Monday, April 10, 2017

Re-imagining Space

Peter White Public Library is in the process of re-imagining the library building’s spaces nearly twenty years after the previous expansion and renovation project which began in 1998. The growth in public usage, need for updated technology, and the shortage of meeting room space has created an opportunity to imagine the possibilities for Marquette’s library of tomorrow. Input from the recent public focus groups and the online patron survey help to sharpen our sites on the exciting changes in store.
Just as the library is working with Kim Bollan & Associates to assist us with the space-planning process, some of the newest nonfiction books at the library will inspire and guide you to re-imagine your own personal space, no matter what the size. Find these items on the ‘New Books’ shelves on the main floor of the library under the call numbers indicated.
Prefabulous Small Houses by Sheri Koones is the minimalists’ dream idea book. Published by Taunton press in 2016 with a foreword by Robert Redford, the book’s 200+ pages are filled with stylish examples of quality tiny homes that have low environmental impact and are stunningly simple. From boat houses to beach houses, woodsy cabins to urban chic, these small spaces are huge on appeal. 728KO
On the other extreme of the housing spectrum, All the President’s Gardens by garden historian Marta McDowell, delves into the changes in the eighteen acres of the nation’s White House gardens and the influence on their design by our nation’s presidents from George Washington and his passion for trees through the Obama kitchen garden to promote healthy eating. All these changes were designed and cared for by the foremen who oversaw the White House grounds. Published in 2016, this book is a fascinating look into American history and garden trends since 1800. 635.0975MC
No money for adding on a room or total reconstruction? Take a look at your interiors through the eyes of Vern Yip, television home design expert and author of Vern Yip’s Design Wise, published in 2016. Yip approaches interior design through the lens of comfortable human dimensions, offering hard numbers on how to rearrange your seating, tables, appliances, utilities, etc. for comfort and practicality. The book is full of stunning photographs of stylish spaces with an Asian esthetic that are designed for everyday family living inside and outside. 747 YI
Making your new space happen requires some elbow grease. Readers handy with tools will enjoy Good Clean Fun by actor, comedian and writer Nick Offerman. A hobby woodworker, Offerman provides a tongue in cheek look at how his projects have worked, his views on the world of fine craftsmanship as well as to introduce readers to some of his quirky woodworking buddies. A fun read that will also teach you a thing or two. 648.08 OF
For those feeling suffering from cabin fever, Dream Treehouses by will help you release your inner adventurer. Written by four French designers, this book is a showcase of imaginative outdoor getaways around the world set well above ground with gorgeous vistas. Beautifully crafted, these treehouses become unique and beautifully crafted spaces to get away from it all. 728.9 LA
Now that spring has sprung, Botanical Style by Selina Lake will inspire you to bring a bit of the outdoors into your personal spaces. Well illustrated from cover to cover, this book features decorating tips using botanical art prints and fabrics, naturalistic floral arrangements and creative ideas on using indoor plants to help you transform your space into an indoor paradise. 747.98 LA
Happy spring!   
--Margaret Boyle, Circulation Services

Monday, April 3, 2017

Historical non-fiction

No matter what the content area, reading nonfiction can bring history to life thru great narration and descriptive writing. These titles are a great historical read. 

How the Post Office Created America, a History by Winifred Gallaher 
How the post Office Created America tells the story of the surprising role of the post office in the nation’s political, social, economic and physical development. For the longest time it  the post office was the U.S. government’s largest and most important endeavor and was established in 1775 before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The authors takes you on a journey, as the post office was the catalyst of the industrial economy (transportation grid, customer service cultured and the political party system. Gallagher argues that Americans should understand what the post office has accomplished since 1775 and what it can contribute to a 21st century.

Rites of Conquest: The History and Culture of Michigan’s Native Americans by Charles E. Cleland  
Rites of Conquest narrates the struggle of Michigan Native Peoples; Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. For many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, Michigan’s native peoples, the Anishnabeg thrived in the forests and along the shores of the Great Lakes, their cultures in delicate social balance and in economic harmony with the natural order.  The French quest for furs, the colonial aggression of the British, and the invasion of native homelands by American settlers is the backdrop for its fascinating saga of their resistance and accommodation to the new social order.  Michigan Native American’s look to their values and traditions that set them apart as the most enduring peoples of the Great Lakes region. 

Wicked Takes the Witness Stand: A tale of murder and twisted deceit in Northern Michigan by Mardi Link
The author of When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore’s Secret, has written a third book of Michigan true crime. Wicked Takes the Witness stand provides a narrative on an unsolved mysterious case that sucked the state police and local officials into a morass of perjury and cover-up, which led to the separate condition and imprisonment of five innocent men.

--Stanley Peterson, Maintenance Services Coordinator

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New of Youth

The Best Bear in all the World by A. A. Milne
This book is a treasure for both young new Pooh lovers, and those who want to re-capture a moment from their childhood with old friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. Written by four authors to celebrate Pooh’s 90th birthday in the style of A. A. Milne, and artwork in the style of E. H. Shepard, this collection of four stories brings us four new tales from the Hundred Acre Wood in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. 

The Journey
by Francesca Sanna
This is a stunning picture book of immigration, both the illustrations and the plot line. A child and her family lived in a city and spent summers at the beach-but then a war came. What follows is a journey through many countries, by lands and sea, across borders, with fear present almost all the time. While at the end, the family has yet to reach the place where they will be safe, there is a hopeful feeling that they will be there soon. This story is unique in that the reader doesn’t know what war the family flees from, what country they leave, or where their destination is-it simply shows the story of A family, fleeing and hoping to find a better life. It is widely encompassing of the immigration experience without being generic. The text is sparse and perfectly complimented by illustrations that reflect the feelings of the family as they flee. Highly recommended to help children understand what immigration is and feels like, without being too dark or scary for the younger readers.

Sachiko, A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson
This is a haunting work of non-fiction, telling the story of the 6-year-old girl who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The author does not pull back from relating the horror of the bomb being dropped, but does avoid being too graphic. Sachiko’s narrative is broken up with historical documentation of the politics going on in both Japan and America, including blurb about the pilot who flew the plane that dropped the bomb. These interruptions are done seamlessly, and add to the narrative, rather than distract from it; and in fact are a relief, reading about the more impersonal historical facts, and giving the reader a break from the emotional pain that stems Sachiko’s narrative. Sachiko has lived a full life since that time, drawing inspiration from Heller Keller, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, JR as she went through difficult times in her teens through her 40’s. Highly recommended for discussions about war and racism, historical study of World War II, and to show older children history from a different perspective. Be warned that it can be difficult to read the descriptions of death, pain and suffering-make sure your children are ready for such content and be prepared for discussion about things such as radiation sickness and more.

Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes by Denis Brennan
While not an earth-shattering story, it definitely is worth a read as a local-interest story! This picture book is about Tallulah, a mermaid with a dull tail. All the mermaids in the ocean find gemstones that match their colorful tails, but Tallulah doesn’t find one to match her tail-so Turtle suggests that she search the Great Lakes. The story follows Tallulah as she searches the Great Lakes, finally ending up in Lake Michigan and finding the Petosky stone, with a beautiful sunburst pattern. Though many of the landmarks are Canadian, downstate or in Wisconsin, Tallulah visits a few well-known U.P shorelines, making this story worth checking out for locals.

The Storyteller by Evan Turk
This is a visually stunning story, worth reading for the illustrations alone. Set in the kingdom of Morocco, a young boy discovers the power of storytelling and stories themselves. To say much more would give away too much- but for those who love stories and gorgeous artwork, this picture book is highly recommended.

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
This picture book is just plain awesome. It is a great book to introduce concepts, perspective and sight words. In the story, a child sees a cat. The cat moves on and sees, and is seen, by many different animals. The illustrations show how perspective changes how the same object (in this case a cat) is seen and known. For example, a mouse sees a huge, scary monster. A bird flying overhead sees a smaller creature below almost lost in the tall grass. And the worm underground “sees” the cat through the vibrations the cat makes while walking on the surface of the ground. At the end, the illustrations show how the cat sees itself in the reflection of a pond. Very cool book.

--Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services Librarian

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Non-fiction - Mixed Bag

I was looking through the New non-fiction books, wondering which ones I should suggest. I realized how daunting this task was going to be due to the never ending number of new non-fiction books, as well as the endless variety of topics to choose from. So, here are 6 books that I hope you will enjoy.

For the train enthusiasts, Twelve Twenty-Five, The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive would be a great read. For all of us who long for the sound of a train whistle or seeing the steam pouring from the engine, the author, Kevin P. Keefe, brings the steam locomotive to life. It contains the great history of the steam locomotive, but also the restoration of the Pere Marquette locomotive 1225. So, sit back and listen to the train whistle calling your name as it steams its way down miles and miles of track. It takes me back to my childhood, watching the trains go by through our town. There wasn’t any steam, but my imagination took care of that.

ZIKA The Emerging Epidemic by author and New York Times science reporter, Donald G. McNeil Jr., sets the facts straight as far as its origin goes, how it’s spreading, the race for a cure and what we can do to protect ourselves from a terrible disease that has reached our American soil. Zika was once considered mild, but as early as August 2015 that notion changed. What is being done and how far north will it travel? This book definitely is an eye opener.

Ever wonder how or why people start off raising a few chickens on their small property and end up with a full-fledged farm? I know it isn’t for everyone, but I know there must be some chicken lovers out there in our small community. Even if you aren’t sure you want to own and run a medium to large chicken farm, you will find this book very interesting. Lucie B. Amundsen, author of Locally Laid used a lot of humor and candor to chronicle her family’s efforts to bring some sanity back to the food system. She keeps you in stitches and it is said that this particular non-fiction account will even keep you from going to bed; it’s that funny.

Spring is around the corner, somewhere, and thoughts of flowers have been on my mind. Replacing the snow and cold with beautiful and colorful flowers can’t come soon enough for me. The Reason for Flowers, by Stephen Buchmann, writes about their history, their culture and how they can change our lives. According to the author, flowers exist for more than just their beauty and fragrance. Flowers and people are interdependent. This is more than just a gardening book. You will learn how our lovely flowers came to be, how they evolved, how their interplay with insects and other animals, like humans came about. With Spring weeks away, why not browse through this wonderfully written book and then you too will be able to see and smell those roses.

There is a hidden kingdom that dominates life on our planet earth and Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes, the microbes within us and a Grander View of Life, has managed to make the invisible and the tiny both visible and mighty. This book will change how we look at the world around and in us. Mr. Yong uses humor and erudition in order to prompt us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a very different way. Microbes are vital. They sculpt our organs and defend us from disease and grant us tremendous abilities. You will learn just how important they are. The author makes this read very interesting and you will not nod off, trust me.

Here in the U.P. we are surrounded by trees. Be they tall, short, thin, wide, fruit baring, shade producing or just a plain old tree, trees feel, they communicate and they have a life not so visible to us humans. Well, that’s what Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of TREES tells us. This author spent over 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany and then put it into practice. Questions about how trees thrive against terrible odds for hundreds of years may be answered in this wonderful book that reminds us to slow down and tune into the language of nature. We have a white pine tree in our yard that it’s thought to be well over 150 years old; it’s gigantic. So just how did this tree and many others manage to live so long and why are we wanting to preserve them? So all of you tree huggers and those that just adore trees, come on over to the library and grab this book and find out before someone else beats you to it.

--Nicki Malave, Network Coordinator

Monday, March 13, 2017

Books, soon to be movies

In 2017, Hollywood will continue the trend of producing movies based on books.  Check out these books, both fiction and nonfiction, to expect on the big screen in the next year.  Is the book better?  Find out for yourself!

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - When Germany invaded Poland, Warsaw was destroyed, including the city’s zoo.  Zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages and their villa. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, hid ammunition and explosives. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its remaining animal inhabitants while living with the overwhelming fear of discovery.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Middle Grade students will be thrilled to see this popular novel play out on the big screen.  Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school.  Auggie tells the story of the taunting from and fear of his classmates as he just tries to live as another student.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann - After discovering a hidden trove of diaries, Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization.  Thousands had died looking for the concealed El Dorado, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was too great a feat for humankind. Fawcett embarked with his son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization--which he dubbed "Z"--existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate became an obsession for those who followed him.

The Circle by Dave Eggers When Mae Holland is hired to work for the most powerful internet company in the world, she feels she's landed her dream job. The Circle links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.   Mae is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. Mae can't believe her luck to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant and a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken.

The Dinner by Herman Koch - It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. The conversation remains a polite discourse.  But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said.  Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by a single horrific act that destroyed the comfortable worlds of their families.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – Beautiful Rachel descends on the great Cornwall estate of Philip Ashley. Despite his suspicions, she soon charms him. In this tale of good and evil, Philip must uncover the motivations of the mysterious widow of his cousin. 

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin - On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport.  When the last outgoing flight is cancelled, Ben finds a charter plane that can drop him in Denver to catch a connection.  Ben offers the extra seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently.  The unthinkable happens leaving them stranded on one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - When sober, Jeannette's father captured his children's imagination, teaching them how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo - After the first snowfall of the year, a boy wakes up to discover that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he's received.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer - Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. Previous expeditions all ended in tragedy with the exception of the first.  This is the twelfth expedition. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimen, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another.  Above all, they must to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

--Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director