All Doggies in the Pool!

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Time for the annual Buhr Park Dog Swim. Bring your doggies (swimsuits optional) on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Wednesday, Sept. 3, 3-8 p.m., and they can splish and splash to their heart's content. Pre-registration is required so call 734.971.3228 right away. Dogma-Catmantoo, Arbor Dog Day Care, Pet Emporium and Ann Arbor Biscuit Co. have donated prizes so this will be the premiere canine event this year.

1,000 Ultimate Travel Experiences

Whether you are a well-seasoned traveller with a mangled passport, or someone who rarely leaves your spot on the couch, it's likely you will find inspiration in A Rough guide to the world : Make the most of your time on earth. This hefty book is crammed full of amazing travel experiences grouped according to global areas, starting with Britain & Ireland, and finishing with The Polar Regions (you didn't think they'd forget the North and South Pole, did you?). Seeking a natural miracle? Visit Iguazu Falls in Argentina - more than two hundred cascades thundering over an eighty meter cliff, all surrounded by lush tropical forest. Seeking an event to remember? Try April 30th/Queen's Day in Amsterdam (police are forbidden to interfere with any activity, no matter how outrageous). Seeking a wonder of the ancient world? Try the unparalleled Roman archaeological site of Baalbek in Lebanon. (In the words of Robert Byron, it "dwarfs New York into a home of ants".) Seeking a journey closer to home? Grab your bike and ride the Slickrock in Moab, Utah. Personally, I am inspired to plan a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela in Ethiopia. I'll share my injera with you if you'll pay for my plane ticket!

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival

Summer is almost over. We're all out of money, unable to travel out of town, and classes will be starting again soon. But don't despair! There are plenty of cheap if not completely free options for fun coming up. For example, this weekend the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival is here and admission will cost you nothing. The festival features many fun events such as a soccer tournament, an ugliest car contest, a pie-eating contest, Native American artifact viewing, and a "vintage baseball" game. If you are interested in festivals, take a look at Arborweb.com's list of annual local events as well as the library's wide variety of resources on local attractions.

Recipes from America's Rich Immigrant Heritage

Preheat those ovens, dear readers, and grab a copy of Greg Patent's A Baker's odyssey : celebrating time-honored recipes from America's rich immigrant heritage. After visiting the kitchens of more than sixty bakers around the country, Patent (an immigrant himself) discovered the baking secrets, cultural significance and treasured recipes of immigrant families from a multitude of countries around the globe. His cookbook's authentic recipes are grouped by cooking style, rather than nationality, allowing readers to see the connections between regional specialties (like Chicken & Potato Sambouseks from Iraq vs. Samosas from India vs. Shrimp Rissois from Portugal).
If the idea of nibbling Australian Lamingtons (what chocolate cupcakes are to Americans), getting messy with Koeksisters (South African deep fried pastries) or baking up Szarlotka (Polish apple pie) sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend this book. The author includes a big list of mail order sources for baking gear and specialty ingredients that you may not be able to find in your local market. Also, for the baking challenged (like myself), a DVD is included with the book that demonstrates baking techniques for items like Cannoli, Schwabisch Pretzels and Thai Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritters. One word of caution - if it isn't already obvious to you - these recipes are NOT for people on a diet! Mmm...bring on the butter.

Raspberry Picking

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On the lookout for something fun for the entire family, gets everyone to enjoy the great outdoors and is easy on the pocket book?

Then raspberry picking at Makielski’s Berry Farm should be your destination. Located on 90 acres of woods, ponds and berry patches just 8 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, this beautiful place is a wonderful gem you’ll want to return to year after year.

Pack a picnic, get the kids and the dog (yes, well mannered doggies are welcome) in the car and motor over to a wonderful day in the country and pay only $3 a quart for raspberries.

Then come home with your crimson treasure and start baking! Look at The Berry Bible, Luscious Berry Desserts, Good Housekeeping Best-Loved Desserts, Heirloom Baking With the Brass Sisters, Pure Dessert and Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts for inspiration.

Be sure to freeze some so this winter you can remember the gorgeous day you spent out there when you put raspberries in your oatmeal.

Summer Heat

Wow! It's been HOT outside lately! Many of us have taken refuge from the heat in ice cream shops, movie theatres, or even busted out our hat fans, but that just isn't enough. What we all need to cool off is a good old-fashioned cannonball into ice cold water. If you're feeling hot under the collar, take an afternoon off from the air conditioning and head for a pool or local beach. The area has many beaches to choose from including Heath Beach, the Waterloo Recreation Area, the Pinckney Recreation Area, and the Island Lake Recreation Area. Even thinking about hanging out at the beach is fun. When is the last time any of us built a sand castle?

Summer Reading for the Food Obsessed

I'm not much of a "foodie" but I do love to travel and was intrigued by the title Around the world in 80 dinners : the ultimate culinary adventure 50,000 Miles, 10 Countries, 800 Dishes, and 1 Rogue Monkey. In 2005 culinary experts Cheryl and Bill Jamison, known for award winning titles like The big book of outdoor cooking and entertaining, used their giant stash of frequent flier miles to head off on a three month vacation around the globe in search of food and adventure. In March they published this book, offering readers the chance to live vicariously through their journeys in Bali, Australia, New Caledonia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, France and Brazil. This is not a cookbook, although they do provide authentic recipes from their destinations, as well as travel information about hotels, restaurants and points of interest (like the National Elephant Institute in Lampang, Thailand). If you're looking for a literary masterpiece, this is not the book for you - due mainly to the quirky flip-flopping between first and third person narrative. However, if you seek some light, insightful and humorous reading, filled with enthusiasm for food and travel, this will make a great choice for summer.

New Knits on the Block

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Let me make a confession: I don’t know how to knit. And working at the library with a slew of fabulous, fun and new knitting books, well, I feel a bit guilty. I was recently searching for the movie The Goonies in our catalog and a wonderful book came up in the search instead: New Knits on the Block. A book that features knitting projects inspired by costumes, toys and decorations. What does that have to do with The Goonies, you ask? There is a knitting project called Goonie’s Treasure Bath Set, Which consists of a Jolly Roger wash cloth, a stuffed parrot, eye patch, and head scarf- all stitched up for bath time play. The fun doesn’t stop there. The book also has directions to knit the following: a St. Elmo’s Fire firefighter hat, Labyrinth felted wizard and princess hats, a Schneider tool set and pouch (my personal fave), The Tooth is Out There alien tooth fairy pillows, a Benetar guitar pillow, and even The Last Unicorn dress up headpiece. I could go on and on with the pop culture titled, magically adorable crafty projects. If I could knit I would make these treats for every kid I know, and possibly a few for myself.

The author, Vicki Howell, is the host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty, and is well respected in the knitting world for her funky, hip edgy designs. (I know it’s summer and folks don’t want to knit scarves in the summer, but these are toys! And toys are needed year round.)

Summertime, the living is easy

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"Summer parties are so easy: throw something on the grill, reach into the fridge for cold beverages and sides, call friends. But wait, it gets easier. Barbecue guru Steven Raichlen's Barbeque! Bible is available in a 10th anniversary edition this year, while newcomers to hosting will find everything they need to know in Party Basics for New Nesters, the latest book from Maria McBride, author of a series of wedding planning books".

And if you are a fan of the Foodnetwork and find yourself still watching those re-runs of HGTV programs, why not sign up for the Lifestyle newsletter from our new service - BookLetters.

Once a month, you will receive via email or RSS feed a list of the best new cookbooks, gardening guides, pet care manuals and more - from self-help and fitness to home decor, books designed to fit your active lifestyle and renew your spirit.

OOh! AAh! Fireworks!

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Grab the blankets and head to the Fireworks Extravaganza on Saturday, June 28th at Hudson Mills Metro Park. Fireworks begin at 10:00 p.m. but come early for the concert by Big Pinky & the Joint Effort Band.

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