National Outburst Week

national outburstnational outburst

Congressman Joe Wilson, Serena Williams and Kanye West bestowed upon the world the first National Outburst Week, as treating people with dignity and respect seems to have gone out the window. It is a major concern of our time, both in private and work life. A recent book, The Cost of Bad Behavior by Christine Pearson, delves into this timely issue by trying to quantify the effects of rude, uncivilized behavior in the workplace. Just what happens when you’ve been verbally assaulted by a coworker or a customer, tried to communicate with someone while they are texting, or made to feel left out of the loop during a team project? It can cause stress, health problems and weakened commitment.

Pearson looks at companies with strong leadership that implemented policies designed to create an environment where civilized behavior, dignity and respect are taken very seriously. And guess what? When the talk is walked from the top down companies can quantify the positive effects to their bottom line. Three cheers for dignity and respect!!!

Pioneer for peace and social justice

Today, September 6, is the birthday of social reformer Jane Addams, who was born in Cedarville, Illinois in 1860. On a trip to Europe, she visited a settlement house in London where more well-to-do people lived with residents in a poor neighborhood. This new way of helping the poor impressed Addams so much that on her return, she leased a large house in a low income area in Chicago and established Hull House which still exists today. In less than two years, over 2,000 people had visited Hull House and many used their services which eventually included not only child and health care but also a kindergarten, a social club for older kids, an art gallery, gym, library and labor museum.

Addams was also a champion for women's rights and peace, opposing the U.S. entrance into World War I. She founded what later became the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. One of their missions was to establish, in conjunction with The Jane Addams Peace Association a children's book award for a book that exemplifies Addams's ideals of international peace and justice. One of the winners of the 2009 award is Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola. Addams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Rockin' and Readin' with LaRon Williams

What a learning fest, when Storyteller LaRon Williams talked about Juneteenth and racial history at our Traverwood branch last night! I knew his reputation--but had not actually watched him spin history and tales. Lucky me, and lucky all of us, because not only did Williams give a great show, he also shared a reading list on racial hierarchy and transcending prejudice. Prominent is Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, the 2004 Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Reads book. Other titles include “Every Day Anti-Racism,” by Mica Pollock and The Color of Wealth.

Toasting wine for everyone

If like me, you are fascinated by wine and attitudes surrounding it, be sure to come hear International Wine Judge Ron Sober discuss wine snobbery and why it's not necessary, on June 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the downtown library. Beforehand you may want to read up on wine snobbery, in one of many fine wine books at the library.

Michael Vick to Work with Humane Society on Teen Dogfight Prevention

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Michael Vick, convicted, bankrupted, and imprisoned because of his dogfighting business, left prison before dawn this Wednesday morning. He returned to VA to serve the last portion of his sentence under house arrest. His plans after his official July 20th release include a return to NFL play, as well as participating in a partnership with the Humane Society. The partnership would target teen involvement with dogfighting. I wonder if he'll also adopt a rescued dog as a companion animal? For some entertaining and heartwarming stories about rescued and rehabilitated dogs (including an episode about the Vick dogs), check out this great National Geographic mini-series. Try Dogtown: New Beginnings and then there's more quality doggie time to be had with Dogtown: Second Chances. The library also has a great selection of books on how to retrain and help your own adopted dog adjust to his or her new life with you.

First Woman to Row Alone Across an Ocean

Tori Murden McClure has an AB from Smith College, a master’s in divinity from Harvard, a JD from the University of Louisville, and an MFA from Spalding University. Very impressive -- as is her new book, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean. Currently vice president at Spalding, McClure is the first woman to row alone across an ocean. This beautifully written memoir offers readers a spectacular blend of adventure, romance, and self discovery.

Vacations to Enrich Your Life

On our new book shelf here at the AADL you can pick up a copy of The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life, written by Pam Grout & published by National Geographic. The author's intent, as she states in the introduction, is to alter your idea of what vacation is meant to be and offer you the potential to change your life. The experiences are divided into four categories: arts and crafts getaways, learning retreats, volunteer vacations, and wellness escapes. Even if you can't afford some of the fabulous ideas set forth in this book, it's still enjoyable to read about them. Consider a three-day mahout (elephant wrangler) training course in Thailand. Spend a month working for African Impact, a lion rehabilitation center in Zimbabwe. Master the art of blending scotch at the Glengoyne Distillery in the Scottish highlands. Ride horses to Machu Picchu's sacred sister city, Choquequirao, Peru.
The trip that caught my attention is run by COBATI (Community-Based Tourism Initiatives) in Kampala, Uganda. Instead of a typical African safari package that does little to benefit the locals, COBATI homestays offer the amazing opportunity to stay in small, rural villages and learn about the real Uganda. Visit banana plantations, stay with midwives, learn beekeeping & mushroom growing, attend community weddings, visit flower farms and see homesteads with Ankole longhorn cattle (indigenous to Uganda for at least seven centuries). Interested? Visit www.cobati.or.ug or head to the library for a copy of this unique travel guide.

Battlestar Galactica and the United Nations

Battlestar Galactica and the United NationsBattlestar Galactica and the United Nations

Last night marked the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, the Sci Fi channel’s critically acclaimed TV series. In Battlestar Galactica, a nuclear war sends the last survivors of the human race drifting through the universe, fleeing from the Cylons (a race of machines identical to humans in almost every way) and searching for a new home, a legendary planet called Earth. BSG has been praised for its extremely relevant commentaries on different social and political issues, the main one being moral relativism in a time of war.

On Tuesday, March 17, the United Nations hosted a panel of UN representatives and the creators and cast of Battlestar Galactica to raise awareness about humanitarian concerns. The panel used episodes of the TV show to exemplify and discuss issues of human rights, terrorism, children and armed conflict, and interfaith reconciliation and dialogue.

Invisible Wall

At the age of 93, Harry Bernstein started writing a book about his childhood in a mill town in Northern England, where an "Invisible Wall " seemed to separate the Jewish and Christian families. At the age of 96, Invisible Wall: a Love Story that Broke Barriers was published and filled with the memories of Harry's absent alcoholic father, hardworking loving mother, characters from both the Christian and Jewish side of the street, and of course the forbidden romance between his older sister Lily and a Christian boy, Arthur, that lived on the other side of the "wall". Berstein describes the neighborhood with vivid recollection and makes you feel as if you are walking the cobblestone roads with him. If you read and enjoy this book, you might try Bernstein's later memoir The Dream centering around his family's journey to America when he was 12.

Fireflies in December

Fireflies in December is the debut novel of Jennifer Erin Valent about a 13 year old girl, Jessilyn, and her parents taking in her best friend Gemma, after Gemma's parent were tragically killed in a house fire. The problem is, the year is 1932, Gemma is black, the Lassiters are white, and they live in a small Virginia town. Jessilyn is the character of dreams, taking cues from her father and speaking out against the threats coming from her small prejudiced community. The tone and speech in the novel take you to the south to a time where the people faced struggles not only from the Depression but from intolerance as well. The plot of this novel reminds readers of the evil that ordinary human beings are capable of doing, even in the name of righteousness. If you don't mind some moderate religious undertones, this book is heart-warming yet bittersweet and reminds us that even in the face of violence and terror, goodness can still surround us.

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