Showing posts from December, 2017

For the Love of the Game

Board games have entertained generations of people, from their start as home-made concoctions to where they are now as myriad mass-produced copies. I have always been a big board game player, but within the past few years I have branched out into the strategy board game world, as they add a higher level of complication and, thus, interest. Though there are many great ones out there, some are far better than others.

Stratego, a classic board game, though fun, irks me because it is only a 2-player game. I have always liked to think about Stratego as the individual battles of Risk (the board game) played out and though that may not be the way that the games were intended, I think that makes the two of them all the more interesting. Risk has long been one of the most popular and divisive pastimes in America and abroad. Probably the most well-known strategy board game, it excels at making its players spend countless hours attempting to achieve world domination. I have found that this domin…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for a Movie!

‘Tis the season for all things warm and cozy.  During the holiday season, many of us have been frantically shopping, traveling, and getting together with family and friends. My escape is to take some time to hide away and pop in a great movie. Movies have a way of enveloping us in the warmth and spirit of the holiday season, and when we see the snow falling and fires all aglow, it reminds us how special it can be. Not to mention that it is a great excuse to curl up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, have some popcorn, and enjoy the weather from inside!

The Mercer County Library System has a great selection of DVDs and Blu-rays you can borrow then feel free to hibernate for a while! Did you know you may also find movies on hoopla?  hoopla is a digital service that MCL provides where you can instantly borrow movies for free with your library card. Check out hoopla here.

Here are a selection of holiday classics, along with some of my personal favorites, that I look forward to watching…

What's New In The World Of Board Books

As a children’s librarian who does a weekly “Books & Babies” class, I have a great interest in knowing about board books.  When parents want to give their youngest children a book, often the sturdy board book is the best choice.  Board books are made to hold up to rough handling by little hands that may not know how to care for regular picture books yet. After years of teaching story time classes, I have learned which books are most likely to hold a child’s attention.  When parents ask me to recommend books for their youngest children, I like to steer them toward these books.  I have compiled a variety of suggestions for my list, from classics that have stood the test of time to the newest titles to hit our shelves.

I recently attended a webcast titled “Worth a Thousand Words: Books for the Youngest Readers,” sponsored by School Library Journal.  A panel representing four publishers, Minedition, Phaidon, Clavis, and Blue Manatee Press, talked about the newest titles they are offer…

Looking For a Job? Start Here

Job hunting. Ugh. There are many different reasons for starting a job search. People look for a job
when they are: first entering the work force; re-entering the work force after caring for children or elderly parents; relocating; looking for more responsibility or other challenge; seeking higher pay, better benefits, shorter commute, or more convenient hours; switching a career field; resuming work after being laid off or fired; or starting part-time work after retirement.

No matter what the reason is for starting a job hunt, there are several components to conducting a search, such as: writing a résumé, networking, brushing up on technology or other skills, doing volunteer work to hone skills or plug gaps in experience, and job shadowing, internships, and apprenticeships.

The All-Important Résumé

It makes sense to begin the process by building a résumé. You may be tops in your field, but that does not mean that résumé writing is one of your skills. Get help! Start with a book on bas…

Curl Up With A Cozy Mystery

Most of us love reading mysteries.  As a youngster, I devoured books by Enid Blyton, a prolific British author, who wrote series of popular children’s books. I remember my favorites were three series entitled The Secret Seven, The Famous Five and The Five Find-Outers. The protagonists in these entertaining stories were children who investigated and solved the most baffling mysteries. Donning disguises, hunting for clues and checking out alibis until, much like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces would come together and it would be solved! I could not wait to get my hands on these books!  Much later, I discovered Agatha Christie and enjoyed reading mysteries involving the skillful and famous sleuths, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, each with a different style but similar in the way they used astute observation, astonishing logic and insightful deduction to solve the puzzling mysteries. While red herrings and nasty or suspicious characters are plentiful, Agatha Christie’s books contain no g…

Kracks in the WiFi Wall

Earlier this fall, news broke that researchers had discovered a flaw in the most popular type of encryption used to protect WiFi networks, WPA and WPA2.  The flaw was dubbed the Krack virus by the media, but that is a bit of a misleading term, as the issue is really a bug in the way the encryption works and this flaw can show up on almost any device or WiFi networking equipment that uses one of the WPA standards for network access.  The technical details are available in great detail on the researchers’ website, but the average user probably does not need to know all the background to solve the problem.  So, just what is Krack and how does it apply to your devices?  What does it all mean for security in the modern, connected home?  Below are some tips on how to check if you are covered from this flaw, as well as some general networking best practices.

First, the good news is, if you have your devices set to do automatic updates, which you should, then it is very likely this is old ne…

Lights, Camera,...Holiday Films?

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is…Lethal Weapon.  Once upon a time, directors and studios that had a film set to release around the holidays would incorporate that theme into their movies, even if it was not designed specifically to be a holiday movie.  In some films it may just be a scene, in others, some background music or decorations.  Because today’s films tend to have extended releases and replay value, we see fewer of these films and are pretty unlikely to see Luke Skywalker in a Santa hat or spinning a dreidel in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  If, however, you want just a bit of a holiday touch with your feature films and are fatigued by National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Eight Crazy Nights, here are some titles worth checking out.
Action movies
The Lethal Weaponopening credits are set to Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” and as the film progresses, we see plenty of twinkling lights and decorations, plus hear references to Christmas and holiday plans.…

Books To Get You Thinking Holiday Edition II

With the festiveness of the holiday season all around, there are just a few short weeks left for finding the perfect gift for all the special people on your list!   I can think of nothing better than books for gift giving for, as Stephen King observes in his book On Writing, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”  The bookstore shelves are crammed with enticing titles and one could spend the entire day browsing. The last edition of Books to get You Thinking featured picks from nonfiction, biography and memoirs - for the friends and family on your list who enjoy fiction or cooking and entertainment, here are some more selections to help you find the perfect books for gifting! All titles can also be found at the Mercer County Library for your reading pleasure.
Fiction Manhattan Beachby Jennifer Egan
A rich and detailed work of historical fiction set in New York during the Depression and World War II. Readers follow the trials and tribulations of Anna Kerrigan, beginning when she was a tw…

Jury Duty

I was called for jury duty in the beginning of September.  Unlike some people who say they have not been called for ten years or more, my name seems to come up every time I am eligible so I have a good idea of the process by now.  This past time, instead of going to the usual jury area, everyone called reported directly to a courtroom and the jury selection process began.  In the midst of my worrying about being picked, I tried (really, really tried) to appreciate the process.  What struck me, and many of my fellow jurors, was how much it is like a TV show or movie.  You are already primed to know court procedures and who are all the players.  My favorite part was our being told that, no matter what you may have seen, you should not go out to visit the scene of the incident or investigate on your own.  I, and everyone else, immediately thought of the classic movie Twelve Angry Men.  Here is a list of some of my favorite court room dramas, all available through the Mercer County Librar…