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Sep 22

Arrrrrr Ye Ready?

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Friday, September 19th be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so belay yer landlubber chatter and make ready to set sail. Started in 1995 by a bunch of guys talking piratically to each other at their backyard barbecue every year, the holiday took off when Dave Barry wrote a column about it in 2002. Since then, plenty of people and companies – including Google and Facebook (which both offer a ‘pirate’ language setting) – have gotten in on the act.

Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_movie.jpgThe most renowned recent tale of golden age piratical mayhem is indubitably Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, featuring the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow. Some claim he's based on the infamous Welsh pirate, Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts – others, Captain Jack Birdy, the Barbary Coast corsair. Both men were famous in their day, but have been overshadowed by others whose reputations have taken on mythical proportions: Captains Kidd, Morgan, and Blackbeard.

ching_shih.jpgAll three of those men, however, were laughable failures up against Cheng I Sao. Her Red Flag Fleet was larger than some navies and effectively controlled the South China Sea. When neither China nor Britain nor Portugal could defeat her, she and most of her crew were offered amnesty in exchange for her retirement – at age 35. She kept all her loot, married her second in command, and lived to age 69.

Small Saul.jpgOf course, the real glory of pirates is that they can be romantic, ridiculous, adventurous, or anything in between. Sky pirates can be found sailing dirigibles, while vegetable pirates, bloodsucking pirates, pirates who bake cookies, and patriotic pirates repelling foreign invaders all have their own tales – and some of them are even true. At least a bit. As with many larger-than-life figures, the line between fact and fiction has blurred considerably over the years.

Dan Seavey Cropped.jpgPirates can even, sometimes, be from Wisconsin, as in the case of Roaring Dan Seavey, who terrorized sailors on Lake Michigan from Escanaba to Chicago – on one occasion, he got the crew of a schooner roaring drunk and sailed off with the ship under their inebriated noses. Eventually authorities gave up trying to arrest him and appointed him a U.S. Marshall instead, apparently reasoning that it took a pirate to catch a pirate.

If yer still lookin’ to plunder the library’s pirate books, consider these titles:

Tales of Sea and Shore
Peter and the Starcatchers
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pirate’s Prisoner!
Pirate Attack!
How I Became a Pirate
The Coming Storm

The Pirate Captain’s Daughter
Hostage Three
Bloody Jack
Beauty Queens

Silver Me Own Tale.jpgAdult
Silver: Me Own Tale
The Chocolate Pirate Plot
Republic of Pirates
Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Or drop by to check out our display!

This blog post be scribed by Carol M.

Pirates of the Caribbean image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean:_The_Curse_of_the_Black_Pearl#mediaviewer/File:Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_movie.jpg
Ching Shih image credit: http://the39clues.scholastic.com/cahillweb/article/i-like-useless-facts-ching-shih
Small Saul image credit: Easicat.net
Dan Seavey photo credit: GLD Newsletter, Sept. 2012
All other images courtesy of Easicat.

Sep 05

The War to End All Wars

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 2:03 PM by Craig Jacobson

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trigger.jpgIn June of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip.  What shaped the young man whose gunshots would change the world then and now?  Tim Butcher looks at the complex land Princip came from in, The Trigger: hunting the assassin who brought the world to war.  At the time of the assassination, very little was made of it.  Very few ever dreamed it would lead to a world war, kill over 15 million people, and destroy 4 empires.  So what happened in the next thirty days to end the peace in Europe?  Many believe the German and Austro-Hungarian militarism brought everything to a head, but in July 1914: countdown to war, historian Sean McMeekin points out that Russia and France were guiltier of the mayhem that was to come.  All four countries thought they could capitalize on the current upheaval of the assassination. WWl is often considered hundreddays.jpgforgotten war, but the ramifications of this war are far from forgotten and are still felt today.  None of the wars objections were met and it allowed for the rise of communism, AdolfHitler’s Third Reich, and WWll.  All these points are brought out  in the following books: The Sleepwalkers: how Europe went to war in 1914, The Long Shadow: the legacies of the Great War in the twentieth century, and Wilson’s War: how Woodrow Wilson’s great blunder led to Hitler, Stalin, and WW ll.  The war had stalemated most of the four years it was fought.  In, Hundred Days, some of the bloodiest fighting took place that finally tipped the scales in favor of the allies that finally ended the Great War. Other books that help describe what this war was like are: The Guns of August, The First World War in 100 Objects, World War l: the definitive visual history: from Sarajevo to Versailles, and The Great War: photographic narrative.

doughboys.jpgWhile all the above books give us details of the war, it’s always interesting to learn about those who served in this war.  85 years after the armistice, Richard Rubin went in search of any living American veteran.  He wrote the stories of those he found in The Last of the DoughboysThe Last Voices of WWl is a documentary that interviews British veterans and includes news reel footage of the war.  One of the most well-known fighters of this war was T. E. Lawrence.  Many have seen the movie Lawrence of Arabia.  While a lot of fighting took place in Europe on the Western front, there was also fighting taking place in the Middle Eastern theater in the Arab states.  In the book, Lawrence in Arabia: war deceit, imperial folly, and the making of the modern Middle East, the author describes how different forces struggled against each other to gain control of the Middle East and how that shaped the land it would become today. While Great Britain had Lawrence, America had Eddie Rickenbacher.  In, Enduring Courage: ace pilot Eddie Rickenbacker, you get to know the son of German speaking immigrant parents and the challenges he had to overcome to become America’s ace pilot without the benefit of parachute, radios, or radar.

joyeux.jpgLife still went on for those not on the battlefront as portrayed in the books Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey and Lusitania: an epic tragedy.  Other documentary type DVD’s showing unseen footage of this war are The First World War, Secrets of World War l, Gallipoli, and perhaps the most touching one, The Christmas Truce.  Other DVD’s that depict war stories are: Parade’s End, African Queen, Flyboys, For Me and My Gal, Ryan’s Daughter, and Joyeux Noel

We also have several new fiction pieces about World War l which are: Cavendon Hall, The Lie, The Steady Running of the Hour, Wake, A Star For Mrs. Blake, and The Secret Life of Violet Grant.  If you would like an even larger selection please check Easicat for more titles.

Book covers courtesy of Easicat

Aug 20

6 New Cookbooks to Check Out

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 2:47 PM by Craig Jacobson

Untitled Document weeknight easy.jpg1. Good Housekeeping Weeknight Easy: 185 Really Quick, Simply Delicious Recipes

Whether you are looking for a delicious take on a traditional favorite like Macaroni and Cheese or a new sizzling Stir Fry to try, you are sure to find many wonderful ideas here. There is truly something for all ages. Each recipe provided has a healthy twist making calorie intake reasonable and the ingredients needed are those you may already have in your pantry and will not cost you a fortune. It is a book that is both practical and offers multiple ways to use various ingredients. You won’t be disappointed.

meatless all day.jpg2. Meatless All Day: Recipes for Inspired Vegetarian Meals
By: Dina Cheney

In Cheney’s book, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served up along with resources/websites regarding information on the vegetarian lifestyle and how to maintain it. Cheney offers up vegetarian versions of your favorite dishes along with some new ideas that are both heart healthy and good-tasting. From Quiche to Cuban Black Bean Stew to Mexican Shepherd’s Pie, this book has so many good ideas that it would be a shame not to give it a try. Even those who are not vegetarians may find something in this book to interest them. It is truly a gem.

buttermilk.jpg3. The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook: Recipes and Reflections from a Small Vermont Dairy
By: Diane St. Clair

There is a quiet elegance to this book and the way it is put together that is to be appreciated. It will also surprise you just how many truly wonderful recipe ideas you can sink your teeth into using the main ingredient of buttermilk. In this book, buttermilk goes beyond the pancake with such recipes as: Oatmeal Muffins with Apples and Cinnamon, Buttermilk Lasagna, Buttermilk and Shrimp Soup, Buttermilk Béchamel Pizza, and many more. There is also a delightful and simple recipe for Buttermilk Oyster Crackers that are wonderful with various soups. Do yourself a favor and take a peek at this gorgeous book.

simple thai food.jpg4. Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
By: Leela Punyaratabandhu

Looking to put a little spice in your life? Then this is just the book for you! The recipes are delicious and simple enough for you to try at home with many restaurant quality dishes to serve up. The Pad Thai with Shrimp is especially tasty and might even tempt you away from ordering out. Love Spring Rolls and Chicken Cashew Stir Fry? Those and many other terrific favorites are offered up here. With rice dishes, salads, sides and various main courses you are set to go with this helpful book.

neelys.jpg5. Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours
By: Pat & Gina Neely

This book is all about southern comfort food and recipes that have been passed down through the generations. The Neelys bring a loving, down-home zest for cooking in this joyful book that is contagious. You will feed off of their enthusiasm for cooking and sharing with family and friends. And with 100 recipes, from Skillet Roasted Chicken to Brunswick Stew to zesty Bourbon French Toast, you will no doubt find something to try out with your family here. This book is vibrant and colorful with many great tips that Pat and Gina also use on their Food Network hit series, Down Home with the Neelys. They are a fun and loving couple with so many innovative ideas to share. Be sure to check out this book today.

smitten kitchen.jpg6. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook
By: Deb Perelman

This book is a personal favorite with so many terrific recipes that it is difficult to decide which one to try out first. Perelman created a book that is both relatable to the average person, being that she is not a chef or restaurant owner, and fun, with delicious twists on classics that will not seem as daunting as other cookbook’s might make them out to be. Her Vermouth Mussels with Tarragon Oven Fries are not only delicious but easy to make and her Tomato-Glazed Meatloaf with brown butter mashed potatoes is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The stand-outs in this book though have to be the amazingly mouth-watering desserts, such as: Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake, Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart, and the amazing Deepest Dish Apple Pie. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is definitely worth a look.

These are just a few of the many wonderful cookbooks Frank L. Weyenberg Library has on the shelves. Young and old, good home cooking is something to be appreciated by all. Please stop in and check out our selection today. We look forward to seeing you!

-All Book Cover Photos Provided via EasiCat.