Welcome to DBRL Next, the library’s blog for adults! Here you’ll discover authors, programs, area events and learning resources. Visit often and find your next good book. Unravel the mysteries of new technologies. Read about upcoming films, lectures and computer classes. Participate in Adult Summer Reading. Find a volunteering opportunity, a new hobby and more. What’s next? Scroll down to find out!
My librarian pal Hilary and I just had the pleasure of presenting to groups of area teachers, letting them know all about the free online learning tools for the kids they teach, as well as for their own professional development. The boatload of incredible information available to you if you have a library card and Internet access is pretty amazing. Here is just a handful of the online tools you should be using.
Education and Elearning tools from Lynda.com
Want to take a course in deploying 1:1 iPads in the classroom? How about project-based learning or flipped classrooms? Need to get up to speed on a certain software, like Blackboard, Excel, Keynote or PowerPoint? These and so, so many more courses are available from Lynda.com. Your students can take courses, too, on topics like basic code-writing skills, time management, information literacy and research paper writing.
Test preparation with LearningExpress Library
SAT, ACT, TOEFL, AP Exams, GRE, HiSET – prepare for these tests and more with up-to-date courses and practice tests. LearningExpress has career help as well, with prep for occupational exams (Praxis, Civil Service, EMT Certification) and skills building courses (business writing, popular Microsoft software).
“Maine” is a story about three women, all related, who find themselves in different situations in their life but sharing their family vacation home in Maine. The women look back at events in their lives, how they’ve reacted to situations and built or destroyed relationships and what shaped them into the people they have become (or could have become if it weren’t for the structure and history of their family). This is a great summer read; the chapters are all built around the three main characters and move along at a quick pace. It’s a bit bittersweet, though, and not just because of the characters’ lives unraveling. It makes you realize that summer vacations come to an end, and we have to return to our lives.
Two words that describe this book: poignant, bittersweet, fun
You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve ever taken a family vacation or even thought about it.
As the summer heats up, many of us find that a great way to cool off is to head to the water. The swimming beach at Stephens Lake Park is a favorite place for my family to spend the afternoon, and we also enjoy canoeing at Finger Lakes State Park. In a figurative sense, one can cool off by reading great books about traveling on water, and the library has many that fit the bill. Let’s take a look at a few new and classic titles.
In the spring of 1834, Richard Henry Dana Jr. was a young man recently dropped out of Harvard University because of poor health and looking for something to do while recuperating from his illness. He signed on with the Pilgrim, a ship that launched from Boston. Dana recounted his experience in arguably the greatest work of maritime nonfiction, “Two Years Before the Mast.” The Pilgrim spent a great deal of time on the coast of colonial California, and Dana’s writing about these explorations is one of our best documents of the very early settlement period there. Dana also examines at length the injustices imparted upon common sailors. “The captain, in the first place, is lord paramount. He stands no watch, comes and goes as he pleases, and is accountable to no one,” writes Dana.
Dana was also obsessed, as were most sailors on these multi-year voyages, with the offerings of food and drink. “Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine From Ancient to Modern Times” by Simon Spalding is a detailed look at the history of food found on ocean-going vessels. On a ship like the Pilgrim, the fare was described in the following way by a common sailor: “the mush is never cooked, the beans are awful, and the Cape Cod turkey, or in plain English, the codfish, is the meanest mess of all.”
After the breakup of her engagement, Sarah Booth Delaney embarks on another case. This time she is investigating threats against a local blues club. The story takes many twists and turns, and Sarah Booth’s friends – Tinkie, Cece and Coleman – are instrumental in solving the case.
I love the Sarah Booth Delaney series because there is always a good mystery that keeps me guessing, but also because of the characters. The relationships between the characters are really what keep me coming back to see where they will go next. Especially Jitty, the ghost that does her fair share of complicating life for Sarah Booth, as well as providing some comic relief.
Three words that describe this book: mystery, Southern, adventure
You might want to pick this book up if: I found this series by looking for something similar to the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. While this one is similar in that the characters that become private investigators weren’t actually trained for that profession and they also get themselves in a fair amount of trouble, the series itself is a bit more serious than the Janet Evanovich books. Other similarities are strong female characters, the relationship development among the characters and the mystery aspect.
Sports are big business. The athletes are treated as commodities, and they are salesmen. They aren’t just coached on how to play their sport, but also on how to speak to the press. (It’s in cliches and non-answer answers. Really riveting stuff.) Sometimes it seems the true measure of an athlete’s accomplishments isn’t how many rings they win but the number of sponsorships they get.
Beneath this veneer of brand-spokesman blandness, corporate PR and the talking hairdos on 24-hour sports networks, something weird is still going on. The rules are arbitrary, the feats of physical accomplishments are freakish, and this slick business culture is built on a simple obsession over games. Yes, the fans can get obsessive, but the athletes themselves? They need an intervention. Ridiculous salaries for a few can make us forget how many people there are still playing their sport for very little. How many players in the Minor Leagues are sharing small apartments with teammates compared to Major League players with shoe contracts? Or Olympic athletes training early in the morning before work? It gets under their skin, and they have to play the game. Weird.
“The League of Outsider Baseball” captures some of that obsessive weirdness. Author and Illustrator Gary Cieradkowski has put together a collection of beautifully illustrated profiles of baseball players. Some are household names, like Babe Ruth, but most are lesser known or forgotten players, like the ones you meet in the chapter, “The Could-Have-Beens.” Some of these players could have been household names too, but dumb luck or bad life choices derailed their promising careers. Take Pistol Pete Reiser, whose combination of physical skill and unbridled enthusiasm for the game gave him a penchant for playing through serious injuries and running into outfield walls. Once he was knocked unconscious so long a priest performed last rights. The chapter, “The Oddballs” is populated with unlikely contributions to baseball history from a one-armed pitcher, a hunchbacked orphan, one team composed entirely of brothers and another from an apocalyptic sect. This is the scruffy underbelly of baseball, and it’s fascinating reading.
Congratulations to Pam S., a Columbia Public Library patron, on winning our sixth Adult Summer Reading 2015 prize drawing. She is the recipient of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
If you have not registered for the library’s Adult Summer Reading program, you can still do so online or by visiting any of our locations. Once you sign up, you are automatically entered in the prize drawings. Also, don’t forget to submit book reviews to increase your odds of winning. There are three drawings left this summer, so keep reading and sharing your reviews with us!