Blogs:

 Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons book coverAs a psychology major in the late 70's and early 80's it seemed that every textbook for every class included the story of Phineas Gage. He was the guy who had a tamping iron accidentally blasted through his cheek and out the top of his head while working on a railroad explosives crew in 1848. There were always illustrations, daguerreotypes, and a gruesome description of his injury.  (As I read the Wikipedia page about him right now, I get a little sparkly thing at the back of my eyeballs, and I'm not easily grossed out.)  As students, what always blew our disco-studded minds was that Gage lived.  Not only lived, but seemed mostly normal. However, as we all know, "normal" has a lot of gray matter near the edges. 

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is Kean's newest book. His first one, The Disappearing Spoon was super good, and very easy to read even if one may have gotten a C in high school chemistry. This one promises to be just as good, thanks in part to Phineas Gage. And I like brains better than the periodic table anyway. 

 

Feel like moving some paint?  Want to splatter some alcohol inks?

One of my current obsessions is learning how to do mixed media visual art.  To get started I looked at books by Seth Apter. I took classes at the local mixed media center: Collage and with Serena Barton and Chris Cozen.  I also like to follow the blogs of Pam Garrison and Mary Anne Moss for learning mixed media tips and tricks.  

To continue learning I started a mixed media club with a couple of friends. We meet monthly. We share and try new products.  Basically, we cheer each other on!  I have found the best mixed media foundation recipe from the Jenny Doh’s magazine Somerset Studio. Don’t be fooled by the lack of a cover image in our catalog - this magazine is visually stunning. Most importantly I am having fun and I wanted to share some of these resources so you can have fun too!

Officially I live in a land called the United States of America.  But much of my time is spent in the somewhat gritty, dangerous land of the BBC mystery. It is a cold place and people speak in a number of interesting and different accents. Their words are the same as mine but they mean different things. They say things like ‘have any joy?’ and ‘are you takin’ the piss out of me?’

The detectives keep their emotions to themselves, have horrible homelives or none at all. They drink too much and throw things around when they get frustrated. They repeatedly flaunt the rules, their supervisor and common sense. But they find evil wherever it is hiding and root it out. The bad guy may seem to gain speed, and bodies may turn up in unexpected places, but in the end Vera Stanope, Jane Tennison, Inspectors Morse and Lewis, Cordelia Gray and Jackson Brodie will win

They will win with grace and style, and just when I think I will go crazy if I don’t see another episode of Vera, or Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, Cordelia Gray or Case Histories, I come back to myself here in the United States where I rush to the library website to check out books featuring these and other favorite detectives.  Maybe it will hold me over untill the next season comes out.

Check out my complete list of gritty and dangerous BBC mysteries.

Self portrait paintingBefore I became a parent, I was a painter. When my son was born, I imagined a mini easel propped up next to mine, where we would paint together. If anybody has actually made this work for longer than three minutes, I’d love to hear about it. I will also suspect you are lying through your teeth.Book Jacket: One Painting a Day by Timothy Callaghan

Now that my son is more self-sufficient, I think I’ve simply stalled out and I need an assignment to help jump start my art.  I already went back to art school in my thirties, so this time I'm taking a different and less costly approach.  My first course is One Painting a Day by Timothy Callaghan. The 42 exercises in this book center around painting ordinary things, but the examples from contributing artists are far from mundane. There is no muse more accessible than your every day surroundings and I am already looking ahead to day 11: Paint a storage still life.

Next quarter, I'm considering How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith.  I bought this book for my (then) 12-year-old niece with the intention of hanging on to it until she was a little older. In theBook Jacket: How to Be An Explorer of the World by Keri Smith end, I gave it to her anyway because I’m disorganized and found myself otherwise empty-handed on her birthday. It turned out not to matter that Exploration #26: Becoming Leonard Cohen, didn’t strike a familiar chord. Her interpretations of Exploration #9: Case of Curiosities and #34 Interesting Garbage, completely blew me away.

I hope to graduate this time, with a renewed and regular art habit. Feel free to join me. Admission is open year-round and you only need to dust off your art supplies and pull out your library card to get started with your first assigment!

Flowers are very important to me. I put up a couple vases at a time in our house. One has to be on the dining room table and another on the fireplace mantle. And if I am really flower rich, I will put a couple vases in the bathroom or bedroom. I am usually flower rich when flowers are blooming in our garden. In the dead of winter I splurge for flowers on payday.
 
I mark certain times of years by which flowers are in bloom. February is all about hellebore and daphne. Because it can be dark and gloomy in Portland in the winter, seeing these plants in bloom means the sun is coming with spring on its heels.
 
So when I found the book The Flower Shop by Sally Page I was thrilled! The Flower Shop is one year in the life of a flower shop in a village in England. Each chapter is about a month of the year. Every month is marked with holidays that are celebrated with flowers. Birthdays, parties and weddings are celebrated throughout the book. Pictures and tips for flower care weave their way through the pages. If you are looking for something touching and colorful, this is the book for you. 

Pride Northwest LogoThe Pride Festival & Parade this year has extra reason to be proud, what with Judge McShane’s ruling on Monday, May 19, declaring Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

And Multnomah County Library is also extra proud, because we will be at the Pride Festival this year on Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, down at the Tom Mccall Waterfront Park from noon to 6:00 PM. Stop by and see us!

Leading up to the event we will be sharing a variety of blog posts and reading lists showcasing the resources the library offers Multnomah County’s LGBTQ community, as well as their family and friends. Books on LGBTQ history (see below), queer films, books & zines you can check out, resources for gay parents, great LGBTQ teen novels, and more.

We would love to hear your recommendations and requests for ways we can serve the LGBTQ community here in Multnomah County. Everything from a particular title we should own, to programs and workshops we should offer, to other events we should attend. Feel free to comment below.

And once again, stop by and visit the Multnomah County Library table at the Pride Festival. We’ll see you there!

What dishes could you expect at a dinner with Queen Elizabeth? What did the Emperor Nero eat after fiddle practice? What did Lewis and Clark roast over their fire? Today there are many fad diets, like the hugely popular Paleo Diet, that claim healthier eating by replicating the diets of our ancestors. Here at the library we have gathered several ways for you to explore the history of food and maybe find a “new” favorite old recipe.


www.foodtimeline.org is an exhaustive list of authoratitive information about food from early human history to modern times. This site was created and maintained by librarian Lynne Olver and includes a detailed bibliography, links to recipes throughout history, and informational biographies on our favorite foods.


http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/food-history/ This blog from the National Museum of American History includes highlights from their collection of food throughout American History.


The Oxford Handbook of Food History edited by Jeffrey M Pilcher provides twenty seven essays that explore the history through the lens of food. These scholarly essays explore the historiography of this research and point towards avenues of continued scholarship.

Recipes tell stories. They tell stories of family gatherings, beloved traditions and good meals shared with friends. When we share a recipe with another, we aren’t just passing along our impeccable taste, we are giving another person a little taste of who we are, like our love of thyme or our obsession with the perfectly grilled steak. We hope that you will join us at the library as we support this sharing with our new recipe exchange program.

Our initial meeting will be focusing on the most versatile of foods, cookies. Sweet or savory, chewy or crisp, cookies come in all flavors and sizes. Bring your favorite cookie recipe to share, whether it be your grandmother’s fail-proof chocolate chip or a new exotic favorite. We will be featuring your recipes on this blog as well as compiling a list of recipes to share with others at the Central Library.

If you need inspiration please see the book list below. We have carefully sifted through our huge collection of cookbooks to bring you the best cookie books that Multnomah County Library has to offer.

 Why do I recommend Astro City to people who don't read superhero comics? Two reasons.  Reason 1: It isn't a superhero comic. It's a comic about a city (that happens to have superheroes in it).  Reason 2: I have to tell you a story.
 
There were these two guys who loved superhero comics. But they didn't like what they saw them turning into... dark, ironic, gritty and grim slashfests loaded with gun-toting anti-hero vigilantes. So they decided to do something about it. They designed their own worlds, complete with histories and futures. They created adventures featuring fallible, interesting human beings, some of whom happened to have impossible abilities. They examined big questions such as 'what does it mean to be human?' and 'what does it mean to be a hero?'. One of those guys (me) played to an audience of five, doing this all via a superhero role-playing game called Champions.  The other, Harvey and Eisner Award-winner Kurt Busiek, was kind enough to share his far more engaging world with us all. Thank goodness!
 
Astro City book jacketAstro City is the series and the setting. There is no one star, no central person or group we follow, but if you consider the city to be the main character, then what we have is a collection of vignettes that illustrate its 'life'. It changes, it grows, it has good features and shady ones, and joy is in the discovery. One of my favorite bits is a story about a family moving to the city and their eventful trip with a cheerful cabbie who wouldn't live anywhere else. Superheroic battles rage in the background, but the real story happens in the cab. Will they be scared away by the cosmic forces battling in the skies? 
 
Another tale features a city teen sent to stay with her country cousins, rolling her eyes at the small-town hero helping the locals. She sees REAL heroes back home, OMG! But is there more to the story? Why does this 'Roustabout' seem so interested in her family? 
 
There are certainly stories that focus on the heroes, but even those are far more than biff-pow action spectaculars. One shows a day in the life of Samaritan, whose free time consists of stolen moments between emergencies. What he dreams of is flying free, just for the joy of it.
 
The graphic novel collection Life in the Big City is a great place to start, although most collections are self-contained story arcs. For those who love this as much as I do, there are lots more, and Kurt is now releasing new Astro City stories again. (Yess!)
 
If you'd like to see this 'human's eye view' applied to superheroes you may already know, check out Busiek's Marvels: Eye of the Camera, where he follows Eye of the Camera book jacketthe history of the Marvel Universe through the eye of news photographer Phil Sheldon, who saw it all from Day One. Or have a look at his take on the first superhero (DC's 'Superman') as he confronts the effects on humanity of his Always Having Been There to Save the Day.
 
Kurt unfailingly finds the human element in superhuman worlds. Astro City would make a great setting for a Champions campaign... (grin)....

"Reading is a gift for life."

Volunteer Pam Jacobs

by Mindy Moreland

For Pam Jacobs, seeing a young child’s face light up at the prospect of a new story is a delight that never fades. Books, kids, and fostering literacy were the guiding passions of Pam’s career as preschool and Head Start teacher, and these same passions continue to inspire her as a volunteer. Today she donates her time and energies to several literacy organizations, including SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and a read-aloud program at an assisted living facility, as well as two library programs.

When she first contacted the library in 2009 to inquire about becoming a volunteer, Pam recalls, her branch needed help with the Summer Reading program. She happily signed on, using her love of children’s literature and her early childhood education background to connect with parents and children eager to choose prizes and advance on their game boards. She’s delighted by their excitement and eager to encourage a love of reading, Pam says. She has helped with Summer Reading every year since, amassing a stack of Summer Reading t-shirts in the process. She enjoys the chance to get to know the library staff as well as the community she serves. “Volunteering is great,” she says.

Pam also volunteers year-round with Every Child, the early childhood outreach program, helping to sort, sticker, and prepare library materials for distribution. She works on projects such as assembling the library gift bags sent home with each new baby born in a local hospital.These contain a board book and information on storytimes and early learning programs. She’s proud to be able to help Every Child, developing young learners who will soon be excitedly completing their own Summer Reading game boards. “We want to keep them on that path,” Pam says. “Reading is a gift for a lifetime.”

 

A Few Facts About Pam

Home library: Hollywood Library

Currently reading: The Bartender's Tale, by Ivan Doig. Doig's style captures me. He is a real old-fashioned story teller.

Most influential book: The Good Earth. This book began an ongoing interest in the works of Pearl S. Buck and a fascination in other cultures. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. A college instructor made Faulkner's work come alive. Other authors that have touched my life in later years are Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, and Alice Hoffman.

Favorite book from childhood: The series about the Bobbsey twins (Laura Lee Hope) and later, Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).

A book that made you laugh or cry: Kent Haruf's books make me do both. So do the books of Anne Lamott.

Favorite section of the library: Definitely, the children's section!

E-reader or paper book? I prefer the feel of a paper book.

Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Mysteries of all kinds.

Favorite place to read: In my bed, at a coffee shop, and most of all...at the beach!

 

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