Showing posts from December, 2015

DVDs Please

Don’t subscribe to HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, or any of the other fabulous channels that we all hear about? Neither does my family! In fact, we seem to be restricted from many channels that we thought were included in our basic package….but that is a story for another time! We play "catch up" by waiting for the season to come out on DVD and take them out from the library. It is the best way to watch a series - on your schedule, not the networks’! Hit pause and play at your leisure for popcorn and bathroom breaks! Have to pick up the kids? No problem! Just pause and restart it when you are ready!

My Recommendations:

Dexter, HomeLand, Breaking Bad, Ray Donovan, iZombie, Criminal Minds, all of the CSI series, and Orange is the New Black, are all great, but my all-time favorite in this category is 24.

24 is a series starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. He is the head of field ops for the elite CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit). Each episode takes place in a 24 …

Let It Snow!

Chilly weather may make us want to stay inside, but there are so many fun cold weather activities that children can enjoy outdoors! When I was young, my brother and I would wait impatiently for the snow to start. Our winter plans included sledding down the hill at Sharon School and trying to learn how to ice skate at Brainerd Lake in Cranbury, New Jersey - a skill my parents never managed to teach me. We also would make snowmen; create snow angels; and on one memorable occasion, my uncle and great-aunt helped us build a huge igloo in our yard. But if the weather is too frightful outside, you can always curl up inside and read about the wonderful activities you can do in a winter wonderland.

Snowy Book Suggestions:
Snowmen at Nightby Caralyn Buehner
Snowmen play games at night when no one is watching.

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
Some children create a family out of snow. Includes labeled pictures of all the items they use, as well as information about how snow is formed.

Pearl's New Skate…


As the weather turns cold and damp, the hot beverage of choice for many folks is Camellia Sinensis, more commonly known as tea! True, you can enjoy iced-tea in the summer, but there are a plethora of cold drinks to choose from, whereas in the winter, we are pretty much limited to coffee, hot chocolate and, of course, tea. Contrary to what most Americans would assume, the world’s most popular drink is not coffee, nor even Coca-Cola, but tea.

You may have heard that tea was first discovered when a tea leaf blew into a bowl of hot water set before the Emperor of China way back when. Upon tasting it, he was delighted and discovered its stimulating yet soothing effects, as well as its health benefits. There are many legends and "myths" about the history of tea, and this is one of them.

Today there are many types and hybrids of tea, but scientists have been able to trace the original tea trees to a single plant that grew in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and the Yunnan and Sichuan pr…

December is a Historic Month!

December marks the anniversaries of several turning points in American history. Turn to books owned by the Mercer County Library System to learn more about these pivotal moments!

The Boston Tea Party

On the night of December 16, 1773 a group of colonists from Boston boarded ships owned by the British East India Company and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The colonists were revolting against a tea tax and the persistent efforts of Great Britain to legislate taxes without colonial representation in the British Parliament.

American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolutionby Harlow G. Unger
“The author of assorted narratives and biographies connected to the American Revolution, Unger here embeds John Hancock in his Bostonian political milieu. Pegged to the town's political actors, the narrative culminates in the outbreak of war and British evacuation of Boston. The famous Boston Tea Party assumes its place as one of many events in the intensification of confl…

Fun With Felines

Anyone who knows me knows I love my cats. I only have two, so I am by no means a crazy cat lady but still have had plenty of experience in selecting and caring for furbabies. Plus, I like cats too much to even want to be a crazy cat lady, since having too many to share precious space is actually not good for the cats as it creates a stressful living environment. That is your first tip if you are new to cat ownership or are contemplating picking up a stray or kitten for the holidays. Here is another tip, now is not the time to go looking for a kitten if you want a wide selection. It is true you can find kittens all year, but their population goes up during kitten season, which typically runs from May to early November in this area. Cats usually only breed when it is warm outside and have a gestation period of about 60 days, so you will see a lot of kitten ads starting to show up 2-3 months after the first warm days of the year. Below are some tips for cat selection and care; not…

Books My Mother Read to Me

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of when my mother read to me. From a very early age, I loved to explore the worlds that books opened to me. As mother’s voice brought the characters on the page to life, I felt that I was in the story with “my friends.” I would like to share some of those friends with you.

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. Her memoirs, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip on a whaler. This is the story of Hitty's time with Phoebe, and the many years that followed in the life of a well-loved doll.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Some Pig! Radiant! Humble! These are the words in Charlotte's web, high up in Zuc…

Books to Get You Thinking Holiday Edition II

Books undoubtedly make the perfect gift for just about everyone on your list with a range of genres, subjects and content to fit all possible areas of interest. Following last month’s selection of books covering nonfiction, biography and memoirs, here are some varied titles that would enthrall friends and family who love a good work of fiction or who are looking to whip up some new and scrumptious culinary delights in the kitchen! From all of us at the Mercer County Library System, have a wonderful and joyous Holiday Season!


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah’s new book is a poignant, spellbinding story set against the backdrop of German-occupied France during World War II. The novel revolves around the lives of Vianne Mauriac and her eighteen year old sister Isabelle, both caught in the unimaginable horrors of war and the very different but inconceivably hard choices each had to face. Vianne’s quiet idyllic world in the small village of Carriveau is shattered w…

Walt Disney: Through the Eyes of an Adult

Walt Disney’s birthday, December 5th, tends to initiate Disney-themed gatherings at libraries, malls, and bookstores for children. Exploring Walter Elias Disney as an adult, however, can provide an entirely new perspective on the man behind the magic. From Bob Thomas’ biography, Walt Disney: An American Original (the first extensive Disney biography, written with the Disney family’s authorization), to Marc Eliot’s “unauthorized” biography, Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince, adults can start to uncover much more than the origins of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. Whether you are intrigued by his art, animation, personal life, or business practices, sources outlining Disney’s imagination and creativity - beyond the traditional biography - are accessible to you via a variety of books and DVDs available at Mercer County Libraries.

The Art of Walt Disney (Non-Fiction) by Christopher Finch
Based on hundreds of interviews with Disney staff members past and present, this story of Walt Disney…

Maddening Bathsheba, Madding Crowd

In Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, a mere teenage girl, Bathsheba Everdene, enthralls and fascinates - really at first sight - the noble and stolid shepherd Gabriel Oak, the older, reclusive landholder, William Boldwood, and the ne'er-do-well, dashing Sergeant Troy. All three wish to have her, all three suffer in the pursuit. Oak labors for years in Everdene’s employ before finally winning the fair maiden. He watches helplessly as she marries the ruinous Troy. When Troy mysteriously disappears and Bathsheba is assumed to be a widow, she is wooed, even hounded, by the besotted, obsessive Boldwood. Then, a few years later, Troy suddenly reappears, as the report of his death was somewhat exaggerated, and Boldwood in a jealous fury shoots and kills him. Off to prison goes Boldwood. This clears the way for Oak. In addition, Bathsheba is an orphan and has inherited a substantial rural property which, even in Victorian England, she farms and manages as an independent, very…