Between Bookcases

I want to let you in on a little secret.Bookstacks

There is a tradition that has been practiced on the grounds of colleges and universities across the country since long before webpages, Wikipedia, and apps existed.

If done right it can lead to new discoveries, stimulating ideas, diverse perspectives, groundbreaking realizations, and a newfound appreciation for how the past influences the present.

In fact, there is almost a guarantee that practitioners will be different at the end of their undertaking the tradition than they were at the beginning, for the opportunities to broaden one’s worldview, sensibilities, and knowledge are nearly endless.

Here at Wheelock, the secret tradition is practiced between the bookcases at the Library and it involves nothing more than taking the time to browse the treasures that have been collected over the years and continue to be collected today to capture and make available the intellectual output of the scholars, authors, and visionaries in the various disciplines taught here at the College.

This simple act of walking through the stacks and interacting with the contents not only provides a welcome escape from the various screens constantly demanding our attention, but it lets one engage in the joyful discovery of information without distraction, defined purpose, or specific need. Indeed, it trains one to embrace one of the most worthwhile activities possible, which is to pursue knowledge for its own sake.

To help facilitate and encourage this tradition, we here at the Library are in the midst of changing the labels on the end of the stacks throughout the collection by replacing the simple call number designations with descriptions of the disciplines each call number range represents. Soon, everyone will be free to identify and roam the ranges of their favorite discipline or a discipline that has piqued their curiosity.

I leave it to you, the reader, to take advantage of these new labels and this tradition and explore our collections. With any luck, you will come to how enriching this simple activity can be for the mind and soul. Lastly, don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments!

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Eat Your Books

I love books. I love food. I love books about food. Food isn’t just a vehicle for the nutrition we require to survive as living organisms. It can do anything. Salt just about wrote the history of mankind. Nothing brings back my childhood memories more vividly than a bowl of rice cake soup and a handful of cherries. And there’s a reason why when you throw a party, everyone ends up in the kitchen no matter how comfortable your couches are. Here are a few of my favorite books in which food plays a starring role. They all include recipes so that you can recreate the food in the story and relive your favorite moments in a whole new way.

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A Tangle of Knots – Cady is an eleven year old orphan living in a world where everyone has a Talent. Cady’s Talent is that she can determine and bake a person’s favorite cake even if they themselves don’t know it. This is a sweet story told from various viewpoints and each chapter brings you one step closer to unraveling the mystery of how all these different characters are connected. Recommended recipe – Cady’s Chocolate-Almond-Cherry Cake

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The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City - David Lebovitz is a professional cook/baker with a wildly successful blog and several cookbooks on his resume. He moved to Paris to start a new life and The Sweet Life in Paris is a hysterical ode to The City of Light and its inhabitants. If you ever take a trip to Paris, this book should be in your suitcase. All the recipes he shares are made with easy to find ingredients and have been tested in a kitchen so small that dishes must be cleaned in the bathtub. Recommended recipe – Hot Chocolate and Lemon Madeleines.

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The Girl Who Chased the Moon – I’m a huge fan of Sarah Addison Allen. In my opinion, she writes the best beach reads and food plays a major role in most of her books. There are two main characters that drive this story. Emily is a teenager adjusting to life in Mullaby, North Carolina after the death of her mother. She hopes that coming to her mother’s hometown will answer some of the riddles in her life but all she uncovers are more mysteries. Emily’s neighbor Julia can’t stop baking cakes. Her cakes contain all her dreams and, she hopes, the ability to bring back lost loves. Recommended recipe: Hummingbird Cake

relish

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen - Lucy Knisley is one of my favorite cartoonists and Relish is her food-themed graphic novel memoir. Her life lessons are learned through food and cooking and she shares how food has played a key role in shaping who she is today. You’ll envy her delicious life and then think back and recall your own food memories. It may also inspire you to start writing your recipes in illustration form. Recommended recipe: Huevos Rancheros

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The Truth About Twinkie Pie – GiGi (short for Galileo Galilei) is a brainy twelve year old being raised by her sister DiDi (short for Delta Dawn). DiDi wins a national cooking contest with their mother’s recipe for Twinkie Pie and uses the prize money to move themselves from a trailer park in South Carolina to New York City. Armed with her Recipe for Success, GiGi tackles a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, and a sparkling new identity. It’s a smart, warm and fuzzy feeling story about family and friendship. The recipes help set the mood and express characters’ emotions while satisfying your craving for comfort food. Recommended recipe: Mama’s Famous Twinkie Pie of course!

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Summertime and the Readin’ is Easy

Boston’s winter of 2015, one that evidenced that the climate beyond the wall in northern Westeros is creeping ever non-fictionward, is finally melting into spring.  The trees have leaves, the flowers have blooms, and nary a closed-toe shoe is to be seen on the campus of Wheelock College.

As such, it is time for Commencement and the Wondrous Thing that Follows Soon After Commencement:  summer.  With summer comes the ability to shake off the shackles of assigned reading and the time to choose any book one wants to read for fun.  In the past I have dedicated this time to beach reads or camp- themed books.  However, the ideal of freedom to read whatever I wanted spurred me to look for books written by authors who were free to publish whatever they wanted, how they wanted.  Self-published books are not what they once were.  Great writing, gripping stories, and even sleek covers are the new norms of independent authors.  Here are a few that deserve prime space on your shelf.

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A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic:  I have been carrying around this book since the day it arrived.  Heroine Amelia Dupree sets out on a creepy quest to find out the posthumous fate of her brother Mark.  Set in Asylum, Pennsylvania (look it up: there really is an Asylum Township), the setting was so evocative of my childhood, that I was transported to my early winters where I stood on my back porch and gazed at a cemetery’s gravestones on the hillside.  Though a ghost didn’t haunt the woods near my house, there were a fair share of creepy houses and mysteries hanging around in the foliage.  As Amelia teamed up with the mysterious Charlie Blue to uncover Asylum’s terrible past, I grew increasingly creeped out about going home for vacation.  Pennsylvania is more gothic than you might think.  Read this book, no matter what state you find yourself in this summer.

shreddedShredded by Karen Avivi:  Extreme sports are not my go-to form of entertainment.  However, I still found myself routing for Josie Peters in her quest for BMX domination.  Not since Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen series have I found a sports-themed book so riveting.  There is a romance budding through these pages, but it never crowds the pulse-racing, gravity-defying pull of Josie’s central mission towards greater athleticism.  This is also a book about friendship, and how young women can be competitive without becoming catty.

oneOne by Leigh Kopans:  This is the first self-published fiction book I read thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.   Not unlike sports books, I am also unlikely to pick up a book about superheroes.  I admit that I totally picked this book because of its beautiful cover and was richly rewarded.  Merrin Gray is born into a world where two powers make you a “Super,” and no powers make you a “Normal.”  Merrin has one power; she can hover.  Without a second power to propel herself forward, she is forced to neither fly nor be content to walk among other Normals.  Merrin quests to score an internship at the Biotech hub to try to rectify her plight through chemistry.  There she meets a boy like her and discovers there’s a more sinister undercurrent to the world she’s always taken for granted.  Fast-paced and page-turning, this book will leave you scrambling for its sequel, the aptly named Two. 

Though I won’t be gracing the pages of the library blog for the glorious summer months, I will be leafing through the pages of still more books.  Do you know any good self-published or indie books?  Leave them in the comments and I will be sure to check them out!

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Congratulations to our graduating seniors in Special Education!

I recently had the pleasure of attending capstone presentations by our graduating seniors in Special Education. During the spring semester, these students conducted group action research projects on self-selected topics, such as teacher beliefs about inclusion; transition planning for adolescents with special needs; and siblings of children with special needs.  The event, held on our Brookline campus, featured video presentations by each group, as well as individual reflections on students’ personal growth and professional development at Wheelock.

Photo of 13 smiling Wheelock students

The graduating class of 2015 in Special Education

As these graduating seniors reflected on their development as special educators, I was as impressed as ever by our students’ compassion, dedication, and sense of professional mission.  As a librarian who consulted with these groups early in their research process, I was especially thrilled to hear how their semester-long research projects had empowered them with knowledge that they would carry forward into their teaching practice or graduate study.

Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors in Special Education, including Braelan Martin, Tatiana Duarte, Meghan Trelegan, & Emma McLaughlin; Emily Jestus, Paige Dillon, Mallory Johnson, & Ashley Domaldo; and Becca House, Talia Mango, Rachel LeBlanc, & Sarah Hassett.  As you begin your professional careers, you’re bringing inquiring minds, professional skills, and a lot of heart to your future students and communities.  They’ll be lucky to have you.

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Play with your Food!

91df2c88d25db8ce28e57367eb545918 Saxton Freeman and Joost Elffers are masters at playing with food. In their hands oranges get frustrated, strawberries give kisses, and kiwi’s mug for the camera. In their many books, including Food Play, How are you Peeling?, and Food for Thought, the pair use the natural shapes of fruits and veggies to create dynamic characters and clever scenes.GR-130_6_2_3

 

The images in the books tell their own stories without words, making them work for kids of all ages–even adults will get a kick out of the creative ways fruits and veggies are turned in to recognizable faces and transformed into other objects.

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Using the creativity demonstrated by Freeman and Elffers, teachers, parents, and other caregivers and fun-thusiasts can encourage kids to make their own fun and silly faces from fruits and vegetables. Finding inspiration in the foods that are best for young people can make them both fun to play with and fun to eat. What characters are hiding in your fruit bowl? Get creative and find out!

 

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