Author Archive

Need a Travel Suggestion?

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Tired of the dreary winter weather? Want to research a sunny and warm travel destination to visit? You are in luck; KDL offers many new and updated travel guides and books. Fancy a trip to Cancun or Riviera Maya? What about Northern California or Hawaii? KDL has all-new 2013 books for these destinations.

Another cool travel resource you might want to check out is KDL’s Recommended Sites in Travel. On this webpage you will find all types of recommended sites, from booking tickets with Amtrak and The Rapid to researching different destinations with the Michigan Department of Tourism and Travelocity, plus much more. It’s well worth a browse.


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Cold Weather, Cool Crafts

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Some people love being outside in the cold and snow — skiing, sledding and ice skating. While I enjoy many of the opportunities winter brings, I also enjoy the chance to stay indoors and try my hand at creating something new or working on a project.

KDL offers lots of great cooking and arts and craft books. One year my special project was to create a box from a craft I found in The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti. I bought a large book from one of the KDL used book sales and, following the instructions, cut out the old pages, bought some wood, which I cut and painted, and then glued it all together. I ended up with a lovely, handmade gift I was able to give to my sister in time for the holidays.


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What’s Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

KDL has lots of great Christmas and holiday-themed DVDs, such as A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express.

One of my all-time favorites is A Muppet Family Christmas, in which Fozzie Bear surprises his mother, Emily, on Christmas Eve by bringing the entire Muppet gang to her farm to celebrate the holidays. They sing lots of Christmas songs together, and there is appearance by the Sesame Street gang and Fraggle Rock. Another favorite is the 1988 movie, Scroogedstarring Bill Murray.  This is basically just a modern retelling of the Charles Dickens classic,  A Christmas Carol.

What are your holiday movie favorites?


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Staff Pick — “The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire”

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Mark at the Cascade Township branch recommends The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo.  It’s the story of the two-year-old son of a Southern belle who is adopted by an Austrian archduke and made heir to the Mexican Empire during the French “intervention” in Mexico.

C.M Mayo does an outstanding job of making sense of this complicated episode in history, Mark says. The reader quickly becomes familiar with the many sympathetic and unsympathetic people caught up in these events; and the sights, sounds, and intoxicating smells of Mexico City float right off the page.


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Thanksgiving in 1621

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m sure we are all familiar with the traditional story of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621.  The Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony celebrated their successful harvest as was the English tradition.  However, it was a rather close call that the information about the first Thanksgiving made it back to England.

The Governor of the Pilgrims, William Bradford, had sent a letter to Thomas Weston who was the main financer for the Plymouth colony on a ship called Fortune.  The ship also carried 500 pounds worth of lumber, animal pelts, the amended charter for the Plymouth Plantation, letters from the settlers and the letter from Bradford.  Bradford’s letter detailed instructions for future colonists and a sales pitch to attract them.

However, on the return journey the Fortune was captured by French pirates in the English Channel.  While they pilfered the hold of all the goods, they did not take the charter or letters.  One of those letters contained the only account of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving dinner.  When the letters did make it back to England, they were published in 1622 in a London newspaper, in what is now known as the Mourt’s Relation for the entire world to see.

Wasn’t that fortunate.

I was able to find all this information by locating an article by Frederic Scwarz using KDL’s Reference Resources for History.  I found the article in the InfoTrac U.S. History Collection.

Schwarz, Frederic D. “1621: the first Thanksgiving, sort of.” American Heritage Nov. 1996: 157. US History Collection. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.


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Listen To Your Favorite Books

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

With the upcoming holidays and some people traveling long distances to visit family, I thought it would be a good idea to mention the audiobooks available at KDL.  We offer both nonfiction and fiction audiobooks in several formats such as CD, MP3, eAudiobook and Playaway.  On the KDL website you can find a list of recommendations for fiction audiobooks and nonfiction audiobooks, and if you are traveling with your family, you may be interested in the Great Audiobooks for the Whole Family booklist.

I like to get audiobooks for my car ride to and from work.  I just listened to the great audiobook Operation Mincemeat by Ben MacIntyre.  It’s interesting nonfiction that focuses on how British intelligence deceived the Nazis during World War II to make them think the allies were going to invade Greece instead of Italy.


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The History of Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The modern form of Halloween is thought to have developed from the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced “Sah-wen”). The Celts are an ancient civilization that live in what is now Ireland, Wales, Scotland and parts of England, but once was spread out over almost all of Europe, as far a field as modern-day Turkey.

Samhain was a New Year celebration; the Celts counted a day from sundown to sundown and celebrated the coming New Year on the eve of November 1. They would light bonfires as part of the celebration to help guide the spirits of all the people who died in the last 12 months to the otherworld. The Celts believed the spirits would be given access to the otherworld during Samhain and would leave food and drinks out for these wandering spirits. One way they acquired food and drinks was to go from house to house, dressed up, and perform in exchange for treats, and in imitation of the wandering spirits they would sometimes play pranks or tricks.

As the Celts converted to Christianity, many of the traditional Celtic folk holidays were combined with Christian celebrations. In the sixth century, November 1 became the Feast of All Saints, or All Hallows, and the day before was called Hallows Eve, which eventually became Halloween.

I found the information for this using KDL’s access to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, one of the many awesome online databases KDL offers. Just navigate to the KDL website, click “Reference Resources,” then “Research Databases” and chose a subject category to see some of the databases  KDL cardholders can access.


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Looking for a Great Documentary?

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Do you like documentaries?  If so you will want to check out the Looking for a Great Documentary? list on our website. I like those that give insight into how people  in other countries live, or that teach me about different cultures.

The most recent documentary I watched was Last Train Home, which gave great insight into the lives of migrant workers in China and the effect that the rise in manufacturing has had on the traditional Chinese family living in the countryside. Every year migrant workers travel from the cities they work in back to their homes in the countryside to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families. But sometimes getting home can be very difficult. Another documentary I enjoyed was Please Vote for Me, which focused on a third-grade class election at a school in central China.



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Hispanic Heritage Month

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15.  KDL has lots of great resources to learn more about Hispanic Americans and their culture.  Here are some great online resources you can use to find out more about Hispanic Heritage Month:

Hispanic Heritage resources web page by The Smithsonian

Hispanic Heritage resources web page by the Library of Congress

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Recommended Reading List compiled by the Florida Department of Education

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Gone Girl Readalikes

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Have your recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and are looking for similar books to read? Or do you need something to tide you over while you wait for your hold on Gone Girl? Then check out our newly created “If You Like Gone Girl” booklist!



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