Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The wonderful thing about mystery novels is that they come in all shapes and sizes.  What kinds of mysteries do you like?  Mysteries about Los Angeles?  Mysteries that take place in English drawing rooms?  Mysteries with cats…or dogs?  Mysteries about food?  Well, you get the point. This is a great time of year, when the air turns crisp and it gets dark earlier, to curl up with a good mystery. 

The Monrovia Public Library has every kind of whodunit. Here are some new titles, by favorite authors, to take home and read.

When Marcia Clark was acting as the lead prosecutor at the O.J. Simpson trial did she know that in a few years she would start writing well-reviewed mysteries?  Killer Ambition is her latest and its main character is Rachel Knight, who made her debut in Guilt by Association. Ms. Knight is Marcia Clark’s alter ego - a district attorney -
who becomes involved with a Hollywood kidnapping and murder. Suspense and humor easily mix in this legal thriller.

Talk about prolific. When bestselling author Nora Roberts isn't writing romances, she writes police procedurals under the name J.D. Robb. Robb’s newest is Calculated to Death with Lieutenant Eve Dallas of New York City. When Lt. Dallas investigates what seems like a common robbery and murder, she can't shake the feeling that the crime is too perfect. For readers who like their mysteries mixed with romance.

Some of us like to read and eat at the same time and some of us simply like to read about food. Davidson returns with The Whole Enchilada. With almost 20 titles in the Monrovia collection with titles like Sticks and Scones and The Main Corpse, Davidson was once called the creator of the culinary whodunit. The Whole Enchilada stars Colorado caterer and amateur detective Goldy Schulz, who investigates the mysterious death of a friend who had a secret private life.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.         - James Russell Lowell -

When thinking of the millions of ways public libraries are special, I think about how often we read something in the newspaper or see something on television and how we want to know more.  With topic in hand, we call the library, look up books in the online catalog or drop by to see how a librarian can help find information.
A thought-provoking article in the New York Times about bees got the ball rolling.  The Monrovia Public Library has several terrific books on bees. 

The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes and Other Home Uses by Richard Jones is an incredible compendium of information on bees.  It is literally an everything you want to know book that blends biology, botany, history, mythology, cookery and information on how to keep bee hives. The illustrations are terrific and the book is written in a compelling way.

Honey lovers will especially appreciate the book Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis. Drawing on world-wide history from the Stone Age to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to modern beekeepers who raise bees on their roofs, Ellis takes a look at how honeybees and humans have always co-existed. She also talks about the relationship between flora and fauna and how honey has many fans in nature, including Winnie the Pooh.

A World Without Bees by Allison Benjamin is about the collapse of honeybee colonies.  Scientists and apis (bee) experts have been exploring why honeybees throughout the world are dying. This book looks at the possible biological and environmental causes.  Much to think about—all because we use the library.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


When our mothers and grandmothers were in the kitchen they most likely cooked family recipes, recipes from traditional cookbooks like The Joy of Cooking and or the Sunset Casserole Cookbook or maybe even recipes from boxes and cans in the cupboard.

Now that food has become headline news and celebrity chefs show up in People magazine and on their own shows on the Food Network, there are so many more resources for recipes. 
The Monrovia Public Library has every kind of cookbook, old and new, and here are three recent and very different titles to whet your appetites.

101 Classic Cookbooks:  501 Classic Recipes is a collection of recipes from famous cookbooks.  Food writers like Ruth Reichl, the former restaurant critic from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times and food writer Michael Pollan, helped select the favorite recipes found here.  Because the book is also a history of what dishes were popular during the different generations of the twentieth century, this is a great cookbook for real cooks who stand over their stoves, as well as for those who just like to read about food.

Small Bites: Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties by Los Angeles chef Govind Armstrong emphasizes hors d’oeuvres and small dishes that do not require giant pots that need to cook in the oven for hours.  The recipes here are probably more for the adventurous home cook who wants guests to have lots of taste experiences. 

Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast is by the English chef Nigella Lawson who is known for being a Domestic Goddess.  Here she offers recipes for people on the go—those of us with real lives who come home from work exhausted and hungry.  The recipes, which are simple to prepare and offer lots of short cuts to get things done, are suitable for families.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Explore Career Using Free App: Career MOT

Personality tests have been around to help individuals and organizations to find the right candidate for a job.  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one commonly known personality test.  The length questionnaire - designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions - is not free.  It is restricted to use by certified professionals.

For those in a career transition and job seekers who don't have the time or the funds to purchase a fee based personality test, you can explore your career choices through a fun, entertaining, and FREE method available on your smart phone or tablet as an app:  Career MOT.

Career MOT originates from the United Kingdom, but you can download and use it here in the U.S.  To begin, you create your customized avatar.  Then upon completing a quick diagnostic profile, you can find out which careers best suit your characteristics and find the skills required to get you onto the right career path.

For me, completing a profile resulted in a fairly accurate summary of my characteristics and offered food for thought to explore the recommended career options.  To explore career options and job analyses, you can then go to O*Net Online. 

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

Friday, October 18, 2013


When the saying “keeping up with the Joneses” originated, it referred to the family of the author Edith Wharton. Born into money and privilege, Edith Newbold Jones (1862-1937) married well-to-do Teddy Wharton and the two of them had a life of travel and leisure.  What made Edith different from the rest of her social class was that she was an acute observer of society and a fabulously talented writer. 

Edith Wharton wrote about the age she knew, the turn of the century. She was an insider who often wrote stories about the upper class and its foibles. Many of her novels have become American classics that remain popular with contemporary readers.  Several of her titles have been made into movies. She also wrote poetry, short stories and books on decorating.  Her home in Massachusetts called the Mount, which she decorated herself, was literally her castle. The Monrovia Public Library has more than 20 different Edith Wharton titles in its collection.

Some favorites include The Buccaneers, The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome.  The Buccaneers is about a group of wealthy young women whose family’s new money is considered gauche and go to Europe to meet and marry lords, earls and dukes who have royal titles, but no funds. Lily Bart, in The House of Mirth, is a beautiful young woman from a good family and is doomed by the fact she is poor and must depend on wealthy relatives.  Her only out seems to be marriage to a rich husband, a plan that does not work out well.  Edith Wharton stepped away from the wealthy to tell the story of Ethan Frome, a New England farmer with a loveless marriage and a crush on his wife’s young cousin who comes to live with them.  The ending is one of the most heartbreaking in American literature – and no, there are

no spoiler alerts. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Steps to Success Using LinkedIn

Job seekers and business owners are adding LinkedIn to network in an overall strategy to land jobs or new businesses.  Monrovia Public Library devoted September to three separate workshops on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is one of the largest professional social media networking sites.  Here are two great tips from the first workshop:

  • Complete your profile before adding new Contacts/Connections. 
  • Shorten your LinkedIn custom URL (assigned membership ID) to www.linkedin.com/in/YOUR NAME.  Add the new URL link to your resume, business card, etc. to maximize your online presence and quickly retrieve your LinkedIn profile.  

The second LinkedIn workshop addressed successful connections.  Do you know that in your network, there are three degrees of connections?

  • 1st degree connections involve those directly connected to you.
  • 2nd degree connections are connected to your first degree you can reach out to.
  • 3rd degree connections may require more effort to connect.

Reaching out to all three degrees of connections will ultimately help you reach your goal, whether for a new job or more business.  The presenter, Wendy Flood of Sochai Consulting Inc., reminded everyone an advantage to having a LinkedIn account is its search features – finding companies, groups, jobs, and people.

Lastly, the third LinkedIn workshop focused on developing your competitive edge.  That included personal branding and the appropriate use of social media as tools to sell you or your business.  Attendees were introduced to the concept of imagining themselves as a brand.  A new perspective is gained as a result of the value they could bring to a new organization or business in the interactive group segment of the workshop.  

Please stay tuned for future workshops.

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