Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Best Bets is now DML Staff Recommendations

We've moved our blog, you can reach it HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dayton Theatres and the Library

August twenty-eighth to September thirteenth, Dayton Playhouse is putting on a production of Cabaret. If you like Cabaret, you may want to read Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, the book on which the musical and I am a Camera, a non-musical play by John Van Druten, are based. The library has the original book, the script, and the movie musical, so if you check them out before or after going to see it on stage you'll see that they all overlap in slightly different ways.

The same weekends, Dayton Theatre Guild is producing on Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Not only does the library have an English translation of the book by Choderlos de Laclos, but if you are feeling ambitious, we have selections from the original French version as well. You can also find the movie in French with English subtitles under the original title, or an English language version with the translated title Dangerous Liaisons that features Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and many other well-known actors.

-- Kristen, Main Library

Thursday, August 20, 2009

World Champion Bar-B-Q

John Willingham’s World Champion Bar-B-Q: Over 150 Recipes and Tall Tales for Authentic, Braggin’ Rights, Real Southern Bar-B-Q and all the Fixin’s.

It’s already the middle of August, so its time for those end of summer barbecues. This book is a great source for barbecue recipes as well as some side dishes that complement the sweet and spicy flavors of the meats. Willingham defines barbecue as the process of cooking meat in a closed chamber using indirect heat produced by hardwood logs, chips, chunks, pellets or charcoal. For Willingham, barbecue is a food that is quintessentially Southern--even the side dishes here are Southern favorites. After defining barbecue as a food that is cooked a certain way in a certain place, Willingham starts on the recipes. First, the appetizer chapter provides recipes for old country staples such as deviled eggs and pimiento cheese spread. The bread chapter comes next, showing recipes for southern style biscuits, no-knead refrigerator rolls and corn bread. Then comes the barbecue chapter-- and every type of meat is included. A recipe for Willingham’s World-Champion Ribs is offered, as well as Dixie Chicken and South Carolina-Style Pork. There is a chapter on cooking with grills– the backyard kind – and also one on chilis. And there is the side dish (fixins) chapter which includes Ultimate Mashed Potatoes. There is a chicken, fish and seafood chapter and one on slaws, salads and sandwiches. Finally comes a chapter on sauces, dry rubs, marinades and glazes and one on desserts. This is a really great book for anyone who wants to do barbecue the way experts do it--from the barbecue to the side dishes to dessert, everything you need is here.

-- Mary Ellen, Main Library

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stuff We Found While Weeding

Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men.
I remember the hubbub when this book came out—“that big football player does needlepoint?” Well, he did. And he also wrote a book about it. Like its author, the book is big and friendly, and full of good advice like, “One thing to remember if you have someone paint a canvas for you is that you should have them spell your name right.” Appearing with his decidedly guy-oriented needlepoint projects (needlepoint samurai, anyone?) you will find several of his friends whom he has roped into sharing his hobby. A sweet-natured, nostalgic book, even if you don’t give a toss about needlepoint.

Comparative Urban Design: Rare Engravings, 1830-1843, Melville C. Branch.
There is a special kind of person out there who loves to look at old maps and I confess to being one. This book is a treat for people like me in that it reproduces maps of major world cities from a narrow time period and puts them all in one place for easy browsing. Okay for me, you might say, but of what practical use could this be to anybody else? Well, if you are planning some genealogical tourism, this could help you visualize where your forebears lived. Or if you are a reader (or writer!) of historical fiction, this could be an informative tool for you. Or maybe you just want to meditate on the state of the world of urban planning in the mid-18th century. Otherwise, if you are a cartographile, plan on relaxing in a chair under a tree and spending an afternoon flipping through all these delicious maps. On a side note, the other author given credit for this book is The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, so you just know it has to be good!

Folk Toys of Japan, Misako Shishido, translated by Tatsuo Shibata.
Long before Hello Kitty and Pokemon there were toys in Japan with intriguing legends behind them. This classic book from 1961 gathers 50 tales and illustrates each one, sometimes with delicate color reproductions. The stories are sweet and touching and may seem vaguely familiar to anyone who has watched the anime of Hayao Miyazaki. The most touching of all may be the one with the funniest-sounding name: the tale of the Bean-Jam Bun Eater. Trust me.

-- Sue, Main Library

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sandman Slim

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey tells the story of James Stark, who has recently escaped from Hell – literally. At the age of nineteen, he was set up by his fellow magicians to be dragged “Downtown,” alive, by demons. The residents of Hell, never having seen a living human before, tortured him experimentally for a while and then put him to work as a sideshow gladiator for eleven years when he stubbornly refused to die. Now he’s back and determined to take revenge on those who betrayed him and killed the woman he loved. To help he has Vidocq – yes, the historical crook-turned-cop whom Victor Hugo used as inspiration both for Valjean and Javert in Les Miserables. In Sandman Slim, he’s also an alchemist who managed to make himself immortal accidentally. But how can Stark really know who to trust, when the forces of Heaven, Hell, and every kind of unaffiliated magic there is seem to be playing their own games?

This is the grittiest, darkest paranormal noir that I have ever read. The pace is fast and the dialogue is razor sharp. It is not for the faint of stomach, but if you can handle the guts and gore place your request today and be one of the first to get your hands on a copy.

-- Kristen, Main Library

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Best Freezer Cookbook: Freezer Friendly Recipes, Tips and Techniques

The Best Freezer Cookbook: Freezer Friendly Recipes, Tips and Techniques by Jan Main

It’s almost time to start thinking about preserving our Summer garden produce, and this little book is a great way to start yourself out by learning freezing techniques. First, the book explains how freezing preserves food, followed by some helpful tips to get you started. Next is a table that shows how long various foods will keep in the freezer. Then there is a section on how to thaw different types of food. Next, there is a chapter on freezing fresh foods. This includes tips and information on freezing specific fruits and specific vegetables. Also there are instructions for how to freeze meat, poultry and fish. The book also offers some recipes using food you have frozen. “Sweet Onion and Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil Crème” is offered as a way to use frozen tomatoes. There is a recipe for “Best-ever Meat Loaf” that sounds great and includes tips for freezing it. In the entertaining chapter is a recipe for “Mini Cheese Souffles” and how to freeze the puff pastry if you wish. A final chapter on baking offers “Harvest Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie with Cheddar Pastry”, which sounds delicious as a Fall dish. This book is full of information on freezing food and recipes you can make using it.

-- Mary Ellen, Main Library

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Night Counter

The Night Counter by Alia Yunis tells the story of Fatima Abdullah, an aging woman who emigrated from Lebanon to America seventy years ago. For the past 991 nights, she has been visited by Scheherazade, the immortal storyteller of The Arabian Nights. Fatima believes that on the 1,001st night, she will die, and so in between telling stories of her life to Scheherazade, she is trying to tie up her loose ends, like planning her funeral, finding a woman to marry her grandson (hard to do in nine days no matter what, and even less likely in this case because he’s openly gay), and deciding who should inherit her home in Lebanon. To make things even more difficult, the house where she lives with her grandson is under surveillance by two photographers who want to trade their days as paparazzi for a career with the FBI, and who suspect them of Al Qaeda connections. Scheherazade, who surprisingly is not a hallucination, amuses herself in between visits to Fatima by dropping in, unobserved, on the rest of her large family, filling in the gaps in the versions of events that Fatima knows in order to create an epic family saga squeezed into nine nights of events and memories.

-- Kristen, Main Library
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