Tuesday, May 31, 2011

33 Men by Jonathan Franklin

It only seems like a short time ago that the world held its breath as the 33 Chilean miners were pulled from 2300 feet underground. In his new book, 33 Men, journalist Jonathan Franklin offers a chronological account of the event, both inside the mine, and on top among rescuers, family and political leaders.

Eight exploratory bore holes were hastily drilled and 17 days after the accident, a note written in bold red letters appeared taped to the drill bit. It read ”We are well in the shelter, the 33”! Before the miners were rescued Franklin interviewed them via a makeshift phone that connected them to the surface. He developed a bond of trust with the miners as they described in detail the dramatic first 17 days of their confinement. Cut off from the outside world and unsure if they would ever be found, they were forced to create their own society while struggling to come to grips with the likelihood of a slow death.

This timely book is an uplifting story of survival and endurance and truly captures the story of the miners and the men and women who literally moved a mountain to save them.

Eyewitness Titanic by Simon Adams

The Titanic artifact exhibition in Winnipeg will be on display in the MTS Exhibition Hall for several more weeks, and if anyone hasn’t already taken it in, I would highly recommend it.

For those who would like to read up on it before visiting the exhibition, or learn more if you’ve already seen it, I would suggest the book, Eyewitness Titanic by Simon Adams. This is published by Dorling Kindersley, a company well known for its Eyewitness Guides.

This book follows the same chronology as the exhibit, beginning with building the Titanic, then the launch, the voyage, the tragic sinking, its rediscovery, and the maritime laws that were changed because of the lessons learned. Each page is laid out with pictures, illustrations, captions and explanations. This book is a glimpse into the tragedy that will find an audience among both young and old.

The library has a number of books and videos, so check them out. The Titanic still captures our imaginations, and next April will be the 100th anniversary of its sinking. So, keep an eye out for many new releases coming to the library during the next year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grow it, cook it, with kids by Amanda Grant

Now that the weather has turned, many of us will be heading for the garden and the greenhouse. There is a renewed interest in gardening and growing food. For many young parents this trend has extended to including children in garden planning, planting, maintaining, and harvesting. Grow it, cook it, with kids by Amanda Grant is a beautifully written and photographed book that offers many tips on teaching these valuable skills.

The book has an interesting format. Following some rudimentary gardening basics, each section is devoted to a specific group of vegetables. For example, the section on herbs and salad greens includes planting information, caring for the plants, harvesting, and 5 ways to prepare the produce. The same layout follows for potatoes, carrots, and onions; zucchini and tomatoes; peas and beans; and strawberries and raspberries. There are lots of large illustrations which makes the book beautiful, and a great teaching tool. The book keeps the produce choices to easily cared for fruits and vegetables so as not to overwhelm young children.

Before you head to the greenhouse, stop by the library, and get children and grandchildren involved in your garden.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rex: A mother, her autistic child and the music that transformed their lives by Cathleen Lewis

One of our staff says that the book, Rex: A mother, her autistic child and the music that transformed their lives by Cathleen Lewis , is the best book she’s ever read about life with a disability.

Rex was born blind and before he was two years old, he was diagnosed with autism. His mother, Cathleen, clearly describes her emotions as she advocates for her son’s education and therapies, and deals with his disabilities like being unable to talk or walk. His father gave him a keyboard for his second birthday, and music became his learning tool. When Rex sat down at the keyboard and played Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, his parents discovered his extraordinary gift.

Leslie Stahl, a Sixty Minutes correspondent wrote after interviewing Rex some years later, “The human mind – so mystifying in its capacity to accommodate both disability and genius in the same person”.

The story documents the relationship between a loving mother and her child, the times of despair and euphoria, and the people who come into their lives.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is Karen Armstrong’s latest book and it has been on the bestseller lists for many weeks.
This book began as a movement to develop, launch and promote a Charter for Compassion which would be written by leading thinkers from a variety of different faiths with the aim of restoring compassion to the heart of religious and moral life. The title immediately brings to mind the twelve steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Armstrong quotes the Dalai Lama who said that “whether a person is a religious believer does not matter much. Far more important is that they be a good human being.” Beginning with the first step, Learn about Compassion, and ending with the last step, Love Your Enemies, Armstrong offers practical suggestions on how to implement these steps in one’s daily life. As one moves through the steps, Armstrong hopes to expand the capacity for compassion in the readers for themselves and for others. Whether the reader is religious or non-religious, this book has something to offer.

This book is well-written and includes many personal and other anecdotes which illustrate her ideas. Elaine in our Winkler branch says that for those who enjoy Karen Armstrong’s writing, this is a must read.