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


Oct 14 2011

Fall into the Woods

by Amanda L

All my life I have loved being outside in the Fall. Watching nature make her last spectacular color push until she falls asleep for the winter is one of my favorite pastimes. When I head into the woods each Fall, I often  have my camera and a variety of books within reach to consult.  If you sit quietly for an hour or more, you never know what animal, bird or insect you might see that you have never seen before.

Over the years, I have seen deer, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers, armadillos, skunks and a screech owl to name a few. Last year, my most memorable moment was when I thought a herd of deer were coming towards me as I sat in the woods. To my shock and surprise, I found two rambunctious armadillos chasing each other through the leaves.  If I’m unsure of the animal, insect or even a tree, I always consult a guide book. The Library has a variety of these guidebooks to help you identify what you have seen. There are also books on nature photography.


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.

  [read the rest of this post…]


Jun 11 2008

Traveling with Children

by Ginny C

Traveling with
children can be fun and exciting. It can also be challenging and
hectic. If you’re going on vacation this summer, whether it’s for a
weekend or for a week, you need to be prepared. The library has several
good books about where to go and what to do. I’ve listed a few of them

500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up: From
Frommer’s, this interesting guidebook is not organized by destination,
but rather by what kind of place it is. For instance, historic
battlegrounds are in the War and Peace section. The Grand Canyon is in
Out & About. Other sections include Cities Great and Small, Lost in
the Mists of Time (the Coliseum, Machu Picchu), and Walk with the
Animals (zoos, nature reserves), among others.

Parent’s Survival Guide to I-75: This
unique travel guide lists kid-friendly stops along Interstate 75, from
Detroit to Orlando. It’s organized by state and lists the attractions
by exit number. It also lists which exits have fast food restaurants
with playgrounds and where the rest areas are located.

100 Best Family Resorts in North America: Organized
by region, this handy book lists family friendly resorts that have
activities for adults and children. Among its features are descriptions
of the accommodations, dining options, activities for children and
activities for families.

Fun with the Family – Georgia: If
you’re looking for trips close to home, check this one out. It lists
all the attractions, historic sites and parks in Georgia.

Take Your Kids to Europe:
Even if you’re going abroad this summer, we have something for you.
Foreign countries can be especially tricky to navigate with children.
This takes the guesswork out of it by listing attractions that kids
will enjoy.

These are just a few
of our guidebooks for traveling with kids. Check out our catalog for
even more. And here’s a hint, when searching for books, use keywords
like “kids,” “children,” or “family” to find ones like those above. You
can also narrow the search by adding specific cities, states or
countries. Whether you stay close to home or venture abroad, have fun
and happy travels!

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May 27 2008

Who You Callin’ a Dummy?

by David T

Dummies About 20 years ago, a frustrated bookstore customer was looking for a basic, easy-to-read, straightforward handbook to the DOS computer operating system. Most of the books he found were too dry, dense, time-consuming to read, or cluttered with unnecessary detail. If only, he declared, someone would do a book called DOS for Dummies! Thus was a publishing phenomenon born.

Nowadays, the Dummies books, published by John Wiley, are so well-known to consumers, with their familiar yellow, black, and white covers, that library patrons often ask for them by name. No longer does this series consist solely of computer manuals. You can find Dummies volumes in our catalog that will help you with plumbing, protecting your pension, postpartum depression, speaking Portuguese — and those are just the P’s! Other publishers have jumped on the bandwagon with series like the Complete Idiot’s Guides.

So next time you want a beginner’s guide to a topic, don’t be insulted if your librarian says, “Would you like a Dummies book?”


Apr 21 2008

Paris, je t’aime

by Nolan R

Eiffel_towerAh, Paris in the springtime.  It makes me imagine flowers blooming, picnics in the park, people-watching from a cafe terrace…or at least it did until I got there last week!  Instead, I discovered that springtime in Paris is actually a few weeks behind ours here in Georgia.  Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s instead of the 50s as predicted, so we spent more time walking to stay warm than we did people-watching.  If you’re planning a visit in the early spring, I advise drinking lots of chocolat chaud–hot chocolate–and wearing the biggest scarf you can find!   

I had a great time despite the cold weather, and since my return, I’ve started digging through books and DVDs at the library to learn more about the people and culture of the magical City of Light.  I wanted to share a few of them with you, but bear in mind that some of the descriptions are pulled from reviews since I haven’t had a chance to read them all yet!   


Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik: In 1995, New Yorker Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light.  This funny and tender book provides a delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century.

Almost_french Almost French: love and a new life in Paris, by Sarah Turnbull: The charming true story of a spirited young Australian woman who finds adventure–and the love of her life–in Paris. “This isn’t like me. I’m not the sort of girl who crosses continents to meet up with a man she hardly knows. Paris hadn’t even been part of my travel plan…” A delightful, fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor.

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong: why we love France but not the French, by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow:  Described as “a journey into the French heart, mind and soul.” Decrypting French ideas about land, privacy and language, Nadeau and Barlow weave together the threads of French society–from centralization and the Napoleonic Code to elite education and even street protests–giving us, for the first time, a complete picture of the French.

French Toast, by Harriet Welty Rochefort: Did you know that in Paris it is quite normal to bang the cars in front and back of you as you maneuver in and out of a parking place? Or that you should fold and not cut the lettuce in your salad and that even fruit is eaten with a knife and fork? Fortunately, for those unacquainted with the finer points of French etiquette, Rochefort’s book bridges the culture gap admirably. Drawing on personal experience, she records her observations about Frenchwomen; French attitudes to food, love, marriage, and money; the French educational system; and the dynamics of living in Paris.

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: an American potager handbook, by Jennifer R. Bartley: I’ve mentioned this one before, but wanted to share it again.  While this book is about American gardens, the author discusses the history of the traditional European potager garden, like the one designed for Louis XIV. (I dragged my husband around the town of Versailles for two hours searching for this garden before we finally found it–apparently it’s not a big tourist site!)

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway:  Hemingway’s memoirs of 1920s Paris when he lived there with his wife Hadley, surrounded by a circle of fellow American expatraiate writers.  The book was published posthumously in 1964.  The Shakespeare & Company bookstore claims this is the most requested book by visitors to their store.


Amelie:  This is a delightful story of a young woman with a lot of imagination and a lot of heart.  She decides to get involved with the lives of those around her and solve their problems–without their knowledge.  Much of this film takes place in the area of Montmartre, although artistic liberties have been taken with the neighborhood’s geography.

Paris, je t’aime: A panoramic view of Paris from twenty filmmakers who bring their own personal touch to various neighborhoods of Paris.  Each short film highlights a different arrondissement. There are too many actors to list, including: Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gérard Depardieu, Ben Gazzara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, Nick Nolte,  Natalie Portman, Miranda Richardson, Gena Rowlands, Rufus Sewell, and Elijah Wood.


Feb 25 2008

Will Work for Travel

by Nolan R

Italy_lpI sometimes say the main reason I work is to be able to afford to travel. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you it doesn’t take much to get me started talking about places I have been and places I want to visit. When my wife and I were planning our first real overseas trip together, I stopped by a bookstore (that was before I was a regular library user) and browsed the shelves that held travel guidebooks. We were headed to Rome, Italy, and I wanted to find information about where to stay, what sights to see, and how to get around the city.

It soon became obvious that all guidebooks are not the same. The book that appealed most to me was Lonely Planet’s Italy. It gave directions on how to get from the airport into the city using the train system. It had good maps that were easy to read. It described hotels in all price ranges and had information about the tourist sights I wanted to visit. That guidebook sold me on Lonely Planet and I still pack their books when I travel outside the States.Honduras_moon

There are many other publishers of travel guidebooks, though. Two of the best known names in the business are Frommer’s and Fodor’s; their appeal is mostly to mainstream travelers. Let’s Go is a series written by college students and aimed at younger travelers, but they can be useful to anyone traveling on a tight budget. The design of Moon Handbooks is so similar to Lonely Planet it is difficult to tell them apart at first glance, and they are both aimed at “independent” travelers. DK puts out a travel series with a lot of pictures but less detail about hotels, transportation, and other travel information. Rough Guides are similar to Lonely Planet and Moon Handbooks in the type of practical information they contain. Rick Steves puts out good guides to European cities and countries. There are many other series, as well.

Thailand_fodorsThe point of all this is to say a good way to plan a trip is to take a look at different guidebooks and decide which ones have the information you need. DeKalb County Public Library has a great collection of travel guidebooks, so you can look at several different ones for the same destination. Each book will have information the others leave out, but you may find you have a real preference for one guidebook or another. A good website that goes into more detail than I have is http://www.howtodothings.com/travel/how-to-select-a-travel-guidebook.

To search the DCPL Catalog for travel books, try a keyword search using the guidebook series name and the name of the country or city you are interested in, such as “Moon Handbook Honduras.”  You can also search simply by series name, such as “Lonely Planet,” to see all the travel titles the Library owns by that publisher.

John S