Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday May 27, 2012 Food, Glorious (and Meatless) Food

One of the joys of living alone is that you can eat what you want, when you want it. So if you’re in the mood for breakfast for supper, or a junk food extravaganza, there’s no one to tell you, “no”.  While it can be hazardous to your waistline, as I have discovered, the freedom let’s you try new things and drop those that no longer appeal.  Something I no longer find as appealing as I did when I was younger is meat. As a teen, I was a two burger girl and now I find finishing one can be a challenge at times.  When shopping, chicken finds its way into the cart far more often than red meat and after visiting a petting zoo last year, “pork” is no longer on the menu, at all.

Unfortunately, every girl learns her way around the kitchen by watching her mother, and mine was a meat and potatoes cook.  So when looking for alternatives, I needed to develop a new set of cooking skills and expose my taste buds to a wash of new flavours.  Thank goodness for the fabulous cookbooks on the shelves at the library. Whether you want to learn to cook Thai, have trouble with gluten, are looking for a fabulous dessert or anything else, we have a large selection of books full of culinary delights. Currently, I can’t imagine giving up eggs, cheese and dairy, but I’ve stumbled upon a number of new titles that are new, tasty and vegan. 

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Baking by Donna Diegel

Diegel is a pastry chef and blogger, who covers all types of vegan baking in her new book. The book is for all levels, (she even tells you how to boil water) and all types of vegan ingredients, from the familiar to the exotic.  Whether it’s the basics like muffins and cakes, sweet and flat breads or more a special occasion dessert, it’s all included. 

Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty You Won’t Miss the Meat by Roberto Martin

Convincing a confirmed meat-eater to go even a meal without meat can be a challenge, so Martin has developed recipes that cater to all tastes. A celebrity chef to the stars, Martin’s book includes dishes such as “Chick’n” Pot Pie, Chocolate Cheesecake and Banana Oatmeal Pancakes, so from morning to night you can eat healthy.

Vegan Junk Food: Sweet, Salty, and Scrumptious Treats for the Ultimate Pig Out! (Pig Not Included) by Gold Lane

Vegan doesn’t have to mean boring or even healthy, so when your Junk-Food Junkie arrives, enjoy these amazing treats.  Many popular junk foods like Cracker Jacks and Fruit Loops are vegan, so Lane uses common kitchen ingredients and popular snack foods to satisfy cravings.

Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-this-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and More by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
 The taste delights in this tome, range from Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake to Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Tart to Coconut Cream Pie. Most of the recipes are fast and easy to follow as well as delicious.  If you have a sweet tooth, this is the book for you.

Fresh and Fast Vegan: Quick, Delicious, and Creative Recipes to Nourish Aspiring and Devoted Vegans by Amanda Grant

For those who prefer digital books, the library offers Fresh and Fast Vegan as an e-book so if you’re away from home you can take this cookbook with you. Recipe highlights include Lemon Tahini Dip, Apricot and Raspberry Cobbler and Bright Red Pepper Pesto Linguini. For fresh cooking that’s kind to the planet and fabulous on the palette this may be the book for you.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sunday May 20th, 2012 The eBook Market

eBooks are HOT at your Library!  Last year 14,036 ebooks were borrowed from the Thunder Bay Public Library.  Over half that number (7,496) were borrowed in only the first three months of this year.  Although they have been around for quite some time it is only in the past few years that eBook readers have become readily available, affordable and part of the daily lives of many people.  In addition to single-purpose eBook readers, the explosion on the market of tablets, smart phones, net books and other portable devices we use to access the internet has made eBooks even more widely available.

Your Library’s eBook collection may be found by visiting our Web site ( and clicking on “OverDrive” in the Quick Links. Then follow the instructions to click on the OverDrive image to connect with the OverDrive site. There is also an OverDrive App available for iPads, Android tablets, BlackBerry PlayBooks and newer eBook readers like the KoboVox. Instructions sheets for these and more devices may be found on our Web site.

Folks in the business of publishing books have been, to varying degrees, leery of eBooks, especially when it comes to Library eBooks.  As readers there are many advantages to eBooks over paper books: they are easy to store and transport, easy to obtain and flexible and convenient in terms of re-sizing the print and in some cases taking notes and accessing dictionaries. From the point of view of publishers, eBooks can get to their readers faster, they don’t need storing or retail space to sell them. But, they don’t wear out either. Traditional paper books can get worn out, damaged and lost.  If these books belong to a Library, and are still in demand, they get replaced. Also, paper books can only be read by one person at a time. eBooks have the potential to be read by many people at one time. Similar concerns were expressed years ago when audio books on cassette tape and CDs were emerging.

It is due to these factors, as well as more complicated economic reasons, that not all publishers are supportive of Libraries lending eBooks.  In November 2011 Penguin Publishers pulled out of the Library eBook market, citing concerns over security (The Associated Press, Nov. 22, 2011).  In March 2011 publisher Harper Collins introduced a model allowing a maximum of 26 downloads per Library eBook (Dan Misener, CBC News, March 9, 2011).  After that the Library would be required to purchase another copy, if they wanted to keep the title in their collection.  Other publishers not currently selling or leasing eBooks to Libraries include Macmillian Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Brilliance Audio and Hachette Book Group.  Other publishers have inflated the prices of eBooks for Libraries. Allegations of eBook price fixing are currently working their way through the courts (Globe and Mail, April 18, 2012).

There are several groups in Canada working with publishers and Libraries to find a solution to these issues. As a relatively small market, compared with the United States, our country provides a forum where hopefully both sides can come to an agreeable arrangement which can then be scaled to other jurisdictions.
If there is a title you would like to see in our eBook collection, please let us know. As with all formats the Library lends, we welcome your suggestions. Please bear with us as we work through the growing pains of this new adventure in publishing, and Library lending.

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday May 13th, 2012 A Renewed Interest in Archery

The news has reported that many people are taking up archery in the wake of The Hunger Games movie. Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the story, is an expert archer. If you’ve been similarly inspired by Katniss and are considering taking up the sport, why not check out some books from the library first?

If you’re a beginner, we have some excellent books such as Archery by John Adams. A comprehensive introduction to archery, this book is full of great advice for anyone new to the sport. Another option is Archery: Steps to Success by Kathleen Haywood. Perfect for beginners, it has loads of information ranging from selecting and tuning equipment to step by step instructions for mastering your shots. 

We also have some excellent resources for people with more experience. A more advanced book is Bow and Arrow: the Comprehensive Guide to Equipment, Technique, and Competition by Larry Wise. Larry Wise is a five time world champion archer who has his certification to coach individuals as well as teams. As such, this book has a lot of information that will benefit both beginners and experts alike. Bow and Arrow is also a great book to help you find the equipment that’s right for you.

Of course, if you aren’t interested in taking up archery yourself but want to enjoy other aspects of the sport, the library has many options for you. If you are looking for more of a history on archery, then Traditional Archery by Sam Fadala is for you. Traditional Archery is another good overview of the basics, giving detailed information on choosing equipment and shooting techniques. But it also examines the bow of the 5,000 year old Ice Man found in the Austrian Alps and shows how his equipment was similar to and different from what is in use today. Another interesting book is Hunting the Hard Way by Howard Hill. Hill was an award winning archer who seems to have done it all. He has hunted from horseback, underwater, and even successfully hunted elephants without the use of poisoned arrows. He had a fascinating life and you will enjoy reading about his adventures.

There are also plenty of fictional archers. If you’re interested in superheroes, the library has many graphic novels with marksmen. Green Arrow is the DC superhero who uses trick arrows; we have several graphic novels devoted to him. If you’re a Marvel fan, Hawkeye’s your man. The library doesn’t have any Hawkeye titles, but he does appear in several Avengers titles such as The Morgan Conquest. Another option is the Huntress, who uses crossbows; we have the graphic novel The Huntress: Darknight Daughter.  

If superheroes don’t interest you, we have many other choices. Another famous series is the Chronicles of Narnia. The eldest sister Susan receives a bow and arrows during The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; she uses them to defend herself, her siblings and the kingdom. The Disney version shows Susan to be accurate and deadly with her weapons, much like Katniss in The Hunger Games. 

And of course, there’s always Robin Hood, the famous outlaw from Sherwood Forest. While almost everyone knows about this archer, his story of robbing from the rich to give to the poor remains popular today. Whether you have some children you’d like to amuse or just want to watch a good action movie such as 2010’s Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe or 1997’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this folk hero, along with his band of Merry Men, never fails to entertain.

So whatever your interest in archery, the library is here to meet all of your needs.

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sunday May 6th, 2012 Joint Strike Fighter

Once in a while the sky crackles above Thunder Bay.  It is possibly a CF-18 Hornet, a fighter plane of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Hornet was once state of the art, but the aging CF-18 is on the chopping block to be replaced by the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF. I thought it would be interesting to see what I could learn through books and online databases regarding these planes.

In the 1970s the American Navy needed a lightweight fighter plane, so a competition was held and the F/A-18 prototype was the winner. Orr Kelly, author of Hornet: the Inside Story of the F/A-18 (1990) said that “The F/A-18 has turned out to be at least twice as reliable as other navy warplanes and to require less than half as many manhours of maintenance.” That was decades ago and military requirements and desires have changed, somewhat.

Now the F-35 is poised to replace many aging fighter planes across the world. In the U.S, the F-35 program is the Air Force’s only replacement regime for thousands of F-15 Eagles and F-16 Falcons. The Marines will have a variant of the F-35 to replace their Hornets and Harriers. Production of the Navy’s Super Hornet ends in 2013 and the F-35 looks to be the go-to replacement. (National Journal, March 19, 2010). Australia is upgrading their fleet too, to JSFs. (DISAM Journal, July 2010).

Production of F-35s has been beleaguered by problems in both the U.S. and Canada. According to the

United States Government Accountability Office in a Testimony before the Committee on Armed Services, “Significant challenges remain as the Department of Defence restructures its program.” (March 11, 2010). “The JSF is the Department of Defence’s most costly and ambitious aircraft acquisition...The current estimated investment is $323 billion to develop and procure 2,457 aircraft.” Manufacturing and engineering challenges have slowed production.  According to the GAO, by December 2009, “only 4 of 13 test aircraft had been delivered and total labor hours to build the aircraft had increased more than 50 percent above earlier estimates.” It has been a similar situation in Canada. Yet despite setbacks, the JSF program is being implemented virtually worldwide.

What makes the F-35 such an improvement over so many other jets in multiple armed forces? According to an article in the New Scientist (November 3, 2001), “The JSF will be a stealthy jet designed to slip past defences and attack ground targets. A short take-off variant, intended for the US Marines, will land vertically, like a Harrier. All versions will supposedly incorporate new stealth technologies that will make them difficult for enemy radars and infrared sensors to detect. They may also use "directed energy" weapons to attack enemy electronic systems.”  At that time, the only rival for the JSF was thought to be unmanned aircraft, which would be smaller, cheaper and safer because there is no pilot in the plane itself.

Such drones, however, aren’t as dramatic as the Top Gun movie image of heroic dogfights in the clouds. Indeed, P.W. Singer in his book Wired for War (2009) noted that there was a cultural resistance in the military when it came to unmanned aircraft. “The early Predator pilots in the air force, for instance, were paid less than regular pilots, didn’t get any credit in their career advancement for their flight hours, and were otherwise generally shunned...the air force still holds on dearly to its identity as a force of fighter aces dog fighting against enemy fighter planes, despite the fact that it hasn’t happened for years.”

Global militaries may require such necessary upgrades, but what’s the actual cost?

Chris Waite