As we begin a new year, it may be time for all of us to step out of our comfort zones, or embrace a facet of our personalities we may have been so far denying. For me, having grown up in an era where "Geek" and "Nerd" were terms that were monikers that one wished to avoid, I find it fascinating that in today's culture, all kinds of people celebrate their quirky natures loudly and proudly. The word "Geek" stemmed from a term for a simpleton, evolved to include definitions including a carnival performer who bit the heads off live animals, and has morphed into a badge of honor for an experts, albeit sometimes socially awkward person. The word "Nerd" which seems to have first popped up in a Dr. Seuss book, was originally used in a similar manner to describe a person who was bookish or socially inept. Although geeks and nerds have long been the targets of bullying and stereotyping, it is also true that those same nerds and geeks have had a huge, positive influence on modern technology and culture. (Think Bill Gates).
If you would like to try something new in the New Year, your Abilene Public Library has some great books that you can explore to free your inner geek or nerd. They range from DIY manuals to creative crafting ideas.
Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects by Mark Frauenfelder. As the editor in chief of MAKE magazine, Frauenfelder spent years searching for projects to share with his two daughters. This book is the result of his frustrating search. Projects range from super-easy to extra challenging and include crafts, edible creations, and high-tech explorations. All the projects are affordable and appealing to make and play with.
Another DIY dad offering is Made By Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff by Scott Bedford. This title features projects ranging from large creations to small challenges that can be whipped not quickly. Look for spaghetti and marshmallow Eiffel Towers, slingshot car launchers, crane toys, volcanoes, and more. Chapter headings include "Arty Party," (to express your creativity), "Covert Creations," (if you feel the urge to be a spy), and "Dangerous Decor," (because who wouldn't want a Godzilla skyline in his bedroom)?
If you want to express your geekiness and satisfy your hunger, try The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino, the host of a popular Internet baking show. The book is filled with colorful, step-by-step photos of some very creative concoctions. One of my favorites is the Apple Pi Pie. Decorated around the top with tiny numbers (3.14159...) and filled with number shaped apple pieces, this pie would be a perfect dessert for March 14th. There are UFO cake pops, Zombie brain cakes, atom cookies, and an amazing recipe for geode cupcakes made with homemade rock candy.
For those of us who express their geekiness with fiber, try Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel. Filled with projects straight out of the world of Harry Potter, knitters will fill their wardrobes with House hats, mittens, and scarves as well as treating themselves to a pair of Dobby socks. For those who prefer crochet, try Christen Haden's Creepy, Cute Crochet. Haden uses the popular amigurumi style to create zombies, Vikings, vampires, aliens, and more. The patterns are easy to follow and include some hilarious commentaries on the creepy, sweet creatures.
Whether you are a geek, a nerd, or simply a bit quirky, the Abilene Public Library has a wealth of material to help you express yourself. Drop in and talk to one of our librarians. (They also proudly profess to being a bit off-centered)!
Article Contributed by Marie Noe, Customer Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library