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Hobbies and Self-Improvement!

New year, new you. Step outside of your comfort zone with these books on self-development and hobbies.

Collage of the covers for the first 5 selections from the list.

Whether or not you make resolutions, there’s something invigorating about the new year. Let this list inspire you to develop new interests, commit to self-improvement, and tend to your mental health.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), audio-described DVDs (DVD), or large print (LT) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Andrea Everett
Reader Advisor
Perkins Library


Accessible Gardening: Tips and Techniques for Seniors and the Disabled

by Joan Woy

DB 49080, Available as BARD Download

Introduces young readers to the most interesting aspects of each celebration, from the costumes worn to the food eaten, and encourages an understanding of other cultures and religions from around the world. For grades K-3. 2019.

Download Accessible Gardening, DB 49080

The American Yoga Association’s Easy Does It Yoga: The Safe and Gentle Way to Health and Wellbeing

by Alice Christensen

DB 54110, Available as BARD Download

A beginning breathing, exercise, and meditation program for older adults and those with medical conditions or a sedentary lifestyle. Discusses nutrition, meditation, philosophy, and stress-reducing techniques. Lists routines that can be used in a wheelchair or bed. 1999.

Download The American Yoga Association’s Easy Does It, DB 54110

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

by Julia Cameron

DB 41149, Available as BARD Download

Screenwriter Cameron, who teaches workshops on freeing creativity, outlines twelve weeks of exercises and tasks to free us from our own internalized perfectionist, or censor. Cameron’s primary tool for creative recovery is to fill three pages each morning with stream-of-consciousness writing in which nothing is too petty, silly, stupid, or weird to include. Bestseller. 2013.

Download The Artist’s Way, DB 41149

Become An App Inventor: The Official Guide from MIT App Inventor

by Karen Lang and Selim Tezel

DB 108176, available as BARD Download

“Have you ever wanted to build your own mobile apps? App Inventor, a free and revolutionary online program from MIT, lets you do just that. With the help of this companion guide chock-full of colorful graphics and easy-to-follow instructions, readers can learn how to create six different apps, including a working piano, a maze game, and even their own chat app to communicate with friends–then use what they’ve learned to build apps of their own imagination. User-friendly code blocks that snap together allow even beginners to quickly create working apps. Readers will also learn about young inventors already using their own apps to make a difference in their communities, such as the girls from Moldova whose app helps alert residents when local well water is contaminated. Or the boys from Malden, Massachusetts, whose app lets users geotag potholes to alert city hall when repairs are needed. With this inspiring guide, curious young dreamers can become real inventors with real-world impact.” — Provided by publisher. — For senior high and older readers. 2022.

Download Become an App Inventor, DB 108176

A Birdsong Tutor for Visually Handicapped Individuals

by Lang Elliott

DB 29485, Available as BARD Download

An auditory guide to the sounds made by birds and other wildlife. Following an introduction to a variety of natural sounds, including a full mixed chorus of woodland birds, Lang conducts different field trips to acquaint us with various habitats of the sound-makers. With practice, the listener will be able to identify singers from the eastern United States and Canada. 2013.

Download A Birdson Tutor for Visually Handicapped Individuals, DB 29485

Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want

by Patricia Walshfishin

DB 103995, BR 23742, Available as BARD Download

Woman shares her story of losing her sight due to a pediatric brain tumor and surgical complications, and her road to becoming an award-winning computer engineer and champion paratriathlete. Discusses the ways she motivates herself through her goal-setting system of Fuel/Fire/Blaze. 2015.

Download Blind Ambition, DB 103995

Download Blind Ambition, BR 23742

Botanical Soaps: A Modern Guide to Making Your Own Soaps, Shampoo Bars and Other Beauty Essentials

by Marta Tarallo

DB 112423, Available as BARD Download

Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter, the local pastor, spends time visiting the flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang. When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of a bartender and a pastor are similar, but taking on the other’s work is more difficult than either Peter or Hank expected. As the two begin to see each other in a new light-and each discovers a new love to cherish-their lives are forever changed. 2023.

Download Botanical Soaps, DB 112423

Chess for Beginners: Know the Rules, Choose Your Strategy, and Start Winning

by Yelizaveta Orlova

DB 93603, Available as BARD Download

A nationally ranked chess player presents a guide for those new to the game. Includes an overview of the board, pieces, and rules, along with basic strategies and tactics that allow a player to control the board, think multiple moves ahead, and achieve checkmate. 2018.

Download Chess for Beginners, DB 93603

The Complete Book of Fishing: Tackle, Techniques, Species, Bait

by John Wilson

DB 50161, Available as BARD Download

Five expert fishermen present a guide to many aspects of their sport–types of tackle and bait, various techniques, popular species, and how to “read the water.” Emphasizes English approaches but notes comparisons with North American waters. Includes tips on finding good spots. 1997.

Download The Complete Book of Fishing, DB 50161

The Complete Book of Woodcarving

by Everett Ellenwood

DB 70056 Available as BARD Download

Award-winning woodcarver draws on thirty years’ experience to explain his craft. Provides a short history of woodcarving, then discusses wood characteristics and types and the selection of tools and sharpening stones. Covers safety tips and basic to complex techniques. Includes seven step-by-step projects designed to teach various skills. 2008.

Download The Complete Book of Woodcarving, DB 70056

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More than 160 Indoor Plants

by Barbara Pleasant

DB 62554, Available as BARD Download

Identification and care of 160 common flowering and foliage houseplants. Discusses feeding, cleaning, pruning, repotting, and watering, as well as soil, terrariums, bonsai, diseases, drainage, fungus, bugs, lighting, propagation, and more. 2005.

Download The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, DB 62554

Crochet Your Way: A Learn-To-Crochet Afghan, Over Forty Projects for Home and Family, Easy-To-Understand Text and Symbols, Special Instructions for Left-Handers, EZ Reference Crochet Shorthand Chart.

by Gloria Tracy

DB 51102, BR 13488, Available as BARD Download

Basic instructions for novices and techniques to extend the skills of experts. Presents step-by-step directions for creating an afghan using a different stitch in each block. Other projects range from sweaters, hats, and shoulder bags to bath mats and similar items. 2000.

Download Crotche Your Way, DB 51102

Download Crotche Your Way, BR 13488

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)

by Eve Rodsky

DB 97158, Available as BARD Download

An analysis of time-management challenges when balancing career and family, especially with regard to man-woman relationships in twenty-first-century America. Discusses women becoming the default parent and ways to address time inequities through a game system. Provides strategies to communicate with your partner. 2019.

Download Fair Play, DB 97158

If I Had a Hammer: More than One Hundred Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects

by Andrea Ridout

DB 67825, Available as BARD Download

Renovation expert and host of radio’s Ask Andrea offers step-by-step instructions for do-it-yourself home-improvement projects at all skill levels. Tasks include painting and decorating, caring for wood floors and furniture, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, and maintaining appliances. Provides time-saving tips and advice on proper tools and techniques. 2008.

Download If I Had a Hammer, DB 67825

Knitting in Plain English

by Maggie Righetti

DB 53868, Available as BARD Download

A practical guide for beginning and intermediate knitters. Using a good-humored, common sense approach, provides patterns and easy-to-follow lessons to complete projects. Offers simple tips to facilitate the process and solutions to frequently asked questions. 1986.

Download Knitting in Plain English, DB 53868

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed 

by Lori Gottleib

DB 946677, BR 22850, Available as BARD Download

A psychotherapist and advice columnist gives a behind-the-scenes look at the therapeutic process. Shares details of her work at her Los Angeles practice and discusses the emotional crisis that led her to begin therapy herself. 2019.

Download Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, DB 94667

Download Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, BR 22850

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

by Stephen King

DB 50873, BR 12802, Available as BARD Download

Prolific, bestselling horror novelist describes his writing technique and gives tips for aspiring authors. King also discusses pertinent events from his childhood and tells of the near-fatal accident in 1999, when he was hit by a truck while taking his daily walk. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2000.

Download On Writing, DB 50873

Download On Writing, BR 12802

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

by Samin Nosrat

DB 19225, BR 24300 (in process), Available as BARD Download

“In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements-Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food-and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.” Provided by publisher. 2017.

Download Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, DB 19225

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

by Haruki Murakami

DB 67781, Available as BARD Download

Author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (DB046636) explains his abrupt decisions to take up writing and then running. Describes practicing over the following twenty-three years, progressing from jogs to triathlons. Discusses ways his writing life differs from the “cozy, homemade void” of his sport. Originally published in Japanese. 2008.

Download What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, DB 67781

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