We’re back! Sorry you haven’t heard from us lately. We’ve been rushing around in a flurry of activity getting ready for the big event of the year. This year the community book we’ve chosen is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This amazing book tells the true story of Mortenson’s failed attempt at climbing K2. He stumbled down the mountain only to collapse in a small Pakistani village called Korphe where the people nursed him back to health. While he was there he saw the cold slab of rock they called the school and decided that he would repay their generosity by helping them build a school.
This is an amazing story of someone just trying to do this one little thing who ended up starting a movement that has changed thousands of lives. Come join us as we spend the month of October learning more about Mortenson’s story and the lives of people in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area. Click here for a list of events.
> What to read next? We at MPL try to make this age-old question easier to answer for you with our good reads site. There are several genre lists and award lists, but my favorite part is the Library Staff Picks. These are lists made up by your local librarians with loving care for your reading pleasure. The truth is that we love to read as much as you do and this is where we share our favorites.
With tornadoes locally and hurricanes on our coastlines, the thought of disaster striking close to home can make us think about how we might react in such situations. In Amanda Ripley’s new book The Unthinkable, she interviews survivors of the 9/11 attacks, airplane disasters and natural disasters in order to see if there are common lessons that we can all learn to be able to face a disaster and survive. For some, fate will quickly decide life or death, but for many others, their decisions and actions will decide their survival. The main idea I took away from reading this book is that we all have the potential to be survivors and we can all do more to be better prepared and more aware of the situations that surround us. Ripley’s descriptions of normal human responses in disaster situations are fascinating–delay, part of the denial phase, is a common response, as is waiting for instructions but panic is surprisingly rarely seen. Be prepared is the theme of this book–pay attention to emergency exits and instructions on an airplane, be prepared for smoke and heat in a fire and familarize yourself with building exits, and think ahead about procedures to follow if you are in an emergency situation–don’t rely upon government agencies to be there with assistance. With her insights into the psychology of disaster response along with intense interviews with disaster survivors, Ripley offers a fascinating look at how to increase our chances to survive the unthinkable.
The Uncommon Reader happens to be the Queen herself, Elizabeth II. The Queen has never cared much for reading, and didn’t even know that the local bookvan visited her palace grounds. But one day her Corgis take off on a run and lead the Queen straight to the bookvan’s doors. She collects her dogs, but she feels obligated to visit with the librarian and the sole patron in the bookvan. Appearances dictate that she should borrow a book, just to be polite.
“The Queen hesitated, because to tell the truth she wasn’t sure. She’d never taken much interest in reading. She read, of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people. It was a hobby and it was in the nature of her job that she didn’t have hobbies. Jogging, growing roses, chess or rock climbing, cake decoration, model aeroplanes. No. Hobbies involved preferences and preferences had to be avoided; preferences excluded people. One had no preferences. Her job was to take an interest, not to be interested herself. And besides, reading wasn’t doing. She was a doer. So she gazed round the book-lined van and played for time. ‘Is one allowed to borrow a book? One doesn’t have a ticket?”
Once her eyes are opened to books, she attacks reading with the same determination she has shown in her queenly obligations. Soon her prime minister and even the Duke notice that Her Majesty’s nose is always in a book, even while performing the obligatory parade-waving, ship-christening and building-dedicating. Bennett makes some droll observations about politics and history through the Queen’s character. For those of us who always have our noses in a book, this is a fun read, with an unexpected ending.
I just finished my first crochet baby sweater! I’m so proud of myself. There’s so much satisfaction when you create something with your own hands. But the best part of any project is the planning. I love flipping through pattern book after book, dreaming of the projects I could create. I have a friend whose favorite part is buying the yarn, but I’m too cheap to do that until I’ve finished my current project. But looking for patterns is free at Manhattan Public Library! Whether you’re into crochet, quilting, or wood work, we have a wealth of materials for you to browse through and dream about.