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Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry Friday--"The Pen"

To finish off the year, here's a simple, but lovely poem from Tunisia by Muhammad-al-Ghuzzi (translated by May Jayyusi and John Heath-Stubbs):
The Pen

Take a pen in your uncertain fingers.
Trust, and be assured
That the whole world is a sky-blue butterfly
And words are the net to capture it.

from Voices: Poetry and Art From Around the World [YA 808.81 VOI]
Fly over to The Drift Record/Julie Larios for the final Poetry Friday Round-Up of 2012.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Photo by najeebkhan2009.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A New Year's Resolution!

In 2012, vow to climb the highest mountains on all the continents.

Whoa! How hard can it be--a 15 year-old did it, so why can't you?

I suppose the big reason for me is time, followed by money, and then, of course, physical condition!

If you're not up to the challenge yet, try something a little more manageable--like hiking--and, closer to home--like Mount Monadnock or the White Mountains.

Here are a few guidebooks (more may be found in 917.42):

Adamowicz, Joe. The New Hiking the Monadnock Region: 44 Nature Walks and Day-Hikes in the Heart of New England. [917.429 ADA]

The Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountain Guide: Hiking Trails in the White Mountain National Forest. [917.42 AMC]

Buchsbaum, Robert. AMC's Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains: Four-Season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails in the White Mountain National Forest, Including Snowshoeing. [917.422 BUC]

Densmore, Lisa Feinberg. Hiking the White Mountains: A Guide to 39 of New Hampshire's Best Hiking Adventures. [917.42 DEN]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


One of the wonders of the internet is the ability to listen to radio stations from cities all over the world. (Remember in the olden days how you could pull in stations from a state or two away only on late Sunday evenings?)

Right now, in New York City, radio station WKCR 89.9 (Columbia University) is holding a BachFest which features the music of Johann Sebastian Bach during the holidays (ending midnight on 12/31).

We have several Bach CDs in CD CLASSICAL BAC, and, we also have a children's CD for the youngest listener, Baby Bach Concert for Little Ears [CD CHILDREN BAB]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


"Spelunk" has to be one of my favorite ridiculous-sounding words! It has a simple definition: to explore caves.

To be a spelunker, though, requires a bit of work. You must know where the caves are and how to do your exploring in a safe and environmentally responsible way, but, the rewards can be great. Here's an article from the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, on a crystal cave found in Iceland. I think you'll agree, the photos are stunning!

To learn more about caves and the in and outs of spelunking, look for one of these:

Brimner, Larry Dane. Caving: Exploring Limestone Caves. [J 796.52 BRI]

Lindop, Laurie. Cave Sleuths. [YA 551.447 LIN]

Tabor, James M. Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth. [796.525 TAB]

Zappa, Marcia. Caves. [J 551.447 ZAP]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Closed Today!

The Library is closed today. We hope you'll visit us tomorrow or the next day.

Tonight you might want to drive around town to view the holiday lights!

There's a slideshow of "Holiday Lights Across the Globe" from the BBC. Click here to enjoy the show!

Closer to home is the Zoolights exhibit held annually at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA.

The Nesmith Library has a Zoo New England pass that was donated by the Friends of the Library of Windham FLOW). Click here for more information about the museums/attractions to which we have library passes.

Photo courtesy Zoo New England.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Noel"

Here's a poem by Linda Pastan to think of when the pressures of the season become a bit too much to bear:

Like a single

the red cardinal
on a pine

the window

is our only

the snow.

from Traveling Light: Poems [811.54 PAS]

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up will be found at Dori Reads. Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday!

Photo by peterjr1961.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good Grief!

Not much time left for gift-making (or buying--at all costs avoid the mall). Cookies are always a welcomed gift! Bar cookies are the easiest of all--no need to refrigerate, or roll, or press, or drop. Bake in one large pan, cut and go!

Plenty of bar cookie recipes in these:

Cookie Classics: Timeless Family Favorites. [641.8654 COO]

Crocker, Betty. Betty Crocker's Best of Baking: More Than 350 of America's Favorite Recipes. [641.71 CRO]

Hansen, Liv. Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse. [641.8654 HAN]

Rosenberg, Judy. Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book. [641.8654 ROS]

While you're busy baking, keep the kids occupied by having them "decorate" plain brown paper lunch bags for you to pack the cookies in. Simple!

See, no need to sweat--you've got everything under control.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We're Getting Close!

Santa's gearing up for his big weekend trip. The kids of the world are beside themselves in anticipation. Parents are ready to drop from exhaustion. What to do? Everyone should stop for a few minutes to enjoy a favorite Christmas book. Here are just a few of my favorites:

DePaola, Tomie. The Cat on the Dovrefell: A Christmas Tale. [JP DEP]

Gammell, Stephen. Wake Up Bear, It's Christmas. [J GAM]

Hoffman, Mary. An Angel Just Like Me. [JP HOF]

Moeri, Louise. Star Mother's Youngest Child. [J MOE]

Paulsen, Gary. A Christmas Sonata. [J PAU]

Rosen, Michael J. Elijah's Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas. [J ROS]

Tornqvist, Rita. The Christmas Carp. [J TOR]

And, if you have a few hours to spare, try one of my favorite holiday movies:

A Christmas Memory. [DVD CHR]

Elf. [DVD ELF]

Love Actually. [DVD LOV]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Musical Gift

If you, or someone you know plays a musical instrument, and you don't know where to find sheet music, then have I got a gift for you! It's the International Music Score Library Project. This is from the "portal" page:
We at the IMSLP believe that music should be something that is easily accessible for everyone. For this purpose we have created a music library to provide music scores free of charge to anyone with internet access, with several other projects in planning.

Say someone sends you a YouTube video of a piano solo such as the one below:

If you enjoy the piece and want to attempt to play it, you need the music. Then visit IMSLP and type in the composer's name, Debussy, Claude, then the title of the piece, "Arabesque." You will end up at this page:

A few more clicks and you've got the music ready for you to print off.

Of course, if you can't play the piano, then you might want to learn! We can help you with that, too. Borrow Popular Piano Self-Taught by Win Stormen [786.3 STO]. Once you get the basics down, come back for Easy Piano Tunes by Anthony Marks [J 786.2 MAR]. Before you know it, you'll be browsing IMSLP for even more!

Monday, December 19, 2011

In Memorium--Russell Hoban

Last week the writer, Russell Hoban, passed away in London.

Hoban is the author of The Mouse and His Child, a story about a pair of wind-up toy mice [J HOB, also J AB/CD HOB]. It is a children's book that does not shy away from confronting the realities of life, including death. It is considered a children's classic, although I'd venture to guess that not many people are familiar with it.

Just right for this time of year, another classic, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, a Jim Henson film, is based on the book of the same name by Russell Hoban [J DVD EMM].

But of all Hoban's works, my favorite is Bread and Jam for Frances [JP HOB]. Frances is one, very typical little girl, in the guise of a badger. Irresistible and fun!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Every Painting by Chagall"

Here's a poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan,
Every Painting by Chagall

Every twined groom and bride,
every air fish, smudged Russian,
red horse, yellow chicken, assumes
its position not actually beside
but in some friendly distribution
with a predictable companion.
Every canvas insists on a
similar looseness, each neck
put to at least two uses. And wings
from some bottomless wing source.
They are pleasure wings of course
since any horse or violinist
may mount the blue
simply for wanting to.
(In freedom, dear things
Repeat without tedium.)

from The Best of It: New and Selected Poems [811.54 RYA]

In case you've forgotten the term for writing about art, it is ekphrasis, I always forget it myself, so I looked it up to save you the bother!

Don't forget to visit Kate, everyone's favorite Book Aunt, for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I think I'll step up on my soapbox today and rant a little. Have you ever taken a walk in the woods and come across a beautiful little babbling brook that has one or two old tires smack in the middle of it? (Even worse is finding a grocery cart in the middle of a brook in the middle of nowhere, but that's a rant for another time.)

We waste so much in this country it sometimes makes my head spin. It's stunning to think about all we throw away. If we were smart, we'd encourage people to come up with new ideas to reuse materials such as old tires.

Since necessity is the mother of invention, people in third world countries have come up with ingenious ideas for reusing old tires. One of the uses is footwear, such as these from Somalia:

Or a rugged mat like this one from Uganda:

When forward thinking people realize there's a way to make money reusing materials, they soon find a way to do it. If you're thinking, "Who'd want something made from an old tire?" take a look at the products on this page!

We have lots of awesome books to get you started thinking about reusing rather than wasting. Here's just one: 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew by Garth Johnson [745.5 JOH].

Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox now...

Sandal photo by mwanasimba. Mat photo by piekaboo. Roof photo courtesy useitagain!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Driven Ding Dong (Merrily on High)?

Are you tired of the same old holiday music? If I never heard "Silent Night" again, I'd be perfectly happy.

We have holiday music that is a nice switch from what you've been hearing on the Boston stations since Veterans Day! (Be thankful you don't live in Cape May, New Jersey where WEZW-FM has been playing seasonal songs since October 17!)

An American Christmas, 1770-1870. [CD HOLIDAY AME]

Anonymous 4. A Star in the East: Medieval Hungarian Christmas Music. [CD HOLIDAY ANO]

The Chieftains. The Bells of Dublin. [CD HOLIDAY CHI]

A Cowboy Christmas. [CD HOLIDAY COW]

Festival of Light. [CD HOLIDAY FES]

McKennitt, Loreena. To Drive the Cold Winter Away. [CD HOLIDAY MCK]

Wassail! Wassail! [CD HOLIDAY WAS]

Of course, some people find comfort in the tried and true tunes. If you're one of them, and you'd like to sing along with the radio, look for The Best Christmas Songs Ever [781.723 BES], or one of our other books which contain holiday music and lyrics.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

War Horse

A little more than a week ago, the world premiere of a new Steven Spielberg movie, War Horse, took place in New York. The film is based on a children's book of the same name by British author, Michael Morpurgo. We have the book in our children's fiction section, so check it out before the film is released locally on Christmas day.

I think this is going to be a not-to-be-missed film, but you may want to bring along a pocketful of tissues.

Monday, December 12, 2011

When Reindeer Get Hot

The Journal of Experimental Biology recently published an article on the way reindeer cool down. They are so well clad in fur, that they sometimes tend to get overheated, especially when they're making an extended trip round the world!

Not being a scientist, the article sounds reasonable to me, but it does make me wonder if perhaps the reader's leg isn't being pulled when the reporter tells us that the head researcher's name is Arnoldus Blix. Hmmm, that sounds suspiciously close to the name of one of Santa's reindeer, Blitzen, which Wikipedia tells us originally was Blixem, then Blixen. Coincidence?

And then, when Blix explains that the reindeer are trained to run on a treadmill, I'm led to believe that I may have been had!

Who cares? Not me, I love the idea of reindeer! Especially reindeer on a treadmill! And I like these holiday books about reindeer, too:

Brett, Jan. The Wild Christmas Reindeer. [JP BRE]

Foreman, Michael. The Little Reindeer. [JP FOR]

Stainton, Sue. Christmas Magic. [JP STA]

Friday, December 09, 2011

Poetry Friday--Do Rabbits Have Christmas?

If you're not familiar with Aileen Fisher's Do Rabbit's Have Christmas? [J 811.52 FIS], you must look for it. It is a lovely melding of poems by Fisher and illustrations by Sarah Fox-Davies. The book, published in 2007, five years after Fisher's death, has an note by Karla Kuskin. In it Kuskin says, "These poems do what poems should do: They take you someplace wonderful, someplace else."

Kuskin is absolutely right! But, if you don't believe me, maybe this poem will convince you:
Sparkly Snow

Last night the sky was reckless,
a reckless millionaire:
it threw down chips of diamonds
and strewed them everywhere.
And on this bright cold morning
when we go stomping out
footprints full of diamonds
follow us about.
Who hasn't marveled at the sparkle of the sun on newly fallen snow? It is like chips of diamonds!

Head over to see Robyn Hood Black for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain [F MCL, also available as an ebook] is an up and coming book group discussion title. If you haven't read it, it's a novel about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley. I enjoyed the book, but the character of Hemingway was a real turn-off. From all I've read about Hemingway, he wasn't a nice person in real life either.

This Sunday, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, there will be a discussion, "Hemingway's Letters: From Childhood to Paris." I hope to get a little more insight into the writer and perhaps learn to understand, if not like, him a bit more.

If you didn't know, the JFK Library has a large collection of Hemingway's personal papers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Day of Infamy

Seventy years ago today, the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It led us into the war that quickly became known as World War II. There is a wealth of material available on this event at the Library in the 940.54 and J 940.54 sections.

For kids we have the recollections of a young girl whose home was riddled by Japanese bullets during the attack: Pearl Harbor Child: A Child's View of Pearl Harbor--From Attack to Peace by Dorinda Makanaōnalani Stagner Nicholson [J 940.53 NIC].

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, has an online exhibit on December 7, 2011. Be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Talking Animals?

Have you seen this porcupine video?

Clearly it seems as though this little guy has a lot to say!

How do animals really communicate? Elementary school-aged kids can find out in How Animals Talk by Susan McGrath [J 591.59 MCG], Prairie Dogs Kiss and Lobsters Wave: How Animals Say Hello by Marilyn Singer [J 591.59 SIN], and Hello, Hello! by Miriam Schlein [JP SCH].

For adults we have this one: Animal Talk: Interspecies Telepathic Communication by Penelope Smith [591.594 SMI].

Monday, December 05, 2011

Gift Math

Rather than purchase a gift for grandparents, or aunts, or neighbors, etc., parents often have their kids make a gift. This year think about making an in-a-jar gift. It's both practical and can act as a learning experience for elementary school-aged children. How so? By reinforcing math concepts such as measurements and fractions!

If you're not familiar with the in-a-jar gift concept, here it is in a nutshell: the ingredients for a recipe are layered in a canning jar, decorated with ribbon, and the instructions for completion of the recipe are included.

Here are three books that will provide you with specific recipes to please most people on your kids' holiday lists:

Gifts in a Jar For kids: Recipes to Make Your Own Gifts. [641.815 GIF]

Gifts in a Jar: Muffins & Breads, Recipes to Make Your Own Gifts. [641.815 GIF]

Parks, Lonnette. The Mason Jar Soup to Nuts Cookbook. [641.5 PAR]

Many more recipes can be found online, including ones for individual pies BAKED in a jar! Simply do a Google search on "gifts in a jar" and you'll find sites like this Australian page, which has some very unusual jar ideas.

Photo by stetted.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Ultimatum: Kid to Kid"

On Monday I heard a report on WBUR about a comedy club group, ImprovBoston, which "wants to nip bullying behaviors in the bud by taking humor-based workshops into Massachusetts schools."

I found it interesting because many states now require an anti-bullying curriculum in the public schools. As an individual long out of school, I wonder if the curriculum is having an effect? (For those who are interested in the subject, we have books such as The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence by Barbara Coloroso [371.782 COL] just waiting for you to borrow.)

While flipping through The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes [811 HUG], looking for a poem that wasn't even related to the subject of bullying, I came across this poem which stopped me cold:
Ultimatum: Kid to Kid

Go home, stupid,
And wash your dirty face.
Go home, stupid,
This is not your place.

Go home, stupid,
You don't belong here.
If you don't go,
I will pull your ear.

I ask you if you'd like to play.
"Huh?" is all you know to say,
Standing 'round here
In the way.

So go home, stupid!
I'll spit in your eye!
Stupid, go home--
Before I cry.

Wouldn't this poem be a good one to start a classroom discussion? Even a second-grader can figure out what's going on in this scene. Who's the bully and who's the bullied?

Chalk this up to serendipity--looking for one thing often leads to finding something else that suits your needs, or your spirit, even better.

Without a doubt you're going to find something unexpected at the Poetry Friday Round-Up, hosted today at Carol's Corner.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey [594.38 BAI] is small format book with some big ideas--one being we need to slow down and pay attention to the small things. This slim volume has a lot going for it to my way of thinking--it is meaningful, I learn a lot about a subject I had no prior knowledge of, and it is short--fewer than 200 pages. Plus, there are tiny little illustrations!

Before we go any further, I'd like to let you know that this isn't a "natural history of the snail" book, it is first and foremost the story of a woman who is stricken with a mysterious disease and her path through a long and painful recovery.

If your book group is looking for a good book to discuss, you can't do better than this one. Unless, of course, your group has an aversion to slimy gastropods.

Elisabeth Tova Bailey has developed her website to go with the book, where she has discussion questions ready for book groups. Even if you don't read the book, you should check out the website where you can hear an audio of the sound of a wild snail eating! How awesome is that?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three-Dimensional Paper Engineering

Three-dimensional paper engineering is simply a fancy way of saying pop-up books! The University of New Hampshire has received a donation of almost 2,000 pop-up books and they are now on display at the UNH Museum. What a great way to spend an afternoon, but you'd better make plans now, the exhibition is only open through December 16.

We don't generally purchase pop-up books in our children's room collection due to the fragility of the medium, but, we do have a fine example of an adult pop-up book which we keep in our reference collection for people to oooh and aaah over: Fenway Park: Legendary Home of the Boston Red Sox by John Boswell and David Fisher [R 796.357 BOS].

We do have several books for kids on paper engineering, such as The Usborne Book of Paper Engineering by Fiona Watt [J 736.982 WAT]. Just in time for the holidays is How to Make Holiday Pop-Ups by Joan Irvine [J 745.594 IRV].

Before they were commonly known as pop-up books, paper engineered books were referred to as movable books. There's an organization known as the Movable Book Society, which has on its website, a great collection of links for anyone who is interested in paper engineered books.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Presidential Shopping

I hope you all shopped locally this past Saturday. The President and his daughters shopped at a D.C. bookstore, and here are a few of the titles they purchased:

Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. [F DIA, also AB/CD DIA]]

Juster, Norman. The Phantom Tollbooth [J JUS, also J AB/CD JUS]

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever [J KIN]

Muth, Jon. Zen Shorts [JP MUT, also JP KIT MUT]

Obreht, Téa. The Tiger's Wife [F OBR, also AB/CD OBR]]

Selznick, Brian. The Invention of Hugo Cabret [J SEL]

Shopping locally is something you should consider supporting throughout the year. Money spent in town will probably stay in town. It just makes sense.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Sure you can get a job done within time constraints, but is it the best job you can do?

Something to think about. Read about New Hampshire's MacDowell Colony in Community of Creativity: A Century of MacDowell Colony Artists [709.73 COM]. The MacDowell Colony continues to afford creative people the time and the space in which to work. It's a place we should all be proud to claim as uniquely New Hampshire.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the things I'm most looking forward to this Thanksgiving is the opening of the new Muppet movie titled The Muppets.

If you're a Facebook fanatic, make sure you check out The Muppets page. There are already over a million "likes."

And once you're in a Muppet mood, visit the library to borrow one of our many Muppet movies such as The Muppet Christmas Carol [J DVD MUP].

This is the last post for this week. The Library is closing at noon today and will be closed tomorrow and Friday. We will be open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just In Time For the Holidays

A new movie is being released which promises to be the just the kind of feel-good entertainment people look for at this time of year, We Bought a Zoo.

We have the book upon which the film was based, also titled We Bought a Zoo. It's by Benjamin Mee and it's in the biography section [B MEE]. We also have it in audio [AB/CD B MEE]. Now's the time to borrow a copy, it's due out in the theaters on December 23.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Moon

I've heard that the moon is made of green cheese, but from the looks of this new map released by NASA, I'd say the moon is made of rainbow sherbet. Who knew?

A New Map of the Moon

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter science team released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created. This new topographic map shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 328 feet.

Although the moon is Earth's closest neighbor, knowledge of its morphology is still limited. Due to the limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moon’s topography at high resolution has not existed until now. With LRO's Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution.

Here are some moon books to occupy you and your kids during the daylight hours:

Asch, Frank. Happy Birthday, Moon. [JP ASC] When a bear discovers that the Moon shares his birthday, he buys the Moon a beautiful hat as a present.

Cazet, Denys. Minnie and Moo Go to the Moon. [E CAZ] Two cow friends, Minnie and Moo, decide to drive the farmer's tractor all the way to the moon.

Goldburg, Myra. Catching the Moon. [JP GOL] Using a mouse as bait instead of a worm, an old woman fishes all night long, confusing the fishermen as well as the Man in the Moon.

McCarty, Peter. Moon Plane. [JP MCC] A young boy looks at a plane in the sky and imagines flying one all the way to the moon.

Schaefer, Carole Lexa. Full Moon Barnyard Dance. [JP SCH] A beautiful night and a full moon inspire the barnyard animals to hold a dance by the pond, where the arrival of some clouds provides them with an unexpected experience.

Image and caption courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/DLR/ASU

Friday, November 18, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Luxury"

We have a number of May Sarton's books in our collection. Sarton, although born in Europe, was a New Englander. She can also be counted as a New Hampshire resident since we lived, for a time, in Nelson.

Here's a right-on-the-money cat poem from Coming into Eighty: Poems [811 SAR]:

My cat, Pierrot
The eloquence
Of his sleep!
Tucked under
The ample breast
His paws
Are two velvet pillows
His thick-furred boots
Stretch out
In luscious abandon,
His colors are blue-gray
And silvery white.
His purrs lightly
Embroider the air.

No emerald,
No mink muff,
No ermine vest
Could provide
The luxury
Of this cat's sleep.
How rich I am!
Head over to Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Yes, it's just one week away! How did that happen? I wish I knew.

It's not too late, though, to find some new dishes to help you celebrate Turkey Day. Come on down to the library and borrow one of our cookbooks. I'm sure you'll be able to find recipes that are a change of pace from the same old same old.

Tired of green bean casserole? Try cooking with fresh veggies, without the canned soup and canned onions. There are plenty of recipes in Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson [641.651 PET].

Tired of mashed potatoes? Potatoes: Simple and Delicious Easy-to-Make Recipes might be what you're looking for
Susanna Tee [641.6521 TEE].

Tired of pumpkin pie? About a cookie buffet? We've got a gazillion cookie cookbooks for you to browse through. You can start with A Year of Cookies by Lorraine Bodger [641.8654 BOD]. Cookies aren't special enough? How about a whoopie pie? Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley [641.8654 BIL] has a pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese filling!

I'm not going to suggest messing with the turkey, though, there are some things that are sacred! And, if you're tired of feeling like you've swallowed lead weights, you can lighten up your holiday cooking with Fat-Free Holiday Recipes by Sandra Woodruff [641.568 WOO]. Also by Woodruff is Secrets of Fat-Free Baking [641.815 WOO].

There's still time to get planning--but you've got to start now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Time

I'm looking forward to watching the PBS program scheduled for tonight at 8:00, "My Life as a Turkey."

There seems to be an abundance of turkeys in the neighborhood this year. I had one saunter through my backyard and I'm in a heavy traffic area. I've been fascinated by the story of wild turkeys and their reintroduction into New England.

There's lots of turkey info available from NH Fish and Game, click here.

We have several books on turkeys including Turkeys by Julie Murray [636.952 MUR]. And of course, we have lots of Thanksgiving turkey stories! 'Tis the season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Movie Favorites

Did you notice the full moon last week. It was bright and strikingly beautiful, and the minute I saw it I thought, That's Cosmos' moon!

For those of you who are now scratching your heads, Cosmos' moon plays an important part in one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck starring Cher [DVD MOO]. An all-round fun and funny film.

Now that I've started mentioning favorite movies, I might as well mention a few more. Ranking at the top of best holiday movies is Love, Actually [DVD LOV], which stars two of my favorite British actors, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. A great feel-good movie.

Also in the feel-good category is Enchanted April [DVD ENC]. Believe it or not, the setting is the real star of the film--Portofino, Italy. This movie is my number one all-time favorite.

If, after watching Enchanted April, you find yourself looking for more of the same, don't miss A Room with a View [DVD ROO].

The Commitments [DVD COM] is also a favorite. It can't be called a musical, but it is full of music. Here, too, the setting, Dublin, plays an important role in the story. As does Bloomington, Indiana in the bicycle racing movie, Breaking Away [DVD BRE]. In both of these films the ending is satisfying though not exactly what you may have hoped for.

As you can tell, I have lots of favorite movies, so I'll stop here for now. What's your favorite movie?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Picture Book Month

November is "Picture Book Month" as we are told on the site, Picture Book Month: A Celebration! Five children's writers and illustrators have begun the celebration, and what a party it is, and continues to be for two more weeks!

Please take the time to read some of the posts--you'll be surprised at how valuable picture books still are in these days of interactive media and ereaders. There's nothing like snuggling up with a child on your lap, poring over illustrations, and sharing a great story!

Speaking of picture books, we just received part of the 2011 crop of holiday picture books including Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree by David Martin [JP MAR], A Christmas Tree for Pyn by Olivier Dunrea [JP DUN], and Elmer's Christmas by David McKee [JP MCK].

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poetry Friday--"The Death of a Soldier"

I've already written about the "Poetry for Young People" series of books in our children's room. We are now up to 21 titles!

For Veterans' Day, from the volume Wallace Stevens (with watercolor illustrations by Robert Gantt Steele) [J 811.52 STE], comes this poem:
The Death of a Soldier

Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
The soldier falls.

He does not become a three-days’ personage,
Imposing his separation,
Calling for pomp.

Death is absolute and without memorial,
As in a season of autumn,
When the wind stops.

When the wind stops and, over the heavens,
The clouds go, nevertheless,
In their direction.
The autumn references make this a doubly appropriate poem for today. The editor of the volume, John N. Serio, explains how Stevens was inspired by a book of letters written by a French soldier. The soldier wrote to his mother that 'The death of a soldier is almost a natural thing.' Serio tells the young reader, "Stevens used the season of autumn, when we expect leave to fall, to communicate this feeling."

If you haven't already done so, I urge you to visit Teaching Authors for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Social Media

I attended an interesting workshop at a recent library conference. It was on social media--you know, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Linked In, etc.--and legal issues. This short video was shown as an introduction to the workshop, and it drove home the point that social media is conquering the world. I thought you might like to watch it, too.

I thought it might also be fun to compare today's social media revolution with the revolution brought on by the development of the the telegraph and Morse Code in the mid-19th century. Here is one title to delve into: Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F.B. Morse by Kenneth Silverman [B MOR]. Richard Brookhiser, a reviewer from the New York Times described the changes wrought by Samuel Morse.
Before the telegraph, as Silverman points out, communication was a function of transportation. Messages traveled only as fast as ships, horses or trains could carry the bearers. After the telegraph, communication seemed magical, virtually instantaneous (hence the "lightning" of the title). What did people make of the change? Morse, and many of his peers, believed in what Silverman calls an "ideology of redemption through communication." They thought men and nations would be brought closer together, and war would cease--this despite the fact that the telegraph quickly became a tool of war reporting, and war making.
Brookhiser's last point is clearly taken up in Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler [973.7092 WHE]. What would Mr. Morse have thought of the instantaneous communication that takes place today? Back then instantaneous was simply figurative.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Time Management

Yesterday I mentioned meditating for a moment of time. Sometimes, though, people will tell you that they don't even have a moment to spare. These people are the perfect audience for books on time management. I would direct them to one of these:

Davidson, Jeffrey P. The 60-Second Organizer. [640.43 DAV]

Morgenstern, Julie. Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule--And Your Life. [650.1 MOR]

Rulnick, Mary Jo. The Frantic Woman's Guide to Life: A Year's Worth of Hints, Tips, and Tricks. [640 RUL]

Stack, Laura. Leave the Office Earlier: The Productivity Pro Shows You How to Do More In Less Time--And Feel Great About It. [650.11 STA]

A newly published book is Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now by Surya Das [294.3444 SUR]. It sounds fairly interesting and is a twist on the traditional methods of managing time.
Provides an introduction to Buddha Standard Time, a concept that allows for the existence of a fourth dimension of timelessness, and provides tools and techniques for accessing Buddha Standard Time to relieve stress and find focus and creativity.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I am one of those people who can't shut off thoughts, and thus, has found it a complete waste of time to consider meditation! However, that was before I found the following video. The time involved in meditating for a moment is completely do-able.

If you make it through a minute, or a moment, and want to embark on a more focused meditation program, come to the library where our materials on meditation are found in many formats:

Chödrön, Pema. How to Meditate [A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind]. [AB/CD 158.12 CHO]

Mindfulness & Meditation. [DVD 294.3 MIN]

Rosenthal, Norman E. Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation. [158.125 ROS]

Simpkins, C. Alexander. Living Meditation: From to Principle to Practice. [291.4 SIM]

There's plenty more, just check our catalog using "meditation" in a subject search.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was the 5th year anniversary of Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet! (That makes today's the one thousand, two hundred fifty-sixth post!)

Well, let's party! Hmmm...that means party planning books. We've got 'em in the 793.2 section. Lots!

Now what kind of party should we have? I know! A storybook party! Where's that copy of Storybook Parties: 45 Parties Based on Children's Favorite Stories by Penny Warner [793.21 WAR]? I'm thinking Pippi Longstocking [J LIN]--with everyone in wild-woman braids!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Every Morning"

Horses Made a Landscape More Beautiful: Poetry by Alice Walker [811 WAL] is a slender volume that can get lost on our shelves. Take the time, though, to look for it. When you do, flip through to page 16, where you'll find a fun little poem that is bound to resonate with you if you're over the age of 40:
Every Morning

Every morning I exercise
my body.
It complains
"Why are you doing this to me?"
I give it a plié
in response.
I heave my legs
off the floor
and feel my stomach muscles
they are mutinous
there are rumblings
of dissent.

I have other things
to show,
but mostly, my body.
"Don't you see that person
staring at you?" I ask my breasts,
which are still capable
of staring back.
"If I didn't exercise
you couldn't look up
that far.
Your life would be nothing
but shoes."
"Let us at least say we're doing it
for ourselves";
my fingers are eloquent;
they never sweat.
Laura Salas is the hostess for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up. Run right over! Yes, run! You can do it--you're doing it for yourself!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Photo-Illustrated Picture Books

Sometimes a photo-illustrated picture book story can be a lot of fun for a child, especially since it leaves the child thinking that real things can come to life. There are a few classics in this genre such as The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright published in 1957 [JP WRI].

Now comes My Milk Toof: The Adventures of ickle and Lardee (on order) by Lee Inhae. ickle and Lardee are baby teeth that have fallen out of a child's mouth and gone on to have a series of adventures. You can read the latest adventure, "Home Security," on the My Milk Toof blog.

The book trailer for My Milk Toof shows the complexity involved in the creation of an ickle and Lardee adventure:

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Wasn't that fun? If you'd like to learn about percussion music, we can get you started with these items from our music collection:

Blue Man Group. Audio. [CD ROCK BLU]

Dworsky, Alan L. Slap Happy: How to Play World-Beat Rhythms With Just Your Body and a Buddy. [786.8 DWO]

Hart, Mickey. Planet Drum: A Celebration of Percussion and Rhythm. [786.9 HAR]

O'Brien, Eileen. Learn to Play Drums. [J 786.9 OBR]

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Building a House of Spit

I hope you find the clip below as fascinating as I do. You can catch the complete "The Animal House" episode tomorrow at 8 pm on channel 2 or Thursday at 9 pm on channel 11.

Watch A Crystal Chalice on PBS. See more from Nature.

To learn more about nests, come to the library to borrow Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds by Paul J. Baicich [598.156 BAI].

Monday, October 31, 2011

Remembering Florence Parry Heide

Florence Parry Heide passed away last week at the age of 92. She was a prolific writer of books for children and will be remembered fondly by those who grew up up with The Shrinking of Treehorn, a wry book with illustrations by Edward Gorey (sadly, we no longer own a copy).

Perhaps the best way to remember Florence Parry Heide is to come to the library and read her books. Today, Halloween, is the perfect day for the poems in Grim and Ghastly Goings-On [J 811 HEI].

The House of Wisdom [J HEI], with illustrations by Mary Grandpre, is a beautiful book based upon a true story. It is a celebration of a time and place where a library was known as "The House of Wisdom."

The Day of Ahmed's Secret, co-written with her daughter Judith Heide Gilliland [JP HEI], will warm your heart with its big "reveal." Your funny-bone will be tickled by A Promise Is a Promise [JP HEI], and you'll learn that you're not alone in your fears through Some Things Are Scary [JP HEI].

A big thank you to Mrs. Heide for these great books that she has left for us to enjoy for years to come.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Grotesque"

Just in time for Halloween, here's a rather creepy poem about flowers!
by Amy Lowell

Why do the lilies goggle their tongues at me
When I pluck them;
And writhe, and twist,
And strangle themselves against my fingers,
So that I can hardly weave the garland
For your hair?
Why do they shriek your name
And spit at me
When I would cluster them?
Must I kill them
To make them lie still,
And send you a wreath of lolling corpses
To turn putrid and soft
On your forehead
While you dance?

from Amy Lowell: Selected Poems [821 LOW]
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by my alter-ego at Random Noodling.

Photo by Auntie P.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Debate Rages On

There has been almost endless debate about which is better--a physical book or an e-reader?

For now, you can compare and contrast the two at the library. We have started to lend Kindle e-readers. They come preloaded with a variety of popular fiction titles such as Sixkill by Robert B. Parker and Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. The Kindles go out for two weeks, just like a regular book. So, if you're curious about all the fuss, borrow one of our Kindles, give it a test drive, and you, too, can weigh in on the debate!

By the way, a test performed in Germany and reported at Science Daily, showed that although readers perceptions differed, there were "no disadvantages to reading from electronic reading devices compared with reading printed texts." We have yet to hear from you though...

If you already own an e-reader and wish to learn about downloading e-books for free using your Nesmith Library card, please come to the next "Electronic Readers and Electronic Books: e-Readers and the Library" workshop being held on Thursday, November 17, at 6:30.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here's an interesting piece from NPR on what advertising, branding, and clever marketing techniques are doing to us, and more importantly, to our children.

After watching come to the library and borrow:

Consuming Kids the Commercialization of Childhood. [DVD 659.1071 CON]

Linn, Susan E. Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. [305.23 LIN]

Schor, Juliet. Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. [305.23 SCH]

Warning--it is disturbing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monster a Day!

A very talented illustrator of children's books is Kevan Atteberry (and he's quite stunning in looks*). Two of Kevan's books are particularly appropriate for this time of year. Frankie Stein and Frankie Stein Starts School, both written by Lola M. Schaefer, are found in our picture book section [JP SCH].

In recognition of this rather monstrous month, Kevan has started posting "October's Monster A Day" on his Facebook page. Click here to check out the month's offerings thus far.

*Here's Kevan's photo. Was I right? Quite stunning...

Monday, October 24, 2011


PBS Food is a new page on the the PBS website that deals with all things food including recipes, blogs, contests, etc. The site is colorful and appealing, in more ways than one--check out this photo of the black bean chili!

Hey, no drooling on the keyboard!

PBS was around way before the food channels on cable and set the standard for cooking shows with the late Julia Child and Joyce Chen. Over the years, those innovators were followed by many other food stars such as Jacques Pepin, Mary Ann Esposito, Paul Prudhomme, and Martin Yan.

We have some of Julia Child's shows on DVD, The French Chef with Julia Child and The French Chef 2 with Julia Child [both DVD 641.5944 FRE], as well as her cookbooks and memoirs. You'll also find books by some of the other cooks seen on PBS, including Lidia Bastianich's Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy [641.5945 BAS] and Steven Raichlen's Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs: 99 Top-Notch, Tasty, Truly Tempting Recipes Plus Slaws, Sauces, Baked Beans, and More [641.66 RAI].

Friday, October 21, 2011

Poetry Friday--Where Home Begins

Wherever Home Begins: 100 Contemporary Poems [YA 811.54 WHE], selected by Paul Janeczko, is sadly out of print, but luckily for us, it still occupies a place on our shelves.

The jacket copy states, "The book is its most powerful if read as a sequence, a progression of interconnected views, many voices that swell into a chorus." That idea doesn't stop me, though, from separating out one title to share with you. No chorus today, just a strong, clear, solo voice.
On the Back Porch
by Dorianne Laux

The cat calls for her dinner.
On the porch I bend and pour
brown soy stars into her bowl,
stroke her dark fur.
It's not quite night.
Pinpricks of light in the eastern sky.
Above me my neighbor's roof, a transparent
moon, a pink rag of cloud.
Inside my house are those who love me.
My daughter dusts biscuit dough.
And there's a man who will life my hair
in his hands, brush it
until it throws sparks.
Everything is just as I've left it.
Dinner simmers on the stove.
Glass bowls wait to be filled
with gold broth. Sprigs of parsley
on the cutting board.
I want to smell this rich soup, the air
around me going dark, as stars press
their simple shapes into the sky.
I want to stay on the back porch
while the world tilts
toward sleep, until what I love
misses me, and calls me in.
Isn't that lovely? There are others in this collection that present images not quite as happy, yet still satisfying. I'll leave them for you to discover on your own.

Head over to Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup for some home cooking and the round-up for today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ned Kelly

You may have heard of Ned Kelly--he's the Australian equivalent of our Jesse James legendary character. There's a lot of background information found on Wikipedia. And like Jesse James, books and film have told Kelly's story in many ways, including Peter Carey's novel True History of the Kelly Gang [F CAR].

In August of this year it was reported that the skeletal remains of Ned Kelly had been identified. They were found in a mass grave at Pentridge Prison in Victoria. The skeleton, however, is missing its skull! You can listen to an All Things Considered story on NPR.

Engraving courtesy State Library of Victoria.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peanut Allergies

Schools across America have declared their buildings "peanut-free" zones, or have separated those with known peanut allergies from their classmates during lunchtimes. Parents who took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school for their elementary years have trouble understanding the need for peanut-free alternatives for their kids.

A peanut allergy is not just an inconvenience, however, for those who who suffer from it. And it's no fun for a child to witness another child's anaphylaxis episode and a stabbing with an Epi-pen.

Hopeful news now comes from Northwestern University. But until the researchers replicate the results in human subjects, parents will have to deal with peanut-free restrictions.

Here are some materials to help. For kids there's Gloria Koster's The Peanut-Free Café. [JP KOS]

A new classmate with a peanut allergy has Simon reconsidering his love for peanut butter.
And for adults there's Michael C. Young's The Peanut Allergy Answer Book [616.97 YOU].

We also have a number of cookbooks that contain food allergen-free recipes in our 641.5631 section.