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Feb 03

Lincoln

Posted on February 3, 2016 at 4:24 PM by Craig Jacobson

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fritz klein.jpgIf you would ask people who they would like to meet from the past, many would answer Abraham Lincoln. While we can’t travel back in time, we will be able to see him brought back to life through the portrayal of actor, Fritz Klein, on February 23rd at 6:30. After much study and research, Klein is able to show us the humor and humility of this great president.

abe lincoln a life.jpgWhile much is known about Lincoln, more is being discovered all the time. Michael Burlingame was an American historian and Lincoln scholar and has written perhaps the best biography about Lincoln. He spent a decade-and-a-half researching and writing all that he discovered in newspapers and in collections of manuscripts. Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Volume One covers Lincoln’s life while he was in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois and Volume 2 covers his time in Washington. It’s a very well written and readable piece of work.

hour of peril.jpgLincoln was assassinated at the start of his second term but did you know of the assassination plot against him as he headed to Washington D. C. for his first inauguration? In, The Hour of Peril, we come to learn of the Baltimore Plot and how Allan Pinkerton worked to unravel the details of the plot and keep Lincoln safe. Neither Lincoln nor his advisors believed he was in any danger.

rise to great.jpgBy 1862 things looked pretty bleak for the Union. The U.S. Treasury was bankrupt. The government seemed overwhelmed, and our top general was very sick. On the other hand, things looked great for the South. Their economy was growing and they had great military leaders who were doing well on the battlefield. By the end of that year the tide had slowly turned and in, Rise to Greatness, the reader will see that it was due to the judgement, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer that now led our country.

lincolns boys.jpgCan you imagine working with President Lincoln? John Nicolay and John Hay were presidential secretaries to Abraham Lincoln and in the book, Lincoln’s Boys, you get a glimpse of what it was like to be in Washington at this time and what it was like to be serving under this great leader. Through their letters, diaries, and memoirs, you get to see Lincoln from a very different perspective.

tried by war.jpgJames McPherson is another noted Civil War historian who portrays the many facets of President Lincoln in his book, Tried by War. Up to this point in time, there was never a need for a commander in chief who specified when war was declared and how it was fought. Just as Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer, he was a self-taught military strategist. Not only did he need to come up with battle strategies, he also had to get his generals to follow his orders.

lincoln and the jews.jpgWhen Lincoln was born, there were roughly 3,000 Jews living in America. By the time of his death, that number had grown to 150,000. Many Americans treated the Jewish population as second class citizens. In Lincoln and the Jews, you will see the special relationship Lincoln had with the Jewish people. From early on, Lincoln promoted Jewish equality, appointed several Jewish people to public office, and had several Jewish advisors and supporters from as early as the 1850’s. He truly was a man for all the people.

There is still a lot to learn about this great man, be it through books or presentations. Please consider joining us on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 6:30 PM for “An Evening with President Lincoln.” See you at the library!

Pictures courtesy of Easicat.

Jan 21

Read More with the Reading Challenge

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 2:11 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Did you make a resolution to “Read More” this year? Or perhaps you’re trying to expand your horizons and try different books. Check out the FLW’s 2016 Reading Challenge with a list of over 75 books to choose from over the next calendar year. Here are a few that we’re particularly excited to check out:

Scorpio Races.jpegThe Scorpio Races may sit in the young adult section, but don’t let that fool you. Every November, on an island with beautiful cliffs, surrounded by treacherous currents, tourists and natives alike come together for the Scorpio Races, held along the island’s treacherous edges using the island’s famed water horses. Puck is trying to hold her family together against all odds – she’s no jockey. But fate and desperation drive her to enter the Scorpio Races, even though riders don’t always survive.

The Black Count.jpegSwashbuckling heroes spill from the pages of Alexander Dumas’s stories, but their real-life inspiration is little known and nearly forgotten: his own father, General Thomas Alexandre Dumas. Born the son of a slave and himself briefly enslaved for a time, he made his way to Europe, learned swordplay, and rose to command armies during the revolution. The Black Countis, all at once, a thrilling adventure, a window into 18th century France, and the story of the bonds between father and son.

Crazy Rich Asians.jpegWhen Rachel decides to spend summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, she’s looking forward to quality time together exploring the island. She’s not expecting his family home to look like a palace, a fleet of private planes, lightning-fast gossip networks, or the hostility that comes from being on the arm of one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors. Try Crazy Rich Asians if you want a hilarious romantic comedy, described as “an Austen novel set in Singapore.”

The Pluto Files.jpegOn February 18, 1930, a new planet was discovered: Pluto. In 2008, Pluto was demoted from planet to “dwarf planet,” amid a great uproar. In summer of 2015, NASA’s New Horizons probe sent back high resolution images of the icy body, the clearest pictures of it to date. What makes Pluto so captivating? Neil deGrasse Tyson explores its history and celebrated place in the popular imagination in The Pluto Files: the Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. Written in a light, engaging style, this pop science book is an accessible overview of the former 9th planet.

Princes of Ireland.jpegIreland’s history is as much mythology as fact – The Princes of Irelandrecounts it all in a sweeping historical saga from the days of Cuchulainn to Saint Patrick to the Great Famine. The city of Dublin becomes almost a character in its own right, shaped by the great tides of history and the forceful personalities sweeping through it as the years ebb and flow. Druids, smugglers, nobles, orphans, monks, rebels, and kings are etched into these pages in all their glory and tragedy.

Absolutely True Diary.jpegSherman Alexie recounts a more personal history with his semi-autobiographical novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which recounts the travails of Junior who grows up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and decides to go to the nearby white school where “the only other Indian is the school mascot.” Junior’s story is hilarious and poignant in turns, punctuated (but never overwhelmed) by Alexie’s clever cartoons and drawings.

Alex and Me.jpegAlex the African Grey parrot said goodbye to his owner Irene Pepperberg this way: “You be good. I love you.” For over twenty years, Irene and Alex had carried out studies on animal cognition, testing Alex’s ability to learn and understand. Alex and Meis their story, filled with Alex’s quirks and personality. He gets bored with repeating the same tasks over and over. He sulks when he feels neglected. He wants to go home when he’s sick. Together, they changed what we know about how animals think.

Want to give the 2016 Reading Challenge a try? Stop by the Reference Desk to sign up!

All images courtesy of Easicat.

Jan 05

Get Creative in the New Year!

Posted on January 5, 2016 at 3:16 PM by Craig Jacobson

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New Year’s Resolutions are a tricky thing. Often they feel like lofty goals that are impossible to reach. So, why not try a new approach and explore your creative side? There is no time like the present!

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Here are few fun things to try in the New Year:

Beautiful Paper Cutting: 30 Creative Projects for Cards, Gifts, Décor, and Jewelry
-Lark Crafts
Working with paper is fun way to get creative on a tight budget. Beautiful Paper Cutting is a wonderful collection of top Esty.com paper artists and their designs. From cards, to picture frames, to paper jewelry, this book has it all. Ranging from simple to more advanced, easy to follow instructions allow you to explore all that paper-crafting has to offer. Give it a shot, it will be worth your while.

Freeform Wire Art Jewelry: Techniques for Designing with Wire, Beads and Gems
-Gayle Bird
Interested in jewelry design? Gayle Bird is just the one to get you started. You’ll start with the basics of color/design, then learn how to work with wire. Based on those tutorials, you have twenty different jewelry projects to choose from. Earrings, rings, and necklaces are all included. Bird’s helpful tips give you the knowledge needed to design show-stopping pieces that are sure to impress. This one is a winner.

Family-Friendly Knits: Seasonal Knitted Garments and Accessories for Children and Adults
-Courtney Spainhower
If you’re like me, knitting has always seemed an impossible task. This wonderful book puts those frustrations to rest. Spainhower’s designs are attractive and accessible, allowing everyone from the knitting novice to the knitting pro a great variety to work from. The Tools/Choosing Yarns sections are very informative and the patterns are easy to follow. Great for gifts, this book is the knitting inspiration you need.

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The Watercolor Course You’ve Always Wanted: Guided Lessons for Beginners and Experienced Artists
-Leslie Frontz
Interested in painting? How about watercolor? Frontz gives you the tools you need to put brush to canvas. Her step-by-step instructions, along with expert knowledge of the craft give the reader confidence heading into their first project. Broken down into sections such as: choosing and using materials and mastering the properties of color, you will learn how to visualize and construct beautiful pieces of art without breaking the budget. Fun and informative, this book is sure to please.

Draw Faces in 15 Minutes: Amaze Your Friends with Your Portrait Skills
-Jake Spicer
Portrait drawing done right is one of the most sincere forms of flattery. But how do you get started? How do you get Dad’s nose just right? With Spicer’s help, you can accomplish realistic and beautiful hand-drawn portraits of those around you. Starting with a basic portrait sketch, your work will be transformed by learning how to construct the head, create realistic hair and facial details, and finally capturing expression. The process of creating the perfect portrait is broken down expertly. You will love what you are able to create.

Steering the Craft: a twenty-first century guide to sailing the sea of story
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Ever considered creative writing?
Whether it’s short stories or a full-blown novel, Le Guin offers tips on getting your creative juices flowing. Unhappy with the sound of your prose? Wondering whether to change to point of view or voice? What about those pesky punctuation/grammar issues? Her helpful do’s and don’ts are sure to raise the quality of your writing. This is just the book to “steer” you in the right direction!

bigmagic.jpgNone of these appealing to you?
Perhaps you need to find creativity in your own time/way. Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love fame is here to help!  In her latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear, Gilbert discusses finding creativity in the everyday. What is your hidden passion? What can you do to give your life the spark it needs? Why is the unknown so frightening? Learn what it takes to get out of your own way and experience life’s simple pleasures. With her techniques/advice, you are sure to find just the thing to jumpstart your New Year.

Have fun and get creative in 2016! You won’t regret it!

*Images courtesy of Easicat