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Monday, July 21, 2014

Patron Book Reviews: Summer Suggestions #3

Book reviews provided by EPL Patrons

Sea Change by Karen White.  Great story with two parallel lines of action one hundred years apart.  Some of the coincidences near the end of the novel are a bit far fetched, but overall, very entertaining.

The House of Impossible Loves by Cristina Lopez Barrio.  This book was suggested in one of my many searches of the  new on-line catalogue.  I found it to be quite intriguing.  The book chronicles the Laguan women who are cursed as they bear only daughters.  The curse also extends to their loves whom die or leave.  This is a book of love, revenge, family and social hierarchy.  I found it to be quite an interesting read!

Matty Groves by Deborah Grabien.  This book is a great mix of spooky, spine tingly,  English history, love story, humor all wrapped together in a fast paced mystery with intelligent witty characters.

Ready Player One byEarnest Cline.  Great book!  Perfect for children of the 80s who loved video games!  Lots of pop culture references.

Piercing The Darkness by Frank Peretti.  Awesome read!!! To me, it hits home with my life. How through the choices we make, whether right or wrong, God still loves us!!

It Was A Very Bad Year by Robert J. Randisi.  A fun and clever private eye genre mystery set in Las Vegas in 1963 around the time of the Kennedy assassination. A casino pit boss who handle ‘trouble’ for the Rat Pack handles a blackmail case for a famous ‘60s starlet and ends up in the middle of the Frank Sinatra Jr. Kidnapping case. Part of a series.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  I loved this book!  I don't usually read fantasy but this story was magical, scary, adventurous and heart-warming.  Thanks EPL staff for the recomendation. Five stars.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Family Reading Lists

Posted by Staff

Whether you are going on vacation or staying at home, books can be welcome friends.  Often in summer, the family is spending more time together - how about spending some time talking about books?  One option is for everyone to read the same book and discuss it (try one of our book club kits).  A second option is to have everyone select a book withing a theme and talk about the similarities and differences of their choices.  The staff have selected titles for all age groups that fall into six themes.  Our first two themes are:

Books for kids K-2nd Grade
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Pioneers, cabins and bears, Oh my!  This is a great choice since the adults will have likely read this book, too.

Books for kids 3rd - 5th Grade 
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  A boy is challenged to survive in the wild after a plane crash.
Sarah Plain and Tall by Maclachland.  Mail order bride from Maine marries a man from Kansas.  The story tells of her coping with the dramatic changes in the environment.

Books for kids 6th - 12th Grade
The Goats by Brock Cole.  Two teenagers abandoned on a island during summer camp, decide to seek revenge by disappearing.

Books for Mom
The Geography of Bliss: One Grumps Search to Find the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner.  The author, a former foreign correspondent, took a year's research to travel the globe looking for the happy places.  The results are both funny and philosophical.

Books for Dad 
River Horse by William Least Heat Moon.  The author and a friend travel in a small boat from New York, across the Midwest covering Lewis and Clark's route to the Pacific.

Books for kids K-2nd Grade
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.  Ralph the mouse finds a toy motorcycle and with magic and help from a friend, finds a way to ride it.

Books for kids 3rd - 5th Grade 
The School Story by Andrew Clements.  Twelve year old Natalie writes a book and schemes to get it published at the publishing house where her mother works.

Books for kids 6th - 12th Grade 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.  A poignant story of a 15 year old boy who, although supremely logical does't understand emotions.  His neighbor's dog is killed and he sets out to solve the mystery.

Books for Mom
My Life in France by Julia Child.  Julia's memoir describing her early years in France and how she learned to cook.

Books for Dad 
The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and his Backyard Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein.  An amazing story of an Eagle Scout who attains his goal of collecting a sample of every element - even the really nasty ones!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bites From the Bookworms: July 2014

Posted by Alana T., Sara S., Anne W. & Jill S.

Librarians love to eat and love cookbooks!  Following is list of some recent publications, along with a few older favorites.  For more great cookbooks, visit our previous posts or jump over to our Pinterest board.

The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook: Revolutionary Techniques and Groundbreaking Recipes by America's Test Kitchen.  The book that teaches you to make good pasta, pie crust, cookies and other yummy food from scratch.

Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking by Pati Junich.  Try the Mexican style pasta - it's sure to please everyone!

10 Dollar Dinners by Melissa D'arabian.  Delicious recipes that are not to complicated.  She won the Food network show and has her own series now.  Her husband is French and a lot of her recipes have a French flair without being too difficult.

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over Delicious Recipes to Use Year Round by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.  A good resource for beginning cooks wanting to try recipes without being bogged down by gallons of jelly or hours over a pot of boiling water.  There are also some great recipes for fresh condiments.  The "Blender Ketchup" is amazing, super easy and REALLY good - I cut the recipe in half and keep it unprocessed in the fridge for about a month.

Perfect Pies: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes From America's Pie-Baking Champion by Amy Stuart.  Summer is pie season in our house and there are some winning recipes here.  The Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie (on the cover) is amazing!

660 Curries: The Gateway to Indian Cooking by Raghavan Iyer.  A tremendous diversity of curries are presented, with something for everyone.  There is also a thorough listing of bread, rice and noodle recipes.  My favorites?  Stewed Cauliflower (cauliflower with a coconut cinnamon sauce), homemade rice noodles and any of the chickpea dumplings.

America I AM: Pass It Down Cookbook by Jeff Henderson.  As much a discussion about the importance of food in African-American families as it is a cookbook, this is a enticing read. My favorite is quick and delicious: Chef Jeff's Collard Green Soup with Smoked Turkey.  The secret ingredient?  A smoked turkey leg.

The Jamlady Cookbook by Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfeld.  When its time to make any kind of jelly or jam and I want something a bit different, this is my go-to cookbook.  If you want something straightforward, all the classics are here.  But, if you want to try something a bit different, there are many options from which to choose.  Summer is all about tomatoes and there is a generous selection of recipes for this abundant fruit.  When temperatures are cooling and you have too many unripe tomatoes in the garden, I recommend trying the Green Tomato Preserves.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Freegal Picks: I can't believe that was 30 years ago!

Posted by Alana T.

Freegal has expanded it's offerings and now offers 3 hours of free streaming per day.  In addition to your 3 downloads per week, you are allowed three hours of streaming.  You can create your own playlists, or choose from one of Freegal's lists.  I have to admit I was a bit under-enthused by Freegal's lists (I listened to 80's, 80's Metal, Country, Broadway & One Hit Wonders), but they do give you a few options to try something new.  I wish there were more lists dedicated to world music, especially since this is one of Freegal's strengths.  One benefit of the streaming is that you can listen to an entire song before deciding whether to download.

In any case, I thought I would look for some selections from the 80s, specifically 1984, 30 years ago!  Of course, with Freegal, coverage is spotty, but there are some interesting options, along with a few of the, now classic, hits.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood put out its debut album in 1984.  If you recall, the hit Relax was controversial at the time, but now seems pretty tame.  The song is available on Freegal, on a 'best of' album with a variety of other hits. If you want an extended 80's techno selection, listen to the 14 minute long Welcome To the Pleasure Dome.

The Alarm has remained one of my favorite bands, and and I remember when Declaration came out. Sadly, there aren't any 80's albums available on Freegal.  The Sound and the Fury, a 30-year retrospective of the band is available and there are some decent selections. Give a listen.

In the heyday of the cola wars, Michael Jackson made headlines when his hair caught on fire during the taping of a Pepsi commercial loaded with pyrotechnics.  He was recording the song Thriller.  The entire album came out later that year and the rest is history.   Relive the experience by downloading the album.

Cyndi Lauper She's So Unusual whole album available

1984 was also a year for amazing movies.  Since we're focusing on music here, I'll only mention two soundtracks - Ghostbusters and Footloose - available in their entirety for download.  Lots of 80's gems here; download the whole thing or just your favs.

Hard to believe there was ever American music without Bruce Springsteen, but before 1984 he was much more a local New Jersey favorite.  Born in the U.S.A blew onto the scene and we've never been the same.  The original album is available, so you can have the whole thing, or just the iconic singles.

Two musical women made waves with their clothing choices in 1984 and influenced thousands of young women (and quite a few men) to wear multiple necklaces, layers of skirts, lace in odd places and messy hair.  Madonna and Cyndi Lauper released their debut albums, Like a Virgin and She's So Unusual, respectively and the world was never the same.  Sadly, nothing from Madonna is available on Freegal, but you can download all of Cyndi's iconic album and dance the night away.

Last, but not least, we can't forget the hair bands!  I couldn't find anything great on Freegal, but I was intrigued by two selections for the younger set.  Metallica Para Bebe by Sweet Little Band and Rockaby Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Van Halen are gentle remixes of the classic hits and are almost unrecognizable - but pretty great.  The version of Hot For Teacher, complete with xylaphone and chirping birds is unforgettable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You CAN Handle the Truth: New Non-Fiction Picks July 2014

Posted by the Information Services Department (Gwen B., Amanda E., Lisa E., & Kristen R.)

Every month, the cataloging department gets to see new books before everyone else.  Listed below, along with their Dewey Decimal classification, are our top picks of the non-fiction books that looked most interesting, ultra-informative, or just plain fun.

155.924 BLA  Birth Order:What Your Position in the Family Really Tells You about Your Character by Linda Blair.  On the basis of over 25 years' clinical experience and psychological research, Linda Blair reveals how your birth order position, as well as the spacing between you and your siblings and the sex of your siblings, impact your childhood, your adult life, and your relationships.

306.87 MOR  How To Care For Aging Parents by Virginia Morris.  Originally published in 1995, How To Care For Aging Parents, won a Books for a Better Life Award, and was praised as an indispensable book (AARP) and a compassionate guide of encyclopaedic proportion (The Washington Post).  Completely revised, up-to-date new edition. Expanded from 450 to over 650 pages, it covers all the emotional, legal, financial, medical, and logistical issues in caring for the elderly.

745.92 WEI  Simple Flower Arranging by Mark Welfor and Stephen Wicks.  From simple arrangements that brighten up a room, to one-of-a-kind gifts and gorgeous wedding bouquets, "Simple Flower Arranging" contains more than 60 inspirational projects that anyone can do at home.

782.1  RID  The American Musical: History and Development by Peter Riddle.  The American Musical is a unique fusion of drama and music, which has become especially important during the past fifty years. Peter Riddle provides us with a detailed exploration of the evolution and development of this form of music theatre in North America.