Wednesday, August 26, 2015


 photo via:

Living in Florida, we are familiar with the vine kudzo, aka the vine that ate the south. The Smithsonian site has an article, The True Story of Kudzu.    

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Library Hours Starting in October

Starting October 2, 2015 the Umatilla Public Library will have new operating hours. We will be open an additional five hours a week.

Monday: 12:00 - 8:00
Tuesday: 12:00 - 8:00
Wednesday: 9:00 - 5:00
Thursday: 9:00 - 5:00
Friday: 9:00 - 5:00
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Age of Miracles Review: a Tender Coming of Age Story as the World Ends

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 
The Age of Miracles is a unique book, the narrator is an older version of the main character Julia looking back on her middle school years when things change. What makes it different is that it’s not just her world changing but everyone’s. The Earth’s rotation has started to slow. Days and nights stretch longer and longer eventually reaching upwards of sixty hours each. A long drawn out ending of the world. 

The science in this book is basically non-existent. The addition of it could have made the book a much more interesting read. That’s not to say that it isn’t a good book. Give the science a pass and enjoy it for the coming of age story it is. 

The writing is eloquent and there are many quotable bits. My favorite passage refers to the title of the book:

"This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove. Our first flaws were emerging, but they were being corrected. Blurry vision could be fixed invisibly with the magic of contact lenses. Crooked teeth were pulled straight with braces. Spotty skin could be chemically cleared. Some girls were turning beautiful. A few boys were growing tall. I knew I still looked like a child."

According to IMDB there is a movie adaptation in the works. 

Maybe everything that happened to me and to my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It's possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”
Spellbinding, haunting, The Age of Miracles is a beautiful novel of catastrophe and survival, growth and change, the story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in an extraordinary time. On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking story of people finding ways to go on, in an ever-evolving world. -Amazon Description 

The book is available through the Lake County Library System in both book and audiobook formats. And through Lake County Library Overdrive  ebook format is available.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Macro Photography - Carnivorous Plants

I have always liked carnivorous plants from the day I  was introduced to venus fly traps in elementary school. My favorites are the hanging pitcher plants also known as monkey cups. So named because monkeys will drink the rainwater collected in the cups. Photographer Joni Niemela he turns his macro lens to the Sundew plant and creates beautiful alien images.
The above image was my favorite from the article. Click here to see the article and more of the work.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Positive by David Wellington

Positive by David Wellington

I had been reading another book when someone returned Positive by David Wellington to the library. The other book I was reading wasn’t a bad book, it was interesting but it did not have me in a hurry to get back to it. When I realized David Wellington was also the author of the Monster Zombie series I returned the other book and dove into Positive.
I had read the Monster Zombie series around 2008 during a zombie themed book binge. While I couldn’t remember the exact storylines I remember rushing home to read them and generally enjoying them. Also book three, Monster Planet had a simple but scary cover. 

Simple but scary cover.

One thing I really enjoyed about Positive is the way David Wellington wrote it, the writing kept feeling like a YA book (the protagonist is around 19) and then bam smacked with adult level terrible things. The story moves quickly never getting stuck or comfortable in a place or situation to long. The zombies are a bit of a backseat horror other people are the true horror drivers in this book. You know what you are going to get from a zombie but it is not that easy to predict what horrors other people are going to inflict.
Positive is a great mix of fun and horror. 

“In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic.

Anyone can be positive . . .

The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan's hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he'll be cleared.

Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.” Amazon Description