Travel Here, Travel There, Travel Everywhere…..Hopefully

Summer is the time to take vacation. Some people like to take vacation at home, just relaxing and reading a good book (a librarian can hope). However, some people like to travel during their summer vacation. The question is always, where to go? There are lots of lists about where you should take your (summer) vacation. I’ve been very lucky with my personal travel experience. I’ve been able to visit a lot of places, and for one semester in undergrad I was able to study abroad. The one thing that I have learned through my travel experiences is that you can have fun anywhere you go; it’s all in how you plan it. Make sure that you are prepared for that plan to fall apart entirely, and then you will be able to explore. Some books that I have found helpful, either because they are awesome reads and take place where I was traveling, or because they provide loads of information, are below.

where to go when

DK books overall are extremely helpful. They provide a lot of information and most of them also contain maps. Where To Go When is great if you are taking a summer vacation … not during the summer. Or in fact if you are taking a summer vacation during the summer too. It will tell you weather and other facts about places, including what is happening during that time of the year.

count of monte cristoIf you are traveling to France, consider taking along this classic. The Count of Monte Cristo has everything a book needs: romance, adventure, mystery, and revenge. This book gives the appeal of old France along with the importance of the City of Love. Plus the movie is awesome!

we were liarsThis book is not your typical beach read, but what kind of post would this be if I didn’t put a beach read on for the summer? We Were Liars is about a girl who is trying to remember her last summer on the private island where she had been every summer before. What was different about this summer? What had happened? A sad, but moving book, I would recommend this book for any time of the year. If this isn’t the type of beach read you are looking for though, there are a lot of lists with plenty of other titles.

I hope everyone has a wonderful adventure-filled (or not, if you prefer quiet) summer. Are you traveling somewhere exciting? Let me know in the comments.

-Abbey

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Red Velvet, Panties, and Prisoners: Highlights from Season 3 of Orange Is The New Black

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS if you haven’t already watched Season 3.

Promotional Photo for Season 3 Courtesy of cosmopolitan.com

Promotional Photo for Season 3 Courtesy of cosmopolitan.com

The ladies of Litchfield are back! Season 3 of Orange Is The New Black became available to stream this past Friday. (Yes I spent my weekend streaming all of the episodes.) Anyway, season 3 started off with a lot. We learned the backstories of Bennett, Pensatucky, and Nicky. Piper and Alex are fighting because Piper revealed that she is the reason why Alex is back at Litchfield. Daya is considering whether to let Mendez (Pornstache’s) mother to adopt her baby. Plus Caputo learns that Litchfield is being closed. All of this occurs before episode 3!

That’s one thing that I love about Orange Is The New Black in that viewers can be exposed to 5 or 6 mini stories in one episode. It’s not just focused on the main character, Piper, who annoys me so much and is my least favorite. She’s so whiny and she’s always spouting these random facts at people and it’s so annoying. She talks to everyone else like she’s so much smarter than them.

Anyway, I also love how viewers learn about how the inmates got to where they are now. It’s an interesting facet of the show and humanizes the characters. Although the show brings a lot comedy, there are also some serious moments. One was when Taystee had an emotional breakthrough after helping Suzanne (Crazy Eyes) come to terms with Vee’s death and, in turn, came to terms with it herself.

There are a lot of new friendships that emerge this season. One that bothers me is Red and Mr. Healy. You can tell that there are some feelings that arise between them as the season goes on and it’s weird to me. I think that it’s weird to me because I just don’t like Mr. Healy.

This season is the most that we’ve seen and heard from the correctional officers besides Bennett and Pornstache. I thought it was interesting to hear more from them. The main reason why is that Litchfield is closing. (GASP!) Don’t fret. It doesn’t close. New people take over and everyone thinks that happy days are here again right? Wrong. The new management is not all that they’re cracked up to be and it causes major tension between Caputo and the correctional officers.

As always, new inmates arrive. One memorable character in particular is Stella, played by Ruby Rose (She’s gorgeous btw.). Stella catches Piper’s eye and it causes some serious tension between Piper and Alex. Stella also is a major partner in Piper’s new business venture that involves panties. You’ll have to see it to believe it. There is also a new psychiatrist who arrives, named Birdie Rogers, and the inmates take a liking to her, which upsets Mr. Healy.

The season finale left me with a lot of questions. I enjoyed the last 10 minutes of the season finale because we got to see the inmates in a happy and freeing light. If you aren’t yet caught up, you can check out seasons one & two which are available in our catalog.

Random funny fact: One of the writers seems to have an issue with red velvet. Once you watch episode 6 of season 3, you’ll understand. Happy watching!

~Kayla

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Life, Death, And Drones

I’ve got a keen interest in all things EMS. A while back I came across this article from Britain’s Daily Mail citing the proposed use of AED drones to save the lives of patients experiencing cardiac emergencies. Amazing! The next few years will likely see the proliferation of drone technology in all walks of modern society. Right now we best know the drone for its darker role–unmanned weapon of choice in our long running conflict against asymmetrical actors at home and abroad.  War is terrible no matter what weapons you use to wage it. Right now drones act at the spear-point in this struggle, but they can and will be much more than just weapons.

They will become part of the framework of our society. Need proof? Amazon’s on the case. Also check this news story out. Want more proof? At some point soon, we’ll even have a Drones For Dummies book on our shelves. You can check that out with your copy of Crocheting For Dummies.

If you’re interested in bringing yourself up to speed on drones and drone warfare, CLP provides a lot of great material! Here’s a short list:

Non-Fiction

A Theory Of The Drone by Grégoire Chamayou  (2015)

Kill Chain : The Rise Of The High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn (2015)

Hunter Killer : Inside America’s Unmanned Air War by T. Mark McCurley (2014)

Unmanned : Drone Warfare And Global Security by Ann Rogers (2014)

Predator : The Secret Origins Of The Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle (2014)

Fiction

Sting Of The Drone  by Richard A. Clarke  (2014)

Blue Warrior by Mike Maden (2014)

Drones most often conjure images of war and death; five years from now, who knows?

–Scott P.

Unmanned-cov Theory-Drone-cov Sting-cov Pred-cover Kill-Chain-cover Hunter-cov Blue-cov

 

 

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Madrugada.

2015-05-26 12.07.51

“Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.” –George Orwell, 1984

I had to be at a meeting at 8am recently. This caused no small amount of anxiety in me. The night before, I laid out my clothes, set my coffeemaker, made sure my bag was packed, made sure I knew where my keys and phone were and took a Unisom.

I was on time. But I sat in a corner with my coffee and glared at everyone.

I’ve been a night person since birth. When I was a toddler, I’d happily sit on my mom’s lap all night while she studied for her college exams. I hate getting up early. By early, I mean before noon. I almost didn’t graduate from high school because I was late every. single. day. I took all night classes in college. My normal bedtime as an adult is around 1am. And it’s grudging. I get up at 7am every day and drive my husband to work. I communicate entirely by blinking and pointing.

As an added bonus, I’m also a lucid dreamer. I sleep like a minute a night. Good times!

In my search for information about night owls, I came across an article at WebMD: Why You’re an Early Bird or a Night Owl.

And I quote:

Besides the obvious problems with being a night owl if you have a day job, “night owls tend to be more depressed, have a higher dependence on caffeine, and use alcohol more,” Sharkey says. But the news isn’t all bad. A recent study in Belgium found that night owls are able to stay more focused as the day goes on, compared with early risers.

Morning people, however, also have advantages. “Larks generally sleep better, have more regular sleep patterns, and have more flexible personalities,” Sharkey says. They also tend to be happier and feel healthier than night owls, according to a recent study from the University of Toronto.

ORLY

Yeah, morning people sleep better and feel healthier! The whole world is built around them! Of course I am more depressed and drink more caffeine and booze, I’m tired ALL THE TIME. I’d like to make some of these happy little morning larks keep to a 6am to 2pm sleep schedule- see how “flexible” and “healthy” they feel after that? [grumble, grumble.]

Curious about what happens when you sleep? Because it’s crazy!

SecretLifeofSleepThe Secret Life of Sleep, Kat Duff

It has become increasingly clear that our sleep shapes who we are as much as, if not more than, we shape it. While most sleep research hasn’t ventured far beyond research labs and treatment clinics, The Secret Life of Sleep taps into the enormous reservoir of human experiences to illuminate the complexities of a world where sleep has become a dwindling resource. With a sense of infectious curiosity, award winning author Kat Duff mixes cutting-edge research with insightful narratives, surprising insights, and timely questions to help us better understand what we’re losing before it’s too late. The Secret Life of Sleep tackles the full breadth of what sleep means to people the world over. Embark on an exploration of what lies behind and beyond our eyelids when we surrender to the secret life of sleep.

 The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest16059340, Penelope A. Lewis

In recent years neuroscientists have uncovered the countless ways our brain trips us up in day-to-day life, from its propensity toward irrational thought to how our intuitions deceive us. The latest research on sleep, however, points in the opposite direction. Where old wives tales have long advised to “sleep on a problem,” today scientists are discovering the truth behind these folk sayings, and how the busy brain radically improves our minds through sleep and dreams. In The Secret World of Sleep, neuroscientist Penny Lewis explores the latest research into the nighttime brain to understand the real benefits of sleep. This is a fascinating exploration of one of the most surprising corners of neuroscience that shows how science may be able to harness the power of sleep to improve learning, health and more.

MossRobertThe Secret History of Dreaming, Robert Moss

What do the first major oil discovery in Kuwait, Mark Twain’s fiction and Harriet Tubman’s success conducting slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad have in common? They were all experienced first in dreams. Robert Moss traces the strands of dreams through archival records and well-known writings, weaving remarkable yet true accounts of historical figures influenced by their dreams. With eloquent prose, Moss describes beautiful Lucrecia de Leon, whose dreams were prized by powerful men in Madrid and then recorded during the Spanish Inquisition. The Secret History of Dreaming addresses the central importance of dreams and imagination as secret engines in the history of all things human, from literature to quantum physics, from religion to psychology, from war to healing.

RandallDreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, David K. Randall

Like many of us, journalist David K. Randall never gave sleep much thought. That is, until he began sleepwalking. One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep. In Dreamland, Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark hours that make up nearly a third of our lives. Taking readers from military battlefields to children’s bedrooms, Dreamland shows that sleep isn’t as simple as it seems.

MansbachGo The F**k To Sleep, Adam Mansbach

Go the F**k to Sleep challenges stereotypes, opens up prototypes, and acknowledges that shared sense of failure that comes to all parents who weary of ever getting their darling(s) to sleep and briefly resuming the illusion of a life of their own. Go the F**k to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach’s verses perfectly capture the familiar – and unspoken – tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations and laugh at their absurdity.

Hear Samuel L. Jackson read it. (NSFW!)

sweet dreams!

suzy

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Ready, Set…. Goal!

Summer Reading has long been the domain of children and teens. In fact, we’re sometimes so focused on getting younger folks to read during the summer, it’s easy for people to forget that Summer Reading is important and exciting for adults, too!

This year, CLP is getting more intentional about Summer Reading by asking adult readers to go a step further than simply logging the number of pages or books they’ve read. We’re asking that you set a Summer Reading goal and let us know how it goes! Throughout the summer, we’ll share tips, book recommendations, supplemental readings and library resources related to your goal.  Your goal can be anything at all related to reading. To prove it, here’s a look at the Summer Reading goals of some CLP volunteers.

Ashley P.:Blue Lily, Lily Blue

I have a problem. I read the first book in a series, love it, plan to continue the series…and then never do! So, to try and combat this problem, my summer reading goal is to finish at least 10 books from series I have already begun but never finished. On my list? Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, and Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.

Kate:

I’m a mother to an 8-year-old boy who would much rather be playing Minecraft than reading, so one of my goals is to supervise his summer reading program as well as read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to him at bedtime in the hope that it will inspire him to begin reading chapter books. For myself, this summer I’m going to read books with a landscape theme. One of these is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, another is Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, the great Annales School historical work by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, and a third is The Great Gatsby. I’m going to read Montaillou with an eye to writing a short story featuring a character in Ladurie’s history, the Cathar shepherd Pierre Maury. Wish me luck!

Ehrrin:

After weeks of agonizing over what my summer reading goal would be this year, I decided not to decide. Or rather, to decide on a multi-genre goal since I couldn’t settle on all one category of anything. I’m going to read five books, in no particular order.

Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley

  1. Something self-improvement: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I know so many people who have read and loved this book, and I’m a slob, so I’m hoping this will revolutionize my life. Or at least my apartment.
  2. Something hilarious: Meaty by Samantha Irby. I occasionally read her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat. (Who knew that tales of Crohn’s disease could be so funny?) As you may guess from the title of her blog, the profanity is free-flowing, so not suitable for folks sensitive to that kind of thing.
  3. Something sciencey: The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. Because nothing screams a serious interest in science like using the word “sciencey.”
  4. Something from my culture of origin: Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley by Ann Pancake. I’m a native West Virginian, and have a special affinity for stories about my Appalachian homeland. Also, I was roommates with her brother during college for a while.
  5. Something recommended to me by a CLP librarian: Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari. I attended the Volunteer Appreciation event in April (which was awesome, by the way!) and Suzy from the South Side branch suggested this based on my special blend of literary nerdiness.

Ashley H.:

I started out with a pretty ambitions reading goal of all the unread books in my Audible collection.  When I actually checked to see how many unread books I had, it turned out to be about 25 books.  After doing some quick math, this translated to over 320 hours of reading or about 3 hours of reading every single day through August 31.  Since I barely get half an hour of free time every day, this seemed like an over ambitious goal.  So, I broke down my books into 3 categories, fiction, education non-fiction, and history non-fiction.  My new goal is to read three books from each category this summer, which I think is a little more reasonable.  My first book this week was Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Hamilton’s Anita Blake series is one of my favorite series books full of horror, action, sci-fi and more.  My next pick will have to be something from non-fiction, maybe The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner.

Ellie:

I’ve got a long list of books on my ‘to-read’ list. Some of them have been there for ages, and keep getting pushed to the bottom (you know how it is….when someone tells you about an especially good, or new book that you just have to read… the list just never ends). So this summer, I’m going to the bottom of my list and challenging myself to read books that I have been putting off. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, as well as Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles,ASR Landing Page Graphic (2) by Richard Dowden are two that will definitely bump their way to the top! Another mini goal I have for myself is to read a couple of nonfiction books. I have a tendency to shy away from nonfiction!

Ready? Set? GOAL: Sign up for Summer Reading at carnegielibrary.org/summer, set your goal, receive encouragement and tips, and be entered to win some awesome prizes.

Happy Reading!

-Ginny

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Tony and Susan’s Nocturnal Animals

How do you choose your next book? Do you read reviews on Goodreads? Ask coworkers what they like? Ask friends what they hate?

Oftentimes, I’ll read about a movie going into production and see it’s based on a book and say to myself, “Hey, self, that’s two of our favorite things. Maybe we should read the book before the movie comes out. Also, are we going on a cleanse this weekend? We’re starting to look a little bloated.”

stock-vector-businessman-looks-yourself-in-the-mirror-182074769

Even if you look as spiffy as this guy, don’t talk to yourself. It’s super-annoying for everyone else around you.

That’s how I found out about a new movie from Tom Ford set to star Jake Gyllenhaal (who I’ve gushed about before) and Amy Adams (hot off her Golden Globe win for Best Actress in Tim Burton‘s Big Eyes) called Nocturnal Animals. The movie, scheduled to begin filming in October, is an adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan.

tonyandsusanFifteen years ago, Susan left her husband, Edward. Now it’s 1993 and Susan is living comfortably as the wife of a doctor. One day a package from Edward arrives for Susan. It’s his first manuscript and he wants her opinion; she’s always been his best critic. On the day after Christmas, she begins reading Edward’s story, titled Nocturnal Animals. Susan is instantly absorbed into Tony’s world and finishes it in three sittings. The story within Wright’s novel follows Tony Hastings, a mathematics professor en route to Maine with his wife and daughter for vacation. Along the way, things take a dark and sinister turn that will change the lives of the Hastings forever.

The story-within-a-story format is nothing new (see: The Odyssey and One Thousand and One Nights), but I was just as riveted as Susan in my own reading. That might be because I started reading it the day before I was set to return from my own vacation. As I read about Tony and his family, I began wondering what evils were waiting for me on the darkly-lit interstates on the way back to Pittsburgh. Fortunately, my merry band of travelers and I only encountered the delirium associated with driving for seventeen-ish hours with infrequent breaks.

Susan feels an “uncomfortable undertow” as she reads. “It nudges a certain alarm in her, a fear whose object she does not know but which seems different from the fear in the story itself, something rather in herself.” She wonders what (if anything) Edward is trying to say with his book. She begins to reexamine her own life but resolves not to waver in it.

She thinks, “There are things in life the reading of no mere book can change.”

Oh, how wrong she is.

While the novel is wonderful at illustrating what happens when we think about our pasts—how we are prone to rewrite our own histories as we’re remembering them, painting things in different shades depending on our moods at the moment of remembering—what it really excels at is how it feels to get wrapped up in a book, how “print fastens ephemeral words to the page.” There are several great sentences that convey the terrible pleasure of a good page-turner, which is exactly what Tony and Susan is.

“She feels bruised by her reading and by life too. She wonders, does she always fight her books before yielding to them?”

Susan goes to the bathroom not out of necessity, but as a deliberate interruption when the suspense is too much.  When the phone rings, it’s described as brutally invading her reading.

“She puts the manuscript down. It’s time to stop for the night, though it seems murderous to quit now. Another painful interruption like divorce, required by the discrepancy between the laws of reading and the laws of life. You can’t read all night, not if you have responsibilities like Susan.”

I, like Susan, have felt the struggle of promising myself just one more chapter. She contemplates Tony’s problems and compares them to hers before realizing that Tony’s are simpler because they are not real.

“She’s caught by the strangeness of what she’s doing, reading a made-up story. Putting herself into a special state, like a trance, while someone else (Edward) pretends certain imaginings are real.”

But aren’t books real for us as we’re reading them? Does the fact that it’s fiction make it any less real in our minds? We go on the journey with the characters and if they’re changed by the book’s end, then chances are we are as well. Who amongst us hasn’t had a moment of silence when finally reaching a book’s end?

“The book ends. Susan has watched it dwindle before her eyes, down through final chapter, page, paragraph, word. Nothing remains and it dies. She is free now to reread or look back at parts, but the book is dead and will never be the same again. In its place, whistling through the gap it left, a blast of wind like liberty. Real life, coming back to get her. She needs a silence before returning to herself. Absolute stillness, no thought, no interpretation or criticism, just a memorial silence for the reading life that has ended. … There’s a shock of terror in the return of real life, concealed by her reading, waiting to swoop down on her like a predator in the trees.”

Honestly, that’s the most apt description of finishing a book I’ve ever read.

There’s an odd undercurrent of civility versus male bravado that runs throughout the novel; mild-mannered intelligence measured against that old alpha male persona. Susan also thinks about civility as she reads; she believes it’s her ability to read that keeps her civilized. Tony, too, is constantly described as objectively good and civil.

“[Tony] felt a kinship with cowboys and baseball players. He had never ridden a horse and had not played baseball since childhood, and he was not very big and strong, but he wore a black mustache and considered himself easygoing.”

Despite that kinship and his mustache, he’s portrayed as less manly, which is odd considering it’s a popular trope to believe that a mustache is the ultimate form of manliness.

aom

This is the first image that comes up when you search Google Images for “manliness”. Spoiler alert: they all have mustaches. Picture taken from http://www.artofmanliness.com

As for the impending adaptation, I’m hoping it’s better than 2012’s The Words, which had a similar but different premise. If Ford can capture a brutality akin to 2013’s Prisoners for the parts of the film that feature Tony Hasting’s life and juxtapose that with something seemingly idyllic like 2009’s Chloe (the beginning, at least) for Susan’s life, I’d be a happy camper.

While we wait for the movie, which could be at least a year before it lands in theaters, why not read the book? I’ve heard a rumor that Summer Reading is in full swing at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

–Ross

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Careful With That Axe, Eugene*

The Doof Warrior from Mad Max - Fury Road

The Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road.

I just went to see Mad Max: Fury Road at the theater. This is the type of movie I like to see big and loud. My favorite bit was the shredding guitar player, suspended on bungee cords, inciting his fellows to battle.

According to Urban Dictionary the definition of “shred” as applied to music is: [T]o play distorted electric lead guitar in a manner which is at once so extremely cogent and rapid that [the] listener experiences the sensation that the production of the sound should be impossible or nearly impossible.” This type of guitar playing could be applied to many genres of music, but it is most often associated with metal or prog rock.

Would you like to learn how to shred? The Music, Film & Audio Department is here to help!

shredShred Guitar: A Guide to Extreme Rock and Metal Lead Techniques by Greg Harrison.

What? Shred is not your thing? What about Surf Guitar?

Best of Surf Guitarsu.

Or how about Flamenco?

Flamenco Guitar Methodfla by Gerhard Graf-Martinez.

Is the Blues more your style?

How to Play Blues Guitar: The Basics & Beyond: Lessons & Tips from the Great Players.bl

Still no? Jazz guitar, maybe?

jaExploring Jazz Guitar: An Introduction to Jazz Harmony, Technique, and Improvisation by Phil Capone.

Slide Guitar? Basic Rock? Acoustic?

Well, I think you get the idea.

-Joelle

*the title of a Pink Floyd song

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