Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring Training

The Wait for Pitchers and Catchers Is Over
Baseball season is finally here. We recommended at least these books in our collection. All have much to say about why we closely follow professional baseball's drama, intensity, money, humor, and more recently -- career-breaking moments.

101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out by Josh Pahigian

The Psychology of Baseball by Michael Stadler
The Crowd Sounds Happy by Nicholas Dawidoff
You Can Observe a Lot by Watching by Yogi Berra
Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci
Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin

Also make the time to enjoy local resident Dave Arcidiacono's books about Connecticut's ties to professional baseball's heritage:

Middletown's season in the sun : the story of Connecticut's first professional baseball team

Grace, grit and growling : the Hartford Dark Blues Baseball Club, 1874-1877

Friday, February 27, 2009

Arctic Animals, Arctic Stories

'Brrrr' Doesn't Even Come Close...
Winter weather is unfortunately... still... here. But then again, we live in Connecticut and not in Arctic regions. If you love animal, adventure, or against-the-odds survival stories, you may enjoy the following books, written from different perspectives. All describe life and times in a much colder climate.

Arctic Fox, written by Garry Hamilton and photographed by Norbert Rosing, showcases the everyday life of this cat-sized and little known tundra resident.

In Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd, author Karsten Heuer relates his 2003 adventure with Arctic caribou. Color photos add to a highly readable text.

Conquering the Impossible is Mike Horn's tale of his 12,000 mile trip around the entire perimeter of the Arctic Circle. Thrilling stuff but please do grab a blanket to take off the chill.

Writer and photographer Seth Kantner reflects on life in Alaska -- what's been gained and what's been lost -- in his memoir, Shopping for Porcupine.

The Long Exile by Melanie McGrath looks back on the 1920's movie, Nanook of the North and traces the relocation of several Inuit families in the 1950s and outcome in the 1990s.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sustainable Choices

Green Take Out
For home use or for commercial use, corn based food containers and throw away utensils and plates seem certain to help the environment. If you are looking to change your business ordering, companies such as Natureworks and EcoProducts offer corned-based alternatives to Styrofoam containers. Also learn more about bio-plastics by visiting web sites offered by PCC Natural Markets and the Nebraska Corn Board.

Green Take Out @ your library
The library is also offering its own take out container, as part of our participation in the Middlesex countywide Greening Our Valley Campaign. (See right hand panel of this blog for details). Great for book or grocery-toting, as well as quick trip travel needs, using the bag is also a great way to show your colors as pre-cycler and recycler!

Click here for a quick list of books on green-related topics.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Point in Time: The Great Depression

Compare and Contrast
Given current economic uncertainty, we've not failed to notice local interest in books about our country's economic history. Here's a few selections about the causes of the Great Depression, written from different viewpoints and for a varied audience. Thoughtful books all... pick and choose.

Liaquat Ahmaed's new book, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke The World, tells the story of prominent bankers of the day: Montagu Norman of England, Émile Moreau of France, Hjalmar Schacht of Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of New York.

For a quick overview of the 'Crash', check out Black Tuesday: A Prelude to the Great Depression by Robin S. Doak. The book is written with a grade 5-8 audience in mind.

In Rethinking the Great Depression, author Gene Smiley presents an interesting study of the Great Depression and the long-term/current-day impact of FDR's New Deal response.

Amity Shlaes, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, walks the line between the dangers of government intervention -- and the dangers of the government's not intervening -- in her book, The Forgotten Man.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

March 2009: Get Ready for National Nutrition Month!

The Best Germs Ever!
No, we're not talking about 'germs' that make you sick; we are talking about the 'germs' inside whole grains. These provide your body with protein and B Vitamins that may help prevent health issues and disease.

One, Two, Three Parts
The germ is one of the three parts that make up whole grains; the other two are bran, which provides fiber and the endosperm, which provides starchy carbohydrates. To keep your body in tip-top shape, explore the wide world of whole grains. Remember, there are more choices than wheat. You might also try the following in your baking and cooking: spelt, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, rye, blue corn, brown rice, quinoa, barely or sorghum.

Surf's Up
Visit the Whole Grains Council's web site to find out what to look for on food labels while you are shopping; why whole grains are important, and how to incorporate whole grains into your fabulous recipes.

Books and Reading
The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook : 150 Recipes for Healthy Living by Judith Finlayson

The Great Life Diet : a Practical Guide to Heath, Happiness, and Personal Fulfillment by Denny Waxman

The Best Gluten-free Family Cookbook by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt

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

Back to the Future!

Time Capsules
Check out our newest addition, Dear Toni by Cyndi Sand-Eveland. Follow the main character, Gene, as she writes a journal to be put in a time capsule that will be hidden for 40 years! With spring just around the corner, the ground will soon be thawing and this means you can start scouting for the perfect spot to hide your very own time capsule... not necessarily for 40 years, of course...

Visit the websites below to find out how to get started on your own time capsule! Most of the information will be accessible to children in grades 5-8 so why not start a public or home school project?

How to Make a Time Capsule (Associated Content)
International Time Capsule Society (Oglethorpe University)
Making Time Capsules (University of Florida)
Creating a Time Capsule (University of Texas)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Great Debate

Kelo v. City of New London
Award-winning investigative journalist, Jeff Benedict, takes an in-depth look at a complicated CT court case involving eminent domain. Susette Kelo brought the case in 1997, when the City of New London made plans to demolish Kelo's neighborhood to make way for a large-scale economic development project. The case reached the Supreme Court in 2005. Little Pink House: a True Story of Defiance and Change is a great read about Kelo's outrage and courage... and the meaning of home. In response to the Kelo case, more than 40 state legislatures have since rewritten their eminent domain laws.

Other Titles by Jeff Benedict
The Mormon Way of Doing Business: How Faith and Family Lead to Leadership and Success (2007)

No Bone Unturned : the Adventures of a Top Smithsonian Forensic Scientist and the Legal Battle for America's Oldest Skeletons (2003)

Without Reservation : the Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and the World's Largest Casino (2000)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

History and Humor... Love and Anger

Mix and Match Non-Fiction Bestsellers
Latest non-fiction bestsellers have much to say about Yankee baseball; oil barons; left-of-center press; righteous love; and why comedian Denis Leary thinks we're all just... so... dumb. Pick and choose:

The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci
The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough
A Slobbering Love Affair by Bernard Goldberg
Why We Suck by Denis Leary

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazon Adventures

The River, Not the Bookstore
David Grann tells a man vs. environment tale in his exciting new book The Lost City of Z. Between the book covers find the story of Percy Harrison Fawcett's (1867-1925?) Amazon explorations. Grann was not content to do 'bookish' research; he was compelled to go to the Amazon himself and follow the famed explorer's probable route. The book has all the elements a superior mystery and adventure story.

More Amazon Adventure Reading:
The Last Forest: The Future of the Amazon in the Age of Globalization by Mark London & Brian Kelly describes today's Amazon and asks questions about what the Amazon might look like in the future.

River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard is also a gem. Theodore Roosevelt, his son, Kermit, and guide Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, traveled to Brazil after Roosevelt's unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 1912.

Robert Whitaker's The Mapmaker's Wife tells the story of a Peruvian woman's 1769 journey to French Guiana to find her husband.

Colin Angus & Ian Mulgrew's Amazon Extreme: Three Ordinary Guys, One Rubber Raft, & The Most Dangerous River on Earth provides another thrilling view of the Amazon by fearless outdoor adventurers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bowling for Dad

Fifty States, Fifty Lanes
Author Mike Walsh's father had a dream to play handball in all 50 states. When Walsh the elder died unexpectedly, Walsh the younger set out on a quest to bowl his way across America. Walsh tells the story of his cross-country odyssey and the interesting people he met along the way in his book, Bowling Across America: 50 States in Rented Shoes.

If after reading this book, you are interested in learning the game, here are some suggestions to get you started:

Bowling Fundamentals by Michelle Mullen
Bowling: Steps to Success by Doug Wiedman
Focused for Bowling by Dean Hinitz

And of course, don't forget to learn and enjoy the game locally at family friendly East Hampton Lanes.

Content developed by library staff member Bev Simmons

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cakes and Cupcakes and Cookies, Oh My!

For the Inner Baker In You...
Here's a few great books about using your culinary skills to delight your family and friends. You don't need to be having a party to experiment with the recipes found between the covers of these baking book titles. All you need is a willingness to be creative!

Hello Cupcake! : Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Children's Party Cakes and Cookies, edited by Martha Day

Party Cakes: 45 Fabulous Cakes for All Occasions, with Easy Ideas for Children's Cakes by Carol Deacon

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Accessible Science

Latest and Greatest
Not all great science books are written for scholars. Here are two interesting titles written with science book readers of all levels in mind.

What separates human brains and minds from those of other animal species? Michael S. Gazzaniga's Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique offers insight into the neuroscience and psychology of each.

Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe, by Evalyn Gates, sheds new light on the subject of cosmology. Dark energy, dark matter, and black holes in the universe are explained in an interesting and accessible way.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All Aboard the Nostalgia Train!

The Lionel Train Legend
In 1901, Joshua Lionel Cowen combined a wooden cheese box and a small motor fan and the rest, as they say, is history. Two new books about Joshua's namesake Lionel Trains are ready for checkout:

Robert J. Osterhoff's Inside The Lionel Trains Fun Factory is more a history of the Lionel Corporation itself. Robert Schleicher's The Lionel Legend concentrates on Lionel Trains, one of the most popular and recognizable toys of all time. Both books use outstanding photos to support informative text. Both books are entertaining and we’ve been told, hotly debated by collectors who dispute the details. You'll have to let us know where you side...

More Toy Nostalgia:
The Wonder of American Toys, 1920-1950 by Charles Dee Sharp
The Playmakers: Amazing Origins of Timeless Toys by Tim Walsh.

Tired of Winter?

Spring in a Jar
Spring seems so far away. The good news is a little part of the next season can be yours -- sooner -- if you build a terrarium. Tovah Martin's new book The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature contains great ideas and instructions on how to make your own mini glass garden. Lovely photos of finished products are sure to please beginner and veteran indoor gardeners alike.

Also try Rosemary McCreary's Tabletop Gardens: Create 40 Intimate Gardens for the Home, No Matter What the Season. The title provides many charming ideas to get an indoor plant decorator started. Attractive color photos and easy-to-follow directions are sure to inspire.

Additional Titles Written or Edited by Tovah Martin
Garden Whimsy, Old-Fashioned Flowers (Brooklyn Botanic Garden Series), and Tasha Tudor's Garden.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Historical Fiction Looms Large
In his latest novel, Agincourt, Bernard Cornwell takes us back to the Hundred Years War era and the Battle of Agincourt. The Battle took place on Friday, October 25, 1415 in France, between rivals France and England. Outmanned English forces soundly defeated French forces; English use of the powerful longbow also transformed medieval warfare.

Bernard Cornwell is consistently regarded as one of the greatest historical fiction writers. Agincourt proves as much; the novel has all the elements of must-read historical fiction -- fast moving plot, unforgettable characters, and accurate period details.

Click here for a selection of other historical fiction novels by Bernard Cornwell.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February Fiction

New Titles From Fiction Favorites
Yesterday's temperatures approached 60 degrees. Alas, February weather is famous for the quick switcheroo; today was cloudy, windy and cold.

What to do? We suggest enjoying mid-winter titles by favorite authors while we all wait for an authentic spring:

Heart & Soul by Maeve Binchy
Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein
Irish Tweed by Andrew M. Greeley
Jesus Chronicles, Luke's Story by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins
Escape from Hell by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Second Opinion by Michael Palmer
Night & Day by Robert B. Parker
Promises in Death by J. D. Robb
Lamentation by Ken Scholes
Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow
One Day at a Time by Danielle Steel
Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fired Up! Ready to Read! CT Nutmeg Books!

Which Book Will Knock Your Socks Off?
The Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award nominees for 2010 were announced earlier this month. Connecticut kids are now faced with two opportunities. The first opportunity is about making 'me' time to read 10 nominated books between now and January 2010. The second opportunity is much more powerful. Next January, kids will be asked which of 10 nominated books knocked their socks off, hands down, no buts about it...

The nominees for grades 7-8 are:

Accidental Love by Gary Soto
Code Orange by Caroline Cooney
Crackback by John Coy
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Epic by Conor Kostick
Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Panama Canal Stories 1904-1914

Canal Builders
The Panama Canal is widely regarded as an engineering triumph and a marker in the history of modern global trade. Julie Greene's The Canal Builders tells the story of what it took to build the Panama Canal from the workers' point of view. Well-written and expertly researched, this book is historical writing at its best. Primary sources shed new light on the politics, engineering, and personalities of the day.

Further Reading:
David McCullough's The Path Between the Seas, 1870-1914
Carl R. Oliver's Panama's Canal
Aida D. Donald's Lion in the White House: Life of Theodore Roosevelt

Also check out the official site of the Panama Canal Authority for FAQs and further perspective.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Step Aside Music and Movie Awards... We've Got Nutmeg Books!

Nomination Votes Counted... Envelopes Unsealed
The Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award nominees for 2010 were announced last week. There is a reason to be interested. The Nutmeg Book Awards invite all kids in grades 4-8 to determine which books are best. The nominees for grades 4-6 are:

Archer's Quest by Linda Sue Park
Attack of the Turtle by Drew Carlson
Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Drita My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard
The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret
Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Stumptown Kid by Carol Gorman and Ron Findley
The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

A Twinkie a Day...

Decisions, Decisions...
Good nutrition is on all of our minds these days. Here's a few of the latest or greatest books (as in long-list or former bestsellers) for your dining and dancing pleasure:

An Apple a Day: The Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths About the Food We Eat covers many food favorites: chocolate, fruits, vegetables, milk and coffee, to name a few. Author Joe Schwarcz is a PhD chemist and self-admitted food lover.

Twinkie, Deconstructed is Steve Ettlinger's study of one popular treat... the Twinkie TM. By taking the ingredients label apart and examining each, the author makes his case for avoiding processed foods.

Cookbook author Mark Bittman carries the torch for sustainable living in his title Food Matters: a Guide to Conscious Eating. The book includes 77 recipes that create an awareness of how to choose the food we eat based on where it comes from.

Also try any of the Eat This, Not That! titles by David Zinczenko.

Books We Like

"Ask Amy" Tells All
Amy Dickinson, NPR contributor and syndicated advice columnist (she replaced the late Ann Landers) delivers a spirited memoir about the people who most influenced her life and career. Most influential? Her family, The Mighty Queens of Freeville.

Addition is Toni Jordan's debut novel about Grace Lisa Vandenburg. It seems Grace has an obsessive-compulsive need to count... and an affinity for toothbrushes. Sharply written, poignant, and flat out funny, Jordan's novel asks us to contemplate age-old questions about balancing love and acceptance.

In Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients, chef Lillian teaches a cooking class in which students learn to serve up more than a well-prepared meal. Anyone who enjoys cooking with or for another will delight in this novel about the unbreakable bonds between good food and good friendships.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ray Bradbury

'Poet of the Pulps'
Ray Bradbury is an American icon. At the very least, millions have enjoyed reading The Martian Chronicles (1950), Fahrenheit 451 (1953), or Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).

Add to your must-read list two recently released short story books by Bradbury: Summer Morning, Summer Night and We'll Always Have Paris. Both books include thoughtful tales that won’t make you lose sleep but which will make you think... and creep you out all at the same time.

Bradbury won the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award in year 2000. True fans are also sure to enjoy Sam Weller's Bradbury biography, The Bradbury Chronicles.

Market Gurus

Bad News-Good News Bears?
Harry S. Dent and Mohamed L. El-Erian each provide their take on how to profit in and from our rapidly changing financial world. Both books offer explanations on why we are where are and describe investment strategies that can be employed in an economic downturn.

Unlike the many popular financial advice titles of the last few years, neither of these books is a happy-go-lucky read. More days of shifting investor advice ahead...

By Dent:
The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History

By El-Erian:
When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change

Friday, February 06, 2009

The CCC... Revisted

Civilian Conservation Corps Stories
Colchester resident/author, Marty Podskoch (pictured left with his granddaughter) has been making his way around our state for several years, collecting and sharing stories told by participants in Connecticut’s Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camps. Marty's presentations have helped renew interest in local history; they have also provided a forum for CCC workers to tell and share their stories.

Podskoch briefly appeared on WTNH News TV spot (below), concerning the restarting of a contemporary CCC in our state. Governor Rell will hold a press conference on Tuesday February 10th at 1:30 pm at the CCC Museum in Stafford Springs. All CCC alumni are invited to attend, politics aside...

Google: Noun and Verb

Google, Googled, Googling
Not so many years ago, the word ‘Google’ was no where to be found in our dictionaries or in our every day vocabularies. Now the word, in all of its forms, is representative of our online culture.

Here are three interesting books that describe the effects of both noun and the verb; the subtitles summarize the stories.

Planet Google: One Company's Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know - Randall Stross

The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business Media & Technology Success of Our Time - David A. Vise & Mark Malseed

The Search: How Google & Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business & Transformed Our Culture - John Battelle

By the way, you are reading this post courtesy of Google; Blogger is Google's free blog publishing tool. We use Blogger to keep in touch with you...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bon Appetite: Vegan Style!

Pick and Choose
Veganism, a diet and lifestyle, has introduced local demand for vegan cookbooks. Try our latest additions, Vegan Lunchbox and The Joy of Vegan Baking; the latter won a 2007 Veggie Award.

Click here for a list of other recent vegan cookbooks. Ample instructions and photographs spice up all of the selections.

Job Searching?

On the Lookout...
Check out the top 10 job search sites on the web, according to Wendy Boswell of Boswell does distinguish between sites, as in the size of the fish net you plan to use to capture promising opportunities. Look for words like 'networking' or 'network' for best effect.

Also check out latest additions to our 'on the lookout' book collection: AARP Crash Course In Finding the Work You Love, Career Renegade, Test Drive Your Dream Job, and 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dogs Are from Mars, Coyotes Are from Venus

Relationship Advice...
Temple Grandin's Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals is a well-researched work which identifies and explains animal emotions. Chapters cover dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals. Chock full of insights, how-to tips and compelling stories, Grandin tackles and debates a range of common beliefs about what makes animals happy.

The Daily Coyote is Shreve Stockton's account of her life as "mom" to Charlie, an orphaned coyote pup. Stockton, a former city dweller, raised Charlie and her pet tom cat in rural Wyoming and tells a balanced, often touching tale of survival, adjustment and peaceful coexistence. You can catch the author's subscription blog on the Internet.

Also recommended:
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats by Jeffrey Moussaieff
Stories Rabbits Tell by Susan E. Davis & Margo DeMello
Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mountains of Assisi

Mysteries of Planet Earth
In The Mountains of Saint Francis, Walter Alvarez (geology, U. of California-Berkeley) travels the mountains of central Italy and provides us with clues on our planet's very distant past. Alvarez explains the formation of Italy's terrain -- volcanoes that formed the seven hills of Rome; land masses that developed and emerged from under sea, and continental collisions that formed the Alps.

Also by Alvarez, T. Rex and the Crater of Doom, a theoretical work about what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Both books are accessible and page-turner reads for anyone who wants to join us on Team Geology 101. If you're well beyond 101, please do offer constructive comment.

The Fab Four: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

January 30, 1969
Two days ago, we mourned the 40th-anniversary of the Beatles final public concert appearance which took place on the rooftop of 3 Saville Row, the London home of Apple Records.

February 9, 1964
Next Monday we'll celebrate the 45th-anniversary of the Beatles first performance in America, on then Sunday night favorite 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

For Beatles fans looking to mark these anniversaries, we recommend these, among many other titles:
Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, & America -- The Beatles: The Biography -- The Beatles Anthology -- Beatles Anthology (set of 5 documentary DVDs) and of course... anything on music CD.

Now Showing In Our Library Display Case
The next time you visit the library -- please, please yourself and enjoy local resident Bill Naughton's Beatles memorabilia collection, now on display. If there is anything worth knowing about the Beatles (it's all worth knowing) Bill knows it and shows it. Thank you, Bill!

Poet of the Month

February's Featured Poet
Elizabeth Alexander (1962-), chosen to write and read a poem for President Obama’s Inauguration last month, earned her B.A. at Yale, M.A. at Boston U., and Ph.D. at U-Penn. Her books of poems include American Sublime (a Pulitzer Prize finalist), Antebellum Dream Book, Body of Life, and Venus Hottentot. Her honors and awards are numerous. She has taught at Haverford College, U-Chicago, U-Penn, and Smith College. She is currently Yale Professor of African American Studies and English Literature. The following poem is from American Sublime.

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe
Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

Further Reading: Venus Hottentot, and Body of Life, available at the library.

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson