December 19th, 2016

Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Are you still struggling to find that final gift for a friend or family member? Have you racked your brain to figure out what they would possibly enjoy? No worries: here’s a list of books for everyone in your life. The best part? Once they finish, they’ll surely let you borrow the copy! And remember: before you buy, take a peek at the book through your local Cecil County Branch Library to guarantee excellence!
Here are the perfect picks for the person in your life…

…who is always on-trend:
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Literary Fiction
Why not give your coolest friend a book swarming with buzz? The Nest, published in March 2016, has been on multiple Best Books of 2016 lists. When the Plumb family’s joint trust fund, dubbed “The Nest,” is endangered by the reckless older brother, Leo, the remaining siblings, Melody, Beatrice, and Jack, swarm to protect their share of the money. A page-turner that shows you the power, complexity, and general dysfunction of family relationships. You will surely get an impressed “Oh! I just heard about this book!” with this gift.

 

…who is a hopeless romantic:
Please Enjoy Your Happiness: A Memoir by Paul Brinkley-Rogers
Memoir/Biography
Before Paul Brinkley-Rogers became a Pulitzer-Prize winning war correspondent, he was a 19-year old sailor aboard the USS Shangri-La. During his stay in Japan, Paul develops a relationship with an older woman named Kaji Yukiko. Their relationship flourishes with their shared interest of literature and art. However, tragedy strikes when a member of the yakuza, the Japanese crime syndicate, makes plans to kidnap Yukiko. Paul begins to learn more about Yukiko and post-WWII Japan. Yukiko’s beautiful, lyrical letters are mixed in throughout the book. Please Enjoy Your Happiness is a tender, unforgettable romance.
…who needs an escape:
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Suspense/Thriller Fiction
Sometime during this holiday season you’re going to talk to someone who really needs to take a break. Give them The Passenger, a fast-paced thriller of a woman trying to escape her past. She moves from town to town like a chameleon, shedding and changing her identity whenever needed. The Passenger is a perfect plot-driven novel that will stick with your giftee even after they’ve finished.

 

…who loves time travel:
Patience by Daniel Clowes
Graphic Novel/Science Fiction
They love Outlander, can’t get enough of Doctor Who, have always been obsessed with Back to the Future. Give them a new way to read about time travel: through a graphic novel. Daniel Clowes, author of the critically acclaimed Ghost World and one of the leading graphic artists of our time, has created an intricate story of one man’s quest to find out who murdered his wife through–you guessed it–time travel. Loud, psychedelic illustrations, bitingly realistic dialogue, and highly detailed — whoever is lucky enough to receive this sci-fi love story will be mulling over the book for days afterwards.

 

…who loves to learn (but doesn’t have a lot of time):
Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Revelli
Nonfiction
A short (96 pages!) poetic introduction to physics, tailored to those who know nothing on the subject.

 

 

 
…whose goal in life is to go to every national park:
The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams
Nonfiction
A beautifully written book about America’s national parks and our relationship with them.

 

 

 

…who is a history buff:
Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History by Richard Snow
Nonfiction
An in-depth look of the sea battle fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia in March 1862.

 

 

 

…who goes to Turkey Point any chance they get:
Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin
Nonfiction
Enjoy this expertly researched chronicle of the American lighthouse from its early 1700 beginnings.

 

 

 

…who would live in a fairy tale if they could:
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Young Adult Fantasy
From the author of the “Cinder” series comes a new tale about the Queen of Hearts, before she was infamous.


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July 18th, 2016

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

PidgeyAt this point you’ve probably seen stories about the Pokémon Go craze sweeping the world.  There have been headlines about it being the most popular app game in the country and more popular than Twitter.  So what is it?  Pokémon Go is the latest installment in a game franchise with a 20-year history.  The players, known as trainers, walk around outside with a mobile device that displays a map of their surroundings.  When small creatures called Pokémon appear on the screen, players attempt to capture them by throwing Poké balls at them.  This step can actually be harder than it looks.  Trust me.  Players gather more balls and other items by visiting places called Pokéstops and interacting with the spot on their device.  Most of our libraries are Pokéstops.  Once the players capture Pokémon they can grow them by feeding them or evolve them into stronger versions.  Players can also use the Pokémon to virtually capture places called gyms that have some tie to the real world.  Our Cecilton Branch is a gym.  Those are the basics but there’s a lot more to the game.  If you want to learn more, there have been some good articles about the game online or you could ask a player.  I know I’ve explained the game to a large number of people in the last week.

pigeondriveSo you might be wondering, how does this all tie back to libraries?  It’s a good question that has multiple answers.  Starting with the obvious physical ones, we have outlets people can charge their devices since the game will quickly drain your battery.  We also have an excellent Wi-Fi system while so you can play without using your phone data plan.  After the last week, it’s also worth mentioning since you can reach the stops and gyms at our locations from inside the building you can play while in the air conditioning.  I’m not sure who was hotter yesterday me or my Flareon.  Going a bit further there is also the social aspect of the game.  A good portion of the players like to talk to each other about the game; sharing their experiences, where things are, good places to go to, things like that.  Libraries are places for exploration and information doesn’t always have to come from our staff.  It can also be between patrons.  There’s also a growing creative community that enjoy posing the Pokémon in the world for pictures.  Our more creative staff members figured out that Pidgey shouldn’t drive the bus.

Now some advice for fellow trainers from a person that played Niantic’s previous game Ingress for over two years (Niantic is the company that programmed Pokémon Go).  In the summer bring water and sunscreen with you since it’s very easy to get distracted and stay outside in the sun too long.  Bug spray also isn’t a bad idea if you are going to play at dusk.  Pay attention to your surroundings; look up from your phone often, watch for traffic, watch for street signs and parking meters since they hurt when you walk into them, watch for other people walking and move out of the way if you are going to be stopped for a while, and don’t walk into dark areas at night.  Playing with other people is always a good idea, especially at night, since you can look out for each other.  It’s also more fun to play with a group and makes it easier to hunt down that Rare who’s three footsteps away.  Be respectful of posted hours since even public places like parks can close at night.  Don’t trespass and respect private property.  Catching anything, even something really cool, isn’t worth having the cops called on you or worse.  Be friendly to other players and people who ask about the game.  You might even be able to recruit them to your team.  Most of all have fun.  See you out there.

Where’s your favorite place to play?


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