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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Missing Art

Yesterday, I spoke briefly about an exhibit of art at the State Hermitage Museum that has been missing from public view since World War II.

To learn more about art and other Nazi plunder, look for these on your next visit:

Chesnoff, Richard Z. Pack of Thieves: How Hitler and Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History. [940.5318 CHE]

Petropoulos, Jonathan. The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany. [709.43 PET]

Scott-Clark, Catherine. The Amber Room: The Fate of the World's Greatest Lost Treasure. [940.54 SCO]

Look for these works of fiction [F or MYS] on the subject:

Berry, Steve. The Amber Room.

Dean, Deborah. The Madonnas of Leningrad.

Elkins, Aaron L. Loot.

Fesperman, Dan. Lie in the Dark.

Gash, Jonathan. The Ten Word Game.

Langton, Jane. The Thief of Venice.

Perdue, Lewis. Daughter of God.

Pie, Michael. The Pieces from Berlin.

Silva, Daniel. The English Assassin.

Vreeland, Susan. Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Art that was stolen by, or hidden from, the Nazis during World War II is now on display at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia according this this article from Art Knowledge News.

The article also tells a little about the museum and its enormous collection, "Its collection is so large that it would take years to view it in its entirety--at last count, there were nearly three million works on exhibit." Wow!

You can get some idea of the scope of the collection by viewing an remarkable film that we have in our collection, Russian Ark [DVD RUS].

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Last week on NPR's All Things Considered, I heard a story about a program in Cambridge, MA that has put directions for yoga poses onto parking tickets in order to get parking violators to relax, or, at the very least, not to get so pent up over receiving a ticket. I was curious, so I looked for a picture of the parking ticket and found one here.

I suppose if I received one of the yoga tickets, it would make me laugh, and laughing is a guaranteed relaxer!

We have scads of material on yoga and relaxation, here are a few titles:

Evans, Mark. Instant Stretches for Stress Relief: Instant Energy and Relaxation with Easy-to-Follow Yoga Stretching Techniques. [613.7 EVA]

Folan, Lilia. The Inner Smile. [AB/CD 613.7 FOL]

Lasater, Judith. Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times. [613.7 LAS]

Yoga. [DVD 613.7046 YOG]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Celebrate Freedom--Read a Banned Book!

This week is "Banned Book Week," a yearly celebration of our freedom to read. It is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA).

ALA listed its "Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009." They are:

ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle [YA MYR].

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson [JP PAR].

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky [YA CHB].

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee [F LEE].

Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer [YA MEY]

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger [F SAL].

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult [F PIC].

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler [YA MAC].

The Color Purple by Alice Walker [F WAL].

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier [YA COR].

The New York Times had an article last Thursday entitled "10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week." They invite readers to contribute their own ideas for celebrating. I urge you to do so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poetry Friday--One Secret Thing

One Secret Thing is the eighth collection of poems by Sharon Olds [811.54 OLD]. I love this description from the jacket copy:
...the poems are shot through with Olds's characteristic passion, zany imagination, and poetic power.
"Zany imagination" caught my interest and sent me flipping through the pages. "Zany" isn't exactly the word I would have used to describe the poems in this particular collection, but, there's no mistaking the "passion." Here's "Behavior Chart" to give you an idea of what you can expect from One Secret Thing:

There was one for each child, hand-ruled
with the ivory ruler--horizontal
the chores and sins, vertical
the days of the week. And my brother's and sister's
charts were spangled with gold stars,
as if those five-point fetlocks of brightness were
the moral fur they were curly with, young
anti-Esaus of the house, and my chart
was a mess of pottage marks, some slots filled
in so hard you could see where the No. 2
Mongol had broken--the rug under the grid
fierce with lead-thorns. My box score
KO, KO, I was Lucifer's knockout, yet it
makes me laugh now to remember my chart.
Affection for my chart?! As if I am looking
back on matter--my siblings' stars armed
figures of value, and my x'ed-out boxes
a chambered hatchery of minor
evils, spiny sea-stars, the small
furies of a child's cross tidal heart.
Visit Karen Edmisten's blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Official!

It is now autumn! Time to put the garden to bed, pull sweaters out of the closet, and begin to get ready for the holidays, which will be here before we know it! (You know it's true...)

But, you must also take some time to take in the fall foliage. Check out these sites for the best in leaf-peeping:



Visit NH.

Yankee Foliage.

Enjoy a few of these fall foliage books with your kids:

Gerber, Carole. Leaf Jumpers. [JP GER]

Rawlinson, Julia. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves. [JP RAW]

Robbins, Ken. Autumn Leaves. [JP ROB]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is It Dead to You?

The Washington Post recently ran an opinion piece by Gene Weingarten called, "Goodbye, Cruel Words: English. It's Dead to Me." Weingarten wrote:
The language's demise took few by surprise. Signs of its failing health had been evident for some time on the pages of America's daily newspapers, the flexible yet linguistically authoritative forums through which the day-to-day state of the language has traditionally been measured. Beset by the need to cut costs, and influenced by decreased public attention to grammar, punctuation and syntax in an era of unedited blogs and abbreviated instant communication, newspaper publishers have been cutting back on the use of copy editing, sometimes eliminating it entirely.
I believe that Weingarten speaks the truth. It's not only in newspapers that copy editing is eliminated, just pick up a contemporary novel. Typos are commonplace. It's rare nowadays to read a book that has no typos.

If you do any writing yourself, then you'll have to face facts--you can't depend on your editor and publisher to correct your mistakes. We can offer you our copy of Copyediting & Proofreading for Dummies by Suzanne Gilad [808 GIL] and send you off with our best wishes.

In case you forgot, this coming Friday, September 24, is National Punctuation Day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Building a Collection of Building Blocks

If your kids have outgrown their LEGO® building blocks, then consider donating them to the Nesmith Library. We are collecting LEGO® blocks to be used in future library programs to be held here at the library. Information will be forthcoming.

I did a post on LEGO® projects not too long ago, which included information on LEGO® blocks. Click here to check it out.

If you, or your kids, are still into building with LEGO® blocks, then you may be interested in this DesignByMe page. You can load free software to help you "design the LEGO creation of your dreams!"

And, if your kids are real fanatics, you may wish to attend the LEGO KidsFest that is taking place this upcoming weekend at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fashion at the MFA

Once again, I'd like to remind everyone that we have museum passes, most of which are donated by our Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW). I mention this because we have a pass to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and, now on view at the MFA is an exhibition of fashion photography by Richard Avedon, "Avedon Fashion 1944-2000."

I saw an exhibit of Avedon photos years ago when the Institute of Contemporary Art was still on Boylston Street. The photos were stunning! So, if you're at all interested in fashion history, you should definitely plan a trip into Boston to see the MFA exhibit.

Before going browse through the set Fashions of a Decade [391.009]. Each book covers a complete decade, from the 1920s through the 1990s.

I'd also like to suggest borrowing the DVD Funny Face [DVD FUN]. This movie stars Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire and features music by George and Ira Gershwin. The highlight of the film is a fashion photo shoot, and, you may not know this, but Richard Avedon designed the film titles!

Here's the trailer:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vacation Time!

This will be my only post this week--it's VACATION TIME!

Here are a few things that I'm taking along with me, so don't go looking for these titles--they won't be there!

Glass, Julia. The Widower's Tale. [AB/CD GLA]
In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy's rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he's made since his wife's death, three decades ago, in a senseless accident that haunts him still. No longer can he remain aloof from his neighbors, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.
Nixon, Cornelia. Jarrettsville. [F NIX]
Multiple perspectives from citizens of a small Maryland town shine light on events and circumstances that led Martha Jane Cairnes, a daughter of the South, to murder her fiance Nicholas, a local hero of the Union cause.
Stuart, Julia. The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise. [F STU]
Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise for the past eight years. That’s right, he is a Beefeater (they really do live there). It’s no easy job living and working in the tourist attraction in present-day London.

Among the eccentric characters who call the Tower’s maze of ancient buildings and spiral staircases home are the Tower’s Rack & Ruin barmaid, Ruby Dore, who just found out she’s pregnant; portly Valerie Jennings, who is falling for ticket inspector Arthur Catnip; the lifelong bachelor Reverend Septimus Drew, who secretly pens a series of principled erot­ica; and the philandering Ravenmaster, aiming to avenge the death of one of his insufferable ravens.

When Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie within the Tower walls to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower gets all the more interest­ing. Penguins escape, giraffes are stolen, and the Komodo dragon sends innocent people running for their lives. Balthazar is in charge and things are not exactly running smoothly. Then Hebe decides to leave him and his beloved tortoise "runs" away.
See you next week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Thursday"

Maple Mills, Dillon, S.C. Soarbar Seris, has worked off and on in the mill for 5 years. Winds. Gets 70 cents and up. "Recon I'm about 14." Didn't look it. Has worked more nights than day time.

I was so taken by the photos I found from the National Child Labor Committee Collection at the Library of Congress that I have devoted this week to photographer Lewis Wickes Hine and his work. I'll finish off the work week with this poem by William Carlos Williams. I think it goes well with the photo above. I can imagine how after working 5 years in a mill, a 14-year-old would have given up on dreams.

I have had my dream--like others--
and it has come to nothing, so that
I remain now carelessly
with feet planted on the ground
and look up at the sky--
feeling my clothes about me,
the weight of my body in my shoes,
the rim of my hat, air passing in and out
at my nose--and decide to dream no more.

from American Poetry: The Twentieth Century Volume One: Henry Adams to Dorothy Parker [811 AME v.1]
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Picture Book of the Day. Have a great weekend, and keep dreaming your dreams.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lewis Hine Closer to Home

I guess you could say I've become a little obsessed this week with Lewis Hine! Oh, well, if you're tired of it all, then stop reading right here. Otherwise, take a look at these photos taken just up the road in Manchester (descriptions provided by Lewis Hine):

A few of the small girls and boys (not the smallest ones) that I found working in the spinning room of one of the Amoskeag Mfg. Co. mills at Manchester, N.H. Photo taken at 1:00 p.m., May 21, 1909, in hallway of spinning room. Many others there and in the other mills.

Going to work on the night shift, Amoskeag Mfg. Co., 6 P.M. Manchester, N.H. This boy has been working all night here for 5 months.

6 P.M., May 24, 1909. Coming out of Amoskeag Mfg. Co., Manchester, N.H.

To read about the Manchester mills, we have Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City by Tamara K. Hareven [974.2 HAR].

Other examples of child laborers in our neck of the woods:

Lowell, Massachusetts at the aptly named "Les Miserables" Bowling Alleys:

Pin boys in Les Miserables Alleys, Frank Jarose, 7 Fayette St., Mellens Court, said 11 years old, made $3.72 last week. Joseph Philip, 5 Wall St., said 11 years old, and works until midnight every week night; said he made $2.25 last week and $1.75 the week before. Willie Payton, 196 Fayette St., said 11 years old, made over $2 last week, works there every night until midnight.

Lawrence, Massachusetts:

Antoinette Pothier, been doffing six months at Ayer mill. Has a walk of nearly 30 minutes each way to work morning and night. Leaves home at 6 A.M. and gets back 6:30 P.M.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lewis Hine Continued

For a man whose influence on American labor is so profound, there is next to nothing available on Lewis Hine the man. You can come across his photos in books like Men at Work: Photographic Studies of Modern Men and Machines and Women at Work: 153 Photographs [both 779 HIN], but try to find an in-print biography, or even a photo, of Hine himself, and you'll come up nearly empty-handed.

Fortunately there is a little information to be found online, and his photos by the dozen are available, too.

There is also an interesting book for children by Elizabeth Winthrop called Counting on Grace.
1910. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work as a "doffers" on their mothers’ looms in the mill. Grace’s mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she’s left handed and doffing is a right-handed job. Grace’s every mistake costs her mother, and the family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in Pownal. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up. It is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace’s brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself, her future, and her family’s future.
For kids this is an eye-opening novel in that is makes real the life of a poor mill girl in the early part of the 20th century, and, introduces them to how Lewis Hine worked. I listened to the book on audio [J AB/CD WIN] and found it quite compelling. A bonus for listeners is to hear the writer talk about the photograph that inspired the story. She also includes background information about Hine.

Library of Congress description: [Addie Card], anaemic little spinner in North Pownal Cotton Mill.

In doing an online search I found the Lewis Hine Project which was started by Joseph Manning. Manning was hired by Elizabeth Winthrop, author of Counting on Grace, to research the background of the child, Addie Card, whose photo set Winthrop's book in motion. Manning is now researching many of the children whose photos were snapped by Hine one hundred years ago! (Addie Card's picture was taken in August, 1910!)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lewis Wickes Hine and Child Labor

Yesterday I featured a small sampling of photos from the Library of Congress Collection. Today, I want to point out a book in our collection that contains the photos of Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) along with commentary. Hine's camera was a major force in getting child labor laws enacted and enforced in the United States. The old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words," was certainly the truth in the changes in labor law.

The Newbury Award winning writer for children, Russell Freedman, wrote Kids at Work : Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor [J 331.3 FRE, we also have a copy in our adult section 331.3 FRE]. In it he wrote,
Seeing is believing, said Hine. If people could see for themselves the abuses and injustice of child labor, surely they would demand laws to end those evils. His pictures of sooty-faced boys in coal mines and small girls tending giant machines revealed a shocking reality that most American had never seen before.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day!

The Library is closed today for the Labor Day holiday.

Take a look at some of these photos from the Library of Congress National Child Labor Committee Collection (the photos are by Lewis Hine and were taken about 100 years ago4):

Library of Congress description:
Boy with coat in hand is 11 years old. Been there 9 months. Started at 50 cents a day. Now gets 60 cents. Loray Mill. "When I sweeps double space I gets 90 cents a day, but it makes you work. " (Look at the boy.) Two "infants" appeared at the door, and vanished back immediately on seeing me. Location: Gastonia, North Carolina.

Be thankful that we no longer live in a time when workers had to work 60 hours a week for peanuts, when children younger than 10 were found working in factories or selling goods on the streets, when on-the-job worker health and welfare was ignored by bosses. Be thankful that we get a day off to celebrate Labor Day! Have a safe day--wear sunscreen, drink responsibly, etc. and we'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Poetry Friday--Insomnia

Insomnia, we all have it at times. Even Shakespeare had insomnia as shown in his 27th sonnet:
Sonnet XXVII

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
        Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
        For thee and for myself no quiet find.

From The Sonnets of William Shakespeare [822.33 SHA]
Even though Shakespeare seems to be saying it's not so bad being bedazzled by "a jewel hung in ghastly night," for some people, insomnia can be downright crippling. If you don't find anything to praise about insomnia, then visit our 616.8498 section where you'll find a number of helpful books to put you to sleep.

Before nodding off, though, head over to Susan Taylor Brown's blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Coming Next Year To A Theater Near You

A new crop of book-into-film movies are currently being shot, or are scheduled to start shooting soon. If all goes well, these should be out sometime in 2011. Here's your opportunity to get ahead of the curve and read the book before the movie is released. Look for these:

Atwater, Richard. Mr. Popper's Penguins [JP ATW]. This classic children's book (originally published back in 1938) will star Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road [F KER]. Another classic book! This one stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.

Lewis, Michael. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game [796.357 LEW]. This nonfiction story of the Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane will star Brad Pitt.

Nicholls, David. One Day [F NIC]. Anne Hathaway plays the female lead in this unusual story that takes a look at where a couple is in their career, their lovelife, their relationship, on one day, July 15, over the course of 20 years.

Stockett, Kathryn. The Help [F STO]. This book has been on the best-seller list for more than a year now. We have four copies (and an audio version) and what seems like a never-ending holds list! With any luck you've already read it, but if not, put your name on the list now!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Be a Better Reader

Are you a reader of fiction? Do you read simply to escape or do you want more from your reading? If the answer is the latter, then perhaps you'd be interested in online literature courses being offered by LitLovers, a site for book discussion groups.

LitLovers currently offers ten courses:

1 Literature Matters: Why We Read

2 The Novel: A Mirror of the World

3 How to Read: Finding Meaning

4 How to Read: Title & Setting

5 How to Read: Character

6 How to Read: Plot

7 How to Read: Point of View

8 How to Read: Irony

9 How to Read: Symbolism

10 How to Read: Theme

Each course has "required" reading--a short story or two--that illustrates the literary concepts being taught. The best part is the courses are free and the required readings are included on the site.

Of course, you could always visit us here at the library and borrow How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom [028 BLO] for a basic literature course in a book.

"America's wisest, most prolific reader—and the New York Times best-selling author of Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human-—draws on his more than 40 years as a college professor and critic to help readers attain a truly profound engagement with great literature."