Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall

essays after eightyLet me first admit that the way I discovered this book was not when I placed it on my “to-be-ordered” list or when I stumbled upon it by happenstance in the library. Instead, I was talking about BookFace Friday. This event happens every Friday when librarians and other bookish people find books with people’s faces as the cover, pose with them as their actual face, and post pictures on their social media accounts. (Still confused? Check out the Instagram page for BookFace Friday.) As I was looking up examples to show, I found someone using this book as their face. I was instantly intrigued by the title and immediately wrote it down to order/read.

Donald Hall, former U.S. poet laureate, constructed Essays After Eighty as a way to describe for others the vantage point of life at very old age. The essays Hall has written for this collection intricately weave subjects like death, aging, being limited when you reach old age, traveling in foreign countries, honorary degrees, his love of garlic, and just what is actually important to you when you reach his age. Describing for readers his deep love for his home, the deceased love of his life, and how to deal with growing older are just some of the topics Hall broaches in this enduring collection. Hall extends back to his past in some essays describing scenes that stand out in his mind to the present where he spends his time at Eagle Pond Farm.

Be sure to check out this book to read more about Hall’s life as a biographer, children’s author, and as a human being trying to figure out how to deal with everything old age has thrown at him.

Michael Jackson: The Experience

michael jackson the experienceNow that it’s finally spring, it is time for “the wiggles” to come out. This happens every year when the weather gets nice outside and kids are fit to bursting to do anything outside. But what about those rainy spring days when they’re stuck inside? I turn to video games, but ones that people of all ages can enjoy playing (and ones that *hopefully* won’t lead to fighting matches between the players).

My favorite go-to games like this are any of the singing and dancing ones. I just discovered Michael Jackson: The Experience and was pleasantly surprised with the game as a whole. This Wii game allows four players to play with the only requirement being that each has a Wii remote.

If you want to practice your moves before you compete against your friends, the game offers a practice space in Video Training mode. This game also allows you to battle your friends in a Challenge Mode, have the other players be your back-up dancers, or even make your own dance crew. Dance along with Michael to 26 of his iconic hits that range from “Beat It” to “Billie Jean” to “Smooth Criminal”.

So next time it’s rainy outside or you need a new distraction, head to the library and check out our collection of musical video games.

War of the Wives

war of the wivesA phone call wakes you up in the middle of the night: “This is Detective Inspector Bowles from the Metropolitan police, Mrs. Busfield. We’re outside your house. Can you please let us in?” You scramble out of bed in shock, your first thoughts running to your two grown children and the one sleeping down the hall. Are they okay? You open the front door to find two policemen telling you your husband of twenty-eight years has been found dead, floating in a river. Not possible. He’s supposed to be in Dubai on business. You are in denial.

Fast forward to the funeral. As you walk to the crematorium flanked by your children, everyone stares. Standing outside, you hear wailing coming from the parking lot and see a grown woman on her knees keening. As she staggers to the door, you’re infuriated that she dare intrude on your grief. She reaches the vicar standing on the steps, grips his arms, and demands to know what happened to your husband and wants to know who organized the funeral without telling her. He politely tries to disengage, while asking who the woman is. She grips his arm and says, “I’m his wife.” You are shocked. She can’t be.

Two women. One husband. Deception, betrayal, and death. If this description has caught your interest, check out Tamar Cohen’s War of the Wives for more information about Selina, Lottie, their families, and the dead patriarch of the family, Simon Busfield. Just remember: Not everything is as it seems.

If You Find this Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers

if you find this letterIn today’s world, it’s not uncommon to see many people concentrating more and more on their screens and less and less on the people in front of them. This sad fact hit Hannah Brencher when she moved to New York right after she graduated from college. As she was exploring her new home, she discovered that instead of the warm and welcoming place she expected it to be, she was surrounded by people who knew exactly what they wanted to do, who knew exactly where they needed to be, and who were not the least bit concerned about a young girl who was just trying to figure things out and looking for help.

Feeling somewhat defeated one day at the subway station, she saw an old woman who seemed to be in a similar lonely situation. Brencher was drawn to the woman and could not look away. Staring at her, she remembered how her mother used to write her love letters and how that simple piece of paper always made her feel better because that meant someone else understood and cared about you. She decided then and there to write the woman a love letter. Sitting curled up on the train, Brencher hurriedly scrawled a note to this woman, wrote “If you find this letter, it’s for you…” on the front, and dropped it. Feeling better, she began leaving love notes all over the city and eventually created the blog The World Needs More Love Letters.

Seeking help when her inbox reached over 400 requests for love letters, she created a campaign that you can subscribe to join to write love letters to perfect strangers. If You Find this Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers is a memoir Brencher wrote describing her love-letter writing journey in her new home, how she began to feel more connected to the people around her, and how this simple letter writing campaign has helped her restore her belief in the goodness of people.

Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper

dictatorship of the dressWhen I was growing up, I always had a secret hope that I would meet my significant other on a plane and we would magically fall in love, travel to an exotic location, and live happily ever after. When I reached high school, I realized that my plane-phobic self would actually have to get WILLINGLY on a plane(and not freak out) to do this… My child self was crushed. I would have to continue to look for those fairy tales in books.

Just last week, I stumbled upon a fiction romance novel called Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper that allowed me to live out my childhood fantasy of travel love. In this novel, Topper weaves together the lives of Laney Hudson, the dress bearer for her mother’s wedding, and Noah Ridgewood, a software designer on his way to his bachelor party. Laney is sick of hauling her mother’s dress around, as her mother seems to care only if the dress actually makes it to the wedding, not her daughter. As she carries the giant dress bag through the airport, she is constantly mistaken for the bride, a mistake Laney uses to her advantage so she can be bumped up to first class. Here she is seated next to Noah, who the flight crew mistakenly thinks is her husband-to-be. Enter in horrible winter weather, missed flights, Laney’s lost love, and an overbearing fiancé, Laney and Noah soon find themselves grounded in the last available honeymoon suite. The two must wrestle with events in their past that are holding them back from catching this new love connection.

The Price is Right

the price is rightCome on down! When I’m sick, I find myself binge-watching daytime television. Bob Barker’s voice haunts my sickness dreams telling me that I’m the next contestant on The Price is Right! Even though Mr. Barker is no longer the host, I still find myself watching the show as Drew Carey leads contestants through all the classic games in order to win the showcase.

Since my dream to be on The Price is Right has never materialized(Dangit!), I have found other ways to compete with my family and friends to win bragging rights. One of these is the Wii game, The Price is Right. Here I can live out my fantasy of being on the show and compete on Contestant’s Row against my friends to try to get to that treasured Showcase round. Fans of the old and new version of the show will recognize a wide variety of the games: Bonkers, Plinko, Punch a Bunch, Hole in One, Contestant Row, Grocery Game, Lucky Seven and many more. Over thirty classic pricing games are available to be played.

Gather up your friends and see which one of you is the best at guessing the closest price!

AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors & Unexplained Phenomena

asap scienceGrowing up, I was always curious about anything and everything and I still am. As a result, my poor parents, and really any adult who happened to be near me, were often subjected to my numerous questions: Why is the sky blue? Is cracking my fingers really bad for me or do you just find it annoying? Are my eyeballs really going to pop out of my head if I sneeze with my eyelids open? And many many more questions…

Now that I’m an adult, I find myself on the receiving end of those questions every day as well as having questions of my own. How do I answer these questions? Well, I look them up either online or in books. One of my favorite places to look for answers when I don’t have books nearby is a YouTube Channel called AsapSCIENCE. (They also have another channel called AsapTHOUGHT where they add a social conscience twist to science.) On the AsapScience channel, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown have made hundreds of YouTube videos about a wide variety of science subjects.

As I was walking the new shelves, I discovered that Moffit and Brown had come out with a book called AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors & Unexplained Phenomena that goes into more detail than their YouTube channel does on certain popular questions, rumors, and unexplained things that are populating our everyday lives. Filled with illustrations as well as easy to understand definitions of difficult terms, Moffit and Brown tackle the important questions: What are eye boogers? How can I cure my hangover? Is binge watching tv really bad for me? Crack open this book to answer those burning questions about the 5 second rule, what would happen if you stopped sleeping, and even if the zombie apocalypse could really happen. They even have the answers to my blue sky, cracking fingers, and sneezing questions!

Have more questions that this book doesn’t answer? Come visit the library and our reference librarians can help you find the answers.

I Could Pee on This

i could pee on thisI have a dilemma. I think cats are adorable, but I’m allergic, so I can never own one. I get my cat fix by visiting my friends who own cats, where I’m forced to admire them from afar and not get too close. Let me tell you something that I’ve noticed: cats are WEIRD. Don’t get me wrong, I admit cats are significantly smarter than my dogs, but I can never be 100% sure what exactly is going on in any cat’s head.

Enter in I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats. This book has become my go-to manual for figuring out what that tabby cat is thinking as it stares me down from the corner of the room. Ever wondered how they feel about catnip, laser pointers, traveling, or even that new fuzzy kitten you brought home? Let the cats tell you all about it. The next time you decide to try to sleep in, are wondering what happened to your curtains or couch, or are even curious about why your cat seems to change his mind so quickly, turn to this book to gain a humorous understanding of why cats behave the way they do(and then maybe swing by the pet store on your way home and pick up some catnip and a brand new toy – they’re not opposed to bribery).

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is a book put together by Amber Dusick. The idea for this book came about when she was looking for a way to vent about her frustrations and joys of being a parent. As a result, her blog, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, was born and morphed to include anything and everything that she needed to vent about in her life, not just parenting. It became so popular that she decided to turn her blog posts into a book. She just came out with one about marriage as well. Go Amber!

Dusick describes her family throughout her book as Crappy Baby, Crappy Boy, and Crappy Husband, though she stresses multiple times that none of them are in fact crappy, JUST her drawings! Since she wanted to tell people about the things that happened in her day-to-day life, she figured drawing crappy pictures, the only kind that she can draw, to go along with her stories would help illustrate her frustration.

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is broken up into ten different chapters, each detailing one major part of parenting that Dusick and other parents can completely relate to, from the difference in your life before and after kids, how to deal with sickness in your house, remembering the good stuff about being a parent, and also what she calls the “50 Crappy Laws of Parenting”.

Follow Dusick as she regales you with stories about how you just can’t get your kids to BE QUIET while on a road trip especially on a plane, how family dinner time is never actually family dinner since that would require everyone to sit at the table at the same time, and just how much you should treasure sleep because babies, for some reason, do not sleep at all!

The Bro Code

bro codeAre you a fan of the hit CBS show, How I Met Your Mother, which ended last March? If so, you might be familiar with The Bro Code that Barney Stinson lives by. The Bro Code has a deep and righteous place of holiness within Barney’s life. Some people live by a code of morals, some by a guardian angel, some by religion or the Constitution, but Barney instead runs his life by a code of awesome.

Lucky for fans of the show, Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn came out with a book version of The Bro Code. Barney is very clear, both on the television show and in the introduction to this book, that these are “rules for social decorum” that determine how bros should live their lives. For those confused about the show, who Barney is, and what exactly is a bro, Barney has you covered. He breaks down all the necessary details in the introduction, the origin story of the bro code, his section on just what is “the bro” and the subsequent glossary in the back of the book. The articles of the bro code range from the simple (Article 1: Bros before hos) to the complex (how to pick a good wingman and how to maneuver the Hot/Crazy scale).

People looking for a good laugh and fans of the show will enjoy this book.