Post-Oscar Fun

PopcornSo, how did you do with your Oscar pool? A couple surprise winners – Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress and Marion Cotillard for Best Actress among them – probably messed up more than one score sheet. A complete list of winners can be found on the official Oscar site. If you want to catch one of the movies highlighted last night (or one of hundreds of others), be sure to check the library’s collection; we’ll be purchasing or have purchased all of the winners (Atonement, Juno and There Will be Blood aren’t on DVD yet but we’ll order them as soon as release dates are announced) Place holds on your favorites and we’ll call you when they’re available.

Of course, half of the fun of Oscar night is watching the stars and seeing the beautiful gowns. Get a recap of the all the glamour (and missteps!) at Entertainment Weekly’s online site and on E! Television’s site. What do you think – who had the best dress and who needs to hire a stylist?

Mental Floss Magazine

mental-floss.jpgA fairly recent addition to the Fairmount Library’s magazine collection, Mental Floss is

…an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times. And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while…

Recent articles:

  • “3 Extreme Ways to Go Green”
  • “Actually, It IS Rocket Science: NASA’s Brilliant, Far-Out History”
  • “Waropoly: How History’s Most Popular Board Game Helped Defend the Free World”
  • “10 Songs that Changed the World”

Remember, you can check out magazines from the library, including the current issue, for one week.

Murder in the National Parks

nevadabarrflashback.jpgDo you like to visit the National Parks? Do you like murder mysteries with a little romance thrown in? Check out the Nevada Barr mysteries. Her heroine is Anna Pigeon, a National Park Service Ranger who runs away from Manhattan after the death of her first husband. Each book deals with a murder in a National Park as Anna moves from post to post. Her descriptions of each park are great, making you want to visit. Flashback takes place in the Dry Tortugas National Park which is seventy miles off Key West. The story includes a current murder as well as the history and lore of the island, which is the site of historic Fort Jefferson. Anna’s sister Molly finds letters written by their great-great aunt who lived at the fort during the Civil War. With the letters providing the history of the fort and Anna’s description of her current posting at the park, you feel you are really there. After I read the book I had the opportunity to visit Key West and take a catamaran trip to Fort Jefferson; Nevada Barr’s vivid descriptions were right on the mark..

6 Things to Love about Winter

SnowflakeSure, it’s cold and miserable outside and it takes an extra 15 minutes to leave the house by the time you pull on hats and mittens and boots and coat and you’re beginning to think the color green is a figment of your imagination, but there are lots of reasons to love winter! Well ok, six reasons.

1. Indulge in favorite comfort foods – soups, sandwiches, casseroles. Check out the 641.5 section for cookbooks at the library.

2. Catch up on all those movies and television shows you’ve missed – the library has a huge selection and they’re free!

3. Plan your perfect garden – vegetable gardening books can be found in the 635 call number area and landscaping is in the 712s.

4. Embrace the season – try a new sport like snow shoeing or cross-country skiing. The library has sports how-to books in the 796 area that will help keep you upright.

5. Visit one of our city’s fabulous museums – the Figge, the Putnum and the River Music Experience are just the beginning.

6. Eagle watching. Cold weather brings the eagles to the open water of the Mississippi River, giving us a front row seat to one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

See? Not too shabby. Keep yourself occupied with something fun and the next thing you know – it’ll be spring!

What about you – what do you do to keep up your spirits through the last days of winter?

New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker

New England Soup Factory CookbookJust in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been having a dozy of a winter with rain, freezing rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures all making headlines. And, I hate to be the one to tell you this but warmer temperatures are still a few weeks away for the Midwest.

What better time for the warmth and comfort of homemade soup? The New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker will provide you with dozens of ideas. Soups as varied as “Wild Mushroom and Barley” and “Curried Crab and Coconut” as well as familiar favorites such as “New England Clam Chowder” will inspire you. Luscious photos may tempt you to chew on the pages (please don’t) and the stories of the restaurant (a long-time favorite located in Boston) will keep you entertained.

It just might be enough to get you through those last few weeks of cold and snow.

The President’s Table by Barry Landau

The President’s Table by Barry LandauHappy President’s Day! Every third Monday in February has been set aside to observe the birth anniversaries of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22), although it is now generally used to honor all former US presidents.

Ever wonder what goes on at those lavish Presidential State Dinners? The beautifully illustrated The President’s Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy by Barry Landau gives us a unique picture of the world and work of the Presidents. Showing us history from a social rather than strictly factual viewpoint, Landau makes history fascinating and personal. Included are photographs of menus and invitations, descriptions of meals served, and details of trends in entertaining which reflect the birth, growth and dominance of the United States.

First day of spring

Spring trainingThat’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on the ball. – Bill Veeck, 1976

Every baseball fan knows that spring starts this week – pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training. Just knowing that somewhere there is warm sunshine and blue skies and green grass and that the boys of summer are working out the kinks makes the promise of spring seem closer. If you’re lucky enough to be able to escape the Midwestern winter and visit one of the leagues (the Cactus League is in Arizona and the Grapefruit League is in Florida) check out out Spring Training Online for in-depth information about the teams, the parks they play in during spring training, how to get tickets and directions on how to get there as well as spring training game schedules. Spring Training Tips offers lots of valuable information from people who have gone to spring training including information on how to rent a house for your visit, where to go to squeeze in a round of golf and what kind of weather to expect. Major League Baseball has a wealth of information including the most sacred to baseball fans: statistics. Check out all the news about your favorite team and what players to watch this season.

And for the rest us, hang in there – the Cubs home opener is March 31 and the newly renamed Quad Cities River Bandits open April 3!

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

Madonnas of LeningradThe past is still vivid to Marina, even though the present fades in a fog of age and approaching Alzheimer’s. Now elderly and living in America, as a young woman she had been a docent at the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. When Leningrad comes under siege during World War II, Marina and the other museum workers carefully hide the priceless artworks, leaving the frames behind as a promise of their eventual return. Marina painstakingly memorizes each painting and sculpture, memories she can escape to as the winter and continuing siege worsen, memories that now seem more real than her current life. Interspersed with vivid descriptions of the artwork and the suffering of the Russian civilians, this is a beautiful book about the power of memory.

Graphic Novels — Fun for New Adult Readers

Call of the Wild graphic novelDo you know a struggling reader? Check out our Learning Center at the Main Library!

We have many new graphic novels packaged along with audio CD’s and/or cassette tapes. Using them together, one can listen to the words while reading, thereby reinforcing the words one sees on the page. Also, since graphic novels arebooks for struggling readers very similar to comic books in format, they are more appealing to teens or adults who don’t like to read. We have many classic titles that are often required reading in high school. We also carry other Hi-Lo (high-interest, low-reading level) materials and literacy aides. Check them out!

Little known fact about Frank Lloyd Wright

Death in a Prairie HouseThe most pivotal and yet least understood event of Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated life involves the brutal murders in 1914 of seven adults and children dear to the architect and the destruction by fire of Taliesin, his landmark residence, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Unaccountably, the details of that shocking crime have been largely ignored by Wright’s legion of biographers—a historical and cultural gap that is finally addressed in William Drennan’s exhaustively researched Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders.

Supplying both a gripping mystery story and an authoritative portrait of the artist as a young man, Drennan wades through the myths surrounding Wright and the massacre, casting fresh light on the formulation of Wright’s architectural ideology and the cataclysmic effects that the Taliesin murders exerted on the fabled architect and on his subsequent designs.

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