Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here? February 17, 2015Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
Tags: Families, Thoughtful Ramblings
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Who are you? No, really?
Do you know your grandparent’s names? What about your great-great grandparent’s names? Do you know where they lived? If they were born in America or Overseas? Were they Italian, Irish, Middle Eastern?
I love learning about my own ancestry, and based on the popularity of PBS shows like Genealogy Roadshow, African-American Lives, and Finding Your Roots, as well as the use of websites like Ancestry.com, it is obvious that many other people do too.
Did you know that you can research your family roots with resources provided by your favorite library? Here at Rocky River Public Library, we subscribe to two genealogy research databases, Ancestry (for in-library use only) and Heritage Quest. Did I mention they are free to use with your library card? You can find access to those resources at: http://www.rrpl.org/research/research_subject.html#genealogy We also link to cool searchable websites like Ellis Island passenger lists (http://libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger), the Ohio Death Index, and others that can help you get to the bottom of just how and when your people got here, their occupations, and who they lived with. Just think, you might just find a long-lost cousin or two.
I found census records for my family from 1920, enlistment cards from my Grandfather’s time in the Army, death records for family members I didn’t know existed, and much, much more! One of my favorite discoveries is a picture of the ship my grandparents emigrated upon, the Oropesa:
I hope you enjoy finding out!
We’re readers! Let’s talk about it! February 10, 2015Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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Love your library? Me too! Love to read? Oh, me too! Hey, have you read the latest John Grisham book? So did I!
I hear conversations like the above every day here at Rocky River Public Library. As a matter of fact, I’m often in the middle of one of them.
I don’t know about you but when I finish reading what I consider a “really good” book, I like to share, recommend, and talk about it! And when my friends inside or outside of the library have read that same book too, it makes the conversation even better–even if they *gasp* didn’t love it, or even if they *worse* hated it! There’s something about this kind of shared experience and connection of the book that I just don’t get when discussing a TV show or a movie. Reading can be so personal—you hear the author’s words your own voice; you imagine the characters’ looks and nuances as you read; you can share a specific experience or thought with a character in a story. And yet, so many of us love to talk about the book experience when it is over. Is this validation we are looking for? Excuses to avoid our real-world responsibilities in order to sit and read? Whatever the reason, for many of us, that ‘follow-up’ is just as much of a need as the original desire to read a book.
Looking for a place to get that need met? Stop in the library, browse our books, and talk to our librarians about what you like to read. We love sharing our favorites too! Want to delve a little deeper? We host book clubs for all ages! Come join one! You can find out about our book clubs (and other programs) here: http://oh.evanced.info/rrpl/lib/eventcalendar.asp We hope to see you soon.
Now, go ahead, get back to that book!
It’s Groundhog Day (Again)! February 2, 2015Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
Tags: Animals, Current Events, Thoughtful Ramblings
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Today is Groundhog Day! “Why celebrate?” you ask. Yes, I agree that it’s a day of tradition that usually just brings us bad news. Indeed, according to news reports today, Punxsutawney Phil has already seen his shadow. If you believe his forecasting skills, we now we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to. Don’t be too sad–just think of all the great reading and movie watching you can do stuck inside all those extra days.
In fact, I’m sure I’ll be able to catch one of my all-time favorite movies on TV. Groundhog Day will no doubt be on at least one channel this evening. I love this movie, and not just because it stars the wonderful, Bill Murray. I love Groundhog Day, because it is the ultimate ‘do-over’ film. I love nothing better than a story where the character gets a chance to relive their past to get it right.
Another great ‘do-over’ movie is Sliding Doors. Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a London woman whose future hinges on whether or not she catches a train. Her character’s two realities run parallel in this film about fate and choices, but it’s hard not to root for her ‘better’ half to get it right in the end.
For great ‘do-over’ reading, pick up Rainbow Rowell’s newest novel, Landline. This novel is about a marriage on the rocks. Georgie and Neal are separated at Christmas, and the only way Georgie can talk to her husband is on an old landline phone in her childhood bedroom. In there, the Neal who answers her calls is Neal from her past college days, pre-marriage. Can Georgie get her husband to fall for her all over again?
Sure, this is pure escape, reading and viewing fun! But, think about it! What would you do if you had a chance to do something over again? ~Carol
Happy New Year to All! January 2, 2015Posted by Maureen in Book List, Fiction, New Books, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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Here’s hoping 2015 is a great year for everyone!
A few books on my nightstand already to help me ring in this new year of reading:
The Paris Winter
by Imogen Robertson
The Paying Guests
by Sarah Waters
by John Grisham
My resolution to read more is already well on its way! Best of luck to you on all of yours!
2014 Top Ten plus 4 and 1 Tribute December 12, 2014Posted by Donna in Book List, Fiction, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
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Woo Hoo! I love talking books so I am very grateful to have a chance to share my favorite books of 2014 with other readers. I do have to apologize for not having all of these titles in our Reading Room but I will work on it as one of my top resolutions for 2015. If you have been following our lists this past week, you can easily see that all of us have different reading interests! We are a very diverse staff! My favorite kinds of books are the ones with quirky, likeable characters and sentimental, mushy stories that tend to have happy endings. It was hard to whittle my list down to just 10 books but here it is:
Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) never disappoints me. Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler and guidebook writer, is one sassy heroine and no one can stop her, not even a serial killer!
One word describes the author’s books — Magical. Kate and her daughter attempt to find their lives again at Lost Lake, the run-down summer resort owned by her great-aunt Eby.
In this conclusion to All Souls trilogy, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont must find Ashmole 782 before the birth of their children. This is a perfect book with fantasy, romance, magic, history and science all blended together.
It is never too late for a second chance at love even for sixty-something Mimi Malloy with a fading memory. Tissues are needed for the end of this one.
I needed tissues for this book too but along with the tears, I laughed and laughed with food blogger Lavender Wills and her online food blogger friends who visit her on her organic farm.
This posthumously published collection of short stories revolve around the imaginary Chestnut Street in Dublin where neighbors may come and go but their lives are all intermingled together.
He’s back! With permission from the Agatha Christie estate, the author, Sophie Hannah, has created a new Hercule Poirot mystery filled with red herrings, twists and turns that will puzzle new and old Agatha Christie fans. Ooh-la-la!!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my favorite’s childhood books. When June Anderson finds some lost letters between her great-aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, she is determined to prove that their friendship was the inspiration behind the classic book. I absolutely adored this book!
Gosh darn! I don’t know how this author can blend two such fascinating stories in one but she does! In 1964, Vivian Schuyler receives an overseas package that had been lost in the mail. This draws her back into her family’ past and into the life of an aunt that she never knew from the 1940s.
This was another book that I laughed and cried because of the quirky characters and their off-kilter romance during their horrible, disaster-prone road trip with a moody stepson, a 10 year-old math whiz and one stinky dog that was just too-too much!
This is the third book in the Land of Stories series and each one gets better and better. Alex is now training to be the next Fairy Godmother in the Land of Stories. When Connor discovers a clue left by the Grimm Brothers that warns of danger to the Land of Stories, he must get back there to warn his sister.
This is a collection of lost stories written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss that were first published in the 1950s in various magazines. Since I love Horton the Elephant, I loved the new story with Horton and how he deals with the Kwuggerbug.
I love elephant stories and this one is my new favorite. What an original! The story is simple as Nancy tries to remember something important but the illustrations are so imaginative and delightful that makes this picture book stand out!
This is a wonderful installment to the Alexander books first published in 1972.
Finally, my Tribute to P.D. James
P.D. James, an English crime writer famous for her detective novels featuring police commander and poet Adam Dalgliesh, died at the age of 94 on November 27, 2014.
Her last book, Death Comes to Pemberley was published in 2011 so I really couldn’t include it in my top ten list of 2014 but it too is one of my favorite books. I love Jane Austen and I definitely loved how P.D. James adapted Pride and Prejudice to create this mystery whodunit. This book has also been made into a PBS Masterpiece Mystery. Take a look at her interview on YouTube, P. D. James on Jane Austen and Death Comes to Pemberley.
My Top Ten (Plus Four) Reads of 2014! December 10, 2014Posted by carol in Book List, Fiction, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
Tags: Book List, Top Ten of 2014
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What a great year! What great reading!
While 2014 has practically flown by for me, I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done along the way! As usual, it was hard to narrow down my favorites, but I also did manage to come up with a list of winners. In no particular order, here are the books that moved me this year:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Paris Winter by Imogene Robertson
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Martian by Andy Weir
A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
California by Eden Lepucki
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
You can find our staff’s book reviews on the above titles (and about 8,000 other books) in our Reading Room at http://readingroom.rrpl.org
Check it out and maybe you will discover your new favorite book!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!
Maur-een in 2014 (see what I did there?): Books I Liked This Year! December 9, 2014Posted by Maureen in Book List, Thoughtful Ramblings, Top Ten, Uncategorized.
Tags: Book List, Top Ten of 2014
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I had a bit more time to read this year I think but I find that perhaps I am getting a wee bit choosy about my books as the years go on? It seems harder and harder to make it on to my list of “I really liked you” but there were at least a few I can say were definite contenders…
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
A great “tween” read for anyone, regardless of age. Tells the story of Rose Howard, a fifth grader with Asperger’s Syndrome who gets by in life with the help of her sincere love of homonyms (Rain, Reign), her uncle Weldon who understands her, and her rescued dog, Rain. Reminiscent of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. A story of courage and overcoming obstacles.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Who knew a group of moms could be so interesting and full of secrets? A real page-turner that grabs you and holds on. Being a mom, I could relate to a lot of the small details which made the book all that more believable. Madeline, Celeste and Jane are characters that jump off the page. A fast read!
The Bear by Claire Cameron
Not for the squeamish, this book is one of those rare gems written in a very unique style that is perfectly suited to the story it is telling. After a bear attacks their campsite in rural Ontario’s Algonquin Park, five-year-old Anna must help her two-year-old brother survive in the wilderness alone. Told in Anna’s child voice, the story packs a lot of punch in very few pages. Needless to say, I won’t be camping in the Algonquin Park any time soon.
The Untold by Courtney Collins
A fictionalized account of Jessie Hickman, a real-life livestock wrangler in the mountains of Australia, this debut novel tells the remarkable story of Jessie from the perspective of the child she buried: her neglected childhood, her circus days, and finally her outlaw days following the murder of her abusive husband, Fitz. I really enjoyed this book. The story unfolds slowly but you really get to know Jessie and the descriptive language is beautiful.
Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Ok, let me begin by saying that it seems you will either really like Herman Koch’s books or you will really hate them. I haven’t found too many people in the middle on that one. I happen to like them, even though I hate all the characters while reading his books. I didn’t say it had to make sense! Koch just has a way with evil-ness and twisted storylines…it is his gift. His newest book revolves around a doctor who, shall we say, is a bit lacking in the ethics department. Dr. Marc Schlosser doesn’t much care for being a doctor, and doesn’t really want to help people. But he does, here and there, enjoy the perks of his profession, one of which is crossing paths with the rich and famous. In Summer House with Swimming Pool, Dr. Marc ends up befriending a movie star but both of their lives will change in ways even he couldn’t foresee. Sinister!
Thirty Girls by Susan Minot
Told in alternating chapters, this novel follows the lives of Esther, a Ugandan teenager kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and Jane, an American journalist, who has traveled to Africa to delve deeper into stories like Esther’s. Both of the characters have struggles and as Minot interweaves their stories, you discover more about who each character really is. Based on true life events of girls kidnapped in boarding schools and enslaved or married off, this book came out before the events that are now unfolding in Nigeria with Boko Haram and so is very timely.
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
Another timely book…this one mainly covering the subject of death with dignity, Five Days Left tells the stories of two individuals, Scott and Mara, and how each is dealing with the limited time they have left with their loved ones, both for different reasons. Mara, once a powerful and successful attorney, was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease and is planning how to end her life to save her loved ones the embarrassment and stress of coping for her. Scott, a teacher with a first baby on the way, is coping with having only a limited time left with a foster child he has become very attached to. An interesting take on death with dignity, from a character living with having made up her mind.
Three Bargains by Tania Malik
Madan is growing up poor in India with a father that could take him or leave him (and would probably rather leave him). After his father makes a horrible mistake and costs his little sister her entire future, Madan makes a deal with his father’s employer, Avtaar Singh, the most powerful man in town, to bring her home and protect her. The bargain costs Madan his own future, as he becomes a mentee to Avtaar and learns the ropes of his many business dealings, but in the end, who will have the power? An involved story with a lot of descriptive detail of life in India.
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
When 12-year-old Eva is dumped on her estranged and recently widowed father’s doorstep by her mother, she is thrown into a whole new world with a whole new dynamic. There she meets her older half-sister and film star want-to-be, Iris. Together, brainy and thoughtful Eva and daring and beautiful Iris decide to pursue Iris’ dream and run away to Hollywood. After a scandal drives them out of town, Eva and Iris end up crossing the country with a cast of characters (and family) in tow. An entertaining read about some crazy family relationships.
Caribou by Charles Wright
Tennessee native Charles Wright has written poetry for over 20 years and was named Poet Laureate of the United States this year. He often focuses on nature themes and the human condition in his works, trying to inform the reader and make them think and reflect about their position and effect in the world. While his latest collection, Caribou, is a slender volume, it still delivers quite the punch, addressing themes such as aging, death, saying goodbye, redemption, and regret. I am amazed by the feeling Wright can evoke in so few words; most of the poems take up less than one small page. A wonderful, lyrical short read that will leave you pondering life’s big mysteries for a long time to come.
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
Book 6 in the Flavia de Luce mystery series was another speedy and enjoyable read as usual. This one was a bit more melancholy as Flavia’s life is becoming complicated by the fact that Buckshaw, her beloved home, may be in jeopardy of being sold. Flavia is growing up but still has the spunk and determination we have come to love her for. A great series! Book 7 due out January 6!!
The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
Together, my son and I finished all 5 books in this series this year: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. It was a wonderful adventure following Percy, first as he discovered his demigod status, and later as he battles monsters and fellow evil demigods to save Olympus. A series worth visiting, with or without a 10-year-old son!
How I Survived a Murder Mystery Party and Lived to Tell! October 27, 2014Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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True confession time: I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween! In truth, though, I don’t mind the holiday itself. I like candy. I think it’s cute when babies and little kids get dressed up in their costumes and parade down the streets. What I don’t like is being frightened, dressing up in a scary costume, or trying to scare other people. Maybe I was traumatized by my older siblings as a child, but whatever the case, I’m usually the one at home, not wearing a costume, and passing out candy.
For years, my best friend has hosted a pajama-themed Halloween party, specifically because of my dislike of the scary costume tradition. Really, she’s been the best to do this, but over the last few years, I’ve felt a bit guilty about forcing the direction of her annual event.
This year, she did something a bit different. She hosted a Murder Mystery Party! She bought a script and party plan from http://www.shotinthedarkmysteries.com/ and decorated her living room like a speakeasy.
The party’s theme was “A Flapper Murder Mystery at an 1920s Speakeasy.” We all had prearranged characters and a script of information to share or hide (and reveal only when directly questioned). We dressed in characters as flappers, coppers, speak easy owners and gangsters…and we had to figure out who done it? Who killed Fanny Birchwood?
Ultimately, I didn’t commit the crime, but I sure had a ball! And it was a great opportunity for friends who have known one another for years to break out of the mold and have something else to talk about!
So, if you are looking for an alternative to the usual fright fest for your Halloween soiree (or any party for that matter), try your hand at hosting a murder mystery party! It’s a whole different kind of scream!
Have a Happy Halloween!
Why So Grouchy? Try Smiling! October 15, 2014Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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I just found out that today is National Grouch Day! I wish I had known earlier. I could have planned accordingly and put on a frown. Instead I innocently went about the first half of my day, smiling and staying positive. I can’t help it; it is my default look. Someone once said to me, “If you are not smiling, how do you know what your face is doing?” Good point! Interestingly, according to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine by Richard Conniff, we can trace the origin of the smile back through more than 30 million years of evolution to the “fear grin,” a meek baring of clenched teeth, common among monkeys and apes. For them, it was a way to say, “Don’t eat me, I’m harmless.” As we evolved, so has the smile. Now, smiling is practically the universal sign of happiness and helpfulness.
The same article said that evidence suggests that people who smile a lot tend to be happier and more successful in life than those who don’t smile, and that the physical act of smiling actually makes people feel better. The best part–it’s downright contagious! Any chance this could be the only thing we pass on to others during this cold and flu season?
Until next time, keep smiling!
Why DIY? October 7, 2014Posted by carol in Uncategorized.
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It’s officially Fall and so if trapped inside on colder, rainier days, I find myself looking at bare walls, shabbier pieces of furniture, and worn throw pillows and I start to think, “I can make decorating improvements without spending big bucks to replace this stuff.” And then, I usually rummage around for some paint!
Last weekend, I spray-painted a wooden row of hooks that had seen better days. Now it is shiny dark blue and looks practically brand-new. Hanging on the bedroom wall, it downright invites clothes and towels to be hung, rather than flung to the floor. I liked filling the space on the wall so much, I then created my own custom art with stencils on two canvas stretchers. Previously, I made a headboard out of an art canvas, fabric and batting. I got that idea out of the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik, the genius minds behind http://www.younghouselove.com/
My techniques are not perfect and not always successful. You’ll notice that I’ve not included photos of my projects, and (true confession) there are some unfinished, unsuccessful upholstery projects still hiding out in my garage. My wall art will never compete with the masters, and my headboard won’t last forever. I have no delusions of grandeur here.
That said, why do we DIY?
For me, it is about the sense of accomplishment that doing it myself gives me. I can look at my completed work and think, “I made that!” Or, perhaps, it’s simply because it is so much fun to play with paint and glue. Yes, I’d rather have my walls filled with art by fabulous, talented artists and magnificent masterpieces.
Until the lotto calls, though, I will continue to make my own. Happy Crafting!