Posted in Adult, Nonfiction

Book Recommendations From Our Winter 2020 Maker-in-Residence!

This winter, local artist Erica Jane Huntzinger is going to be the Maker-in-Residence at Mead Public Library! That means lots of art events in January and February. In addition, she’ll be creating a mixed-media wall mural for our makerspace – and you can watch that mural being created every Wednesday from 4-7! You can find more information about all the Maker-in-Residence events here.

So for this blog post, I thought I would ask Erica for some book recommendations in the arts! Below, you’ll find a variety of books that have influenced how she thinks about art, creation and creativity.

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

This book is the true account of five female artists – Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler.

“Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting–not as muses but as artists. From their cold-water lofts, where they worked, drank, fought, and loved, these pioneers burst open the door to the art world for themselves and countless others to come.” (from the dust jacket)

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Posted in Fantasy, Games, Horror, Science Fiction

Looking Back at the 2010s

An era has come to an end. Goodbye, 2010s. Hello, 2020. I figured for this month’s blog post that I’d look back and share some of my favorite games of the decade.

Minecraft (PS4/Xbox One)

As a freshman in college, I had been reading about this new game that people were amazed by. You could build anything you could imagine they said! There was just one catch. Everything was made of cubes. I decided I would look into this Minecraft. It was the first game I ever bought that was in an incomplete state. When I bought it, there was only the one mode that would later be called Creative Mode. I didn’t play it too much in that state. Eventually, I would play the new Hardcore Mode, usually dying from falling into lava, and then for a bit on private servers.

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Posted in Adult, Award Winners, Fiction, Nonfiction, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The New Year (1968)

It’s the new year, and so we’re looking at the novel… The New Year! Before reading this, I hadn’t read anything by Pearl S. Buck before. In fact, I knew very little about her. She was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1938)! She had also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for her novel The Good Earth, which we also have at the library. The New Year is one of her later novels; she died in 1973.

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The New Year by Pearl S. Buck

I decided that I specifically would not look up any information about this book before reading it – the copy I got from the Cedarburg Public Library is old enough that it’s been rebound, so there’s not even a blurb on the back. It’s so rare today to go into a book completely blind that I thought I would grab the chance. I’m glad I did – the book gets off to quite a start. If you also want to go in blind, request it now instead of clicking the “read more” button!

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Posted in DIY & How To, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Make Something!

When the weather outside is cold and dreary, and the fun holiday events are over, kids may begin feeling a bit bored. Why not create a masterpiece or build something out of supplies you likely already have? Winter is a great time to try a new hobby or to expand on your skills. We have a wide variety of children’s books full of ideas and how-tos that are sure to pique the interest of kids fighting the inevitable boredom that comes from being cooped up inside on these cold days. I recommend the following books to keep kids busy and entertained.

Super Squishies Slime and Putty: 36 Easy Projects to Make by Tessa Sillars-Powell

This book has step-by-step instructions for 36 different squishy, slime, and putty creations. Not only are they fun to make, but playing with them helps to relieve excess energy and stress. You will likely already have most of the supplies needed for making these. Colorful photos and illustrations add to the appeal of creating projects such as: burger and fries squishies, narwhal squishies, fluffy unicorn milkshake slime, fried egg slime, farting putty, snowman putty, and so many more! These projects are recommended for ages 7+.

Disney Ideas Book by Elizabeth Dowsett

There is bound to be something appealing for any Disney fan in this book that includes more than 100 Disney crafts, activities, and games from classic and modern characters. Create an Aladdin shoebox theater, Inside Out memory spheres, Baymax origami, Ursula bath bombs, princess selfie props, Miguel’s guitar…and the list goes on. There are also several Disney games with detailed instructions on how to play. There are lots of options to keep you busy! The difficulty levels of these projects vary, but there are projects suitable for all ages.

Make This!: Building, Thinking, and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You by Ella Schwartz

You get to be a maker with the projects in this book. Most of the materials required are commonly found at home. Scientific facts and prompts are also included to get you thinking about what is happening in each project. You can rescue a dinosaur from ice, create a rainforest in a bottle, prepare a skee-ball challenge, design a Rube Goldberg machine, build a truss bridge, and do so many more fun activities that will keep you thinking. This book is recommended for ages 8+.

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Posted in Adult, Fiction, Uncategorized

Why Did I Wait So Long?

One of the biggest advantages of reading older books is being able to avoid waitlists; like most people, I don’t really like waiting for things. But sometimes, when I read an older book, I start thinking the opposite: why did I wait so long to read this? So I decided to collect some of the older books that I waited too long to read – and encourage everyone else to read them too.

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

I could not tell you why I hadn’t read this book before, but I can tell you that it is a classic for a reason – the story itself is still relevant today, but its depth makes it timeless as well. A police shooting involving an unarmed black man and the ensuing reaction in the larger community? Conflicts between political organizations arguing about whether class or race is a more important way to define (and divide) people? If you read a one-page summary of the plot of this book, you might believe it had been written in the past few years.

But even those events in the book are only parts of the greater whole: an examination on the role and construction of a person’s identity and sense of self. And did I mention that the prose is so beautiful that I found myself reading it out loud in my head, paragraph by paragraph? If you haven’t read it (or disliked it because you were forced to read it for school), give it a shot. It is one of the greatest American novels of all time.

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Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy, Film, Horror, Uncategorized

The Weather Outside is Frightful

I love Christmas, but usually, by this time of the year, I’m done with all the cute and cuddly stuff. Or at least that’s my excuse for why most of my favorite Christmas movies are spooky. If you’re looking for a festive movie that’s lower in sugary sweetness, give these a shot.

Krampus

From the opening montage alone, Krampus won my heart. Seeing people deck each over a toy during Black Friday sets the tone of Krampus. This is a movie that borrows the moralistic slasher rules of older horror movies, like Friday the 13th, and applies that framework to Christmas. Being greedy and only wanting presents? Watch out for Krampus. Bullying your cousin? Watch out for Krampus. It’s refreshing to have a Christmas movie that brings up that the holiday isn’t very jolly anymore and gives us a better reason than coal to be good.

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