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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Preserving Texts

Ancient texts from around the world are still being discovered, and yet, in Mali, they are also being destroyed. The library at Timbuktu has (had?) 20,000 manuscripts according to a report by the British newspaper, The Guardian. The library building has been seized by Islamist fighters who have objectives other than the preservation of cultural history. You can read about the library here, and, you can see a BBC slideshow of some of the original documents here.

Photo of a manuscript from the Mamma Haidara Library, Timbuktu, courtesy the Robert Goldwater Library.

It seems a shame that political and religious beliefs would lead to the destruction of a nation's cultural heritage--something that once gone, can't be replaced--viewpoints in the 21st century are definitely not all enlightened.

Fortunately for us in the U.S., there is Project Gutenberg, which is scanning out of print and other public domain texts to make them available now, and for future generations.

For those who have an ereader, "Project Gutenberg offers over 42,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online."

Since this is the anniversary week of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice, I thought I'd look to see what Project Gutenberg has available for readers. Using Pride and Prejudice as my search term, I found the original text, which include various ebook formats, a collection of "great fiction" that seeks to "allow the original author to tell his own story over again in his own language, but in the shortest possible space" (in other words, the book condensed to a few pages of summary), two audio versions, and one play adaptation. However, if a standard paper version of the original book is what you're looking for, visit us here at the Library [F AUS]!

Update: things may not be as bad as they first appeared in Timbuktu as is reported in this article from NPR.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New DVDs

We've added a bunch of new DVDs to our collection over the past few weeks. A number of them are television series which always seem popular. Here is a small sampling--some are additions to series we've already started, and, one is a series that we've added in one fell swoop:

The Big Bang Theory (Seasons 1-5). [DVD BIG]

Doc Martin. Series 5. [DVD DOC]

Downton Abbey: Season 3. [DVD DOW] This was released on Tuesday and already we have a growing holds list!

The Dust Bowl: A Film by Ken Burns. [DVD DUS]

Homeland: The Complete First Season. [DVD HOM]

Merlin: The Complete Third Season. [DVD MER]

Modern family: The Complete Third Season. [DVD MOD]

Sherlock: Season Two. [DVD SHE]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And the Celebration Continues

You can't have too much Pride and Prejudice celebration as far as I'm concerned. And from what I've seen online and on the radio, I'm not the only one celebrating the 200th anniversary of the book's publication.

So what do I mean by celebration? Huff Post Books has an "Austenganza" here with a whole bunch of links to Austen-related goings-on.

How about the compilation of a Pride and Prejudice playlist? There's one at tweetspeak. Tweetspeak also has created an infographic for those who may not have read Pride and Prejudice and want a crash course.

YouTube has lots of clips here, including this one with my favorite "Mr. Darcy," Colin Firth. (It includes the Regency Period equivalent of the wet tee-shirt.)

There's lots of back-and-forth going on about which actors have created the best Pride and Prejudice. In this poll, conducted by RadioTimes, the votes have already been tallied, and no big surprise, Colin Firth was the winner for best Mr. Darcy.

I'll just wrap things up with a link to the New York Times article, "Austen Fans to Celebrate 200 Years of 'Pride and Prejudice'," where you can find links to an essay contest and information about an exhibition in Baltimore of "the largest Austen collection in North America."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy 200th!

On this day, 200 hundred years ago, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice [F AUS] was published! Let's hope it keeps attracting readers for another 200 years!

For a diehard Austen fan the internet has many Jane Austen sites to explore including JaneAusten.org and the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), which will provide you with lots of Pride and Prejudice information.

If you travel to England and would like to visit the places made famous in Pride and Prejudice, there's a map available at the JASNA site. Not to burst your bubble, but some of the locations are fictional--merely a product of Austen's imagination.

One of Austen's favorite settings for her novels was Bath, and if you stop there, you must visit the The Jane Austen Centre. Stay and have some tea in the Regency Tea Room. Here's what's in store for you:
The Tea Room is set on the second floor of the lovely Georgian townhouse you can escape the hustle and bustle of Bath’s busy streets.

We want you you to relax and be refreshed. Our exclusive tea Room menu includes real leaf tea, frothy coffee or a hot Belgian chocolate drink. Our Tea Rooms have a lovely period atmosphere and very friendly staff.

Here's something to think about--if she were alive today, do you think Jane Austen would embrace the world of social media and electronic devices? The people at the Centre probably think so, they've created an iPhone Jane Austen app that you can download for free. It sends you a daily Austen quote!

If you don't have an iPhone, you still can enjoy an Austen quote by looking through any one of Austen's novels! You can also look for Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders by Josephine Ross [823.7 ROS] or "My Dear Cassandra": The Letters of Jane Austen (to her sister) [823.7 AUS], both of which were on the shelf the last time I looked.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Poetry Friday--The Open Door

Poetry lovers will be happy to know we recently purchased The Open Door: One Hundred Poems One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine (edited by Don Share and Christian Wiman) [811.5 OPE]. For those not familiar with Poetry Magazine, it's published by the Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation has a great online presence, so make sure you check out their website for poems, poet biographies, essays, videos and audios, and much more! It's always the first place I go when I'm looking for a special poem!

This week the Poetry Foundation website is featuring an interview with Richard Blanco, the young poet who read at President Obama's inauguration on Monday.

But back to The Open Door! What I like about the book is that the poems are interspersed with quotations by poets about poetry, such as this one from W. S. Di Piero from January 2006, "Good descriptive poems are like perfumes made tactile." Awesome, right?

Here's a poem that caught my attention--it's by Jack Spicer, and it originally appeared in the July/August 2008 Poetry Magazine.
"Any fool can get into an ocean..."

Any fool can get into an ocean
But it takes a Goddess
To get out of one.
What’s true of oceans is true, of course,
Of labyrinths and poems. When you start swimming
Through riptide of rhythms and the metaphor’s seaweed
You need to be a good swimmer or a born Goddess
To get back out of them
Look at the sea otters bobbing wildly
Out in the middle of the poem
They look so eager and peaceful playing out there where the
    water hardly moves
You might get out through all the waves and rocks
Into the middle of the poem to touch them
But when you’ve tried the blessed water long
Enough to want to start backward
That’s when the fun starts
Unless you’re a poet or an otter or something supernatural
You’ll drown, dear. You’ll drown
Any Greek can get you into a labyrinth
But it takes a hero to get out of one
What’s true of labyrinths is true of course
Of love and memory. When you start remembering.

So, if you've never visited the Poetry Foundation website, you owe it to yourself to check it out. After that, come to the Library for The Open Door and jump right in! You know you're a Goddess!

The Round-Up today is being held at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

Image courtesy Poetry Magazine.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


John Cleese, of Monty Python fame [DVD MON], gave a lecture on creativity way back in 1991. It is still worth watching today:

Creative thinking is a critical skill in today's marketplace. Parents would do well to encourage it in their children. One way to do so is to encourage children to play, rather than to constantly place them in situations where the adults direct all the activities.

Two books were released last year that deal with the matter of creativity in adults. One, Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer [153.35 LEH], deals with the basics of creativity. The second one, Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by America's Master Communicator, George Lois [659.1 LOI], deals with the application of creativity. A slightly older title is The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard L. Florida [658.0019 FLO].

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Comic Books

Before there were graphic novels and other works in comic form, there were good old-fashioned comic books. Some of these comic books are now in the public domain, that is, they are no longer protected by copyright. There is a site, Comic Books Plus, which now has a whole collection of public domain comic books for you to browse through, or, if you're a comic book historian, to study! There are hundreds, if not thousands of comics available, click here.

Comic books have been around for a long time! To learn how long, we have a 7 volume set titled, The World Encyclopedia of Comics [YA 741.5 WOR]. Or, if you'd like a shorter history of comics, look for Comic Book Century: The History of American Comic Books by Stephen Krensky [YA 741.53 KRE].

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Animals at Home

If I had a ton of money, I might consider redesigning my home for the exclusive use of my cats. DesignTAXI provides a look at one such "dream home."

Photo courtesy DesignTAXI.

Not surprisingly, at the Library we have books addressing all sorts of animal housing, including these:

Griffin, David. 24 Weekend Projects for Pets: Dog Houses, Cat Trees, Rabbit Hutches & More. [690.89 GRI]

Needham, Bobbe. Beastly Abodes: Homes for Birds, Bats, Butterflies & Other Backyard Wildlife. [690.892 NEE]

Pangman, Judy. Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock. [636.5 PAN]

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Day for Celebrations!

The Library is closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Day, but it is also Inauguration Day for President Obama's second term! Celebrate!

The U.S. Senate has a short history of presidential inaugural addresses here, and also has links to the texts of past presidential addresses here.

Here's something taken from Franklin Roosevelt's second inaugural address, which I find particularly apt:
Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays. We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.

Photo by pursuethepassion.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Some Days"

We all have days where we feel like Billy Collins does in "Some Days" (from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems [811.54 COL]). His last two lines are the perfect description of a day spent in front of a computer, typewriter, paper and pencil (whatever is his favored tool of composition) and NOT writing.
Some Days

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Violet Nesdoly/poems.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get Your Mouths Ready...

This Saturday, January 19, is the Third Annual New Hampshire Mac & Cheese Bake Off! Yay! I love mac and cheese, so I'm planning to be at the Grappone Center in Concord at 2:00 pm when the doors open to the public. It is sponsored by Granite State Dairy Promotion ("like" them on Facebook). At nh.com you'll find an interesting article about the bake off with some macaroni trivia thrown in.

An unusual book was recommended by our co-worker, Sarah, on her Pinterest board. It's Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay [641.373 LEM]. It might be good to read while you're digesting all that mac and cheese!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grammar Police

I'm not sure if grammar is not being taught, or if people just don't think it's important. In the world of texting, it may become obsolete, but, for the sake of clarity, I hope it sticks around.

You can brush up on your grammar in ways that are practically fun! Like watching a Weird Al video!

If you enter the search term "grammar" into YouTube, you'll find short films on "Grammar Police" and "Grammar Nazis." You'll also find some basic grammar instruction such as you would get in school. I don't think "Grammar School with Snooki" falls into that category, but I could be wrong, the vlogbrothers videos are generally instructive. Oh, what the heck, here's "Grammar School with Snooki," judge for yourself.

We do have books on grammar here at the library. One, Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World by Martha Brockenbrough [428 BRO], may actually have you laughing out loud!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Books by Chance

Here's a fun little article about a vending machine that dispenses used books. Each book is only $2.00, but here's the catch--you don't get to chose the book you want. If you're one of those people who enjoys the thrill of the unexpected, then perhaps you'd like shopping for used books this way. However, if you like to know what you're getting before spending your money, then I'd like to suggest visiting the library and checking out the Friends of the Library of Windham's on-going book sale.

When I checked on Friday, these hardcover novels were among many available for sale:

Berry, Steve. The Emperor's Tomb.

Connelly, Michael. The Overlook.

de los Santos, Marisa. Belong to Me.

Deveraux, Jude. Days of Gold.

Parker, Robert B. Brimstone.

Trollope, Joanna. Friday Nights.

The books sold are in like-new condition, and, the money from their sale is used by FLOW to support the library through sponsorship of activities and entertainment for kids and adults, and by providing funding for purchases not covered by the normal library operating budget.

By the way, if you have a little time to spare, consider volunteering to help FLOW with sorting donated books. Contact FLOW: books@flowwindham.org

Monday, January 14, 2013

Social-Joy Type Experiences

Social-joy type experiences? What are those? Things that make a person or animal laugh! Animals laugh? Yes, they do! An article by Jesse Bering in the July 2012 issue Scientific American Magazine talks about tickling rats to make them laugh!

Human beings have many social-joy experiences including reading. Look for one of
these laughter-inducing novels on your next visit:

Barry, Dave. Lunatics. [AB/CD BAR]

Dean, Louise. The Old Romantic. [F DEA]

Isaacs, Susan. Goldberg Variations. [F ISA]

Magary, Drew. The Postmortal. [F MAG]

McCall Smith, Alexander. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. [F MCC]

Moore, Christopher. Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art. [F MOO]

Friday, January 11, 2013

Poetry Friday--"The Presence"

Maxine Kumin a long time resident of New Hampshire, has lived amongst the animals both domestic and wild. Her poetry is the better for it! Here's a poem from Selected Poems, 1960-1990 [811.54 KUM]:
The Presence

Something went crabwise
across the snow this morning.
Something went hard and slow
over our hayfield.
It could have been a raccoon
lugging a knapsack,
it could have been a porcupine
carrying a tennis racket,
it could have been something
supple as a red fox
dragging the squawk and spatter
of a crippled woodcock.
Ten knuckles underground
those bones are seeds now
pure as baby teeth
lines up in the burrow.

I cross on showshoes
cunningly woven from
the skin and sinews of
something else that went before.
Strap on your snowshoes and head on over to No Water River for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by 'S'.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


If you're not already using Pinterest, it may be because you think it'll be too hard to set up an account. Fear not! We recently received a copy of Teach Yourself Visually: Pinterest by Janet Majure [006.754 MAJ], which will lead you through the process step-by-step. Once you're active you'll find any number of things to pin, or repin, including book recommendations and other things from the Library's account.

The Library has had a Pinterest account for about a year now and we have 15 boards full of interesting and informational links. One of the newest boards is "Free Online Courses," which will link you to a number of places where you can take educational--including college level--courses in the comfort of your own home!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Looking Up

One of the advantages of the longer nights of winter is the longer time for looking up in the sky.

What's going on in the sky at this time of year? Two guidebooks, both by Ian Ridpath, contain monthly star charts: Astronomy and Stars and Planets, both [520 RID], which will tell you what it is you're looking at.

I found a Pinterest board that covers all things seen (and unseen) if you look up, it's titled Cosmos- The Universe, and it is awesome! Here's a photo from the board:

Originally pinned from www.northernlightsiceland.com.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Fun in the Snow

Last year we missed our snow season almost completely due to lack of snow (I'm not going to count the Halloween snow storm we had). This year, we may get more skiing or sledding time since the Old Farmer's Almanac predicts quite a bit of the white stuff will be falling in our area.

If predictions are to be believed, then you can get ready for outdoor fun with one of these titles:

Bourass, Barbara. Winter Sports. [J 796.9 BOU]

Chapman, Garry. Snow (part of the "Extreme Sports" series). [J 796.9 CHA]

Levine, Caroline Anne. Snow Fun. [J 794 LEV]

Markle, Sandra. Exploring Winter. [J 574.5 MAR]

Rau, Dana Meachem. Building Snow Forts. [J 693.91 RAU}

Here's an example of a walk in the snow taken by Simon Beck, an artist in France (courtesy The Daily Mail):

Monday, January 07, 2013

It's National Folktale Month

The Children's Literature Network has declared January to be "National Folktale Month.

I'm all for celebrating traditional tales that have been passed down for generations in cultures all around the world. Our children's room collection has folktales from many countries and regions for you to explore:

From China comes Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel [JP MOS].

Egypt sends us The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo [JP CLI].

From Mexico is Borreguita and the Coyote by Verna Aardema [JP AAR].

North America's native population is the source of Rabbit's Wish for Snow by Tchin [E TCH].

From Scandinavia comes a story of an elephant! The Elephant Prince: Inspired by an Old Nordic Tale by Flavia Weedn [JP WEE].

South America is the setting for Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains by Barbara Knutson [JP KNU].

Look up a tale from your ancestors, or from the region in which we live. Just use "folklore and the name of a country/region" as your catalog search term.

There many many folktales to choose from--more than enough to last the whole month!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Poetry Friday--Connections

David Ferry won the National Book Award in 2012 for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations [811.54 FER]. I ordered the book for our collection, and it is now available.

I'm not familiar with David Ferry and so I looked him up on Wikipedia for an overview. I found this in the article:
Before moving to his current home in Brookline MA, Ferry lived across the Charles River in Cambridge, in the house where 19th century journalist and women's rights advocate Margaret Fuller lived before she joined the Brook Farm community.

The reason it caught my eye is that I read a short novel about Fuller not too long ago, Miss Fuller by April Bernard [F BER], and, I've always been intrigued by Margaret Fuller and her role as a women of great intelligence and spirit during the period before the American Civil War.

In Bewilderment, Ferry has a poem that mentions Emerson. Emerson, the great New England writer, was also connected to Margaret Fuller. He gave her the job of editor of The Dial, an influential transcendentalist journal, and became her close friend.
by David Ferry

The mind's whispering to itself is its necessity
To be itself and not to be any other,
If only for the moment as it passes.
It eats what it needs from the world around itself.
Slowly it makes its way floating through temperatures,
Degrees and other degrees of light and dark.
It moves through all things by virtue of its own
Characteristics. Mainly it is silent.
But when it utters a sound it is a sound
That others find hard to interpret, and that's known,
It supposes, only to another creature
It dreams of, so similar to itself as not
To have an entirely separate identity.
Somewhere there may be such a creature.
Emerson said: "They may be real; perhaps they are."
Yet it also thinks it's the only one, and is lonely.
It can be silent and unknown except
To itself or not even known to itself for long
Periods of time in sleepless reverie.
It is never asleep during the long nights of sleep.
I suppose Fuller could be considered a creature whose voice was one "that others find hard to interpret." I think she was a woman, who after a tragic death, was quickly dismissed because she had been so liberated in her thinking. She is certainly a woman whose life is worth exploring!

There is more, also, to learn about David Ferry's work. One way to do so is through viewing this hour-long video of a reading that took place at Boston University in 2010.

There are many connections to be made through poetry--some will connect you emotionally, and some may lead you down the road to research.

Travel over to Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme where Matt is Rounding-Up scads of poetry this week.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Jewelry Making

I have a thing for earrings, and I like to make them, too. I recently found a jewelry making website with tutorials, which I thought I would share with you. It's Rena Klingenberg's Jewelry Making Journal: The Friendly Community. The several tutorials I looked at inspired me to think about taking a creative leap in my earring making! If you click on the "Jewelry Making" tab at the top of the page, you'll find a drop-down menu with links to 15 aspects of jewelry making--one devoted exclusively to earrings!

Of course we have several books on making jewelry in our crafts collection, including these:

Newcomb, Rain. The Girls' World Book of Jewelry: 50 Cool Designs to Make. [J 745.594 NEW]

Olver, Elizabeth. Jewelry Making Techniques Book: Over 50 Techniques for Creating Eyecatching Contemporary and Traditional Designs. [739.27 OLV]

Peck, Denise. 101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects & Techniques. [739.27 PEC]

Wire-Wrapped and Beaded Jewelry. [745.5942 WIR]

Get creative in 2013! You can start simply with wire and a pair of needle-nose pliers!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


The world of children's literature bloggers present awards each year to children's and young adult books published during the prior year.

The short list of finalists was announced yesterday and the judges (I'm a judge!) must now read like crazy, discuss with other judges, and come to a decision to be announced in mid-February.

You'll find many of the books in our collection, including these seven finalists for poetry:

Coombs, Kate. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. [J 811.6 COO]

Elliott, David. In the Sea. [JP ELL]

Florian, Douglas. UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. (on order)

Koertge, Ron. Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses. [YA KOE]

Lewis, J. Patrick and Jane Yolen. Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs. [J 818.602 LEW]

Lewis, J. Patrick, ed. National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! [J 808.81 NAT]

Salas, Laura Purdie. BookSpeak! Poems About Books. [J 811.6 SAL]

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

"The Old Year and New" Words by Marian Douglas, music by T. Crampton.

1. The north winds blow o'er drifts of snow.
Out in the cold who goes from here?
"Good-by! good-by!" loud voices cry;
"Good-by!" returns the brave Old Year.
But looking back what word leaves he?
"Oh, you must all good children be!"

2. A knock, a knock! 'tis twelve o'clock!
This time of night, pray who comes here?
Oh, now I see, 'tis he! 'tis he!
All people know the glad New Year!
What has he brought? and what says he?
"Oh, you must all good children be!"

From THE NURSERY: A Monthly Magazine For Youngest Readers. VOLUME XXI.—No. 1, January 1877. You can listen to the music by clicking here. This magazine, and many more, are available through Project Gutenberg.

The Library is closed today, come visit us tomorrow.