Benjamin Franklinstein Meets Thomas Deadison (co-authored withLarry Tuxbury) and Even Aliens Need Snacks were published in 2012.
To tie in with a series of math-based programs the Youth Services department held in early 2013, Matt's presentation emphasized upper level picture books, such as The Lion's Share, which features both story and illustrations based on mathematical principles, and Bean Thirteen, which deals with prime numbers. Matt also mentioned his other books, such as the Benjamin Franklinstein novels for upper elementary students and his Backbeard the Pirate series for primary grades.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Lehane worked as a counselor with children with cognitive disabilities and those who had been abused, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. His one regret is that no one ever gave him a chance to tend bar!
The award winning novel Mystic Riveris a tense and unnerving psychological thriller. It's also an epic novel of love, faith, loyalty and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves. I found both the book and the movie by the same name spellbinding!
The Given Day is an unflinching family epic that captures the political unrest of a nation caught between a well-patterned past and an unpredictable future. This beautifully written novel of American history tells the story of two families - one black, one white - swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power at the end of World War I.
In The Given Day, Lehane gives a painfully honest portrayal of the bitter racial, ethnic and class divisions that marred America in 1919 and he wraps it up in two engaging family stories. The best historical fiction leads the reader to search out the story in more detail and Lehane succeeds with his descriptions of the little known 1917 race riot in East St. Louis and the 1919 molasses plant explosion in Boston (which was blamed falsely on anarchists rather than on the lack of maintenance by the plant's owners.)
Have you ever met someone or listened to a speaker and thought, "Boy, I would love to sit down and have coffee or tea with that person"? Many had just that experience after hearing Markus Zusak, and wanted to say to him, "Let's go to Moca Lisa afterward." When he spoke from his home in Australia, he was viewed on the large screen - big as life - at the SKYPE event held at the Library. Markus described his background and how he came to write The Book Thief much of which is based loosely on his mother's and father's experiences growing up in Germany during World War II. He is a very humble man with a wonderful sense of humor that made the evening even more fun. Markus fielded questions from a multigenerational audience. Several teenagers had the courage to raise questions, which he graciously answered. This culminating event was a definite success and the use of SKYPE promotes a new venue to reach authors.
In addition to his work at The New York Times, Shortz is also the puzzlemaster on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday and is founder and director of the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
Shortz began his career at Penny Press Magazines, then worked at Games Magazine for 15 years, becoming editor from 1989-1993. Shortz is author or editor of more than 100 books. A member of the National Puzzlers League, Shortz currently serves as league historian for that organization. He is the focus of the 2006 documentary film Wordplay. He counts Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, and Jon Stewart among his many fans.
Shortz currently resides in Pleasantville, NY, where he works from home. Shortz is an avid table tennis player; in May 2011, he opened one of the largest table tennis clubs in the Northeast in Pleasantville.
During the event Shortz discussed his favorite crosswords and puzzlemakers, how crosswords are created, their curious history and his lifelong passion for puzzles. He also answered questions and conducted audience participation word games.
In the end, the Pongs took the game. Will Shortz came to the Library on Monday, December 5th to talk about his work as the Editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle and as Puzzle Master for Weekend Edition Sunday. After talking about some of his favorite puzzles, including one from a 14 year old who had been working on getting a puzzle accepted for the Times for 2 years, he then answered questions from the audience.
The last and most fun part of the program had audience participation as Will divided the attendees into two groups for word games, the Pings and the Pongs. (He's a serious Ping Pong player himself.) He started with categories of words that had one possible alphabetical choice between them (Housing and Urban Development and Labor - the answer is Interior) and moved on to phrases and sentences that had the names of a President in order. For the latter, I was glad that I wasn't playing as I didn't get any of these. One example, Get rum and cake for everyone! (Truman)
It was a wonderful evening with the world's only degreed enigmatologist (one who studies puzzles), and great publicity for the Library as Will's interview on WAMC's The Roundtable brought new people into our wonderful library. The Hospitality committee arranged for a cake with a crossword puzzle on it. Will was very impressed.
Two women warriors, Michaela Sommers from modern NYC and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art of third century Celtic Ireland, connect across time to combine their skills in order to save their families. Along their separate journeys, they have success, but also suffer loss and tragedy. What they do despite these adversities define them.
The first book in this series, Warrior Within, and the second book are filled with action packed fight scenes where the characters utilize their martial arts and sword fighting skills. When the author decided to have her book launch at the Library, she thought it would be fantastic to watch the action come alive by having sword-fighting demonstrations.
The Society for CreativeAnachronism (SCA) readily volunteered to do just that. About fifteen members came dressed in various period costumes ranging from authentic Celtic Irish garb to full Samurai war gear. Amanda Lord reenacted a story about a Celtic warrior named Cú Chulainn's and the audience hung on every word. There were various sparring matches between fencers and swordsmen. The best part of the afternoon for the young adults was getting to try on the chain mail and holding the weaponry. The SCA members were patient and incredibly knowledgeable.
Ms. Cammarata wove the excitement of the demonstration into a reading from her novel and answered some fun questions like: "When is the movie coming out?" While not sure about that, the author is actively pursuing that possibility. She especially loved that so many young adults enjoyed the book.
Ms. Cammarata originally wrote Warriors Within for an adult audience, but found that many young adults were reading it. She specifically geared Eyes of the Goddess to a young adult audience, but kept it mature and fast-paced enough for adults.
Writing is the author's passion and she has combined it with her own quest to help local children with cancer. A portion of her sales are donated to Nick's Fight to be Healed Foundation (NFTBHF). This local non-profit organization was formed in 2009 in memory of the author's son, Nick, who passed away after a four-month battle with Leukemia in 2008. NFTBHF financially and emotionally supports local pediatric cancer patients. When Ms. Cammarata is not writing, she is raising money to fight the devastating effects of pediatric cancer that affects so many families in our area.
Lee Child began his writing career in 1995 after losing his position in television in England due to corporate restructuring. Being a voracious reader, Lee decided to try his hand at writing. The result was Killing Floor, the first Jack Reacher novel, which was an immediate success and launched the series. All of his books feature Jack Reacher, a tall stranger who travels the country without a bag on his back, but still finds himself wrapped up in trouble and acting as an unsung hero to those he meets along the way. In 2010, Child released 61 Hours in May and Worth Dying For two weeks prior to the program. It's not every day that the author of the book currently ranked #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list comes to the Capital District.
After speaking about his work, Mr. Child took questions from the audience, which included asking about when Jack Reacher was coming to Clifton Park. The response? He may have been here already to this town, this library; you never know when and where he'll show up.
This was a wonderful program and based on the line of people who waited patiently for upwards of an hour to get their books signed, a very popular author for our patrons. We could not have accomplished this without the support of our Friends, with additional funding from the Town of Clifton Park. The Friends show great enthusiasm for these author events and the lucky patrons who have the opportunity to hear these authors in person agree.
As a child, while other kids would answer the question of what do you want to be when you grow up by choosing the career of their parents, Margaret longed to have a career that she didn't believe real people actually got to do. She thought all people were farmers, like her father or nurses, like her mother, or doctors or teachers. She thought that authors were only found in books.
Margaret Peterson Haddix did become a writer, the prolific author of more than 20 books beginning with Running Out of Time in 1995. She is the author of The Shadow Children series and also of the tenth and final book of the 39 Clues series which will be available in the fall of 2010. At any given time she has two or three books in various stages of readiness for publication. "I know I have to write a story when the story keeps me awake at night, teases at the back of my brain all day, just won't let me go."
Kids watching houses being constructed, a girl piecing together a Cinderella puzzle, a few minutes of muzziness as an exhausted air traveler...What do these snippets of ordinary life have in common? Margaret Peterson Haddix developed them into three of her highly original, popular novels for children and teens: Among the Hidden, Just Ella and Found.
A former newspaper copy editor, newspaper reporter, community college instructor and freelance writer, Haddix also draws seed ideas for novels from her career experiences. Her lively presentation about her books and life delighted 225 children, teens and adults at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library on May 26. Enthusiastic audience members posed numerous questions about their favorite titles as well as about what it was like to be one of the authors contributing to 39 Clues, a hot multiplatform series for tweens. A book signing followed the program.
Haddix has authored over twenty books for kids and teens, including the seven-part futuristic fiction Shadow Children series. Missing, her current series, chronicles the adventures of contemporary middle school students who travel back in time after discovering that they have been snatched out of past eras. Sabotaged, Missing's third installment, will be published in August.
Haddix's trademark suspenseful plots and treatment of thought-provoking issues intrigue readers around the world. Her works have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. Haddix's books have garnered numerous state reader's choice awards as well as the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award.
Haddix shared the following tips for aspiring writers:
· Read a lot
· Keep a journal
· Pay attention to things around you and think about them a lot
· If working on a book, start with a synopsis but leave room
to change things if a better idea comes along.