Friends of the Libraries: Suggestions for your shopping pleasure

If you are looking for Christmas gifts that are something special, why not check the Collectible Books listed on the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries web page? "Wild Life in the Far West, or A Detective's Thrilling Adventures Among the Indians and Outlaws of Montana," by C. H. Simpson, published in 1896, should please someone on your list. An even earlier book, "Captain Horace," by Sophie May and dated 1864, should please another.

There are also collectible signed books. One of these is "Brave Heart," by David Eckstein and Greg Brown. And there are children's books, one of which is "The Bug Funeral," by Sarah R. Shaber. There are at least three sets of books: Hans Christian Andersen's "Fairy Tales," "The Complete Works of Charles Dickens," in 30 volumes, and a 15-volume set of Nancy Drew mysteries. If that doesn't fit the bill for you, the website also lists collectible vinyl records. Go to for a complete listing and more information on all these items. If you can't get to a computer, stop by the bookstore behind the Mesa Verde Library. The bookstore is normally open every day but Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. Call (714) 438-0517 to check on the holiday schedule.

Or perhaps you are planning a trip out of the country and need a passport. Or maybe you would like to gift a passport to a relative or friend. This is easily accomplished at the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library with their convenient hours (3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday by appointment). There is also photo service available for one-stop shopping.

If these are out of your budget range, visit either of the Friends' bookstores at the Mesa Verde and Dungan libraries (2969 Mesa Verde Drive East and 1855 Park Ave.). There you can find many like-new books for as little as 50 cents. If you are able to read Russian, the bookstore at the Dungan Library has about 20 books you might enjoy. Proceeds from these items and services help to support our three Costa Mesa libraries.

What is Costa Mesa reading?

The other day I was talking about book discussion groups with Samantha Hathaway, the adult librarian at the Dungan Library, and we came up with the question, "What is Costa Mesa reading?" So I said I would ask in this article and see what replies I got.

I will tell you that a friend and I are reading Barbara Kingsolver's novels and thoroughly enjoying them. I am just about to begin "The Lacuna," published in 2009. Next on my list, "Flight Behavior." Before I run out of steam, I think I will try her nonfiction books as well.

In between the Kingsolver books, I have read a number of others, the last of which was Colin Cotterill's "Love Songs From a Shallow Grave." This is a mystery set in Laos that intrigued me and proved most enjoyable. As a Toronto Globe and Mail review said, it is "a delightful mix of history and politics." I intend to read more of this series.

At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

At 11 a.m. Monday and Dec. 24, Toddler Storytime will feature Christmas stories. More holiday stories will be told at Bilingual Storytime at 2 p.m. Thursday.

From 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Bark will bring therapy dogs so that children can read to them.

The Mystery Book Club is set to meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The group will discuss Maggie Sefton's "Fleece Navidad." The Romance Book Club meets the next day, Wednesday, at 2 p.m. Call the library at (949) 646-8845 for book selections for this group.

At the Mesa Verde Library

From 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday is Pajama Storytime. From 3 to 4:30 p.m. the next day is Lego Wednesday.

Penny Lambright will present "Clean Your Clutter," a free program showing you how to get your belongings organized, at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Then, for some holiday fun, practice a holiday craft from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday. All of Costa Mesa's libraries will be closed Dec. 25.

MARY ELLEN GODDARD produced this column on behalf of the Friends of Costa Mesa Libraries, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and the three Costa Mesa branches of the Orange County Public Libraries.

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