The world is at your fingertips @ the library

by John Hunziker
Jay ChangOver the past four years I have come to realize that people in our community see the library as a resource of infinite possibilities and use it in many ways.
Jay Chang stopped by the other day to share his story. I had gotten his name from Louise in the Reference area on the second floor. She had talked with Jay as she saw him in the library and passed his name to me so I gave him a call.
Jay is originally from South Korea where he studied law; he met his wife there. He spent four years in London working with a Korean language paper and then he and his wife traveled to the United States. They originally settled in California where he published a Korean newspaper in Orange County. There were over 600,000 Koreans living in Southern California in 1996.
He and his wife decided that they wanted to raise their family in a less busy part of the country and after researching areas decided on Rochester. They have lived here for 15 years and originally bought a house in Northwest Rochester. Their daughter is at Macalester College in St. Paul and their son is at Mayo High School. Jay’s original dream when they moved to Rochester had been to publish an on-line Korean language newspaper; unfortunately the internet was not as good in the 1990’s as it is today.
Needing to support themselves and their family, they opened a retail store in Miracle Mile called In Vogue. That store grew into two more over time. After 10 years they began tiring of the day-to-day stress of retail sales so they decided to sell the stores. They thought about taking the concept to the Twin Cities area but haven’t found the right location. They have found their version of the American Dream and Jay is now taking some time to find his personal meaning of life. They sold their Northwest house and have moved closer to the downtown area. Jay can easily walk the mile to the library and back home when he chooses.
Jay had thought about returning to Korea and spending time in a monastery environment to find his, “meaning of life” but finds he can do the same thing in the quiet study rooms on the second floor of the library. He brings his laptop and connects to the Wi-Fi and explores what other people have thought, whether they are Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or various Christian philosophies. One of his favorite authors at this time is Richard Dawkins who wrote the God Delusion; Jay says that he agrees with about 90% of what Dawkins writes.
Along with his search for his own meaning of life, his personal journey, he as two goals. He still wants to publish an online magazine focused on the worldwide Korean population. He actually has a number of online blogs at this time, although they are in Korean. If they are successful he will consider English versions. Secondly he has studied for and passed in September his realtors’ tests. He spent 10 hours a day for two weeks at the library preparing for the tests as he wanted to pass the first time. He wants to be a commercial realty consultant working with people who want to invest in U.S. properties.
Jay says that with the library and our internet access, the philosophies of the world are at his finger tips.

Rochester Reads 2012

The Rochester Reads committee decided to highlight the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War by selecting two books by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/author Tony Horwitz, as well as a junior title for middle-school students, and a picture book for the pre-school-kindergarten crowd. Confederates in the Attic: dispatches from America’s unfinished Civil War (1998), and Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War (2011) are the two adult titles. Tony Horwitz will be speaking on the topic of Civil War and the origins of the conflict on Monday, April 9 at Willow Creek Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

The junior title is The River Between Us by Richard Peck, and the picture book is B is for Battlecry by Minnesota author Patricia Bauer, who will be visiting several Rochester classrooms on April 10 as part of Rochester Reads.

In addition to the author visits, we will be hosting a kick-off event with Mayor Brede and the musical group The New Pearl Buttons  on February 13 at the library, and there will be a number of other events – lectures on the Civil War, children’s & YA events, book discussion groups – in March and April. All information will be available on the as events are finalized.

Rochester Reads 2012 is sponsored by:
Friends of the Rochester Public Library
Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Post-Bulletin Company
Doubletree Hotel

and partnered with:

Adult and Family Literacy Program
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Diversity Council
The History Center of Olmsted County
Post-Bulletin Company
Rochester Public Library
Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Community and Technical College

WWW -Dr. Amit Sood

Dr. Amit Sood will be presenting at the 11th annual Wit, Wisdom and Wine fundraising event on Saturday, January 14, 2012.

Mayo SMART Program (Mayo Stress Management And Resiliency Training Program)

Stress is perceived when there is an imbalance between the demands placed on us and our ability to meet those demands while maintaining well-being.  On-going stress has a negative effect on our health, happiness, relationships, and quality of life.  Excessive stress also sometimes affects our attention, memory, judgment, and decision making.
In this workshop you will understand how our brain and mind generate undesirable stress every day, even during routine daily activities.  Based on this understanding you will learn a two step program that will empower you to better handle your stressors, and as a result enhance your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
The program will be taught by Dr. Amit Sood, Director of Research and Practice at the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.  Dr. Sood teaches this program to patients, fellow physicians, and other staff members at Mayo Clinic.  He has held several national workshops to teach this program and is conducting multiple research studies at Mayo Clinic incorporating stress management.  Dr. Sood is the author of a recently published book, Train Your Brain Engage Your Heart Transform Your Life.

Gift Certificates to the Friends Bookstore

Give the gift that keeps on giving – all through the year that will delight the readers in your family and circle of friends. Gift Certificates to the Friends Bookstore come in any denomination from $5 up. And while you are at it, give them a Friends membership which gives them an additional 20% discount! Win win!

Book Review – Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Book Review

Maximum Ride:  
The Angel Experiment
James Patterson
With 13 days remaining until Christmas, I’m getting a littlestressed out.  I’ve done all of myshopping with one exception:  Istill have to buy for the readers on my list.  And I can’t just buy any book and hope it’s good.  Nope…not me.  I can’t give a book unless I both know it’s a good book, ANDknow that the intended reader will identify with it in some way.  So I’ve been doing a lot of reading!
One of the recipients on my list is a 14-year-old girl whois a voracious reader.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read any YA novels, so I honestly didn’t know where tostart.  And then someone suggestedJames Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. I was familiar with Patterson and I’d read several of his novels, but –though I was aware the series existed – I wasn’t aware that the target audiencewas young adult readers.  With my 14-year old friend in mind, I picked up Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.
Had a I realized in advance that this series was stronglybased in science fiction, I can assure you I would never have even consideredreading it, even as an advance screening for a gift.  After all, I’ve often proclaimed that I’ll read anythingexcept science fiction.  It’s justnot a genre I enjoy…or so I thought. It would seem that I should rethink my aversion to science fiction,because I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading theremainder of the series.
Maximum Ride is a 14-year-old girl who isn’t your normalteenager.  She and her friends havebeen experimentally mutated by “The School” and have an avian bone structureand wings like a bird.  At firstglance, they look like any other group of kids…except for the 13-foot wingspanthey keep carefully concealed under a windbreaker to avoid notice.
Four years before the opening of this book, Max and her friendswere secretly liberated from “The School” and have been hiding from the Erasers– creatures genetically mutated into wolf-like half-humans, created for the purposeof hunting them down and either killing them or returning them to “The School.”  Max and her friends have been locatedby the Erasers, and now they’re onthe run for their lives.  Whetherthey escape unscathed is something you’ll have to discover for yourself byreading the book.
As an adult, I must admit I was surprised at how much Ienjoyed this book.  While thetarget audience is young adults (probably grade 5 and above) I found that thetwists and turns made it completely enjoyable for adults to read as well.  The short chapters would be especiallyattractive for young readers or busy adults, as they allow the reader to pickthe book up for a quick read and then put it down without investing a full halfhour on a chapter.
Maximum Ride was a truly outstanding read and willdefinitely be in the “to open” pile for my young friend on Christmas morning.  I may even consider it for one or moreof my adult reading friends.
For more information about the Maximum Ride series of books,visit the author’s website dedicated to this series byfollowing this link.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong

Friends’ Annual Meeting

2012 Friends of the Rochester Public Library Annual Meeting
Mark your calendars for the Friends of the Rochester Public Library annual meeting in the Auditorium
on Monday January 30, 2012, at 11:30 a.m. Following a delicious lunch a short business meeting will be held to elect new officers and board members.
We will celebrate a successful 2011, review our achievements and give a preview and dates for 2012 activities. Dr. Gerald Anderson, historian and mystery author, will then talk about the evolution of the mystery story genre. His talk is titled – The Mystery Story, Then and Now (and Why We All Love A Good Murder).
In order to plan for food please RSVP by January 24 to Elizabeth Ritman 282-9708, Gail Harris or Marilyn Campbell 328-2341.

Meeting Speaker: Dr. Gerald Anderson
We are delighted that Dr. Gerald Anderson will be our guest speaker for the Annual Meeting on Monday January 30th, 2012. Dr. Anderson received his BA at Concordia College Moorhead, Minnesota with majors in History and Political Science, MA from North Dakota State University, Fargo and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
He recently retired after 22 years as Associate Professor of History from the North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. He has had other extensive teaching experience at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa; Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa; Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa; Austin Community College, Austin, Minnesota and more.
He has received numerous National and International Funded Grants, and Academic Teaching Honors. He is listed in the Who’s Who in America— Midwest Edition from 1978 to the present. Dr. Anderson has had many articles published, but most pertinent for the purposes of his talk are his published mystery novels that are set in Minnesota. The latest one published in 2011 by North Star Press is entitled Murder in Bemidji or Paul’s Bloody Trousers.
The title of his talk is The Mystery Story, Then and Now (and Why We All Love a Good Murder). He intends to speak in a general way about the evolution of the mystery story genre from Edgar Allan Poe to Wilkie Collins and Dostoyevsky. Dr. Anderson will mention the golden age of mysteries such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and then some general comments about today’s mystery writers and finish with comment on his books and how he writes them.

Book Review – Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Book Review
Alvin Ho:  Allergic to Girls, School, 
and Other Scary Things
Lenore Look

I absolutely love the holidays.  I love the giving of gifts, and my favorite gift to give isa really good book.  I love theidea of choosing exactly the “right” story to appeal to the recipient’spersonality, and I love the idea of that person paging through the book andidentifying with the characters. So, for me, choosing a book as a gift is a fairly detailed process andsometimes requires hours of my time to select just the right one.
This year, the difficult reader on my list is my 7 year oldnephew.  I wanted to find a bookthat he could read quietly to himself (he’s reading at a 3rd gradelevel in 1st grade!), but one that would also be fun for his folksto read with him if they wanted some quality family time.  I think I hit the jackpot with AlvinHo:  Allergic to Girls, School andOther Scary Things.
I chose this book strictly based upon the title.  What could be more fun than a 1stgrade boy who’s allergic to girls and school?  There must be a story in there and, with any luck, it wouldbe a story that would give the reader a chuckle.  If my own 7 year old’s belly laughs are any indication, thisbook will definitely appeal to my nephew and likely any other 1stthrough 3rd grade boy on your holiday list.
Alvin Ho is simply adorable!  He’s an Asian-American child who is quite literally afraidof everything.  When he goes toschool, he becomes so terrified of the teacher and other students that hesimply can’t speak.  Kids will lovethe lists he makes regarding how to make friends, and the trouble he gets intoas he turns to his older brother, Calvin, for advice.
Parents, on the other hand, will love the moral lessons he’staught as each of his schemes to overcome his fears blows up on him.  There are important lessons on “How tobe a gentleman,” the importance of avoiding peer pressure, and evenunderstanding the difference between “borrowing” and “stealing.”   
Without a doubt, Alvin Ho is priceless and is sure to bringmore than a few giggles to young readers and their parents.
This title is the first in a series of Alvin Ho booksavailable in digital and traditional format through the library.
For more information on this book or the author, visit the RandomHouse website dedicated to this author and her books by following this link.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong

Gift membership

(An Extraordinary Friend of the Library!)
Give a Gift Membership for that special reader in your life: family, friends, strangers even (e.g. an annonymous donation could be given to a local family that would help them throughout the year)!

A gift of membership at the Friends of the Rochester Public Library will delight friends and family throughout the year while providing important financial support to the Library. Share your passion for lifelong learning and reading!

You may give a gift Membership from $10 (see below):
Book Collector      $100 and over             
      Book Lover           $50 – $99                     

      Book Reader         $20 – $49                   
      Bookworm*          $10 – $19     (*students and seniors)         

For information about the Friends go to our website
Or visit the Friends Bookstore or Library  for our membership brochures

We also have gift cards in any denomination from $5 to help with your holiday shopping!

Please note your current email address on your renewal form to receive furture events or special offers just for Members.

Thank you for your support!

Book Review – The Black Echo

Book Review
The Black Echo
(Harry Bosch Series – Book #1)
Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly is one of those authors whose name keeps creeping up on me.  He’s a prolific writer and has published more than two-dozen novels in the last twenty years.  Until last week, I’d never read anything by Connelly, mostly because he came highly recommended by the two men in my life whose reading preferences couldn’t be more different than my own.  But, after more than a little prodding, I gave in and decided to give Connelly a try.  After all, what could it really hurt?  If I didn’t like him, then I could simply quit reading and move onto something else.  If, however, I found something compelling in his writing, then maybe I’d have a new favorite author.  The answer would be in the reading.
Black Echo is the first in the Harry Bosch series of novels based upon a homicide detective who has been demoted to the most undesirable homicide beat in his department because he’s not part of the “family” and doesn’t play by the rules.  He’s narrowly escaped one Internal Affairs investigation, and that department is still chomping at the bit to find anything at all that will allow them to bring him down, and they are relentless in their harassment and pursuit.
The premise of this book surrounds the suspicious drug overdose death of a Vietnam Veteran and the seemingly (at first) unrelated bank vault robbery a year prior.  Harry Bosch is teamed up with FBI agent Eleanor Wish as the two work together to solve both crimes while attempting to understand how they were related.
This book has more twists and turns than the average mystery/action/suspense/thriller novel and I found myself not only holding my breath while turning the pages,but repeatedly thinking what an excellent movie this book would make.  Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I was thrown yet another curve ball and then another that left me with my jaw dropping and shaking my head at myself for never suspecting the final outcome.
The verdict, then? I loved it and wish I hadn’t been so hard-headed and resistant to giving Michael Connelly a try.  I will definitely read more in this series to see where this character goes, and it might even make my Christmas Gift List for those few hard-to-please readers on my list.
For more information on the Harry Bosch series of books by Michael Connelly, or more information about this author specifically, visit the author’s website at
~ Catherine H. Armstrong