Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunday March 31, 2013 The Long and Winding Tale

The art of storytelling is a broad and complex field.  Some stories can be told succinctly in a few hundred words.  Some can be told in a novel of 300 pages or so and some novels are longer than others, (I’m looking at you, War and Peace!)   The publishing industry can only work so many miracles, so what happens if the tale an author wishes to tell exceeds the bookbinding technology available?   It is at this point that a story can become a trilogy of volumes or perhaps a lengthy series of them. With the recent release of A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s masterful epic, A Wheel of Time, I have been given cause to ponder the concept of the multi-volume epic and its prevalence in the fantasy genre.
When interviewed on the subject, Jordan’s wife and editor, Harriet, and Tom Doherty of Tor Books explained that when Jordan first submitted his first book, he had only intended it to be a trilogy.  Then it turned into a series of 6 and then morphed overtime into the 14 book epic it is today.  Even the final book, A Memory of Light, was supposed to be only one novel but Brandon Sanderson, who was contracted to finish ‘A Wheel of Time’ posthumously, ended up needing to publish it in three volumes with the final volume bearing the title of the finale.

Epic narrative is nothing new of course.  The epic of ancient India, The Mahabharata, of Hindu faith spans 18 books and nearly 2 million words.  But it seems that fantasy has co-opted this literary vehicle and made it its own in recent years.  Maybe it has something to do with the art of world building, a technique of which all great writers of fantasy are adept.  The virtuoso world builder J. R. R. Tolkien always intended The Lord of the Rings to be read as a single volume but the publishing world has split it into the trilogy the world has come to know and love.
The fantasy genre is unique among fiction in that it is littered with authors whose tales span volumes. Sanderson himself has also embarked upon his own magnum opus:   The Stormlight Archive:  a planned 11 book series beginning with the already published Way of Kings.   In fact, it seems that the list of fantasy authors who choose to write stories spanning several books seems to outweigh those that don’t.  Other authors of epic tales include, Terry Goodkind, Steven Erickson, George R. R. Martin, L. E. Modesitt Jr., and David Eddings, to name just a few.  The library has amassed quite collection of fantasy series by the above authors and others, all of which are available to order through your Thunder Bay Public Library.

Andrew Hare

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday March 24, 2013 Dance to your own beat at the library

Whether you’re doing the Twist, the Macarena, or the Harlem Shake, dancing is a great way to burn calories and have fun. The Thunder Bay Public Library has books, music and movies that will help you bust a move. Learn how to dance or try something new with one of these great instructional books.  

Bellydance by Dolphina guides you through different bellydancing moves with colourful pictures of people performing each dance. This book provides you with information and stretches to prepare you for your bellydancing experience. Fans of the show will enjoy Guy Phillips book Dancing with the Stars: jive, salsa, and tango your way into the best shape of your life. This book includes pictures and facts from behind the scenes, tips from dances performed on the show and a dance workout. Gotta Ballroom by Christine Zona and Chris George is a step by step guide to the waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz. Learn about different footwork, combinations and stylings then watch the accompanying DVD to see each dance performed live by the instructors. The Ballet Companion by Eliza Gaynor Minden takes you though the different techniques and traditions of ballet. This book is great for anyone who is interested in starting ballet or would like to perfect their technique. Ballet enthusiasts may also be interested in the book Passion to Dance: The National Ballet of Canada or Apollo’s Angels: a history of ballet.  The Library also has a variety of instructional and workout DVD’s such as Learn to Dance, Cardio Dance for Weight Loss, Tap Dancing for Beginners, The Magic of Ballroom Dancing and You Can Bellydance! 

Find your own rhythm with music from our CD collection. Albums such as Nothing But The Beat 2.0 by David Guetta, Thriller by Michael Jackson, Bamboleo!: The best of Latin Ballroom and Jingle Dress, volume 2, are sure to get you up and moving. Don’t forget about listening to soundtracks from popular dance movies including High School Musical, Step Up, Flashdance, and Chicago.
Not in the mood for dancing or need a little inspiration, then check out one of these movies. Once you start watching it will be hard not to get up and start dancing along. Start at Rydell High where you can sing and dance with Sandy, Danny, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds, in the movie Grease.  Then watch Tracy Turnblad as she dances her way onto the Corny Collins show in the movie Hairspray. You’ll have the time of your life when you watch Dirty Dancing; during a summer holiday Frances “Baby” Houseman finds herself learning how to dance and filling in as the partner for her dreamy instructor Johny Castle.

Adapted from Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is about Maria and Tony, two teens from rival gangs who fall in love. After watching the Jets and the Sharks battle in the streets of New York, check out Mad Hot Ballroom, the documentary that follows kids from 60 different public schools in New York City as they learn to ballroom dance and compete in a city wide competition.  More suggestions for dance movies include Singin’ in the Rain, All that Jazz, Seven Brides for SevenBrothers and Top Hat. All of these movies are available at the Thunder Bay Public Library.
Visit the Library today and pick up these great books, music and movies. Dancing shoes not included.
Lindsey Long

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday March 10, 2013 Try Paleo!

Curious about all you’ve heard about the Paleo diet?  Not sure what it is or why you’d want to eat like a caveman?  Your Library has lots of resources for you to check out on this subject.  Like many other diets it promises to help you lose weight, have plenty of energy, and prevent illness.  The theory behind it is that we should eat the foods our bodies are best able to process:  lean meats and fish, fresh fruits, and non-starchy vegetables.  Process is an important word here as a large part of the diet is avoiding processed foods.  If you’re worried about missing dessert, never fear, there are Paleo desserts to tempt your taste buds.

The Paleo diet: lose weight and get healthy by eating the foods you were designed to eat by Loren Cordain and The paleo solution: the original human diet by Robb Wolf, both provide an explanation as to why eating the paleo way is right for the modern human.  Wolf’s perspective is particularly interesting as he is a research biochemist turned strength and conditioning coach.  He blends the science with practical experience to improve your health for the better.
Of course, once you’ve decided you want to try eating this way the key is finding a variety of meals to sample.  Many cookbooks have been written to help you achieve a balanced paleo diet.  If you’re looking for family meals, check out Everyday Paleo family cookbook: real food for real life by Sarah Fragoso, within its pages you’ll find everything from lunch box meals to slow cooker recipes.  The desserts I promised earlier can be found in Paleo desserts: 125 delicious everyday favorites, gluten- andgrain-free by Jane Barthelemy it is worth a browse even if you’re not going paleo.  With more and more people opting for a gluten-free diet making a homemade dessert to suit everyone can be a challenge.  All of the books included in this column are also be appropriate for those who require gluten-free recipes.

For those of us who want a clear guide Practical paleo: a customized approach to health and awhole-foods lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo is a great resource.  It explains why processed foods should be avoided and includes meal plans which are designed with specific health concerns in mind.  Notes regarding common food allergens are provided in the recipes.
Finally, if you’re thinking about missing all your favourite foods if you go paleo we have a book for you.  In Make it paleo: over 200 grain-freerecipes for any occasion Bill Staley adapts Chinese, French, Mexican and classic American meals and makes them paleo.  It even has menus for holidays and special occasions.  There’s no need to feel deprived with a shift to paleo eating.  I don’t think the cavemen had it this good.

On that note I will leave you to explore.  These are but a few of the paleo and primal books we have in our physical and electronic collections.  Bon App├ętit!
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas