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You won't feel as bad about your flabby neck or your misbehaved dog after reading the selections on this month's book list, all available at nearby library branches. If you'd like to reserve or have a book sent to a specific branch, visit the San Francisco Library's web site, www.sfpl.org. Or you can browse the Bookmobile, which is parked near St. Philip's School at Elizabeth and Diamond streets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Note: The Noe ValleySally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street remains closed for a two-year earthquake renovation. For information on the project, call 557-4353.
- Although Chinese factory worker Dan Dong sneaked in to the state and corporate banquets just to eat the exotic food, he finds himself compelled to expose a scandal, in Geling Yan's suspenseful political farce The Banquet Bug.
- While investigating the strange suicide of a college co-ed, Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux encounters another young woman who may be the daughter of a friend he saw murdered 25 years before, in Pegasus Descending, by James Lee Burke.
- Four Americans are drawn into a search through ancient Mayan culture in Scott Smith's horror thriller The Ruins.
- In Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a novel constructed like a college literary course syllabus, author Marisha Pessl plots an intricate murder mystery about a teenager who befriends a group of eccentric geniuses.
- In her memoir I Feel Bad About My Neck, screenwriter Nora Ephron directs her wit at the pitfalls of being "a woman of a certain age."
- In The Price of Privilege (subtitled "How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids"), Marin psychotherapist Madeline Levine observes affluent teenagers and notes some gaps in their lives.
- Thomas L. Friedman explains how forces like blogging and Wikipedia are reshaping the globe through their ability to propagate the views of the little guy, in The World Is Flat.
- Marley & Me, a memoir by journalist John Grogan, describes what it's like to live with "the world's worst dog."
Adult annotations by Sally Smith and
Karol Barske, of the Voice staff
- In Elivia Savadier's Time to Get Dressed! toddler Solomon insistently dresses and feeds himself, with a little help from Dad, as the morning clock ticks away. Ages 1 to 3.
- Barbara Barbieri McGrath's fun version of "The Little Red Hen" story, illustrated by Martha Alexander, features The Little Green Witch, pumpkins, and three totally unhelpful housemates--a ghost, a bat, and a gremlin. Ages 5 to 8.
- Pink toenails and blueberry pie help a spunky little girl befriend a pesky little ogre in May Belle and the Ogre, by Bethany Roberts, winningly illustrated by Marsha Winborn. Ages 5 to 8.
- The Love of Two Stars: A Korean Legend is the bittersweet, romantic story of Kyonu, a farmer and cattle herder, and Jingnyo, a weaver, who may only reunite in the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar year. Janie Jaehyun Park's textured acrylic paintings add cultural details to her retelling. Ages 5 to 9.
- Robert's father is a sky-walking ironworker, and the dad of his Chinese American friend Charlie is a painter. Both men are constructing the Golden Gate Bridge in Pop's Bridge, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by C. F. Payne. Ages 6 to 9.
- The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey, by Louise Borden, is a richly illustrated biography of the famous monkey's creators. The pair's childhoods, their sojourn in Brazil, their time in France as Hitler rose to power, and their dramatic escape from Paris are brought to life by Allan Drummond's art, along with photos and the Reys' personal papers and book illustrations. Ages 8 to 11.
Children's annotations by Pam Ow, Children's Librarian, Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library
Lapsits, Stories, and Singer/Guitarist Lisa Atkinson
- Come enjoy stories, songs, and fingerplays with your baby or toddler, at the Noe Valley Library's Tuesday lapsits, held at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 3, 10, 17, and 31, at Bethany United Methodist Church, 1268 Sanchez Street (corner of Clipper). Bethany will also host preschool story time on the same dates in October but starting at 11 a.m. This is a reading-aloud program for children ages 3 to 5.
- Children of all ages, especially those who like to sing, are invited to attend a special music program at Bethany on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m., featuring singer and guitarist Lisa Atkinson.
- Noe Valley's Bookmobile will welcome guests on Monday and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The spacious van parks on Elizabeth Street, between Diamond and Castro.
- Meanwhile, the Eureka Valley, Glen Park, Mission, Bernal Heights, and other branch libraries have scheduled a variety of other programs, lectures, and special events, for both children and adults. Go to www.sfpl.org for complete listings and hours of operation.