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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You're Never Too Old!

The New York Times recently profiled a 94-year-old woman, Carmen Herrera, who is only now making a name for herself as an artist! Good for her!

We all remember Grandma Moses who was in her late 70s before being discovered. We have three biographies of her in our children's room [J B MOS]. She certainly is a model for children with her stick-to-itiveness.

Other people serve as models for adults. The Delany sisters, Sarah and Bessie, were two women who wrote a book, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years [920 DEL] after their 100th birthdays! When Bessie passed away, Sarah wrote On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life without Bessie [920 DEL].

George Dawson learned to read when he was 98! He wrote about his feat in Life is So Good [B DAW], at the ripe old age of 102!

So, as we move into the new year, remember, you're never too old!

The library will be closed Thursday and Friday, 12/31-1/01. See you next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Photo by JavierVazquez

"Time flies..." is what is known as a proverb, and a proverb is defined as "a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people." Most people think of this particular expression as a truism, I know that I do.

NPR's All Things Considered had a story about a researcher at University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis who studied whether "changing" time had any effect on the participants' perception of the task as being fun. It seems that it did! Those who were tricked into believing that time had flown by, perceived a task as being more fun. It remains to be seen if the research has any practical application, but, anything that makes a tedious or unpleasant task seem like fun might be worth pursuing!

James Gleick has written a book called Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything [529 GLE]. Gleick says,
We humans have chosen speed and we thrive on it--more than we generally admit. Our ability to work fast and play fast gives us power. It thrills us.
With the new year upon us, I wonder what Father Time thinks about all this business about perception of time?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Queen Victoria

Did you happen to see last week's program on WGBH, Timewatch? It was all about Queen Victoria's childhood and the events that led to her ascension to the throne. (Timewatch is a BBC program, if you go to the BBC page, there is a clip from the program, as well as links to related material.)

Also last week, a new film was released, The Young Victoria, which deals with her early life as queen, and her marriage to Prince Albert. Surprisingly, the film is being produced by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. You can read about Sarah Ferguson's involvement in the film by clicking here.

I guess it's about time we delved into Victoria's early love life--her later love life was filmed in a 1997 movie, Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown [VIDEO HER]. It
explores the relationship between the long widowed Queen Victoria and John Brown, her Scottish servant. This friendship scandalized not only Queen Victoria's family, but members of the British government.
I suppose that 10 years from now, someone will release a film about Victoria's middle years!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Man in Red--Part 3

Have you heard the story of the Flying Santa, a Santa who delivers mail to lighthouses by airplanes? There seems to have been several people known as the Flying Santa over the years. The story of the first Flying Santa can be found at FlyingSanta.com.

From Famous Lighthouse of America by Edward Rowe Snow

The Boston historian and writer, Edward Rowe Snow, was one of the Flying Santas who delivered packages to New England area lighthouses. He wrote about his flights in his 1955 book, Famous Lighthouses of America [387.155 SNO]. Snow explained that one of the questions he was often asked was, "How do you hit your target?" He answered,
For good bombing in years past, I have cut a little wooden door in the fuselage of the plane on the starboard side, and find that it serves its purpose well. Coming in low over the reservation, I wait until I can see the lighthouse slipping up toward me. Then I let the package drop just before the light flashes by, and the angle of approach allows the bundle to hit the target nineteen times out of twenty.
Isn't it nice that Santa always finds a way! Have a great holiday. See you next week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Man in Red--Part 2

So, the excitement is building, you're getting the cookies and milk ready, how do you know if the man is red is on schedule? You use the Official NORAD Santa Tracker!

In case you've forgotten, NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, "a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America." They know their stuff, so they're the go-to people for keeping track of Santa.

Make sure you visit the Santa Tracker with the kids and let them "visit" Santa's Village to see how the preparations are going.

And, afterwards, for some hokey Christmas viewing, borrow The Santa Clause with Tim Allen [DVD SAN]. (We also have The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Man in Red

The man in red is gearing up for his round-the-world trip this Thursday night. You know all about him, but perhaps your children don't have a complete picture of who and what he is. The November/December issue of Faces: People, Places, and Cultures magazine [J MAG FAC] has devoted the whole issue to Santa, "The Many Faces of Santa Claus." It is fascinating reading even for adults. Did you know that in Latvia Santa is called, "Christmas Pop," while in Italy, he's not a man at all--the gift-bringer is an old woman known as "La Befana."

Photo by Lincolnian

We have several works of fiction in both our children's and adult collections. On the adult shelves you'll find The Autobiography of Santa Claus "as told to Jeff Guinn" [F GUI], and its follow-up The Great Santa Search "as told to Jeff Guinn by Santa Claus himself" [F GUI]. On display in the children's room is The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Julie Lane [J LAN], along with a gazillion other Santa books.

Come back tomorrow for more about the man in red.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poetry Friday--St. Nicholas

The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury selected by Alice Low and illustrated by Marc Brown [J 394.2663 LOW] contains stories, as well as poems, old and new.

One of the poems, "Merry Christmas," is from St. Nicholas Magazine and was published in the January 1897 issue:

M for the Music, merry and clear;
E for the Eve, the crown of the year;
R for the Romping of bright girls and boys;
R for the Reindeer that bring them the toys;
Y for the Yule log softly aglow.

C for the Cold of the sky and the snow;
H for the Hearth where they hang up the hose;
R for the Reel which the old folks propose;
I for the Icicles seen the the pane;
S for the Sleigh bells, with the tinkling refrain;
T for the Tree with gifts all abloom;
M for the Mistletoe hung in the room;
A for the Anthems we all love to hear;
S for St. Nicholas--joy of the year!

Most of the poem is understandable by 21st century kids, with the exception of "Hearth where they hang up the hose." The kids I know probably have no idea what a hearth is, and even if they did, they'd probably wonder why someone would hang a garden hose on it!

St. Nicholas Magazine was published from 1873 to 1941--a phenomenally long run for a magazine. Illustrators included the renowned Arthur Rackham and Howard Pyle. Writers, many of whom got their start with St. Nicholas, included Rudyard Kipling, James Whitcomb Riley, Bret Harte, Eudora Welty, Sterling North, and Rachel Lyman Field. For a taste of the magazine's offerings, you can read a copy of the January 1878 issue, here.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Susan Taylor Brown.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Boston Globe online has put together a slideshow of famous people who have passed away over the past year.

It took quite a while to go through the slideshow of the year--we lost some truly notable people like artist, Andrew Wyeth, writer, John Updike, tv actress, Bea Arthur, baseball player, Dom DiMaggio, actor, Karl Malden, former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, tv newsman, Walter Cronkite, dancer, Merce Cunningham, former president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, film director, John Hughes, guitarist Les Paul, senator, Edward Kennedy, scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Norman Borlaug. Wow!

Read books by, or about them, such as Edward Kennedy's True Compass: A Memoir [B KEN], John Updike's Endpoint and Other Poems [811.54 UPD], or The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam [796.357 HAL], which chronicles Dom DiMaggio and his Red Sox buddies.

Watch them in films such as On the Waterfront [DVD ON] and The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara [DVD 973.92 FOG].

Listen to them or their music on CDs such as America Made World Played [CD PAU], a tribute album to Les Paul.

The important thing is to remember them and their contributions!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Visual Art "Seen" Without Sight

I read a fascinating article, "Taking in Turner to Cezanne through the Tonalities Experience" about an art museum that is making paintings available to blind people. Say, what? How can blind people "see" a painting? Through music!
The compositions were based on the writings of Louis-Bertrand Castel, a 19th century French mathematician who believed there is a natural relationship between colors and musical notes. In his system, for example, blue is C, and green is D.

The project, called the Tonalities Experience, is the brainchild of Barre Hunt O’Neill, a local painter, actress and jewelry designer with no musical training.

"Color, that’s my bag—just delving into the colors and studying the relationship," she said. "This takes everything that I’ve ever done and applies it—even the glint of jewelry is in this."
The show, at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, also pairs paintings with haiku. What a great idea!

Why not borrow the set, Great Artists of the Western World [709.2 GRE], and browse through it's 9 volumes (v. 10 is an index)? Try to imagine music that would bring the art alive to someone with no or limited vision.

If you'd like to try your hand at writing haiku, Haiku, by Patricia Donegan, found in our children's section [J 372.623 DON], is one of the best books available for teaching this poetic form.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogs to Books

The most famous writer to have moved from a blog to a book deal is Julie Powell, author the immensely popular Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living [B POW].

A recent entry into the blog to book genre is the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, whose book is The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl [641.59766 DRU]. Ree fell in love with a rancher and moved away from her city home to become a modern-day pioneer woman. You can read her colorful postings at The Pioneer Woman.

Anyone can turn a blog into a book to share with friends/relatives by doing a Google search on "blog into books" and you will end up with dozen of places that will bind your blog postings into a book. Unfortunately, landing a publishing contract is not as easy or I would have done it a long time ago!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Move Over Jane Austen!

Over the past few years, there has been a renewed interest in Jane Austen and her books. We've seen new works of fiction about Austen, such as Syrie James's The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen [F JAM] and Laurie Rigler's Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict [F RIG].

The Guardian now reports,
The Brontës are back in fashion--with a bit of help from Bella Swan. New films of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre will shoot next spring, and a script about the teenage fantasies of the four Brontë siblings is in the works.

The film-makers are piggybacking off the success of the Twilight saga, which has sparked a renewed enthusiasm among financiers for gothic romance; the Brontes in particular. Wuthering Heights is one of Twilight heroine Bella Swan's favourite books, frequently referenced in the third episode Eclipse, whose storyline is inspired by Emily Bronte's only novel.
So, before the rush gets too hectic, borrow our Bronte sisters' novels. They are found in our fiction section, as is Syrie James's newest novel, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. We also have Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in audio [AB/CD BRO]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poetry Friday--"Eden, Then and Now"

In 2002, Ruth Stone won the National Book Award for her book of poetry, In the Next Galaxy [811.54 STO].

One of the poems that stood out for me is "Eden, Then and Now." Excuse me for taking this out of the middle of the poem, but it strikes me as capturing the economic situation today:
One morning in the midst of plenty,
there were folks out of context,
who were living on nothing.
Some slept in shacks
on the banks of the river.
This phenomenon investors said
would pass away.

Read the rest here.
Ruth Stone was born in 1915, so I'm sure she has seen many instances of history repeating itself. It's nice that she was able to capture history in poetry and to reinforce the old adage, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted at Random Noodling.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas at the Movies

I mentioned The Muppets Christmas Carol [J DVD MUP] yesterday, and I have occasion to mention it again as one of my favorite Christmas movies.

My other favorite is Elf starring Will Ferrell, which I blogged about last year at this time (link in next paragraph).

This past week I indulged in some made-for-tv movies. Big mistake--tired, predictable plots and characters were the best part of the two productions I watched! I'd recommend you stay away from the tv and borrow some of our movie classics. And speaking of classics, one film critic, S.T. VanAirsdale, doesn't think much of contemporary Christmas films, and is looking for a new Christmas classic. Read his opinion piece here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rhapsodic Fun

To listen to the original "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, look for their Greatest Hits [CD ROCK QUE].

To enjoy more Muppet madness, look for these, all J DVD MUP:

The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Muppet Movie.

The Muppet Show (seasons 1, 2, or 3).

Muppet Treasure Island.

Muppets from Space.

The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Photo by Bacon sandwich

I was so surprised to wake up Sunday morning and find that almost six inches of snow had fallen overnight. I figured we'd get a dusting, but I hadn't expected to have to spend 20 minutes scraping off my car! It's much too early!

But, no matter when they come, snow and ice storms sure are pretty! You can capture the beauty through a photograph, but don't forget you can also paint, make a collage, or write a poem.

In our art section, we have a book called Painting the Effects of Weather: Sunshine, Shadows, Clouds, Snow, Ice, Mist, Wind, Fog, Rain, Seasons and Light by Patricia Seligman [751.4 SEL]. Seligman says,
Anyone who has tried to capture on paper or canvas the speed of racing clouds, the sparkle of sunlight, or the iridescent blue of a summer sky, will know how difficult it can be. The Weather, in all its guises, is not an easy subject to paint, but it has to be one of the most exciting and inspiring, not only for the landscape artist but for painters of almost all subjects and in all styles.
You may want to look for the picture book version of Robert Frost's poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. It's stunningly illustrated by Susan Jeffers [J 811.52 FRO].

Here's a shorter poem by Frost that delights me, I hope it does you, too.

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Found in Frost: Selected Poems, Prose and Plays [811 FRO]

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Reluctant Spy

In an interview on Here & Now, YA author Anthony Horowitz described his character, Alex Rider, as "a reluctant spy" and "quite an ordinary kid."

The fictional Alex is 14 years old and the youngest MI6 agent in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service. He became a spy only after his uncle Ian, an agent, was killed. Alex Rider's adventures cover eight books. The first book in the series is Stormbreaker [YA HOR], and Crocodile Tears is the latest.

The interview with Horowitz is interesting in the way he explains his use of violence and death in the series. It's worth listening to, especially since he has nice things to say about librarians!

The "Alex Rider Adventure" series is popular with teen readers and might be a good holiday gift for any hard-to-please young men on your list.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Poetry Friday--Rita Dove

Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (1993-1995) and the winner of many awards. When she was named Poet Laureate in 1993, she had just turned 41. Dove had the distinction of being both the youngest, and the first African-American, Laureate!

When her appointment was announced, Librarian of Congress, James Billington referred to her as, "an outstanding representative of a new and richly variegated generation of American poets."

We have in our collection, two books by Dove, Selected Poems [811 DOV], and On the Bus with Rosa Parks [811 DOV].

The following poem is found in Selected Poems:

After all, there’s no need
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.

Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs

and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart

is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!

Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.

There are ways
to make of the moment

a topiary
so the pleasure’s in

walking through.
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Elaine at Wild Rose Reader. Be sure to stop by.

Photo © by Fred Viebahn. Copied, with permission, from Rita Dove's homepage at http://www.people.virginia.edu/~rfd4b/.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gently Used

Gently used books make great gifts, especially if money is tight. The Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW), besides holding their annual book sale at their Strawberry Festival in June, have an ongoing sale opposite the Library's check-out desk. They have it festively decorated for the holidays as you can see from the photos.

When I checked the offerings for sale, these titles in hardcover caught my eye:

A Christmas Treasury of Yuletide Stories and Poems.

Gold, Rozanne. Christmas 1-2-3: Three Ingredient Holiday Recipes.

Howe, Katherine. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.

Jackson, Lisa. Shiver.

Miller, Linda Lael. The Man from Stone Creek.

Parker, Robert B. Spare Change.

Reichs, Kathy. Bones to Ashes.

There are plenty of paperback books, too, and for children there are picture books and chapter books galore.

Happy shopping, and remember, FLOW provides financial support to the library "to pursue opportunities and acquisitions beyond the scope of the library budget"--it's a win-win situation!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hot Toddies

With the recent flu pandemic, I've heard the term "hot toddy" mentioned as a treatment. I'm not sure a hot toddy has any medicinal properties other than if you drink enough of them, you'll feel no pain. This is from a chapter entitled "Molecule as Medicine" in the book Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug by Griffith Edwards [641.2 EDW], "Whisky is a popular remedy for the common cold, and who would dare question the strictly medical motivations which cause the poor sniffing sufferer to pour a hot toddy?"

There is a brief history of hot toddies found in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America [R 641.3 OXF]
The hot toddy hails from eighteenth-century Scotland, where a similar mixture of spirits (namely malt whiskey), hot water, sugar or honey, and lemon, plus spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloved, or mace, was touted as a cure for colds--although it's application was, not surprisingly, far more general.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America lists Christopher B. O'Hara's book, Hot Toddies: Mulled Wine, Buttered Rum, Spiced Cider, and Other Soul-Warming Winter Drinks [641.87 OHA], as a reference and calls it a "definitive collection of recipes."

The author of Hot Toddies suggests that,
Taking the time to make an old-fashioned punch, or making eggnog from scratch rather than purchasing it at the supermarket, can bring warmth and fun to a casual get-together or make a holiday party truly special.
Not only will it make your party festive, it'll make the cold or flu season a little less miserable!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I Guess You'd Have to be a Librarian to Really Appreciate This

The daily library comic, Unshelved, sponsors a "Pimp My Bookcart" competition each year. The winners for 2009 were recently announced. Check them out here.

My favorite, "Baa Baa Book Sheep," only received a runner-up award! Boo!

Courtesy www.unshelved.com

A book like JoAnn Bortles' The Custom Painting Ideas Book [629.287 BOR] probably has plenty of ideas to get us started on our own Nesmith Library bookcart "pimping." And the people from Monster Garage give us a few good tips, too, in their How to Customize Damn Near Everything [629.287 HOW]. If we enter next year's contest it will contain some reference to bacon. Those who know our director know why.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoreau's Keen Observations

Last year, the New York Times ran a article about Henry David Thoreau called, "Thoreau is Rediscovered As a Climatologist". I recently found the article and was fascinated by its premise: Thoreau's keen observations of his surroundings now have a use in studying climate change.

With Thoreau's findings as a base, scientists have made startling discoveries such as, "...27 percent of the species documented by Thoreau have vanished from Concord and 36 percent are present in such small numbers that they probably will not survive for long." How sad is that?

Borrow A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers [818 THO] and travel to Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire as they existed in the 1840s. Plan a summer trip exploring some of the sites Thoreau visited and note how they have changed. Become a keen observer and record your observations and maybe a century from now someone will be studying your notes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher used mathematics to create mysteriously fascinating works of art. If you have a few days off for the Thanksgiving holiday, you may want to spend a little time poring over some of the books we have on M.C. Escher. I guarantee you'll find yourself drawn into his works:

Bool, F.H. M.C. Escher: His Life and Complete Graphic Work. [760 BOO]

The World of M.C. Escher. [769.92 ESC]

There is more information on Escher, and galleries of his art, here. You'll also find a interactive Escher puzzle if you click on "downloads"!

At Escher's World you can experiment with computer-aided design.

Remember, the library closes at noon today and will reopen again on Saturday at 9. Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

National Book Award Winner

The winners of the 2009 National Book Awards were announced last week.

The winner for Fiction is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann [F MCC]. From the publishers's synopsis:
Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.
Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the "artistic crime of the century." A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence.
The "artistic crime of the century" referred to is the daring feat of Philippe Petit, highwire artist, who walked between the Twin Towers in 1974.

Petit is the subject of an intriguing film called Man on Wire [DVD MAN], and also a children's picture book by the award-winning writer/illustrator, Mordecai Gerstein, The Man Who Walked between the Towers [JP GER].

Here's an interesting interview with Petit from Psychology Today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Dessert

Just a few more days until Thanksgiving, and if you haven't got your holiday feast planned, you better get a move on!

Traditionally, pumpkin pie is the dessert to finish off the meal. The tradition has historical roots since pumpkin was one of the foods introduced to Europeans by the native American peoples. I've read that colonists made pumpkins into pies as early as the 1600s.

Pumpkin pie is not to everyone's liking, but there are many ways to dress up, or revamp, the traditional pie. Some people top a plain pie with crunch:
Prepare the traditional pie as directed, bake for 15 minutes. Combine:
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
Cut in 2 tablespoons butter and work together until crumbs are formed.
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
After the pie has baked for 15 minutes, add the crumb mixture and continue to bake according to directions.

Some dessert makers combine pumpkin puree with vanilla ice cream to make a frozen pumpkin pie. Still others skip the puree/ice cream mix and simply purchase ready-made pumpkin ice cream.

This Thanksgiving, don't serve pie at all--try some other pumpkin desserts such as the ones found in Caroline Boisset's Pumpkins and Squashes: Gardening, Craft and Recipes [641.6562 BOI]. Boisset made my mouth water with the recipes for treats such as "Pumpkin Honey Oatmeal Cookies," "Anardi" ("This traditional combination of pumpkin and almonds soaked in syrup is typical of Mediterranean countries."), and, "Pumpkin and Orange Roulade." Browse through our holiday and dessert cookbooks for more alternatives to the same old pumpkin pie.

Photo by twoshortplanks

Friday, November 20, 2009

Poetry Friday--Poets House

Last week on Bill Moyers Journal, Moyers had a brief segment on the opening of the new Poets House in New York City.
One of the first things you notice about Poets House is there's no apostrophe in the word poets because Stanley Kunitz said it should not be something someone possesses. It's for everybody.
Just as poetry should be for everyone!

If you're lucky enough to live in the New York City area, or are planning a visit, you may consider scheduling a stop at Poets House, especially when you read about all the events and programs taking place.

Poets House has a library to die for--50,000 books of poetry! I'm sure some of these titles, which we have on our shelves, are also in the collection at Poets House:

A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout [J 811 FOO].

The Spoken Word Revolution: (Slam, Hip Hop, & the Poetry of a New Generation) [811.508 SPO]. The book comes with a CD so that you can listen, too!

Voices: Poetry and Art From Around the World [YA 808.81 VOI].

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at The Drift Record. Drift on over and stay a while.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Case You Haven't Noticed...

the gift-giving holidays are rapidly approaching. A book is always a great gift, but, if you're ordering your books online, you may want to preview them first before you purchase them. Come on down to the library and browse our new book shelves! We have all sorts of new titles, both fiction and nonfiction, that may make the perfect gift.

Here's a small sampling of the titles (all published in 2009) that were on the shelves yesterday (with short blurbs taken from the jacket flaps):

Bell, Gordon. Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything. [303.4834 BEL]
What if you could remember everything? Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell draw on experience from their MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research to explain the benefits to come from an earthshaking and inevitable increase in electronic memories...
Bird, Larry, and Earvin Magic Johnson. When the Game was Ours. [796.323 BIR]
From the moment these two legendary players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle...
Brown, Sandra. Rainwater. [F BRO]
The year is 1934. With the country in the stranglehold of drought and economic depression, Ella Barron runs her Texas boardinghouse with an efficiency that ensures her life will be kept in balance...
Chabon, Michael. Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. [B CHA]
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, and entire life in parts and pieces...
Kessler, Ronald. In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect. [363.283 KES]
Secret Service agents, acting as human surveillance cameras, observe everything that goes on behind the scenes in the president's inner circle...
Moerk, Christian. Darling Jim. [F MOE]
When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Love Affair With a Mantis?

As odd as it sounds, it must be true. If you visit this site, you'll see what I mean.

If your kids have an interest in mantises, we have several books in our children's room collection including Monster Bugs by Lucille Recht Penner [E PEN] for beginning readers, and Praying Mantises [J 595.727 PRA]. There is also a delightful picture book by Kiyoshi Soya called A House of Leaves [JP SOY] in which a little girl hides from the rain along with a few buggy creatures.

In our adult section we have A Guide to Observing Insect Lives by Donald Stokes [595.7 STO]. Stokes lists mantids in the section on winter insects. The reason being that praying mantis eggs overwinter in hardened casings. You can easily find a case at this time of year. As a family project look for a case in the spring and bring it indoors to watch the little mantids hatch!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coming This Friday...

at a theater near you is a film based on the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis [796.332 LEW]. Here's the catalog description of the book:
Details the life of University of Mississippi football player Michael Oher, who was raised by a crack addicted mother and adopted at the age of sixteen by a wealthy family, and explores the rising importance and salary of the offensive left tackle in the game of football.
The film stars Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, and Kathy Bates. Quinton Aaron plays the young athlete, Michael.

The book also comes in audio form [AB/CD 796.332 LEW], and, as of Monday, was still sitting on the shelf! Hurry down and maybe you can snatch it up!

Other books by writer Michael Lewis include: Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood [306.874 LEW, also AB/CD 306.874 LEW], based upon Lewis's own life, and Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game [796.357 LEW, also AB/CD 796.357 LEW], a look at baseball.

Monday, November 16, 2009


With the H1N1 flu going around, everyone is buying waterless hand sanitizers. This can be costly so, you may want to investigate a homemade version. I found one at eHow: How to Do Just About Everything.

There are plenty of things which you can make on your own for a whole lot less than the commercial brand. Here are just a few examples, and some books to show you the way:


Blaydes, Carrie. Fashion DIY: 30 Ways to Craft Your Own Style. [YA 646.404 BLA]

Codina, Carles. The Complete Book of Jewelry Making. [739.27 COD]

Okey, Shannon. Crochet Style: Chic and Sexy Accessories. [746.434 OKE]


Smith, Allison Chandler. The Girl's World Book of Bath and Beauty: Fresh Ideas & Fun Recipes for Hair, Skin, Nails and More. [J 668.55 SMI]

Traig, Jennifer. Makeup: Things to Make and Do. [YA 646.726 TRA]


Coetze, Karen. Sew-It-Yourself Home Decor. [646.2 COE]

Henderson, Stevie. Great 2 X 4 Accessories for Your Home: Making Candlesticks, Coatracks, Mirrors, Footstools and More. [684 HEN]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday--"Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur"

The creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [F CAR and J CAR], Lewis Carroll, also wrote poetic parodies, humorous verse, and riddles. Some of them have been collected in Poems of Lewis Carroll, selected by the late Myra Cohn Livingston [821.8 CAR]. This one, although tongue in cheek, does have a ring of truth to it! (In reading it, make sure you get "Enthusiastically" right!)

Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur

"How shall I be a poet?
How shall I write in rhyme?
You told me once 'the very wish
Partook of the sublime.'
Then tell me how! Don't put me off
With your 'another time'!"

The old man smiled to see him,
To hear his sudden sally;
He liked the lad to speak his mind
And thought "There's no hum-drum in him,
Nor any shilly-shally."

"And would you be a poet
Before you've been to school?
Ah, well! I hardly thought you
So absolute a fool.
First learn to be spasmodic--
A very simple rule.

"For first you write a sentence,
And then you chop it small;
Then mix the bits, and sort them out
Just as they chance to fall:
The order of the phrases makes
No difference at all.

"Then, if you'd be impressive,
Remember what I say,
That abstract qualities begin
With capitals always:
The True, the Good, the Beautiful--
Those are the things that pay!

"Next, when we are describing
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things
With a sort of mental squint."

It goes on...and on...You can read the rest in Poems of Lewis Carroll, or online here.

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted by Gregory K.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Country Music Awards

Last night the 43th Annual Country Awards were held in Nashville and Taylor Swift was the big winner with four statuettes, one of which was for "Album of the Year."

The nominees for CMA "Album of the Year" were:

(Award goes to Artist and Producer)

American Saturday Night
Brad Paisley
Produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois

Defying Gravity
Keith Urban
Produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban

Taylor Swift
Produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift

Love On The Inside
Produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush, and Jennifer Nettles

That Lonesome Song
Jamey Johnson
Produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys

I'm happy to say that we own every one of the nominated albums. They are all in the section CD COUNTRY. Check them out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

American Army field hospital inside ruins of church. France, 1918

Today, I invite you to think about those veterans who have suffered mental or physical damage as a result of their service to our country. The Library of Congress has put together a page of the Veterans History Project entitled, "Disabled Veterans: The Unhealed Wounds."
For disabled veterans, their wounds of war are daily facts of life. They are obstacles or impediments, but for the men and woman in these stories, they are not roadblocks. All say they don’t want special consideration for their disabilities, only fair and humane treatment—from the government they served and from the communities in which they live.

Stories of men and women from many wars are included. You'll find audio, video, and written interviews and memoirs.

If you are, or know of, a disabled vet, you may be interested in this title from our collection: The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans by Don Philpott [362.1086 PHI].

There are many other stories in Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project, divided up into topics from "Art of War" to "Women in Four Wars". For a complete listing click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cookie Swap

Just a few weeks ago The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman [F PEA] was released. It's a book celebrating the tradition of the cookie swap whereby a group of people get together to exchange cookies and to enjoy each other's company. The Christmas Cookie Club starts like this,
I am the head cookie bitch and this is my party. The Christmas cookie club is always on the first Monday of December. Mark it on your calendar. Twelve of us gather with thirteen dozen cookies wrapped in packages. Homemade, of course. We each bring a dish to pass around and a bottle of wine.
Sounds like a fun read!

Several publishers seem to be on the same cookie swap wavelength, because Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year by Julia M. Usher [641.8654 USH] was also recently released. This book is a real treat for the eyes! The decorated cookies and their unusual presentations are outstandingly photographed by Steve Adams. If the idea of creating works of cookie art is daunting, then look for one of our many straight-forward cookie books, such as The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook by Susan Mahnke Peery [641.8654 PEE].

Monday, November 09, 2009

Writing as a Gift

On Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 pm, we will hosting a workshop for adults and older teens, "Writing as a Gift: How to 'Wrap Up' Your Writing as a Holiday Gift." The workshop will be conducted by writer and editor, Julie MacShane.

Julie says,
Giving a poem or story as a holiday gift is one of the most powerful and personal gifts you can present to someone you care about. Penning a short story or remembrance about that person is a wonderful testament to a strong relationship. Poems of love or tribute are always appreciated.

Participants are asked to bring a copy of writing that they may want to give as a gift. During the workshop the samples will be discussed and suggestions made for improvement.

Julie will show participants how to give their writing gifts "sparkle" through the use of color, art, stickers, and special holiday-themed paper. There will also be discussion of the best and least expensive ways to bind these gifts.

Call the library at 432-7154 to register.

If you'd like to create a piece of writing for the workshop, here are a few books to help you get started:

DeSalvo, Louise. Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. [808 DES]

Polking, Kirk. Writing Family Histories and Memoirs. [929 POL]

Rozakis, Laurie. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Writing. [808 ROZ]

Spence, Londa. Legacy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personal History. [808 SPE]

Whitman, Joan. Recipes into Type: A Handbook for Cookbook Writers and Editors. [808 WHI]

Friday, November 06, 2009

Poetry Friday--Where in the Wild?

Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed...Revealed [591.472 SCH] with its "ear-tickling" poems by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy and "eye-tricking" photos by Dwight Kuhn is, quite simply, AWESOME!

For a teacher the book could serve several purposes:
  • Science through the study of animals, camouflage, pattern, etc.
  • Literature, specifically poetry. Especially a study of forms.

  • Fold out pages contain factual information about each creature.

    For the reader there is the added delight of the search!

    Here's one of the concrete poems found within. I hope the scan is clear enough to read, if not, come down to the library to borrow the book!

    The Round-Up this week is being hosted by Wild Rose Reader.

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    Going Down the Road

    Although it's not going to start until January, USA Network is already promoting a new series, "American Character along Highway 50," hosted by Tom Brokaw.

    We don't have any books on Highway 50, but we do have several on highway travel including The Next EXIT: Your Guide to Gas, Food, Lodging, Medical Services, and Retail Stores at Every Interstate Highway Exit [910 NEX], Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 600 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice-Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More by Jane and Michael Stern [647.9573 STE], and Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives: An All-American Road Trip--With Recipes! by Guy Fieri [647.9573 FIE].

    We also have books dealing with highway history such as First Highways of America by John L. Butler [388.1 BUT], and Route 66 Remembered by Michael Karl Witzel [388.1 WIT].

    If you have a hankering for a road trip, make sure you take along a few CDs for the trip such as John Mellencamp's Freedom Road [CD ROCK MEL] and Bon Jovi's Lost Highway [CD ROCK BON].

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Snows of Kilimanjaro

    Photo by mgjefferies

    Ernest Hemingway begins his short story, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro,"
    Kilimanjaro is a snow covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai "Ngaje Ngai," the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.
    Perhaps you read the story back in high school, or maybe you watched the 1952 film starring Gregory Peck? "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is one of those titles that everyone recognizes, and I'd even venture to guess that everyone associates Hemingway with the story.

    I have some bad news to share, though--in a few years the snows will no longer cover the mountain. Climate change is taking its toll--rapidly. Read about Kilimanjaro's disappearing glacier here.

    To read Hemingway's story, borrow The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway [F HEM] or you can listen to it on audio, The Snows of Kilimanjaro; and, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber [AB/CD HEM].

    To see photos of the way other places on Earth are changing, click here.

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    Staring at Goats?

    This Friday, a new movie starring George Clooney is opening, The Men Who Stare at Goats. This intriguing title is also the title of a book by Jon Ronson [355.3434 RON] upon which the movie is based.

    Several years ago I read the book simply on the basis of the title alone. Wouldn't you? Here's the description from the publisher:
    In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known accepted military practice — and indeed, the laws of physics — they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them.

    Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror.

    With firsthand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades and shows how they are alive today within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in postwar Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners of war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 debleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces Command Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the U.S. military associated with the mysterious mass suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? The Men Who Stare at Goats answers these and many more questions.
    By the time I had finished reading the book, I was sure that it was a work of fiction! One of the subject headings for the book is "Parapsychology: Military aspects." Truthfully, doesn't that scream "make-believe" to you?

    Take a look at the trailer below if you haven't already seen it at the theater or on television. I can't wait to see the film!

    We have another book on our shelves that may be of interest: Warfare in the 21st Century [355.02 WAR]. In it you'll find a reprint of an article from The Christian Science Monitor, "Bang! You're Incapacitated," by Brad Knickerbocker. The article, originally published in 2002, contains examples of nontraditional methods of defeating an enemy such as
    Malodorants--chemicals that mimic the most revolting smells (rotting food or human waste) and can disperse attackers like a skunk at a garden party.

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Holiday Gifts

    It's the first week of November and thoughts turn to holiday gift giving. If you want to make gifts and have them completed in time, then you should start soon.

    Here are a few books with holiday gift projects for you to start, and complete, in time for the holidays:

    Doherty, Elisabeth A. Amigurumi! Super Happy Crochet Cute. [746.434 DOH]

    DuMont, Katie. Picture Perfect Framing: Making, Matting, Mounting, Embellishing, Displaying and More. [749. DUM]

    Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration. [745.5 MAR]

    Sterbenz, Genevieve A. Bead Style: Fabulous Chunky Jewelry. [745.5942 STE]

    Tourtillot, Suzanne. Decorating Baskets: 50 Fabulous Projects Using Flowers, Fabric, Beads, Wire and More. [745.5 TOU]

    Wasinger, Susan. Eco-Craft: Recycle, Recraft, Restyle. [745.5 WAS]

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Poetry Friday--Maxine Kumin

    Maxine Kumin is another of our state's accomplished poets. Kumin won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973, and was the U.S. Poet Laureate 1981-1982. She currently lives in a farmhouse in Warner and continues to write masterfully of everyday things.

    The following is from "The Excrement Poem." Excrement is one of those everyday things that not many poets over the age of 9 would even consider tackling

    It is done by us all, as God disposes, from
    the least cast of worm to what must have been
    in the case of the brontosaur, say, spoor
    of considerable heft, something awesome.

    We eat, we evacuate, survivors that we are.
    I think these things each morning with shovel
    and rake, drawing the risen brown buns
    toward me, fresh from the horse oven, as it were,

    or culling the alfalfa-green ones, expelled
    in a state of ooze, through the sawdust bed
    to take a serviceable form, as putty does,
    so as to lift out entire from the stall.

    Photo by smallritual

    Read the rest of the poem in Maxine Kumin: Selected Poems, 1960-1990 [811.54 KUM], or click here.

    Visit Biblio File for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    It's Coming Soon...

    Just two more days 'til Halloween! I found this quote in an blog post by John DeVore to be particularly apropos for the season:
    A vampire is a monster, who looks, acts, and talks like a man. Who is passionate, romantic, and tortured. To surrender to this character is to play with fire. The vampire, in many ways, is the prototype of the bad boy. Women love bad boys--they’re exciting, and the chance to change him, to break him like a horse, must be an irresistible challenge.
    I think there's some truth to this statement--a girl just loves a challenge. How else can you explain the plethora (don't you love that word?) of vampire books and movies that have flooded the market and fueled demand for more? Many of the vampire series are written for young adult girls--an age group that is particularly impressionable. But, that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of adult vampire stories. Some of the series are rather humorous and have female vampires rather than the "bad boy" vampire. Here are a few of the adult series:

    "Anita Blake Vampire Hunter" by Laurell K. Hamilton [F HAM].

    "Vampyricon" by Douglas Clegg [SF CLE].

    "Sookie Stackhouse" by Charlaine Harris [F HAR].

    "Love at Stakes" by Kerrelyn Sparks [F SPA].

    "The Black Dagger Brotherhood" by J.R. Ward [F WAR].

    Of course, Anne Rice is the original vampire story writer, but she has moved away from vampires and has recently written a book about angels, Angel Time [F RIC]. You can find a Good Morning America interview with Rice here.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    The Cuban Missile Crisis

    Back in 1962, during mid to late October, the incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis took place.

    This is a description from the jacket copy of The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis [973.922 KEN]:
    October 1962: the United States and the Soviet Union stood eyeball to eyeball, each brandishing enough nuclear weapons to obliterate each other's civilization. It was one of the most dangerous moments in world history. Day by day, for two weeks, an executive committee formed around elements of President Kennedy's National Security Council debated what to do, twice coming to the brink of attacking Soviet military units in Cuba...
    The Kennedy Tapes provides the reader with insight into the thought and deliberative processes that went into the decisions that were made by the U.S. government.

    High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis [327.47 FRA] written by Max Frankel, a journalist who covered the incident, briefly chronicles the events of October 1962.

    It was a fascinating time--one worth reading about!

    Photo courtesy marcelebrate.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Giant Creepy Crawlies-

    Halloween is coming with its ghosts and goblins, but, I don't find the thought of ghosts half as scary as I do the thoughts of some recently discovered creatures like the golden orb-weaver spider from South Africa. The female of the species is described as "about the size of a standard CD."

    A giant stick insect, called Chan's megastick, was found in Borneo. It was reported to be 22" long.

    If you really want to be creeped out, view the photos on The Biggest Bugs on Earth website.

    Photo by Garelvirat

    We have some giant-sized books on insects and spiders in our reference section [R 595.7] to satisfy anyone's need to look at creepy crawlies. If you want to learn more about the amazing role of insects in maintaining an ecological balance in the world, look for What Good are Bugs?: Insects in the Web of Life by Gilbert Waldbauer [595.717 WAL]. Or, you can get plenty of information about spiders' and other insects' use of defense mechanisms--one of the reasons we find these animals so creepy--in Secret Weapons: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures by Thomas Eisner [595.7147 EIS].

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Amelia Earhart Flies Again

    ...in a new movie starring Hilary Swank called Amelia.

    The film is based upon several books, one of which is East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler [B EAR]. The reviews range from laudatory from The Hollywood Reporter to almost completely negative from Variety
    To say that "Amelia" never gets off the ground would be an understatement; it barely makes it out of the hangar.
    Earhart is covered by many books in our adult and children's biography sections. One particularly interesting book is Letters from Amelia 1901-1937 by Jean L. Backus [B EAR]. The author weaves many of Earhart's letters through a narrative of the flyer's life. The reader learns a lot about Amelia and the family pressures upon her, as well as the pressures of being a woman pilot.

    This from is a surprising letter that Amelia gave to George Palmer Putnam on the morning of their wedding, February 7, 1931, :
    You must know again my reluctance to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which means so much to me. I feel the move just now as foolish as anything I could do. I know there may be compensations, have no heart to look ahead.
    And yet, Amelia did go ahead and marry George. She continued in her work and went on to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic the following year.

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Poetry Friday--Tea Party Today

    In our children's room we have a themed book of poetry called Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Karen Dugan [J 811 SPI]. This is the perfect time of year for a tea party with your favorite little girl or boy. Tea, and cookies hot from the oven, make for a warm and cozy afternoon now that October's chill is in the air.

    You may put sugar
    In your tea
    Or milk
    Or honey from the bees
    You may prefer
    A lemon squeeze
    Or choose to use
    None of these.
    Just don't put in
    Your fingers
    Spinelli pairs each of her little poems with "Teatime tips" such as this one that goes with the poem above, "Other things that are fun to add to your tea: a thin slice of orange, a spoonful of preserves, a splash of apple juice, a sprig or mint."

    If you're serious about your tea, we have many, many tea titles on our shelves. Come browse through a few of these and have an afternoon of tea, and poetry!

    Manchester, Carole. French Tea: The Pleasures of the Table. [394.15 MAN]

    O'Connor, Sharon. Afternoon Tea Serenade: Recipes from Famous Tea Room: Classical Chamber Music. [641.53 OCO] Note: this title comes with a CD of tea party appropriate music!

    Smith, Michael. The Afternoon Tea Book. [641.53 SMI]

    Stuckey, Maggie. Country Tea Parties. [641.53 STU]

    Big A little a hosts the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week.