Although most people prefer to hike in the warmer months, winter can be the best time to experience the tranquility of nature. The obvious benefits include the lack of bugs and the lack of crowds on the trails. But the starkness of the landscape makes for great wildlife viewing and birding. Also, many of the small streams, springs, and waterways have frozen into beautiful ice sculptures.
The Oscar awards are coming up. The red carpet and movies are on a lot of our minds. I started thinking about the St. Louis County Library's book discussion kit titles that have an Oscar nomination. Listed are those nominated for Best Picture:
1937: "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck.
1939: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
1947: "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens.
1962: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.
2003: "Seabiscuit" by Laura Hillenbrand.
2009:"Precious" based on "Push" by Sapphire.
2010: "Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell.
So many books and so many movies. Hey, why not do both? Watch the movie then discuss the book. You don't need a red carpet just a book kit and a DVD from the library. Remember you have to call to book a kit: 314-994-3300.
--Peggy D., Headquarters
Whether you have a large garden plot or just a few pots on the patio, you can get a jump on the gardening season by starting seeds inside. If you've never done it before, starting seedlings inside is easy and inexpensive. And the Library is here to help you do it! We have a massive collection of books to aid you in all of your gardening endeavors.
For fans of The Hold Steady, the upcoming solo show by front man Craig Finn is met with eager anticipation. Finn and his cohorts in The Hold Steady arrived on the music scene with "Separation Sunday" in 2005, an album met with critical praise for its power pop sound and dense lyrics reminiscent of 1970s Bruce Springsteen.
Interested in personal networking, blogging to promote your business or looking for a job? Social networking skills can help! Not sure how to get started? The library has a variety of resources to introduce you to the world of social media.
While lurching toward middle age, I expected my hard rock, mosh pitted past to mellow, and that I would have better appreciation for James Taylor and Carole King's "Troubadours: The rise of the Singer-Songwriter" CD, which was wildly popular. Instead, "Appeal to Reason" by Rise Against frequents my CD player.
Rise Against is a band with an ax to grind. You can hear the weapon being honed in the background of every song. "From Heads Unworthy" contains the line "Read you like a polygraph/Not one single bone in your back." "Re-education (through Labor)" belts out:
Gabrielle Hamilton's outstanding memoir "Blood, Bones & Butter" traces the crooked path she followed to her current success as chef and owner of Prune restaurant in New York City. Although Hamilton is a celebrated chef, readers should not assume that this is simply a foodie book. It is much more a literary memoir about how one woman's life is formed by a combination of her experiences, values, and accidents.
Hamilton did not dream of becoming a restaurant owner and chef. Without planning it, Hamilton accumulates twenty years of experience working in kitchens. In her first job at a restaurant, she is awkward and unsure in the dining room, but feels right at home in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and scraping plates.
Hamilton writes about her childhood, her travels, and the trials of starting a restaurant without any business experience. Her writing is clear and funny. Although she is frank about her faults and those of others, she reveals a genuine fondness for people.
Want to make food from your favorite restaurant at home and at your own convenience? Try Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2" and "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3," the easy way to satisfy your cravings without actually having to go back to the restaurant. I've personally tried Wilbur's recipe for Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and was impressed by how similar the biscuits that came out of my oven were to the originals. Delicious biscuits that I could bake and have fresh, all to myself or share. You know, whatever floats your boat.