The following DVDs may challenge, change, or enhance the way you look at food, the food industry and food culture.
Food Inc. looks at the current state of the corporate/industrial food production systems in the US and the government agencies that regulate those systems; as well as the outcomes these systems are having on our health, the planet, and the economy. Food Inc. has interviews with Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Denver Congresswoman Diana DeGette, just to name a few.
Forks Over Knives
What would you say if more than one doctor told you most degenerative illnesses could be prevented and/or cured if people stopped eating animal-based and processed foods? The doctors in Forks Over Knives make just such a claim. They also talk about the real life changes they have witnessed in their patient’s health and bodies when they do switch to a plant based diet.
Dive! is a multi-award winning documentary about food waste in America. Did you know every year in the US we throw away 96 billion pounds of food? The creator of the film, Jeremy Seifert, is well aware of this, which is why he dumpster dives for most of his food. If dumpster diving seems nauseating, watch the DVD; you might be surprised! Dive! looks at food as something precious and sacred, rather than just another commodity.
Ingredients is about the local food movement, from farmer’s markets and chefs who deal directly with local farmers to Community Supported Agriculture programs. It follows food from the farm to the table and features the celebrated chef’s Alice Waters, Peter Hoffman, and Greg Higgins.
Have you heard of the Digital Public Library of America? It's a non-profit organization that's taking historical works and archives from several state libraries and cultural organizations and making them available to patrons from all over the world. Part library, part museum, the Digital Public Library of America offers over 2.4 million free resources, has incredible exhibitions of art, photographs and manuscripts, and includes collections from the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, and the National Archives.
Their website launched just the other day, and it's a great place to go for anyone interested in exploring our history and shared heritage. The wealth of information it conveys is suitable for students at all levels, and contains fascinating insights into thousands of topics. Of course, you don't have to be doing research to enjoy the DPLA! You can think of their site as the ultimate highbrow timewaster! (And come on, you were probably getting tired of playing Pacman, right)?
If you need a good book to read with your upper elementary or middle school child, Wonder by R. J. Palacio may be the one for you! August has been homeschooled for many years because of surgeries to correct the deformity of his face. He finds himself going to school for the first time in middle school, which is a hard age for most kids, let alone one who is so noticeably different in physical appearance. The story is told from the points of view of various characters, which really helps the reader understand the complexity of August’s life. This book may generate important discussions with your child about acceptance of others and bullying. It is a great read!
In Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye, Timothy Wilde reluctantly assumes his duties in New York City's newly-formed police department in 1845. In the middle of the night he hears a little girl's claim that dozens of bodies have been buried in a local forest. This happens at a time when the potato famine in Ireland has sent thousands of immigrants into the city, creating great anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiments. Timothy and his brother Valentine have risen from a dreadful upbringing only to be forced to become players in the politics and corruption of the city. Compelling characters and fast-paced plot make this a hard book to put down. Faye's ample research helps situate this dark mystery novel in a gritty, compelling period of American history.
A novel based on characterization is only as successful as the figures that populate it. Teju Cole takes this corollary a step further by presenting us with a book whose focus is squarely on a single character, rather than divided among an ensemble cast. Set in New York, Open City centers on the everyday life of its protagonist, Julius, a young psychiatrist who interns at an area hospital. While other characters are introduced, Cole’s narrator seems to have no deep connections to any of them. In this sense, Cole gives us a faithful depiction of what it is to live in a modern megatropolis; in other words, the same psychological distance necessary to live in a bustling, overstimulated and demanding environment also colors our human relationships. As a result, many of Cole’s other characters have the quality of acquaintances: Julius knows them incidentally, but shares no real intimacy with them. Fortunately, Cole is both erudite and a fine prose stylist, which gives his novel a deeply thoughtful tone, but as any philosopher worth her salt will tell you, brilliance only reaches its full potential when it is shared. A bildungsroman in the purest sense, Open City also gives us a taste of our times, when digital media and social compartmentalization ensure that we spend most of our time talking not to each other, but to ourselves.
Looking for something a little different to get your spring reading going? These forthcoming non-fiction titles are all set for release in April and are all on order here at JCPL, ready for you to put on hold today.
Down the Up Escalator: How the 99 percent live in the Great Recession, by Barbara Garson
The author relays personal accounts of some of those affected by the recession along with historical background that gives insight into how our economic system was set up to fail. Release date April 2, 2013.
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
Essays by the celebrated humorist take the reader on an around-the-world tour of the absurd. Release date April 23, 2013.
Cooked : a natural history of transformation, by Michael Pollan
Acclaimed food author Pollan looks at the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) to uncover how cooking connects and transforms us. Release date April 23, 2013.
Is it our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable? Although a negative path to happiness may seem counter-intuitive, British journalist Oliver Burkeman ends up making complete sense of the idea in The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. You’ll enjoy the different perspectives Burkeman explores in each chapter, as well as his tone, which is not quite as snarky as the subtitle suggests but still humorous. Readers may also like his attitude, that of the guy who questions authority, and the wealth of information he delivers in the style of Malcolm Gladwell. From an interview with Eckhart Tolle to a visit to the Museum of Failed Products, Burkeman never fails to enlighten and entertain.
Take the guesswork out of choosing water-wise plants for your landscape by learning the seven principles of Xeriscaping and by using Plant Select(TM) plants. Join us on Monday, April 22nd at 6 p.m. at the Columbine Library.
If you, like me, admire the many fine cookbooks the library purchases, but rarely find time to follow a recipe from one, consider taking a look at An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, a beautifully written and inspiring book by Tamar Adler. Read it whether you consider yourself a cook or not; you’ll find that you will look at cooking differently after you do. Don’t read it for the recipes, though it has many fine ones. Read it to remind yourself that eating healthy, affordably, and responsibly is what humans have been doing since ancient times, beginning with boiling water over a fire. Adler reminds us that feeding ourselves is an integral part of being human and well-worth a little time and effort to do it well. She also offers plenty of advice along the way, making this a practical book as well as inspiring.
Three short (40 minute) documentary films will be screened at Standley Lake Library in April and May. Don’t miss the chance to see films that are not currently in the JCPL collection and to participate in a discussion led by Dr. Vincent Piturro, film professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Indie Prof on Facebook.
All films will show at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays in the Standley Lake Library meeting room
Strangers No More (http://www.strangersnomoremovie.com/)
At Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, children from 48 countries study, recover from their past and build new lives together.
Directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Oscar winner, 2011 – Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Sun Come Up (http://www.suncomeup.com/film/Home.html)
Environment refugees from Carteret Island in the South Pacific must find a new home as the ocean rises.
Directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Oscar nominee, 2011 – Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Saving Face (http://savingfacefilm.com/)
Women attacked by acid in Pakistan try to rebuild their lives, and a plastic surgeon returns to his native country to rebuild their faces.
Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Oscar winner, 2012 – Best Documentary, Short Subjects
We’re also thinking about starting a film group at Standley Lake Library. It would work like a book group – the group would decide which films to watch, watch the films on their own time, and come to film group to discuss it. If this interests you, please contact Susannah ([email protected]) by email or at the Standley Lake Information Desk.