Becker's blog

Popular Science

2010 was a great year for accessible science writing. If you want to learn something and be entertained at the same time, try out some of these recent popular science and natural history titles.

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, Susan Casey

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, John Vaillant

Guatemala by Chicken Bus

Ever thought about visiting Guatemala? Or just want to take a virtual trip to someplace warm during the cold weather? Join us as we journey to Guatemala with Anna Winkel!

In the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009, Anna, a local librarian, spent 8 months traveling, studying, and volunteering in Guatemala. In this travel slide show, you'll journey by chicken bus from the old capital city of Antigua to the shores of Lago Atitlan to the mountains of Alta Verapaz. Bring your questions about where to go, what to see, and how to get around--by chicken bus or otherwise! Food samples will be included!

Introduction to Feng Shui

Ever wanted to learn more about the art of Feng Shui? Here's a program for you!

During my first week as a librarian, I had a young man ask me for books about "fun joy" decorating. We eventually figured out that he really wanted books on Feng Shui. If you too are curious about this art that examines how the energy of space and objects impacts everyday life, join us on Wednesday, January 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ross-Cherry Creek branch for this one-hour introduction.

For the Birds

I just finished reading Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien, and it made me think of the other interesting stories of birds and bird watchers out there.

Wesley is a rescued wild bird who the author, a biologist, raises from when he is just days old. O'Brien's insights into owl behavior, along with this very personal story (and absolutely adorable pictures!), make this an interesting and thought-provoking read. If you're interested in finding out about the diversity of birds, try Sy Montgomery's Birdology: Lessons Learned from a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Cassowary.

Easy Steps to Managing Money for Financial Success

Dr. Taffy Wagner

Does your money work for you or against you? Join us to find out how to make your money work for you!

Money is a tool that everyone uses every day. But are you using it in the best way? Join Certified Educator of Personal Finance, Dr. Taffy Wagner, and learn how to make your money work for you! This event is happening on Sunday, January 16 at 2:00 p.m. at the Schlessman Family Branch.

Want to read more about personal finance? Try the 332 section of your local library, or look for some of these titles:

Are You Afraid of 2012?

2012

In addition to its 2012 FAQ page trying to scientifically explain some of the science around predictions that the world will end in 2012, NASA has also released a list of what it deems plausible vs. implausible science fiction movies.

Most absurd:

1. 2012 (2009)

2. The Core (2003)

3. Armageddon (1998)

4. Volcano (1997)

5. Chain Reaction (1996)

6. The 6th Day (2000)

Ask Us!

Hold on holds got you down? Did you know that many library staff revel in being asked to recommend a book? So even if you can't have something brought over right now, browse the shelves or ask the staff to recommend something that you don't have to wait for!

Some libraries even have Staff Picks displays. These displays show off the diversity of library staff and are pulled from books that are available on our shelves. A selection from one of today's Staff Picks displays:

Backstage with Julia: My Years with Julia Child, Nancy Verde Barr

Lion's Game, Nelson Demille

Celestial Happenings

Tonight starting around 11:00 p.m. marks the start of a full lunar eclipse. Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, celebrated by many earth-centered religions. Want to learn more about these phenomena and how people celebrate the Solstice?

Yet Another End of the Year List

It seems like everyone from the New York Times to NPR is coming out with Best Books of the Year lists right now. As "best" is subjective,  I instead offer you some of my favorites in various categories. Most of these are 2010 books, but are some are older books that I first read or listened to this year.

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction (no zombies): The Passage, Justin Cronin

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction (with zombies): The Reapers are the Angels, Alden Bell, Feed, Mira Grant

Seasonal Reading

Do you have a favorite go-to read at this time of the year? For some folks, it's Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Possibly a religious text. Maybe it's a holiday story that someone read to you as a child. For the last few years, my traditional holiday read has been the nontraditional and very funny science fiction novella All Seated on the Ground by Colorado author Connie Willis.

If the words "science fiction" scare you and don't really put you in a holiday mood, just give me a moment to try to convince you to give this one a try.

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