Nonfiction

Chicken Soup for Hard Times

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough PeopleThere’s a new book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I know, I know – it’s a little bit like the never-ending Rocky movie series. BUT, you have to admit this one’s sorely needed – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People. It has 101 stories about overcoming challenges, especially in economic hard times.

October is Squirrel Awareness Month: Be Aware!

October is Squirrel Awareness Month

When I spoke with Nancy Agafitei, the Branch Librarian at the Barbara Bush Branch Library, about Squirrel Awareness Month, she said that her dog was very aware of squirrels, especially about one hour before it’s time to wake up, when he begins to bark loudly at them. This makes the whole household aware of squirrels.

If you are not so fortunate as to have an alert member of the canine species in your house here are some resources to help you become more aware:

The Natural History of Squirrels / John Gurnell

Wait and Read

Running errands always means you'll be waiting in line somewhere. Standing in line easily becomes a chore itself, but if you have a book handy, it’s no longer something to be endured. Instead, waiting becomes a time to enjoy a good book, if only for a few minutes. 

I like to bring books that are easy to jump in and out of when I have to wait. My favorite “waiting books” are trivia and fact books because you can stop on any page and begin reading.

 Do you bring a book with you when you know you’ll be waiting in long lines?  What books do you enjoy reading as you wait?

 

Here are some titles I've carried with me during quick trips:

Heavenly Milkshakes

Thoroughly Modern MilkshakesI’m in heaven.  Have you seen the latest Adam Ried concoction?  Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes.  It’s somewhere between an art collection and a cookbook.  One look at the Frozen Affogato Shake with Espresso Granita and I was hooked!  Or the cover photo of the Maple-Butter Pecan Shake.  Ice cream lovers unite….it’s shake time!

 

 

Poisonous Food

Food to Some Poison to OthersI hear so much more about food allergies these days than I did 20 years ago. Everyone is or knows someone who is allergic to nuts, gluten, strawberries, and more. If you suffer from this, check out Food to Some Poison to Others by Terry Traub. As she describes it, this book is “a handbook, elimination diet and cookbook all in one.” It can help you if you suspect you’re allergic or if you already know all too well your allergies.

 

Music on the Brain

Think of your favorite song.  Can you hear those first few notes? Can you hear the melody, the pitch, the rhythm? Does it make you want to sing along or tap your foot to the beat?  Does it conjure up a certain emotion or a long-lost memory? 

When we hear a good song, it triggers something deep, something basic within us. Music cuts to the core of who we are. It reminds us of our past and lets us enjoy the present.

But music is also scientific and mathematical. It's possible to track its effects on the brain. If you have ever wondered how music affects us on a biological level, try these titles:

Fans of Chaplin

I heard a story this morning on NPR about an Indian doctor who prescribes Charlie Chaplin movies as a cure for depression, leads a Chaplin fan club, and dresses up as the Little Tramp for performances.  I am not in his league, but I am a huge fan.  One of my dogs is even named Charlie, since his walk is a four legged version of the Tramp's.  For those of you who hesitate to watch a black and white movie, let alone a silent film, I challenge you to resist the magic of one of Chaplin's best films.  His personal favorite was City Lights, a poignant story about the Tramp falling in love with a blind flower girl, that still managed to be very funny.  My favorite is

Grown-up Origami

GirligamiIf you have a girly-girl inside of you at all, you simply must get the book Girligami by Cindy Ng. It has 20 origami projects to bring out the diva deep inside. My first project will be the stiletto pumps on the cover, then the mini laptop, then the trendy tote, then the……….I’d better get started.

 

Houston's Garden Hot Spots

         

The financial downfall caused everyone in America to be more cautious of how they spend money. Like many other families, I decided to stay in Houston for my vacation.
I started gardening as a child, and I still adore digging in the dirt. When looking for something to do, it was perfectly natural for me to spend time at Mercer Arboretum.  Best of all, my visit to the arboretum was FREE!

On the Shelf: Fodor’s Nova Scotia & Atlantic Canada

In a few days, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane (and, yes, I know when I’ll be back again!).

Syndicate content