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Friday, May 29, 2009

Poetry Friday--Carl Sandburg


by Carl Sandburg

Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor's breast
And the harbor's eyes.

Simple, yet achingly haunting.

If you want to read more of Carl Sandburg we have his Complete Poems [811.5 SAN]. Sandburg can be heard reading several of his poems on Carl Sandburg Reads: A Poetry Collection [AB 811 SAN].

Visit Live. Love. Explore! with Irene Latham for the Poetry Friday Round-up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Plan a Visit to the Currier

If you make a point of going to the Currier Museum of Art before June 14, you're in for a treat. Author/illustrator, David Macaulay's illustrations and notes are part of a display titled, "Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay."

Macaulay has been publishing books since the 1970s, starting with Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction in 1973 [J 726.6 MAC]. Last year's The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body [J 612 MAC], has found an audience with both children and adults.

You may have seen Macaulay on PBS when he hosted a series called, Building Big. We have the book of the same name in our children's collection [J 720 MAC].

To reserve our library pass to the Currier, call the library, or book it from your own computer by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Believe It Or Not

On this day back in 1949, Robert Ripley passed away. His legacy of providing odd little bits of information continues 60 years later through books, television programs, and museums.

Visit the Ripley's Believe It Or Not website to see some amazing things, like pink dolphins, or to listen to some of Ripley's own radio broadcasts from the 1930s and 40s.

We have quite a number of Ripley's Believe It Or Not books in the library including Odd-inary People, Amazing Escapes, and Creepy Stuff, Expect--The Unexpected found in the children's room [J 031.02].

Photo by cliff1066

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Pope Does It...

He's got a presence on Facebook, so, if it's good enough for the Pope, it's good enough for us. Announcing--The Nesmith Library Facebook page! If you're on Facebook, and gazillions of people are, then click on the widget on the right and sign on as a "Fan."

If you're on Facebook and want to learn more about HOW you can use it, then borrow I'm on Facebook--Now What???: How to Get Personal, Business, and Professional Value from Facebook by Jason Alba [004.678 ALB]

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Orphans decorating their fathers' graves in Glenwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, on Decoration Day

from "Dirge for Two Veterans"
by Walt Whitman

            The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
            My heart gives you love.

Look for Walt Whitman's
Complete Poetry and Collected Prose
[811.3 WHI] the next time you visit.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poetry Friday--Eavan Boland

I had never heard of Eavan Boland until one Sunday evening when I was driving home from Boston and WBUR was broadcasting one of its Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture Series--a poetry reading by Eavan Boland. Boland is Irish, I was completely captivated by her accent, so I listened all the way home, and have read of bit of her work since then .

Here's one of her poems that I like. It deals with places that may only exist in memory.

Dublin, 1959

The cafe had
plastic chairs and lunch counters.
Its doors opened out on O'Connell Street.

I hunched my knees
under the table. The vinegar bottle
shifted its bitter yellows.

Tell me a story about Ireland
I said as a child
to anyone in earshot: about what had been
left behind by a modern world.
But not by memory.

I remember
we paid for our tea with a single pound note.
And walked out. And a bicycle went by,
its bell ringing loudly. And a car swerved around it.

From The Lost Land: Poems [821 BOL].

In my childhood I wasn't much interested in what the world looked like prior to my entry into it. Today, though, I'm obsessed by it. I only wish I had asked those in my life, "Tell me a story about when you were a child," before it was too late.

Susan Taylor Brown is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up at Susan Writes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Character Voices

You may have heard the news that Wayne Allwine has passed away. Mr. Allwine, for a time, was the voice of Mickey Mouse. In his entire history, Mickey has had only three voices, one of which belonged to his originator, Walt Disney.

Cartoon character voices stick in our memories for years, and often, we know nothing about their sources. Disney, of course, is an exception. We have Walt covered in collection. Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler [B DIS] is one of the later published works and at 851 pages should be the complete story of Walt's life. To wstch and listen to Walt's Mickey, borrow Walt Disney's Vintage Mickey [DVD WAL].

Other character voices/personalities that you may be familiar with are Bill Scott (Bullwinkle) and Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Tweety, Sylvester, and others). Scott is profiled in The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose by Keith Scott [791.45 SCO]. Here's a Dave Letterman interview with Mel Blanc from the early 80s:

Borrow some of our cartoon classics, including the multi-volumed Looney Tunes Golden Collection [DVD LOO].

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dog Toy

No, not a toy for your dog, but a dog shaped Beanie Baby stuffed toy. The latest dog toy is named "Bo" after the "first dog." According to a Chicago Tribune article, toy retailers can't keep it on their shelves since it hit the market.

Photo by joeltelling

For a dozen years or so, Beanie Babies have been adored by many as a toy or collectible. If you wish to explore the Beanie Baby phenomenon, the manufacturer, Ty Inc., has a colorful kid-friendly site. We have Beanie Mania: A Comprehensive Collector's Guide by Becky Phillips on our shelves, although the book is older, it's still fun to browse through [790.1 PHI].

A casual Beanie Baby collector may want to visit this page to connect with like-minded people.

For a view on Beanie Babies as an investment, click here. If you're looking to sell old Beanie Babies, eHow has a whole page devoted to determining their value.

If you're just interested in a cuddly toy, visit any local toy store or gift shop--just don't expect to find a Beanie Baby "Bo" on the shelves any time soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is the birthday of two multi-talented people--Jim Lehrer and Nora Ephron.

Jim Lehrer is best known as the anchor of the PBS news program, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Lehrer is also a novelist, having published more than two dozen works. His latest, Oh, Johnny [F LEH], came out in March. Here's a bit about it from the publisher's catalog:

A talented athlete, Johnny Wrigley firmly believes that someday he will play major league baseball. But on the way to his dreams, Johnny finds his life unexpectedly taking a detour. In April 1944, Johnny is a newly minted marine on a troop train heading west for California, where he will be shipped overseas to fight in the Pacific Theater.
Full of rich and vivid descriptions of Johnny’s experiences both as a marine and as a ballplayer, Oh, Johnny is a compelling, emotionally complex story of one man’s remarkable coming-of-age—and Jim Lehrer at his best.

Nora Ephron, like Jim Lehrer, started out as a journalist and later became a novelist and essayist. Along the way, she also wrote, produced, and directed Hollywood films such as Sleepless in Seattle [DVD SLE], When Harry Met Sally [DVD WHE], You've Got Mail [DVD YOU], and a new one coming out, based on the book by Julie Powell, 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].

Ephron's last book, I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman [814.54 EPH], spent many weeks on the bestseller list.
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Utterly courageous, uproariously funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a scrumptious, irresistible treat of a book, full of truths, laugh out loud moments that will appeal to readers of all ages.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Slavery in the U.S.

On this day in 1652 the forward-thinking legislators of Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal. Sadly, since the abolition law was not enforced, Rhode Island led the colonies in slave trading well into the 1700s.

We have many items on slavery in the U.S., but one of the most interesting, Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk about Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Freedom, is a kit of the remembrances of slaves that were gathered in interviews in the 1930s as part of the Work Progress Administration's Federal Writers' Project. The kit contains a book, which includes information on slave life, the Civil War, and Emancipation, the complete transcripts of remembrances, and, two cassette recordings of the original interviewees and dramatic readings of some of the interviews. Also included are photographs of the interviewees. Additional information and links on the WPA project can be found on the PBS website.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Poetry Friday--A Vantage Point

Photo by Anita363

I guess it's because I live in New Hampshire, and experience the same landscape as he did, that I'm continuously drawn to Robert Frost's poetry. Nearly one hundred years have passed since Frost published his youthful collection, A Boy's Will. These early poems are full of old-fashioned words and turns of phrase, such as is found in these lines from "Flower-Gathering,"
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty gray with roaming?
and also in "Asking for Roses,"
I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;
    "I wonder," I say, "who the owner of those is."
"Oh, no one you know," she answers me airy,
    "But one we must ask if we want any roses."

Still, there are some poems that hint of the Frost to come who is so masterful in his simplicity of language and subject.

Here's one that is particularly appropriate for today since I've noticed the bluets spreading across patches of lawn all over my neighborhood:


If tired of trees I seek again mankind,
    Well I know where to hie me--in the dawn,
    To a slope where the cattle keep the lawn.
There amid lolling juniper reclined,
Myself unseen, I see in white defined
    Far off the homes of men, and farther still,
    The graves of men on an opposing hill,
Living or dead, whichever are to mind.

And if by noon I have too much of these,
    I have but to turn on my arm, and lo,
    The sun-burned hillside sets my face aglow,
My breathing shakes the bluet like a breeze,
    I smell the earth, I smell the bruis├Ęd plant,
    I look into the crater of the ant.

We have quite an extensive collection of Frost's work as you can well imagine! Collected Poems, Plays and Prose [811 FRO] has everything in one place!

For more Poetry Friday bloggers, visit Kelly Polark.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Art of Books

I know the Kindle and other electronic reading devices are "hot," but there's something about a book that can't be duplicated--the crackle of a new binding, the ripple as you flip through the pages...

In the long ago days of Irish monk scribes, books were highly decorated works of art. Some of the art of books remains today. The video below shows how the government printing office goes about creating book artistry.

Another type of decorated book involves fore-edge painting. You MUST click on the Fore-edge Painting site here to see what it's all about. When you're done with the intro, take a look at the Miniature Painting page. Wow!

A crafty person may want to try her hand at book making. Here's a page of simple instructions. We also have Alisa Golden's, Creating Handmade Books [686.3 GOL] for you to take home and study. Don't forget you can make homemade paper for the pages and covers of your books, too. We have this subject covered by multiple titles including, Grow Your Own Paper by Maureen Richardson [676 RIC].

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Memorable Movie Quotes

We each have lines from movies that become part of our family's vernacular. There are other lines that become part of a generation's culture.

Does this ring any bells for you?

"Yes. Yes. Say it. He vas my...BOYFRIEND."

It's from one of my all-time favorite, and oft-quoted movies, Young Frankenstein.

The funny thing is, over the years, people remember lines incorrectly. Recently, the Guardian reported on a poll of movie "misquotes." Leading the list is "Luke, I am your father." from The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars Episode 5). Also misquoted are the evil queen from Snow White and Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick Blaine, in Casablanca.

Visit our film collection and find the original films to relearn the lines!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

While Away a Few Hours

One of the things we initiated when we moved into our new building a dozen years ago, was to put out a puzzle or two in our reference area. Since that time we've had a steady stream of puzzle-put-togetherers. Some of our regulars spend hours working on the puzzles!

Puzzles are now made of cardboard, but in years past they were made of thin sheets of wood cut into intricate shapes by means of a jigsaw. More information than you can ever use is found at the History of Jigsaw Puzzles site. For a brief history, click here. The Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors has an extensive site for the collector of jigsaw puzzles.

In our children's room, we have a series of early chapter books called the "Jigsaw Jones Mysteries." There are no jigsaw puzzles involved, but I love author, James Preller's choice of the name, Jigsaw Jones, for the character who solves the several dozen mysteries. Titles such as The Case of the Bear Scare, The Case of the Marshmallow Monster, and The Case of the Stinky Science Project can all be found in J MYS PRE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Don't Know If I Feel Comfortable With This--

We have come to rely on spell and grammar checkers to pull us up on poorly formed emails and documents. Perhaps we will also become dependent on word processors or email clients to warn you have hit the wrong note in an email complaining about an undelivered eBay purchase, or that a job application doesn't make you sound intelligent enough.

This quote is from an article from the New Scientist website tell of new software that can interpret emotions. How does that make you feel? It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. The first thing that went through my mind was Hal, the "Heuristic ALgorithmic" computer in the HAL 9000 series from 2001: A Space Odyssey [DVD TWO]. Hal wasn't exactly accurate in "his" interpretation of Dave's emotions!

Maybe its time to rewatch the film, and perhaps to reread the original book by Arthur C. Clarke [SF CLA]. Then to ponder the way we're heading towards letting computer programs tell us if we're being too positive, negative, or neutral in our email correspondence!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Poetry Friday--Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore is my type of poet--much of her poetry is short and concise. Her subjects are rats, whales, haystacks, silence, steam rollers, the Boston Public Garden--anything and everything!

Here's a sample taken from The Poems of Marianne Moore (edited by Grace Schulman) [811.52 MOO]:

Men's Feet Are a Sensational Device

Rest assured that netting butterflies,
    Flying from mice,
        And crushing spiders,
            Is portentous cowardice.
The field of moral choice affords man's
    Feet crackling ice
        To tread, and feet are
            A sensational device.

I'm fond of cracking iced-over puddles--it's one of winter's great pleasures. I tend to avoid stepping on spiders (but those big black ants are goners if they're in my sight). Overall, this short little poem delights me--I hope it does, you, too!

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

We Love Baseball!

One of the advantages to being a public librarian is the generosity of the public! We are sometimes gifted with donuts, and, in the summer, excess garden produce. Yesterday we received the MOTHER of all librarian gifts--tickets to the Red Sox. A generous library user could not go to the Red Sox vs. Cleveland game last night and offered staff members 4 tickets! We jumped at the opportunity, worked out some logistics, and after work we headed to Boston! Our seats were awesome and we had a wonderful time despite the poor performance by our Sox. Here's the proof:

Van Gogh's Ear

On Monday The Guardian revealed that a new book now claims that Vincent Van Gogh did not cut off his own ear, but that it was cut off by his friend, the artist Paul Gauguin, who was a skilled fencer! (As my mother used to say, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?")

It's amazing how a new look into a widely held belief can result in startling revelations about an incident that happened 121 years ago! Whether this new theory is indeed fact is probably going to be debated for years to come! (The debate has already begun.) The Guardian quotes Van Gogh's brother, Theo, "Luckily Gauguin...is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons," as evidence that the Gauguin theory may be the truth!

I wrote about Van Gogh two years ago in a post called, "Those Crazy Artists." Back then I thought we focused too much on Van Gogh's insanity. The new theory supports my premise.

To read more about the link between insanity and the artist, pick up Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament [618.89 JAM]. It is startling to see an appendix containing the names of writers, artists, and composers with "probable cyclothemia, major depression, or manic-depressive illness"--it is 4 pages long!

1888 Van Gogh portrait from the Van Gogh Museum.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Twenty Minutes a Day

May 1, 2009


CONCORD, N.H. -- The month of May has been proclaimed by Governor John Lynch as "Outdoor Science Learning Month." It is a great time to get your children outside and learning, both in and out of school. "May We Do Science" is an initiative in support of connecting children with nature and building science skills.

It is recommended that teachers and parents attempt to get kids outdoors for 20 minutes a day. One of the ways to do this is to provide kids with a fun and educational experience. Activities may be found at the "May We Do Science...Outside NH" site.

Our shelves are full of materials to help you and your children to get out in the fresh air, and, to learn. Look for these the next time you visit:

Fusco Castaldo, Nancy. The Little Hands Nature Book: [Earth, Sky, Critters and More]. [J 372.3 FUS] Explores the outdoors and teaches about a variety of plants and animals with over sixty suggested activities.

McManners, Hugh. The Complete Wilderness Training Book. [J 613.69 MCM] Text and accompanying photographs teach hundreds of skills for living in the wild, from setting up camp to finding food, from surviving a blizzard to signaling for help.

Rhatigan, Joe. The Kids' Guide to Nature Adventures: 80 Great Activities for Exploring the Outdoors. [J 372.357 RHA] Provides ideas for exploring nature to learn the answers to such questions as when a chrysalis will open, why a wolf howls, or how the tide goes out, and gives advice about equipment and safety.

For a philosophical look at children and the great outdoors, Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder [155.418 LOU] is a great resource. Click here to listen to a NHPR interview with Louv.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Sad Tale

I read an article in today's Independent, which told of a World War I mass burial site recently discovered in France. The remains of Australian and some British soldiers will be excavated and subject to forensic testing in order to determine the identities of these servicemen who died on July 19, 1916. Many of the Australians had survived the Campaign at Gallipoli in 1915, only to perish the following year and be tossed in one of eight pits.

It will be an amazing feat to identify the remains 93 years later, but relatives of some of the soldiers known to be missing have come forward and donated samples of their DNA!

To learn more about DNA analysis, we have DNA Analysis by William Hunter [YA 614.1 HUN], which is part of the "Forensics, the Science of Crime-Solving" series.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm Back!

I'm back from Florida and I'd like to report that Red Sox Nation South is thriving in Floriday! I had the opportunity to see a Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays game yesterday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Here's the best part--on Friday night we realized we would have the time to take in a game, we went to a computer and were able to get seats for a game on Sunday! It was only $16.00 for the ticket! Imagine trying to get a Red Sox ticket 1 1/2 days before a game and not needing a gazillion dollars to do so! We sat on the upper deck, but nowhere near the nose-bleed seats.

Back to the Red Sox Nation--there were fans all around us. Here are the ones who were to the left of us:

Look at this picture. Aren't those red shirts you see on at least half of the attendess? What you can't see from this shot are the fans in white Red Sox jerseys, and those who wore Sox caps like the fan in the photo above.

The Sox fans did a great job cheering their team on, but despite their support, the Red Sox played horribly and lost 5 to 3. Tonight they play the Yankees, we'll see what happens!

Here are some recently published Red Sox nonfiction additions to our collection:

Bradley, Richard. The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of '78 [796.357 BRA]

Holley, Michael. Red Sox Rule: A season in the Life of a Manager. [796.357 HOL]

Sandler, Michael. Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox: 2004 World Series. [J B RAM]

And here's a work of fiction:

Shefchik, Rick. Green Monster. [MYS SHE, also AB/CD MYS SHE]