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January: Neat Stuff For U

Cat in Space

Hello, are you ready to welcome 2017! I think we could all use a fresh start, don’t you? And the library is just full of things to help us. Let’s take a stroll along the ol’ bookshelf and see what jumps out.




Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dali

Let’s not diet this year. This year, be it resolved that we’ll only eat the finest, most luxurious, most… what even is this? Dalinian Gastronomics? “Here is the supergelatinous, the flabby, the supersoft, the viscous, the dish deserving a persistent memory….” Wow!! This lavish, sumptuously illustrated reissue of the 1973 cookbook/art book must be seen to be believed. It contains vintage recipes and photographs thereof alongside incredible paintings and drawings from master surrealist Salvador Dali. Even the food staging is otherworldly. If you are a Dali fan or connoisseur of the unusual, you need this book!

The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

Whew, ok. Dali is fun, but back to Earth we go. This is a wonderful collection of short stories and essays accompanied by recipes. There are stories about nostalgia, and grief, and hope, and love, and laughter, and everything important. Like the stories, the recipes range from the serious to the more comedic, such as Crackers with Cheese (ingredients include Crackers: 1-80 and Cheese, any kind: one chunk). Contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, James Franco, Sharon Olds, and 72 other luminaries. Curl up with this one and let it inspire you to write, to cook, or just to dream.

Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper & Arsenic in the Victorian Home by Lucinda Hawksley

Here’s another fun book. In 1775, a chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele added white arsenic to pigment to create Scheele’s green. Paint and dye manufacturers loved it! Arsenic was cheap, and it increased the brilliance and durability of pigments. It was soon used for wallpaper, and the public went absolutely bananas over the rich colors. Everyone knew arsenic was poisonous, but they figured it would be fine if they just didn’t lick the walls. And here we have this gorgeous book of 275 Victorian wallpaper samples with accompanying historical text, so we can see what all the fuss was about! The wallpaper samples are of course facsimiles, and there is no arsenic in this book – but just to be safe, please don’t lick the pages.

100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings : How to Get By Without Even Trying by Sarah Cooper

From the creator of satirical blog The Cooper Review comes this hysterical book of office strategies for everything from Entering a Room, to Convincing Coworkers You Care, to Leaving a Room. This one got passed around our office quite a bit and we loved it. Highly recommended!

However, as a typical bleeding heart liberal snowflake, I can’t help acknowledging the immense privilege I enjoy just being in a position to laugh at a (seriously great) book of office humor. So I hope this next entry can actually help someone who needs it…

The Ex-Offender’s 30/30 Job Solution: Quickly Find a Lifeboat Job Close to Home by Neil P. McNulty
Best Jobs for Ex-Offenders: 101 Opportunities to Jump-Start Your New Life by Ronald L. Krannich
Resumes, Cover Letters & Portfolios for Ex-Offenders: Necessary Tools for Landing the Interview (DVD)

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the country. The odds are pretty good that you or someone you care about will be imprisoned at some point. But the nice thing about going to jail is that most offenders eventually get out! Yay! I told you at the beginning we’d be looking at a fresh start, and this is one of the biggest. Reintegrating into society can be terribly difficult. Many former prisoners find that their options for employment are so few and so poorly compensated that they give up hope and turn back to crime. Your library has resources to help solve this issue!

The Ex-Offender’s 30/30 Job Solution outlines a 30-day program to help you find a good job within 30 miles of home, so you and your parole officer can both be happy. Best Jobs for Ex-Offenders can help you decide where to start, profiling 101 careers that are generally open to people with interesting backgrounds. And Resumes, Cover Letters, & Portfolios for Ex-Offenders will help you decide which things to leave out of your resume (can commit grand larceny in three seconds flat) and which things to include (work experience, training, and education received while incarcerated). You’ll also learn how to write a compelling cover letter, how to cultivate a positive online presence, and many other skills to help you in your job search. Don’t have a computer? No problem. All our locations have free public computers for your use. Good luck! You can do it! Welcome back to the outside.

Thanks for ringing in the new year with me. Keep your nose clean, and don’t eat so much weird Dali food that you end up licking the wallpaper. See you next month, when I plan to help you (yes, you!) enjoy Valentine’s Day to the fullest.

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