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new year

Jan 26 2011

Stretching into the new year

by Dea Anne M

Despite this post’s title, I’ve never been a maker of New Year’s resolutions, but this year I have decided to rededicate myself to a regular yoga practice. I have practiced yoga on and off for years now and I truly love it and its wonderful effects. Are you interested? Classes are great, but not always practical for many of us. Luckily, DCPL has plenty of resources to help you start, or resurrect, a home practice.

When I was first starting out, I learned from books. Here are just a few of the useful titles that you’ll find on the shelves of DCPL.

For a solid guide to basic yoga practice, check out Yoga Journal’s Yoga Basics: the essential beginner’s guide to yoga for a lifetime of health and fitness by Mara Carrico and the editors of Yoga Journal. This well-illustrated book provides instructions for the basic postures, breathing tips, and sample routines. I particularly like the photos that illustrate correct and incorrect methods of performing each posture. Yoga Journal (carried at DCPL!) is itself a great resource for anyone interested in yoga and this book would be a good complement to both formal instruction and/or home practice.

I actually own a copy of Yoga the Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira, and Shyam Mehta and consult it often as a reference. The emphasis in Iyengar style yoga is on correct alignment and often employees props such as belts and blocks and modifications of the poses to prevent injury. It’s a terrific approach to yoga for beginners and makes a great discipline as an ongoing practice or as a launching point for exploring other forms. The Mehta’s book is both thorough and precise and I highly recommend it.

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Jan 8 2010

Read, Record, Remember

by Jesse M

Happy new year, and welcome to 2010!  In addition to making resolutions that I’m unlikely to keep, there is another new year’s tradition I’ve been observing the past few years; creating and updating a reading list.

Working in libraries, something I hear regularly from patrons is that they have trouble recalling whether or not they have read a certain title.  This problem is particularly common with patrons who enjoy reading the output of prolific authors such as James Patterson or Nora Roberts (for instance, Nora Roberts has just short of 200 published full-length works under her belt). I advise these patrons to do what I do, and start a list of works read, perhaps with a brief summary and review of the book so that they can recall not only having read the book, but whether they enjoyed it or not (if you are really motivated, you might even include information such as genre, author’s gender, and any other variables you might like to keep track of and compare later). This process is rewarding not only in the sense that it acts to bolster your memory of books completed, but also in the way it gives you a tangible view of the amount of reading you have accomplished throughout the year. I typically set a goal for myself of 52 books per year (that is, one book completed per week, on average), an objective I have yet to achieve but enjoy striving for. Once you have collected more than one year’s worth of data, you can begin manipulating the numbers to get a very detailed picture of your reading habits and proclivities.

For an example of the sort of information that can be generated from such a list, take a gander at the breakdown from the reading list of Jessamyn West of Librarian.net. Just at a glance, we can see that she read more at the beginning of the year than at the end, that she read slightly more fiction than non-fiction, that the majority of books she read were produced by male authors, and that, for the most part, she enjoys the books she picks (if you are interested in following Jessamyn as she logs and reviews her book conquests, visit her booklist here). The more information you include when recording the completed book in your log, the more data you will have to work with when doing future analysis of your reading patterns.

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Jan 6 2010

What’s Cooking @ the Library?

by Nancy M

Every year, like so many others, I half-heartedly attempt a New Year’s resolution. Gone are the days where I try to guilt myself into going to the gym, being more organized, and wasting less time on Facebook. As I get older, I realize I’m just setting myself up for failure. But last year in an attempt to save more money and eat healthier (hopefully eliminating the gym altogether), I resolved to stop eating out so much and start cooking at home. While my resolution wasn’t a complete success—I still like to eat out a lot—I did learn that I actually can cook. Well, I can follow a recipe. This year I plan on getting more serious, which isn’t that hard to do since the Library has tons of great cookbooks with cuisines from all over the world. It’s fun to bring a new one home and try out the recipes rather than commit to buying one. A few of my favorites include:

barefootcontessaBarefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

cleanfoodClean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source by Terry Walters

howtocookHow to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food  by Mark Bittman

There are also some great websites and cooking blogs worth checking out:

Fine Cooking

Their slogan is “We bring out the cook in you” and I couldn’t agree more. Thousands of free top-notch recipes that make me look like I am a better cook than I really am.

The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummon, a.k.a. Pioneer Woman, shows how to cook delicious homemade fare with step-by-step photos.

Supercook

Life is about to get much easier since I discovered this site. You simply type in the ingredients you have at home and Supercook finds you a recipe. You can also start an account and keep a running list of ingredients.

The Library has plenty of cookbooks for children and teens. These books can help children learn their way around the kitchen and teach them the importance of eating right; international cuisines can serve as an introduction to a new culture.

growitGrow It Cook edited by Deborah Lock

holyHoly Guacamole!: and Other Scrumptious Snacks by Nick Fauchald

cookThe Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella and Olivia Gerasole

Cookbooks can be found in your Library under the Call Number 641. Books about food and culture can be found under 394.

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Jan 4 2010

New Year’s Aspirations

by Vivian A

One of the things I like to do on January 1st (besides eating collard greens for money and black eyed peas for luck) is make a list of New Year’s Aspirations. I know most people make a list of things they want to quit like smoking and being in debt but I like to write down what I want to do in the coming year. It just sounds so much more positive—to aspire vs. to resolve.

When I’m done I seal the paper in an envelope and give it to a friend to mail to me at the end of the year. It’s amazing how many things come true and it’s always fun to get the proverbial” self addressed stamped envelope” around December 31st.

However, if you still want to make a list of resolutions the most popular ones include quitting smoking, quitting drinking, losing weight, getting in shape, getting out of debt, spending more time with family, helping others and learning something new, etc.

You’ll find plenty of material from How to Books to Instructional DVD’s in our catalog to get you where you want to be. Happy New Year!

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Dec 30 2009

Auld Lang Syne

by Jnai W

My favorite thing about the holiday season is the beautiful seasonal songs: sacred hymns, traditional carols and even holiday pop classics. Now that Christmas time has passed most radio stations will be returning to their regular tunes. But there is one more holiday classic I look forward to hearing: the New Year’s standard “Auld Lang Syne”.

This song is widely regarded as the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns, even though several of the lyrics can also be attributed to other writers of similarly-titled works (such as “Old Long Syne”, a 1711 ballad by James Watson). Legend has it that Burns wrote a letter to a friend in which he spoke lovingly of the Scottish phrase “auld lang syne” and of an old folk song that “thrilled through [his]soul”. It is in this letter that he compiled and composed what would live on to become an enduring and well-loved holiday classic.

One of the things that fascinates me most about “Auld Lang Syne” is that, even though it has become a traditional New Year’s song throughout the world, it is still a widely misunderstood tune. There seems to be something missing in translation as holiday revelers warble the title, which roughly translates to “old long since” (and I mean that’s a rough, literal translation…or so I hear) and stumble over the lyrics.  But a simple internet search has been more than enough to uncover many wonderful things about “Auld Lang Syne” that I never knew, including full Scottish lyrics, a few nice translations of the song, and this gorgeous rendition of the song as performed by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis.

As the song says, upon further reflection, should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, perhaps we should take the time to kindly and fondly remember them. Over a pint perhaps at the pub? That’s neither here nor there, really. But this song does blossom into a moving, loving and heartfelt ballad…and strikes me as the perfect way to usher in a new year.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne…

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Jan 1 2009

Day 1 – 364 remaining

by Lesley B

Happy New Year! It’s the first day of the first month of the Gregorian calendar year, Anno Domini 2009. It’s also Haitian Independence Day, it’s J.D. Salinger’s birthday, it’s the Rose Bowl and it’s the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

Oh, and January 1 is the start of National Hot Tea Month.

What?

I’ve been looking through Chase’s Calendar of Events, a standard library reference book that celebrates its 51st anniversary this year. William D. Chase, a newspaper librarian, started keeping a file of calendar events, holidays and anniversaries, using it to help writers and editors make their deadlines and fill some columns. With the help of his brother, wife and children, the file became a book and a self-publishing success story that’s in just about every library. Google is fantastic, but Chase’s was designed by a librarian to perfectly answer the question — what’s important about today?

Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Chase selected historical events they thought worthy of notice and wrote little entries for them. They accepted submissions for special days from groups looking to promote an idea or product. Mr. Chase has said they deliberately added a “whimsical” quality to a book that would otherwise be a dry compilation of dates and events. The end result mixes the profound and the picayune for a surprisingly enjoyable browse.

Discovering someone declared January to be California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month makes me laugh. But reading that January 1 has only been observed as New Year’s Day since “the British Calendar Act of 1751, prior to which the New year began March 25th” makes me curious. What? You mean January 1 hasn’t always been New Year’s Day? Hmm, I need to look this up.

Chase’s Calendar of Events comes with a searchable CD-ROM but no online version; so if you want to know what else happened on your birthday, you’ll have to come to the library OR you can post your birthdate (year optional) in the comments area . When the library reopens on Friday, January 2,  I’ll check Chase’s to see who or what shares your special day.

Like this:

June 20 – “LIZZIE BORDEN VERDICT: ANNIVERSARY Spectators at her trial cheered when the “not guilty” verdict was read by the jury foreman in the murder trial of Lizzie Borden on this date.”

Wait — they cheered? Didn’t she give her mother 40 whacks? Excuse me, I need to go look this up.

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Three Silhouetted Long Haired Women Wearing Colorful And Fashionable Clothes And Taking Long Strides While Shopping In A MallI know that there is still time before January 1, but I’ve been contemplating my goals and aspirations for the New Year. There are lots of things I’d like to accomplish–furnishing and decorating my apartment (dare to dream!), making a final decision about librarian’s school, learning to sew, etc.–but in an effort to not overwhelm myself I’ve decided to start small. It’s a fairly light-hearted goal but it’s a starting point.

I’m going to start dressing better.

It’s silly but maybe not, really. I’ve been a grown-up now for at least 10 years (even though no one over the age of 25 should ever use the words “grown-up”) so perhaps it’s time I started dressing like one. I’ve been perusing the fashion magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle for ideas (stop by DCPL to check them out if your budget’s tight–also see Amanda’s blog post!). All of this fashion research leaves me wondering what it would be like to dress like some sort of professional person. I bet it would be awesome!

If you’re looking for style inspiration there are still other options besides the aforementioned overpriced, advertorial-heavy “fashion books” (seriously, don’t buy them unless you like using money as confetti!) . Look no further than the Library for great books on dressing well, looking classy and celebrating life.

Some intriguing titles here at DCPL include:

The Science of Sexy by Bradley Bayou (Gotham): Here is an enjoyable book by a stylist to the stars (Salma Hayek! Oprah Winfrey! Eva Longoria!). He offers useful tips on how to make the most of your figure and body type.

Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding The Style That’s Right For Your Body by Stacy London & Clinton Kelly (Three Rivers Press): The hosts of TLC’s What Not To Wear offer a well-illustrated, light-hearted and surprisingly thorough how-to guide for style-impaired women of all sizes. One minor quip I had with this book, however, is the authors’ overuse of the words “curvy” and “extra curvy” to describe women of average size and up. Is “full-figured” politically incorrect now?

Style is Not A Size: Looking and Feeling Great In The Body You Have by Hara Estroff Marano (Bantam Books): Initially I was put off by the cover model of this book: beautiful but decked out in a Bill Cosby sweater, baggy red knit pants & moderate-to-severe 80s makeup and accessories. But this book offers great insight into the definition of style vs. fashion. It’s a good reminder that style has nothing to do with the number on the clothes tag. You may have to tussle for this one, though: there are only 2 copies of it in the system.

The Beauty of Color by Iman (Putnam): Gorgeous, glamorous Iman’s book offers great illustrations and beauty tips on cosmetics and color, which is great for the makeup-phobic such as myself.

Off The Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and The Women Who Love Them by Carson Kressley (Dutton): Here’s a little something for the men in search of style or for women who need a little reinforcement when saying something like “Honey, those pants are too baggy.” Everyone from a Bravo TV show should write a style book! I haven’t read Tim Gunn’s book yet but the Library has it for anyone who’s interested.

What's Your Body Type?The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That's Right for Your BodyFront Cover

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Dec 31 2007

Happy New Year! (and a question)

by DCPL

We here at DeKalb County Public Library wish you have a Happy New Year!  Please note that all library branches will be closed at 5:00 PM on Monday, December 31 and will remain closed on Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in observance of the New Year.What was the best book you checked out from the library in 2007, and why?

We have many plans for 2008, and we’re looking forward to serving you even better.  As the end of the year draws close, we’d like to ask you a question:

Please respond by commenting to this blog post.  See you in 2008!

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