January 2020

Family Reading

Sometimes a book gets ordered and we are stumped as to where to put it: Is it a book primarily for adults? Kids? Teens? Who exactly is the audience? And where will it get noticed in the library? The following are three such books that were added to the library collection in the last year that Youth Services Librarian, Amanda Gates, and I think are great choices to bridge the generations. All three books feature some illustrations that provide visual interest and short chapters perfect for reading aloud together in small portions. And the first two could be the perfect way to introduce some of those scary life topics that we shy away from. Maybe you’ve resolved to read more with your older kids in the New Year? If so, give these books a try.

 

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty. In her latest book, Doughty, a funeral director and YouTube personality, tackles questions that she has taken from kids about death, dying, and burial. “Can I be buried in the same grave as my hamster?” Simple answer: assuming your hamster friend is already deceased, it depends on where you live. “Can we give Grandma a Viking Funeral?” After debunking the flaming boat Viking funeral myth, Doughty explains funeral pyres and just how much fuel is needed for a, um, “successful” one - 40 cubit feet of wood! - and just how impractical that would be. Doughty does suggest a plausible alternative: a “witness cremation” in which you can watch your loved one enter the retort (cremation machine). While Doughty uses humor throughout, she takes each question seriously and answers completely and frankly - and with 17 pages of cited sources at the back of the book, authoritatively.

 

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery. Noted author and naturalist Sy Montgomery shares her lifetime of living and connecting with a variety of animals. From her first dog (a terrier named Molly of whom she writes: “Many girls worship their older sisters. I was no exception. But my older sister was a dog...”) to the pair of tree kangaroos that saved her from her darkest moments (content warning here - Montgomery is very upfront about her suicidal thoughts after the death of two of her animals). Beautifully written and perfect for animal lovers.

 

Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti. Like Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs, Does It Fart? is funny, informative, and ever so slightly irreverent (Okay, maybe not “slightly.”) While it can serve as a quick reference guide for the pressing fart-or-not question, the short entries include loads of science and fun illustrations beckon you to read beyond the quick yes-or-no answer. Did you know that not a single bird species farts?

December 2019

What's Cooking at the Library

One of the most popular programs at the Warren Library is our Cookbook Club. Meeting about 6 times a year, a group gathers at the library with dishes made from a particular cookbook or cookbook author. When we met in November people were asked to bring any dish made from an Ina Garten recipe. This was by far one of our most successful evenings, culinarily speaking, and we talked about how we could easily have several more evenings with Ina’s recipes. What is obvious is that there are people in our valley that love to cook and share that love with each other and our conversations around the table are as enticing and fun as the food that we eat. So in celebration of food and gathering with friends new and old, below is a list of cookbooks that I’ve added to our collection recently. You just may see one featured at an upcoming Cookbook Club!

 

Sababa: Fresh Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman. Market-fresh ingredients, simple preparation, and an easy-going attitude permeate Sababa. I’ve got my eye on the recipes for Sour Lime and Pomegranate Chicken Wings and Tahini Blondies.

 

Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen by Alissa Timoshkina will have you savoring warm, winter foods like Potato & Caviar Soup and then dreaming of spring with the recipe for Fern Stir-fry, using fresh fiddleheads. Narrative passages describing the cultural significance of the ingredients and recipes give this book more depth. There’s a list of resources in the back of the book for those adventurous types who want to try their hand at Bird Cherry Cake - made with bird cherry flour - or one of the other recipes that uses specialty ingredients.

 

Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More Than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan by Anne Byrn. The cast iron skillets in my house get heavy use for making Dutch Baby oven pancakes but this cookbook has me dreaming of expanding that repertoire. Buttermilk Pork Chops sounds ridiculously quick, easy, and delicious; the Challah Wreath is beautiful and such a fun use for the pan; and if you’ve never tried to make a Dutch Baby, there’s a recipe (with variations!) for that. Byrn’s southern roots show through in a number of the recipes with How to Fry Okra Like a Southerner, Nashville Hot Chicken, and The Best Shrimp and Grits as just a few examples.

 

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated. This classic cooking “bible” has been expanded to include 600 (!) new recipes and some modernization to the familiar ones. Reflecting our changing cooking habits, information on fermentation, sous vide, and pressure cooking is included, as well as a broader selection of vegan and vegetarian offerings and international fare.

 

Bon Appétit!

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