Down Time

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If I were to hear anyone say that there is nothing to do in Central this week, I would have to assume they had just returned from an extended vacation in Siberia. My first and strongest recommendation of how to spend your free time this weekend is to go to Cookin' in Central! It is a fun way to support our city and schools. You can find more information on Cookin' in the 4 page Cookin' in Central insert of this week's paper, or you can search under the Community section of this website for Cookin' details.  

Since I will assume everyone reading this will be going to Cookin' in Central, I'll give some suggestions for your weeknights and your resting time on Sunday afternoons.

Read a book! There is one library at the heart of Central on Joor Rd. between Gurney and Hooper, and one at the edge of Central on Greenwell Springs Rd., between Flannery and Sherwood Forest. To get a library card is free (replacement cards are $1), and your children can get a card, too, ultimately in your name. The librarians at our Central library are vey resourceful and can help you find the information you need to get a great new book to read. They have book clubs with the next few books already chosen, so you can see what everyone is reading, and you won't be behind. They also can get you connected with reading lists that are full of great book suggestions. The phone number for the Central Branch library is 262-2640, and they are open Monday – Thursday from 9:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M., Friday – Saturday from 9:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M., and Sundays from 2:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. The Greenwell Springs Branch offers the same services and is open Mon – Thurs from 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. and the same times as the Central Branch on Friday – Sunday. Their phone number is 274-4440.  

Now that I've planted that seed of reading in your mind, here are my recommendations:

For teenagers, young adults, and the young at heart. If you enjoy love stories with a touch of drama and a twist of science fiction (yes, you read correctly), or if you like science-fiction stories with a hint of love and suspense, check out The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Yes, this is the author of those massively popular Twilight books, but this is her unsung masterpiece compared to the Twilight series. The characters and conflicts in this book are much deeper than those of her famous series, and the writing shows more skill, making it much more compelling to read. The first time I read this book, I finished it in one night. I opened The Host again to refresh myself on some areas to better write this column, and I ended up reading it again! It's easy to feel for these characters, and you come out on the other end of this book with a fresh perspective to consider.  

For children (or for the families that love to read a book together). Look into stories by E. Nesbit, an English author who has a talent for capturing the curiosity of children. One particularly captivating trilogy she wrote is Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Story of the Amulet (and that is the correct order, so be sure not to get mixed up!). The books center around a group of children who fall into magical adventures and learn life lessons along the way. If your children are not at an age where they can read and truly gain meaning from these books on their own, I recommend starting a bedtime story tradition. You can read 1 or more chapters to your children every night, or maybe once a week if schedules are tight. Reading to your kids is a great way to spend quality time together, while helping your children experience literature that may have been too difficult to access on their own. Since you are there reading, you can help define words, clarify plot devices, and explain characters' motives. You may also find that reading aloud helps you see one of your favorite childhood stories in a new light.  

For you and your loved one. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman, is a new look at how you feel and express love. You may want to read this book on your own, or you may read it together with your spouse, fiancee, or serious significant other (don't scare off a brand new boyfriend or girlfriend by bringing this out on the third date!). The book explores five major ways people express love to one another, and how to communicate love in new ways. Gary Chapman has a series of books continuing in this theme, even The Five Love Languages of Children, a good read for parents, grandparents, and those who work with children.  

If you think you are just too busy to do any reading at all, check out a book on CD. It can keep you entertained in the car, during your workout, or while you work around the house, while still immersing you in literature.  

All of these books, and some of these book recordings, can be found in the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. If they are not currently at the Central Branch, you can request the book you want to be sent to whatever branch you prefer.

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