Of course I love to stock up on fresh produce at the Farmers Market, but there are many other parts of the Market that I get excited about. Lately I have been enjoying the beautiful fresh cut flowers available in several stalls. Half the fun is taking the time to build a personalized arrangement. Then you get to bring them home and admire their beauty and scent in your house all week. I love the variety that is available at the market as well as knowing that they were grown locally and cut individually. If you don’t have a yard of blooming flowers, this is a great way to enjoy nature. Even if you do have your own yard and flowers, you may not necessarily want to cut them down. Stop by this weekend and build your own bouquet. Looking for guidance as you set out to make your extra special centerpiece? Check out some of our helpful books. Be sure to share a photo with us, we’d love to see your creations!
Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’
Essential oils have many uses to promote health, lift your mood, and act as helpful additives to household cleaners, body care products, cosmetics, and more. I’ve noticed some newer books about their uses here at the library, and have also noticed growing curiosity about them in my personal circles and in the world around me. Here, I highlight a few of my favorite resources from the stacks at ICPL. (To browse our large selection of books on essential oils and herbal medicine, go to the nonfiction section at 615.321).
Essential Oils for Health is a brand new book at a short length for the curious beginner who wants some basic info and easy recipes. The book is organized by health, emotional well-being, and beauty ailments. If you have a particular problem you would like to address with essential oils, you can easily find a quick and simple recipe in this book. (Dandruff? Cellulite? Bad mood? Low energy? Flatulence? Tobacco withdrawal? To name a few.)
The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils also came out within the last year. It is organized well for the beginner, but acts as a quick and easy reference book for the seasoned essential oil user. Also, unlike many resources, this book contains an entire section on essential oils for the home. One of my first uses for essential oils was to scent cleaning vinegar after I jumped on the environmentally-safe cleaners bandwagon. My solution to vinegar stink has always been to add at least 20 drops of lavender oil to the bottle – as a bonus, lavender is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. (Tea tree oil is great for showers and damp places since it is anti-fungal.)
While not the most recent in a spate of books about essential oils, Kathi Keville and Mindy Green’s Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art is my favorite. This book has a distinctly scientific approach. The newer edition came out in 2009 and is a simply fantastic resource – whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned essential oil enthusiast. The best thing about Keville and Green’s resource? Charts!!! There are some great charts that cover which oils are best for your skin type, for example.
Most important is the “suggested dilution” chart on page 44, because essential oils MUST be diluted before applied to the body. If you’ve ever gotten peppermint oil on your fingers and then accidentally touched your eyes later, you know what I’m talking about. If not, take it from me – essential oils can wreck havoc on the skin and mucus membranes if you don’t apply a little know-how to your applications, so be careful!
In closing, I would like to share National Geographic’s Guide to Medicinal Herbs. I love all things botanical, and enjoyed NatGeo’s wonderful full color photographs. While this book is not specifically about essential oils, most essential oils are made from medicinal herbs. Each herb in this book is introduced within a section that groups together herbs with similar uses (heart & circulation, digestive system, etc.) Aside from the great pictures, my favorite part about this book was the way it incorporated tidbits about each plant’s historical uses.
If you already enjoy using essential oils, feel free to leave a comment telling us your favorite book on the topic or favorite use for an essential oil or herb!
This annual celestial event occurs each year in late Summer, with peak viewing near the 2nd week of August. In 2015, the peak will be August 9-13 when up to 60 meteors an hour should be visible in the night sky, especially in the hours between midnight and dawn.
The Perseid Meteor shower is what we see when the Earth passes through the orbital path of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Swift Tuttle orbits the Sun every 133 years, and each time it gets close to the Sun, small pieces break off and join the cloud of debris in the comet’s orbit. Each year when the Earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle’s debris field, the debris bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere creating the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The Perseids appear to originate from the top of the constellation Perseus. During August, Perseus will be found in the Northeastern part of the sky, left of the Big Dipper. The point in space where the shower seems to originate is called a “Radiant”. The map to the left, from Sky & Telescope, the radiant is shown in yellow text. All the Perseid meteors will appear fly outwards from that point in the sky.
There are many great Astronomy websites with information about the Perseids.
University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s web site “StarDate” has a lot of information for people new to star gazing and astronomy. Clicking on the “Stargazing” tab on their homepage will give you a list of the things visible in the night sky this week. This is also where you’ll find a link to their Meteor Shower page.
The Earth Sky website managed by Deborah Byrd, the host of the long running public radio series EarthSky: A Clear Voice for Science, is a great science web site for non-scientists. The information about the Perseids section of their website is easy to read and has lots of information about the origins of the Perseids as well as how and when to find them and general tips on viewing.
To learn more about Comets, Meteors and meteor showers, the NASA website is a great place to start. Plantes, asteroids, meteors, and comets – there are all sorts of neat things at NASA.
There are many other regular meteor showers throughout the year if you can’t make the Perseids. Some of the most common can be found on this table, from the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory’s StarDate website mentioned above.
Sometimes a simple question gets a not-so-simple answer. The question was “Does the Library have a slide projector? I found some old slides and I want to see what they are.” The quick answer was No, the Library no longer has a slide projector. But we do have a powerful new archival scanner that is equipped to view and scan slides. It is available to patrons whenever the Library is open, first-come, first-served.
The Epson Expression is a large-format flatbed scanner funded by a generous gift from the Iowa City Noon Host Lions Club. It can be used to scan photographs or documents up to 12 x 17 inches, and with a simple attachment can be converted to view or scan negatives and slides. Some basic instructions are available at the Reference Desk, where the slide tray also is stored.
The scanner software allows you to preview the slides first. You can then choose to scan some or all of the images. If you wish to save the scanned images, please bring a flash drive, or you can email the scans to yourself using a web-based email program such as gmail. Please note: scanning slides and negatives requires a higher resolution setting than you would use for a photograph, and so takes longer to scan and uses more space on your storage device.
If you want to go beyond simply viewing and begin to preserve and organize your old photos, you will find a book on our new nonfiction shelves most helpful. How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally, by Denise May Levenick assumes you are a beginner and starts at the first step, instructing you on what equipment you will need and how to set up a filing system for your digital images. It also contains advice on what scanning settings to use for different media, tips such as scanning the reverse side of a photo to save what was written about it, and has workflows for various projects. It’s an excellent resource if you have been intending to take on that shoebox full of old family pictures. Or slides.
ICPL has a great Summer Reading program every year. But it’s not just for kids.
The Adult Summer Reading program “Everyday Heroes” runs from June 1 to August 9th, (just like the kids’ and teens’ programs.) Simply read 5 books – or read 3 books and attend 2 of our Summer Reading Program events – before August 9th to be eligible for a free book and an entry into our Grand Prize drawings. (*see the bottom of this post for a list of prizes).
Signing up is easy: click HERE to register, and then HERE to print your game card – or stop by either the Help or Information Desk next time you’re in the building and we’ll sign up up in person and grab a preprinted game card.
We have some great events scheduled for this summer. The fun kicks off this Wednesday night, June 10th at 7:00 p.m.
Be An Environmental Hero Managing Storm Water/Create a Rain Garden. Managing Storm water to protect our water resources has hit home in our communities. The goal of storm water management practices is to capture rain fall and allow it to absorb into the ground reducing runoff, pollution, and the risk of flooding. Lucy Hershberger, founder of Forever Green Garden Center, will be here to teach us what we can do in our yards to help reduce flooding, protect our drinking water and improve water quality in our rivers, streams and lakes.
Other events scheduled for this summer:
Wed., June 24 7:00 p.m. Monuments Men Movie Screening. Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray, Directed by George Clooney, this film follows a group of every day men who joined the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program during WWII. Their mission was to find and save pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction or theft by the Nazis during WWII.
Wed., July 1, 7:00 p.m. Iowa’s Own Monuments Man: George Stout. During WWII, Winterset, Iowa native George Stout was a member of the U.S. Army’s “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program” devoted to recovering art and other items of cultural importance that had been stolen by Nazis or hidden for safekeeping. In 2014 these men and their mission became known world-wide with the release of the film “The Monuments Men,” directed by and starring George Clooney, who’s character Frank Stokes was based on George Stout. Our guest speaker, Nancy Trask, Director of the Winterset Public Library, Winterset, Iowa has spent years researching George Stout and the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program. She’ll be here to share all that she’s learned.
Wednesday July 8, 7:00 p.m. Documentary Screening: Unsung Heroes – The Story of America’s Female Patriots. Every woman that has ever served in the American military has volunteered to do so. These are women who, despite the hardships of military service, are proud of their long-standing commitment to the patriotic ideals of the United States. This new documentary, written and directed by Frank Martin with executive producers Ron Howard, Richard Rosetti, and Louisa Velis, is currently airing on PBS stations across the nation. See it here first!
Monday, July 13, 7:00 p.m. What it Takes to Become A World Champion – with Dan Gable and Tom Brands. Spend and evening with Olympic gold metalists – and former and current Iowa hawkeye Wrestling Coaches Dan Gable and Tom Brands as they talk about what it takes to become an Olympic competitor.
Wednesday July 22, 7:00 pm Documentary Screening: Opene Sesame – The Story of Seeds. This documentary by M. Sean Kaminsky follows the history of seeds, from their shift from a shared, local and cultureal resource, into patented, privately and coporately owned property. Open Sesame details this history and presents some of the challenges faced today by organic and small growers, seed savers, and seed freedom advocates.
Wednesday, July 29th 7:00 pm An Evening with Seed Savers Exchange. Staff from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa will be here to talk about saving seeds and theimportance of preserving heirloom seeds. Seed Saving makes us all heroes. This event is sponsored by ICPL and New Pioner Coop.
*Grand Prize Choices for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program: A single one-year membership to Film Scene; one $50 Downtown Iowa City gift card; one $50 gift certificate to A&A Pagliai’s Pizza; and a pair of 2-hour Paddle Passes at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.
June 3rd is National Running Day!
Why on Earth, you might ask? Why celebrate an activity that, among other things:
- is insanely hard for many (I’ve run for years, and it’s still really hard most of the time. People tell you it gets easier. People lie.);
- can make you feel uncoordinated and inferior to others (I’m really slow…my pace doesn’t qualify me as a ‘real’ runner in certain circles;
- doesn’t always seem to bring positive benefits or change (running makes he hungry, I eat more, I don’t lose weight. And, after all that running I always end up…back home, where I started);
- makes you look pretty awful during and after (I not only have a shorts tan line, but also a lovely one from my headband. Nice.);
- hurts. During, it can hard to breathe, my right knee sometimes aches, I roll my left ankle, and I get chafed. After, my muscles are sore and sometimes swollen, my hips are unyielding, and if you’re really good, you might lose some toenails).
But don’t get me wrong. Running can be a fantastic activity–it must be, if I continue to do it, right?. It relieves stress, helps increase bone density and strengthen muscles, improves your cardiovascular system, causes the release of endorphins, gives you the opportunity to meet people in your community (other runners, race organizers and spectators, EMTs), and gets you outside and on the trails, on the sidewalks, into nature. You get to set goals and achieve them on your own schedule, for your own reasons. Running can make you stronger, healthier, and happier. Honest.
So go on, give it a try. If you’ve ever driven past a runner and wondered briefly ‘hmmm…would I like that?’, today is your day to find out! Get out for a quick jog, do a run-walk, run some sprints, or go long. Run down to the Library and grab a book about running that will help you get started, train for a race or improve your form, or give you some insight into runners and why they do it.
A friend recommended Blood and Thunder: an epic of the American West to me awhile back, but I was reluctant to read it. It had been some time since I had read a history and had unreservedly enjoyed it. Take Charles Mann’s 1491 and 1493, for example. They’re both great. You will be enlightened, and you will learn all sorts of fascinating things if you read them. I’ll go ahead and say that you will be a better person. But I’d guess that you’ll also find the level of detail tedious at times.
My experience with Hampton Sides has been different. He is a master storyteller.
In Blood and Thunder, Sides focuses on the American Southwest from the 1840s to the 1860s and on the life of Kit Carson in particular. Carson participated in the conquest of the West and gave his loyalty to the American military and government. He also married two Indian women and spoke many Indian languages. Popular westerns of the time – blood and thunders they were called – portrayed Carson as a swashbuckling hero protecting settlers from marauding Indians. More contemporary histories have tended to the reverse these roles. Sides is more interested in telling stories about human beings whose actions and motivations are complex and develop over time. The story of the Navajo people and their land is particularly interesting.
Hellhound on his Trail is both history and true crime, and it’s riveting. Martin Luther King, Jr’s last days are chronicled and details of his assassin’s life and flight from justice are doled out at a measured pace. The manhunt for King’s killer, who had been living under an alias or two, was massive, and it eventually reached overseas. Please note that Sides gives no credence to the government conspiracy theory of the assassination, so you’ll have to look elsewhere (one-star Amazon reviews) if you’re inclined that way.
I’ll give his latest, In the Kingdom of Ice, another thumbs up. I’m about a third of the way into it, and I’ve never looked forward more to hearing about shivering, miserable sailors in the Arctic. The mission was operating on the notion that there might very well be an open polar sea. There was a current in the Pacific Ocean, it was thought, similar to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, and that current was flowing through the Bering Strait and warming the Arctic Ocean at the Pole. They imagined the wonders.
Not only do wild flowers emerge in the spring, but wild animal young do, too. We’ve had questions about what to do when someone has found a nest of baby bunnies or a young robin on the ground or even a fawn without a doe nearby. Our natural inclination to think the young animal has been abandoned, but that may not be the case at all. Books on animal rescue and rehabilitation as well as websites devoted to wildlife suggest that the first step you take is determining whether the young animal is orphaned, injured or just fine.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) posted the article Leave Wildlife Babies in the Wild . “If you find an animal baby that appears to be on its own, don’t worry. Generally, one of its parents is nearby, watching. They’re teaching their offspring to be independent, and in the case of danger, some animal parents will take off in order to create a distraction away from their young,” suggests the DNR.
The Humane Society of the United States cautions that “unless the animal appears injured or in distress, there may be no need to rescue them.” They do suggest you follow up if -a cat or dog presents the wild animal to you; there is evidence of bleeding; there is an apparent or obvious broken limb; there is a featherless or nearly featherless bird on the ground or the baby animal is shivering or there is a dead parent nearby.
The next step, according to the DNR is to contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator. The DNR maintains a list on its website. If you cannot reach a rehabilitator, you should contact your conservation officer or animal control officer. If you would like to learn more about what an wildlife rehabilitator does, Talk of Iowa, an Iowa Public Radio program, recently hosted several rehabilitators and they shared their stories of helping return the young back into the wild.
Have you ever watched a video on Youtube, which then led you to another and another. Then you realize you have fallen down the rabbit hole. I sometimes do that with books. I will be reading a book which references a person, a subject or another book. So I will run out to the stacks to see what we have on that. This leads to having multiple partially read books, which I may or may not ever finish.
It started when I saw this author on one of the morning talk shows and ads for it kept popping up on websites. He suffered from PTSD, drug abuse and a lot of bad choices, leading to an on-air panic attack during a live news broadcast. The book is about his search for a way get his head on straight. Along the way he meets people like Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, and Ted Haggart.
Full Catastrophe living
This is one of the authors and books mentioned in the previous title. Kabat-Zinn started the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to help people dealing physical and mental traumas. I made it about half way through this book before…
The Obstacle is the way
While reading, online either about Kabat-Zinn or meditation in general, I found this title on the Tim Ferris book club list. It is a collection of stories about a lot of successful historical figures and they would turn losses into wins. It leans heavily on the stoic philosophy of Seneca and Marcus Aruelius. I actually didn’t read this, I listened to it in the car. I feel like I miss things because I am not entirely focused on listening while I am driving.
Meditations and The stoic philosophy of Seneca
A guide to the good life
Since I wasn’t going to read the previous two I thought I would at least try to find something else which would summarize their works. The cover looks sort of depressing but it really isn’t. It starts with a brief history of Stoicism, followed by general psychological techniques such as negative visualization and meditation. It also gives advice on specific problems like handling anger, dealing with insults, and death.
The Nerdist way
Reading through all of the above books I saw a lot of things which I thought would be helpful for teens, I have two of them. But I knew mine would not have any interest in investing the time in those books. I stumbled across this one which seemed like it might be a little more appealing to them. I don’t know if I would put them in the nerdist category, but they are both gamers so I thought that aspect might draw them in. Plus the Body section has illustrations of a bear with a headband doing exercises! It is divided into three sections Mind, Body and Time. I made it through most of the Mind section before I passed the book on to my son. He seemed interested in at least looking at it.