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

February 2016

Feb 29 2016

Which Decade of Music Are You?

by Camille B

Old fashioned record

Have you ever been listening to a song on the radio that brought a smile to your face? You get a glazed look in your eyes as you’re transported back to another time and place. The time you held your first grandbaby, your first dance at your wedding, or a summer cookout on the beach with friends.

Music can so easily trigger feelings of nostalgia within us. We hear that one song, or even a strain of it that brings to mind a particular person, place, thing or life event. We remember where we were at that time, who we were dating, who the  current president was, or even the type of clothing that was fashionable at the time.

Which decade is this for you? Which era stands out above all the rest and floods you with memories of a simpler time and place? Which songs made you laugh, cry or both?

The Groovy 60’s

The groovy 60’s was the decade of rock and roll. This was the era of peace and love, of flower power, Beatlemania and skateboarding enthusiasts. You lived through the Civil Rights Movement, remembered the Cuban Missile Crisis, watched the broadcast of the First Man on the Moon and mourned the loss of a president.

It was the decade of big hair, afros, the beehive haircut and bobs, to name a few. The styles of clothing worn were pill box hats, miniskirts, shift dresses, cigarette pants, baby doll dresses, culottes,  tie-dyed shirts, go-go boots  and bell bottom pants.

You grooved to the Monster Mash, the Twist and Mashed Potato and used phrases like“going steady”, “outta sight” “hang loose” and“gimme some skin.”

Popular bands of that era included the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Supremes, Beach Boys and singers like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Janis Joplin.

Some of the songs that made the pop charts for that decade were:

The Twist- Chubby Checker

Hey Jude- The Beatles

I’m a Believer-The Monkees

I Heard it Through the Grapevine- Marvin Gaye

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay- Otis Redding

Big Girls Don’t Cry- The Four Seasons

Are You Lonesome Tonight?-Elvis Presley

I Can’t Stop Loving You- Ray Charles

It’s My Party- Lesley Gore

I’m Sorry- Brenda Le

The Funky 70’s

This was the era of the sooooooooouuul train! This decade was categorized as the Disco era. We remember John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever and at one point during that decade just about everybody was Kung Fu Fighting.

You probably used slang terms like, “far out,” “catch you on the flip side” and “can you dig it.”

You did the Hustle, Bump and Funky Chicken. You watched shows like The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company and Good Times.

The 70’s also saw the beginning of punk fashion. People had multiple piercings and tattoos. Safety pins held clothes together. Hairstyles ranged from cropped and shaved hair to the shag, wedge and Jheri curl.

Trendy fashion back then included polyester suits, platform shoes, dashikis, hot pants, psychedelic clothing and heavy makeup.

Your favorite performers of that decade would most likely have been bands like Sly & the Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire, the Jackson Five, Bee Gees, the Isley Brothers, Chicago and artists like Elton John, David Bowie and Carly Simon.

Some songs that topped the charts in that decade included:

-Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree- Tony Orlando and Dawn

-Stayin’ Alive- Bee Gees

-Hot Stuff- Donna Summer

-You’re So Vain- Carly Simon

-Killing me Softly with His Song- Roberta Flack

-Let’s Get it On- Marvin Gaye

-You Light Up My Life- Debbie Boone

-Play That Funky Music- Wild Cherry

-Shadow Dancing- Andy Gibb

-I Will Survive- Gloria Gaynor

The Totally Rad 80’s

This was the era of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Prince, Madonna and Whitney Houston. The Thriller Album also took the world by storm in that decade and young people everywhere were dancing and moonwalking on every available smooth surface.


The 80’s was also the decade of Dallas, Pac-Man and Cabbage Patch Dolls. We were all obsessed with the Rubik’s Cube and Donkey Kong.  Girls, well they just wanted to have fun.

We wore neon colors, acid washed jeans, mini skirts, leggings, headbands and legwarmers and danced the Macarena,  Robot, Cabbage Patch and Sprinkler.

We listened to the music of bands like AC/DC, Journey, the O’Jays, Wham, Kool and the Gang and Run DMC, not to mention artists like Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Some Chart Toppers for that decade were:

-Billie Jean- Michael Jackson

-Physical- Olivia Newton John

-Endless Love- Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

-What a Feeling- Irene Cara

-Another One Bites The Dust

-Ebony and Ivory- Stevie Wonder & Paul McCartney

-Upside Down- Diana Ross

-Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield

-Lady- Kenny Rogers

The Awesome 90’s

The decade when we were cool when we owned a pager, talked to the hand, and settled everything with rock, paper scissors.  We probably owned a Gameboy and taped music from our boom boxes. Dances included the Hammer, the Jiggy, the Butterfly, and the Humpty, to name a few.

Slang terms were endless. We heard expressions like Oh Snap, Wassup, My Bad, Dope, As If and Boo Ya. Let’s not forget the ever popular Whatever.

We sported hairstyles that included, but were not limited to, the Flattop, spiked or bleached hair, scrunchies on our pony tail as well as on our wrist, Janet Jackson braids and Rachel’s haircut from Friends.

Our choice of clothing included, backwards caps, ripped jeans, Air Jordans, neon windbreakers, Reeboks, baggy jeans, mood rings and slap bracelets.

Some of our favorite groups were Boyz II Men, Savage Garden, Tag Team, Pearl Jam and the New Kids on the Block. We liked the artists Eminem, Whitney Houston, Brandy & Monica, Sinead O’Connor and James Ingram.

Songs that topped the chart that decade:

– Ice Ice Baby- Vanilla Ice

-Escapade- Janet Jackson

-Love will Lead You Back- Taylor Dayne

-Nothing Compares 2 U- Sinead O’Connor

-Vogue- Madonna

-Step By Step- New Kids on the Block

-Whoomp! There it is- Tag Team

-End of the Road- Boyz II Men

-Rush Rush- Paula Abdul

The 2000’s      

Mp3 Player

Enter the era of Pop, Rap, Gangsta-Rap and Hip Hop. This decade brought us artists like Beyoncé and Jay-z, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Destiny’s Child, Usher, Britney Spears. We enjoyed the bands Cold Play, Maroon 5, Kings of Leon, Plain White T’s and One Direction. This list goes on and on.

We went Gangnam Style for quite a while, did the Stanky Leg, the Superman, the Single Ladies and Whipped and Nae Naed to Silento’s Hip Hop dance song.

This decade more or less saw recycled fashion from the previous years or fusions of them such as tall tees, trucker hats, big face digital watches, throwback jerseys,  colored skinny jeans, Ugg boots and Hi-tops. Older hairstyles came back too such as bangs, the bob and layered hair, and men sported buzz or emo cuts, Mohawks and bald heads.

Songs that made it on the charts during this decade include:

-We Belong Together- Mariah Carey

-Beyoncé- Irreplaceable

-I Gotta Feeling- The Black Eyed Peas

-No One- Alicia Keys

-Gold Digger- Kanye West featuring Jamie Fox

-Hey Ya!- Outkast

-Bleeding Love- Leona Lewis

-Say My Name- Destiny’s Child

-I Knew I Loved You- Savage Garden

-Poker Face- Lady Gaga

You may have read this and not seen your song on the list or your favorite jam. Believe me, if I could have included every great song and artist that I wanted to I would still be writing this post. The lists were innumerable, the talent endless, the volume of memories too vast to capture in just a single blog post, but I hope that it did give you a good feeling to remember some of the good times, to recapture a moment or two from a special decade, and cause you to search around your storage closet for an old album or two.

DCPL carries many of the Billboard top hits cds at their branches as well as the Now That’s What I Call Music and Entertainment Weekly.


Now that's what i call music
















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Feb 26 2016

Frozen assets

by Dea Anne M

I was at the grocery store last week and found my eyes drawn to a display of small chest freezers for sale. When I say small, I mean small, these petite beauties were 5.0 cubic feet – cute as buttons (does anyone else I know talk about, or even think of, kitchen appliances in such terms?) and just the right size to nestle in a corner somewhere. Even in an apartment.

“I can put it in the basement,” I said to myself as though the item was already on its way home with me. “All this storage!” I exclaimed as I opened it and leaned inside. Like all chest freezers this one had plenty of vertical capacity. I found myself dreaming of all the food that I would “put up,” all the “emergency supplies” I could have at hand and all the future grocery store trips I wouldn’t have to make because I would be so amazingly well stocked. I might not have to leave the house for weeks at a time! Snow days…bring them on!

Then I started to remember the other chest freezers that I have known – namely those possessed by my paternal grandmother. You will notice the plural construction inside that last sentence. My grandmother owned not just one but two freezers apart from the rather ample freezer section that was part of her regular refrigerator. On her side porch, she maintained a stand up unit devoted to frozen goods as well as a chest freezer which I seem to remember as being roughly the size of a Cadillac. You might ask why so much space was devoted to frozen goods and all I can say is…I’m not really sure. For many years, my grandparents grew an enormous vegetable garden every year and there always seemed to be tons of corn and field peas and okra and green beans to prepare for the freezer as well as strawberries, blackberries and peaches. Well, maybe not tons but it seemed like it to those of us who helped to shell, shuck, cut, rinse, slice, blanch and bag it all. Of course much of that produce did get used during the course of the year but not all of it. Over time, as my grandparents aged, freezer space seemed to become less and less devoted to produce.  Bags of vegetables still resided there but these came from the store and seemed to function as cushioning for the more desirable items which skewed in the direction of “minute steaks,” ice cream, Sara Lee cakes and a seemingly endless supply of Cool Whip.

“You can freeze it!” my grandmother would marvel as she extracted yet another huge vat. “And it tastes just like whipped cream!”

Well, I will always disagree that Cool Whip tastes like whipped cream. I certainly have never preferred it, but I kept my opinion to myself because, after all, my grandmother was nice enough to give me dessert to begin with. Plus, in matters of taste, who is ever really correct?

The first refrigerators marketed for use in the home appeared during the early 1900’s which when you think about it walshwasn’t all that long ago. The freezer sections of some of the earlier units can look unbelievably small to us today – roughly the size of a couple of ice cube trays. In some ways, a smaller freezer space can make practical sense because, as we all know, “stuff” tends to accumulate to fill as much space as is available. Knowing this, I think that I’ll hold off buying a chest freezer for now since I can see myself filling it with all sort of “necessities” and then forgetting that they are there. That sort of situation drives me nuts and with my new found passion for “Kondoing” (ala The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo) I find myself more and more wanting to know exactly what I have and where it is. In Section 306 of Peter Walsh’s How to Organize Just About Everything, Walsh recommends that we sweep through our refrigerators once a week tossing out overextended items and cleaning up spills. That’s a laudable goal, whether homewe meet it or not, and there’s no reason that a similar sort of schedule can’t be followed with your freezer as well. Walsh, by the way, recommends not having a second refrigerator or freezer and unless you’re a hunter (or know any) or a quantity gardener you might want to reconsider that purchase too. Also, think about upkeep if you do decide to purchase. Cheryl Mendelson’s excellent book Home Comforts: the art and science of keeping house (which I have referenced in this blog previously and highly recommend) advises us that we “need not wash the freezer every week” but we are encouraged to wipe up spills and crumbs and regularly patrol the contents.  Mendelson, by the way, also posits the theory that “all good housekeepers are list makers” which feeds right in to the nagging desire that I have to create a refrigertor/freezer inventory (complete with relevant dates) which can live on the door and be updated as needed. To say that this idea would probably be greeted around my house with some odd looks would be putting it mildly. “What’s next – a map of the linen closet?” is one comment that I can imagine. Maybe I’ll do it anyway.

Now you may have different plans for that potential extra freezer – plans that involve no food stuffs at all. Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things from the folks at Reader’s Digest informs us that we can remove wax from candlesticks with the aid of our freezers. Also, any burned-on messes in pots will be easier to remove if we simply freeze the cooking vessel for a coupe of hours. Handy to know about but I don’t usually have enough wax encrusted candlesticks and burned pots sitting around my house to warrant an extra freezer. Your situation, of course, may be different.

So, for now, though there appears to be no spare freezer in my future, I am interested in using the freezer space that I have more effectively. The irreplacable wisdom born of making mistakes had taught me certain things. For example, my small household will generally not be well-served by freezing huge packs of chicken or ground beef – not, that is, unless I want to wind up with an enormous mass of protein impossible to separate into usable components. I’ve also found that berries, unbaked cookies and the like tend to work best if I take the time to spread them out on a cookie sheet or plate and freeze first before transferring to bags. I’ve also found that bagels are easier to handle if I cut them in half before I freeze them (you can toast the halves still frozen). I think though the most important thing I’ve learned is that food freezes best if I can make the package as airtight as possible. Many people swear by vacuum sealers and these freezedevices certainly look effective but, for me, good old Press and Seal plastic wrap seems to work well toward eliminating ice crystals and the dreaded freezer burn.  You find these tips, and more, in Susie Theodorou’s excellent book Can I Freeze It? How to Use the Most Versatile Appliance in Your Kitchen. Along with freezing wisdom (such as the best methods for freezing cooked rice and pastry shells) Theodorou offers some scrumptious looking recipes for foods that freeze particularly well. Seafood Pie and Chocolate Chunk Cookies look especially appealing to me. There are also useful chapters on effectively freezing leftovers and cooking and freezing ahead for parties.

What about you? Do you love your freezer or does it frustrate you? What are your best freezing tips?





Feb 17 2016

Brian K. Vaughan

by Joseph M

I am a big fan of sequential art. As a kid I read comic books all the time, and as an adult the graphic novel continues to be one of my favorite formats. Luckily, DCPL has a wealth of great titles to enjoy. One of my favorite “graphic novelists” is Brian K. Vaughan, author of such series as Runaways, Saga, and Y: The Last Man, among others. Some of his work may be a bit on the edgy side for the sensitive reader, but for the adventurous I highly recommend trying it out. Take a look at this catalog listing for a selection of his titles owned by DCPL. Happy reading!

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Feb 8 2016

Presidential Edition

by Hope L

This month brings us Presidents’ Day, the federal holiday first started as Washington’s Birthday and later consolidated into Presidents’ Day.

I appreciate the fact that DeKalb County gives its employees Presidents’ Day off, so we can stay home or attend a parade and celebrate and/or meditate on the office of POTUS.

Now, I wouldn’t want the job–would you? But for those hardy souls who have taken on what must be the toughest gig around–and for those seeking to be POTUS in November– there is a lot to consider.

Take the scrutiny that will accompany one’s every move, both before being president and after–for probably the rest of their lives and throughout the existence of this great nation. Books are still being written about John F. Kennedy and other presidents; popular Broadway plays are attracting attention to LBJ and Alexander Hamilton (the latter not POTUS, but close), and television documentaries abound about our leaders now and then.

PresCourageAt DCPL, I’ve found loads of books about POTUSes and potential POTUSes.

Will we see someone in a dress behind the big desk in the Oval Office? Is America ready for a female Commander in Chief?  I don’t know, but it has been fun for me to read up on some of the icons of American history.

Some of DCPL’s books about the presidents:

Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents:  Everything You Need to Know About the Most Powerful Office on Earth and the Men Who Have Occupied It by Kenneth C. Davis

Presidential Courage : Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss

So You Think You Know the Presidents? Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives by Peter E. Meltzer


Feb 3 2016

Try a New Format

by Amie P

I always had some trouble working through graphic novels. I love books of comic strips—my parents own dog-eared collections of Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, Get Fuzzy, and The Far Side. But full-length graphic novels are more difficult for me to work through. Every one that I had looked at seemed dark and bloody, or difficult to follow, or cheesy, or… or… or…

Then I read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I’m not going to tell you that suddenly I embraced all graphic novels, that I’ve become an ambassador for the form, that it changed my life… but when I finished, I did understand for the first time why people would read and write graphic novels.

americanThe story follows three different characters: Jin, a Chinese-American teen struggling to deal with the racism he encounters from his classmates; Danny, another teen dealing with the embarrassment caused by a visit from his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee; and the Monkey King of Flower-Fruit Mountain, a mythical figure from Chinese folklore. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t explain how these different stories come together—I’ll just tell you that it is extremely well done and worth the read.

If you haven’t yet tried graphic novels, or if you’ve struggled with them as I have, I highly recommend giving American Born Chinese a try. I can’t guarantee you’ll come away wanting to read every other graphic novel ever written, but I do think you’ll be satisfied with this read.