Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

For today I’ve turned to the SCRLreads blog to see what my co-workers have enjoyed.  Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan spent many weeks on the bestseller lists recently, and is a fascinating read.  Brain on fire is a harrowing journey into a month long disease induced madness that plagued the author.  Her condition is a fascinating medical mystery.

One day Susannah starts to feel "off".  A tingle and numbness start on the left side of her body.  Soon she starts acting erratic and begins hallucinating, becoming paranoid and delusional.  She begins to have seizures.  This is when her family realizes there is something horribly wrong with her.  After several misdiagnoses from schizophrenia to alcohol withdrawal to bipolar disorder she is examined by Dr. Souhel Najjar at NYU.  He diagnoses her with a rare autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the brain.  He begins treatment immediately.  In other circumstances, the author could have been written off as having had a psychotic breakdown and committed to an institution.  If left untreated, she would almost certainly have died.

Susannah Cahalan is a journalist and she has written a remarkable book. 

See what other books the library staff members have enjoyed by going to the SCRLreads blog on the website.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Big Shift by Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson

The Big Shift by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson has been on the bestseller lists for many weeks, and continues to be there.  This is remarkable for a work about Canadian political ideology, and its popularity is an indication of readability and an interesting thesis. 

The "big shift" that Bricker and Ibbitson speak of is demographic, ideological, and geographical.  They point out that for most of our history Canada has been governed by the political, media, and business elites of Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal; what they call the "Laurentian Consensus".  They maintain that power has shifted  and point to these indicators: Western Canada has increased in population, wealth and power;  suburbanites in eastern Canada are more concerned with economic than social issues and are aligning themselves with western conservatives; and immigrants from Asia, India and China are bringing with them conservative viewpoints and are also aligning themselves with the west.

Bricker and Ibbitson conclude that this big shift has resulted in Canada becoming polarized in ways that have never happened before.  Only those who understand this shift, whether political or economical, will be able to capitalize on the tremendous changes it will bring.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Play Baseball Like a Pro by Hans Hetrick

Yogi Berra once said,”Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical”.  He was talking about the mental toughness of great players.  For young players, really mastering the basic skills can take a great deal of time and mental toughness.  One book that might help is Play Baseball like a pro, by Hans Hetrick, and published by Sports Illustrated Kids.   
This book is full of key skills and tips from many of the great pros.  Pros offer tips for pitchers like the grip, keeping your head still, and arm speed.  Hitting hints include how to bunt correctly, and how to hit a curveball.  Sliding into home is covered, whether it’s the outside slide, feet-first, or head-first.  Fielding advise is offered including how to break up a double play, how to defend home plate, how to throw out a base stealer or turn a double play, how to hold a runner on base or fielding a fly ball.  

The book is written at a grade 3 – 4 reading level.  Whatever a child’s reading level, this book will appeal to them, as they can easily read a page or two at a time.  The library holds many different books to help a future major leaguer develop proper skills. And sooner or later, the snow will disappear and kids can use those skills.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't retire, Rewire! by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners

April 6 – 13th is Adult Learner’s Week.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are always learning although most of us don't recognize what we do each day as learning.  But whether we're starting a new job, a new hobby, or watching a documentary on TV, we are always learning.   

One time when most of us do not expect to be learning is when we are approaching retirement, but that is actually when it becomes crucial.  In their book, Don’t Retire, Rewire!, Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners lead readers through the process of planning for retirement.  This book is not about long term financial planning, but rather, thinking about what fuels our passion, suits our personality or fills our pockets. The nature of retirement has changed.  The need to contribute to society for what can easily be a quarter or a third of our lives is a powerful motivator for many.  

We often hear the term “life-long learning”, and have a vision of a class of seniors learning basic computer skills and that doesn’t apply to us.  Life-long learning, whether or not it pertains to retirement is as formal or informal as we want it to be, and the library is a great place to begin.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Curb Appeal

Everyone has had more than enough snow and cold, and if the calendar has you dreaming of gardening, check out what’s new in the landscaping and gardening sections of the library.   One beautiful new book, compiled by the folks at HGTV, is Curb Appeal.  

This book covers all aspects of yard planning:  the landscape, colors, entryways, and the design and details.  The book encourages the reader to begin with a thorough curbside analysis of their front yard.  Deciding on the budget is important early on in the design process, and the book offers suggestions that can make a yard makeover possible for anyone.  Following this, the book describes how to create an inviting entrance, including how to bring color into the scheme.  Making the driveway, or the path to your house a welcome site at the end of the workday; working around the borders of your property to frame the yard; plant choices, creating a relaxing space, and the finishing touches are covered in great detail.  Finally, the book includes a chapter on doing one’s homework to avoid common pitfalls.

This book is filled with the large beautiful illustrations we have come to expect from HGTV publications, so if we can’t get out there and play in the dirt, at least we can plan and dream.