Here at Cedar Mill Library, we’ve had a great summer with all the kids and teens participating in the Summer Reading program! Be sure to come into the library to claim your free prize book and other finishing prizes by August 31. See you soon!
August 28, 2014
August 27, 2014
It’s not what you think; the f-word here is food. If you watch television at all, you have may have noticed that retired British footballer/ celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey runs a franchise of a handful of shows at any given season. As if you need another, I want to let you know about a British show he hosts. WCCLS has five seasons and if you are a fan of his “suffer no fools” approach to cooking, check it out for yourself!
August 26, 2014
Want to read something a little scary? It’s seems like a classic folk tale that’s been around for ages, but it’s a new story, called The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier. It’s reminiscent of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which the author cites as one of his inspirations for this story. It follows two children, Molly and Kip, who have traveled from Ireland to England during the famine. They go to find advertised work at the Windsor estate, in an area known as the sour woods. Everybody stays away from the sour woods and won’t even give Molly and Kip directions to the place. Molly and Kip meet a traveling storyteller named Hester who also warns them about the place, but gives them directions in exchange for a story from Molly about the place. Molly, you see, is something of a storyteller herself. When they arrive, the family at the estate is pale and drawn. Kip sees a strange man in the night, the Night Gardener. I don’t want to reveal any more details about the story, I don’t want to spoil the suspense! This book is aimed at middle school aged kids, but it is so well crafted I think adults should read it too. It’s the best sort of gothic Victorian horror story, I highly recommend this book!
August 25, 2014
I heard a great song on the radio the other day. I wrote down the group and searched the library catalogue the next day. 60 holds! Well, there is one bandwagon I’ll have to wait to get on. At the same time I am shocked to find that some of the 2014 albums I am savoring are lingering with empty holds queues. So while we wait in line for the new Black Keys, Beck, or Kongos album (that’s your hint that this is an Indie Rock list, more or less), check out a few albums released this year and holds list free!
We are Scientists - TV en Francais
Really I cannot understand why this album doesn’t have a hold list a mile long. Check out the single “Make It Easy” and then tell me I’m wrong. It’s pop-rock. It’s not shaking up the system, but it’s well done and it’s infectious.
Gem Club – In Roses
This album was highly anticipated for me, because I love the debut album Breakers. It is my go-to rainy day, mellow album. Mostly piano and otherworldly vocals, Gem Club is great when you’re not after lyrics. I wasn’t disappointed by In Roses, but it is even more ethereal, even more sedate, than the predecessor. It makes me look forward to those grey winter days.
Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – Midnight Sun
This album is a combination of 70s progressive and 60s psychedelic rock. It’s like if The Beatles had stuck it out together through the 70s. I only say that because the band members are Sean Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl. It’s an easy album to listen to because it’s happy and dark. It can accommodate different moods.
Warlocks – Skull Worship
I expected something different from an album titled “Skull Worship” by a band called “Warlocks.” I think I was imagining death metal or something; it’s not death metal. It is a droney dark 60s sort of jam band sound. There is a lot of fuzzy guitar and mumbled vocals. They keep it interesting though.
Hospitality – Trouble
I didn’t love the first, self-titled, album by Hospitality. So I nearly skipped this second album, but I’m glad I didn’t. Dreamy, angelic female vocals, prominent bass, a steady beat, subtle guitar with a few mellow solos, and was that an accordion? I don’t know. But it’s layered and complex and still straight-forward rock music.
This album is dramatic. At first it sounds a bit like something from The Lion King soundtrack. These songs roll though; there is rhythm to this rock. Every instrument is going full force, steaming ahead. It’s high energy and emotional.
August 22, 2014
“You’re listening to me, but I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to tell you!” We’ve all had moments like those. Significant other, child, parent, friend – you feel like you’re talking at cross-purposes, and you’re not sure how or if you’ll be able to make yourself understood.
Magnify that frustrating gulf by an entire planet then mix in an isolated human colony unused to interactions with the indigenous culture. For extra complexity fold human concepts of love and friendship into genetic connections that humanity doesn’t have and can’t understand, cook for nearly a century and top off with technological advancement that could destabilize and destroy a delicate planetary balance.
That’s the background for C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, an SF cycle of diplomacy, political intrigue, assimilation and compromise. Newly appointed ambassador Bren Cameron is dumped headfirst into the delicate politics of the atevi and their struggles with reconciling traditional structure and rules of propriety with the desire to eventually become a spacefaring culture. Add an Assassins’ Guild that acts as an analogue to human courts of law and you have the recipe for a tale that sprawls over fifteen books so far, each building on the last with a depth of worldbuilding that astonishes.
The heart of the series are its complex characters, all of whom grapple with overlapping and occasionally contradictory loyalties. Bren’s atevi bodyguards Banichi and Jago and the enigmatic aiji-dowager Ilisidi are particular standouts, and all of the human and atevi characters have consistent motivations, driving the action in satisfying ways.
Cherryh is hard at work on a sixteenth, and she shows no sign of stopping. If anthropological science fiction in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin’s work appeals, start with the first novel Foreigner and immerse yourself in the concepts of man’chi, Associations, and the inner workings of the aishidi’tat. If you’re already almost caught up, the newest volume Peacemaker came out this year with all its danger and diplomacy fully intact.
August 21, 2014
I like to incorporate some non-fiction books, science in particular, into my family’s nightly reading routine. Not all science books read the same, however. I’m pleased when I find titles that are easy to read aloud, yet still contain good solid information. Here’s a list of informative and interesting read-aloud science books to share with your children, written for ages 4 and up. -Teresa
Balloon Trees by Danna Smith
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray
Beetles (also Centipedes, Spiders and others) “Creepy Critters” series
Things That Float and Things That Don’t by David A. Adler
You Can’t Ride a Bicycle to the Moon by Harriet Ziefert
Body Actions by Shelley Rotner
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
August 20, 2014
The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat & cheese belong in a healthy diet, by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, is the result of nine years spent reading thousands of scientific research papers and interviewing pretty much every living nutrition expert in the United States. In this 337 page book, with 60 pages of extensive notes and 46 pages of bibliographic evidence, Teicholz concludes:
“Eat butter: drink milk whole, and feed it to the whole family. Stock up on creamy cheeses, offal, and sausage and yes, bacon. None of these foods have been demonstrated to cause obesity, diabetes or heart disease… What I found, incredibly, was not only that it was a mistake to restrict fat but also that our fear of the saturated fats in animal foods – butter, eggs, and meat – has never been based in solid science.”
Her book doesn’t expose some dark plot to kill off Americans, but the exact opposite – it describes well-meaning individuals at our most trusted institutions working toward what they believed to be the public good, but getting it terribly wrong thru faulty science. She explains how these experts, using highly fallible nutrition science studies, produced sketchy data that was nevertheless used as proof of a theory that became accepted as truth.
At the time she began her investigation Teicholz was (in her own words) “a faithful follower of the low-fat, near-vegetarian diet” and she admits that “…these conclusions seem counterintuitive. They were counterintuitive to me when I started the research for this book. And the implications seem almost impossible to believe, even though they are supported by the best available science: that a beet salad with fruit smoothie for lunch is ultimately less healthy for your waistline and your heart than a plate of eggs fried in butter.”
“Our fear of saturated fats is therefore unsubstantiated. This fear may have seemed reasonable once but persists now only because it fits the preconceptions of researchers, clinicians and public health authorities; it conforms to their prejudices… Recent scientific research and the historical record all lead to the conclusion that the consumption of refined carbohydrates lead to high risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sugar, white flour, and other refined carbohydrates are almost certainly the main drivers of these diseases.
Now in 2014, a growing number of experts has begun to acknowledge the reality that making a low-fat diet the centerpiece of nutritional advice for six decades has very likely been a bad idea. Even so, the official solution continues to be more of the same.”
Others who also support an animal fat-centric diet stress the importance of consuming grass-fed animals over grain-fed animals because of the better Omega 3 / Omega 6 fatty acid ratios. That aside, this book despite being dense with data, is very readable and a great place to start your own inquiry on this topic. — Erin
(Quotes taken from the Conclusion of the book)
August 19, 2014
Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir has hit a home run with her creepy ghost novel I Remember You. The book alternates chapters between two different stories, which come together in the end. In one story, three people travel to a completely deserted town, only accessible by boat, in order to renovate a house they have just bought and wish to turn into a bed and breakfast. The house has a bad reputation and soon creepy things start happening, including the unexplained presence of a young boy who won’t talk to any of them. In the other story, a psychologist is asked to look into the suicide of an old woman who turns out to have been obsessed with the psychologist’s son who disappeared a few years earlier. This book seriously gave me the heebie jeebies and I loved it! It’s great for anyone who loves a good ghost story, or just loves to be scared in general. Since all of the town and character names are Icelandic, I found a pronunciation guide online to make sure I was saying their names correctly. My favorite is the town Isafjordur. This book is a must read!!
August 18, 2014
Friends of the feathered, furry, or flippered will find plenty of titles to choose from at the Cedar Mill branch. Two displays throw the spotlight on some of the fantastically beastly books and movies we have.
“Tales With Tails” features true stories about unique animals, and the people who love them. Prefer your reading in ebook, book-on-cd, or large print format? Click on the link, and then use the list on the left to limit your results by “type of material.”
We also have plenty of spider-starring and camel cameo-ing movies for those who prefer their entertainment with a side of popcorn. “Creature Features” has something for everyone. Looking for a movie about a telepathic car tire who develops a fondness for exploding crows with his mind? Yup, we have that. (And it’s a personal favorite!)
Browse from home with the links above, or stop by to peruse in person. Whether you like your creatures cute and cuddly or scaly and sinister, you’re sure to ferret out a title or two that are just right!
August 15, 2014
Picture this: it’s midsummer. It’s positively boiling outdoors. The sidewalk is melting into puddles and it’s not fit for person nor beast. Your brain is telling you it’s only going to be working at half capacity for the foreseeable future. Cognition has left town with a note saying “BACK IN THE FALL.” Ice cream is cooling your body, but what will cool your brain? You need sweet and adorable movies brimming with wit and verve, that’s what!
Let’s get things started with two of the best screwball comedies ever made – both coincidentally starring Cary Grant.
His Girl Friday – this tale of an ex-marriage, political corruption and Rosalind Russell clocks in at an insane words-per-minute ratio and is coincidentally one of the funniest films of all time. Will Rosalind Russell’s Hildy marry Ralph Bellamy’s milquetoast Bruce or get drawn back into the high-pressure newspaper game by Grant’s silver-tongued Walter?
Bringing Up Baby – Katharine Hepburn has set her sights on Grant’s nerdy paleontologist, who just wants to track down his missing intercostal clavicle, come high water or a leopard named Baby. Farce, romance and slapstick collide at speeds unhealthy for anyone who isn’t a lead in a screwball comedy, which fortunately lets Hepburn and Grant zip at speeds only bested by His Girl Friday.
The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) – Come for Anthony Asquith’s zippy adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play, stay for the handbag. Played with deadpan zest by Michael Redgrave, John Worthing has a problem. He’s been living a dual life as a cheerful rake named Ernest, but his two lives collide when he comes to ask for his love Gwendolyn’s hand in marriage. And then there’s the delicate matter of his upbringing…
Much Ado about Nothing – Shakespeare’s classic tale of two people who are totally perfect for each other who don’t realize they are perfect for each other has two lovely modern adaptations: Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as leads Beatrice and Benedick in the 90s and Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof in Joss Whedon’s 21st century version. Both are breezy and brilliant.
Amelie – Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain is an adorable French take on Emma. In between flights of fancy, Audrey Tautou’s quiet Parisian arranges happy endings for the people around her while neglecting her own, until her soul mate wanders into her sights and she has to decide if she can break down her own defenses.
Cold Comfort Farm – There’s something “narsty in the woodshed” in this Channel Four adaptation of Stella Gibbons’ 1932 novel. Aspiring writer Flora Poste travels to the country to improve the lives of her relatives through sheer force of will. Kate Beckinsale’s Flora is a whirlwind of “modern ideas” who somehow knows exactly what each of her troubled relatives needs and delivers with a spring in her step and an awful bit of poetry from her notebook.