Fun at Foster's blog

Know Your Pets, and How to Care for Them

Americans spend over sixty billion dollars annually on their pets. The average household spends about $500 a year on pets that range from cats, dogs, and rabbits to exotic birds and reptiles.

With all the time, money, and love we lavish on our pets, it’s important to know how to care for them. Foster Library has many books on cats, dogs, and pets in general to assist you in choosing the best pets for your family and to help you learn how to care for them after you bring them into your home.

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Font to Film: "The Namesake"

Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, The Namesake, tells the story of an Indian couple who, joined in an arranged marriage, begin their lives together as new immigrants in America. Their journey begins steeped in the alienation and culture shock that the two encounter as they settle in and begin building a home and family. The novel is ultimately a multigenerational saga, devoting itself first to the young couple, then to their experiences as young parents, their relationship with their American-born children who become teenagers immersed in contemporary culture, and finally the lives of those children as they grow into adulthood themselves.

Lahiri manages to create an engaging narrative which explores the nature of identity both in terms of the ways our cultures shape us and the impact of our names themselves on who we will eventually become. She also captures the ever-present sense of separateness felt by many immigrants with respect to their new countries and children with respect to parents who seem to be from another world—because, in many ways, they are. Her second-generational protagonist, Gogol (arguably the novel’s main character—Lahiri is herself the child of immigrant parents), struggles to build an identity that distances himself from his parents’ world despite having no guarantees of acceptance from the one he is growing up in.

The Namesake, originally published in 2003, was made into a film that was released in 2006. On the one hand, it seemed like a given that Lahiri’s follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies would receive this treatment, although, as one reviewer pointed out, the book has a pace to it which seems too meandering for the screen (in his words, “Not enough happens. Hardly anything happens”). Additionally, the breadth and complexity of both the themes and characters make a conversion to film a risky proposition. Nonetheless, the film, starring Kal Penn as Gogol and Irrfan Khan and Tabu as his parents, was a critical and commercial success, keeping close to the events of the book and bringing many of its most poignant scenes to life faithfully and with striking, even heart-wrenching emotionality. It must be said, however, that there is a sense of brevity about the film that, particularly when compared with the novel, might leave one feeling it ought to have been several hours longer.

The book The Namesake is available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library, as is Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories. The film is also available through the Ventura County Library system; if it is not at your local branch, you can use the “Request Item” option to have it sent to the branch of your choice. The book review mentioned above, originally published in The Kenyon Review, is available through Literature Resource Center, which can be accessed remotely by Ventura County library card holders through our eLibrary.


Thoughtfully prepared by Ronald Martin.

Three super cool artists on Freegal

Freegal is our music database. You can download 3 free songs a week and you get to keep them! Do I need to repeat that? 3 free songs a week. And they are good songs! I use several apps to discover new music and I'm always pumped when I find something FREE on Freegal. I just wanted to share what I have been listening to lately courtesy of Ventura County Libraries.


1. Josh Ritter - I like his style. Simple, clear and to the point. I really like the song "Wait for love (You know you will)." He has such a nice voice and his lyrics, while sappy at times, are really sweet.



2. Passion Pit - "Sleepyhead" isn't my typical style, but I dig it. I listen to it while I workout and it just makes me feel like I can conquer the world. Ok, maybe that's extreme but it's a fun listen.



3. The Civil Wars - "Poison and Wine" is deep, beautiful and soothing. I just want to listen with a big glass of wine while reading a book in front of a fire. If you don't know The Civil Wars, you should. They aren't making music anymore, but what they did make is good!


Freegal does have a Droid app and an Apple app. It's so easy: download the app, find the library and type in your library card number. No passwords or log-ins! Let there be rejoicing in the streets of Ventura.

What about you? What have you found on Freegal?

Sara R

California Drought Conditions


The Governor of California has recently declared a state of drought emergency for the state. Locally, Lake Casitas shows sad evidence of the extended lack of rain.

The first image was taken in April of 2006. The second image was taken this past Saturday, January 19, 2014. You can see the stark difference between the two images. As residents of Ventura, we all need to do our part to conserve water while we are in this emergency. Foster Library can help with materials on water conservation as well as books about native plants.

Resident Photographer Aleta Rodriguez

Two Dudes, One Pan

Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen, by Jon Shook, is a great cookbook for those of us that are trying to get the most out of the kitchenware we already own. I made two of the recipes from the book, a chicken dish and a pasta dish, both very tasty and uncomplicated to prepare. The great thing is they both were prepared with just one pan and required very little clean-up.  The book provides information for those on a limited budget and short on time to make high-quality food that’s delicious. To be honest, I’ll probably purchase this book for myself. Great job Dudes!

*****David’s Dish

Check out the book at Foster Library, or put a hold on it - we will send it to you!

If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking.

Gluten Free at Foster


What's all the hype about? What is gluten and should you avoid it? Learn more at the talk "Gluten Free?" on:

Saturday, February 1st at 5:00

Learn about gluten free options, and enjoy a free tasting.

Foster Library - 651 E Main St. Ventura     648-2716

Star Wars: Jedi Academy

Jeffrey Brown has done it again. The author of Darth Vader and Son has continued his love of all things Star Wars with Jedi Academy. It’s the story of Roan Novachez, a young boy living on Tatooine, with dreams of attending Pilot Academy Middle School. Instead, he gets an invitation from none other than Yoda himself to attend Jedi Academy. Soon, Roan is millions of miles away on Coruscant, learning how to be a Jedi with other promising students.

Told through journal entries, holomail, and funny observations, Jedi Academy is an amusing and familiar tale of a boy’s first year in middle school. There are class bullies, school sweethearts, and favorite teachers. It has everything you would expect to encounter going through school—except for the Jedi part, of course. Young Roan makes new friends, attends the school dance, takes field trips to other planets, and participates in the science fair, all while learning how to use the Force.

It’s a charming tale that can be enjoyed by all, whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not.

-Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

January Reminders!

A new preschool storytime is starting on Wednesday mornings at 10:30!

Remember to cast your vote for this year’s Newbery & Caldecott winners. The American Library Association will announce the winners during their 2014 Winter Conference on January 27. Let’s see how our choices compare to theirs!

Top nominations so far for the Newbery Award are Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryby Chris Grabenstein and The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata.  For the Caldecot, Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods, written by Mary Quattlebaum and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant, and Inside Outside, written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ventura will have their Annual Art Contest entries on display from January 8 to January 22 on the second floor of the library. Judging and a small reception will be held on Thursday, January 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Teens Teaching Tech will have two sessions this month to help patrons who might have received new electronic gadgets over the holidays. These sessions will be held on January 11 and January 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Library.

Congratulations to our Teen Activity Group for being recognized by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors for their Teens for Teens gift drive this year! They did an awesome job collecting teen gifts for local teens in foster homes. This group is made up of middle- and high-school students and meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 4:00 p.m.

Fun with Food at Foster!

Make! Family night is Tuesday, January 28th at 6:30 p.m.

We will make art out of oreos, m&m's and much more! Please drop in and bring the whole family.

651 E Main St. Ventura  648-2716

Font to Film: "The Last Unicorn"

When a book gets made into a movie, reviews are often mixed. You’ll find loyalists who hold tight to their favorite dog-eared copy and theatergoers who swear the film delivered in ways the printed page never could. Regardless of which camp comes out on top, Hollywood continues to look for the next best-seller or hidden gem to bring to the screen.

In these posts we’ll be looking at titles for which the Ventura County Library carries the book, the film, or both. Then we’ll offer a (spoiler free!) look at what people thought of each version when it was released.

The first title we’ll examine is The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. Published in 1968, it is sometimes classified as a children’s book due to its subject matter, but many libraries include it in their adult fiction or fantasy collections, where it arguably belongs. The story has a broad appeal, has been widely translated, and is generally held up as an example of great fantasy literature. In it, the titular unicorn leaves the security of her forest to search for others like her when she hears that her kind is all but gone from the world. She gains some companions along the way who both direct the action of the plot and challenge the reader’s idea of what a fantasy novel ought to be. The book has a strong sense of self-awareness to it, and the characters even comment directly on their role in the quest and within the expectations of the genre.

An animated film version of The Last Unicorn was released in 1982, a star-studded affair (Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Christopher Lee, Jeff Bridges, and Angela Lansbury are all featured) that presents itself a lot more like a straightforward fantasy story and is often marketed and classified as a children’s movie. The characters make fewer references to the fantasy tropes that surround them, and as a result some of the original story’s meta-commentary is lost. However, despite missing some of what makes the book unique, the movie manages to do a great job of being a compelling—if more conventional—story. It also boasts an impressive soundtrack performed by the folk rock band America!

Both the book and the film are available at E.P. Foster Library, and a graphic novel adaptation that came out in 2011 is also in the Ventura County Library system. If the item you’re after is not available at your local branch, hit the “Request Item” button to have a copy delivered for pickup to the branch of your choosing.

Brought to you by Ronald Martin.

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