Tired of being online? Want to cozy up with a book in your hand to learn a new hobby? Or get more info on a favorite pastime you already have? We’ve gathered some book suggestions for you. Whether you enjoy painting, photography, collecting, building, or crafting, the library has books for you!
The Encyclopedia of Jewelry-making Techniques by Jinks McGrath
The library has Overdrive (also known as Libby) for eBooks and audiobooks, and Hoopla which offers both eBooks and audiobooks, as well as streaming movies and television shows. So there’s always something to choose from wherever there’s internet access or when transporting a physical book is not possible. Look for these logos in your app store.
January is National Hobby month! Looking for new ideas for your hobby or planning to try a new one? The library has many resources for you!
Check out some of our favorite eBooks and eMagazines from OverDrive covering all sorts of hobbies, or links for fun stuff like How to be a Comedy Writer available when streaming on Hoopla. Plus, there we’ve gathered links right here for hardcover books and great crafting sites for ideas as well as step-by-step instructions. There is something for everyone!
This question, selected by a majority vote of participants at our most recent Socrates Café, highlights the importance of language in communication. Before we began to answer the initial question, we talked a lot about what we mean by language.
Do we mean English, Spanish, Korean, Dutch, Russian, American sign language, or some other form of the Latin based “lingua”? Or, do we mean the specific words that we use for expressing ourselves?
Thoughts we considered:
how the language that one speaks is based upon cultural or geographical experience
what effect politics have upon word use
how language changes over time
nuances of expression, interpretation and translation
how language, specifically one’s literacy, has a direct effect on whether they can be controlled by others
While these points are interconnected with each other, let’s take a quick look at how we unpeeled each point.
How is the language that one speaks based upon cultural or geographical experience?
One patron cited having read Trevor Noah’s bestseller Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. In it, the author noticed that apartheid in South Africa was more easily maintained as individual tribes continued to be separated by the many differing languages spoken. He believed it to be purposeful and for this reason he felt it important as a ticket to a better life to learn several languages.
And it stands to reason that it would be easier for any singularly focused group with a mind to subjugate another to achieve superiority if the smaller groups of potential adversaries are unable to easily communicate with one another. This underscores the importance of one’s ability to speak more than one language. But, speaking another language and understanding it well can be a challenge.
Geographically speaking, one participant used this example which she studied in college. Our world view, according to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (1929: Edward Sapir and developed by Benjamin Whorf) advances that the structure of a language determines a native speaker’s perception and categorization of experience. They gave, she said, an example that some native Alaskans have 14 different words for “snow” so they perceived snow in its many variations. Or the Hopi who use yokva, yooyangwl, or yoyañwe to say simply “rain,” whereas we would say “it is raining” thus introducing the subject-object relationship. Wow! So these two men suggested that the language we use forms how we think and view the world around us!
Our participant continued to explain the study’s relevance in her capacity as a therapist where cognitive restructuring is a helpful tool. Cognitive restructuring, according to Therapist Aid, is defined as “the therapeutic process of identifying and challenging negative and irrational thoughts.” This tool sometimes aids people who don’t have the language required to adequately identify or express their feelings.
What effect does politics have upon word use?
Here we considered how cultural sensitivities affect the words we choose to use in various situations. An example of is reflected in the pronouns used to assign gender. Do we use “he,” “she,” or “they” when referring to an individual? Those among us who have been teachers of English or concerned with using correct English grammar find the “they” in this case particularly jarring in the sense that the word “they,” until recently, has always referred to the plural rather than the singular “you.” We considered the possibility of coming up with a new word designation other than “they” such as “xe,” or resurrecting an older word that has fallen out of use like “thee” for gender assignment. In any case, we acknowledge that there are people who wish, for a variety of reasons, to be referred to neither as “he” nor “she.”
“So many things about changes in language can be either jarring or welcome,” one commented.
How does language change over time?
A book cited as an example of political change in word use is The Sound and the Fury, a novel by William Faulkner set in April 1928. Based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the tale is told by a mentally challenged person. The patron pointed out that when the novel was published (1929) it was commonplace to use the term “idiot” for such a person. But, given our current understanding about abilities, not only is this word not used for this purpose, but to use it is considered offensive, hurtful and cruel. The ways that we talk make a difference.
In the aforementioned example, language changes when words take on new meanings either by group consensus or government decree. When earlier we talked about the word “you,” someone brought up its history. Early on, “you” was used to refer to the king, while “thee” referred to everyone or anyone else. Later, “you” took on use among the commoners either singular or plural.
What are the nuances of expression, interpretation and translation?
Regarding translation, a patron mentioned experiences at her work with translating and interpreting and they discovered that the translations were horribly incorrect. This brought up the idea of apps and online translations that may not be perfect due to certain idiosyncrasies of a particular language or dialect. These might include idioms.
While there is always plenty to unpack from a single question at the Socrates Café, doing so is a fun way in which to broaden our view. It gives introverts the opportunity to have their point of view recognized as equally valid, and extroverts segments of time in which to contemplate the voices and experiences that they hear from other people. Though minds may not be changed about our position on a particular topic, the important part is that we hear others’ perspectives. This helps everyone to think about how we come to believe what we do and to consider new options or to make more informed decisions.
We meet every third Wednesday of the month at 10:30 AM.
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters. Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. But as the summer stretches on, January discovers a gaping plot hole in the story she’s been telling herself about her own life, and begins to wonder what other things she might have gotten wrong, including her ideas about the man next door. Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook
For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime–maybe even love. Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion–she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas. Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo. Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is, Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be. Book (at Easton)/Overdrive eBook
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook/Hoopla Audiobook
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth-century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” In 1936, shortly after the school opened, Ellingham’s wife and daughter, Iris and Alice, were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great crimes of American history. Something like that could never happen again, of course. Years later, true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. Book/Overdrive Audiobook/Hoopla eBook/Hoopla Audiobook
During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, eager to forget about her disastrous breakup and stalled dissertation, Nora Fischer wanders off and somehow finds herself in another realm. There, she meets glamorous Ilissa—who introduces Nora to a decadent new world—and her gorgeous son Raclin. But when the elegant veneer of this dreamland shatters, Nora finds herself in a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. And the only way she can survive is by learning real magic herself. Book
The exclusive beach community of Oak Bluffs is a mecca for the crème de la crème of black society. Thirty years ago Amelia Vaux Tanner and her husband built Chateau Laveau, a house high on the bluffs. Ama’s favorite guests have always been her three “goddaughters:” Esperanza “Perry” Soto, a talented Afro-Latina lawyer; Olivia Jones, a Wall Street analyst; and Billie Hayden, a marine biologist. This summer Ama, now nearing seventy-one, is moving to the south of France to reunite with her college sweetheart. She has invited Perry, Olivia, and Billy to spend one last golden summer together with her the way they did when they were kids. And when fall comes, she is going to give the house to one of them. And each wants the house. Desperately. Book/Overdrive eBook
Beach Road by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge
Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in America’s wealthiest resort town: legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll. Very Expensive: Then a friend of Tom’s is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star’s mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century. Very Exclusive: Tom recruits Manhattan super-lawyer Kate Costello to help. She’s a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend, but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer, and what emerges is staggering. Very Explosive: The final scenes of this audio book unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock. Book/Large Print/Audiobook CD/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla Audiobook
At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne’s perfect getaway will be ruined, until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort, and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives. Book
Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances. Book
This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fiancée of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down. Just days before they were to be married, his fiancée called off the wedding. Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn’t let him succumb to his misery. They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn’t be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz’ travel companion would be his brother, Kurt.
During the “honeymoon,” Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective. The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting fifty-three countries for the next two years. In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew Book
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. Book/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla Audiobook
Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. Book/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla eBook/Hoopla Audiobook
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind. Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Is the “Golden Rule” sufficient when examining all questions of morality?
This question, covered at the most recent Socrates Café led us to consider application of The Golden Rule toward the moral questions that we each encounter on a daily basis. Taken from The Bible, the well known Golden Rule is the idea that one should “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.”
The Udanavarga of Buddhist tradition “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful,” and
The Analects of Confucius “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself, then there would be no resentment against you either in the family, or in the state.”
This whole concept seems simple to apply to everyday moral questions, but does applying The Golden Rule to any moral question stand up under further scrutiny?
One café participant suggested that The Golden Rule is a form of reciprocity which proposes that if I treat you in a way which maximizes my happiness, then you ought to treat me similarly and by extension your happiness increases. The Wikipedia definition seems to agree. The participant elaborated further saying that it also follows that if I continue to treat you the way I want to be treated, but that you essentially use me to the point at which a reciprocal arrangement no longer exists, then I could choose to withdraw your access to my friendship.
This idea was rebutted with another person’s interpretation of The Golden Rule. Her belief is that it only states that the former treat others in a certain way, but that no reciprocity is implied or expected. Still, with respect to the concept of reciprocity, we pondered another’s suggestion to instead “do to others as they would like done to them.”
The one who proposed this idea further explained (and I’m paraphrasing here) the following. Suppose I am a person who prefers to be alone when I need de-stress. You on the other hand are one who just wants to be hugged or who prefers to enjoy time with friends in order to experience the same result. Using this interpretation I should, when you are stressed, be sure to invite you to my party, or give you a big hug.
However, there is a danger here. This presumes, as still another person pointed out, that I know best what you need for yourself, even more so than you do, and by acting accordingly I remove your autonomy.
Applying The Golden Rule to Everyday Situations
Is it okay to lie?
Apply the rule by asking, “Do I like being lied to?”
Sometimes (if it suits my best interest or helps me to learn), but not if it is used to manipulate me or is in any way hurtful.
What if you catch a co-worker taking home office supplies? Morally speaking, should you be the whistleblower or approach the co-worker about the issue?
If the roles were reversed, would you want to be talked to about this by me or by your boss and maybe lose your job as a result? Applied here, the principle seems to dictate that you should approach the co-worker to tell her, “Here’s what I saw you doing, and it’s wrong.” If after this, the co-worker continues to steal company supplies, she should at least not be surprised if you take the issue to management.
But is this really just being a tattletale or a whistleblower? If everyone steals the office supplies, will the company be able to sustain its business? What if it’s not office supplies, but the co-worker is writing checks to himself drawn from company funds? Do we have degrees to which we choose whether or when to apply The Golden Rule?
What about giving to the poor? Would I appreciate the help if I were down on my luck? If an opportunity to help someone in need presents itself and you apply The Golden Rule, then morally you would be obligated to assist.
While we may not have found the answer to our original question, we certainly came up with more questions and cause for thought about an important idea. This often happens, and that’s okay. That’s what a democracy is about.
At each meetup of the Socrates Café we choose a single question to examine from those submitted by our patrons.