Geralyn B.

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

Friday, February 13, 2015
Kathleen Flinn
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midw

When I read “Burnt toast makes you sing good: a memoir of food & love from an American Midwest family” by Kathleen Flinn, it reminded me of my family life growing up with many siblings in the same time period, the 50’s & 60’s. To Kathleen, meals brought back memories and cooking was a way of communicating. The author’s family struggled financially. As a result, clothes were purchased at thrift stores for the 5 children & bag lunches rather than “hot lunches” were the norm. Of course, these ways of living were fuel for the children being taunted at school. Kathleen’s mother actually told the children that the thrift stores were high end department stores. The girls in the family didn’t realize the white lie until they entered a “real” department store. Imagine their faces to look upon a sight of the multitude of choices to buy, let alone the bright lights! Another similarity had to do with birthdays. In lieu of gifts, the children got to pick out the menu for “their” day. Grandma Inez’s cinnamon rolls were always the choice for breakfast! The words of the title came from an adage that Grandma Inez used to say. She didn’t own a toaster so she “baked” toast in the oven. The children would complain about having to eat burnt toast, so grandma gave them a good reason to eat it. Some of the choice family activities included eating, camping, reading, & fishing. They would spend days fishing, whether it be ice, smelt, or motoring around a lake in a boat that was big enough for the family of seven. The family lived in California for a time helping out a relative run a restaurant. Kathleen’s parents eventually tried their culinary skills by running their own restaurant using family favorite recipes. The book includes some of the family recipes. When the family moved to Michigan, the family’s financial status improved when they were able to buy a farm. Food could be grown & stored for future consumption. At one time there was enough money to open doors for socialization. Food and fun while meeting new people. In regards to reading, Mr. Flinn purchased a set of encyclopedias from a college student. (Selling encyclopedias was a common job for college students during the 70’s, nowadays encyclopedias are a thing of the past). Mr. Flinn would read the informational books from cover to cover. Sometimes he would read aloud so who ever wanted to gain unique knowledge could listen. A good book to read if you want to stroll down memory lane or drive on Route 66. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Take Me With You

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Take Me With You

Sixteen years ago, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote the bestseller “Pay it forward” which eventually was made into a movie. Her latest book, “Take me with you” also has a “kindness” theme. A teacher, (August) spends his summers traveling in a motor home visiting national parks. When he has to stop at a garage to get repairs done, his summer trip changes. The mechanic strikes a deal with the teacher. The mechanic asks the teacher if he would take his 2 sons with him and he would waive the cost of repairs. August learns that the mechanic has to spend time in jail for DUI incidents. Of course the boys are more than happy traveling “with a stranger” and a dog instead of living in foster care. Each passenger has issues that are dealt with during the summer. The travelers are very reluctant to sever their paths. Eight years later, the boys surprise August with a trip that they have planned. By this time, August is having trouble with his legs, so he is more than happy to turn the reins over to the young adults. They want to continue this summer tradition for the “rest of his life.” Check our Catalog

Geralyn Technical Services

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Monday, November 17, 2014
Ben Montgomery
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalach

Admittedly, there are women that have hiked long distances such as, Loreen Niewenhuis who wrote, “A 1,000-mile walk on the beach: one woman's trek of the perimeter of Lake Michigan” and Cheryl Strayed who wrote “Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” “Grandma Gatewood” as she was known, hiked in Keds sneakers without a map, sleeping bag or tent over the rough terrain of the Appalachian Trail, which is 2050 miles. She started walking when she was 67 years old, and actually hiked the trail 3 times! When she finished the first time, Grandma Gatewood was so uplifted by the scenery that she sang the first verse of “America, the beautiful.” She gained notoriety as she visited small towns to buy food or seek shelter. But, she didn’t even tell her adult children what she was doing, only that she was going to ‘take a walk.” Ben Montgomery told of her experiences in the book, “Grandma Gatewood’s walk: the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail.” After her treks, she gave speeches to many groups and further inspired many to attempt “walking in her footsteps.” I thoroughly enjoyed Grandma Gatewood’s adventure, all you have to do is “put one foot in front of the other.”  Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

God's Not Dead

Friday, September 19, 2014
God's Not Dead

DVD review: God’s not dead. This movie involves conflict & resolution in a religious realm. A professor of a philosophy class “told his class” to write on a piece of paper, “God is dead” and sign their name. He said doing this would allow that student to pass the class. Josh was the only student that could not even remotely participate in this “assignment.” The professor was not happy with the student’s reluctance at “doing what he was told.” Josh had to “debate” 3 lectures to support his reasoning. The professor threatened Josh that if he continued to “win over the students” and disbar the professor’s authority, he would prevent Josh from being admitted to pre-law. His lectures affected other skeptics. Two students had strict fathers of either oriental or middle eastern descents. The students did convert. Two other couples went through changes. One woman had cancer & her partner didn’t want to be hampered with her dilemma. The other involved the professor’s partner ending their relationship because she didn’t like not having her freedom & being “told” what she can and cannot do. The end of the movie left a positive resolution. Check our catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

Titanic: Blood and Steel

Friday, June 6, 2014
3 part DVD
Titanic: Blood and Steel

The movie “Titanic: Blood & steel” is a 3 part dramatic rendition of the events prior to the Titanic’s  demise.  You get to examine the workers, administrators, & the financial backers that could have been accountable for the sinking incident. The “blood” part of the movie is in reference to the number of people that died because of the political & religious conflicts that took place in Ireland where the ship was built. The steel part of the title refers to the possibility that the steel wasn’t tempered hot enough and that there was a steel strike in effect during the construction of the Titanic. Watching this movie encouraged me to learn more about this tragic incident. One of the books that I read was “Gilded lives, fatal voyage.” Narratives of the “rich and famous” were “scrupulously” researched and very fascinating to read. One such passenger, named Elinor Glyn wrote the book, “Three weeks” which launched a new publishing genre—the erotic romance novel.  

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Geralyn B. Technical Services

Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness

Monday, May 20, 2013
Rebecca Lerner
Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness

Imagine relying on nature for food or medicine for your family; harvesting  “weeds”, such as dandelion, stinging nettles, mint, or knowing when to reap berries, nuts and roots, even devouring ant eggs, termites, or slugs like chimpanzees—no opening cans unless you canned it yourself. The author challenged herself to “live off” the “food” found in her neighborhood of Portland, Oregon for one week. She couldn’t achieve squelching the grumbling in her stomach with the little “food” that she harvested in her neighborhood. A few reasons she didn’t accomplish “surviving” off the land were because there was too much concrete; when she found green space with edible plants they were sprayed with pesticides; and edible food is harvested in certain seasons—nuts, berries, roots. She revisited her challenge in November and succeeded after squirreling away edible plants and fruits throughout the year. She made flour with acorns and was happy to “doctor” living beings with the “medicine” that she found in nature. Any time that I walk in nature, my eyes are searching for edible plants and fruits, even stinging nettle--but not insects.

Check our catalog for this book.


Geralyn B., Technical Services

Friends with kids

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DVD title: Friends with kids. This drama is about 3 groups of couples. Two of them have children. Whenever the groups get together at each others homes or restaurants, there is chaos involving the children. The drama also shows the stress on the husband and wife’s relationship. The couple that does not have children are “single” and they decide to “get pregnant” and co-parent their child. They want to prove that parenting can be done in a positive manner. When the “single” couple have their friends over, the “married couples” (one set has since been divorced) are astonished how well the single couple are coping. Discussion between the friends question the ethics of raising a child in separate homes. Will the child adjust to having a mom and a dad that are not married? What if the “single” couple get married to different partners? Will the child miss out on a normal “family life”? I gave the movie a “thumbs down”. Check our catalog. Geralyn, Technical Services

Lone wolf ; The grey

Monday, July 9, 2012
Jodi Picoult

“Ahh woooo, ahh woo woo woo” Can you decipher what that means? Well, maybe if you read the book, Lone wolf: a novel by Jodi Picoult or watch the movie, “The grey”, starring Liam Neeson,  you might be able to communicate with wolves. Both stories are about survival after traumatic accidents. Luke, the main character in “Lone wolf” reminisces about his life with his family of wolves and his “biological family” that includes a 17 year old daughter that was in the accident with him; an adult son that he’s been estranged from for over 6 years; and an ex-wife, while in a coma. The book is narrated by each family member as they cope with the possibility of “unplugging a life.” Through Luke’s narration, it’s evident that he prefers his wolf family. The characters in the movie are stalked by menacing wolves as the men try to survive in a harsh environment hoping that they will be rescued. Check our catalog for the book Check our catalog for the DVD. Geralyn Technical Services

  Che Ched Che Che Che

What the Animals Taught Me: Stories of Love and Healing from a Farm Animal Sanctuary

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Stephanie Marohn
What the Animals Taught Me: Stories of Love and Healing from a Farm Animal Sanct

This is a different kind of animal rescue book. The author really observes the behavior of the animals (donkeys, sheep, chickens, and turkeys) that she brings onto her farm. She comes to believe that her “flock” are animal messengers to teach her unconditional love lessons. The author deals with death and birth and also lessons of letting go of judgment; respect for all beings; the courage to be free; flowing with change; and realizing that every moment is a sanctuary. This story gave me a different perspective on tending to the everyday needs of farm animals. The author showed that it can be a joy and a blessing.

Check our catalog for this book.

Geralyn B., Technical Services


Cleo: the cat who mended a family

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Helen Brown

First of all, I was surprised that this book was an “international” bestseller. The author was born in New Zealand and now lives in Australia. The book has been translated into twelve languages. Another unordinary note is that Cleo the cat lives to be almost a quarter century old which is very unusual for a pet to live. Helen Brown’s family was able to cope with life’s ups and downs, sometimes traumatic events, with the help of Cleo’s innate abilities to lessen stress and sadness. One such “healing” took place when a purring Cleo laid on the abdomen of a family member that was recovering from Crohn’s surgery. Check our catalog

Geralyn, Technical Services


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