Your Library Staff at Home – Watching Birds (& TV)

It’s been hard to concentrate lately. I know that many people also are feeling this way right now. I’m even (sniff sniff) having a hard time reading. So, for some escape this week, and for lots and lots and lots of laughs, I’ve been streaming NBC’s Superstore, starring America Ferrera. The quirky characters on this multi-season sitcom are coworkers at Cloud 9, a big box store, where hi-jinx ensue on the regular. This show just might help you stop missing your coworkers whileworking from home.

What else am I watching? Birds! We are an advanced-beginner bird-watching household. We have our dog-eared guide book and hurry each other to the window to see something new.

Ducks. Hummingbirds (Yes, they are back even with this snow!). Orioles. Nuthatches. I know these birds have always been in (or migrating through) my yard, but it feels like I am seeing them with new eyes. This shutdown has provided me with an opportunity to be present, it slows me down when I feel restless and uncertain and helps me appreciate what is around me– my backyard, my pets, my family. To be comforted by the familiar, and to be open to viewing the familiar in a new light are starting to feel like gifts.

I see more birds because I am looking more, which takes time. I know that eventually everything will bounce back and return to a new version of normal, but I aim to hold on a bit to the good stuff I’ve learned from this. When life picks its pace back up, I plan to keep taking the time to take time.

New Nonfiction Coming in April 2020


Spring is all about excitement! Here we have got some interesting titles making their way to our collection this month!



4/07: Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein – The best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the psychologist author of Stretchshare anecdotes, studies, and strategies for promoting workplace fulfillment through focused organization and productivity. One million first printing.

4/07: Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in 7 Simple Steps by Ian K. Smith – Aims to help readers win the battle of weight loss by getting everything in order above the neck, guiding readers to find their motivation, stick to a plan and set the right goals.

4/07: Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines – Following the launch of her #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook, Magnolia Table, and seeing her family’s sacred dishes being served at other family tables across the country, Joanna Gaines gained a deeper commitment to the value of the food being shared. 



4/13: The House of Kennedy by James Patterson – A revelatory portrait of the Kennedys explores how the dual mottos, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “Win at all costs” shaped generations of life inside and outside the family.

4/14: Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-century Memoir by Madeleine Korbel Albright – Revealing, funny and inspiring, the six-time New York Times best-selling author and former secretary of state—one of the world’s most admired and tireless public servants—reflects on the final stages of her career and how she has blazed her own trail in her later years.

4/14: No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier – The award-winning Bloomberg News reporter presents a behind-the-scenes look at how Instagram defied the odds to become one of the most culturally defining apps of the decade before its founders’ lesser-known but an explosive departure from Facebook.



4/14: Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace by Carl Safina – The New York Times best-selling author of Beyond Words brings readers close to three non-human cultures—what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them.

4/14: Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit – An award-winning patient advocate presents a revelatory assessment of 15 out-of-date, common and widely used medical interventions, from vitamins and sunscreen to prescription drugs and surgeries, that are proving more harmful than helpful.

4/21: Kid Quixotes: A Group of Students, Their Teacher, and the One-Room School Where Everything Is Possible by Stephen Haff & Sarah Sierra – A Yale-trained educator whose experiences in a violent district triggered his mental illness describes how he organized an extracurricular reading program to provide a safe environment for at-risk students, including the silent daughter of an undocumented mother.




Animals Make Us Human

Not too long ago I read Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. This is a very interesting book about animal behavior and animal research by the highly accomplished Dr. Temple Grandin, who is also a person with autism.
Anyone with an interest in animal welfare will find this book thought-provoking. As it happens, when I was reading this book, there was a movie on HBO about the life of Temple Grandin. I actually didn’t get to see this film, so am waiting for it to arrive at the library. The movie stars Claire Danes, is called Temple Grandin, and is scheduled for release on August 17.


Fond memories from 2009

Well, I managed to squeak in some reading this year (which I admit, I am having trouble believing is ending) and there are a few good books that stick in my mind… 

This book completely swept me away from the very first page. What a story! Told from the perspective of a Nigerian orphan we first meet while she is detained in a British immigration facility, this novel will have you laughing, crying and waiting on the edge of your seat for the details of the life-changing event of Little Bee. 

Although a longer read than I normally pick up, this book captured and kept my interest with its “insider” look into the secretive and elite world of Ivy League college admissions. Woven together with the story of a troubled boy’s quest to find a place to fit in, the private and professional life of Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan reveals what it takes to make the decisions that affect the lives of many college hopefuls. 

  • Heroic Measures by Jill Climent

This was a quirky little book that I ended up liking a lot! It follows the pursuits of Alex and Ruth, an elderly couple in Manhattan, who are hoping to move out of their five-flight walkup into a highly desirable (albeit highly expensive) “elevator” building in the city. Mingled with the storyline of their apartment hunting/open houses is the subject of their precious little dachshund Dorothy who suddenly loses the ability to walk, the fact that a possible terrorist is loose in the city, and the couple’s mixed feelings about their impending move. All of these things make for a book that you (for some unexplained reason) can’t put down! 

  • Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

A book that will definitely give you a chance to walk a mile in another person’s shoes and see the power of animal companions.  In this moving memoir the author describes the tragic accident that left her husband with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and changed the course of their lives together forever. Though the material seems like it would be too overwhelmingly sad, Thomas gives glimpses into who her husband was and now is through little stories and humorous anecdotes that will touch your heart and show you the power of true love. 

One of the best books I read in 2009 and boy did I finish it in no time! It was fascinating, with its vivid descriptions of pre civil-rights movement society and intimate stories of how “the help” was really being treated in white households in the south. The writing was fantastic, the characters were perfectly created and the story was one I won’t forget. 

Yet another book that was beautifully written and tells an interesting story. Philomena (Pip) Ash turns out to be a superstar swimmer and future Olympian who is discovered at the tender age of just 9 months when her parents take her to a mom-and-me swim class and watch her naturally take to the water. Things are not always rosy in life for Pip, however, despite her Olympic gold medals, and she must learn who she is and how to survive outside the pool as well.


Homer’s Odyssey

homerMove over Dewey! Homer is here. Last year librarian Vicki Myron wowed readers with her story about Dewey the library cat. This fall, the new cat book is called Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. Homer was adopted by Cooper when he was a tiny kitten. He had lost his eyesight due to a terrible infection. Cooper was worried about how Homer would adjust living with her two other cats and to life in general. She needn’t have worried. Homer is fearless; Gwen’s friends nickname him El Mocho, the cat without fear. And in the years Gwen has “taken care” of Homer, she has found that he has taught her a thing or two about life and love.


One Amazing Parrot

alex and meI can’t remember where I heard about the book Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg, but it sounded interesting so I put a hold on the book on CD thinking that I’d listen to it. Well, I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book as much as this one. Part scientific study and part memoir, Alex and Me is also the story of a thirty-year loving relationship that any pet owner would completely understand. As much as Dr. Pepperberg stresses Alex’s accomplishments in the field of animal behavior, she also shows his unique personality while telling anecdotes about her studies with Alex. 

Once, when given a piece of apple to eat, Alex would not repeat the word apple. Instead he gave it the name “ban-nerry.” The more the trainers repeated “apple,” the more he replied “ban-nerry.” Finally students figured out that Alex coined the word to describe the red outside skin of an apple and the soft inside of a banana.

Alex often got bored with the repetiveness of his training and would say “want a nut.” He expected to receive one right away. Once when he was repeatedly ignored, he sounded out the word nut–nnn…uuuu….tttt. Again, he amazed his trainers because he actually knew the sounds that made up the word and wasn’t just “parroting” other people’s phrases.

If you liked the story of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat, you’ll love Alex and Me.