Alan Moore – lover of libraries!!

February 5th was National Save our Libraries Day in the UK and Alan Moore, creator of incredibly popular and critically acclaimed series like Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, credits libraries with making him the writer he is today.  Pretty heady stuff.

Image courtesy of Vertigo

Adults read graphic novels too.  So, if that’s your thing you’ll be happy to know that the library has quite a few graphic novels for you on its shelf.  JMRL’s wiki, JMRL Reads, is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something to read.  There’s even a page devoted to ‘great graphic novels for reading adults’ put together by our Gordon Avenue Branch Manager, Meredith Dickens.  Click here to see if any of these titles interest you.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Brillat-Savarin

Photo courtesy of Thorndike Press

Food to some is a method of sustenance; solely a means to fulfill basic biological ends.  How else can one explain such food novelties as spray cheese and bacon flavored soda?  I love food.  While I wouldn’t call myself a ‘foodie,’ as my tastes are not all that exclusive, I love to cook and putter around in my kitchen.  This wasn’t always true.  I lived in Center City, Philadelphia for almost six years and hardly ever visited the kitchen, except to make coffee.  Once I made the decision to live more remotely, it just wasn’t as easy to pick up a pizza or order Chinese food or Pad Thai or whatever was the special at Monk’s Café.  (an awesome place if you ever find yourself in Philly)

I just finished Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake; a surreal tale of nine year old Rose Edlestein’s unique ability to taste her mother’s emotion through food.  Rose is horrified to learn of her outwardly cheerful, exuberant mother’s “absence, hunger, spiraling, hollows.”

The Edlestein’s are a dysfunctional lot and Bender captures their idiosyncrasies in relatable ways.  Rose’s trapped mother, beleaguered father and science genius brother, Joseph, help give Rose an uncanny ability to sniff out hypocrisy.  She eventually reveals her secret to Joseph’s only friend, George.  George is the most normal influence in Rose’s life and it is through him that she is able to hone her skill to a surprising conclusion.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake reminded me of another food-related book I’ve read recently:  Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery.  This book was written and published in France before her sensational hit The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but was issued in the United States in 2009.  Gourmet Rhapsody takes place in the same building as The Elegance…, but its story involves Monsieur Arthens, a well-respected food critic on his death bed.  While acclaimed by his peers in the food world, M. Arthens family feels differently about this distant husband and altogether absent father.

But, M. Arthens is not concerned about his legacy, professional or personal.  M. Arthens is haunted by taste.  His dying wish is to recapture a specific flavor from long ago.  This quest takes the reader on a quick (156 page) jaunt through the food critic’s life, racing through all sorts of culinary episodes, in hopes of returning with the Flavor par excellence.


I am college material!

But are you college ready?

On Saturday, January 29th from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm the Central Library in downtown Charlottesville will host a FREE college readiness seminar to help students learn how to prepare and find money for college.  The library is partnering with the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP Youth Work Committee to make this happen.

Topics will include:

  • K-12 Importance:  How to be college ready
  • College Prep:  How to prepare for tests, essays, and SATs
  • Scholarships & Grants:  Where to find free money for college
  • Balancing School, Work & Home:  Getting support & handling challenges.

Students of all grades are welcome and refreshments will be served.

RSVP by January 22nd to:

Charles Lewis, Youth Work Committee Chair; 434-882-5048 or