A few of my favorite things

Now that 2014 is coming to a close,  I thought I would share with you all one of my very favorite things about the Bellingham Public Library.  It may surprise you …

I LOVE our book displays.  The staff here is endlessly inventive and always amusing.  And the focus is always to get the right books to the right readers – that thought alone makes me geek out like the library nerd that I am.  Plus, the holiday always make our displays more special and inviting.  So, obviously, I took pictures.  Obviously.

Let me show you!

Here is a Christmas tree made out of books.  It is the most darling thing in our front lobby

 This Christmas tree is made out of books. MIND. BLOWN.


Speaking of Christmas, here is a selection of good holiday reads in the Children's Library.

Speaking of Christmas, here is a selection of good holiday reads in the Children’s Library.


We have other holidays down there as well!

We have other holidays down there as well!


And, since I love tooting my own horn, here is the 2014 Staff Picks display.

And, since I love tooting my own horn, this is our 2014 Staff Picks display.


Feeling a bit stressed out by the holidays? We have some recommendations!


Here is an eye-catching and timely display in our Teen Space.

What an eye-catching and timely display in our Teen Space!


And here is my FAVORITE display this month.   Deborah collected all of the books that had been purchased with donation funds and created this  amazing wall of good reads.

Finally, this is my FAVORITE display this month. Deborah collected all of the books that were purchased with donation funds and created this amazing wall of good reads.


She even decorated it with the book plates we place in each book.  This is such a darling detail.

She even decorated the space with the book plates we place in each book. What a darling detail.

And the best part about these displays?  They loooook way better in person.  (Trust me, I’m a librarian – not a photographer.)  So you know what that means … it is time to visit us here at the Bellingham Public Library!


Designing Books is a Gas!

Like it or not, most of us do judge books by their covers.  A good, well-designed cover can take a normal book and turn it into the season’s must-have best seller.  Book covers not only sell books, but they also create exciting reading atmospheres in libraries, book stores, and in our homes.

Just ask Chip Kidd; He has designed many iconic book covers including Jurassic Park by Michael Crighton and Naked by David Sedaris.   And, in the following TED Talk, he shares the joy of creating great work that also happens to be portable:

NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Books

National Public Radio is great for a variety of reasons: Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me!, StoryCorps, author interviews, free album previews, and Science Friday. They are also excellent at compiling best-of reading lists.  I frequently browse their lists for new reads and reviews on old favorites — especially when I am putting together reading suggestion lists.

Recently, with the help of their listeners, they compiled a “Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Books” list.  It was filled with familiar faces and, happily, a lot of newer titles that I haven’t had time to read yet like Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind.  Needless to say, I will be using this list  a LOT when I recommend sci-fi/fantasy books to library patrons.

Check out the list here.  You can also see score yourself to see how many titles you’ve read.  I got a 46/100 which just tells me I have much more reading to do!


Stranger in a Strange landWatchmenSomething Wicked This Way Comes

Game of thrones

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 4

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick NessThe Ask and the Answer book cover
I just completed “The Ask and the Answer” by Patrick Ness – the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. After the brilliant introduction in the first book, this book goes deeper into the minds of the characters and a lot changes in a short amount of time. The new self-made mayor/president of the planet said “work is the path to freedom” which reminded me a great deal of Hitler. In a way, that is what the new mayor/president is like – a dictator, trying to create the perfect new planet, making grand speeches, turning the planet’s natives into slaves, and controlling everything and everyone with the control he has over his mind and others’ minds. It truly makes me question what would happen if human beings were put into this situation and it’s not very far-fetched.

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court  book coverThe Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court
by Jeffery Toobin

The Nine by Toobin is both a well researched look into the US supreme court AND delightfully dishy.  Great summer read!

Want to see your review on Read More!?  Join the Adult Summer Reading Program today.

July Staff Picks

All month the librarians at Bellingham Public Library share with each other what they are reading, watching, and enjoying.  Here’s our staff pick round-up for July.

Dark Places

Blonde Bombshell book cover


She Left Me the Gun book cover

Rainbow Troops book cover





She Left me the Gun by Emma Brockes
After her mother’s death, a daughter researches the secrets from her mom’s childhood.
– Beth

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Horror/fantasy, a very personal story of a character remembering a long forgotten adventure from childhood. (For the full review, click here.) – Katie

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
A dark story that follows a young woman after her mother and siblings are murdered.
– Madeline

Winger by A Smith
A teen rugby player at a boarding school in Oregon must grapple with some frightening dorm-mates. – Jennifer

Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt
A funny and clever science fiction novel. – Deborah

Misfortune by Wesley Stace
A wealthy young man finds an abandoned baby in a rubbish heap.  He believes his long dead sister has been replaced only to discover years later that the child is actually a boy. – Judy

Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata
Biographical novel about a class of misfits in the poorest village school on Belitong, an island in Indonesia. – Diane

Science for Non-Scientists

Want to know more about science, but were afraid to ask?  Never fear,  we have a reading list for you! All of the following books are fun, intelligent reads that will get you thinking about the world around you in new ways. 

Time Travel and Warp Drives book coverTime Travel and Warp Drives: A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts through Time and Space
By Allen Everett
Lays out what humans really know about time and space and how to bend it to our will, and explains just how close we are to some of the ideas of science fiction novels.

Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and Proof that will Change the Way We Live our Lives
By Mario Beauregard
Filled with extraordinary stories of the mind’s abilities, a prominent neuroscientist captures a major shift in our understanding of the age-old mind/body debate, proves that humans are more than complex biological machines.

Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization
By Adrian Bejan
Reveals how recurring patterns in nature are accounted for by a single governing principle of physics, explaining how all designs in the world from biological life to inanimate systems evolve in a sequence of ever-improving designs that facilitate flow.

Boltzmann’s Tomb: Travels in Search of Science
By Bill Green
Green describes his evolution as a scientist as he travels throughout the world to visit sites where important scientific discoveries were made.

The Compass of Pleasure: How our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning and Gambling Feel so Good
By David Linden
The neurobiology of pleasure, exploring how pleasures can become addictions, and how the pursuit of pleasure has become a central drive of the human mind.

The Disappearing Spoon book coverThe Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodical Table of the Elements
By Sam Kean
Intriguing tales about every element of the periodic table, sharing their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, evil, love, the arts, and the lives of the colorful scientists who discovered them.
Also available in Audiobook and eBook

Big Data: a revolution that will transform how we live, work and think
By Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
Big data is our new found ability to crunch vast amounts of information, analyze it instantly and draw profound and surprising conclusions from it. Mayer-Schonberger  discusses how it will change our lives and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
By Michael Pollan
Pollan discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements–fire, water, air, and earth–to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture.

The Life of Super-Earths: How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells will Revolutionize Life on Our Planet
By Dimitar Sasselov
An astronomy professor at Harvard University discusses the possibilities of finding other worlds that sustain alien life forms, citing recent breakthroughs in biology and exoplanetary astronomy, including the recent discovery of arsenic-based bacteria in a California lake.

Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are
By Sebastian Seung
A mind-bending adventure story of neuroscience. Seung believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells, our particular wiring. Mapping these connections is  a monumental effort, but if successful will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Packing for Mars book coverPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
By Mary Roach
Describes the weirdness of space travel, answers questions about the long-term effects of living in zero gravity on the human body, and explains how space simulations on Earth can provide a preview to life in space.
Also available in Audiobook and eAudiobook

Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
By Leonard Susskind
This is a book for anyone who has ever regretted not taking physics in college, or who simply wants to know how to think like a physicist. In this unconventional introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur.

Don’t forget! We have lots of reading suggestions in our online catalog under Staff Picks.

Fire and Ice: Summer Treats

Summer is finally starting to heat up!  These books will help you make the most of your summer months and all the great, fresh food we have in Bellingham.

The Gardener & the Grill book coverThe Gardener and the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill
By Karen Adler





Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home book coverJeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
By Jeni Bauer







Home Made Summer book coverHome Made Summer
By Yvette van Boven






Ice Pop Joy book coverIce Pop Joy: Organic, Healthy, Fresh, Delicious
By Anni Daulter






The Deen Bros. Get Fired up book coverThe Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking, and More
By Jamie Deen






Ice Cream Sandwiches book coverIce Cream Sandwiches: 65 Recipes for Incredibly Cool Treats
By Donna Egan






Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction book coverBobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction
By Bobby Flay






Green smoothies and protein drinks book coverGreen Smoothies and Protein Drinks
By Jason Manheim






Make your own soda book coverMake Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails and More
By Anton Nocito






The Book of Burger book coverThe Book of Burger
By Rachael Ray






Grilling Vegan Style book coverGrilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard Barbecue
By John Schlimm





Everything Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Desserts Cookbook book coverEverything Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Desserts Cookbook
By Susan Whetzel





Grill This, Not that! Backyard Survival Guide book coverGrill This, Not that! Backyard Survival Guide
By David Zinczenko






Looking for books? You can always find this list and many others at our online catalog under Staff Picks!

Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A Novel by Eli Brown

Cinnamon and Gunpowder book cover

What happens when a red-headed, female pirate kidnaps a famous chef and demands that he pleases her with his culinary skills?

Pirates, escapades, food!  Oh, my!

What else could capture my interest and cause me to want to read this swashbuckling adventure other than the thrill of all things I love?  This book promises to be a can’t-put-it-down read.  It definitely begs for a closer look.

You can find Cinnamon and Gunpowder from the Bellingham Public Library today.