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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Getting Gadgets? by Jeanna

 Getting gadgets? If your Christmas list includes technology, then we have some books for you.  Oh sure, you will probably get an owner’s guide with that brand new iPad or laptop.  But really, having recently faced a new laptop that runs Windows 8, I can highly recommend something much more understandable like

“Windows 8 Simplified” by Paul McFedries.  If all else fails, I don’t even have to know that much about what exactly I need to know, I can just look at the pictures, using them as a visual index.

The Dummies series is useful too, especially if you are just getting started.  Among many other Dummies titles, I found “Laptops and Tablets for Seniors or Dummies” by Nancy Muir to be particularly helpful.

If you don’t really know the difference between a laptop and a desktop or a laptop and a tablet, this book is for you. With two chapters on safety and security, and one on getting help with vision and hearing challenges, this book is thorough and well organized. The print also appears to be slightly larger than normal, another plus for older readers.
And speaking of font size, have you discovered the joys of e-reading?  Unlike a hardcover book, my Kindle graciously allows me to make the letters bigger as the day goes on and my eyes start to tire.  If, on the other hand, Santa brings a Nook to your house, thank him; then visit our library for “The Nook Book: an unofficial guide,” by Patrick Kanouse.  

For iPad owners, I recommend “How to Do Everything iPad,” by Joli Ballew

Master the iPad and you can master your life, apparently. At the very least you’ll be able to “Manage Your Schedule” (Chapter 13) and “Find a Nearby Restaurant and Walk to It” (Chapter 14, “Use Maps”). 
If you’re worried about technology, particularly the Internet, mastering you and your family, then “Raising Digital Families for Dummies” Amy Bair may be for you. 

Filled with practical advice about some of modern parenting’s hottest topics, this book is a welcome addition to our library collection. 

All it takes to share in our collection is a valid library card--think of it as being on Santa’s Library’s Nice List.  Ask at the Help Desk for more recommended computer books.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dystopian Novels


The sixth community-wide reading event, “One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads Fahrenheit 451,” will kick-off Feb. 3, 2014.  This novel, written by Ray Bradbury in 1953, is considered a classic dystopian novel describing a post-literate society in which books and homes are burned by firemen.  Dystopian fiction allows the reader to immerse oneself into a society characterized by human misery, squalor, oppression, disease and/or overcrowding and generally headed to irreversible oblivion (unless our hero/heroine saves the day.)  These novels can stimulate great discussions as will be taking place in Feb and March 2014 during the “One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads Fahrenheit 451” event.   

 The library has many other enticing dystopian novels of which I have listed a few of my favorites.  Top on my list is the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  “Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay” 

are set in a future world in which North America is divided into 12 districts with two members of each district being forced to fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games. These novels are now being made into major motion pictures with the recent release of the second novel.  (“Hunger Games” will be shown at the library during our “One Book” event.)

If you like “The Hunger Games” trilogy, you will also enjoy the “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth.  In this dystopian world, Chicago is divided into five factions to which all sixteen year olds must devote the rest of their lives.

Other favorite dystopian novels of mine include“The Giver”by Lois Lowry

“1984” and “Animal Farm” by George Orwell; “Unwind” by Neil Shusterman and “City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau.

The next time you are in the library, find a dystopian novel, settle into the comfort of your home, and read about a world you are thankful is not the one you must live in.