Taking vitamins is healthy right? We’ve all heard that at some point in our lives. But why do we really need them? And is taking one really helping our overall health? Most of us know nothing about vitamins and yet blindly swallow an array of supplements daily in that hope that these pills hold the magic to cure our aching joints, sore backs and restore our youth and energy. Vitamania will shed some light into the unregulated world of vitamins that will leave a lasting imprint. Well-researched and entertaining, Catherine Price takes you on a memorable adventure to uncover the history of vitamins. From when they were discovered a mere century ago to how they were found to prevent and cure terrifying diseases. Vitamania will help you sort through the hype and confusion around nutritional supplements and equip you with the knowledge to be a healthier and more confident consumer.


What I’ve Been Watching: The Hobbit Trilogy


To all the Peter Jackson fans, The Hobbit trilogy is worth a watch. If you were a follower of Jackson’s film adaptions of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings then you won’t be disappointed with what he’s done with the beloved series’ prelude, The Hobbit. These films have some of the most realistic scenes to date, thanks to Jackson pioneering the mainstream use of 48 fps (frames per second). With typical movies at 24 fps, you’ll instantly be captivated by the sharper, high-definition picture, smoother action scenes and an entire film that looks incredibly life-like. Take your final journey back to middle earth, this time with a group of thirteen dwarves, including: dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, wizard Gandalf, and hobbit Bilbo Baggins, as they try to regain their lost Dwarven kingdom from the dragon Smaug.

~ Jacqueline Zdanis

Library Assistant at Oliver Wolcott Library

What I’ve Been Reading

Feng Shui

Feng Shui That Makes Sense by Cathleen McCandless is a no nonsense Feng Shui book. Cathleen explains that Feng Shui is the study of the environment and how it affects us and is quick to debunk any silly Feng Shui gimmicks and myths. She often provides a brief history of how some of them came to be and why some are just plain scams. McCandless also offers real suggestions to improving a home that make sense, including how to use paint to make walls appear less narrow, adding soft touches to make a room feel more comfortable and why you should always remove clutter to keep your home a low stress environment. The most important part of Feng Shui is that the environment feels good to you. You cannot paint a room a color you find ugly and expect to be happy in it; that is not good Feng Shui! Even if you don’t wish to transform your home completely this book is filled with tips and tricks to update and make any space more pleasing.

~Jacqueline is a library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library

What I’ve Been Reading

candyCandy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure By Samira Kawash

You stop at a convenience store to fuel up and grab a drink for the road. While you‘re waiting in line you find yourself starring at your favorite candy placed conveniently under the checkout counter. Your mouth starts to water as you recall the taste of your favorite sweet, tart or sour flavored candy. Then Images of cavities, diabetes and other serious health problems begin to flood your mind and keep you from purchasing the sugary sweet.

So why is there such a poor stigma surrounding candy, when it is not so different from the slew of other processed foods lining the grocery store shelves?  Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash is a fascinating story of the history of candy, from its start as a handmade luxury treat to its mass production and how it came to be so mistrusted today. Find out why eating candy might not be as bad as you think and start feeling better about eating some sugar once in awhile.

~Jacqueline Zdanis is a library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library

What I’ve Been Reading

Everything I Never Told You

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” Everything I Never Told You is a haunting story about what happens to a family after the unexpected death of its favorite daughter: 16 year-old, Lydia. In the surest sign of a great book, I found myself looking for any spare moment I could in order to keep reading. Every day I kept my fingers crossed for an extra-long nap from my girls so I could find out what happened to Lydia Lee. Set in small-town Ohio in the 1970s and told through the alternating perspectives of Lydia’s parents—Marilyn, a brilliant woman whose future was forever altered when she fell in love with James, a professor of American history and son of Chinese immigrants; and Lydia’s siblings—Harvard-bound Nathan and observant fifth-grader Hannah. The reader is fully immersed in the world of the Lee family and the secrets that led to the shocking death of its central member. This absorbing debut novel is a story of lost dreams, fitting in, and the expectations of family. Not to be missed.

Patricia Moore is a part-time librarian at the OWL.

Young Adult Series


Who doesn’t love a good YA novel? I find that my favorite page turners are always from this section of the library. Even though I am over the intended age group for these novels (and so is 55% of those who buy them according to a recent study by Bower Market Research), I am still drawn to them when I’m looking for something different and a thrilling adventure.

It is always the warmer months of summer that I find myself becoming an avid reader again. The warm sunshine, extended days, and longer twilight hours create the perfect atmosphere to shift over to the YA genre and start a good series and expand your imagination. There are many reasons to start reading a series; the most important reason to me is the depth of the story. I have found that series usually have much more complex characters and character growth, better world-building and clever tie-in’s creating a more gripping, detailed adventure. Another advantage to reading a series is that there are more pages to read which is always good when you are really enjoying the story!

Lately I have been reading dystopian fiction and have had a great start to the summer with two authors of my favorite trilogies releasing the final book to their series in May. Raging Star By Moira Young, the final book of The Dust Lands trilogy, and The One by Kiera Cass, book three of The Selection trilogy.




Recommended by a friend, the Dust Lands is a series I would have never picked out on my own and after reading the summary on the back I was even more hesitant to give it a try. Desperate for a new good read I decided to give it a chance and soon after welcomed Moira Young on my list of favorite authors. The book follows a young heroine named Saba who always falls in the shadow of her “golden” twin brother Lugh. Because of their crazy pa, they live Isolated from the rest of the world at a place called Silverlake. On the day they turn 18, a cloud of dust rolls into their land and a group of men dressed in cloaks kidnap Lugh and ride off almost as fast and mysteriously as they came. Saba sets off after her brother promising not to stop until she finds him. On her journey Saba is kidnapped, forced into slavery, meets a resistance and discovers the horror of one man’s plan to change the world. At the story develops, Saba grows into a fearsome warrior who finds herself destined to help rebalance the world. On the cover of each book reads “Better than the Hunger Games” and after completing the series I would have to agree. The mark of a talented author is that each book is better (or equal to) the first, and this could not be truer for Young’s series. She masterfully builds an entire new world that you can perfectly envision, expanding it with every page and creating cliff hangers that make you refuse to put the books down.




I have been following Cass’ The Selection trilogy since the first book came out in 2012. Drawn to it by its eye-catching cover, I decided to give it a shot and within minutes found myself lost in Cass’ world. In the future, America is plunged into a war and reborn into a nation known as Illea. Filled with inequality, Illea has a caste system you are born into and ruled by a king and his royal family. A selection of 35 girls from every caste are given a chance to compete for the heart of the prince and to become the next princess of Illea. With a plot closely paralleling The Hunger Games, readers will find a familiar story following America Singer while she moves into the royal family’s home, fights off rebels and tries to change the caste system of Illea forever all while competing for Prince Maxon’s heart. Often reviewed as a Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, this trilogy is a perfect summer love story.

Sometimes the best way to relax during your lazy hours of the summer is getting lost with your imagination in a new world with memorable characters and an exciting adventure. There is something about a YA novel broken into different parts that seems to create a recipe for a memorable adventure. The YA section at the Oliver Wolcott Library is filled with other enticing series, a few of them being:


Div maze VampUglies_bookHunger_games


Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth : Three books and now a major motion picture, a future dystopian Chicago is broken into five factions. At 16 you are given a test to find out what faction you belong in, but what happens when the test is unclear and you fit into multiple factions and become something called divergent?


Maze Runner trilogy By James Dashner: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.


Vampire Academy trilogy by Richelle Mead: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .


~Jacqueline is a library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library







One of These Days I’m Going to Get Organized!

As the weather begins to change and warmer days are just around the corner, a guilty feeling starts to come out of hibernation with you. Winter is a dark, cold season that creates the perfect atmosphere to slack off on chores resulting in untidy and disorganized cars, yards and houses. For most of us, cleaning does not make our top three “things I like to do list” which can make the spring cleaning season a little stressful. Fortunately there are some helpful books that can get you started on the right track for spring cleaning, and instill core rules and tips to follow in the future to keep a neat and organized home.

What’s A Disorganized Person To Do by Stacey Platt is a simple, motivating book that will inspire a more organized lifestyle. Platt breaks the home down into sections including: kitchen, bathroom, living room and foyer, sharing over 300 tips and ideas to help transform every area into a more spacious and relaxed environment. After making some simple changes, your home can have a more clean and orderly appearance, leaving you always impressing house guests.


To help you with cleaning everything and anything, check out Feather Your Nest by Cerentha Harris, Clean Your House and Everything in it by Eugenia Chapman and How To Clean Practically Anything by Consumer Reports Books. Did you know that you can remove sharpie (permanent marker) from almost any surface? In Feather Your Nest, you will learn hundreds of cleaning tricks, including tips on removing permanent marker stains. For example you can remove a sharpie stain on any plastic surface by coloring over the sharpie mark with a dry erase marker and simply using a cloth to wipe, which will remove both the sharpie stain and the dry erase marker. This book also has page after page filled with how to’s for cleaning lighting fixtures, blankets, handbags, fireplaces and more. Clean Your House and Everything in It by Eugenia Chapman & Jill C. Major; breaks down the home into different sections, so you can easily turn to the bathroom section when you are faced with a stain on your shower wall and find solutions for cleaning it. Chapman also covers regular upkeep and maintenance routines around the house. Consumer Reports has put together an incredible cleaning book comparing products to tackle routine housework. This book is filled with consumer ratings from garbage bags to chemical drain cleaners and endless other household cleaning products. Consumer Reports also gives you insight on what is causing a problem and what ingredients in a product help for a solution. For example stains in the toilet bowl are mainly from a buildup of minerals and most in-bowl toilet cleaners use acid to dissolve the buildup to remove the stains. When coupling Feather Your Nest with Clean your House and Everything in it and How To Clean Practically Anything you can become an unstoppable cleaning expert.


There are three key steps for keeping any house tidy; organizing, cleaning and the often avoided step of throwing out. Unfortunately most of us seem to have slight hoarding tendencies. We can become afraid to throw out a shirt with a stain because of a good memory while wearing it or we become overwhelmed with guilt when contemplating throwing out an ugly Christmas gift. In both these scenarios most of us would rather put the item in a storage box and forget about it in the basement than throw it out. In Clutter Control, author Jeff Campbell guides you in making the decision whether to keep an item or when it’s time to close the dumpster lid on it. Campbell provides helpful tips and rules when making the “Keep, Sell, Donate and Toss “list to help you take back your house. Clutter Control is a great book for those of us who would rather own five storage units then put our items in the trash. Campbell strongly encourages you to throw out unneeded items and he helps you be honest with yourself on what you can let go. Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke is also a helpful tool when making tough decisions on letting go of material possessions. Designed in a story like format, Blanke takes you on a journey while putting you to work on de-cluttering your home.

Cleaning is a great way to relieve stress, keep your mind busy and stay productive. At first it can seem overwhelming to look at a mess, but with some useful books you can take any pile of unorganized clothes and items, and find eye pleasing ways to store them. It’s time to transform your home and lifestyle into organized!


~ Jacqueline is a library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library











Counting Down February

Counting Down February 



February is the shortest month of the year, and for such a short month it is bursting with tons to do and filled with events and celebrations to partake in. Now that the craziness of the holiday season has dispersed, it’s time to start foreseeing warmer days ahead and mark your calendar with some exciting events concealed within the days of February!

February is hosp2t to two exciting month-long events: Black History Month and National Bird Feeding Month. This year the theme for Black History Month is, “Civil Rights in America”, chronicling the important milestones by African-Americans and others in the battle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law. A Dream of Freedom by Diane McWhorter is a great read for an overview of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. This book has nicely condensed chapters highlighting important events within the Civil Rights Movement from Little Rock in 1957 to the Albany Movement in 1962 and many more. Let Freedom Ring by Kitty Kelley is another excellent history book that focuses on the images of the March on Washington. Within the pages of this book moments captured from this time in history bring you a connection with the people and events. For an inspirational read consider Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement by Barbara Ransby. Ella Baker was considered to be one of the most important African-American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the Civil Rights Movement.

National Bird Feeding month has also found a home in February. It was created to educate the public and help raise awareness on wild bird feeding and bird watching as a hobby. This event is a great opportunity to find out if you have a hidden passion for bird watching or birds in general. During this month-long event the public is encouraged to purchase some bird seed and participate in feeding the bird wildlife during the winter month, where bird food is scarce. Some great books to help you get started with bird watching are: The Complete Birdhouse Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes, walks you through what types of birdhouses to build to attract certain birds, 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know by Sharon Stiteler, has information on everything from feeding and saving baby birds to platform nests. And The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley will help you identify any bird in your backyard with excellent keys, maps and general information.


Another February favorite of mine is the comedy Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murrary and Annie Mcdowell. The legend goes that if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, there will be an early spring. I love to celebrate this event by watching the Groundhog Day film where Murray’s character finds himself repeating February 2nd.

On Sunday February 2nd The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will battle for the championship for the 48th Super Bowl. In preparation for the big game I found that Football Winning Defense by Bud Wilkinson was a helpful book in understanding game rules and plays. And The Ultimate Super Bowl Book by Bob McGinn was an exceptional history book providing a chronology of Super Bowl History right from the start.

The Oliver Wolcott Library has recently acquired a new museum pass to the Norman Rockwell Art Museum, just in time to celebrate Normal Rockwell’s birthday on February 3rd.  The OWL pass allows free general admission for four individuals. The Norman Rockwell Art Museum is located in Stockbridge Massachusetts and there are always exciting events happening at the museum so be sure to check out their website, for more information on current exhibits and events to plan an extraordinary day.

On February 7th celebrate National Red Day. This event was created to raise awareness of heart disease for women, and the public is encouraged to wear red in support and to get educated on the subject. To read a moving tale on heart disease, Take It to Heart by Pamela Serure is the perfect selection. This book is about the author who was diagnosed with heart disease at age 47. After completing a triple bypass surgery she became inspired to help educate other wop8men on the dangers of the disease and what to look for with symptoms. Another great read to raise awareness is Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart: published by Harvard Medical School Special Health Report. It is a small report that gets right to the point for eating right and exercising to maintain a healthy heart.

My favorite day in February is Valentine’s Day! And my favorite way to get in the spirit for this holiday is to spend a relaxing day and watching a few romantic films such as Crazy, Stupid, Love starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling and Something Borrowed featuring Kate Hudson and Colin Egglesfield. However you plan to spend your February the Oliver Wolcott Library is here to help you celebrate this short month that is packed full of exciting events and celebrations

~Jacqueline is a library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library

Literary Destinations

Living in our neck of the woods is the perfect location. We’re just a couple of hours from New York or Boston and have so many opportunities for awesome day trips! My husband and I have been taking advantage on the weekends and going on literary adventures. The children’s librarian in me is delighted with all there is to offer for picture book lovers:

Eric Carle Pigeon

The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum (Amherst, MA) is just about an hour and a half drive. (OWL’s pass admits two adults and four children into the museum for free.) In addition to housing Eric Carle’s art from various picture books, their exhibitions change about every six months and feature a mix of prolific and new picture book artists. This is one museum where I feel right at home, not having to worry too much about whispering and acting proper. Recently there was a Mo Willems exhibit that I had to see! I had fun with Pigeon (even though neither of us got to drive the bus), Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggie. In addition to being an art museum, there is a craft room to try out different art techniques. Even adults get to play with all of their fun art tools! Their library is full of Caldecott honors and winners, and the newest additions to the picture book medium. They have a regularly scheduled storytime for families, featuring new and classic picture books for all to enjoy. Their gift shop is expansive and has lots of signed books for gift giving, baby literacy-related toys, and even literacy-related clothes! (I had to buy myself a Pigeon shirt!)

Boston Public Courtyard

After spending a recent fall weekend in Boston, I went to the Boston Public Library (Boston, MA) for the first time. The library is amazing in size, offerings, and collections. The children’s room is named after the writer and illustrator of the Curious George series: Margret and H.A. Rey. But the most amazing thing about the library was the outdoor courtyard. Everyone was outside, eating snacks, on their laptops using the Wi-Fi, and reading various types of publications. If my husband and I lived in Boston, we agreed that lots of our spare time would be spent here!

Make Way for Ducklings

A short walk from the Boston Public Library is the Boston Public Gardens (Boston, MA). The park has a Make Way for Ducklings statue. If you’re not familiar with this classic children’s book it tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard who can’t decide on the perfect place to start a family. The ducklings hatch and Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack follow Mama on a great adventure until they finally decide to live in the Gardens. This was the fifth book to win the Caldecott Medal in 1942 for most distinguished picture book. There’s always a line to have your picture taken with the family, but it’s well worth it.

Wild Things

My first visit to the New York Public Library (New York City, NY) was just one month ago. They were having a special exhibit called Why Children’s Books Matter. You can poke around for hours in this amazing exhibit. You can stomp through a Wild Things doorway, pause to read in the Goodnight Moon window, follow Harold’s Purple Crayon around the room, and walk through the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. It was so neat to see where the first children’s room was created and where the first storytime was done in the world. I paid my tribute to Anne Carroll Moore, the first children’s librarian, on my way out the door.

Good Night Moon Room

The Children’s Museum  (New Haven, CT) also has a Goodnight Moon Room. Each room in the Children’s Museum is based on one of the theories of multiple intelligences. The Goodnight Room is the “linguistic” room and features the classic book in many different languages including Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, and Braille. I just want to curl up and listen to a bedtime story in this peaceful space.

There are plenty of other day trips to take in the area to visit some “grownup” authors. We plan on making these visits, too:

Mark Twain House exterior

Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT) (OWL’s pass admits one complimentary adult admission with the purchase of one adult admission OR two complimentary child admissions with the purchase of one adult admission.)

Emily Dickinson House

Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst, MA)

The Mount Edith Wharton

The Mount (Edith Wharton’s Home in Lenox, MA)

Alcott House

Alcott House (in Concord, MA where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women)

New Bedford Whaling

New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford, MA where Herman Melville left on the voyage that inspired Moby Dick)

What’s your favorite literary destination?

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who is adding The Art Institute of Chicago to her Someday List to see the sixty-eight miniature rooms that inspired the children’s series The 68 Rooms.

Tis the Season!

pic1Tis the season to be festive!

Regardless of what is celebrated in your household,

December is that long awaited month to have an excuse to feel a little merrier.

Whether you are high in anticipation of the first snow fall (and the first snow day!), watching the endless

Christmas movies,  preparing decorations, or just getting excited to relax by the fire during these crazy times,

this is the season to finally have a celebration of another year, and begin preparing for the next one to come.



Cards, Decorations & Crafts

This is the time of the year where the mail becomes a little more exciting. Friends and family often start to send those “I’m thinking about you cards” to give yearly updates and reminders that they are still glad to be in your life. For those of you that respond with your own seasonal cards, consider looking into some of the Oliver Wolcott Library’s’ card making books such as Ultimate Card Making and Creative Greeting Cards to give your cards that homemade special touch and remind your friends and family that you are thinking of them too. And for those of you with a mailing list a little too long to make custom cards, check out our hand writing books such as The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering to learn how to make a personal touch signature for each of those close to your heart!

 There are tons of decoration and craft books in both the juvenile and adult section of the 745s in the Library. Some that I found to be interesting and helpful to keep the season exciting is Christmas Stitchery, Ultimate Christmas, and Celebrate the Season. Something unique that you might want to try out this year is having colorful orbs decorating your walkways.  When reading a festive book at OWL, I stumbled upon what I believe is my new favorite part about the colder weather. Last year I began making these simple fun creations and now they have become a holiday favorite. Although I am ashamed to say that I do not remember the book that I found this craft in, it is a very easy one to make. Maybe when looking through OWL’s festive collection you might also stumble upon it!

How-to recipe

Take a water balloon, add 3-4 drops of food coloring inside, fill with water and let it freeze for two days in weather below 25ºF, unwrap, and voila!

pic4 pic5 pic6


For the party and social life lovers, there’s no better time to create the perfect party memories then during the festive season. OWL has a wonderful collection of books to help you make your party season memorable and stress free. There are books from theme decorating, catering, to the simple things such as napkin folding, which can add the perfect touches to your party. Most of the festive books also include a delicious menu and recipes that can leave your guests speechless. For a stress free party season refer to the “You’re Invited” blog posted by Ann Marie which goes more in depth on how to create the picture-perfect party season. (


For the past two years the Oliver Wolcott Library has been very excited to have Peter Tavino and his friends, come and perform a show for our patrons. In past years he has done two radio stage performances, it’s a Wonderful life and A Christmas Carol. This year, on Wednesday December 18th, we are welcoming him back with a performance titled Songs of the Season with OWL Friends. This performance will be a night to remember with live seasonal songs and their history. For registration for this event or more information about the performance you can visit our website under the adult programs tab, and you can also call in to register over the phone.

The holiday season is a crazy one. Between parties, shopping, plays, decorating and trying to remember which way is up in all the chaos, always remember to take the time to enjoy it as well.  The Oliver Wolcott Library has a wonderful selection of holiday films, musical CDs and fiction novels that can help you take a minute to relax from all the craziness and enjoy what makes the season so special. With the classical Christmas movies like Rudolph, Miracle on 34th street and a Christmas Carol, take a moment to unwind and venture back to the inspirational tales that give this season its magical feel. For those of you who pride yourself in your meticulous decorations, browse our seasonal musical CD section to find tunes to make the decorating a little more fun. For those of you looking to get in the spirit of the holiday season, the Oliver Wolcott Library is here to help you along the way with ideas, recipes, and 101 tips!

~Jacqueline Zdanis is a Librarian Assistant at Oliver Wolcott Library