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Weekly Shhhout-Out


Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

             We’re now just days away from yet another new year (and the last one according to the Aztec calendar). If 2012 really is the be all and end all, why not let your local MCPL branch help you make the most of it?  Here are some surefire ways to get the most out of the new year.
 
1.                  ¡Aprende un nuevo idioma! (Learn a new language!)
 
MCPL has plenty of online and offline resources to help you get in touch with your inner linguist.
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/libraries/images/dbases/mango.jpg 
Mango Languages offers online courses in over 44 languages (plus English learning courses for speakers of over 13 different languages). Believe it or not, they can even teach you how to speak like a pirate. Ahrrr, matey! 
 
iPad and iPhone users – there’s an app for that too, just visit the website and set up your account before going to the App Store and downloading the app. (Android users, a Mango app for your device is currently under development.)
 
Both of our eLibrary resources also offer downloadables fopr language learning. EBSCOHost Audiobooks has downloadble versions of the popular Pimsleur Language Learning series. However, you must have a PC with Windows Media Player to listen to them. The Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium has several language learning e-books and eaudiobooks which are compatible with several portable or smart devices.
 
And of course, you might find the language learning textbook or CD Book that you’ve been looking for on the shelves at your local branch.
 
2.                  Visit an uncharted territory!
 
Make use of that new language you just learned by planning a trip to somewhere new. The 914s-919s offer an array of guidebooks to help you on your way. Some of the more popular guides even have online equivalents (these include http://www.fodors.com and http://www.lonelyplanet.com). Check out http://www.tripadvisor.com to get the lowdown on places from your fellow travelers.
 
3.                  Discover a new you!
                Did you eat too much of the local cuisine on your travels? Did that hike in the mountains show you just how out of shape you really are? Visit the 613.71s for fitness ideas and 641.563 for healthy cooking tips. Be sure to check out Montgomery County’s RecWeb (http://www.recweb.montgomerycountymd.gov) to sign up for a heart-pumping aerobics class or to make a splash in your local pool.   For technophobes, limited copies of the Department of Recreation’s print course guide are available at most library branches, community recreation centers, and county aquatic centers. If you’re free on a weekday afternoon, why not take in a session of Bone Builders at Potomac Library.  (If exercise isn't your thing, you can also learn a new skill or augment an old one.  The Rec Department offers arts & crafts and cooking classes, among many others. )
Chris Chris B.
CATEGORIES: Chris B. , Language Learning , Travel , Health
POSTED: 2:35:00 PM |

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Classics

dickens

Most of us are crazy busy at this time of year (including me).  We're trying to juggle work, family, shopping, holiday parties, the budget and so on.  To help keep some perspective, it's worth trying to carve out a little time to appreciate some of the literary and cinematic classics that bring the season to life.

Read or watch the wonderful Charles Dicken's tale "A Christmas Carol", the story of miserly Scrooge and the three spirits that bring him to a new sense of the joy and wonder of the Christmas season.  You can do a chapter a night as a family read aloud in the week preceding December 25th, or you can borrow one of the several film versions of the story that the library owns.

MCPL can offer anything from the 1951 Alastair Sim's version (which set the standard for screen portrayals of Scrooge) simsto an expanded BBC production that includes ensemble versions of Dickensian pub songs.  My personal favorite stars George C Scott as a particularly curmudgeonly Scrooge.  Or, there's always "The Muppet Christmas Carol" - Kermit makes a wonderful Bob Crachitt.  If you have time after the holidays, and are looking for an interesting read for a cold January night, you can pick up "The Man Who Invented Christmas" by Les Standiford to find out more about Dickens and his beloved story.

 

Another appealing short read is Truman Capote's autobiographical novella "A Christmas Memory".  capoteThis gentle story decribes the Christmas preparations of a young boy and his slightly eccentric, elderly cousin in the Depression era South.

Frank Capra's classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" seems to be on continuous television play during December, but if you need to schedule your own showing, the library can provide a copy.  Remember, everytime you hear a bell.....

Another lovely family read aloud is Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas".  The library has many wonderfully illustrated versions of the poem, ranging from the  intricate and playful work of Jan Brett,brett to Tasha Tudor's warm and homey pictures of an elfin Santa, to one in the distinctive style of beloved children's author Tomie De Paola.

 So pop some popcorn, make some warm drinks for both the adults and kids, and gather everyone around to make some great holiday memories.  Enjoy!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketanita

CATEGORIES: Anita V. , Books , Holidays , Movies
POSTED: 4:42:00 PM |

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Physician Writers: Writer Turns Doctor Turns Writer

We don't always choose the right occupation the first time around, or for some of us, a second or third time.  Have you noticed people often say, "I should have been a (insert an occupation)"? 

I know a lawyer who yearns to be an actor and an investment banker who yearns to be (gasp!) a librarian. We have heard businessman turned farmer, lawyer turned baker,etc.

What about medical doctors? Many of them want to be writers, it seems. Maybe that's what they would have become in the first place if they had had a chance. Anton Chekhov was one, and so was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Somerset Maugham, William Carlos Williams, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, Khaled Hosseini, Perri Klass, Chris Adrian to list some. Some of my favorites are...

book cover image of Better by Atul Gawande Book cover image for My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor book cover image of My Own Country by Abraham Verghese Musicophilia book cover

 

 

 

 

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande, 2007 nonfiction.
This is more than his notes. It is his eyewitness account and analysis on medical failures and triumphs

My Own Country: A Doctor's Story of A Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS by Abraham Verghese, 1994 nonfiction
Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone,  was a young doctor in Johnson City, Tennessee, when he saw his first AIDS patient. He wrote about how this conservative community tried to cope with the medical and spiritual emergency.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, 2006 nonfiction.
Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist, experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain. In this book she shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks, 2007 nonfiction
Author of many books on medicine and human behavior, Sacks wrote Musicophilia about incidents affecting the musical ability of some patients, sometimes in a very surprising way.

BONUS: Talking about prolific writer-doctors, if I may include another type of doctor,  Alexander McCall Smith taught Medical Ethics at the University of Edinburgh before he became a well-known writer.  MCPL has a wonderful recorded lecture series by him entitled Creating Humans: Ethical Questions Where Reproduction and Science Collide.

plum blossom in rain by Joy 

     Megumi

CATEGORIES: Medicine , Writers , Megumi L.
POSTED: 1:48:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007