Thursday, March 29, 2012

Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating Book

Does your house suffer from cookie cutter design, i.e. just like everybody else’s. The Better homes and Gardens New Decorating book may be just what you need to inspire you to do a spring spruce up.

This new book is full of low cost decorating ideas, and quick fix-ups. This book invites you to explore your personal style, and design for how your family lives. Included are colour lessons, how to mix and match patterns, textures and how they add comfort to a space, and using design elements like balance, rhythm and scale. The book address design challenges for many housing styles and sizes, such as combining modern elements with family heirlooms in a comfortable old farmhouse, or bringing warmth and individuality to a small condo space.

Besides being practical this book is eye candy for anyone who enjoys decorating books and magazines. The pictures are large and bright. The designs in the pictures are not garish or tacky, but sophisticated and stylish (well, most of them).

This is only one of the library’s many decorating books and magazines that can inspire you to do a makeover of your space.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Break Boredom busters

“Mom, I’m bored!” Is this a common refrain around your house during spring break. A trip to the library can help in many ways. Of course, there’s the obvious of choosing books and magazines to read for fun. Everyone has a certain type of book they enjoy and the staff at the library can help your child discover an author, or genre, that will keep them entertained and quiet. If you’re travelling, stock up before you go.

There are also many books full of crafts and fun ideas for kids. I pulled Things for boys to make and do, published by Usborne and found it full of great ideas for keeping boys and girls busy. For instance, in this book there are activities as diverse as painting a scene, creating all sorts of interesting monsters, or drawing a pirate treasure map. Combine a pirate activity with a book on the same theme, like something from the Pirate School series. Make a flying dragon as you read Lily Quench and the Dragon of Ashby. Make a scary skeleton and get started on the 39 Clues series with book one, The maze of bones.

Morden, Winkler, and Altona branches will be holding Spring Break activities, so check the website or facebook page for those as well, and enjoy the week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King

When I first heard this title, 11/22/63 it took me by surprise, but I quickly got the significance. In this novel, just as he has done in others, Stephen King takes an improbable idea, and creates a way to make it happen. 11/22/63 revolves around the question of what would happen if this pivotal event in US history, the assassination of JFK, had never happened. The way this becomes possible is through a “hole” in the storeroom of “Al’s Diner” that allows one to step back in time to an afternoon in September of 1958.

High School teacher, Jake Epping decides to travel back in time and prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating the president in 1963 before he dies of lung cancer. His time travel gets mystifying, occasionally dangerous, and there are a few unintended consequences. There is also the question of whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald really did the deed in the first place?

This book is a really fun read; lots of excitement, some mystery and terror, and a love story written with King’s usual wry humor and sympathy. Jake Epping is a very likeable character and it’s a treat to be able to go back and live in 1958, lots of smoking, cheap prices, and big cars.

I caught a CBC interview with the author a couple of months ago where he discusses this book. I thought it was a great interview, so I include the link here. Click here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If you lived here: houses of the world by Giles Laroche

A new children’s non-fiction title caught my eye this morning in the book return. If you lived here: houses of the world by Giles Laroche is beautifully written and illustrated.

I like this book because it helps children learn about other cultures, and helps them realize that not everyone lives in house the way they do. If you lived by the sea in Chile, you could catch fish from your bedroom window. If you lived along the Grand Canal in Venice, you would take a boat to school. If you lived in parts of Spain, even today, it is possible that you would live in a cave.

Depending on the age of the child, this book offers much more detailed information. Secondary to the main text there are descriptions of each entry, materials and building methods, locations, the date when the structure was built and how it is used today, and fascinating facts about the dwelling. These notes on each page are interesting for adults as well. Each intricate paper-cut illustration is finely crafted and full of small details. The illustrations are bright and seem to jump off the page.

This book is a real treat to read.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyle

Feb 26 – Mar. 3 is Freedom to Read week in Canada. John Boyle’s book, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas brings to mind a time in recent history when there was no freedom.

During the second world war, Bruno, a nine year old German boy, son of a commandant, is moved, along with his family, from Berlin to “Out-With” in Poland. He doesn’t like it there. The house they live in isn’t as nice as the one they had in Berlin. He never gets to visit his grandparents anymore. Worst of all, he misses his friends. There’s no one to play with. From his bedroom window he can see many people, but they live behind a big fence and they all wear striped pajamas. One day he decides to go exploring and follows the fence.

Near the end of the fence he finds a boy on the other side of the fence. They begin to talk and discover that their birthdays are the same day. Shmuel and Bruno’s friendship grows over time – both of them struggling to understand the world they are living in. Bruno instinctively knows that he mustn’t tell his family about his new found friend.

The story is haunting, thought provoking and the end will leave you gasping.