Learn, enjoy with library's new nonfiction

Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Look for new nonfiction books about dental care, landlord-tenant rights, children's literature and much more at the public libraries.

Get Your House Right, by Marianne Cusato et al.

Every wonder why some traditionally styled homes go so easily on the eye and others make you wince and look away? Cusato and colleagues explore the language of traditional architecture through drawings and text in this indispensable book for anyone building or remodeling a home who wants to get the details right. With detailed explanations of everything from which building materials to use to set your home firmly in its style to deciding how deep your window ledges should be, this is a fantastic, unique resource. (And if you're designing a home for yourself, pair this with Designing Your Perfect House, by William J. Hirsch for even more food for thought.)

LEGO: a love story, by Jonathan Bender.

LEGO bricks have been around since the 1950s, a staple of childhoods throughout the Western countries. But the 90s have spawned a new consumer: the AFOLs, or, Adult Fans of LEGO. Thanks to them, bidding wars erupt over vintage sets, driving prices up to over $2 per brick; adult men and women find themselves grappling for prized minifigs; and conventions showcase self-designed, near-life-size models of speedboats (nope, they don't float). When Bender finds his box of old bricks in his boyhood bedroom, he's struck with the urge to build and soon finds himself deep in the heart of the LEGO community. As his collection grows, he discovers that his wife is far from being merely tolerant: she wants her own bricks! Brisk fun that will make you want to pull out your old sets.

The Great Oom, by Robert Love.

Far from being the health-giving mind and body tonic of today, yoga's early years in America were rocked with scandals and claims of indecency. In 1889, Pierre Bernard was a 13-year-old interested in the occult when he met Indian emigree Sylvais Hamati, a "vedic philosopher." For the next 18 years, Bernard was Hamati's devoted pupil, studying Sanskrit literature, particularly the Tantric texts, and mastering tantric yoga. Eventually, the two opened a network of Tantric lodges, the first of which was in San Francisco. But the West Coast proved less than hospitable at that time to purported mystic rituals, sacred orgies, and men in robes, and by the time of the great earthquake, the group had moved east, into the cradle of Transcendentalism. This is Bernard's story, which goes on to involve baseball teams, banks, and elephants, all of which kept yoga in the spotlight long enough for it to gain acceptance into the American psyche.

Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain, edited by Sergio Della Sala.

Don't be intimidated by the footnotes in this scholarly-looking collection of essays. In fact, each essay is written with the layreader, as well as the researcher, in mind. The topics are varied but center around popular understandings of the mind and its workings, with essays covering psychic phenomenon, conjuring and "stage magic," bilingualism, truth-telling, graphology, Ouija boards and much more. In some cases, beliefs are debunked, while in others, they are taken in different directions altogether. Fascinating reading whether you pick and choose or read straight through.

Next Steps in Altered Photo Artistry, by Beth Wheeler.

Wheeler is an accomplished quilter who uses Adobe Photoshop Elements to manipulate photos with filters, color adjustments, collage effects, extraction/replacement, and more. This is computer-focused, so you'll already need to know how to print onto fabric (look for Wheeler's first book, Altered Photo Artistry, coming soon, for instructions on this) and the basics of sewing (we've got plenty of sewing and quilting basics books to help you). Here you'll find examples of finished works accompanied by step-by-step instructions on how they were done, and tips for using Photoshop Elements effectively. All-in-all, this is actually a nice primer for anyone working with photos in Elements, whether on fabric or on paper.

Braiding: easy styles for everyone, by Diane Carol Bailey and Jamie Rines Jones.

Is your child hoping for something other than a ponytail? Or maybe you can do a basic braid but want to learn how to do something fancy... or be able to coil a braid and make it stay in place. This excellently illustrated book covers everything from rope braids to cornrows and tons of styles in-between. Look for French and Dutch braids, tied styles, single and double braid styles, and even information on choosing and using hair extensions. This is not an eye-candy book: the photos are black-and-white and a little dated, but the line drawings and explanations are excellent and easy to follow.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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