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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday


If you've been in a cave for the past few weeks, you may not know about the upcoming Super Bowl. But, most everyone in our area is speculating on Brady's foot health and planning parties in anticipation of Sunday's match.

My daughter, coming from a long line of ranters, went off on a tear last night when we saw a Wal-Mart commercial promoting party items for Super Bowl gatherings. It wasn't the nutritionless food being shown that got Gretchen in a tizzy, it was the portrayal of women as the ones who have to plan the party and do all the shopping and serving. Wal-Mart tried to get around the stereotype by showing the women acting as football fans with the raucous high-fives and belly bumping (is there a term for that?).

Rants aside, you can do a better job of feeding your guests if you make something yourself. You know where this is going...come down to the library to borrow a book on parties!

Gold, Rozanne. Entertaining 1-2-3: More than 300 Recipes for Food and Drink Using Only Three Ingredients. [641.5 GOL]

Ray, Rachael. Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Easy Entertaining. [641.555 RAY]

For those women who don't give a tinker's dam about football, may I suggest a "girly" party for you and your friends? Pick up The Party Girl Cookbook by Nina Lesowitz [642.4 LES]. Or, how about a "chick flick" and dinner? Look through Dinner & a Movie Cookbook: The Best of Dinner & a Movie's Delectable Dishes by Claud Mann [641.5 MAN], to find movie and meal suggestions. (Actually, the movies suggested are not specifically "chick" movies. A better listing is found in Cinematherapy: The Girl's Guide to Movies for Every Mood by Nancy K. Peske [016.79143 PES]).

I'm going to share the absolute best party recipe--Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

3 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup pepper sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)
1 (8 ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Remove from heat. Mix in half of the cheese and transfer the mixture to heat-proof bowl. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.

Serve with celery sticks or crackers.

Go Pats!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Postcards--Part 2

www.ChicagoPostcardMuseum.org

Who knew that there was a special term for the study and collection of postcards! Well, there is--deltiology. It comes from the Greek, deltion, which is the diminutive of deltos = writing tablet or letter.

I find postcards fascinating and have gone to postcard shows in the past. I love to flip through the boxes of cards--not looking for anything in particular, just looking for a card that will make me stop and say "wow." If you're at all interested, there is a postcard show every month in Concord. The next New Hampshire Antique Paper & Postcard Show, A Show with Moxie will be February 17, 2008 at the Concord Holiday Inn. For further information visit the Postcard Collector site's calendar.

An interesting site to spend some time browsing is the Penny Postcards from New Hampshire page. There's even an entry for Rockingham County. Or come down to the library to borrow Ernest Hebert's Greetings from New England [974 HEB] or any of the other postcard books in our collection.

Something rather serendipitous happened yesterday--I wrote a blog on postcards, and then, later in the day we had a library program with Anne Kelsey, "What Happened in Writing? From 1810 to 9/11." Anne showed postcards during her presentation! If you happened to miss her program (and I'm sure you did), think about signing up for her workshop being offered through the Windham Recreation Department. It starts on February 8, so call 965-1208 for more information.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Postcards


This past weekend at Kindling Words author-illustrator, Vera B. Williams, was one of the presenters. Vera spoke extensively about her life and her books, one of which is Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea, co-written with her daughter, Jennifer [JP WIL].

During one of her adventurous trips, Vera sent postcards to her mother who saved them tied up in a ribbon. Vera wanted to recreate, for young readers, the experience of traveling and the experience of sending postcards to loved ones back home. Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea was the result.

The book is a series of postcards and photos from the imagination of Vera. No actual postcards or photos were used in the making of the book. I'm sure you'll find the book a delight to spend time with, and to share with a little one!

Vera's was one of the first books to use the technique of telling a story through postcards. Other author-illustrators have followed suit:

Gravett, Emily. Meerkat Mail. [JP GRA] A young meerkat sends postcards to his family while he's off looking for a new place to live.

Hobbie, Holly. Toot and Puddle. [JP HOB] Toot shares his world adventures through postcards to Puddle. Puddle stays at home where he has adventures of his own.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen

I hope you've been watching The Complete Jane Austen on PBS. Last night was week #3. I've enjoyed the programs thus far, and especially look forward to the one about Jane Austen, the person, in "Miss Austen Regrets," which will be shown on February 3.

Jane Austen has made a remarkable comeback in the collective consciousness of American women. Patrice Hannon has capitalized on this by publishing 101 Things You Didn't Know about Jane Austen: The Truth about the World's Most Intriguing Romantic Literary Heroine [823.7 HAN]. In the book you'll find such interesting facts as Jane wrote in secret. Here's a report by Jane's nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh,
She was careful that her occupation should not be suspected by servants, or visitors, or any persons beyond her own family party. She wrote upon small sheets of paper which could easily be put away, or covered with a piece of blotting paper.

Jane Austen has always been read, but recently, writers have taken to rewriting her stories, continuing her stories, including her works in their stories, or imagining Austen's life in stories. Here are a few recent additions to the Jane Austen mania:

Fowler, Karen Joy. The Jane Austen Book Club. [F FOW or AB/CD FOW]

Hale, Shannon. Austenland: A Novel. [F HAL]

James, Syrie. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. [F JAM]

Rigler, Laurie Viera. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: A Novel. [F RIG]

Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday--Sijo

Today, I'm going to mention a new book by Linda Sue Park that explores a Korean form of poetry known as sijo. Park's book is Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). Here's the review from Publisher's Weekly:
Similar to the Japanese haiku, the Korean sijo packs image, metaphor and surprise into three long (or six short) lines with a fixed number of syllables: "Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!/ Which draws grumbling complaints or even crashing tantrums from thunder-/ He hates having his picture taken, so he always gets there late." Newbery Medalist Park's (A Single Shard) sijo skip lightly from breakfast ("warm, soft, and delicious-a few extra minutes in bed") to bedtime (about bathing: "From a tiled cocoon, a butterfly with terry-cloth wings"), with excursions to the backyard, the classroom, and the beach ("Are all the perfect sand dollars locked away somewhere-in sand banks?"). The sijo's contours are clean and spare, qualities echoed in the blue-gray, black and white architecture and crisp shadows of Banyai's (Zoom) digital illustrations. In the spirit of Park's experiments with this verse form, Banyai's miniature children bounce through a series of imaginative leaps unencumbered by the rules of the real world. They sleep in teacups, grow wings and fly among the flowers, snip mathematical equations to bits with gigantic pairs of scissors, and wreak havoc with bottles of ink. Park wants readers to try sijo for themselves, and in an extensive author's note she offers history, advice and encouragement; her own sijo and Banyai's cheeky images will supply the motivation. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information


We have ordered the book and it should arrive shortly--I can't wait to see it! Linda Sue Park is our keynote speaker tonight at Kindling Words perhaps she will speak about the book and kijo. If not, I'll visit Aha Poetry where the form is covered.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Greetings from Vermont!

I'm here at the lovely Inn at Essex on the first day of Kindling Words, a retreat for writers, illustrators, and editors. It is an opportunity to discuss books with adults who care deeply about children's literature. It is also an opportunity to eat some delicious food since the Inn at Essex is connected with the New England Culinary Institute.

This afternoon, at the nearby Phoenix Bookstore, about 40 of the Kindling Words participants took part in a massive book signing.


Here's a picture of Pat Thomas with her two latest books. Pat has been in the children's book business for a long time--one of her earliest books was "Stand Back" Said the Elephant. I'm Going to Sneeze [JP THO]. It was published in 1971!


The weekend looks to be winner if this afternoon is any indication of the enthusiasm involved!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kids' Appetites

It's funny, but our tastes do mature as we grow older. When I was a kid I wouldn't touch a fried egg if my life depended on it--now I love fried, and every other kind, of eggs.

Some kids don't like foods, not because they don't taste good, but because they don't look good, or the texture is unappealing. It can be a real challenge to feed a family! Jessica Seinfeld has been making the talk show circuit with her book, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Foods [641.5622 SEI]. This book was on the bestseller list for a while around the holidays. Here at the library, there is a waiting list for it, but it's a short one. I'm intrigued by the description:
Provides recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert dishes which contain vegetable purees that are healthy and appealing to children, and contains advice on meal conversation, letting kids help with prep and cleaning, and more.
Oooh yum, vegetable purees...gag, gag, gag. But, if it works for your kids, I can't knock it!

We have many other books on foods that appeal to kids, here are a few:

Beyond Macaroni and Cheese: Mom Tested Kid-Approved Recipes. [641.5622 BEY]

Calta, Marialisa. Barbarians at the Plate: Taming and Feeding the Modern American Family. [641.555 CAL]

Lapine, Missy Chase. The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. [641.5622 LAP]

Eat well!

I'm heading to Vermont tomorrow for my annual writers' retreat, Kindling Words. If I don't get anything posted, you'll understand why, right? See everyone at the library on Monday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kids Online

Tonight at 9, WGBH (channel 2) is airing a Frontline program called, Growing Up Online.
MySpace. YouTube. Facebook. Nearly every teen in America is on the Internet every day, socializing with friends and strangers alike, "trying on" identities, and building a virtual profile of themselves--one that many kids insist is a more honest depiction of who they really are than the person they portray at home or in school.

In "Growing Up Online," FRONTLINE peers inside the world of this cyber-savvy generation through the eyes of teens and their parents, who often find themselves on opposite sides of a new digital divide. From cyber bullying to instant "Internet fame," to the specter of online sexual predators, FRONTLINE producer Rachel Dretzin investigates the risks, realities and misconceptions of teenage self-expression on the World Wide Web.

I don't know about you, but I'm concerned about kids and the influence of social networking. Much of it is simply a way for kids to connect with other kids--in the olden days we used to talk for hours on the phone--but, in some cases, kids can get involved in rather risky behavior. For instance, some of the photos of teens in seductive or menacing poses, may still be viewable years from now when the young adult is out looking for a job.

We do ourselves a favor by at least understanding the world our kids now inhabit. The Frontline episode is a start. You can also borrow Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence by Candice M. Kelsey [305.235 KEL] or Keep your kids safe on the Internet by Simon Johnson [004.678 JOH].

I written about social networking before, and I'll probably write about it again, so bear with me!

If you miss "Growing Up Online" tonight, it will be shown on NHPTV (channel 11) on Thursday at 10 pm.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


The library is closed today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Most everyone knows the "I have a dream" speech of Dr. King, but King is also remembered for his efforts for social justice for all Americans. There is an drive to make MLK Day not just another day for shopping, but a day to do good for the community.


On January 21st, 2008, millions of Americans across the country will once again honor his legacy by taking part in a wide range of service projects—conducting food drives, painting schools and community centers, recruiting mentors for needy youth, and bringing meals to homebound neighbors, to name but a few.

What are you doing today?

For those with children, the time to instill an ethic of community service is when children are young. You, the adult, models the behavior. The child, by participating, becomes empowered, and hopefully, upon reaching adulthood, continues the habit of community service. Start off by reading Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport [JP RAP], then go out and find a way to serve.

Peace.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Poetry Friday--Dead Poets

I'm not talking about the film, The Dead Poets Society [DVD DEA], I'm talking about poets and where they eventually end up--the graveyard. Poets often reflect on death and immortality, Robert Frost is no exception. This from "In a Disused Graveyard"
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
"The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay."
Read the complete poem in Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays [811 FRO].

I came upon a website (serendipity is a delightful byproduct of internet research) that will lead you to the final resting places of many poets. Close by, in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, is buried Robert Lowell. Frost, who NH claims as its own, is buried over the border in Bennington, Vermont.

In the spring you may enjoy a little field trip to poets' graves--now you'll know where to find them!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

There's a Buyer for Everything--part 2

Yes, and there's some enterprising person out there who is willing to convince you that you need it! Last week I heard a segment on public radio about a new line of coffins and urns for major league baseball fans. I kid you not!

www.eternalimage.net

Red Sox "widows," if unfortunately they become real widows, can now bury their loved ones in Red Sox caskets! What fun for those who visit during calling hours at the funeral home!

Somehow I don't think a MLB casket, as creatively different as it is, is what Ernest Morgan had in mind when he wrote Deal Creatively with Death: A Manual of Death Education and Simple Burial [393.1 MOR]!

Twenty-first century America has developed some pretty unusual burial rituals, you can read about them in Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen [393.9 CUL]. And, if you don't get enough giggles from that title, there's Death* *A User's Guide by Tom Hickman [393 HIC]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There's a Buyer for Everything!

Take a quick look around www.ebay.com and you'll find just about everything for sale. That presupposes there is also a buyer for everything. I've found eBay to be a great resource for research materials. In doing a project on the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, I found, and purchased postcards and books that give me a "feeling" for the Fair that I wouldn't have been able to find anywhere else, short of actually attending the Fair. For my World War II project, I found posters and stamps promoting conservation. I purchased a "V for Victory" puzzle. I also found "V-mail" stationery, and even a 1940s scrapbook full of newspaper clippings of items that a teen in Maine found worth keeping.
Actual item being auctioned on eBay tomorrow.


If you've never been hooked by eBay, consider yourself lucky--all those little purchases can add up! If you're curious and want to give it a try, though, look for Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay by Michael Miller [381.17 MIL], or Jim Griffith's The Official eBay Bible: The Newly Revised and Updated Version of the Most Comprehensive eBay How-To Manual for Everyone from First-Time Users to eBay Experts [658.87 GRI]. And, once you really get into it, delve into 1000 Best eBay Success Secrets by Greg Holden [658.87 HOL]. Here's a sample "secret":
207. Be positive! Too many sellers seem to be apologetic about their descriptions. Tell people how much you love what you have to sell, or how you wish you could keep it, or what you used to do with it--or what they might do with it. Be a cheerleader for your merchandise, and you'll inspire shoppers to place bids.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Award Winners

Yesterday, the American Library Association announced its 2008 award winning books for children and young adults.

I found the Newbery Winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, written by Laura Amy Schlitz [J 812.6 SCH], to be an interesting choice. The book is a combination of poetry, told from multiple points of view, and factual information, about goings-on in a Medieval village.

Poetry is not often chosen as the Newbery Winner, the last one, Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman [J 811 FLE] won back in 1989. Perhaps, with the recent increased interest in poetry, this new winner will be widely read. (I checked the circulation for Joyful Noise and found that in the time we've owned it, it has had only 23 checkouts, and, there are some years when it never went out at all!)

I'd hate to think about adding another award to ALA's list, but maybe there should be a separate category for books of poetry, such as there is with the National Book Awards and the Pulitizer Prizes.

A problem with children's poetry is that teachers often are afraid of using it in the curriculum. It must be a throwback to experiences in college when they were asked to find meanings or themes, puzzle out metaphors, and deal with poetic terms such as anapest and conceit. I know that after I graduated from college, I didn't look at poetry for years!

Pick up a book of children's poetry--it's a whole different ballgame! I bet you'll be surprised at how rewarding it can be!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow Day!






The library is closed and I'm sitting here at home looking out the window. It is BEAUTIFUL outside!









This is from Billy Collins' poem, "Snow Day."
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news


Make yourself a cup of tea, and read the whole poem here.

Tomorrow, come visit the library and see our display of winter books in the children's room, and our display near the checkout desk on winter sports.

One of my favorite snow books is a very old one by NH's own Tomie DePaola. It's called Joe and the Snow [JP DEP]. Joe is housebound while it snows for 5 days and five nights! That's about 4 snow days too many for me!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday-Memoir

Since the publication of Karen Hesse's 1997 book, Out of the Dust [J HES], there has been an abundance of novels-in-verse published, especially for young adults. Lately, I've become aware of a number of memoirs-in-verse.

Why write a memoir in verse? I suppose there are as many reasons as there are writers, but, I'll guess that it may have to do with pain. Some people write about the pain of life in great detail--as horrific it may be (I'm thinking about the books by Augusten Burroughs [B BUR]). With poetry, the writer can capture the emotion without getting into all the painful details. Here's an excerpt from a poem called "Five Words" in Blue Suburbia: Almost A Memoir by Laurie Lico Albanese [810.54 ALB]:
Most days
I found my mother
standing at the kitchen sink

I'd come home from school
or walk in from the yard
where the Murphy boys
killed bumblebees
with their bare feet

my mother would turn
or not

mostly not

but I kept coming into the room
year after year

As a reader, I love the form. These small slices of life are irresistible. I find myself saying, "I'll read just one more..." One more turns into two more. Two more turns into three more...until I've finished the book!

Want to try a memoir-in-verse? Here are a few to look for:

Corrigan, Eireann. You Remind Me of You: A Poetry Memoir. [YA B COR]

Schutz, Samantha. I Don't Want to Be Crazy. [YA 811.6 SCH]

Turner, Ann. Learning to Swim: A Memoir. [YA 811 TUR]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coffee

"I love coffee, I love tea. I love the java jive and it loves me."
from "Java Jive" by the Inkspots


Yes, I admit it, I love coffee. Both Carolyn and I got Keurig machines for Christmas. Mine came with a variety pack of K-cups so I've been a little over-caffeinated these past two weeks. Now I'm awaiting delivery of decaf K-cups so that I can keep my blood pressure under control!

I'm not a coffee connoisseur, therefore I'm not particularly disturbed by the news that McDonald's is venturing into Starbucks' territory--lattes and what have you. Starbucks' coffee is too burnt tasting for me, I like my coffee simple, and I'm not looking for that chic coffeehouse experience. Of course, by drinking plain coffee with milk, I'm missing out on the coffee art experience--oh well.



Yes, we do have a book or two on coffee in the library--to start try Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast [641.3 PEN]. And for something to go with a hot cup of coffee look for this recently added book: Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More: 200 Anytime Treats and Special Sweets for Morning to Midnight by Carole Walter [641.815 WAL].

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Word Bugs You?

Lake Superior State University recently issued its annual roundup of words nominated to be "Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness." The list has been compiled since 1976. The list for 2008 includes the word organic. This word has more comments than any other on the list. I guess people are sick of the label organic being placed on nearly everything in an attempt by manufacturers to lure buyers into purchasing something that is perceived as being better or healthier. Not an hour ago, someone at the library mentioned yarn that was labeled as organic, which led to speculation--free-range sheep?

Also today, at a library cooperative meeting, the word visioning was used in a presentation. Say what? Given the opportunity, I will nominate that term for next year's list! I know that English is a living language, and change is part of life, but c'mon, visioning?

Predicting New Words by Allan Metcalf [420 MET] discusses how words come into our language and why some remain in the language for more than a nanosecond. It also has a list of the American Dialect's Society's "Word of the Year" from 1990 through 2001. I checked and found that the word subprime was voted as the 2007 Word of the Year on January 4, 2008. You heard it here first! (Maybe not...)

With this being the presidential election year, I thought I'd mention Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of America Political Slang [427.09 HAT] to help guide you through the next 10 months. It's funny, but the word frame, as in "frame the debate," isn't in there! Perhaps it will be in the next edition.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That--January 2008 edition

A few things to mention today:

  • Vote in the New Hampshire primary today! A record turnout is expected! Good for us!

  • A disturbing article, Twilight of the Books, in The New Yorker, highlights the fact that reading among Americans is in decline, and that there is a correlation
    ...between the decline of reading and social phenomena as diverse as income disparity, exercise, and voting.
    It doesn't bode well for the library as a collection of books. We have entered the era where libraries function more and more as meeting place, distributor of mass entertainment (think about all our programs, DVDs, CDs), and source of internet access.

  • Despite the above story, there are people who still like to read, but, in many cases, actually picking up a book and reading, is being replaced by listening to a book. Here's the story of one man's New Year's resolution, The Audiobook Diet.

  • WBUR's Only a Game had a piece about an unusual fundraising event--a Candyland tournament! It was quite "shocking" to hear that adults actually cheat! Parents may want to pull out the Candyland board today since school is closed due to the election. If you don't have board games at home, we have several books on our shelves that will introduce you to other games you could play with your kids. Here are three: The Complete Book of Card Games [795.4 COM], Cooperative Games and Sports: Joyful Activities for Everyone by Terry Orlick [793 ORL], Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot-Potato, and Ha, Ha, Ha: A Rule Book of Children's Games by Jack Maguire [793 MAG].
  • Monday, January 07, 2008

    Democracy in Action


    Saturday night I spent 2 hours at St. Anselm's standing amongst hundreds of candidate and issue supporters. Despite the relative warmth (40 degrees), which we had experienced during the daylight hours, it was still very cold once the sun set, but, we had hot chocolate and enthusiasm to keep us warm. I was delightfully pleased with the showing of young citizens. I stood near a 16-year-old who was there to protest federal budget imbalances (defense spending is more than everything else combined). It warmed my heart to see a girl who won't be able to vote for another two years, standing up for her beliefs!

    You can't really see it in the photo above, but the global warming people had quite a showing including costumed representations of Santa, Frosty, and a Polar Bear. I envied the warm costumes! The youngish group had fun with their chants, too. When Huckabee supporters would yell, "We like Mike," there would be a counter yell, "We like ice!"

    I'm proud to be part of the grassroots effort, and to be an active participant in democracy. This book in our collection explores the new role of grassroots efforts: Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-powered Politics by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas [324.7 ARM].

    Think about getting involved. The best way to participate in democracy is to vote!

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Poetry Friday--The Election Madness Has Begun

    This is from a poem called "America Politica Historia, in Spontaneity" by Gregory Corso:

    OF THE PEOPLE is fortunate and select.
    FOR THE PEOPLE has never happened in America or elsewhere.
    BY THE PEOPLE is the sadness of America.
    I am not politic.
    I am not patriotic.
    I am nationalistic!
    I boast well the beauty of America to all the people in Europe.
    In me they do not see their vision of America.
    O whenever I pass an American Embassy I don’t know what to feel!
    Sometimes I want to rush in and scream: "I’m American!"
    but instead go a few paces down to the American Bar
    get drunk and cry: "I’m no American!"

    The poem is Corso's look at the presidents elected to office during his lifetime. Corso, one of the beat poets, had a slightly jaded view of America, but, the section above is worth noting if for no other reason than many Americans are not represented fairly even today. Let's make poets AND patriots happy by voting next Tuesday, and again in November. Let everyone's voice be heard.

    To read the poem in full, click here. To learn more about the "Beats" look for The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats: The Beat Generation and American Culture [810.9 ROL] on our shelves.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Rhymes with Fresca

    Children's author, Jon Scieszka (rhymes with Fresca, as he likes to tell those he meets), has taken on the job of National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. The 2-year, paid post, will take Scieszka around the country to promote reading.

    Scieszka is a wise choice since his books have had wide appeal to kids, as well as adults, for nearly 20 years. Perhaps you've come across his The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales [JP SCI], or his "Time Warp Trio" series [J SCI], about the misadventures of three boys who travel in time? The series is a hit with boys who are targeted at being at risk as readers.

    Check out Guys Write for Guys Read [J 810.8 GUY], a book edited by Scieszka, that contains stories, cartoons, and other writing by popular children's authors, compiled especially for boys. One look at the table of contents should hook any "guy"--how could he resist, "Why Books are Dangerous," "Eat Dirt," or "My French Teacher Tried to Kill Me"?

    For more about the ambassadorial post, visit the Library of Congress site. For more about Scieszka's Guys Read project, click here.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Happy 2008!

    I wish you all a happy and healthy 2008! I think I'll start off the year by looking back to 100 years ago--1908. At midnight New Year's Day, 1908, a lighted ball descended in Times Square for the first time. 2008 started with an updated version of the ball, which you can learn more about here.

    Other happenings in the year 1908 included:

  • The Boy Scouts organization was started by Robert Baden-Powell with the release of "Scouting for Boys." Read about the multi-talented Baden-Powell in The Boy-Man: The Life of Lord Baden-Powell [B BAD].
  • E.M. Forster's Room with a View [F FOR], and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows [J GRA] were published.
  • The first around the world car race took place from New York to Paris. Also in automotive history, Henry Ford introduced his Model T, which became a phenomenal success. Read about Ford in The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century [B FOR].
  • William Howard Taft was elected president.
  • The first (U.S.) federal workmen's compensation law was passed.
  • J.C. Penney purchased several stores and began the chain of J.C. Penney's stores that continues to this day.
  • German physicist Hans Geiger developed the Geiger counter.
  • "Mutt and Jeff" was the first comic strip to appear daily with the same cartoon figures. (The strip appeared as "A Mutt," in 1907, but didn't gain fame until Jeff was added in 1908.)
  • Bandits, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in Bolivia. Borrow the film from our collection, [VIDEO BUT].
  • A devastating explosion known as the Tunguska Event occurred in Siberia.
  • Women competed for the first time in the modern Olympics.