DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Aug 25 2017

Hashtag This…

by Camille B

TH_hashtag politics_hands

Remember when the hashtag was just that plain old number sign on your keyboard? Or as some would call it, the pound sign? You would press pound for further options on your phone, or even use the enlarged symbol to play a fierce game of tic-tac-toe with a friend?

Well who would have thought that this seemingly insignificant symbol would play such an important role in social media today?

I have to admit that I’ve never used a hashtag before, but I’ve always been curious about who does, when and where they use it, and for what purpose?

As it turns out I wasn’t alone. Searching showed that there were many who were asking the same questions, wanting to know what a hashtag was, how it was used, why it was called a hashtag, and who or what started it?

At a glance it seems like the phenomenon popped up overnight doesn’t it? One minute it didn’t exist at all, and the next it was hashtag this and hashtag that. Well the inventor, Chris Messina, would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t quite that simple and the idea was initially dismissed by most of the tech community when he first pitched it.

This is his first, now famous tweet, using a hashtag:  how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in [msg]?

He felt that the pound sign at the beginning of a relevant word or phrase would be an easy way to bring people together who were discussing the same topic online. He said he chose the # symbol because that character was easy to reach on his 2007 Nokia feature phone.  Two days later another friend, Stowe Boyd, suggested the name hashtag for the symbol because it was catchier.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Messina said that Twitter totally rejected the idea. “They told me flat out, ‘These things are for nerds. They’re never going to catch on.'” Can you imagine?

Well, what did they know? Today the hashtag is being used not only by Twitter, but other social networking sites including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr. It picked up slowly as Messina used the hashtag in his own tweets and encouraged friends to do the same.

The really seismic shift came during the 2007 San Diego fire when people were tracking the fire using a system set up by Twitter. The spaces between the words San Diego and fire made the tracking difficult, so Messina suggested that they use the hashtag with no spaces. “That caused other people to see that behavior and it kind of continued in that form. At that point it became easier to use.”

In 2008 conservative groups began to use the symbol to encourage Congress to vote on an energy bill and the jump from the tech crowd to the political one, he said, was a huge one. By 2009, Twitter adopted the idea and that’s when it’s usage skyrocketed.

You can place hashtags anywhere in your posts on social media, linking similar conversations by different users together. You can then find these related topics by clicking on the hashtag symbol. How helpful is any of this? It depends. To some it seems to be a bit of an annoyance, one  journalist even referring to it as an eyesore and incredibly lazy.

Yet others find it quite handy for keeping up with news stories and events as well as a promotional tool for business and services. In recent years the hashtag has been used in some of the most publicized events around the world including the death of Michael Jackson, Hurricane Sandy and the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.

So how much money did Messina make with his invention? None. He never patented it. He felt that a government-granted monopoly would have inhibited their adoption, which was the opposite of what he wanted. “They are born of the internet and should be owned by no one. The value and satisfaction I derive from seeing my funny little hack used as widely as it is today is valuable enough for me to be relieved that I had the foresight not to try to lock down this stupidly simple but effective idea.”

 

Brush up on your social media at DCPL:

The Twitter Book– Tim O’Reilly

AARP Facebook: tech to connect– Marsha Collier

Facebook & Twitter for seniors for dummies- Marsha Collier

 

 

{ 1 comment }

Aug 9 2017

Becoming An American Citizen

by Camille B

Photo AOn July 3rd, 2017 I became a citizen of the United States. Standing alongside 72 other candidates, all from different countries around the world, I solemnly took the Oath of Allegiance to Support and defend the Constitution and laws of this great nation.

I remember the lady sitting next to me was from Cuba, the gentleman to my right was from Jamaica, and I listened intently as one by one the names of the various countries present were called: China, Nigeria, Canada, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Ecuador…

One by one we stood, looking solemn and a little nervous, as we prepared to embrace this country as our own. We were now about to become Americans not by birth but by choice. In reality, most of us had already done so, having borne permanent resident status for many years, which granted us the freedom to do such things as work, pay taxes, get a driver’s license, go to school etc. But it was something different to be called an American citizen, to now have a voice and be counted when and where it really mattered.

Later that day a family member asked me how I felt, and I thought they were being a little dramatic. It wasn’t like I’d had surgery. But on further reflection, I realized that it was a valid question. How did I feel besides being excited and a little overwhelmed?

Well, strangely enough, amidst all the other emotions I was feeling, I realized that I was having some anxiety wondering how my family and friends back home would react to the news; the people I had grown up with from childhood; and gone to school with, worked with. Would they celebrate my newfound citizenship? Or would they think I had turned my back on my country of birth? And if, perchance they did feel this way, how did I explain that it was not the case?

I guess the only example I could draw on was the same bitter-sweet feeling a bride must have felt in the olden days when she had to leave her parents home and give up her name for her husband’s. Yes she was in love and ready to start a new life with him, but she was also leaving her family behind. But this didn’t mean she loved them any less. They still remained a very important part of her life. It was the same feeling I had about my native land.

The Naturalization Process

The road to citizenship can sometimes be a long one, and for some confusing, but I found everything that I needed to help me through the process both on the USCIS and DCPL websites.

The Application

Form N-400 is the one needed to file for Application for Naturalization and can be downloaded at uscis.gov/n-400, submit it along with the appropriate fees (as of December 23, 2016 the application fee has increased to $640, the biometrics fee remains $85). You will receive a receipt notice from the USCIS office letting you know that they’ve received your application and will be contacting you with a date, time and location for your biometric screening.

Biometrics Appointment

The biometrics screening process requires you to be fingerprinted and photographed for the purpose of conducting an FBI criminal background check. All applicants must have background checks completed before USCIS will schedule an interview, so if there are skeletons in your closet, beware. Biometrics

The Citizenship Test/ Naturalization Interview

Some time after having your biometrics screening done, you will receive an appointment notice scheduling a date and time for an interview with USCIS. The wait time for this can take several months, and you should use this time to study for the test which is broken into four categories: civics, reading, writing and speaking.Exam Book

The civics test consists of questions based on American history and government as well as integrated civics questions. You will be given 100 questions to study out of which you will be asked 10 randomly at the interview. You must correctly answer 6 of these questions  in order to pass this portion of the test.

Next, you must read one out of three sentences correctly to show your ability to read in English, write one out of three sentences to show your ability to write in English, and answer questions from your submitted application to determine your ability to speak English.

The Oath of Allegiance Swearing-In Ceremony

If you are successful in passing your interview, there is a possibility that you can take your Oath of Allegiance that same day. If not, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled oath ceremony. You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

The Oath of Allegiance is administered, either by USCIS at an administrative ceremony or by a judge in a judicial ceremony, and you receive your Certificate of Naturalization on the same day after taking it. On this day you will also be turning in your permanent resident card (Green card) to USCIS.

What it Means To Be a Citizen

So now that it’s all said and done, what does this mean to you the new American citizen? Well you now have certain rights that you didn’t have before:

-The right to vote

-The right to run for certain public offices

-The right to have a U.S. passport

-The right to obtain a federal government job

-The right to have U.S. government protection and help when traveling to other countries

You also have responsibilities as a citizen such as:

-Supporting and defending the Constitution and U.S. laws

-Serving on a jury

-Registering to vote

-Voting

-Serving in the armed forces of the United States when required

As I mentioned earlier, there were many great books at DCPL that helped me through the naturalization process from beginning to end, and I’ve listed a few of them here. As well as the Learning Express Library database on the website where you can find helpful resources including practice questions for the English and Civics test.

 

Nolo Book

Becoming a U.S. citizen- a Guide to the Law, Exam & Interview (IIona Bray)

 

Exam BookPass the U.S. citizenship exam 

 

 

Kaplan's Book

 

Becoming a U.S. citizen: understanding the naturalization process

{ 9 comments }

Reese Witherspoon  (RW) loves to read!  She has her own production company that recently put together the Emmy nominated Big Little Lies series on HBO.  Big Little Lies was based on Liane Moriarty’s very successful book by the same title.  Many of her picks have ended up oThe Alice Networkn the big screen.  She recently starred in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle which will be out next year some time.  Reese Witherspoon has many connections to the literary world.

Her RW book club selection for July was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  I don’t know if it will end up on the big screen like some of her other projects.  One can hope!  There was a poll for her readers and The Alice Network was picked.

I recently read this book. The Alice Network tells the story of Eve Gardiner and Charlie St. Clair.  Each has a very important mission.  Charlie goes to Eve for help finding her cousin Rose Fournier.  Rose’s last known location was Limoges, France.  She worked at a restaurant for a character named Rene Bordelon.  Eve and Charlie journey to France with Eve’s driver Finn.  They start looking for answers to what might have happened to Rose.  Questions arise as you read such as, What will happen when Charlie finds her? Will it be a happy reunion or a chance to mourn an important loss?  Charlie’s clues help Eve find what she has been looking for since the First World War. Eve worked as a spy in Rene’s restaurant Le Lethe in Lille, France.   What does the future hold for both of them?

I enjoyed this book.  What interested me initially is the story of Eve becoming a spy during World War I.  I was not as interested in Charlie’s history until her path and Eve’s intertwined.  Kate Quinn also did a great job of showing the historical facts of that time period.

There is a lot to discuss in The Alice Network.  What will your next book club read be?  Reese’s next selection for the RW book club in August is The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.  You can follow the RW bookclub here.

Visit the catalog for :

The Alice Network  by Kate Quinn

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Lying Game  by Ruth Ware

{ 0 comments }

clockMy ideal work day begins something like this: wake-up, meditate for 20 minutes, exercise, shower and dress, have coffee and breakfast, pack lunch, hit the road and arrive at my branch with a few minutes to spare. In actuality, even though I truly am a morning person, there are plenty of mornings when some of this, or maybe most of this, doesn’t happen. Obviously, I’m going to show up for work but many have been the mornings when something else simply has to give.

I’m trying to practice compassion these days, and that includes compassion for self, so I try not to give myself grief, but I do sometimes wonder about the nature of time and why there never seems to be quite enough of it. I mean couldn’t it maybe just, I don’t know, stretch a little bit? Of course, to some degree, time is a relative concept. I used to work in an office with a man who was constantly pointing out that, because he set his watch by Greenwich Mean Time, he was the only person in the office who could possibly know what time it “really” was. Obviously, this became tiresome and most of us stopped listening to him altogether. I’ve wondered since if he ever learned that Coordinated Universal Time replaced Greenwich Mean as the global standard long ago. I imagine him on his way somewhere secure in the certainty of being “on time” when actually he is running a minute “late,” and I find myself wanting to snicker in a gloating manner. But I am trying to practice compassion now, so I don’t.

Still, although you and I could have a protracted discussion about whether or not the current time is 2:11 or 2:14, I think we would probably agree that the sun rises but once in 24 hours and sets the same. I mean as an observable phenomenon. Except then you might start pondering the question of what an hour actually is. Is it something materially real or simply a human concept? Except plants and animals seem to follow patterns based on light and dark, don’t they? Before you know it, you might find yourself tangled up in some sort of philosophical knot that would probably be fun to unravel on paper or in a classroom setting but probably doesn’t give you a lot of practical guidance in daily life.potter

So what’s a time-stretched person to do? Well, you can’t conjure up a forty-eight hour day and, unless you move in very different social circles from me, you won’t be deploying a Time Turner like Hermione Granger did in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Ultimately, time-management is self-management and DCPL has resources to help you with that.

A classic of its kind is David Allen’s Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity. Slanted more towards increasing productivity at work, Allen’s methods (surprisingly basic) can certainly carry over into other aspects of life. Allen recommends writing everything down and dating the note and this simple step, mindthough not actually easy to make a habit, might just make all the difference for you.

If you suspect that part of the problem for you might be the onslaught of information that we are all exposed to day after day, and seemingly minute by minute, you might check out The Organized Mind: thinking straight in the age of information overload by Daniel Levitin. Levitin mixes neuroscience scholarship with practical guidelines for organizing information. Levitin, who is also the author of This Is Your Your Brain On Music: the science of a human obsession, is always an tidyingengaging writer and, who knows, you might be able to figure out why you keep misplacing your keys.

…and speaking of keys, my own method consists of always, and I mean always, putting them back in the same place. I have praised before Marie Kondo’s quirky, and for me very useful, book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up . Allow me do so again. One of the best tips that I learned from Kondo is to empty my purse every time I get home. Now, this might sounds ridiculous – a big waste of time – but I’m telling you that this one little habit has made a huge difference in keeping me organized and collected on a daily basis.

organizedSometimes being a good steward of our time means knowing what to let go and Organized Enough: the anti-perfectionists guide to getting and staying organized by Amanda Sullivan can help you with that. Sullivan is a witty writer and the conversational tone of her book will draw you in while really practical advice will help you manage your things, your time and your life without driving yourself straight up the nearest wall.  After all, sometimes good enough is just fine.

 

{ 1 comment }

Jul 12 2017

Creating Library Memories

by Camille B

LIBRARY MEMORIES 1I happened to be helping a patron at the circulation desk a few weeks ago who had his young son with him. The little boy was about three or four years old and seemed a little overwhelmed, the expression on his face clearly saying, “Where are we and why are we here?”

I figured it was probably his first visit to the Library and so before they walked out the door I reached over and gave him a sticker. The smile that lit up his face was priceless, and I sincerely hoped that that one sticker would be the beginning of fond memories for him associated with the library.

To an adult, a sticker might seem like such a small thing, insignificant really, but ask any children’s librarian or circulation staff member how kids react when they receive even the tiniest one, for them it’s like the cherry on top of the cake.

As library staff we encounter countless patrons everyday from all walks of life. We have seniors who come in with no idea how to use a computer (and are sometimes embarrassed to say so); young mothers in need of resources to help  with anything from potty training to allergies and homeschooling; and many individuals seeking help with finding a place to live, searching for employment, or simply looking for a place where they can relax and read or study. Senior at the Library

The little boy’s experience took almost no effort at all. That one sticker was the only thing needed to create a positive memory for him. But what about the person who walks through the doors already frazzled, their nerves frayed, barely hanging on to their sanity by their fingertips? Truth be told it can rattle the best of us if we’re not prepared. Yet I believe, frazzled patrons also need to walk out the door with the same feeling as that little boy. Their experience should be a positive one, maybe more so because of the day they are having.

Think about some of the best customer service you’ve ever received. Now think about the worst. You probably remember them both vividly. When you get great service you want to tell people about it. The same when you get bad customer service–you want to share that as well. At the library we aim to leave patrons with positive experiences.Librarian and Student

Now I’m not saying it’s always easy. We are only human, and we too have good days, bad days and a whole lot of other stuff going on in between, but our aim should be to give our best.

One thing that has always helped me when I begin to feel a little frayed around the edges is to remember that the person standing in front of me needs my help or they wouldn’t be asking for it. They might really believe they know what they’re asking for but sometimes they  don’t, and with a little help I can get them to where they need to be.

This happened to me a while back with a gentleman who was filling out a job application that had to be submitted by the end of the day. He was just getting back into the workforce and the last time he filled out an application the printed version was still acceptable. He had no idea how to use the computer, and so of course he had no idea how to create an email address. I swear, after twenty minutes, you could almost see the smoke rising from the top of his head. There wasn’t a sticker in the world that was going to fix that.

This case was not an exceptional one but actually one quite common to Library staff, and patience is always needed, even when the patrons themselves seem to be losing it. Sometimes you might even need to engage another staff member if you feel like you’re out of your element, and hopefully at the end of it all, like in the case of that gentleman, they would eventually leave satisfied.

I often have a hard time picturing libraries ever closing their doors to the public. Not when we hear from patrons all the time how much they love the interaction with their library staff, even bypassing the self-check machines in an effort to have that one on one face time with us. A virtual experience, no matter how great, can never take the place of that.

Baby Storytime

There are patrons who are now in their fifties, sixties and even older who have been visiting the library since they were in their teens, some now bringing their own children and grandchildren. They reminisce with us about getting their first library card or bringing in their kids to get theirs.

They walk through our doors every day, to sit in our Story Times, Workshops, Book Clubs and Movies, our Craft and Computer Classes, Poetry Slams, Musical Events, Author Talks and so much more. Each of these a memory to be created by our library patrons.

What are some of your favorite Library memories, now and while growing up?

Here are a few relevant titles to check-out:

ebookfriendly.com/best-quotes-about-libraries-librarians

Uncommon Service

 

 

 

Uncommon Service- Frei Frances

 

Who's Your Gladys

 

 

Who’s Your Gladys: how to turn even the most difficult customer into your biggest fan- Marilyn Suttle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 3 comments }

Jun 28 2017

Wonder and Delight

by Dea Anne M

npsWhen I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, I said “Wow! It really is grand!” Instantly, I realized that I must have been about the quadtrillionth person to make that very statement and then I thought “Well, so what?” It seems to me that one of many reactions to such phenomena as the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders might be a sense of awe and the resulting quieting of the mind’s editor who is always looking for a more clever twist of words. Thus, we are reduced to spouting what seem like platitudes on the surface yet are, in reality, genuine expressions of wonder and delight.

July 4th is, of course, observed nationally as a holiday. Many of us have the day off of work. Some of us gather with friends or family, plan to see fireworks and go to barbecues. But did you know that the month of July is designated as Parks and Recreation Month? The National Recreation and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get out and visit not only our wonderful national parks but also our state parks and historic sites and even our community parks and recreation areas. Not to sound sappy, and don’t get me wrong – I have never considered myself an “outdoorsy” sort of person, but there’s just something about being out in nature that makes me happy. Of course I’d be even happier if nature came with no mosquitoes and stayed a breezy seventy-five degrees at all times but, seeing as it doesn’t, I will certainly be grateful for it as it is.national

Are you contemplating an excursion to a national, state or local park? DCPL has resources that can help you plan. First off, even an armchair traveler will appreciate the National Geographic ideaSociety’s gorgeous book National Geographic the national parks: an illustrated history. The text is informative without being intrusive and the stunning photography is what you’ve come to expect from National Geographic. Along similar lines is The National Parks: America’s best idea by Dayton Duncan. A companion volume to the PBS series by Ken Burns, this beautiful volume illustrates the splendour of our national spaces and how really radical an idea it was to designate and preserve these glorious spaces and how crucial it is to protect them for generations to come.

Maybe you’d like to explore parks closer to home. If so, don’t forget about the Georgia state parks and historic sites pass available at DCPL. The pass provides access to and information for gorgeous places in our state like Amicalola Falls State Park and Cloudland Canyon State Park as well fun places to stay like Fort Yargo State Park which has a beach for swimming and yurts to stay in. I really want to stay in a yurt. I can just imagine the conversation with co-workers:

“How was your weekend?”

“I went camping! I stayed in a yurt!”

Actually, I think I just really like saying the word yurt. I guess staying in one constitutes “glamping” which is a word I don’t like saying but hey, hikesglamping just may be my kind of camping especially since I have this weird thing about sleeping close to the ground.

Finally, maybe you only have time for a day trip. If so, consider the virtues of Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests Intown and Out by Jonah McDonald and Randy Golden’s 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles (Atlanta edition). Either (or both!) will give you plenty of ideas for how to spend some a few hours taking in the great outdoors and still get home for a shower and some quality time with a book (or…okay…the screen).

What’s your favorite outdoor pursuit? Have you traveled to any national or state parks that were especially spectacular?

{ 1 comment }

Jun 12 2017

Is it done yet? Now? How about now?

by Dea Anne M

salt1I had a friend in college who insisted on McDonald’s if we were stopping for fast food – which happened about as often as you might expect for two college students who were too “poor” to buy food to cook for ourselves and yet managed to regularly unearth enough “sofa money” (i.e. coins and cash found under and between furniture cushions, in the pockets of clothes heaped up on the floor, inside that semester’s textbooks and sometimes even in wallets) to take ourselves out to eat. One thing my friend always ordered were fries – large fries – and he always sprinkled them liberally with salt.

“What are you doing?” I would ask.

“What? I’m adding salt!”

“But they’re already salted.”

“Haven’t you ever heard that salt brings out the flavors in food?”

“Yeah, but…uh, so what?”

“Well, duh, McDonald’s fries are the best so adding more salt makes them taste even more like the best!”

He had me there. Thankfully, we both learned to take better care of ourselves shortly thereafter. He got a job as a server at a local restaurant that fed him before his shifts and sometimes allowed staff to take home leftovers. As for me,  I finally just learned to cook. I don’t know if he still salts fast food fries since we lost touch with each other through the years, but I have, I think, become a much better cook and one thing that I know for sure is that salt truly does enhance the flavors of food. Of course, many people are advised to limit salt for reasons of health, and I think that’s probably good for all of us, particularly in regard to processed food.

For home cooking though the right amount of salt can work wonders. I still think that my college friend’s taste was a little extreme…I really don’t think that McDonald’s fries require additional salt. On the other side of the question, I would never think to impose on my dinner guests the sort of strictures that diners at a few top-flight restaurants have been subject to. At these sorts of places, not only is there no salt provided at the table – any customer unwitting and naive enough to dare ask for any risks coming face to face with a furious chef. Still, I hope that I’m able to cook food that’s well seasoned and tasty enough to need no doctoring at the table at least some of the time.

What pops into your head when you think of these things: salt, fat, acid and heat? I imagine the reaction of many will be:

Salt (bad!)

Fat (really bad!)

Acid (huh…what?)

Heat (well, sure, we’re cooking aren’t we?)

Anyway, this somewhat rambling discourse is all by way of letting all of you know about a great new book that I’ve discovered in my ongoing quest to become a competent improvisational cook. I’m probably going to come across as a true believer here but I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat: mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat. Be warned, this is really more of an instructive guide to cooking than an actual recipe book. There are recipes, true, butnosrat they function more as practical illustrations of Nosrat’s principles and are, as a whole, quite simple to understand and execute. The real meat of the book (so to speak) is the extensive chapters that examine in great depth each of the four “elements” that Nosrat considers essential. Some of this is bound to be controversial. Salt, as mentioned above, is something that many people must avoid for reasons of health. Some of us approach fat with the same wariness that a kitten might an elephant. As far as acid goes, it isn’t always clear what acid actually is in cooking. Let’s follow Nosrat’s lead and look at the elements one by one.

Salt – Enhances the inherent flavors of food. This is its purpose. Potatoes taste more like potatoes – steak more like steak. Used judiciously, salt makes your food taste taste wonderfully like itself. Too much just makes food taste salty which is definitely not what you want.

Fat – Helps flavors permeate throughout your food.

Acid – Balances flavors. Salt and oil on lettuce makes for a pretty ho-hum salad but a little vinegar or lemon juice make the whole assembly sing. And acid isn’t provided only by the obvious suspects. Cheese, for example, delivers salt, fat and acid together. Ketchup, mustard and yogurt all carry the “pop” you get from acid.

Heat – Determines texture as well as certain flavors. Boiling green beans might work perfectly but you don’t necessarily want to do the same thing with pork chops.

The real point of Nosrat’s writing and teaching is to show cooks how to trust their own senses and palates. She encourages you to taste food while you’re cooking it then taste again and again and again until it is exactly how you want. “You” is the operative word here. “Salt to taste” means exactly that. You are adding enough salt or fat or acid or heat until what you’re cooking tastes perfect to you and not necessarily what someone else thinks that you should prefer. And lest you fear that this approach renders Nosrat’s writing pedantic and dull be assured that nothing could be further from the truth. She is, first of all, an excellent writer both engaging and precise. She also seems to possess an enormous sense of fun and a lack of pretension that caused me to think all the time that I was reading that she would be a great person to be friends with. In any case, she is quite a wonderful teacher and I daresay that my own cooking has been transformed for the better due to her lessons.

I must also mention that instead of  the glossy and perfectly staged photographs that are usual in cookbooks these days, you have here Wendy McNaughton’s charming illustrations. I particularly love the “Spices of the World” wheel and the similar wheel for “The World of Acid.” Both provide a surprisingly handy reference when you might be improvising in the kitchen and want to create a dish that tastes French (wine, dijon mustard, tarragon) or reminds you of that week you spent in Mexico (oregano, chili, lime juice).

Whether you’re an experienced cook or an absolute beginner you can’t go wrong with this book. It will instill confidence in your own skills and in your own taste. That confidence is the most valuable tool that a cook can possess in my opinion. Also, I guarantee that following Nosrat’s lesson will not leave you with food that’s too salty, or a fat bomb, or turns your mouth inside out from sourness. Instead your food will just taste good and what isn’t to like about that?

 

 

 

{ 3 comments }

Jun 5 2017

Better Than The Movie

by Camille B

Image 4My family hates it when I’ve already read the book to the movie that we’re watching. In spite of my best efforts, I always find myself blurting out at some point, “That’s not what happened in the book.”

There would be loud groans and eyes rolling (and probably a secret meeting to vote me off the island), but I’d find myself unable to resist every time.

Book lovers know what I mean, that feeling of disappointment you get when you see a book that you thoroughly enjoyed butchered on its way to the movie screen, the final product barely resembling its original story line.

For movie lovers there’s no love lost, their mantra is, “I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.” Their take is, why waste time reading the book when they’re going to make it into a movie anyway?

But oh, how much of the story you miss that way. According to Rich Santos of B&N Reads, a movie gets lost in translation. Once a filmmaker decides upon settings and characters, we’re limited to seeing those characters and settings through their eyes.” 

It’s no wonder then, why a lot of times we are left disappointed when the characters don’t turn up on screen looking the way we imagine them, or we’re left waiting for scenes that never appear because the producer couldn’t squeeze them into the budget or time frame.

To me, no movie is better than the one that plays out inside the head of you the reader when you get wrapped up in a really good book. Time is suspended, characters appear on cue looking exactly as you expect them to look. You can enjoy it at your own pace because you don’t have to cram everything into a 90 minute time frame.

In your mind’s eye, it can be as long as you want it to be and include everything that you want it to include because it’s all coming from your imagination. A book allows you to feel the characters’ emotions and hear their inner thoughts, in a way that not even the best movie narration can. Here is a lists of books that are described as better than their movie version: Books That Were Better Than The Movie

Don’t get me wrong I love movies, but I would never watch one instead of the book. Even though I know there’s a good chance I might be in for a let down, I still get excited whenever I see a book that I enjoyed made into film.

It isn’t just me, whenever a book is made into a movie, the waiting list at the library for that particular book goes up again. Some people are re-reading the book and others are curious because of the sensation the movie is causing.

I think too, that producers are making a greater effort to stay true to story lines. There are movies that some say are actually better than the book (hmm). I haven’t seen all of them but here’s a list, you be the judge: Movies that are better than the book

So which are you? Do you prefer to get lost in the pages of the book, or sit tight and wait for the movie trailer?

Below are just a few popular books that were made into movies. You can find both the book and the movie at your DCPL library:

The Fault In Our Stars                                     My Sister’s Keeper

The Devil Wears Prada                                    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Notebook                                                     A Man Called Ove  (Swedish with English subtitles)

Gone Girl                                                             The Girl On The Train

Life of Pi                                                               The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

The Time Traveler’s Wife                                 The Great Gatsby

The Help                                                               The Lovely Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 1 comment }

May 11 2017

Cooking with Diana Gabaldon!

by Jencey G

gabaldonI have been a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s books for a long time.  I have read most of the Outlander series.  I also really enjoy the Outlander series on television which are available on DVD from the library.   Diana has a couple of Outlandish companions that give extra details on the Outlander series and allow readers delve  deeper into the series.

Another book that has recently come out is the Outlander Kitchen cookbook.  This book takes readers into the food and drink aspect of the Outlander series.   Dishes such as: Claire’s Nettle Kissed Buns; Brianna’s Bridies; Banoffee Pie; Bannocks; Battlefield Blackberry Jam;  Garlic and Sage Sausage; and many more.  The food follows the storyline of Outlander.  So many of these dishes are native to England, Scotland, and the USA.

I have enjoyed cooking since I was a girl.  I also love to bake.  So I thought it would be a fun experience to check out some of the recipes included in this book.  I flipped through the book and picked several that I thought I might be able to make.

So my first recipe attempt was Mrs. Bugs Buttermilk Drop Biscuits.  It was the first time I made biscuits from scratch that actually tasted like biscuits.  I think this recipe was better than anything I have in my current collection of recipes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs was the next recipe. The cookbook goes into a description about the characters and their process for preparation.  The author’s of the cookbook include which book the dish came from and some dialogue describing the scene. I followed the recipe, but I did not enjoy this recipe.

I have a few more recipes I would like to try.  I am also looking forward to reading the further adventures of Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger’s family.  I always look forward to the next season of Outlander!

Try a few recipes from your favorite characters in the Outlander Kitchen cookbook! Diana’s books are available in all formats with DCPL.

These items can be found in the catalog:

Outlander                                                                                                                   Outlander TV

Dragon Fly In Amber

Voyager

Drums of Autumn

The Fiery Cross

A Breath of Snow and Ash

An Echo In The Bone

Written In My Own Heart’s Blood

The Outlandish Companion

The Outlandish Companion Volume 2

The Outlander series DVDs

 

{ 0 comments }

May 9 2017

Are You A Book Snob?

by Camille B

Book Snob 2Several months ago I picked up a Harlequin Romance to casually browse its back cover. It had been several years since I’d read one, and I associated them mainly with my teen years and early twenties, so I didn’t really expect it to hold my interest.

Well! Wonder of wonders if I didn’t find myself completely drawn into the first few pages of the book-all the while telling myself that I was going to put it down just as soon as I discovered what Prince Rihad’s brother was up to. Of course I was only kidding myself, and I ended up reading it to the very end.

Sadly, it was like eating a can of Pringles. I couldn’t stop myself from reading another, and then another, and pretty soon I was out in the stacks hunting for them, making neat little piles on my desk and searching Amazon for sequels to the ones I’d already read. It was like there was some sort of romance-sized hole inside of me that I was trying to fill.

The problem, however, was that even though I was enjoying this new secret indulgence, it was just that, a secret. I found myself hiding my book every time I’d bump into a friend or co-worker which seemed really silly. It’s not like there were naked people all over the front covers.

But I think that on some level a part of me knew that my “lighthearted books” would probably be met with some raised eyebrows from those who were more literary minded. After all, to be taken seriously as a reader you have to read “serious books” right?

First of all, I don’t believe all serious readers are necessarily “book snobs.” I know there are readers who enjoy and appreciate great literature and the classics, but they would also read any good book regardless of its genre. These readers would never judge others who don’t share their literary preferences.

On the other hand, true book snobs are those individuals who have an aversion to anything they consider to be light or fluffy writing. I imagine their idea is: The Great Gatsby- yes, yes, yes and The Hunger Games- not so much. They would rather be burnt at the stake than caught reading The Twilight Saga in public, and they would consider any book that hasn’t won a Pulitzer, made an appearance on the New York Times Best Seller’s List or been recommended by Oprah, not worthy of their time.

I often wonder how they cleanse their reading palate. For instance, when you go to a restaurant you don’t just sit there and eat salad all night long do you? You eat a little of everything to ensure a well balanced meal and the experience of a variety of tastes. I believe the same applies to reading-you need the balance and variety.

I have to tell you that it didn’t take long for my paperback rendezvous to fizzle away, and I soon found myself craving a difference in scenery so to speak. This is why the genres complement each other, and why I would never put one up against the other. We need all of them at different times in our lives.

And maybe the truth is we all have a little book snob in us somewhere, though we may not be aware of it. All of us could be more tolerant of other people’s literary choices. We should not judge people or their intellect based on what they choose to read.

Remember your early reading years when you would read anything and everything you could get your hands on including the TV guide? Fiction, non-fiction, romance, mysteries, fantasies, thrillers, memoirs, biographies. You read them freely and without fear of ridicule or judgment. You didn’t wait to check the Sunday paper to see what everybody else was reading before you chose a book. Your love for words was your master and reading guide, not the hype or prestige associated with an author or genre.

I applaud all great writers who continue to turn out tremendous work and thrill their audiences even in the face of the snobbery. These writers remain steadfast and stalwart against the book snobs and critics even though their books are squeezed into categories that no longer seem able to hold them, and are slapped with labels that are less than flattering, even while the demand for their books continue to soar.

All snobbery aside, a great book is a great book. It should not matter if the author is male, female, young, old, black, white, a stay-at-home-mom or a professor. If a book is well written and touches the reader, then it has accomplished what it was meant to accomplish.  

Check out DCPL’s Reference database NoveList Plus where you can browse other genres, find books that you’re in the mood to read and discover other books and writers similar to the ones you already know.

{ 5 comments }