Tossing and Turning? Try an Audiobook!

I think we all have nights when sleep eludes us. Our brains start whirling and it’s hard to quiet our thoughts enough to fall asleep. Some people take a pill. I take a book, an audiobook, that is.

I have found that listening to audiobooks in bed at night is the best way to redirect my thoughts away from all the stuff that’s keeping me awake. I discovered this by accident when my children were young and would wake up from a nightmare. They would inevitably be too keyed up to fall back to sleep, and I would stay up with them, usually telling them a story to get their mind off the bad dream until they could drift back off to sleep.

Years later, I had trouble sleeping myself and decided to adapt the storytelling method that had worked with my kids. I started listening to audiobooks at bedtime. What a help they were! I would inevitably fall asleep faster with the audiobook than without, and I found a way to squeeze a little extra “reading” time in!

Now, not all audiobooks are suitable for relaxing bedtime listening. A gruesome crime novel or horror story kind of defeats the purpose – I reserve grittier fare for print reading. Likewise, I find most mysteries require too much attention to detail, so are not the best for my “bedtime stories”. Romance, humor, fantasy, and classics have become my nighttime listening go-tos.

Here are a few suggestions if you want to give my insomnia-cure a try (great for daytime listening, too!):

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, read by Dan O’Grady. A perfect match of book and narrator, this quirky Aussie love story is a delight.

The Martian by Andy Weir, read by R.C. Bray. Terrific narration by Bray gets character Mark Watney’s nerdy genius and dry humor just right.

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman, read by George Newbern. You’ll quickly embrace the prickly Ove, and the neighbors who invade his formerly well-ordered life.

The Harry Potter audiobooks by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale. Jim Dale is a perfect example of how the right narrator can elevate even the best books. He’s won many awards for his narration of the Harry Potter series, and all the accolades are deserved.

The His Dark Materials audiobooks by Philip Pullman, performed by a full cast. Another series that absolutely blooms to life in audio, with this full cast performance pulled together by Pullman’s narration. It’s stunning.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis. Even if you’ve read the book, you’ll get something new out of the audiobook. If you like Inglis’s narration of The Hobbit, you can listen to him read the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well.

The Outlander audiobooks by Diana Gabaldon, read by Davina Porter. Again, even if you’ve read the Outlander series before, you will find new things to love about it in Davina Porter’s skilled narration. And it’s nice to hear all the Gaelic words pronounced correctly!

Bossypants by Tina Fey, read by the author. This book is, quite frankly, hysterical, and Tina Fey’s narration will have you chuckling into your pillow.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, read by Jeremy Irons. Sure, it’s the story of a middle-aged man’s unhealthy obsession with a teenager, but the prose is practically poetry and Jeremy Iron’s narration is mesmerizing.

My Dad and the Library

National Library Week is April 9-15, 2017. To celebrate, I’d like to share a special story.

My dad wasn’t a reader.

I don’t mean he couldn’t read. He just didn’t read for pleasure. He read for information, to gain knowledge, to figure out how to do something. As far as I know, he never once borrowed a book from any library.

And yet he understood my love of books and the library. From the time I learned to read, I hungered for new books. I would bring home the little Scholastic book pamphlets from school and pour over them, checking off all the books I wanted and confidently handing them to him. He never said no, no matter how tight the budget was.

Then we moved to a lovely little town called Cheshire and I discovered the Cheshire Public Library.

I was nine years old. I couldn’t go to the library unless someone drove me. And there was Dad, driving me to the library after he got out of work, dropping me off while he ran to the store to pick up a few things, waiting in the parking lot while I scanned the shelves looking for a Nancy Drew that I hadn’t read yet. Like the Scholastic book pamphlets, he never said no when I asked to go to the library.

He almost never came inside. He told me I was responsible for keeping track of the books I borrowed and when they were due. He was responsible for getting me to the library so I could borrow and return materials.

Then came one cold night in October when I was twelve years old. Dad was waiting in the library parking lot for me while I selected some books. When I got back to the car, he was shaking. He told me he couldn’t seem to get warm. The next day he suffered his first stroke. He was thirty-nine.

He recovered, but it was six weeks before we could return to the library. I was apprehensive. For the first time in my life I had overdue library books. I had a little babysitting money but I had no idea how much I owed. I was truly afraid they wouldn’t let me borrow any more books.

To my surprise, my dad came into the library with me. He handed the overdue books to the librarian, took out his wallet and said, “I was sick and couldn’t bring these back.” He smiled at me. “It wasn’t her fault.”

The librarian asked what had happened and he told her about his stroke. She asked us to wait and vanished into a back room. She returned with a  smile.

“No charge,” she said. “The library has a heart.”

That was a big deal. My dad was now unemployed because of his health. We didn’t have a lot of spare money.

My father walked out of the library that day smiling. He said, “There are still good people in the world.”

I had already decided I wanted to be a librarian. I couldn’t imagine a career that didn’t somehow involve books. But that librarian’s kindness made me realize what a difference a librarian could make in someone’s day.

Three years later, I was hired as a library page at the Cheshire Library. The librarian who had been so kind to us was no longer there. I never even knew her name, and she never knew how much her action meant to me.

We all make a difference each day, even if we don’t know it.

In honor of National Library Week and the librarian who made a young girl happy a long time ago, here are some of my favorite children’s books about libraries and librarians:

lion-aspxThe Library Lion by Michele Knudsen.
A lion starts visiting the local library but runs into trouble as he tries to both obey the rules and help his librarian friend.

 

 

jacket-aspx The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter.
When war comes, Alia Muhammad Baker, the librarian of Basra, fears the library will be destroyed, so she asks government officials for help, but they refuse, which means Alia must take matters into her own hands to protect the books that she loves.

jacket-aspxLibrary Lil by Suzanne Williams. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
A formidable librarian makes readers not only out of the once resistant residents of her small town, but out of a tough-talking, television-watching motorcycle gang as well.

 

 

jacket-aspxMrs. Roopy is Loopy by Dan Gutman.
A.J. and his classmates are convinced that the new school librarian, Mrs. Roopy, has multiple personality disorder because she keeps pretending to be famous people.

 

 

jacket-aspxThe Library by Sarah Stewart.
Elizabeth Brown loves to read more than anything else, but when her collection of books grows and grows, she must make a change in her life.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in April

We’re springing into April with so many great programs for kids, teens & adults, we can’t fit them all here! Check our event calendar for the full list of programs coming up this month.

indexGeology of Cheshire

Monday Apr 3, 2017, 6:30  –  7:30 PM

Ever wonder how Cheshire got its ridges?  Learn about the geologic changes that have shaped the diverse and interesting topography of Cheshire.  Presented by Dr. Charles Dimmick, Professor of Geology, Emeritus.  Sponsored by the Cheshire Planning Department and Cheshire Public Library. Registration is required.

robin-mccahill-e1486659456246-225x300Kids Puppet Making Series

Wednesdays,  April 5, 12, 19, and 26, 4:00  –  5:00 PM

Learn to make puppets using unique and everyday items.  Robin McCahill, local artist at Artsplace, will be our artist in residence leading this workshop on puppet making.  Visit www.artsplacecheshirect.org/ to learn more about Artsplace and the other programs artists like Robin McCahill offer.  This is a 4-week long series, meeting April 5, 12, 19, and 26.  You only need to sign up once to attend all four.  Due to the cost of this program please try to attend all four sessions.  For students in grades K-2, registration is required beginning March 22 for Cheshire residents and March 29 for all others.

poetry-open-micPoetry Open Mic Morning

Saturday Apr 8, 2017, 10:00 AM  –  12:00 PM

Celebrate National Poetry Month with an open mic morning! Teens and adults are welcome to bring their own original poetry to share, recite a poem by a classic author, or just sit back and enjoy the verses. We’ll have tea and coffee available, and we’ll set out some poetry books and resources to peruse for inspiration. No registration required.

bill_96Pysanky Egg Decorating Workshop

Saturday Apr 8, 2017, 2:00  –  4:00 PM

Come learn the art of Pysanky Egg decorating from the egg lady Sharon Leonard. This form of Ukrainian egg decorating uses special wax and color to make beautiful eggs.  Each participant will be able to go home with one decorated egg.  This program is for adults and has limited seating, registration is required.

captureCurious George Party

Monday Apr 10, 2017, 10:30  –  11:30 AM

Join us for a party to celebrate our favorite little monkey, Curious George! We will sing, dance, and read some stories about George and his adventures. Curious George will make a special appearance and pose for photos with his friends! For children of all ages and their families. Registration required beginning Monday March 20.

opener-720x487Foraging and Eating Invasive Plants

Tuesday Apr 11, 2017, 6:30  –  7:30 PM

Join The 3 Foragers, a family that forages for wild, natural, organic food.  This program will highlight edible invasive plants.  Do your part to reduce invasive plants by eating them! The 3 Foragers eat garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, Rugosa roses, autumn olives, wineberry, sheep sorrel, dandelions, black locust blossoms, and yellow groove bamboo.  Never eat anything from the wild without first consulting an expert! Please forage responsibly. Educate yourself, and have fun. Registration is required.

Community Connections

Wednesday Apr 19, 2017, 12:00  –  2:00 PM

The Cheshire Public Library is pleased to announce a new program that we have started entitled Community Connections. This program connects civic minded individuals with community agencies to perform skilled volunteer projects.  Enjoy lunch provided by the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library while you meet other civic minded folks and talk with local non-profits and government agencies about volunteer opportunities available. Please register in advance (so we know how much food to get!).

back-pain-1911009_1280Exercises to Treat and Manage Low Back Pain

Saturday Apr 22, 2017, 2:00 PM

Whether mild or severe, short-term or long-term, low back pain can greatly affect your daily life. If low back pain is affecting your daily life or if you want to learn the top causes of back pain join Kirsten Albrecht as she explains common causes of back pain and shares exercises to stretch and strengthen your back. Registration is required.

jacket-aspxBirds; Their Side of the Story…

Tuesday Apr 25, 2017, 6:30  –  7:30 PM

John Himmelman is a children’s book/natural history author and illustrator, who has written and illustrated about 80 books since 1981.  He is an avid bird watcher and served as president of the New Haven Bird Club for two years. He will share light-hearted stories of birds and bird watching – from cuisine to cartoons, ornaments to icons, murmurs to murders. Registration is required.

6daf3aa1b259c15f3e788bca1ac6b5a7Taekwondo

Wednesday Apr 26, 2017, 6:00 PM

Join Cheshire resident Master Jonguk Jang for an introductory Tae Kwon Do (also known as Taekwondo) class for adults. Learn about the fascinating history of Taekwondo and its physical and mental benefits such as focus, self-control, confidence, stress release, flexibility and self-defense, as well as an introduction to various fundamental skills and techniques. Registration is required.

dia-banner-imageDía de Los Niños Celebration

Friday Apr 28, 2017, 10:00  –  11:00 AM

Celebrate El día de los niños / El día de los libros (Children’s Day / Book Day) with a multicultural storytime! Día is celebrated on April 30 to emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Tom Colicchio – Chef Extraordinaire, TV Host, and Author

tomTom Colicchio is a well-known American chef.  He co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in New York City and was the executive chef.  He also is the founder of Crafted Hospitality, which includes Craft, Riverpark, Fowler & Wells, Craftbar, Craftsteak, Beachcraft and Heritage Steak restaurants.  He is the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Awards.   I was introduced to him via the Emmy award winning television show on Bravo, Top Chef.  That I would be watching a cooking show is very funny because I don’t, and I can’t, cook.  I can read a recipe, but executing it becomes an inedible, unsightly disaster no matter how hard I try.  You would think I’d get frustrated or bored watching a cooking show, but Mr. Colicchio is the perfect host for this fast-paced competition among a varied collection of American chefs.

Mr. Colicchio has come out with a new cookbook that will appeal to the hearts of sandwich lovers.  It is listed below, along with a few other cookbooks he has had his hand in.  Also listed, a powerful documentary film he produced on hunger in America.

wichwichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal…and a meal into a sandwich –  Shares the secrets behind the ‘wichcraft restaurant group’s spin on the sandwich, with recipes for their most popular offerings,essays on stocking the sandwich pantry, and an interview with the owners.

 

eatEat Like A Man: the only cookbook a man will ever need – “So long, dude food. Most men who love food have a roasting pan and a decent spice rack, but they’re still looking for that one book that has all the real food they love to eat and wish they could cook. Esquire food editor Ryan D’Agostino is here to change that with his unapologetically male-centric Eat Like a Man–a choice collection of 75 recipes and food writing for men who like to eat, cook, and read about great food. It’s the Esquire man’s repertoire of perfect recipes, essays on how food figures into the moments that define a man’s life, and all the useful kitchen points every man needs to know. Satisfying, sexy, definitive, and doable, these are recipes for slow Sunday mornings with family, end-of-the-week wind-down dinners with a lady, Saturday night show-off entertaining, poker night feeds, and game-day couch camping. Or, for when a man is just hungry”–

smartSmart Chefs Stay Slim: lessons in eating and living from America’s best chefs – Celebrity chefs including Michelle Bernstein, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, and Giada de Laurentis provide answers to the often-asked question of how they stay so thin and fit when their occupation clearly is based on their love of indulging in food.

 

tecTen: All the foods we love and ten perfect recipes for each – Identifying thirty-two of our favorite foods, from roast chicken and burgers to mashed potatoes and cakes, a innovative cookbook presents ten variations of each food in a collection of more than three hundred recipes, many contributed by such leading chef s as Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain, and others.

placeA Place At The Table (DVD) – 50 Million Americans—1 in 4 children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A Place at the Table tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. In a riveting journey that will change forever how you think about the hungry, A Place at the Table shows how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides—as they have in the past—that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all.

What is the Next Book in This Series?

whats-nextIt is extremely frustrating to read a book only to discover it is part of a series, and there is no clear list of reading order. While some series are loosely tied together and allow for skipping around and reading out of order, others can only be fully enjoyed when read in order. To help ease your frustration, I am going to share the tools that I use to help determine the correct reading order. There are several routes to find the answer to this question, some are simple and easy, others require a little work.

The first way to find the answer of reading order is to find the author’s website. Many internet savvy authors, or their publishers, maintain websites with series listings in order and, in the case of multiple series, the suggested reading order for everything. Not all authors do this, but some have very helpful lists to help out their readers. Many include printable lists so you can easily keep track of titles you have read and what you should read next.

Some examples of authors that offer comprehensive lists or tools on their websites to find the reading order include Nora Roberts, Gail Carriger, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, and many more. I highly suggest checking with the author’s website first before branching out and trying other avenues, because who better to explain the best reading order than the person that wrote them?

goodrdsIf the author fails you, do not lose heart! My second choice for series order, and further reading suggestions, is Goodreads. If you search for a book title, Goodreads will give you a wonderful amount of information. On the book’s page you can follow links to the author page or a list of book in that series (both published and sometimes books that have not been released yet) in order. The bonus is you get suggestions for books that might appeal to you because some authors list what they are currently reading or their own recommendations. For instance, on the author page for one of my current favorites, Maria V. Snyder, you can see her books listed by series, in order, and what she is currently reading.

There are also a few websites dedicated to helping readers find the next book in a series, or the complete reading order of any given series.  One website that I often use is well titled as: Book Series in Order which you can search by author or character name.  Order of Books is a second site that can help you find the reading order of different authors and series. This site allows you to search by author or main character. If you are looking specifically for children’s series check out Juvenile Series and Sequels, and if you need young adult series listings I would suggest using Series and Sequels. whats-next-in-series1

If  you still are not sure about the series order of the books you are reading or want to read, please stop in and visit our Welcome Desk or give  the library a call. We are here to help.