Wednesday, February 8, 2017

humor and parody

The next RA Roundtable meeting will be Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 9am at the Homewood Library.  We’ll be talking about bookgroup picks and popular fiction, so bring a couple of titles and share with us!

Upcoming events in which you may be interested:

The Homewood Library is hosting a Jane Austen-Regency Ball on Saturday, February 18th, 7pm-9pm.  Tickets are $15 per person and must be purchased in advance.  For reservations, call 205-578-8280 or email

The annual Friends of the Library book sale at Emmet O’Neal Library will take place the last weekend in February.  Member of the Friends may attend the preview party on Thursday, February 23rd. The sale is open to the public Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 24-26.

Today, we shared humor and parody books.  It was a fun, and funny, meeting!

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Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite humorous essayists/memoirists!  She has all of the snark of Sedaris or Handler with slightly less cursing. Her blog is hilarious and she’s pretty active across most popular social media platforms.  I haven’t yet tried any of her fiction, but I adore her memoirs.

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office

Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, Or, Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or, Why Pie Is Not the Answer

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and a Wardrobe, Or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being a Dumb Ass is the New Black, Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto

Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development, Or, Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Fruit Loops Are Not For Dinner

The Tao of Martha: My Year of Living, Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

I Regret Nothing: A Memoir
Holley, Emmet O’Neal

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We all know the story of the "selfless" tree that gave all she had just to make sure a young boy was "happy".  Snore. This is a different tree. This is a different boy. This is a very different book.
The Taking Tree is not so happy when the boy takes her twigs to pick on his sister, or takes her apples to sell for college (she's an oak tree for goodness sake), or when he cuts off her branches to build a house that he burns for insurance money. And the boy is not sorry at all. Ever. In fact, he's kind of a jerk. And the boy asks for more, and more, and more until the oak tree is so fed up she just can't take it any longer. While another story might end sweetly with an old man sitting on a stump. This one does not.
Michelle, Irondale

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Do you love networking to advance your career? Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared? Ugh. Please go away.

These casually drawn, perfectly on-point comics by the hugely popular young Brooklyn-based artist Sarah Andersen are for the rest of us. They document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, and dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life. Oh and they are totally not autobiographical. At all.

Adulthood Is a Myth presents many fan favorites plus dozens of all-new comics exclusive to this book. Like the work of fellow Millennial authors Allie Brosh, Grace Helbig, and Gemma Correll, Sarah's frankness on personal issues like body image, self-consciousness, introversion, relationships, and the frequency of bra-washing makes her comics highly relatable and deeply hilarious.

Find more of her hilarious comics on her blog, Sarah's Scribbles.
Michelle, Irondale

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The Hunger Pains: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon
The hilarious instant New York Times bestseller, The Hunger Pains is a loving parody of the dystopian YA novel and film, The Hunger Games.  

Winning means wealth, fame, and a life of therapy losing means death, but also fame! This is The Hunger Pains. When Kantkiss Neverclean replaces her sister as a contestant on the Hunger Games—the second-highest-rated reality TV show in Peaceland, behind Extreme Home Makeover—she has no idea what to expect. Having lived her entire life in the telemarketing district’s worst neighborhood, the Crack, Kantkiss feels unprepared to fight to the death while simultaneously winking and looking adorable for the cameras. But when her survival rests on choosing between the dreamy hunk from home, Carol Handsomestein, or the doughy klutz, Pita Malarkey, Kantkiss discovers that the toughest conflicts may not be found on the battlefield but in her own heart . . . which is unfortunately on a battlefield.
Jon, Avondale

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Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!  From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.
Jon, Avondale

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Fans of Ron White’s "perfectly-phrased everyman gripes and raunchy, grinning asides*" will find much to appreciate here. He riffs on everything from obnoxious designer sunglass salesmen to his wife’s wealthy but stingy family, and he revisits some of his most famous characters, such as his troublesome dog Sluggo ("He ran away all day. He was gone for ten hours. So, to punish him, when he came home I took him for a walk."). Best of all, White’s hilarious material is accompanied here by clever artistic interpretations, courtesy of illustrator Matthew Shultz.
Jon, Avondale

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From the wickedly hilarious pen of Southern humorist Celia Rivenbark comes a collection of essays that brings to mind Dave Barry (in high heels) or Jeff Foxworthy (in a prom dress).

Step into the wacky world of "womanless wedding" fund-raisers, in which Bubbas wear boas. Meet two sisters who fight rural boredom by washing Budweiser cans and cutting them into pieces to make clothing. Learn why the word snow sends any right-thinking Southerner careening to the Food Lion for extra loaves of bread and little else.

Humor columnist and slightly crazed belle-by-birth Celia Rivenbark tackles these and other lard-laden subjects in Bless Your Heart, Tramp, a hilarious look at Southern---and just plain human---foibles, up-close and personal. So pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and curl up on the pie-azza with Bless Your Heart, Tramp.
Jon, Avondale

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Holidays in Heck by P.J. O’Rourke
P.J. O'Rourke is one of today's most celebrated political humorists, and has been hailed as "the funniest writer in America" by both Time and The Wall Street Journal. Two decades ago he published the classic travelogue Holidays in Hell, in which he traversed the globe on a fun-finding mission to what were then some of the most desperate places on the planet, including Warsaw, Managua, and Belfast.

In Holidays in Heck, P.J. embarks on supposedly more comfortable and allegedly less dangerous travels--often with family in tow--which mostly leave him wishing he were under artillery fire again. The essays take O'Rourke on a whirlwind of adventures, beginning at the National Mall in Washington, which he describes as having been designed with the same amazing "greatest generation" aesthetic sensibility that informed his parents' living room. We follow him as he takes his family on a ski vacation (to the Aspen of the Midwest--Ohio--where the highest point of elevation is the six-food ski instructor that his wife thinks is cute). And later he experiences a harrowing horseback ride across the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

The result is a hilarious and often moving portrait of life in the fast lane--only this time as a husband and father.
Jon, Avondale

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What Dave Barry did for the men's movement in his Complete Guide to Guys and for foreign relations when he did Japan he now does for . . . everything in America. The rapacious observer of Tupperware ladies and leisure concept salesmen sounds off on:

Football--Football is more than just a game. It is a potential opportunity to see a live person lying on the ground with a bone sticking out of his leg, while the fans, to show their appreciation, perform "the wave."

Sailing--There's nothing quite like getting out on the open sea, where you can forget about the hassles and worries of life on land, and concentrate on the hassles and worries of life on the sea, such as death by squid.

Gambling--Off-Track Betting parlors are the kinds of places where you never see signs that say, "Thank You for Not Smoking." The best you can hope for is, "Thank You for Not Spitting Pieces of Your Cigar on My Neck."
Jon, Avondale

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Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
Jon, Avondale

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Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
Eaten in your car so you wouldn’t have to share with your children? Gotten hungry while watching a dog food commercial? Does the presence of green vegetables make you angry?

If you answered yes to any of the following questions, you are pretty pathetic, but you are not alone. Feast along with America’s favorite food comedian, bestselling author, and male supermodel Jim Gaffigan as he digs into his specialty: stuffing his face. Food: A Love Story is an in-depth, thoroughly uninformed look at everything from health food to things that people actually enjoy eating.
Jon, Avondale

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Go the F*** to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
Go the F*** to Sleep is a book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, it captures the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night.

Read by a host of celebrities, from Samuel L. Jackson to Jennifer Garner, this subversively funny bestselling storybook will not actually put your kids to sleep, but it will leave you laughing so hard you won’t care.
Samuel, Springville Road

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You Have to F***ing Eat by Adam Mansbach
From the author of the international best seller Go the F*** to Sleep comes a long-awaited sequel about the other great parental frustration: getting your little angel to eat something that even vaguely resembles a normal meal. Profane, loving, and deeply cathartic, You Have to F***ing Eat breaks the code of child-rearing silence, giving moms and dads new, old, grand- and expectant, a much-needed chance to laugh about a universal problem.

A perfect gift book like the smash hit Go the F*** to Sleep (over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide!), You Have to F***ing Eat perfectly captures Mansbach's trademark humor, which is simultaneously affectionate and radically honest. You probably shouldn't read it to your kids.
Samuel, Springville Road

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Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal TV shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (“Martin Luther King, Jr’s Worst Speech Ever”) to intentionally bad theater (“Hitler Dinner Party: A Play”); from avant-garde fiction (“Obituary for the Creator of Madlibs”) to free-verse poetry that's funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.

Odenkirk's debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in “The Second Coming of Jesus and Lazarus,” it is a book “to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.”
Maura, Trussville

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The instant New York Times bestseller from author, comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, a “heartfelt and hilarious” (USA TODAY) memoir about coming of age as a performer during the late 1990s while obsessively watching classic films at a legendary theater in Los Angeles. “[Oswalt has] a set of synapses like a pinball machine and a prose style to match” (The New York Times).

Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakable addiction. It wasn’t drugs, alcohol, or sex: it was film. After moving to Los Angeles, Oswalt became a huge film buff (or as he calls it, a sprocket fiend), absorbing classics, cult hits, and new releases at the famous New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton’s life schoolbook, informing his notion of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships.

Set in the nascent days of LA’s alternative comedy scene, Silver Screen Fiend chronicles Oswalt’s journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective and a cast of now-notable young comedians supporting him all along the way. “Clever and readable...Oswalt’s encyclopedic knowledge and frothing enthusiasm for films (from sleek noir classics, to gory B movies, to cliché-riddled independents, to big empty blockbusters) is relentlessly present, whirring in the background like a projector” (The Boston Globe). More than a memoir, this is “a love song to the silver screen” (Paste Magazine).
Maura, Trussville

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Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as “Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians.” 

Her career as a female comedian at a low point, she suddenly had time for yoga, dog-sitting, learning Spanish—and dating. Dratch reveals the joys and terrors of putting herself out there in a quest to find love and then becoming a mother in an undreamed-of way. With riotous humor, she recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and romance and coparenting with her baby-daddy, John.

Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch’s time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar . . . is a funny book with a refreshing version of the happily-ever-after story, full of sensitivity, candor, and plenty of comic relief, as only Rachel Dratch can tell it.
Maura, Trussville

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When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. 
Judith, Homewood

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Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel
From the water's surface, it's a simple exercise: a dog's leap, a splash, and then a wet head surfacing with a ball, triumphant. 

But beneath the water is a chaotic ballet of bared teeth and bubbles, paddling paws, fur and ears billowing in the currents. From leaping Lab to diving Dachshund, the water is where a dog's distinct personality shines through; some lounge in the current, paddling slowly, but others arch their bodies to cut through the water with the focus and determination of a shark.

In more than eighty portraits, award-winning pet photographer and animal rights activist Seth Casteel captures new sides of our old friends with vibrant underwater photography that makes it impossible to look away. Each image bubbles with exuberance and life, a striking reminder that even in the most loveable and domesticated dog, there are more primal forces at work. In Underwater Dogs, Seth Casteel gives playful and energetic testament to the rough-and-tumble joy that our dogs bring into our lives.
Judith, Homewood

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Underwater Puppies by Seth Casteel
The world fell in love with swimming canines in Seth Casteel's first book, Underwater Dogs. Now, in more than 80 previously unpublished portraits of underwater puppies, we see man's best friends at their most playful and exuberant. Each vibrant and colorful underwater image shows off the wild and sublime range of emotions of puppies, cute and irresistible to the very last.
Judith, Homewood

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"F" stands for "funny" in this perfect gift for students or anyone who has ever had to struggle through a test and needs a good laugh. Celebrating the creative side of failure in a way we can all relate to, F in Exams gathers the most hilarious and inventive test answers provided by students who, faced with a question they have no hope of getting right, decide to have a little fun instead. Whether in science (Q: What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register? A: Mariah Carey), the humanities (Q: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common? A: Unusual names), math, or other subjects, these 250 entries prove that while everyone enjoys the spectacle of failure, it's even sweeter to see a FAIL turn into a WIN. 
Judith, Homewood

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Photographs by Stefan Hagen 
With more personality than most people have to spare, New York artist Sloane Tanen's tiny yellow chickens negotiate the tricky modern world, filled with three-headed blind dates, menacing KFCs, playground popularity battles, and annoyingly crowded yoga classes. They perch amid doll furniture, in scenes photographed in glorious color and brilliantly captioned- and their lives will strike you as strangely familiar...Charming, spiky with off-kilter wit (or waxing jobs gone terribly wrong), and somehow larger than life, these chickens win the hearts of all who behold them. 
Holley, Emmet O’Neal

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Join these fluffy, yellow, surprisingly human protagonists as they face a new series of dilemmas in their exquisitely crafted, miniature settings. Whether playing the online dating game, trying couples therapy, dealing with uncooperative children, discovering the melancholy of middle age, dreaming of a better life, or finally grasping the golden (or at least bronze) ring, these chickens encounter everyday troubles and triumphs as painfully recognizable as they are hilarious. Clever, charming, and endlessly entertaining, Going for the Bronze is a brilliant follow-up to a wholly unique bestseller.
Holley, Emmet O’Neal

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Hoover Book Clubs

Selections for the Fiction Book Club may be found here

This book club has two seatings!  First Thursdays, 10am to noon, and second Thursdays, 10am to noon.

Selections for the NovelTea Book Club may be found here

Join us on the first Sunday of each month from 3-4pm for Sunday NovelTea, our version of book group lite!  Tea and cookies from East 59 Cafe will be served during a lively discussion of our book of the month.  Come read with us! For more information, call 205-444-7820.

Selections for the Nonfiction Discussion Group may be found here

Night meetings are the 4th Thursday of each month, 7-9pm, in the Administration Conference Room. One book is discussed each session.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

art and oddsized books

Mark your calendars for the next RART meeting on February 8, 2017 at the Springville Road Library.  The topic up for discussion will be humor and parody books, fiction or nonfiction…the choice is yours!

In other news, long-time RART member April Wallace is leaving the PLJC!  There will be a reception in her honor at the Pinson Library on Monday, December 19 from 1pm-5pm.  Make time to go and wish her well in her new adventure!

We met in the Southern History department of the Birmingham Public Library downtown for a discussion of art and oversize books.  We kicked off our meeting with a visit to the rare book room to see two of their most prized oversize books: the Catesby “Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands" (circa mid-1700’s) and a volume of the Blaeu royal atlas of the world (circa 1600’s).  Afterward, we retired to the Southern History offices to discuss our own oversized and art books.

(reviews obtained from unless otherwise noted)

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The Romantic Egoists: A Pictorial Autobiography from the Scrapbooks and Albums of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli, Scottie Fitzgerald Smith, and Joan P. Kerr

This pictorial autobiography of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald documents two lives that have become legendary. The book draws almost entirely from the scrapbooks and photograph albums that the Fitzgeralds scrupulously kept as their personal record and provides a wealth of illustrative material not previously available. Minnesota; a photograph of the country club in Montgomery, Alabama, where the two met; reviews of This Side of Paradise; poems to the couple from Ring Lardner; snapshots of their trips abroad; Fitzgerald's careful accounting of his earnings; a photograph of the house on Long Island where The Great Gatsby was conceived; postcards with Fitzgerald's drawings for his daughter. These rare photographs and memorabilia combine into a narrative augmented by selections from Scott's and Zelda's own writings, conveying the spirit of particular moments in their lives.
Holley, Emmet O’Neal

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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition by Oscar Wilde; edited by Nicholas Frankel

The Picture of Dorian Gray altered the way Victorians understood the world they inhabited. It heralded the end of a repressive Victorianism, and after its publication, literature had—in the words of biographer Richard Ellmann—“a different look.” Yet the Dorian Gray that Victorians never knew was even more daring than the novel the British press condemned as “vulgar,” “unclean,” “poisonous,” “discreditable,” and “a sham.” Now, more than 120 years after Wilde handed it over to his publisher, J. B. Lippincott & Company, Wilde’s uncensored typescript is published for the first time, in an annotated, extensively illustrated edition.

The novel’s first editor, J. M. Stoddart, excised material—especially homosexual content—he thought would offend his readers’ sensibilities. When Wilde enlarged the novel for the 1891 edition, he responded to his critics by further toning down its “immoral” elements. The differences between the text Wilde submitted to Lippincott and published versions of the novel have until now been evident to only the handful of scholars who have examined Wilde's typescript.

Wilde famously said that Dorian Gray “contains much of me”: Basil Hallward is “what I think I am,” Lord Henry “what the world thinks me,” and “Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” Wilde’s comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own, which saw Wilde sentenced to two years’ hard labor for gross indecency. The appearance of Wilde’s uncensored text is cause for celebration.
Samuel, BPL Springville Road

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The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker by Eric Liberge; illus by Arnaud Delalande

Alan Turing, subject of the Oscar-winning 2014 film The Imitation Game, was the brilliant mathematician solicited by the British government to help decipher messages sent by Germany's Enigma machines during World War II. The work of Turing and his colleagues at Hut 8 created what became known as the "bombe" which descrambled the German navy's messages and saved countless lives and millions in British goods and merchandise.

Despite his heroics, however, Turing led a secret life as a homosexual. After a young man with whom he was involved stole money from him, he went to the police, where he confessed his homosexuality; he was charged with gross indecency, and only avoided prison after agreeing to undergo chemical castration. Tragically, he committed suicide two years later.

Authors Liberge and Delalande used once-classified information only available in 2012 to create a biography that is scientifically rigorous yet understandable for the lay reader. It's also a meticulous depiction of World War II, and an intimate portrayal of a gay man living in an intolerant world.
Delving deeper into Turing's life than The Imitation Game, this graphic novel is a fascinating portrait of this brilliant, complicated, and troubled man.
Samuel, BPL Springville Road

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The American Revolution: A Visual History
The American Revolution will transport you back in time and onto the frontlines. This complete overview of the war brings all the action to life, from the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party to the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Paris.

Beginning with the first stirrings of colonial resistance, The American Revolution presents illustrated accounts of every major military action and comprehensive timelines for every stage of the war. Revealing first-person accounts by soldiers and civilians and profiles of the war's main protagonists, from George Washington to Benedict Arnold. Gallery spreads feature collections of weapons and uniforms, and feature sections detail the politics of the war, such as the treatment of prisoners and the revolution's implications for women, Native Americans, and African Americans.

Two hundred and forty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, The American Revolution demonstrates that the story of how America overthrew the British is as meaningful today as it was when the ink was still wet on the parchment. Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. 
Samuel, BPL Springville Road

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The Great War: July 1, 1916; The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: An Illustrated Panorama by Joe Sacco
From “the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman” (Economist) comes a monumental, wordless depiction of the most infamous day of World War I.  Launched on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomize the madness of the First World War. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 were wounded that first day, and there were more than one million casualties by the time the offensive halted. In The Great War, acclaimed cartoon journalist Joe Sacco depicts the events of that day in an extraordinary, 24-foot- long panorama: from General Douglas Haig and the massive artillery positions behind the trench lines to the legions of soldiers going “over the top” and getting cut down in no-man’s-land, to the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers retreating and the dead being buried en masse. Printed on fine accordion-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe slipcase with a 16-page booklet, The Great War is a landmark in Sacco’s illustrious career and allows us to see the War to End All Wars as we’ve never seen it before. 24 plates
Maura, Trussville

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Visions of Adventure: N.C. Wyeth and the Brandywine Artists edited by John Edward Dell in assoc with Walt Reed; essays by Douglas Allen, Jr. et al

As famous in their day as the authors whose stories they illustrated, the six artists profiled in this nostalgic collection-N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Harvey Dunn, Frank Schoonover, Philip R. Goodwin and Dean Cornwell-used their unique talents at narrative depiction to bring to life places and times in ways no modern medium has surpassed. Vividly reproduced directly from the original paintings that illustrated the pages of popular books and magazines of up to a century ago, many of the pictures are seen here for the first time, just as the artists painted them. The paintings presented in this handsome volume lured readers to the exciting adventure tales of buccaneers and cowboys, hunters and outlaws, pirate fiction and historical romance written by Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Branch Cabell, and other favored writers of the day. Although commissioned to illustrate the written word, these storytelling works of art can stand alone. No text is needed to understand the drama of Howard Pyle's Dead Men Tell No Tales, N. C. Wyeth's The Magic Pool, Frank Schoonover's A Northern Mist, and the dozens of other captivating paintings presented here.
Maura, Trussville

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Harper Ever After: The Early Work of Charley and Edie Harper; Essay by Sara Caswell-Pearce; Introduction and Commentary by Brett Harper; Tribute by Chip Doyle

Charley Harper and Edie McKee met on the first day of school at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1940. They studied together, fell in love, survived World War II, married, and embarked on successful careers in art. Today, Charley's work is iconic, known around the world particularly for his images of birds and other wildlife created with simple but accurate geometric forms. Edie's fine art photographs, paintings, prints, designs, and illustrations have earned her lasting respect.
Harper Ever After presents paintings and prints from both artists, from their early art school days until 1960, when Charley created Cardinal, now one of his best-known images. The artists' command of a wide range of styles from realism to abstraction to cubism is not only impressive, it informs the path each took to arrive at their individual techniques. The subjects they chose to depict are just as diverse. Charley's World War II scenes, portraits, and cartoons created while serving in Europe as a private first class are especially poignant.
Maura, Trussville

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101 More Mixed Media Techniques edited by Cherril Doty, Heather Greenwood, Monica Moody, and Marsh Scott

Whether you are an experienced artist or just starting out, you'll discover new, approachable concepts for creating and embellishing your own mixed media art. Inside this book, you'll find a wide variety of versatile techniques, from printmaking and wabi-sabi painting to paper collage and resists. Each technique is presented with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and beautiful examples from talented mixed media artists. In addition to learning new techniques, you'll also discover ideas and inspiration for using the techniques in your own projects. With a plethora of options to choose from, 101 More Mixed Media Techniques has something for everyartist and is guaranteed to spark new forms of creativity!
Jon, Avondale

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The Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend by the editors of Woodcarving Illustrated

You can whittle just about anything the only limit is your imagination. It s so easy to get started in this relaxing and rewarding hobby. All you need is a knife, a twig, and this book! We've assembled a team of 12 leading woodcarvers to bring you a complete starter guide to whittling. They present 24 easy whittling projects that you can make in just a weekend, complete with step-by-step instructions, how-to photographs, ready-to-carve patterns, and helpful tips.

Start off with fast and fun projects that build confidence and teach fundamental carving techniques, like a simple flying propeller or a 5-minute owl. Then move on to create whittled wonders like a musical frog or a slingshot. We show you how to whittle complex designs in easy steps, so that you ll soon be carving attention-getting favorites like chain links or the classic ball-in-a-cage.
Jon, Avondale

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Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects by Jessica Pigza; Photographs by Johnny Miller; Photostyling by Shana Faust; Illustrations by Sun Young Park

Voted a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal
There is untold wealth in library collections, and, like every good librarian, Jessica Pigza loves to share. In BiblioCraft, Pigza hones her literary hunting-and-gathering skills to help creatives of all types, from DIY hobbyists to fine artists, develop projects based on library resources. In Part I, she explains how to take advantage of the riches libraries have to offer—both in person and online. In Part II, she presents 20+ projects inspired by library resources from a stellar designer cast, including STC Craft authors Natalie Chanin, Heather Ross, Liesl Gibson, and Gretchen Hirsch, and Design* Sponge founder Grace Bonney. Whatever the quest—historic watermarks transformed into pillows, Japanese family crests turned into coasters, or historic millinery instructions worked into floral fascinators—anyone can utilize library resources to bring their creative visions to life.
Jon, Avondale

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The New Small House by Katie Hutchison
Smaller is big, says architect and author Katie Hutchison, whose book The New Small House shows those looking to downsize how they can live smartly, economically and environmentally friendly in elegantly designed homes. With 275 gorgeous photographs and 30 detailed illustrations, The New Small House takes the reader on a tour of North America and spotlights small houses in rural, coastal, and in-town locations. The book presents fundamental small-house design strategies, complete with whole-house case studies for homeowners eager to simplify.

Creating a great small house is illustrated in the opening chapter with 10 approaches, including:

borrowed view and daylight
multipurpose spaces
privacy pockets
using quality materials

Twenty-five stunning small houses are profiled in the second part of the book, organized by the nature of their locations.
Jon, Avondale

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Bead Pendants & Necklaces: 20 Beautiful Jewelry Designs by Susan Beal
Fool your friends into thinking your jewelry came from a high-end boutique. But the truth is your jewelry can really be from your kitchen, home office, craft room―wherever you choose to make the stunning pieces in Bead Pendants & Necklaces. You’ll enjoy making the 20 jewelry designs outlined in this imaginative book, and then you’ll love wearing and showing off your new accessories. They look great with jeans and casual wear, and equally fabulous with your best business suits.

Classic, trendy, totally unique―you get 20 jewelry designs in all including:

Drop Pendants made with wood, turquoise, sparkles, teardrops, starbursts, or water lily designs
A Multi-drop Pendant made of amber
Deluxe Pendants with circles of jade or shell
Necklaces such as the “perfectly pink” and the “memoir” design
Lucky Dip Ribbon Choker
And more!

It’s all about the beads―and the value! All 20 designs incorporate beads, so you know the end result can be as colorful and textured as you like. Ideal for just about anyone, from beginner to skilled, Bead Pendants & Necklaces features a fully illustrated techniques section to teach you the basics of jewelry-making. It’s gives you a smart base to build off of so that you can even create your own brand new designs. And because each pattern costs about 50 cents, you’re well on your way to expensive-looking jewelry without having to pay the price.
Jon, Avondale

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Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, From Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson with Angelin Borsics; Photographs by David Tsay

The ultimate guide to thinking like a stylist, with 1,000 design ideas for creating the most beautiful, personal, and livable rooms. It’s easy to find your own style confidence once you know this secret: While decorating can take months and tons of money, styling often takes just minutes. Even a few little tweaks can transform the way your room feels.

At the heart of Styled are Emily Henderson’s ten easy steps to styling any space. From editing out what you don’t love to re-purposing what you can’t live without to arranging the most eye-catching vignettes on any surface, you’ll learn how to make your own style magic. With Emily’s style diagnostic, insider tips, and more than 1,000 unique ideas from 75 envy-inducing rooms, you’ll soon be styling like you were born to do it.
Jon, Avondale

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Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes
The best-selling Spectrum series continues with this twenty-third lavishly produced annual. Challenging, controversial, educational, and irreverent, the award-winning Spectrum series reinforces both the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in today’s culture. With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital. The best artists from the United States, Europe, China, Australia, South America and beyond have gathered into the only annual devoted exclusively to works of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the surreal, making Spectrum one of the year’s highly most anticipated books.

Featured in Spectrum 23 are over 300 diverse visionaries. With art from books, graphic novels, video games, films, galleries, advertising and the fine arts, Spectrum is both an electrifying art book for fans and an invaluable resource for clients looking for bright new talent. The entire field is discussed in an invaluable, found-nowhere-else Year In Review. Contact information for each artist is included.

Often imitated, never equaled, Spectrum 23 continues the freshness and excellence that was established over twenty years ago.
Jon, Avondale


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This Fabulous Century by the editors of Time-Life Books

Multi-volume reference work published in the late 1960s as a pictorial survey by decade of the American social scene, 1900-1970.

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Vintage Ad Browser
Vintage Ad Browser was created in 2009/2010 and released in 2010, by Philipp Lenssen from Germany, currently living in China. This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine & comic book scans, and more. At the moment, this site contains 123,311 ads.

Interior Desecrations was once a website, a popular & venerable part of the Institute of Official Cheer – and now it’s a book! From the same fine people who brought you the Gallery of Regrettable Food comes an all-new compendium of pop-culture. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and it makes a great gift for anyone who grew up in a house like this, or made their kids suffer for their decade-long lapse in taste.

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Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy; photographs by Charles Van Schaik

First published in 1973, this remarkable book about life in a small turn-of-the-century Wisconsin town has become a cult classic. Lesy has collected and arranged photographs taken between 1890 and 1910 by a Black River Falls photographer, Charles Van Schaik.

Inspired by the cult-favorite book by Michael Lesy, Wisconsin Death Trip is an eerily dreamlike film about the moral, spiritual, and physical collapse of a small American town in the 1890s. Stricken by economic depression, harsh winters, and a diphtheria epidemic that decimated the local infant population, the citizens of Black River Falls, Wisconsin--primarily German and Norwegian immigrants hoping for a better life in America--fell victim to a rising tide of insanity, murder, arson, and moral breakdown. By creating moody black-and-white reenactments of the horrid events chronicled in Lesy's book (which includes the haunting vintage photographs of the town's official photographer), director James Marsh conveys, through chilling detachment and the subtly sardonic narration by Ian Holm, the impression of sly bemusement, as if Black River Falls was preordained by fate to become a village of the damned. It's both fiendishly macabre and yet strangely compelling, weakened only by Marsh's suggestion (through color sequences of present-day Wisconsin) that things have never really changed since those creepy, ill-fated days when death was seemingly everywhere. Apart from that half-baked attempt at irony, Wisconsin Death Trip is a film you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon

Thursday, November 10, 2016

new Hoover Book Club Kits

The Hoover Library has refreshed their Book Club Kits!  This is an invaluable resource to library and area book groups, so take a minute and toodle on over to their website for a look!

Everything you need for your book club is in this kit (just ad
d readers).
  • 8 or more copies of the title
  • Author biography
  • Reviews of the book
  • Discussion questions
  • An annotated list of other Instant Book Club Kits
  • Complete Lists of Titles

  • Each kit checks out to one group member for a period of six weeks.
  • Kits may not be renewed.
  • Overdue fines are $1 per day.
  • Kits may be reserved up to one year in advance by calling the Fiction Department at 444-7820.

Please return kits in a timely manner so others who have reserved kits may have access to them when needed.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

holidays, crafts, and cookbooks

The next RA Roundtable will be on Wednesday, December 14th at 9am in the Southern History Department at the Birmingham Public Library downtown.  The topic up for discussion will be art (any kind) and odd sized books.  Large or small, we want to hear about them all!  This is our annual holiday potluck so, if you are able, please bring a small dish to share!

Just in case you haven’t had a chance to make note of the 2017 calendar for RART, here ‘tis:

Feb 8 – humor/parody @ Springville Road
Apr 12 – bookgroups/popular fiction @ Homewood
Jun 14 – literature in translation @ Emmet O’Neal
Aug 9 – parenting/mentoring @ Hoover
Oct 11 – sci fi/fantasy/horror @ Pinson
Dec 13 – young adult @ East Lake

The Fall/Halloween season is in full swing in the Public Libraries of Jefferson County.  Here are a few examples!  
  • Springville Road is having an all-ages Halloween Family Fun Night starting at 6pm on Monday, October 31st.  
  • All BPL staff at all branches have been invited to costume it up on the 31st as well so visit them all and see what characters you find!  Great photo ops abound!  
  • The Leeds Library will have an evening block party on the 31st, fun for the whole family!  
  • At Emmet O’Neal, the Children’s department is hosting the annual Library Dark & Grim Costume Carnival on Friday, October 21st beginning at 6pm, with a Tangled sing-along movie at 7. The Teen department (grades 7-12) is hosting a Halloween trivia night on Tuesday, October 25th 6:30-8 and a horror movie double feature on Friday, October 28th 6-10pm. The Adult department will have a horror movie double feature (ages 18+) on Saturday, October 15th 5-9, a documentary about the Amityville haunting on Tuesday, October 18 at 6:30pm, and a literary Halloween trivia night on Thursday, October 27th at 6:30pm.  Call the reference desk at 205-445-1121 to register a team of 2-4 people.

Yesterday, we met at the Woodlawn Library to discuss cookbooks, crafts, and holidays of all kinds.  I’d like to extend a big THANK YOU to Woodlawn (and to Pam and Sequoria!) for hosting and providing the yummy snacks!

I most definitely end up in the "pinterest fail" category when I try out these books, but many of the craft ideas, recipes, and decorating tips in this book are doable as-is, or with minimal tweaking.  
Holley, Emmet O'Neal

A friend has told me for years how awesome the Gooseberry Patch books are and now I'm a convert!  I made two recipes from the many offered here (snacks, desserts, cocktails, and more!) and they were both delicious and easy: the Bite-You-Back spicy roasted pecans and the kid-friendly Mummy Dogs.  I plan to try a couple of the crafts/decorations as well.  I'm even thinking about buying my own copy of this to have at home!
Holley, Emmet O'Neal

Like beauty in Emerson’s poem “The Rhodora,” Southern Living is its own excuse for being, especially at the approach of the holiday season. If you eagerly leaf through each new issue of the magazine, then the Christmas with Southern Living book series is something you should check out. Our department has just received the 2016 version and even if you don’t feel your crafting and cooking skills are in the Martha Stewart category, you can still revel in the gorgeous photography. And who knows? Some of the decorating schemes and recipes are fairly simple and you may find something you’d like to try. On page 39 there is a recipe for Salted Brown Sugar Butter that is only three ingredients: unsalted butter, brown sugar, and flaky sea salt. We are assured that “you will find endless dishes in which to use this butter, from topping cooked carrots and roasted root vegetables to slathering on dinner rolls and muffins.” Well, I’m sold. Something tells me this will find its way into my recipe file and my roasted root vegetables will be all the better for it. Take a look and you might find a decorating idea or recipe that will become one of your personal classics.
Mary Anne, BPL Southern History

Most of us who grew up in this country have an image of Thanksgiving that includes a turkey dinner, accompanied by various sides such as cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and other personal favorites. Appelbaum’s history of Thanksgiving is interesting because of how it examines many different versions of Thanksgiving and how the holiday originated. The Pilgrim “feast” with the Native Americans may or may not have featured turkey, though it’s a possibility along with ducks, geese, or partridges. There may have been pumpkins and corn, but these were a regular feature of the settlers’ diet. There might also have been oysters, which may be where we get our recipes for turkey stuffing (“dressing” if you grew up in the South) with oysters in it. But whatever the food, the meal we think of as a feast emerged from circumstances where famine was more likely.

It hasn’t always been just a sit-down dinner with relatives and friends, either. During different periods of American history, Thanksgiving Day might begin with a skating party in the morning (helpful in working up an appetite for the afternoon dinner) and end in the evening with a gala dance. It was not until FDR’s presidential administration that the day for the observance legally became the fourth Thursday in November.  But one thing has not changed. One of the illustrations in the book is from the 19th century and is entitled “After Dinner.” It shows a grandfather sleeping peacefully in an armchair with his grandchild slumbering in his arms. Apparently the “fall asleep after dinner” tradition is an absolutely vital part of the long and complex history of Thanksgiving Day. 
Mary Anne, BPL Southern History

No matter what the occasion, this is a handy book to have around. With the signature grace and flair that characterizes her brand from clothing to home decorating, Spade covers just about everything you need to know for almost any kind of celebration, including a few things you hadn’t thought of. You will find advice on how to be a good host/hostess and guest, how to decorate, what should be in a well-stocked bar and pantry, what to do about the drunken guest wearing a lampshade as a hat, and how to stage every kind of gathering from a dinner party for a dozen to a midnight breakfast for two. A sample of advice on being a good host: “If you have houseguests frequently, it’s a good idea to sleep in your guest room once every few months. Then you’ll know firsthand what works, what’s missing, whether the pillows are perfect or the mattress too soft.”  I lost count of how many times I read something like this and thought, “That’s perfect and why didn’t I already know it?” So whatever kind of event you’re planning, take a look at Occasions and be ready for anything.
Mary Anne, BPL Southern History

Ring in the holiday with eighteen writers who extol, excoriate, and expand our understanding of this most merry of Jewish festivals as they offer up funny, irreverent, and, yes, even nostalgic takes on a holiday that holds a special place in Jewish hearts . . . and stomachs.

Pieces by Jonathan Tropper, Jennifer Gilmore, Steve Almond, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Adam Langer, and others address pressing issues: what is the weight gain associated with eating 432 latkes in eight nights? Offer joyous gratitude: “What a holiday! No pestilence, no slavery, no locusts, no cattle disease, or atonement. Thank God.” And afford tender truths: “You are reminded of your real gifts: a family you get to come home to.”

Whether your family tradition included a Christmas tree or a Chanukah bush, whether the fights among your siblings rivaled the battles of the Maccabees, or even if you haven’t a clue who the Maccabees were, this little book illustrates the joys, frustrations, and small miracles of the season.
Mondretta, Leeds

Mondretta, Leeds

Find out what's going on any day of the year, anywhere across the globe!

If you're looking to tie a promotional event to a special month, travel to a music festival halfway around the world, blog about a historical milestone or do a celebrity birthday round-up on your radio show or Twitterfeed, Chase's Calendar of Events is the one resource that has it all.

The world’s datebook, Chase's is the definitive day-by-day resource of what America and the wider world are celebrating and commemorating. Founded in 1957 on a reputation for accuracy and comprehensiveness, this annual publication has become the must-have reference used by experts and professionals for more than fifty years. From celebrity birthdays to historical anniversaries, from astronomical phenomena to national awareness days, from award ceremonies and sporting events to religious festivals and carnivals, Chase's is the one-stop shop for everything that is happening now or is worth remembering from the past.

The 2016 Edition of Chase's Calendar of Events brings you:
  • The Transit of Mercury
  • Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Brazil
  • The 25th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR
  • The 50th anniversary of the first celebration of Kwanzaa
  • The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
  • The National Park Service’s 100th birthday
  • The 100th anniversary of WWI’s Battle of Verdun and Battle of the Somme
  • The 200th birth anniversary of Charlotte Brontë
  • Indiana’s 200th statehood birthday

For librarians, broadcasters, journalists, event planners, public relations professionals, editors, writers or simply the curious, this is one reference you can't do without!
Mondretta, Leeds

Follow Hester van Overbeek's easy steps to make a fresh flower-decorated tea-light votive for a garden party, store all your grains and pasta in large jars with vibrantly painted lids, or why not surprise a friend with the colorful "birthday in a jar"? There are lots of quick ideas that take no time at all, such as vacation memories in a jar, the table-setting jars, or the floral centerpiece that will charm all your guests. Some are elegant, some are homespun, but all make use of natural materials such as wood, shells, flowers, and leather to give an original but sophisticated feel to your home and garden. Once you are confident in making the simpler crafts, there are more intricate projects to try, using basic DIY techniques: make a fabulous drink dispenser, a desk lamp, or a rustic vase display by attaching jars to a weathered piece of wood. All the projects have clear step-by-step instructions and hand-drawn illustrations to guide you, so all you need to do is pick the project you want to make first!
Jon, Avondale

It’s vintage fun! This follow-up to The Boy Mechanic—Popular Mechanics’ collection of can-do ingenuity from the early 1900s—features more than 200 unique toys and games that anyone with a basic tool kit will want to make, plus the unusual and attractive rounded, flexibound format. Charmingly designed to capture that old-fashioned flavor, every imaginative project remains as engaging today as ever, with its appeal fully intact. There’s amusement for little kids, including a toy donkey that nods and wags its tail; a child’s playhouse and a miniature windmill; magic tricks, such as an “X-Ray” pack of cards and mystery coin box; items for the great outdoors, which range from a homebuilt canoe to a diving tower; plus gizmos and gadgets, “scien-terrific” motors and engines, and entertaining objects for an older child to create and play with.
Jon, Avondale

For crafters who want to take their craft to a new entrepreneurial level, this book is the perfect guide. Using highly-visual, step-by-step tutorials, How to Show & Sell Your Crafts is packed with helpful branding, selling, and merchandising tips that no serious crafter should be without. Using the workspaces, shops, salons, and "through-the-keyhole" profiles of some of the world's most successful crafters, readers will learn the best ways to merchandise and sell their items online, at craft fairs, markets, pop-up events, exhibitions, and in shops. Plus, you'll learn how to build a personality-driven brand, create a memorable blog or website, improve your photography skills, and analyze your results to help move your business forward into the future.
You start by learning how to optimize your workspace to improve creativity and profitability, then how to build a strong brand name and Internet presence on Etsy and across multiple social media platforms. Lastly, learn how to get your work out into the marketplace, engage customers, and use the insider secrets offered in this book to set yourself up for success and grow your sales!
Jon, Avondale

These 20 beautiful projects range in skill level from beginner to experienced, allowing you to build new skills as you complete one project and move on to the next. A fully illustrated techniques section teaches you the basics of jewelry-making and gives you a base to build off of so that you can even create your own brand new designs.
Jon, Avondale

The long-awaited first cookbook from the creator and host of the Internet’s most popular baking show, Nerdy Nummies: a collection of Rosanna Pansino’s all-time favorite geeky recipes as well as sensational new recipes exclusive to this book.

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook is quirky, charming, and fun, featuring the recipes behind Rosanna Pansino’s celebrated, one-of-a-kind creations, as well as beautiful, mouthwatering photographs throughout. It is the perfect companion that you’ll turn to whenever you want to whip up a delicious treat and be entertained all at once. And best of all, these treats are as simple as they are fun to make! No need for costly tools or baking classes to create these marvelous delights yourself.

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook combines two things Rosanna loves: geek culture and baking. Her fondness for video games, science fiction, math, comics, and lots of other things considered “nerdy” have inspired every recipe in this book. You’ll find the recipes for many beloved fan favorites from the show, such as Apple Pi Pie, the Chocolate Chip Smart Cookie, and Volcano Cake; as well as many new geeky recipes, such as Dinosaur Fossil Cake, Moon Phase Macarons, and the Periodic Table of Cupcakes. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook showcases Rosanna’s most original and popular creations, and each recipe includes easy-to-follow photo instructions and a stunning shot of the finished treat in all its geeky glory: a delicious confection sure to please the geek in all of us!
Jon, Avondale

Ask almost anyone to name a uniquely Southern drink, and bourbon and mint juleps--perhaps moonshine--are about the only beverages that come up. But what about rye whiskey, Madeira wine, and fine imported Cognac? Or peach brandy, applejack, and lager beer? At various times in the past, these drinks were as likely to be found at the Southern bar as barrel-aged bourbon and raw corn likker. The image of genteel planters in white suits sipping mint juleps on the veranda is a myth that never was--the true picture is far more complex and fascinating. Southern Spirits is the first book to tell the full story of liquor, beer, and wine in the American South. This story is deeply intertwined with the region, from the period when British colonists found themselves stranded in a new world without their native beer, to the 21st century, when classic spirits and cocktails of the pre-Prohibition South have come back into vogue. Along the way, the book challenges the stereotypes of Southern drinking culture, including the ubiquity of bourbon and the geographic definition of the South itself, and reveals how that culture has shaped the South and America as a whole.
Samuel, Springville Road

GENERAL DISCUSSION:  The Homewood Library has a magnificent program series on cocktails let by local writer and bartender-at-large, Clair McLafferty!  Here’s the lineup for 2017 (sorry for the creases, it was folded up in my purse):