Handshakes are a very important custom in our culture. Believe it or not, books have been written about handshakes and numerous research studies have been conducted on handshakes as well.

When you meet someone for the first time, it is customary to reach out and shake the other person's hand. How you shake that person's hand, according to studies, speaks volumes about you. The custom dates back to the fifth century B.C.

Do you grasp the other person's hand and shake firmly? Do you barely put any pressure on the other person's hand? How many times does your hand go up and down? How long do you hang on to the other person's hand? All of these, according to researchers, have meaning.

The ideal timing for shaking hands is three seconds with three crisply controlled up-and-down motions. That particular handshake exudes confidence.

If you pull your hand away too early, or have little pressure, you will give the impression of being weak and insecure.

If you hang on to the other person's hand more than three seconds, you'll convey a controlling nature and make the other person uncomfortable.

If you don't fully grasp the other person's hand, you give the impression that you are not interested.

Did you know there was so much to know about shaking hands? There's much more to know about this simple way we greet each other.

My preference would be a simple bow, as some other cultures do. It spreads far fewer germs, and can be a very polite way to greet someone. Could that ever catch on in the United States? Who knows?

For more information on the custom of handshaking, go to your favorite search engine and simply type in "handshaking" and read away.

New Books

There is a mystery book conference being held at a small town in Maine. Business owners are looking forward to the increased traffic, the town will be hosting many popular authors, and the outlook is good all around. When a reviewer plunges to her death by a scenic outlook, no one wants to think that it was a homicide, but it is. Everyone is a suspect in the novel "Scotched" by Kaitlin Dunnett.

"EatingWell One Pot Meals" by Jesse Price contains more than 100 recipes that are both easy and healthy for you to make for dinner. There are the usual soups and stews, but there are also stir-fries, salads, frittatas, pilafs and lots more. These recipes, which have been developed by dietitians and contain healthy ingredients, take less than 45 minutes to prepare.

Children's Books

Ricky's family doesn't have a Christmas tree because his parents have been too busy to get one. When Ricky asks his dad to get one, he doesn't really want to, but Ricky is quite insistent. You can go on their trip to get a tree in "Ricky's Christmas Tree" by Guido van Genechten.

"If You Give a Dog a Donut" by Laura Numeroff is the latest title in her popular series. If you do give your dog a donut, he'll want some apple juice. He'll drink it all up and then ask for more, but you're all out. Then he gets the bright idea to make some, so he's got to go outside to pick apples. The adventure has begun and children will want to join in on the merry fun.

The letter "E" has been injured and all the other letters have to figure out who will take her place while she recuperates. "E-mergency!" by Tom Lichtenheld tries to determine who's up for the job. O says he's too busy, and when he's recruited anyway, things really get messed up.

"Get Happy" by Malachy Doyle shows everyone how to spread joy around every day. If you share more, giggle more, sing more, you'll squabble less, sniffle less and grumble less, too. Clever illustrations for very young children will help get the point across.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.

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