Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Cleanups

Green Cleaning Tips
If you are interested in creating your own house cleaning formulas try equal parts baking soda and water for a fantastic, non-abrasive scrub that can be used on cook tops, Teflon, and other sensitive surfaces. Wipe with white vinegar for a clean and odor free finish. If you would like to learn more about this topic check out Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.

There are also many environmentally friendly cleaning products on the market today including, Clorox Green Works, Seventh Generation, and EcoCover. Decide for yourself on which product, if any; all are available at our local Shaw’s, plus Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, and Walmart chain stores. Seventh Generation conditionally offers downloadable coupons. Decide for yourself on the conditions.

Content contributed by EHPL's Children's Librarian, Kathleen Sands

A 'Bear' Market... But In a Very Good Way!

Show Your Colors
Shaw’s Supermarkets and Sea Research Foundation, Inc. have partnered to offer an incentive to customers to purchase new reusable polar bear bags this winter. For every $1.50 polar bear bag sold in Connecticut, 10 cents will be donated to Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration. Those who purchase the bags will also receive a coupon for $3 off individual admission to Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration for groups of up to four people.

To celebrate the start of this program, educators will bring the aquarium’s traveling touch tank to Shaw's Supermarket in East Hampton on January 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the store's Family Day. Customers will be able to learn more about Sea Research Foundation’s conservation efforts and touch some special marine creatures.

Sea Research Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people to care for and protect our ocean planet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More than a Way to Mail a Letter...

Postage Stamps
It is not at all hard to complain about rising prices but we think $0.42 stamps are still a bargain. Not only do postage stamps bring us cards and letters -- forget those ugly meter stamps -- postage stamps, like people, tell stories. Stamps are also art in miniature form and depending on who you are writing to, you can use stamps to make a personal statement...

Whether you are considering stamp collecting, a veteran collector -- or if you just like stamps -- we recommend An American History Album, Guide to Stamp Collecting, and Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps. All have much to tell about how stamps have been used to convey America's history and culture.

Visit the USPS web site to learn more about stamp collecting and upcoming issues.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Art and Mystery...

Forging Ahead...
If you like mystery-thrillers with a little art history thrown in for good measure, try the new psychological thriller, The Forgery of Venus. The book brings together art, avarice, criminals, insanity and murder.

Theft: a Love Story includes psychological suspense, a tricky romance, and brothers up to their noses in intrigue. Written by two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey.

The Careful Use of Compliments deals with art dealers and forgeries with No. 1 Ladies Detective, Isabel Dalhousie, solving the mystery.

The Paul Watkins book, The Forger combines the Paris of WW II, art forgeries, and the Nazi Resistance in a tightly-written suspense story.

While you are reading your book, share Art Auction Mystery: Find the Fakes, Save the Sale! with your kids. This fun read mixes one part mystery, a cup of puzzle, tablespoon of game, and more than smidgen of art appreciation. A great read for picture puzzle sleuths!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mom and Dad's Night Out

Holiday Festivities or... "Don't Go Without Me!"
During the holiday season, moms and dads may have occasion to attend festivities without their children. If you worry, as all parents tend to do, that your little ones might not be content with the babysitter, books can be helpful tools.

Before your evening out, try reading our new book, No Babysitters Allowed by Amber Stewart, or any of the other titles listed below with your children. All of these titles may help your favorite little people realize that they can have a great time with their favorite babysitter.

A Babysitter for Billy Bear by Miriam Moss
Just Me and the Babysitter by Mercer Mayer
The Lemonade Babysitter by Karen Waggoner
Looking After Little Ellie by Dosh and Mike Archer

Friday, December 26, 2008

TV Money Gurus

Pick and Choose
TV financial advisers have an audience in our community and so do their books. There's a blend of delivery styles here: harsh talk, friendly and concerned, or oh, my... duck! Try the following, as well as other titles about the current credit crunch:

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan
Jim Cramer's Real Money
Jean Chatzky's The Difference (March)

On the funny front? Take a look at the YouTube video about Santa's 'recent testimony' before the U.S. Congress. If we were the MPAA, we'd rate PG for spicy language by a frustrated Santa.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Business Matters

School Days or Daze?
As people puzzle over what's gone wrong with the economy, business books have become almost as popular as fiction books. 'Meltdown' books are in high demand and our newsprint copies of Investors Business Daily, Wall Street Journal, and Barron's Weekly undergo rigorous public workouts every day.

If you are 'working out' -- try Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughten. Broughten uses a 'you are there' format to describe the two years he spent getting his MBA at Harvard Business School. The book is all about teaching methods and philosophy, love-hate, party or smarty, money and principles. More confusing days ahead...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Popular On Cable

Popular In Print
FOX and TLC cable channels have one thing in common: both broadcast shows whose hosts have best-selling books.

In A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, controversial FOX news commentator Bill O’Reilly offers up tidbits about his childhood and events that helped shape his views. He's as blunt in print as he is on FOX.

The Gosselin Family includes 8 kids, twins and sextuplets. Their book, Multiple Blessings, is the print companion to their TLC series. The family’s national media tour has helped place their book on short and long bestseller lists for many weeks. We guess when you are looking down the nose of putting 8 kids through college; national media attention isn’t half bad.

Channeling Austen

On the Lookout...
The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is due for release just in time for New Year reading and is Colleen McCullough's sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. McCullough’s book begins 20 years later with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy trapped in a passionless marriage; Jane, Lydia and Kitty challenging Mr. Darcy's rigid sense of propriety; and sister Mary off on an adventure to save the poor.

Revered as Austen's books are in so many circles, we’re more than a little curious… as you will be, too. We expect plenty of talk about this one.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We Have Mail!

The Art of Letter Writing
This is a special time of year when many people receive letters. No, we’re not talking quickie email, e-card or IM – we’re talking pen and paper. The library has an interesting variety of ‘letter’ books; all tell the deeper stories of our nation's most influential and regarded people.

If you have ever saved a paper letter, note or card more meaningful than an email, these books may be for you.

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail & John Adams

Stealth Santa

Friend of the Library
Our phones starting ringing... and ringing... and ringing... shortly after 10 a.m. today. Sleigh sitings were reported. Several callers claimed to have seen a sleigh hover over the library for 20 minutes before landing near Pocotopaug Creek. Just when we concluded 'blizzard fear' was causing pleasant hallucinations ... in ... walks ... Santa!

Thanks to all who braved the no-show snow this morning to enjoy our annual preschool holiday party. Special thanks to Dave Overson and the Coughlin Family for helping 'Stealth Santa' make his appointed rounds.

More good news? Brave the detours and join us again on Wednesday, December 31st at 11 a.m. for the best party in town: New Year's at Noon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Secrets Revealed...

The Great Pyramids
Bob Brier and Jean-Pierre Houdin's new book, Secret of the Great Pyramid, uses 3-D computer models to answer numerous questions scholars have puzzled over for years. The authors' study techniques and conclusions make for a good read.

For background information, try Miroslav Verner's Pyramids or Jean Vercoutter's The Search for Ancient Egypt. The former offers authoritative information; the latter is filled with lavish illustrations and photographs.

Interest in Ancient Egypt in the Western World revived when Napoleon went to Egypt, accompanied by scientists and historians. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone certainly helped. In Nina Burleigh's Mirage, Western science meets Middle Eastern culture.

Content developed by library staff member Bev Simmons

Inspirational Stories

For Whom the Bells Toll
One of December's seasonal sounds is the sound of bells. No, these bells are not jingle bells; they are the bells of the Salvation Army.

In Breakfast at Sally's (a reference to Salvation Army soup kitchens), Richard LeMieux tells the story of his happy marriage, successful career, and upscale lifestyle. In short order his business collapses; his family is gone; he's homeless and living in a van with his dog, Willow.

LeMieux travels... Ultimately, he finds the will and with enormous grace, tells the stories of real people whose lives are changed by economic hardship. The book is all at once heartbreaking, inspiring, and honestly written.

Further Reading and Viewing: The Soloist by Steve Lopez and The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner

Monday, December 15, 2008

The 'Ted-man', the 'Ted-ster'...

The Media 'Maverick'
When we think of CNN and TBS, we think Ted Turner. In Call Me Ted, Ted Turner tells his ‘life story’ and the story of his rise to fame in the telecommunications industry.

What we liked about the book was it did not always match our TT perceptions. Ted’s good about including stories that lead many to think he has unsolved 'issues'. He's also good telling his own motivational stories about what drives him to do what he does.

This is an interesting book in tough times -- tough entrepreneur, tough to figure. Call Me Ted is available in book and audio book formats.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Road Trip!

Coast-to-Coast in a 'French-fry' Car
In Greasy Rider, freelance journalist Greg Melville sets out from Vermont and travels cross-county in an old Mercedes. What’s the catch? Melville converted the car engine to accept vegetable oil as fuel, instead of diesel. Where does Melville stop to refuel on his way to California? We’ll just say there are more than a few dumpsters involved.

Greasy Rider is informative -- a little too cheeky in places – but entertaining for sure. Melville’s side trips alone make his book well worth reading, not to mention the book’s place in national conversations about alternative fuels.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Famous 'Dudes'

Strange Companions
Casanova: Actor, Lover, Priest, Spy by Ian Kelly tells the life story of Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798), citizen of Venice. Casanova was famous throughout European power circles of his day; he trained as a priest, soldier, and librarian(!), and was a writer of considerable skill. Casanova's story speaks to excess but is far more interesting than the boudoir tales that litter his reputation in popular culture.

Fast forward three centuries and read Artie Lange's Too Fat to Fish. Lange is famous in current popular culture, mainly as a Howard Stern sidekick. Excess galore in Lange's book, which is enjoying its third week on the NYT's hardcover nonfiction bestseller list.

If we had to choose a 'dude', we would definitely choose Casanova.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Ha! Ha! Ha!

We Are What Makes Us Laugh
Make 'em Laugh: the Funny Business of America premieres on PBS stations next January. The series traces American comedy through American history and showcases the influential geniuses who've tickled our funny bones along the way.

Catch your sneak previews by checking out the companion book to the series. The book is loaded with classic photos, descriptions of memorable routines, biographical information, and loads of laughs.

Further Reading: Check out selections by or about featured 'clown college' graduates Lucille Ball, Lenny Bruce, George Burns, George Carlin, Charlie Chaplin, Bill Cosby, Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, and many more!

Content developed by library staff member Bev Simmons

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going... Going...

Here's a few 'green' topic books we'll soon add to our shelves.

Shopping green? Try Big Green Purse by Diane MacEachern.
Scrutinize your carbon footprint with
Climate Diet by Jonathan Harrington.
Earth-friendly recipes galore in Mark Bittman's
Food Matters.
Basic recommendations in Lori Bongiorno's Green, Greener, Greenest.
City-girl, Jenna Woginrich, goes green in her memoir, Made from Scratch.

Click here for a selection of other green topic books available @ your library.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dramatic Stories

One Common Thread
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer's memoir, In Spite of Myself, takes the reader through the different stages of a long and varied career. From Shakespeare, to Klingon, to Captain von Trapp -- Plummer has mixed it up and been regarded all along the way.

In Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, Julie Andrews tell the story of her life starting in 1935 and up to her Oscar-winning role as Mary Poppins in 1962. Andrews holds nothing back in this entertaining book filled with backstage stories, personal and professional triumphs. Her My Fair Lady Broadway try-out stories are among the best.

The common thread that connects Plummer and Andrews is obvious. Both starred in The Sound of Music, one of the most enduring and popular family films of all time. To get the real story of the Trapp family, sound out Maria Augusta Trapp's book, originally published in 1949.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"Fresh, Fragrant and Real"

Pick Your Own Trees
The Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, in cooperation with our state's Department of Agriculture, maintains a web site that identifies places to pick that one special tree that will make your holiday season shine. The web site features tree farms located in East Hampton. Choose locally!

Choose and cut your own at:
Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree Farm, 167 Wopowog Road, 267-8880
Hazen Christmas Tree Farm, 166 Lake Drive, 267-4159
Lost Spring Farm, 26 Daly Road, 267-9644
Peaceful Hill Tree Farm, 118 Clark Hill Road, 267-4341

Not listed on web site but also oh-so local:
Brewer Brothers Farm, 43 Brewer Road, 860-267-4856
Old Purple Farm, 31 South Main Street, 860-267-8527

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holiday Time

Family Time
The holiday season is here and a worrisome one it seems to be. Set a few of your worries aside; the following books can show you how to ‘specialize’ every holiday – even the ones you ‘create’ for your own family. We recommend the following, a mix of manners and customs, food and fun, and ways to celebrate your family year round.

Joy of Family Traditions -- Jennifer Trainer Thompson
Every Day a Holiday -- Silvana Clark
Holiday Handbook -- Carol Barkin & Elizabeth James

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Looks Like an Atlas?

If you are a fan of Comedy Central 'news' anchors, Stewart and Colbert, or a fan of the fake news organization, 'The Onion', you might enjoy Our Dumb World: the Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth.

This 'atlas' looks like the real thing but since this one is a parody, it's filled with non-facts, incorrect statistics, and biting satire about all of the world's independent nations. The jokes fly off every inch of every page.

Expect this ‘atlas’ to challenge your knowledge of current and historical events. Expect to be offended. Also expect some laughs from this take-no-prisoners 'Onion' send up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Fun on Display

The next time you stop by the library, take more than a peek at out library's display case. The case features 'artifacts' discovered during a little-known expedition to the North Pole.

No matter what your age, play 'I Spy' with your library's staff and see if you can spot the 'artifacts' we've named "rocks around the clock", "you've lost that lovin' feline", "to her, with love" and "I'm in the moo for love".

Happy holidays!

Display developed by library staff member Phil Carr

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Test of Time

The Boxcar Children
Orphaned children, Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny live in an old red boxcar. They find a home with their wonderful grandfather and thereafter enjoy all kinds of strange and exciting adventures.

CT's own, Gertrude Chandler Warner, a first-grade school teacher, originated the 'Boxcar' series in 1942. Warner wrote the first 19 books in the series; other writers have since added titles. Clean, inventive, and fun – it’s of little wonder why the pages of this series have been turning for over 65 years.

Find these and many more Boxcar Children Mysteries @ your library. For grades 2-5.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Bear Reports...

Wall Street Woes
Paul Krugman (New York Times columnist, Princeton professor and 2008 Nobel Prize winner) has been making the rounds on network and cable channel news shows. The new edition of Krugman's book, The Return of Depression Economics will be ready for checkout this week; the book intends to explain what it will take to avoid another 1929.

The Michael Lewis book, Liar's Poker (1989) has also caught a wave of renewed interest. Lewis describes his experiences as Salomon Brothers bond trader during 1980's boom years and up to the 1987 crash. Though Lewis has been writing about the sports industry since then, he returns to his Wall Street roots in this month's issue of Portfolio and in his latest $ book, appropriately titled "Panic".

You might also try The Subprime Solution by Robert J. Shiller.