Showing posts from March, 2013

A Reluctant Baseball Fan

If you have read my previous blog posts, you will know I am a football fan.  My friend has valiantly tried to add “and baseball fan” to that description but, no matter how many live games we have been to, it just has not stuck.  In fact, she is the one who suggested a post about baseball, since it will be up a few days before Opening Day , the evening of March 31/day of April 1. Not being a fan does not extend to not liking baseball movies (and books).  There are quite a few of both out there that are very enjoyable no matter which sport you watch.  Some of my favorites are: Moneyball – As strange as it may sound, Michael Lewis makes statistics riveting.  It is the story of how Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane used sabermetrics to make his team competitive despite having a huge financial disadvantage.  Once you watch or read Moneyball , take a look at the Society for American Baseball Research to start your own sabermetric research . Field of Dreams – When


 …and the seed catalogs are in the mail. Me?  I’m not much of a gardener. I enjoy perusing the catalogs and imagining those riotous splashes of color in my own back yard, and I love the sight and scent of blossoms from the first crocus to the last chrysanthemum*.   I like eating home-grown vegetables and fruits that have never seen the inside of a greenhouse or encountered an insecticide or herbicide. But when it comes to the actual cultivating of said blossoms and veggies – no, thank you.  I’m the cat, duck, and pig in the Little Red Hen story.  Gardening is simply something I’ve never gotten into. I’ve thought about it, and I think I know why.  We’re all creatures of our upbringing, right? (Say “Right”. Thank you.)  Well, my father, true to his Italian heritage, loved to grow things. He coaxed azaleas, hydrangeas, roses, crocuses, tulips, pyrocantha, a pretty little China Rose bush, and an ethereally beautiful mimosa tree out of our hardscrabble little garden every year. An

Quick and Easy Faux Stained Glass

Several weeks ago I was frantically searching for an easy and engaging craft  for my “Passport to Fun” class. Each week this class explores a country either by making a craft or preparing a dish native to that country. That particular week I was planning to cover Singapore. I really wanted to focus on the Merlion, which is considered to be the mascot of Singapore. I saw a few crafts online, but nothing that stood out. Then I remembered a craft that we hadn’t done in years: Faux Stained Glass. You will need: Permanent Markers Transparency Film or sheets Tape A Picture to Copy Duct Tape – any color (optional)   1.        Place the transparency film over the picture that you have chosen and secure it with tape. 2. Trace the picture with a black permanent mark. I found that varying the                 thickness of my lines made my picture more visually interesting. 3. Color in the picture with the other permanent markers. 4. Remove the transparenc

Getting Ready for Spring: Spring-related books and resources in the Mercer County Library System

Throughout the world, spring is seen as a time of renewal. People think of different things when they think of the coming of spring, some think of nature arising from winter dormancy, some of blossoming cherry trees and Azalea bushes, and some of decorating eggs for Easter. To get you thinking about spring, I have listed some library resources about these and other spring-related topics: Spring arts and crafts: Painted eggs : using dyes, watercolours, gouache, pencil and inks by Heidi Haupt-Battaglia: If you want to get a little more elaborate this year in decorating your Easter eggs, this book has a plethora of ideas for etched, painted, and batik designs. Primavera : the restoration of Botticelli's masterpiece by Umberto Baldini: This book describes how the Botticelli painting “Primavera,” the world’s most famous artistic celebration of the coming of spring, was restored in the 1980s to show the hidden vibrant colors which had faded over time since its creation in the 14

Celebrate Women!

March is Women's History Month, and this year's theme is "Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination." Join the Mercer County Library System in honoring generations of women who have used their intelligence, creativity, sense of wonder, and perseverance to make extraordinary contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Here are five volumes that make perfect reading for the month of March! Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion By Jean H. Baker In this lively biography, an historian argues convincingly that Margaret Sanger deserves the vaunted place in feminist history she once held. Baker's nuanced account of Sanger's life emphasizes the passion of her convictions. “In an era when men ruled the roost and women's only purpose was to bear children, Margaret Sanger, pioneering activist for birth control, had other plans. She watched her mother give birth to 11 children, suffer multiple miscarriages, and ultimately

Let a 1000 Gadgets (and some Apps) Bloom

Spring is on the way and many of you may be headed outside for some fresh air and to enjoy the longer days, so now would be a good time to take a look at some cool tech gadgets and apps with fitness and fun in mind. This year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) had a large number of fitness and everyday-use gadgets being showcased, many of which are hitting the market in time for spring and summer activities. On the fitness side, new gadgets range from devices that work with your Smartphone or by themselves to record your activity levels to a fork that monitors how fast you eat. Fitness watches are one type of fitness technology that has been around for a while, but have become more popular in the last few years as advances in nanotechnology have allowed manufactures to pack more features into each watch. The fitness watch market has become so populated that Cnet has created a dedicate review page for the category. The most basic fitness watch will track lap speeds or offer a coun

Manga Readers Recommend

At the meeting room in the Hopewell Branch library, Manga Club is wolfing down wasabi peas and “Happy Panda” cookies filled with strawberry frosting.  A fan-made music video for an anime is playing in the background and the members of Manga Club, all from the local junior high and high school, are talking over each other to discuss their recent favorites. Manga are comic books from Japan, read from left to right. They encompass all genres from romance to mystery to science fiction. Anime are Japanese cartoon series, again ranging in genre and audience age. Like books that are made into movies, many of the series discussed below exist as both anime and manga.  And like movies, they have a ratings system indicating the intended audience for each series. Here are Hopewell’s Manga Club recommendations: Angel Beats! Teens are caught between the world of the living and the world of the dead in a place that looks a lot like high school. Worse, the school is run by the capricious and

Books To Get You Thinking

The long frigid evenings of winter have been just perfect for settling down in front of the fireside to catch up on my reading. With 2012 gradually slipping away in the horizon, it’s a good time to reflect on the outstanding collection of books published in the year that will continue to dominate the fields of science, history, finance, biographies and memoirs for years to come. Here is a selection picked out as “Best of 2012” by some leading newspaper publications that is sure to provide hours of enjoyable reading. Wall Street Journal  Connectome by Sebastian Seung                                                                                                                           Sebastian Seung , a professor from MIT and one of the foremost experts in neuroscience provides a fascinating look into what determines an individual’s identity and why people are different . While DNA  plays a role in our physical structure and biological functions, it is the Connectome,  the va

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss (for Adults)!

Tomorrow, March 2, 2013, marks the 109th (!!) anniversary of the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss). While children everywhere are celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday at library programs and school events, adults can revisit their Dr. Seuss days with one of his picture books from our collection (maybe The Lorax , Green Eggs and Ham , The Cat in the Hat , or whatever your childhood favorite happens to be)! If you feel a little silly reading a picture book, you can choose from a variety of our books from our adult collection to partake in remembering Dr. Seuss. From biographies to critical interpretation to art appreciation, our collection offers a wonderful variety of titles from which to choose. To discover a sample of our holdings, just take a look at the five books listed below: Dr. Seuss: American Icon by Philip Nel. Published in time for the centenary of Seuss's birth in March 2004, this book celebrates one of the most influential authors and artis