The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life

Have you ever watched a movie with time travel and wonder “is that how things really were back then?” but didn’t know where to look? The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life: A Tour Through History from Ancient Times to the Present is the reference for you.

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This set covers 3300 B.C.E to the 20th Century C.E. covering civilizations from all over the word over different time periods. The books are organized in a great way: the main chapter headings are a general topic such as ‘Domestic Life’ and then a sub-topic relating to that one (‘Family Life’, ‘Sexuality’, etc.) follow. Each civilization is then covered under the topics and sub-topics with a Historical Overview at the beginning of the book for each civilization covered.

So, if you wanted to find out what the Roman currency system was, all you have to do is turn to the section on ‘Money’ and look for the Rome portion of the entry. The book also lists its sources so if you are a History nerd looking for what to read, this book will give you a generous reading list included in the ‘Primary Sources’ section.

You can find this book in the 2nd floor Reference Section under the call numbers R 909.04 GRE v. 1 – v. 6 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. Ideally it’s a holiday where everyone has a day together enjoying each other’s time and company over a meal to remind us what we are thankful for in our lives. Sometimes that ideal is what we get. Other times we get much less than that. In the spirit of the holiday we have picked 4 books and a DVD to help you either shake up your holiday with some new recipes, help you get ready for hosting your first one or give you ideas for the vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free guests on turkey day.

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  1. Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton – For those trying to have the perfect and curated holiday experience thumb through Sam Sifton’s guide to his perfect holiday. Sifton is a former New York Times writer and restaurant critic who lays out a very practical plan from kitchen equipment to food preperation (Sifton is against appetizers but for serving oysters; has a killer turkey and gravy recipe) drinks, desserts and what to do with a lot of turkey leftovers after the holiday. Truly, the work of an obsessive genius. Call number: 641.568 SIF
  2. America’s Test Kitchen Seasons 1 and 2 – The people at America’s Test Kitchen have one goal: to do a recipe over and over again to come up with the perfect version of it. So if you have no confidence in making a turkey, need the guiding hand of Chris Kimball, Julia Collin and Bridget Lancaster. They will give you the confidence you need and the step by step instruction you crave. Be sure to check out the one with the roast turkey recipe in season 1 or the Thanksgiving dinner episode in season 2. Call number: CO DVD 641.5 AME 
  3. The Healthy Hedonist Holidays : a Year of Multicultural Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts by Myra Kornfeld – While not all of the dishes in here are vegetarian, there are some phenomenal vegetarian and a few vegan dishes for guests sick of only eating potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans. The author divides her recipes by holiday so it’s a great book for year-round cooking, especially for holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s. This book is great also for people looking to spice up old dishes. Kornfeld has a recipe for a maple sugar-brined southwern-style turkey and a mole gravy. Call Number: 641.568 KOR 
  4. Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids by Amy Houts – This book is great for anyone who is having kids over for meals. Houts not only gives great recipe ideas for appetizers, entrees and desserts she also recommends which ones to make with kids in the kitchen. She also mixes in stories, nursery rhymes and songs to help kids get into the spirit of the holiday and learn something about it. Call Number: 641.568 HOU
  5. Microwaving for Holidays and Parties by Barbara Methven – Hey college students! Living in a dorm and only have a microwave? Well you too can make something for Thanksgiving with this book! Warning: there’s no turkey recipe here but if you’re looking to make a killer green bean cassarole with a microwave, this is the book for you. There’s a lot of prep and freeze recipes which are also great for people looking to bring a dish that can be just as good when heated up. Call Number: 641.568 MET 

Halloween!

This post is for the people who forget that Halloween is coming up and realized today that it is on Monday. The kind of people who panic realizing they need to get costumes for their children and costumes for themselves and maybe find economical ways to make the house look festive and spooky. It is also for the people who begin planning their costumes and buying decorations in July or sooner because they love Halloween that much. For you, Halloween die-hard, I have some great things for you.

This post features the many craft and decoration, poetry and costume making books we have here in the Nonfiction section at the WPL. We also have great Halloween stories in our Fiction section as well. Don’t miss out on great music, sound effectsmagazines and movies for you to watch to make your Halloween the spookiest ever!

 

 

 

Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2017

Calling all Antiques Roadshowers, Garage and Estate Salers, Flea Marketers, Storage Unit Bidders and family members of hoarders! We have the book you need to price your antiques and collectibles. If you have a sneaking suspicion that the coffee table you got from your great-aunt or that painting you found next to a dumpster might be worth something, Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2017 is for you.

What’s great about this guide is that it is alphabetical and color coated for easy reference. At the beginning of each section is information about the history of an item (notable manufacturers, provenance, date ranges) and photograph examples on how to identify different pieces in that collection. While it doesn’t include photos and values of each item that could possible be in a collection, it does provide reference for markings and stamps as well as prices for a few items to help price your own.

Warman’s is a great reference book for someone looking to get a general price on an item or to see if that item is worth something on the antiques market. It is also a very informative and visually appealing book for someone to peruse through if they are just generally interested in certain collectibles. You can find the 2017 edition of the book in the Reference Section on the 2nd floor under the call number: R 741.1 WAR 50th ed. (2017). You can find older editions under the call number 741.5 WAR in the regular nonfiction section.

 

 

Mango Languages

Welcome to the second installment in the Digital Edition series where we look at some of the digital reading and learning databases we have available here at the WPL. This time we are going to look at one of our best online resources: Mango Languages.

Mango is an online language learning database that features lessons on learning 72 different languages! Top languages include: Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin but also include lessons on Norwegian, Ancient Greek, Yiddish, Korean, Arabic, Bengali, Igbo, Dari and many others.

The lessons themselves are interactive as well as fun. Mango breaks up lessons by category and then  units and then into lessons. This way as you navigate from beginner status and higher you learn new words, grammar and idioms. There are also ‘placement tests’ where Mango asks you a series of questions to see what lesson would be best for you to start. This feature is great if you are re-visiting a language or want to improve your skills.

When you start a lesson, Mango tells you the goals for that particular part. Every speaking portion has a recording of a native speaker and allows you to record your own voice to compare pronunciation. Mango will do a mix of vocal and typing exercises to get you used to reading, writing and speaking the language. As you advance Mango will also mix in different regional accents.

Overall Mango Languages is one of the most worthwhile databases offered by the library. Mango is easy to use and includes a mobile app you can put on a smartphone or tablet to practice on the go! You can find Mango on the Wheatonlibrary.org homepage under ‘Browse’ and then ‘Research’. You will need to register an email with Mango if you want to keep your progress. Otherwise, log in as a guest to try it out!

Leonardo DiVinci

In our Reference section is book filled with the life’s work of one of history’s often cited human beings in all of existence. His work revolutionized art, medicine, biology, physics, optics, architecture and mechanics forever. His influence is still felt today, 497 years later. He is Leonardo DiVinci and this book from Reynal and Company is a master compendium of his work.

The book goes exhaustively into DiVinci’s life from his birth to his travels and working life and to his death. Each page is filled with illustrations and sketches from his notebooks. Paintings are gorgeously displayed in the large pages. The size of this book is not only a tribute to Leonardo’s work but also to the necessity of seeing it that way.

You can find this book in the Reference Section on the second floor under the call number: R759.5 LEO

Propaganda and the American Revolution

When we think of the voices of the American Revolution we think of Thomas Paine, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington and Samuel Adams. But what we forget is that the revolution was made of the voices of multitudes of people, not just those who have movies or musicals made about them. Philip Davidson brings those voices back to us with his fantastic book Propaganda and the American Revolution 1763-1783.

In this book Davidson evenhandedly addresses all sides of the propaganda fight: the Whigs, the Tories and the Patriots who all had a stake in the outcome of the war. Here is a great example of some Whig propaganda:

when strangers rule no more,

Nor cruel mandates vex from Britain’s shore;

And her rich freights from every climate bring;

When might towns shall flourish free and great,  –

Vast their dominion, opulent to their state;

When one vast cultivated region teems

From ocean’s side to Mississippi streams,

While each enjoys his vine tree’s peaceful shade,

And even the meanest has no foe to dread.

-Philip Freneau (Davidson, 134)

And here is some Torie propaganda:

Though party conventions awhile may run high,

When danger advances, they’ll vanish and die;

While all with one heart, hand, and spirit unite,

Like Englishmen think, and like Englishmen fight.

-Joseph Stansbury (Davidson, 260)

The book also has a few illustrations. Overall, it is a fascinating account of how both sides fought not only on the battlefield but also through pamphlets, letters, articles and newspapers. You can find this book on the 2nd floor in the Nonfiction section under the call number 973.31 DAV

 

The Friendly Shakespeare

William Shakespeare. The name inspires excitement and wonder for theater die-hards and terror and loathing for middle school English students. Shakespeare’s 400 year old legacy is one that has  cast a shadow upon all of literature. His works being referenced, copied, adapted and outright stolen since their debut in Elizabeth’s England so many years ago. This can make his better known works and perhaps even his lesser known works a little intimidating. Let Norrie Epstein’s The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard be your guide.

Norrie Epstein’s book is fantastic. The format, the enticing illustrations peppered throughout, and the topics covered give a welcoming and informative look at one of literature’s titans. Epstein is sympathetic to readers who don’t care for his work with passages such as “Why Is Shakespeare So Popular?”, “Why Is Shakespeare Boring?” and “Forget the Footnotes! And Other Advice”.

While there is much for those who need to be cajoled into reading Shakespeare, there is plenty here for the avid fan. Epstein makes it clear that this is her biases and highlights some of the neglected plays like Love’s Labour’s Lost and leaves out Julius Caesar because, frankly, “I don’t like it and felt it was time to give the play a rest.” (Epstein, xiii) You may find yourself gleefully agreeing with her or disagreeing entirely but still having a great time with a Bard enthusiast. You can find this book on the second floor in the nonfiction section under the call number: 822.37 EPS

Practical Classics

Practical Classics is premised on the idea that we should reread these great books not just because they are great works of art. By definition, if a great book has run the gauntlet of time, shouldn’t it also point us toward how to lead a great life? (Smokler, p. 13)

What constitutes a ‘classic’ book is more or less subjective than we think. Many books we consider classics today, were not received well at the time of their release. Add to that the many classics that are continuously challenged even though they are frequently named pinnacle works of literature. Yet to try and go back and read all of the books deemed classic is a daunting task. The first is that we have read some of these before in earlier stages of our lives. Would we revisit them with the same eyes? The same appreciation? Well worry no more because Kevin Smokler is here to guide you back to the books from your youth and also guide you toward intimidating works you may have counted out.

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The best thing about this book is the way Smokler lays out the content. Instead of guiding the reader chronologically or by a list of favorites, he chooses 50 books and puts them into themes that cover different stages of life. For example: Part 1 is entitled “Youth and Growing Up” and includes the books Huckleberry Finn, Candide, A Separate Peace, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Part 6 is “Family” and includes To Kill a Mockingbird, family in the works of Toni Morrison, The Joy Luck Club, The Metamorphosis, and Maus. 

For each book Smokler lays out his reasoning for picking the book, his experience with reading the book and, if it is a prolific author, his view on where to start with that author and why he chose that work from that author. His entries feel personal as well as practical and you end up getting rewarding stories about book reading, adolescence and the works he is highlighting. It feels like a friend giving a recommendation more than someone from a lofty chair, deigning to give you a list of what they already discovered before you did. It’s a great reading guide as well as a great read.

You can find this book under the call number: 011.73 SMO

 

 

The Family Tree Historical Maps Book

If you are a follower of this blog then you already know that we love maps. New maps are great but it is the old maps that give us a clue as to what the world was really like during a given time period. If you’re as much of a cartophile as I am, then you will appreciate this book that is in our Genealogy section: The Family Tree Historical Maps Book: A State-by-State Atlas of U.S. History 1790-1900 by Allison Dolan and the Editors of Family Tree Magazine.

As you can see, the maps are in full color and very lovely to look at. You may need a magnifying glass to see the finer details but the maps themselves are works of art as well as reference. Each state is represented so if you are looking for an ancestor’s home or just curious as to what Virginia looked like way back when, this book pleases both crowds. It also has interesting specialty maps such as: “Regional Industries in 1907”, “Deaths from Known Causes, 1890”, “Taxation per capita in 1874” and others. And, of course, there is an index listing where all of these maps were pulled from to make the book should one be desperate enough to need to reference the original.

You can find this book in the Genealogy section on the first floor under the call number: R 929.373 DOL