Sunday, 28 September 2008

September 28th, 2008 Book Clubs

Do you love to read? Have you ever read a really great book and then wanted to share it with someone? Have you dver read just one paragraph or sentence out of a book and thought it was just too good to keep to yourself? If you answered yes to any of these questions then perhaps a book club is the perfect thing for you, and there is one out there just waiting for you. It’s that simple.

The Thunder Bay Public Library has on its website several ways for you to get involved in reading and book clubs. On the main page, under the WHAT’S ON tab, you will see a number of exciting opportunities for you to partake in what the library has to offer. Listed on the left amongst COMPUTER CLASSES and SPECIAL EVENTS is the BOOK CLUBS Tab. If this comes as a big surprise for you, then you are in for a treat. A myriad of exciting opportunities is about to unfold before your very eyes.

First up is the CASUAL CLERISY CLUB, a book club open to all, that meets on the second Tuesday of every month at noon, in the Auditorium at the Waverley Resource Library. You are welcome to unwrap your lunch and take part in their amazing fall lineup:

October 14: Focus on an Artist
November 18: Peace or War Books
December 9: Water for Elephants (Meet at the 55-Plus Centre for a Christmas Luncheon)

Along the same lines is the NOVEL LUNCH BUNCH. Add the third Monday of each month at 1 p.m. into the Mary J.L. Black Library, stir and repeat. This line-up rivals the first in both scope and interest level:

October 20: Kinship: Family Stories
November 17: Love Stories

If you already have your own book club but are just trying to keep it fresh, then you could network with other book clubs and explore what’s out there. The Library has created a database of local book clubs and would like to hear from you and yours. In this way you could be added to the database, and become part of a directory that will keep you informed of future author visits and new library services that may be of interest to you.

Perhaps your book club has everything in terms of people and ideas, but you need some new and exciting book titles. Try,, or With numerous books at the TBPL covering a variety of topics concerning the subject of book clubs, you will undoubtedly find what you need. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Reading Group by Patrick Sauer is available as an electronic resource through NetLibrary.

The Kids' Book Club Book: Reading Ideas, Recipes, Activities, and Smart Tips for Organizing Terrific Kids' Book Clubs by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, explores different ideas for kids who would like to start their own book club. And The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience written by by Diana Loevy would be another ideal choice.

Once your book club has decided on a book, date, time and place, there’s always the problem of finding a book for each member. The library has solved that problem with the BOOK CLUBS IN A BAG. Each bag contains ten paperback copies of one title, discussion questions, author information, and reviews for use by book clubs. There are more than 50 titles including Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen all the way through the alphabet to The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald and Welcome to the World Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg. You can place a hold on any of these titles with your library card.

Need a place for your book club to gather? Look no further. TBPL has meeting rooms to offer book clubs (or any groups for that matter). Check under the SERVICES / MEETING ROOMS page on our Web site for details. The Community Room at Brodie is comfortable and the atmosphere pleasant for small groups.

For those who love to read but whose time is limited and would prefer to kick back and enjoy their book club in the comfort of their home, there’s the ONLINE BOOK CLUB. You can sign up for this on the TBPL website. It allows you to sample your books before you commit to obtaining them. Each day, Monday through Friday, subscribers are emailed a five minute portion of a book. By the end of the week, subscribers have read two to three chapters from the book and if they like it, they can borrow it from the library, or fill out a request if the library does not have it. New books are featured weekly. There are eleven book clubs to choose from, and include something for every age and taste; fiction, non-fiction and even audio books for you to listen to on your computer or MP3 player. There is even a Pre Pub Club that lets you read books not yet published.

There’s more! For those on Facebook, there’s the visual bookshelf with millions of books. You can see what your friends are reading, and create your own lists. Say you’re about to embark on your next book which seems daunting at 900 pages, you can read reviews by those who have already finished it. You can also write your own reviews and recommend titles. The possibilities with TBPL are endless, so join in. There really are places to go, people to see and books to read!

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Joseph Addison

Caron Naysmith, Supply Staff

Sunday, 21 September 2008


What would we do without socks? They keep us warm and dry. Some people have a lot more than others, maybe even three drawers full. That's a lot of socks. There are styles for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and even National Pig Day (the manufacturers just don't know about that last one). You can even buy super soft hydrating socks with aloe. I hear they're wonderful. What do you do if your wool sock gets a hole in it? Do you throw it out? My father used to darn his. If you want to find out how visit ehow.

Buying Socks

If you're shopping for socks take a peek at the Podiatry Sourcebook, edited by Ivy L. Alexander. It has a chapter on selecting socks, covering topics such as fiber content, construction and finishes. It has advice on laundering, such as using warm, not hot water to prevent color bleeding. There's no advice however on how to make sure that when you put two socks in the dryer, two socks come back out. It's one of life's great mysteries. We carry this book in the Reference Department.

Making Socks

If you'd like to try your hand at knitting your own socks we carry titles such as Easy Knitted Socks: Fun And Fashionable Designs For The Novice Knitter by Jeanette Trotman. Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd features photographs, drawings and detailed simple steps that will have you making socks in no time. You can make striped, ribbed, boucle, even very feminine herringbone lace socks. These are the kind of socks you could give as a gift and not hear a disappointed "Oh socks!" Did you know you can even join a Sock Of The Month Club? Every month they send a kit containing a pattern and yarn right to your door. A quick Google search under "sock of the month kits" will help get you started. Before you know it you'll be impressing all of your friends.

Books About Socks

Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks by Robert Kinerk. Youngsters will enjoy this book. Chaos ensues when Timothy decides not to change his socks for a month. As time passes he's banned from school and his parents banish him to the far side of the yard. This zany story is told in a fun rhyming format.

Sock by Penn Jillette. This story has an unusual twist. It's the tale of a New York City police diver and his buddy Dickie. What's so unusual? Dickie who is also the narrator, is a sock monkey. When a former lover is found dead in the Hudson River, the team sets out to find her killer. The author of this book is magician Jillette Penn of Penn & Teller.

Sock Monkeys

There are fun things you can do with socks, such as making a sock monkey. If you'd like to try making one there is a free pattern on the following website - I found an interesting article on sock monkey history. A woman in Memphis created the first one from the red heeled socks made by the Nelson Knitting Company. After viewing the monkey, the company patented it in 1953 and first gave them away as promotional items to department stores. The patent has long since expired. If you'd like to read the entire article, just do a keyword search under sock monkeys in the General OneFile database, located in our Virtual Collection. The article is called "Folks still go bananas over sock monkeys."

Sock Programs

On Saturday October 18 we'll be having a children's program featuring socks, called Silly Sock Creatures. It takes place at the Brodie Resource Library at 2:30 p.m. and is for children 8 and over. You do not have to pre-register.

Well I hope you have a whole new appreciation for socks. The next time you slip on a pair of homemade ones, think about the time and love that went into making them. I hope this column knocked your socks off. Sorry I couldn't resist that.

Karen Craib Library Technician

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sunday September 14th, 2008 Hurricanes

Sitting here looking out my window at the gentle swish of the wind through the trees as the first of the yellowing leaves fall to the ground, it is almost impossible to comprehend the ferocity and damage that can be done when as swirling winds meet warm ocean waters. The series of hurricanes that are, currently, bearing down on the Caribbean and southern US demonstrate the fragility of life on our ever changing planet.

Whether it’s called a hurricane, typhoon or tropical cyclone, depends on where you are on the planet but the devastation is the same. The topic of the weather has fascinated man since the beginning of time and as the world becomes an ever smaller planet the natural disasters faced in one part of the world have taken on global significance. The library is full of new materials that explore both the tragedies and the triumphs of the human spirit that occur when a disaster strikes. In the meantime, put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and enjoy the gentle fall breeze.

The Encylopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons and Cyclones by David Longshore, will provide an excellent beginning to understanding everything about storms, with over 200 entries that cover hurricanes in science, history, culture and folklore. Longstore explores the basic facts, like what was the biggest hurricane (Hurricane Camille, 1969), the deadliest (San Calixto II, 1780, with over 25,000 dead), and the costliest (Hurricane Katrina, 2005 with over 96 billion dollars of damage). The encyclopedia is a full a to z guide, that discusses all aspects of a hurricane, from the naming of, to the instruments used to track the storms, to the zoology of the animals whose behavior is studied as harbingers of coming storms.

For students and budding scientists that are interested in studying storms, or even for parents that are looking to remove the fears of their youngsters, an excellent source of information is Hurricane Force: in the Path of America’s Deadliest Storms by Joseph B. Treaster. Treaster investigates the weather factor necessary to spawn a meteorological monster, how scientists plot the paths and potential power of storms, the effects and aftermath of a hurricane as well as a look at precautions for the future. The book included a large number of colour photographs, maps and diagrams to help visual learners understand the dynamics of a storm.

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle over Global Warming by Chris Mooney explores the changes in the world’s weather patterns and how this change is becoming the next political battleground. Examining the split in science between those who believe the field of study should be rooted in the careful collection of data and observations (meteorologists) and those who prefer theory-based deductions from the laws of physics (climatologists); and how governments are using this debate to avoid responsibility in dealing with climate change. Storm World also looks back over the last 30 years of research into global climate as a single, evolving system in which there are more frequent and larger hurricanes, and the modeling that is predicting the appearance of “hypercanes”, in the near future that will dwarf the worst of known disasters.

The dvd, Blue Planet, focuses entirely on the oceans and all the life that depend on it. The dvd which is a companion piece to BBC’s Planet Earth is a masterpiece of cinematography and over the 4 discs captures the oceans of the world and all its life from the tiniest of plankton to the teeming life of a coral reef. Looking at the currents and the weather , the rain and the storms at sea, the dvd shows the beauty and the terror of a developing hurricane.

Finally, for those who prefer their storms as fiction can find a great audio download in Philip S Donlay’s Category Five. With a great mix of fact and fiction, the novel follows the plot of a research jet with catastrophic engine failure, whose only safe haven is to remain in the eye of the world’s deadliest hurricane as their fuel begins to run out.

Lori Kauzlarick, Public Services Assistant at the Brodie Resource Library

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Let's get motivated!

Happy New Year! A new school year that is. For some reason this is when I think about getting my life more organized, making goals, etc. Years of going to school have made me feel motivated come September. So what do I plan to do? I think I’ll start by cleaning out the basement (it’s too cold to down there to do it in winter and I don’t want it on my spring cleaning list), finish a couple quilts (at least the tops), get going on my Christmas knitting, and bake for school lunches at least once a week. Oh, and of course work out at least three times per week, keep the house clean and tidy, make good meals and all the other stuff. See how it sounds all New Year’s resolution-y? That’s what I got from our education system.

Of course, putting this plan in action requires all kinds of help. The main thing is making time for everything so I’ll start by making sure I’m getting a good night’s sleep, but not too much sleep. I’ll take charge of my sleeping life with Sleep: The Mysteries, the Problems, and the Solutions by Carlos H. Schneck. Schneck is a respected researcher in the field and his book deals with common sleep disorders and the more unusual. So it should be interesting reading too.

To keep us well fed I’ll be reading The Good Food Book for Families. I think I’ll also check out Whining and Dining. Both of these books contain recipes for meals for fussy eaters and good nutrition. The Good Food Book for Families also assigns responsibilities to both parents and children. The parents are responsible for providing the food and the children are responsible for eating it. This isn’t a license to make any food you like without taking children’s taste in to account, but it is liberating in that you don’t have to cater precisely to your children’s taste buds. Instead the emphasis is on making good healthy, tasty, and balanced meals while ensuring that some components are well liked. If they fill up on the potatoes and peas and only sample the main dish, but are full and happy, you’ve done your job.

Ronni Eisenberg has written two books Organize Yourself and the follow-up Organize Your Life: Free Yourself From Clutter and Find More Personal Time which sound like they should be able to get me on track with the my household organization and give me time for those projects I want to work on. Just in case they aren’t enough I’m going to try Life Lessons for Busy Moms: 7 Essential Ingredients to Organize and Balance Your World. It’s interesting that this book is written by a man, but perhaps he has some insights that we overlook. There are many, many other books to help you get your life organized but these titles caught my eye. Wait! I just might have to read Find More Time: How to Get Things Done at Home, Organize Your Life, and Feel Great About It. I’m thinking these books will have to fill the role of my relaxing reading time. I’ve got the first three books on my desk as we speak and I think I’ll start with Organize Your Life. The cover illustration is an appealing pile of sticky notes and it’s calling me.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier that Fall has come. I know many people feel sad at the end of summer, but as you may have guessed I’ve been waiting for this seasonal change. I love the smell in the air and the cool mornings. Today I’m energized to complete my goals and hopefully my next Library Detective will show how I’ve met those goals and how my resources have aided me.

Enjoy your fall and winter, I know I will.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Services Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library –