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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Leap Year!

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Today is the 29th of February!

It’s an extra day! You have an extra day! Go crazy! With your extra day! That doesn’t happy very often (“every four years” really isn’t what I’d call “very often”). An extra day! Unless, you know, you have to work or go to school or something.

A patron asked us the other day just what exactly is up with Leap Years and Leap Days, and there’s a lot of really complicated explanations out there that can only confuse a person more than anything else.

For example, this is the opening of the Wikipedia article on Leap Day:

February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year.

That makes sense, right? Besides being a little complicated and kind of confusing, right?

Well, the same Wikipedia article also has a fairly easy explanation for Leap Days, which I’ll break down like this: Each day has 24 hours in it, right? A year is the Earth’s annual trip around the sun, right? And each year, as defined by modern calendars, consists of 365 days, right? Well, yes, and also… No.

The annual revolution of our planet around the sun actually takes 365 days and 6 hours to complete. So every four years we take those accumulated extra hours (6 of them with each year), and we add that to the calendar as – ta da! – February 29. It’s something we do just to make sure that the calendar stays fairly accurate to the planet’s journey around the sun.

Also, there’s this:

Also, there’s the whole Julius Caesar angle.

But basically, like I said, it’s kind of an extra day, and one you want to enjoy.

from here.

Just out of curiosity: Any of our patrons or readers out there who were born on Feb. 29? If so, then HAPPY BIRTHDAY! But also, if you don’t mind us asking, how, and also when, do you celebrate your birthday?

And we hope that everyone has a great Leap Day!

New and Featured Books for Kids/Juvenile Readers for 02/28/2012:

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Come and check out these and some of the other new books and materials (or at least new to us) for younger and juvenile readers added to our library collection…

EASY READING:

Max And Ruby’s First Greek Myth: Pandora’s Box by Rosemary Wells

Suppose You Meet A Dinosaur: A First Book Of Manners by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Tim Bowers

It’s probably always a good idea to be polite to a dinosaur when you meet them because, well, the consequences probably aren’t too pleasant. This is a nice book for younger readers about the necessity of manners. You can find reviews from The Busy Mom Cafe and the Youth Services Book Review.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney

Freedom Song: The Story Of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Too Princessy! by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Geneviève Leloup

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

This is the fascinating story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian author and inventor, who had to drop out of high school due to his family being unable to pay his tuition (a mere $80), and he began educating himself by checking out books from his village’s library. Then, in 2002, after checking out an American textbook on energy resources, he decided to build a windmill to help power the electrical devices in his home by using any spare parts or objects he could find. He then went on to build other things for his village, like a water pump to provide fresh drinking water, and solar power panels for neighboring homes. Since then he has been a recipient of the 2010 GO Ingenuity Award, which is designed to recognize inventors and artists who use innovation to help marginalized youth in developing nations. His story has appeared in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal, and he has become an internationally renowned speaker at many prestigious conferences, including TED Talks and the 2011 Google Science Fair. You can read an interview with illustrator Elizabeth Zunon on Kamkwamba’s blog.

FICTION:

After The Rain by Norma Fox Mazer

The Mermaid Summer by Mollie Hunter

Snowboard Duel by Jake Maddox

The Hero And The Crown by Robin McKinley

NON-FICTION:

Counting Coup: Becoming A Crow Chief On The Reservation And Beyond by Joseph Medicine Crow

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince And His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

Langston Hughes: American Poet by Alice Walker and illustrated by Catherine Deeter

Ocean Hide And Seek by Jennifer Evans and illustrated by Gary R. Phillips

A Nation’s Hope: The Story Of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story Of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Greg Couch

This is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the little known Philo Farnsworth, who created the television when he was only 13 years old. This is a great and inspiring book for younger readers who are perhaps in inventions themselves.

Jazz Age Josephine: Danger, Singer – Who’s That, Who? Why, That’s MISS Josephine Baker To You! by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

This is a very nice biography of the complicated and fascinating life of Josephine Baker, and doesn’t shy away from any aspects of her career, or even her decision to leave America. You can find some very nice reviews for the book at the School Library Journal and The Chicago Tribune.

Stand Up, Speak Out: A Book About Children’s Rights, written by and for the young people of the world

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Please note that books could be checked out between the time they end up on the blog and when you come to check them out. If you don’t see the items you’re looking for then please come up to the front desk and we’ll put your name on the reserve list for when the item returns.

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Previous New/Featured books for Adults:

02/14/11.

02/02/12.

01/27/12.

12/27/11.

12/23/11.

And for Young Adults:

02/21/12.

02/09/12.

01/31/12.

And for Kids/Juvenile Readers:

02/23/12.

02/16/12.

01/28/12.

Reading material for 02/27/12:

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from here.

Some reading material from around the internet:

The Artist takes the majority of the big awards at the Oscars.

The weirdest unsolved mysteries of World War II.

RIP Jan Berenstain, co-creator of The Berenstain Bears.

John Peel’s record collection to be digitized and displayed online.

The myth of 8 hours of sleep.

Academy Awards cupcakes.

Here’s a funny website: Photoshop Disasters.

Unlike humans, chimpanzees don’t enjoy collaborating.

Relive the 1990s in 48 pictures.

from here.

Physicist Brian Cox explains how everything in the universe is connected to everything else.

Stratospheric superbugs offer new source of power.

A pill to help you erase unwanted memories?

Studies show that Mayan civilization’s collapse related to modest rainfall reductions.

High energy workplaces can save America.

Watch TED Talks on Hulu.

This can be your next tweet.

How to remove your Google search history before Google’s new privacy policy takes effect.

A really cool t-shirt with Isaac Asimov on it.

from here.

“Everything I know about love I learned from romance novels.”

J.K. Rowling announces her first novel for adults.

Edward Albee talks about Carson McCullers.

Blink vs. Think: When a movie bewitches a writer.

Check out this NYC phone booth that was turned into a bookshelf/mini library.

Top 10 words that need to be retired from usage immediately.

Is there such a thing as buying too many books?

from here.

A 15 minute long video featuring Worf’s ideas getting shot down by everybody on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

10 science fiction/fantasy endings that we’d like to see more often.

Breaking down the Oscar nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Teddy Roosevelt on The Simpsons.

A video essay on how to pull the perfect movie heist.

Oscar cynicism has become its own special form of Oscar Hype.”

The Best of the Worst Netflix reviews of Best Picture nominees.

Hans Zimmer talks about composing music for The Dark Knight Rises.

from here.

How waiters read your table.

The man with the longest name in the world.

Anatomical diagrams of Japanese monsters.

Foods for healthier teeth.

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is on Friday. Here’s 9 facts you didn’t know about the author.

Explore secret cities.

Photos of people with everything they own.

Speaking of which, apparently easily pronounced names make people more likable.

Make everything OK.

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Previous online reading material:

02/20/12.

02/13/12.

02/06/12.

01/30/12.

12/27/11.

12/19/11.

I (Heart) February.

Hey everybody, don’t forget that…

That’s right. February is American Heart Month. Sadly, most of us have known someone who has suffered or died from a heart attack or stroke, so it makes sense that in the same month that you’d especially take the time to love your significant other, that you’d also remember to take care of yourself, and your heart.

That’s why we’re happy to tell you about Million Hearts, an education and prevention program launched last year by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and whose goal is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years in this country.

This is a very noble cause and an extremely necessary one, especially considering that 1 in 3 people in the United States have some form of heart disease, which can include severe chest pain, heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes, and that cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in this country, with 1 in 3 deaths resulting from heart attacks or strokes.

Million Hearts also provides some helpful and simple ABCS to keep in mindon a day to day basis or when talking to your doctor:

  • Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it.
  • Blood Pressure Control.
  • Cholesterol Management.
  • Smoking Cessation.

We really hope you’ll check Million Hearts out, or at least use it as a reminder to make good choices about eating, exercising, heart disease/stroke prevention, or possibly giving up smoking, which is a leading contributor to heart disease.

And please don’t forget that we have some good books and DVDs at the library about taking care of yourself and staying heart healthy, through diet, exercise, and more.

We really hope you’ll come and check them out and take care of yourself.

New and Featured Books for Kids/Juvenile Readers for 02/23/2012:

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Come and check out these and some of the other new books and materials (or at least new to us) for younger and juvenile readers added to our library collection…

EASY READING:

My Uncle Martin’s Words For America: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Niece Tells How He Made A Difference by Angela Farris Watkins and illustrated by Eric Velasquez

A wonderful memoir in pictures of MLK’s life, as told by his niece, who shares her uncle’s positive message about how there’s a place for everyone in this world, living life side by side. This is a great book for younger readers, and is very informative, and the pictures in it are very realistic and warm. Highly recommended.

Caves And Caverns by Gail Gibbons

Dinosailors by Deb Lund and illustrated by Howard Fine

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

There’s a button and they’re just daring you to touch it. How can you resist that?

Emma’s Poem: The Voice Of The Statue Of Liberty by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola

A very nice book about the life of Emma Lazarus and her famous sonnet, “The New Colossus,” which is engraved in bronze on the Statue of Liberty. You may not realize you know it, but it’s the poem that includes the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This is a good read for younger readers, and especially ideal for helping them to understand what the American Dream is about.

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History Of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld and illustrated by Ben Boos and A. G. Ford

The Astonishing Secret Of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon and illustrated by Jake Parker

Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison and illustrated by Joe Cepeda

When The Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz and illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden

We March by Shane W. Evans

FICTION:

How Not To Run For President by Catherine Clark

Sarah, Plain And Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

The Case Of The Deadly Desperadoes by Caroline Lawrence

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

A very entertaining and funny novel about a word full of fairies, who are there to hinder humans doing the most mundane of tasks, and one girl’s attempt to do as the title suggests, and ditch her own personal fairy. Check out an excerpt. The paperback version’s cover, seen below, is also pretty funny, and fitting to the story.

NON-FICTION:

Black Pioneers: An Untold Story by William Loren Katz

Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything by Philip Steele

Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes From An Inspiring Young Chef by Jack Witherspoon and Lisa Witherspoon, with photographs by Sheri Giblin

This 11 year old chef has spent half his life battling leukemia, and now has his own cookbook. His story is an incredibly inspiring one, and the recipes are all extremely good and kid-friendly. You can catch a preview below as young chef Jack Witherspoon makes baked ziti:

Stokely Carmichael: The Story Of Black Power by Jacqueline Johnson

The Best Of Times: Math Strategies That Multiply by Greg Tang and illustrated by Harry Briggs

My People by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Charles R. Smith, jr.

African American Military Heroes by Jim Haskins

Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa and illustrated by Ed Young

Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons

Heart And Soul: The Story Of America And African Americans by Kadir Nelson

The Civil Rights Movement: An Interactive History Adventure by Heather Adamson

Citizen Scientists: Be A Part Of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns, with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

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Please note that books could be checked out between the time they end up on the blog and when you come to check them out. If you don’t see the items you’re looking for then please come up to the front desk and we’ll put your name on the reserve list for when the item returns.

* * *

Previous New/Featured books for Adults:

02/14/11.

02/02/12.

01/27/12.

12/27/11.

12/23/11.

And for Young Adults:

02/21/12.

02/09/12.

01/31/12.

And for Kids/Juvenile Readers:

02/16/12.

01/28/12.

Author quotes: Discrimination, discovery, and freedom.

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As I said last week, when you’ve set out to share great quotes from wonderful authors with the world, then it’s nice to be doing so from a library, where there is never a shortage of such unique and talented voices, with such wisdom to share. And today I didn’t want to limit myself to just one voice, so today we are going to hear from three of American literature’s finest…

First we have a nice perspective from one of the writers at the center of the Harlem Renaissance:

“Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It is beyond me.”

-Zora Neale Hurston, from “How It Feels To Be Colored Me,” an essay which appeared in The World Tomorrow in May, 1928.

Next we have a quote from a novel that not only changed what people could expect from an African American protagonist, but also from an African American novelist:

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”

-Ralph Ellison, from his famous 1952 novel, Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953.

Our last quote for today comes from a writer who only wrote one novel in her lifetime, but it was an amazing novel:

“I think there’s just one kind of folks: folks.”

-Harper Lee, from her famous novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, 1960. Lee is, of course, pictured above, with her friend, Truman Capote, her childhood schoolmate, neighbor, and best friend.

Elsewhere on the internet:

It’s important to note that both Invisible Man and To Kill A Mockingbird are on The Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels, a nice list of the best novels written in the English language in the twentieth century.

It’s also important to note that Invisible Man, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Their Eyes Were Watching God are all on Time magazine’s list of the 100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

The New York Times’ review of Invisible Man.

Saul Bellow’s review of Invisible Man.

A podcast about Ralph Ellison, and how his works are still being taught today, from Voices Of America.

An interview with Ralph Ellison in The Paris Review.

To Kill A Mockingbird: A historical perspective.

Harper Lee was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

To Kill A Mockingbird was named the UK’s most beloved book last year.

The mystery of Harper Lee.

Harper Lee made a rare written appearance in 2006, writing an open letter to Oprah Winfrey in O magazine.

The official website of Zora Neale Hurston.

Study guides for Their Eyes Were Watching God at both Grade Saver and Shmoop.

An interview with Zora Neale Hurston about her research into actual zombies in Haiti.

An in depth biography of Zora Neale Hurston from Gale.

At the library we have quite a few books both by Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Harper Lee, and about them. To Kill A Mockingbird and Their Eyes Were Watching God are always popular, partially because students get assignments involving them every year, so I’m glad that we have those books, as well as quite a few volumes of literary criticism about their authors, but I wish more people would come in asking about Ralph Ellison. Either way, there’s a reason that all three of these authors and their works are considered classics and I hope you’ll come and check them out.

New and Featured Books for Young Adults for 02/21/2012:

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Come and check out these and some of the other new books and materials (or at least new to us) for Young Adults added to our library collection…

FICTION:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman

Daniel Handler writes fun and interesting novels for all ages, including books for adults and young adults under his own name, and the popular A Series Of Unfortunate Events books he wrote for kids under the name Lemony Snicket, and so I’m expecting his new book to be a winner. And to help promote it, he’s started The Why We Broke Up Project, which allows users to log in and share and read their own stories of romantic woe.

Pretty Bad Things by C. J. Skuse

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Ultimate Spider-Man: Death Of Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Mark Bagley

Takio by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming

The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

Two Truths And A Lie by Sarah Shepard

Pretty Little Secrets by Sara Shepard

New books in the Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game series.

Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

A touching, sweet, and fascinating love story about a boy and girl who meet at a cancer patients support group, and already one of the most well reviewed novels of the year, and one of the most cherished, and before that it had been one of the most anticipated.  John Green has proved to be one of the most popular authors amongst our young adult readers, and we don’t think this book will disappoint his fans in the slightest. The book, of course, has already been optioned for a film treatment. Check out this interview the author did with The Wall Street Journal.

NON-FICTION:

Inside The Olympics by Nick Hunter

Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories Of False Identities by Chris Barton and illustrated by Paul Hoppe

Booklist has called this book “thoroughly researched and grippingly presented,” and author Chris Barton brings you ten vignettes that are insightful and exhilarating. The stories are true, and fascinating, and presented in a way that’s easy for the reader to get into the mindset of the historical person whose masquerade and adventure is being read about. One of the subjects included is Frank Abagnale, who was a confidence man, forger, skilled impostor, and escape artist who later reformed and went on to work as a security consultant after he reformed. His autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, was later turned into a film starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg. You can find author Chris Barton talking about his book below:

Money And Banking (Dollars And Sense: A Guide To Financial Literacy) by Jonah Wallach and Clare Tattersall

Savings And Investments (Dollars And Sense: A Guide To Financial Literacy) by David W. Berg and Meg Green

Sojourner Truth, A Self-Made Woman by Victoria Ortiz

Black Gold: The Story Of Oil In Our Lives by Albert Marrin

Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal Of Afghanistan by Rafal Gerszak with Dawn Hunter

Author/photojournalist Rafal Gerszak first went to Afghanistan in 2008 and spent a year embedded with an American military unit, documenting the life of U.S. soldiers in the country, seeing what they saw and experiencing what they experienced. Later, Gerszak came back to Afghanistan, with no escort, completely on his own, with the goal of documenting the daily life of the people of Afghanistan, to see what their lives are like during this wartime. This book provides not just one fascinating perspective on a country mired in conflict, but two perspectives. It’s an amazing look at war, one that is humanized, but never romanticized.

Malcom X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer and illustrated by Randy DuBurke

Into The Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way By Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross and illustrated by Stephen Biesty

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Please note that books could be checked out between the time they end up on the blog and when you come to check them out. If you don’t see the items you’re looking for then please come up to the front desk and we’ll put your name on the reserve list for when the item returns.

* * *

Previous New/Featured books for Adults:

02/14/11.

02/02/12.

01/27/12.

12/27/11.

12/23/11.

And for Young Adults:

02/09/12.

01/31/12.

And for Kids/Juvenile Readers:

02/16/12.

01/28/12.