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

November 2008

Nov 26 2008

It’s Not Over Till It’s Over

by Jimmy L

You thought you were off the hook for voting this year, but it’s not over yet, cowboy/girl!  The United States Senate, Georgia State Appeals Court, and Public Service Commission-District 4 races have not established a majority winner yet, so there will be a runoff election on December 2, 2008.

For more information on elections, the election process, election results and resources, please visit our Voting and Elections Subject Guide.


Nov 25 2008

And, the winner is…

by Heather S

The 2008 National Book Award Winners are:

Fiction: Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen
Nonfiction: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
Young People’s Literature: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Poetry: Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty


Nov 24 2008

House Blogs: One More Way to Journal

by Nolan R

Maybe it began with This Old House.  I remember when I was a kid, watching the show with my dad.  Norm and crew would take you step by painfully slow step through a kitchen renovation of an old house in New England, with the process often running to several episodes.  Later, I discovered a love/hate relationship with HGTV, where entire homes are magically transformed in two days or less.

Last year, I discovered the website Houseblogs.  I was fascinated.  I wanted a house blog!  I didn’t even have a house yet, but I started a generic house blog on Blogger, ready to document each step of the progress on our hypothetical house.  (I know others who have also fallen prey to putting the blog before the house.)  My husband and I finally bought an old bungalow, and as we began work on it, I got to work on the blog, personalizing it and even registering our own domain name.  My husband was pretty good-natured about it, except when I would snap photos of him climbing a ladder and temporarily blind him with the flash.

Originally, I planned the blog as a way for friends and family to keep up with our progress, but what I gradually discovered is that a) your friends and family don’t always care that you’ve just spent four weeks painting the trim on your house in original Craftsman colors, and b) a lot of strangers do seem to care, interestingly enough.  Wondering how to strip paint from your dining room molding?  A Google search will turn up at least one houseblog where someone has already done the hard work and figured out the best way.  We’ve even gotten several emails and comments from readers all over the country, sharing their experiences with us.

Here are a few of my favorite houseblogs (including a local one):

De-Victorianization on Division
House in Progress
Our Little Bungalow
Tiny Old House
Westview Bungalow

If you like the idea of reading someone else’s experiences transforming a house into a home, but aren’t into blogs, here are a few great books:

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling Down House by David Giffels
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
Renovations : a Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other by John Marchese
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayer
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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Nov 20 2008

Dear Diary

by Ginny C

J’nai’s post on Tuesday about journaling got me thinking about books for children and teens that are written in a diary format.  Its popularity as a format has grown recently due to several factors – they’re easy to read, they bring an immediacy to the characters and setting, etc.  Probably most important is that kids and young adults like them.  One of the most popular books to come out recently is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffly’s Journal and its sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, both by Jeff Kinney.  Both books have waiting lists and are a big hit with middle school age kids, especially boys who enjoy the humor and the cartoons that appear throughout the books.  Listing all the books the library owns would make for a very long list, so I’ll just list a few of my favorites.

Diary of a Worm by Dorren Cronin:  A young worm discovers, day by day, that there are some very good and some not so good things about being a worm in this great big world.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee: In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother’s departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer.

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman:  The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.

And here are a couple for teens:

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flynn: Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.

Planet Janet by Dyan Sheldon: Sixteen-year-old Janet Bandry keeps a diary as she deals with an annoying family, school, a quirky best friend, and trying to find herself through vegetarianism, literature, romance, and her “Dark Phase.”

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Nov 18 2008

Your Life’s Journal

by Jnai W

I was at a loss for ideas to blog about so I decided to turn to my journal for inspiration. That’s when it occurred to me that journaling–good, old fashioned, pen-to-paper journaling–might be a good topic. Keeping a journal can be very therapeutic and invigorating. It can help you gain perspective about any situation or event. Writing is also an incredible outlet for your emotions, your joys, your frustrations or triumphs.

Journaling has helped me to navigate through the momentous and challenging year that was and is 2008, from its historic Presidential election down to the economic crisis, journal keeping is quite a rewarding practice and simple to begin. A small (or several small, in my case), inexpensive notebook and a nice free-flowing ink pen are all you need. In my opinion, you needn’t fret over skipping a day here and there, even though writing just a little everyday is quite habit-forming. And don’t worry about addressing the pages of your new pastime as “Dear Diary”: your notebook won’t hold it against you.

Here is some suggested reading here at DCPL that may carry you along the path of your life’s journal:

Note To Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by  Samara O’Shea (Collins Living)

The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx (VH1 Books): This book actually got me into the habit of journaling. If the Motley Crue bassist can use his journals to gain perspective on life why can’t anyone else?

With Pen in Hand: The Healing Power of Writing by Henriette Anne Klauser (Perseus Publishing)

The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke by Angela Nissel (Villard Books) : Author Nissel journals her way through her cash-strapped college years…and gets a book deal out of it.  Perhaps you’ve got literary gold between the pages of your diary.


Nov 17 2008

Got the traffic blues?

by Amanda L

If you are like me, you spend a lot of your time and money driving around Atlanta to get to work, shopping, etc. In fact, according to statistics I found using our database Demographics Now (listed under the Business section of our Reference Database page ), citizens in DeKalb spent on average per household $2,375.13 last year (2007) in gas. That is a lot of driving! Over seventy-six percent of the people living in DeKalb own one or two cars per household.

I am always looking for ways to minimize my driving time and cut my transportation costs. The Georgia Department of Transportation has several tools to help us stay out of the traffic blues. They have a website that you can check anytime to see traffic conditions around Atlanta and the state.

Interested in where the accidents and construction delays are on your side of town? You can sign up for a My Navigator Account. This account will let you create a Personal Traffic Page, set up e-mail Traffic Alerts, and more.

In fact, if you use iGoogle, you can have incidents and construction delays displayed right on your personal Google page.  Traveling around and hit a wall of traffic and want to know if there is an accident? You can dial 511 from any phone and get traffic updates. You can also get weather conditions, report an accident or request vehicle assistance. On the other hand, you can also talk to a live operator by dialing *dot.

Looking for away to pass your time away while you are traveling? The library has a variety of audio books. We offer them in cd, cassette and downloadable formats. We also have a variety of music cds that can help pass the time as you work your way through the streets of Atlanta.

Looking for a new or used vehicle that might get better gas mileage? The library subscribes to Consumer Reports that can help give you car ratings on new and used vehicles. Want to know whether to trade in your gas-guzzler for a new hybrid? Smart Money magazine has an interactive feature that can help you determine if it is economical for you to buy a new hybrid and sell your current car.

Why is that driver is in the next car is driving that way? You might want to check out the book Traffic: why we drive the way, we do by Tom Vanderbilt. The author researched and interviewed many driving experts and traffic officials about why we drive the way we do. The book looks at the psychological, physical and technical factors that explain why we drive, what causes traffic jams and what our driving says about us. We also have the book in audiobook format for those who want to listen why you drive. I hope that some of these sources can help you beat the traffic blues!


Finding what you’re looking for on the web can be a daunting task. Now, the folks at Common Craft have created another excellent short video in their “plain english” series that deals with just this subject. Enjoy:


Nov 11 2008

Thank you to those who serve and protect

by Heather S

The library is closed today in observance of Veterans Day, but I wanted to do a post to say thank you to those who serve our country.  November 11 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.  Congress declared this day to be a day to focus on world peace and those who serve their country in pursuit of world peace.  It is a day to honor and celebrate the brave, courageous and dedicated men and women who serve or have served in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and National Guard. 

If you are looking for ways to show your appreciation, you may find these organizations helpful:

America Supports You, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense, connects people to local groups that support troops and their families.

A Million Thanks is a nonprofit that sends letters, cards, emails and thoughts to members of the military.

To Our Soldiers is an Army sponsored website where people can post words of thanks and encouragement to troops currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Nov 10 2008

What to Read When You’re Expecting

by Nolan R


Planning for a new baby can be an overwhelming experience.  Not to worry–there are lots of books out there to guide you along your way, whether you’re a first-time parent, a grandparent-to-be, or even a seasoned veteran looking to brush up on the newest trends in pregnancy and parenthood.

Here are my thoughts on a few of the many titles from DCPL’s collection:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

Considered by many expectant moms to be the pregnancy bible, this book has been around for over twenty years, but a new 2008 edition has just been published.  The book guides you week by week through your pregnancy, and reveals “what to expect” along the way.  The phrasing is a little cutesy for some people (like my husband!), but the information is useful and easy to understand.

The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide by Heather Maclean with Hollie Schultz

Nothing is more overwhelming for a first-time parent than the endless array of consumer goods available for your new baby.  Some are more necessary than others (cribs, car seats, and diaper bags) but do you really need a baby activity center or a baby backpack?  What about the safety of walkers, wipe warmers, or crib bedding?  These ladies have tried it all and they give it to you straight (with much humor) and tell you what they love (and don’t) about every product.  Check out their website for actual product reviews.

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Nov 8 2008

Hard Hat Zone!

by DCPLive

Recent pictures from the Toco Hill and Northlake construction sites: