Staff Picks: Changes | Mechanics' Institute

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Staff Picks: Changes

In keeping with the age-old tradition to start anew each January, the Mechanics’ Institute staff has chosen books to spark your interest in developing a new hobby or habit this year.

Taryn chose Digital Photography Through the Year by Tom Ang (770 A581). This gorgeous book makes you want to try out the manual setting on that camera you received for Christmas. Along with a general narrative about "how to shoot better" given the lighting and weather constraints for each season, the author provides detailed notes on how he got each pictured photograph. Super helpful to learn "how he did it".

Taryn also recommends Wildlife Photography : On Safari with Your DSLR : Equipment, Techniques, Workflow by Uwe Skrzypczak (778.93 S629). Even if the only "wildlife" you see is your own cat or the hummingbird at your window, this book will help you take better photos of animals.  If you're off to Africa it will be especially helpful when planning what gear to bring.

Taryn also chose Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers : the Ultimate Workshop by Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe (005.3 A641e). This book is for those who already have a working knowledge of photoshop and wish to take their skills to the next level. Detailed notes on how each picture was retouched are included as well as a full 26 hours of video (included DVD) on how the techniques discussed are employed.

Heather recommends Stargazing with a Telescope by Robin Scagell (522.2 S278). I got a Dobsonian reflector telescope for Christmas and as soon as the rain abates, I'll be up on my rooftop scrutinizing the moon's craters, various constellations, and whatever else I might find up there. To do this, I plan to check out a few good books on stargazing, Scagell's among them. Who knows, maybe next December 24th I'll see Santa himself up close & personal traversing the night sky!

Diane chose The Wall Street Journal: Guide to Starting Fresh by Karen Blumenthal (332.024 B658).  This is a great "how to" book if your New Year's resolution was to get your financial life in order.  The chapters give the reader specific steps to follow to find a financial advisor/lawyer/tax preparer, what to do if your are suddenly single, how to get and keep credit, how to decide if you should sell your house or stay in it, how to manage your money long-term, etc.  The appendix of "Helpful Websites" and the Glossary of commonly used financial terms are two of the best parts of the book.

Diane also recommends The Rough Guide to the IPad by Peter Buckley (005.432 I648b).  If you received an IPad for a Christmas gift, and discovered that this tech toy does not come with an instruction booklet, then this short, to-the-point book is what you are looking for!  The guide covers, for example, all of the basics including turning the unit on for the first time, setting up your email account on it, downloading TV shows and movies for those long plane trips, and accessing ebooks.  There are a lot of great tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the book and it makes getting acquainted with your IPad much more fun and educational.

As always, the staff has also selected plenty of fiction titles from our own reading lists. Haven’t decided on a new year’s resolution yet?  Looking for some fiction you’d never think to pick up otherwise? Come check out our Staff Picks display on the 2nd Floor and see if you discover a new interest.


Posted on Jan. 3, 2013 by Heather Terrell