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1940 Census Has Arrived

After 10 long years, the 1940 federal census was released online in early April. For all those who need to find lost relatives and document findings, here is a chance to begin searching. By law, the federal census is withheld for 72 years so all who want to view the 1950 records will have to wait  another 10 years.

The Genealogy Society of Rockland will be meeting Tuesday, April 24 at 7 PM. At this meeting, members will be viewing the new census and making comments and observations. Should you have questions, plan to attend. Interested persons are always welcomed.

Inner Space: Philosophical SF

In contrast to last month's best and bloodiest, this month I'm offering something completely different: philosophical science fiction.  While philosophical SF doesn't necessarily stint on the action and suspense-- witness the ratcheting tension of Charles Stross's Glasshouse or the action-laced intrigue of Elizabeth Bear's Carnival-- action isn't the primary focus.  Instead, concept is key.  It's part of a literary genre known as the "novel of ideas," wherein fiction is used as a tool to examine some of the big questions: what it means to be human, how we should treat one another, what our purpose should be-- the answers to life, the universe, and everything.*

What's Cooking?: Let Them Eat Cupcake!

Looking at the baking books that are on the scene, cupcakes have continued to grow in popularity.  There is even a cupcake competition on Food Network.  The creativity and artistry involved in designing these “little cakes” are just beautiful.  The delicate decorations and sculpting amaze me as I view the intricate and complex workmanship…and they taste good too! 

eBooks in the Public Library

eBooks and eReaders are exciting technologies that enable you to get your hands on that new bestseller at the speed of light.  You can enlarge the typeface, bookmark your favorite parts, take notes, and also store or access from the cloud thousands of other titles with just one small, portable device.  That’s great!!  And now you’ve found out that your public library has free e-books!  Life doesn’t get any better, does it?

Well, unfortunately, there’s going to be a little rain on this parade.  You see, of the Big Six publishers, only Random House is currently allowing unrestricted sales of their e-titles to public libraries.   And they just raised their prices significantly.  Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan will not sell to public libraries at all.  Penguin recently ceased sales to libraries (and is even considering cutting off access to titles already purchased), and Harper Collins sells their titles with a 26-use licensing restriction. 

All Out of Bubblegum: Hard-Hitting SF

There's action to suit every taste in the speculative fiction genre: space ships slugging it out over stellar distances, charming rogues performing acts of derring-do, armies out-maneuvering each other with the tactical elegance of chess pieces, noble adventurers braving unknown dangers and creatures... and then there are the books on this month's list. 

Sometimes, you're just not in the mood for nobility or skillful tactics.  You don't want a plucky, hopeful teenager saving the world and ruining your perfectly bad mood.  What you want is blood, and plenty of it.  You want a hard, wild ride.  You want a gritty, in-your-face action tale with lots of stuff getting hacked off or blown up. 

What's New in Children's?

We have new paint, new carpeting and new 6-legged guests.  What does that mean?  Come in and see our live ladybugs and praying mantises soon to hatch!  Many programs are offered this Spring, from Duct Tape wallets, Mr. Kurt shows, and School's Out movies to Simple Sign Language, Garden Rockers, and Techi Spy Guys.  The garden is beginning to flower and the collections inside are growing, too.  If you need information on anything from Aardvarks to Zambonis, we are your one-stop shopping destination!  Keep an eye on the Children's webpage and events tab for up-to-date information on all our activities.  Check out the good homework and entertainment website tips for kids!

What's Cooking?: The Year of the Dragon

 

Happy Belated New Year!  Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year came early this year on January 23, 2012.  The Year of the Dragon is considered very lucky especially on my father’s side where at least four generations of family members were born in the Year of the Dragon.  Our personalities seem to reflect this.  We are quite an intense lot; short-tempered, and passionate about things.

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

The Lakes of Killarney, County Kerry, IrelandHappy Leap Day!  If you were born 72 years ago on this day: congratulations, you're finally old enough to vote!  Unfortunately, the romantic possibilities for Leap Day are pretty slim.  A trampoline date?  (Sounds dangerous.)  Kiss a Leap Baby?  (You've only got a 1 in 1461 chance of finding one.)  If you're looking for a kissable holiday, the next one in the calendar has much better odds-- St. Patrick's Day, the one time of the year that everyone can be a little bit Irish for a day.  With the mild winter we've had this year, it may even look as green as Ireland outside by St. Paddy's Day.  If not, pull that green sweater out of your wardrobe and let's go looking for romance!

Beyond Books - The Academy Awards

The Superbowl has come and gone (go Big Blue) and Jeremy Lin is hogging all the sports headlines. However, there is another important media event coming up this Sunday, February 26th - The 84th Academy Award Show hosted by Billy Crystal.  This year there are nine nominees vying for the big prize of Best Picture.  The leading contenders are Hugo, with 11 nominations, and The Artist, with 10.  While there have been some fine pictures produced this year - War Horse, Midnight in Paris, The Help, The Descendants, Moneyball, there are really only two titles that stand above the crowd.

Worlds without Borders

The First Horn by Richard Schwartz.  Last Year Was Probably a Good Year by Yamamoto Hiroshi.  And Despite All… by Juan De Dios Garduño.  Have you read any of these?  They're all best-selling, award-winning works of speculative fiction.  They're all written by well-established authors writing at the top of their game.  But... I'll bet you haven't read them.  How am I so certain?  Because none of them were written in or translated into English.*

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