Happy New Year!



Good in the Sack: Creative Lunches for All Ages

If you’re like me, by the time November rolls around you’re starting to run out of fresh ideas for your kids’ lunch sacks, as well as your own. But don’t fret! Lunch is about to become everyone’s favorite meal of the day, because the library is here to help take your lunch-packing skills to a whole new level. There are options here for everyone! And even a book of patterns for crafting a fancy handmade lunch sack to carry your new tasty lunches in.

First of all, it’s a good idea to invest in some re-usable lunchware. Taking a cue from traditional Japanese bento boxes, there are some great stackable containers with partitions for those folks in your house who don’t like their food items rubbing up against each other. There are many affordable options, including glass containers with rubber lids as well as metal containers, if you are seeking to avoid plastic.

Secondly, don’t be boxed in by your old ideas of what a lunch box should contain! You are in control of your daily food adventures, so why suffer repetition and boredom?

Thirdly, get your hands on one or more of these titles, stock your pantry accordingly, and get ready to get creative. Also, don’t forget muffin, wrap and salad cookbooks, as well as cookbooks featuring recipes for picnickers and backpackers. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for the variety!

  1. Lunch Bags! Handmade Sacks and Wraps to Sew Today by Design Collective (2010)
  2. Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch (2013)
  3. Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford (2013)
  4. The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go by Makiko Itoh (2010)
  5. 501 Bento Box Lunches by Mari Baker (2009)
  6. Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann (2009)
  7. Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunch Box by Catherine McCord (2013)
  8. And for any finicky young eaters in your house, I recommend Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban (1964). Though it’s not a cookbook, the lunches that Frances’ friend Albert brings to school have stayed fresh in my mind since I first read it over 30 years ago!

– Jenni

Reading Roulette

We have hit the time of year where it is time to start thinking about winter projects, winter meals, winter trips, and, of course, what the heck we are going to read when the weather makes a turn for the dreary.  Winter reading, to me, has always been a high stakes game.  I want something exciting and well-written, just like my summer reading, but I also want deeper content – some to ponder and discuss at length.  So, with those rather high standards, the search for my winter reading becomes rather daunting.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fall/winter reading guides, both at the library and on the internet — because reading is the most awesome thing you could be doing, like, at any given moment.  (Also, it is really nice to know that everyone is concerned with what I read next?)   So, as a professional “book-slinger”, I have seen, read, and made many good reading guides.  But none are as fun as this What Book Should You Start Reading Next? game:

What Book Should You Start Reading Next - Google Chrome_2014-09-15_14-00-29

The premise is simple; click on the start button, let the list of books shuffle past, click stop, and get paired up with a surprise book.  The books are all critically acclaimed, interesting, and perfect for people who like reading from random suggestions from strangers on the internet (like me!).

Of course, if you prefer something a bit less capricious, we here at BPL have also created a Hot Reads for Cold Nights list that has some of the upcoming fall/winter titles we are most most excited about.  There are a lot of exiting books, well-written books, and a lot of books with depth, sentiment, and, perhaps, some laughter.

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

Win Tickets to See J.A. Jance at the Chuckanut Radio Hour


Mystery fans are you as excited about the Thursday, July 24 Chuckanut Radio Hour as we are?!

You totally should be!  Reader favorite, J. A. Jance, will be at WCC’s Heiner Theater at 6:30 p.m. to talk about her new book, Remains of Innocence.

Local theater + great mystery author = Argh!  That is totally awesome.

But even better?  You now have a chance to win 2 tickets to see her live courtesy of Village Books.  All you need to do is leave a comment below and tell us which previous Chuckanut Radio Hour author you liked best and/or the title of your favorite J.A. Jance book.  Then, on Tuesday, July 22, we will randomly select one comment to receive two Chuckanut Radio Hour tickets.

What are you waiting for?  Leave us a comment now!


Summer Reading for Adults at a Glance

Summer Reading Poster


Summer Reading for Adults might be one of Bellingham Public Library’s best programs that most people don’t know about.* You can explore what the library has to offer, write reviews of books you loved (or really hated – we don’t judge), earn cool badges, and find interesting new reads with a chance of winning a weekly prize or even one of our larger, end-of-summer prizes.  It is a sweet deal, honestly.

Want to know more? Then, in no particular order, here are our favorite things about the 2014 Summer Reading for Adults program:

It is okay to be analog!09 Adult Flask
We know that being on a computer in the summer can be a huge drag.  Thankfully, we have a handy paper form available at all of our locations (and, yes, online too) that allows you to get credit for reading, rating, and reviewing books.  Just read a book, write down the title and author, then give it a quick star rating and/or write a review, then turn it in at the library of your choosing.  We even have a handy reading list to help you find new and interesting books to read.

Badges are the new black.
BADGES.  They are awesome and you can earn them for doing a whole bunch of neat things with our new online Summer Reading program.  Like eBooks?  There’s a badge for that.  Follow the library on Facebook?  There’s a badge for that too.  There is even a badge for earning all the other badges!  Shoot, if you are reading this and are following Read More! via email, you have already earned the Read…More! badge and a chance to win a sweet prize.

Winning isn’t everything, but the rewards are pretty sweet.12 Adult Atom
Speaking of prizes, every time you submit a paper form or earn a badge you are eligible to win a weekly prize throughout the summer and one of several grand prizes at the end of the program.  Weekly prizes consist of the zippered Friends of the Bellingham Public Library bag, a bumper sticker, and a small surprise.  Our grand prizes include 3 Village Books gift certificates, a Kindle Paperwhite, and a Nook Simple Touch.  Reading may be its own reward, but wouldn’t it be sweet if you were reading a great book on a new eReader?

Learn more about the history of electricity-for free!
The fantastic people over at the Spark! Museum have given us 100 free pass to their museum this summer to encourage people of all ages to learn more about science and electricity. Plus, when you visit the museum, you can earn the Explorer badge and be eligible for our prizes.  You just need to visit the Central Library and ask for a free pass at the Reference Desk which is located near the public computers.  Do it soon – before all the passes are gone!

It is nice to have friends.06 Adult Tubes Books
Specifically, it is great to have the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library supporting our library.  Their sponsorship of Summer Reading for Adults is the reason we have our new online program AND our spiffy rewards.  If you know one of our Friends, please thank them!  And, if you are a Friend, THANK YOU for everything.

There is, of course, a lot more to enjoy and discover with our summer reading program – so check it out today!  You might be surprised at what you find.  The program runs now through Sunday, August 31.

*Except for you, dear readers! You are all hardcore bibliophiles.  Which is awesome.