Sara West's blog

Music on the Brain

Think of your favorite song.  Can you hear those first few notes? Can you hear the melody, the pitch, the rhythm? Does it make you want to sing along or tap your foot to the beat?  Does it conjure up a certain emotion or a long-lost memory? 

When we hear a good song, it triggers something deep, something basic within us. Music cuts to the core of who we are. It reminds us of our past and lets us enjoy the present.

But music is also scientific and mathematical. It's possible to track its effects on the brain. If you have ever wondered how music affects us on a biological level, try these titles:

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Amish GraceCharles Roberts is angry and frustrated at himself - and at God.  One crisp October morning, he decides to do something about it.  He walks into an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania carrying a large bag of ammunition.

He wants revenge on God, so he takes hostages.  A standoff ensues when the police arrive.  A short while later, Roberts opens fire, killing five of the children and critically wounding five others before taking his own life.

A Little Texas History

Historical Roadside Marker

You've seen them all over the roads of Texas. Those rectangular aluminum markers standing sentry beside highways, country roads, and tourist destinations. A treasury of Texas history is engraved upon them. They recount the history of important buildings, influential people, dramatic events, and local legends.

The state of Texas began placing the markers in the late 1930s. The modern program, currently run by the Texas Historical Commission, began in 1962. Today, you can find more than 13,000 markers throughout the state.

Glory on the Gridiron

It's hard to tell summer is soon coming to an end. The trees are still green, the weather is still hot, and the pool still beckons. Regardless, we know autumn is fast approaching because that great American tradition is back again - football. Yes, dust off those shoulder pads, shoes, and helmets for another exciting season. Or maybe you'd rather pull up a chair next to the TV.  Whether you're a participant or a fan, these books will help you get into the spirit of the game. 

 

Learn more at the library

If you have been following the news lately, you know several hot topics are currently being discussed and debated. If you find yourself wanting to know more about an issue before deciding where you stand, try some titles from the Opposing Viewpoint series

Quicksand Escape 101

If you are a fan of television survival shows (such as Man vs. Wild or Survivorman) and you don't mind a little humor thrown in with your survival instructions, try a book from The Worst-Case Scenario series by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. These handy pocket-size guides offer simple survival techniques for a diverse set of situations, such as wrestling down an alligator or fleeing from a volcanic erruption.

The Psychology of Everyday Life

Why do we remember the lyrics to a song we last heard five years ago, yet can't recall where we left our cell phone just this morning? How come we spend twenty minutes trying to find a good parking space only to spend five minutes in the store? If you have ever wondered why we act the way we do, these books may help you understand the rationale behind some of our strange ways.

My Sweet Secret

I have a secret. I will tell you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone.

I am crazy about candy!

There! I said it! You are now witness to my big weakness; handfuls of sugary sweet goodness, big bowls of candy bars, tubs of taffy, fountains overflowing with chocolate. I love them all.

Apollo 11 Anniversary

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Were you watching it live as the images were beamed back to Earth on July 20, 1969? Maybe you have never seen the original broadcast.  If you would like to see it again, or for the first time, you can now view NASA’s restored clips of the transmission online.  

If you're curious to know more about the Apollo 11 mission, check out these titles from the HCPL catalog:

Staycation Tips @ HCPL

The latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary contains nearly 100 new words. One of those newly minted entries is staycation and you may want to take one before the summer ends.

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