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Children's non-fiction treasures!

                                               Our non-fiction stacks are filling up with many new titles written for kids from K - 6th grades.  Have you ever heard of a fennec fox or a bonobo?  Tried to bake a cakepop?  Wondered if you could do origami or fly a paper airplane?  Wanted to know more about an exotic country you've never been to?  Come on in to our children's department and any of our librarians will be happy to help you find a non-fiction title to satisfy your curiosity about many topics.  Oh, and don't forget the biography collection - many famous people have books written about them these days.  How did Usain Bolt come to win Gold in the Summer Olympics? Who started the tradition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons?  Where does Lady Gaga find those crazy outfits?  Did Amelia Earhart really get lost?  Which pro wrestling champion has the most interesting life?

At the Border of SF: Magical Realism

Last month I wrote about crossover YA-- speculative fiction written for a teen audience that adults would also enjoy.  This month, I'd like to take another stroll outside of the SF genre shelves and introduce you to a close cousin: magical realism. 

Magical realism is essentially mainstream fiction with a difference.  Unlike urban fantasy, which uses a version of our world as a setting for fantasy (with all of fantasy's tropes and magical rules), magical realism brings an element of myth and fantasy into an otherwise mundane real-world setting and treats it as factual.  The result is something as weird and startling as finding a half-burnt simurgh feather on the ground while you're out walking the dog: the wondrous becomes (sometimes uncomfortably) possible and close and real

What's Cooking?: Wok With Me

The wok is the most versatile kitchen cookware in the world.  It can be used for braising, deep-frying, pan-frying, stir-frying, sautéing, searing, smoking, steaming, stewing, boiling and poaching. Imagine all these methods using this one vessel.  In my opinion, every home should have one but then I’m quite biased. This conical shaped cooking vessel has been used for thousands of years originating in China at a time when fuel was scarce.  It was first invented to solve this problem as a way of making the most of the valuable fuel by its fast and efficient way of cooking.  In contemporary cooking, it suits the desire for fast and easy cooking, and much more.

Fast, Fun Reads for Not-So-Young Adults

The summer's nearly over, alas!  In a week, it's back to pencils and books (or computers and smartboards) for the younger generation.  If you've got kids in school you might hesitate to pick up a long novel right now, with the demands of the school year looming so close.  Or maybe you don't have kids, but end-of-summer burnout is making your reading pile look like the Tower of Babel.  Well, fear not!  The library (as always) has an answer for you: Young Adult books... for grown-ups!

Young Adult (or "YA") titles tend to be faster reads for adults, but that doesn't mean they're poorer ones.  These books will hook you early and hard, grabbing your attention from the get-go.  Think about it-- they have to grab a teen's attention away from school, sports, friends, social media, texting, gaming, movies, shopping... you get the idea.  And in the name of grabbing that audience, YA authors are often willing to be more innovative and edgy than their adult-market counterparts-- telling an entire story through chat windows, for example, or using Death himself as a narrator.

Better Than Google

Are you a news junkie?  Can you never get enough of t.v. news, radio news, the Internet, twitter, newspapers and magazines?  If the answer is yes, then you are going to love World News Digest.

What's Cooking?: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Marinade in the Tub

grilling

One of the great things about the summer is grilling and barbecuing.  It is the only time I do less cooking.  Perhaps it’s because the man of the house suddenly takes an interest in preparing the meals.  The summer heat seems to beckon the call of the wild in him.  Even with the frequent rain we’ve been having, it doesn’t deter him from cooking outdoors.   Nothing comes between the man and the meat on his grill.  And to make the food on that grill receive the highest compliments, he makes use of rubs and marinades to spice things up.  This inspires the family to offer their “ooh and aahs” as Dad is saluted for his supreme grilling talents. 

What was the title of that book I read?

Like many of us you might not recall the title of a book or movie you checked out.  Maybe you didn't get to read the book or view the movie, or you want to recommend it to a friend, but the title proves elusive.  Now a new service is available that will keep a list of everything you check out.  You'll need to access your online account to sign up for this service.  Log in to your account and under 'personal information' select 'preferences.'   Read the disclaimer then check the box next to 'keep my checkout history' and press update.  Lists are subject to subpeona should the government have reason to to review your borrowing history.  The list will start from the date you sign up.  To view your list go into checkouts and select 'my checkout history.'  Scroll down to find that title; the list is historical that means it goes by checkout date.  It is not searchable; it can't be sorted but it is easy to scroll through.  So give it a try if this seems enticing.

While You're Waiting.....

What are you reading before you get your turn for that wildly popular new title?  Here are some more suggestions to consider while you're waiting. 

Better Than Google

While I like all of our databases I do have a favorite that I use all the time. That database is Novelist Plus, fun to use and a great help to those of us who do readers advisory.  You can use it to find books in series order, find a read-alike, a book review, a book discussion guide and much more.  If you remember parts of a plot and forget the author and title, you can describe the plot in a few words and see what Novelist finds.  There are feature articles about authors, genres and trends in literature.  There are lists of annotated recommended books by genres and sub-genres, for example, religious mysteries, humorous romances and biblical fiction.  One of the nice features is the read-alikes, for every book you click on, Novelist will provide three read-alikes.  This database is great for book discussion groups searching for another title.  They have also partnered with GoodReads, so you can check other reader reviews.  In some cases, it provides a first chapter, ao you can get a sample of the book.

While You're Waiting.....

Libraries are great except for one thing.  You can't always get what you want when you want it.  We know it is frustrating to wait for a long time for Fifty Shades or anything by James Patterson.  However, there is no need to go bookless!  Here are some new titles that you may enjoy while you are waiting. 

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