Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What We're Reading Now: Food Books!

Here are two recent titles relating to food that we’ve enjoyed:

Hungry by Darlene Barnes (641.5092 BARNES)
Would your dream job be feeding male collegians five days a week?  New to Seattle, Darlene Barnes did just that at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at University of Washington.  When she arrived the kitchen was a disaster; fresh food was totally alien to the environment.  She welcomed the challenge of creating good meals, feeding her guys more than just food and learning from them in exchange.  Her memoir is funny, irreverent and includes a few recipes which the fraternity grew to savor.  

 To Eat: A Country Life by Joe Eck (635 Eck)         

Gardeners and life partners Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd purchased 28 acres in Vermont in 1974.  Over the years they created a superb garden, detailing their experience in several books. Each chapter in “To eat” is devoted to a fruit, vegetable or livestock from the farm; line drawings and the occasional recipe add to the reader’s visual and culinary delight.
I made the Hashed Brussels sprouts-they were delicious.    

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What’s up on the second floor?

The second floor is now the proud home of Mountain View’s ever-expanding Seed Library. Separate drawers give the browser looking for seeds many choices: Cool season edibles, Herbs, Ornamentals, Warm season edibles, Grains and Unusual seeds. If you want to contribute additional seeds to the Seed Library, you can drop them off at the second floor Information Desk.  (More detailed information about this great program can be found at http://mvplibrary.org/seedlibrary/ ).

If seeds aren’t your thing, we have displays on other topics: November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and we have many books to guide budding authors. Holiday cooking features wonderful recipes for any occasion.  If you’re interested in getting value for your holiday shopping, check out the tips on improved access to Consumer Reports using your Mountain View library card.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

What We're Reading: Great War

Great War: a photographic narrative by Mark Holborn (940.3022 Great)

 As November 11 approaches, this collection of photographs from Britain’s Imperial War Museum displays the impact of the camera on the historical record of World War 1. War photography captured the crowds’ excitement at the early stages of a war that would be “over by Christmas”; it saw the birth of aerial reconnaissance; it created an indelible portrait of the everyday soldier’s struggles in the trenches on the Western Front and the battles elsewhere on land, sea and in the air. It showed exhaustion, murderous slaughter and moments of great solemnity.
The shots of the denuded woods, the ruined villages, the gassed soldiers stay in one’s mind. These marvelous pictures from every theater of war-and the home front- do justice to a hollow victory which only set the stage for more violent wars to follow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What We're Reading: All Fall Down

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (FICTION WEINER)

Allison Weiss supposedly has it all, but it’s fraying at the edges. She’s doing well as a blogger, much better than her newspaper journalist husband. Her father’s dementia is getting worse, but her mother doesn’t want to face it. Her young daughter challenges her at every opportunity. Life is exhausting -so what’s the solution? It starts with a little white pill (leftover from a prescription for back pain ) that gets her through the day. Soon it’s multiple pills, gotten by any means she can. She ends up in rehab, a solidly middle-class woman who made a wrong turn. After rehab is a different life, a hard road to staying clean and a different happy ending:
Life on life’s terms. It was an absolute bitch. There was no more tuning out…no more using opiates…to fill in the cracks… I would try to be grateful that I’d stopped when I had instead of berating myself for letting things get as bad as they’d gotten. I had learned what I needed to learn. 
I thought Weiner had exaggerated the ease of slipping into addiction, but the news says otherwise. Prescription drug abuse made the front pages of the September 7 San Jose Mercury News, detailing the rise in fatalities from prescription drug overdose. A recent New Yorker feature (September 8) detailed the overdose epidemic in middle-class Staten Island. No happy endings, just grieving families.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What We're Reading (and Doing): LEGO Architecture

LEGO Architecture by Philip Wilkinson (720.22 Wilkinson)

Did you play with LEGOs as a child? When it comes to LEGOs, the sky is the limit and it’s no longer just for children. LEGO Architecture highlights the many models that enthusiasts can recreate with LEGO bricks et al. The cover draws you in immediately with silhouettes of famous landmarks in black on a silver background. Inside, vivid color pictures of the original structures –the Sydney Opera House, New York’s Empire State Building, Chicago’s John Hancock Center , Rome’s Trevi Fountain,  Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel and London’s Big Ben among others- and the models  created with LEGOs demonstrate the intricacies involved in the building process.  You may not visit all these sites in the flesh, but you can build these replicas

If the price tag for a set is a little steep, check out this book as a first step.  Then join us this Thursday, October 16th,  for Lunchtime Legos for Grown-Ups. See if it's still as fun as you remember. Drop-in anytime between 12:30 and 1:30.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bit of France comes to the Library

France was on my mind when I went to Thursday’s accordion concert, Lunch at the Library featuring Linda Gibson. She gave the history behind her accordion and the kinds of music she played: gypsy swing, Cajun music and zydeco. She performed “Under Paris Skies” and tunes popularized by Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Clifton Chenier and others. Toddlers and adults swayed to the music; the concert ended with everyone joining in on “Jambalaya”. My neighbor mentioned to me that all we needed were berets and loaves of French bread to complete the experience.

 Why had France come to mind?

The song “Under Paris Skies” is featured on the DVD series Maigret and I had just read a reissue of an early Georges Simenon novel featuring Maigret, Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien. I could easily picture myself trailing along with Maigret as he follows a shabbily-dressed traveler who then commits suicide. Maigret keeps investigating; it leads him to a crime ten years earlier whose consequences continue to haunt a group of young men.

Simenon’s novels are short but very atmospheric; not police procedurals per se, but philosophical views of crime, criminals and the human condition. The DVD series captures the mood of the books perfectly.

For more of that touch of France, watch Maigret and/or read further Maigret adventures. If music is your thing , we have many CDs of Reinhardt and Grappelli. You can also catch performances of Reinhardt and Grappelli on Youtube.

Bonne chance!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What We're Reading: John Harvey

Good bait by John Harvey (M HARVEY) 

I’d forgotten how much I liked John Harvey until I picked up Good bait. 

Two cases intersect for DCI Karen Shields in London and DI Trevor Cordon in Cornwall although they never meet. Harvey lays out the connection between the body of a dead teenager from Moldova found frozen on Hampstead Heath and a missing young woman with past history to DI Cordon. He tells a good story as always-Eastern European thugs, money laundering, organized crime and the vicious crime of murder all come together.

Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey (M HARVEY) 

Charley Resnick’s final case: a body turns up during excavation. Charley is retired from the police, but a colleague asks him to help her officially investigate it. The victim is a woman who disappeared during the Miner’s Strike thirty years earlier, and Charley knew her. He remembers the violence and double dealing on both sides during the Strike- hard feelings still remain. Was the victim collateral damage to the Strike or was there another reason? 

John Harvey created a wonderful character in Charley Resnick of the Nottingham police. I’m really sorry that he’s decided Charley has come to the end of the road. If you haven’t read the others in the series (and his other books), do so. They are excellent.