Friday, February 20, 2015

What to read while you're waiting for gardening season...

The garden shows have come to town,  the weather feels like Spring, and you've got garden fever (well, I know Liz and I do!)  Too bad it's still February.  How about some stories that feature gardening to help scratch that gardening itch?  Here are a few that I've enjoyed.  Please share your favorites by commenting at the bottom!

 "In this profoundly moving memoir, Owita teaches Wall how to find grace amid heartbreak and to accept that beauty exists because it is fleeting; as in her garden, as in life." --People, 4 stars.
"A perfect spring awakening." --Good Housekeeping.
A true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing, and ultimately everything, in common. Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor's yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he's very good at gardening.  Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol's yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.

Thirty-six-year-old Gal Garner lives a regimented life. Her job teaching biology and her struggle with kidney disease keep her toggling between the high school, the hospital, and her home on a strict schedule. Only at home, in her garden, does Gal come alive. It's here that she experiments with Hulthemia roses, painstakingly cross-pollinating various specimens in the hopes of creating a brand-new variation of spectacular beauty. But even her passion has a highly structured goal: Gal wants to win Queen of Show in a major competition and bring that rose to market. Then one afternoon Gal's teenaged niece Riley, the daughter of her estranged sister, arrives. Unannounced. Neither one of them will ever be the same. Filled with gorgeous details of the art of rose breeding, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a testament to the redemptive power of love.

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions, but for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what's been missing in her life, and when she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Please comment below to share your favorite book featuring gardening!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy President's Day!

Our libraries are closed today, but our website is up!  If you've run out of reading material, don't forget you can download books, audiobooks, videos, and more from our website.

For the blog today,  I wanted to share some fun things related to the White House (and avoid getting into a political discussion).

Most people have heard of The West Wing, but how many of you can say you have watched the entire series?   Yep, the library has it on DVD!

As a foodie, I have a weakness for silly food mysteries...and guess what?  There is one that takes place in the White House!  The White House Chef series features awesome pun titles such as: Eggsecutive orders, Buffalo West Wing, Affairs of steak, Fonduing fathers, Hail to the chef, Home of the braised, and the latest:  All the president's menus.

(For you non-foodies, there is also a White House Gardener series of mysteries.)

If all this talk about White House food has you curious about what it is like in their kitchen, check out The President's Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy.

And for a true insider's glimpse, National Geographic has put out what looks to be a spectacular book (and a dvd!) called The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Countdown to Spring

This is the time of year I find myself getting antsy for Spring and the time in the garden that comes with it. Every morning as I walk to my car I take inventory of new sprouts and add to the growing list of garden projects in my head. I start my lists, one of things “to do” (Weed! Mulch! Prune!) and one of plants “to buy” (Dahlias! Veggies! More Dahlias!). I block out days in my planner, reserving them just for gardening. I cannot wait to get started! Now if only it were just a few degrees warmer out…

If you too are in the mood to beautify your yard, here are some good books to get you started.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Too hot or too cold? Books and DVDs to suit every temperature.

What weird weather we’re having this winter! Down in the 30s then up in the 60s, it just can’t make up its mind. Well, no matter the weather here are some books and movies that will either warm you up or cool you down.

Brrr! It's cold out there: for when you want to keep your cool.

We're having a heat wave: for when you want to keep the heat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We Are Family: Literary Figures You'd Like to Adopt (or Have Adopt You)

You know the old saying about how you can't choose your family? Well, let's bend that rule a little and select some characters from books that compliment or enhance what you already have.

Sometimes when you read a book you get so involved in the characters it seems like they become part of your family. The character might be a loving and understanding parent. Or maybe the goofy uncle that whisks you away for a day at the amusement park. Or how about the close sibling you can tell all your secrets to. 

Here are a few books that contain fictional characters or real-life people that I connected with and wished they were part of my family.

Owen Thorskard of The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston 
It was hard to choose between Owen and Siobhan--or even all of their guardians were pretty great--for the person I’d like to invite into my family because they were both friendly and courageous and willing to stand up for and with each other in desperate times. But Owen won out because with the legacy of becoming a dragon slayer and the pressure to live up to his extremely famous aunt he took everything in stride and was a very stand-up and rock solid guy to have in your corner.

Jenny Lawson (The Blogess) author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (a Mostly True Memoir) 
Jenny would be my kooky aunt or cousin. She’d be a blast to hang out with, hear stories from and live through vicariously. And, the best part, she bought herself a five foot metal chicken and surprised her husband with it after he said she couldn’t buy more bath towels. I would love a giant chicken! Jenny’s a hoot and who wouldn’t want to sit around just listening to her outlandish stories.

Veronica Mars of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas 
Veronica would totally be my BFF sister. She’s got the perfect level of snark and attitude as well as the ability to be compassionate and understanding in any situation. Besides that, she’s always ready to back you up. You know, in case you need to be cleared of a crime or something. I have to admit that my love of Veronica started from the television show but her personality really carries through to the book--probably because the author is the creator of the show and knows his characters well.

Who would you invite into your family?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Are You Ready for Some (More) Football?

Another Super Bowl (and the football season) has come and gone and I’m sure, after one day, you’re feeling some withdrawals. Well, fear not! I come bearing a list of books and movies (both fiction and non-fiction) that will keep your football off-season at bay for weeks to come.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Go Ahead, Get Crafty!*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=20*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=21*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=3*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=30Rainy winter days are perfect for cozying up with a good book but, sometimes, a book just doesn’t fill the void and doing something a bit more active is required.   When spending long hours in the garden, riding your bike, or walking the beach are not terribly enticing options, you have to be a bit craftier.  Here are a few items to inspire your crafty side...*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=31*&sort=RELEVANCE&page=0&searchid=28