LibraryPoint Blog

03/19/2012 - 1:13pm
Cultivating Community

While I love the idea of purchasing only organic and sourcing all of our food from local farmers or venues, it simply never seemed like a realistic option for our large family of 6 either in terms of practicality or finances. But it doesn’t require an outpouring from your pocketbook to become appreciative of local and seasonal food. Sometimes, it’s as easy as casting a few seeds into the dirt.

When we planted our first vegetable garden and I tasted my inaugural Brandywine tomato, I was completely hooked. Holding a warm tomato fresh off the vine that tasted like some sort of ambrosia of the gods was life changing. That summer, I ate my way through plates of Brandywine, Costoluto Genovese, and Black Krim tomatoes. I grew ronde de nice and adorable pattypan squashes and learned a million different ways to serve squash. I discovered the amazing varieties of eggplants and made ratatouille with our abundance. I fell in love with the amazing variety of seeds and plants offered by such suppliers as The Seeds of Change, The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and The Cooks Garden.

03/19/2012 - 3:30am
Victim Rights by Norah McClintock

Ryan Dooley has always been in trouble. Victim Rights, by Norah McClintock, tells of his journey from one side of the law to the other. Dooley, as he prefers to be called, had a hard life growing up. He was forced to try to care for his mother, all the while taking care of himself because no one else was able to take care of him. However, when his ex-cop uncle found him in a juvenile detention center, he offers him an ultimatum. If Dooley will stay out of trouble, his uncle will provide for him until he turns eighteen in a couple months.

03/16/2012 - 3:30am

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

The first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn is Across the Nightingale Floor: Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. In a culture ruled by codes of honor and formal rituals, Takeo must look inside himself to discover the powers that will enable him to fulfill his destiny.

If you enjoyed this series' attention to historical detail and Southeast Asian-themed setting, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

The Chinese Bell Murders by Robert Van Gulik
In the spirit of ancient Chinese detective novels, Judge Dee is challenged by three cases. First, he must solve the mysterious murder of Pure Jade, a young girl living on Half Moon Street. All the evidence points to the guilt of her lover, but Judge Dee has his doubts. Dee also solves the mystery of a deserted temple and that of a group of monks' terrific success with a cure for barren women. (amazon.com)

 

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
A fictional portrait of the last empress of China follows Orchid, a beautiful teenager from an aristocratic family, who is chosen to become a low-ranking concubine of the emperor and rises to a position of power in the Chinese court. (worldcat.org)


 

03/15/2012 - 3:31am
Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman, Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

Once, luck was as free to be had in Ireland as sunlight, and just as plentiful.  It filled the air, and anyone could grab a handful of it as the need arose. This was largely due to the leprechauns, for they made luck like cows made milk.

Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day—and Irish-American Heritage Month—comes Fiona’s Luck, a delightful picture book that lyrically tells the story of how the extra luck came into Ireland with the leprechauns and was lost again from us “big folk” when the leprechaun king decided to hoard it all away in his castle.

03/15/2012 - 3:30am
Food and cultures

If you are like me, you probably enjoy exploring different cultures through food. I am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain's show,  No Reservations

I would love to be able to go to all these countries and taste their cuisines one day. But for now, I do it through reading. It is truly amazing to learn that many famous cooks and food writers were ordinary people and had to endure many struggles on their quests to find a niche for themselves. In these books, we will travel and experience cuisines both in the USA and around the world.  

03/14/2012 - 7:56am
Wild Horses of the World by Moira C. Harris

Wild Horses of the World, written by Moira C. Harris and with photographs by Bob Langrish, is a beautiful coffee table book that looks at dozens of types of wild horses around the world. Though all but one example, the Przewalski horse from Mongolia, are really more feral than truly wild, these horses have been roaming free for so many centuries and sometimes millennia that they have established their own identities, which are often interlinked with the history and culture surrounding them. Whether abandoned by explorers or left to freely roam by farmers until needed, the newly-wild horses quickly adapted to the natural herd behavioral patterns that protected them.  Without human interference, only the hardiest of the lot could survive.

03/14/2012 - 3:30am
Cover to Herbs in Bloom

With the gardening season starting in full force, there are many moments when we plan a project, even get started and then get stuck. Further guidance and reading is required. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library certainly has a large collection of paper copies of gardening books. But what happens if the perfect book is checked out and has holds on it? Or, perhaps you can't get in to see us at the library. Time is running out, and you need to start now.

I was aware of the fact that EBSCOhost has a collection of electronic gardening books but did not know how extensive the collection is. By typing in "gardening," as the search term, I came up with over four pages of results.

To utilize the results of your gardening, there are also many different cookbooks also available as eBooks.

03/13/2012 - 1:32pm
Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 13, with a lecture on Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen, author of Louisa May Alcott.

Louisa May Alcott spent her childhood in Boston and in Concord, Massachusetts, where her days were enlightened by visits to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library and excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau. When she was 35, she wrote the beloved Little Women in her childhood home, basing the novel on her family during the Civil War. Author Harriet Reisen’s diverse credits include historical documentaries for PBS and HBO, co-producing National Public Radio (NPR) and teaching film history and criticism at Stanford University. Publishers Weekly called her biography of Alcott “heart-rending.”

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Clarence Darrow check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

03/14/2012 - 9:18am
A New Cache of Old Records

When I began began doing genealogical research many years ago, like all beginners I focused on marriage records, birth and death records--when they were available, and wills. Then came deeds and other land records, and through using them I discovered the world of "courts of chancery" and "chancery records."

Not all Virginia courts judged cases the same way, you see. Some courts decided cases based on written laws that either specifically allowed or specifically prohibited various actions in certain circumstances. There was in these courts no latitude for judicial interpretation; there were no "grey areas."

Other courts, however, dealt with issues of equity or fairness in a much more flexible way--Chancery Courts. These courts decided cases which codified law could not readily accomodate, and these cases were usually land disputes, divisions of estates, divorce petitions, and business partnership disputes.

Chancery Court files are filled with subpoenas, depositions of witnesses, affidavits and other items of enormous interest to genealogists!

The Library of Virginia in Richmond has been diligently digitizing and indexing old chancery records, covering cases from the early eighteenth century through World War I. The database now includes hundreds of thousands of items. Several jurisdictions of interest to us are already completed! You may now find and view online the scanned chancery records for Westmoreland County, 1753-1913; Caroline County, 1787-1849; and Culpeper County, 1829-1913. Others will be made available in due course.

03/13/2012 - 3:31am
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, seeks to determine through investigative journalism exactly what goes into deciding what we should eat. Pollan explains that as omnivores, humans have such a vast variety of foods that they are able to eat—plant, animal, and even fungi--that it creates a problem within the human mind. Other species such as the koala bear only have one choice for dinner, eucalyptus leaves; because humans have so many choices, deciding what to eat can take up a large part of humans' time. 
 
In order to investigate exactly how we have come to use the supermarkets and the industrial-style meal preparations today, Pollan looks at all of the ways in which people are able to feed themselves. He analyzes first the industrial-style food change, which starts with large farms in other parts of the country—or, in some cases, other parts of the world—and consists mostly of corn products, which leads to a meal served at your local McDonald's. Then he looks into the organic phenomena that we're seeing today, which stemmed out of early ideas about better ways to manufacture food that does not contain hormones and antibiotics that other industrial food chains add. Next, he looks at some alternative food production models, such as grass feed farms. The one that he examines most thoroughly is Polyface Farm, which is located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Lastly, Pollan looks at the most traditional way of food production—food foraging—with which he produces an entire meal using his own skills in Berkley, California.

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