Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Since 1896, the modern Olympics has brought together the world through its multi-sport events. The games are held in major cities throughout the world such as Athens, Paris, London, Tokyo, and Moscow. This August all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as they host the XXXI summer Olympiad. To learn more about Rio's iconic statue, check out this documentary featuring the seven wonders of Brazilian spirituality. If you're planning on watching the Olympics in person, you may want to take along this handy travel guide.
This year’s Summer Olympics have 42 sports that include swimming, diving, and  basketball. A look back at Olympic history shows some interesting facts. Did you know that croquet and tug of war were once Olympic sports!? For more Olympic history and trivia, The Complete Book of the Olympics, The Games, and Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics take an in-depth look at the games.
Although Indiana has never hosted an Olympic game, the Hoosier state does have some connections through athletes and qualifying trials for the games. 

Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird made up the historic “Dream Team” in 1992 along with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. They were the first U.S. Olympic basketball team made up of professional athletes. They won the gold medal with an average 44 points lead.

Basketball great Oscar Robertson led Indianapolis’s Crispus Attucks High School to the state title in 1955. This was the first time an all-African-American team had won a state championship. In 1960 he co-captained the U.S. Olympic team which brought home the gold.
This year Indiana fever star Tamika Catchings will be heading to the Olympics as the women’s basketball team captain. This is her third appearance at an Olympic game.

Indiana University Natatorium on the IUPUI campus has been host to the 13 US Olympic Trials, including swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming. Most recently, the natatorium underwent a nearly $20 million in renovation to host the 2016 diving trials.

Indiana University has long been a strong athletic contributor to the games. Until Michael Phelps came along, IU swimmer Mark Spitz held the record for most gold medals in a single Olympic game with winning a total seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics. A native of California, Mark came to Indiana University to train with legendary swim coach “Doc” Councilman. His record breaking performance proved this was a good move.

IU Continues to produce quality swimmers and divers. This year they are sending three swimmers Lilly King, Cody Miller and Blake Pieroni to the games. As well as three divers Amy Cozad, Michael Hixon and Jessica Parratto.

Indiana University isn’t the only Indiana college sending athletes to the Olympics in diving. Purdue University is sending two divers. Olympic gold medalist David Boudai will be joined by Steele Johnson. They will compete together in synchronized diving and against each other in the 10 meter dive.

There a many more athletes with Indiana connections. Some are representing other countries such as golfer and Purdue University student Paula Reto who will represent her native South Africa. For more information on the sports, athletes, and history of the games visit the official Olympics site.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Booking with the Bicentennial

This year Indiana is celebrating its Bicentennial, and KHCPL is celebrating all things Indiana during the Summer Reading program. We invite you to book through time with us and explore Indiana's rich literary history. Hoosiers have always been writers, earning a reputation as "a scribbling and forthputting people" as early as 1827.

Indiana experienced a Golden Age of Literature from 1880 to 1920. During this time some of the most acclaimed authors in the United States were native Hoosiers who left their mark on American literature. The two Golden Age authors best remembered today are Gene Stratton Porter and James Whitcomb Riley.

An early environmentalist, the natural world features heavily in Gene Stratton Porter’s work. She used her income and influence for some of the earliest conservation efforts to preserve Indiana wetlands. Her most famous book is A Girl of the Limberlost, which is set in the Limberlost Swamp near her home in Geneva.

James Whitcomb Riley earned the title “The Children’s Poet” as well as “The Hoosier Poet.” He began his career by using local dialect and everyday working class speech in his poetry. He later switched to writing poems specifically for children. Following his death, the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis was founded in his honor. It was the first hospital in Indiana that exclusively served children.

Indiana’s next literary boom occurred during World War II with Ernie Pyle and Kurt Vonnegut as the most notable Hoosier writers of the Greatest Generation.

War correspondent Ernie Pyle, an Indiana native and Indiana University alumni, sent dispatches from first the home front and then the European and Pacific theaters. Pyle wrote war reports from the perspective the ordinary soldiers rather than the commanding officers. His gritty accounts of "dogface" infantrymen earned him a Pulitzer Prize for journalism just prior to his death at the Battle of Okinawa.

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut is known for his trademark blend of satire, science fiction, and social issues. After being captured by Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, Kurt Vonnegut survived the Allied firebombing of Dresden where he was being held as a prisoner of war. This experience formed the basis of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five. His hometown of Indianapolis often appeared in his fiction as a symbol of traditional American values.

Two of the hottest authors of paranormal romance, Laurell K. Hamilton and Karen Marie Moning, both lived and attended college in Indiana. They specialize in ultra-steamy urban fantasy.

Laurell K. Hamilton has two series: the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the Merry Gentry series. Anita Blake raises zombies and slays vampires in fictionalized St. Louis while Meredith Gentry is a faeire princess and private detective under constant threat of assassination.

Karen Marie Moning also has two series: the Fever series and the Highlander series. The Fever series is set in Ireland, chronicling MacKayla Lane’s unexpected journey into the dangerous and intriguing world of the Fae. The Highlander series is set in mediaeval Scotland, following a series of supernaturally inclined clansman as they battle for power and love.

The two most famous Hoosier authors are actually cartoonists responsible for creating two of the most memorable children’s characters: Clifford the Big Red Dog and Garfield the lasagna loving, overweight orange cat.

Norman Bridwell was born and raised right here in Kokomo. During one of his many unsuccessful attempts to get a job as a children’s illustrator, an editor at the publishing house made the offhand suggestion that he should turn one of his drawings into a story, and Clifford the Big Red Dog was born.

Jim Davis grew up on a farm outside Fairmount with 25 cats. His first successful comic strip was Gnorm Gnat, which ran in a small Indiana newspaper but was rejected for national syndication because as, the editors expressed, “nobody can relate to bugs.” When casting about for a new idea, Davis recalled his childhood experience and created Garfield.

Indiana is also a power player when it comes to teen fiction.

Young adult author John Green is Indiana’s current literary superstar. His novel The Fault in Our Stars became an international bestseller, and the film adaption met with critical success. The story is set in Indianapolis and features the Funky Bones interactive statue commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

This is only a taste of what Hoosier writers have to offer. If you would like to read local this summer, ask a librarian for more suggestions.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Reading, Summer Learning

Summer is often thought of as a time to relax and kick back with a great beach read; however, challenge yourself this summer with our great Summer Reading Program and a little summer learning.  KHCPL is bursting with the fun, unusual, and unexpected in the world of nonfiction. Here are a few of our favorites:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World
You might think we’re bananas for recommending a book entirely about a single yellow fruit, but this fascinating read will take you along on the exciting adventure of getting a small tropical fruit halfway across the globe and into American hands in an era before refrigeration. It also explores the delicate future of this beloved fruit, which is the fourth most harvested crop on Earth (yes, only wheat, rice, and corn beat out this distinctive fruit).

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Ok, maybe bananas aren’t your thing – but who hasn’t dreamed of shooting off into space? The author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, and beer! Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, Mary Roach explores (and often participates in) all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations.

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
Alone this summer? Don’t fret; you’re not alone!  More and more Americans (and people throughout the world) are choosing to live by themselves. Explore the fascinating social developments that have led to a modern society of singledom.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Have you fallen behind on your New Year’s resolutions to get fit? Here’s a great book to jumpstart your health goals. This bestseller chronicles the frightening ways that the food industry uses the addicting combo of salt, sugar, and fat to keep you buying – and keep you fat!  Though be warned – you might never look at your grocery store the same again. Don’t want to read this book?  Why not try the audio download available through OverDrive.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the whaleship Essex
Once a tale included in most every American’s school curriculum, the disastrous journey of the whaleship Essex, which inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, is an adventure tale like none other. Don’t have time to read the book? Why not watch the movie starring Chris Hemsworth?

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat
When we think of technology, we often turn to our iPhones and computers; however, thousands of years of trial-and-error lead to the development of our common kitchen wares. Travel the globe with Bee Wilson to see how the technologies of cooking and eating have developed in different cultures throughout time. 

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs
Say cheese! In this acclaimed memoir from photographer Sally Mann, she traces her own family history in the American South and examines the role it has played in her legendary career. Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs, she finds more than she bargained for: deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land, racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even murder.

Don’t have time to read this summer?  Why not try one of our blockbuster documentaries?

"Fed Up"
Narrated by Katie Couric, this film blows the lid off everything previously known about food and exercise. The documentary follows a group of children and their families as they battle childhood obesity.

"Cartel Land"
In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. JosĂ© Mireles, a small-town physician known as "El Doctor," leads the Autodefensas, which is a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel. Meanwhile, in Arizona's Altar Valley, Tim "Nailer" Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon whose goal is to stop Mexico's drug wars from seeping across the US border.

"Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail: Investigating the Alarming Dropout Rate of African American Males"
In his primetime special, local favorite Tavis Smiley examines one of the most disturbing aspects of the education crisis facing America today -- the increased dropout rate among black teenage males.

Did we miss your favorite work of nonfiction?  We’d love to hear your unusual finds in the comments below.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing: The Indianapolis 500

Are you all set for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing?  This year will be the Indy 500’s one hundredth running, so whether or not you’re a race fan, it’s a great year to learn a few new things about the race.

Did you know that the 500 has its very own historian?  Donald Davis, a native of Britain, can spout -- or write -- basically any race history you’d like to know and proves it in this official history of the race.  If you’d like to learn some trivia, Indianapolis 500: A Century of Excitement, with a chapter on each decade the race has existed, should do the trick.  Are you up for something darker?  Read about the year they stopped the 500.  If you just need to attend a party and sound smart, take a few minutes to learn about the legends who have driven Indy.

For a more interactive option, consider visiting an exhibit commemorating the anniversary or plan a trip to the track’s Hall of Fame Museum.  To pick up just enough to impress your friends, memorize a few key facts about the Borg-Warner trophy, including how tall it is and how much it weighs, or find out what happened to the Apperson Jack Rabbit that ran in the 1911 race.

If there’s a race fan in your life, a little online shopping could result in the perfect gift.  Historical radio broadcasts of past races are quite affordable, and the speedway carries a whole host of practical gifts as well.

What if your attention span for all things racing is limited (or possibly nonexistent)?  You can’t go wrong with mystery stories that all revolve around the race, so pick up Racing Can Be Murder.  Stretch it a little farther, and fans of Janet Evanovich could be enjoying a tale of car chases and kisses on the pretext that it’s about auto racing with Metro Girl.  You might even be willing to learn the basics of NASCAR when it’s laugh-out-loud funny in the hands of bestseller Sharyn McCrumb’s  Once Around the Track.
It’s also a great time to lay the groundwork with your kids or grandkids, future fans of racing in all its forms.  Build cars together out of toilet paper tubes, read about NASCAR, or go all out and make edible tiny teddy racing cars.  If the kids are a bit older, wow your tween or teen by sharing the lowdown on becoming a NASCAR pit crew member.  To learn more about the science behind racecars and what makes them go fast, check out Acceleration Nation or Anatomy of an Indy Car.

If you can’t be at the race track, the events are broadcast on both television and radio.  Serious race fans will also be watching the Monaco Grand Prix and NASCAR’s Charlotte 600 though it is not yet possible to see them all in person.  Luckily for us, we are near to the most important location in motor racing.

If you’ll be taking in the excitement of the race in person, expect things to look a little different this year due to Project 100.  Get your tickets and check out the parking map ahead of time.  Most of all, have a great time being a part of history as it happens.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Game of Thrones Season 6 is coming!

[Game of Thrones contains mature themes in all formats. Viewer and reader discretion is advised.]

Season 6 premieres on April 24!  If you haven’t already seen the official trailer, start here.

The internet abounds with fan analyses of the trailer's content. If you’re curious about the different interpretations, try this academic article from Time Magazine, this saucy British YouTube commentary, and this lite pop culture take.

The biggest question for this season is whether or not Jon Snow is actually dead. To voice your opinion, you can vote in The Hollywood Reporter’s poll. The cast members have been dodging this question with a variety of ways running the gamut from cryptic to confrontational.

In his most recent interview, the actor who plays Jon Snow insists that his character is dead and will not be resurrected in the upcoming episodes. But fan speculation dismisses this as mere subterfuge.

If you need a refresher for the television series, the Game of Thrones Wiki provides a season by season, episode by episode recap as does the Internet Movie Database. You can also check out the previous seasons on DVD for a binge-watching marathon.

Do you have trouble keeping the characters straight? There are several online character encyclopedias that can help you keep track of who is who and their complex series of interrelationships.

The fan site Westeros breaks down characters by television season, fictional region, and alphabetically by first name. The Game of Thrones wiki sorts character entries alphabetically and by popularity and includes a variety of subcategories by subject. The Tower of the Hand offers information on the different houses and provides handy family trees. 

If you’re interested in a character’s strictly literary life, a Wiki of Ice and Fire has entries categorized by point of view, affiliation, and region as well as organized alphabetically.

If you want to reread your favorite characters' story lines in anticipation of the sixth season or sixth book, a Wiki of Ice and Fire has created tables of contents for all five published novels. For each book, there is a list the point of view characters along with the corresponding page numbers for the hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats. And don't forget KHCPL has the entire series available in print, on eBook, on audio CD, and on audio download.

George R. R. Martin announced that The Winds of Winter, the upcoming book in the series, will not be finished before Season 6 airs as he had previously hoped. Disappointed fans who are tempted to lash out in anger over this turn of events may want to revisit Neil Gaiman’s legendary blog post on this very subject. But not to despair, Martin has promised readers that he is working exclusively on The Winds of Winter and will not write anything else until he has finished it. He even released a chapter excerpt as a teaser. 

Following up on his word of warning about the divergence between the novels and the television series, Martin revealed that the plot twist in The Winds of Winter will involve a character who, while still alive in the books, had been killed off in the television show. 

See who wins and who dies as they play the game of thrones!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Time to Think about SPRING!

Time to Think about SPRING!
The first official day of spring for the Northern Hemisphere falls on March 20th with the vernal equinox, which will occur at 12:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. With the vernal equinox, the days will continue to gradually lengthen until the longest day of the year on summer solstice.

The term "equinox" means "equal night" in Latin. During an equinox, the sun is directly above the earth's celestial equator. As a result, day and night are of equal length nearly everywhere on the planet.

You can keep up with changes in the sky with NASA Earth Observatory, the national weather at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the local forecast at the National Weather Service for Northern Indiana.

For many, the start of spring is the time to bring their gardens back to life. KHCPL carries a variety of gardening magazines, such as Fine Gardening and Indiana Gardening, both in print and online through Zinio and Overdrive.
If you’ve never gardened before, a good book to start with would be with The First-time Gardener by Pattie Barron. Expand your knowledge with The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers by Teri Dunn Chace or The Backyard Problem Solver by Jerry Baker.

If your landscaping is looking scruffy, check out Pruning Plant By Plant by Andrew Mikolajski. Does your vegetable patch need a facelift? Building Raised Beds will take your garden to the next level. To add more bloom to your flowerbeds, some favorite flower guides include Daylilies for the Garden by Graeme Grosvenor, Peonies by Allan Rogers and, for advice on everyone’s favorite flower, Foolproof Guide to Growing Roses by Field Roebuck. For advice on the go-to shade perennial, try Hostas by Andrew Mikolajski.

If last year’s dream garden didn’t materialize, you may need to check out Improving Your Soil by Keith Reid before you plant. If you want to recreate this year's masterpiece, The Seed Garden by Micaela Colley will tell you how to save seeds for the years to come.

KHCPL has a gardening collection geared specifically towards our local climate. To find out what would grow best here, check out Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Katie Etzer-Peters, The Midwestern Native Garden by Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz, and Growing the Midwest Garden by Edward Lyon.

Get your kids involved with Kid’s Garden Adventure by Don Burke and The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids by Whitney Cohen. And don’t forget your pets! Check out Dog Friendly Gardening by Karen Bush.

If you want to share your expertise with others through a community garden, Start a Community Food Garden by LaManda Joy provides a step-by-step guide.

Whatever your SPRING interests are, explore your opportunities at KHCPL!