Posts tagged ‘books’

Tweet This

Having recently viewed the popular highly regarded film, The Social Network, it got me thinking about my use of computer technology and how much I personally depend on social networking to stay in touch with friends and family.  I remember when the Internet was still referred to as the Information Superhighway and dial-up modems were the only way to travel there.  Technology has zipped along since then, but the manner in which the majority of Baby Boomers use the Internet remains pretty much the same.  Boomers go online to use e-mail, shop, and do research. An AARP survey shows that 40% of those 50 years old or older consider themselves either extremely or very comfortable using the Internet.

Despite the growing number of Boomers online, only 27% use social networking sites.  Social networking is the next iteration of the Internet.  Instead of static webpages, websites are interactive so users can comment in real-time with each other, putting the “social” in social networking.

It’s true that the number of Baby Boomers using social networks is increasing. CBS News recently ran a story on the growing number of Baby Boomers now using social media.  According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, social networking on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn is up 88% among those aged 50-64.  Use of Twitter alone is up 120% in the same age group.

If you haven’t joined the social networking bandwagon yet, here’s a quick low-down on the most well-known social media sites and what their focus is:

Myspace (130 million users): The first social networking site to take off in a big way.  Since losing the social networking crown to Facebook, they have revamped the site to focus on music and target younger users.

Facebook (500 million users): The current top of the heap in social networking. Most people use it to keep in touch with friends and family.

LinkedIn (80 million users): Popular for professionals, it’s more about resumes and networking than reuniting with your prom date from high school.

Twitter (175 million users): Say what you want in 140 characters or less. Users follow people (from celebrities to politicians to your grandkids) with short updates known as “tweets.”

Looking to connect more with other Boomers?  There are a couple of social networking sites geared directly to you.  Eons (listed in our Blogroll and LINKS section to the right) is a social networking site that launched in 2005 by the man who created the job hunting website Monster.com.  You can join different communities based on personal interests such as gardening or travel, play games, and share photos.  AARP also features social networking on its website for the 50+ crowd with its AARP Online Community.

If you want to read further about how to get the most out of social networking, the Torrance Public Library has books to get you started :

 
Do you use social networking sites?  Have strong feelings about their positive and negative aspects?  Still not ready to jump in yet?  Leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

–mz

Advertisements

January 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm 7 comments

‘Tis the Season to be Reading

Flickr.com, photo by archangeldeb

It’s that time of year again! Families are coming together to visit and remember past holidays and traditions. Some of us are lucky enough to live close to our children and grandchildren, but there are those of us who aren’t so fortunate. We want to keep in touch and be more involved in our loved ones’ lives, but how do we do it in only a few short days? One of the best ways for Boomers to spend some special quality time with grandchildren is to read to them. Experts agree that reading to children is extremely important to their learning and growth. But, dare I say it? Many of us may have lost our touch. So, how do we choose a good book? It’s important to find one that you’ll enjoy, too!

First, where do you find a good book? In addition to visiting the Library and asking the experts, your friendly Youth Services Librarians, there are some helpful websites you may consult:

100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know (New York Public Library)
2010 Notable Children’s Books (Association for Library Service to Children)
Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010 (New York Times)
Read Aloud America

If you are reading to older children that have a longer attention span or children of varying ages, try some of the titles recommended at:
Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books (Good Reads)

In addition, there are several excellent books to help you find good books to read aloud:

Choosing Books for Children by Betsy Gould Hearne
Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3 by Judy Freeman
Read-aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Reading Magic by Mem Fox

At Torrance Public Libraries, picture books (Easy Books), most of which are designed for reading aloud, are shelved separately from Beginning Reader books that children read independently, so it’s easy to find a good book that is age appropriate.

Now that you’re ready with an enticing book, how do you read to your grandchild?

• First, pick a book that appeals to you – you’ll be much more likely to read with enthusiasm if you enjoy the storyline and/or illustrations. It’s a good idea to preview the book(s) if you have time. 
• Get comfortable!  Pick a quiet, cozy spot where you can give your undivided attention to your grandchild.
• Use an animated voice. Read the story using a different voice for each character. Don’t be afraid to ham it up – this is the time to practice all your best drama skills.
• Choose a book with rhyming words. Rhythm and repetition are excellent forms of fun!
• Leave out some of the words and let your grandchild fill them in.
• Encourage your grandchild to point to pictures or words in the book as you read.
• Read with an accent (especially if you find yourself getting bored with the book!)
• Ask your grandchild what they think will happen next. Asking questions will help focus attention, gives your grandchild a chance to participate, and may lead to interesting discussion.
• Change the words. Substitute outrageous words like hippopotamus or pickle that have nothing to do with the story. Your grandkids will have a great time correcting you and you’ll all have a wonderful laugh!

Remember, reading to your grandchild can be enjoyable and fun for both of you. It’s a way you can become involved in his/her life and provide many lasting memories. Reading a good book with your grandchild doesn’t need to depend on your being physically present together; try reading to your grandchild over the phone or via video chat. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to your grandchild’s life!

If you do have a book that your grandchild has particularly enjoyed, share the title with your fellow Boomers below in our comments area – they may be inspired to try it as well.

–ds

December 9, 2010 at 5:43 am 5 comments

How to be an Empowered Patient

Mick Jagger probably said it best, “What a drag it is getting old.” Eyesight gets blurry, knees go bad, back goes out, menopause hits…and let’s not forget hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and a host of other chronic health problems. As we Baby Boomers age, we usually make more visits to the doctor. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 57% of doctor visits were made by those 45 years old and over in 2008; that’s up from 49% in 1998. With life expectancy hovering at a little more than 80 years old for women and 75 years old for men, that’s a lot more doctor visits on our horizons.

Many Baby Boomers are also caring for their aging parents, who are living longer, too. It’s often up to Boomer sons and daughters to advocate for their parents’ care. Boomers are a generation known for questioning authority, and that nonconformist spirit shouldn’t stop at the doctor’s office. Marcus Welby, M.D. may have taught us “doctor knows best,” but Boomers need to empower themselves and their loved ones when it comes to health care.

The idea of patients taking control of their health care is catching on with the media. CNN Online has an Empowered Patient section by medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. The September issue of Scientific American featured an article on “The Rise of the Empowered Patient.” The basic message is that no one will look after the well-being of your family with more diligence than you.

So how do you become an empowered patient? Information is the key. Ask your doctor questions. Don’t know what questions to ask? Research health issues that are pertinent to you. Health information online is abundant, but may not be vetted thoroughly. An excellent place to start your information search is MedlinePlus, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus offers the latest health information, tutorials, directories, plus lots more.

And don’t forget that the Torrance Public Library has books on how to empower yourself as a patient:

Tell us your stories of how you were able to empower yourself or a loved one and receive better care.

–mz

November 5, 2010 at 4:32 am 1 comment

Fun and Easy Canning (Yes, Really!)

The end of summer means many fruits and vegetables are at their peak and it’s time to take advantage of them by canning and preserving…and it’s not as difficult as you may think!

Canning’s last heyday was during World War II along with victory gardens, as part of the home front war effort.  But the end of the war brought prosperity, supermarkets, and more processed food so many Boomers grew up with Swanson’s TV dinners instead of Mom’s canned green beans.  For those of us who were around in the 1970’s, Ruth Hertzberg’s best-selling book, Putting Food By, generated some interest in making use of the bounty from home gardens.  I recall several friends bringing in homemade pickles and jams to work and sharing such goodies with less “domestic” friends such as myself.  Now some thirty years later there’s been a resurgence in canning as people look for ways to cut their food budgets and eat healthier.

A recent story heard on National Public Radio, “Overloaded From Your Garden? Just Can It,” had me swooning over the recipes described on air.  Canning is a great way to preserve the flavors of the season and just thinking about spicy peach salsa or pickled green tomatoes made me want to learn how to do it and encourage others as well.

The first step on one’s canning adventure is to obtain the necessary equipment. Canning jars, complete with lids and seals, are available from many hardware stores. Other basic tools you’ll need for canning are a jar lifter, magnetic wand, jar funnel, and a non-metallic spatula. Canning starter kits may be purchased at local stores such as a Target or Walmart, as well as many online retailers, for as little as $15 – $20. You’ll also need a pot for your canning, and if you don’t want to buy a boiling water canner with a built-in rack for the jars, you can simply use a stock pot with a homemade rack of lid rings wired together.

Next, you may want to visit the Torrance Certified Farmers’ Market, held each Tuesday and Saturday, 8am-1pm, to stock up on seasonal goodies. Torrance’s Farmers’ Market has been a tradition at Wilson Park for twenty-five years. More than sixty farmers and vendors from throughout California bring their fresh wares to the market, so there’s plenty of fresh products to choose from. And don’t be shy about trying the free samples!

Finally, you’re ready to can, pickle, and preserve your way to healthier eating.  The library offers many books on canning to help walk you through the process, and there are plenty of yummy recipes, too!  Listed below is a sampling of some canning and food preservation materials available at the library:

Do you have any favorite canning recipes you’d like to share with us? Please post in our comments section below!
– mz

October 12, 2010 at 1:20 am 6 comments

Anticipation and Old Friends

Seeing the trailers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) conjured up (ha ha) bittersweet feelings. Although the seventh novel of the Harry Potter series was published back in July 21, 2007, the release of each movie has been something I have looked forward to over the years. I could relive the wonder, the excitement, and the sorrow of each book again. These movie adaptations, hugely successful in their own right, will be coming to an end. J. K. Rowling began with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997 and, at this time, the final film is due out July 15, 2011.

With nostalgia, I’ve thought back to my own childhood, and to those series I couldn’t wait to read as each volume came out. Remember the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books? Mind you, I did not read them when they were originally published in the 1930’s. However, I could not get enough of the adventures of Frank, Joe, Chet, Nancy, Bess, and George and the sweet anticipation of knowing I would be spending time with these old friends still brings cherished memories. I kept a dog-eared sheet of paper where I dutifully wrote down the volume number of each book I read. Later, I discovered that librarians had a hard time with my list. I couldn’t ask them for the titles that I wanted to read, because I didn’t know the titles – I only knew the numbers! This problem was easily remedied, as I just browsed the shelves looking for those numbers to fill the gaps on my list.

Many years later I was astounded to observe the staying power of these childhood favorites of mine. My son’s elementary school was having a book swap. Students were encouraged to bring in gently used books for their reading level, and could exchange them for books donated by other students. The volunteers mentioned that the younger grades, K through 3, always have lots of donations, but the higher grades have far fewer items donated at their reading level. I happened to strike up a conversation with the School Librarian and she also reinforced how parents or organizations donate children’s picture books however, for some reason, titles for older kids don’t have the same appeal.

Luckily, the Friends of the Torrance Library maintain an ongoing display of books for sale and I was able to buy some Harry Potters, Lemony Snickets, and other series titles for extremely reasonable prices and donate them. One of the other volunteers pointed out they had a number of nice Nancy Drew books, as well. When I gave these books to the school librarian, I was surprised to hear that 5th and 6th graders love Nancy Drew books. I had to ask, “regular, old school Nancy Drew”? Yes, Nancy Drew, to my amazement, still captures the imagination of kids today. Needless to say, I went back and donated a huge stack of Nancy Drew books. There happened to be a 5th grader in the school library when I dropped off the books. A big smile on her face, she wanted to know when they would be ready to check out. Old friends have found yet another generation.
–js

July 19, 2010 at 7:14 am 2 comments

Poem on the Range

Not only will we soon be celebrating National Library Week (April 11-17, 2010) but April is also National Poetry Month!  The event, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.  It is heartening to see thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events that pay homage to literacy and the beauty and impact of language.

Since it’s still the beginning of April, you can sign up for Poets.org’s Poem-A-Day and through the magic of e-mail, you will receive one new poem daily throughout the month. The poems have been selected from new poetry titles published in the spring.

One intriguing new initiative associated with National Poetry Month is “Poem on the Range” an ongoing collaborative multimedia-mapping project that challenges readers to contribute their views of poetry in the world. Individuals are asked to contribute to a map that includes videos or photos of poetic landmarks, cities, dwellings, streets, roadside ephemera, and other places immortalized by iconic poems and poets. You can even take video of yourself reading the poem while at the site and then download it to the Poem on the Range Flickr Group, or add it to their Google map. Right now there’s not very much posted from the West Coast, so find your inner poetry maven and share your love of verse.

This year is also the centennial of the Poetry Society of America, the oldest poetry organization in the United States. Their website has profiles of poets and samples of their poetry.

With Earth Day (April 22) also celebrated this month, it seems fitting that one of the country’s leading poetry centers, Poet’s House, is focusing on the natural world with a series of events, “Ecopoetic Futures,” that examine poetry and the environment. While Poet’s House is located in Lower Manhattan and is probably not in your immediate travel plans, you can still enjoy a sampling of ecopoetry by reading from the poetry collections of the Torrance Public Library. Try sampling some of the following poets whose work often focuses on the natural world:
Diane Ackerman
Joseph Bruchac
Mark Doty
Jorie Graham
Robert Hass
Pattiann Rogers

There are also several Southern California events that feature the celebration of poets and poetry that you may enjoy:

Souls and Passions, the Poets of Los Angeles a photography exhibit featuring pictures of notable Los Angeles poets taken by photographer Mark Savage. The exhibit, located at Buena Park City Hall, will run from March 2nd through April 29th, 2010. Visitors are welcome Monday through Thursday and the last Friday of every month, from 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

National Poetry Month Celebration
April 24, 2010, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
San Pedro Public Library,
Ninth St. and Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA
Several well-known local, published and unpublished poets will read from their original poems.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, a two-day literary event featuring hundreds of authors (including poets). The Poetry Stage features tent readings all day; UCLA campus, free festival admission, however tickets with a seventy-five cent service fee are required for indoor panels and speakers parking $9, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 (tickets: ticketmaster.com or ticket booth onsite)

For other poetry events throughout the year, try consulting the Poetry Flash website (you can also visit their booth at the LA Times Festival of Books). The site lists workshops and readings in addition to its calendar of events.

April 5, 2010 at 4:12 am 2 comments

Retirement Resources Update

Library Journal, one of the Library’s primary reviewing media has released their “LJ Best of 2009 Business Books” list. Since their focus is retirement, two of the recommended titles specifically are of interest to Boomers:

Frank Armstrong’s Save Your Retirement: What To Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough or If Your Investments Were Devastated by the Market Meltdown. F.T. Pearson, 2009, $14.99

Primarily for those 15 years or closer to their retirement (but with good information for all), this guide offers some of the clearest suggestions for mapping your route to retirement, no matter the economy.

Julie Jason’s The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How To Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad. Sterling Pub. Co, 2009, $14.95

Jason’s (Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers) straightforward and reasonably priced retirement guide provides a good starting point for those seeking basic but solid investing information.

While many of this year’s best business books focus on the 2008-2009 financial crisis and security-backed mortgage implosion, the Library Journal article also contains an amusing list of “worthy extras.” For example, who could resist reading a book with the following lead in…
Best Financial Guide by an Author Who Doesn’t Get Enough Attention for His Sound Investment Advice: Jonathan E. Pond,
Safe Money in Tough Times: Everything You Need To Know To Survive the Financial Crisis.  Not only does the Library own multiple copies of this title, but it’s also available in CD format so you can listen to the book rather than read it. Or how about a book described as the… Book You May Not Be in the Mood To Read Right Now, But Which is Nonetheless Fascinating  Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Wealth Culture by Larry Samuel.

Even if you are not typically inclined to read business books, you may find some of these items well worth your time. And if you have read any of the recommended titles or have others to suggest for fellow Boomers, please comment below and share your thoughts.

March 25, 2010 at 5:41 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Archives

RSS LINK Logs

  • Get On Your Feet…Get Up and Make it Happen! May 10, 2011
    Listening to NPR this week, I heard a story on the dangers of too much sitting,” Sitting All Day: Worse For You Than You Might Think” that reminded me of Baby Boomer, Gloria Estefan’s great song, Get On Your Feet.  So many of us have sedentary jobs and/or we come home from work (whether required […]
  • Tweet This January 25, 2011
    Having recently viewed the popular highly regarded film, The Social Network, it got me thinking about my use of computer technology and how much I personally depend on social networking to stay in touch with friends and family.  I remember when the Internet was still referred to as the Information Superhighway and dial-up modems were the […]
  • ‘Tis the Season to be Reading December 9, 2010
    It’s that time of year again! Families are coming together to visit and remember past holidays and traditions. Some of us are lucky enough to live close to our children and grandchildren, but there are those of us who aren’t so fortunate. We want to keep in touch and be more involved in our loved […]
  • Cooking Light (and Veg!) for the Holidays November 22, 2010
    I love the smell, taste, and feel of fall – the crisp, clean air, the warmth of vegetables roasting in my oven, and getting cozy with a steaming hot cup of cocoa and a book.  Fall is also a time of holidays and for many of us Boomers, a season of abundant eating and quality […]
  • Rich Retirement – Smart Retirement November 14, 2010
    It’s time for a round-up of recent magazine offerings on the topic of retirement, a chief concern of most Baby Boomers I know. Money Magazine’s October 2010 issue includes their Retirement Guide 2011. Penelope Wang’s cover story, “Seven Secrets to a Richer Retirement,” examines the latest research in the field of behavioral finance (a blend […]
  • How to be an Empowered Patient November 5, 2010
    Mick Jagger probably said it best, “What a drag it is getting old.” Eyesight gets blurry, knees go bad, back goes out, menopause hits…and let’s not forget hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and a host of other chronic health problems. As we Baby Boomers age, we usually make more visits to the doctor. According to Centers for […]
  • Film Festivals Part Deux – AFI Fest October 30, 2010
    It hardly seems possible that it’s been a full year since we posted about the pleasures of attending film festivals.   One of the biggest and best, the AFI Fest, is about to begin this coming week. AFI Fest is Los Angeles’ longest running international film festival and the 2010 event will be held in Hollywood, California, November […]
  • Conquer Your Inner Hoarder! October 26, 2010
    I’ve become fascinated with the hoarding shows on television. A&E offers Hoarders and TLC airs Hoarding: Buried Alive. The basic premise of both shows is that hoarding is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder whereby people become incapable of throwing out anything, and I mean anything: broken hangers, empty soda cans, and the hoarders’ classic, […] […]
  • Boomers Got a Bum Rap? October 22, 2010
    The October issue of Atlantic Magazine features a provocative cover story focusing on the Baby Boomer generation and their responsibility for and contributions to the country’s present situation. Whether you agree or disagree, Michael Kinsley has written an essay that will make you think. The issue also includes response commentaries from “experts.” Personal […]
  • ACK! and the Single Girl October 18, 2010
    Cathy Guisewite has penned the final panel of that forever dieting, forever shoe-shopping, forever everywoman, Cathy. For more than 30 years, Cathy was the picture of the stressed-out career woman trying to juggle love, work, body issues, mother-daughter relationships, and whatever else modern society threw at her. Cathy ran in 900 newspapers, won an Emmy [… […]

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12 other followers