I realize that I’m at least a few years late to the party but I’ve just recently finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (loved, loved, loved it!) and am now tucking into book two of the trilogy, Catching Fire. I’ve been aware of The Hunger Games for the past few years because…well, it’s hard not to be when you work in a library. But for whatever reason I’d never gotten around to reading it. Recently, however, it became quite inexcusable for me to not read this book. In the case of The Hunger Games I ran out of excuses not to read it based on the recommendation of one of DCPL’s adorable teen patrons (yes, Readers, teens can be quite adorable!). Our circulation desk conversation had somehow turned to the Hunger Games series. I’d mentioned to the young patron that I hadn’t read the book yet but “I’ve heard good things”.
“Oh my gosh,” said the youngster. “You’ll love it! You’ll really love it!”
Her enthusiasm for this book was honest, overflowing and contagious, so much so that I’d decided that I would be reading this book at my earliest convenience. “Earliest convenience” is still slightly non-committal but at least now reading Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed trilogy was officially on my to-do list. After talking for a while longer, I checked out the patron and wished her happy reading with the items she’d borrowed. Perhaps half an hour later, the young lady and her mother returned to the library and presented me with their copy of The Hunger Games, suggesting that when I was finished reading it I could pass it along to someone else to read or donate it to the library. Ecstatic and touched by the gift, reading this book graduated from being a to-do list item to My Plans For The Evening. It took me three days to read it but only because I had to break for things like going to work and sleeping.
As a library worker, book recommendations from patrons are always welcome and appreciated. But nothing compares to when a teenager who’s normally too-cool-for-school cracks a smile at the mention of a book he likes. Or when an adorable, gap-toothed kiddie-grin widens with the mention of each of Victoria Kann’s -Licious books (“Did you like Pinkalicious? Have you read Purplicious? How about Silverlicious?”). So if there’s one recommendation from today’s post it is that it pays to pick your nearest youngster’s brain for an excellent book. May the odds of a great read be ever in your favor!
I’ve always believed that rappers possessed a type of literacy, though unconventional, that’s highly attuned to the intricacies of language. The best rappers use tone, diction, sound, and personas (unreliable narrators?) in impressive ways, an accomplishment equal to the best literary works of fiction and poetry. So I was pleased when I came across an article about a ‘radical’ community library for youth opening up in the Bronx.
Housed inside the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective headquarters in the Bronx, the same place that hosts monthly hip-hop open mic nights, the Richie Perez Radical Library was launched by the hip-hop-centric Rebel Diaz Arts Collective.
“I tell them, ‘The more you read, the iller you’ll be as an emcee,’” said Rodrigo Venegas, aka Rodstarz, one-third of the rap crew, Rebel Diaz, and a founding member of the cultural collective with an activist bent.
Read the rest of this story here.
As I sat at the red light, my car was vibrating and my ears were assaulted. I tried to identify the person with the deafening music but I couldn’t. They could have been five cars behind me but it didn’t matter because their bass was so loud, it shook every car in line. Although it was a balmy spring day, I rolled up my windows in disgust.
I have a sister who lives in and loves New York City…Manhattan to be exact. Although she lives in a high rise, traffic sounds and general city life were heard very clearly through her windows on the fourteenth floor, no matter the time of day. When she visits me, after awhile she gets antsy at the quiet. Imagine my delight last year, when I visited NYC and rode down Fifth Avenue and saw signs that warned people of a stiff fine for honking.
George Prochnik, in his book In Pursuit of Silence, “examines why we began to be so loud as a society, what it is that gets lost when we can no longer find quiet and what are the benefits of decluttering our sonic world.” When I encounter people who must fill up air space with conversation, radio, television or music—especially when I am being quiet myself—it makes me wonder if silence is uncomfortable for them.
There are many ways and places people can enjoy noiselessness—or at least replace it with more desired noise. A charming picture book is Sitting in My Box. A little boy has found a big box, and it is his getaway in which he reads or dreams. A host of different animals crowd in, until they are finally “persuaded” to leave.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her poem Exiled, laments, “Searching my heart for its true sorrow/This is the thing I find to be/That I am weary of words and people/Sick of the city, wanting the sea.” Her refuge from the cacophony of the city was the ocean. I can identify and as often as I can, I visit the Monastery in Conyers, where I sit by the lake and feed the ducks. Where do you go for peace and quiet?
We all know that February is Black History Month but did you know that during February we also celebrate African Heritage and Health Week? According to Oldways, the nonprofit food and education organization, February 1st – 7th is a time for celebrating African heritage by eating meals inspired by the traditional cooking of Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the African American South. Numerous studies have shown that traditional diets that emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans help to promote good health. I urge you to visit this very interesting website and learn more about the traditional food of Africa. You’ll find the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, information about African Diaspora cultures, tips on grocery shopping and setting up your kitchen, and my favorite feature “African Heritage Dine-Around-Town.” This is a list (with links) of restaurants in every state that serve African cuisine. Though it is by no means comprehensive (for example, no Ethiopian restaurants make the list for Georgia) it’s still a fun tool for those who want to dine out on African foods.
Are you interested in exploring African foods in your own kitchen? Check out these resources from DCPL.
Marcus Samuelsson is a world famous chef who was born to Ethiopian parents and adopted by a Swedish couple after the death of his mother. Raised in Sweden, he trained and apprenticed in Europe before coming to New York where he became the youngest chef to receive a three star review from the New York Times. His newest restaurant is Red Rooster in Harlem and his cookbook The Soul of a New Cuisine: a discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa (with Heidi Sacko Walters) was selected as the “Best International Cookbook” by the James Beard Foundation in 2006.
Also take note of:
Over the last few weeks the Georgia General Assembly and congress have gotten back to work creating and passing laws. Years ago, the only way to find out what these legislative bodies were working on or the “hot” topics for the year was through the press or in the case of congress, the Congressional Record. As with anything in today’s society, raw information is available almost instantaneously and is searchable.
On the national level, the place to find this information is GovTrack. This website allows you to follow legislation through the legislative branch. You can see what is on the docket for the current week, laws that have recently been enacted, passed resolutions and active legislation all from the front page.
To research more in depth, you can browse by subject or search for a particular legislation. There are statistics for each of the Congresses on how many laws they have enacted, how many resolutions were passed, how many bills were sent to the president, how many inactive legislative actions there was for a session, how many legislative bills failed and how many were vetoed by the president. If you click on the number within each category of legislation, the details about the legislation will display. So for example, if I clicked on active legislation for this congressional session (113th), it would list and display information on all five current active bills in front of congress.
Interested in congress specifically and not legislation? This website allows you to locate your senators and representative by providing your address. The site allows you to see how each senator and representative voted on any legislation or resolution. If there is a related bill that went through the Legislative branch it will link to that bill also and give you voting records. What I love most about this site is that you can search how congress voted all the way back to the 1st Congress.
The State of Georgia has a website that allows you to follow legislation through the General Assembly. It is not as comprehensive as the federal site for historical purposes but to be an informed citizen, it is useful. On this website daily you can see what is on the agenda for the General Assembly. There is a list of first reads of bills for both the House and Senate. Within the list, you can tell which legislative person was involved in the introduction of the bill and the actual wording of the bill. The website also lists how each State Senator and House of Representative voted on a bill.