Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! by Kathy Sheldon

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!The Hook
Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Make Stylish Shrink Plastic Jewelry by Kathy Sheldon caught my attention because I’m always on the lookout for cheap and easy craft projects to do in my down time. It’s even better when I find a project that hooks my kids and gets us all crafting together, and results in beautiful items we can wear ourselves or give as gifts. I’ve enjoyed making fun stuff with Shrinky Dinks since I was a kid myself, but now that I can purchase blank sheets of the shrink plastic (in clear and solid colors) and draw and color my own designs, it’s opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities.

P.S. If you don’t know what Shrinky Dinks are, check ‘em out:

Tell Me More
A colorful and fun crafter’s how-to book that combines drawing, coloring, and jewelry-making, Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! is filled with great ideas! It contains 35 projects and the templates you’ll need to make them happen. Think shrink plastic is a low-brow medium? You won’t after you check this book out and see the beautiful things you can easily make with it!



Recommended For
I recommend this book for folks who love to make stuff, but don’t have a lot of time, money, or expertise. Shrink film is fun and easy to work with and this book contains projects with appeal for all ages. It also offers a wide range of styles – from cute and clever to simply beautiful.

Final Say
I own many interesting and unusual pieces of jewelry, and often receive comments and compliments from strangers about a piece I’m wearing, but on the days when I’m wearing something I’ve created from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!, I receive far more.  People love the look of this jewelry! It’s unusual and the shrink film retains color extremely well, so the pieces I’ve made are bright and eye-catching. Aside from the fabulous projects it features, it’s also inspired me to come up with many new and fresh ways to use shrink plastic creatively.

You can pick up a copy of Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! at the Bellingham Public Library.

– Jenni


Summer Reading Reviews, Week 6

So many good reviews from Summer Reading for Adults this week.  Check them out:

Sugar Cube by Kir JensenSugar Cube
Five Stars
Portland is well known for its world of food carts and Sugar Cube is no exception to the list of carts I want to relish. Great and unusual recipes with easy to follow instructions! My favorites: page 56, “Rosemary’s Baby” sugar cookies, and page 95, Pots de Creme.


Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon KrakauerUnder the Banner of Heaven
Four Stars
Solid history of the Church of Latter Day Saints and its violent past. Fascinating and insightful.



A Bad Day for Pretty by Sophie LittlefieldA Bad Day for Pretty
Four Stars
Excellent mystery featuring the adventures of Stella Hardesty, DV survivor and force to be reckoned with. This sequel to Bad Day for Sorry is full of recognizable characters and middles aged heroine who you’ll want to see more of.

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

How Should a Person Be First Impressions
How Should a Person Be? is categorized as a work of fiction, but reading it felt very much like sneaking a peek into the author’s diary. The main character’s name is Sheila, which is also the author’s name, and several of the characters’ friends in the book really do exist in our world. Writers are told to “write what you know”, and works of fiction are often inspired by factual events. This book begs the question: At what point does reality become story? Is there a percentage of made-up stuff that a book must contain to be called “fiction”?

Drive-by Summary
Young, creative, and newly divorced – Sheila is a playwright on a deadline, and struggling with a severe case of writer’s block that is symbolic of how stuck she’s feeling in general. In the process of attempting to complete the play she’s already been paid to write, she embarks on a “life experiment” in which she closely observes and records her closest friends and relationships.

My Favorite Character
I hate to admit to being as narcissistic or irresponsible as Sheila reveals herself to be, but if I’m truly honest I’ll have to confess I’m guilty of many of her thoughts and actions at different points in my life. The likeability of the character occurs because the author lets it all hang out – the ugly and the beautiful, the mundane and the magical, the superficial and the reverent.

Words to Live By
Puer aeternus = the eternal child

“But while others actually build a life in which things gain in meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitably looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffering, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful.”

Recommended For
If you’re carrying a load of hidden shame, have voyeuristic tendencies, and enjoy subjecting yourself to the philosophizing of the self-absorbed, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. If you’re curious about the lives of young women and men populating the artsy underbelly of the city, you’ll probably like this book. If you feel that young people today are too self-focused, you might be annoyed by the characters in this book – but I’d bet you’ll still be interested in this peek into their lives. Be forewarned – Sheila lives the life of a sexually active adult and some related scenes are graphically depicted.

Final Say
I’ve always had a difficult time keeping a diary because of the embarrassing, and sometimes plain old boring, honesty that’s required. I don’t like to admit that I feel the way that I do sometimes, or that I’ve behaved the way that I have. I admire Sheila Heti’s bravery in writing this book and sending it out into the world.

You can get How Should a Person Be? at the Bellingham Public Library.

- Jenni

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 5

Here are some more great reviews from participants in our 2014 Summer Reading for Adults program.  Enjoy!

Expecting Better by Emily OsterExpecting Better
Three Stars
Pregnancy advice have you feeling anxious? This academic delves into the research to discern the customary from the scientifically established. She includes citations so you can make up your own mind but also summarizes her conclusions in reasuring and pragmatic advice.


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David SedarisLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Four Stars
The author’s dry sense of humor is so fun to read. He writes about childhood memories as well as his current adventures in biographical chapters. Other short story type chapters are confusing at first because he becomes someone else, quite opposite. This was a very entertaining book that made me think!


The Third Plate by Dan BarberThe Third Plate
Five Stars
Thought provoking look at farming, seed saving and market desire for foods.  A must read for anyone concerned about our food sources.



Want to see your review here?  Join Summer Reading for Adults!

Report From the Interior by Paul Auster

Book CoverThe Hook
A skillfully written memoir can be as moving as any novel, but it can be hard to break away from the humdrum verse-chorus-verse of writing a coming-of-age trajectory. Not to be discouraged, Auster published Winter Journal in 2012, an account of his 63 years of existence explored through the prism of physical being – a record of scrapes, residences, romantic encounters and familial losses, challenging the literary status quo through his use of non-linear narrative and themes contemplating his descent into old age.

Report From the Interior is his companion piece to Winter Journal, and examines the ideas most formative in his intellect and work – another unconventional offering to the world of autobiography. This time the meditations focus on childhood heroes, academic grapplings, political turmoil, and his own foray into literature.

Report From the Interior is presented in four chapters in the second person. The prose is disjointed – memories can be triggered by a teacup or movie poster, world events or secret alphabets – all information is fair game in the molding of a young mind, and it’s fascinating to see the touchstones of memory fragment and intersect. Auster begins with a vast intake of influences and memories, and like a train gathering speed, feeds on more substantial kinds of fuel as we progress through the pages. This book is a bit like opening your junk drawer, you could find anything from silver dollars to an endless supply of rubber bands and ketchup packets – but it’s damn riveting stuff. He spends 40 pages recounting the “cinematic earthquake” of “I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang”, and shifts to receiving a package from his former wife, writer Lydia Davis – a photocopy of every letter he had written her during their time together. The final chapter is a photo album in which the author presents a gallery of those who have made an impression upon him – and not a single image of himself.

A Snapshot
“Your circumstances at the time were as follows: Midcentury America; mother and father; tricycles, bicycles, and wagons; radios and black-and-white televisions; standard-shift cars; two small apartments and a house in the suburbs; fragile health early on, then normal boyhood strength; public school; a family from the striving middle class; a town of fifteen thousand populated by Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, all white except for a smattering of black people, but no Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims; a little sister and eight first cousins; comic books; Rootie Kazootie and Pinky Lee; “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”; Campbell’s Soup, Wonder bread, and canned peas; souped-up cars (hot rods) and cigarettes for twenty-three cents a pack; a little world inside the big world, which was the entire world for you back then, since the big world was not yet visible.”

Recommended For
Those open to exploring alternative forms of storytelling and memoir.

Final Say
This book will either leave you feeling challenged and inspired, or stuck at a family gathering where Great Uncle Paul has broken out the slide projector to relive his salad days at Columbia again. Take a chance, and let Auster’s interior worlds reflect your own.

You can grab Report From the Interior at the library today!

– Nicky

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 4

Here are some more reviews from our Summer Reading for Adults participants. Enjoy!

After I’m Gone by Laura LippmanAfter I'm Gone
4 Stars

This is a great mystery that kept me guessing until the end. The detective character was great and I’d love to see him in more books.



How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna SteinHow Not to Calm a Child on a Plan
4 Stars

Laugh out loud and read out loud funny. These hilarious autobiographical essays chronical parental misadventures from a not so hallmark card perspective. A quick, quirky and effervescent summer read.


Rustic Wedding Chic by Morgann HillRustic Wedding Chic
1 Star

These crafts scream “I have lots of time but very little crafting talent.” Projects that might be cute for kids but seem elementary for adults, most cross the line from quaint to tacky.



Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon MullSecrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
4 Stars

Yes, this is a book for middle schoolers but I love this series! There was a wonderful twist in this book; it caught me completely by surprise! The main characters are growing and learning, they’re great kids!

New Reads from August’s LibraryReads List

The August LibraryReads list is here!   This nation-wide list is comprised of books read, reviewed, and voted on by librarians.  And there are some intriguing books coming out in August.  Here are the highlights:

One Kick by Chelsea CainOne Kick
“Kick Lannigan survived being kidnapped as a child. Now, at twenty-one, determined never to be a victim again, she has reinvented herself. Martial arts and weapons handling are just a few of the skills she has learned over the years. Kick catches the attention of John Bishop, a mystery man with access to unlimited funds, and together they go after a cabal of child pornographers. A read-in-one-sitting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.” ~ Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ


Lock In by John Scalzi0765375869
“There’s been a good run of fantasy and science fiction books this year. Joining the list of great fantastical reads is John Scalzi’s Lock In. Scalzi is best known for his military SF (especially the Old Man’s War series), so his latest is a change of pace. A blending of SF and police procedural that hits every note just right.” ~ Jane Jorgenson, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI


The Miniaturist by Jessie BurtonThe Miniaturist
“A dollhouse whose figures and furnishings foretell life events, mysterious notes, family secrets and the powerful guild and church of 1686 Amsterdam. All these elements combine for an engaging story of a young bride’s struggle to be the ‘architect of her own fortune.” ~ Elizabeth Angelastro, Manlius Library, Manlius, NY



The Story Hour by Thrity UmrigarThe Story Hour
“Another beautifully written novel by Thrity Umrigar. A relationship develops between Maggie, a psychologist, and Lakshmi, a troubled Indian woman. As their stories develop, it is hard to figure out which woman does more to impact the other’s life. Highly recommended.” ~ Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY





Red Rising by Pierce Brown

First ImpressionsRed Rising
I had heard a lot of buzz about Red Rising online and in Entertainment Weekly, but when it came to the library for me I hesitated to read another dystopian novel. I waited until it was almost due and then devoured it in one day.

Drive-By Summary
Darrow is a 16 year miner who lives under the surface of Mars. He and his family live in clans, digging night and day for an element to help make Mars habitable for humans.  They are the lowest group, the Reds, in a class system that is ruled by the “Golds”. The Golds rule with brutality and secrecy and when Darrow rebels against them after a tragic sequence of events, he pays the ultimate price and the story really begins.

My Favorite Character
I really like Darrow because he goes through so many changes throughout the story, but there are many great characters in this book; a girl named Mustang, a brilliant Gold who saves his life, Eo, his young wife, and Sevro, a most unlikely friend and ally.

Words to Live By
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Recommended For
Anyone who liked The Hunger Games, the Divergent series or Ender’s Game would enjoy this book.

Final Say
I am really excited about this book. It is the first in a trilogy and I am anxious to get back to Mars and find out what happens. This book will appeal to adults and teens a like. It is science fiction, but also a love story and a story of friendship, revenge, and justice. It is so much more than all the other dystopian books out there these days!

Grab a copy of Red Rising today!

– Lesley

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 3

Here are some more great reviews from our Summer Reading for Adults program:

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea HandlerBook Cover
2 Stars
I chose this book due to the front cover with Chelsea dressed in a high-end, floor length gown and an elephant alongside her. The book is a long, tongue-in-cheek dictionary of Chelsea’s safari adventures; it turns out she and five friends were the safari, the animals were a ploy in this tedious tale. Chelsea Handler says whatever she wants and will go that extra mile to raise a few eyebrows. Not as funny as I first thought. Bordering on clumsy and offensive.

Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie HuangFresh Off the Boat
4 Stars
This lively memoir explores identity, race and hip-hop from the perspective of a Taiwanese American chef. Laugh out loud funny, this brash book talks about aspiration and assimilation in a no holds barred style with insight and verve.


Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinBook Cover
4 Stars
I loved-hated this book, would read and get mad, put it down, then couldn’t resist picking it up again. The characters are amazing and I am easily caught up in this world.


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
5 Stars
Not my usual cup of tea bookwise, but I devoured this book in an afternoon. Do read it.



Would you like to see your review here?  Review a book, using this form, and turn it in at any Bellingham Public Library location for a chance to get your review featured on Read More! and to earn a prize.

The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey

First ImpressionsBook Cover
My love of adventure, Hawaii and wanting to listen to something humorous I decided to download this audio book from Washington Anytime Library.

Drive-by Summary
I was intrigued by the picture of a hula girl on the cover. She is the hula girl of pure stench. The thought of a hula girl with gas was a cheeky idea. For me, Hawaii is somewhere between heaven and earth; the air is permeated with exotic scents and delightful sounds.

Two men are given a gift of a “treasure map” to the Golden Monkey by a wizen travel agent which leads them to adventure, danger and possibly regret.  Satirical, witty, and outlandishly bizarre think of fairy tales as told by Hunter S. Thompson or Jimmy Buffett’s zany stories. Jack Handey is quite dandy with world play:

“Sticky dynamite, souvenir hula girl made of pure stench, pineapple wood, a cardboard canoe and polinkas.”

Jack Handey, a humorist for the New Yorker takes you on a psychotic inspired journey and will make you laugh out loud with his stories too bawdy to be told to children.

Sound Bite
Jack Handey also narrates his own audiobook and does a masterful job.  Check it out:

My Favorite Character
Jack as himself – although you really not sure who he actually is!

Words to Live By
The following quotes came from a chapter called “Theories”.   They are theories the narrator had developed while staying as a guest at Dr. Ponzari’s, a scientist:

“Humans are evolving into a higher form and a lower form and at the same time. Confused? Then guess which one you are.”

“Birds evolved from dinosaurs, but guess what dinosaurs evolved from? That’s right! Birds!”

“When you die you become pure energy, but it’s not what we call reusable energy.”

Recommended For
Anyone who would like to be entertained or disgusted because Jack Handey will do both in a matter of minutes!

Final Say
I expected something very different from this audiobook and am happy to say that it had me laughing maniacally.  I had to stop listening to it at work for fear someone may hear me and wonder if I had lost my mind.

You can grab The Stench of Honolulu, in multiple formats, at the Bellingham Public Library.

- Keyla