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Friday, February 26, 2010

Poetry Friday--After Frost

After Frost: An Anthology of Poetry from New England [811.08 AFT] is unusual in that it takes themes Robert Frost wrote about and then partners his poems with others covering roughly the same themes. Each of Frost's poems is followed by the poems of thirty New England poets. The poets chronologically follow Frost in time (Frost was born in 1874). For example, the first chapter, "The Will of the Wind," begins with Frost's "An Old Man's Winter Night." This is followed by Wallace Stevens' (b. 1879) "The Snow Man," Archibald MacLeish's (b. 1892) "The Farm," Robert Francis' (b. 1901) "The Reading of the Psalm," and ends with Martin Espada's (b. 1957)"The Music of Astronomy."

Have fun comparing the first and fourth poems in the "Fences" chapter, Frost's famous "Mending Wall" and Richard Eberhart's "Spite Fence":
Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'

Spite Fence

After years of bickerings

Family one
Put up a spite fence
Against family two.

Cheek by cheek
They couldn't stand it.
The Maine village

Looked so peaceful.
We drove through yearly,
We didn't know.

Now if you drive through
You see the split wood,
Thin and shrill.

But who's who?
Who made it,
One side or the other?

Bad neighbors make good fences.
I love Eberhart's short, zinging reply to Frost, don't you?

This week the Poetry Friday Round-Up can be found at Check It Out--check it out!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ice Skating

If you've been watching the Olympics you've been dazzled by the display of various skating skills--from speed skating to ice dancing. If you haven't been watching, you can go to the official website, Vancouver2010, and catch some of the competitions on video.

It might be too late for you to dream about Olympic skating prowess, but it may not be too late for your kids or grandkids. Here's where the library comes in--we have books for kids on all aspects of skating!

A Basic Guide to Speed Skating. [J 796.91 BAS]

Foeste, Aaron. Ice Skating Basics. [J 796.91 FOE]

MacDonald, James. Hockey Skills: How to Play Like a Pro. [J 796.962 MAC]

Thomas, Keltie. How Figure Skating Works. [J 796.912 THO]

In our adult services magazine area, we carry the bi-monthly magazine, International Figure Skating [MAG INT] so that you can keep up with the latest in the sport.

The whole family can sit down to enjoy watching Miracle [DVD MIR] the film about the gold-medal winning U.S. Hockey Team.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coffee and So Much More!

Do you know that our obsession with coffee can be traced back to the 15th century?
The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

An article, "How Islamic Inventors Changed the World," mentions coffee, soap, and 18 more inventions. The inventions are part of an exhibit at the Manchester (U.K.) Science Museum. Not many of us will be able to visit in person, but we can take a virtual trip by going to 1001 Inventions

We have a number of books on the history of inventions including Arab Science and Invention in the Golden Age by Anne Blanchard [J 509.17 BLA] and A History of Invention: From Stone Axes to Silicon Chips by Trevor I. Williams [609 WIL].

Image from 1001inventions.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Art

Last weekend, the New York Times carried an piece called, "When There Were Arts Olympians" by Charles Isherwood. Isherwood bemoaned the fact that "art" is no longer associated with the Olympics.

A week or so ago, Stephen Colbert's guest on The Colbert Report was David Ross, a notable museum curator, who discussed the art of Olympic posters. The interview is below:

Athens to Athens: The Official History of the Olympic Games, 1894-2004
by David Miller [796.48 MIL] has a few pictures of Olympic poster art, as well as a ton of information about the modern day Olympics.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Belle of Amherst

There is a new biography of Emily Dickinson called Lives Like a Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon. It just came out in England, but alas, it won't be released here until June! I went looking for biographical information about Dickinson and found that the only books we have on her life are in the children's room!

It seems that the mousey woman portrayed in many books, and in the play, The Belle of Amherst: A Play Based on the Life of Emily Dickinson by William Luce [812 LUC] (also in DVD starring Julie Harris [DVD 812.54 BEL]) may have been a myth. Dickinson was a vibrant personality who chose to be seen as a recluse. Gordon hypothesizes that Dickinson may have had epilepsy, a disease, which at the time stigmatized its sufferer, and as a result she made a conscious decision to stay out of the public eye.

I look forward to learning more about Dickinson and the new book by Gordon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Poetry Friday--Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010

We lost one of our outstanding African American poets last week. Lucille Clifton died at the age of 73 in Baltimore, MD.

On our shelf we have a signed copy of good woman: poems and a memoir 1969-1980 [811 CLI], which I picked up at a Clifton signing back in 1999. Here's a joyous poem from the book that I would like to share in celebration of Clifton's life:
the poet

i beg my bones to be good but
they keep clicking music and
i spin in the center of myself
a foolish frightful woman
moving my skin against the wind and
tap dancing for my life.
I don't believe the tap dancing is against her will, do you?

Adults may not realize that Clifton was also a writer for children. Her picture book, Everett Anderson's Goodbye [JP CLI], is often recommended as a book to use with children who have to deal with a death, since it succinctly covers the stages of grief and is written for a child, not an adult.

Clifton's passion and compassion will be missed.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Irene Latham. Congratulations to Irene on the release, last month, of her first novel for children, Leaving Gee's Bend. (It is on order and should arrive shortly.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Guy is Dead 3,000 Years and We're Still Talking about Him

Last year novelist James Patterson released a book called The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King: A Nonfiction Thriller [932.014 PAT]. Now comes news that Tut may have died of disease. The poor king lived a short 19 years, but he seems to have lived a miserable life with malaria, broken bones, a cleft palate, and a club foot. NPR's All Things Considered ran the story if you'd like to listen, instead.

Other books in our collection cover the particulars of Tut's tomb, his life, and his death. You'll find titles such as The Tomb of Tutankhamen by Michael Woods, in our children's section [J 932.014 WOO] and Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of the Boy-King by Christine el Mahdy [B TUT], and another book on Tut's speculated murder called The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story by Bob Brier [932 BRI].

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Before the Library moved up the hill back in 1997, there was an active quilting group which met at the library. The group created a quilt each year for which they sold raffle tickets. The proceeds went to purchase books for the Library. I'm not sure why the group disbanded, but it has been resurrected and meets in the multipurpose room several times a month. The group is completing a quilt for this year which they hope to unveil at Town elections in March. Again, raffle tickets will be sold--keep watching the local papers for details.

One member of the group told me that the design they are working on is based upon one that is found in Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!: The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking by Diana McClun [746.46 MCC].

The Library has a collection of quilting books that will take you from beginning steps right through to the elements of design and color. A few of our titles include:

Burns, Eleanor. Egg Money Quilts: 1930's Vintage Samplers. [746.46 BUR]

Hanson, Joyce. The Simple Joys of Quilting: 30 Timeless Quilt Projects. [746.46 HAN]

McRee, Livia. Instant Fabric: Quilted Projects from Your Home Computer. [746.46 MCR]

Peagler, Maria. Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts. [746.46 PEA]

Tadd, Tammy. Quilt Style: Cool and Cozy Coverlets. [746.46 TAD]

Van Bockel, Jean. Polka-Dot Kids' Quilts. [746.46 VAN]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Got Chocolate?

I hope you got a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day, because studies suggest that a little bit of chocolate each week can reduce your risk of stroke.

happy squirrel dance animated gifs

A recent USA Today article mentions chocolate as one of the "superfoods" found to be beneficial to your health.

We have two books on superfoods, both by Steven Pratt, Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Yhat Will Change Your Life [613.2 PRA] and Superfoods Healthstyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Health [613 PRA]. Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Presidents' Day!

The Library is closed today to celebrate the Presidents' Day Federal holiday.

We have plenty of books on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, especially in our children's biography section. Two more recent ones are Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport [J B LIN] and Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas [J B WAS].

A rather interesting twist on the traditional Abraham Lincoln book for kids is Old Abe Lincon: An Old Tune With New Lyrics by Jim Aylesworth [JP AYL].
Wise Abe Lincoln said, "No More!" to slavery,

"No More!" to slavery,

"No More!" to slavery,

Wise Abe Lincoln said, "No More!" to slavery,

Many brave days ago.

This simple song, sung to the tune of "The Old Grey Mare," was adapted from an actual campaign song for Lincoln during his run for the presidency.
Enjoy the day and we'll see everyone tomorrow when the Library reopens at 9:00 AM.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Poetry Friday--New American Poets

You're familiar with all the "old" American poets such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman, but can you name more than one or two "new" American poets?

A quick way to learn of 35 contemporary American writers is to borrow The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets [811.608 SWA] edited by David Yezzi.

J.D. McClatchy writes in the foreword,
...Elizabeth Bishop once recommended as the markers of a good poem: accuracy, spontaneity, and mystery. These are precisely the characteristics of the poems in this book. Accuracy is not literalism or pedantry; it is the ability to see and describe things as, at first glance or second thought, they truly are. Spontaneity is not improvisation or loafing; it is a fresh apprehension of the uneven textures of life. Mystery is not profundity or spirituality; it is the ability of a poem to clear space for what couldn't before have been anticipated, even by the poem iteself--the passing thought or startling image that makes a thrilled reader stop and wonder.
"...that makes a thrilled reader stop and wonder." Yes, that's what I'm always looking for, a poem that makes me stop my reading and look for someone nearby to grab and say, "look at this!"

Here's one with a killer last line that has the Mystery:
Clay and Flame

Nature . . . has mixed us of clay and flame, of brain and mind.
William James
Up from the mineral mud and ore,
from mildew and bacterium
and mold and thallophyte and spore
to fungus, rust and diatom;
from moss and fern and flowering seed
to coral, fluke and sponge, and from
flatworm and snail and centipede
to fish to swamp, until we come
to mouse, to monkey—to the brain
that grew in tandem with the thumb:
To tell exactly how we came
from clay is easy. But explain
the place inside the cranium
where all that clay turns into flame.
This poem, and several others, are also available on the Swallow Press webpage.

Check out this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up at www.LeeWind.org Lee's blog was voted "Best GLBT Review Blog" in 2009. Congratulations to Lee for providing a valuable service to sometimes clueless librarians, teachers, parents, the general population, and, of course, to our GLBT youth!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If You Are Bothered by Earworms, DO NOT Look At This!

Here's a video that I want to share with everyone just because I like it!

So, why do I like it so much? Because of the catchy tune. Because it features children of color. Because it celebrates learning.

Unfortunately, I'll be having "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé running through my head for the rest of the day! By the way, the original is on the CD I Am...Sasha Fierce [CD FEMALE VOCALIST BEY]. Another version can be found on Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel film soundtrack [CD SOUNDTRACK SQU]. My all time favorite is the Beyoncé SNL video with backup dancer, Justin Timberlake.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day is Coming

Get in the mood by reading some enduring love stories. I'm not talking about the genre, "Romance," but rather mainstream novels that when mentioned, people will say, "That's a great love story!" (Know how you can tell they're really good love stories? They've been made into movies--some many times over!)

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. [F AUS]

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. [F BRO]

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. [F ESQ]

Forster, E.M. Room With a View. [F FOR]

Fowles, John. The French Lieutenant's Woman. [F FOW]

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind. [F MIT]

Sparks, Nicholas. The Notebook. [F SPA]

There are many more titles, but this is a start. If you feel I've missed one that absolutely, positively, must be included, please add it to the comments below.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What to Read With Your Coffee

We have a new coffee shop opening in town, Coffee Roasters Cafe. Coincidentally, we recently added a fiction series called "Coffeehouse Mysteries." They are written by Cleo Coyle and come with clever titles such as Espresso Shot, French Pressed, and Through the Grinder [MYS COY].

Here's the backcover description for Espresso Shot:
Roped into creating a gourmet coffee and dessert bar for her ex-husband's wedding, Clare faces off with the bride-to-be. Wealthy and sophisticated, the snarky Breanne has never been a low maintenance kind of gal, and now she's in full-blown bridezille mode. The only way Clare can possibly deal with her is to focus on business. But murder is Clare's business, too, and when fatal accidents begin befalling people close to Breanne, Clare becomes suspicious.

I someone trying to sabatoge this wedding? Kill Breanne? Clare decides to investigate. But what she uncovers, between steaming cappuccinos and roasting the world's rarest coffee beans, may just get her burned...
Sounds like fun, doesn't it? We own all 8 titles in the series--they're just the right thing to curl up with in an easy chair and a nice hot cup of coffee.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Something Fishy...

The BBC reports that "Fish Oil Supplements 'Beat Psychotic Mental Illness.'"
"The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent, or at least delay, the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotic drugs," the study authors said.
As the expression goes, "everything old is new again." I'm sure some of my older readers remember the days of doses of cod liver oil!

Perhaps you'd like to read up on dietary supplements, and their use in maintaining mental health, if so, look for these:

ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins & Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle? [613.28 CON]

Davidson, Jonathan R. T. Herbs for the Mind: What Science Tells Us about Nature's Remedies for Depression, Stress, Memory Loss, and Insomnia. [615 DAV]

Hyman, Mark. The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain By Healing Your Body First: The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind. [616.8914 HYM, also AB/CD 616.8914 HYM]

PDR for Nonprescription Dietary Supplements, and Herbs, 2010. [R 615.58 PDR]

Friday, February 05, 2010

Poetry Friday--"The Visitor"

We have a small collection of poetry from Asia in our adult section. I hope to add to it in the near future. For now, though, a few haiku books and a slim paperback called Three Chinese Poets [895.1 THR] will provide plenty of poetry to share. In Three Chinese Poets, poems of Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu have been translated by Vikram Seth. If the name Vikram Seth sounds familiar, it should, Seth is an accomplished novelist whose work includes, most notably, A Suitable Boy [F SET], a book of 1349 pages.

The poems by the three Chinese poets are surprising short, most take up less than a half page. All three poets can be considered ancient in that they lived in the 700s. Their poems, though, are full of the same emotions that poets today write about--love of nature, loneliness, friendship, etc.

Here is one by Du Fu:
The Visitor

South and north of my house lies springtime water,
And only flocks of gulls come every day.
The flower path's unswept: no guests. The gate
Is open: you're the first to come this way.
The market's far: my food is nothing special.
The wine, because we're poor, is an old brew--
But if you wish I'll call my ancient neighbour
Across the fence to drink it with us two.
How well Du Fu has incorporated both longing and contentment into one brief poem!

Photo of Du Fu's cottage by Pat Rioux

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Great Kid Books.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Oscar-Time Is Coming!

The nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday. We have some of the nominated titles for Best Picture in our collection already, as well as books that some of the films were based on!

The nominated titles for Best Motion Picture of the Year are:


The Blind Side. The film is based on Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis [796.332 LEW]

District 9.

An Education.

The Hurt Locker. [DVD HUR]

Inglourious Basterds. [DVD ING]

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. Yes, that is the film's title! No, we don't have it yet on DVD, but we do own the novel [F SAP].

A Serious Man. This will be released next Tuesday on DVD; we have it on order.

Up. [DVD UP]

Up in the Air. We have the original novel, of the same name, by Walter Kirn [F KIR].

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

There's a fascinating article from the New York Times titled "James Patterson Inc."

A mere 24 years ago, James Patterson's first novel sold 10,000 copies.
Last year, an estimated 14 million copies of his books in 38 different languages found their way onto beach blankets, airplanes and nightstands around the world. Patterson may lack the name recognition of a Stephen King, a John Grisham or a Dan Brown, but he outsells them all.
Patterson writes for both adults and young adults, and he has become a one-man book factory. Patterson owns the factory and has a staff of writers working for him.

Do an author search in our catalog and Patterson, James will bring up 106 items (books and audios)! Some of which include the adult novels The Eighth Confession, I, Alex Cross, Alex Cross's Trial, Run for Your Life, Swimsuit; the young adult novels Daniel X: Watch the Skies, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, and the nonfiction work, The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King [932.014 PAT], all of these titles were published in 2009! And, in the first month of 2010, Patterson has come out with yet another novel, Worse Case.

In his spare time Patterson has set up a website called James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead.com "dedicated to making kids readers for life."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Goodbye, Jerry

Jerry? Jerry, is the late J.D. Salinger.

Salinger, a long-time resident of Cornish, NH, was known as Jerry to the locals. J.D. was for Jerome David.

We have Salinger's classic, The Catcher in the Rye, as well as Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories [all F SAL].

We periodically get requests for the audio of The Catcher in the Rye, but we haven't been able to fill the requests because Salinger never sold the rights for an audio version. I assume he also never sold the rights to a movie version. Whether or not his estate continues this practice remains to be seen.

I can't wait to see what writers are going to produce in the realm of "tell-all" versions of Salinger's life, now that he's not around to put a stop to it. But, I have a feeling that anyone who, "was a regular at the $12 roast beef dinners at First Congregational Church in Hartland, Vt," isn't going to provide too much in the way of sensationalism. Stay tuned!

For an interesting look at the various covers used to attract readers to The Catcher in the Rye, click here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Who Knew?

In my many years I never consciously registered a song that included libraries and/or librarians, with the exception of one by the Beach Boys, and a few songs for children. Now I've come across "10 Best Songs About Libraries and Librarians," and not one of them is a kid's song! Who knew?

The article is about a "mixtape" of these songs. Mixtape is a term that, despite its relative newness to the English language, has already morphed into something else. Nobody makes "tapes" anymore! Now you burn a CD or share files. Funny how quickly things change.

Of the top 10 library songs, we have "Librarian" by My Morning Jacket on Evil Urges [CD ROCK MY] and The Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" on All-Time Greatest Hits [CD ROCK BEA].

livemixtapes.com is a site where you can explore mixtapes to your heart's content.