Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Live Well Without Owning A Car

In case you weren't aware, April is Bike Fest month and there have been all kinds of fun bike oriented events happening around town - including a Stevie Nicks ride where folks dressed up and danced to her music at various locations. This week is Pedal The Pueblo with even more opportunities to bike around, win prizes and generally enjoy Tucson on two wheels. Which is a roundabout way of bringing me to this book I recently found on the shelf: How To Live Well Without Owning A Car by Chris Balish.
I will give the caveat that some of the information is a bit dated, as this book was published in 2006.  But the sentiment still holds true. There are some huge financial reasons to go car-free or car-lite, let alone the environmental and health benefits. I really enjoyed all the little snippets from folks across the country talking about how much they have saved -many folks bought houses instead of cars with their savings, and will be mortgage free at very young ages, or will be able to retire in their 50's, or are able to live quite well only working part-time. There are also a wide range of folks who are car free - it's not just young students, but middle-aged IT folks and management consultants and scientific copy editors. And I like the idea of going on group shopping trips with friends who do have a car - you get the opportunity to buy items in bulk, or larger objects, while visiting with your friend - win-win! After reading this book I'm not sure I'm fully ready to go car-free, but it definitely gave some ideas to ponder.  Check out to find fun bike events for the next few weeks!
~More Books

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Community Book Picks

As I thought, the Community Picks display at the Main Library is constantly needing to be restocked. It seems that everyone loves to see what other Tucsonans are reading. It's time to share a few more titles with you from the Community Picks Bookshelf and to remind you to please send your picks in - it's exciting to see the book you suggested on display! Respond to this post or send an e-mail to with your first name, your favorite title, author and a few words or a sentence explaining why you love this book (or books, send a bunch). As long as the book is available in the library we'll add it to the ever-evolving display. And if you're a pencil and paper person, we do have forms available to fill out as well.
Let's start with Patrick's suggestion of Peter Heller's The Dog Stars. A post-apocalpytic story with loss and reconnection, a pilot and his dog - how can you resist? Next, Margaret suggests The Heist by Janet Evanovich. Think James Bond in heels and if that floats your boat you are set to enjoy a new series. And we'll end with an anonymous pick that has been remarkably popular, Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England - I can't keep this one on the shelf.  It immediately gets checked out whenever I get a copy of it out there.  
Let us know what you enjoy reading and grab a few minutes of fame!
~More Books


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: All Joy and No Fun

Before venturing into librarianship, I worked with young kids in a Montessori school and studied child development. I'm still fascinated with research and insight into the workings of these demanding yet lovable little creatures. While you wait for the highly recommended All joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenthood by Jennifer Senior (which explains how children influence their parents), you might consider a few other eye-opening books. 

Nurtureshock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman challenges conventional wisdom by revealing the results of studies showing why siblings bicker, why too much praise can backfire, and why sleepy kids simply can’t learn very well.

Bringing up bébé by Pamela Druckerman exposes the wisdom of French parenting. Their newborns sleep through the night! Their kids sit patiently in restaurants! And they somehow avoid all the guilt inducing reflexes that American parents seem to stew on. A former Wall Street Journal reporter who ends up raising her kids in Paris, Druckerman shares the keys to relaxed parenting that still yields boisterous, curious and creative kids (who don’t interrupt your conversations!)

My husband enjoyed Homegame: an accidental guide to fatherhood by Michael Lewis (author of The Big Short, Moneyball and The Blind Side). This guy can tackle any subject. The book is riddled with humorous anecdotes about the disparities between real life experiences and the social expectations dads face today. You will laugh. Out loud. Uncontrollably.

~ Betsy

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Burial Rites Burial Rites, Agnes Magnusdottir's story begins in her Icelandic prison cell and ends on a frigid January morning in 1830 - her head impaled on a stake and her body buried in an unmarked grave as a warning to all harboring ill-intent. The trial had been swift; Agnes, a neighboring farmhand and his fiancee were found guilty of murder. The punishment severe; Agnes and the farmhand were sentenced to death, the other woman to life imprisonment. But what drove Agnes, a 34 year old servant and field hand documented as having an "excellent intellect, and strong knowledge and understanding of Christianity," to assist in the brutal stabbing death of her employer?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lost Cat

Lost Cat : A True Story of Love, Desperation and GPS Technology celebrates the power of curiosity in felines and their human companions with style, wit and wisdom.

A long-time resident of San Francisco, author Caroline Paul is at home 24/7 slowly recuperating from injuries sustained in a plane crash with kitties Tibby and Fibby supervising her convalescence in their own distinctive styles. But suddenly Tibby disappears, only to return five weeks later looking definitely a bit plumper, silkier, and even a bit sleeker. The vet confirmed a full 1/2 lb. of extra avoirdupois (or in  Tibby's view, avoirdupaws.) Where had he been? And would he leave again for another grand sojourn? Caroline was desperate to find out, so "Operation Chasing Tibby" commenced. Weeks later, using both tried and true methods and brand new technologies - fliers, a noted tied to his collar, a pet psychic, an animal communications class, a GPS tracking device and a special CATCAM - Caroline had her answers.

The short text is packed with ink and wash drawings by Caroline's partner, Wendy McNaughton. They are fantastic, hilarious and whimsical - the purrfect illustrative catnip to the narrative.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Earthly Delights

Book Cover

Corinna Chapman, heroine of Kerry Greenwood's Earthly Delights, thought that she had left life’s complications far behind her when she packed her suitcase. After exiting her high-stress accounting job and her toxic relationship to pursue the dream of starting her own bakery, all Corinna wanted was a simpler way of living centered on building a small business and creating tasty treats. The reality isn’t quite that simple.

Before she knows it, she finds herself transplanted to a highly irregular apartment building in a gritty Melbourne district with tenants including a professor, two aspiring daytime TV actresses, a witch for hire, and a gardener. She’s also been receiving mysterious, threatening letters in the mail at her new address. As if this chaos were not enough, all kinds of unusual people have started to pop up at the bakery--one of them nearly dies outside the shop, and another (more handsome) stranger turns out to be a private investigator. Are any of these odd developments related, and if so, how?

Readers will find that Corinna’s new life contains all the ingredients for adventure, danger, and fun. This is a great, light read with plenty of mystery, romance, and--most importantly--recipes. Especially recommended for fans of Greenwood’s Miss Fisher Murder Mystery series; while the Corinna Chapman mysteries do have a contemporary setting, the same wry wit and sharp humor carry over without missing a beat.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: The Martian

Mark Watney thinks Mars is trying to kill him. And he's probably right. First, there is his injury. The lack of supplies. The inability to communicate with Earth, to tell them that he is, in fact, alive. Andy Weir's debut novel The Martian is the story of an astronaut left behind.

During a terrible dust storm Mark is hit with debris and presumed dead; the rest of the Ares crew forced to leave while they still can. He wakes up and finds himself "in command" and the "King of Mars". He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. Day by day (sol by sol) Mark does his best MacGyver impression and while it is a technical story, his sarcastic sense of humor carries the reader through life threatening situations with style. Sure, he could OD on morphine right away, but he could also grow food, drive rovers around, and name mountains. Offhand comments on government overspending, the many uses of duct tape, and his downtime entertainment options contribute to a great scifi thriller. From the very first sentence, you will be rooting for Mark.