At the New Darien Library, we’re making big progress on the second floor! The nonfiction is in and it’s arranged to make browsing the stacks easier. We’ve taken the dear old Dewey Decimal System and remixed it.
While the Dewey Decimal System is subject based, it was originally developed in 1876 and we found that many modern subject areas were split between two or more Dewey areas. This reorganization makes the books easy to browse and brings together similar subject areas. Here’s how we’ve grouped the books on the second floor:
Body & Soul is where you’ll find books on religion, philosophy, self-help and health.
Over in Nature are all the books on science, math and animals.
Home has the books on hobbies, crafts, decorating, cooking and gardening.
Places is for the globetrotters among us- travel books, phrase books and travel writing.
Work is all business. Books on finance, accounting, marketing, college admissions, test preparation and the economy are here.
Come and Play, where you’ll see books on sports, cars and recreation.
Life and Times is the largest group with history, memoir and biography.
The lovely Art and Literature has beautiful art books, literature, and writing.
We’ve had a lot of fun reorganizing the collection to make it easier for our members to find what they’re looking for. Upstairs, you can browse your favorite subject area, try out our comfy chairs and bring your research questions to our roving librarians. The second floor is also the home of the Classics room, a book-lined escape into great literature.
On January 10th, come upstairs and enjoy the beautiful, sun-filled rooms of the second floor. We can’t wait to see you!
Our reorganization cheat sheet!
According to bestselling author Ken Follett, his epic book, The Pillars of the Earth was a word-of-mouth hit. Not necessarily well-reviewed, practically dismissed as folly by some, Pillars, the story of the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral, went on to become an international bestseller that got people talking...and the conversation continues. Now I'm just doing my part to strongly recommend this grand novel.
The book came out nearly 20 years ago. Recently, someone told me it was the best book he'd ever read. Only 100 pages in, I can see why. Follett begins by transporting the reader to the year 1135 and he does so masterfully. So instantly engrossed was I, I found myself yearning for the days when I lived in New York and so enjoyed my subway-reading time. But, hark! I found the solution -- the book on cd! I can attest, read or spoken, Follett's words will move you. His characters are so fully-formed and so real...I have chuckled, cringed, and wept on their behalf (and remember, I've only just begun this massive tome).
...got to go. It's time to leave for work. My chariot and story await. It may be a short commute...but thanks to Follett, I love the company, and I don't mind if there's traffic.
When we meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. for our Fall Book Discussion Series and Jordon leads the talk about The Garden of Last Days, there's certain to be discussion of the pre 9/11 setting of the novel. There will also be discussion of Jordon's personal Dubus history. Jordon knew the author's father, Andre Dubus many years ago .When Janet and I went with Jordon this past summer to hear Andre (III) speak, it was a reunion of sorts...Jordon last saw the author more than 40 years ago!
photo by Flickr user Stargonautone
A young girl asked me for books about tornadoes last week. She wanted to know how they work so that she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. Books can provide a safe space for children to learn about something affecting their lives and explore their fears. How many of you have used books to help children conquer their fears of monsters under the bed? Well, now might be a good time to break out the books about financial crisis, poor economy and recessions.
Over at Slate, there is a great short piece and accompanying slide show called, "Mom, What's a Credit Deafult Swap?" They suggest a few titles of books for your children to read or for you to read together. I've included the titles available at our library as well as a few more below.
Children are very perceptive and can get stressed out about the same things you do. Imagine how scary words like depression, recession and financial crisis mut sound to them. You can help them explore this topic and just like the little girl who is not longer afraid of tornadoes, your child will be able to bravely face the world knowing their family's cupboards will always be filled with love (Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary).
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney; published in 1881, this landmark book details the struggles of the Pepper kids who "are so dirt-poor they have to mend their broken stove using part of an old boot" yet remain positive and optomistic as they try to help their bankrupt single mother.
|Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; this classic children's book was oroginally published during the Great Depression. People seemed to take solace in the extreme hardships the Ingalls family faced. Like Five Little Peppers, the kids strive to please and help the parents through the difficult times.||Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor; delving beyond mere poverty, 10 year-old Cassie's family faces prejudice and hate in their Great Depression era story. This story won the Newbery Medal in 1977 and remains just as powerful today as it was then.||Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary: In all the Ramona books, there is an underlying theme of tough times. The Quimbys often scrimp and pinch, but in this story, Ramona's father loses his job. His depression results in tremendous anxiety and fear in the children, especially Ramona. Ramona gives voice to fears that many children today may have and shows us the inner workings of a child's desire to help when their parents and family are struggling. We worry about our kids...and they worry about us too.|
|Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse: In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998.||How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor: Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.||Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor: Addie and her mother live in a small tralier with no steady income. Addie makes her own dinners with next-to-nothing in the cupboards and holds on to hope that things will get better.||Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart by Vera B. Williams: An absolutely heartbreaking story told through poems and pictures about two sisters who hold each other up even when their bellies are empty.|
|Spuds by Karen Hesse: Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help Ma by putting something extra on the table, so they set out in the dark to take potatoes from a nearby field, but when they arrive home and empty their potato sacks, they are surprised by what they see||A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams: A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire|
Add one 15 year old flapper, her opportunistic mother, a rabid tabloid press and an African Honking Gander. What does this get you?
Last week I was stuck in the mother of all non-holiday traffic jams-- Tuesday night repaving on I-95 northbound. For better or for worse, I entertained myself for an hour and a half by listening to the second presidential debate. Not a bad way to pass the time, but not what I expected to do during a trip that usually takes about 11 minutes.
The cause of all this craziness? Merging down from three lanes to one. You’d think by now folks would know how to do that in an organized, timely manner, but no. To find out why normally thoughtful, rational people are incapable of this simple maneuver, check out the latest by Tom Vanderbilt-- Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). In a recent interview he summed it up quite nicely:
Merging is the most stressful single activity we face in everyday driving, according to a survey by the Texas Transportation Institute. People who have done studies at highway construction work zones have also told me of extraordinarily bad behavior, triggered by this simple act of trying to get two lanes of traffic into one. Sometimes, it’s simply the difficult mechanics of driving — trying to enter a stream of traffic flowing at a higher speed than you are, for example.
Drivers, to quote a physicist who was actually talking about grains, are objects ‘who do not easily interact.’ But I also think there’s something about the forward flow of traffic that makes us register progress only by our own unimpeded movement; as in life, we seem to register losses more powerfully than gains, and registering these losses boosts stress.
Wow. If his theory sounds familiar, check out the financial headlines from last week.
So what did I learn from all this? The next time I hit 95, I’m checking the Connecticut DOT website before I head out. You know all of those cameras along the roadway? They record what the highway action is like in real time. No waiting for traffic info on the 8’s or 10’s (and praying they will say something—anything!—about the Connecticut roads), just live pictures of headlights and tail-lights moving right along.
Another option is to check out the Tom Tom One GPS system, a great resource for finding those less traveled alternate routes. Either way, you can bet I won't be listening to tonight's debate from my car!
Check out these modern read-alikes:
|The Penderwicks series
||by Jeanne Birdsall|
The Elevator Family by Douglas Evans
Judy Blume family series such as...
Saffy's Angel series by Hilary McKay
Check out these modern read-alikes:
|Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller|
|Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce||The Enola Homes Mysteries by Nancy Springer||Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison|
|Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett||Lulu Dark by Bennett Madison|
|The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd||The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan|