Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Wouldn't Have Thought...

There are many secrets in the library mother, bless her, visited my library for the first time last month. While here, she discovered something: she knew that Reader's Digest had a large-print edition, but not that books were available in large-print, too.

Oh, yeah, you betcha. Libraries do a brisk circulation in large-print books. You might want to think about large-print, even if you don't think you're ready for it yet. If you like to read in bed, at night, large print books will make that easier. (No, they won't be too heavy--large print books are printed on thinner paper, so they have more pages, but don't weigh much more than regular books.)

Here's another way to use a part of the library you didn't thing you were interested in: let's say you're interested in learning something new--how to crochet, or appreciate opera, or how to start birdwatching. Go to the children's section and look for a book on the subject of interest. Chances are, most of the information you are looking for is going to be in a book which is fun to read, and well illustrated, with less important, or extraneous information left out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Librarians Are Sharing People

Librarians are the people who played well with others from the very start. We share our favorite things, invite you to take them home, use them, and bring them back for the next person. If we don't have what you are looking for on hand, we get it from somewhere else.

We also share links with each other. Here are two that came over the transom this morning:

If It Was My Home: Visualizing the BP Oil Disaster

You can feed in your city to see what area the spill would cover, then toggle the spill back and forth to the Gulf. Yowza.

A couple of summers ago we had a speaker in to discuss backyard birding. He left behind a handheld gadget which played various birdcalls on demand. The staff loved it and were sad when he came to collect it. So I was happy to see this site:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library

It's got audio and video of birds, and other animals. I was able to find the junco, loon, and bullfrog, but, alas, not the Tasmanian Devil. I heard the sound of devils on a Radiolab podcast--here's a little video to give you an idea what they're like.

This fetching little creature is featured in Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasman Tiger. I love to travel, but due to the limits of time and money, I do more of it from my reading chair. Thanks to books like this one, I can really get around...

I started reading travel writing in college, when assigned Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, and I haven't stopped since. I like it when the writer has a little bit of attitude--if you want to try some, I recommend The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, and Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo. Check 'em out...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Knitting In Tune

I've just started Adrienne Martini's Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously. It's her account of knitting a Fair Isle Sweater by Alice Starmore, the famed knit designer. The beginning of the book is an abbreviated history of Fair Isle knitting, and some of the drama surrounding Alice Starmore--I don't want to spoil it for you, or get anything wrong, so go get a copy of the book.

The story is intriguing. It's also fascinating to me that people are so passionate about knitting. I heard about a yarn dealer a few years ago who had created a "Sock Kit of the Month Club". Each month her subscribers would receive a kit with yarn, and a sock pattern. She brought the paperwork to her bank and set up the payment schedules with them....except that the bank was suspicious. They could not imagine that people would pay for a monthly sock kit, and decided it must be a scam, or a front for illegal activity. They shut it down...much to the dismay of the dealer, and her avid knitting clients.

There's been a resurgent interest in knitting, and an unending spate of new sassy knitting books for the past 10-15 years. It's not surprising to me, because I'm passionate about knitting, and knitting books, too. There's a "not your grandmother's knitting" sensibility to this trend, as shown in the titles: The Stitch n' Bitch Knitter's Handbook, Chicks With Sticks, Knitting With Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man, Knitting Rules!, DomiKNITrix, etc. I don't know that there's quite the same phenomenon with other popular hobbies, like gardening, or cooking, or maybe there is, but not as much. I can think of a book on jam and jelly making, Blue Jelly: Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning, which has an offbeat sensibility directed towards a homey craft, but not too much else. (I loved that book, by the way. And strawberry-rhubarb jam...)

I have given up my stockpile of old Vogue Knitting magazines, and weeded out my old knitting books, which were starting to look a bit too 80's/giant hair and shoulder pads to be appealing anymore. But let's face it....making room on the bookshelf only means you get to buy new books! (Did I mention the Brunswick Library is having a book/bake/plant sale this Saturday, from 10-2? No?)