Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mmm, Mmm Good!

Or Not?
Here's a couple of recent and provocative books about the topic of sugar and its potential impact on our diet and health.

In Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet Ann Louise Gittleman offers advice on improving diet. Chapters explain how to eliminate the use of sugar in soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, side dishes, drinks, and of course, baked goods.

Sugar Shock!: How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life and How You Can Get Back On Track by Connie Bennett, with Stephen T. Sinatra ; forward by Nicholas Perricone, examines the health risks that may result from sugar consumption. Practical strategies for kicking the sugar habit are offered.

Also try "Is Sugar Really Addictive?" an article from the May 5, 2009 issue of Woman's Day.

Surf's Up
For more information about the relationship between sugar, diet, and health, visit ICONN, our state's reSearch engine. Here you'll find links to a variety of regarded resources that cover health and wellness topics.

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tick Tock

The Texas Heart Institute reports that more than 73 million Americans deal with high blood pressure. Millions more are affected but don’t realize it. Exercise, weight loss, and diet have proven to be significant in fighting this health danger and may help your tick-tocker sing a better tune.

If you are dealing with hypertension, find these and many other heart-friendly cookbooks @ your library:

Eat to Beat High Blood Pressure by Robyn Webb & Jamy D. Ard
Cleveland Clinic Healthy Heart Lifestyle Guide & Cookbook by Bonnie Sanders Polin & Frances Towner Giedt
The New American Heart Association Cookbook

Low Salt Favorites by Bobbie Mostyn

A sturdy range of your-choice titles about diet, weight loss, and exercise regimens are also available.

Surf's Up

Post by Bev Simmons

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Politics and Pets on the Bookshelf

Interesting Trio
Mark R. Levin, a nationally syndicated talk radio host, has been holding a steady place on national bestseller lists with his latest title, Liberty and Tyranny : a Conservative Manifesto (2009). Levin's previous best-selling political book is titled Men in Black : How the Supreme Court is Destroying America (2005).

Between these two political bookends sits Levin's equally passionate Rescuing Sprite : a Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish (2007). Just goes to show that politics and pets are always popular topics, nationally and locally; but somehow it’s our dogs or dog stories that tend to make life a little more enjoyable...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nutmeg Book Awards 2009 : It's Official

Top Teen Read
The votes are in and the results are final; teen readers chose Gabrielle Zevin’s novel, Elsewhere, as their favorite Nutmeg Book for 2009.

The other great news is Nutmeg ‘polls’ were very busy. 8,426 teens cast their Nutmeg ballots this year. ‘Voter turnout’ also increased by a whopping 45% as compared to 2008!

We'll also mention, since summer reading season is nigh, the list of 2010's Nutmeg Book nominees for teen readers. Seems as though many local teens are already selecting from the list and preparing to cast their ballots next year…

Surf's Up
Visit the Nutmeg Book Award web site for more information about the who, why, what and where of the Nutmeg Awards.

If you are interested in literacy and who's still reading, try Reading on the Rise, a recent study published by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mystery or Thriller?

We Vote Yes... and Yes!
It is often hard to say where the line between mystery book and thriller book lies. Some thriller books are more mystery; some mystery books are more thriller. Here are four new books, written by popular authors, who do the mystery and thriller thing very well, both at the same time. Hands down...

Corsair by Clive Cussler
True Detectives by Jonathan Kellerman
Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
Pursuit by Karen Robards

Friday, May 22, 2009

Connecticut Agricultural Fairs, 2009

Spring Into Summer... If Fall Goes Well...
Summer officially begins June 21st and we are sure many of you have started to build lists of places to go and things to do.

If your day planner is not yet a busy place -- or if you dearly love long-term family activity forecasts -- we suggest an early visit to the Association of Connecticut Fairs website. The site includes information about 40+ mid-summer or early fall fairs (major, district, 4-H, local) as well as information about how to enter agricultural fair contests as a way showcase your special skills.

The library holds a variety of fair-friendly titles about baking, quilting, photography; as well as titles about fair service and showcase animals/poultry. Also find how-to craft book support to find a hobby, a family project -- or for more experienced crafters -- new inspiration to promote your wares at a CT fair.

Post by Bev Simmons

Rebels With a Cause

Literary Greats
New biographies about two arguably great, often critically bashed American writers, novelist John Cheever (1912-1982) and playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005), tell the respective stories of two complicated men.

Blake Bailey's Cheever : a Life describes a man who detested conformity in prose but struggled with conformity in life. Christopher Bigsby's Arthur Miller : 1915-1962 is an enlightening study on Miller's life and why he wrote so capably about and for the common man.

Watts Going Up? Watts Going Down!

Kill-a-Watt MetersTM : Ready for Checkout in June
Owing to a generous donation from one of our energy-conscious patrons, the library has purchased three Kill-a-Watt meters. Beginning Saturday June 20, you'll be able to borrow a meter and use the meter to determine how much power your home appliances or gizmos and gadgets consume.

For example, the meter may help you slay the energy "vampires" in your home (appliances and devices you leave plugged in when not in use) or figure out if one of your larger appliances is an energy hog-o-rilla that needs to be repaired, replaced, or used off-peak.

The meter features a very readable LCD display that counts consumption by the kilowatt-hour (KWH), same as your local utility does, and comes packaged with user-friendly instructions.

If you are interested in chipping away at wasted watts on your electric bill, borrow a Kill-a-Watt meter @ your library.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paul Newman

“If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.”

Legendary philanthropist, business giant, movie icon, Oscar winner, and professional-level race car driver Paul Newman (1925-2008) wore many hats during his lengthy career. Shawn Levy’s Paul Newman, a Life tells the life story of this remarkable man.

Levy, a pop culture historian and film critic, examines Newman's family life as well as the ups and downs of his success. Candid photos add interest to the prose.

Further Reading
Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good by Paul Newman & A.E. Hotchner (2004) describes the authors' 1978 business venture and launch of the first company to place all-natural foods in supermarkets. The authors' efforts in time lead to the creation of the Hole in the Wall Gang, an organization that builds and run camps for children with serious illnesses.

Further Viewing
The library's DVD collection includes a variety of classic and contemporary films starring the late, great Paul Newman. On the off chance that you have missed the actor's once popular/now classic films, we highly recommend Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Hustler (1961), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969), and of course, The Sting (1973).

Post by Bev Simmons

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who Knew? Learning Genetics Can Be Fun...

The 'Why' of Human Beings : Graphic Style
Graphic 'novels' often get a bad rap or are easily written off as little more than glorified pictures books. Those who read and enjoy fiction/non-fiction in graphic format -- or who have learned major life lessons from comics -- no doubt have much to say about the bad rap.

If you're so far inclined to think the graphic format is not a 'serious format', try The Stuff of Life: a Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz; illustrated by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon. Listen to a January 2009 interview with the author on NPR and view the following, related video. We recommend the book to grade 10+ teen science students and science-minded adults.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fire Up the Grill!

Grilling, Grilling, Grilling... Rawhide!
Assuming Rawhide (1959-1966) is best known to you as a TV western -- and not necessarily your current taste in BBQ -- try Fred Thompson’s new book, Grillin’ With Gas: 150 Mouth Watering Recipes for Great Grilled Food. The book includes a balanced selection of 150 recipes that aim to please everyone in your extended family. Recipes include pork, lamb, beef, poultry, fruits & vegetables. Basic advice on the best ways to use a gas grill provide inspiration for summer chefs.

Also try Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons, the latest by famous TV chef Emeril Lagasse. The recipes feature tasty and nutritious sandwiches, kebabs, pizza and wraps, in addition to more traditional recipes you would expect to find in a grilling cookbook.

If you're hungry for more BBQ ideas, here's a very short list of related titles available for summer fun:
Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue by Paul Kirk & Bob Lyon
Pizza on the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel & Bob Blumer
The Best Barbecue on Earth by Rick Browne
Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining by Cheryl & Bill Jamison
Barbecue Queens' Big Book of Barbecue
by Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

Post by Bev Simmons

Rain Gardening

Saving on a Rainy Day...
Last month, the library hosted an informational forum about the environmental benefits of rain gardens; the forum was led by Karen Filchak from the UCONN Cooperative Extention System.

If you missed the discussion, you might like to check out Rain Gardens : Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape by
Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden. You may also order or download a UCONN publication titled Rain Gardens in Connecticut : A Design Guide for Homeowners.

Local Rain Garden Contest Falling Into Place
Local residents are invited to enter a Rain Garden Contest sponsored by the Lake Pocotopaug Commission, East Hampton Garden Club, and East Hampton Village Lions Club. You must register your rain garden plans by June 15th and pay a nominal $10 contest entry fee, which will be used to support charitable giving programs. Build your garden over the summer. A panel of judges will convene in mid-August and award prizes based on attractiveness, appropriateness of plants selected, and your efforts to use green solutions to keep the rain where it falls.

For more information about the contest, contact Irene Curtis (860-416-1934) or John Ciriello (860-267-6601).

Friday, May 15, 2009


Fancy Nancy's Fancy Words
Fancy Nancy has decided to help everyone learn all of her fancy words! Nancy has a fancy vocabulary that includes more than ordinary words such as hilarious (funny), instruct (teach), enjoyable (nice), terrific (great) plus other great words such as yearning, crestfallen, and stupendous! She also likes words with a hint of French flair...

For a quick list of Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy books available for checkout, click here.

Fancy Nancy Activity Hour
If your child is a Fancy Nancy fan (ages 4-7), please join us for our first ever Fancy Nancy Activity Hour on June 13th at 10 a.m. Click here to register (registration is required) and please be sure to come dressed fancy and ready to learn new words! Phone the library at 267-6621 for more information.

Post by Program Leaders Kathleen Sands and Carol Lanigan

They Blinded Me With Science...

Science Histories
Here's two science history books you might like to read side-by-side. Both books very much keep the lay reader in mind (we admit to being among them) and so we recommend both to readers who enjoy science and history presented in interesting, accessible, and page-turning ways.

Steven Johnson’s The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, & The Birth of America retells the story of Joseph Priestley’s (1733-1804) life and contributions to science and history in both Great Britain and America. Examined topics include science, religion, and politics (Priestley influenced our Founding Fathers) during the age in which Priestley lived.

Madison Smartt Bell’s Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution retells the story of Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794), a French contemporary and fierce rival of the British Priestley. Bell, a novelist, uses his considerable skill to describe how Lavoisier's reasoned life was caught up in, and lost, during the French Revolution.

Post by Bev Simmons

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Step Aside, James Bond

World War II Spy-Eye Thrillers
The Hornet’s Sting : the Amazing Untold Story of World War II Spy Thomas Sneum relates the story of Sneum’s double life as a spy. Based on interviews with the spy himself, author Mark Ryan does a fantastic job describing the life and exploits of this allied hero.

Ben MacIntyre’s Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love & Betrayal provides another fascinating look at the life of the WWII British/German secret agent, Eddie Chapman.

James Bond may be one of your and our spy-film favorites but Thomas Sneum and Eddie Chapman aren't fictional...

Further Reading:

Post by Bev Simmons

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Off the Beaten Path Memoirs

What, No Movie Stars?
Nope; no movie star or pet stories on our short list of off and not so off-beat memoirs. While you are waiting for summer's beach read blockbuster season, why not mix autobiographies into your spring reading list? Memoirs can be just as entertaining and compelling as fiction...

Ramen King and I : How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life by Andy Raskin
Losing Mum and Pup: a Memoir by Christopher Buckley

Friday, May 08, 2009

Need Some Alone Time With a Good Book?

Tips from Hallie Ephron and the LHJ
In an April issue of the Ladies Home Journal, Hallie Ephron, author of 1001 Books for Every Mood, was asked to offer up a selection of books about 'celebrating solitude'. Loved the list and so we pass it on.

To read about Ehpron's 'Solitude Bookshelf' recommendations as they originally appeared in the LHJ, click here. To read the books Ephron suggested, look no further than the shelves of the EHPL:

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Two Towns in Provence by M.F.K. Fisher
Eat, Pray, Love... by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Art of Doing Nothing by VĂ©ronique Vienne

Post by Bev Simmons

Eco-Fun for Everyone at "Green Fest"

On Sunday, May 17th, seventeen Middlesex County libraries, in partnership with the Connecticut Library Consortium, will present Green Fest - a celebration of going green in our community. The festival, the highlight of the libraries' county-wide "Greening Our Valley" initiative, will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Middlesex Community College's Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown. All ages are invited and admission is free.

The festival will feature educational materials, giveaways and games sponsored by libraries and other organizations; circus-themed food; discussions on Connecticut outdoor living led by Rachael Sunny from the CT Department of Environmental Protection and gardening expert Patrice Barrett; and, at 3:00 p.m., a performance of ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet. Bring your own water bottle for a chance to win an eco-surprise.

Enjoy a great afternoon of family-friendly activities while supporting libraries and our green future! The college is handicapped accessible and there is plenty of free parking. All ages are invited to this free festival, made possible by a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation. For more information about this and other environmental programs going on now at libraries across Middlesex County, visit

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Poet of the Month

May's Featured Poet
Vikram Seth (1952-) : While working on a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University, Seth happened to visit the English Department out of a desire “to have some contact with the writing program.” A verse novel, The Golden Gate, sprang from that, as did five collections of poetry and two prose novels. He is one of the most perceptive, compassionate, and wit-filled poets writing today.

1.35 [From The Golden Gate]

Janet picks up her fortune cookie,
Then puts it down, turns to her friend:
“Don’t bank too much on youth. Your rookie
Season is drawing to an end.
John, things we would—when young—not think of,
Start to make sense when, on the brink of
Thirtydom, we pause to scan
What salves and salads cannot ban,
The earliest furrows on our faces,
The loneliness within our souls,
Our febrile clawing for mean goals,
Our programmed cockfights and rat races,
Our dreary dignity, false pride,
And hearts stored in formaldehyde . . . .

Further Reading : Try the prose novel Equal Music; the poetry collection, Three Chinese Poets, or Vikram's literary biography, Two Lives.

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Matthew Brady

Civil War Images
Webb Garrison’s coffee table book, Brady’s Civil War: A Collection of Memorable Civil War Images Photographed by Matthew Brady & His Assistants is a visual and historical feast for anyone interested in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Matthew Brady (1822-1896) photographed the War between the States; hard to imagine what our historical record would be without Brady's work.

In addition to his war pictures, Brady photographed nineteen Presidents. Even though the value of his pictures to posterity is priceless, Brady died poor and alone, after having bankrupted himself to help pay for his photographic expenses.

For Kids
George Sullivan’s Matthew Brady: His Life & Photographs is a kid-friendly biography of this noteworthy American, who sacrificed all for his art.

Surf's Up
For more information about selected Civil War photographs and photographers, visit the Library of Congress online.

Post by Bev Simmons

Going to the Chapel?

Tough Times Need Not Get in Your Way
The American wedding is a $161 billion industry. You can read an entertaining and thoughtful account of this industry in Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day: the Selling of the American Wedding (2007).

Needless to say our poor economy has caused many to scale back their plans, embrace their inner tightwad, find their DIY spirit -- to create a wedding that's still dreamy but which doesn't break the bank. If you're planning a lower cost trip down the aisle, here's a quick sample of wedding books that may be helpful to your cause:

The Green Bride Guide : How to Create an Earth Friendly Wedding on Any Budget by Kate L. Harrison
“I Do" Veils, So Can You : A Step-by-step Guide to Making Bridal Headpieces, Hats, & Veils with Professional Results by Claudia Lynch
Michaels Book of Wedding Crafts edited by Linda Kopp
The Artful Bride : Wedding Invitations : a Stylish Bride's Guide to Simple, Handmade Wedding Correspondence by April L. Paffrath & Laura McFaddenn
Bride to Be : Plan Your Wedding Without Losing Your Mind by Jaclyn Hirschhaut & Kate M. Taylor

Also find @ your library a variety of guidebooks about wedding etiquette, food, toasts, DYI flower arrangements, and music CDs that may help you choose your mix of wedding tunes.

Surf's Up
On the web, try The Knot for everything wedding. The site comes complete with great pull-down menus to help you choose and organize your wedding day plans.

Post developed by Bev Simmons

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Mothers Day, May 10th

Green Mothers Day Gift Ideas
Mothers Day is this coming Sunday, May 10th. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to pick out a gift. Mmm... what to do?

If your mom looks good in green, you can make mom and the environment happy with gifts both will thank you for later. For tips, visit these among many other popular, eco-driven web sites for ideas: Inhabitat -- Green Living Tips -- Alternative Consumer -- Green Home (Huddler Community) -- Planet Green -- Treehugger.

Of course, no gift -- green, purple, red, orange, blue, or chartreuse -- will be greater than the gift of your time, hugs, and appreciation for your mom day after day, all year round.

Post developed by Kathleen Sands

Saturday, May 02, 2009

East Hampton's Clean Energy Task Force

Clean Energy Forum Series
Our town's Clean Energy Task Force was organized just about two years ago. Since then, your town has signed on with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to become a Clean Energy Community. Owing to the success of the recent St. Clements Clean Energy Expo, the Task Force will host a series of forums; each will tackle a different aspect of clean energy.

Both of the upcoming forums are free and open to the public. However, the Task Force asks that you bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the East Hampton Food Bank.

Going Green with Geothermal Systems
On Wednesday May 20th at 7 p.m. at the East Hampton Middle School guest presenter Rick King of King Energy Associates will discuss closed-loop geothermal systems. Mr. King is a regular on NPR, where he shares his insights and answers questions about geothermal system installations, costs, utility savings, and funding programs. King Energy is based in Lebanon, CT.

Going Green with Solar Systems
On Wednesday June 17th at 7 p.m. Brad Wheatley of Solatek Energy will discuss solar powered systems and how they may be used by local homeowners and businesses. Solatek is based in Hebron, CT.

For More Information
Contact Task Force Chair John Tuttle at 860.267.5757 or email For information on how to choose and sign up to use a clean energy option, click here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

True Crime Book Alert

Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, and their 'Barrow Gang' robbed banks and armories all over the south during the Great Depression. Their crime spree began in 1932 and ended in 1934.

Jeff Guinn's Go Down Together: the True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde describes then strips away the 1930's press sensationalism that made Bonnie and Clyde seem glamorous. The sensationalism, the author asserts, fueled the couple's overblown reputation as masterminds when instead, they were incompetent crooks turned deadly. Great book for true crime fans or students of the Depression Era looking for a well worth it page-turner.

Further Reading
The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Phillip Steele
Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers and Thieves by Lawrence Block

Back to Nature...

Back to the Woods...
In The Thoreau You Didn’t Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant, Robert Sullivan offers a sometimes myth-breaking and often humorous re-examination of the life and beliefs of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), favorite son of environmentalists and independent non-conformists.

As a companion, read or re-read Thoreau's masterwork, Walden, or Life in the Woods for a full-flavored look inside a man who is often counted among America's most influential writers.

If you have children, they might like to read D.B. Johnson's wonderful story books about Henry's adventures with Thoreau, the bear. Try Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, or Henry Climbs a Mountain. Johnson's books are recommended for ages 4-8.

Surf's Up
Visit the Walden State Pond Reservation web site for more information about the physical place where Thoreau found inspiration. Walden Pond is a designated National Historic Landmark.

Post by Bev Simmons