It’s May and that means it is National Stroke Awareness Month. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) have teamed up, campaigning to raise public awareness about stroke, a disease affecting the arteries leading to and within the brain that causes brain injury. Their educational efforts cover the warning signs of stroke, symptoms of a stroke, stroke prevention, and the impact of stroke on survivors, families and caregivers.
Stroke (originally known as apoplexy and now also known as a cerebral vascular accident — CVA) has been around for a long time. It is unknown how many people suffered from stroke 2,400 years ago when it was first recognized by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. But today almost every one of us knows someone, who has suffered a stroke — it’s the fifth highest cause of U.S. deaths. It is also a leading cause of long-term disability, including paralysis, pain, aphasia, problems with thinking or memory and emotional disturbances. Continue reading “Knowing Stroke: Preventing it or Surviving it”
There’s a lot of new talent coming to shelves near you this month! Check out these promising works by debut authors.
“The Scribe of Siena” by Melodie Winawer
While going through her brother’s Tuscany estate after his death, neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato is drawn into her brother’s research about the Black Death. She discovers the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, an artist who was at the heart of a 700-year-old plot to destroy the city of Siena.
Confronted by an image of her own face in one of his paintings, Beatrice is pulled back in medieval Italy only a few months before the plague sweeps across the country. And when Beatrice meets and falls in love with Accorsi, she is forced to decide in which century she truly belongs.
Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: May”
“Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.
This is the story of how we got there.”
I have said it before, but I will say it again: Fredrik Backman has become one of my favorite authors! And he definitely does not disappoint with “Beartown.” I have to admit that I was a little hesitant with this one: the story is set in a hockey town and centered around the sport. I’m not a huge sports fan to begin with, and I grew up with football, not hockey. But the story is more about the community of a sports town and what that means, both the good and the bad.
“It’s only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. That’s all.”
Community is a theme through all of Backman’s books. This one examines authority — who has authority in a community? Who is believable and who has to prove their word? It also explores loyalty. Loyalty is a good thing — until it’s not. Backman takes a look at family and our responsibilities to them. The book considers “teams” and how they support or drag on a person. It also touches on violence.
“Everyone has a thousand wishes before a tragedy, but just one afterward.”
Really, Beartown could be any town. The sport could be football, baseball or soccer. But the “Bang. Bang. Bang.” of the puck echoes the “Bang! Bang! Bang!” of the shotgun so perfectly. “Beartown” lacks some of the whimsy of Backman’s other books, but it is no less poetic. Many phrases are repeated but from different perspectives of other characters. There are so many voices in this book, but they are all necessary for the complexity and clarity of the story.
“If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow.
Do good anyway.”
Backman has created something magical even if it’s not the feel-good book he’s written before. There are still plenty of moments that are hopeful and heartwarming. He includes a beautiful balance of diversity without it feeling contrived. He also examines forgiveness.
I highly recommend this one. It may be my favorite book of the year — so far, anyway. But it will take a lot to top it.
Each month, we host Facebook Friday Recommendations online. You can get personalized recommendations — all you need to do is find our Facebook Friday post and comment with two or three books or authors you like, and we’ll help you find your next great read! Here are the recommendations from May 2017.
Request: My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. I loved “Cat’s Cradle.” I recently finished the “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and I am currently obsessed with Elena Ferrante’s The Neapolitan Novels. Continue reading “Facebook Friday Archives- May 5, 2017”
I recently decided to relearn the French language — not that I was incredibly fluent in the first place, but I had taken five years and could cobble together a conversation. However, that was almost 40 years ago. So I enrolled in an adult immersion class at a local school and tried the intermediate section. Although I was surprised at how much I understood (in context, or course), participating in a conversation was equivalent to me staring blankly into headlights. I was trying to call up the appropriate vocabulary words, the right verb conjugation and whether I should use the masculine or feminine version — all at the same time. It was quite a lot to ask my almost 60 year old brain to handle. After a few classes, I realized I was in over my head and decided to postpone until the beginners class started again in the fall. Yet, I didn’t want to let more time further obliterate what little French I still held on to.
What could I do in the meantime? I decided it would be good to work on building my vocabulary and pronunciation skills. I had a long drive coming up, and so I found myself in the language section of our library. There I found shelves of books and audiovisual materials on languages ranging from French to Korean. I picked up what appeared to be some fairly basic vocabulary and speaking skill books with corresponding CDs. I also checked out some downloadable audiobooks to augment my limited grasp of the language. Armed with my audiobooks, I set out on my two hour drive. Continue reading “Learning a New Language at Your Library”
Imagine, if you will, you are a gentleman of means. Sure, your silks are a bit tattered, your fainting coach is worn and your butler may indeed be a figment of your imagination, but your snack cabinet is robust, and your butler’s compliments are as flowery and flattering as they are unceasing. Still, you seek greater means. “Why should I not have a zeppelin and an army of carrier pigeons?” you ask yourself.
So you explore the typical avenues for the gathering of wealth. There’s the lottery. You could shoot dice in an alley. Perhaps show up at a billionaire’s home claiming to be a long-lost cousin. But you are not good at the lottery, lack the athleticism for dice play, and find that billionaires hate their cousins. You turn to the last refuge of aspiring wealth-hoarders: the fiction section of your local library. You stalk the shelves, looking for the secrets to getting filthy rich, and do so with a willingness to acquire that wealth anywhere in the world. You look at the titles of several books, frustrated that their authors are clearly uninterested in helping you achieve your goal of subverting the United States Postal Service via a fleet of birds transmitting stamp-less messages. Then, after a few minutes of browsing — time you are beginning to think would have been better spent researching which relatives billionaires care about — eureeka! “Eureeka!” you shriek, to the dismay of everyone else in the library, after reading the first five words of the title you clutch. “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” The last two words give you pause. You’d prefer to get rich in the United States. Your joy is muted. Your subsequent hurrahs are only heard by those near you. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Mohsin Hamid”
This summer we challenge readers of all ages to “Build a Better World.” Our Summer Reading theme motivates us to build, tinker and engineer, and it encourages us to help our community and our environment. To celebrate this theme, I’ve compiled a list of books to inspire you and your family to construct better reading skills and demolish the summer brain drain!
Registration for Summer Reading begins on June 1.
For Ages 0-5
Construction is hard work! After a long day of building and play, it’s time for the vehicles in Sherri Duskey Rinker’s “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” to tuck in for the night. Have fun rhyming while helping Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Bulldozer and the other construction companions finish their work and settle into sleep.
Have you ever messed up when creating a work of art? Don’t despair! “Beautiful Oops!” by Barney Saltzberg will teach your how to turn your “oops!” into a “whoopee!” Did you rip your paper? Turn the tear into alligator chompers! Did you spill your paint? Make the blot a silly animal! Every mistake, if looked at positively, can create a beautiful new work of art. Continue reading “Literary Links: Summer Reading”
I love to read, and gravitate toward heavier tomes (both in content and length). I tend to read quickly, so I need a book to be long so that I can marinate sufficiently into its world. Since I have a had a child, however, those long books have gone unread in favor of articles and blog posts with titles like “The 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Swaddling” or “How to Pick the Best Sun Hat for 15-Month Old.” Taking care of a baby or toddler means my attention always needs to be divided between him and whatever task I am attempting to complete. I need to concern myself with form over (or, in addition to) content. I usually use DBRL’s Overdrive app to check out short story and essay collections. Continue reading “Infographics: Great Books for Folks Who Are Busy”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“The Bad Kids”
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Presented at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, this film is an observational documentary that chronicles one extraordinary principal’s mission to realize the potential of students whom the system has deemed lost causes. The film follows Principal Vonda Viland as she coaches three at-risk teens through the traumas and obstacles that rob them of their spirit and threaten their goal of a high school diploma. Continue reading “New DVD List: The Bad Kids , To Walk Invisible & More”
May is Mental Health Month. Having a designated month reminds us to think about our own mental health and consider whether any peers or loved ones need our attention.
Here are a few facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
*One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness.
*Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-fourths by the age of 24.
*Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
*Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.
*African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of white Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
*Approximately 10.2 million Americans have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S.
*Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
*Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.
There are many different types of mental illness with varying degrees of severity. There is, unfortunately, still a stigma surrounding mental illness that leaves some people reluctant to seek help. If we, as a society, considered mental illness as we would any other physical condition, it would help bring the problem out of the shadows. If more people felt free to discuss their experiences, they could more readily find the help they need. Mental illness should not be viewed as a weakness or a short-coming, but as a condition that needs treatment and understanding. Continue reading “Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit”