I don’t really know why, but I love singing in other languages. In the last two years, with my choir and others, I have sung pieces is Xhosa, Hebrew, Latin, Ndebele & Zulu, German, Yoruba, Welsh, Hungarian, Spanish, Russian, and most recently in French. While I can’t say that I always have as much fun as Benny the Irish Polyglot singing a German pop song, I also can’t think of how to have more fun practicing another language.
The first two of Benny Lewis’ “7 reasons to learn languages through singing,” are at the heart why I enjoy it so much. I feel like I am building a bridge to another culture when I can master the words of a song well enough that they can be heard and understood in the language of that culture.
There is even evidence that singing can help you learn a language more easily. A University of Edinburgh study found that groups of adults who listened and repeated short phrases by singing them, performed better in tests than those who learned by speaking them. Learning by listening and repeating phrases has been basis for popular audio courses such as Pimsleur language programs, as well as online resources like Mango Connect, and free web and mobile apps like Duolingo.
Once you get your foothold in a language, one of these books on diction in singing can help polish your pronunciation, or satisfy your inner perfectionist.
Reflecting on a recent birthday, there’s a sense and some science that my tastes are set. Is there room for new things? Of course. However, looking back at my musical past there’s some defining records that helped cement what I love. Don’t worry. I’m not about to go all “Garden State”.
Even though I may not listen to these albums often, they’re like old friends. You don’t see them much, but when you do, things pick up right where you left off. Thanks to the new library service Hoopla, it’s even easier to visit them. Give it a try!
Waaaay back in the day, I was a nanny for six months, and I have to admit that I was not a particularly good one. In junior high and high school, I had tons of (mostly) enjoyable babysitting experiences, but living with a family is so much different than going home after a few hours of coloring and playing hide-and-seek. To clarify, though: the family was fine and I had the best bedroom in the house. I didn’t have to clean and, fortunately for the kids, I had only light cooking duties. It’s just that when you aren’t the ultimate authority, things can be a bit tricky. Taking care of other people’s children is not for the faint of heart as Kelly Corrigan relates in her memoir Glitter and Glue.
Kelly Corrigan became a nanny a few years after I, only her family gig was in Australia. She hadn’t planned on it, but when she and her friend ran out of cash on their trip around the world, jobs suddenly became necessary if they wanted to eventually continue their adventure (not to mention get back home to the United States). Kelly’s Aussie family was grieving the loss of the mother who had died of cancer a few months before.
As she navigated those sorrowful and difficult waters (so many topics of conversation with the children seemed to potentially contain mother references), Kelly gained a new appreciation for her own mother who was not particularly affectionate but kept the family on track - the “glue” in the family as opposed to her father’s role as the “glitter” (read “fun”). She constantly heard her mother’s voice as she was going about her daily routine and making decisions about the kids (“Children, Kelly. Kids are goats. Are Millie and Martin goats?” ). Now that she’s a mother herself, Kelly realizes how much her mother influenced the way she is raising her own daughters and, for Kelly, that’s a really good thing.
Now that you've learned some tips to help set SMART money goals, set up a budget, and survive tax season - its time to focus on how you can save money. This Money Tip$ episode offers creative ways to save money in order to achieve your SMART goals, while staying within the framework of your personal budget. You'll find that you'll be better equipped to handle unexpected situations not included in your monthly budget - such as a serious illness, or auto repair and maintenance - by establishing a plan for saving money.
This episode of the Money Tip$ video series was produced by Multnomah County Library in collaboration with Innovative Changes, a Portland non-profit organization that exists to help low-income individuals and families manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability. Made possible by The Library Foundation with a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart Investing @ your library ®, a partnership with the American Library Association.
Sometimes it's hard to decide what you think about an issue.
Other times the truth seems so obvious you can't imagine anyone disagreeing with you.
And sometimes you need to back up your strong opinions with more information that helps prove your case.
For all those times, check out IQ2: Intelligence Squared Debates.
Your body is a pretty amazing place to be. Every day things try to make you sneeze, make your nose run, make you cough, or even something worse. Lucky for you, your immune system fights them off - most of the time.
So think of your immune system as the Immune Platoon, a bunch of superheroes battling so you can be as healthy as you can be. Using some great online resources you can get an overview of the immune system, find out how your body responds to an attack on your immune system by playing a parasite game or an immune system game, and even quiz yourself to see what you know!
And you can always contact a librarian for even more info!
Lolita. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”
Do you know this book? It’s about middle-aged, European Humbert Humbert, who has had his eye on certain girls between the ages of nine and fourteen for his entire adult life. Through a mix of strategy and happenstance, Humbert gets 12-year-old Lolita completely in his power and makes her his concubine-- who also poses as his daughter. And yes, it's as deeply disturbing as it sounds. The book was banned for years all over the world after its publication and still carries an air of scandal.
I’d been reading indiscriminately and in volume, heading every couple of weeks to a used bookstore that sold paperbacks and filling a grocery bag with books by Danielle Steele, V.C. Andrews, and Jacqueline Susann (who I still kind of love). Lolita, when I finally picked it up, grabbed me in a different way than those books. For one thing, I thought it was sexy. At 15, I wasn’t completely horrified at what I saw as Humbert’s seduction of a twelve-year-old. I knew I was sexual, and I wasn’t that much older than Lolita. At that age, I was interested in older men. I was also seduced by the novel’s sinuous music and deep romanticism. There’s beautiful poetry in this book. “My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.”
I read Lolita at least five or six more times in my teens and early twenties, but then I worked in bookstores and libraries for awhile. It seemed that books were flying at me all the time, so I didn’t do much rereading. Later, in the wildly hormonal years when I was having babies and dealing with being a mom to small children, I couldn’t imagine wanting to read a book about a sexual predator and didn’t even want to think about Lolita.
Recently I found out that Jeremy Irons was the voice actor for the audio book of Lolita, which the library has on CD and in downloadable audio, and I thought, “Sign me up!” Honestly? Sign me up to hear Jeremy Irons read a grocery list or the ingredients in a bottle of shampoo. After years and years, I “read” Lolita again.
At the age I am now, the book was so much more, in every way, than I remembered, both lovelier and more poignant, and more distressing. It’s genius, having Humbert narrate the book in the first person. You’re right there with him, appreciating Lolita’s beauty, remembering the shock of new love, and then he says something so devastatingly cruel and selfish, so perverted, that you’re shocked. You go in and out of sympathy like this again and again and again. He becomes a monster, then someone whose pain we understand perfectly, then a monster again. Walking home, with Jeremy Iron’s voice in my earbuds, I would sometimes have to stop and cry out, bury my head in my hands. "Hi, there, neighbors. It's not mental illness. It's literature."
Jeremy Irons reads the book with verve, showing us Humbert’s charm, his anger, his often very funny sense of humor. But at the end, as I listened on a grey, drizzly morning on my way to work, his voice grew more subdued as he tells of realizing what his love has done to Lolita’s life. “We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night — every night, every night — the moment I feigned sleep.”
I showed up at the library in no kind of shape to help patrons, at least for a little while. But I’m glad I listened to this masterpiece again.