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Friday, August 29, 2008

Poetry Friday--Some Thoughts on Labor Day and Trestles

Since Labor Day is on Monday, I thought about devoting today's post to a poem about work. Work is a major part of most adult lives and yet, I've found that there are a limited number of poems about work. The ones I came across mainly had to do with farm labor, or dealt with the tragic happenings surrounding factory work, such as Robert Pinsky's poem, "Shirt." Many more of us labor in jobs that are neither in fields, nor, in sweatshops.

I actually like my job--I like it a lot! But maybe I'm unusual? I guess if I wrote a poem that deals with a good job, not many people would be able to relate to my poem either! I'll give it some more thought...

So, today, instead of a poem celebrating labor, here's the opening to a poem celebrating love and poetry!
Poetry is a Trestle
by Nikki Giovanni

poetry is a trestle
spanning the distance between
what i feel
and what i say
Read the rest in The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni [811 GIO].

Happy Labor Day to all!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's That Time of Year...

It's fair season. They are well underway with the Hopkinton State Fair taking place this weekend, and the Deerfield Fair yet to come!

I like the NH fairs for their emphasis on the agricultural aspect. Many southern NH kids have never seen farm animals other than in a book. Parents should take the opportunity to introduce their kids to our agricultural heritage--and to eat a little fair food, too!

Speaking of farm animals...one thing I have found is that there seems to be an increased demand for books, here at the library, on raising chickens in your backyard! Who knew? Someone asked me a question about a brooding hen last week!

photo by Anna Wiz

We do have a few books on chickens, but not as many as we seem to need on raising them, aside from A Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities, by Gail Damerow [636.5 DAM].

Here are two that deal more with the chicken from a more historical or biological perspective: The Chicken Book by Page Smith [636.5 SMI], and Chickens, Chickens, Chickens by Peter R. Limburg [636.5 LIM].

We have LOTS of chicken fiction in the children's picture book section, including one of my favorites, The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza [JP KAS].

For a little adult light reading, there's My Fine Feathered Friend by William Grimes [636.5 GRI].
One day in the dead of winter I looked out my window and saw a chicken....It was, in every way, a normal chicken except for one thing. It was in the middle of New York City.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Tis the Season for Speechifying

The Democratic National Convention is this week and it will soon by followed by the Republican one. Reports of speeches will fill the media. And between now and November 4, I'm sure you will get your fill of them, but, if not...

Look for American Speeches: Political Oratory from the Revolution to the Civil War, and the second volume, Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton [815 AME], or, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History [808.85 LEN].

I browsed through the volume Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton, and came across a speech given by Mary Church Terrell in Washington, D.C., October 10, 1906. The following is from that speech:

As a colored woman I may walk from the Capitol to the White House, ravenously hungry and abundantly supplied with money with which to purchase a meal, without finding a single restaurant in which I would be permitted to take a morsel of food, if it was patronized by white people, unless I were willing to sit behind a screen. As a colored woman I cannot visit the tomb of the Father if this country, which owes its very existence to the love of freedom in the human heart and which stands for equal opportunity to all, without being forced to sit in the Jim Crow section of an electric car...

I'm sure that Mary Church Terrell would be delighted to see that an African-American is now running for president! We've come a long way, but, I fear, we still have a way to go before our country can say it fully stands behind "equal opportunity to all."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Congratulations to Maureen who became a grandmother again this weekend!

Speaking of babies--I want to mention a number of newly released books that we've received recently to update our pregnancy/childbirth collection:

Curtis, Glade B. Your Pregnancy Week by Week [618.2 CUR].

Greene, Alan. Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care [618.2 GRE].

Kropp, Tori. The Joy of Pregnancy: The Complete, Candid, and Reassuring Companion for Parents-to-Be [618.2 KRO].

Murkoff, Heidi. What to Expect When You're Expecting [618.24 MUR].

Our Bodies Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth
[618.2 OUR].

According to Maureen, her little granddaughter is as yet unnamed. Maureen should have borrowed one of our baby name books found in the 929.44 section.

Then, she should have looked for Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child's First Three Years by Kathleen Odean [FT 028.162 ODE]--it's never too early to start reading to a child!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Movie Musicals

Who doesn't love a movie musical? They are some of the most requested films here at the library! These are some of the most popular titles we have in our collection:

Chicago [DVD CHI].

Fiddler on the Roof [DVD FID].

Grease [DVD GRE].

My Fair Lady [DVD MYF].

The Sound of Music [DVD SOU].

West Side Story [DVD WES].

I'd like to mention that besides these more popular titles, we have many more classic musicals for you to enjoy! I've added annotations in case you're not familiar with these. (The annotations are borrowed from cataloging records, thus, I will take no responsibility for grammatical errors!)

Anchors Away [DVD ANC].
Stars Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Kathryn Grayson. Two sailors on shore leave in Hollywood attempt to win the heart of the same woman.

Bells are Ringing [DVD BEL].
Stars Judy Holliday and Dean Martin. Ella, a telephone switchboard operator who takes a rather large interest in the lives of her customers finds herself comically involved with a struggling playwright who believes she is an old woman.

Brigadoon [DVD BRI].
Stars Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson. Two cynics from New York City on a hunting trip to the Scottish highlands stumble upon the ethereal village of Brigadoon, which materializes from the mists only one day each hundred years.

Can-Can [DVD CAN].
Stars Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, and Juliet Prowse. The owner of Montmartre's most notorious nightspot, the Café Le Bal Du Paradis, Simone Pistache spends a great deal of her time in court, thanks to the banning of that "lewd and lascivious" dance, the Can-Can. So when her nightlife-loving lawyer and boyfriend, François Durnais, refuses to settle down and marry her, Simone decides to play up to his rival in romance, Parisian judge Philipe Forrestier, a lovestruck young jurist who's determined to make an honest woman out of her-- one way or the other.

42d. Street [DVD FOR].
Look for the fabulous Busby Berkeley choreography. When the leading-lady of major Broadway production twists her ankle on opening night, a spunky chorus girl takes advantage of the opportunity to bolster her career.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers [DVD SEV].
Stars Jane Powell and Howard Keel. When Milly marries Adam and discovers that she has to keep house for his six brothers as well, she sends them out to find wives of their own. Includes the original theatrical trailer.

There's No Business Like Show Business [DVD THE].
Stars Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, Marilyn Monroe, Dan Dailey, Johnnie Ray, and Mitzi Gaynor. The trials and triumphs of a veteran vaudeville family.

We have many more for the musical aficionado, and, if you know of any that we don't have, please let us know!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Poetry Friday--Collective Nouns

Isn't it funny how one thing leads to another and that where you end up is miles away from where you started! Case in point: today at the library the air conditioning is working so "well" that it seems to be a constant 40 degrees in here. Sort of like being in a cave. I mentioned the cave aspect and I believe it was Carolyn who mentioned all the bats flying near her home recently (obviously taking advantage of this year's bumper crop of mosquitoes). The question was asked, "what do you call a group of bats?" So, I looked it up online and found several terms, "a bunch of bats" (not a technical term), "a colony," and "a cloud." We decided we liked "a cloud" because of its evocative nature.

So that got us to thinking about a book we remembered on what groups of animals are called. I found it on the shelf, it's Patricia Hooper's A Bundle of Beasts [J 811 HOO]. And, it's a book of poetry. Bats aren't represented, but these mammals are: hogs (a drift), goats (a trip), apes (a shrewdness), cats (a clowder), and a bunch more! Birds, fish, and amphibians, too, are covered. This is from the delightful entry, "An Army of Frogs":
Don't ever jog
Alone in a bog
Unless you're prepared
To meet up with a frog
In his army-green suit,
For he's ready to shoot
With his long, sticky tongue
If you fail to salute!

This book is worth a look. The poems are all fun, and the pen and ink illustrations are a perfect accompaniment.

By the way, groups of things are referred to as "collective nouns." Picture book writer/illustrator, Ruth Heller, has a bouncy, rhythmic, colorful, exploration of collective nouns in A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns [JP HEL]--look for it next time you visit, and don't forget to wear a sweater!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Mental Game, Part Deux

So what is involved in the mental game? Obviously, quite a bit, if we are to judge by the number of books written on the subject! (And that's not even counting the additional number written about the mental game of [name of sport here].)

Let's take a look at a few titles from our shelves:

Dorfman, H.A. Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports--And Everyday Life [796.077 DOR]. From the jacket flap:
With sections devoted to leadership style and substance, communication processes and techniques, and impact terms from the perspective of both coach and athlete, Dorman presents a tremendously readable and practical guide to putting mental theory into effective practice and performance.

Huang, Chungliang Al. Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life [796 HUA]. From the back cover:
WHY FIGHT YOUR WAY TO THE TOP WHEN YOU CAN RISE TO IT? Let go of the obsession to win--and you will be victorious. Acknowledge your vulnerabilities--and turn them into strengths. Find the courage to risk failure--and begin your journey to success.

Orlick, Terry. In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sport and Life Through Mental Training [796 ORL]. From the back cover:
...Orlick presents his special insights and experience to help you make the most of your potential. He also identifies the Seven Essential Elements of Human Excellence and provides a step-by-step plan for proceeding along your personal path to excellence.

I think the "dancing mind" philosophy appeals to me. Do you think it'll help me in my library mental game? (If you think there's no mental game involved in working at the circ desk, have I got news for you!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Mental Game

I suppose some of you have been watching the Olympic games over the past week or so. Despite the obvious physical skills, there is also the mental game played by most, if not, all of the athletes who participate.

Today, in Beijing, a new Olympic sport makes its debut--BMX racing. To my way of thinking, there's a whole lot of mental acuity required for this event! In case you want to learn a little more about the sport, the magazine, Bicycling [MAG BIC], has an extensive online article called BMX Going Big. To view some photos of the Olympic trials, go to this USOC page. And for a live action look, there are a gazillion videos on YouTube. Here's one:

If BMX is now an "acceptable" sport, I'm sure there will be more books written about it in the coming years. Right now we only have one children's book in our collection devoted to the subject, BMX Bikes by Kathleen W. Deady [J 629.227 DEA], although we have quite a number of books on cycling, and dirt bikes.

This is from a report of the first day's BMX Olympic activity:
In the women's edition, Anne Caroline Chausson of France took the lead in the three-run seeding race with a best time of 36. 660 seconds, beating two-time reigning BMX world champion Shanaze Reade of Britain to the second place in 36.882.

"Mentally, I was prepared, but then I did it (crashed) and I washed out. I don't know why I fell. We looked at the video. It's just one of those things. That's BMX," explained Reade.

So much for the mental game! I'll look at the topic again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Music in You

Over the weekend I heard two interesting programs that dealt in music. The first was Friday's "On Point." Host Tom Ashbrook interviewed Daniel J. Levitin, author of The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. It is Levitin's contention that human beings are "hard-wired" for music, and that we are the only creatures that have and need music in our lives. It was a fascinating discussion. Levitin is also the author of This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, which we have in our collection [781.11 LEV]. Levitin has a musical background, as well as one in research at McGill University. Check out his website here.

If the topic interests you, I'd also suggest delving into Oliver Sacks' book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain [781.11 SAC]. Sacks was interviewed about Musicophilia earlier this year on NPR; you can listen here.

The other music related segment I heard this weekend was on "This American Life." (The segment was originally aired last year.) Writer, Starlee Kine examined what makes a good break-up song. She approached it in relation to her own break-up, and ended up writing a break-up song, "The Three of Us," with the help of professional songwriters. If you visit the website, you can hear the winners of a contest in which 129 groups/individuals interpreted "The Three of Us."

If you'd like to write your own song, borrow this book by Cliffie Stone: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Songwriting But Didn't Know Who to Ask [781.3 STO]. It should be good for a few pointers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm Back!

I thought I might post a few shots of my trip to Maine last week, but...I packed extra batteries and neglected to pack the camera! What an ejit!

It is too bad since, on the relatively clear days, the mountains were lovely and the wildflowers were beautiful. I saw wild turkeys gleaning an abandoned field. And, after the many thunderstorms, I saw fungi galore!

There were masses of mushrooms on the ground, growing on the sides of trees, everywhere! There were small white umbrellas that you expected to see fairies sitting under. Or, there were ones that looked as though they were oozing along the ground, spreading their dark brown irregular shape as some alien creature might do.

I would never recommend eating any of them, except, perhaps for the giant puffball (a.k.a Langermannia gigantea). Giant puffballs are okay to eat.

When the library was in the old building, back in the 1990's, our favorite patron, the late Joe Fedorchuk, brought in a giant puffball he had found near his home. It was huge--volleyball size! And, it had a strong fragrant earthy mushroom scent. I imagined it being cut into 1" slices and grilled. Joe wasn't that adventurous, despite the fact that I pulled a mushroom book off the shelf and showed him where it said puffballs were safe! If you've never seen one, there are photos and information here. Make sure you read up on how to tell if you've got a real puffball and not some poisonous mushroom impostor.

If you'd like to identify some of the fungi growing around Windham, borrow one of our guides such as A Field Guide to Mushrooms, North America by Kent McKnight [579.6 MCK], or spend time in our reference section looking through the 900+ pages of The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms [R 579.6 NAT].

Then, take yourself down to the supermarket and purchase some fresh mushrooms, which you know will be safe! Nicola Hill's The Mushroom Cookbook: More Than Sixty Easy, Imaginative Recipes [641.658 HIL] will start on the road to mushroom heaven!

Monday, August 11, 2008

See you next week!

I'm off to Maine for a vacation! I'll be back next Monday. If I take photos of anything of interest, I may post them here, but I'm not going to promise anything! So, have a great week. Keep reading!

Before I go, here are two books I recently read that I'll recommend you look for: I Am Madame X: A Novel by Gioia Diliberto [F DIL]. This novel is based upon an actual work of art. American painter, John Singer Sargent, painted a portrait of a woman known as "Madame X." Madame X was really Virginie (nicknamed Amelie) Avegno Gautreau, a spoiled society woman. The portrait, exhibited in Paris, was looked upon as scandalous since it showed the strap of the woman's gown slipping off one shoulder. Mon dieu! I enjoyed the look at the transported New Orleans family and their insinuation into French society, and, the portrayal of the utter emptiness of Amelie's life. But, even better, I followed up that book with a quick look into one by Deborah Davis called Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the fall of Madame X [B SAR]. I found this "real" story was even more interesting than the fictionalized version. I hope to go back to the book sometime to give it a more thorough reading.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Poetry Friday--Cats and Marge Piercy

I don't have to tell you I like cats, and sometimes, I think it would be really nice to be one--except when I think about killing mice and eating moths. I thought I'd share part of a great poem by Marge Piercy called "The Cat's Song." It captures the essence of the cat as you can see from these final lines:

Come I will teach you to dance as naturally
as falling asleep and waking and stretching long, long.
I speak greed with my paws and fear with my whiskers.
Envy lashes my tail. Love speaks me entire, a word

of fur. I will teach you to be still as an egg
and to slip like the ghost of wind through the grass.

Read the rest here.

Piercy is also a novelist and we have several of her novels in our collection. We currently have only one of her books of poetry, The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme [811 PIE], although she has published more than a dozen. Piercy is also represented with an essay in Why I'm Still Married: Women Write Their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex, and Who Does the Dishes [306.8723 WHY].

I don't know how I could have missed Piercy's memoir, Sleeping with Cats, but I did (some cat person I am!). Learn more about Piercy at her website.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tales of Fairies

Our children's room collection has increased by leaps and bounds with series books about fairies. Once a little girl is hooked, there's no stopping her from reading every fairy book in a series. Here are several of the fairy series that are currently HOT:

Meadows, Daisy. "Rainbow Magic: Pet Fairies" [J MEA]. Titles include Harriet the Hamster Fairy, Penny the Pony Fairy, and others.

Meadows, Daisy. "Rainbow Magic: Weather Fairies" [J MEA]. Titles include Crystal, the Snow Fairy, Pearl, the Cloud Fairy, and others.

Rodda, Emily. "Fairy Realm" [J ROD]. Titles include The Peskie Spell, The Water Sprites, and others.

Some other appealing books are Fairy Crafts: 23 Enchanting Toys, Gifts, Costumes and Party Decorations by Heidi Boyd [745.5 BOY], Fairy Fun by Marla Schram Schwartz [745.5 SCH].

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Oh, To Be in Tennessee!

East Nashville to be exact. This week the city is celebrating the TOMATO--my favorite vegetable/fruit. Some people call it a vegetable, and eat it as the vegetable part of a meal. Others call it a fruit because it carries seeds, but most of us think of a fruit as more of a sweet finish to a meal. The Tomato Art Fest solves the problem by stating: "The Tomato, a uniter not a divider--bringing together fruits and vegetables."

Several years back we held annual Zucchini Festivals here at the library, but interest faded. I'm happy to see that some places continue to celebrate fruits and vegetables. The Tomato Art Fest has a Beautiful Tomato Contest similar to our Zucchinis on Parade. We also held a Zucchini Cook-off, something that is reflected in the Stuffed Tomato Recipe Contest being held in Tennessee.

Mexican Zucchini Soup photo by sonicwalker

With all the rain we've had, I'm sure there's an abundance of zucchinis and summer squash this year. If you want to share your abundance, wait until Friday, 8/8/08, when people will be celebrating Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night.

If you're not into sharing, we have plenty of vegetable cookbooks on our shelves, including some devoted exclusively to squash! The Classic Zucchini Cookbook: 225 Recipes for All Kinds of Squash by Nancy C. Ralston [641.6562 RAL] includes a recipe for something called "Squoconut Custard Pie," made with yellow squash instead of coconut (although there is a little coconut extract in the batter). Now aren't you intrigued?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

You Don't Want to Eat These Fish--

They want to eat you! These are little carp that work for a living giving pedicures! Yes, you read it right. I heard about them yesterday on the radio. Amazing. I don't know that I'd pay $45 for the experience, but frankly, it does sound like it could be fun. Imagine a hundred little fishy kisses...It couldn't be any worse than when my cat kisses my face. I think of it as an exfoliation treatment!

So, now I have excuse to promote our fishy collection. We have fish covered--from sports, to hobby, to nature.

The Art of Freshwater Fishing. [799.11 ART]

Burkhart, Alice. Pocket Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Aquarium Fish. [639.34 BUR]

Caduto, Michael J. Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments. [574.5 CAD]

Encyclopedia of Fishes. [597 ENC]

New England Fish and Game. [MAG NEW]

Sakurai, Atsushi. Aquarium Fish of the World: The Comprehensive Guide to 650 Species. [639.34 SAK]

Scarola, John F. Freshwater Fishes of New Hampshire. [597.9742 SCA]

Simon & Schuster's Guide to Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Fishes. [639.3 SIM]

Come fill your creel with our fishy books!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Good Movie?

I'm off today since I worked on Saturday, so this is my typical back-up blog topic--recent additions to our DVD collection. Here are new arrivals--some are newly released titles, some oldies but goodies, and some informational:

The Alamo. [DVD ALA] 1960 film starring John Wayne.
Dramatizes the story of the courageous struggle by a small group of Americans, including Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston, to defend a small Catholic mission against the Mexican Army and secure the independence of Texas.

The Biggest Winner! How to Win by Losing
. [613.71 JIL]
Jillian Michaels of television's Biggest Loser weight lose reality, shows you how to lose weight and shape up.

Gold Finger. [DVD GOL] 1964 film starring Sean Connery. This is only one title in the "James Bond Ultimate Collection," which contains about a dozen 007 titles.
Agent 007 faces off with a maniacal villain bent on destroying all the gold in Fort Knox--and obliterating the world economy.

The Golden Compass. [DVD GOL]
In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.
Little Caesar. [DVD LIT] 1930 film starring Edward G. Robinson.
A small-time Chicago hoodlum rises to criminal fame and power.

Sharkwater. [DVD 597.3 SHA]
Biologist and filmmaker Rob Stewart takes on the cause of saving the diminishing shark populations within the Earth's oceans. Stewart encounters boat rammings, gunboat chases, and other dangerous situations.

The Spiderwick Chronicles. [DVD SPI]
Brothers Simon and Jared Grace move, with their mother and sister Mallory, into the Spiderwick Estate, the former home of their great uncle Arthur Spiderwick who mysteriously disappeared long ago, and discover a world filled with elves, goblins, dwarves, trolls, and other fascinating creatures.

We've added dozens more, so come visit the library to see what's new on our shelves!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Poetry Friday--Introducing Our Newest National Poet Laureate!

A few weeks back, the Library of Congress announced the appointment of a new Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan. Ryan replaces the 15th Poet Laureate, NH's own Charles Simic. Ms. Ryan's official title is "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009."

We don't have any individual books of her poems, but she is represented in several anthologies including Twentieth-Century American Poetry [811.5 TWE].
from the Library of Congress page, Kay Ryan: Online Resources

Let's take a look at a Kay Ryan poem:

from A Hundred Bolts of Satin

All you
have to lose
is one
and the mind
all the way back.
It seems
to have been
a train.
There seems
to have been
a track.

Read or listen to the rest here.

In the anthology referenced above, the editor states,
...Ryan has found a way of exploring ideas without losing either the musical impulse or imaginative intensity necessary to lyric poetry. She is one of the genuinely original talents in contemporary American poetry.

I wish her all the best in her new post!