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Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. With almost $200 Billion in damage resulting from the storm, it was the most expensive disaster in US history. The human toll was unfathomable and the effects continue to be felt in that region today.

Manhattan Public Library has several titles about Hurricane Katrina and it’s effects:

  • Not just the levees broke : my story during and after Hurricane Katrina /Phyllis Montana-Leblanc. 976.044 Phyllis Montana-Leblanc gives an astounding and poignant account of how she and her husband lived through one of our nation’s worst disasters, and continue to put their lives back together. New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivor Phyllis Leblanc reveals moment by moment the impending doom she and her family experienced during one of the greatest disasters in contemporary American history. The initial weather forecast, the public warnings from officials, and then the increasingly devastating developments — the winds and rain, the rising waters — Not Just the Levees Broke begs the question, What would you do in a life-and-death situation with your family and neighbors facing the ultimate test of character? Not Just the Levees Broke is a portrayal of the human spirit at its best — the generosity of family, neighbors, and strangers; the depth of love that one can hold for another; the power to help and heal others.
  • The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast / Douglas Brinkley.  976.044  An account of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it left in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast documents the events and repercussions of the tragedy and its aftermath and the ongoing crisis confronting the region.
  • Breach of faith : Hurricane Katrina and the near death of a great American city / Jed Horne.  976.044  “Hurricane Katrina shredded one of the great cities of the South, and as levees failed and the federal relief effort proved lethally incompetent, a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe. As an editor of New Orleans’ daily newspaper, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Times-Picayune, Jed Horne has had a front-row seat to the unfolding drama of the city’s collapse into chaos and its continuing struggle to survive.” “Horne takes readers into the private worlds and inner thoughts of storm victims from all walks of life to weaver a tapestry as intricate and vivid as the city itself. Politicians, thieves, nurses, urban visionaries, grieving mothers, entrepreneurs with an eye for quick profit at public expense – all of these lives collide in a chronicle that in harrowing, angry, and often slyly ironic.”
  • Five days at Memorial : life and death in a storm-ravaged hospital / Sheri Fink.  362.11  Fink provides a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina– and a suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Fink unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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Classic reading for lovers of English gardens, village life, and country houses

index4LBRRIONIn the 1930s, Englishman Beverley Nichols wrote about his adventure buying and restoring a dilapidated country house and garden, including his introduction to village life and the various neighbors who helped, hindered, and critiqued his efforts. 

His writing is lively, hilarious, and inspiring – perfect summer reading.  In 2006 upon the reissue of these books, Home and Garden described Nichols as being “as observant as Jane Austen, as witty as Oscar Wilde, and as sentimental as James Herriott.  He also happens to be as funny, timely, and un-P.C. as Jon Stewart.”

Get to know Beverley Nichols through his gardening trilogy – Merry Hall; Laughter on the Stairs; Sunlight on the Lawn  – and through the Allways trilogy, which includes Down the Garden Path; A Thatched Roof; A Village in a Valley.  Or try a new compilation of his writings, Rhapsody in Green: The Garden Wit and Wisdom of Beverly Nichols.

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This is the day! Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!

imagesWhat a great year for gardening with the rain in June and the moderate temperatures.  We can imagine there are zukes hiding under those huge leaves in your gardens.  Take a chance and sneak them into your neighbors yard before they become the size of baseball bats. Since it is also Happiness Happens Day, you will have succeeded in killing two birds with one stone.

You can find great savory recipes for next weeks crop in The Kitchen Garden Cookbook edited by Caroline Bretherton, Vegetables by James Peterson and Cooking from the Garden edited by Ruth Lively.  I plan to try Briami, a Greek dish of mixed garden-fresh vegetables, layered, seasoned and baked like a gratin. (page 172 in Cooking from the Garden)

 

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Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Women

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

Learning about other people’s lives can be endlessly fascinating, particularly if they are people who inhabit another place or time very different from your own. In my case, I love to read about the domestic and personal lives of ordinary women in American history as told through their journals or letters, the artifacts of their lives, or the evidence of historical sources and documents. Here are some outstanding books from Manhattan Public Library about the lives of American women.

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Martha Ballard, the subject of this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, was a housewife, midwife, and healer in Maine in the 18th century. Her diary is compelling reading, an intimate, personal view of the daily concerns and events in Ballard’s own life and the lives of the women she served, as well as happenings and social dynamics in the communities she traveled.

perfectionPerfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century, by Laura Shapiro, recounts the development of the Domestic Science reform movement in the Progressive-era U.S. between 1880 and 1930. The movement was an ambitious plan to improve the lives of American women and their families by applying “modern” scientific knowledge to common domestic activities, thereby boosting efficiency, promoting better health and sanitation, and improving food and nutrition. The impact of this movement on American homemakers and its legacy up to the present time include both positives and negatives. This is an enlightening and entertaining book.

Never Done: A History of American Housework, by Susan Strasser. Using plentiful illustrations and primary sources, this book offers a comprehensive overview of housekeeping and women’s work in U.S. history, from colonial and pioneer households through the industrialization of America to the consumer culture and time-stressed lifestyles of the 20th century.

No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, by Anne L. Macdonald. Great fun for knitters as well as armchair historians, this book chronicles the role of “the womanly art of knitting” through our national history. “From the Colonial woman for whom idleness was a sin to her Victorian counterpart who enjoyed knitting while visiting with friends, from the war wife eager to provide her man with warmth and comfort to the modern woman who knits as a creative and artistic outlet, this book offers a unique perspective on American women’s changing historical roles.

The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, follows 14 handmade artifacts of American domestic life through their history and the lives of the people who made and used them. An engaging combination of women’s studies, history, and the study of museum artifacts, this book guides the reader through American material culture of colonial times, Revolution, frontier life, the growth of commerce, and the Industrial Age in America.

Our Own Snug Fireside: Images of the New England Home, 1760-1860, by
Jane C. Nylander. The image of the early American home has been idealized over time and infused with great nostalgia. In “Our Own Snug Fireside”, author Jane Nylander draws from the journals of four women to discover the truth about the customs, traditions, friends, families, and work of the historical New England household, and creates a “fine social history of forgotten routines.”

Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890-1930, by Marilyn Irvin Holt. Studying the Domestic Science movement and the resources and programs it offered to the lives of rural women in America (home economics education, Extension Home Demonstration Units, etc.), this is a very readable, well-illustrated history of changing roles for women in agriculture that is significant in its inclusion of African-American and Hispanic American farm women.

somethingSomething from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, by Laura Shapiro. The story of how post-war overcapacity in the food manufacturing industry intersected (collided?) with the needs of 1950s housewives to produce dramatic changes in American kitchens, women’s lives, and family life. Characters in this entertaining history include modern marketing and food science, the advent of television advertising, advances in the American kitchen and diet, changing race relations in America, and the appearance of homemaking and cooking icons, both fictitious and real, from Betty Crocker to Julia Child to Freda De Knight. Close enough to present day to strike the chords of memory for many of us, this is fun and fascinating social history.

 

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, Mercury Column, News

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Kansas Water 50 Year Vision

We don’t experience it as strongly in Manhattan as they do in other parts of the state, but in parts of Kansas this is the fourth year of drought, resulting in stress to our water supply sources. Governor Brownback has asked several government departments to work together to examine this problem and plan a vision for the future. (more…)

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Not Just For Dummies

Linda Henderson, Adult Services Librarian

Interested in understandable information? Hungry for a new hobby? Manhattan Public Library offers over 300 “For Dummies” and “Complete Idiot’s Guides” that you can borrow today!

“For Dummies” books provide newcomer-friendly information and instruction on a broad variety of topics — everything from art to welding. Despite the title, their publisher has taken great pains to emphasize that the “For Dummies” books are not literally for “dummies”; the subtitle explains that they are simply, “A Reference for the Rest of Us!” To date, over 1,600 “For Dummies” titles have been published in numerous languages to worldwide acclaim.

The “For Dummies” series began in 1991 with “DOS for Dummies.” The book became popular due to the rarity of beginner-friendly instructions for using the notoriously user-unfriendly DOS interface. Later, the series branched out beyond computer technology, adding titles as diverse as “Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy for Dummies,” “Chess for Dummies,” and “Buddhism for Dummies.” Our library offers many of these great guides. (more…)

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It’s Grilling Time Again

by John Pecoraro,  Assistant Director

Summertime is almost here. It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to the smell of the open fire, the sizzling of grilled meat, and the joys of outdoor cooking.

The word barbecue derives from “barabicu,” a word from the Taino people of the Caribbean. The word appropriately translates as “sacred fire pit,” which adherents to the ritual of grilling will tell you, is exactly what barbecuing is.

What you will most likely find barbecued in the U.S., depends on where you live. In the Deep South, barbecue is all about pork, and sauces range from eastern North Carolina’s vinegar-based, to the mustard-base found in South Carolina. In Texas barbecue is brisket and sausage, while Kansas City BBQ uses these along with burnt ends, ribs, and smoked turkey. KC tomato-based sauces can be sweet, spicy, or tangy.

big flavor grillBefore you fire up the grill, visit the library to sample some of the outdoor cooking titles on the menu. “The Big-Flavor Grill,” by Chris Schlesinger, offers hassle-free recipes for steaks, chicken, ribs, chops, vegetables, shrimp, and fish. These recipes are inspired by Asian, Mediterranean, Latin, and Caribbean cuisine. In contrast to long-lead marinating, Schlesinger favors using spice rubs for stronger, better-defined flavors. His no fuss approach translates into faster preparation and grill times. (more…)

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A Childhood in Africa

By Marcia Allen, Technical Services & Collections Manager

What seems to be a simple memoir of a youth spent in Africa is so much more.  Boyd Varty’s “Cathedral of the Wild” recounts some incredible tales of encounters with wild animals and a sometimes harsh environment, but that’s just the beginning of this beautiful book.  Readers willing to venture into this story have lots of surprises in store.

The story takes place in Londolozi Game Preserve in South Africa, in what the author’s ancestors envisioned in 1926 as a hunting compound.  Over the years, Varty’s parents and uncle restored a wetland and brought back populations of elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards, etc., thus creating a very successful game preserve.  Varty and his younger sister, Bron, grew up amidst splendid wildlife populations, but they also learned a healthy respect for the ever-present dangers that wildlife can pose.  The book, for example, opens with a horrifying encounter that he and his father shared with a deadly black mamba. (more…)

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Gifts from the Kitchen

It’s that time of year when the non-procrastinators start thinking about gifts for family and friends. Some enjoy giving homemade treats as gifts in order to be more budget- friendly. Others like to give homemade gifts because they are more personal than buying a gift from the shelf. Whatever your reason for making homemade gifts,  the library has some great resources for finding yummy, edible treats to give as gifts.

edible diyOne book that caught my eye was “Edible DIY: Simple, Giftable Recipes to Savor and Share” by Lucy Baker. This book has some tasty sweet offerings that immediately drew my attention, such as Whiskey Butterscotch Sauce and Chocolate- Covered Pretzel Toffee. I also immediately had to find out what in the world Compost Bark might be. Turns out, it is a concoction of semisweet chocolate, puffed rice cereal, potato chips, and pretzels all mixed together. If you are tired of getting overloaded with sugar during the holidays, this book actually has only one chapter devoted to sweets. Try making something from one of the other chapters, such as “Crunchy,” “Boozy,” or “Jams, Jellies, and Other Preserves.”

(more…)

Posted in: For Adults, For Teens, Mercury Column

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Warm Up the House with Great Fall Cooking

Susan Withee,  Adult Services Department Manager

Time to ward off the autumn chill with some simple, soul-satisfying home cooking – soups, stews, one-pot cooking, comfort foods, and slow-cooker meals. Full of the flavors of the season, this is cooking that fills the house with delicious aromas and anticipation of the meal ahead.  It is fun to make and savor, and it’s even better when shared with others.  Start your own family tradition or invite the neighborhood.  Manhattan Public Library has hundreds of cookbooks for you, including these newer ones to inspire your autumn cooking.

“Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup,” by Maggie Stuckey.

fine cooking“Fine Cooking Soups & Stews: No-Fail Recipes for Every Season,” from the editors of Fine Cooking Magazine.

“The Ultimate Soup Cookbook,” edited by Neil Wertheimer.

“Soups & Sides,” by Catherine Walthers.

“Chili Nation: The Ultimate Chili Cookbook with Recipes from Every State in the Nation,” by the legendary, entertaining cookbook-writing team of Jane and Michael Stern.

“Real Stew:  300 Recipes for Authentic Home-cooked Cassoulet, Gumbo, Chili, Curry, Minestrone, …and Much More,” by Clifford Wright. (more…)

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