Mysteries of the Unknown

Come explore real-life ghost stories and other paranormal mysteries at the library…if you dare! They’re shelved together at the very start of the non-fiction section – look for the 001s and 133s or ask a staff member to point the way.

Ghosts book coverAre you afraid yet? book coverHaunted Histories book coverBeastly Tales book coverMystery of the bermuda triangle book coverAre you psychic? book coverMystery of UFOs book coverEncyclopedia Horrifica

Ghosts: a nonfiction companion to A good night for ghosts / by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce; illustrated by Sal Murdocca

Are you afraid yet?: the science behind scary stuff / written by Stephen James O'Meara; illustrated by Jeremy Kaposy

Haunted histories: creepy castles, dark dungeons, and powerful palaces / J. H. Everett and Marilyn Scott-Waters

Beastly tales: Yeti, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster / written by Malcolm Yorke

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle / Chris Oxlade

Are you psychic?: the official guide for kids / Helaine Becker; Claudia Dávila, illustrator

The mystery of UFOs / by Judith Herbst; illustrated by Greg Clarke

Encyclopedia horrifica: the terrifying truth! about vampires, ghosts, monsters, and more / Joshua Gee

The Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot

Hello Everyone,

Ten of us were at Lakeview to discuss The Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot and all liked it!
We started out discussing the writing style of David Talbot. Three of us mentioned it was difficult to track at times and maybe more editing could have helped that. One pointed out that most of it was based on interviews Talbot had done with participants and observers of these events. The rest thought there was no problem with the writing at all and that the book was gripping and the details based on the extensive research filled gaps we didn't know we had in our own knowledge, which was based on news or books written right at the time. We all felt we understood San Francisco better and many shared their own experiences and knowledge which expanded on the book's information. Our personal stories included antiwar events, taking a coyote to schools to talk about protecting the wilderness and experimenting with new life styles. We thought the author cared about his topics. One noted a review which mentioned frustration that Talbot did not include women's history and its forward movement at the time. Another mentioned that the 60s were a sexist time and we all agreed. I thought he did focus on a few major female leaders who arose at that time and loved the details about those lives such as Dianne Feinstein.
Topics we discussed, from the many covered by Talbot, were the loss of the Fillmore District and the reduction of the Black population in San Francisco from around 30% to 17% (partially remembered numbers on my part). Others were the saving of neighborhoods with the rise of power of the people, with a special note of the quiet and strong uprising Asian communities. Other topics were free clinics, Zodiac and Zebra murders, the charisma and corrupt power of Jim if he were stopped when people in charge began to understand his power, that a mayoral election might be overturned, the clash of conservative blue collar Irish and Italian Catholic with the new hippie movement, the magic of the early love and Flower Power times and their disintegration into crime and repression by the city, the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the power of the press, the stories of lawyer Hallinan and his activist wife, the rise of the gay population and the start of the aides epidemic, the Harvey Milk assassination and the candlelight march of hundreds of thousands of mourning citizens and the legacy of all these events.

We wondered, "Why San Francisco?" for all these major events? We kicked around some ideas and came up with that it started with the Gold Rush in 1849 when San Francisco created itself as a wild, free place where anything goes. We mentioned the feeling people get when leaving a conservative world elsewhere and arriving in San Francisco to the freedom to be different. We discussed the many gay people who were severed from the military during World War II and the Viet Nam war and stayed, creating new lives and a new culture.

We talked of the influence of Herb Caen and The 49ers Superbowl victory on the city. Out of the upheaval of that era has come gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling and renewable energy.

If you haven't read it yet, I would say that this is one you might want to put on your list. Both people who lived in San Francisco or the Bay Area at that time and people who were in other parts of the country felt they understand San Francisco better and are glad they read this modern history.


Happy Reading!
Mary Farrell, Lakeview Branch Manager

In Abundance: authors explore how we got fat.

This year's Summer Reading theme: “Reading is So Delicious” got me thinking and reading about what an abundance of delicious may do to our bodies.
Two journalists and a doctor, all residents of the Bay Area, tackle just this subject.

 How the Food Giants Hooked Us  by Michael MossSalt, Sugar, Fat gives an enlightening and sometimes frightening account of the processed food industry in the United States and beyond. Moss discusses how the biggest names in Big Food once competed for "stomach-share," the amount of food a single person eats during mealtime.  Then snacking was introduced, adding a new, all-day, mealtime to the western diet. These new, heavily marketed snack foods and beverages, Moss explains, are specifically engineered to keep us coming back for more. In the days when snacking was socially discouraged, it was once thought that the amount one could eat was finite and companies had to compete, but now that stomach-share has expanded, we have expanded as well.  He goes on to tell a puzzling anecdote that, in studies at our own Oakland Children's Hospital, kids were found to be both overfed and undernourished. Moss explains that the body wants to keep eating in the hopes of getting proper nutrition, nutrition that is sorely lacking in many modern meals and snacks. 
This book reads both as the history of how we got here in terms of processed foods and as social commentary on what the future may have in store.
 an eater's manifesto / Michael PollanOn the cover of In Defense of Food, Pollan advises: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." He goes on to introduce the notion of "nutritionism," explaining that it’s the study of parts of food, the parts that can be extracted and isolated like vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins.  Pollan cautions that food, real food, is more than the sum of its parts and its complexities and abilities to keep us well are not yet known.  He advises us to eat food and warns that the highly processed, refined, enriched and marketed products we find in most grocery aisles, the stuff that Michel Moss describes in Salt, Sugar, Fat is not food.
Why we get fat and what to do about it / Gary TaubesBoth Moss and fellow journalist Michael Pollan offer what seems to be sound advice: eat more vegetables than meat, eat less sugar, eat less fat.  By contrast, Dr. Gary Taubes in his work Why We Get Fat And What To About It recommends eating as much as you want, so long as it’s meat and fat, and limiting carbohydrate rich foods like breads and pastas.  While Pollan subscribes to the "calories-in-calories-out" theory, basically, you're fat because you eat too much and/or don't exercise enough, Taubes turns this thinking on its head.  You are fat because you eat too many refined carbs and, by-the-way, fat doesn't make you fat.  While Pollan advocates eating, but not too much, Taubes argues that the consumption of fat in any amount is literally immaterial, thermodynamics be damned. I am totally oversimplifying both arguments, please read the books for the real scoop.  Dr. Taubes' advice is completely counterintuitive to mainstream thought on the subject, but his research appears solid.  
So what can you eat? For the super-short version, try Pollan's tiny Food Rules or the appendix of Why We Get Fat.  Pollan's and Taubes' ideas are strikingly opposed, but could they both be right? According to the Stanford study that Taubes references in his work, the answers could be yes. The research proves that caloric restriction on any of the prescribed diets leads to weight-loss and improved health.  Though the study's author, Dr. Gardener leans reservedly towards the Atkins/Taubes approach.  The video is pretty interesting if you've got the time.
 adventures on the alimentary canal / Mary RoachAnd since we're chatting about stuffing our faces, why not get yourself on the waiting list for this appetizing book by Oakland resident Mary Roach: Gulp : adventures on the alimentary canal. It is a snout-to-tail journey of the stuff we put into (and how it comes out of) or bodies.  Like her other books, Gulp is both humorous and eye-opening, but it ain't always pretty.
What books have changed your way of thinking about food?
Happy reading and eating. 
Submitted on 5/17/2013 by Jenera Burton, Piedmont Avenue branch

Children’s Magazines

Have you discovered the children’s magazine section of your local library?

Zoobooks magazine cover

Babybug magazine coverBoys' Life magazine coverDiscovery Girls magazine cover

Magazines are current, browsable, fun -- and OPL has a huge selection of them available to check-out for three weeks at a time. From American Girl to Zoobooks, magazines cover a broad range of topics for all ages. There’s pleasure reading to be found for everyone here!

Kiki magazine cover  Mad magazines at OPL  National Geographic Kids magazine coverRanger Rick magazine coverSports Illustrated for Kids magazine coverWWE Kids magazine coverYour Big Backyard magazine cover

Babybug // Boys’ Life // Discovery Girls // Kiki // Mad // National Geographic Kids // Ranger Rick // Sports Illustrated for Kids // WWE Kids // Your Big Backyard

Children’s Author Spotlight: David Macaulay

When kids have questions, the books of David Macaulay are a solid place to start seeking answers. Macaulay’s nonfiction explores the art, design, and mechanics of buildings, technology, the human body, and more. His books are heavily illustrated and visually engaging, with clear writing that respects the interests and abilities of children. Come to the library to browse his fascinating work for yourself!

Classic Macaulay

New Way Things Work book coverCastle book coverMosque book coverCathedral book coverBuilding Big book coverPyramid book coverWay We Work book cover

Building Big // Castle // Cathedral // Mosque // Pyramid

The new way things work

The way we work : getting to know the amazing human body

New and exciting -- for early readers!

 How it Works book cover How it Works book cover

Castle: How it Works

Jet Plane: How it Works

Can’t get enough? Look for David Macaulay’s award-winning picture books on our shelves, and check out this awesome TED talk for a glimpse of his creative process:


Tis the season…For poetry!

The library circulates poetry books all year long, but April, National Poetry Month, is their time to shine. Whether you’re looking for a traditional poem in picture book form to share with preschoolers, or a collection of silly rhymes for older kids, the library has you covered! Make a visit to the nonfiction section of your local branch – especially the 811.54s – to discover these and other wonderful poetry books for children:

Won-Ton book cover

Joyful Noise book cover

Step Gently Out book cover

A Kick in the Head book cover

Creature Carnival book cover

The Dragons are Singing Tonight book cover

Muu, moo book cover

All the World book cover

Swirl by Swirl book coverWhere the Sidewalk Ends book coverMy People book cover

All the World / written by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee

Creature Carnival / by Marilyn Singer; illustrations by Gris Grimly

The Dragons are Singing Tonight / written by Jack Prelutsky; pictures by Peter Sis

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices / written by Paul Fleischman; illustrated by Eric Beddows

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms / edited by Paul B. Janeczko; illustrated by Chris Raschka

¡Muu, moo!: Rimas de Animales = Animal Nursery Rhymes / selected by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy; English versions by Rosalma Zubizarreta; illustrated by Viví Escrivá

My People / written by Langston Hughes; photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr.

Step Gently Out / poem by Helen Frost; photographs by Rick Lieder

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature / written by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes

Where the Sidewalk Ends / by Shel Silverstein

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku / written by Lee Wardlaw; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

We're not foolin'!

Woohoo, April Fools' Day! Did your kiddos celebrate with a prank or two? Keep that funny bone tickled with these joke, riddle, and wordplay books for young tricksters:

Ha! Ha! Ha! book coverJokelopedia book coverKnock! Knock! book coverPalindromania! book coverRiddle Me This! book coverSix Sick Sheep book coverWhy Did the Chicken Cross the Road? book coverYou Must Be Joking! book cover

Ha! ha! ha!: 1,000+ jokes, riddles, facts, and more by Lyn Thomas

Jokelopedia: the biggest, best, silliest, dumbest, joke book ever! by Ilana Weitzman, Eva Blank, and Rosanne Green

Knock, knock! by Saxton Freymann et al.

Palindromania! by Jon Agee

Riddle me this!: riddles and stories to challenge your mind by Hugh Lupton

Six sick sheep: 101 tongue twisters by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson

Why did the chicken cross the road? by Marla Frazee et al.

You must be joking!: lots of cool jokes by Paul Brewer