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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tomorrow's New Year's Eve--Are You Ready?

For many, New Year's Eve is an excuse to indulge in all things alcoholic. If you're hosting a party and really want to wow people, why not prepare a new cocktail or two? We have several bar tending guides including Bartending for Dummies by Ray Foley [641.874 FOL], which should fit your cocktail mixing needs.

This weekend, thanks to an NPR story, I discovered the Museum of the American Cocktail. I don't drink cocktails, but I still enjoyed browsing the museum's site, and seeing some of the paraphernalia used in making a cocktail party a success. The picture below took me by surprise since the pink elephant glasses were ones that I had seen in my home when I was young!

from The Museum of the American Cocktail

To set the mood at your party, borrow songstress Jo Stafford's album, Cocktail Hour [CD FEMALE VOCALIST STA], and look for Martha Stewart's party guide, Entertaining [642 STE] for menus and decorating ideas.

The library will be closed New Year's eve and New Year's day. We will open again on Friday at 9:00 AM. Have a safe holiday! Peace to all.

For Jane, Whose E-mail is Not Working

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Did You Read in 2008?

Last Friday's Wall Street Journal had an opinion piece by Karl Rove that revealed an on-going contest between Rove and George Bush--who could read the most books.

Rove tells us this about our outgoing prez:
He reads instead of watching TV. He reads on Air Force One and to relax and because he's curious.
In its third year, Rove is once again ahead in the contest. Here are some of the books that he says President Bush has read in 2008. You can tackle his reading list by checking our shelves for these titles:

Atkinson, Rick. Day of Battle. [940.54 ATK]

Grant, U.S. Personal Memoirs. [B GRA]

Halberstam, David. The Coldest Winter. [951.904 HAL]

McPherson, James M. Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. [973.7092 MCP]

Meacham, Jon. American Lion. [B JAC]

So, what have you read this year? You can't use "I'm too busy to read," as an excuse. Look what our president has done, and he's got to be a lot busier than you!

To keep track of the books you read, you might want to use the old-fashioned write-in-a-notebook method, or, you can explore one of the book related social networking sites such as Shelfari.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As we go through the holidays, it might be a good time to think about the way we eat. The amount, and type, of food we consume in the U.S. would be shocking to most people in other nations, but sadly, our food habits are spreading around the world!

Click here for a chart entitled "Diet for a Small Planet" by Alexandra Spunt. Spunt begins:
The world may be shrinking but we're all getting bigger. See how globalization is affecting the way we all eat--for better or for (mostly) worse.
You may want to consider changing the way you eat, but if you do, you'd better discuss it with your kids first--they've grown up on fast food and abundance, and might not understand why you'd want to change.

A good way to get the discussion going is to borrow a book called What the World Eats, photographed by Peter Menzel, written by Faith D'Aluisio [J 641.3 MEN]. The photos present a clear picture of what families around the world eat in a week. The text provides information such as a comparison of the amount of money each family spends. For example, the Patkars, a family of four in India spent (in equivalent U.S. dollars) $39.27 for their week's worth of food while the three American families shown spent $159.18, $341.98, and $242.48! Other features of the book are recipes, fast facts about the countries, and charts.

If your kids balk at giving up fast foods, borrow one of these and share a few of the facts you'll discover within their pages:

Critser, Greg. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. [362.1 CRI]

Sanna, Ellyn. America's Unhealthy Lifestyle: Supersize It! [616.398 SAN]

Schlosser, Eric. Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food. [YA 394.12 SCH]

Sorry, I didn't mean to put a damper on your holiday feast! Enjoy yourself this week, and next, and consider making changes in the new year!

Please note: the library will be closed starting tomorrow, 12/24, and will reopen again at 9:00 AM on 12/29. Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One More Reason to Love Cats

As if you'd need another reason! But, here's an article about a group of cats in Misiones, Argentina that kept a baby alive by caring for it.
Policewoman Alicia Lorena Lindgvist discovered the child by a canal in the Christ King district of the city.

She said: "I was walking and noticed a gang of cats sitting very close together. It is unusual to see so many like that so I went for a closer look and that's where I saw him. The boy was lying at the bottom of a gutter. There were all these cats on top of him licking him because he was really dirty.

"When I walked over they became really protective and spat at me. They were keeping the boy warm while he slept."

The officer, who noticed scraps of food near the boy, added: "The cats knew he was fragile and needed protecting."
Interesting story, huh?

The article compared the one-year-old to Kipling's character, Mowgli, from The Jungle Books. We have a nicely illustrated selection of stories called The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories in our children's section [J KIP], if you want to refresh your memory.

We also have several fictional works on feral children in our adult and young adult sections, including,

Carbone, Elisa. The Pack. [YA CAR]

Kelleher, Victor. Dogboy. [YA KEL]


O'Connell, Carol. Stone Angel. [MYS OCO]

Rosoff, Meg. What I Was. [AB/CD ROS]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry Friday--W.S. Merwin

We hear so little poetry being read aloud that it's become a real treat to hear it done on the radio. It was particularly nice on Tuesday when I heard Fresh Air's Terry Gross interview poet W.S. Merwin.

Besides hearing Merwin read his poetry aloud, the memories of his family were touching, and none more than the memory of one of his dogs. This dog had lost its eyesight completely and Merwin came to see his pet's adaptiveness as a model for strength of character.

Here is from a seasonally appropriate poem called "The Cold before the Moonrise," from the collection Migration: New and Selected Poems [811.54 MER]:
It is too simple to turn to the sound
Of frost stirring among its
Stars like an animal asleep
In the winter night
And say I was born far from home
If there is a place where this is the language may
It be my country

Stay warm!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Turn on the radio this week and all you hear are reports of a major Ponzi scheme that has bilked hundreds of investors.

I'm not an investor, nor am I interested in finance (need I say I'm not rich?), but I am interested in the human aspect of swindlers and their willing victims. Last night on All Things Considered, writer Nomi Prins explored the psychology behind Bernard Madoff and his investment management business.

And who is this Ponzi guy who gave his name to the scheme? It just so happens we have a biography on Mr. Ponzi called Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend by Mitchell Zuckhoff [B PON].

The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages had a piece about a Ponzi scheme that dates back to the 1880s, even before Mr. Ponzi! One of that scheme's big-name investors was none other than former president U.S. Grant!

It seems that investors never learn! Is it any wonder why this little Biblical phrase is so oft repeated--"For the love of money is the root of all evil."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Want to Impress a Date?

Tell him/her that you read! This is the conclusion of a British writer, Caroline Gammell, in her article in the Independent Men 'lie about books they have read to impress on dates'.

The conclusion would have been more satisfying to me if the list of things people say they read, included some specific books.

Of the lists of 10 items, only one (and it appears on both lists) is a named book--Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela [B MAN]. What an odd choice! Mandela's autobiography came out in the U.S. in 1994!

I think that if some guy told me he was reading Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights [F BRO] or Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller [746.462 STO], I'd be impressed, but VERY suspicious. I'll have to get back to you about what title would REALLY impress me if someone of the opposite sex read (and enjoyed) it!

What book would impress you if a date were carrying a copy around? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa Claus on the Big Screen

Boy, do we have Santa and Christmas covered when it comes to the big screen (actually the big screen has been shrunk for your tv screen)--from old classics, to some relatively new films.

I'll start with my favorite, Elf [DVD ELF] starring Will Farrell. I resisted seeing this one for a long time because I'm not a big Will Farrell fan, but once I watched it, I was hooked! Farrell is appropriately clueless as the human who is raised as an elf in the North Pole. The soundtrack for the film is one of my favorite Christmas CDs [CD SOUNDTRACK ELF]--"Santa Claus's Party," is running through my head right now!

I guess I'm a sucker for Christmas movies, because I also like The Santa Clause [VIDEO SAN], and that one's about as cornball as you can get!

We must own every film version of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol [DVD CHR, VIDEO CHR, or DVD SCR], including the Mr. Magoo [J DVD MRM] and Muppet [J DVD MUP, J VIDEO MUP] versions.

Don't forget to look for Miracle on 34th Street [DVD MIR] starring a very young Natalie Wood.

We have plenty more holiday films for you to borrow--come down and browse our shelves!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Library is Open

So if you know anyone who is still without power, direct them to the library where we have a lovely warm building, the internet, and lots of reading material to keep them busy!

The photos below show the upside of Friday's ice storm--the glistening beauty of a world covered in ice! For the downside, check out the news on WMUR, NHPR, or, the reports from Public Service of NH. NHPR is collecting the stories of those affected by the storm, so if you'd like to share, click here.

If you've ever wondered how plants and animals survive the cold, your questions may be answered in these:

Dahl, Michael. Cold, Colder, Coldest: Animals That Adapt to Cold Weather. [JP DAH]

Davies, Nicola. Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth. [J 590 DAV]

Stokes, Donald W. A Guide to Nature in Winter: Northeast and North Central North America. [574.5 STO]

Stay warm!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Poetry Friday--Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker was a complicated woman--one of great intelligence, wit, and sorrow.

I'm going to share the last two lines of Parker's "Inventory" with you.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
They could easily apply to life in 2008, don't you think? We can laugh, we can hope, but somehow or other, we'll always get that sock in the eye.

The whole poem can be found in The Collected Poetry of Dorothy Parker [811.54 PAR], or The Portable Dorothy Parker [818 PAR]. Read the introduction to The Portable Dorothy Parker, by Brendan Gill, for an explanation of Parker's work and popularity back in the 1920s and 30s.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Camouflage--More Than Just a Fashion Statement

I'm sure you've seen any number of kids running around in military camouflage patterned shirts and pants. And how about the tiny toddler girls in their pink camouflage? It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Human uses of camouflage pattern aside, camouflage in animals is a fascinating topic to study. An article, "Revealed: Secrets of the Camouflage Masters," from the New York Times earlier this year tells of the lowly cuttlefish and its methods of camouflage. The video included on the webpage is a look at some of the work going on at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.

We have quite a number of camouflage books in our children's room collection. Here are a few (including one in poetry form!):

Helman, Andrea. Hide and Seek: Nature's Best Vanishing Acts. [J 591.472 HEL]

O'Hare, Jeff. Searchin' Safari: Looking for Camouflaged Creatures. [J 591.4 OHA]

Schwartz, David M. Camouflaged Animals Concealed--and Revealed: Ear-Tickling Poems. [J 591.472 SCH]

Smith, Penny. Animal Hide and Seek. [E HEL]

[You wouldn't think that I would post more than once about cephalopods, but I have! Click here for a previous post about giant squid.]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pride is Catching

I heard about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment unit being invited to march in the inaugural parade on January 20, and by virtue of my being a New Englander, felt a sense of pride.

The 54th Massachusetts was the all black (except for its officers) Civil War unit that was made famous by the film Glory [DVD GLO]. The film stars Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick.

If you've ever been to the Boston Common, then you've probably seen the regiment memorialized in the bronze sculpture (photo above) by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The sculpture is known as the Shaw Memorial, after the white officer who headed up the regiment, but in viewing it, the reliefs of the black soldiers are the most striking and I've always thought of it as the 54th Mass memorial.

For more information about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, borrow Peter Burchard's book, One Gallant Rush: Robert Gould Shaw and His Brave Black Regiment [973.7415 BUR], or from our children's room, Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment by Clinton Cox [J 973.7 COX].

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Holiday Music

I just want to give everyone a heads up about our holiday concert coming up next week on December 18 at 7:00 pm. The English Handbell Choir of the First Congregational Church of Pelham are back by popular demand to perform seasonal favorites. Due to the amount of space required by the Choir and an audience, the performance will take place in our magazine area. Mark your calendar and join us for a delightful evening!

The Handbell Choir has a CD of their music that you may wish to borrow some time: n.SPIRE.d [CD RELIGIOUS NSP]. For other holiday music check out our CD HOLIDAY section and look for these:

Belafonte, Harry. Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY BEL]

Brightman, Sarah. A Winter Symphony. [CD HOLIDAY BRI]

Crosby, Bing. White Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY CRO]

Guaraldi, Vince. A Charlie Brown Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY GUA]

Klezmatics. Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanuka. [CD HOLIDAY KLE]

Taylor, James. James Taylor at Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY TAY]

Windham Community Bands. Holiday Dreams. [CD HOLIDAY WIN]

Monday, December 08, 2008


About 6 months or so ago, someone told me about www.pandora.com, an on-line customizable radio station. I went to the site, registered, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing until yesterday when I received an email from Pandora about holiday music. I explored the site extensively since it was Sunday and I had no plans for the day. Am I glad I did! I was in heaven all day long setting up radio stations with my favorite music.

Briefly, what you do is plug in the name of a group (or even a song). A "radio station" is set up that includes other songs by the group, and music from artists whose music is within the same "genre." For example, I set up a Squirrel Nut Zippers radio station. Besides music from the SNZ, I get songs from Madeleine Peyroux, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Ella Fitzgerald.

I can minimize the screen and listen to the music all day long! And, the best part--it's free! If I mind the occasional ad for Polish vodka (or other sponsor) that may appear on the side of the screen, I can pony up a few bucks and pay for ad-free music, but since I'm listening and not really reading the screen, the ads don't bother me.

There are other features on the site like a blog, information about the groups or the albums that are being played, etc. I encourage you to check it out!

Speaking of freebies, the CDs at the library are always free for the borrowing! If I weren't familiar with Madeleine Peyroux, and had heard her on my "Squirrel Nut Zippers station" and liked her music, I could have come to the library and found that we had 3 of her CDs in our collection:



Half the Perfect World. [CD JAZZ PEY]

Of course we don't have everything, but you might be surprised by what we do have in our collection. (Alas, no Squirrel Nut Zippers--yet!)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Poetry Friday--My American Heritage

We have a rather old book (1949) of prose and poetry, entitled My American Heritage, edited by Marguerite Henry [810.8 HEN]. I hesitate to weed it, because for me, it represents a look at the way Americans viewed their history and culture in the post WW II period. It's social history that you don't find anywhere else.

Amongst its pages are poems by the American greats, Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman, as well as work by long forgotten, but once famous, poets such as Samuel Woodworth ("The Old Oaken Bucket") and George Pope Morris ("Woodman Spare That Tree").

There are works by writers whose names are vaguely familiar, such as Elizabeth Coatsworth and Sara Teasdale.

One of those vaguely familiar names is Joel Chandler Harris. Harris is probably remembered for the folk stories he collected under the character name, Uncle Remus.

Here is a short poem from Harris, that despite its age (Harris died 100 years ago this past July), holds true for any writer worth his/her salt.


When you've got a thing to say,
Say it! Don't take half a day.
When your tale's got little in it,
Crowd the whole thing in a minute!
Life is short--a fleeting vapor--
Don't you fill the whole blamed paper
With a tale which, at a pinch,
Could be cornered in an inch!
Boil her down until she simmers,
Polish her until she glimmers.

Visit Mommy's Favorite Children's Books for links to other Poetry Friday posts.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

'Tis the Season for...Cookies!

I love cookies. Cake is nice every once in a while, but cookies should be indulged in on a daily basis! So, as far as I'm concerned, you couldn't give a nicer gift than a tin/bag of cookies.

Cookies are a favorite amongst cookbook writers, too. If you look in our catalog under the subject heading, "Cookies," you come up with at least 16 books. We have two devoted exclusively to Christmas cookies:

Christmas Cookies. [641.5686 CHR]

Hansen, Liv. Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse. [641.8654 HAN] (Isn't that an intriguing title? What makes a bakehouse "whimsical"?)

Cookie recipes appear in most other cookbooks, too. I don't know of a single cultural group that doesn't have some sort of cookie associated with it.

This time of year cookies are featured in many home magazines. I was browsing through the December issue of Real Simple: Life/Home/Body/Soul [MAG REA] and found a recipe that appealed to me, "Ginger Chocolate-Chip Bars." Doesn't that sound good?

Photo by Stuck in Customs

Speaking of ginger, why not make a gingerbread house for yourself or with your kids. We have several books that show you how, including NH resident, Jennifer Ericsson's book, Gingerbread Houses for Kids [J 641.5 ERI].

Thanks to Carolyn for alerting me to the Food Network's, "Twelve Days of Cookies." Today is day 4 and features sandwich cookies by Giada DeLaurentiis. And, if you're a real cookie fan, sign up for the cookie newsletter!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Treats

Photo by Matthew Bietz

As promised, I will talk today about gifts from your kitchen. I'll start with the all-time favorite holiday gift--fruitcake. Fruitcakes come in two forms--edible, and inedible! Hopefully, one of the recipes in these books will be a winner for you and your gift recipient.

The first place I looked was in Joy of Cooking, the 75th anniversary edition, by Irma S. Rombauer [641.5 ROM].
Many people feel that these cakes improve greatly with age, though not everyone agrees. When they are well saturated with alcoholic liquors, which raise the spirits and keep down mold, and are buried in powdered sugar in tightly closed tins, they have been reported to be enjoyed as long as twenty-five years after baking.
Whoa! Remember, "enjoyed" is a completely relative term! Joy of Cooking has two vastly different fruitcakes, one is light, "Fruitcake Cockaigne," and the other dark, "Dark Fruitcake." My preference would be the light cake because besides the candied fruit, it has nuts and coconut.

Heritage Cook Book (Better Homes and Gardens [641.5 HER] also has two fruitcakes--"Poor Man's" and "Very Best." "Poor Man's Fruitcake" is a simple recipe without any candied fruit at all--raisins are the only fruit listed. Since it is an old recipe, the shortening in the ingredients is lard. I'm sure butter could be substituted. "Very Best Fruitcake" contains every kind of candied fruit, plus is wrapped in wine or brandy soaked cheesecloth and aged for a brief period of time. If you're thinking of making a "Very Best Fruitcake," you still have time to make and "age" your cake before the holiday.

So far, of the books I looked at, Ken Haedrich's Country Baking: Simple Home Baking with Wholesome Grains and the Pick of the Harvest [641.71 HAE] has the most interesting fruitcake recipes--"Dark and Moist Cranberry Nut," and "Ricotta." The first is a variation of "Pumpkin Molasses Cake," which includes cranberries, raisins, apricots, and dates, plus, apple cider! Yum! "Ricotta" is a light variety with pineapple, golden raisins, and coconut. Double yum!

Nearly every general recipe book will have a recipe for fruitcake, the above three are only a small sample! There's enough time between now and Christmas to make several and decide for yourself which is the best!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time's Running Out

If you're thinking about making your holiday gifts this year, time is running out! That's not to say you can't start today or even next weekend. The thing to do is keep your gifts simple.

Speaking of the weekend...we have the Encyclopedia of Projects for the Weekend Crafter [745.5 ENC]. The Encyclopedia has projects in papercraft, metal embossing, quilting, and more! One delightful gift would be the "Nesting Collage Trays." You needn't make a set, one would be fine for me! The trays are designed so that you can change out the tray's decorations whenever you'd like something new. Intrigued? The project is on pp. 75-77.

Other simple craft projects for the home decorator can be found in Painted Whimsies: Decorative Accents for the Home and Garden [745.723 FER] by Jennifer Ferguson, and Pam Archer's Fast, Fun, and Easy Home Accents: 15 Fabric Projects to Decorate Any Space [746 ARC].

Don't forget gifts from your kitchen. I'll address this subject tomorrow when I have a little more time! (It's 7:40 pm already--where does the day go?)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Seeing Stars

Several years ago, in August, I was up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in the town of Glover. At night I was astounded by the crisp blackness of the sky, and by the incredible number of stars. There had to be twice as many as I could see down here!

Remember when living in Southern NH meant you lived in the "country"? No more. Now, there are even fewer stars to see with all the light pollution coming from malls, parking lots, stadiums, amusement parks, car dealership spotlights.

I rejoiced a little when I read of Bar Harbor, Maine that recently passed a light ordinance to preserve the night sky for viewing! Click on this link and take a look at the accompanying photo. Had you ever seen the Milky Way before? Isn't it awesome?

Some clear evening, hurry down to the library and borrow Chet Raymo's 365 Starry Nights: An Introduction to Astronomy for Every Night of the Year [523.8 RAY]. Here's part of the entry for today, December 1:
In the northeast Capella broods watchfully over her kids. Seeing these stars again reminds us of the brilliance of winter constellations, and whets our appetite for returning once more to the stars of January.

I suppose if the stars get completely blocked from view here in Windham, we'll still have the many astronomy books in our collection to pore through. Look for them in the 520s in both our adult and children's rooms.

And, each day you can visit the Astronomy Picture of the Day page on the NASA site for a look at the cosmos like you've never seen before!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What are you doing on Friday? If you don't devote your entire day to shopping, perhaps you'd like to participate in the National Day of Listening. This project, sponsored by StoryCorps, invites you to
...ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.
National Public Radio has had many of its radio personalities record conversations with the people in their lives. For an idea of the kind of conversations they had, you can listen here.

I posted about the StoryCorps project last year, click here if you missed it. We own Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project [973.92 LIS], a collection of stories that will make you laugh, and cry, and generally feel good! And, who doesn't want to feel good?

Rather than the purchase of a sweater or a Blackberry, the gift of listening, and time spent, may be the most meaningful gift of all!

Peace to all this Thanksgiving! KK is taking the rest of the week off. See you on Monday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Ready!

The Toymaker

Only two more days and it's Thanksgiving. If you're serving up the dinner, what are going to do with the kids while you prepare?

We have plenty of books and films to occupy the kids, but perhaps they'd like to help. What can you give them to do?

Help set the table for one. Help decorate it for another. The Toymaker has a page of items that can be printed off and decorated or assembled by your kids. Most require nothing more than the child cutting and folding. And most, can be printed off in a black and white version that allows children to color the items, too. If you've never visited The Toymaker site, make sure you do so. Her items are clever and quite beautiful!

While everyone is hard at work, play Marlo Thomas's CD, Thanks and Giving All Year Long [CD CHILDREN THO] and listen to a stellar group of performers sing or read. You'll hear the likes of Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Buffett, Kermit the Frog, and Amy Grant, among others.

As you sit down to eat, remember to give thanks for the abundance on your table, and make a promise to help those who are a little less fortunate than you. (The Shepherd's Pantry accepts donations year round.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Necessary Facility

It was not that long ago that the last little public library in NH finally got a bathroom. Come to find out, though, there was still a library in VT without the modern convenience! Read all about it here!

I've always thought that if I were on the road and had to go, I could depend on a public library to serve my needs. Boy, was I wrong!

How's your bathroom doing? I'm sure you have one, but is it looking a little worse for the wear? Time for a little redecorating? Have we got books for you!

The Best of Signature Baths. [643.52 BES]

Haslam, Nikki. The Bathroom Makeover Book: Ideas and Inspiration for Bathrooms of All Shapes and Sizes. [747.78 HAS]

Hillstrom, Susan Boyle. Design Ideas for Bathrooms. [643.52 HIL]

Wormer, Andrew. The Bathroom Idea Book. [747.78 WOR]

Once you've finished your makeover project, take a nice, long, hot bath and relax your tired muscles. Borrow Mary Muryn's Water Magic: Healing Bath Recipes for the Body, Spirit, and Soul [615.853 MUR] and enjoy a therapeutic soak.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Poetry Friday--Everyone Knows This One!

Lydia Maria Child was born practically next door in Medford, MA. She was an extraordinarily accomplished woman as you can read for yourself in a biographical piece at the Poetry Foundation.

Child is nearly forgotten today except for a little poem she wrote that was later set to music, "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day." It is more commonly known by its first line, "Over the river and through the wood."

Here's the poem in its entirety:
A Boy's Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood--
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
To have first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow--
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood--
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!
And yes, I'll accept the blame for the earworm that's going to be with you all day!

We have several illustrated versions of the poem/song in our children's room and it appears in numerous poetry anthologies, so browse the poetry shelves.

Child's work is also represented in recipes adapted from her book, The American Frugal Housewife (1829) that appear in Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook: Authentic Early American Recipes for the Modern Kitchen [641.5 OLD].

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Do you belong to a book club? If so, you may want to look into the READS-TO-GO book kit program. R-T-G is a program of the Reference and Adult Services section of NH Library Association.

A kit includes a canvas bag packed with 15 copies of a highly discussable book. And, if you can't think of anything to discuss, there are discussion questions included. Kits are borrowed for a period of approximately 2 months.

The slideshow above is less than half of the titles available. For more information, check out the READS-TO-GO webpage. And, when you're ready to borrow a kit, ask our reference librarian, Lois, to help you reserve one!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something Else I Didn't Know About...

There is an interesting article in this week's (11/24/08) Newsweek magazine [MAG NEW] with the unfortunate title, "Is Obama the Antichrist?" It is not a political article, but rather, an article from the "Belief Watch" section of the magazine that covers issues of faith and religion in America. This particular article dealt with "The Rapture," also known as the "Millennialist movement." The Rapture is, according to Dictionary.com,
4. the Rapture, Theology. the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.

I suppose I should be up on these things, but, after the time about 10 years or so ago, when every telephone pole in town was plastered with signs warning about the upcoming Rapture, which never happened, I guess I've dismissed talk of the Rapture.

Rapture prediction is now a full time occupation for some, and one of the people interviewed for the above-named Newsweek article, states that followers of today's Rapture movement, "are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared."

So, if you need to read up, too, we have the Encyclopedia of American Religious History by Edward L. Queen [R 200 QUE] for you to browse through. Or, if you don't want to go too in-depth, you can always read the Revelations (the section of the Bible where the anti-Christ is supposedly referenced) explanations in Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis [220.6 DAV]

Another less drastic view of the Rapture is outlined in Barbara R. Rossing's book, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation [236.9 ROS].

The novelists, Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, have written an epic series on the Rapture called "Left Behind" [F LAH, also in AB/CD LAH].

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FLOW Holiday Crafts

If you haven't signed your younger kids up for the Friends of the Library of Windham's (FLOW) annual crafts workshops, head on down to the library lickety-split before all the spaces are filled.

The items are viewable in our display case and making them should make every little crafter proud!

For those kids who are a little older, who may want to make items as gifts to give to grandparents and friends, borrow a book from our children's section for a vast array of simple-to-make projects. Here are a few to choose from. (I've taken the liberty of highlighting one project from each book that I think would make a good gift.)

Bonnell, Jennifer. D.I.Y. Girl: Do It Yourself: The Real Girl's Guide to Making Everything from Lip Gloss to Lamps. [J 745.5 BON] "A New Spin on Vinyl: Record Clock" p. 9

Buckingham, Sandra. Stencil It! [J 745.7 BUC] "Designer Storage Tins" pp. 20-23

Llimos, Anna. Easy Bead Crafts in 5 Steps. [J 745.582 LLI] "Bookmark" pp. 10-11.

Martin, Laura C. Nature's Art Box: From T-Shirts to Twig Baskets, 65 Cool Projects for Crafty Kids to Make With Natural Materials You Can Find Anywhere. [J 745.5 MAR] "Fern Stencil Box" pp. 186-187

Martin, Laura C. Recycled Crafts Box: Sock Puppets, Cardboard Castles, Bottle Bugs, and 37 More Earth-Friendly Projects and Activities You Can Create. [J 363.72 MAR] "Rag Coasters and Bowls" pp. 75-77.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Guinness Book of Records

Did you know that last Thursday (11/13) was Guinness World Records Day? I didn't! But, I did hear about it after it was over and I'm happy to report that many records were broken that day including one for most full beer steins carried by one person! Of course the record breaker was a German barmaid! She carried 19! You can watch the feat on the BBC website.

Now here's a record that our very own Jena will be sure to break one of these days--
Joel Waul introduced the world's Largest Rubber Band Ball at 9,032 pounds. Measuring 6 feet, 7 inches tall and with a diameter of 25 feet...

Here's another that I don't think I would have participated in myself--"Largest Gathering of People Wearing Underpants/Knickers"
The world record for the largest gathering of people wearing underpants/knickers is 116 achieved by the fair trade organization "Pants to Poverty" at St. Pancras International train station, London, UK on 13 of November 2008 in celebrations of Guinness World Records Day.

Finally, here's one that I think we should attempt here in Windham--"Most Adults Reading to Children." The record was broken in Dubai with 3,032. I'll bet we could break the record, too!

To read up on last year's winners, borrow Guinness World Records 2009 [031 GUI or J 031 GUI]. It's fun reading! Or, check out the website.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poetry Friday--Read and Listen

Poets.org is a site from the Academy of American Poets and is not to be missed if you want to experience poetry. On the site are not only poems, but also audios and videos of poets reading their work, or the work of others.

I'd like to share the work of Ron Padgett today. His poem, "Rialto," can be both read and listened to. I love the poem because it reminds me of the old movie theatre in the town where I grew up.

Regent Theatre 1915
The Regent Theater in Bay Shore, NY, 1915--way before my time!

Here's a brief bit of Padgett's poem:
When my mother said Let’s go down to the Rialto
it never occurred to me that the name Rialto
was odd or from anywhere else or meant anything
other than Rialto the theatre in my hometown
To read the whole thing or to listen to it read aloud, click here.

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Padgett!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If You Start Now... part 2

Continuing with the idea of making your own holiday gifts of "beauty," the Nesmith Library has a goodly number of soap making books. If you've been to craft fairs over the past 10 years, you've noticed an increase in the number of handmade soap vendors. Why pay an arm and a leg for a bar of soap simply because it is labeled "handmade"--you can make the soap yourself! Customize it with a label or wrapper that personally relates to the recipient and you've got a thoughtful and unique holiday gift!

In the olden days making soap involved melting down pounds of animal fat and adding an extremely dangerous ingredient--lye. In the older olden days, you first had to make the lye by processing wood ashes! But luckily, we're in an era when making soaps has become a whole lot easier! Working with lye may still be part of the process in some recipes, but, with detailed instructions and cautions, it has become safer. And, with the availability of essential oils, the soaps smell a whole lot better!

A website called Teach Soap covers many aspects of soapmaking and is a good place to explore before getting started.

Browning, Marie. Beautiful Handmade Natural Soaps: Practical Ways to Make Hand-Milled Soap and Bath Essentials: Included--Charming Ways to Wrap, Label, and Present Your Creations as Gifts. [668 BRO]

Failor, Catherine. Making Natural Liquid Soaps: Herbal Shower Gels, Conditioning Shampoos, Moisturizing Hand Soaps, Luxurious Bubble Baths, and More. [745.59 FAI]

Failor, Catherine. Making Transparent Soap: The Art of Crafting, Molding, Scenting and Coloring. [658.12 FAI]

Hulbert, Mike. Country Living Handmade Soap: Recipes for Crafting Soap at Home. [658.12 HUL]

If you want to make soap the old-fashioned way, simple instructions are on this page.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If You Start Now...

With the economy in the state it's in, you may be thinking about a smaller-scale holiday season this year. One way to achieve that goal is to make your own gifts. I've highlighted many of our fiber-arts books over the past two years in posts on knitting--"Keep Your Mind Occupied While Your Fingers Are Flying," "Busy Fingers," and crocheting--"Crochet--It's Not Just Doilies Anymore."

I've told you where to find books on building a birdhouse or feeder--"The Sounds of Spring," or making musical instruments--"Make Your Own Music."

There are any number of things you can make as gifts--a fun project, especially for women and teen girls, is making your own beauty products. We can help you accomplish this! Natural Beauty for All Seasons: 250 Simple Recipes and Gift-Giving Ideas for Year-Round Beauty by Janice Cox [646.72 COX] is a great place to start. Cox covers everything from growing your own loofahs, to making and potting masks, lip gloss, and massage oils. She also includes patterns for making special envelops for bath salts and powders.

I'll be looking at other make-it-yourself gift ideas over the next few weeks. If you get started now, you'll be sure to have everything ready in plenty of time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day originally was known as Armistice Day since it commemorated the end of the Great War (now known as World War I). Today is the 90th anniversary of the day the Great War ended. It happened on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

Here are two novels that tell some of what went on "over there":

Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart. [F URQ]

A Century of November by W.D. Wetherell. [F WET]

The library is closed today in honor of our veterans. I wish you peace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Under the Sea

I guess this is going to be sea week, since yesterday I wrote about waves, and today I'm covering sea life!

USA Today reports that an effort to record all sea life is underway. The census is expected to be completed by 2010, and
since 2000, the initiative-—executed by boat, tags, nets and submarine--has uncovered more than 5,300 new species, as diverse as blind lobsters and sulfur-eating bacteria.

Isn't that amazing--10 years ago there were 5,000+ species living under water that we didn't even know about! Who said space is the final frontier?

On a recent trip to Washington D.C.'s National Museum of Natural History run by the Smithsonian, I was in awe of the Sant Ocean Hall. The photos and videos displayed were absolutely gorgeous.

I've ordered the companion book to the Sant Hall exhibit, Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water, Our World by Deborah Cramer. It was released only two months ago, so it is full of up-to-date information. Look for Cramer's other book, this one on the Atlantic Ocean--Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage [551.46 CRA].

We have a number of books on fish including The Encyclopedia of Fishes [597 ENC] in the adult room, and Hello Fish, Visiting the Coral Reef by Sylvia A. Earle [J 597 EAR] children's.

Well, I've planted an ear worm by titling this post, "Under the Sea." I'll have to borrow The Little Mermaid [J DVD LIT] and sing along with Sebastian tonight!
Under the sea.
Under the sea.
Darling it's better,
Down where it's wetter,
Take it from me.

Big Waves

Sea at Satta in Suruga Province by Ando Hiroshige

When I was a kid, I read a book by Pearl Buck called The Big Wave. It was a fairly short book that told the story of a tidal wave and its effect on the people of a Japanese village. I was surprised to find that The Big Wave is still in print. It was originally published in 1948. The original version used the prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai, such as you see above.

The reason I bring this all up, is I was reminded of the book by an article in the Boston Globe. The mystery waves in the article aren't tidal waves (now more commonly known as a tsunamis), but they might be rogue waves. "Rogue wave" is a term I hadn't heard before. Here's an explanation.

You can learn more about large waves in either of these books by Ellen J. Prager, Furious Earth: The Science and Nature of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis [551.2 PRA], or, The Oceans [551.46 PRA].

Friday, November 07, 2008

Poetry Friday--Hayden Carruth

Photo by Ben McLeod.

The poet, Hayden Carruth, passed away a few weeks ago. He was 77 years of age and had lived for a time in nearby Vermont. You'll find a brief bio of Carruth here. His work may be found in several of our anthologies including After Frost: An Anthology of Poetry from New England [811.08 AFT], The Body Electric: America's Best Poetry from The American Poetry Review [811 BOD], and Good Poems: Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor [811.008 GOO].

Here's a taste of Carruth from "The Cows at Night"
The moon was like a full cup tonight,
too heavy, and sank in the mist
soon after dark, leaving for light

faint stars and the silver leaves
of milkweed beside the road,
gleaming before my car.

Yet I like driving at night
in summer and in Vermont:
the brown road through the mist

of mountain-dark, among farms
so quiet, and the roadside willows
opening out where I saw

the cows. Always a shock
to remember them there, those
great breathings close in the dark.

there's more to it, and you can find it in The Body Electric.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


It's a day to celebrate! It was two years ago, November 6, 2006, that Kurious Kitty's first post appeared! It wasn't more than a line or two, but I had just managed to set up the site and was still getting used to the idea of blogging regularly. Now, I seem to be able to do a post in my sleep!

I've posted at least twice on Spam--not the unwanted emails, but the meat-in-a-can. Several times on haiku. And more times than I care to think about on baseball, including one about Red Sox coffins!

If you have some topic you'd like me to explore in a post, please use the comments function. I rarely receive comments! It makes me feel unread!

I'll tie up this part of today's post with the mention of a new book on blogging. I'll include it as a kind of threat--comment on my blog or I'll read this book! Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse [006.7 ROW]. I like blogging for the library, but when someone waves a 6-figure income in front of me, I have to weigh my options carefully!

You may have heard about a national holiday being celebrated today in Kenya. If not, here's an NPR piece on Barack Obama's father's ancestral home and the way the Kenyans are rejoicing in the news of our new president.

To learn more about Barack Obama and his father, look for Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [B OBA also available in AB/CD B OBA].

Have a great day! Eat a piece of cake for me, and, President Obama!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

History Has Been Made

We have a new president! Let's join in wishing Barack Obama the best of luck over the next four years.

The thing about history is, it is always being made! That's why a book like Presidents FYI [J 973.09 PRE] is out-of-date as of this morning! It was published June 1st of 2008! Of course, the information on the former presidents is still valid, but for us to be current, we'll have to start looking for a newer edition!

Continuing with the subject of presidential history, I'd like to recommend A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign, by Edward J. Larson [324.973 LAR]. This recent addition to our election history section only goes to prove that although it is always changing, history is also always subject to re-evaluation and study.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


The most important thing you can do today is to vote! You have the power--use it!

My daughter and I were at our polling station at 7:00 am and we had stood in line, voted, and were out by 7:25--with a sticker to prove it!

For everything you ever wanted to know about voting, our reference collection has a 3 volume set called Voting in America [R 324.6 VOT]. Here's what you can find in the 3 volumes:
1. How America votes : law, process, and voter participation -- v. 2. What influences the American voter : interest groups, issues, and the media -- v. 3. American voting systems in flux : debacles, dangers, and brave new designs.

Celebrate your right to vote and get out there and VOTE!

Monday, November 03, 2008


My favorite stress reliever is to take a little time and visit the icanhascheezburger site.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

One more day until the presidential election is over. By Wednesday, I hope to be completely stress free. Until then I needz cheezburger!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Poetry Friday--Sandburg as Pumpkin

Carl Sandburg takes on the the persona of a pumpkin in his poem "Theme in Yellow."
Theme in Yellow

I SPOT the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

To my mind this is the perfect Halloween poem for kids. It paints a colorful picture of the autumn landscape, and although it describes prairie cornfields, it could be describing fields anywhere in the United States (well, maybe not Hawaii).

I am pleased by the way the writer ends the poem with "And the children know/I am fooling." It is a gentle reminder to kids that Halloween is all about show, and that there is really nothing to be afraid of. Very comforting.

For more of Sandburg's poetry, we have Sandburg's Complete Poems [811.5 SAN]. Looking for even more poetry today? Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Poetry for Children where you'll find a little bit of this and a little bit of that! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Environmental Film Festival

The library will be hosting the Windham Environmental Film Festival 2008 starting this Saturday at 4:00 pm. The festival will be held three Saturdays in November--11/1, 11/8, 11/22, and is sponsored by Go Green Windham.

Go Green Windham "is a grassroots movement dedicated to promoting green initiatives in the community and advocate for changes to protect our environment from the devastation of global warming caused by carbon pollution. The goal is to raise awareness and effect broad based community action that causes positive long term environmental change in Windham."

The films to be shown cover a variety of topics from alternative fuel powered cars to the history, and environmental impact, of suburbia (where we happen to be located).

Most of the films being shown are from our collection of documentary films. Here's a nearly complete list of the films we currently own that are related, in one way or another, to the environment:

Car of the Future: Engineering for the Environment. [DVD 629.222 CAR]

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash. [DVD 333.823 CRU]

Dimming the Sun. [DVD 551.6 DIM]

The Eleventh Hour. [DVD 304.2 ELE]

The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream. [DVD 338.2 END]

Everything’s Cool: A Toxic Comedy about Global Warming. [DVD 363.738 EVE]

Go Further. [DVD 363.7 GO]

An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warning. [DVD 363.73874 GOR]

Powershift: Energy + Sustainability. [DVD 333.794 POW]

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. [DVD 363.738 RAC]

Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun. [DVD 333.7923 SAV]

Who Killed the Electric Car? [DVD 629.2293 WHO]

I've put together a resource list for the festival attendees. It's main focus is books about "going green," with a few books with a broader view of the impact of humans on the environment. If you can't make the festival, ask at the front desk for a copy of the list.

The resource list is not anywhere near a complete list, but I attempted to keep it to two sides of one piece of paper. It forced me to leave out one of two interesting sounding "green" books such as Simply Green Parties: Simple and Resourceful Ideas for Throwing the Perfect Celebration, Event, or Get-Together by Danny Seo [642.4 SEO]!

You would think that a party is the last place you could be green, but, Seo's book introduces you to what should have been fairly obvious practices. For example, using biodegradable paper products, outdoor solar lanterns, giving a outdoor tree seedling as a gift or a thank you! Some not so obvious ideas are decorating cakes or cupcakes with real leaves instead of ones made of frosting. Or, using a Twizzler in a drink instead of a plastic straw/stirrer. Some fun projects are included, too, such as recovering dining chairs with old sweaters!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And Speaking of Cats...

When we brought Skippy, our new cat, home, our older cat, Smudge (in photo), was quite unreceptive. As a matter of fact, she was downright hostile. For two days the noises coming from her were demonic--a low growl that seemed to rise from her very core. It sort of reminded me of the movie, The Exorcist! We don't have the film in our collection, so I'll put it on my list to be ordered in the new year. We do, however, have the book by William Peter Blatty [F BLA].

Going from cats to films, I'm going to slide very nicely to films about cats. Here are a few titles to please the legions of cat lovers in Windham:

The Adventures of Milo and Otis. [J DVD MIL]
A curious kitten named Milo and his inseparable friend, a pug-nosed puppy named Otis, wander away from their farm home and enjoy a series of adventures as they make their way back.

Aristocats. [J VIDEO ARI]
A kind millionairess in Paris wills her entire estate to her family, a family of adorable high-society cats. The greedy, bumbling butler Edgar catnaps Duchess, the elegant mother, and her three kittens, and abandons them in the French countryside. The charming Thomas O'Malley, a rough-and-tumble alley cat, saunters by and offers to escort them home.

The Cat from Outer Space. [J VIDEO CAT]
An extraterrestrial cat named Jake is forced to crash-land his spaceship on Earth. Jake then proceeds to lead a physicist, his girlfriend, the Army, and a team of baffled scientists on endless escapades during his visit.

Cats and Dogs. [DVD CAT]
A secret war between cats and dogs escalates when a human scientist develops a serum to eliminate all human allergies to dogs.

Harry and Tonto. [VIDEO HAR]
Art Carney plays Harry, an aging widower who is forced from his New York apartment. After trying to live with his son in the suburbs and his single daughter in Chicago, he and his cat Tonto set out across the country in a second-hand car.

That Darn Cat! [DVD THA]
A cat leads a federal agent onto the trail of a band of thieves who kidnapped a bank teller. The search begins when the slinky Siamese is found with the kidnap victim's wristwatch around its neck.

The Three Lives of Thomasina. [J DVD THR]
Thomasina the cat brings a family together, through her mysterious death and reappearance.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Devil in the Grey-Striped Coat

Two weeks ago, we bought a new cat into our home. Skippy's a 4-month-old kitten to be exact. She's adorable, as you can see from this shot:

But, she has her evil side, too!

Why does she have to use me as her teething ring AND scratching post? I've borrowed our copy of Psycho Kitty? by Pam Johnson-Bennett [636.8 JOH], to try to understand her behavior.

Here's what the author has to say, "Aggression requires you to put aside your subjectivity and look at the situation through your cat's eyes. Is your cat truly aggressive across the board? Or, is he acting aggressively under certain conditions?"

Okay, I'll admit, it's only when she's hyped up and wants to play. She just plays a wee bit harder than I do! Plus, she is a kitten, so maybe she's teething?

I happened upon a chapter called, "Behaviors They Never Warned You About." One of the behaviors mentioned was "Fascinating Faucets," which has to do with some cats' obsession with water. Uh, oh, Skippy has been sitting on the toilet watching the water twirl round, and when it stops, she climbs half-way down the bowl to splash in it! This morning, as I pulled the shower curtain open to step out, there was a little grey-striped devil prone on the bathmat!

Stay tuned...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Toddler Halloween

Today our toddler storytime participants came costumed for a little Halloween celebration. They paraded around the library, stopped at treat-handing-out stations, and then gathered back in the multi-purpose room for some controlled chaos!

If you didn't realize it, Halloween is this coming Friday! For some last-minute pumpkin carving ideas, check out these titles:

Genduson, Sam. Carving Jack-O'-Lanterns. [745.5941.GEN]

Palmer, Edward. Pumpkin Carving. [745.5941 PAL]

Widmann, Emily. Pumpkin Cut-Ups: Super Patterns for Carving Perfect Pumpkins. [745.5941 WID]

Keene held its annual pumpkin fest this past weekend. To read about it, click here.