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What's Cooking?: Cheers!

 

Cocktails, Sodas, Smoothies, Shakes, Juices, Teas, Coffees!  There is a whole host of drinks that will enliven our mundane tastes of the usual, especially for the heat filled summer.  These refreshing and tantalizing beverages will bring a whirlwind of activity among your guests to create various concoctions of their own.  When I ask some of my colleagues what their favorite cocktail is, such delight appears on their faces.  One favorite is “Cool as a Cucumber” with muddled cucumber, Absolut, St. Gemain, ginger beer, and a twist of lime from Morton’s in Chicago.  Another colleague loves her Bourbon Manhattan but she reminds me not to forget the best “lemonade” ever - a shot of Southern Comfort, a squeeze of a whole lemon and a tablespoon of sugar.  It makes a great whiskey sour!  Well, if they’re happy describing them to me, I could imagine how "high in spirit" they would be after consuming these drinks.

Popping the Word Balloon: Graphic Novels for Adults

For me, the season of summer reading brings with it an opportunity to try new things, to read out of my comfort zone.  Speculative fiction is already out of a lot of readers' comfort zones.  When I tell someone I read speculative fiction, the most common response I get (after "What's that?") is "I'm not really into those sorts of books."  (The most entertaining reaction by far was a horrified "But... you're a librarian!")  I'm used to taking flak for what I read (hey, I read romance, too), but it still bothers me.  Speculative fiction encompasses such a broad panoply of styles, themes, philosophies, and yes, talents, that it's utterly unfair to dismiss the entire genre out of hand.  But there's a whole medium of literature on our library shelves that carries an even deeper stigma: comic books.

Mating Season, Part Two

"Howard... I need that wedding.  I need some beauty and some music and some placecards before I die. It's like heroin." - Mrs. Brackett, "In & Out"

Many of you may have satisfied your veil-and-cake imperatives on a certain modest little British ceremony back in April.  For those who haven't, don't panic-- June is just over the holiday weekend horizon!  For some, June is the time to focus on dads and grads, but it's also the traditional month for another kind of happy ending: weddings.

Fine Memories

Almost every day a customer at the Circulation desk is remorseful for owing even the smallest fine.  Some of you worry jokingly if Mr. Bookman (a Seinfeld episode) will be ringing your doorbell.  We'll hear how as a child it was unheard of to return  library books late.  Fines, never!  Facing those austere people behind the desk was like being called to the principal's office.  While we hope our wonderful Circulation staff presents a friendlier atmosphere, this library ethic has stayed with many of you. 

Most libraries weigh in on the pro side for charging fines for material returned past the due date.  Returning books on time shows consideration for those waiting as well as browsers in the library.  We try to meet your requests in a timely manner, so on time returns keep library ordering down.  Those on the con side believe fines are punitive and serve to keep people from using the library.

Memoirs on Audio

I am fascinated with learning about other people’s life experiences.  It doesn’t matter to me whether or not they are famous, as long as they have an interesting story to tell.  Memoirs are very different than the typical biography.  They read much more like a story with an exciting plot than the dry retelling of facts.  Truthfully, they are the author’s memories, so at times they may be a bit embellished for the sake of continuity within the book.   They tend to be about just one aspect of a person’s life. Some memoirs are very funny like much of David Sedaris’ and Augustin Burroughs’ work.  Other memoirs tell of a specific period in that person’s life where they were going through a tumultuous experience.   At times, it could be that the author is living a grand life experiment.  Unusual family lives are often the focus of memoirs.  My absolute favorites are the ones who are caught up in a survival story.  One added bonus of listening to memoirs, rather than reading them, is that the reader and the author are often the same person! See the list below for the ones I have enjoyed:

Mystery Monday

Award season is here for mystery lovers.  The Agatha awards for best traditional mysteries were announced late last month and the winners in each category are (followed by the runners-up)
Best Novel
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
Drive Time by Hank  by Phillippi Ryan
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

Best First Novel

The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
Murder at the PTA by Laura Alden
Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill
Diamonds for the Dead by Alan Orloff

Edgar Awards honoring the best in mystery fiction were also announced in late April.  Here are the winners in each category, followed by the runners-up.
Best Novel
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
Caught by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
I'd Know  You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

CLASSY SF

"A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." - Mark Twain

I've spent the last couple months working on one of the more difficult aspects of my job: weeding.  Weeding (or "deaccessioning," to use the formal term) is the process of removing outdated, damaged, or significantly underused materials from the collection to make room for newer, more useful (and hopefully more appealing) titles.  The first of couple categories are usually pretty easy to deal with-- no one's going to be checking out a title on exciting new computing careers from 1987, or a book that's been chewed on and smells like old gym socks.  It's the last category where weeding gets painful for me, particularly in speculative fiction.

What's Cooking?: A Well-Seasoned Cast Iron

 

Quite a few of my colleagues and friends have approached me about cast iron cookware.  My own cast iron collection includes 3 skillets of varying sizes, one flattop, a griddle skillet, and a Dutch oven.  All are manufactured by Wagner.  It is well used every day in my home, more than any other cookware I own.  As you can see, I’m a big fan of cast iron and I prefer it over some of the more expensive cookware.  It is inexpensive and very durable.  Another benefit is the natural source of iron it provides to the food.  I value this versatile cookware that has great heat retention and can bake, stir fry, braise, stew, pan fry and deep fry to perfection any food you cook on it. 

Mating Season

It's springtime!  Days are warming and flowers are bursting into bloom.  If you're like me, the signs of spring engender a desire to get the gardening tools out of storage and break out the heavy-duty allergy medication.  My fuzzier neighbors, however, are dealing with desires of a different sort.  All over my backyard, critters are chasing through the underbrush in pursuit of their romantic destinies.  Last week I could barely go out the back door without getting dive-bombed by a love-crazed songbird.  They're all doing it-- the birds, the bees, the rabbits, the skunks (ugh!), the werejaguars.... hold on.  WEREJAGUARS?  That's right, it's mating season in romantic fiction, too!  (Okay, okay... technically, It's always mating season in romantic fiction.)  Given the, ahem, effusion of Nature going on all around us, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about a specific category of supernatural romance: shapeshifters.  If you're ready for a real walk on the wild side, read on! 

The Kindness of Strangers

   Our days are busy and our 'to do' lists seem to get longer all the time.  Sometimes a library book gets left behind because we are trying to accomplish so much.  Those of us who work at the library have been surprised and delighted when material finds its way back here because someone somewhere was thoughtful enough to return it.  We've received calls from automobile repair shops, restaurants and beauty parlors when a New City item was left on their premises.  New City residents bring back books found at airport luggage carousels or on airplanes.  People find books in our parking lot or nearby streets aned bring them to our Circulation desk.  In last week's mail, a package from Tennessee contained a book found in a hotel room in Washington D.C.  It was on active loan, we checked it and and it wasn't even overdue!  Recently a man from Michigan found 3 Playaways on an airplane and mailed them back.  His very generous act saved a family well over $100 in lost fees and allowed us to put these items back in circulation

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