Drawing for Meditation and Relaxation

Are you one of those people who says ‘I can’t draw a stick figure’? Do you freeze and stress out when you’re expected to freehand draw anything? Drawing doesn’t have to be stressful. What you draw doesn’t need to be the least bit realistic, and it certainly doesn’t need to be perfect. You don’t ever have to show your art to anyone – your drawings can be just for you.

Coming up on March 11, attend out free virtual program, Draw and Doodle with local artist Rosemary Jones. Explore drawing as a meditation, and learn how to enjoy the process of playing with shapes and patterns to create unique creatures. Discover your inner artist and experience the joy of drawing and doodling for pleasure and relaxation. All you need is paper and pen, but if you just prefer to watch and listen, everyone is welcome! Register here.

The library has hundreds of books about all things drawing, from coffee table books of hyper-realistic masterpieces, to how-to books for drawing dinosaurs, dogs, dresses, and dragons, to doodling for fun and relaxation. Check out these doodling and simple drawing books for inspiration.

Craft-a-Doodle Deux: 73 Exercises for Creative Drawing by Jenny Doh
Seventeen artists share ideas and prompts to get you drawing original doodle designs in markers, paint, and pens.

Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean walks the reader/artist through techniques for doodles beginning with simple designs and moving to increasing complexity. It is aimed at all skill levels.

Zentangle®, a method of doodling for meditation and relaxation, focuses on concentration and mindfulness rather than on the finished product. The library has hosted programs on the Zentangle method taught by Certified Zentagle Teachers, and we have books in the collection, The Art of Zentangle by Stephanie Meissner, and Zentangle for Kids by Sandy Steento Bartholomew, to name a few.

20 Ways to Draw a Dress and 23 Other Fabulous Fashions and Accessories by Julia Kuo is in our juvenile nonfiction section but the drawings look fun for all ages. If you love fashion you may want to check this one out. Learn how to draw bunches of kinds of shoes, dresses, sunglasses, etc!

Ladies Drawing Night : Make Art, Get Inspired, Join the Party by Julia Rothman
This is a fun book and a fun concept. A group of friends meet regularly to draw together. Sometimes they work on a central theme, other times each works on their own project. Art parties are one of my favorite activities. They are great for shy people who enjoy creating with others but may find a more formal party stressful. I look forward to when we can gather and craft together again.

If you still don’t want to draw after all that encouragement, or if traveling to the library to pick up books through curbside service doesn’t appeal to you, maybe you just want to color. How about an e-coloring book? Our Overdrive magazine collection has two dozen to choose from including Doodle Emporium: A Stress Relieving Adult Coloring Book by Lori Geisler. These coloring books are always available to check out through Overdrive. Of course you will need to print out the the designs before coloring. See the whole collection here.


Try out drawing and doodling and see if it relaxes you. I know for me when I draw, craft, build, or create in any way, it takes my mind off of my worries, and that has to be a positive thing.

Seek the Unknown

Have you checked out the libraries eBook and eAudio collections lately? If not, you are in for a treat. One of the few silver linings of the current times in the library world, is the growing collections of electronic materials due to the emphasis on eFormats. The Everett Public Library is no exception and has added a lot of excellent new content. 

There are lots of great curated lists of titles on our Overdrive site, but I was particularly excited to find the collection, Seek the Unkown: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads. Like many lately, I’ve been in need of reading distractions and Science Fiction is my go to genre when I want to avoid the current situation at maximum warp. Here are a few of the titles that I’m particularly looking forward to downloading, complete with descriptions from the catalog.  

The Preserve by Ariel Winter 

Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered. 

Bright and Dangerous Objects by Anneliese MacKintosh 

Commercial deep-sea diver Solvig has a secret. She wants to be one of the first human beings to colonize Mars, and she’s one of a hundred people shortlisted by the Mars Project to do just that. But to fulfil her ambition, she’ll have to leave behind everything she’s ever known—for the rest of her life. 

The Light Years by R.W.W. Greene 

Hisako Saski was born with her life already mapped out. In exchange for an education, better housing for her family, and a boost out of poverty, she’s been contracted into an arranged marriage to Adem Sadiq, a maintenance engineer and amateur musician who works and lives aboard his family’s sub-light freighter, the Hajj. 

The Companions by Katie M. Flynn 

Wealthy participants in the ‘companionship’ program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people–a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.

The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway by Una McCormack 

Kathryn Janeway reveals her career in Starfleet, from her first command to her epic journey through the Delta Quadrant leading to her rise to the top as vice-admiral in Starfleet Command. Discover the story of the woman who travelled further than any human ever had before, stranded decades from home, encountering new worlds and species. 

These are just a few of the titles that caught my eye. Be sure to check out the full list for even more intriguing titles. Happy reading! 

Two New Book Reviews for You

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

A pensioner by the sea. What a way to spend retirement! It is something I know many of us long for.

Peggy is a happy retiree and spends her time watching everything that goes on – – and writing notes about it in her little journal: 7 people walking the beach (3 couples and a single) 4 people with dogs, how many cyclists, joggers etc.

She has a number of friends and neighbors that call on her to visit and they are murder mystery buffs. And I mean really, who doesn’t enjoy sitting around thinking of ways to bump people off? Peggy is even acquainted with a few authors that ask her for advice on killing people for their books, and they always give her an acknowledgement ‘This is for Peggy.’ Peggy also suspects she is being watched.

There is a dark spot in her history that not many people know about, however. Her friends Edwin, Natalka, and Benedict have all heard some stories about her time in Russia, but never realized they could be true.

So, when Peggy is found dead of natural causes, it is only understandable that her friends suspect foul play even though the police do not. When a postcard falls out of one of Peggy’s book that says “We are coming for you,” DS Harbinder Kaur from CID gets involved. Then an author Peggy had helped ends up murdered so DS Kaur decides to question the trio of friends. With an author’s event coming up, the trio decides to go and follow up on some clues.

I absolutely adored the bumbling investigation techniques in this book where everything gets solved and tied up in a big bow almost by accident! I also enjoyed the subtle clues and connections and trying to solve it myself before the characters (I did NOT solve this one). This was a fun book and a pretty fast read. I highly recommend it!

One Step to You by Federico Moccia

Babi is a popular girl from a well-to-do family. Step is your typical ‘bad boy’ on a motorcycle. Step first sees Babi when he pulls up next to her car while Babi’s dad drives her to high school. You can almost hear the zap as Step is instantly hit by Cupid’s arrow.

Babi has always been a well behaved, proper young woman….  Until Step convinces her to just go for one ride with him on his motorbike. She falls for him but doesn’t want to admit it to herself or anyone else.

There are no parents screaming at her to “keep away from that boy” because they have no idea the things she has been doing. Skipping school and sneaking out. Babi knows what she’s doing is wrong, and that being with Step is dangerous, but it’s LOVE! What can you do?

You have to read all the way to the last page to find out what they do…  you’ll never guess!

Writer’s Live: Tiffany Midge, Madeleine Henry & Jennifer Bardsley

The great virtual programs just keep coming here at the library. There are so many in fact that we wanted to point out two author talks you can attend next week so you wouldn’t miss out. The presentations are part of our Writer’s Live series, which is dedicated to highlighting talented writers and their works. Both programs are free, open to the public, and you can register to attend on our Crowdcast channel. Read on to find out more. 

Tiffany Midge on Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 @ 6:00 PM  

Why is there no Native woman David Sedaris? Or Native Anne Lamott? Humor categories in publishing are packed with books by funny women and humorous sociocultural-political commentary—but no Native women. Well, it’s time to meet Tiffany Midge, the author of Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s

Midge’s book is a smart and funny collection of essays on life, politics and identity as a Native woman in America. Spend an evening laughing, thinking, and talking about anything and everything—from politics to pumpkin spice—as Midge shares stories and insights from her book. 

Madeleine Henry in conversation with Jennifer Bardsley 

Saturday, March 6, 2021 @ 5:00 PM 

Madeleine Henry is the author of two novels, The Love Proof and Breathe In, Cash Out. She has appeared on NBC, WABC, The Jenny McCarthy Show, and Inspire Living. She has been featured in the New York Post, Parade, and Observer Media. Previously, she worked at Goldman Sachs and in investment management after graduating from Yale.  

Madeleine will be joined by Jennifer Bardsley for a conversation about The Love Proof. Spanning decades, The Love Proof is an unusual love story about lasting connection, time, and intuition. It explores the course that perfect love can take between imperfect people, and urges us to listen to our hearts rather than our heads. 

Jennifer Bardsley lives in Edmonds, Wash., and her newest book, Sweet Bliss, will be published by Montlake Romance in 2021. Jennifer also writes under the pen name Louise Cypress. Jennifer has written the “I Brake for Moms” column for The Everett Herald since 2012. 

Did You Know? (Newt Edition)

That all newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts?

I found this information on the Facts About Newts page from the Live Science website.

Tree Frogs, Mud Puppies and other Amphibians by Daniel Gilpin is a good book for beginners interested in amphibians. It has a lot of very detailed pictures and fun ‘gross’ information.

The California newt and the rough-skinned newt excrete a toxin from their skin that can be deadly to humans or other animals. The toxin excreted by the California newt (Taricha torosa) is known as tetrodotoxin (TTX), the same neurotoxin found in pufferfish.

Pufferfish, also called blowfish, live in tropical waters. They are prepared as a delicacy called fugu in Japan. You need to have a special permit and training to prepare this potentially deadly dish. It is also illegal to serve to the Emperor of Japan, as one fish has enough poison to kill 30 adults. The Puffer Fish by Alicia Z. Klepeis tells us there are about 120 different kinds of pufferfish.

There are many other animals that can be toxic: spiders, snakes, jellyfish, bees, wasps, scorpions and even the platypus!  They can use their teeth, fangs, stingers, spines or spurs to introduce their venom into you. The book Venom by Marilyn Singer tells all about them.

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder’s Fork and Lizard’s Leg by Marty Crump gives the lore and mythology of amphibians and reptiles. One well known example is the snake in the garden of Eden. Other examples would be the rod of Asclepius (the snake on a rod) used to represent the Western medical profession and the Caduceus (2 snakes entwined on a staff with wings) for commerce and negotiation and also used by the U.S. Army and some other medical organizations. For the play Macbeth Shakespeare wrote of three witches around a cauldron using animal parts as ingredients (see the title of this book) which spurred the world’s imagination.

If eye of newt and toe of frog are basic ingredients for witch’s brew, it makes me wonder where they get their ingredients? And what do they do with the rest of the newt? We have spell books at the library, to help you find out: Spells for Peace of Mind: How to Conjure Calm and Overcome Stress, Worry, and Anxiety by Cerridwen Greenleafor and The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic that Works by Judika Illes use ingredients such as salt, candles, crystals, and a whole list of herbs.

Of course, stories about witches and wizards make for popular fiction reading as well. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is a prime example of that!  Another fun series is Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler.

Newts make me think of Newton. Isaac Newton discovered the first law of motion: an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids by Kerry Logan Hollihan tells about Isaac Newtons’ life and discoveries with twenty-one science experiments kids can recreate. We have many other books about him such as Isaac Newton: The Asshole who Reinvented the Universe by Florian Freistetter who tells us that Newton wasn’t always a nice guy.

And while we are talking about Newton, THAT reminds me of Fig Newtons! They are a favorite “healthy” cookie. I mean, they have fruit, right? How bad can they be for you? A Fistful of Fig Newtons by Jean Shepherd – best known for his story/movie A Christmas Story where Ralphie Parker wants a BB gun – is a collection of short stories based on his life…. Like the cookies, just one won’t be enough. You’ll want to read the whole book!

Random Acts of Kindness

Several years ago I learned about Random Acts of Kindness Day (celebrated yearly on Feb. 17th), and incorporated it yearly into our library arts and crafts classes. The projects we did allowed our crafters to make small items to hand out to people randomly, just to show appreciate or encouragement. I love the idea, and right now we could all use a little extra kindness.

A couple of months ago the library hosted Donna Cameron, along with Garret Hunt, to talk about Cameron’s book A Year of Living Kindly. All of our virtual programs, through the platform Crowdcast, are recorded and can be viewed later. Check out that conversation here.

In the book, Cameron shares her experience of committing to 365 days of practicing kindness. She explains the health benefits and feelings of well-being that come with being kind to others. The book includes tips on what we can do to practice kindness, even when it is not easy, and how when we do, we help change the world.

The library has other recent books on kindness. Check out these titles, and take a look at our catalog to find more on the subject.

Deep kindness : a revolutionary guide for the way we think, talk, and act in kindness by Houston Craft

Craft started an organization called Random Acts of Kindness, Etc. in college to create a more connected, compassionate campus. Deep Kindness examines how kindness can help heal divisions between people and improve anxiety that is so prevalent today. Kindness can and should be a part of our daily lives and Kraft shares ways in which we can practice being kind.

The war for kindness : building empathy in a fractured world by Jamil Zaki

Zaki, a Stanford psychologist, presents the argument that empathy is not a trait we are born with, but that it can, and must, be cultivated. By developing empathy we can overcome feelings of isolation, and work to prevent divisiveness between groups. With many stories of people who are doing this work, this book is an inspirational call to action.

Radical kindness : the life-changing power of giving and receiving by Angela C. Santomero; foreword by Deepak Chopra

Santomero, writer of children’s educational shows, calls kindness a radical power, and through her study with mentor Fred Rogers, has spent her life teaching empathy and compassion through her programs.

The kindness method : change your habits for good using self-compassion and understanding
by Shahroo Izadi

While we are learning to be kind to others, we also need to be kind to ourselves. Practicing self-compassion is the only way to make lasting change in your life, Izadi explains, and using personal and professional experience, she guides the reader to strengthen willpower and understanding of themselves.


If you’re more inclined to share kindness through creative expression, and want to show appreciation to your grocery clerk, doctor, teacher, or random people at the bus stop for Random Acts of Kindness Day, try out this easy art project suitable for kids and adults alike.


So go forth and practice the radical act of kindness, on Random Acts of Kindness Day, and all year round. It may not always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Daudi Abe at the Library (Virtually)

The library has so many great virtual programs in the mix these days, there is a danger that some events can get lost in the shuffle. To prevent that, we want to make you doubly aware of an excellent program that is happening on our Crowdcast channel this Thursday ,February 11 at 6pm: 

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Principal’s Office? with Daudi Abe 

Simply sign in on the library’s Crowdcast page and you can watch it live. If the timing doesn’t work for you, never fear. The program will be accessible for a week after the presentation. 

Here is a brief synopsis to pique your interest:  

Beginning as early as preschool, Black students are disproportionately suspended and expelled from school. As many of these students reach adulthood, these punishments can lead to legal trouble, creating what some call the “school-to-prison pipeline” that affects many Black communities. 

Why are Black students punished more than others in the classroom? Based on his extensive research and teaching experience, Abe demonstrates that the racial achievement gap cannot be solved without first addressing the discipline gap. In communities across the state, crucial questions must be faced: What is the difference between subjective and objective forms of discipline? What is “academic self-esteem” and “Cool Pose?” And in a state where 90% of teachers are White and the student body is only 56% White, would a more diverse teaching staff help? Does the discipline gap affect other communities of color? And what solutions can we can learn to help ALL students succeed? 

Daudi Abe is a professor, writer, and historian who has taught and written about race, gender, education, hip-hop, and sports for over 20 years. His books include the forthcoming Emerald Street: A History of Hip-Hop in Seattle, and his work has appeared in The Stranger and The Seattle Times as well as the Crosscut and Blackpast websites. Abe holds an MA in human development and a PhD in education from the University of Washington. 

So join us on Thursday, or in the days to come, for this exciting and important program. 

Life After the Afterlife

One recent rainy Sunday, bored and scrolling through Netflix, I landed on a six-part documentary series examining death and what comes after. It sounded like a sure-fire opportunity to watch an obvious bunch of hooey, so I settled in. As I later learned, the series is based on the nonfiction book Surviving Death: a Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife by Leslie Kean .

The approach in the series turned out to be more scientific and historical than I expected, although Kirkus Reviews said of the book:

Those given to believe in ghosts, heaven, and white lights will find this a fine example of confirmation bias, while those who are not will not be swayed.

While I haven’t read it, reviews seem to suggest the book doesn’t lean on a believer-centric foundation and does a better job presenting evidence to suggest that consciousness survives death. 

As part of episode one of the Netflix series, viewers are whisked off to a Seattle meeting of IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies), an open support group for those who’ve had near-death experiences (NDE) and others who wonder about loved ones who have died. Both types come together–now meeting online–to hear the NDEs directly. The series explores other paranormal phenomena including apparitions, contemporary mediums and reincarnation. 

Compelling case studies involving unlikely, level-headed persons (a spine surgeon, and an Oklahoma law enforcement officer, to list two). A historic look at many aspects of the unworldly–including fakers, debunkers, cheerleaders, medical doctors, academics and organizations–makes for an entertaining binge watch. Who knew the case to continue research to lift the veil between life and the afterlife could be mysterious and informative? Netflix did.

One I wouldn’t have guessed to be interested in parapsychology was William James, known as the father of American Psychology and the first to offer a psychology class in the U.S. He co-founded the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) in 1884, the oldest psychical research organization in the United States dedicated to parapsychology.

Check out Kean’s book now. The Netflix series, which launched in January, is not available on DVD at this time. If it becomes available, the library will purchase it.

If you liked Surviving Death, you might want to read The Hairbrush and the Shoe : A True Ghost Story by Jeanne Stanton. When a workman in her home is pushed, Stanton takes action. The former Harvard Business School case writer embarks upon a rigorous search to learn what is happening, which makes for an absorbing, creepy and sometimes funny read.

Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot by Bruce and Andrea Leininger. This story details how the authors finally accepted that their young son was the reincarnated WWII fighter pilot, James Huston. This account is also featured in the reincarnation episode of the Netflix documentary series.

Life with the Afterlife : 13 Truths I Learned about Ghosts by Amy Bruni. In this autobiography, Bruni, co-star of the popular paranormal show, Kindred Spirits, discusses what she has gleaned from ghosts, her unique approach to paranormal investigations, and tips for amateur ghost hunters. 

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. Science writer Mary Roach–Everett Reads! author a few years back–moves on from the cadavers in her book Stiff to what happens after death. From Kirkus reviews: “Truly deft handling of the (mostly) daft.”

Whether it’s buying and demolishing what he believed was a ‘demon house,’ hanging out at his popular haunted museum in Las Vegas or starring in the widely popular Ghost Adventures on cable, Zak Bagans knows how to stay in the spotlight. He’s done it for a long time. Last year, for instance, he released his third book, Ghost-hunting, part of the For Dummies series, and turns out it could be just the guidebook you need if you have a hankering to investigate spooky stuff. He also relays an assortment of unearthly experiences, much of it one of a kind.

Life After Life by Raymond Moody. Originally published in 1975, this remains essential reading. Moody, considered the grandfather of the Near Death Experience (NDE) movement, introduced the world to the phenomenon.

Also worth a check out: 

Between Two Worlds: Lessons from the Other Side by Tyler Henry

Near-death Experiences: Understanding our Visions of the Afterlife by John Martin Fischer

To find more information and materials all about this subject, try searching the catalog using these keywords and phrases: 

Near-death experiences.

Parapsychology — Investigation.

Ghosts.

Haunted places.

Ghosts — History.

Haunted places — History.

Parapsychology — Investigation — History.

Mediums — United States — Biography.

Clairvoyants — United States — Biography.

Sea Hunt

In 2020 people struggled with rapid and often unpleasant changes. Many tuned in to television shows from the past as a means of self-comfort. Indeed, lately I find myself watching more and more programs from the 60s and 70s, some that I watched during their original run and others that provide familiar scenery from childhood. There’s something wonderful about immersing oneself in the miasma of carefree days that preceded entry into the 9-5 world.

And I’ve been thinking of shows that sit in the crepuscule of my memories, fleeting images of safari from Daktari, of airboats gliding through the Everglades from Gentle Ben and of Lloyd Bridges scuba diving from Sea Hunt. Assuming that I’d never really watched it before, I checked out Sea Hunt from Everett Public Library with some trepidation, fairly certain that it would bore me into a coma. Well sir or ma’am, I could not have been more wrong! While the show is exceedingly dry in delivery (yet wet with water), it manages to create tension and excitement while teaching a thing or two along the way.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember watching films in elementary school that could be collectively called Help Me I’m Bored, Please Put an Icepick Through My Eye. No attempt to engage viewers, dry-like-the-driest-sherry narration and visuals that would not stimulate a sea cucumber. To some extent, Dragnet grew out of this tradition with its no-nonsense just-the-facts-ma’am narration. Sea Hunt feels like the undersea equivalent of Dragnet. It’s not a perfect analogy (the beautiful rapid-fire delivery of Joe Friday is nowhere to be found), but it’s a good starting point for understanding the show.

Episodes begin with diver Mike Nelson (which, c’mon, is the perfect name for a dashing male figure from the late 50s) narrating while he carries out his typical diving duties. Next, we learn the extraordinary circumstances he must deal with in today’s adventure. For example, a mine collapses and is filled with water. 30 miners are killed. Mike is hired to dive in the flooded tunnels (a dangerous undertaking) to see what the situation looks like.

Let me digress for a moment. I like to imagine the pitch meeting for Sea Hunt where creator Ivan Tors must have said roughly, “Half the show takes place underwater. It’s dark, murky and very hard to see. Divers can only move slowly and they don’t talk while diving. Another quarter of the show is Mike Nelson adjusting his diving gear.” In fact, networks turned the show down and it ended up being produced in syndication. And Sea Hunt is indeed visually unengaging, with long periods of narration explicating underwater escapades. Yet it still manages to generate gut-clenching thrills as we wait to see if Mike can save the world once again.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

As he dives through those flooded mine caverns, Nelson begins to hear a pounding that’s too regular to ignore. Emerging in a small air pocket he discovers two miners barely alive, soon to be dead if he doesn’t act immediately. Mike realizes that he can only take one of them back to safety! He decides to return as quickly as possible to help the other, but it will likely be too late…

Exciting stuff.

The show ran from 1958-1961, before my time, but I remember watching it as a young child and especially recall each episode’s ending, variations on the theme, “Hi, I’m Lloyd Bridges. I’ll see you next week for another underwater adventure.” Surprisingly, it’s become a show I greatly enjoy. Grab some popcorn, Maynard, and check this one out for yourself.

Spot-Lit for February 2021

These titles – from established, new, and emerging authors – are some of the most anticipated new releases of the month, based on advance reviews and book world enthusiasm.

Click here to see all of these titles in the Everett Public Library catalog, where you can read reviews or summaries and place holds. Or click on a book cover below to enlarge it, or to view the covers as a slide show.

Notable New Fiction 2021 (to date) | All On-Order Fiction | 2021 Debuts