Blogs

Troy Laundry Company
Photo courtesy of Edith C. Smith Collection/Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, San Jose State University As a teenager in the 1970s, I remember going with my dad one time to pick up his cleaning. That sounds pretty boring, but when we pulled up to the cleaners, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was an incredible old building that looked as though it had stood untouched for fifty years, and that was in fact pretty much the situation. The signage, the windows, the doors, the paint; everything appeared to have been untouched since the day the building was...Read more...
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Sci-fi is one of the areas where YA fiction really excels. Here are a few titles that can get you started or can feed your love of the genre. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card : Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer-simulated war games at the Battle School; in fact, he is engaged in something far more desperate. Ender is the result of decades of genetic experimentation, Earth's attempt to make the military genius that the planet needs in its all-out war with an alien enemy. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will...Read more...
Bossypants cover
Like many others in the Bay Area, I have a lengthy commute every day. When I get tired of listening to top forty radio, the news on NPR, or whatever CDs I have lying around my car I love listening to audiobooks. SJPL has a great collection of audiobooks for you to enjoy. Below are some humorous choices for your drive home. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris David Sedaris, an NPR favorite, is consistently hilarious. In this audio version of his sixth collection of essays he reflects on, among other things, language barriers, his relationship with...Read more...
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns cover
Do you like to read well written books with family and relationship themes? If the answer is yes, then you may enjoy reading the following titles. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway : Gal Garner doesn't have much spare time what with her teaching job and frequent hospital visits due to her kidney disease. What time she has is devoted to cultivating a new rose variety. Her strictly ordered life is turned upside down by the arrival of her teenage niece. The Secret Keeper: A Novel by Kate Morton : At a family picnic, sixteen-year-old...Read more...
Historic El Camino Real sign
Photo: El Camino Real marker along The Alameda in San Jose Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I was curious about the green bell poles that you occasionally see alongside our roadways. I got to thinking about them recently, and decided to research them a little. It turns out that they mark roadways that are generally considered to be a part of the original El Camino Real, or "Royal Road" ( California Historical Landmark #784 ). The El Camino Real began as a footpath to connect a series of twenty-one Spanish missions (from San Diego to Solano), two pueblos...Read more...
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I always thought that Casanova was a legendary, if not mythical, figure -- a one-dimensional Don Juan who seduced women and did little else. I found out recently I was wrong. Casanova was an historical person. He wrote a book about his adventures, and those adventures go considerably beyond a series of romantic conquests. To find out for yourself, check out our translation of Casanova’s History of My Life , as well as these other stories about adventurous lives. History of My Life by Giacomo Casanova: The colorful memoirs of the legendary eighteenth-century lover recall not only his amorous exploits,...Read more...
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Anonymous
Schurra's Candy store in the 1930s
Schurra's in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Schurra's Fine Confections Back in the 1980s (not so long ago), I had a girlfriend who lived on Sunol Street. One end of the street meets The Alameda, and right on the southeast corner was Schurra’s Candy Factory. Walking passed the store at night, we’d put our noses near the narrow crack between the double doors near the back of the building where they made the candy. Pure heaven. We felt like Charlie Bucket standing outside the gates of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. Before moving next door to the present location, you could...Read more...
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Positive Discipline for Preschoolers
Are you a parent interested in raising emotionally and financially responsible children? Then check out the titles below. Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Thomas Gordon : This is the revised addition of an old favorite of many enthusiastic readers, which aims to teach parents to use better communication and less permissiveness to encourage children to own and solve their own problems. The P.E.T. methods will allow the child to become more responsible in a loving and nurturing environment, resulting in less tantrums and conflict. Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who...Read more...
Graceling cover
If you’re a fan of lighter fantasy with a romantic slant for younger adults, you might enjoy these five books: Sunshine by Robin McKinley. When Sunshine, a coffee shop baker, finds herself shackled inside an old mansion, she must draw upon her inner strength to escape. Her fellow captive, Constantine, turns out to be an appealing vampire with common enemies. Sunshine and Constantine become entangled in a complicated, shadowy and sometimes amusing relationship. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Katsa lives in a world in which some people are born with natural skills, called Graces. Horrified to learn that her own Grace...Read more...
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Anonymous
Graham Avenue
Photo courtesy of San Jose Evening News A foreman of the San Jose Mercury Herald Press Room for forty-one years (1893 – 1934), John (Jack) Martin Graham was one of the valley’s best known baseball writers. Writing columns in the Mercury Herald, he promoted amateur baseball, even arranging games and settling disputes. In the early 1920s, he encouraged readers to visit Japantown to watch the Japanese community’s team at a time when anti-Asian sentiment was strong. Jack also enjoyed composing, and he published two songs, My Mariposa Lily (1930) and We’ll Fight for Yankee Doodle (1917). The sheet music for...Read more...
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