Robin Williams

If you’re a fan of the late Robin Williams (and who isn’t?), we have the latest book about him in our library now. ROBIN, by New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, attempts to answer some of the questions left regarding the beloved comedian and his struggle with depression.

Did anyone really know the true Robin Williams? Was he really as high strung and full of energy as his public persona suggested? Only those closest to him will really know, but Itzkoff tries to bring a few things to light in this weighty book.

Drop by the library to pick it up, or put your name on the waiting list if it’s out. This is bound to be a popular read for a while.

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It’s Magic this summer!

We’ve started selling tickets for a magical event this summer at the Carleton Place Public Library. Join us for “The Magic of Tyler” at the Carleton Place Town Hall Auditorium on Thursday, July 19th at 10am.  He’ll dazzle us with his tricks and skills. It’ll be perfect for the whole family!

Tickets are $3 each for children and adults in advance at the library. This show will be perfect for children who can sit through about a 30 minute program—we’d suggest ages 4 and up. You’ll also be able to purchase tickets at the door on the day of the event for $4 each.

This will be the event of the summer! Maybe magic is YOUR thing!

The Passage

Justin Cronin’s very unique vampire trilogy is coming to FOX as a series. THE PASSAGE stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar as a federal agent who is in charge of protecting a young girl who is the test-subject for a government controlled virus. The virus could either cure all diseases, or bring down the entire human race, so as you can imagine, it’s a hotly guarded secret.

Cronin’s books follow the development of the virus across three very long but fascinating books, and FOX originally purchased the rights to the novels to be made into a film. With the success of recent books to television series, FOX has decided instead to bring it to the small screen, where they can probably stretch it out into a multitude of seasons. Great for fans of this series, fans of vampire tales, and also new watchers.

No word yet on starting dates, but if you want to get started on the books (because they’re always better), you might want to pick them up now. These books are LONG–like 600+ pages long…each. Get out that library card and download or check out one today.

What do you consume?

I came across a very interesting post by business guru Paul Jarvis called “Consumption Spirals”. The whole idea behind most of Jarvis’ work is to help people do things better, not bigger, and so the idea of consumption spirals really aligns with his brand.

The idea behind the post is that many of us spend…not because we have the money to do so, and not because we even need something…but because what we have in comparison looks out of place.  That’s right….it looks wrong.  Jarvis uses the story about a French philosopher Diderot who lived a very meager life until one day, a friend gave him a luxurious robe as a gift. But once he put it on, he realized how old the chair he sat on while in the robe looked in comparison. So, he bought a new chair. And then the chair looked better than the table he sat at…and it started a downward spiral of spending to make things look right with each other.

That’s what Jarvis is talking about in the consumption spirals. And we all do it. In the age of the internet and social media, it’s easy to compare ourselves and our surroundings with what we see online. Do we have a Pinterest worthy home? Does our Instagram feed look as put together as someone else’s? Do we have as much as our friends on Facebook? The answer for most of us would probably be no, and that makes us feel unworthy, or less than we think we can be. And it begins the consumption spiral.

Jarvis gives a few ideas about how to stop the spending spiral, and even more importantly, how to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else. It’s worth the read all the way though.Start small. Stop elaborate spending in one place, or change your social media feeds to stop including those who are envy-worthy. It might make you feel better overall.

Free Comic Book Day!

Saturday, May 5th is Free Comic Book Day/Superhero Saturday in Carleton Place, and that means LOTS of super fun! Participants can pick up their mission card at the BIA office on Bridge Street, or Total Rhythm Dance Studios on Landsdowne Avenue starting at 10 am that day. No mission card, no comic books….so don’t forget! (Plus, the mission card tells you where all the comic books are!)

At the library, we’ll be handing out comic books, taking photos at our Superhero wall, providing water and super treats, and we’ll also give you a chance to win one of TWO great superhero themed prize baskets. You won’t want to miss it!

Our Teen Advisory Group has been working hard to make this a really special event at the library, so make sure to drop in and say hello. They’ll be here taking care of all the super participants. You can find out more about the Carleton Place event here.

Be super…come to the library that day!

Africa…in a shopping mall?

The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino wrote an article recently about following a link on Twitter one day which led her to a YouTube remix of Toto’s “Africa” as though played in an empty shopping mall. The video itself is nothing more than a single frame of an empty shopping mall, in muted pink tones. Sounds a little odd, right? Wrong.

It turns out, the song is the perfect zen piece when remixed as though it is playing in a deserted shopping mall. The YouTube video has had more than 1 millions views, and it’s the comments that really show how much people are into this. Whether you feel like it’s the perfect “last man on earth” setting, or just get lost in the hollow and haunting harmonies, I guarantee you’ll watch this from beginning to end. You might even search out the original, just to listen to how different it sounds. Which version is better? You have to decide.

But YouTuber Cecil Robert hit on something, and started a whole series of videos with song remixed to sound like they’re playing in empty shopping malls.  Is it that the original producers got it wrong? Not likely…the choices are carefully picked to evoke a particular mood, and while you can pay to have him remix a song you’d like to hear, it’s oddly satisfying to just put the ones he’s already done on loop and listen while you get your zen on.

Tolentino’s article is spot on. You should read all the way through it, as she explores the vibe behind empty shopping mall remixes. And make sure to take a listen. Put on some earphones if you want the full effect, and then sit back and relax.

Ask Alexa

If you were one of the many gazillions of people to receive an Amazon Echo or Google Mini for Christmas, you’re probably now into the swing of things. Or maybe you’re bored. (How many times can you ask Alexa the weather?) But there are plenty of great things you should be using your home assistant for, beyond playing music and helping you to turn on your lights hands-free.

How about asking Alexa one of these fun book-related questions?

Alexa, what’s in a name?

Alexa, who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Alexa, do you like green eggs and ham?

Alexa, what’s the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Alexa, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

How about asking a few personal questions to your Google Home assistant? Maybe you’ll get to know each other a bit better. Things like:

OK Google, ask me a question

OK Google, what’s your favourite ice cream?

OK Google, are you friends with Siri/Alexa/Cortana?

OK Google, what’s your favourite Pokemon?

OK Google, Star Trek or Star Wars?

OK Google, how do you like your coffee?

OK Google, what’s your favorite ice cream?

OK Google, who’s your favorite superhero?

Do you own a Kindle? Alexa can read your ebooks to you! Just pick an eligible Kindle book and ask her to play it. (She can’t read graphic novels, immersion books, or participate in narration speed control.)

Google Home will now play your audiobooks purchased from Google Play for you, too. They only recently started selling audiobooks outright, but you can share between family members, and play without using Bluetooth, or a casting device.

What are YOUR favourite questions to ask your home assistant? (Stuck in the thick of winter, we’re asking Alexa to play bird sounds quite a bit–one of her skills. It’s nice to hear pretty birds as you do the dishes or read.)