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Friday, February 29, 2008

Poetry Friday--Claude McKay

Happy Leap Year! Today's the last day of February, and it's an extra long month this year--one more day to celebrate Black History Month! Let's do that by looking at the poet, Claude McKay. Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1890 and started writing at the age of 10! He came to the U.S. to study at Tuskegee Normal School and by 1914 he ended up in New York City. He is known as one of Harlem Renaissance poets. In the foreword to the book, Harlem Stomp!: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Laban Carrick Hill [810.9 HIL]. Nikki Giovanni writes,
In the early part of the twentieth century, Harlem was a hotbed of intellectual, artistic, literary, and political blossoming for Black people.

McKay's poetry could be called protest poetry as he attacked social issues head on. His poem, "The Lynching," is a prime example.

Other poems, though, deal with less weighty topics. Here's a portion of McKay's "The Snow Fairy":
Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.

To read the complete poem, click here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

American Teens--What Are They Missing?

A recent article, Teens Losing Touch with Historical References, in USA Today briefly outlines the results of a study that found American teens to be lacking in some basic knowledge about history and literature:
Among 1,200 students surveyed:

•43% knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900.

•52% could identify the theme of 1984.

•51% knew that the controversy surrounding Sen. Joseph McCarthy focused on communism.
I don't know about you, but I find the idea that 57% of teens couldn't place the timeframe of the Civil War within a 50 year period to be pretty disturbing!

I hate to offer quick fix solutions, but maybe a look at these books would help:
Davis, Kenneth C. Don't Know Much about the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know about America's Greatest Conflict But Never Learned [973.7 DAV]. (At the very least readers should be able to get the dates correct after reading this!)

Hirsch, E.D. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know [R 973 HIR].

If you're a parent, don't despair--I bet your teen can tell you how to program your cell phone!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Books You May Have Missed

Lately there has been a discussion on a NH libraries' list going on about favorite book discussion titles. Not all of the titles are recently published, which leads me to a rant. Ready?... I think many book discussion groups do themselves (and the interlibrary loan librarian) a great disservice by insisting upon reading the "hottest" new titles. There are vast numbers of interesting and highly discussable books that have been overlooked by groups, and that would be easy to get from other libraries, thus alleviating the need to hunt down copies. It would also save book group members from having to purchase copies if none are available through ILL.

Here are a few of the suggestions that you may not have come across:

Armstrong, Karen. The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness. [B ARM]
In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness-diagnosed only years later as epilepsy-marked her forever as an outsider.

Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. [F COE]
At fifty-two, Professor David Lurie is divorced, filled with desire, but lacking in passion. An affair with one of his students leaves him jobless, shunned by his friends, and ridiculed by his ex-wife. He retreats to his daughter Lucy's isolated smallholding, where a brief visit becomes an extended stay as he tries to find meaning from this one remaining relationship.

Doig, Ivan. Dancing at the Rascal Fair. [F DOI]
Chronicles the American experiences of Angus McCaskill and Rob Barclay, Scottish immigrants, who lived for three decades in Two Medicine Country at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

Kingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible. [F KIN]
God's Kingdom in its pure, unenlightened glory. So fourteen-year-old Leah Price expects when, in the summer of 1959, she arrives in the Congo with her family....From 1959 through 1998, the Price sisters tell their stories, in alternating narratives that reflect their ages as the years pass and the understandings that they achieve.
Mason, Daniel. The Piano Tuner. [F MAS, also AB/CD MAS]
When Edgar Drake is summoned to the British War Office and asked to tune an eccentric major's 1840 Erard grand piano in the jungles of Burma, he is both confused and intrigued. The year is 1886, and the British Empire is attempting to tighten its control of its colonies in the Far East, to fend off French rivals in the Mekong Delta, and to quell the resistance of a confederacy of local Shan tribes in northern Burma.

Patchett, Ann. Bel Canto. [F PAT]
In the vice president's mansion in an unnamed South American country, a lavish party is taking place to celebrate the birthday of a visiting Japanese businessman. An American opera singer is entertaining the guests, dignitaries and high-ranking officials from around the world, when suddenly the room is plunged into darkness. Terrorists invade the mansion and set in motion a series of events that irrevocably alters the life of every person involved.

If your book group is looking for titles, a favorite site to explore is Reading Group Guides: The Online Community for Reading Groups. This site has recommended lists of titles and discussion questions for several thousand books. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The 80th Annual Academy Awards took place on Sunday. With the quick transition from general release to DVD release we have quite a few of the winners already on our shelves!

The Bourne Ultimatum [DVD BOU]--"Best Editing," "Best Sound Editing," "Best Sound Mixing."

Once [DVD ONC]--"Best Song."

Ratatouille [J DVD RAT]--"Best Animated Feature."

La Vie en Rose [DVD VIE]--"Best Actress in a Leading Role," "Best Make-up."

No Country for Old Men, which won "Best Picture," "Best Director," "Best Adapted Screenplay," is still in theaters, but you can read the book by Cormac McCarthy [F MCC]. The DVD will be released on March 11, at which time we plan on purchasing it.

We also have these films that were nominated, but didn't win:

Away from Her [DVD AWA]--nominated in the "Best Actress" category.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age [DVD ELI]--also nominated in the "Best Actress" category.

Surf's Up [DVD SUR]--nominated in the "Best Animated Feature" category.

To see some of the glamor of the Sunday's award ceremony, Internet Movie Database has a photo gallery for you to enjoy. Hooray for Hollywood!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel is an old German tale that comes to us via the Brothers Grimm. (Read the story in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm [398.21 COM].) We have several picture book versions in our children's room, including the Caldecott Honor award winner illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky [JP HAN].) I'm sure you remember the story, so I won't bother to summarize it, but, in reading the Grimm version in The Complete Fairy Tales, I found that a duck ferried Hansel and Gretel to safety after their escape from the witch. I don't remember a duck in any version I have seen previously. Of course, in adapting a tale for a picture book, one would tend to eliminate anything that is not essential to the story. But it leads me to speculate about the reasons for the duck to begin with.

I found out about the duck at this site, which contains an annotated version. I found the "Modern Interpretations" booklist of particular interest. (What did you expect from a librarian?)

Besides reading the story, you can listen to the opera version by Engelbert Humperdinck [CD OPERA HUM]. We recently purchased the CD with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) because it was awarded a Grammy this year for "Best Opera Recording." If you want a real treat, the Boston Lyric Opera is performing Hansel and Gretel on Sunday, April 13, at John Hancock Hall. Click here for more information.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday-Home of the Brave

I just finished a wonderful book, Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate [J APP]. Home of the Brave is a novel in verse about a young immigrant boy from Africa who arrives in Minnesota in the middle of winter.

In one of the early poems, "God with a Wet Nose," Kek sees a cow out of a car window and asks the driver to stop.

She moos,
a harsh and mournful sound.
It isn't the fault of the cow.
She doesn't know another way to talk.
She can't learn
the way I am learning,
by slow, slow

I stroke her cold, wet coat,
and for a moment I hold
all I've lost
and all I want
right there in my hand.

The poems are evocative and moving. Any child reading them will surely stop to think about how difficult it is to find one's self in a place where everything, from the language to the schools, is unfamiliar.

I'm a softy, I believe that books for children should end, if not happily, at least with hope. Home of the Brave has both--hope and happiness--what more could you ask for!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rubber Duckie, You're the One. You Make Bathtime Lots of Fun. Rubber Duckie I'm Awfully Fond of You.

Since my kids are now nearly 29 and nearly 26, I find it strange that I can still remember listening to Ernie sing about his rubber duck (on Sesame Street). I wish I could remember what I had for dinner yesterday! But I digress...

This Saturday, if you're up for a little trip north, there will be a Winter Wildquack Duck Race being held at Black Mountain in Jackson. This is the third year the race will be held.

Rubber duck races are fairly popular events during the warmer months, when the ducks can actually float. In Jackson, the ducks will have to slide to the finish line.

I did a little internet search and found that there are rubber duck races held all around the world! Here's a picture from a German race:

It should come as no surprise that there are a number of books about rubber ducks in our children's room including:

  • 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle [JP CAR].
  • Find the Duck by Phil Cox [BB COX].
  • Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett Krosoczka [JP KRO].
  • The Runaway Duck by David Lyon [JP LYO].

  • The Runaway Duck isn't about a rubber duck, but the toy duck in the story does float away on a grand adventure!

    Do you have the "Rubber Duckie" song now running through your head? If so, borrow Splish Splash: Bath Time Fun [CD CHILDREN SPL], and you can learn a whole bathtub full of rubber duck songs!

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Lungs of the Earth

    I've heard it said that trees are the lungs of the earth. It makes perfect sense--they take carbon dioxide and then release oxygen, much like human lungs do, of course, our lungs do it in reverse!

    We all know about the excess of paper used in junk mail. In the year 2006, 212,345 MILLION pieces of domestic mail moved through the U.S. Postal service. (That number is from the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008 [R 317.3 STA]) It's amazing that there are any trees left at all on Earth! And remember how computers were supposed to make ours a "paperless" society?

    So, how are New Hampshire's forests fairing? Visit the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests to learn more about NH's "lungs." This is from the "About Us" page:
    Founded by a handful of concerned citizens in 1901, The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is now one of the country's most effective statewide land conservation organizations. As a non-profit membership organization, the Forest Society is dedicated to protecting the state's most important landscapes while promoting the wise use of its renewable natural resources.
    If you want to explore our state's forests, the Society has a listing of its conserved properties available to download. Winter hiking is good exercise, and, as long as our forests remain conserved, you can breathe deeply.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008


    The news today told of Fidel Castro's resignation after 50 years in power. Maybe we'll see the day when Cuba will be a vacation destination that Americans can enjoy--I guess it all depends on who is next in charge (both here and in Cuba). I checked the catalog under the subject heading, "Cuba--Description and Travel" and was surprised to find we had a book listed under that heading. When I clicked on it I found the title to be, Two Years before the Mast and Other Voyages by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. [910.45 DAN]. Two Years before the Mast was originally published in 1840! Wanna bet the island has changed somewhat in the past 168 years?

    We may also start receiving more works of fiction about Cuba. Quite a number have been published about the Cuban-American experience, but it will be nice to get a taste of contemporary Cuban fiction. In the meantime, enjoy some of these works (both fiction and nonfiction):

  • Chao, Patricia. Mambo Peligroso. [F CHA]
  • Eire, Carlos. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy. [B EIR].
  • Garcia, Cristina. The Aquero Sisters. [F GAR].
  • Menéndez, Ana. Loving Che. [F MEN]
  • Shetterly, Aran. The Americano: Fighting for Freedom in Castro's Cuba, an Untold Story. [972.9106 SHE]
  • Monday, February 18, 2008

    President's Day

    The library is closed for President's Day today.

    Next year, 2009, will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. I imagine there will be an avalanche of books and television programs coming out a year from now.

    Lincoln is one of the most written about people in history, it's hard to imagine that there is anything new to cover, but there are always new interpretations of history and events. Here's a book covering an unusual aspect of the Lincoln presidency: Mr. Lincoln's T-mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler [973.7092 WHE]. A Publisher's Weekly review states,
    He succeeded as a war leader, says Wheeler, because he learned to manage the news and shape public thinking and policy by communicating directly with multiple interests. If Wheeler sometimes exaggerates the effects of the telegraph in "winning the war," he taps out a lively account that crackles with revealing anecdotes and insights, offering new ways to appreciate Lincoln's genius as a policymaker.

    There is a companion website to visit, too.

    George Washington is not nearly as popular a subject as Lincoln, but still, there are always books being written about him. Here's a fairly recent children's book: George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen [J B WAS]. Interested adults can go to this site for a quick overview of Washington, "spymaster."

    For information about all the presidents, visit the Miller Center of Public Affairs site. The Miller Center has essays, papers, and audiovisual sources.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Poetry Friday--Poetry by Email

    I don't generally read a lot of books of poetry (sad, but true), but I do have poems delivered to me by email and so I get a sampling of a great variety of poems. Here are a few places you can go to for electronic poetry delivery:

  • American Life in Poetry: This is a project started by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser.
    The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: America Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.
    Although this project is focused on getting poetry into newspapers, you can sign up for a poem to be delivered to your inbox each week.

  • Shakespeare's Sonnet a Day site actually sends out sonnets three times a week!

  • Verse Daily sends out poems each day, and, they are poems from reputable publishers, not those submitted by the general public.
    By republishing from fine literary magazines and books of poetry one new poem each day, Verse Daily is working hard to promote poets and their publishers while providing a wealth of excellent poetry to the public free of charge.

  • Garrison Keillor of "Prairie Home Companion" fame, records a daily Writers Almanac in which he reads a poem and comments on the day in literary history. Sign up here.

  • Take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to have your poetry delivered directly to your home, and, there's no tipping involved!

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    If you were planning on taking your sweetie out to dinner tonight, forget it--you'll spend hours walking around with one of those little beepers waiting for a table. Valentine's Day evening is probably the busiest time for restaurants. Instead, why not borrow one of the library's films and have a fun evening cosying up on the couch. You won't be considered cheap if you promise to treat him/her to a romantic dinner-for-two at some later date--like tomorrow!

    The American Film Institute issues lists of films in categories. For tonight's special film check out AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions. (Keep in mind that the title is "100 Passions" not "100 Romances"!

    Here's AFI's top ten:
    1. Casablanca [DVD CAS]
    2. Gone with the Wind [DVD GON]
    3. West Side Story [DVD WES]
    4. Roman Holiday [DVD ROM]
    5. An Affair to Remember [DVD AFF]
    6. The Way We Were [DVD WAY]
    7. Doctor Zhivago [DVD DOC]
    8. It's a Wonderful Life [DVD ITS]
    9. Love Story (sorry, we don't own this at the present time)
    10. City Lights [VIDEO CIT]

    Some of the titles on the top 10 wouldn't have even made my top 50! Here are a few of my top ten choices and their AFI ranking:

  • The African Queen [DVD AFR], #14
  • Moonstruck [DVD MOO], #17
  • It Happened One Night [DVD IT], #38
  • Sleepless in Seattle [DVD SLE], #45
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's [DVD BRE], #61
  • The Apartment [DVD APA], #62 (this would be my #1 if I had to rank it)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being [VIDEO UNB], #87
  • The Princess Bride [DVD PRI], #88
  • Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Musings on Mailboxes

    This posting is late today. I've been preoccupied with the weather and the results of a reckless driver. Another thing that has me slightly off-kilter is that, once again, a snow plow has taken out my mailbox! This happens at least once a year, and since we've had a gazillion snowstorms this winter without mailbox murder, I thought I was free of the plow curse. Hah!

    I could be vengeful, but that's self-destructive, so, I'm going to think happy thoughts. Who needs a mailbox when all you get is junk mail anyway? And snowplows aren't really evil. Actually I'm quite happy to have them clearing the roads. See, happy thoughts!

    There's one book that I know of that has a snowplow as a main character--Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton [JP BUR]. Katy was originally published in 1943--an oldie but goodie.

    Virginia Lee Burton was born in Newton Centre, MA in 1909. She lived in the area for her first 8 years, but the memories of snowy winters must have remained strong. While you're at it, look for Burton's other classic, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel [JP BUR].

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Anniversary Levee Tonight!

    The Historical Society is holding a "C" dinner tonight at the Town Hall. There was a nice write-up in yesterday's Eagle-Tribune.

    Briefly, the dinner is a recreation of a "levee" held back on this date in 1892. A levee, according to the Dictionary of American Regional English[R 427 DIC v.III], is an old-fashioned word, chiefly used in New England:
    A formal or fashionable social event, often held in someone's honor: a less formal social gathering, often held as a fundraiser.

    In 1892, for an admission price of 40 cents, you got a "C Supper Bill of Fare," i.e., all the food began with the letter "C." Some of the items served were clam chowder, cranberry pie, chicken, cheese, crabapple tarts, and coffee and Chinese tea. Tonight, the price is still 40 cents, but you are asked to bring a confection, otherwise known as a dessert. Tonight's dishes will be chili, corn chowder, chicken, etc. I'm planning on bringing a cherry something for dessert (nothing like waiting until the last minute to decide).

    I checked two online inflation calculators to see what 40 cents would be in today's prices. One calculated the cost would be $9.12, the other estimated the cost at $8.65.

    Not only was there food, but there was entertainment back in 1892--"Richard Carle, Comedian of Boston," and there was a "guess cake, spider's web, and many other attractions." The spider's web has me intrigued! I'll have to ask the Historical Society's members if they know what it was.

    a 1903 poster of one of Carle's shows

    Richard Carle was a renown comic actor. You can find him mentioned this old volume from our theater section: A Pictorial History of the American Theatre, 1900-1956 by Daniel Blum [792.09 BLU].

    Here's a portion of an New York Times review of the musical play, Mary's Lamb from 1908:
    Mr. Richard Carle has a whimsical personality; moreover, he knows how to make the most of it...
    Carle wrote the book, music, lyrics, and both staged, and starred, in the play! Carle finished out his career as a vaudeville performer and appeared in many silent and talking films. (If you'd like to learn more about vaudeville, we have a fabulous book called No Applause, Just Throw Money, Or, The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous: A High-Class, Refined Entertainment by Trav S.D. [792.7 TRA].)

    The bottom of the 1892 Levee flyer had this warning: "If very stormy the Levee will be the first fair evening of the next week." We have a storm moving in tonight! Some things never change...

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Some Topics Keep Popping Up Over and Over Again...

    Like origami for instance, I've written about origami several times--the most recent in October. Have you heard about the origami space craft? I heard a brief mention on the radio and then found this article. Sounds crazy, but a lot of what we take for granted now, originally started as someone's crazy idea!

    Most of us have grown up folding paper airplanes, and the interest in doing so, is evident in the number of paper airplane books we have in our collection, from Super Simple Paper Airplanes by Nick Robinson [745.592 ROB] for adults, to the children's book, Flying Things by Michael DiSpezio [J 745.592 DIS]. Flying Things not only gives paper folding instructions, it teaches the physics of flying! The folding of paper airplanes even has its own name--aerogami!

    Fabric folding is also a craft that is gaining in popularity. Wagashi: Handcrafted Fabric Art from Japan by Kumiki Sudo [741.572 SUD] has some instuctions for fabric folded items. (Also look for Sudo's Omiyage: Handmade Gifts from Fabric in the Japanese Tradition [745.0952 SUD] which has some stunning gifts reminiscent of paper folded flowers and cranes.)

    If you need a baby gift idea, look for Baby-gami: Baby Wrapping for Beginners by Andrea Sarvady [649.122 SAR], described as "origami meets the age-old art of swaddling." The book is a delight if for no other reason than its colorful pictures!

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Poetry Friday--Happy New Year!

    Yesterday began the Chinese New Year. The year of the boar is over, and the year of the rat has just begun. Aside from haiku, very little Asian poetry is taught in the schools, and, I'm sad to say, we have only one English translation in our collection, Three Chinese Poets [895.1 THR]! (We have a large number of Chinese language materials in our collection, but not being versed in Chinese, I can't tell what portion of it is poetry, I know there is at least two because I checked under the subject heading "Chinese Poetry.")

    Thank goodness for the internet! For an introduction to the poetry of China, check out the website called Chinese Poems. This is from a poem called "New Year's Watch" by Su Shi:

    Soon now, we'll mark the year's end that approaches,
    It's like a snake that crawls into a hole.
    Already half its scaly length is hidden,
    What man can stop us losing the last trace?
    And even if we want to tie its tail,
    No matter how we try, we can't succeed.

    Happy New Year everyone, and don't forget our celebration being held tomorrow at 10:30 am. Here are some photos of our multipurpose room all set up for the gala!

    A display of a portion of our children's books on the Chinese New Year.

    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    Where Were You On This Date in 1978?

    Back then I was working at Wellesley Office Park, right off of 128, in Massachusetts. I was one of the lucky ones, I was able to leave work early enough the day before to miss the worst of what is now known as the "Blizzard of '78." Some of my co-workers were not as lucky and spent hours and hours stuck in their cars.

    Fortunately, up here in southern New Hampshire, we only got about half the amount of snow that they got in the 128 area, so it was rather nice to spend the rest of the week at home. One incredibly long snow day! The NH seacoast, though, was pounded pretty badly.

    If you were too young to remember the Blizzard of '78, then you'll find pictures here, and more links to Blizzard information.

    For you oldies, we are now far enough removed from the experience to enjoy the details of that day, so, borrow this book and take a trip down memory lane: Tougias, Michael. The Blizzard of '78 [551.555 TOU].

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Teatime--Part 2

    What's the good of discussing teatime if you don't discuss tea?

    There are many web pages delving into the history of tea including Wikipedia's History of Tea in China. A commercial site, from the tea company, Stash, has lots of tea information and some tea videos, too. The Book of Tea & Coffee by Sarah Jane Evans and Giles Hilton [641.2 EVA] also has tea information including these helpful hints:
    1 Put a few leaves in the water when boiling eggs. Try boiling some with green tea and some with black for variety.
    2 Be sure to save brewed leaves for the compost bin.
    3 Remember the tips of the Victorian era: cold stewed leaves were used to polish glasses and mirrors. Tea leaves boiled up in pans remove smells.

    Steeped in Tea: Creative Ideas, Activities & Recipes for Tea Lovers by Diana Rosen [641.3372 ROS] has a chapter called "Looking into the Future with Tea" with "A Guide to Common Tasseography Symbols." You could plan a little theme teaparty, dress as a fortune-teller, then surprise everyone with your knowledge of tasseography. I'd be impressed!

    Maybe some summer you could go to London and have tea with the Queen. It is quite an event, but not exactly what I'd call intimate--imagine having to make polite conversation with 8,000! I wonder if the Queen's staff uses the tea leaves from her parties to make the castle mirrors shine?

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008


    If you've watched any tv lately, I'm sure you've come across the Honda commercial featuring Chuck Norris:

    I somehow don't think Chuck has had many lessons in etiquette, but perhaps I'm guilty of stereotyping--maybe he would be perfectly capable of making polite conversation while sipping tea.

    How are you in doing in the area of manners? There are guides to etiquette being published today--well-behaved people are always in fashion! One in our collection is Letitia Baldrige's New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette [395 BAL].

    Table Manners for Kids...Tots to Teens [FT 395 TAB] is one of several VHS tapes on teaching your kids how to behave; this one is found in the First Teachers Section of the Children's Room. We also have a set of books called First Facts: Manners [J 395.122 DEG] by Terri DeGezelle.

    Once you've brushed up on your etiquette, you may want to practice your skills at a local tea shop. Check out listings here. Have fun and don't slurp!

    Monday, February 04, 2008


    I don't often find it hard to come up with ideas for my weekday postings. Just this weekend I awoke in the middle of the night with the idea of writing about some absolutely wonderful book. The thing is, the book was a dream, and when I fully gained consciousness, I had no idea what the book was. Yet, this odd dream led me to think about dreams.

    Sigmund Freud's classic work, "The Interpretation of Dreams," (found in The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud [150.1952 FRE]) delves into dreams as a form of wish fulfillment. I can't imagine how my dreaming about writing my blog is wish fullfillment, so I'll have to look elsewhere for an explanation of my dreams!

    Several years ago we had a program here at the library on dream interpretation. It was conducted by Judith Scharff of UNH. Dr. Scharff based her interpretations upon a population that was "typical, non-clinical," as opposed to Freud's population that was decidedly clinical! Scharff used college students to develop her theories, but I wonder how "typical" a group of students may be! This from the back cover of her book, Know Your Dreams, Know Yourself [135.3 SCH],
    She explains how all dreams are ultimately "friendly," because they carry messages with the dreamer's best interest at their heart.

    Dreaming about blogging is friendly? Nah! Okay, one last book, Zolar's Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams: Fully Revised and Updated for the 21st Century [135.3 ZOL]. No surprise--blogging is not an entry! Too bad, because Zolar also includes "lucky numbers for fun and profit," and I would have made my way to the convenience store for a lottery ticket! Still, I did take advantage of my dream by uncovering a topic to post on!

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    Poetry Friday--You Should Listen!

    A few weeks back I briefly spoke about the 2008 Newbery Medal winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz [J 812.6 SCH]. I failed to mention in that posting that the poems in the book were written as monologues and dialogues. Tuesday, on Here and Now, Laura Schlitz was interviewed and parts of her book were read aloud. You get a completely different feeling by listening to the poems rather than reading them. I highly recommend it!

    We have audio versions of poetry in our AB section. One, available in cassette form, is Donald Hall: Prose and Poetry [AB 811 HAL]. Hall, a resident of our fair state, was recently a U.S. Poet Laureate, and he reads from his work in this recording.

    The collection, 81 Famous Poems: An Audio Companion to The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Third Edition, Regular and Shorter [AB/CD 808.81 SCO], has many readers, including Alexander Scourby, one of television's most recognized narrators.

    Also look for The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation [811.508 SPO] which includes, "over 70 minutes of electrifying live poetry," along with a book.