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Showing posts from June, 2010

Books to Get You Thinking

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The human brain is immensely fascinating in its complexity and intricate working. Traditionally the disciplines of psychology, philosophy and psychoanalysis had been used for studying the working of the human mind. With the discovery of DNA structure and advances in how genes are regulated the last few decades have witnessed a shift in research to several ground breaking studies that give us new insights into the working of the human brain that are based on the biological nature of the brain. This month’s picks are books from our collection that explore some of these fascinating breakthrough studies.

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
The author, a physician and a leading psychiatrist and researcher, explores the concept of neuroplasticity. The basic premise of this concept is that the brain is a malleable organ not just in childhood but in all stages of life - thoughts can change both the anatomy and the working of the brain through a process of switching genes successively…

Poetry Is Like A Bird

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“Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers” writes Andrei Voznesensky (1933-2010)
With the recent death on June 1 of the great Russian writer Andrei Voznesensky, a poet from the era of the post-Stalin thaw, I wondered what our own Mercer County Library might offer for those wishing to explore Russian poetry – for certainly this is literature written far outside of our own American borders. It turns out that in addition to various Russian poetry anthologies, we have books that reflect the lives and works of several of the most important Russian poets of the 20th century - Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Osip Mandelstam.


Poet Anna Akhmatova (1989-1966) suffered much – including the indignities of censorship and the arrest and imprisonment of her only son. During her lifetime, she was rarely officially published. Still, Akhmatova never went into exile, but continued to live in Russia and witness the events about her. We have a biography Anna of All the Russians and a collection…

Alex Awards: Read-A-Long with Your Teen!

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We’re always hearing about the benefits of reading to and with our young children. Rediscover the fun of sharing a story with your older children by having a “mini book club.” The Alex Awards is a great resource to use in selecting titles to read. Each year, Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. Check out 2010’s winners via our catalog!




The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff

Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr.

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel

The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My Abandonment by Peter Rock

Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson

Previous year’s winners, as well as 2010 nominees can be found on the Alex Award…

Stuck on Sticky Notes!

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Much like the ubiquitous Post-it Notes that we are so fond of using, Windows 7 has a feature called Sticky Notes that resembles the Post-it Notes and comes in just as handy.

To access the Sticky Notes, you can click the Start button, and type sticky in the Start Search box, or click on the Start button, click on the Accessories folder and then click on Sticky Notes. From the Accessories folder, you can, of course, right-click the Sticky Notes and choose to either Pin to Taskbar or Pin to Start Menu.



Using Sticky Notes is fun and easy. After you have launched the Sticky Notes you can drag it anywhere on your desktop. Simply click on the top portion of your Sticky Note and drag it to wherever you want to place it.

Sticky Note will expand as you keep typing, though you can re-size it anyway you wish even before you start typing. By placing your cursor on the outline of the Sticky Note, keeping the left mouse button depressed and dragging, you can enlarge your Sticky Note to any size you wan…

The Green Gadget Lover

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We all love our gadgets and computers, but often worry about the impact they are making on our planet. Whether we worry about everyday use of a gadget we have had for years or think about how we can recycle an older or malfunctioning model, many of us consider how we can be greener when it comes to gadgets. Fortunately, there are some excellent resources on the subject.

The concept of green computing not only saves the environment, but can save you some green as well. Older PCs used to take a long time to boot up and we were often advised that turning them on and off shortened the life cycle of the hard drive. In reality, that isn't true and turning the PC off at night actually helps prolong its life by allowing it to cool down. Even in a low-power state, some PCs still allow the hard drive to spin, which wears it down when you aren't even using it. But even if you don't want to turn your PC off when you aren't using it, there are some alternatives you can do that still…

Father's Day

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Father’s Day is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday in June.

The idea of creating a day for children to honor their fathers began with Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, WA. She wanted to honor her father, who raised six children on his own after his wife passed away. Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956; but, it was not an official national holiday until 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon signed Father’s Day into law.

It is a day to honor your father and all men who have acted as a father figure in your life-whether as stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers or big brothers!

Picture Books
Daddy is a Cozy Hug by Rhonda Greene
A child celebrates all of the wonderful things a father can be throughout the year, from a wiggling fish in summer to a warm blanket in winter.

Because I Am Your Daddy by Sherry North
In illustrations and verse, lists some of the many ways a father, whether pilot or baseball player, could show his love for his child.

A Perf…

Hot New Summer Reads!

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When you pack your bag for the beach or pool, don’t forget to include a ray of literary sunshine! Here are four new notable books that are perfect for stashing next to your sunscreen. Read what Publishers Weekly says about these new releases, all of which received starred reviews.

Anthropology of an American Girl
By Hilary Thayer Hamann
“If publishers could figure out a way to turn crack into a book, it'd read a lot like this. Originally a self-published cult hit in 2003 (since reedited), Hamann's debut traces the sensual, passionate, and lonely interior of a young woman artist growing up in windswept East Hampton at the end of the 1970s. The book begins as a two-pronged tragedy befalls 17-year-old narrator Eveline: her best friend's mother (more maternal than her own) dies, and Eveline is raped by two high school students. Her brutalized interior, exquisitely rendered by Hamann, leads Eveline to a series of self-realizations that bears obvious comparison to that iconic nonco…

Make a Splash at Your Library!

Get ready to dive into another summer of reading and free fun here at the library! This year 49 states plus U.S. army bases and U.S. territories around the world will be using the same theme for their Summer Reading Programs. The theme for kids is “Make a Splash-Read!” Teens will also have a separate program, “Make Waves at Your Library”.
Our program at MCLS starts Monday, June 28 and continues for 6 weeks until Friday, August 6. Register at your local library branch beginning Monday, June 21. Registration will continue throughout the program. Registration means receiving a log book to record all the books the child reads during the summer. Each week participants can return to their branches with their log books in order to receive a prize! In addition to the reading, all libraries will be offering a wide variety of special programs, including book clubs, crafts, magic, science, music, and live animals! To see what your branch is offering, please refer to our event list all summer lon…

Russia Triumphs over Napoleon

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In Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace the French Invasion of Russia of 1812 – known in Russian history as the Patriotic War of 1812 – is depicted as a great Russian victory won by the genius and perseverance of Tsar Alexander II and his generals. Writes the author Dominic Lieven “One key reason why Russia defeated Napoleon was that her top leaders out-thought him.” With a strategy of deep retreat, the Russians purposely pulled the Napoleonic forces of the Grande Armée into the heart of Russia. The French were then overextended and the Russians with their huge armies, fueled by massive conscription of serfs, the harassing Cossacks and the cavalry – not to mention the Russian winter – overcame Napoleon’s Grand Armée. Over 600,000 men under Napoleon’s command crossed the Nieman River on June 24, 1812 to invade Russian territory. When the Armée retreated, only perhaps 10,000 crossed back.

But, men, guns, horses and snow don’t tell the entire tale – ty…