New Books: Graphic Novels

If you’ve ever perused the New Book section of the library, you may have noticed an increasing number of graphic novels. In fact, there are currently over thirty of them.  Even if you may not be an avid comic book reader, it’s a worthwhile part of the collection that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Among the titles on the shelf, you’ll find graphic novels with Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman. There are also some based on television shows, such as Castle, Once Upon a Time, and True Blood. I happened to like True Blood: Where Were You?, which recalls a time before the series when vampires first went public with their identities, telling the story from each characters point of view. Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen looks at the complex relationship between the Queen and the Huntsman.
Other graphic novel titles are adaptations of well-known books. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is given its own series. James Patterson’s Zoo, a tale of the animal kingdom fighting back against man, has also been adapted. Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was particularly well-adapted, but it‘s definitely not for kids.
Still others are for those looking for something beyond the traditional superhero titles. Saga, a graphic novel about two warring alien factions, is particularly good. Jerusalem: A Family Portrait tells the story of three generations of one family living in the midst of Israel’s struggles with Palestine. Husbands tells of two gay men who wake up one morning to find themselves married after a crazy Vegas weekend.

There are many titles worth looking into, with new ones coming monthly. There’s a little something for everyone, and you’ll find them in our New Book section.
Heather, the graphic novel goddess

You're Invited to the 25th Annual Trivia Challenge!

Trivia lovers: come test your mind! Join us at the 25th Annual Trivia Challenge - a night of fun supporting READ Ventura County Library Adult Literacy Program.

The 25th Annual Trivia Challenge is Thursday, November 21st at 6pm at the Wedgewood Banquet Center at 5880 Olivas Park Drive, in Ventura 93003. Only $5 admission for audience members. Come and enjoy hors d'oeuvres, a no-host bar and an Opportunity Drawing!

Interested in participating on a team? Please call READ Ventura County Library at (805) 677-7160. This event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Ventura-South.


The last few months have seen several high profile adaptations of American author, L. Frank Baum's major work, THE WIZARD OF OZ. Indeed, due to WICKED, the book and Broadway musical, Baum's story has seldom been out of the mass popular culture consciousness for the past few years.

The summer brought OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, a prequel which imagines how the wizard got to Oz in the first place. Of course that would also involve the back stories of, in this case, three witches, and how they got that way.

This wizard being a bit of a bounder, the story is also spiced up with a bit of romantic intrigue (of which there is none in the Baum original). But ultimately this version comes off as an epic fantasia on the original book, and features some truly spectacular 3-D effects. (This cyclone and the droll credit sequence with its jaunty Danny Elfman score are both knockouts).

GREAT AND POWERFUL was released by Disney Productions which at one time had planned an OZ musical, THE RAINBOW ROAD TO OZ. Originally planned for the Mouseketeers, who actually did a promo for the film on one of Disney's 1950s TV shows, it was never made. Disney finally did do "Return to Oz", loosely based on the second Oz book, in 1985.

Coincidentally (or maybe not) the original MGM 1939 version was released in a 3-D transformation in September. Personally, I've always thought OZ was a 3-D film just waiting to happen, and the detailed set design and camera setups adapt themselves perfectly to the dimensional process. The first circular truck around Munchkinland after Dorothy steps out of black-and-white into dazzling 3-D Technicolor is breathtaking, as is the incredibly choreographed Munchkin mini-opera which follows.

Even the BxW prologue, which looks like something out of John Ford's GRAPES OF WRATH, is enhanced by 3-D, particularly the shots of the barren road leading away from Dorothy's farm which now actually recedes into the far gray distance.

An odd postscript to this year's OZ-mania in a new stage musical which played the Pantages in LA in September. This version uses the MGM score but includes several new songs by, of all people, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (of EVITA/CATS fame). None of the new tunes were especially memorable - sample title: Red Shoe Blues, a song for the Wicked Witch! - and the overall production, co-produced by Sir Andrew himself, and, aside from a dynamic video cyclone, looked surprisingly tacky.

It's now almost difficult to recall that the source material for all this was a charmingly artless story that has been sited as the first (1900) genuinely American fairy tale. Though not without its naive charm, today the book itself seems like a first draft for the MGM film. Several writers labored for months on the beautifully cohesive screenplay, and many of the film's lines pervasively entered the language years ago.The literary Kansas opening takes up only a few pages and, there are no ruby slippers (they're silver) and no suggestion that Dorothy's journey was a dream. MGM did loosely pick up on the original W. W. Denslow illustrations, however, particularly in regard to Dorothy's hairstyle and the basic look of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.

Foster's collection of various editions includes "Journeys Through OZ," with both "Wizard" with Denslow's illustrations, and Baum's second book, "The Marvelous Land of Oz," with John R. Neill's more sophisticated images (and a protagonist - spoiler alert - who turns out to be transexual).

Fans of the book might also search out the comprehensive "Annotated Wizard of Oz," C. N. Potter, NY, 1971. And any film buff would find "The Making of The Wizard of Oz," Knopf, 1977, by film historian Aljean Harmetz, fascinating.

So.... To Oz? To Oz!

The opinions of, and critique by, Ross Care

Find your Halloween Soundtrack on Freegal!

Happy Halloween!

Freegal Music has many great options available for your Halloween party, or anywhere you feel like a little music to get in the mood for the holiday.

Need background music for answering the door on Halloween? A search of either "halloween" or "haunted" produces album results - make your own mix.

Have a spook-tacular time!

Ukuleles - available for check out at E.P. Foster Library!

Catch the Aloha spirit with one of E.P. Foster Library's gorgeous Takamine concert size ukuleles. We only have five ukuleles for check-out and they are going fast!

There will also be a free beginner’s ukulele class: Brad from Anacapa Ukulele will guide you through the tranquil ways of the ukulele. The first class is in the Topping Room Saturday, November 9th at 1pm.

While we are on the subject of ukuleles, our databases [try searching "ukulele songbook"] and our catalog [try a Subject Keyword search for "ukulele"] have some delightful ukulele songbooks. Take some time to explore these options - you will be thoroughly entertained.

Plus! Check out the Fun at Foster blog and the link to Open Library where we discovered many ukulele songbook gems.

Ukulele check-out!

Catch the Aloha spirit with one of or gorgeous Takamine concert size ukuleles. Yes, we are a library and yes, we do check-out ukuleles, we do things a bit differently around here! One word of warning, we have five ukuleles for check-out and they are going fast!!

There will also be a free beginner’s ukulele class, so check one of our ukuleles out or bring your own. Brad from Anacapa Ukulele will guide us through the tranquil ways of the ukulele. The first class is in the Topping room Saturday, November 9th at 1 P.M.

While we are on the subject of ukuleles, our databases have some classic ukulele songbooks, delightful old books that are still relevant today. Our brick and mortar library has some great ukulele books too! Take some time to explore these options, you will be thoroughly entertained.

Check out the link to Open Library where I discovered many ukulele songbook gems.

Basic Internet Skills classes at Prueter Library

Need help computing? The Ray D. Prueter Library is offering one more session of: Basic Internet Skills on:
  * Thursday, Dec. 19 (10am-11am)

Learn Doug Taylor's five-step method for navigating the internet, including the three functions of navigation (scrolling, linking, back & forth) and the two ways to access information (URLs and search engines).

Reservations are required, please call 486-5460.

Ojai Library Presents: Spectacular Jeweled Skeletons - Heavenly Bodies

Dr. Paul Koudounaris will discuss and show pictures from his new book

Heavenly Bodies

Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs  

Death has never looked so beautiful.

Thursday, October 24 at 6:30pm

Paul Koudounaris gained unprecedented access to religious institutions to reveal these fascinating historical artifacts known as “the catacomb saints”.

Richly dressed in fantastic costumes, wigs, crowns, jewels, and armor and hidden for over a century, some of these ornamented skeletons appear in publication  for the first time.


Ojai Library Presents: Local Author Paul Herder

Paul Herder reads from his book

Revolutionary Minds

Saturday, October 12, 1pm

Ojai Library

Revolutionary Minds explores J. Krishnamurti's vision of education and the way in which his views on teaching and learning can inform the day to day challenges of the classroom.

Paul Herder has taught in Krishnamurti schools in America and England.  He is currently teaching at Oak Grove School in Ojai.

Tech Fest at Oak Park Library - October 12

What is Tech Fest?  A kickoff program for the new Robots at the Library program using the Vex IQ robotics kits and AutoDesk.

Tech Fest is for anyone over 8 years old who loves problem solving, computers, building, designing, robotics or engineering. The goal is to encourage the next generation of students to use their imagination, problem solving, team building, and mentoring skills to have fun and solve the problems of the future!

Tech Fest is at the Oak Park Library on the Oak Park High School campus on Saturday, October 12 from 2 to 5pmSign up sheet available at Oak Park Library.  Join Us!

♦ The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department will display their com-mand and control vehicle as well as their bomb disposal robot. 

♦ The Ventura County Fire Department will display their fire equipment.

♦  CSUN ASME Chapter will display, as well as the CSUN Computer Club and the CSUN chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

♦ AeroVironments will display their drones.

 ♦  General Motors will display two electric cars.

♦  Northrop Grumman will bring a display.

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