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Hot Chocolate

For years I regarded hot chocolate as a warm childhood memory, long pushed aside for the bitter deliciousness that is my morning espresso. After two eye-opening hot chocolate experiences: a thick, sweet cup in NY at Jacques Torres Chocolate and another equally thick, but less sweet serving in Ann Arbor at Frita Batidos, the quest to create my own perfect hot chocolate began.

A Dog Year

Based on the 2003 memoir by best-selling author Jon Katz, A Dog Year tells the story of a writer going through a midlife crisis who agrees to adopt a high-strung border collie with issues named Devon. Read the book or watch the movie.

The New Frugality

The new frugality : how to consume less, save more, and live better by Chris Farrell — Are you looking for small changes you can make in your everyday life to save money? Perhaps to streamline things so that life feels less complicated? This book has many great tips based on a philosophy of living with a "margin of safety" and living a more sustainable lifestyle. Many of the ideas here seem like common sense but that you might not have thought about.

Wicked Reads

If you like fiction about vampires, werewolves and other paranormal beings, then give these books about witches a try:

Brida: a novel by Paulo Coelho; translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa

Waking the witch by Kelley Armstrong

My favorite witch by Lisa Plumley

Prefer nonfiction? Check these out:

Nicklas Lidstrom Promotes Exercise, Good Diet at Field Elementary

Hi Everyone! Be sure to check out this article from the Canton Patch. The very lucky students of Field Elementary got a visit from Detroit Red Wing Nicklas Lindstrom. He spent some time talking to them about exercise, proper eating, and being healthy. Also, be sure to check out our hockey books… it's a great sport that will definitely keep you physically fit. Enjoy!

New Dietary Guidlines Released

On January 31, 2011, the The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services released the new Dietary Guidelines 2010. With the new 7th edition, there is more emphasis on balancing healthy eating and physical activity. Click here for the link to the website and be sure to check out our books on healthy eating.

Happy Birthday Thomas Edison

Today is Thomas Edison's 164th birthday. Thomas Edison was one of the world's most famous inventors. Some of his inventions include the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and an electric light bulb. He has 1,093 U.S. patents under his belt making him one of, if not the, most achieved inventors of all time. Learn more about Thomas Edison and his inventions.

Grow your own nutrition

Did you know that there are many really easy to grow veggies that are super-nutritious? Some of them are even extremely tasty, like the sweet peas (from my garden) pictured here. You may find yourself eating them right off the vine! Check out this Top Ten list and start planning your garden for this summer.

Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs: a bountiful, healthful garden for lean times by Jim Wilson; photography by Walter Chandoha

Saving and Sharing Seeds

Seed libraries are a way for people to share the seeds from the plants they grow, as well as to gain access to other heirloom varieties with which their neighbors may have had good luck. The Bay Area Seed Interchange Library is one such organization, which appears to be working well. Have you swapped seeds with others? Do you keep your own library of seeds from year to year? Would you be interested in participating in a seed swap in Canton? For more info on saving seeds, check out this article:

ACT Test Prep Guides

Canton residents can register for the ACT Prep Class with Sylvan Learning Center on February 15th with a valid Canton Public Library card. Seats are still available so don't wait to sign up!

ACT: premier

Cracking the ACT by Geoff Martz, Kim Magloire, and Theodore Silver

ACT: strategies, practice, and review

What year is 2011 in Chinese?

The Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the 4th sign in the Chinese zodiac which consists of 12 animals signs. To find your sign, click on China Today web. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. For more information on Chinese horoscopes, see these sources in our library. For information on how Chinese New Year is celebrated, including legends, food, and taboos, see this China Facts page.

Shamrock

Many folks ask, "Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?" The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

Find out more about St. Patrick and Irish History.

Food Reading

Even when I don't feel like cooking I gravitate toward the cookery section of the library. I'm always interested in food and there are so many wonderful books on that subject that rarely list a recipe. The result? Hours spent comtemplating my favorite subject without the guilt of untried recipes haunting me. Just a few of my favorites are:

The man who ate everything : and other gastronomic feats, disputes, and pleasurable pursuits by Jeffrey Steingarten — Vogue food columnist Steingarten writes hilariously about his obessions with food.

You can compost

No, really, you can! Even if you live in an dwelling without a yard, you can still turn your food waste into rich, useful compost. Michigan garden expert Colleen Vanderlinden shows you how over at Planet Green. You can also check out some of our many resources on composting:

The compost specialist : the essential guide to creating and using garden compost, and using potting and seed composts by David Squire

May We Suggest (On Facebook)?

If you're on facebook and like books, DVDs, and all the other great things Canton Public Library provides, you'll probably be interested in our May We Suggest facebook page. We post recommendations from our expert staff: romance books, comedy DVDs, nonfiction and advice titles, and more. Along with that, we'd like to know what you're reading and whether you recommend other people to read it too. Join us on facebook for great recommendations.

Starting Your Veggie Garden From Seed

Now is the time when many gardeners in our area begin to start seeds indoors, so they'll have lovely seedlings to transplant into the garden when the weather warms up. You can even reuse many items from around the house, to save both money and time. We also have a number of books that will help you with starting from seed:

Gardening with heirloom seeds: tried-and-true flowers, fruits, and vegetables for a new generation by Lynn Coulter

Resources for the Transgender Community

She's Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, was recommended to me by a transgender friend who described it as "the book she could relate to the most" regarding her experience. The book helped her in her decision to transition and me to understand her struggle with her sexual identity and what to expect from the transitioning process. CPL has other helpful gender identity resources including a Living Book who is the co-president of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) who can discuss the topic of transgender with you.

Remember the [blank]

A call to remember notable events, especially surprise attacks and disasters, is a well-known trope in the cultural memory. As George Santayana quipped, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So, in case you have forgotten, here are some resources for remembrance of things past:

Remember the Alamo

The Alamo: a cultural history by Frank Thompson

Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett's last stand and other mysteries of the Texas Revolution by James E. Crisp

The Alamo [videodisc] by The History Channel

Remember the Maine

How the battleship Maine was destoyed by H.g. Rickover