Our Year in eBooks

We had a lot of eBook readers at Cheshire Library in 2015! Over 1000 unique users  checked out close to 8000 eBooks from our main digital catalog, OverDrive.

Here’s a breakdown our year in eBooks:

eBook Infographic-2015

Kindle was the preferred download format by a wide margin, and Go Set a Watchman was far and away the most downloaded eBook in our OverDrive collection in 2015.

Although OverDrive has our largest collection of eBooks, don’t forget that we also have ebooks available for download (with your Cheshire Library card) from our OneClick Digital and hoopla catalogs. Our “eLibraries” are open 24/7, you can check out books, movies, music, and magazines right from home whenever the mood strikes,  and the items return themselves, so there’s never a late fee! Head to the “Download It!” link on our website to learn more about our digital collections.

 

Great Non-Fiction Reads of 2015

books

2015 was a banner year for great non-fiction publications.  But if you’re like most people, life probably got in the way of being able to read them all.  Highlighted below are some of the non-fiction books of 2015 that garnered extra positive attention.

hammer headHammer Head: the making of a carpenter – Nina MacLaughlin – Combining sage advice from Ovid and Mary Oliver with practical descriptions of tools and varieties of wood, the author, who quit her desk job to become a carpenter, shares her joys and frustrations of learning to make things by hand in an occupation that is 99% male.

thunder & lightningThunder & Lightning: weather past, present, future – Lauren Redniss – Focusing on the intricate nature of the world around us, as well as the personal relationship we all have to the weather, a National Book Award finalist and visionary writer—combining personal stories with history, interviews, scientific research and full-color photos—explores the transformative power of weather.

notorious rbgNotorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg– Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik – In a lively illustrated biography of the feminist icon and legal pioneer, readers can get to know the Supreme Court Justice and fierce Jewish grandmother, who has changed the world despite the struggle with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, standing as a testament to what a little chutzpah can do.

witchesWitches of America – ALex Mar – Examines paganism and the occult, from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the Bay Area, and from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world’s most influential magical societies.

monopolistsThe Monopolists: obsession, fury, and the scandal behind the world’s favorite board game – Mary Pilon – Tracing back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie, and presenting a remarkable social history of corporate greed, the inside story of the world’s most famous board game reveals how Monopoly came into existence.

great beanie babyThe Great Beanie Baby Bubble – Zac Bissonnette – In the annals of consumer crazes, nothing compares to Beanie Babies. With no advertising or big-box distribution, creator Ty Warner – an eccentric college dropout – become a billionaire in just three years. And it was all thanks to collectors. The end of the craze was just as swift and extremely devastating, with “rare” Beanie Babies deemed worthless as quickly as they’d once been deemed priceless. Bissonnette draws on hundreds of interviews (including a visit to a man who lives with his 40,000 Ty products and an in-prison interview with a guy who killed a coworker over a Beanie Baby debt) for the first book on the most extraordinary craze of the 1990s.

folded clockThe Folded Clock: a diary – Heidi Julavits – A critically acclaimed author discovers her old diaries in a storage container and reacquaints herself with a much younger version of the person she became, musing on time, self, youth, friendship, romance, faith, fate and betrayal.

clementineClementine: the life of Mrs. Winston Churchill – Sonia Purnell – A portrait of Winston Churchill’s extraordinary wife and her lesser-known role in World War II discusses her relationship with political mentor Eleanor Roosevelt, her role in safeguarding Churchill’s health throughout key historical events, and her controversial family priorities.

two hoursTwo Hours: the quest to run the impossible marathon – Ed Caesar – Delving into the science, physiology and psychology involved in running so fast, for so long, a first-of-its-kind book on marathons invites readers into the world of elite runners, showing us why this most democratic of races retains its savage, enthralling appeal—and why we are drawn to testing ourselves to the limit.

sinatraSinatra: The Chairman – James Kaplan – Presents a behind-the-scenes examination of the life and career of the legendary performer that offers insight into his prolific accomplishments, multidimensional character, and complex relationships.

we were brothersWe Were Brothers – Barry Moser – The author recalls his youth with his brother, considering in prose and illustrations how he and his brother came to be such very different people, and eventually became completely alienated from one another, before finally reconciling in spite of their differences.

hunger makesHunger Makes Me A Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein – The guitarist and vocalist of feminist punk trio Sleater-Kinney presents a candid and deeply personal assessment of life in the rock-and-roll industry that reveals her struggles with rock’s double standards and her co-development of the comedy “Portlandia.”

 

Sources:  Huffington Post, Kirkus Reviews

 

Front Row Seating

“The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”     – Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2

Back in the 80’s, when we still had a Shakespeare Theater down in Stratford, CT, there was a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that was put on for all the high schools to come and see. Of all the plays, Macbeth seemed like it would be the most interesting, with witches and murder and blood, and big velvety Elizabethan costumes. I was excited – anything for a field trip and a day out of class. Until we got there. Some idiot had decided the best way for 1,500 rowdy high school kids to understand Shakespeare was to imagine it, with a play that had no scenery and no costumes – the entire set was draped in billowing soft blue nylon fabric, like the green-screens of modern movie-making, and the actors all wore tight-fitting outfits of the same blue, as if they’d just escaped from some monochromatic ballet. That was it. It was a total disaster. The audience was so bored and riled you couldn’t hear the dialogue for the catcalls. That is NOT the way to introduce children to Shakespeare.

The good thing is, you don’t have to be a Shakespeare scholar to enjoy a good play. Whether you’ve had to suffer through drudging high school productions of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town or been dazzled on Broadway by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan performing Waiting for Godot, a play is not a bad thing. Perhaps your only exposure to waiting-for-godot-ian-mckellen-patrick-stewarttheater has been dragging yourself through Oedipus or Antigone in school, not caring a flying duck about the role of the Chorus in Greek tragedy, just glad you scraped by and passed the test. The real tragedy of teaching plays as literature is that they are meant to be performed, not just read in a monotone like a stumbling seventh-grader who has no idea how to pronounce 15th century British comedies, let alone understand them. When performed, they come alive, like listening to a good movie on the television from the next room over. Even my five year old, with occasional explanations, could follow the movie version of Romeo and Juliet.

drama-collection_FRONT_349x349-300x300So if you’re a theater lover, or just a student struggling to understand Ibsen, Cheshire Library is ready to help! Our newest precious addition is a 25-volume audiobook collection of 250 plays and dramatic adaptions by L.A. Theaterworks. You won’t just hear the play, you’ll feel it, as you were meant to. The plays aren’t just read to you, but fully performed by an all-star cast of more than 1,000 actors you are probably familiar with – George Clooney, Calista Flockhart, Dan Castellaneta, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Dreyfus, Jean Stapleton, John de Lancie (who also wrote one of the Doyle adaptions), and so many, many more. Leonard Nimoy performing War of the Worlds with fellow Star Trek actors? Yeah, that’s in there too. Neil Simon, Chekhov, O’Neill, Miller, Shakespeare, Sophocles – they’re all here, ready to keep you entertained for a solid year of performances. Listen to one or listen to them all – you’ll be glad you did.

quote-it-does-not-follow-that-the-right-to-criticize-shakespeare-involves-the-power-of-writing-better-george-bernard-shaw-333385

My Kind of Holiday, Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!

The first Saturday of February is officially International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! I have to say that this is a holiday  I can really get behind. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods. Even after spending five summers of my younger days working in a mom and pop ice cream store, I never tired of ice cream. Just typing this has me craving a treat. I do not care if it is steamy hot outside, or so cold that I am huddled on the couch with several blankets, I still am always up for ice cream.ice

So how am I going to celebrate without letting my kids know that I relish the idea of ice cream for breakfast? Perhaps I will be sneaky and have hot chocolate with a dollop of ice cream rather than my usually coffee that morning. Maybe I will be nice, and a little ambitious, and do a waffle bar or something that will allow for ice cream and whip cream in the early morning hours. Of course, that would require me finding that waffle iron that was a wedding gift ten years ago, which I do not remember having seen since our last move.

Not sure how you want to celebrate this fun and silly day? Well, if I could I would just bust out the ice cream and enjoy. However, if you need to be a little more subtle, like myself, here are some books with recipes and ideas that might get you started.

icecreamThe Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, and More by Bruce Weinstein

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with Nancy J. Stevens

 

icecream2No-churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious No-Machine Frozen Treats by Leslie Bilderback

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer

Ruby Violet’s Ice Cream Dream: Ice Cream, Sorbets, Bombes, and More by Julie Fisher

Gicecream3elato!: Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti & Granite by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Coolhaus Ice Cream Book: Custom-Built Sandwiches With Crazy-Good Combos of Cookies, Ice Creams, Gelatos & Sorbets by Natasha Case & Freya Estreller

Celebrate the South Asian Cultural Festival with Us!

Throughout the months of February and March the library will be hosting a number of events celebrating the cultures and traditions of Southern Asia. Here’s peek at some of the scheduled events:

Bhangra Dance Lesson and Performance on February 13th at 2:00 PM
Enjoy a short performance followed by a fun hour-long lesson in the vibrant, high-energy style of Bhangra, a traditional folk dance performed in the Punjab region of South Asia with modern influences from modern pop and hip-hop styles. Performance and lesson provided by Yale’s Jashan Bhangra dance troupe.bhangraKathputli Puppet Making (takes place at Artsplace, ) on February 16th at 4:00 pm
Puppets are an ancient and popular form of folk entertainment in India. In this workshop, children will make kathputli, a type of puppet originating from Rajasthan. henna

Explore the Art of Henna on February 27th at 2:00 PM
Tweens and teens–interested in the art of henna? Learn the cultural roots and the different styles of henna from Jamilah Zebarth, of Jamilah Henna Creations, who will also demonstrate the art on you! (Henna is a plant based dye that safely stains the skin for 1-2 weeks.)

Zokkomon Movie on March 16th at 4:00 PMzokkomon
Please join us for the first live-action film from Disney Studios India designed to give Indian kids their first superhero. [Abandoned by his heartless uncle (Anupam Kher) and aided by a street artist (Manjari Fadnis), an orphan (Darsheel Safary) discovers his inner hero. Rated PG.] Following the film we’ll have snacks and a lively discussion with Cheshire resident Hetal Radia!

India Travelogue: Sharing the Spirit of India on March 16th at 6:30
Visit with John McClain for an adventure through India. Come experience the sights and sounds of this beautiful and complex country- see India through an authentic and vivid lens, to which no travel book can compare!

tanpuraStan Scott and the Rangila Ensemble: Classical, Folk, and Devotional Music of North India on March 19th at 2:00 PM
This concert will feature a broad range of styles, including the enchanting melodies and rhythms of Indian classical music, folk songs celebrating love, work, social life and worship in Bengal, Bangladesh, Assam and Meghalaya, and devotional songs of the great medieval Hindi poets. The lively rhythms of Indian folk songs provide a complementary contrast to the contemplative mood of Hindustani classical music. Sponsored by the Connecticut Humanities Council.

Indian Cooking Demonstration on March 23 at 6:00 PM
Madhu Gupta will introduce Indian cooking techniques, highlighting the regional differences in regards to spicing, flavors and recipes. Born in India, Madhu’s father’s career allowed the family to visit and experience the unique regions of India. She will introduce Indian cooking techniques to make simple salads, appetizers and a variety of curries and will demonstrate that Indian cooking is not always hot and spicy but that the flavor is determined by balancing the ingredients.

holiA Celebration of Holi and Rangoli Craft on March 24th at 4:00 PM. Participate in an Artsplace workshop at the library making traditional rangoli patterns. Then celebrate the colorful festival Holi with Cheshire resident Hetal Radia.

indiacoverFor more information on any of the programs, or to register for a program please visit our events calendar. If you would like to research some of the recipes, art, or other culture wonders that we will be sharing check out these great resources: Mehndi: the Timeless Art of Henna Painting by Loretta Roome, Recipe and Craft Guide to India by Khadija Ejaz, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, & Sri Lanka by Madhur Jaffrey, Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent by Jeffrey Aldford & Naomi Duguid, The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook: Food & Fun Around the World by Deanna F. Cook, and  East & Southeast Asia by Steven A. Leibo among others.