Authors We Love: Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë - Wikipedia

The youngest of the Brontes, Anne was gentle, quiet, and less talented than her two sisters. She lived to be only twenty-nine, and in the next decade of her short life her dismal governess occupation took up much of her time, but she wrote two novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall  which have their place in the history of English literature. Her novels, like herself, have a tranquil feeling. The hero has a pure moral character, brave pursuit of independence and happiness, which is also the portrayal of Anne’s heart. Anne’s writing is more of an 18th-century work, with its frankness and clarity, rather than the Victorian style in which she lived. Anne’s life was an unhappy one. She had once fallen in love with her father’s assistant, Willie Weightman, but he died suddenly while Anne was away working as a governess. It was a long time before Anne got the news of his death. Her alcoholic brother thwarted the sisters’ hopes of starting a school at home. At the same time, Anne continued to suffer from illness. But she never complained, silently enduring the mental and physical pain with astonishing fortitude. Shortly after the publication of several of her books, she died in May 1849, far from home in the seaside health resort of Scarborough. Anne Bronte was born on January 17, 1820, at No. 74 Market Street, Thornton, West Yorkshire, where there was little room for two adults, six children, two servants and a nurse. Her father was appointed vicar in Haworth, seven miles away, after Reverend Bronte had written all over the place in search of employment. Haworth is more prosperous than Thornton, and the parson’s five bedrooms are far more spacious. But Haworth lacks a drainage system, drinking water is heavily polluted, the average life expectancy is only 25 years, and the vicarage’s window looks out on the churchyard where many of the children who died early are buried. By the time the Brontes moved to Haworth, Maria, their mother, had already been diagnosed with cancer. Maria’s sister, Elizabeth Branwell, came to Haworth to help Reverend Bronte, who was busy with his parish duties. Maria died on September 15, 1821. Soon the vicar Bronte, recovering from his grief, resumed his parish duties. At the end of the year he visited a friend of hers, and Elizabeth Force, Maria’s friend, expressed sympathy and comfort to him.

The priest then proposed to her, hoping to find a stepmother for their six children, but was rejected. Aunt Elizabeth, who took care of Maria, stayed behind to raise her six children. As their six children grew up, Maria and Elizabeth, now self-sufficient, helped their aunt with the housework as much as they could, while Anne, the youngest, became Aunt Elizabeth’s favorite and they shared the same room. When Anne was growing up, Aunt Elizabeth’s devout Methodist beliefs were a big influence. The Bronte’s’ new maid, Tabby Ackroyd, gave them plenty of Irish mythology and northern English country tales. In the summer of 1825, Maria and Elizabeth, who were going to school, fell ill and died, leaving the whole family in grief and pain. The Reverend Bronte no longer dared to give his children away, but instead taught them at home. He encouraged the children to read more, and Aunt Elizabeth wanted the girls to learn housekeeping, so at regular hours the children would come back from Keresley Library, four miles away, carrying heavy books with them. In June 1826, the Rev. Bronte gave Branwell a group of toy soldiers as a gift, which caught the imagination of the children. They gave the soldiers names and arranged their characters. In the years that followed, several children started with these soldiers and created a fictional African country called Angria. Angria includes many features of the real world. Charlotte and Branwell write poems in the voice of Angria’s living characters and an chronicle of Angria with mixed authenticity, but it is hard to see how much of a role Anne, who is not yet ten years old, played in the creation of Angria. As she grew older, Anne took Latin, French, music and art lessons from the local clergy. Her collection of books such as Edmund Burke’s aesthetic works, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, and Aunt Elizabeth’s subscription to Methodist magazines all influenced her. In the summer of 1832, the Rev. Bronte founded a Church Sunday school in the area, where children took turns as teachers. Branwell was said to be impatient, and Anne was said to be the kindest looking but the most serious. Returning home from a year at Roe Head School, Charlotte recalled that one of the things she would do when she returned was to make tea to cheer up Anne and Emily, who were tired of teaching.

Like twins, Anne and Emily often wrote illustrated diaries together, in which Emily first mentioned the name “Gondal” in 1834. Gondal, a fictional country created by Emily and Anne, is a neighbor of Angria. Much of Gondal’s landscape is drawn from the heather moors that spread across West Yorkshire, and its wars, alliances, and lending with its neighbors are rooted in the political landscape of the time. Emily and Anne wrote many poems and narrative fragments, imagining themselves as characters in Gondal. The strong Emily dominates, and Anne shows deference to her sister, but sometimes feels like no one understands her. In October 1835, after Emily returned home, unable to adapt to school life, Anne took her place in The School of Roe head, which was the first time she left home at the age of 15. Charlotte, who was already teaching at the school, did not care much for Anne, but she did care for her sister’s health. Anne had few friends at school, but she worked quietly and hard. She knew she needed a school education to make a living with what she learned, and in the end she won a prize of excellence in 1836. Anne and Charlotte returned home before Christmas in 1836, and Anne took care of Tabby Ackroyd, her maid who had fallen, while she continued to write poems about Gondal. Verses by Lady Geralda, which she wrote at this time, dramatized the somber atmosphere, the despair of the Lady Geralda of Gondal, and is the first poem that Anne Bronte has in existence. After much exposure to Calvinism in 1837, Anne faced a crisis of faith in the question of whether all men could be saved. Charlotte always thought Anne was a child, and Anne’s classmates were too young, so she had no place to talk, which led her to write a poem called “A Voice From The Dungeon“, and then she fell ill. Anne was visited many times by a minister of the Moravian Church, who enlightened her, and her crisis of faith eased, but her condition remained serious. Charlotte was so worried that she even quarreled with Anne’s teacher, Miss Waller. In January 1838 the Reverend Bronte took Anne home, and she gradually recovered. Concerned about Anne’s precarious health, the Reverend Bronte asked her to stay at home and not go back to school, so Anne and Emily continued to write poems and diaries about Gondal.

In the spring of 1839, Branwell’s plans for an art studio failed and he had to go home. Emily worked as a tutor for a while and then went home to recuperate due to health problems. Charlotte couldn’t find a job for a while. The Reverend Bronte found himself once more in the position of supporting several children on his meager stipend. Quiet and practical Anne helped the family in her own way by getting a post of governess with the Ingham family at Blake Hall. Anne refused any company, went alone and settled down quickly. Anne soon discovered that the situation was far worse than she had expected. The pupils were so spoiled that she found it difficult to control them, let alone to get them to learn anything. Once she was so angry that she locked them on the legs of the table. Anne complained to the children’s parents, but they did not support her and she was considered unfit to be a governess. On Christmas Day 1839, Anne, who had lost her job, returned home and the three sisters were reunited. Her experiences at Blake Hall were later written by Anne in Agnes Grey. Anne met her father’s new assistant, William Weightman (1814-1842). Weightman, who graduated from Durham University, has been working at the parish since late August and is very popular at the vicarage. On Valentine’s Day, 1840, Weightman wrote a poem to each of the three sisters who had never received a Valentine’s Day hymn. Anne’s paintings at this stage featured sentient women facing the sea, and her poems featured both men and passionate women, leading researchers to speculate that she had a strong crush on Weightman. In May 1840 Anne got her second job as governess to the Robinsons of Thorp Green, where she worked as a governess for four children. In June she followed the Robinsons to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, for a holiday. Anne loved Scarborough, close to the sea and beautiful, and was happy to walk there and discover the wonders. From the second half of 1840, Anne’s poetry diverged. She wrote Gondal poems with Emily when she returned home, and even went on a trip with Emily imitating Gondal characters, but while at Thorpe Green she wrote poems expressing her own emotions. Anne soon found herself facing the same problems she had encountered at Blake Hall: she was homesick, the children were out of control, and the Robinsons were unsupportive.

She didn’t change much, but she stayed and made friends with two of her students. Returning home for a holiday in June 1841, Anne saw Weightman again, but soon afterwards she went to join the Robinsons at Scarborough. At this point she began to write her own independent diary, in which she mentioned the three sisters’ plan to open a school of her own. Returning home for a holiday in 1842, Anne discovered that Weightman had died of a misadventure, and in December of that year she wrote an elegy for an unknown man, expressing her sorrow and pain. The Bronte sisters at this time considered several school sites, including the vicarage, but did not actually go into action, and the attempt to open a school is also written about in Agnes Gray. In early November 1842, Aunt Elizabeth, who had brought up the Bronte sisters, died. Charlotte and Emily were at school in Brussels at that time. Only Anne returned to attend the funeral. Anne returned to Thorpe Green in January 1843 and found a place for her elder brother, Branwell, as governor for the now grown Edmond Robinson. From 1844 on, Anne became more and more difficult to bear the Robinson’s environment, while Branwell became more Bohemian under the Influence of Robinsons, which made Anne more miserable. She had to write poems to cope with it. In June 1845, Anne Bronte abruptly resigned her post as a governess at Thorp Green and returned to Haworth, supposedly because her older brother, Branwell, was having an affair with Mrs. Robinson, and Mr. Robinson suggested that Anne was acting as an intermediary. When Anne returned home, she sat with her father, who was seeing less and depressed, and began to write Agnes Grey. In the autumn, Charlotte came across Emily’s poem and thought she could publish it. Emily with a strong personality was not happy with Charlotte’s discovery that her sister interfered with her privacy. Anne basically agreed with Charlotte’s plan. In order to settle the quarrel between Charlotte and Emily, she volunteered to contribute her own poem. Without even telling Branwell or their father, Anne and Emily had each chosen twenty poems written after 1840, and Charlotte, with money from Aunt Elizabeth, had chosen nineteen of her own early poems and sent them to the publisher.

Fearing that reviewers would unfairly judge the author because she was a woman, all three sisters used aliases. The pseudonym Bell, derived from the curate of the church, had the same initials as the three sisters, making Anne Acton Bell. In May 1846, the 165-page anthology of poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell was put on sale. It received some critical acclaim, but it sold very little, only two copies in its first year. Charlotte later decided that her poems were childish in the three sisters’ poetry collection, and that Emily’s poems were bold, melancholy and sublime that could be handed down from generation to generation. Anne’s poems had their own sincere lovely pathos. In August 1848, Anne’s “The Narrow Way” and “The Three Guides” were published in The Fraser Magazine, the only poems published by the sisters apart from their collections. The death of Branwell, a chronic alcoholic, on September 24th at the age of 31 was a great shock to the family, and preparations for Branwell’s funeral left Emily and Anne exhausted. The winter brought coughs and colds to the family, especially Emily, who died on December 19. Emily’s death made Anne, who had always been close to her, even more sad. Anne began to show marked shortness of breath and asthma, but still sustained her illness by writing a reply to a theologian about the universal remedy mentioned in “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall “. In early January 1849, Anne became seriously ill. Doctors diagnosed tuberculosis and suggested that the disease was too advanced to recover. Anne accepted the news with calmness and self-control. Unlike Emily, she took her medicine exactly as the doctor ordered. In the months that followed, her illness waxed and waned, but she became noticeably thinner and weaker, and she decided to return to Scarborough, her favorite place. On May 24, Anne and her father said goodbye to the family servants and left Haworth with Charlotte and her friend. They spent a day and a night in York, where Anne and Charlotte went shopping in a wheelchair and visited her favorite chapel. The next day, Anne, who did not want her illness to limit Charlotte, hired a donkey cart. When they found her, they found her teaching the boy who drove her to be kind to his donkey. On May 27, a terminally ill Anne saw Charlotte struggling to contain her grief. Anne died at 2 p.m. the next day. Anne was buried there in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Scarborough. The funeral took place on 30 May. When Charlotte returned three years later, she found several mistakes on the gravestone, which had been re-engraved, but which still put Anne’s death age at 28. In April 2013, the Brontë Society re-erected the gravestone to make it 29.

Authors We Love: Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle Biography - life, family, children, name, story, death,  history, wife, school, mother

His writing style can be boiled down to two characteristics: scientific and professional. The works are good at setting suspense, stimulating readers’ interest in reading, and paying attention to the overall layout. In terms of plot, there is a strong echo and strict reasoning. Rigorous causal reasoning and deductive methods are used to promote the plot of the novel and develop the story. He is famous for Sherlock Holmes. His short stories have a strong sense of painting, and their conflict settings are concentrated, with plot twists and turns, which make readers feel as if they are reading a movie story. However, in the later period of his creation, due to the gradual disappearance of enthusiasm for creation, Doyle’s depiction of Holmes became increasingly deified, showing a deliberately exaggerated plot with the so-called brand of the devil (see “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”).

It is no exaggeration to say that many of Doyle’s short stories, with minor modifications, are excellent movie bases. It is very rare for Doyle to have such artistic thinking long before the popularization of film art. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the most frequently made film novel in the world. For example, Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr., Gene Wilder in 1975, Charlton Heston in 1991 and other films based on the detective’s records have also been produced. There have been seven TV series. His short story, El Anillo De Thoth, revolves around the theme of death and immortality in ancient Egyptian culture, presenting us with a fantasy world, which was one of the important creative sources of Hollywood mummification films.

“The Lost World” is also a cross-generational work. This novel can only be said to be enlightening for our modern adventures of ancient beasts and dinosaur types and films. Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories, 56 short stories and 4 novels about Sherlock Holmes. These stories were published in Strand magazine in droves over 40 years, as was customary at the time (Charles Dickens published his novels in a similar format). The story mainly takes place between 1878 and 1907, with the latest story set in 1914. Two of these stories are written in Holmes’s voice, two in the third person, and the rest are Watson’s accounts.

-Coreen C.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: 9780593198025 ...

Little Women is a novel written by Louisa May Alcott and first published in 1868.

The novel was an autobiographical family ethics novel set in the American Civil War and based on the life’s trifles of four sisters in an ordinary family in New England in the 19th century. Influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great thinker of the time, the novel emphasizes the concept of personal dignity, independence and self-discipline. The content is simple but exquisite; the structure is simple but profound, full of strong appeal. Little Women is a semi-autobiographical novel with female characters and feminist consciousness.

During the American Civil War, Mr. March went to war as a chaplain, and his four daughters and their mother lived a poor but strong and optimistic life at home. They were poor, but willing to help their neighbors, the Hummels, who needed help more than they did. Women have vanity; they want to get beautiful clothes, eat delicious food, live like a princess. Although full of fantasy, in real life, they use their own efforts to solve the various difficulties in life. The eldest daughter, Meg, is beautiful by nature and full of longing for love; the second daughter, Jo, was independent and determined to be a writer; the third daughter, Beth, is the traditional good girl, weak and lovable. The youngest daughter, Amy, loves painting. The story follows these four women as they grow from girls into little women, recounting their unruly experiences and respective pursuit of different ideals and the processing of finding their true self.

The reason why the four March sisters, who are the true, the good and the beautiful, have such qualities as kindness, diligence, selflessness, tolerance and toughness cannot be separated from Mrs. March’s excellent education. Parents are their children’s first teachers, and there is no doubt that Mrs. March is an excellent teacher. She is generous, ready to help others, not easily angry, and grateful for life. In the eyes of the children, she is not only a good mother, but also their best friend. They liked to confide their worries to Mrs. March, who gave them good advice and help. It is because of Mrs. March’s unique family education that the four sisters became little women loved by everyone. Consequently, the courageous images of women in this book touch the heartstrings of numerous female readers.

-Coreen C.

Educated by Tara Westover

With overwhelmingly positive reviews from Bill Gates, Barak Obama, as well as consistently winning the best memoir of the year in 2018 by multiple institutions, I had to see if this book lived up to all the hype it seemed to be receiving from everywhere. 

Needless to say, it went above and beyond my expectations. 

Educated is the author’s own story of growing up in a survivalist family that did not allow anyone, least of all Tara, an education. It is the journey of her breaking free from the destructiveness of her family and ending up studying at Cambridge and Harvard.

This memoir is easily one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, if not only for the powerfulness of it. Throughout the memoir, you go from pitying Tara, to pride for all that she’s accomplished. 

One trait I love about Tara is her determination. As she starts studying for the SAT, she knew almost nothing and had to learn almost all of it by herself. For example, when she started practicing trigonometry for the first time, she had the math level of a 5th grader. But as she studied more and more, and was so driven that she passed the SAT without receiving any instruction other than her brother Tyler and some books. 

This book affected me in such a deep way that I feel as if it will resonate with me forever. Now whenever I’m doing my schoolwork and feeling unmotivated, I think about Tara and how hard she had to work to just prove she had what it took without proper schooling to get into high prestige schools. She was very independent and as someone who is striving to do so, Tara is someone I look up to.

Now because of her upbringing she did have a lot of mental health issues. After discovering herself, she was pushed away by her family. Even though she had spoken out to her other family members about how manipulating and damaging her childhood was, almost no one believed her. Because of this, her family ignored her, and even though they have been the root of almost all her problems, she finds herself heartbroken over this. 

But the main thing her family has done to her was the manipulation of ideals they have put upon her. As she was growing up she was taught that the government and all of its institutions were part of the illuminati and were out to kill them. The only thing Tara’s parents willingly taught her about was religion. In fact, when she attended college she couldn’t write the way other student did because she learned to read and write only from mormon texts, she had almost no idea of how to function in a normal society. When going through with all this manipulation her parents justified it in their name of their faith, but it is clearly radicalism, and it is so, so frustrating to read about. 

And with that I leave with you a quote from the memoir that perfectly encompasses the idea of finding your own truth:

“Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create.”

-Asli B.

Educated by Tara Westover is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

When 111-year old Bilbo Baggins, hero of The Hobbit, gifts a stunning ring to his beloved nephew Frodo, he unknowingly changes the course of Middle-Earth history forever. For the innocent-looking ring is in truth the One Ring, which the Dark Lord of Mordor has lusted after for years, and will do anything to retrieve.

Seventeen years later, Gandalf the Grey appears in the Shire, warning Frodo of great danger. In order to preserve what is yet good in Middle-Earth, Frodo sets off with only his gardener Sam and his cousins Merry and Pippin as his companions. During his travels, he encounters numerous allies that eventually form the Fellowship of the Ring, the sole task of which is to destroy the One Ring in the fire of the fittingly named Mount Doom in the dark land of Mordor. 

However, the Company faces great dangers during their journey, and are pursued by the hated Orcs, soldiers of Sauron himself. Nevertheless, the greatest danger proves to be the object of their quest, the One Ring, whose malignant influence on all members of the Fellowship spurs a sudden betrayal that results in a kidnapping and a death.

The first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring is sure to delight all readers, combining action and adventure with a realistic world that readers will not hesitate to thoroughly immerse themselves in.

-Mahak M.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. IT can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Is it a kid’s book or all ages one?  Madeleine L’Engle’s classic (but not too classic) story A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children focuses on Meg and Charles Wallace Murry and their new friend Calvin O’Keefe through time and space on a mission to save Mr.Murry.  While some argue that this work of science fiction is aimed at youth, it is actually a timeless piece that will transcend time and space itself.  

A Wrinkle in Time tackles different scientific theories by putting them into play and describing them with simple words and emotions making them easily comprehensible.  For example, L’Engle talks about tesseracts or anything which is four-dimensional.  As the three heroes move through time and space, or tesser, L’Engle uses simple but effective words coupled by vivid descriptions of the event.  This allows readers to fully grasp the advanced scientific and mathematical concepts.  Some confuse L’Engle’s use of basic vocabulary as a way to aim her story at children.  While I am sure that she is pleased for children to read her story, this does not mean that A Wrinkle in Time is a kid’s book.  The use of base-level vocabulary simply makes these ideas accessible to everyone and not just rocket scientists.  

Moreover, L’Engle’s characters all deal with absent and neglectful parents, a theme which is definitely not aimed solely at children.  The Murray children practically grew up without their father who was kidnapped by the evil It.  Charles Wallace had not ever even properly met his father.  Calvin O’Keefe’s mother struggled to keep the house in proper sanitation and neglected her children.  While these ideas are important for children to understand, it is certainly not limited to them.  For all I know, reading about how these parent’s identities have shaped their children could give some parents a wake up call.  In any event,  the theme of unideal parenting is one that can resonate with any generation.

Further still, A Wrinkle in Time focuses more on timeless themes and morals than anything else meaning that it will withstand the test of time for all generations, not just children.  L’Engle’s’ story, though it is classified as science fiction, is largely about love and how it connects all of us throughout the universe.  From Meg’s sisterly love of Charles Wallace, Charles Wallace’s love of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, to Calvin’s love for Meg, love is all over.  Love is something timeless and will never fade away, and neither will A Wrinkle in Time.  

It almost goes without saying that any book which has obtained a Newbery Medal is fantastic, but Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a truly extraordinary work of science fiction. Though many declare that it is a children’s story, it is in actuality a story for all ages or anyone who likes scientific theories explained simply, themes about absent or neglectful parents and enjoys a good old fashioned story about the power of love.

– Ainsley H

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Cute Pumpkin Decorating for Fall

Although Halloween is this weekend, fall is staying for the next month. With that, pumpkins are still going to be in season before the pine trees roll in. Recently, I have seen more and more pumpkins being carved, but with that comes a lot of effort that some parents can’t take the time out of the day to help their children with. But I have also seen some fun ideas for decorating pumpkins that just takes some paint and permanent or paint makers. 

I originally saw this idea from @belleoftheball45 on Instagram. She uses both white and orange pumpkins, both large and small. When I made this, I started with pouring acrylic paint onto a plate and using gloves to make the process cleaner. I used green, white, orange, and black paint. With the green paint, you stick your thumb into the paint and place thumbprints all over the pumpkins. Then, you can repeat with the rest of the colors, although keep in mind that the white paint won’t show up on the white pumpkins and the orange paint won’t show up on the orange pumpkins. I would also recommend using a separate glove for each color.

Once all your thumbprints are on and dry, you can begin decorating them. With the green paint, you can use green and black to make little Frankensteins. With the black, you can make many things including cats, spiders, and mice. With the white, you can make ghosts and with the orange, you can make pumpkins. You are, of course, not limited to just these. Have fun and experiment with this easy pumpkin decorating idea! 

-Danielle B.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

Mokhtar Alkhanshali stands at the door of a San Francisco apartment building, day after day. As the doors swing open and close at the push of a button, Alkhanshali feels his life dwindle away. Having climbed the rungs of society from his childhood in the ghetto streets of the Tenderloin district, as the son of Yemeni immigrants, Alkhanshali’s lofty dreams and aspirations seem to have only amounted to the title of “lobby ambassador.” Unironically, he resembled a cup of Yemeni coffee. Although the coffee bean originated in Yemen, around five hundred years ago, today it is deemed some of the worst in the world. Determined to restore its honor, as well as his own passion, Alkhanshali set off on a hero’s journey. Across years, war-torn lands, rebel attacks, and surprisingly trustworthy friends in low places, Alkhanshali made history upon his return in 2015. Dave Eggers, in his elemental narrative biographical style, cultivates Alkhanshali’s story in The Monk of Mokha.

Described by the New York Times as an odyssey, with sentences of “Orwellian clarity,” Dave Eggers’ writing is as equally memorable as the epic story itself. It leaves the reader searching for more, as the pertinence of the dangers Alkhashali overcame is timely. As he was wrapping up his business in Yemen, war broke out. Seeking out the American embassy, Alkhashali revealed serious snags in the help granted from his American citizenship. Due to the escalated situation, no Americans would be able to evacuate safely. His only option was to take the last resort, a thrilling, fictional-esque escape from the country. Framing Alkhashali’s struggle of race, religion, and manhood from childhood, Eggers retells an unforgettable story.

To judge is human nature. Picking up Dave Eggers’ beautifully illustrated hardback from a library shelf one day was simply a product of such judgment. Little did I know I would be sucked into a captivating world of real-life Yemeni-American hero in his classic rags to riches story. For the coffee lover, seeker of strong protagonists, or the biography consumer, Dave Eggers has written The Monk of Mokha for you.

-Maya S.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Overdrive

Virtual Pumpkin Decorating!

Hi everyone!

Your Teen Librarian here! It goes without saying that 2020 has been more than a crazy year. We’ve had to stop doing the things we’d normally like to do and as we enter the autumn season, that means our Halloween plans are probably going to change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show off our creativity!

The Mission Viejo Library’s Teen Voice Blog and the Teen Advisory Board are hosting a Virtual Pumpkin Decorating activity! Whether you’re drawing faces with markers and gluing on googly eyes or carving unique masterpieces, we want to see what you come up with!

Here’s how it works:

Decorate a pumpkin, take a picture, and email it to!

We’ll be accepting photos from October 19th through October 30th!