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Nov 24

It’s That Time of Year Again!

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Craig Jacobson

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The end of the year is quickly approaching, which means that everyone is revealing their top reading picks for 2014. So far Library Journal, Amazon.com, and Publisher’s Weekly have released their year-end favorites. Each list is extensive, some are ranked, while others are organized by genre. Here is your guide:

11.24.14 Blog 1.JPGLibrary Journal released their editor’s choices at the end of October with selections ranging from women’s fiction to graphic novels to science. The list is decidedly more precise to specific interests and readers who know what they like will find something on this list. Children’s and Young Adult content are not included in this list.  The Top Ten includes: An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay, No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, Us by David Nicholls, Some Luck by Jane Smiley, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

11.24.14 Blog 2.JPGAmazon.com ranks the best books of each year in a simple top 100 list. While primarily adult fiction and non-fiction, there is a small selection of children’s and young adult titles included as well. If you are interested to see what everybody has been reading this year, this list includes both popular best-sellers alongside critically acclaimed award winners. The top selections include Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng, All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel, Redeployment by Phil Klay, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides, and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs.

Publisher’s Weekly selects a variety of titles similar to Library Journal, but adds in picture books, middle grade, and young adult materials. With thirteen different genres represented and over 100 titles there is sure to be a new book to try!  A few titles for youth highlighted by Publisher’s Weekly include Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, My Teacher Is a Monster (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee, Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff, Half Bad by Sally Green, and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. 
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Additionally, the prestigious National Book Award winners were announced last week for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. Looking for fan favorites instead? Browse through the Goodreads Choice Award selections which are nominated and voted on by the users themselves.  As winter settles in for the long haul, discover what you missed this year and visit the library to check out some new favorites!

Nov 13


Posted on November 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Craig Jacobson

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cornucopia.jpgHaving survived their first year in America, the pilgrims held a feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest.  Many look at this celebration as our first Thanksgiving.  Thinking of this meal, one might envision turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pies.  You might be right about the turkey, maybe the cranberries, but definitely no cranberry sauce.  Sugar was in short supply at that time and mashed cranberries would not be introduced into their diet for some time.  Truth be told, we know very little of that day.  Edward Winslow, one of the pilgrims, wrote ”Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors”. Rejoice they did, for 3 straight days.  That’s a lot of cooking.  In, Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving recipes and history from Pilgrims to pumpkin pie, there is more trivia about this special day as well as recipes ranging from old fashioned to today.

If you want information on how to cook and pull off a perfect Thanksgiving from planning the meal to washing the last dish, then Thanksgiving: how to cook it well, by Sam Sifton, the Time’s resident Thanksgiving expert, is the book for you.  He will show you how to cook a mouth-watering turkey, set a Thanksgiving table, and concoct festive cocktails.  He’ll show you how to do all this and more and with no stress.

Thanksgiving 101.jpgPerhaps you don’t have any special recipes for this special day.  The Thanksgiving Cookbook contains more than 340 recipes to make this day one you’ll never forget.  Don’t like turkey?  There are instructions for chicken, capon, Cornish hens, squab, duckling, goose, ham, and prime rib, as well as 37 different stuffing recipes.  This book pretty much covers all the bases.  When you’re trying to figure what you’re going to do with all those leftovers the next day, there are recipes for that as well. For you novices, there are foolproof recipes for turkey, stuffings, desserts, and much more in Thanksgiving 101.  

quilters holiday.jpgIf all you have to do for Thanksgiving is show up at someone’s home with a bottle of wine, you may have some time on your hands for a little reading.  If Thanksgiving mysteries are your thing, you might try the suspenseful Strangers at the Feast , Speak of the Devil, A Fatal Feast, and The Ghost at the Table.  If you want to mix mystery with recipes, then A Catered Thanksgiving is for you.  If you prefer something on the lighter side with a little humor throw in, then Thanksgiving Night and One Night at the Call Center would be a perfect choice for you. A Quilter’s Holiday and Thanksgiving are just great reads.

family thanksgiving.jpgYou can pretty much watch football all day, but after all that cookin,g you just might want to sit back, relax, and watch something different.  Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, A Family Thanksgiving, and An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving are all be great choices to add a little variety to the day.  And the day would not be complete without seeing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

May your Thanksgiving day be a special one!

Book covers courtesy of Easicat.

Oct 28

Wacky Holidays

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Written by Carol M.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Turkeys are going on sale, stores are announcing shopping hours, and the weather has taken a decided turn for the cold and dampish. Unquestionably, Thanksgiving is November’s most famous holiday, but it is by no means the only bright spot in the greyest month of the year. Check out some of November’s weird and wacky holidays and find a reason to celebrate.

UltimateSandwichBook.jpgUnusual holidays start early in November, kicking off with Sandwich Day on the 3rd. Commemorating the birthday of the Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, Sandwich Day promotes the lunchbox classic and encourages you to celebrate by expanding your repertoire of bread-plus-filling meals. The Ultimate Sandwich Book offers interesting ideas that can help you move beyond the old standbys – with some interesting tidbits along the way. (What’s America’s favorite sandwich? Turkey.)

VforVendetta.jpgTwo days later, remember, remember the 5th of November, known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night in the UK, which celebrates a man’s failed attempt to blow up the British Parliament. Bonfires (sometimes with effigies) and fireworks mark the occasion. Recently, Guy Fawkes masks have re-entered the larger public consciousness with the movie and graphic novel V for Vendetta.

Don’t party too hard on Bonfire Night, though, or you may end up an involuntary participant in Marooned without a Compass Day on November 6th, a day celebrating highlighting our collective lack of an internal compass. It’s shortly followed by the most curiously specific holiday on the list, National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day (Nov. 7th). November 8th is the equally peculiar Dunce Day, set on the death day of John Duns Scotus from whose name the word derives.

Corduroy.jpgJust one week later, Have a Party With You Bear on November 16th. Gather up some music or snacks and celebrate with Paddington, Corduroy, and Winnie-the-Pooh. You could also explore nonfiction books about real bears (599.78) or click here to explore more bear titles of all kinds.

50Hikes.jpgAlthough you’ve just read up on bears, you should, on no account, go looking for them on Take a Hike Day (find out about bear safety here). Instead, plan a trek with a helpful guide or explore locally on the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. If the weather isn’t hiker-friendly, you can curl up with Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, recounting his trek along the Appalachian Trail, or Halfway to the Sky, about a girl who traverses the trail after her brother dies and her parents divorce.

PenelopeCrumb.jpgFinish off the month by working off your Thanksgiving feast: celebrate Square Dancing Day. Learn the basics with The Complete Book of Square Dancing or find out why Penelope Crumb is Mad at the Moon after square dancing in gym class.

Want to know about other cool and quirky holidays? Check out Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary to find about other fascinating festivities around the world.

Ultimate Sandwich Book cover: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YAmYkrAWL.jpg
All Other Images Courtesy of Easicat