100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know


Perusing the new books downtown, I found this "Family Handyman” book, 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home, which looked interesting since I am knee deep in several DIY home improvement projects. Maybe I should have read this before I started.

Best used as a starting point for many different lessons about maintaining the comfort, safety, efficiency and beauty of your home, all of the articles are short, well-illustrated, and very to the point, highlighting the salient facts and considerations for each project. You might need other books to go in depth on tiling your bathroom or drying out a wet basement. This book is more of a homeowner’s checklist of what to be aware of when keeping house. Home Maintenance 101. Understanding Your House for Dummies.

A sampling of topics includes: everything related to heating and cooling and saving money while doing both; maintaining your roof, lawn mower, water heater, drains, and appliances; fixing a leak, a flood, a wall, a door, a furnace; painting properly, washing windows winningly, applying grout appropriately; everything about fire prevention, fighting pests, using tools, and preparing for multiple mini-disasters (storms and smoke, mold and mildew, burglars and blackouts).

Do you know where your shut-off valves are?

There's nothing more Exquisite than a good graphic novel.

French graphic novels translated into English are beginnning to become more popular with titles such as Blacksad taking the comic world by storm. It's not surprising then that Exquisite Corpse has found its way across the Atlantic.

The story follows Zoe, a promotional model for motor shows and other such industry events, as she expresses disinterest in her life and the direction that it's going. One day while on her lunch break she notices a man looking out at the world from his apartment, and needing to use the bathroom, barges into his life. The man it turns out is a famous author Thomas Rochard, and author who it turns out is supposed to be dead. Follow Zoe as she deals with the ins and outs of dealing with a dead man, his former wife and current editor Agathe and their cat Gatsby.

The artwork is exquisite, if you'll excuse my use of the word to describe this book, and lush with meaning. Whilst reading it you can almost forget that this was originally French, the translation is that good, and you might find yourself shocked when a city scene that is so obviously French appears.

This book is a fascinating read, from the subject matter to the almost meta nature of a book about an author it's well worth adding to your "to read" list.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #567

The Boys * * is the first of Toni Sala's books to ever be published in English. The recipient of the 2005 National Literature Prize awarded by the Catalan government, Sala also received the Premis de la Crítica (The Critics Prize for Fiction Catalan) for The Boys in 2014.

In the sleepy Catalonian village of Vidreres, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, two teenage boys, sons of a powerful landowner, were killed in a horrible accident. Overnight, the grief changed the lives of everyone in town, including our four narrators: Iona, a teenage girl who narrowly escapes the same fate by refusing a ride, now she is left to wrestle with survivor's guilt; Ernest, the local banker heads out to the crash site and seeks solace by visiting a hooker; brutish trucker Miqui, no stranger to mayhems, is quietly touched by the deaths; and Nil, an unhinged artist is in pursuit of Iona.

"Long recognized among Catalonia's leading authors, Toni Sala is at his dark, mischievous best, delivering a sinister, fast-moving tale laced with labyrinthine meditations... From Internet hookups and face transplants to tense standoffs, sexual fantasies, and the loss of the ones we hold most dear, Sala offers us a frighteningly contemporary vision of how alone we are in an age of unparalleled connectivity."

Will appeal to fans of Javier Marias, Horacio Castellanos Moya; Michael Ondaatje; and Michel Houellebecq.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Aaahh!!! Real Spiders!

The story is so often the same: you descend into the basement to get a blanket on a cold winter night, lift it up, and BOOM! There's a spider. You could scream, dance, wiggle, flail, or... you could read this amazing new book by Bethany Barton called I'm Trying to Love Spiders: (It Isn't Easy)! Maybe it won't completely cure your fear of spiders, a.k.a. arachnophobia, but it will give you a new appreciation for all the great things spiders do in our world. Chock full of cool facts, this book informs readers that spiders really aren't that dangerous, and actually help us get rid of annoying insects. It might even make readers laugh with cartoonish drawings that let readers "squish" a spider if they're not convinced.

Coming from a reader who cringes at the mere image of a spider, I found this book both approachable and humorous. Anyone who wants to handle spider sightings with a little more bravery could benefit from reading this friendly book.

Want to learn even more about creepy crawlies of the world? Check out these great materials on Insects and Invertebrates!

Kid BITS - "Thank You"

Ms. Rachel is Thankful for Malletts Creek Branch Library and Storytime audiences.
We had stories and songs of thanks.
THANKFUL by Eileen Spinelli ... "If you're a Waitress you are thankful for soft shoes."
We sang “My Favorite Things” and "May There Always Be Sunshine" with Ms. Betsy and her banjo.
We celebrated grandmother coming to visit with HERE COMES GRANDMA.
We know how to take good care of those we love in “Taking Care Of Bear”.

For more books to be thankful for, try the following:
The MOST THANKFUL THING … looking at photos together.
BIRTHDAY PRESENTS … a family remembers what they gave their daughter for each birthday.
The THANKFUL BOOK by Todd Parr.
YOU’RE ALL MY FAVORITES … says Papa Bear to all three of his children. How can that be?
ALL The LOST THINGS … may be thankful when they come back around.
A GIFT For MAMA … a circular tale.
|BEFORE WE EAT … thankful for those who raise and bring the food.
GRACIAS ... and in Spanish language GRACIAS by Pat Mora.

I am thankful ! I hope you are too !!

2015 Mitten Award Winner: Maple by Lori Nichols

Every year the Michigan Library Association gives out a Mitten Award for quality in youth picture books. This year the winner was Maple by Lori Nichols.

Maple follows the early life of a young girl named Maple and her best friend, a maple tree. The illustrations are vibrant and wonderfully drawn, and it's very easy to get pulled into Maple's little world. This is a great book for those who are about to have a new member in the family, or for those who already have a younger brother or sister, and there are sequel books as well!!!

Out on the Wire: an illustrated look at the world of radio

Jessica Abel pulls off the counter intuitive—illustrating a purely auditory medium—in her new graphic novel Out on the Wire. The book goes behind the scenes at seven of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts including This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial and Invisibilia to show readers how the producers of these shows go from abstract ideas to the finished product that listeners hear. Narrative radio shows like the ones Out on the Wire focuses on have increased dramatically in popularity over the past few years, as smartphones and apps make it easier to listen to podcasts on the go. As a devoted podcast listener myself, I love how immersive the ones that Abel chose to focus on in this book are. It’s amazing that talk radio has risen to the level that it has! Abel was assisted by Ira Glass, of This American Life, and Jad Abumrad, of Radiolab in the creation of Out on the Wire and Glass even wrote the forward for the book. Although the book is fascinating for all readers, it’s particularly a must-read for fans of the podcasts and shows that Abel focuses on. The book is truly a novel and well-executed idea that gives readers an inside look into the world of the voices and stories that we hear every day.

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook

"I'm Ragweed. I'm a farm dog, and I'm really, really good at it. Most dogs aren't. But don't worry. You'll be great! You have the handbook."

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook is a delightful new addition to our picture book collection. Throughout this darling book, Ragweed lists off tasks that a farm dog is not supposed to take part in, such as "don't wake the farmer", "don't lie in the mud" and "don't sit on the chickens' nests", but it's not until the end that Ragweed reveals the true purpose of being a farm dog: getting biscuit treats! With each line of advice, Ragweed is quick to break his rule... but usually receives a biscuit for his efforts anyway!

This adorable new book by Anne Vittur Kennedy features a fun premise and a truly charming pup. The humor is instantly identifiable, and readers of all ages will enjoy reading this goofy book together. The bright and colorful illustrations perfectly showcase Ragweed's enthusiasm and fervor for his perfectly suited profession. This hilarious romp through the tricky task of being the world's best farm dog is a real treat!

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Reading our Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns brought such a surprise. Written in 1950 and newly reissued by New York Review Books Classics, it tells the story of 21 year-old Sophia, who is married to Charles, a poor, young artist. The first line of this slim volume, “I told Helen my story and she went home and cried,” warns us that not all will be happy for Sophia, but the darkness of her story is hidden in her delightful, childlike narration. Readers should also heed the note on the copyright page, “the only things that are true in this story are the wedding and Chapters 10, 11 and 12 and the poverty.” These “true” chapters are the ones which detail the birth of Sophia's child and all the humiliating and dehumanizing horror she feels at this event. Yet Sophia's story is at times lighthearted to the point of inciting laughter. No matter what she is conveying, Sophia's tone, as she takes us through her ups and downs in daily life in England in the Great Depression, is always forthright.

“[H]er writing is so often antic and funny, full of odd little turns of phrase and words (‘squarked’), that it takes the reader some time to notice how awful her portraits of life really are,” says Emily Gould in her introduction to this edition, “but Barbara Comyns’s beguiling novel is far from tragic, despite the harrowing ordeals its heroine endures.”

I highly recommend diving into Comyns's autobiographical story. At only 196 pages, it contains so much, enticing humor and immense sadness.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #566

The Girl with Ghost Eyes * by M.H. Boroson is "a brilliant tale of magic, monsters, and kung fu in the San Francisco Chinatown of 1898."

Young widow Xian Li-lin is a Maoshan priestess, following in the footstep of her renowned exorcist father. While guarding the temple on her own, a trusted friend of her deceased husband lures her into a trap set for her in the spirit world. It is Li-Lin's special ability to see spirits and travel to their realm, an ability known as having yin or "ghost" eyes that brings great shame to their family, but it might be the only gift she could count on to save her father against the mysterious one-armed man who wants her father dead.

To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket as she navigate the dangerous alleys and backrooms of Chinatown.

"With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young woman searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together."

Readers might also enjoy Vermilion: the adventures of Lou Merriwether, psychopomp by Molly Tanzer; Under Heaven by Guy Gavriell Kay; and Snake Agent by Liz Williams.

* = starred review

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