Mad About Basketball 
submitted by Tony

March Madness has begun!

When you’re not watching the game, you might try some of these great titles.

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The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of Running Have Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Heart by Amby Burfoot 
submitted by Tommy

When I picked this up to read I didn’t notice the sub-title, but as it turns out I too have been running 35 years (with some interruptions because of injury or life.) For the most part I’m not into motivational books, but since Amby Burfoot seems like a really cool guy and was once a great runner, I thought I’d give it a try.

It is surprisingly good! At 150 pages it is a quick read but it is packed full of wisdom and fun. Yes, Fun! The book itself is fun, nothing too deep and depressing. He emphasizes that running should be fun. There will be some work and some obstacles at times, but isn’t that just what life is? But the pleasures as well as the health benefits (both mentally and physically) are tenfold.

Amby was in his mid-50’s when he wrote this, so it is from the wise perspective of a once great runner who is slowing down. He isn’t trying to teach us how to go out and run fast and hard, but instead he is instructing us to go out and ENJOY running to the best of our individual ability and we will learn much about life and ourselves in the process.

He also emphasizes that It is possible for all of us to take part. We may experience losing, failure, and probably injuries, but it helps us in everyday life when we are bound to experience the same challenges. Everyone who runs is a winner. The only opponent is yourself.

He has many quotes and one of his favorites is by Rudyard Kipling (the end of the poem, IF).
"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"

I have always liked that poem, but I had never noticed the importance of these lines before in relation to running. Don’t worry about your running time too much is the lesson here. Just run! He also gives a list of his heroes and a list of essential reading. Both are nice.

My favorite chapter/lesson in the book is #7: LISTENING. Running is my meditation time. Walking can be the same, but to a lesser degree. He describes it well with his line, “...the sound of mindless thoughts flitting through my head.” Since Amby is a writer/editor he also notes how easy it is to write while running. He quotes Joyce Carol Oates,
“Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think what it might be…”

All runners should read this book and anyone who is trying to understand a runner should also read this. Read this book…and go for a run!

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Experience the Realm of Downton Abbey Through the Library 
submitted by Rob

Considering the ever-growing popularity that the television drama Downton Abbey has enjoyed over its three seasons, it would seem appropriate to provide readers with a list of books that would potentially appeal to those who are enamored with the story line, time period, and social changes that are chronicled in this incredibly-detailed series.




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Want to Go Private? by Sarah Littman  
submitted by Damera

Teenagers today breath, sleep, and eat technology. They are either texting, chatting on Facebook, or sending tweets with Twitter. This is how Abby Johnston and her best friend, Faith, meet Luke. They are chatting with each other on a new teen website called Soon Abby is chatting with Luke daily even though he is older. Gradually the story becomes even more intriguing and also scary. Luke has Abby doing things that are very uncomfortable for her but she wants to do things for him because he “loves” her.

I must admit that when I first started reading Want to Go Private, I was a little bit thrown. It is an older teen novel but some of the content was very adult in nature. As I got more into the story, I realized that it is a perfect book for parents to read and also share with their kids.

It is a great example of the dangers of the Internet and what can happen when you act recklessly on the web. I believe that every parent of a child who has access to a computer should read this book. It changed my life and could possibly save a child.

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Top Five Picture Books of 2012 to Read Before You Go to Sleep 
submitted by Natalie

1. Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

I’m absolutely smitten with a very brave and impish girl named Small, who on the cover of this enchanting book stands in comparison to a very large paw print embedded in snow. To say that the print is large would be a misnomer. It’s enormous, and if you flip through the pages you will eventually get a glimpse of its creator, a magical black dog who seems to terrorize everyone in the Hope family…except Small.

2. The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz

This fractured fairy tale will have mass appeal for the 8 and under set. It’s got martial arts and a female hero. There are good guys and bad guys and if that’s not enough a killer rhyme scheme. The street smart text just begs to be read with a little sass. Did I mention there’s loads of action illustrated through quality digital animation style artwork as well as a great moral demonstrating that hard work pays off? There’s that too.

3. Z is for Moose by Kelly L. Bingham

Moose is pushy, impatient, and a little unstable but somehow I ended up finding the self-proclaimed star of this alphabet book endearing. Don’t miss the tantrums of poor Moose who just can’t wait for his turn to shine.

4. Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds

This is a perfect story for a younger child who begs to be read scary stories. It may even entice them to eat a carrot or two themselves.

5. Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen

Big Mean Mike is all that his name advertises. He’s into monster truck shows, stomping in his big black boots, and wearing a lot of leather. One day while driving his (big mean) hot rod, Mike encounters some tiny fluffy bunnies that cause him to expand his view of himself regardless of what people think of him.

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