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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oh No, It's Halloween Already!

Yup! It may be too late to think about a costume for this year, but, it's great to get a 12-month head start on next year! If you want to get away from the zombie, dripping blood type of costume, there are many characters from children's books that you, or your kids, can dress up as.

BuzzFeed ran a post, "21 Children's Book Characters Born to Be Halloween Costumes," click here to see what they suggest.

To prepare for next year, I'd suggest reading several children's picture books each week. You're sure to be inspired to create a costume. Why not begin with one of these recently added titles:

Casanova, Mary. One-Dog Sleigh. [JP CAS]

Gordon, Gus. Herman and Rosie. [JP GOR]

Hamburg, Jennifer. A Moose That Says Moooooooooo. [JP HAM]

Larson, Kirby. Princess Bitty Baby. [JP LAR]

McPhail, David. My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes, Songs, and Concepts. [JP MCP]

Moore, Inga. Captain Cat. [JP MOO]

Raschka, Chris. Daisy Gets Lost. [JP RAS]

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shakespeare in Action

Maybe you started watching the PBS series The Hollow Crown and never got to finish it. Maybe you missed the beginning and didn't want to start in the middle. Or maybe, you enjoyed it so much, you want to watch it again. If so, you're in luck! We now have The Hollow Crown in our collection [DVD HOL].

Or perhaps, you haven't a clue to what it is I'm talking about? The New York Times published this summary when the programs were first aired back in September. In it, director, Sam Mendes, expressed his intent:
...to do over the BBC Shakespeares that had been done in the ’70s, but this time to do them as real films, on locations and with large numbers of extras, rather than as the weird hybrids they were then.

Mendes filmed four plays as action movies: "Richard II," "Henry IV, Part 1," "Henry IV, Part 2," and "Henry V." We have the theatrical presentations set of the Shakespeare plays, Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, on DVD [DVD 822.33 SHA]. It might be fun to watch The Hollow Crown and compare its offering to the stage performances.

And, if you doubt the relevance of these plays to life in the 21st century, let me tell you about a Boston Book Festival session I attended on the 19th: the session was titled "Shakespeare and Leadership: Richard Olivier." Richard Olivier is the son of Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright. Here's the description:
Richard Olivier, who directed Henry V for the opening of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, has Shakespeare in his blood. The actor/director, quoting heavily from the play, gives a powerful presentation on the lessons and psychological insights of Henry V. Olivier is the author of Inspirational Leadership: Henry V and the Muse of Fire. Come be inspired by the Bard!
Richard Olivier now makes a living out of sharing the lessons of Shakespeare. Psychological insights and action await you in The Hollow Crown!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Richard Dreyfuss!

Richard Dreyfuss is 66 years young today. Drefuss has had a long career in films starting back in the 60s when he appeared in The Graduate [DVD GRA]. Don't remember him in that movie? He played a boarding house resident and was not credited. (It might be fun to rewatch to film to see if you can spot him!) His breakthrough role came when he played a teen in 1973 in American Graffiti [DVD GRA]. The stellar performances continue to this day! Dreyfuss recently completed Killing Winston Jones, a comedy in which he plays the title role. It will probably be released in 2014.

Here are a few of Dreyfuss's films that you can borrow from the Library:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. [DVD CLO]

The Goodbye Girl. [DVD GOO]

Jaws. [DVD JAW]

Lost in Yonkers. [DVD LOS]

Mr. Holland's Opus. [DVD MRH]

Postcards from the Edge. [DVD POS]

Here's one of my favorite scenes from a Richard Dreyfuss movie:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jana Bibi

Are you a fan of Alexander McCall Smith's books with their quirky, but lovable characters? If so, you may like a new series by Betsy Woodman that we've just added to our collection. There are, at present, two books in the "Jana Bibi Adventure" series: Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes and Love Potion Number 10 [F WOO].

In the first book, Scottish woman, Janet Laird, inherits property in India. She heads there becoming known as "Jana Bibi" to the locals. Jana fully involves herself in the community when they try to save their little town from an Indian government dam project. In the second book, as you probably can surmise from the title, the story has Jana imbibing in a bit of love potion.

Author Betsy Woodman currently lives in New Hampshire! You can follow her on her blog and look for her appearances at bookstores and libraries around the region.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [DVD BES], starring Maggie Smith, also has a similar feel with its British characters who travel to India and become absorbed by the local flavors, colors, and characters they encounter.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Poetry Friday--"All Hallows"

This coming Thursday is Halloween! Don't blink or the next thing you know, it'll be New Year's eve!

Here's a poem by Louise Glück:
All Hallows

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here
Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.

Found in The First Four Books of Poems [811 GLU].
Chilling, don't you think? Especially with what's left unsaid.

Visit Irene at Live Your Poem... for what promises to be a Halloween poetry treat!

Have a great Halloween and don't eat too much candy.

Painting "Landscape with Farm Building" by Cecilia Beaux, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Facts

The late senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is often credited with the statement, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

The universally accepted definition of a fact is something known to exist or to have happened, in other words, something that can be proven to be true.

For those who find facts (as in trivia) fun, there's a recently unveiled site to check out, FACTSlides. You can watch a slide show of random facts, or along the bottom you can click on various categories of facts such as "fruits" or "phobias." Since the site is new, it may take a few months to fill up the categories, so check back often.

For kids interested in facts, there's a cute picture book called Bugs by the Numbers: Facts and Figures for Multiple Types of Bugbeasties by Sharon Werner [JP WER] that could keep them busy by the hour. And, look for the old standby Guinness World Records [J 031 GUI]. We have the 2014 edition hot off the press!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Knitting Gone Wild!

If you're a knitter or crocheter, you may be interested in reading this article about a woman, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, who knits giant pieces that are made into...wait for it...PLAYGROUNDS!

Holy smokes!

Photo © Masaki Koizumi courtesy Arch Daily.

Knitting a playground is certainly an ambitious project. If you need something a little less gargantuan, look for one of these knitting books in our collection:

Remember, the holidays are coming, so, if you're going to knit, you'd better get a move on!

Anderson, Susan B. Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. [746.432 AND]

Curtis, Alice. Knit Your Socks on Straight a New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles. [3M ebook]

Durant, Judith. 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders a World of Possibilities Inspired by Just One Skein. [3M ebook]

Epstein. Nicky. Knitting in Circles: 100 Circular Patterns for Sweaters, Bags, Hats, Afghans, and More. [746.432 EPS]

Leapman, Melissa. Stashbuster Knits: Tips, Tricks, and 21 Beautiful Projects for Using Your Favorite Leftover Yarn. [746.432 LEA]

In case you think that knitting is just something little old ladies do, here's a blog post from Madman Knitting to prove otherwise!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Under the Microscope

The above print is from an 1862 book by Ernest Haeckel titled Die Radiolarien. If you'd like to see more amazing renditions of skeletal remains of zooplankton, visit the Biodiversity Heritage Library page and click on the image of the book on the right-hand side of the page. You'll find 35 color plates rendered by Haeckel who was both a scientist and an artist.

In the children's room we have several color photo-illustrated books on microscopic life, look for them in J 570. Under the Microscope, volume 9 of a series by John O. E. Clark called "Science Tools" covers the microscope in detail [J 530.8 CLA]. A fascinating look at the electron microscope is found in Microaliens: Dazzling Journeys With an Electron Microscope by Howard Tomb, Howard [J 502.8 TOM].

Monday, October 21, 2013

One More Reason to Walk

The New York Times recently ran a piece called "How Walking May Lower Breast Cancer Risk," click here.
When the researchers cross-tabulated exercise regimens and medical records, they found that those women who walked at least seven hours per week, usually distributed as an hour a day, had 14 percent less risk of developing breast cancer than those who walked for fewer than three hours per week, a significant reduction in risk.
With statistics indicating that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, it might be worth your while to start walking! Men, too, will definitely benefit from walking, too, so everyone should add walking to their daily routine.

I know winter will soon be upon us, but you can't use that as an excuse not to walk if you follow Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home. Walk This Way! [DVD 613.71 LES]--she can start you off on the road to health.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Poetry Friday--Button Up!

Button up! It's getting to be that time of year when coats are no longer an option and socks are a necessity. Alice Schertle's book, Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes [811.54 SCH], is therefore a perfect poetry choice for an October day.

Here's my favorite poem from the book:
Hand-me-down Sweatshirt

I'm a hand-me-down sweatshirt
with zipper and hood.
I'm everyone's favorite
and still looking good.

I've been lost and recovered,
been torn and been sewn,
been dribbled on, tumbled in,
rained on and blown.

I started out Wendell's,
was passed down to May,
she passed me to Karly,
I'm Andrew's today.

So zip up my zipper
and pull up my hood.
I'm a friend of the family
and still looking good.

"Hand-me-down Sweatshirt," like all the others in the collection, are told from the point of view of the article of clothing. This book would be an excellent choice for a teacher trying to teach the concept of "personification" to kids.

Another reason to look for the book is to enjoy the illustrations of Petra Mathers, they are simply fun--just look at the cover!

Zip up and head over to the Poetry Friday Round-Up being held by Cathy at Merely Day By Day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Film Opening This Week (In France)

The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet is based on the adult novel by Reif Larsen titled The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet [F LAR], it opened yesterday in France, but there is no release date set for the U.S.

When the book was published back in 2009, it received a lot of buzz due to its unusual format (not only text, but also drawings, charts, notes, etc. cover the pages) and the fact that the author, a debut novelist, received a huge advance (reported to be close to $1 million). The critics, however, were not all enthusiastic. Here's a sample of some of the reviews:

The Guardian:
The Selected Works of TS Spivet might best be read in a semi-feverish state, when you are in bed with flu, perhaps, and have time to be enchanted by looping chains of childlike thought. But any other time you might be glad the works are at least selected, rather than complete.
Publishers Weekly:
For the most part, they work well, though sometimes the extra material confuses more than clarifies. Larsen is undeniably talented, though his unique vision and style make for a love-it or hate-it proposition.
New York Times:
"The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet" is ultimately a novel to be appreciated rather than adored, devoured or even acutely analyzed, for it is not a narrative that brims with big ideas, and in fact, there is little narrative to speak of.
Windham readers don't seem to have liked it much either--in the 4 years we've had the book, it's only been out 16 times. It was sitting on the shelf the last time I looked, but, if the 3-D movie makes a splash, there may be demand for it--in other words, read it now.

Maybe the book needed to be made into a movie before finding its audience--we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shake, Shake, Shake

If you happen to be visiting a government building, a school, or a preschool at 10:17 tomorrow morning, you may get caught up in The Great Northeast ShakeOut. According to the website, "2013 is the first year that Northeast states will be organized as an Official ShakeOut Region."

So what is the ShakeOut? It's earthquake preparedness training, a drill. Earthquakes are infrequent here in the Northeast, but they do happen. And one day, without warning, we may get a big one.

The ShakeOut only lasts a few seconds, you can listen to the drill broadcast here, and you can use it in your own home or workplace.

If you'd like to prepare your home and family for an emergency, I'd recommend looking for the Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur T. Bradley [363.348 BRA].

If you'd like to learn more about earthquakes, look for materials in either the adult or children's section under 551.2.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finding Ada

Today is Ada Lovelace Day!
Ada Lovelace Day is an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

But, exactly who is, or was, Ada Lovelace? In the 1830s Charles Babbage came up with the idea of an "Analytical Engine," which became the forerunner to the computer. It was Ada who refined that idea and wrote and published programs for the device. A brief biography can be found here.

Not many people, however, have heard of Ada Lovelace. Nor have they heard of scores of other "smart" women from the past. However, with Ada Lovelace Day, and women now being acknowledged for their intellectual capabilities, perhaps Ada Lovelace will become a name instantly recognized in the future.

One of the books that celebrates the accomplishments of women is Patently Female: From AZT to TV dinners: Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas by Ethlie Ann Vare [609 VAR].

Painting courtesy The National Archives.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day!

The Library is closed today in observance of the Columbus Day Federal holiday.

Although we will be closed, you do have access to 3M ebooks from our catalog. All you need is an ereader, tablet, or computer and your Nesmith Library card! To learn more, click here.

Some recent additions to the 3M collection of ebooks owned by the GMILCS consortium include these newly published or reprinted titles:

Anderson, Scott. Lawrence in Arabia.

Chiaverini, Jennifer. The Spymistress.

Carnac, James. The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper.

Dubois, Jennifer. Cartwheel.

Ephron, Delia. Sister Mother Husband Dog, Etc.

Gilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Lowland.

McMillan, Terry. Who Asked You.

Plame, Valerie. Blowback.

Sands, Lynsay. One Lucky Vampire.

Thompson, Clive. Smarter Than You Think.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Poetry Friday--Girls!

Today, October 11, is the International Day of the Girl.

It's basically a day to take a stand and to say all the world's girls are entitled to an education. According to CARE, there are more than 32 million girls who don't have the opportunity to go to school!

We have several books of poetry about and by girls and women:

All by Herself: 14 Girls Who Made a Difference: Poems by Ann Whitford Paul [J 811 PAU].

A Poem of Her Own: Voices of American Women Yesterday and Today [YA 811.008 POE].

She's All That!: Poems about Girls [J 811.008 SHE].

This lovely, lively, little poem is found in She's All That!:
by Beverly McLoughland

Lisa’s father is
And her mother is
And her skin is a
Her hair is
And her eyes are
And Lisa is
Day and
And Lisa is
Night and
Though there are
Who sometimes
Well, is Lisa
Or is Lisa
Lisa is
She is.
Lisa is
Day and
And her skin is a
And Lisa is
And Lisa is
And Lisa is
The dreams that

Laura Purdie Salas: Writing the World for Kids will be hosting the Round-Up today. Do stop by!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This past year, the New Hampshire Humanities Council, the NH Institute for Civic Education, the NH Supreme Court Society, and the UNH School of Law, ran a series of discussions called "Constitutionally Speaking"

Videos are available online; if you are interested in the presentations, click here. This is one talk, by retired Supreme Court Justice, David H. Souter, in which he "discusses Americans' alarming lack of knowledge about the U.S. Constitution and the structure of government, and the potential danger pervasive civic ignorance poses to our democracy."

Some teachers state, with the new Common Core curriculum, social studies, which includes the old subject of "civics," has taken a back seat to reading, science, and math. So, school-aged children aren't necessarily getting the grounding they will need to become a well-informed citizen. In our collection, however, we have a set of books, by Rich Smith, called the "Bill of Rights" series. One volume is How Amendments are Adopted [J 342.73 SMI]. Other volumes deal with the individual amendments. The set would be a great introduction for kids, and dare I say, some adults. We have other books, too, that deal with the Constitution and the three branches of the government.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Mystery Series

We have all the major bestselling mystery series such as the Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Millhone" books ("A" is for Alibi, "B" is for Burglar, etc. [all F GRA]). We also have some series you may not be familiar with, but, which you might find enjoyable:

Beaton, M. C. "Hamish Macbeth" series, which includes Death of Yesterday [F BEA].

Dorsey, Tim. "Serge Storms" series, the latest being The Riptide Ultra-Glide [F DOR].

Fluke, Joanne. "Hannah Swenson" series, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder is her latest [F FLU].

George, Elizabeth. "Inspector Lynley" series [F GEO]. A new title, Just One Evil Act, is due out later this month.

Johnson, Craig. "Walt Longmire" series includes A Serpent's Tooth [F JOH].

Nesbo, Jo. "Harry Hole" series [F NES]. This Norwegian author, is now being promoted in the U.S., probably due to the success of Stieg Larsson's books. Police is due to be released next week.

Quinn, Spencer. "Chet and Bernie" series, the most recent is The Sound and the Furry [F QUI].

Willig, Lauren. "Pink Carnation" series. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria just arrived!

If you're a mystery series reader, you should probably visit Stop, You're Killing Me!, a site that lists "over 4200 authors, with chronological lists of their books (over 47,000 titles), both series (4900+) and non-series."

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Play Me, I'm Yours!

An amazing thing is happening around Boston (until October 14), 75 highly decorated, but fully functional, pianos are on display in public places. Not only are they on display, but they are available for people to play! What an awesome idea!

Read more about the project here, or on the project website, Street Pianos. The Street Pianos site is full of photos and videos--have fun!

If you'd like to learn how to play the piano, look for Piano by Gillian Shepheard [786.2 SHE], which comes with an instructional disk. Kids can look for The Usborne First Book of the Piano by John Miles [J 786.2 MIL].

Photo by Betty Widerski (Brattle Plaza, Harvard Square), courtesy Street Pianos.

Monday, October 07, 2013

R.I.P. Tom Clancy

We were saddened to hear of the passing of prolific thriller writer, Tom Clancy. He died on October 1 at the age of 66.

There are more than 50 of Clancy's books in our collection [F CLA], including The Sum of All Fears, which is also available in the filmed version starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman [DVD SUM]. Here's the trailer for the movie:

His latest novel, Command Authority, written with Mark Greaney, is scheduled for release in December.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Poetry Friday--Bullying

In case you didn't know, October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and Monday the 7th is Blue Shirt Day™ World Day of Bullying Prevention. Wear a nice bright blue shirt on Monday to show you're aware of the problem, and that you believe kindness, compassion, and respect can make a difference in the lives of children, teens, and adults (in other words--everybody).

There are a surprising number of poems about bullies and bullying, several can be found on this page from the U.K.

If you follow performance poets, you'll know that there are many who have used poetry to rise above the bullies in their lives. Here's a short video performance of "It Takes a Village" by Theresa Davis.

I'd also like to recommend a DVD from our collection that will, at the very least, get you to think about what children are capable of doing to each other: Bully [DVD 302.343 BUL]. We also have the companion book Bully: An Action Plan for Teachers and Parents to Combat the Bullying Crisis [371.58 BUL].

Dori Reads is the place to find poetry today. Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up taking place there.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


You can stretch at your desk! You can stretch in your car. You can stretch in front of the tv. The point is--just stretch.

If you'd like more stretches that you can do at work, look for Stretching in the Office by Bob Anderson [613.71 AND]. (Anderson is also the author of the all-around guide, Stretching [613.71 AND].)

If you're getting older and want something that's not going to make you feel like you've been hit by a truck, look for the DVD, Stretching for Seniors [DVD 613.714 STR].

We also have many, many books and DVDs on yoga, which include a good number of stretching exercises, such as Instant Stretches for Stress Relief: Instant Energy and Relaxation with Easy-to-Follow Yoga Stretching Techniques by Mark Evans [613.7 EVA].

If you'd feel more comfortable starting with an in-person instructor, sign up, beginning October 6, for a session "Go with the Flow--Gentle Yoga," which will take place Sunday, October 20 at 2:00 p.m., and/or Monday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. (you may sign up for one or both). Instructors from Windham Pilates will guide you through relaxing stretches and postures.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


If you visit the Library, you will notice our display case is full of Zombies! Zombie books, that is.

It's the month of Halloween, so along with featuring zombies, the end panels of the fiction section has ghost books. The children's room has a gazillion pumpkin books on the display wall, as well as treat-or-treat, and other Halloween-ish materials.

We have costume, crafts, and food books that fit the Halloween theme, too, such as Halloween Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family by Donata Maggipinto [641.568 MAG], FamilyFun Tricks and Treats by Deanna Cook [745.5941 COO], and Creepy Cuisine by Lucy Monroe [J 641.568 MON]. Please stop by!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

October is Squirrel Awareness Month!

I bet you didn't know that! But, now that you do, think about celebrating the fluffy little rodent by reading a book or two.

For adults who'd like to learn everything about squirrels we have Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide by Richard W. Thorington [599.36 THO]. And for kids, we have informational books in J 599.36, and scads of fun picture books including:

Bynum, Janie. Nutmeg and Barley: A Budding Friendship. [JP BYN]

McElmurry, Jill. Mario Makes a Move. [JP MCE]

Rubin, Adam. Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door. [JP RUB]

Stein, David Ezra. Ol' Mama Squirrel. [JP STE]

Watt, Mélanie. Scaredy Squirrel (and other titles in the "Scaredy Squirrel" series). [JP WAT]

Squirrel Awareness Month is sponsored by The Squirrel Lovers Club.

Some people don't like squirrels getting into their bird feeders. I'll admit, they can be very greedy. If you're bothered by squirrels, look for Outwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning Stratagems to Reduce Dramatically the Egregious Misappropriation of Seed from Your Birdfeeder by Squirrels by Bill Adler [639.9 ADL].

Or, you can make those little guys "work" for their treat: