At the local -Now that we're back in school

Here's what's happening at the Seattle Public Library's Capitol Hill Branch in November.

For preschoolers, we will offer story times filled with stories, songs and fun at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays during November.

The Capitol Hill Book Group is reading "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje, which will be discussed Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Come on in or call the branch at 684-4715, or visit for more details on either program.

As we spring into fall, here are a few books to consider as the days get shorter.

'Dry: A Memoir' by Augusten Burroughs

After surviving a horrific childhood, which he chronicled in the book "Running With Scissors," is it any wonder that Augusten Burroughs developed a few addictions along the way? In "Dry," he describes his day-to-day struggle to gain control over his alcoholism, a battle that seems almost hopeless at times.

As a successful young ad writer in New York City, Burroughs seems to have it all, so why are there hundreds of empty liquor bottles strewn about his apartment? He doesn't even notice them, let alone dispose of them. He uses time-honored tricks to mask the scent of liquor on his breath and emanating from his pores, but as a stream of office screw-ups culminates with missing a major meeting, his boss offers a choice - rehab or termination.

He chooses to go to a gay-friendly rehab clinic in Minnesota, fantasies of drying out in the company of celebrities dancing in his head. The reality of recovery, however, turns out to be anything but glamorous.

"Dry" will be a real eye-opener for those who don't struggle with addictions. When Burroughs comes home and actually sees all the empty liquor bottles and general clutter in his apartment for the first time, it's a wrenching moment. He starts to date a crack addict he meets at AA (something that's strictly forbidden), and is oblivious to every red flag of warning in the relationship (and there are many). This is a funny book about a painfully serious subject, and a fascinating view into the one-day-at-a-time lifelong battle for sobriety facing Burroughs.

'College Girls: Blue Stockings, Sex-Kittens, and Co-Eds, Then and Now' by Lynn Peril

Just in time for back to school, Lynn Peril has produced an absorbing and information-packed look at the history of women in college. Starting with the first "dame schools" to today's co-ed dorms, the road to equal rights to an education has been long, often difficult and sometimes frankly bizarre.

From the battles over the question of women's physical and mental abilities to handle advanced schooling (some experts advised that women should be barred from studying during that time of the month), to fears that their educations would be wasted, or, worse yet, would make them unhappy with their proper roles as wives and mothers, it's amazing that any women made it to college at all!

Although the subject matter sounds heavy, Peril keeps it accessible with deft wit and fascinating facts. She fully covers such topics as the history of sororities, campus dress codes, discrimination, dorm life, homesickness and yes, even dating and sex, without being long-winded or pedantic. An excellent overview of the history of women's educational experience, and a recommended read for all, especially college women!

Katie Hilles is a librarian at the Capitol Hill branch library. She can be reached at

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