Sunday, January 31, 2010

This Week's Newbies

Early February's Page Turners
Despite the frigid temperatures of the last few days, take heart. The shadows are shrinking and the days are growing longer by about two wonderful minutes per day. This means you can read a few more pages before turning off or on your energy-saving light bulbs...

Able One by Ben Bova
Rogue armies and cutting-edge laser technology will please fans of the Hugo-winner, Bova (The Green Trap) if not Clancy fans in need of a techno fix.

Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton
The latest from horror/occult fiction author Hamilton features Anita Blake, vampire hunter.

Point Omega by Don DeLillo
DeLillo (White Noise) is arguably one of our country's greatest living writers. Here, the author offers a short novel about a war planner and his appearance in a young filmmaker's documentary. Pair this one with DeLillo's 9/11 novel, The Falling Man.

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Say hello to NYPD detective Michael Bennett who sets out to capture the killer, as all Patterson heroes do. Co-authored by Michael Ledwidge who, with Patterson, wrote The Quickie.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
A tightly written mother-daughter story complete with necessary hankie calls, by the author of Firefly Lane and True Colors.

Live Free or Die by John Ringo
Ringo here starts a new high action, military sci-fi series. Thanks, New Hampshire! The author likes your state motto...

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich's latest (after the 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist Plague of Doves) again takes on family matters. After the main character discovers her husband is reading her diary, she starts a second...

This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson
Hot fiction reads aside, East Hampton is home to more than a few librarians, practicing and retired; plus a fair share of library school students. This one's for you -- or anyone who's used a public library in the last 25 years. The book includes a chapter on CT librarians' Patriot Act challenge.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Farewell J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)

Acclaimed, Reclusive, Revered...
"I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all... What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them... I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.." -- Holden Caulfied

Influential writer and infamous recluse J.D. Salinger died on Wednesday, January 27, at the age of 91. He is perhaps best known for his novel Catcher in the Rye, which introduced generations to one of American literature's most famous phony-hating teenagers, Holden Caulfield.

Also by Salinger

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tea for Two

High Tea Never Looked So Good
Tea drinking is at least a 2,000-year-old habit. If you are an aficionado to the core, here's a quick list of titles that may help you plan a tea party, learn more about tea's place in history, or add a tea-friendly fiction title to your reading list.

Party Planning

Diana Rosen’s Taking Time for Tea : 15 Seasonal Tea Parties to Soothe the Soul and Celebrate the Spirit provides not only recipes, but wonderful menus guaranteed to help you plan a special occasion tea party.

For kids, try Fancy Nancy, Party Planner : Tea Parties by Jane O'Connor. R.S.V.P. oui, oui, oui!

Table Planning
Loani Prior’s Wild Tea Cosies offers 24 step-by-step patterns for knitting unique tea cosies. Full page color illustrations show the finished product along with accompanying material, equipment, pattern, size, and finishing requirements.

Table Settings : Stylish Entertaining Made Simple by Emily Chalmers beautifully illustrates the pleasure of a well-laid table. Many of the more ambitious settings can be scaled back while still delivering tea time elegance.

If you're crafty, Donna Dewberry’s Designs for Entertaining offers a wealth of ideas for painting a variety of dishes, cups, and centerpieces. The author is a regular presenter on the Home Shopping Network.

Napkins with a Twist : Fabulous Folds with Flair for Every Occasion by David Stark gives simple, yet lovely ideas for making the required table napkin an interesting element of your overall presentation. Also try Folding Napkins by Gay Merrill Gross.

What would your tea table be like without candles? Gloria Nicol explains how to undertake a fairly inexpensive craft in Candles : Making, Decorating, Styling. The title showcases 40 step-by-step projects.

History of Tea
The Story of Tea : a Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss will take you on a 2000-year journey from East to West. Part travelogue, part history, and filled with practical advice -- this very readable title is likely to be a joy for tea lovers.

Less glowing is Tea : Addiction, Exploitation, & Empire by Roy Moxham, who examines four centuries of the British tea industry and tea's impact on world history. This provocative book is well written and well worth a tea (or coffee) drinker's time.

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup's On!

National Soup Month
Browse the Internet and you'll find at least 20 or so national this or national that occasions associated with each and every of our calendar's 12 months. Since we're smack in the middle of flu season or the sneezy-wheezy days of winter, we're going to go with soup since historically speaking, this 'fast food' has been around since B.C.

Here are but a few titles you might use to spice up your winter menus:

Eating Well : Comfort Foods Made Healthy by Jessie Price includes 175 comfort food recipes made healthier and a great chapter on soups.

Nava Atlas’ Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews For All Seasons shows that food can be low in fat, be veggie rich, taste great -- and still provide comfort food pleasure.

Soup Makes the Meal by Ken Haedrich presents three course menus (soup, salad, bread) that will work for special occasions, as well as family suppers. The book also makes it easy to combine any two of three choices for quick and easy fare.

Barbara Kafka was one of the first on the scene with microwave cook advice. Her title, Soup: A Way of Life, is more traditional and offers a basic collection of tasty and innovative recipes, many of them quick.


Post by Bev Simmons

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All About Connecticut

Brought to You by the K of C
The local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, 6190 Belltown Council, recently offered their annual donation to our library. For almost a decade, the Knights have supported books and reading as a community enterprise; donations have been used to enrich a variety of collections, particularly those of interest to children and young adult readers.

This year, the Knights' donation was used to support local family and individual interest in our state's history and lore, as well as its travel destinations, both outdoor and indoor. Please be sure to thank a Belltown Knight for the pleasure you'll find in the pages of the following books:

Off the Beaten Path Connecticut : a Guide to Unique Places by Joan & Tom Bross

Roadside Geology of Connecticut and Rhode Island by James W. Skehan

Fun with the Family, Connecticut : Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids by Doe Boyle

Zagat Survey : Connecticut Restaurants, 2009-2010

Connecticut : an Explorer's Guide by Barnett D. Laschever & and Andi Marie Cantele

Stories in Stone : How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture by Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Dr. Mel's Connecticut Climate Book by Mel Goldstein

Ghost Stories and Legends of Southwestern Connecticut
by Donna Kent

Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island : Southern New England's Best Paddling Routes by Jim Cole

Connecticut's Seaside Ghosts by Donald Carter

Tobacco Sheds in the Connecticut River Valley by Darcy Purinton and Dale F. Cahill

And just for kids, try Connecticut by Jim Ollhoff or Good Night Connecticut by Christina Vrba and Anne Rosen

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Pursuit of Happiness

Great Experiments
People search for happiness in their own ways. Below are the memoirs of two people who after a year of intensive and creative searching, found it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is the story of Rubin's quest for self-improvement. Though not at all unhappy, the author dedicated a year to working at life changes. Her story may strike an inspirational nerve and encourage readers to formulate their own self-improvement programs.

In Robyn Okrant's Living Oprah : My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk, the author describes a 12 month adventure following Oprah Winfrey's advice. What happened -- how and why Okrant's year went the way it did -- is the basis for this unusual book.


Post by Bev Simmons

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Editor's Picks

Amazon Best Teen Books of 2009
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl
In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

Claudette Colvin : Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose
It's 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, and fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin is in the thick of things. She refuses to give up her seat on the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks. Hoose's book won a 2009 National Book Award.

Marcelo and the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

Fire by Kristin Cashore
In a kingdom called the Dells, Fire is the last human-shaped monster, with unimaginable beauty and the ability to control the minds of those around her, but even with these gifts she cannot escape the strife that overcomes her world.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Alternate chapters follow teenagers Todd and Viola, who become separated as the Mayor's oppressive new regime takes power in New Prentisstown, a space colony where residents can hear each other's thoughts.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Energy Efficiency

More Than a Light Bulb...
Now that we are in the thick of winter, keep your wallet thick with money by lowering your utility bills as much as possible. Explore the following ideas:

Heating Systems
No matter which system you use, don't forget those annual checkups to make sure nothing needs replacing. Alternative systems are available, if your current system is expensive or inefficient. Options include pellet stoves, wood stoves, solar heating systems, infrared heaters, etc. If you have an East Hampton Public Library card, you can check Consumer Reports for best advice and if solar interests you, checkout CT's Solar Lease Program.

Energy Star : If you are in the market to replace an appliance, check out the Energy Star web site, a joint offering by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Use the store locator click then zip code search to find e-star sellers in our area. You can also use to site to learn about tax credits for making your home more energy efficient.

Energy Review
Use your library card to check out a Kilowatt meter. Use them to help you understand your electricity usage.

Energy Assistance
If you are in need of assistance with utility bills, learn more about the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.

Other Tips
  • Turn your thermostat down while you are out of the house at work or school during the day, or when you are away from home for extended periods of time.
  • Try insulated shades or insulating plastic wrap on your windows to keep heat inside your home.
  • Make sure you have good weatherstripping on the bottom of your doors to avoid draftiness and the heat loss that is associated with it.
  • Turn off the lights and unplug turned off electronics when you are finished.
  • Double check your insulation throughout the house, especially around heating pipes.
  • If you have a way to regulate the temperatures in various parts of the house on your thermostat, close the doors and lower the temperature in rooms you rarely use.
  • Put an extra layer on and be sure to have a warm comforter on the bed so you can lower the heat while you sleep.

Post by Kathleen Sands

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A 'Take a Break' on Thursday Afternoon Program...

@ your library
Library staff member, author, and our very own Renaissance guy, Phil Carr, today led an informational forum on the history of beads and beading and the place of each in world cultures. Phil and library staff member, Fran Connelly, also displayed a variety of unique beaded necklaces, collected during their travels.

The forum was followed by a hands-on beading workshop that welcomed experienced and budding beaders of all ages. Participants were introduced to beading tools; learned from others, and made/took home their own creation.

'Take a Break' on Thursday
Our Thursday afternoon series is designed to provide people with a variety of learning and enrichment opportunities during the day. Next up in our series, with click to register online:
Arizona Travels with Bill Conway : Thursday, January 21
String Art Workshop with Phil Carr : Thursday, February 11

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Second Time Around

Sequels... Sort of...
In Eat Pray Love (2006), Elizabeth Gilbert spends a year travelling the world after a nasty divorce. The book is an inspirational and international hit; Julia Roberts agrees to star in the upcoming film adaptation.

In her latest, Committed : a Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Gilbert ponders (and ponders and ponders) whether or not to take a second walk down the aisle.

In Julie and Julia (2005), Julie Powell spends a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The book is an inspirational/kitchen hit; so is the movie starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

Powell's latest, Cleaving : a Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession, is mainly about infidelity. The author obsesses (and obsesses and obsesses) and learns to butcher meat and her husband.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Poet of the Month

January's Featured Poet
Michael Ondaatje (1943-) was born in Sri Lanka and lived there until he was eleven. After a time in England he settled in Canada at the age of 19 and became a citizen. He earned a BA from the University of Toronto and an MA from Queen’s, Kingston, Ontario. For a number of years he taught at York University and Glendon College. As an author he is best known for his prize-winning best-selling novel The English Patient (among four others). He has produced 13 volumes of poetry. Best known among these is The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970), which was adapted for the stage.

Biography

The dog scatters her body in sleep,
paws, finding no ground, whip at air,
the unseen eyeballs reel deep, within.
And waking—crouches,
tacked to humility all day,
children ride her, stretch,
display the black purple lips,
pull hind legs to dance;
unaware that she
tore bulls apart, loosed
heads of partridges,
dreamt blood.

Further Reading: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Next Month: Phillis Wheatley

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
21st Century Bread (2007)
In Vitro : New Short Rhyming Poems Post-9/11 (2009)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Early Literacy Fun for Little People

January's Fingerplay of the Month
January's fingerplay helps children with counting and learning the order of numbers, as many fingerplays do. This one features counting back (3-2-1) vs. counting forward (1-2-3). It also introduces concepts such as over, away, and with a small bit of dialogue, helps children learn about the world around them.

The Three Little Ducks (Follow-along Video Plus Script) video

Three little ducks went out to play.
Over the hill and far away!
When the mama duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
Two little ducks came running back.

Two little ducks went out to play.
Over the hill and far away!
When the mama duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
One little duck came running back.

One little duck went out to play.
Over the hill and far away!
When the mama duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
No little ducks came running back.

But, when the daddy duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
Three little ducks came running back!

Fun Duck Books:
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Rosenthal
Katy Duck by Alyssa Capucilli
Guess Who, Baby Duck! by Amy Hest
Silly Goose and Dizzy Duck Play Hide and Seek by Sally Grindley
The Duck Who Played the Kazoo by Amy Sklansky
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Year's @ Noon
Thanks to all who attended our annual New Years event for our community's littlest people. A great time was had by all. If you enjoyed the balloon drop (or missed it) here's the virtual version!

video

Video by library staff member Marilou Overson

Movie Prep...

WWII : The War in the Pacific
This coming March, HBO will begin broadcasting The Pacific, a WWII miniseries produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman (Band of Brothers).

The Pacific is based on two memoirs : Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie and With the Old Breed : at Peleliu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge. In addition, Medal of Honor Winner John Basilone is a lead character in the series ; his personal story is recounted in Hero of the Pacific by James Brady (2010).

Plenty of time to read the books before the series kicks off in your living rooms.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Favorite Authors

Latest on Tuesday, January 5th
Several fantasy/sci-fi authors weigh in this coming Tuesday, along with several writers of literary fiction. Sure to be another interesting Tuesday @ your library.

Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, who've collaborated before, offer Catalyst, first in a Barque Cat series. You know... cats in space...

Try The Domino Pattern by Timothy Zahn, who's arguably most famous for his Star Wars novels but who also delivers great sci-fi on his own.

Marion Zimmer Bradley died in 1999 but her legacy lives on via the efforts of many talented writers. Hastur Lord, penned by Deborah J. Ross, continues Bradley's Darkover series.

Iron River by T. Jefferson Parker is third in the series of Charlie Hood novels, after Renegades (2009).

Anne Tyler's latest is Noah's Compass. Tyler's a local book club favorite. We know of six self-organized clubs in our area so our guess is this one will show up soon as a selection.

In Not My Daughter, Barbara Delinsky is likely to prove yet again why her books achieve bestseller status. Here, the author takes on teenage pregnancy and its effects on each of the teens... and their mothers. Lighter fare for fans of Jodi Picoult.

Tracy Chevalier, who dazzled with The Girl with the Pearl Earring (2000) and The Lady and the Unicorn (2004) returns with Remarkable Creatures, another historical fiction novel.

Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin (Evensong; The Finishing School) is set in an all-girls school. 'Gossip Girl' for grownups? We'll see...