Did You Know? Woodpecker Edition

That a woodpecker’s ‘tongue’ wraps around its brain to act as a shock absorber when it pecks on trees?

I found this information on page 16 in the book Woodpeckers of the World by Gerard Gorman. Technically, it is the cartilage and bones inside the tongue called the hyoid and an inwardly curved maxilla (an overhang of spongy tissue) that functions as a shock absorber. Their skulls can experience shocks of 1200 G (force of gravity), whereas a human is typically concussed at 100 G or below! This book shows all the species of woodpeckers and their habitats. There are a great many species located here in the Northwest.

Imperial Dreams by Tim Gallagher and The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose are about the Imperial and the Ivory Billed woodpeckers which are both endangered and/or presumed already extinct. There have been rumors of sightings, but nothing has been documented. You could join the birdwatchers trying to catch a glimpse of these giant birds…. and be famous if you got a photo!

We have The Russian Woodpecker on DVD. It’s a film by Chad Gracia who follows eccentric artist Fedor Alexandrovich. Alexandrovich reveals to the world an enormous secret weapon, suspected to be for mind control, that stands in the shadow of Chernobyl and makes a woodpecker type noise on a specific radio frequency heard all over the world…. After going on for years, the noise had stopped right after the Chernobyl accident, but is now back on the air! Fedor’s conspiracy theory is that the reactor was deliberately destroyed as a grand cover up because the ‘woodpecker’ was supposed to be inspected by the Russian government the next month, and it would have failed.

Finally, growing up, we always looked forward to watching cartoons. Woody Woodpecker was always one of my personal favorites. We have Woody Woodpecker and Friends Holiday Favorites on DVD so you can remember just what a character he was and introduce him to your family.

Did You Know (Speeding Edition)

That the first person arrested for speeding in the United States was driving 12 miles an hour in 1899?

weirdbuttrueI found this information on page 115 in the book Weird but True! Stupid Criminals by National Geographic Kids. This book has more than 150 silly stories about criminals, and will have you laughing out loud!

Fifty Cars that Changed the World shows a 1908 Model T, just a little newer than the first car to get a ticket…. But chances are someone DID get a ticket in one of them. Fifty Cars tells the history of some of these vintage vehicles and how they changed the auto industry all over the world.

barnfindroadtripBarn Find Road Trip by Tom Cotter is “3 guys, 14 days and 1,000 lost collector cars discovered.” If you enjoy tinkering and restoring cars, you will love seeing the treasures they found. Some of them are even for sale if you need a project. If nothing else, you may get inspired to start peeking in some of the old barns around here.

It is ok to speed, sometimes! Like …. On a race track! On the Speedway by Jake Maddox is a children’s book with four short stories about teenage boys at the speedway. Anyone who dreams of being behind the scenes at the races will enjoy these stories.

racingdriverThere are many different kinds of auto racing: NASCAR, sports racers, Indy cars, Formula 1 cars, Stock cars and more. Racing Driver by Giles Chapman is ideal for a future race car driver. It shows “how to drive Race Cars step by step.”

So, basically, those NASCAR guys were criminals in their own right…. Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France by Daniel S. Pierce shows how the colorful characters that were rrealnascaracers-by-day and bootleggers-by-night created the NASCAR that people love today.

But, the need for speed has always been with us. I’m sure that cavemen were racing each other to that hill over there, just because there was a hill over there. But we have all kinds of books on horse racing, motocross, hydroplane racing, bike racing and even the Iditarod. So… race right into the library and get one of these exciting books!

Quick Picks!

c1d4eb0de14c5411ecece51e6819d96eDid you know that we have a browsing section of books at the Everett Public Library that consists of newly published trade and mass market paperbacks? They are called “Quick Picks” and you can find great titles that are almost always available because no one can place holds on these books. Think of it: Brand new hot paperback titles, yours for the taking. This is your chance to get those hardbound bestsellers that are just out in paper. Here are a few that I have eyed lately.

index-3Look closely at the photo above.  I just spied a book which is on the current paperback non-fiction bestsellers list. Do you see it? S P Q R by Mary Beard is a history of Rome with passion and without technical jargon. It’s history written with common sense, a point of view and a healthy level of snark just to keep things interesting. So this is how perusing the Quick Picks works. You find books that you didn’t even know you needed!

 

51ab-hiwhml-_sx336_bo1204203200_I recently found a stunner of a book, Isabella the Warrior Queen.  Kristin Downey takes the Spanish Queen out from behind the shadow of Ferdinand and illuminates her importance in the history of the world. As Queen, she took effective measures against the Muslim threat to western civilization, had the vision to support Columbus’ venture and set the stage for the Spanish/Hapsburg empire building in Europe and the Americas. Oh, yes. And she started the Inquisition. Oops!  Nonetheless, this is an amazing story of a remarkable woman that reads like a novel. I highly recommend it!

indexThere’s a great selection of non-fiction in the Quick Picks section. Julie, a co-worker, recommended Pogue’s Basics: Life; Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You). It’s a great ‘nibbler’ book and by that I mean you can open it up anywhere and read a bit. There’s useful information like how to remember how to set the utensils on your table: it’s alphabetical, fork, knife, spoon from the left. Also, fork and left both have four letters while knife, spoon and right have five letters. See? You gotta read this one!

index-1Welcome to Subirdia by John M Marzluff is also available as a Quick Pick. There are always overflow crowds when this University of Washington professor lectures at EPL. Avoid the crowds and get this author all to yourself with this book about how birds have adapted and survived in urban areas. In this fascinating and optimistic work, Marzluff tells how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors.

index-2I just grabbed a copy of The Shell Collector which is a collection of exquisitely crafted short stories by the author of the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning #1 New York Times bestseller All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr. This is a wonderful collection of longish short stories. The loose theme that weaves them together is water, the sea, love of nature, and finding your place in life, even if it means severing ties with those you love. Check it out if only to read the title story. And to gaze at the cover. Beautiful.

index-1Did you miss Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun when it was popular as a hardbound book? Read the Quick Pick! This novel by Beryl Markham transports you to 1920’s Kenya and the world of Out of Africa. This is historical fiction that is beautifully written, historically accurate, and utterly engrossing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes strong female figures and/or has an interest in 20th century colonial Africa. This is one great read.

 

index-2Who can resist the idea of a book barge on the Seine in Paris where the bookseller, Jean Perdu, uses his intuition to select just the right book to deal with whichever emotion – small or large – is afflicting you? Nina George writes a charming, wise and winsome novel in The Little Paris Bookshop. We go on a journey with Perdu to the South of France as he moves from being lost in grief to slowly reclaiming himself and his life. The further south we go, the warmer the weather and the more Perdu comes alive. Bookseller. Lost love. The wisdom of books. All combine to make an enchanting read. Don’t miss it.

So remember to check out our Quick Picks collections at both locations. Browse a selection of mystery, romance, and notable bestsellers. Don’t waste your money on books when you can borrow them from your library. Quick! Pick a book!

Did You Know? (Pigeon Edition)

That the pigeon Cher Ami was awarded France’s Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery after saving the ‘lost battalion’ in 1918?

flycheramiI found this information on page 67 in the book When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lennon Lost his Brain by Giles Milton. This book has lots of ‘the rest of the story’ stories from accounts in history.

Fly, Cher Ami, Fly! by Robert Burleigh tells Cher Ami’s story with a suspense that illustrates all the drama of the situation. Top Secret Files: World War 1 by Stephanie Bearce and Animals with Jobs: Carrier Pigeons by Judith Janda Presnall both talk about the famous pigeon as well. There are a few small details that differ from version to version, but I believe we can all agree that Cher Ami is a hero that deserves his place in history and the Smithsonian!

coldwarpigeonWhen we think of spies we don’t usually think of animals, but they have been used to spy for longer than you can imagine. 24/7 Spy Files: the Cold War Pigeon Patrols by Danielle Denega explains how dogs and dolphins were also used as spies. In Everything World War 1 by Karen L. Kenney you can even see pictures of a horse and a dog with specially fitted gas masks helping out behind enemy lines. Of course there are all kinds of animals that are ‘working’ animals: service dogs, plow animals, and trained animals acting in all kinds of TV shows, commercials or movies. Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert gives you the stories of some famous animals you have probably seen on TV or in the movies. You may even get some tips on how to train your pet and make them famous.

pigeon

Mo Willems writes a very popular series of books about a pigeon that the kids love! Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the BusThe Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog are just a few of the titles available.

comebacksalmonHere in Everett, we have Pigeon Creek #1. The book Come Back, Salmon by Molly Cone tells the story of how the kids at Jackson Elementary cleaned up the creek so salmon could come back and spawn there. The project started in 1984. Today it remains a healthy creek thanks in big part to those dedicated fifth graders.

Lastly, some people are said to be ‘pigeon toed’ (also known as metatarsus varus, metatarsus adductus, in-toe gait, intoeing or false clubfoot). This is a condition which causes the toes to point inward or outward when walking. The Good Foot Book by Glenn Copeland DPM tells us what can be done to correct that problem. It makes me wonder if a pigeon that has its feet turned incorrectly would be ‘human toed?’

Did You Know? (Island Edition)

mythopediaThat the nation of Greece is made up of over 6000 islands? Only 227 are inhabited.

I found this information on page 84 in the book Mythlopedia: Oh My Gods by Megan E. Bryant. This book is full of fun little stories about the Greek gods and their “personality traits.” Poseidon was very greedy. The water wasn’t enough for him… he battled several of the other gods for control of some of the islands. If you would like to visit the Greek Isles yourself, I recommend taking a travel guide. Greece: Athens and the Mainland is just one of the books available at the library.

galapagosThere are about 180,000 islands on earth! Some islands are very well-known for one thing or another. The Galápagos Islands are famous for their animals. Galápagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy by Tui De Roy is a fantastic book of pictures and history of the islands. Ellis Island was the heart of immigration for Europeans. Angel Island in San Francisco Bay is where many Asians immigrated into the USA. You can read more about the immigrants in these books by Elaine Landau and Russell Freedman.

imagesofamerica

We have many islands right here in the Pacific Northwest! Whidbey, Orcas, Bainbridge, Lopez and Camano just to name a few. We have a series of books called Images of America that are put together by historical societies and have lots of pictures and anecdotes from a wide variety of Northwest places.

hawaiibigislandThe Hawaiian Islands are probably some of the most visited islands. Mountains, forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, golf courses, hiking, swimming…. The water is safe to drink and no passport is needed. Need I say more? Hawaii Dreamscapes Revealed by Andrew Doughty has gorgeous pictures of places you can visit and Hawaii the Big Island: the Ultimate Guide Book also by Andrew Doughty is the best travel book I have seen. Aloha!

Another ‘island’ is the kind in people’s kitchens. 150 Best New Kitchen Ideas by Manuel Gutiérrez shows picture after picture of beautiful kitchens; some with islands, others with design features such as angular cupboards, open shelving and herb gardens.

treasureislandAnd lastly, islands are the theme in many fiction books and movies. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Island by Elin Hilderbrand, Plum Island by Nelson DeMille and Lord of the Flies by William Golding are just the tip of the iceberg… which, by the way, reminds me that Greenland is covered in ice, and is the world’s largest island!

Did You Know? (Cell Phone Edition)

That nomophobia is a new phobia that describes the feeling of severe anxiety that results from being without your cell phone.

scaredstiffI found this information on page 112 in the book Scared Stiff by Sara Latta. Nomo is short for no mobile. Young adults between 18 and 24 are the most likely to suffer from this disorder. There is a check list to help you see if this is a problem for you.

In the book Talk Nerdy to Me by Joe Fullman, it tells us that 2,425 cell phones are lost in a day in the U.K. by accidentally flushing them down the toilet, with  another 160 being chewed by dogs. Imagine all the nomophobia that causes!

isitjustmeWith so many people having and using cell phones, cell phone etiquette is becoming more and more of an issue. Whoopi Goldberg talks about this in her book Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There? She comments on people using their phones and having loud conversations “as if they were in their living rooms” at the theater, restaurants, and in their cars. Like many of us, she doesn’t want to hear your conversation… no matter where you are!

jerkcellphoneTexting is now another part of this problem. How many times have you seen people texting and driving or been at a restaurant and seen a family at another table and all of them have their phones out?  Hmmm… is that quality time or what?!!  The Jerk with the Cell Phone by Barbara Pacher and Susan Magee is a survival guide that is even more useful now then when it was first published in 2004. The authors have some good advice on dealing with cell phone ‘jerks’ out in public.

givesuptextingKatie Friedman Gives Up Texting (and Lives to Tell About It) by Tommy Greenwald is a story about Katie and 10 of her friends who give up texting and Facebook for a week to win backstage passes to a concert. The kids are faced with incredible challenges, such as using a phone book to make an actual phone call and writing a letter to communicate. It’s actually a real eye opener to see how much we really rely on our phones.

Zapped by Anita Louise Gittleman discusses some health problems caused by electricity and wireless signals. The problems stem from ‘dirty electricity’ and can cause heart palpitations, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, dizziness, diabetes, attention deficit disorders and a host of other symptoms. You can have an electrical quality expert take measurements to determine the severity of the problem, and there are filters that can be installed to help.

worldsscariestprisonsAnother ‘cell’ is a prison cell. World’s Scariest Prisons by Emma Carlson Berne shows us some of the oldest prisons in the world. You can read about the ‘squirrel cage jail,’ aka Pottawattamie County Jail in Iowa, which was a 3 story rotating jail that is now open for tours. Or read about the Carandiru Station in São Paulo, Brazil that was the largest prison of its time in South America. It was supposed to hold 4,000 prisoners but the population grew to more than 8,000. Life in Prison by Stanley “Tookie” Williams should be read by America’s youth as a scared straight type of story. He tells exactly what it is like to be in prison. His story was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

cellsAnd finally are the ‘cells’ that make up living creatures. Cells by Darlene R Stille is an informative book that shows all kinds of cells (skin, muscle, stem, plant etc.) and explains what they are and do. Just think, without these cells we wouldn’t be here to talk on our ‘cells!’

Did You Know? Gold Edition

trivialoversguideThat the gold on earth came from asteroids?

I found this information on page 184 in the book Trivia Lover’s Guide to Even More of the World by Gary Fuller. There are 150 fun facts that answers things like “What country translates as Black Mountain?” (Montenegro on the Balkan Peninsula) or “What pirate aided the U.S. in the battle of New Orleans?” (Jean Lafitte).

fiftymineralsThe book Fifty Minerals that Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline also talks about ‘Heavenly Gold’ and some of the brutal history associated with nations acquiring it. Of course, there is the theory that the whole Earth was created from asteroids and meteorites. Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites by Roy A. Gallant is an excellent and informative children’s book that explains what each one of them are, and the differences between them.

gemsandmineralsDr. Kimberly Tait talks about meteorites being one of three kinds: stony, stony iron and iron-nickel in the book Gems and Minerals. While she doesn’t mention gold specifically, she does talk about how meteorites show us what the very first rocks to form in our solar system were like. This book has beautiful pictures and identifies raw and then cut gems and minerals.  The Illustrated guide to Rocks and Minerals by John Farndon is a wealth of information for any rock hound, especially a beginner! It teaches where to look, how to collect, and how to test and identify your samples. Gold occurs in two types of deposits: lode and placer. He explains the difference between them, and shows how panning is done at placer mines.

goldrushMany people trekked west searching for gold. Gold Rush and Riches by Paul Robert Walker is a kids book with tons of information and detailed drawings showing what the west was like during that time and the different ways prospectors looked for gold.

You don’t have to ‘rush’ to California to find gold; there are many spots in Washington where you can look for gold. Gold Mining in Washington State is a geological survey and gives precise locations of mines, with information on who owns it and how much gold it has produced. The book also talks about mining deeds and filing a claim. Fists full of Gold by Chris Ralph tells you what you need to know to (try to) get rich panning for gold. He tells you what kind of equipment to use and some ways to set up panning, dredging or sluicing.

goldilocksLastly fairy tales, along with the rest of the world, are obsessed with gold. Rumpelstiltskin made a deal with a Princess to spin straw into gold. Rump; the True story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff is a kids book that is a bit of a different twist on the story most of us grew up with. King Midas by Demi tells of his “golden touch” and there was also Goldilocks and the Three Bears (retold and illustrated) by Jan Brett. This version has lovely artwork with lots of fun details tucked into the drawings.