Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #74

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.



Although our culture seems to bombard us constantly with information about what, how, and why celebrities are doing what they are doing, it still can be a fascinating and enjoyable experience to sit down and read a good old fashioned biography. I find biographies that are about the not so famous even more interesting to read. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.


Grieving: A Love Story by Ruth Coughlin

Similar in topic and tone to Joan Didion’s 2007 bestseller “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Coughlin’s book written in 1993 shows us that losing a spouse remains one of the most devastating events that can happen to anyone who has enjoyed a long and happy marriage.

Coughlin addresses her husband’s struggle with terminal cancer and like the Didion title explores what happened to her after his death and how she slowly and eventually built a new life while paying tribute to the memories of a happy marriage.

WCV RSV MTC SHL 155.937 C


Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro

In her early 20’s Dani Shapiro’s life seemed out of control. Involved with an older married man, unsuccessful at her modeling/acting career, the highlight of her day becomes her clandestine meetings with her drug dealer. When both her parents are injured in a devastating automobile accident that will require months of slow rehabilitation, she comes to their aid. In the end their recovery becomes her recovery. Honest and ultimately inspiring, adults as well as young adult readers who enjoy stories of personal redemption should find this book a worthwhile read.

SHL Bio Shapiro


Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes fiction but it is her biographical nonfiction titles that have earned her a faithful and devoted following. Her books are a meandering mix of humor, insightful and personal observations about the complexities of life. Readers will find them entertaining as well as thought provoking. Lamott’s most recent book “Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith” was on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Her newest fiction title “Imperfect Birds: A Novel” is scheduled to be published in April 2010.

WAM WCV WMB Bio Lamott

Also available in Large Type


Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailkas

From her very first illicit sip at age 14, through a harrowing decade of drinking, binge drinking, and getting so ‘smashed’ she couldn’t see straight, 24-year-old Koren Zailkas has an all-too-common story of a young girl’s alcohol abuse. She explains why she began, and how she chose to stop in this memoir.

Bio Zailkas WMB

616.86 Z WAM

Also available in Large Type


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #73

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.


Instead of all those tired and clichéd New Year’s resolutions like lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt…blah blah blah…why not make a resolution to simply read more – whether it’s a diet book, a financial management title, or simply a darn good story, you’ll find an endless supply of appealing suggestions available at the library. Here are some great fiction titles to get you started:

Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian
FIC Zadoorian WCV WAM

Richard runs a second hand thrift store just outside of Detroit (imagine Ferndale or Royal Oak). He is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of junk. He has devoted much of his life to finding, selling, and treasuring the discards of others. When he meets a young woman named Theresa, he discovers that her work at an animal shelter has some poignant and painful similarities to his own passion for saving the discards of others. As their relationship grows, they discover some fundamental truths about each other and the real value of material possessions in life.

The Book of Joe by Joe Tropper
Fic Tropper WCV

A funny and touching story about a man who left home, moved to New York City, and wrote a best selling novel about his old hometown. Now, seventeen years later, with his father gravely ill, he reluctantly returns. Unfortunately, the folks living in Bush Falls, Connecticut were not too happy with his literary portrayal of them and even less pleased with the blockbuster movie based on their town and lives. Can we ever really go home again? Joe begins to find out the answer to that question in often hilarious and touching ways.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Fic Shriver WAM

Shriver gives a fictional glance to the behind-the-scenes lives of a family torn apart by absolutely unspeakable violence. When her son kills several of his high school classmates in a well organized and painfully thought out plan, his mother is left to agonize and wrestle with the reasons why this tragedy occurred. What could she or anyone have done to prevent it? Shriver’s writing style is pensive and pondering as she shares with readers the painful tale of what happened and its aftermath.


Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian
Fic Bohjalian WCV

Bohjalian’s novel takes the reader to northern Vermont, where days of rain have caused a river to overflow. The nine-year-old twin daughters of Terry and Laura Sheldon are swept away in the raging current and the girls are tragically drowned. Their deaths have repercussions for the entire community. This is a thoughtful, sorrowful, and quite surprising story dealing with loss, grief, and the emotional bonds between husband and wife, parent and child. A novel that will stay with you long after the last page.

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Fic Weiner WMB
This sweet novel by the author of "Good in Bed" and, most recently, "Best Friends Forever," is all about sisters Maggie and Rose, who seem to share nothing but the same parents and the same taste (and size!) in designer shoes. Maggie is the flighty younger sister, determined to make her fortune and fame by working as little as possible, while Rose is the responsible older sister. Lawyer Rose lets Maggie move in for a few days and finds her life at the law firm and in her own home, turned upside down. Both girls go on journeys to prove to themselves and each other what's really important. We defy you not to make it to the end without sniffling a little!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #72


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, many folks find themselves enjoying vacation or holiday time off from the obligations of work and school. For a lot of families, this is a nice time to settle in for a relaxing evening at home with a holiday movie. Tired of heading to the video store or waiting for your Netflix selection to arrive? Why not check out what your public library has to offer in holiday themed movies...


Instead of listing dozens of choices here…simply click on our automated card catalog. In the search box type in “Christmas films” and select the subject link. You will find 51 films listed alone for the Warren Civic Center branch and 281 films listed if you decide to search all the libraries in the Suburban Library Cooperative at one time. Recent releases as well as classics and children’s films are listed.


The card catalog record will let you know if the DVD is currently checked in and available (remember to click "details" if you want the DVD's call number). Many Macomb libraries will allow you to place a hold or reserve if the item is checked out and will send the material to the library of your choice for pick up.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #71

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Recently released in DVD is the documentary “Food, Inc.” It’s a fascinating and albeit shocking look at how the food we eat every day is produced, manufactured, and ends up on our dining room tables. The film delves into how our meat so attractively displayed at our local supermarket eventually got there. But more than that, it vividly illustrates how our whole food system does tremendous damage to the environment, economy, and our personal health. We may produce the cheapest and most abundant food in the world, but in reality it is tremendously expensive in many ways. Other books dealing with this topic are also suggested.

Food Inc
WCV DVD F7
WAM DVD New F53

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the all-American Meal - Eric Schlosser
WCV 394.1097S
WAM WMB WDB 394.1S

King Corn: You are What You Eat
SHL SCS RSV DVD 633.15 King

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto - Michael Pollan
WAM WMB WDB 613 P

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan
WCV RSV SCS ROG 394.12P

Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with more than 75 Recipes - Mark Bittman
WCV SHL SCS HPW 613.2 B

Super Size Me - Morgan Spurlock
MPL DVD 647.95 S
ROG DVD 394.1 S
RSV DVD 616.28 S

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #70

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.


Let's talk turkey! Thanksgiving is this week, and while you're waiting for the bird to fry, roast, or bake, why not sit back and relax with one of these seasonal titles:

Scooby-Doo and the Thanksgiving Terror - Mariah Balaban
Scary, spooky things happen year-round to hungry detective dog Scooby-Doo and his crew! This short story is all about a Thanksgiving parade float that comes to life, and only Scooby can solve the mystery.
WCV E Scoo
WDB E Scoo T


How to cook a turkey: and all the other trimmings - The editors of Fine Cooking magazine
A holiday survival guide for those new to the kitchen or the holiday traditions, How to cook a turkey explains how to cook both a great big bird, and all the other side dishes and desserts you might want on the holiday. There's even a whole chapter on pie, whether you love apple, or live for pumpkin.
WAM 641.66592 H

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin's Thanksgiving celebration
[DVD]
In this collection of four episodes from the 1988 cartoon series, Alvin and his brothers Simon and Theodore, learn the meaning of family and fun.
WCV DVD A83

Pieces of April
[DVD]
Katie Holmes stars in this offbeat indie film about April, the black sheep of a New York family. She's intent on hosting her entire family for Thanksgiving dinner - until she finds out her oven doesn't work, and her relatives are already on their way! Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt also star.
WCV DVD 791.43 PIECES
WDB DVD P 282

Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Romie Minor
One of Arcadia Publishing's fantastic "Images of America" series, this book takes you behind the scenes of the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade, watched every Thanksgiving by hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. Art Van Elslander and WJR's Paul W. Smith will be co-grand marshals for this year's parade, with the theme of "Together We Shine for 2009."
WCV WDB WAM 977.434 M


Celebrations: The complete book of American holidays - Robert J. Myers
An introduction to all holidays, including their origins, this Hallmark book is a great way to teach not just kids, but the whole family, about Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays.
WMB WAM 394.26 M

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Librarians Are Reading!

If you just can't get enough books to read, and you're looking for something new, why not check out the Suburban Library Cooperative's Library Staff Are Reading page? Every year since 2002, the Cooperative asks library staff for their three favorite books of the year, and posts them online and in a brochure available at the libraries.

The Suburban Library Cooperative has 27 member libraries - imagine how many book recommendations that would give you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You won't rue reading this book!

Today’s Book: Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire


The plot: October “Toby” Daye, once both a Knight (who prefers to be called “Sir Daye”) and private detective, finds her life as a changeling infinitely more difficult when she tries to rebuild it fourteen years after being turned into a fish by a rival of her liege lord, Sylvester. Toby’s lost everything – her boyfriend, Cliff, who thought she was human; her daughter, Gillian, who is now 17 and angry, refusing to see her; and her lord, Sylvester, whom she’s been afraid to see since her return. She’s thrown back into the world of rites to royalty and magical mysteries when her “worst friend and best enemy,” Evening Winterrose, is found murdered in her warded home.

Why You’ll Love It: It’s a gripping mystery with a lot of urban fantasy thrown in to the mix, and as Toby delves into the dark side of her past and present (and maybe even future), you’ll learn about the world of the fullblooded fairies and the halfblooded changelings that inhabit the California coast. You’ll cheer for “Sir Daye” as she tries to find the murderer without getting murdered herself.


Who Will/Should Read It: Fans of any urban fantasy will do well here, but maybe the best audience for Toby’s mystery would be readers of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series who find the graphic sex there a little too bawdy. Newcomer McGuire manages to get the point across with innuendo, rather than explicitness. There’s also a lot to like for devotees of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series; if you’re eagerly awaiting April’s “Changes,” pick this noirish novel up.

F MCG LEN

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #69

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.



It’s getting cold outside in Michigan, even though it’s been Fall since September. While we still have a few days left of sunshine and 50-degree days, check out one of these Michigan-set novels; come back for more before you hide under your blankets for winter!


Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon – Dean Bakopoulos

Written an “an elegy” to the working class men of Detroit (and America) in this quiet, almost heartbreaking novel of growing up without a father. Building a family in Michigan is the theme here, and there’s more than a few biographical touches to this tale, as well as threads of magical realism.

Fic Bakopoulos WCV WDB


Mr. Paradise – Elmore Leonard

Famous the world over for gritty noir novels, Elmore Leonard is a New-Orleans-born Michigan native who lives in Oakland County. This novel of crime gone wrong involves a high-priced call girl, authentic dialogue and places (the very first chapter places the protagonist at the posh Rattlesnake Club restaurant), and a satisfying murder mystery.

Fic Leonard WCV WDB WAM

BKD Fic Leonard WCV

CD Fic Leonard WDB


Poison Blonde (An Amos Walker novel) – Loren Estleman

Classic cars and classic clothes are hallmarks of Amos Walker novels. Written for fans of 40s and 50s noir, this 19-book series by native Estleman hits these private detective stories right on the nose, where classy dames and real gone hipsters abound. Set in Detroit’s backyard of Hamtramck, this is the 17th book in the series. If you want to start at the beginning, try 1980’s Motor City Blue.

LT Mys Estleman WCV WMB

Fic Estleman WDB

[Motor City Blue – Fic Estleman WMB]


A Stolen Season (An Alex McKnight Mystery) – Steve Hamilton

Winner of both the Edgar and Shamus awards for mystery and private eye novels, respectively, Hamilton is another local talent who turns his eyes to whodunits in Michigan – usually in the cold upper regions of the state. In this Alex McKnight novel (the seventh – and newest - in the series), plot crossovers and double-crosses surround the ex-cop while he deals with Bay Mills Indians and drug dealers.

Fic Hamilton WCV WAM WDB


The Chocolate Cat Caper (A Chocoholic Mystery) – Joanna Carl (a.k.a. Eve Sandstrom)

Michigan seems to be a popular place to set series mysteries – such as these Chocoholic books, featuring Texan Lee McKinney, who moves up to a Michigan resort town on the lake to help her Aunt Nettie’s chocolate business get back up and running. Lee and Nettie end up accidentally solving mysteries in this fictional resort town, and all of the mysteries involve chocolate! These are a good suggestion if you’ve finished the Joanne Fluke novels and are looking for more tasty page-turners.

Mys Carl RAY RSV SCS

Fic Carl MTC ROK


For kids who want some local fun, try the Michigan Chillers series by Jonathan Rand – featuring titles like Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit and Poltergeists of Petoskey.

Juv PBK MC WCV WAM WDB WMB



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #68

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.



A recent post suggested book titles dealing with some of the many aspects of friendship. Interested in watching a movie with a friendship theme? Here are some old and new suggestions. Reminiscent of the so called “buddy” movie, each of these movies views the process of friendship in its own unique and special way.


For Women ("Chick Flicks"):

Beaches CHE HPW
Bonneville MTC ROG RSV
Fried Green Tomatoes ARM ROG ROK SHL WCV RSV SHL UPL
Friends With Money WCV CHE CLL EPL HPW LEN MTC ROG RSV SBL SCS WAM WDB
Jane Austen Book Club WCV ARM CHE CLL FRA LEN MPL MTC ROG RSV UPL WAM
My Best Friend's Wedding CHE CLL MTC ROG
Mystic Pizza WAM RSV MTC ROG
Sex and the City FRA RAY HPW ROG WAM SCS CHE CLL EPL LEN MTC UPL WMB WAM
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ARM CLL LEN LWM ROG ROK SCS SHL WDB WMB FRA CHE HPW MTC RSV UPL WAM
Steel Magnolias FRA HPW RSV SBL
The Banger Sisters WCV CHE EPL MPL WAM WMB WDB
The Women WCV ARM CHE CLL EPL MTC MPL ROG RSV SCS UPL WDB WMB
Thelma and Louise UPL WAM WMB WDB SBL MTC SHL ROG SBL CHE HPW RSV
Waiting to Exhale LEN SBL
Waitress EPL LEN LWM SCS SHL WAM WDB WMB WCV CHE FRA HPW MPL RSV UPL


For Men (Buddy Movies):

Appaloosa WCV CHE CLL EPL FRA LEN MTC MPL ROG RSV SBL SCS UPL WMB
Breaking Away CHE FRA MTC ROG RSV SBL SHL
Brokeback Mountain MPL SBL SHL WDB WCV CHE CLL FRA MTC ROG ROK RSV SCS SHL UPL
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid WCV ARM MTC ROG UPL CHE CLL FRA LWM ROK RSV SBL SHL
Diner MTC ROG SHL
Good Will Hunting CLL FRA MTC ROG RSV SHL CHE
Grumpy Old Men ARM CHE FRA MTC ROG UPL
Lethal Weapon CLL RSV CHE MTC ROG SBL
Midnight Cowboy ROG SCS WCV CHE CLL HPW MTC ROK RSV SBL SHL
My Dinner With Andre SHL
Mystic River FRA WCV LEN LWM MTC ROG SBL SCS UPL WDB WMB
The Kite Runner UPL WCV WAM WDB WMB ARM CHE CLL RAY EPL HPW LEN LWM MTC MPL SCS SHL
The Odd Couple CHE
The Shawshank Redemption WCV UPL CLL ROG CHE FRA MTC ROK SBL
The Soloist WCV ARM CHE CLL EPL FRA LEN MTC MPL ROG RSV SCS UPL WAM WDB WMB

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #67

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.



Several old clichés come to mind when you think about friendship including “make new friends but keep the old”, “no one can have too many friends”, and “with friends like that, who needs enemies”. In the interest of discovering more about the concept or subject of friends we selected the following titles.


The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections - Richard Horchow

This book of rules and advice are offered with the goal of making real and lasting friendships. These true friendships can enhance and enrich each of our lives in many ways.

177.62 H WCV WAM


Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships - Susan Shapiro Barash

What to do if your friends are not so wonderful but rather hurtful, unkind, nasty, and, yes, even toxic to your mental health and well being.

155.333 Bar MPL MTC


If Teacups Could Talk: Sharing a Cup of Kindness with Treasured Friends - Emilie Barnes

A feel good little book detailing how important it can be to share time and tea with valued friends.

641.5 B WCV


I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives - Patricia O'Brien and Ellen Goodman

After more than 25 years of friendship, Ellen and Patricia share their own stories as well as other stories about the importance of long time friendships.

158.25 G WCV WAM

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Read this book on Purpose!

Today’s Book: American on Purpose: the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot, by Craig Ferguson




The plot: The subtitle of this witty autobiography is “the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot,” and that only just begins to describe this hilarious, honest story of Glaswegian Ferguson and his epic trip to becoming an American citizen. Starting as a Glasgow native with a punk-rock soul, the now-famous late-night host waxes poetic on his "ridiculously attractive" parents and tells the hard, forthright truth about being a drunk and a drug addict for chunks of his life, and how he, with the help of friends, managed to rise above it, raise a son, and become the rollicking and uproarious comedian he is today - all while chasing the dream of being an American (on purpose).


Why You’ll Love It: If you're already a fan of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, you don't need any more reason than his nightly shenanigans to pick up this book. If you don't stay up late, or never watched The Drew Carey Show, you'll love this book for the laughter it will inspire in you; it's full of read-aloud quips, like when he speaks of his late-night-show colleagues and predecessor Johnny Carson: "A little bit of cool goes a long way; it lands on you if you are a late-night talk-show host. Consider the other guys: if Dave (Letterman) wasn't the king of late night he'd be just a cranky old man who drives too fast. Jay (Leno) would be a weirdly needy mechanic, and Conan (O'Brien) would have kids following him down the street calling him names. Without his show, Jimmy Fallon is just a thirty-five-year-old giggly adolescent; and Jimmy Kimmel is a good guy, but he'd be the first to admit he's not cool - in another life, he'd be a genial maître d'."

Who Will/Should Read It: Fans of Ferguson's turns on The Drew Carey Show as British boss Nigel Wick, of the host of the Late Late Show, or his favorite movies (written and starring him) - Saving Grace, The Big Tease, and I'll Be There, or anyone who enjoys a good laugh while reading a story of growing up Glaswegian and striving for the states. Also, as Ferguson mentions a few times in the book, those who "choose adventure."


Bio Ferguson WCV WMB

B Ferguson ROG SBL CHE


[Saving Grace is available at Warren Civic Center library on DVD and at Roseville and Shelby Township on VHS. The Big Tease is only available through Melcat requests, and I'll Be There can be ordered from Lenox Township and Roseville.]


Soon to be available as an audiobook read by the author!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #66

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.


Following up our recent post on suggested website gems, we couldn’t resist offering some book-specific websites that offer a variety of support to avid readers everywhere. Selected are websites that librarians love and we hope you, too, will find very useful.


Readers Read – Devoted more to book and publishing news than title suggestions, it’s a worthwhile spot to "check out" if you’re interested in book trends and insider publishing news. An exhaustive list of book blogging links is offered.


Shelf Awareness – A free e-mail newsletter dedicated to helping the people in bookstores, public libraries and those working on the Internet buy, sell, and lend books most wisely. If you want to know what authors will be on NPR, Oprah, Larry King, and many other media outlets, this site will tell you. Also, a fun part of being on their e-mail list is the contests that publishing companies and authors often run.


Generous Books – A growing community for those who love books and love sharing their thoughts with other readers.


Book Muse – Commentary, author biographies and interviews, and loads of reading suggestions make this a useful site for the more literary minded reader.


Last but not least, don’t forget publishing company websites. They often offer free newsletter links that can keep you up to date on favorite titles and authors. A few of the larger publishers include –


Avon Books (an imprint of Harper Collins, specializing in women's literature and romance)

Simon and Schuster (They currently publish Vince Flynn, Sandra Brown, and more!)

Random House(Publishers of the new Dan Brown book "The Lost Symbol" and a host of entertainment biographies, like Kathy Griffin and Tracy Morgan)

Harper Collins (Publishing the PostSecret books and one of our favorites - Neil Gaiman; they also have e-mail lists for children's books and teens)

Penguin (Home of Patricia Cornwell, Charlaine Harris, and John Sandford; they have podcasts every week about new and exciting book selections)

Kensington Books (A great place to find your favorite mystery series writers, like Joanne Fluke and G.A. McKevett, as well as urban lit up-and-comers Kimberla Lawson Roby and Wahida Clark)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's the Suburban Library Cooperative?

Warren Public Library is a member of the Suburban Library Cooperative, an association of Macomb County libraries (which also includes Harper Woods). Since we're members of the SLC, we can request books and movies and many other items from any library in the system - for free! You can also use your Warren Public Library card at any library in the cooperative, too, so if you're ever out in Shelby Township, you can visit their library with your card.

What do all the letters in the Outside of a Dog posts mean?
These are abbreviations of the libraries included in the system. There's is a short list below, but you can view (and print!) the full list, with addresses and phone numbers here.
ARM - Armada
CLL - Centerline
CHE - Chesterfield
EPL - Eastpointe
FRA - Fraser
HPW - Harper Woods
LEN - Lenox Township
LWM - Lois Wagner Memorial (Richmond)
MPL - MacDonald (New Baltimore)
MTC - Mount Clemens
RAY - Ray Township
ROG - Romeo Graubner
ROK - Romeo Kezar
RSV - Roseville
SCS - St. Clair Shores
SBL - Shelby Township
SHL - Sterling Heights
UPL - Utica
WMB - Warren (Maybelle Burnette)
WDB - Warren (Dorothy Busch)
WAM - Warren (Arthur Miller)
WCV - Warren (Civic Center)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #65

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.


It’s always a treat to discover a new and useful website. The internet offers so much and so many, it is often easier just to rely on old standbys, but you’d be missing some real gems. Here are a few that you might just want to consider bookmarking the next time you're surfing.

Discover America
As the “official” travel and tourism website of the United States, I honestly can’t think of any place, topic, or travel information it doesn’t offer, including allowing you to search by destination, state, attraction, and find other travel organizations and links. A definite first stop when planning any journey that takes you farther than your own backyard.

Book Club Girl
Not strictly for girls, this is a great site to browse for a variety of reading suggestions, even if you’re not in a book club. Including author information, links to book clubs, book blogs, and author websites, you’ll never again wonder what to read next.

USA.gov
The tag is “government made easy” and it does do a pretty decent job of leading you through whatever government agency, department, or question you might need to research. Everything from financial aid, passport information, addresses of elected officials, currency exchange rates, zip code lookup, and much much more is offered. It also has links to state and local governments.

Ravelry
Ravelry is a knit and crochet community that is rivaled by no other. You do have to register, but don’t worry - it's free! Afterwards you can check out an endless list of free patterns, projects, and needlecraft links. But beware - you might find yourself so addicted to this site that you’ll have less time to actually pick up that crochet hook or knitting needle.

What They Play
If you're a parent of a tech-savvy kid today, you'll notice that video games are one of the biggest "I want that!" items on wish lists. What They Play gives you parent reviews and screenshots (photos of in-game activity) and sometimes videos of the most popular games, so you know what your kids are asking for.

Spread the Sign
The sign language dictionary of the world is live and is it ever a great resource! You can type in any word, number, or even a full sentence, and this search site will help you learn how to sign it - in ASL (American Sign Language), and sign language in Czech, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish!

Flag Identifier
This is the place to go when you see a flag and you don't know what country it symbolizes. Flag Identifier lets you search by the style of flag, what colors it is, or just what symbols were on it. It includes world flags, state flags, and more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #64

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

As promised, now that you're bopping to the groove of great jazz music, tune your brain to one of these books to find out more...
Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
A series of love poems to the music, this kids' book is great for adults, too, bringing to mind the swinging Harlem-Renaissance poetry of Langston Hughes.
JUV 781.65 M WAM

Visions of Jazz: The First Century by Gary Giddins
This is a big book, to be sure, but well worth picking up, especially if you're curious as to how Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker got their nicknames. Seventy-nine chapters are in this labor of love by the Village Voice music critic Giddins, and each one takes you in-depth about a famed jazz musician, and includes some insight into pop musicians who sometimes sing jazz, like Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra.
781.65 G WDB

The Billboard illustrated encyclopedia of jazz & blues by Ted Drozdowski
Billboard is one of the best-known music magazines worldwide, making and publishing lists of hot music in almost any genre you can imagine, so it's no wonder that an encyclopedia by them is a fantastic resource for history and photos. This is a reference book only, though, so you'll have to look at it in the library; you can't take it home with you.
REF 781.65 B WCV

John Coltrane: A sound supreme by John W. Selfridge
It's never too early to get your kids listening to great music, and learning about the most famous artists. "A sound supreme" is a short biography for kids of all ages that details the life of saxophonist John Coltrane, now known for the complex harmonies in songs like "Giant Steps."
JBiog Coltrane WMB

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #63

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

The classic period for jazz music occurred back in the mid-50's to the mid-60's. some of the musical icons of that era included Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. Below is a listing of several musical selections available at Macomb County libraries.

The best of Chet Baker Plays - Chet Baker
CD Jazz Baker WAM

Miles Smiles - Miles Davis
CD Jazz Miles SHL

The Drum Battle - Buddy Rich
CD Jazz Drum MTC

Dave Brubeck's Greatest Hits - Dave Brubeck
CD Jazz 1391 WDB

Charlie Parker Plays Standards - Charlie Parker
CD Jazz Parker WCV

The Symphonic Ellington - Duke Ellington
CD Jazz Ellington WCV

The Very Best of John Coltrane - John Coltrane
CD Jazz Coltrane WCV

And if you're interested about life behind the scenes of this famous music scene, next week, we'll feature some books on the jazz life.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #62

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

It’s back to school and that means one thing – Homework. The following books and audio visual material offer a little help and advice in that area, so you won’t have to be caught saying “but the dog ate my homework”.


How to do homework without throwing up by Trevor Romain

Mr. Romain who has a slew of DVD’s and books to his credit gives us a 30 minute DVD that makes homework look pretty darn exciting as 2 students jump off the page into the Amazon jungle to learn some new homework skills. Fun and definitely lighthearted. Also available in book format.

Juv 371.3028R WCV


Homework improvement: Parent resource by Roberta Schneiderman

You’ll learn how to help and support your child with their homework without doing the assignment for them.

649.68S – WCV

Juv 371.3S – WAM


How to remember everything: Memory shortcuts to help you study smarter by Ellen Gibson

Specifically aimed at grades 6th through 8th this book focuses on comprehension in all areas.

Juv 371.3G WCV


How to write book reports by Harry Teitelbaum

Everyone’s had to do this something or other in their school career. Not really as difficult as it sounds when you follow some basic guidelines. Of course, it helps to have read and even enjoyed the book.

808.02T – WCV


Remember: The sooner you come to the library to get the books on your research paper or Accelerated Reader or AP English list, the better! It's much easier to get your books the first week of an assignment, instead of the last; your classmates might have checked them all out already. (Also keep in mind that it takes 3-5 business days to get a book shipped from another library - don't put your homework off til the last minute!)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #61

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Health Care – An issue that has taken the political center stage recently, health coverage of is of vital interest to each of us. The following titles offer a variety of viewpoints and suggestions to discover and learn more about the issue.


Critical Condition: How health care in America became big business and bad medicine by Donald L. Barlett and James B Steele

Time magazine journalists, Barlett and Steele give readers a definitive explanation of our current U.S. health care system as well as including an informative and detailed historical perspective how we got here in the first place.

362.1 B WCV


Critical: What we can do about the health-care crisis by Thomas Daschle

Senator Daschle gives voice to solving the complex medical care issues and economic factors that influence our fast-rising health care costs.

362.1 D WCV


The healing of America: A global quest for a better, cheaper, and fairer health care by T.R. Reid

Health care systems around the world are explored in this comprehensive look at why the United States spends more but still is not able to adequately insure all its citizens.

362 R WCV


Health care on less than you think: The New York Times' guide to getting affordable coverage

by Fred Brock
How to manage your family's health care costs and maximize their care.
362.106 B WAM

The new health insurance solution : how to get cheaper, better coverage without a traditional employer plan by Paul Zane Pilzer
Most Americans receive and lose their health insurance along with their jobs and employers. But what about those who get no insurance through their employers, make too much for Medicaid benefits, or are unemployed? This book can help!
368.382 P WAM

Thursday, September 03, 2009

NEW! Career Library Database

Looking for a career for the first time, or even giving it a second try? Want to research on what you'd be best at, and what colleges and programs would be best for you?
Try the NEW Career Library Database!
It allows you to take assessment tests of your skills and "career clusters," as well as helping you find the programs and colleges that are right for you!

Go to: http://library.coin3.com/

and log in with the information below.

Site ID: trialmi

Login: 4211033


Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love Your Librarian? Let Them Know!

Last year, the New York Times, in a partnership with the American Library Association, and the Carnegie Corporation, presented the I Love My Librarian award for the first time. 10 librarians from across the states won the award, and the Times is doing it again! Check out the link below for more details.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #60

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.


Here at the Civic Center Library, we have a few regular patrons who love to read biographies. The most popular and juicy ones, of course, are famous film stars! Here’s a few of our favorite classic film stars’ biographies:


It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, a personal biography – Charlotte Chandler

Most anyone who’s seen the silhouette and heard the creepy tinkling piano music knows who Alfred Hitchcock was, and they know to expect suspense, murder, and mystery along the way. Here, biographer Chandler interviews many colleagues and family members to try to learn what no one seemed to know about the venerable director.

Bio Hitchcock WMB


Psycho [DVD] – Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

Possibly Hitchcock’s most famously terrifying movie. When it was released in 1960, Hitchcock refused to allow theatergoers late admission!

DVD Fic Bloch WCV

DVD P14 WAM


Audrey Hepburn: an elegant spirit – Sean Ferrer Hepburn

As characters Eliza Doolittle and Holly Golightly, Hepburn made a mark on the world as a gorgeous, classy film star. In this recent biography, her son writes about his remembrance of the actress.

Bio Hepburn WCV

Biog Hepburn WAM


Roman Holiday [DVD] – Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert

Of course you recognize the little black dress of Holly Golightly, and the intricately beaded white gown from My Fair Lady; but do you remember seeing Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann? In her first movie, she plays a princess who sneaks away from her duties for a few days, just to see how the other half lives. Handsome co-star Gregory Peck plays a shrewd gambler working for a news service in Rome; will he keep Ann’s secret?

DVD 791.43 Roman WCV


Marilyn Monroe – Barbara Leaming

In contrast to other biographies of the famous and torrid leading lady, Leaming’s effort paints Monroe as a more sympathetic figure. She includes private love letters from some of Marilyn’s family, husbands, and lovers, as well as interviews the famous and not so famous companions Monroe kept.

Bio Monroe WDB


The Misfits [DVD] – Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift

One of Monroe’s last films, here she plays a divorcee on a Nevada ranch. She meets up with neighbors who fall in love with her, and things get a little wild.

DVD Misfits WAM


Golden Boy: the untold story of William Holden – Bob Thomas

William Holden acted in a number of famous films like Sunset Boulevard and Stalag 17, even while serving with the Air Force during World War II. This book is a heartfelt tribute to the actor, who eventually died of a fall in his apartment when he was 63.

Bio Holden WCV


Sabrina [DVD] – Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden

While Bogart and Hepburn are the big names here, Holden plays an integral role as playboy David Larrabee, whom the titular Sabrina falls for. (This was remade in 1995 with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear.)

DVD 791.43 Sabrina WCV