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Grab a book during the dog days of summer

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The dog days of summer refers to particularly hot and humid weather conditions, occurring between July 3 and Aug. 11 this year. The dog days also refer to a period of inactivity due to the oppressive heat. For the Greeks and Romans, the dog days coincided with the rising of the star, Sirius, in the constellation Canis majoris. This bright star, also known as “the dog star,” brought observations that when it appeared at sunrise, drought, pestilence and disease followed, and that both man and dogs went insane with the hot, dry sky. Sirius, during this time, happens to share the same region of sky as our sun, thus the thought that this star actually created the increased temperatures came about; however, the dog star has nothing to do with the extreme heat.

To find out more about constellations at your library, look to “The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars” by Julius Staal (523.8 Sta), “Star Watch: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Night Sky” by Robin Kerrod (523.8022 Ker) or “The Stargazing Year: A Backyard Astronomer’s Journey through the Seasons of the Night Sky” by Charles Calia (523.8 Cal).

The dog days of summer are also featured in literature, right here at the Crawfordsville District Public Library. Titles include “Watership Down” by Richard Adams (audiobook on Libby), “Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt (digital print on Libby) and even “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney (j FIC Kin). In music, there is the “Dog Day Sunrise” by Fear Factory (Demanufacture on Hoopla) and “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine (Music Box Mania on Hoopla). Additionally, baseball still touts dog days to boost ticket sales for certain games in the summer, and baseball is always a good read. Check out “Baseball, the Perfect Game” by Danielle Weil (796.357 Wei).

The dog days of summer truly give us that taste of summer at its peak. Who knew the history behind this star would still be influencing our modern culture today? Whether it’s the weather that’s gotten us so dog-gone tired during these lazy days, or the fact that the dog star reminds us that both astronomically and meteorologically the importance of its appearance, we can sure relate to hot, dry days in the sun — the dog days of summer.

For more starry reads check out Astronomy the magazine (PER AST), “Astronomy” by Ian Ridpath (520 Rid), “What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky” by Kelsey Oseid (523.8 Ose), “The Sky Watcher’s Handbook: The Expert Reference Source for the Amateur Astronomer” (520 Sky). We also have DVDs such as Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (DVD 520 Cos) or Our Night Sky (Great Courses 520 Our), a 12 lecture series on astronomy.

 

Stephanie Morrissette is a library assistant at the reference and local history department at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.

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