Showing posts from May, 2011

Books to Get You Thinking

April 20th marked one year since undersea drilling in British Petroleum’s Macondo Well resulted in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Almost 5 million barrels of oil gushed out into the surrounding waters, bringing devastation and singular damage to the ecological balance, marine life, and the communities in the Gulf area. One of America’s worst environmental disasters raises many questions in its wake, not just about the explosion itself and the race to plug the leaking oil well, but more importantly about larger questions on offshore oil drilling , environmental safety measures needed to prevent such disasters , restoration measures to contain the damage, and the overall US energy policy . At MCL we offer a variety of books that address such strategic issues with wide ranging implications for the future of the world’s ecosystem.

A Sea in Flames: the Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout by Carl Safina
Safina, a world renowned ecologist, MacArthur Fellow as w…

90 Years: Then and Now

The Hightstown Memorial branch will celebrate its 90th anniversary this year.An anniversary is a great time to reflect on all the changes we’ve seen over the years, and to think about how the past still affects us. In 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics. Even now, his theories are subject to much debate among scholars. In Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality, author Manjit Kumar explains the conflicts and collaborations between the great quantum physicists of the time, showing how scientific debate can become dramatic and intense.Scientists are still building on the quantum theories of Einstein: one notable example is Brian Green’s recent book, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Atlantic City hosted its first beauty pageant in 1921. The Miss America contest was promoted to keep vacationers at the shore for a few more weekends. It has changed significantly over the years, updating its image and …

Book Clubbing: Reader beware: Tales of the Unreliable Narrator

Does it make you uncomfortable when a storyteller is both the teller of the tale, a character in his own tale, and perhaps a very unreliable witness to the events he relates – especially if his actions are less than honest and his motives murky? What if the narrator doesn’t understand the meaning of his own story, or needs to hide or recast his own role? Perhaps the narrator has mixed feelings about the other characters. Does the narrator wish to confuse the reader? Can you trust the narrator’s point of view?If you have these thoughts as you read, than you are in the grip of the UNRELIABLE NARRATOR! BEWARE! And ENJOY! You are in for a twisty experience, somewhat like a stroll through a hall of mirrors.
My book group felt this when reading Ford Madox Ford’s classic The Good Solider: A Tale of Passion. The narrator, Dowell, has an unconsummated decade long marriage with a woman who simultaneously has an affair with his best friend and a very “good” soldier, Edward Asburnham. Dowell clai…

The joy of listening – audio books for kids!

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time in the car with my kids listening to the same kids’ songs over and over again. Then one day I picked up the Little Golden Treasury on CD. On our next car ride, my kids and I listened to “The Poky Little Puppy”, “Scruffy the Tugboat”, “Tawny Scrawny Lion” and “The Saggy Baggy Elephant.” The delightful narration kept my toddler, preschooler, and I entertained through the entire recording. The next week I brought home a picture book with an accompanying CD recording and my three-year-old had a clear sense of pride following along with the book. While I had often listened to audio books for myself, I felt like I had discovered an untapped resource for my children. I had to wonder how many other parents and teachers had yet to learn how fun listening to audio books could be for a child.

As a parent, I feel good knowing my kids are learning as they have fun. Struggling and new readers listening to audio books, especially when reading along with a boo…

Śõ Ýõü Ẁąńŧ Ŧŏ Ūśē Symbols?

For those of you who read my last blog and were curious about the international symbols used to accent letters from Greek, Spanish and French languages, you can choose from a list of language characters such as Greek or Cyrillic symbols from the Symbol menu or the Symbol dialog box. You can also insert special characters such as the em dash (—) the degree symbol (º) or the copyright symbol (©) from the Special Characters menu. It’s a piece of cake!
Here’s how: First, click where you want to insert the symbol. Then from the Insert tab, click on Symbol; a small menu will open up displaying a list of popular or recently used symbols or characters. If you see the symbol you want then just double click it and the desired symbol will be inserted into your document. What if you don’t see the symbol you want? Just click on More Symbols... to access the Symbols dialog box. Here you will find an assortment of symbols to choose from; you can also choose the font you want and the subset. Then scro…


Check out these cookbooks that can add some spark to your summer barbecues and cook-outs!

Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book:
Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint

By Chris Lilly

“Lilly, a world-champion pit master and executive chef of Alabama's Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q, shares long-held family secrets from the restaurant's founder in this homage to pure barbecue tradition. Lilly covers the process from beginning to end, starting with the setup, varieties of grills and cookers, wood selection and seasoning. Throughout, he provides valuable tips on everything from temperature gauges to positioning chicken on the grill. As acknowledgment that flavor is important but the true measure of barbecue is the tenderness and moistness of the meat, many of Lilly's recipes focus on slow cooking and include more than meat. Bell pepper bundles, big mama's pound cake, honey-garlic tomato sauce and grilled marinated mushrooms show the breadth of his expertise. Beef, pork and …

Searching the Updated Catalog

By now you have probably discovered that Mercer County Library System has a updated library catalog in place.Overall, most of you have found the updated catalog to be fairly easy to navigate, but we have had a few questions about how it works and what to expect when searching for an item in the system, so here is a little primer on getting started with the updated catalog.The first change most people notice is there is only one search box and no link to a browse or advanced search.The reason for this has to do with the technology behind the search.Traditional library searches require you to enter a search term, pick either keyword or browse and then pick the target index (title, author, or subject) to search.This type of search requires the user to do a lot of the thinking for the search engine and can lead to the need to redo a search several times before hitting the right combination of terms and targets.By contrast, the updated catalog uses the same type of searching that is used b…

Celebrating Mother's Day

Anna Jarvis, Founder of Mother’s Day

Anna's mother, Ann Jarvis had founded Mothers' Day Work Clubs to improve sanitary and health conditions of both Union and Confederate soldiers by feeding, clothing and treating their wounds. After her mother died, Anna started a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
Celebrate your mom, grandmother, or aunt with a special book and craft.
As a child explains the many happy, loving things Mommy does, many different animal mothers are shown caring for their young.
After watching the other animals make Mother's Day gifts, Violet the snake tries hard to think of something nice that she can make for her mother.
A young boy and his mother talk about what she did for him as a baby, what he can do for himself now, and that she will always…

Books to Get You Thinking

The literary world is abuzz with the recent announcements of the 2011 winners of the coveted Pulitzer Prize. First initiated in 1917, the Pulitzer is administered by Columbia University and the winners are selected by a special Board of judges that evaluate for both journalistic excellence, as well as excellence in different categories of the arts. The winners for this year include Jennifer Egan in the category of distinguished fiction by an American author, Eric Foner received the award for a distinguished documented work in United States History, Ron Chernow was awarded the Pulitzer for a distinguished Biography by an American author, Siddharth Mukherjee was the Pulitzer winner for distinguished and documented work of Nonfiction, and Kay Ryan was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction earlier this year. A remarkable book, where several stories and characters are interlocked togeth…