Before Hudson was a river, Columbus was a city, and Magellan was a GPS, they were all people -- men from the Age of Exploration (roughly defined as lasting from the 15th to early 17th centuries). This was a time of travel into uncharted areas of the world, when ships undertook voyages with the very real possibility that they would never return.
It might seem hard to imagine in this time when we're never quite disconnected...that men left their homes for years at a time, attempting to create new trade routes and map the globe. Our knowledge of the oceans and continents was changed immeasurably by the many voyages that took place during this time. The Age of Exploration also serves as a bridge between the Middle Ages and our more modern era. Come and discover the amazing stories of these explorers on our 2nd floor display this week!
Photo by Flickr user gwgs.
It seems like every day brings a new health warning or piece of advice...Make sure you do this! Don't let that happen! Call your doctor to ask if this medication is appropriate for you! It can be overwhelming.
Each person is different, and that's where our Body & Soul collection can help. We have books and resources for children's health issues, adolescents, young or middle-aged adults, and seniors, all in one easy, browsable section. Whether you want a yoga DVD, the latest nutritional information, diet advice, research on a specific illness or condition, or help finding an excellent doctor, this is the place to start. We've taken some of our most popular health books and created a special display -- please stop by the 2nd floor and let us help you find peace of mind AND a sound body!
Photo by Flickr user Darwin Bell.
The cycle goes around and around...each generation has to eventually assume the role of caregiver for the one before. For many of us, that means watching out for aging parents (and even grandparents), often while raising our own families. Health and housing, money, transportation, and eventually end-of-life decisions are all difficult topics, but there is help and hope out there.
We have a special display of Elder Care books available on the 2nd floor this week and would be happy to help you choose titles that fit your needs, whether you're in the midst of a transition time now or are looking ahead to the future. Included are books on choosing a nursing home, Alzheimer's, exercise, family dynamics, macular degeneration, and many more issues specific to older adults and their caregivers. The books are all part of our nearby Body & Soul section, just as seniors are part of our families and commmunity as a whole. See our list of recommended titles below or stop by to browse the larger selection of Elder Care resources at Darien Library.
Photo by Flickr user marymuses.
Autumn officially began last week on our calendars, but crunchy apples, colorful squash, and beautiful, shiny pumpkins have been tempting us at local farmers' markets and food stores for a while...what to do with all of that delicious fall bounty?
We have a great collection of books at Darien Library that give us plenty of recipe ideas for local produce and home-grown fruits and vegetables. Soups, crisp fruit pies and tarts, sandwiches, and piping-hot casseroles -- this is the time of year for comfort foods that bring us together and warm us up. Our list of recommended titles is just the start of what you'll see on our 2nd floor Harvest Cooking display table!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user NatalieMaynor.
Earlier this month, physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines when some of the theories from his new book, The Grand Design, were made public. Hawking has tackled one of the most basic questions in human history: How did we get here? He presents the argument that the universe began more or less spontaneously, without divine intervention or direction. Hawking also explores "M-theory," the still-evolving idea that our universe is simply one in a series, dispersed among different dimensions. Mind-boggling enough, but wait until you get to the part where he explains that each of these universes is a slightly different variation of ours, taking place somewhere beyond our perception.
Since he became a household name over two decades ago, Hawking has never shied away from controversy or slowed down in his pursuit of scientific knowledge. He's made physics accessible to millions and won international awards for his research, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If you managed to get through A Brief History of Time (or even if you didn't and it's still sitting unopened on your coffee table), this is a more philosophical partner to that ground-breaking book, written for readers with curious minds who just may not happen to have a PhD in physics. The Grand Design is brilliant, shocking, and thought-provoking...believe it or not.
The NFL season kicked off last night, with a victory by the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints over the Minnesota Vikings. Between now and February 6, 2011, the date of Super Bowl XLV, Sunday afternoons mean nestling on the couch, with chips and the remote in easy reach, following all the football action we can.
Baseball may be "America's pastime," but professional football ranks higher in popularity surveys, revenue numbers, and with television viewers. We love the crunching hits, the rivalries, the brute strength, and the finesse of plays measured in inches. It's a world where everything is black and white -- a play either goes your way or it doesn't -- right down to the referees' striped uniforms. And each team has a history of glory and heartbreak, especially those most popular in this part of the country: the Giants, Jets, and Patriots. Each of our locals has a shot to have an outstanding season this year, and the Giants and Jets are playing in the brand-new Meadowlands Stadium, so fan excitement is very high!
As we get ready for the new season, there are plenty of classic football books that evoke the game's great history. See our list below for recommended NFL reading and remember, as former coach Marv Levy once said, "Football doesn't build character. It reveals character."
It's considered one of the modern-day wonders of the world, hosts almost 800,000 cars a week, but was called "a thirty five million dollar steel harp" by the San Francisco Chronicle when it opened in 1937. Today, we know the Golden Gate Bridge as an enduring symbol of the west and it's hard to imagine that beautiful city's waterfront without the bridge's familiar silhouette.
A new book, The Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge by Kevin Starr, tells the story behind the bridge, starting with a history of the Bay Area, the political wranglings behind the bridge's inception, and the arduous process of conceptualizing and creating a man-made structure to span the dangerous waters between San Francisco and Marin County. We read about the tragedies that killed 11 workers and led to installation of a safety net during the building, how the distinctive International Orange color was chosen (over the objections of the US Navy, which preferred yellow and black stripes!), and why the guard rails on the pedestrian walk are so alarmingly low. We cheer with almost a quarter million pedestrians who joyously celebrated their city's newest landmark when it finally opened in 1937!
For more detail, The Gate by John Van der Zee (1986) offers an exhaustive history. The Golden Gate, though, brings the story up to date and covers many more aspects of the bridge's utilitarian and iconic qualities. If you've never seen -- or driven or walked across -- this glorious span, this new book will inspire you to head west and experience the Golden Gate Bridge for yourself.
If you're a rabid Mad Men fan like myself, waiting each week for Sunday night can seem torturous. Between those weekly doses of Don Draper, indugle in a little Man Men-inspired reading.
The neurotic men and women of Madison Avenue (and their spouses) have excellent taste in both fashion and literature; the following is a list of some of the best books read by characters on the show throughout the past four seasons (thus far.)
Today is the one and only Friday the 13th in 2010, which brings to mind one of the most memorable opening lines in literature: "It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." Remember those ominous words from George Orwell's 1984?
We've put together a list of other favorite opening lines below. The first few words of a book are meant to pique our curiosity and involve us immediately...they're often shocking or mysterious, as if we've walked into a compelling conversation that's already underway. "Call me Ishmael," for example. The narrator of Melville's Moby-Dick is establishing a relationship with the reader and in just three words, we want to know more...Who is he? What has he just experienced?
Other favorites include classic lines from Dickens, Tolstoy, Bronte, even Harry Potter. The oft-quoted and satirized first sentence from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is here as well: "It was a dark and stormy night."
These opening lines evoke the beginnings of unforgettable journeys that we can take time and again. Happy Friday the 13th and watch out for black cats today!
Call me Ishmael. (Moby-Dick)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Anna Karenina)
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... (A Tale of Two Cities)
Marley was dead, to begin with. (A Christmas Carol)
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (Jane Eyre)
All children, except one, grow up. (Peter Pan)
This is the saddest story I have ever heard. (The Good Soldier)
It was a dark and stormy night. (A Wrinkle in Time)
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... (Rebecca)