Spycraft

When I last posted on Blogging Book Topics, I discussed the Jason Matthews book Red Sparrow (DB 77102). Matthews has written another book featuring Dominika Egorova and Nate Nash called Palace of Treason (DB 82825). This sequel features Dominika, the so-called Red Sparrow, working for the CIA. If you like what I’ll generically call “spy stuff” check out the following books, too. Some are true, some have local Pennsylvania connections, but all are full of the intrigue and suspense that the best books on spy craft contain! Remember, loose lips sink ships.

Cover of The Horseshoe Curve featuring a photo of an old locomotive

The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City
Dennis P McIlnay
DBL 398
During World War II, Adolf Hitler conceived a plot to cripple the American war machine by destroying the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, Pennsylvania. In July 1942, the FBI searched the homes of 225 Altoona residents, suspecting them to be Nazi sympathizers. The author describes these little-known events using information from 300 sources, including diaries, military records, court briefs, and FBI files. Some violence and some strong language. 2007.

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda
Robert Wallace
DB 79210
Wallace, former director of the CIA’s Office of Technical Service, and Melton, an expert on clandestine devices, survey spy gadgets from World War II to the War on Terror. Describes cameras, microphones, disguises, and encryption systems; their use in the field; and transition into the digital age. 2008.

Cover of A Spy Among Friends featuring a foggy photo of the Kremlin with two shadowy figures walking in front of it

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
By Men MacIntyre

DB 79245
Personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files are used to describe the treason committed by twentieth-century spy Kim Philby, who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War while secretly working for the enemy. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2014.

-Eric

Upcoming Program: English and ASL Storytime

Image of families participating in story time activity with the caption "Learn and read with your child in American Sign Language and English

Storytime: English and ASL

Friday, April 22, 2016  
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Celebrate our city’s diverse culture as we explore new words through songs, action rhymes, and stories in both English and American Sign Language. Children of all abilities are welcome. For children birth to 5 years and their caregivers.
Location:
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Leonard C. Staisey Building
4724 Baum Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact:
412-687-2440
1-800-242-0586
lbph@carnegielibrary.org

Upcoming Program: Talking Books @ LBPH

Image of illustration from the cover of One Plus One by JoJo Moyes depicting the book's characters.

Talking Books @ LBPH: One Plus One

Thursday, April 21, 2016  
1:00PM – 2:00PM

Join us for our discussion of 2014 bestseller One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. Single mother Jess Thomas is struggling to raise her ten-year-old math-genius daughter, Tanzie, and teenaged stepson, Nicky. To give Tanzie a chance at a prestigious school, they fly to England and take a road trip to Scotland with technology wizard Ed Nicholls. Nothing goes as planned. This book contains sex, strong language, and violence.
This title is available on BARD as well as through our talking book service. Call 1-800-242-0586 to reserve a copy or for more information.
Location:
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Leonard C. Staisey Building
4724 Baum Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact:
412-687-2440
1-800-242-0586
lbph@carnegielibrary.org

Best of BARD: March 2016

March Madness often comes with it’s share of upsets and Cinderella stories, and it’s nice when worlds collide and that same sense of suspense comes to the small yet equally enticing field of talking book Top Five countdowns. This month’s top seed may be the least surprising of all time – King Patterson’s latest NYPD Red 4 (James Patterson is basically Duke in my analogy here). The real story is that in our Best of BARD for the month of March is that our very own Spooky Pennsylvania cracked the list! Locally recorded as a labor of love by the hardworking employees and volunteers here at LBPH, it’s nice to see the little guys getting into the dance! Let’s keep it up, and we’ll see you next month for the Top Five.

Cover for NYPD Red 4 By James PattersonNYPD Red 4
James Patterson
DB 83545 / CL15925
At a Manhattan movie premiere, a starlet arrives dripping in millions of dollars’ worth of loaned jewelry. After a sudden, loud noise, a vicious crime occurs with millions of witnesses and no suspect. Enter NYPD Red–the elite task force assigned to protect the rich, famous, and connected. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2016.

 

Commander-in-Chief: A Jack Ryan Novel
Mark Greaney; Tom Clancy
DB 83618
As the Russian president secretly incites a series of terrorist actions, only US president Jack Ryan, from Full Force and Effect (DB 80059), recognizes the ominous pattern in the worldwide chaos. While gathering intelligence on the attacks, Ryan struggles to unite the Western nations against the Russian dictator. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2015.

Scandalous Behavior
Stuart Woods
DB 83540
After a series of nonstop adventures, Stone Barrington is eager for some peace and quiet in a rustic setting. No sooner does he land in England, however, than he’s beset by an outrageous demand from a beautiful lady and an offer he can’t refuse. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2016.Cover for The Guest Room by Bohjalian

The Guest Room
Chris Bohjalian
DB 83435
Investment banker Richard Chapman hosts a bachelor party for his brother. By the end of the night, two men are dead, two strippers are on the run, and Richard’s life is in shambles due to a moment of temptation in the guest room. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2016.

Spooky Pennsylvania: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore
S.E. Schlosser
DBC 5575
Pennsylvania folklore traditions are kept alive in these expert retellings by master storyteller S. E. Schlosser. You’ll meet ghosts and witches, hear things that go bump in the night, and feel an icy wind on the back of your neck on a warm summer evening. For high school and adult readers. 2007.

— Tony

Upcoming Program: Alarms, Reminders, and Note Apps

Person using tablet technology to perform a task

Tech Training: Alarms, Reminders, and Note Apps

Wednesday, April 20, 2016  
1:00PM – 2:30PM

Need assistance with your iOS device? Join us for a hands-on tech training focusing on Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and their accessibility options. Please bring your own device if you have one, if not, feel free to use one of ours! For this session, we’ll focus on alarms, reminders, and note apps.
Location:
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Leonard C. Staisey Building
4724 Baum Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact:
412-687-2440
1-800-242-0586
lbph@carnegielibrary.org

Upcoming Program: Advisory & Advocacy Meeting

Advisory & Advocacy Meeting

Tuesday, April 19, 2016  
1:00PM – 2:30PM

Join our open forum to discuss library programming and patron needs regarding accessible services for those with visual impairments.
Location:
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Leonard C. Staisey Building
4724 Baum Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact:
412-687-2440
1-800-242-0586
lbph@carnegielibrary.org

April is National Poetry Month

Banner resembling a black chalkboard that reads "National Poetry Month, April." The font used resembles handwriting.

My earliest memory of reading and writing poetry comes from elementary school. Back then, poetry meant acrostics that spelled my name and nonsensical haikus about nature. When I got to middle school, poetry was transformed from meaningless forms and rhymes to furious scribbles in lined notebooks as I worked out all of my feelings. My interest in poetry began to grow, but for the time being, it was limited to my own angst-filled creations. (I’ve kept my old notebooks and when I need a good laugh, I break one out and reminisce about how ridiculous and unfortunate it was to be a teenager). High school: enter The Odyssey, Shakespeare, and a slew of other writings in verse that I couldn’t understand because I had no context. Why can’t they just say what they mean? I probably asked. I was perplexed. I had no context and no understanding of how to read poetry, and therefore no interest.
Image of book cover for Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine that features a dark gray, ragged sweatshirt hood against a white background.

I tell you all of this to illustrate that as we change, our relationships with the things we read change, too. I like poetry now, but I still rarely choose to read it. If your relationship with poetry is riddled with as much complexity as mine (you love it but you hate it, you don’t understand it or have no desire to, or you just haven’t read it in some time), I highly recommend How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch (DB 48477). Don’t let the title fool you, this “how to do it” book is not prescriptive; it encourages the reader to engage with poetry where they are while discovering the physical and emotional power of poetry. How to Read a Poem is scholarly, but highly readable. Prefer to jump in without testing the water? Try Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins (DB 53069). Collins is the king of approachable and accessible poetry. He’s probably the best poet to start with if you think you don’t like poetry. Already an avid reader of poetry? Try Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (DB 81184). Nominated for the National Book Award in 2014, Citizen is an ethereal meditation on the dynamics of race.

Are you an avid reader of poetry? Have any tips for those of us who just can’t seem to find excitement in verse? Let us know in the comments below!

-Briana A.