What We’re Watching-April 2021

What We’re Watching-April 2021

For a little change of pace, we asked our librarians what they are currently rewatching or binging. Check out what they said.

Mystery Science Theater 3000
Hoopla or DVD

In the not-too-distant future Joel Robinson is held captive by Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank, forced to watch B-Grade movies on the Satellite of Love with the help of his robot friends: Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
DVD

Comedy series following the exploits of Det. Jake Peralta and his diverse, lovable colleagues as they police the NYPD’s 99th Precinct.

  Scrubs
DVD

In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John “J.D.” Dorian learns the ways of medicine, friendship and life.

 Avatar: The Last Airbender
DVD, Comic, and eComic

In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world.

The Princess Bride
DVD and Book

While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

 Lilo & Stich
DVD

A young and parentless girl adopts a ‘dog’ from the local pound, completely unaware that it’s supposedly a dangerous scientific experiment that’s taken refuge on Earth and is now hiding from its creator and those who see it as a menace.

Monster-in-Law
DVD

The love life of Charlotte is reduced to an endless string of disastrous blind dates, until she meets the perfect man, Kevin. Unfortunately, his merciless mother will do anything to destroy their relationship.

Troy
DVD

An adaptation of Homer’s great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.

  The Office
DVD

A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.

Bridgerton
Books and eBooks

Wealth, lust, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency-era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

YNGR: HomeMade

HomeMade: 101 Easy-to-Make Things for Your Garden, Home, or Farm by Ken Braren & Roger Griffith

Planning to Garden this Season?

Now is the perfect time to get started with do-it-yourself projects to improve your planting and backyard experience for summer and fall. Get inspired to choose one or more projects from HomeMade: 101 Easy-To-Make Things for Your Garden, Home or Farm.

The first is a simple sawhorse to build in case you do not happen to own one already.  

Ideas include:

  • Mailbox holder
  • Garden Bench
  • Planter Box
  • Compost Bin
  • Handy Tool Keeper
  • Smokehouse
  • Hotbeds
  • Firewood Box
  • Firewood Brace
  • Plant Supports
  • Strawberry Barrels
  • Berry Boxes
  • Movable Shed
  • Birdhouse

With sketches to aid your understanding, many of the projects can be constructed using upcycled or leftover materials from other projects. If you are handy with a measuring tape, you should be able to change suggested material dimensions to suit your space without too much effort.

Glancing through the various projects, we would say that some of the projects, like the potting table, require basic carpentry knowledge while others are more complicated. You would be well advised to have experience yourself or to work with a partner who does to successfully complete larger projects like the poultry house or horse stable without frustration.

You can find 58 titles in the do-it-yourself category at Allentown Public Library and 1276 titles on the subject of gardening in our catalog. Plus, with your library card, you have access to Garden Guides on Hoopla. Click on the links in this article to find out more.

YNGR: Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts by Gail Perry

Time to get your DIY on!

Unique, framed artwork can add interest to your home’s décor. If you enjoy making gifts for your friends and family or creating do-it-yourself projects as a way to earn extra cash, you might want to check out Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts by Gail Perry.

While quilt making dates far back to ancient Egypt, more recent patterns, from Pennsylvania and Ohio’s Amish and Mennonite communities, might be more familiar to you. These include patchwork, log cabin, crown of thorns, double wedding ring, bear claw, and many others popularized in the 19th century.

The nine small quilts detailed in this book, however, are not your grandmother’s quilts! There are florals, impressionist, landscapes, concentric diamonds and more. You’ll be inspired to create designs of your own.

35″ x 40″ Impressionist Quilt

Sized appropriately for wall hanging in typical frame dimensions:

15” x 15”

16” x 20”

20” x 24”

…as well as a handful of others, they’re not so big as to be overwhelming to a beginner. It is fair to say that some prior sewing ability would be helpful.

The best part of this book is its combination of photos, patterns, clear instructions and detailed information about standard matte sizes and the tools you’ll need when you want to begin framing.

There are 67 titles for do-it-yourself projects at Allentown Public Library. What’s your next project?

YNGR: Shiatsu

Shiatsu: Japanese Finger Pressure Therapy, Do-it-Yourself Acupressure by William Schultz

Sometimes older books like this one, published in 1976, are as relevant today as they were when they were brand new.

Illustration from Shiatsu: Japanese Finger Pressure Therapy

In 1954 while living in Tokyo, Japan, author William Schultz enrolled in the Shiatsu Institute. While he continued his education, he moved to California where he was also able to continue his exporting business and his practice. He achieved a Master of Shiatsu, and by the time the book was published ten years later, Schultz was one of only two shiatsu practitioners in the United States.

Shiatsu, the author tells us, is “the oldest written form of physical therapy.”

Compelling are the many ways in which shiatsu, once learned, can benefit one’s health. Nearly anyone can learn the basic techniques covered here to alleviate headaches, relieve neck and shoulder pain, address tendonitis, muscle fatigue and more.

A short read unencumbered by heavy medical jargon and accompanied by photos and drawings that best illustrate the details, this book proves its worth.

We like the do-it-yourself aspect of this particular book, but there are several other books in our collection about Shiatsu which are located in the non-fiction section at 615.822. Would you like to learn more? Click below to link to our catalog.

YNGR: 500 Handmade Dolls

­­500 Handmade Dolls: Modern Explorations of the Human Form by Valerie Van Arsdale Schrader

These are not your sister’s baby dolls!

For adults and children, this coffee-table book allows its viewers to appreciate artful interpretations that indulge both reality and fantasy.

The artists have sculpted, whittled, sewn, beaded and burnished using disparate mediums that include: clay, wood, metal, fabric and other materials that inspire imagination.

Containing real conversation starters, there’s bound to be a doll that suits your personal taste in art, makes you giggle or impresses in its intricacies.

If you enjoy the cute and whimsical, prefer the macabre or the confusion and chaos of modern artists’ mythical creatures, then this book is worth checking out.

Looking for artistic inspiration?

Whether you want to take a break from your computer screen or ponder age old questions like that of the funky chicken pictured here in Who Came First?, you’re likely to find ideas for your next art project in this photo book. 

Some of the dolls, like those in the traditional section, show a slice of life while others exaggerate features and form with available materials.

Check it out! Literally!

YNGR: Music Section of the World’s Great Madonnas

Music Section of the World’s Great Madonnas by Cynthia Pearl Maus and Evelyn Lysle Fielding

Published in 1947, you could easily overlook this little treasure of a book. Think of it! When this book made its way to the Allentown Public Library, Harry S. Truman was President of the United States. Its cover price (at the time $1.50) would be about $16.95 today, but you can still check it out for free here.

It doesn’t have a flashy, high-definition cover or a national ad campaign beckoning booksellers to order new copies from the publisher. What it lacks there, it makes up for in both nostalgia and variety.

While you might be the type of person who looks forward to hearing your favorite holiday tunes play on the radio from Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas, others might prefer finding music and lyrics to old hymns or lesser known folk songs.

In addition to Christmas songs and carols, the book contains special occasion folk songs and lullabies from around the world. Divided into six sections, you’ll find music and lyrics from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and both North and South America. Come check out this non-fiction selection. Who knows what other treasures you might find?

YNGR: The Home Diffusing & Distilling Handbook

The home distilling & infusing handbook : make your own whiskey & bourbon blends, infused spirits, cordials & liqueurs by Matt Teacher

With the nationwide explosion in popularity of home-brewed and craft brewery made beers, the proliferation of local wineries and sangria fests, a person might presume there’s no room left for infused spirits or whiskey and bourbon blends. For those of you in the latter category—think again.

This little book from the non-fiction shelves of the Allentown Public Library covers a host of possibilities from gin to vodka, and cordials to rum.

Pages resemble your family’s favorite old recipe book complete with Instagram-worthy photos. Amusing quips like these from comedians, politicians and celebrities and keep it simple but interesting.

“There can’t be good living where there is not good drinking.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

After a brief intro and a few comments about the law and safety for DIYers, readers can get the real lowdown on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to adding various fruits, vegetables or herbs to alcohol. Uncomplicated directions with no more than five steps in most cases provide easy to follow ways to create new choices for digest-ifs, or compliments to your dinner.  Reserve your copy

What We’re Reading-March 2021

What We’re Reading-March 2021

Here is a list of some of the books our staff is reading this month. In addition, we asked our staff where they look when they are trying to find a book to read. Here is what they said.

Fiction

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

A god will return when the earth and sky converge under the black sun in the holy city of Tova… The winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

Princess Rory Thorne must use the fairy blessings gifted to her at birth to change the multiverse–or possibly destroy it. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination–how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them. Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone-presumably drowned while fishing on his boat-so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together. Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted-or dangerously possessive. But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself… Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds, revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love, Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Nonfiction

Breath : The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how resilient your genes are, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Science journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong with our breathing and how to fix it. Why are we the only animals with chronically crooked teeth? Why didn’t our ancestors snore? Nestor seeks out answers in muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He tracks down men and women exploring the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that changing the ways in which we breathe can jump-start athletic performance, halt snoring, rejuvenate internal organs, mute allergies and asthma, blunt autoimmune disease, and straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again

More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys

An intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression. As one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Alicia Keys has enraptured the nation with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache-over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection. Since her rise to fame, Alicia’s public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it? More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia’s path-from her girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem, to the process of self-discovery she’s still navigating. In More Myself, Alicia shares her quest for truth-about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia’s artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity

Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob
by Russell Shorto

Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a city “in its brawny postwar prime,” is where “Little Joe” Regino and Russ Shorto build a local gambling empire on the earnings of factory workers for whom placing a bet-on a horse or pool game, pinball or “tip seal”-is their best shot at the American dream. Decades later, Russell Shorto grew up knowing that his grandfather was a small-town mobster, but never thought to write about him, in keeping with an unspoken family vow of silence. Then a distant cousin prodded him: You gotta write about it. Smalltime, the story of Shorto’s search for his namesake, delves into the world of the small-town mob, an intricate web that spanned midcentury America, stitching together cities from Yonkers to Fresno. A riveting immigrant story, Smalltime is also deeply personal, as the author’s ailing father, Tony, becomes his partner in piecing together their patriarch’s troubled past. Moving, wryly funny, and richly detailed, Smalltime is an irresistible memoir by a masterful writer of historical narrative

YA Fiction

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal–kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic…requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

Picture Books

The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems

Much to the chagrin of Pigeon, little Duckling uses very polite manners to request a cookie, and actually gets one. Filled with righteous fury, Pigeon loses his temper and complains bitterly about this terrible state of affairs. However, things aren’t what they seem, and Duckling has a secret plan! 

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas

Chicken has some unexpected and exuberant cow visitors who have exciting plans for jumping, dancing, and wiggling on his teeny-tiny couch, and Chicken is none too happy about it. That is until the fun concludes with a quiet, cozy and delicious nap for all!

Press Here by Tullet Hervé

Harness the power of imagination and interactivity: Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next!