Free eBook Friday: Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, by Rachel Kaplan:

The urban homesteading movement is spreading rapidly across the nation. Urban Homesteading is the perfect guide for urbanites who want to reduce their impact on the environment and gain satisfaction from the fruits of their own labor.

Full of practical information, as well as inspiring stories from people already living the urban homesteading life, this colorful guide breaks down the lifestyle basics for any reader. It embraces the core concepts of localization (fulfilling basic needs close to where we live), self-reliance (re-learning that food comes from the ground, not the grocery store), and sustainability (giving back at least as much as we take). Readers will find concise how-to information that they can immediately set into practice, from making solar cookers and growing tomatoes in a pot to raising chickens on a tiny plot and maintaining the mental serenity of country life in the fast-paced city environment. This is a must-have handbook for city folk with a passion for the simple life.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Resource of the Month – OneClickDigital’s New App!

oneclickdigitalLast summer we told you about the great online resource for eaudiobooks, OneClickdigital. It’s one of the free online resources available to Chatham County Library patrons and gives you access to more than 1,500 downloadable audiobooks.

Now OneClickdigital eAudio has released a new app, available for download in the app store for all iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook Color users.  The new app allows users to download individual chapters and titles and maintain multiple user profiles.  The app also makes it easier to search for content and manage titles in your account.

To download the app, search for OneClickdigital in the app store on your device, and select the OneClickdigital eAudio Player. If you already have a OneClickdigital eAudio account, use the same username and password to log into the new OneClickdigital eAudio app. If you don’t have an account, you will be asked to create a new account.

(The OneClickdigital Media Manager is still available to download audiobooks to your computer and transfer them onto your portable device. To access OneClickdigital go to home page. In the menu on the left side of the page click on “Online Resources”. Click on OneClickdigital on the Online Resources page, under “Ebooks, E-Audiobooks & Magazines”.

Do They Still Make This Balsam?

lamenessjune 4 1913

I saw the non-ironic legend in this Chatham Record ad and I thought to myself, sometimes this stuff writes itself. I immediately scanned the ad and spooled the microfilm back to the beginning.

Unfortunately in my haste I forgot to note the date of the advertisement (we always provide the date in case you want to peruse the issue yourself here at the library). It took a while to relocate the ad and identify the date (June 4, 1913).

Is there a tonic for this particular kind of lameness?


Free eBook Friday: A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns (audiobook), by Khaled Hosseini:

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years — from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding — that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives — the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness — are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love — a stunning accomplishment.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Free eBook Friday: The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida:

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights–into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory–are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Great, Now Cover Your Left Eye

eyesight cured march 22 1911

If you can read all of the print in this ad from the (March 22, 1911) Chatham Record you have no need of the product. In fact, if you take out the giant “MILAM” six lines down, the diminishing type looks like nothing so much as the eye chart on an optometrist’s wall.

“All right, sir, let’s get started. Read me the first line on the chart.”

“Um, ‘Eye-sight’.”

“Very good. Now the next line?”


“Excellent. Now the eleventh line?”


“Just kidding, no one can read that. See you next year!”

Free eBook Friday: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood:

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Free eBook Friday: Art Lab for Kids

Art Lab for Kids, by Susan Schwake:

A refreshing source of ideas for creating fine art with children, Art Lab for Kids encourages the artist’s own voice, marks, and style. This fun and creative book features 52 fine art projects set into weekly lessons, beginning with drawing, moving through painting and printmaking, and then building to paper collage and mixed media. Each lesson features and relates to the work and style of a contemporary artist. Lisa Congdon, Megan Bogonovich, and Amy Rice are just a few of the artists included. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on fine art experiences.

The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over–with different results each time! Colorful photos illustrate how different people using the same lesson will yield different results, exemplifying the way the lesson brings out each artist’s personal style. Art Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new art teachers. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Free eBook Friday: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time (audiobook), by Madeleine L’Engle:

It was a dark and stormy night. Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Do Not Set This Item On Fire

firecracker fan june 28 1906

From the June 28, 1906 edition of The Chatham Record (emphasis mine):

Firecracker Fan

   One of the clever novelties designed to delight youngsters upon the Fourth of July, as well as before and after, is the firecracker fan.

   At first glance it looks like a nice red giant firecracker, but you make the mistake of your life if you touch lighted punk or any sort of fire to the realistic string which dangles from the end.

   Instead it is etiquette to pull the string. Just pull it steadily and out comes a full-fledged fan, the round, pleated sort, a near relative of the old-fashioned pistol fan. The fan part is of the daintiest blue patterned around the edge with tiny pink posies. This, together with the gorgeous red of the firecracker handle, goes to make a fan of the gayest attractiveness. It is not stretching matters to say it looks altogether Celestial, meaning that it smacks of the Celestial Kingdom.

The mistake of your life? Wow.

“Oh sure, I regret embezzling that money, going to prison and ruining my family. But if I could relive one day, I’d go back and save that novelty fan I ruined.”