DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Mar 2 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

by Jesse M

Dr. SeussThe man who would come to be known as Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904. He made his living as a writer and cartoonist, and is most famously an author of children’s books, responsible for such well-known characters as The Cat in the Hat and his nemesis the Grinch. The award-winning author has seen his work adapted into a variety of formats, including animated films, movies, and musical theater.

Although his entire bibliography is worth celebrating, as a child my favorite books of his were those whose pages featured a variety of zany fictional animals, like On Beyond Zebra, Scrambled Eggs Super, If I Ran the Circus, and If I Ran the Zoo. All of those titles and more are available from DCPL!

In recognition of the appeal that his books still hold for young readers, March 2nd has been designated Read Across America Day by the National Education Association. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books!

To view information about Dr. Seuss related programming at DCPL, follow this link.

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Feb 27 2015

Pi Anyone? This Year, It’s Epic!

by Rebekah B

keep_calm_its_pi_day_2015Hello readers,

I always look forward to March 14th, not because I am a math geek, but mostly because I love a good opportunity to be creative…and I also love a homemade pie!  Last year, I shared Pi Day with my coworkers at the Toco Hill branch, and I prepared a strawberry pie with a gluten-free almond crust, adapted from a recipe found in A Year of Pies.

This year’s Pi Day is especially remarkable because of this year’s date, making the first consecutive five digits of the mathematical constant Pi match the date of this holiday–which has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Adding to the excitement for the more precise (or more precisely nerdy) is the addition of the next five digits–or even six if you can bear it–by celebrating at 9:26:54 a.m. I found a wide array of t-shirts, mugs, and other celebratory Pi Day gear available online, advertising the once in a lifetime nature of this year’s event.

Larry Shaw

Pi Day was first inaugurated by physicist Larry Shaw, and the first recorded celebration was held at the Exploratorium–a science and discovery museum–in San Francisco in 1988, in which participants marched around the rounded space and consumed fruit pies.  Pi Day was later recognized by the House of Representatives on March 12, 2009, at which time a resolution for recognition of the event was passed (HRES 224).

pieday

The rituals involved in the observance of Pi Day vary by location, but include preparing or eating pies, throwing pies, and discussing the nature of Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter).  Many schools around the country hold contests to see which students are able to remember the largest number of consecutive digits of the commemorated constant.

MIT applicants receive decision letters that have been posted online on Pi Day at 6:28 p.m. to pay tribute to both Pi and Tau. (Pi is half of Tau.) In fact, Tau supporters are looking forward to celebrating Tau Day on June 28, 2031.  In Princeton, New Jersey, the Pi Day celebration coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday.  Einstein lived and worked in Princeton for over 20 years, and the town adds Einstein Look-Alike contests to the traditional Pi Day rites.

Here are some books in the DCPL collection that will encourage you to celebrate and share some of the wondrous and uniquely comforting PIes in your life:

 

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Feb 23 2015

In Memoriam: Farewell to a Diva

by Hope L

BellaShe went for her regular hair appointment because she always had to look fabulous for her fans. And as was her fashion, she went out looking just mahvelous.

Not that beauty was her only claim to fame–she was so sweet, so above the cat-fighting and hissing of her peers, carrying herself with a certain regal otherness, that she garnered the respect and adulation of all.  She was, after all, a pedigree in every sense of the word, and she had the papers and the photos to prove it.

She was unflappable and did not lose her cool over anything–not over petty quarrels with her brother and sister, or the recent arrival to the household of a street-wise juvenile delinquent (who took to pouncing on and chasing her), not even pest control guys with canisters or strange women wielding vacuum cleaners and mops.  She was unperturbed about practically everything save for sharing her heating pad, for being cold was beneath her.  And, she needed her beauty sleep.

Now, Lady Bella Lusignan WAS high-maintenance–much like Queen Elizabeth, for example, she had a busy schedule and was almost impossible to seat for an interview or photo session. Her feeding schedule was unlike that of the others (who were given dry kibble to nosh on all day long) in that she required only the rarest of Fancy Feast flavors at only certain times during the day.  Always very graceful and svelte, it was difficult for her in recent years to keep the weight on her tiny frame.  She demanded certain treats, especially for her glamorous mane, sensitive stomach, and just plain picky nature.

So, although it was a shock, it shouldn’t really have been all that surprising that when her time on this earth was up, she was still the picture of health, beautiful as always, perfectly poised and yet still insistent on jumping up on the kitchen counters at will.  Upon her visit to the hairdresser last week, she was buffed and puffed and fussed over while the juvenile delinquent commoner was in the clinic receiving ordinary childhood vaccines and a deworming. It was at that time that she determined this was indeed quite a convenient and classy time to make an exit from her storied career as the resident diva of our home, where she reigned for almost 17 years.

I miss her terribly, and the whole place has gone down a notch since she left.

Here are some of DCPL’s offerings related to the loss of a pet:

Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet by Moira Anderson

The Loss of a Pet by Wallace Sife

Animals in Spirit: Our Faithful Companions’ Transition to the Afterlife by Penelope Smith

When a Family Pet Dies: A Guide to Dealing with Children’s Loss by JoAnn Tuzeo-Jarolmen

 

 

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Looking to unburden yourself of old electronic equipment? This Saturday, February 21, Keep DeKalb Beautiful is partnering with the DeKalb County Police Alliance to host an electronics recycling event. Click here to see a PDF version of the flyer.

The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County Sanitation North Lot, located at 2315 Chamblee-Tucker Rd in the City of Chamblee. Proceeds from the event will go to support the building of the K-9 Memorial, which will be dedicated on May 15, 2015 as part of the 100 year anniversary of DeKalb County Police Services.

A variety of electronic devices will be accepted and recycled for free, including computers, cell phones, game consoles, and “anything with a cord!” Televisions are also accepted, but there will be a charge for CRT TVs & monitors, wooden consoles, and projection & plasma TVs.

They are also looking for donations of gently used shoes.

Even if you can’t make it out to this event on the 21st, DeKalb County has a couple of permanent sites for electronics recycling; click here for more information.

Want to learn more about the importance of electronics recycling? You might be interested in checking out the book High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics and Human Health by Elizabeth Grossman. You can also browse for books on recycling in general; click here to see of list of related materials.

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Feb 14 2015

Presidents’ Day

by Glenda

presidents-dayThis year, we celebrate Presidents’ Day on February 16, 2015–but what is Presidents’ Day? Initially, it was called Washington’s Birthday to celebrate our first President George Washington. Later, Presidents’ Day was meant to include President Abraham Lincoln. However, there were and still are states that do not like to celebrate President Lincoln.

The states of Massachusetts and Virginia celebrate Washington’s Birthday and it is called “Washington’s Birthday” or “George Washington’s Birthday.”  The term “Presidents Day” was informally coined to include multiple presidents. In most states, Presidents’ Day includes all former presidents and the current president. When I was younger I was told we celebrate Presidents’ Day in February because most presidents were born in February–but that is not true. Six presidents were born in October and only four were born in February. Guess which four? Ronald Reagan was born February 6, 1911; William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773; Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, and George Washington was born February 22, 1732. The six presidents who were born in October are Jimmy Carter, born October 1, 1924; Rutherford B. Hayes, born October 4, 1822; Chester A. Arthur, born October 5, 1829; Dwight D. Eisenhower, born October 14, 1890; Theodore Roosevelt, born October 27, 1858, and John Adams born October 30, 1735.

The federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in Washington and it expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. Initially, the holiday was celebrated on President Washington’s actual birthday of February 22.  On January 1, 1971, the holiday was changed and Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Source- Strauss, V. (2014, February 2). Why Presidents’ Day is slightly strange? Retrieved from The Washington Post.

If you would like more information about Presidents’ Day, check out these items from DCPL:

Presidents’ Day by Natalie M. Rosinsky

Presidents’ Day by Sheri Dean

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Feb 10 2015

Seriously? I Think Not!!!

by Hope L

Warning: I am in a very silly mood today.  But never fear, ’cause DCPL is here!

How about something from Just Joking 3: 300 Hilarious Jokes About Everything, Including Tongue Twisters, Riddles, and More! by Ruth A. Musgrave, from the National Geographic Series:

Knock-Knock.

Who’s there?

Distaste.

Distaste who?

Distaste terrible!

distasteful

Knock-Knock.

Who’s there?

Marionette.

Marionette who?

Marionette the last piece of pie!

Woman Eating Blueberry Pie

“Er … um, Hope, is this gonna be all knock-knock, all the time?”

“No, the only requirement is silliness.”

What did the police officers do when they crashed their car into a bakery?

They made copcakes.

What kind of medicine does a vampire take when he has a cold?”

Coffin syrup.

vamp

What does it mean if you find a horseshoe?

Some poor horse is walking around in his socks.

What do you call it when a Cyclops moves into a frog’s home?

An eye-pad.

And here’s one for our beloved librarians:

What do you get when you cross popcorn, a hot dog, and a stack of books?

Kernel Mustard in the library.

Hotdog … how do you eat yours?

I loved that one, but as your friendly library security guard I must remind you that there is no food allowed in the library.

 

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Feb 6 2015

Superlatively Delicious

by Dea Anne M

I have to admit to a not-so-secret fondness for “best of” lists. I know perfectly well as I am reading them that this is just one person’s (or group’s) opinion about the qualities of whatever is being judged. I know this, and yet time and again I find myself engaging in the entertaining (and really kind of silly) activity of “taking umbrage.” How could “Downton Abbey” make her list and NOT “Game of Thrones”? (Of course, I am a fan of both). No way is Dickens a better writer than Jane Bowles! (Although, actually, he probably is–just don’t get in a time machine and try telling that to my early-twenties self). What makes him think that the Doors were more influential than the Velvet Underground? Who told him he knew anything about music?!! Just WHO does he think he is???!!!

Thus, many delicious hours can be spent while less exciting activities like laundry and regular meals go by the wayside. These days, I try to resist the lure of the list–particularly around this time of year when they seem to pop up everywhere. Though I couldn’t help myself when I saw that Food & Wine magazine had posted a list of the “Best Cookbooks of All Time.” When I clicked on the link, I have to admit to feeling a touch of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong. The cookbooks praised here are no doubt worthy of somebody’s “best of” accolade–just not mine. As regular readers of this blog know, I am a huge fan of cookbooks and I have some pretty particular ideas about what makes a good one. More to my taste (so to speak) is The Nine Best Cookbooks of All Time, a list compiled via poll of the editors and readers of the excellent community cooking blog Food 52. Each of these books are the type of essential kitchen reference that you want if you are faced, either due to necessity or sheer desire, with roasting a chicken or making spinach calzone. All but one of these titles is owned by DCPL which makes it possible to take any one of these excellent cookbooks home for a “test drive.” I suspect, though, that sooner or later you may want at least one of these (or more) in your permanent collection. I own several of these books, and have cooked from the ones that I don’t, so I think I can safely recommend this list wholeheartedly.

The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. I own one of the older editions of this book and I refer to it all the time for ideas and basic techniques. I even appreciate the “folksy” anecdotes. All in all, the recipes have stood the test of time and the conversational tone of Joy remains vegetableimmensely pleasing.

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. Madison is a long time champion of elegant vegetarian cooking. In this beautiful volume she celebrates vegetables themselves in all their luscious glory. Vegetables are grouped by family, which helps with substitutions, and the gorgeous pictures are sure to inspire. You may well begin making vegetables the star of your dinner plate!

The Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. Beloved by caterers everywhere, this war horse still has relevance today almost 35 years after it was first published. True, dishes like Ratatouille and Chicken Marbella don’t seem as exotic to us now, but these recipes are no less delicious with the passing of time. The recipe for the Pate Maison alone is worth the cost of the book in my opinion. Alas, DCPL doesn’t own Silver Palate but gently used copies are readily available.

The Fanny Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham. This is an excellent basic American cookbook and one that I use often. There’s nothing fancy here–and that’s kind essentialof the point.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser. This book is enormous fun if you, like me, enjoy reading cookbooks. Hesser spent several years cooking her way through every recipe ever published in the New York Times food pages (since the 1850s!) and has compiled the best of them here. Each chapter lists the recipes chronologically. It’s fun to see the evolution of American taste. Hesser’s sharp and witty writing makes the book even more fun. I have made the Salad a la Romaine, the Stuck Pot Rice, and the Pickled Shrimp over and over again–and the sheer deliciousness of the South African casserole, Bobotie, is enough to inspire in me fits of culinary daydreaming. Highly recommended.

How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman. Truth in advertising! Unless you’re trying to track down a festival dish enjoyed by the residents of a remote village in Papua, New Guinea, or you want the definitive recipe for Crappit Heid (the oats-stuffed cod heads once consumed by Gaelic fishermen), then you’re bound to find what you need here. From arepas to zucchini pancakes (Asian style!), Bittman covers it all. The vegetarian volume is quite simply the most comprehensive vegetarian simplecookbook that I have ever seen and the recipes are great.

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Reading Alice Waters wax lyrical about the pure, angelic beauty of a green salad will provoke either nods of agreement or uncontrollable gnashing of teeth. Still, the deep commitment to the fundamentals of cooking and the freshest ingredients cannot be denied. The recipes are not “easy” per se, but they are all well balanced and capture the essence of Kitchen Pleasure. A modern classic.

The Way to Cook by Julia Child. It’s Julia Child and what else, really, do you smittenneed to know?

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Perelman has a very winning writing style which is part of what has made her Smitten Kitchen blog so wildly successful. She is also an extremely creative cook with an unerring palate. The big surprise here is that although this isn’t a vegetarian cookbook, the selection of vegetarian recipes is absolutely delicious looking and vegetable-centric with nary an over-cheesed casserole in sight. Reading this book sort of makes me feel like I’m talking to a really good friend.

What cookbooks would you consider the best? Do you have a collection? What do you think of “best of” lists?

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Hello readers,

Fiction offers a window of privilege into the inner worlds of others, also opening channels into our own intimate thoughts, dreams and desires. I recently read two debut novels by extremely talented novelists, John Darnielle and Rebecca Makkai: Wolf in White Van and The Borrower.

John-Darnielle-Wolf-In-White-Van-608x608

The ability to create worlds within worlds may be a coping mechanism, a testimony to the power of creativity, as each of us struggles to situate our perceptions of reality with the model of the real taught to us by our culture as well as the possibly conflicting model provided by our family of origin. In John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van, we witness the unfolding of the psychological isolation of a young man, Sean, brutally disfigured by his own hand with his father’s rifle when he is an adolescent. This labyrinthine hypnotic story engulfs the reader in a powerful and fascinating novel that is written with a crystalline clarity of word and image. Imagination, intellect, and emotion are encapsulated in this story of senseless violence and brutal honesty, as Sean seeks to come to grips with his own reality–of his destroyed face, of his ability to interact with others through games he creates, and of his sense of responsibility or lack thereof, for the consequences of his choices. In this novel, imagination is at once savior and abyss, and the mind of a solitary man, rendered a hermit by his own hand, is revealed with beautiful and tragic art.

The Borrower Rebecca Makkai

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai is slightly less hypnotic, but equally fascinating.  A quirky and humorous novel full of suspense, the author’s rebellious protagonist Lucy Hull has inadvertently drifted into the career of full-time children’s librarian in the sleepy town of Hannibal, Missouri. Her active mind and imagination predispose her to a more creative career, yet she somehow lacks the motivation to explore what the author repeatedly refers to as her revolutionary Russian cultural roots.  She encounters a moral dilemma when her favorite library patron, 10-year-old Ian, decides to run away from home and takes shelter in the library stacks after hours. Ian’s own identity crisis rises from his probably being gay, and also from loving fantasy literature and generally books of which his family does not approve and will not allow him to check out. From this situation, Lucy draws on her heritage and only mildly emerges from her own torpor to take Ian under her wing. She inadvertently becomes both a kidnapper and hostage of the young boy, who is revealed to be rather manipulative. The cast of characters and storyline are all very compelling, and the quality of writing is excellent.  If you enjoy suspense, moral ambiguity, and imaginative writing, you will enjoy this novel.

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Jan 28 2015

Cutting Your Bills

by Glenda

bill-reductionsEvery year we make New Year’s Resolutions. They vary from losing weight to spending more time with family. Sadly, most of us give up on them by February. Last year I made the resolution to cut the cost of one of my bills–and I have kept that promise for one whole year.

I checked out a few books from the Library on saving money. After reading those books, I decided to cut my major cell phone carrier service. It was with one of the big three providers, but now I am with a smaller provider. My major-carrier cell phone bill was about $100.00 a month after they added all of the fees and taxes. Now my bill is $65.00 a month. That is a savings of about $35.00 a month. Over a twelve-month period, that is a savings of about $420.00. Imagine the things I can do with that money. And, now I have a smartphone–before I did not have a smartphone.

So if you are looking to save so money this year, check out some of these resources available at DCPL:

Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money by Clark Howard, with Mark Meltzer and Theo Thimou

Living Cheaply with Style by Ernest Callenbach

Clark Howard’s Living Large for the Long Haul: Consumer-Tested Ways to Overhaul Your Finances, Increase Your Savings, and Get Your Life Back on Track by Clark Howard, with Mark Meltzer and Theo Thimou

The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream by Suze Orman

 

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Not everyone will agree with me, but I have often thought that Americans worry about the wrong things. Hmm…I suppose that statement sounds a wee bit judgmental, and maybe it is, but really–are you honestly in danger of being killed by a hurtling chunk of meteorite on any random day? What, truly, are your chances of being trampled by a runaway horse? (Although, come to think of it, I was taking a walk in my neighborhood a number of years ago and was startled to see a horse gallop across Candler Road.) Of course, the world landscape changes ever more quickly and it can be difficult, living as we do in an age of media saturation and a 24/7 news cycle, not to find ourselves wringing our hands and tempted by that always fascinating (and always unwinnable) game of what if….  This recent NPR article  from the news magazine’s ongoing coverage of the devastating Ebola epidemic provides a timely reminder to those of us in the West (and elsewhere) that the thing that is most likely to kill us is our lifestyle.

There. I said it. Our lifestyle. Cardiovascular disease, mainly heart attacks and strokes, is the No. 1 killer worldwide. Worldwide. Much of this has to do with our lifestyle in the Western world and has become a reality for the rest of the globe as they increasingly adopt fast food, tobacco, and lack of physical activity as outsourced computer jobs lock workers to desks for hours at a time.  Although I haven’t smoked in decades and have what I consider a very healthy diet, I received my own wake-up call recently when my doctor diagnosed high blood pressure. My family has a very strong (and stubborn!) genetic component–my mother has high blood pressure as did her father and many of her other relatives–but I am nonetheless determined to bring my pressure into normal range as quickly as I can.

heart_tune_upNone of us, I think, should fret and stew about potential time bombs–but if you’re ready to take some realistic steps toward reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease, DCPL has resources to help.

The following books can provide useful information for all of us interested in addressing and preventing potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up: A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Steven Masley

Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need by Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen

Mayo Clinic Heart Healthy for Life! The Mayo Clinic Plan for Preventing and Conquering Heart Disease bloodpressuredown

Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: How to Stop Heart Disease Before or After it Starts by Sarah Samaan

Blood Pressure Down: The 10 Step Program to Lower Your Blood Pressure in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs by Janet Bond Brill

 

 

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