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

June 2015

Jun 29 2015

Move Over, Mr. Buffett!

by Hope L


Billionaire investment gurus beware. There’s a new kid on the block.

Of course, I’m exaggerating just a tad.

It’s funny, but I have found that as I get older, I will often revisit something that I had dismissed years ago as being boring, unimportant, and so not worth my time. One of those things was math. Another was accounting. I really should’ve made more of an effort to understand math and any effort at all to learn accounting. But boy oh boy, was I the bomb at shorthand!

So now, as I am attempting to learn about investing in the stock market, I sure wish I understood amortization, arbitrage, capitalization, ratios, yield, linear and exponential averages, simple moving averages, CPI, DCA, DPPs, DRPs, LEI, LWA, MACD, OCA, OTA, P/E, PSR, ROA, ROE, RSI…

OMG. What have I gotten myself into? No wonder my younger self avoided this stuff like the plague. I have slowly been exposing myself to acronyms ad nauseum and strange technical terms by reading Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic, CFP (another one, natch), available at DCPL (there we go again!!!).

The reason for this sudden (and probably passing) interest in all things stock market? I’ve mentioned previously here that my hair is getting grayer, arthritis creakier, and wrinkles deeper and more plentiful. Old age and retirement are now on my radar. And, the 457 retirement savings account I started at work is doing quite well in its stock earnings, thank you very much Nationwide.

So why has the money my spouse and I saved and handed over to our CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and paid big bucks to invest in stocks and bonds, mutual funds, and other contrived hullabaloo (my technical term, not theirs), done exceptionally lousy?!!! We are oh-so-close to firing them, but they say, “Your current portfolio is diversified, designed to protect for a correction, and due to overvaluation presently in the U.S., with undervaluation in internationals and the EAFE being up 9% for the year, we are confident your plan is sound and in line with return parameters that match your risk tolerance and time horizon.”

I’ve decided that I have to know how to invest for myself or at least understand investing so I can monitor what’s going on with my money. Or try to learn. And what have I learned thus far? I have learned that it is far easier than it looks to make money in the stock market!

Sure, initially I started trading and purchased some Tesla stock (TSL), which shot up immediately. Then, thinking myself a financial wiz, I bought some Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), certain that oil is a bargain now and has to go up. I bought SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) on a whim, and it shot up nicely. Feeling a bit cocky, and having read some promising things about the pharmaceutical company Biogen inching towards  finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, I bought a lot of Biogen, Inc. (BII). A couple of weeks passed and I was riding high. Then, that very technical, nasty phenomenon occurred (which I’m sure you probably already understand): What goes up must come down. Now I’m on a losing streak!


After some reading and re-reading, the Greek that is investment-speak is starting to mean something to me. It means, technically speaking, that I am out of my league. But hey, I am still the customer, right?

Sigh. I guess the CFPs are right. At least for now. But I’m still hankering to show them my favorite acronyms: TCIAR (The Customer is Always Right) because TPYS (They Pay Your Salary).

P.S.  FEAR NOT, dear readers! DCPL is here to help with many fine resources on investing. A few choices include:

The Handy Investing Answer Book by Paul A. Tucci

You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees by Wes Moss

Invest Like a Shark: How a Deaf Guy with No Job and Limited Capital Made a Fortune Investing in the Stock Market by James “RevShark” DePorre

Oh, and of course, by Vahan Janjigian:

Even Buffett Isn’t Perfect: What You Can–and Can’t–Learn from the World’s Greatest Investor


Jun 24 2015

And the Winner Is…

by Amie P

I love reading, and I must be a glutton for punishment, because I am serving for a third year on the Georgia Children’s Book Award committee.

The Georgia Children’s Book Award was established in 1968, so it’s nearing its 50th birthday.  Each year children from around the state read books off of the list of nominees and vote for their favorites.  A picture book and a chapter book win the award every year.

You may wonder how this list of nominees appears.  That’s where the committee comes in!  Each year, librarians and teachers from around the state volunteer to be on the Book Award committee, then start reading.  For the 4th through 8th grade category, each person on the committee commits to nominating 20 titles that have been published within the last three years, and the public is able to nominate titles for the award also.

It’s then the job of the committee to narrow down that extensive list to a number that is readable in a couple of months—generally about 50.  After much more reading, discussion, and voting, the list is narrowed down to 20 titles and 4 alternates (in case a title goes out of print or wins an award such as the Newbery that automatically disqualifies it).  Those 20 titles are the nominees for the coming year, designed to introduce children across the state to quality literature and help foster the love of reading.

Since this is my third year on the committee, I can tell you that I’ve read a lot of children’s chapter books in the last two-and-a-half years.  Some of my favorites made the lists, and some didn’t.  For a complete list of this year’s nominees, past nominees and winners, or more information about the awards, click here.

Otherwise, here’s a few highlights for you:

RumpRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Thought you knew the story of Rumpelstiltskin?  Think again.  Rump is a 12-year-old boy living with the worst name he can think of in a world where your name is your destiny.  When he discovers he can spin straw into gold, he thinks things are finally going his way, but there are still quests and magic and trolls and poison apples to overcome before he will learn his true name.


Lincoln's Grave RobbersLincoln’s Grave Robbers

It’s 1875, and the leader of a ring of counterfeiters is caught creating fake money and thrown in jail.  His cohorts decide to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and refuse to give it back until their leader is released.  Will undercover agents be able to prevent the body theft?  If this sounds like the stuff of fiction, I’m here to tell you it’s not—this book falls into the nonfiction category.


True BlueThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Raccoon scouts, destructive wild pigs, alligator wrestlers, pies, and a mythical swamp creature who won’t wake up—this book has it all, and it’s hilarious.



LootLoot: How to Steal a Fortune

Twins separated at birth have a lot to learn about each other, and for March and Jules, trying to finish their late father’s last jewel-thief mission makes the learning curve even steeper.



Prairie EversPrairie Evers

As if moving wasn’t bad enough, now Prairie’s grandmother is leaving and won’t be able to homeschool Prairie anymore.  With a new friend, Ivy, and a flock of chickens, Prairie is going to have to make the best of things.



Would you like a sneak peek at what might be on the list of 2015-2016 nominees?

Too bad, I’m not telling.  But I am reading, a lot.


GotM coverAs longtime readers of the blog know, I’m a big fan of fantasy fiction. Fantasy, like most other fiction genres, is a broad umbrella category for a variety of differing styles and flavors. Recently I’ve been reading a series that has a different tone from most works of fantasy that I’ve enjoyed in the past. Combining elements of the subgenres of epic fantasy and so-called “grimdark,” the Malazan Book of the Fallen (the holistic title for the sprawling 10 book series, hereafter referred to as the MBotF for brevity’s sake) delivers a fantasy experience like no other. Authors such as George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have been praised for the extensive world-building and historical scope of their fantasy settings, but Steven Erikson, author of the MBotF series, has taken it even further. Tipping the figurative scales at 11,147 total pages across 10 volumes, the MBotF has a big story to tell, with the action taking place across seven continents and a history stretching back over more than 300,000 years.

There is a lot to like about the series, but one of its most interesting aspects is its focus on soldiers and soldiery. Many of the main characters have some relation to the military, and the series doesn’t shy away from the bleak and often brutal realities of warfare and the lives of the soldiers caught up in it. Erikson’s writing strikes a masterful balance between a stark portrayal of the horrors of the battlefield and a humanizing look at the soldiers experiencing those horrors (and sometimes perpetrating them). This snippet of dialogue from the second book in the series, between a soldier and a military historian (himself a former soldier) speaking of the desperate situation among the refugees they are escorting, illustrates the casual brutality of war and the cynically philosophical way soldiers constantly exposed to that brutality begin to view the world:

“Children are dying.”
Lull nodded. “That’s a succinct summary of humankind, I’d say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.”

Another back and forth between a military commander and a child from the first novel in the series demonstrates that these soldiers don’t have any illusions about their choice of career:

“Heed the lesson there, son.”
“What lesson?”
“Every decision you make can change the world. The best life is the one the gods don’t notice. You want to live free, boy, live quietly.”
“I want to be a soldier. A hero.”
“You’ll grow out of it.”

Although the early books in the series are each relatively self-contained stories, the characters and plotlines from each installment begin to intertwine as the series progresses, so it’s best to read them in publication order, beginning with Gardens of the Moon. And speaking of characters, there are a lot of them to keep track of, not to mention Erikson’s penchant for dense prose and foreshadowing. Following everything that’s going on can be a struggle even for attentive readers, so I recommend supplementing the novels by checking out the Tor Reread of the Fallen, which provides chapter summaries as well as commentary by two readers, one of whom is reading the series for the first time, and another who is re-reading it. First time readers will probably want to steer clear of the commentary by Bill (the person re-reading the series) as well as the comment section generally, as spoilers for the entire series may be discussed in those areas.

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Jun 19 2015

Art or Life?

by Rebekah B

Hello readers,

I love watching movies–the kind of movies which explore the dilemmas and dramas of human passions and desires. Cinema is an art form that, when well done, can fully engage our hearts and minds. When we get down to what brings meaning to our everyday lives, I think most of us would like to feel that by being in the world we have somehow served our families, friends, and co-workers by sharing some essential aspects of our own being. For the artist, the need to create meaning through art is more often than not a compulsion–a need more important than building family or career. We may ask ourselves the question: Which is more important–to live one’s life in a compassionate manner, adding value to the relationships we nurture at home and at work, or to isolate oneself to a certain degree from society in order to produce work that will allow future generations to continue to relate to the workings of our heart and mind, long after our personal death?

HumblingBirdmanA few recent (2014), somewhat literary films in our DCPL collection, I feel, illustrate this theme well. Birdman, written and directed by  Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Michael Keaton, and The Humbling, directed by Barry Levinson, starring Al Pacino and based on the next to the last novel written by Philip Roth, both feature aging screen and stage actors struggling to remain relevant, to prove to themselves and to the world that they still possess the magical power that grabs the viewer by the emotions and reels them in. Both protagonists are terrified by a progressively tenuous relationship with reality, with friends and family. Yet their desires remain powerful, and they fight the demons of death and chaos as vigorously as they engage the remains of their personal genius in their art.

WhiplashWhiplash, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, is, I feel, the most powerful of the three films. Teller plays a young and ambitious drummer enrolled in a New York City conservatory. In a telling moment, he squashes a budding relationship with a young woman to whom he is obviously attracted, feeling that his overriding desire to become a famous drummer will cause him to inevitably dissatisfy her–and that she, as an ordinary young woman, will never understand or be fulfilled by him. In his youthful arrogance, he somehow knows that his need to excel as a musician dominates any other desires. As we watch the scene, the painful question, “art or life?” is illustrated. In Whiplash, the relationship between Andrew, the young drummer, and his mentor, the verbally abusive and manipulative Fletcher, is intense and fascinating. Fletcher uses any means he deems necessary to bring to fruition the talent he sees in his young charges, and Andrew’s vulnerability and passion stir in the viewer an ambiguous desire to see him succeed.

In all of these films, the viewer experiences the angst-ridden desire of the artist to remain relevant as he ages, as well as our own fears about the loss of vitality. We share the struggle of the artist to straddle the fine line between his own vivid imagination and the demands of conventional reality. We observe the dedication and work required to develop and maintain the necessary craft which is the armature of any successful and compelling art form. Watching these films, we can experience with emotion the conflicts and difficulties caused in the artist’s personal life by his or her focus on an art form to the near exclusion of all other responsibilities and relationships. You could say that the artist is egocentric, a narcissist. And it is true to a certain degree. Art is an unforgiving mistress or master, requiring uncompromising devotion. As a mere human being, the artist is nearly always at the mercy of art itself.

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Consider the cockroach.

No, seriously–consider the cockroach, if just for a moment. For most of us, the very thought of these despised and lowly creatures sends a chill down our spines and plants an ugly, homicidal thought in our minds. It’s probably fair to say that we see cockroaches less as living things or creatures than as diabolical instruments of disgust–existing solely to pop up at the opportune time to scare the living daylights out of us, whether we’re in the shower or raiding the kitchen for a midnight snack. And the cockroach doesn’t weather our contempt alone, for while the humble roach is arguably the most despised arthropod on the planet, most people don’t think much better of his (or her) relatives. Bugs, spiders, scorpions–basically, if you’re small, creepy/crawly, and have more legs than Fido in the back yard, then it’s safe to assume that you’re not high on anyone’s “favorite critter” list.

I must admit that even as an ardent bug lover, I have a bit of a blinder when it comes to seeing these amazing creatures as, well, creatures, instead of “objects” of admiration. What I and the bug haters have in common is a tendency to de-animate insects–to neglect the fact that they are animals, with behaviors and drives similar in kind, if not degree, to anything found on the Serengeti. Even most entomologists, who probably have a greater appreciation for creepy crawlers than the rest of us, often view insects through a disturbingly mechanistic lens; insects are biological “machines,” with “sophisticated hardware and software” honed by millions of years of evolution.

Compleat CockroachSo what does it take to open our eyes and reconsider? Well, you can heed my advice and consider the cockroach. David Gordon’s The Compleat Cockroach: A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Despised (and Least Understood) Creature on Earth puts a spotlight on this most hated of insects, drawing attention to some little known facts. Did you know, for instance, that many species care for their young? Or that, despite their reputation as “dirty nasty bugs,” they actually clean themselves with a fastidiousness that puts most cats to shame? While it’s unlikely to convert any hardened roach hater–or make the average Joe have second thoughts about reaching for the bug spray if one scurries across the floor in front of him–at the very least, Gordon’s book opens up the possibility of recognizing these bugs for the amazing animals they are.

LIfe in the UndergrowthIf you don’t want to dive head first into the world of cockroaches, then you might want to give a gander at David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth. Although this is just one part in the splendid Life series by the renowned naturalist, it stands out for being the first to actually examine small land invertebrates from their perspective, using technologies previously unavailable to give a bug’s-eye view of the world. The results are telling; it turns out these tiny biological “machines” are endowed with a myriad of complex behaviors and even rudimentary personalities. If you’re able to resist the cold shudder from getting up close and personal with so many bugs, you just might find yourself marveling at the ballet of a springtail mating dance, or the tender care a wolf spider puts into crafting an egg sack for her young. It may not be the best cure for arachnophobia, but you just might give pause before introducing a spider to the bottom of your shoe.

These books introduce the zany idea that we can actually develop a rapport with arthropods as fellow living animals; they live, die, swim, feed, and care for their young, just like any creature, and in ways both spectacular and familiar. They are not instruments or machines; they don’t exist to annoy or frighten us. They’re our neighbors on the same blue planet, and while they may not be as cuddly as a puppy or as majestic as an elephant, they are no less fascinating, or worthy of our respect.

If I’ve sparked your curiosity, here are two other bug books to get under your skin:

So maybe we should show a bit more understanding to our crawly kin–or at least, not automatically reach for the Raid can at every turn.


Jun 15 2015

Kid Got Your Goat?

by Hope L


This summer, the kids are out of school and underfoot at home. May I suggest Benjamin, the pygmy goat, as a babysitter with the best kick around? Take a look at this video about Benji.

Now, unfortunately, the little guy does live overseas and is currently doing time in a field in Yorkshire, so the next best thing for the kids to do this summer is to visit DCPL–because Every Hero Has a Story, this summer’s Vacation Reading Program, is fully underway  (as is Unmask! for teens and Escape the Ordinary, the Vacation Reading Program for those old goats).

Benji has given us his summer reading picks, which are available at DCPL:

The Three Billy Goats Gruff, retold and illustrated by Janet Stevens, and The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco.

For adults, Benji recommends The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Sufficient Living by Jerome D. Belanger.

DCPL’s Vacation Reading Program runs through July 31.

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Jun 12 2015

Meals Al Fresco…Or Perhaps Not

by Dea Anne M

This is the time of year when many people’s thoughts turn to all sorts of outdoor entertainments, particularly picnics. Summer and picnics just seem to go together for a lot of us. I say “seem” because, when it comes down to it, I don’t really like dining outside very much. I always think that I should–as so much of my life’s reading has involved romantic accounts of picnics in the gracious English countryside or on magnificent windswept coasts overlooking the Pacific. The reality of my actual picnic experience though has been far different. For example, the food never quite matches my literary memories of delectable cucumber sandwiches sliced utra-thin and steamed Dungeness crabs pulled straight from the water an hour before. While I love deviled eggs and watermelon, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly romantic about them. And then there are the physical discomforts. The heat! The sun! The mosquitoes! Whenever someone asks me if I would agree with the adage “everything tastes better outdoors,” my answer is a quick and definitive “It depends.”

As it happens, National Picnic Week begins on Sunday, June 13, this year. While I possess the celebratory spirit as much as anyone, if someone invites me to a picnic, my first question will always be “Will there be an umbrella involved?” There had better be, because otherwise I’m eating my deviled eggs inside. You may not agree with me, and if you are a picnic lover eatinglooking for new recipe ideas or someone new to picnicking who needs inspiration, then DCPL has what you need. See, for example, Country Living, Eating Outdoors: Sensational Recipes for Cookouts, Picnics and Take-Along Food from the editors of Country Living magazine for plenty of ideas. When I’m being completely honest with myself though, I have to admit that I prefer experiencing outdoor eating vicariously through books. Literature is surprisingly filled with meals of all sorts, and some of those meals happen outside. Here are some of my favorite examples.

mountainThere’s a scene in Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier in which Ada and Ruby go to check on the progress of an apple orchard. The women have so far survived the extreme hardships brought on by the Civil War through a combination of Ada’s determination and Ruby’s intelligence and survival skills. For their picnic, the women take cold fried chicken left over from the previous night’s dinner, cucumber slices in vinegar, and a potato salad for which Ruby, true to form, has “whipped up the mayonnaise.”

Readers of Jane Austen will be familiar with two dramatically different scenes in Emma. In the first, Mr. Knightley has suggested a luncheon following strawberry picking at his elegant estate, Donwell Abbey. He listens, for a few moments, to theemma lovable, yet frustrating Emma wax rhapsodic about large bonnets, small baskets and tables spread out under the trees. “Everything as natural and simple as possible,” Emma declares. Mr. Knightley replies in his usual dry fashion, “The nature and the simplicity of gentlemen and ladies, with their servants and furniture, I think is best observed by meals within doors. When you are tired of eating strawberries in the garden, there shall be cold meat in the house.” The next day, the same party goes to Box Hill, where Emma believes that all her wishes for the ideal pastoral picnic will come true. Instead, the day turns into a bit of a disaster. “There was a languor, a want of spirits, a want of union, which could not be got over.” Emma winds up thoughtlessly insulting the well-meaning and inoffensive Miss Bates. Mr. Knightley (who Emma is in love with, although she doesn’t know it yet) confronts her with her behavior, and the group finally leaves the scenic spot carrying away with them hurt feelings and anger.

willowsKenneth Grahame describes a very different sort of picnic in The Wind in the Willows. Ratty decides to prepare a picnic for a French seafaring rat he has just met. Ratty truly wants to please his new friend, and so “remembering the stranger’s origins and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw covered flask containing bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.” How could disagreements erupt over such delicious, and poetic, food?

Finally, we come to Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence in which Lawrencewomen paints a scene that may come closest to my fantasies of the perfect English picnic. The sisters Ursula and Gudrun, the “women in love” of the title, have had a long swim. “When they had run and danced themselves, the girls quickly dressed and sat facing the slope of the grassy hill, alone in a little wild world of their own.” They lunch on hot tea, “delicious little sandwiches of cucumber and of caviare” and cakes described as “winy.” Ursula asks Gudrun if she is happy, and Gudrun replies that she is perfectly so–and really, who wouldn’t be, sitting in such an idyllic setting and eating such wonderful food?

Still, when it comes to eating al fresco, I side with Mr. Knightley. Give me a table indoors anytime and let me go on dreaming about perfect picnics.

What about you? Do love a classic picnic and where would it be? What is your ideal picnic food and what is your favorite literary picnic?



Jun 5 2015

The Stranger She Loved

by Camille B

Book Cover ImageI confess that I have always struggled with reading nonfiction. Facts, dates, places, times; my mind tends to wander, and most times I find myself going through the book, picking out all the exciting bits and skimming over the rest, much like you would a salad. So, I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago when I came across Shanna Hogan’s book The Stranger She Loved: A Mormon Doctor, His Beautiful Wife, and an Almost Perfect Murder, a true-crime story so intriguing and filled with heart-stopping drama, I simply could not put it down.

Crime stories always reel me in because there’s always a part of me that tries to fathom how the criminal mind works, even though I know it’s probably futile to try. I can’t help but wonder what leads him/her to commit such heinous acts–and most of all, what makes them think they can get away with it?

This MacNeill case in particular was even more intriguing to me because, scarily, in spite of all the overwhelming evidence, the good Doctor almost did get away with it. And, had it not been for the relentless pursuit of some of his family members (even though it took them years to find justice) and the unwavering determination of their lawyers, he might very well be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping Margaritas.

The highly publicized trial, dubbed the “Facelift Murder Case” (you’ll have to read the book to see why) was carried live on television in 2013. I vaguely remember catching glimpses of it from time to time, but I didn’t keep up with it all the way through; but I’ll tell you that Shanna Hogan’s retelling of the events surrounding the case–from the very first morning Michele MacNeill was found in her bathtub to the final judgement passed down by the court to her husband Martin–was so engaging, the details so vividly presented, it was as though she was sitting at your kitchen table telling you the story herself.

As you read, you sense and feel the frustration of the women, Michele’s daughters and her sister, as their suspicions are initially brushed aside by the authorities as being nothing more than the speculations of grieving, emotional women.

You find yourself digging and searching alongside them as they work tirelessly to compile enough evidence to build a strong and sturdy case against Martin, all the while living in constant fear of him and what he might do if he found out what they were up to.

And finally you feel the angst. You feel the turmoil they must have experienced as they sat in that courtroom day after day, awaiting the verdict of the man who took away their mother, sister, daughter and friend.

Seeing that this was no Smoking Gun Murder, the fear that Martin MacNeill might walk away a free man was probably always at the back of their minds, and your heart aches for them while they sit at the edge of their seats awaiting a guilty verdict for Michele’s murder.

When I finally did close the book, in complete satisfaction, I felt as though I had been to that residence over in Pleasant Grove. I had walked through every room in the house, seen the MacNeills celebrate birthdays and Christmases, knew all of their friends and neighbors, and watched in horror as everything they had, everything they had believed in all their lives, unraveled in front of them at the hands of their father.

If I had to rate this book, I’d honestly give it five stars.

If you’re like me and drawn to true-crime stories, here are a few other titles that might interest you.

Practice to Deceive by Ann Rule

Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias by Jane Velez-Mitchell

Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox


Jun 3 2015

National Yo-Yo Day

by Glenda

Yo-YoJune 6 is National Yo-Yo Day. It is thought that the yo-yo originated in China.  A painting from a Greek vase shows a boy playing with a yo-yo as far back as 500BC. In Ancient Greece, yo-yos were made of wood, metal, and terracotta, and they were often decorated with pictures of the gods.

In 1928, Pedro Flores, a Filipino immigrant to the United States, opened the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California, after coining the term yo-yo. Flores later sold the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company to Donald F. Duncan.  However National Yo-Yo Day is not in celebration of Pedro Flores, it is to celebrate Donald F. Duncan. The day is celebrating the commercial success that Duncan made of the Yo-Yo. (You can do a quick search in GALILEO to find more about the history of the yo-yo.)

If you love to yo-yo, get your yo-yo out and enjoy the day. If you are new to the yo-yo, or want to learn some new tricks, stop by your local library. DCPL has some materials for you on yo-yo tricks.

Awesome Yo-Yo Tricks by Shar Levine and Robert Bowden

Yo-Yo’s: Tricks to Amaze Your Friends by Ingrid Roper

Yo-Yo Tricks by Cynthia Klingel and Robert Noyed


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juneauI love Jon Krakauer’s books. For some reason I assumed that I had read them all, but then I stumbled upon Into the Wild, Krakauer’s book that tells the story of Christopher McCandless. And it turns out this is probably the author’s most famous one (especially after the 2007 movie of the same name, directed and produced by Sean Penn, which is also available at DCPL).

It’s eerie that I should discover and read this book right before my vacation to the very state where the real-life McCandless journey takes place: Alaska. No, I will not be going out “into the wild,” foraging for berries and sleeping on the ground, trying to eke out precious protein by catching small rodents, or wearing crampons and climbing with an ice ax along mountainous crevices. I will be cruising on an ocean liner in luxurious comfort, receiving massages and eating an abundance of tasty food–being waited on hand and foot like the naive and lazy adventurer that I am–for I am not really an adventurer but a shameless tourist. No doubt I will purchase souvenirs in Alaska that were actually made in China.

glacbayAs of writing this paragraph, I have now returned from my 9-day trip. It was beautiful, as you can see by the photos taken by yours truly, a wanna-be photographer with an iPhone. I can totally understand McCandless yearning to spend time in Alaska. But I would never be willing to “rough it” as he did. I did consider it quite rough, however, when our stateroom commode overflowed in the middle of the night and we had to call maintenance in at 3:30 a.m. I had to use my best wilderness survival tactic: I blamed my spouse.

And now, DCPL has added to its collection The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless, Christopher’s sister. Written almost 20 years after Krakauer’s book, Carine shines some light on her brother’s legendary adventure.

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