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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Ultimate Fish Story

If you fish, you're probably guilty of telling a fish story or two--and the "one that got away" probably gets bigger with each telling. Ernest Hemingway, however, told a story about one that didn't get away, but nearly killed its captor. The book is The Old Man and the Sea [F HEM]. It's a novella well-worth reading if you missed it in your youth (my fourth grade teacher read it to the class on the last day of school).

We also have a copy of the filmed version with Spencer Tracy [DVD OLD].

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Olympics Are Underway!

I'm sure you've seen the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in London, and perhaps one or two of the events--there's plenty more to come.

The Olympics are the subject of several books in our collection, especially in the children's room, if you're looking to learn more:

Gifford, Clive. Summer Olympics: The Definitive Guide to the World's Greatest Sports Celebration. [J 796.48 GIF]

Hunter, Nick. The 2012 London Olympics. [J 796.48 HUN]

Hurley, Michael. Great Olympic Moments. [J 796.48 HUR]

Macy, Sue. Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics. [J 796.48 MAC]

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Lines"

I thought about posting a sports poem for today since it is the opening day of the Summer Olympics, but, I wasn't able to find one that spoke to me. So, I'm going to share a short poem by Martha Collins called "Lines." I'll say it's tangentially related to sports since it does speak about distances between two points--and what is a race if not covering a distance between the start and finish lines?

Draw a line. Write a line. There.
Stay in line, hold the line, a glance
between the lines is fine but don't
turn corners, cross, cut in, go over
or out, between two points of no
return's a line of flight, between
two points of view's a line of vision.
But a line of thought is rarely
straight, an open line's no party
line, however fine your point.
A line of fire communicates, but drop
your weapons and drop your line,
consider the shortest distance from x
to y, let x be me, let y be you.

Found in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, selected by Billy Collins [811 POE].
I'm sure there will be a number of sports/Olympics related poems for Poetry Friday this week, if so, you'll be sure to find them at the Round-Up. It is being held at LifeIsBetterWithBooks.com.

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Daniel Striped Tiger is Back!

Starting on Labor Day, PBS Kids will be have a new kids' program, for ages 2 to 4: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Many will remember Mr. Rogers and his gentle little hand puppet, Daniel Striped Tiger. Daniel returns as an animated character to present first experiences and other issues of importance to the very young. Each episode will also provide a "parenting strategy."

If your child needs additional help in dealing with a new situation, then check our catalog using "first experiences" as a search term. You'll find books by Anne Civardi covering everything from Going to the Dentist to Going on a Plane [JP CIV]. You'll also find some of original Mr. Rogers books on subjects such as Going to the Potty and Making Friends [JP ROG].

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Everyday Mysteries

Since their life experience is so limited, children often pose interesting questions about everyday phenomena that adults hardly even notice, for instance, "Why do we yawn?"

The Library of Congress has developed a series of "Everyday Mysteries: Fun Science Facts" that attempts to answer kids' questions, including the yawn one.

If you don't find the answer to your particular question, the Library of Congress even allows you ask a question, as long as the question is not required to answer a homework assignment or to help you win a contest!

We have many kids' books that do the same thing--satisfy a child's curiosity about the world around him/her. One dealing specifically with science is I Wonder Why Soap Makes Bubbles and Other Questions about Science by Barbara Taylor [J 507.8 TAY]. And, for curious adults, we have What Einstein Didn't Know: Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert L. Wolke [500 WOL].

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Many Goodbyes...

This past few months have been tough for readers of children's books--Maurice Sendak and Jean Craighead George both passed away in May, and now, in July, another three children's writers are gone, Else Holmelund Minarik, Donald J. Sobol, and Margaret Mahy, who passed away yesterday.

Minarik was the author of the "Little Bear" series of easy readers, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Some of the "Little Bear" titles are Little Bear, A Kiss for Little Bear, and Little Bear's Visit [all E MIN].

Sobol was the author of the "Encyclopedia Brown" series of mysteries for young readers. The series began in 1963 with Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective [J MYS SOB], and will be concluded with Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme, which is awaiting publication in October of this year.

"Encyclopedia Brown" books provide kids with 10 mini-mysteries in each volume that have continued to attract readers for almost 50 years. The publisher has aided the books' popularity by updating the covers every so often. Here are two examples to illustrate the cover evolution of the fourth book in the series, Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man.

New Zealand author, Mahy, wrote a variety of books for kids from picture books such as 17 Kings and 42 Elephants [JP MAH] to young adult thrillers like 24 Hours [YA MAH].

All of these writers will be greatly missed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Universe of Numbers!

A friend told me about an awesome site for numbers lovers, Magnifying the Universe. Even if you're not a numbers lover, this site should afford you hours of fascinating learning about the Earth and its inhabitants, and about objects outside the Earth's atmosphere--like WAY OUTSIDE!

This poster will provide you with a preview:

Sizes of the Universe
Source: Number Sleuth

A fun book for kids, similar in focus to Magnifying the Universe, is Big Numbers: And Pictures That Show Just How Big They Are! by Edward Packard [J 513.5 PAC]. Have fun!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Waiting for Icarus"

It's time for me to revisit the "American Poets Project" collection published by The Library of America, Muriel Rukeyser: Selected Poems (edited by Adrienne Rich) [811.52 RUK]. Although Rukeyser passed away more than 30 years ago, I find her poems still speak to a contemporary audience, especially to the women.

Waiting for Icarus

He said he would be back and we'd drink wine together
He said that everything would be better than before
He said we were on the edge of a new relation
He said he would never again cringe before his father
He said that he was going to invent full-time
He said he loved me that going into me
He said was going into the world and the sky
He said all the buckles were very firm
He said the wax was the best wax
He said Wait for me here on the beach
He said Just don't cry

I remember the gulls and the waves
I remember the islands going dark on the sea
I remember the girls laughing
I remember they said he only wanted to get away from me
I remember mother saying    :    Inventors are like poets, a trashy lot
I remember she told me those who try out inventions are worse
I remember she added    :    Women who love such are the worst of all
I have been waiting all day, or perhaps longer.
I would have liked to try those wings myself.
It would have been better than this.

Strap on your wings and fly over to A Teaching Life for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Engraving, "Ikarus" (1588) by Hendrik Goltzius courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learning More About World Music

Yesterday we looked at world music, and today, I'm going to tell you about how you can take a college level course on world music for FREE!

The course is offered through Coursera.org. It identifies itself as "Education for Everyone":
We offer courses from the top universities, for free. Learn from world-class professors, watch high quality lectures, achieve mastery via interactive exercises, and collaborate with a global community of students.
The "world-class professors" come from Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania--you can't get much better than that!

The world music course, "Listening to World Music," starts next week, so if you're interested, check it out here.

Daniel J. Levitin has a book, The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature [781.11 LEV], in which he says,
Music, I argue, is not simply a distraction or a pastime, but a core element of our identity as a species, an activity that paved the way for more complex behaviors such as language, large-scale cooperative undertakings, and the passing down of important information from one generation to the next.
Why not learn about it! Take a course, read, or better yet--listen!

Photo by ajft.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

World Music

The BBC has an extensive archive of world music that is worth exploring. The music has been collected from the BBC Radio 3 programme, World Routes, or from BBC documentaries, so you can listen to, or view music you may never be able to experience here in New Hampshire.

The BBC World Music Archive covers countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, and you'll get a taste from five of the seven continents. I don't believe penguins make music, but if they did, the BBC would probably travel to Antarctica to record it!

If you'd like just one CD set to listen to, why not try Putumayo World Music 10th Anniversary Collection, 1993-2003 [CD INTERNATIONAL PUT].

Our world music collection is small, and we're always looking for recommendations of specific titles or artists so that we can expand it. If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

That Crazy Internet!

About a year ago I read a interesting book titled, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains [612.8 CAR]. The author, Nicholas Carr, asks the question, "As we become ever more adept at scanning and skimming, are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection?" From personal experience, I'd say, Yes.

Now, it seems that not only is our concentration effected, but the internet is making us crazy! Or so says Tony Dokoupil, reporting for Newsweek [MAGAZINE NEW].
The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.
Here's some advice from Dokoupil:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Amelia Earhart Resurfaces

Some larger public libraries branch out into television in an effort to educate/entertain and to inform the public about library services. I came across Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III which both entertains and educates viewers about historical figures. Crosby Kemper III is also the director of the Kansas City Public Library.

One of the programs covers Amelia Earhart. Earhart's name has recently been in the news again since July 2 marked the 75th anniversary of her plane's disappearance in the Pacific. It seems that evidence exists confirming that Earhart crashed, and survived, on a small South Pacific island. Click here for more.

Here is Crosby Kemper III's interview with an Earhart performer:

We have Amelia Earhart covered, especially in the children's room, but I expect there will be new books coming out in the near future that will unravel the mystery of Earhart's life after the "disappearance." For now, you may wish to delve into Letters from Amelia, 1901-1937, which contains letters Earhart wrote throughout her life.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Watermelons"

Another great small poem from the anthology Pocket Poems, Selected for a Journey by Paul B. Janeczko [YA 811.5 POC]:
by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Now, if that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will!

And speaking of melons, in our children's room, we have a book called Cool Melons--Turn to Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub [J 895.6 GOL]. Issa, for those who don't recognize the name, was one of the great haiku poets of Japan.

David G. Lanoue has translated hundreds of Issa's haiku and has them indexed at his Issa Archive. Here's one of the melon haiku:
the melon cooling
two days now...
no one has come
If you're now feeling sad and lonely, head over to Check It Out, where you'll find the Poetry Friday Round-Up, and lots of poetry to cheer you up!

Photo by srqpix.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

Henry David Thoreau was born on this day in 1817, which would make him 195 years old!

There is probably no New Englander more revered than Thoreau, and his Walden is still widely read today. We have the book in multiple formats including The Annotated Walden: Walden: or, Life in the Woods [818 THO].

Plan a visit to Walden Pond. It is less than an hour away, and worth the trip. For a photographic history of Walden Pond, borrow Thoreau's Walden by Tim Smith [974.44 SMI]; it is part of the popular "Images of America" series of books.

For a fictionalized look at Thoreau and his time in Concord, borrow Woodsburner: A Novel by John Pipkin [F PIP].
Woodsburner springs from a little-known event in the life of one of America's most iconic figures, Henry David Thoreau. On April 30, 1844, a year before he built his cabin on Walden Pond, Thoreau accidentally started a forest fire that destroyed three hundred acres of the Concord woods--an event that altered the landscape of American thought in a single day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Constructive Destruction

Here's an inspiring story: an artist, diagnosed with breast cancer, decides to create more than 700 collages using Tolstoy's War and Peace [F TOL] as inspiration and basis for the project, and, she ends up building a bridge (figuratively speaking) to Russia. You can read/listen to the story here.

Photo courtesy Andrea Shea/WBUR.

As a result of the project, the artist, Lola Baltzell, has also made contact with people from Tolstoy's home town in Russia and the collages are being displayed half-way around the world! Baltzell has a blog titled the War and Peace Project, where you can learn more and keep up-to-date on the project's exhibitions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Innovative Choreographers

On July 28th, the United States Postal Service will be releasing a series of forever stamps celebrating "Innovative Choreographers," Isadora Duncan, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse, and José Limón.

Choreographers play an important part in the presentation of dance--they lay out the roadmap for the movements to be made by the dancers. Of course, the four being celebrated were also great dancers, too!

Here are a few items from our collection to go along with the celebration:

All That Jazz. [DVD ALL] This movie is based on the life of Bob Fosse. We have several movie versions of Broadway plays that Fosse choreographed, including, Damn Yankees [DVD DAM].

Barefoot Dancer: The Story of Isadora Duncan by Barbara O'Connor [J B DUN].

Dance: Rituals of Experience by Jamake Highwater [792.8 HIG]

José!: Born to Dance: The Story of José Limón by Susanna Reich [JP REI]

I found this video of the life of Katherine Dunham, which also may be of interest:

Monday, July 09, 2012

Guess What's Coming In December--And It's Not Santa

Okay, I'm not going to keep you in suspense, it's The Hobbit movie, part 1, The Unexpected Journey.

You can keep up on all The Hobbit news by visiting The Hobbit Blog!

If you've never read the book, or if you'd like to reread it, now's the time! We have copies in our adult fiction, YA fiction, and audiobook sections. Don't wait too long, though, once the film is released we'll probably end up with a long holds list! You can't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Poetry Friday--"The Unwritten"

In our YA section is an anthology titled, Truth & Lies, edited by Patrice Vecchione [YA 808.81 TRU]. The poems within were not necessarily written for young adults, but the appeal to young adults is obvious. Here's one by W.S. Merwin.
The Unwritten

Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they're hiding

they're awake in there
dark in the dark
hearing us
but they won't come out
not for love not for time not for fire

even when the dark has worn away
they'll still be there
hiding in the air
multitudes in days to come may walk through them
breathe them
be none the wiser

what script can it be
that they won't unroll
in what language
would I recognize it
would I be able to follow it
to make out the real names
of everything

maybe there aren't
it could be that there's only one word
and it's all we need
it's here in this pencil

every pencil in the world
is like this

Being lazy sort, I found a copy of the poem online and cut and pasted it here. I then noticed that there were differences between the online version and the one in Truth & Lies--words and line spacing. So, I ended up checking the whole thing against Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin [811.54 MER], and I think that the version above is now correct! I can only conclude that the anthology, Truth & Lies, contains some of both!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

Photo by Nalini Prasanna.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

You Had to Know It Was Coming...

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article that is making its way around Facebook and the blogosphere: "Your E-Book is Reading You" by Alexandra Alter. I highly recommend reading through the article, since it reveals a whole new world that can have a direct impact on your right to privacy! And, to what will be available for you to read in the future.

Although it is a constantly evolving issue, privacy, and the assault on it, in the 21st. century is something we should all be aware of. Here's one book for you to look through: Prying Eyes: Protect Your Privacy from People Who Sell to You, Snoop on You, and Steal from You by Eric Gertler [323.44 GER].

Here's a telling statement from the WSJ article:
...in publishing, reader satisfaction has largely been gauged by sales data and reviews--metrics that offer a postmortem measure of success but can't shape or predict a hit. That's beginning to change as publishers and booksellers start to embrace big data, and more tech companies turn their sights on publishing.
For a creative writer, it must be chilling to think that novels in the near future may be written by committee, based upon how ebook readers are now reading books.

When you purchase an ebook from a vendor such as Amazon, you may be getting more than you bargained for!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

The Library is closed today for the holiday, have a safe holiday and we'll see you tomorrow!

By way of celebration, I'd like to share this Walt Whitman poem with you.

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
        singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
        at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
        the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
        robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

The poem is found in many anthologies, as well as in books of Whitman's poetry such as Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman [J 811 WHI].

Photo by Russell Lee courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Congratulations June Foray!

On June 17, June Foray won a Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Vocal Performance in an Animated Series" for her role as Mrs. Cauldrin on The Garfield Show. Foray is 94 years old, and this is her first Emmy! The name June Foray is probably not familiar to many, but I'm sure once you watch this video you'll recognize her voice/voices:

Not shown in the video is June as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but you can borrow our DVD [J DVD HOW] and catch her performance.

Since June also performed the voices of Rocky, and Natasha, she is well represented in the book The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose by Keith Scott [791.45 SCO].

Monday, July 02, 2012

Summer Reading

If you have a vacation coming up, come to the library to stock up on books to read while you're swinging in a hammock or sitting on a dock. Most of the major newspapers, and NPR, publish a summer reading list or multiple lists, but generally speaking these books are more recently published ones that may be in high demand. Your best bet for recommendations is a general list that covers titles from an timeframe other than "recent." The New York Times listed "The Ten Best Books of 2010," in December 2010. The Boston Globe published a list to cover "The Decade's Best Books," back in December 2009. Or, you could look into an even more comprehensive list such as "Waterstone's Top 100 Books of the Century," or "Modern Library's 100 Best Novels." The Library of Congress has a list titled, "Books that Shaped America," which has American classics, such as To Kill a Mockingbird [F LEE], as well as some quite unexpected titles such as James D. Watson's The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA [572.86 WAT].

The "hot" book this year, and I mean that in more ways than one, is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and the other two books in the trilogy. I'm not going to recommend them, but I will recommend a nifty graphic titled "101 Books To Read This Summer Instead of 50 Shades of Grey," which will lead you to other titles to consider [note: click on the graphic to make it larger].

There's plenty to read if you don't restrict yourself to the latest bestseller. And there are a plenty of places to look for recommendations if you don't already have a title in mind.