Becker's blog

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.

How Many Teeth Does a Snail Have?

When I think of comforting, compelling animal companions, I didn't think of snails until I read The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. During a long period of an autoimmune illness, a snail that a friend brought to her room was both companion and source of wonder.

The book that Bailey has compiled, comprised of both her experience with "her" snail and extensive research into the natural history of snails is a fascinating read. When the snail first arrived in Bailey's life, she was a bit annoyed--she could barely take care of herself, she didn't need another creature to worry about. Despite this, she soon found watching the snail almost meditative, and she began to follow the rhythms of its nocturnal life, becoming fascinated with its habits. She found out about the eating and reproductive habits of snails, about their unique anatomy.

Farming, Anyone?

The Bucolic Plague (book cover image)

With so much talk about food safety, organic produce, and local eating, do you ever have the urge to just move to the country and start your own farm?

That's what Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner did, and you can read all about the ups and downs of shifting from New York ad exec (and former drag queen) to farmer in The Bucolic Plague.

You may be familiar with The Fabulous Beekman Boys from their TV show on Planet Green.

Do You Read With Your Kids?

The New York Times recently ran this article about Jim Brozina and his daughter Kathy, who read together each evening for 3,218 nights. Neither Kathy's involvement in theater and outings with friends or single dad Jim's dates got in the way of their commitment to read together.  If you think you don't have time to read with your kids, check out this story, and maybe be inspired to start a reading streak of your own.

 

If you need tips on how to read to your kids, want book suggestions, or want to see why reading with your children is important--no matter how old they are--check out the Grown Ups section of the Denver Public Library's Kids web page. Jim and Kathy's streak started during her fourth grade year and ended as of her first day of college. Could you get your kids excited to try to break their record?

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