Monday, June 30, 2014

Playing It Again

How is the experience for adults who return to a long idle musical instrument or take one up for the first time; or join a musical ensemble after many years away from one?  Here are some titles that answer that question and may inspire you to pick up an instrument again, play in a band, or sing in the choir.

by Noah Adams.  NPR correspondent Adam's 
monthly commentary on his buying a piano 
and learning to play at age 52.

The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L. Goldman.  
If you think you can play,you can is the motto of this orchestra of latecomers, newcomers, and returnees to music, young and old. Former New York Times reporter Goldman returns to his cello after twenty-five years to play in the LSO.

Impossible by Alan Rusbridger.  Rusbridger, amateur pianist and editor of
London's Guardian newspaper, chronicles his attempt to master Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G minor, one of the hardest pieces in the piano repertory.  In diary form with a separate section that includes the piano score and commentary, Rusbridger chronicles his progress against the backdrop of his very dramatic year at the Guardian, the year of WikiLeaks, phone hacking, and more.

Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others by Stacy Horn.  As a 30-year member of the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York, Horn relates its importance to her as well as giving history and background to great choral pieces, conductors, and composers.  She also looks into the history of choral singing and the science and health benefits of singing.

A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees.  British journalist Rees played the french horn from age 10 through 17, and then put it away to go to school.  As his 40th birthday approaches, he picks it up again to play the Hallelujah Chorus as one of the annual British Horn Society's 70-horn choir.  That experience rekindles his desire to play again as an accomplished amateur, and he sets a goal for himself to return to the festival one year later to play a Mozart concerto, solo, and to a large paying audience.  The book tells of his preparation for and realization of his goal as well as colorful history and stories of the horn and its players.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Books Definitely NOT on the Teacher's Required Summer Reading List

 Raucously funny, irreverent, and peopled with anti-heroes kids will laugh at and identify with.  And shhh! don’t tell, but they’ve all gotten very positive reviews and in come cases, accolades.

Adventures of Captain Underpants
 Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. Two mischievous boys, who are the bane of their principal’s existence, turn him into their comic book hero Capt. Underpants with a Hypno-Ring.  Together they fight an equally toilet-humored named villain: Dr. Diaper.  Parts comic book and laff out loud humor, Pilkey’s series ropes in mostly boys like himself : the class clown, or anybody who secretly wants to be.  Pilkey shares his own story as an illustrator and author, giving hope to grade school doodlers.  Many parents are concerned about the preponderance of toilet humor, intentionally misspelled words and the lack of respect given to authority figures.  Butt I think they are perfect for a summer afternoon  lazing around with friends or sleepover with a buddy.

Miss Daisy is Crazy
 Miss Daisy is Crazy by Dan Gutman .  First in the My Weird School series.  A. J., who announces he hates school, proceeds to tell us all about the various students and teachers who inhabit his extremely vertical school.  While teachers may acknowledge that most kids think their school (and teachers) are weird, they certainly don’t want to encourage it!  A silly series of relatively short chapter books for young readers to help them increase their literacy skills and tickle their funny bone.  There is also a subsequent series My Weird School Daze, as A.J graduates to 3rd grade.

Charlie Joe Jackson's
Guide to Not Reading
 Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tim Greenwald.  You wouldn’t expect a story about how to get out of school work to be picked by educators for inclusion on the Rebecca Caudill 2015 list.  Charlie has gotten by for years having someone else do a lot of his school work and is proud of it.  Unfortunately for him, his cohort stops cooperating and he is forced to come up with more schemes to avoid doing work.  Some might say the schemes are more work!  Eventually Charlie is caught and pays the price.  But his ego and optimistic outlook never suffer as he learns some lessons in personal responsibility.

Glitter Girls & the Great Fake Out
 Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out  by Meg Cabot.  Teachers try to find books with wide appeal for their students.  But a book about glitter, baton twirling and featuring a bright pink cover probably won’t get much enthusiasm from the boys in the class.  This is 5th in the series Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls. Allie captures our hearts as a sympathetic, humorous, spot-on character who has to navigate the world of tweens.  She does this with a List of Rules to cover situations as they crop up.  From the 1st  book, where Allie plans on how to stop her family from moving (A different school! A horrible house! What friends?!) to this installment, where she must choose between conflicting commitments, Allie matures in decision-making and coping.  Author Cabot (Princess Diaries) knows how to combine every little girl’s dreams and concerns with a worthwhile read. 

The Teacher's Funeral
 The Teacher’s Funeral :a Comedy in Three Parts. By Richard Peck.  Students complain that too many books have been written where the dog dies (for an excellent take on this, try No More Dead Dogs).  But a story where the teacher dies?(I shudder to mention Peck’s Here Lies the Librarian.)  Who wants to read about their own demise, especially as a comedy?  Russell Culver, 15, can’t wait to escape from the one room school house limping along in turn of the century rural Indiana. When his teacher “turns up her toes” right before the new school year begins in August, he figures that’s a sign.  However, a new teacher is found, right in the bosom of his own family and his time at school is not over. Peck keeps us turning the pages in this humorous story filled with lively escapades and rich in detail, harking back to a time and place uniquely part of our country’s past.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Eat Your Veggies and Your Greens

The Fresh & Green Table

plural noun: vegetables
  1. 1.
    a plant or part of a plant used as food, typically as accompaniment to meat or fish, such as a cabbage, potato, carrot, or bean.
  2. 2.
    a person with a dull or inactive life.
    "I thought I'd sort of flop back and be a vegetable for a bit" And Read a Book!!
The Fresh and Green Table Susie Middleton.  Brightly illustrated with 50 colorful photographs author Susie Middleton shares strategies, techniques
and 75 recipes for cooking vegetables in every season.   
Best Green Drinks Ever Katrine Van Wyk.  Boost your juice with antioxidants, protein and more.  
   Best Green Drinks Ever
Eat Your Vegetables  Bold recipes for the single cook. JoeYonan's eclectic vegetarian and vegan recipes are sized for singles as well as lone vegetarians in meat-eating households.

The Healthy Green Drink Diet  Jason Manheim. Advice and Recipes for Happy Juicing.
Vegetable Literacy Deborah Madison.                                         The Healthy Green Drink Diet
300 Deliciously simple recipes from 12 families of the edible plant kingdom.

Wild About Greens Nava Atlas. 125 delectable vegan recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy and other leafy veggies everyone loves.

                   Wild About GreensWild About GreensWild About Greens
Visit The Lake Forest Library Booth and The Lake Forest Library Farmers Market
 Each Saturday June 21 thru August 30th. Prizes, Giveaways and More.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

No Ugly Objects

In Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, the character Ismay says about books,  "... a nice jacket is important.  I don't care how good the insides are.  I don't want to spend any length of time with an ugly object."  

The books highlighted here are no ugly objects, inside or out; nor are they lush coffee table books such as the ones easily found in our Art, Architecture, and Interior Design collections.  These books are smaller, easier to hold and peruse, and are from a variety of subject areas.  So if you're looking for a beautiful book to sit with for a while or for one to return to often for brief reads, you might try one from this selection.

All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.  Loosely modeled after Medieval and Renaissance books of hours containing prayers and devotional verses, this book is filled with "historical anecdotes to demonstrate the unusual, fantastic, and beautiful ways people have spent time across centuries and continents."  With generous margins, ornamental page designs and illustrations, but no contents or index pages, this book is an interesting browse but not a ready source for information or answers.

The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany and The Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany, both by Graeme Gibson, have gorgeous illustrations on nearly every page to accompany selections about birds and beasts from fiction, myth, poetry, travel and nature writing, and other literature.  Both of these books are beautifully designed by CS Richardson to find within a few turns from any page a selection's beginning or end. 

World Tour: Vintage Hotel Labels from the Collection of Gaston-Louis Vuitton by Francisca Matteoli.  Gaston-Louis Vuitton was the grandson of the French fashion house founder and trunk-maker, Louis Vuitton.  Gaston-Louis Vuitton began working in the family business at fourteen and became a great collector of the hotel labels that were placed on guests' trunks beginning in the 1860s and that were among some of the best graphic design of the times.  This book features more than 900 of the approximately 3000 labels from his collection.  Mixed in with the labels are vintage photos and facsimile postcards of tourist sites and hotels.  Commentary on travelers and destinations from the 1920s to the 1950s and a history of hotel labels are included.  

Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All  edited by John Martineau.  This small squat book with iridescent lettering on the cover actually contains six popular science books, each having its own color for text and illustrations.  Concepts are handled in two pages, a page of text facing a page of illustration.  The design is very suitable to browsing, but the index and charts and tables of the appendix make it a useful reference book, too.  The six books included cover mathematical proofs and formulas, scientific elements, evolution, the human body, and astronomy.

Masterpieces of British Design by Charlotte & Peter Fiell; Foreward by Sir Terence Conran.  This book covers 300 years of British design masterpieces including textiles, ceramics, tools, toys, technology, transportation, furniture, and more. The bright clean design of this book includes facing pages with text about the designer and small photographs of work on one side and a full-page picture of the designer's masterpiece on the other side.