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Try a Paperback Classic!

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If you are looking for something to read for the Adult Summer Reading Program, why not try a paperback classic? What makes a work of literature a classic? We may think of a classic book as one written by an author who has died, but there are contemporary classics by living authors, too. Classics are books that are well-written and hold up over time. They could be a first in a genre or have cultural importance.


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Some titles you may remember from high school. Many of the authors’ names will be familiar. Some titles you will recognize as being the name of a movie (the book is usually better!) Paperback classics vary in size from a slender book you could read in one day (Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett) to almost 1200 pages (Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.) I read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and was transported to a pre-colonial, African village. A place I could never have imagined or visited without this novel. Isn’t that the fun of a book; that a book can take you anywhere in the world, past, present, or future?

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If you read one of these classics in high school, and enough time has passed, you may see it with fresh eyes. Some of the older titles may take a little time to get into, with a different writing style, but they are worth the effort to gain a window into the past. The paperback format makes these books relatively portable and lightweight. Maybe you will spot a title/author you have heard about but never had time to read? If the current bestseller you are waiting for is still on hold, then wander over to the paperback classics and take a look. Many of these stories are gems, awaiting your discovery.

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With thanks to:

Lombardi, Esther. "What's the Difference Between Classical and Classic Literature?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/what-is-classical-literature-739321.

Lis a Lacivitia Bowman Reference Assistant

Lisa LaCivita

Bowman Reference Assistant
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plant with butterfly

Why Native Plants?

Why Native Plants? 

You may have heard the term “native plants” and seen books or articles devoted to the subject. For us, a native plant is one that was growing in our area before humans began introducing plants from other parts of the country and other parts of the world (exotics). Our native plants evolved here and are an important part of our ecosystems, providing our native animals food, host plants and habitat. Oaks, Redbuds, Dogwoods and Pawpaws are examples of native trees that support our local animals and insects.  Just as the Monarch Butterfly needs milkweed to serve as a host plant for its caterpillars, other animals and insects rely on the native plants that they have evolved with. The striking Zebra Swallowtail butterfly needs Pawpaw trees for its caterpillars to feed upon.  No Pawpaw trees no Zebra Swallowtails.


       

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As trees are cut and land developed, the supply of native plants is diminished. This one reason that homeowners are encouraged to plant native plants to help our local critters survive and thrive. Author Doug Tallamy has published two books on this topic: Bringing Nature Home and Nature's best hope : a new approach to conservation that starts in your yard (also available as a book on CD.) Tallamy makes a compelling case for how “homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats.” The ecological gardener by Matt Ress-Warren explains “how to create beauty and biodiversity from the soil up.” He has many good ideas but he is based in the U.K. so his native plants are not our native plants.  Planting for wildlife by Jane Moore also encourages creating habitat though not exclusively with native plants. Moore is also based in the U.K. therefore attention is needed to her recommendations so that you do not end up planting exotic invasive plants (like English Ivy).  Non-native flowers can provide nectar and pollen to our local wildlife so include your favorite non-native plants (but not invasive plants), just add natives when and where possible.

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         An added benefit to planting for native wildlife is that native plants can attract our native pollinators which include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and flies. The tomato is native to Central and South America and the European honeybee will not pollinate it. Thank our native pollinators for that task! If you enjoy tomatoes, then thank an insect for the pollination that makes them possible. It is estimated that three-quarters of all fruits and vegetables rely on pollinators. Attracting our native pollinators can benefit your own garden’s fruits and vegetables. Birds eat insects and can help control garden pests. When you help wildlife, you are helping yourself too.

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         Since native plants evolved in this area, they are well suited to it. This can mean less maintenance and watering. However, one still needs to pay attention to what conditions native plants prefer and locate them accordingly. Fortunately, we have several books that can help you! The southeast native plant primer, Easy care native plants, Natural landscaping, Grow wild, Native plants, shrubs and vines, Essential native trees and shrubs, and Native ferns, mosses and grasses can get your started.  A few related titles are: Native alternative to invasive plants and Lawns into meadows: Growing a regenerative landscape. The Native alternative to invasive plants is a good source for information on invasive plants (the ones you do not want to plant.) Invasive plants can take over an area and crowd out plants that you do want. Invasive plants can be very difficult to remove once established, so it is important to know what not to plant. Unfortunately, some nurseries still carry invasive plants. Lawns into meadows can help you reduce the amount of area you need to mow while increasing garden areas and providing habitat. Did I mention that native plants are beautiful? Besides being hardy and relatively low maintenance, they come with an amazing array of blossoms, foliage, and habit, providing color and texture for your yard and garden. Below are a few web links for more information on pollinators, invasive plants, and native plants.

 

https://xerces.org/

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/invasive-species

 

https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/

 

https://vnps.org/

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Lis a Lacivitia Bowman Reference Assistant

Lisa LaCivita

Bowman Reference Assistant
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human footprints

Marvelous Us! Part III

In Marvelous Us! Part I and Part II we explored books related to our marvelous human bodies. Although popular culture over-emphasizes how our bodies may look, we often fail to appreciate how our bodies function. Whether or not you are happy with the way your body looks, the way it functions is truly marvelous. We take for granted the complex inner workings of the human body until something is out of balance, then we cannot stop thinking about it.

We are all familiar with the foundations of good health: eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly. A bit easier said than done, but there are books to help you. Eat for life and Your body in balance: the new science of food, hormones, and health are two titles to get you started. We have a large cookbook section to help you enjoy more of those vegetables and other healthy options. We also subscribe to several food magazines such as Bon Appetit, Clean Eating, Eating Well, Cooks Illustrated, Food Network and Nutrition Action. These magazines are available in print format for check out (listed in the catalog) and also as e-magazines through the Blue Ridge Download Consortium. Sometimes healthy eating starts with a new recipe. Other magazines that include recipes as part of their content are: Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Health, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Shape and Southern Living.

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One of the simplest ways to get exercise is by walking. Walking in natural areas provides added benefits.  Author Richard Louv presents these benefits in Last child in the woods and Our wild calling. Being out in nature is beneficial for everyone, especially children. Nature play at home: creating outdoor spaces that connect children with the natural world and See you at the campground are two recent titles focusing on getting children outside. The bumper book of nature and Let’s go outside! provides some ideas for activities once you are outside. Be sure to check out a Nature backpack, complete with a free pass to a Virginia State Park! There are many magazines in the library that feature wildlife. National Wildlife and All Animals are in with the adult magazines. Cricket, Ladybug, Muse Scout Life and Spider are in the children’s’ area. We have hundreds of books and dozens of DVDs that feature wildlife or can help you with exercise and fitness including yoga, pilates, stretching, tai chi, walking and running and the Mysteries of sleep.

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We know from the books we have already featured in the Marvelous Us blogs that there is a brain/body connection. Prolonged stress can be harmful to the balances in our bodies.  While we cannot avoid life’s stressors, we can choose how we react to them. Published in 2020, The stress management handbook provides strategies for confronting life’s hurdles. Are you happy? Happiness is good for our health but can be illusive at times. In Unmedicated Madisyn Taylor chronicles her own journey towards good health which involved ending reliance on numerous interacting medications. Sometimes the problem isn’t us, it is others in our life. As chronicled in The neuroscientist who lost her mind: my tale of madness and recovery people suffering from mental illness often do not believe there is anything wrong with them. In The 5 types of people who can ruin your life : identifying and dealing with narcissists, sociopaths, and other high-conflict personalities the author explains how to identify these people and presents strategies for dealing with them.

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Search the library’s catalog with your key word: happiness, kindness, mindfulness, parenting, adolescence, autism, diabetes, aging, stress, anxiety, depression, weight loss, opioid addition … You are not alone. Other people have the same issues as you, and someone may even have written a book about it. Whatever your interest or problem, we probably have a book for you and/or online resources. Dig deep, gather information, ask questions; perhaps you can find a solution. Check out a book or DVD and get to know just how marvelous you are!

Many of the books mentioned in this blog were featured in the Nature and Science and/or the Healthy Wealthy and Wise Newsletters. You can sign up for newsletters here. View back issues of newsletters here.

Lis a Lacivitia Bowman Reference Assistant

Lisa LaCivita

Bowman Reference Assistant
Read More

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