Wednesday, July 31, 2013

People are Talking About...

Certain books, usually bestsellers, make it onto the front pages of newspapers and onto the evening news.  Sometimes controversial and sometimes just original, they are read and then discussed on talk shows, around kitchen tables and in online forums.                
Three recent titles falling into this category are on the new shelves at the Monrovia Public Library.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Cheryl Sandburg, the CEO of Facebook, confronts the truth of why women are always in the minority in leadership positions—whether at home, in the office or in government.  She encourages women to be ambitious and proactively “lean in” and make and take opportunities to get ahead.

George Packer’s new book Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America examines the United States in the last thirty years and shows the breakdown that has occurred between citizens and American institutions, including government and the work place.  His view that elected officials and industries have not contributed the well-being of Americans is a controversial and much-discussed idea.

The Supreme Court is always a hot topic.  Martha Coyle’s The Roberts Court: The Struggle for a Constitution is an inside look at the high court and how and why its members have made recent decisions.  The author, an experienced reporter, manages to analyze the court without letting her personal opinions dictate the information. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Spend the Dog Days of Summer with the Novel T’s

The Novel T’s Book Club meets at the Monrovia Public Library every 4th Tuesday at 6:45 to discuss literary works selected by the members, with a representation of both fiction and non-fiction.  The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout was the topic of our July book discussion. The accidental death of the family patriarch and its effect on the lives of Burgess siblings is a predominant theme that runs through this book. Intertwined with this plot thread is the presence of a Somali immigrant community and their attempts to make a new life for themselves in a small town in Maine. The Burgess Boys was an insightful commentary on family dynamics, as well as a story of the immigrant experience and the family structure in various cultures.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is our August 27th selection. Mr. Hosseini is the New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. His new novel is about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

The selection for September is Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. Books will be chosen by members for the subsequent months at the August meeting.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Are Job Boards Helpful To Land Jobs?

There you are in front of the computer screen typing away to search and apply for job openings and waiting for a response.  How's it going for you?  Are you finding that you are making the most of your time on your job search?

You can always start fresh by evaluating how much of your time is devoted to job search with a form you can download and write out to help you see where your time is actually spent found here:
Week's Schedule 

By actually writing down and examining where your time is spent, it may be a wake up call to add or change your daily schedule to help manage your time better.

Next.  Let's see where you are finding job openings to apply.  Are you solely relying on job boards?  According to a study by Millenial Branding, Gen Y consulting firm, and, a career resources site, 87 percent of baby boomers chose job boards as their first resource.

Unfortunately, job boards just don't deliver as much as it is thought according to CareerXroads, a recruiting site, as 12 percent of all hires can be attributed to job boards.

Job boards aggregators such as and may be better options than a well-known giant site such as  According to an executive coaching and career managing consulting firm in New York City, Paul Bernard suggests using a niche job board, which specializes in particular job functions and industries.  Listed below are few of the ones Bernard recommend:

The rest of the recommended niche job boards can be found here: 
Paul Bernard Recommends 

Lastly, Bernard suggests having 10-20-70 Approach for Job Hunting:
  • 10 percent spent on looking for a job responding to online/job boards
  • 20 percent interacting with recruiters
  • 70 percent to in-person, phone and online networking
And when it comes to networking, do you know that Monrovia Public Library will be offering LinkedIn extravaganza in September to help you create a professional profile, make connections and develop your competitive edge.
Please mark your calendars ahead for the upcoming events.  

Monrovia Public Library continues to provide job and career related information and resources!

Monday, July 22, 2013


So what are you reading this summer? Fiction? Non-Fiction? Romance? Mystery?  Humor? Adventure?  With the sun out and maybe a little bit of free time, what’s on your reading list?  Here are some brand new titles that will tickle your reading fancy, whether you are at the beach or in your backyard. 

With Bad Monkey mystery writer Carl Hiassen returns to his favorite Florida setting and spins a hilarious story of an ex-cop and some misbehaving bad guys who get their come-uppance. 

I once heard someone say that essayist David Sedaris is laugh out loud funny.  Another critic said that he has the ability to "take everyday events and spin them into yarn long enough to knit a bulky sweater."  Sedaris' newest book is called Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, which not only finds humor in life's smallest events, but manages to find a love story in each. 

Susan Wiggs writes gentle romances and family stories that readers like to tell their friends about.  Set in Sonoma, The Apple Orchard is about Tess Delaney, who unexpectedly inherits a farm and then learns that the other half has been inherited by a sister she never knew. 

Like a book where you can pick it up and put it down? Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns is written by journalists unknown to us and some favorite contemporary writers, like Peggy Noonan and Mitch Albom. The topics, people and places covered in this thought-provoking book will make you fall in love with good writing all over again.

Edward Rutherford writes grand epics of historical fiction whose locations play as important a role as do the many characters.  His newest is Paris.  Here the many generations of the de Cygne family grow up as the City of Light evolves from 1261 to 1968.  For summer readers who love a big story.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Tom Brokaw called the men and women of World War II The Greatest Generation and wrote a book with the same title.  He saluted the men and women who went to war and watched over the home front.

The Monrovia Public Library has some has many intriguing books about World War II. Two books by the same author, Mitchell Zuckoff, have been chosen as some of the best books of the years they were published.  With a great flair for finding and telling little known tales from that era, Zuckoff knows how to place the reader in the middle of the action.

Zuckoff’s 2011 book Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, And the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II will appeal to history buffs and adventure readers. A gripping and true survival story, this is about another plane crash at the end of World War II -  in the New Guinea jungle. Of the twenty-four U.S. military members on board, three survive—a WAC, a young lieutenant whose twin is killed in the crash and an injured sergeant.  The author captures each character and tells the vivid story in a nail-biting page-turner.

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and the Modern Quest for the Heroes of World War II, published in 2013, is the thrilling survival story of a cargo plane that crash lands in Greenland in 1942.  The planes and crews sent to rescue the downed plane do not reach it—one crashes and the second disappears.  Here the author tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the second rescue team and gives a personal account of the courageous current-day expedition that tried to find that missing rescue plane.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Down the Hatch - the witty and weird aspects of science

Who knew that science could be funny?  Science writer Mary Roach has made a career of writing well-researched and witty books that explore the most surprising, humorous and sometimes weird aspects of science. Her newest book is Gulp:  Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, an uproarious trip to both ends of the digestive tract.  Here, for instance, is what she says about digestion: “The human digestive track is like the Amtrak line from Seattle to Los Angeles; transit time is about thirty hours, and the scenery on the last leg is pretty monotonous".  Fabulously reviewed everywhere, Gulp will give you food for thought, so to speak, and tickle your funny bone.

If you like to read a book that does two things: makes you think and makes you look up from the pages and say “I didn’t know that,” then writer Mary Roach is for you.  The Monrovia Public Library also owns Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife; Bonk: The Curious Science of Coupling of Science and Sex and Packing for Mars: The Curious Life of Science in the Void.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Part-Time Jobs with Benefits

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures for Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana show a decrease in unemployment of 10% in May 2012 to 8.3% in May 2013.  That's good news.

However, many are still struggling with finding work with benefits.  Did you know there are companies offering benefits for part-time work?  Here is a list of some popular companies with links provided for more benefits information:

Part-time employees who average 20 hours per week are eligible for the 
health benefit plan, as well as a basic dental care plan after 180 days of employment. Costco Link

This outdoor gear retailer provides benefits for employees who work less than 20 hours a week.  REI Link 

This educational company offers part-timers limited medical, dental, paid
time off, and commuter benefits.  Kaplan Link 

This national temp agency offers medical benefits to its contracted workers who put in at least 20 hours per week.  Medical benefits include dental and vision coverage, and spouses and dependent children eligible for the insurance.  Aerotek Link

Employees need to work 240 hours quarterly (just about 20 hours per week) to be eligible for medical, dental, life and disability insurance. Starbucks Link 

This moving and storage company offers several benefits to 
part-timers,including a limited-care medical plan, dental insurance, 
travel insurance, U-Haul discounts, and a 401(k).  U-Haul Link

 Monrovia Public Library continues to provide job and career related information and resources!