"I’m relatively new to audiobooks, having listened to my first one a few months ago, but I agree with my colleagues who say they are a gFrom Meredith:
"I’m relatively new to audiobooks, having listened to my first one a few months ago, but I agree with my colleagues who say they are a great way to pass the time on long drives, during a run or cleaning the house.
I also agree with them that a narrator makes, or breaks, the audiobook.
I recently finished listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: My Life as a Co-Star by Judy Greer. She also voiced the audiobook. If the name isn’t familiar, I’m sure it will be after you Google it. With more than 16 working years in Hollywood, and 90+ film and TV credits to her name, she’s one of those actors who seems to be in everything. She’s a star, yet she isn’t. She’s worked with George Clooney and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lopez, but can still run to a 24-hour drug store without fear of being recognized. In fact, if/when she is recognized, the people who stop her aren’t sure why they’ve stopped her. Best of both worlds? The work, some fame, but no paparazzi?
(If you aren’t going to Google Judy Greer, she played Lucy in 13 Going on 30; Maggie Lang in Ant-Man; Karen Mitchell in Jurassic World; and Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development.)
This was an entertaining memoir. Greer is funny, honest – some might think she’s too honest, but I loved it – and anyone who’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in Hollywood will get a little bit of gossip. Not dirt – she’s not stupid; she still has to make a living – but the next time you see a celebrity looking like the wish they were anywhere else on the red carpet or at a press junket, Greer’s book will explain why both aren’t fun."...more
"I recently enjoyed the book Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. I love books about food (Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal VegetablFrom Bond:
"I recently enjoyed the book Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. I love books about food (Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle is one of my all-time favorites) and Kitchens of the Great Midwest not only vividly captures the sensory experience of some terrific meals, it also evokes memories of my own Midwestern childhood and the foods I grew up with.
It has a unique structure: Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and sometimes there are jumps forward of several years at a go. This left me wanting more with every chapter change.
Here’s an excerpt of Amazon’s synopsis: When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine–and a dashing sommelier–he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter–starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.
I didn’t want to put this book down. It was funny and sweet, and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to the characters."...more
"I, like many people I work with and see here at the Library, am interested in genealogy. I’ve done a little bit of research here and theFrom Candice:
"I, like many people I work with and see here at the Library, am interested in genealogy. I’ve done a little bit of research here and there, mainly on my mother’s side of the family. Her maiden name is Klein, her father’s first name was Henderikus, and this ended up being a good name to start with. Aside from the fact that it was often misspelled, it is a somewhat unique name which made it a little easier to trace, and I was able to find him in the census records, as well as documentation of his family’s immigration from the Netherlands. Working backwards, I eventually hit a genealogy jackpot, when I found someone from the Netherlands who had done the research for the same relatives I was looking at, all the way back to the 1600s.
My father’s last name is Smith. I have resisted doing any research on that side of the family out of fear that I would be lost in a morass of Smiths in the midwest, unable to go much further than a couple generations. However, I recently decided to give it a try. I started with my grandfather, Carl Smith (sidenote: for some reason, his nicknames were Bus and Buster. I was honestly surprised when, in my teens, I found out his name was Carl.) Using Ancestry, and searching his name with the city of Oelwein, Iowa, I find several people with that name. The first Carl Smith listed was born in 1897, and while I don’t know my grandfather’s exact birth date, I know it’s not that. There is a Carl listed born in 1923, and that looks more likely. The record is from a 1925 state census, and at first the names of the parents don’t ring a bell for me–Fred and Manna. However, I know from my grandfather’s obituary that his father was named Ferd, so an easy misspelling, and I also see a sister named Mardell on this record, whom I do recall. This is the right Carl Smith.
This state census recorded other data, as well. When using Ancestry and viewing the images, you sometimes need to be sure to use the arrow buttons to page back and forth, to see if information for the same family is continued on the previous or next page(s). In this case, the second page of information tells me that Ferd, and my grandfather, were born in Missouri–this is something I did not know! For each person in the census, it also lists their parents names, places of birth, and the state that they were married in. A little goldmine of information, all in one census. I now have my great-great grandfather’s name, along with his wife’s, to look for in older records.
Looking through these records is so interesting, for many reasons. You find out things about your family that you didn’t know, you find specific details about them that lets you know a little more about them; Ferd Smith was in the Army during World War I, he completed grade 6 and his wife completed grade 9, he was affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal church, she with a Christian one. These small details let me know a little bit more about the family my own grandfather grew up in, they let me know more about him.
Next up: looking for John and Effie Smith."...more
"D2016 07 Decoupageecoupage is back in style! Recently I discovered a couple books in the Library’s collection about decoupage using Mod PodFrom Kara:
"D2016 07 Decoupageecoupage is back in style! Recently I discovered a couple books in the Library’s collection about decoupage using Mod Podge, and it brought back a flood of happy childhood memories.
My friends and I used to make decoupage gifts for one-another. One of my favorites is displayed in my office – a cartoon from Western Horseman my friend decoupaged onto a board showing a girl riding a horse. The caption is “If you can read this bumper sticker … you might be kicked.” (It still makes me giggle.)
I also remember working with my Mom to make decoupage gifts for the holidays – one year we decoupaged our school pictures onto small boards as a gift for our grandparents.
According to wikihow.com/decoupage, “Decoupage—from the French word découper, meaning to cut out—is a craft or art form that entails pasting cut-outs (typically paper) to an object and then covering them with several coats of varnish or lacquer. The process gives flat cut-outs an appearance of depth and makes patterns and pictures look as though they are actually painted on the decoupaged object.”
I’ve been looking for some ideas for the Library’s Arts and Crafts Bazaar on December 3rd and I found some decoupage ideas I’m planning to explore. From the book, I also discovered there are many different kinds of Mod Podge including Sparkle, Dishwasher Safe, Fabric, Hard Coat and Outdoor. Oh the possibilities!
If you are looking for some fun crafting ideas for hot summer days, you might consider making something with Mod Podge. I promise I’ll return the books soon."...more
"Thrillers seem to be the genre of choice for summer reading. Travel writer Will Rhodes is on assignment in Argentina and he is blackmailedFrom Anne:
"Thrillers seem to be the genre of choice for summer reading. Travel writer Will Rhodes is on assignment in Argentina and he is blackmailed into becoming a spy for the CIA. And through working as a spy, he finds out that his own mundane life wasn’t what he thought it was."...more
"My favorite book of the summer is Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett. Our narrator and hero, Mary Davidson is looking back to the 1908 whaling seaFrom Anne:
"My favorite book of the summer is Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett. Our narrator and hero, Mary Davidson is looking back to the 1908 whaling season in New South Wales. That year her father, a whaler was having a very bad year—there just doesn’t seem to be any whales to catch. She was also in charge of the Davidson brood (and they are a brood!) as her mother has passed away and Mary was falling in love with a new member of her father’s crew, who doesn’t seem to be what he says he is. All of these things, although seem extremely important at the time, distract Mary from something vastly more significant. It is a lovely book. Such a fun read—very whimsical—wonderfully funny scenes. But also sad. I couldn’t wait to read it every day."...more
"Faced with seven hours of driving in one day, I headed for our collection of nonfiction books on disc and selected a title that has been oFrom Heidi:
"Faced with seven hours of driving in one day, I headed for our collection of nonfiction books on disc and selected a title that has been on my pending list for a while: Not My Father’s Son, by Alan Cumming. The print book and the audio version were both published in late 2014, to positive reviews. I enjoyed it very much, although parts of his story are difficult to listen to (or read, I’m sure).
Cumming weaves together two main story lines in the book. The first is about his painful relationship with his troubled father, who was both physically and emotionally abusive throughout Cumming’s childhood–and in fact, into his adulthood. The other focus is the mystery of his maternal grandfather, who died in Malaysia after his participation in World War II. That mystery is investigated and solved through Cumming’s participation in the UK television show Who Do You Think You Are?, a program that researches celebrities’ genealogies. While both story lines are painful at times, there are many uplifting and positive moments. His relationships with other family members are loving and supportive, and one feels that his journey to learn more about his father and grandfather makes him a stronger person.
The audio book is narrated by Cumming himself, so I knew that all the right bits were being emphasized. One of the most charming parts of the book is that every time he refers to his mother Mary he calls her “Mary Darling”. Her maiden name was Darling, and Alan and his brother always refer to her that way “because her name so suits her. She is a darling.” His love for her is heard in his voice.
It is a suspenseful story, with several–if that’s possible–wrenching and heartwarming endings. The audio version is six hours and thirty minutes. If you choose the print version, you will see black and white photos of some of the key people."...more
"Ouch, ouch, ouch! That hurts, that really really hurts! Do you want to know why stings and bites hurt and why some insect stings are worseFrom Maeve:
"Ouch, ouch, ouch! That hurts, that really really hurts! Do you want to know why stings and bites hurt and why some insect stings are worse than others? Then look no further than “The Sting of the Wild”. Schmidt, the “the King of the Sting” and”the Connoisseur of Pain”, is an entomologist at Southwestern Biological Institute and is affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and he has written a bitingly good book about insects that inflict pain. I am attractive to flying insects; mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies – all those annoying little creatures of the air, so I was very interested in why me and not others. Mosquitoes are attracted to certain blood types more than others, those with Type O being bitten the most frequently. If you want to know what other factors make a mosquito pick you or ignore you, you’ll have to read the book.
His research area of expertise is insect venom and he is the creator of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The Schmidt sting pain index is a 5-point pain scale, numbered from 0 to 4. An insect that can’t penetrate human skin ranks 0. The most painful stings rank 4 on the index. I guess five must be death, which is possible with a sting. Schmidt includes his pain scale as an appendix and it’s fascinating and funny, truly funny. He gives the name, the range, the description and the pain level of each stinging insect. There is only one level 4 in North America – the tarantula hawk, but there are many lower pain level insects. But don’t think it is a tiny tingle if the level is lower, it’s not. His descriptions read like entries in the “Wine Enthusiast” – Western yellow jacket – Pain Level 2 – Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue. Honey wasp – Pain Level 2 – Spice, blistering. A cotton swab dipped in habanero sauce has been pushed up your nose.
And get this, he based his pain index on experimentation with himself as the subject. I have been stung by a paper wasp before and it is excruciatingly painful. I cannot imagine inflicting all of that agony on myself, but I am glad he was curious and strong enough to do it. He was interviewed recently on Science Friday and he is in funny in person as he is in writing."...more
"Helen Simonson’s new novel is a great summer read, and not just because it has “summer” in the title. The Summer Before the War takes a nuFrom Heidi:
"Helen Simonson’s new novel is a great summer read, and not just because it has “summer” in the title. The Summer Before the War takes a number of interesting turns with enough suspense to keep you reading when you really should be doing something else. There are many likeable characters–and a few not-so–and the historical detail, never heavy-handed, illuminates the impact of social class, the looming Great War, and the limited role in society for a young woman.
This is the story of Beatrice Nash, who has been hired to teach Latin to the village children of Rye, England. She is in her early 20s and grieving the loss of her beloved father who broadened her mind through education and travel. Teaching is her route to financial independence and the ability to write; probable spinsterhood is embraced as a fair trade-off for a life of her choosing, of reading and writing.
World War I changes everything and everyone, beginning with the village’s acceptance of Belgian refugees and the calls to young men to serve their country. But even patriotism and military service are subject to societal pressures and questionable ethics, and no family completely escapes heartbreak and loss.
Which characters become Beatrice’s friends and allies, and who emerges to thwart her plans moves the story at a brisk pace. And as the characters develop there are satisfying transformations from nemesis to friend, and disappointments as those she admires show their true colors. One of the things I liked best is that no character is perfect; each fails at some point to live up to their own standards and beliefs, or to love generously when it is difficult to do so.
I hated to finish the book, because I had grown quite attached to Beatrice, Hugh, Aunt Agatha, and others in the story. (I felt the same way about some of the characters in Simonson’s first novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.) The Summer Before the War was a wonderful first entry on my summer reading program log, and I hope it makes it onto yours."...more