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

Arts & Culture

VictHow many of you have watched the PBS series Victoria? This show is based on Queen Victoria of England. She was one of England’s longest reigning monarchs. At the library we have many opportunities to explore the various lives of women. Daisy Goodwin has, in her latest book Victoria, created a great a companion to the PBS program.

I find it so fascinating to read about another life. One that I will never experience. What is it like to be royal or a head of state? What constrictions does it place on one’s life? Can they truly have the freedom to marry who they choose or live where they want to?

 

Victoria became queen after her two uncles died with no heir. Her early life was spent at Kensington Palace. Where she often felt like a prisoner. Upon her uncle the King of England’s death she achieved the throne and her independence. What kind of monarch would she become? Who would her husband be?

Ms. Goodwin also introduces us to other characters such as: Lord Melbourne (Lord M), the Duchess of Kent, Sir John Conroy, King Leopold of Belgium, and Prince Albert. There are many others as well.

Readers will fly through the pages of the fabulous book on Victoria. The library has other books on Victoria listed here:

Victoria A Life by A.N. Wilson

We two: Victoria and Albert Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

Queen Victoria At Home by Michael De-La-Noy

We also hYoung Elizabethave books that follow the lives of other monarchs of England who also are featured on current television shows, such as The Crown and The White Princess.  If you are not familiar with The Crown it follows the rise of Elizabeth II to the throne of England.  It also delves into the personal lives of the Queen and her family.  The White Princess on the other hand follows the conclusion of  the War of the Roses or the Cousins War.  It follows the perspective of the young princess Elizabeth of York.

 

Other titles include: 
Young Elizabeth: the Making of a Queen by Kate Wililams

Prince Philip: the turbulent early life of the man who married the Queen Elizabeth the Second by Philip Eade

 

The White Princess by Philippa GregoryPrincess of York

Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York, the mother of Henry VIII by Nancy Lenz Harvey

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Mar 24 2016

Mommy and Me

by Hope L

MommyRecently the Workplace Advisory Group of the DeKalb County Public Library volunteered for a project to help the Mommy and Me Family Literacy Program located in Clarkston.  The DCPL volunteers will be fixing up a space in the school for mothers and their children to read and relax during their school day.

The Mommy and Me Refugee Family Literacy Program is a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston where immigrant mothers and their children learn together.

When I found out about this program, I was delighted.  For a time I worked at the Clarkston Branch of DCPL, and it was (and is) a very busy place!  There were many immigrant children, most of them refugees whose families fled to this country from their homelands.

According to their website, the school’s students come from more than a dozen countries from around the world: Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

From the Mommy and Me website,

​We are a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia where immigrant mothers and children learn together.

A family literacy program, we offer four components of instruction: (1) ESOL classes for refugee women, (2) onsite early childhood development program for their young children, (3) Parent and Child Time sessions to promote family engagement, and (4) weekly workshops on parenting, health/nutrition, and life skills.

“Clarkston’s transformation dates back to the late 1980’s, when the U.S. State Department and various resettlement agencies chose Clarkston as an ideal site for refugee resettlement.  A mass exodus of middle-class whites to Atlanta’s more affluent suburbs left behind inexpensive apartments that could serve as affordable housing for newly arrived refugee families.  The easternmost stop on MARTA, Clarkston also offered its residence access to public transit and a commute to employment opportunities in Atlanta.”

To find out more about the program or to volunteer or make a donation, click on the link below:

Mommy and Me Family Literacy | about us

 

 

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Mar 21 2016

Vegas, Baby!

by Hope L

Ouvegasr recent trip to Sin City was so much fun.  But unlike 30 years ago, when I was busy scarfing up the bargain buffets up and down Las Vegas Blvd., sampling pounds of the product at a chocolates factory, and singing along with Barry Manilow (“Oh, Mandy!  Well you came and you gave without taa-king …”) at a show (well, it was the 80’s!), I found myself in a city totally changed – unrecognizable from where I last left my hard-earned dollars.

There is no such thing anymore as ‘cheap eats,’ free this or that (unless you are a very high roller) or kitschy cafes.  No, Vegas – save for The Fremont Street Experience and several of the quickie wedding chapels downtown – is now a fancy-shmantzy collection of hotels, convention venues, and high-end shopping meccas, with of course swank casinos sprinkled in the mix.

For example, we ate breakfast at the hotel where we stayed, The Venetian, and it would cost us $40 with no problem.  A steak dinner ran around $85 per person (plus sides and drinks!) one evening at a restaurant in the Venetian Restaurant Row. I had the fish stew which was $37, plus $12 if you wanted a  side dish of mashed potatoes, asparagus, etc.  It was a very tasty meal, but come on!

venhall

And, even though it was shocking that everything has changed, there was still a lot of smoking going on in Vegas!  I guess there is no such thing as a non-smoking establishment in a town nicknamed Sin City, where drinking, eating and gambling excessively are the order of the day.

Fortunately, though, out West there is so much to do and so many things to see, that one need not get bogged down in anything that is not to their  liking.  While we did mostly the casino/restaurant/shopping thing this time, there is a natural wonder (Grand Canyon National Park) and other worthwhile scenic wonders (Zion National Park, Death Valley, Hoover Dam) within driving distance from Las Vegas.  We went on a beautiful helicopter tour of Hoover Dam, and I swear the pilot (a petite blonde gal barely old enough to drive a car, let alone fly a helicopter) could’ve been my granddaughter!

Before going – even though I had lived in Arizona years ago and had traveled to all of these places – I consulted with some publications available at DCPL, one of my favorites being:  Fodor’s 2016 Las Vegas  by writers Jason Drago, Heidi Rinella, Susan Stapleton, Matt Villano, Mike Weatherford ; editor, Eric B. Wechter,  which was a good basic refresher on the area and more importantly, on the different types of gambling one might encounter and the strategies and odds on each; and Luck : understanding luck and improving the odds by Barrie Dolnick and Anthony H. Davidson.

After this trip, I now ‘understand’ that luck comes and goes!

And so … I had a lot of fun:  ate too much, gambled too much (and lost too much money), and shopped too much.  But Vegas is a place just made for going overboard.  And, “What happens in Vegas …”

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Mar 8 2016

Supreme Decisions

by Hope L

Supreme

The week after I started writing this particular blog, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away unexpectedly.

I was already writing a blog about the Supreme Court and how the upcoming presidential election would dramatically affect the Supreme Court of the U.S., or SCOTUS, as it is often referred to nowadays.

Now, the stakes are even higher as the highest court in the country is evenly split along ideological lines, with monumental cases hanging in the balance.

According to Jonathan Hobratsch, Writer Editor for the Literati Quarterly in a blog for The Huffington Post:

“If the next president wins two terms, regardless of the party, the Supreme Court could reach a near ideological monopoly unknown in the post-World War II era of American History, perhaps a monopoly never achieved since FDR’s eight Supreme Court nominations.

However, FDR presided during a time when both parties had liberal and conservative wings; therefore, there was more ideological overlap in a judicial nomination, even if he/she was from the opposing party.  With two deeply divided parties, the next president has a crucial influence on the future of the Supreme Court that is rarely discussed as we get closer to the 2016 election.”

justices

 

Or, consider what USA Today’s Richard Wolf wrote in his USA Today News online report:

“Wedged between the Republican and Democratic national conventions next July will fall an event of greater long term significance for the future of the republic:  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 80th birthday.

Barring unforeseen events, Kennedy will become the third sitting octogenarian on the court – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 82 (and as of writing this DCPL blog, she is 83) and Justice Antonin Scalia turns 80 in March.  That will mark the first time since George H.W. Bush entered the White House more than a quarter century ago that a president has inherited three justices that old.  at 78 by then, Justice Stephen Breyer will be close behind.”

Some major cases to be heard in 2016 include those on immigration, voting districts, affirmative action for higher education students, union practices, state laws on abortion availability, and the Obamacare mandate on contraceptive coverage for employees at churches and other religions institutions.

I started searching the stacks of DCPL for anything SCOTUS-related, and I was absolutely stunned at the volume of material on the subject.  I mean, everything about the high court has been documented, explored and opined about.

And, the end of the last century had something new to write about the Supreme Court – a first throughout its history:  the naming of a female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.

O’Connor was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1981 and garnered unanimous senate approval; ironically, she was the “key swing vote in many important cases, including the upholding or Roe v. Wade,” according to the website Bio.com.

DCPL has many books on O’Connor, including: “Sandra Day O’Connor : How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became its Most Influential Justice by Joan Biskupic.

But one of my favorite reads has been Robert Schnakenberg’s “Secret Lives of the Supreme Court:  What Your Teachers Never Told You About America’s Legendary Justices.

 

supremebook

An interesting tidbit from this book about John Marshall, who spent 34 years as chief justice:

“Beyond his noble birthright (a distant relative of Thomas Jefferson), there was nothing much about Marshall’s upbringing that screamed “father of American jurisprudence.”  He had only a year of formal schooling and attended law lectures for less than three months.”

“…he dressed in a plain, occasionally disheveled, manner and did all his own grocery shopping.  A Virginia neighbor once saw him lugging a turkey home from the market, mistook him for a servant, and threw him some spare change.  Marshall humbly pocketed the money and went on his way with his bird.  A truly genial man, he won many a legal argument through conciliation and persuasion rather than confrontation and coercion – a fact that infuriated his political opponents.”

And, another item which I vaguely remembered and is covered in the book (but many people don’t realize): that President William Howard Taft, who had served as a U.S. District Court judge in his native Ohio, always had aspired to sit on the Supreme Court. He was steered instead into the presidency by both his wife and the outgoing president, Theodore Roosevelt.  He got his opportunity, however, when Republican Warren G. Harding sought him for an appointment to the high court.  Taft is the only former president to have sworn a new president into office (Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1929).

Who knows?  If a Democrat is elected, perhaps Barack O’Bama could be a future justice.

One thing is certain, however – this country will be seeing many new faces on the Supreme Court in the coming years.

 

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Dec 28 2015

Whale of a Story

by Hope L

SmithsonianDec2015My favorite quick read, which is available at DCPL (natch), is Smithsonian Magazine*–and the December issue certainly does not disappoint.

The article “Quakers with a Vengeance” is all about the history of Nantucket, so of course it delves into the history of whaling–and, of course, it talks about Herman Melville and Moby Dick. And it explores a more recent item: Ron Howard’s new movie In the Heart of the Sea, now in theaters.

One fascinating tidbit I just picked up from reading this piece is that Melville had never been to Nantucket (the place where his famous classic is at shore) when he wrote his famous story. Turns out he only visited it a year after Moby Dick was published. I did know however (being a Card-Carrying Know-It-All and everything), that Melville’s book was a flop during his lifetime, which is indeed a shame. The more I read about Herman Melville, the more I respect him as a writer and an adventurer. (You, too, can be a Card-Carrying Know-It-All by signing up today for a DCPL library card.)

I haven’t been this excited about whaling since I visited Provincetown, MA, a few years ago. Not quite Nantucket, but it’s the closest I’ve been to the world-famous home of whalers, that little island out there off of Cape Cod. It also turns out that Nantucket and its environs had little in the way of whales in any nearby waters after about 1800, having been all fished out. Still, the infrastructure was in place for the processing of whale blubber, and Nantucket continued to be the top producer of whaling oil in the world.

The thing about Melville’s Moby Dick is that initially one could mistake it as a difficult and monotonous read, as I did before I became a die-hard ship/sea stories/whaling aficionado. But when I read it years later, I was smitten.

melville

Melville’s tales of his seafaring adventures led to his success as a writer with Typee published in 1846. Other books followed, with Moby Dick being published in 1851 to little acclaim.

So, if you care to dream about ocean adventures while in landlocked Atlanta, DCPL has an assortment of whaling and seafaring books in addition to Melville’s writings, for example:

Looking for a Ship (1990) by John McPhee

Seaworthy: Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting (2006) by T.R. Pearson

The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America (2008) by Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith

*The Smithsonian Magazine is available in print (paper) at various DCPL branches. Check with your local library. You can read full-color, digital issues of the Smithsonian Magazine in our DCPL Zinio Library Collection, and the magazine is also available full-text via EBSCOhost from GALILEO.

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Dec 16 2015

DCPL Squashes the Bah Humbug!

by Hope L

Are you feeling a little like Scrooge this year? Not enough time, energy, or maybe money to be festive? Are the holidays sneaking up on you, with the mild weather giving you the impression that the holiday season is still months away?

Well, the holiday season is indeed upon us, and whether you celebrate anything this time of year or not, you can take advantage of the wonderful goings on at the DeKalb County Public Library!

Here are some happenings this coming Saturday that are enough to put some holiday spirit into anybody, even you Grinches out there:

HeritageFestival2015_slideSat., Dec. 19:  There are too many delicious choices to make on this day!  Redan-Trotti Library, 770.482.3821, will offer Tasty Traditions:  Cookie & Dessert Exchange, from 11:30-12:30 p.m.  Share your family’s traditional cookie or dessert that has been passed down through the years, along with the recipe, and sample everyone else’s.  A prize will be given for the tastiest one and registration is required with a limit of 20 participants.

Sat., Dec. 19:  Decatur Library will host the Embrace Our World:  Greek Food Tasting event, sponsored by the Decatur Craft Beer Festival, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., with selections of a variety of traditional Greek pastries.  Available to the first 30 people.

That’s just a sample–see our calendar of events for more happenings at DCPL.

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Nov 20 2015

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

by Camille B

turkeySo, the Thanksgiving festivities are on the way and you’re mingling about trying to be a good host, making sure that everyone is feeling welcome and comfortable–parents, siblings, in-laws, a few friends and neighbors you invited. Suddenly you look across the room and spot an unwelcome visitor, the same one who showed up at your perfectly planned holiday last year and wreaked havoc. That’s right, Mr. Stress himself, all decked out in his finest, lurking in the shadows and waiting for his cue to rain on your parade. Your heart sinks. Who on earth invited him?

Well, it just so happens he could have come in with any number of your friends or relatives–perhaps that aunt who, even though you tell her every year a bottle of wine is perfectly fine, always insists on bringing that special dish that nobody likes but everybody has to eat anyway, or maybe it’s your brother-in-law who goes around pushing everyone’s buttons–and oh, he’s here for the entire weekend. Then there’s your son. You clearly remember telling him to ask first, but he still arrives at the last minute with two of his buddies in tow–and they’re all the size of giants. You don’t want to be a scrooge, but there goes half the turkey!

Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, the Thanksgiving Holiday–a day when we come together with friends and loved ones to relax and give thanks, not just for what we have but for each other as well–can prove to be more stressful than we care to admit, testing the endurance of even the most patient folk.

And this is true not only for the host, but sometimes for guests as well–that new son or daughter-in-law, boyfriend or girlfriend, or invited co-worker. Guests can find themselves caught in the middle of Thanksgiving sagas and dramas that easily spiral out of control from simple things (like fights over the remote, a turkey leg or a wishbone) to really heated debates and brawls that stem from arguments over politics, sports teams or just the re-ignition of old family feuds.

Oh yes, Mr. Stress will show up at your Thanksgiving dinner. You can count on it. And though you may not be able to eradicate his presence altogether, you can minimize the role that he’ll play at your gathering by being prepared and always a few steps ahead.

Host

There’s no way you can do everything yourself, so don’t even try. Brushing away people when they try to offer their assistance, while at the same time complaining at the end of the day that you had to do it all by yourself–you can’t have it both ways. Many hands make the work light, even small hands. And yes, you can enlist your guests as well.

Things don’t have to be perfect. So your cousin Rae-Rae didn’t mash the potatoes quite the way you like them, there’s no need to blow a gasket and call for everybody to get out of your kitchen. She was only trying to help. Believe me, no matter which way you offer up the potatoes–unless they’re burnt to a crisp–they will disappear right along with the rest of the meal. Take heart if it doesn’t look like it came out of Martha Stewart’s kitchen. Your family and guests will still love it and you–and appreciate your effort and hard work.

First-time hosts: Keep it simple. Now is not the time to try and impress your new mother-in-law with your non-existent culinary skills. Unless you’re a naturally great cook with event planning experience under your belt, you’ll probably make a few blunders along the way. No love loss. A lot of people still dread Thanksgiving preparations even after umpteen years of doing it. If this is just your first go at it, grab a good friend or two to help out. Your day will come when you will be able to put forth a Thanksgiving feast just like Mama used to make.

Try to be the most gracious host you can be. It’s sometimes hard I know. Maybe your aunt’s gesture was well intended, even though you had to chow down her questionable casserole made from that very secret recipe. It probably made her feel good just to be a part of things and offer up her contribution–and she may not be the only one you have to make peace with. Thanksgiving conflicts flare up like wild fires in an instant. Though you cannot be everywhere at once, you can do your best to ignore negative comments, steer conversations to otherwise neutral topics when you sense what’s coming (some people are habitual offenders), and basically douse water on any embers you see that can potentially erupt into an altercation.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Guests

Don’t come empty-handed. Even though your host insists that you bring just yourself and your appetite, it’s still a nice gesture to bring a non-food item or beverage–wine, flowers, or something that is needed as part of the event, like napkins, forks or even a gift for your host.

Let the host know ahead of time if you have any dietary issues. It can be really stressful to go through all the trouble of fixing a great feast only to realize at the last minute that someone cannot partake because they’re vegan or have specific allergies to items on the menu. Knowing ahead of time can enable your host to consider your diet in the meal planning.

Ask before you invade your host’s kitchen, and space as a whole, as this can be a good way to lose a limb or not get invited back next year. Unless you’re a really good friend of the family and you’re quite certain they’ll be okay with it, don’t go rummaging around in the refrigerator or cupboards, stand around in the kitchen obstructing foot traffic, or begin doing chores you weren’t asked to do.

Overall, I honestly believe that the almost euphoric anticipation we feel towards the Thanksgiving holiday and what it represents is too great–and the time and effort we put into making it the best day possible for our loved ones too precious–to let trivial matters come in and ruin it in mere seconds or minutes, causing us to sometimes forget why we came together in the first place. So this year when you spot Mr. Stress worming his way through your holiday celebrations, don’t grow wary, let him bring it! You’re prepared.

ArtOfTheVisitEase into your Thanksgiving season with the following selection from DCPL:

The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host, Becoming the Perfect Guest by Kathy Bertone

Keep Your Cool! What You Should Know About Stress by Sandy Donovan

How to Survive Your In-Laws: Advice from Hundreds of Married Couples Who Did – Andrea Syrtash, special editor

How to Cook a Turkey: And All the Other Trimmings from the editors of Fine Cooking

Holiday Collection (DVD)

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Oct 26 2015

Traditions, Myths and Superstition

by Camille B

Photo of Green CloverI was working as a cashier at a grocery store some years ago when I had the strangest reaction from a customer while ringing up her items. When her final total appeared on the screen, she inhaled sharply like someone had pinched her. When I turned to look at the screen, sure enough her purchases had come up to, you guessed it, $6.66. She promptly turned to the candy rack behind her and added a pack of gum to change the offending numbers. Then, with everything right in her universe again, she walked out of the store looking satisfied, or was it relieved?

The gentleman in line behind her was shaking his head as he placed his items on the counter. I didn’t ask him why, but I figured it was either because he couldn’t make sense out of what he’d just witnessed or he simply didn’t believe in it–luck, karma, jinxes, call it what you will.

According to an article on WebMD titled The Psychology of Superstition, more than half of Americans admitted in a poll to being at least a little superstitious. Says Dr. Stuart Vyse, PhD and author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition“Superstitions provide people with the sense that they’ve done one more thing to try to ensure the outcome they are looking for.”

The list is endless for the things that people do, worldwide, to either ensure good luck or ward off the bad–black eyed peas to ring in the new year, throwing rice on the bride and groom, no opening of umbrellas in the house, 7 years of bad luck for broken mirrors–the list goes on and on. Here is A List of Good Luck and Bad Luck Superstitions that includes many we’ve probably heard of at one time or another.

Maybe you don’t think you’re superstitious, you’re much too level headed and practical for that. The WebMD article notes:

Intelligence seems to have little to do with whether or not we subscribe to superstition. …On the Harvard campus–where one would assume there are a lot of intelligent people–students frequently rub the foot of the statue of John Harvard for good luck.”

“Wanting more control or certainty is the driving force behind most superstition. We tend to look for some kind of a rule, or an explanation for why things happen.”

And, as Dr. Vyse explains: “Sometimes the creation of a false certainty is better than no certainty at all, and that is what most research suggests.”

I honestly believe that we are more superstitious than we may think. I believe in the positive placebo effect–if you think something will help you, it may do just that. There is “power in belief.”

So, you may not consider yourself superstitious. You’re not likely to walk around the neighborhood avoiding every crack in the sidewalk for fear of breaking your mother’s back, or avoid step ladders and black cats at all cost, but you may knock on wood for luck, dash a pinch of salt over your shoulder before you eat, or check your horoscope on a daily basis–things that have become more habitual and ritualistic to you than superstitious.   Black Cat

For some, it might be that you’re more of a traditionalist than you are superstitious. Habits, rituals, and customs you hold dear–they have been handed down to you through culture, family or religion and have become a part of who you are. You wore something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue at your wedding. You always bake cookies and let the kids leave them out for Santa. Or, the guys always come over to your house for the Super Bowl.

And what about those traditions we keep but we know not why?

The story is told about a young girl who was one night helping her mother prepare the Christmas dinner. She suddenly turned to her mother and asked the reason why they always cut the end of the ham off before putting it in the pot to boil. Her mother thought about this for a minute and said:

“Honey, you know I don’t know, go and ask your grandmother, it’s the way she always cooked it and that’s how I do it now.”

So the girl went to ask the same question of her grandmother: “Grandma, why do we cut the end of the ham off before we boil it?” The grandmother frowned a while, and finally said:

“You know dear, I don’t know the exact reason, I got if from Nana, that’s how she used to cook it. I guess you’ll have to go ask her.”

Finally, the girl went to her great grandmother hoping that she was finally going to get her answer. “Nana, why do we cut the end of the ham off every year before we put it in the pot to boil?”

Nana smiled her toothless smile and said:

“Oh girl, one Christmas many years ago we were getting ready to boil that ham and realized it was way too big to fit in the pot, so we had to cut the end off to get it to fit.”

And that’s tradition for you. Some things we hold dear to us and cherish for very specific and sentimental reasons; others we met in place and follow because it’s what we know, what’s been passed down to us through the years and as such have become sacred.

Sometimes it’s a myth or legend, passed down through the years and retold so many hundreds of times, the lines between truth and reality have become blurred and entwined. Even though the logical part of our brain tells us this simply can’t be true, a teeny part of us still wants to believe in Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster, Atlantis, and the Bermuda Triangle. (Yes, maybe they are true!)

Finally, you may not identify with any of the above–you’re not one who is overly superstitious nor are you a traditionalist (and let’s not get you started by mentioning the word Yeti), but do you at least hold on to some favorite token or item that you figure brings you luck or good fortune? Grey’s Anatomy Doctor McDreamy wore his favorite ferryboat scrub cap while performing his surgeries. What do you use for your mojo? I know there must be something–a lucky penny perhaps or that special pencil you always use when you take your exams? Could it be that red rag you keep at the back of your sock drawer or maybe the rabbit’s foot hanging from the rearview mirror of your car? Whatever it is, I bet you that you’re not alone.

These were some of the items I discovered at DCPL while doing research for this post on the topics of myths, legends, superstitions and traditions.

Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer

Don’t Sing Before Breakfast, Don’t Sleep in the Moonlight by Lila Perl

Wisdom Tales from Around the World by Heather Forest

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Sep 4 2015

This weekend, don’t forget…

by Dea Anne M

The annual AJC Decatur Book Festival will take place this coming weekend and it is an event that you surely won’t want to miss. This year’s key speaker is Erica Jong who will appear in conversation with flyingRoxanne Gay at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts starting at 8:00 p.m. on Friday September 4th, although a quick check reveals to me that the event badis now sold out. Erica Jong is, of course, the author of the notorious novel Fear of Flying, which celebrated its 40th anniversary two years ago. She is as well a noted poet and also has published books of essays including Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir. Her new book (on order now at DCPL) is Fear of Dying. Roxane Gay is the author of the provocative book of essays Bad Feminist.

The festival has offerings for every range of ages and interests. Tracks include Business and Marketing, Personal Journeys, and Healthy and Local. Every year includes programming for childrenboss as well as teens. The Decatur branch of the Dekalb County Public Library will provide the stage for a series of programs presented by WABE. Featured are Paul Downs, author of Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business, with a special look at local arts publishing powerhouse (now sadly gone) Nexus Press hosted by ArtsATL, and a special presentation honoring the winners of the 2015 Lillian Smith Awards.

Clearly, the festival offers something for everyone. See a complete schedule here.

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Jul 27 2015

Fish with Benefits

by Rebekah B

go fish education center buildingAs the summer draws to a close, families may still be seeking out some educational opportunities to prepare kids for returning to school.

As many of you may know, DCPL offers a variety of attraction passes that include the Georgia State Parks Pass, the Zoo Atlanta DVD/Pass, and the Puppetry Arts Pass (not currently available, as the museum is in the process of expansion and renovation). The lesser known of these passes may be the Go Fish Pass. You may have visited Perry, GA, as I have, when taking your kids to an All-State Band audition. If not, the purpose of this post is to inform you about what there is to see and do in and around Perry and to make your visit to the Go Fish Center the focal point of a highly educational, fun, day trip, of interest to adults and to kids.

go fish center fishing simulatorThe pass for the Go Fish Education Center allows up to 4 people to enter free of charge. The Center is located in Perry, Georgia (click on the link to view the location on Google Maps), about a one-hour drive from Atlanta. At the Go Fish Education Center, regional species of freshwater fish as well as a variety of reptiles and aquatic wildlife are exhibited in aquariums, and a variety of wildlife conservation programs for all ages are included in the educational programming. Local Georgia habitats are also featured, and visitors can test their skills on hunting and fishing simulators as well as learn how fish are raised in a state-of-the-art hatchery. On the Go Fish web-site from 7 am to 8 pm daily, you can watch a live webcam broadcast of the fish swimming in the 15-foot-deep aquariums of the Piedmont Reservoir exhibit.

massee lane gardensBefore I first visited Perry, I asked some of my well-traveled book club friends what else we might do in and around Perry so we could make a day trip of the All-State Band auditions. My friend Betty, an avid gardener, advised us to visit the Massee Lane Gardens of the American Camellia Society, in Fort Valley, GA. The gardens are intimate, with a wide variety of camellias, of course, and brick paved shaded walkways dotted with mile markers and millstones, part of the collections of the originator of the gardens, Mr. David Strother. The plantings also include a rose garden and a small Japanese garden with water features as well as access to adjacent pecan groves.

andersonville cemeteryBetty also told us that the National Prisoner of War Museum is nearby, which is adjacent to the Andersonville Civil War historic site. The POW museum is also the acting visitor’s center for the park and is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm, closing only for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The Camp Sumpter Military Prison was the largest confederate military prison during the Civil War, and of the nearly 45,000 Union soldiers imprisoned here, about 13,000 died due to highly insalubrious conditions. The museum visit is free of charge and the indoor collections include many fascinating and highly personal artifacts that document the lives of soldiers from a variety of conflicts in American history. Visitors can walk through the park, exploring reconstructions of parts of the Andersonville blockade as well as the Andersonville National Cemetery. According to the museum website, the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site is just 22 miles from Andersonville.

yoders restaurantIn addition to these great places to visit, Betty told me that she and her husband also enjoy dining at a local Amish-style restaurant and bakery near Montezuma, GA, which serves southern comfort style food and a variety of deserts, including shoofly pie.  We didn’t go to the restaurant, but it seemed like a nice cultural attraction.

Take advantage of the Go Fish pass to visit rural central Georgia. You may see, as I did, clumps of cotton bunched along the edges of the roadway. Not being a native Georgian or southerner, I had never seen cotton growing before…and at first, I wondered why there was so much trash along the road’s edge! The pecan groves and peach orchards are lovely to see as well.

 

 

 

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