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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

The Library will close at noon today and remain closed until Friday at 9 AM. Have a safe and happy holiday!

For the New Year, you may want to make a resolution to visit the Library more often--we hope you will, because we have a lot to offer!

Also, resolve to explore your surroundings be they your own backyard, the town, or the region. (Check out our Pinterest board for ideas.)

Resolve to slow down and enjoy life!

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I have several friends who pick one word to live by during the forthcoming year. I've noticed more and more people doing this for 2015. Then, I found out that it is a newly established "movement." So established that there have been books written on the subject and websites developed. Here's a brief explanation from one book's authors:

I prefer words for their sometimes mysterious beginnings, their origins--otherwise known as etymology. Etymology has its own section, 422. Browse the 422s in either the adult or children's rooms to find books such as Word Origins--And How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone by Anatoly Liberman. If you're picking a word to live by, you may wish to check out where that word had its beginnings!

Monday, December 29, 2014

An Activity-Filled End to 2014

After a few days off, we're back to business today and tomorrow. Wednesday we're closing at noon and will be closed all day on Thursday. Friday we'll be back here once again.

Today, at the Library, there's a Teen Read-a-Thon to benefit the Shepherd’s Pantry. Teens ages 12-19 can drop in anytime between 3 and 7 pm for a bite to eat and to spend time reading to raise money for charity. Books, magazines, e-books, comics--teens can read anything they want for a half hour or the entire 4 hours. The price of admission is a donation of a non-perishable food item and/or cash for the Shepherd's Panty.

Weather permitting, the Skywatch originally scheduled for last week we take place tonight.

Tomorrow, we're throwing a family Enchanted New Year's Party. Drop in anytime between 1:00-3:00 pm to make a castle or fortress out of edible ingredients, create a LEGO® castle for display in the library, and decorate an item to bring home. No registration is required.

If you're planning a New Year's party of your own, stop by to browse our party and cookbook sections, or look through our ebook selections where you'll find plenty of ideas. Here are two titles: Holiday Entertaining Essentials: Party Recipes Delicious Ideas for Easy Holiday Celebrations [3M ebook] and Cool Holiday Parties: Perfect Party Planning for Kids by Karen Latchana Kenney [793.21 KEN].

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!

The Library is closing today at noon and we will be closed until Saturday when we reopen at 9.

If you're one of the lucky ones to find a smart phone or a tablet under the tree tomorrow, remember, you can download a book and read it within minutes of ripping off the wrapping! To get started click here. Once you've added a 3M app to your device just go to our catalog and put "3M" into the search box, pick "In the Nesmith Library" from the "Limit by" drop-down menu, and you'll be able to browse through thousands of ebook titles! If you want to see more recently published titles first, pick "Publication date" from the "Sort by" menu.

A safe and happy holiday to everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


What is wrong with me? I haven't yet posted this holiday season about cookies! What is Christmas time without cookies?

Let's remedy that omission right now! Here are cookie cookbooks and cookie stories, and even a cookie murder mystery! (I hope the gingerbread man didn't do it!)

Several weeks ago, I posted an article about a collection of gingerbread Boston landmarks with this challenge, "If you have nothing else to do this weekend, you may want to recreate Windham in gingerbread!" Former Nesmith Library trustee, Norman Boutillette, spent his weekend baking and decorating up a storm and brought us this:

Isn't it fabulous? Many thanks, Norman, for inspiring us to feats of cookie heights!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Crunch Time Gifts

Sorry, but you're down to the wire! Do not despair--from the comfort of your home, you can donate to provide a gift of books to a child. It's a double gift if you do it in honor of a friend or loved one. It's easy, and the rewards can't be measured if your gift enables a child to become a better reader.

Here's a quote that I love, "I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve." (source: Charles de Montesquieu) If a book can relieve a child's stress, then we should take the opportunity to provide a good book to achieve that goal!

Studies have shown that children who read for pleasure, become better readers. (To read one such study, click here.)

The following is a sampling of literacy-based charitable organizations and their stated goals. The first two serve children in this area.

Children's Literacy Foundation. "Our mission is to inspire a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 throughout New Hampshire and Vermont."

Believe in Books Literacy Foundation. "Supporting literacy iniatives in Northern New England."

Book Aid International. "Vibrant libraries - Inspired Readers - Empowered Communities."

First Book. Provides "access to new books for children in need."

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. To "insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income."

Oxfam International. "By helping someone open a book, you can open a mind, too."

Here's a unique gift idea--give a child a book AND light to read it by! Two young women, while students at Columbia University, invented a portable, solar light source that can provide illumination in places where electricity is not available (their original intent was for the lights to be used by people struck by natural disaster). Now that the portable light has become marketable, they have set up a giving opportunity. Check it out here.

Please consider giving to any or all of these organizations and have a great holiday knowing you have made a child's life better!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Stars"

We have some older volumes of poetry on our shelves that contain poems that can still speak to a reader today. One such book is The Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale [811.54 TEA]. The collection was copyrighted in 1937 and our copy was printed in 1951. I'm going to pair a poem from that book, "Stars," with a photo from NASA that allows us to be an up-close "Witness/Of so much majesty."

Photo courtesy HubbleSite.


Alone in the night
   On a dark hill
With pines around me
   Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars
   Over my head,
White and topaz
   And misty red;

Myriads with beating
   Hearts of fire
That aeons
   Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven
   Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
   Stately and still,

And I know that I
   Am honored to be
   Of so much majesty.

The Library is hosting a Skywatch on Monday December 22 (snowdate: December 29) and participants will be guided through their viewing by members of the NH Astronomical Society. Call the Library at 432-7154 to see if space is still available.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up will be held today at Buffy's Blog.

Next Friday, the Library, along with other Windham Town offices will be closed, so January 2 will be our next poetry-filled Friday at Kurious Kitty. You can have a poetry-filled day every day at the Library, just browse our 800s section! You can even check out poetry books after hours by going to our catalog, using "poetry" as your search term. After the search results come up, narrow your results by clicking "Ebook" under "Type of Material."

Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday at sundown marked the beginning of Hanukkah! Happy Hanukkah to all of our friends who celebrate the miracle at the ancient Temple. Foods cooked in oil are part of the Hanukkah experience. (If you're not familiar with the holiday, you can learn the basics here.)

Many people have heard of the potato pancakes fried in oil, known as latkes, which are made during Hanukkah. But, I wonder how many people know how to make them?

If you'd like to try to make them for your family, borrow one of these books:

Brownstein, Rita Milos. Jewish Holiday Style. [394.267 BRO]

Fellner, Judith B. In the Jewish Tradition: A Year of Foods and Festivities. [394.267 FEL]

Nathan, Joan. The Jewish Holiday Kitchen. [641.5676 NAT]

Zoloth, Joan. Jewish Holiday Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family. [641.5676 ZOL]

Some people may not find plain potato pancakes to their liking. If you're one of them, Buzz-Feed did a piece this week titled, "21 Next-Level Latkes You Need To Try." There are amazing looking latkes, some in bright colors!

The photo above is from a blog called What Jew Wanna Eat: This Ain't Yo Bubbe's Blog. Click here for even more photos and latke recipes.

Jewish or not, enjoy a potato latke this holiday month--or any month for that matter!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's Amazing What You Can Find in the Back of the Freezer!

Lost in an archives near the frigid Arctic Circle was a 1927, early Disney Christmas cartoon film, Empty Socks. The film stars Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, a Disney character that came before Steamboat Willy, otherwise known as Mickey Mouse. It has been found and was written up in The Guardian. Read the story here.

Steamboat Willie was first seen in 1928, and Mickey Mouse's appearance and demeanor has changed greatly over the years.

Look for the DVD, Walt Disney's Vintage Mickey [DVD WAL] to see several Mickey Mouse cartoons that were released between 1928 and 1934. Learn more about Mickey in the book Mickey Mouse from Walt Disney Productions [741.5 WAL], which has "Eleven adventures of Mickey Mouse and his friends in comic strip form and a brief discussion of Mickey's evolution from an animated film character to the official host for Disneyland and Walt Disney World."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A LEGO Wonderland...

It has been amusing to watch all the kids who have spent hours in front of our display case looking at the LEGO® display of Christmas settings and LEGO® characters. The display was set up by the Town IT department head, Eric DeLong. Many thanks, Eric!

Not only does the library have LEGO® building books, we also have books starring specific LEGO® characters.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Even More Suggestions for Gift-Giving

Ten more days, but who's counting?

Have you ever thought of giving a "cultural" gift. I'm thinking about tickets to a theater production. Small theaters productions are generally fun, and almost always cost a whole lot less than a show in Boston.

Nearby we have the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA. Productions are staged in the beautiful old, and well-maintained, Liberty Hall (located next to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium) and free parking is available. The schedule for the 2014-2015 season can be viewed here.

Also less than a half-hour from Windham is the stately Palace Theatre in Manchester. Many events are hosted at the Palace and you can check the calendar here.Coming up in January is Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical. How can you resist a musical about "mammogram appointments, the sudden need for reading glasses, [and] proctology exams"?

In Portsmouth, there is the Seacoast Rep. The Rep recently performed a children's musical production, Run, Turkey, Run!, based upon the picture book of the same name by Kurious Kitty's alter-ego, Diane Mayr [JP MAY]. If you'd like to watch it, click here.

The Music Hall, also in Portsmouth, hosts a variety of performances from theater to music. Diana Krall is scheduled for March. We have several of Krall's CDs in our collection, including Quiet Nights [CD JAZZ KRA], one of my favorites. The Music Hall has a full calendar of events that can be seen here.

In Epping you'll find the Leddy Center for the Performing Arts. When last I checked, the 2015 season offerings were not listed, but, since auditions were recently held for Steel Magnolias, I think it's a safe bet that the Leddy Center will be presenting that drama some time soon. (You could always give a card with a promise to attend an upcoming production. Throw in dinner at the Holy Grail and I'm sure you'd make someone very happy! For those of you not familiar with the Holy Grail, it is in a building that was originally a church, so the pub has stained glass windows, and seating in the choir loft!)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--It's Sweater Poetry Day!

Yesterday I wrote briefly about the British traditional ugly Christmas jumper, and how today is officially Christmas Jumper Day.

Since it has gotten decidedly colder here in NH over the past week, and as warm sweaters are now a daily necessity, I decided to look for a sweater poem to share. Alas, they are not in abundance in the books in our collection, but I did find some on the Hello Poetry site.

I found today's poem in the collection Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian [J 811.54 FLO]. A sweater only gets a mention, but, that's enough to count as a sweater poem!
Winter Wool

Woolen socks
And woolen vest,
In woolen shirts
And skirts we're dressed.
Woolen sweaters,
Woolen caps--
The ones that have two woolen flaps.
Woolen gloves
And woolen coats
With woolen scarves
Around our throats,
Woolen here
And woolen there.
Our heads are growing
Woolen hair.

The above poem will be particularly relevant come Chinese New Year, February 19, 2015, which will usher in the Year of the Sheep!

One of the most poignant poems I have ever read, is called "Irish Sweaters" by Shirley Graves Cochrane. I posted it in 2012. Please reread it, I think it is stunning.

Let me know of any good sweater poems you come across and I'll start a list for next year.

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up at These 4 Corners.

The Season's Best Party Idea

I subscribe to a new online newsletter that sends notice of the week's events. On Monday I received word that on Friday--that's tomorrow--it's
Ugly Sweater Party Day
Global, Friday, Dec 12th 2014, All Day

In England, where sweaters are called "jumpers," it appears that the ugly Christmas jumper is a holiday tradition, albeit a fairly recent one. And, Christmas Jumper Day was begun by the charitable organization Save the Children, just a year ago.

The whole ugly jumper thing is enough of a British tradition that it has it's own Wikipedia entry!

For those who are familiar with the movie, Bridget Jones' Diary [DVD BRI], starring Renée Zellweger, you will remember Mr. Darcy's ugly Christmas jumper. (However, the ugly jumper may be easily forgotten as it is overshadowed by the lovely Colin Firth who is wearing it.)

At the Library we often can be seen wearing our official, seasonal Nesmith Library sweatshirt during the lead-up to Christmas. Stop by the Library tomorrow and see how many you can spot!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today's Birthday Girl

Is Emily Dickinson! She was born December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. During her lifetime, she published only seven poems, but after her death, several thousand more were found among the bits and scraps of paper she left behind. The Emily Dickinson Archive collects those pieces of paper that have survived.

Let's celebrate her today as a real American original! The Library of Congress in Washington, DC, did just that on Monday with an early birthday celebration.

The Poetry Foundation has an extensive collection Dickinson-related work, from several dozens of her poems, to essays, to audios of others reading her work.

Children can enjoy some of Dickinson's poetry due to its simple structure and its familiar subjects such as birds and insects. Her life, too, real and imagined, may be of interest to children because she, like most children, was never able to stray too far from home.

There is no Frigate like a Book

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry--
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll--
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Happy Dance Time!

Next summer or fall there will be a brand new Peanuts movie hitting the big screens! It's been a long time between theatrical releases, the last was in 1980! There were many tv releases after that day, but it took 25 years to get the Peanuts gang back in the theaters.

We have lots of Peanuts films and specials in out collection. They continue to be popular despite the fact that creator, Charles M. Scultz passed away back in 2000!

Here are the titles currently in our collection:

Monday, December 08, 2014

More Suggestions for Gift-Giving

For a book-lover, the best gift is a book. The second best would be a book or literary related gift. Shopping for one of these can a great fun, especially if your recipient has a favorite book, author, or character.

For example, The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild has a whole section devoted to "Literature" and it includes items such as this:

"Alice's Enchantmints," a small tin of breath mints based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [F CAR], will slip nicely into a stocking, as will any number of handmade items found on Etsy. Etsy offerings range from Geoffrey Chaucer cookie cutters to Harry Potter [J ROW] phone covers. Simply type in a name and see what turns up!

Have no money? Here's something you can do that won't cost a cent. Send your favorite book-loving person a quote a day (or week or month). Go to Google and use "quotes" as your search term, then pick a quote site. I use BrainyQuote. Type in an author name, or a broad subject such as "books" or "reading," then find and copy a quote. Next, go to "10+ Web Tools to Make Quote Photos," select a site, paste, and create! Email your quote creation to your friend. The quote below was created with ProQuoter.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Poetry Friday--Remembering Mark Strand

I'm sure you've all heard by now of the passing of poet, Mark Strand. From 1988 to 1990, Strand was a U.S. Poet Laureate, back when the position was known as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

"There is no end to what we can learn." We would do well to remember this line that appears in the following poem.
The Night, the Porch

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter. Even now we seem to be waiting for something
Whose appearance would be its vanishing--the sound, say,
Of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf, or less.
There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells as much, and was never written with us in mind.

Find this poem in The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove [811.5 PEN].

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is found at Booktalking #kidlit: Anastasia Suen's Blog.

The photo, taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1914, is reproduced from a hand-painted glass lantern slide, courtesy Library of Congress.

"A regular soldiers' peace!"

On the 7th of December, in 1914, Pope Benedict XV asked "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." His plea for a Christmas truce fell on the deaf ears of European governments' officials. However, the ordinary soldier, on both sides, took it upon themselves to call a truce. It was described by British Captain Robert Patrick Miles as "a regular soldiers' peace!"

The Library of Congress has a page on the Christmas Truce, which has links to newspaper articles of the period (the quote by Captain Miles was found in the The Tacoma Times). Click here.

As we are heading into the Christmas season, and as this is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, I thought this would be a good time to highlight several books and films that cover the cessation of fighting that became known as the Christmas Truce, 1914.

One of the books on the carousel is from John McCutcheon, and is based upon a song he recorded in 1984, "Christmas in the Trenches." The song provides the soundtrack this film:

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

POTUS Christmas Shopping List

This past Saturday, President Barack Obama and his daughters went Christmas shopping at their local bookstore,

Here is the list of what they purchased (according to the White House):

  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness.
  • Cronin, Doreen. A Barnyard Collection: Click, Clack, Moo and More.
  • Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See.
  • Flanagan, Richard. The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
  • Gawande, Atul. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.
  • Jacques, Brian. Mattimeo.
  • Jacques, Brian. Mossflower.
  • Jacques, Brian. Redwall.
  • Johnson, Denis. The Laughing Monsters.
  • Marzollo, Jean. I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles.
  • Osnos, Evan. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China.
  • Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business.
  • Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus.
  • Perkins, Lynn Rae. Nuts to You.
  • Rundell, Katherine. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms.
  • Toibin, Colm. Nora Webster.
  • Woodson, Jacqueling. Brown Girl Dreaming.

Here are the titles in a carousel. Click on a title you like and it will take you right to our catalog!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


What do you know about bears? Did you know there are eight types of bears? If you didn't, then you'll definitely know after watching this video:

Jeannie Brett, an author/illustrator from Maine has written a book with even more bear information. It's called, Wild About Bears [J 599.78 BRE].

We have quite a number of books about bears--everything from beginning readers for kids, like Wild Bears by Seymour Simon [E SIM] to The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes by John A. Shivik [591.53 SHI].

Children's novelist, Erin Hunter, has written a fantasy series about three bears called "Seekers." The first in the series is The Quest Begins [J HUN].
Three young bears from different species—black, polar, and grizzly—are separated from their families when they are just young cubs. They find themselves brought together on a perilous journey. Fate is about to change all these bears lives forever, setting their paws on a path toward a future they cannot yet imagine...

There are even bear stories for the holidays such as Bear's First Christmas by Robert Kinerk [JP KIN] or Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel [JP KIM]

Monday, December 01, 2014

Getting Serious for the Holidays!

Hopefully, you didn't spend the weekend battling the bargain-crazy crowds! If you relaxed all weekend, you really need to start thinking about your holiday gift shopping starting. Today I'm going to offer some "earth-friendly" alternative ideas for gifts.

My favorite is to honor someone you love with the gift of a barnyard animal. Heifer Project offers the opportunity to share with others less fortunate than yourself and supplies the gift of animals. The recipient receives meat, milk, eggs, honey, etc., and income. The recipient family promises to share their gift with others.

Beatrice's Goat is a picture book by Page McBrier [JP MCB] that is based upon a Heifer Project gift to a family in Uganda. It demonstrates to children the value of such a gift.

Rather than purchase another costly electronic device for someone, why not consider a gift of food through a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. Your money will enable a farm to better plan for the coming year, help keep it in business, and, supply the recipient with fresh vegetables! Win-win! Look here for a CSA farm in NH. Information about CSAs over the border in MA, click here, then click on "Farm map," and choose "C.S.A." from the drop-down search at the top.

If you ever wondered how you would prepare some of the out-of-the-ordinary vegetables that may come along with a CSA share, we have Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson [641.651 PET], a pioneer in the community supported agriculture movement.

If you like getting your hands dirty, a gift of a container garden may be right up your alley. I found an Pinterest board that had me spell-bound for hours. This board will inspire you to visit a local nursery, purchase a few succulents, a bag of soil and start planting!

Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants by Debra Lee Baldwin [3M ebook] will help you bring your container garden ideas to fruition.

Next Monday, I'll share a few more ideas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tomorrow is Turkey Day!

We are open until noon today, so you may want to run down to the Library to borrow some DVDs to keep everyone out of your hair tomorrow while you're getting dinner ready.

Here are a few suggestions:

If, while the library is closed on Thursday and Friday, you simply must get a book, remember that our ebook services are available 24/7. Unfamiliar with our ebook services? Click here.

Vintage postcard courtesy Baylor University.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

She's Back!

Cinderella is back! This time as a Disney live action fantasy character. She'll be on the big screens in March 2015.

In the meantime, there are these Cinderella movies to keep you occupied:

Cinderella. [J DVD CIN] This is the original Disney animated movie that first appeared in 1950.

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. [J DVD CIN] Disney animated follow-ups to the original.

[Rodgers and Hammerstein's] Cinderella. [DVD CIN] An musical play which appeared as a CBS television special in 1957 and starred Julie Andrews.

[Sesame Street] CinderElmo. [J DVD SES]

Monday, November 24, 2014

Remembering Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols, known as an accomplished film director, passed away last Wednesday. I first remember watching Mike Nichols and his comedy partner, Elaine May, on The Ed Sullivan Show way back when. The humor of the team was more sophisticated than that of others, such as Jonathan Winters, who were current at the time.

In reading over Nichols' obituary, I didn't realize just how many films he had directed over his career. We have a number of them in our collection:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Poetry Friday--Thanksgiving's Comin'

Next week is Thanksgiving and the supermarkets have been jam-packed all week. This weekend will be hellish if you've waited until the last minute to shop for your Thanksgiving feast.

So many people, so much food, and so little thought given to the origins of those foods.

Today, I've selected a short poem that addresses where our foods come from. It is found in an older anthology titled, My American Heritage: A Collection of Songs, Poems, Speeches, Sayings and Other Writings Dear to Our Hearts collected by Ralph Henry and Lucile Pannell [810.8 HEN].

The poem is by Elizabeth Coatsworth, who wrote for children and adults. She lived from 1893 to 1986 (93 years).

To think I once saw grocery shops
With but a casual eye
And fingered figs and apricots
As one who came to buy!

To think I never dreamed of how
Bananas swayed in rain,
And often looked at oranges
Yet never thought of Spain!

And in those wasted days I saw
No sails above the tea--
For grocery shops were grocery shops,
Not hemispheres to me!

Can you imagine what Coatsworth would have thought of today's super stores? I'm still perplexed by mangoes (how to tell they're ripe, how to store them, etc.), would Coatsworth have even recognized the fruit's name? Or what about a dragon fruit? Or a taco shell?

By the way, one of my all-time favorite books was written by Elizabeth Coatsworth, The Cat Who Went to Heaven [J COA]; it won the Newbery Medal in 1931. If you've never read it, I recommend you pick it up--I'm sure you'll like it.

My American Heritage was published in 1949 making it 65 years old (and, it probably should be retired since I'm the only one who ever takes it out)! [Interesting aside: there's a sheet of library "General Regulations" pasted to the endpapers. One of the regulations reads, "No person will be allowed to take from the Library more than one book at a time, for his own use, and this privilege shall be allowed to every resident of the town eight years of age." ONE BOOK! Imagine that!]

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. For Poetry Friday readers, come back in two weeks, since the Library will be closed next Friday.

Today's Round-Up is being held at Tapestry of Words. (Isn't that an awesome blog name?)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Study

There are some foods that most of us consider to be comfort foods despite recent studies that seem to prove otherwise! The NPR website reported on a study written up in Health Psychology back in August.
Results: Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food. Conclusions: Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food). These results are likely not due to a floor effect because participants’ moods did not return to baseline levels. Individuals may be giving comfort food "credit" for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.
I think the scientists just don't understand the concept of comfort as being a reminder of home, or friendship, or love. Silly scientists!

The biggest comfort holiday of all--Thanksgiving--is next week. I'm sure there will be many foods served that day that people will think of comfort foods--and not because they measurably change one's mood! Despite what the NPR piece had to say about comfort foods and their un-healthiness, people will continue to eat them.

For folks who really should avoid comfort foods for various reasons, we have these titles:

DiSpirito, Rocco. Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All under 350 Calories. [3M ebook]

Gordon, Elizabeth. The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs. [641.5631 GOR]

Hagman, Bette. The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: More than 200 Recipes for Creating Old Favorites With New Flours. [641.563 HAG]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comets, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at the Rosetta Mission and its landing on a comet. Today, I'd like to talk about comets and their representation in art.

We own a book devoted to the graphic depiction of comets, Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science by Roberta J. M. Olson [704.9 OLS]. And also a book of art and poetry about space for kids, Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian [J 811.54 FLO].

The Public Domain Review issued a collection of illustrations found in books--some from many hundreds of years ago. They've titled the collection, "Flowers of the Sky." The image below is taken from that collection.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


There are some amazing things going on in the world of science this week. One of the most amazing to my mind is the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and, super-amazing is the recording of the sounds of the comet's vibrations! The media has been calling it "singing."

The Mission's Philae lander finally came to a halt after bouncing!

This story is not without its suspense--on Friday there were reports that the lander was on its side, and that if it was not able to free itself, its solar panels wouldn't be able to charge the batteries and the Mission would come to a halt! It sounds like the plot for movie, doesn't it? Over the weekend, the lander went into standby mode, but it is hoped that when the comet changes position in relation to the sun, the panels will recharge.

The L. A. Times has a timeline for the Mission here.

For those kids who find the Rosetta Mission as fascinating as some of us adults do, they can learn all about comets in the books found in the J 523 or adult 523 sections:

Of course, once the Rosetta Mission returns, there will be a slew of new books to update our knowledge of comets!

Monday, November 17, 2014

888,246 Poppies

I didn't want to forget to post this little video about the moving display of poppies that was set up to commemorate, what we call Veterans Day, and what the British call Remembrance Day, November 11. The day denotes the end of World War I at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. This year, the British have gone all out in remembering the day because 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

The poppy display surrounding the Tower of London has attracted scores of visitors. You can read more about it here.

Most people associate red poppies with the holiday we celebrate in May, Memorial Day. The poem most closely associated with the poppy is this one (click on the image to enlarge for easier reading):

Photo by Harry Pope, poem added by Diane Mayr.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--The Steigs

Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Steig, the creator of such fabulous books as Dr. De Soto and Shrek! [both JP STE]. Steig was born in 1907 and passed away just shy of his 96th birthday in 2003. He wrote a book about what his life was like in 1916 called When Everybody Wore a Hat [J B STE]. Steig grew up to become a cartoonist and an author/illustrator. His brother Arthur was a artist, a developer and purveyor of art materials, and a poet (but not widely published as I only found one book listed in the Library of Congress catalog, Communication [1944]). William's wife, Jeanne (wife #4), was a poet, too. That's a whole lot of creativity in one family!

Jeanne and Steig collaborated on at least two illustrated books of poetry Alpha Beta Chowder, and, Consider the Lemming [J 811 STE]. Consider the Lemming is an book of short animal verses--light-hearted and a wee bit edgy. Here are two poems that tickled my funny bone:
The Pig

The pig is held in ill repute;
He's thought to be a coarse-grained brute.
A slurper-up of slops, the swine,
He's never asked indoors to dine.
But if the loathsome pig were fed
On marzipan and fine white bread,
And if he were allowed to shower
And dust himself with scented flour,
And spend a week in Cannes or Florence,
Would we still hold him in abhorrence?
Or would we find ourselves recanting,
And cry: "Oh, Pig, thou art enchanting!"

The Opossum

The opossum, as everyone knows,
Is prehensile of tail and toes.
It carries its young in a pocket
And plays dead if you happen to shock it.
The opossum is ugly and vicious.
Fricasseed, it is highly nutritious.

Keri Recommends is the place to be for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Stop by and tell Keri I said, "Hi!"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's World Kindness Day!

Every year, since 1998, November 13 has been celebrated as World Kindness Day in conjunction with the World Kindness Movement. Kindness Matters states,
World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes.

We can all benefit from kindness and we can all practice random acts of kindness. The trick is to teach children about kindness and to make acts of kindness as natural as saying "Hi."

There are many organizations and initiatives that focus on kindness including Random Acts of Kindness, The Be Kind People Project, and The Great Kindness Challenge for kids.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

If you're planning on making gifts or homemade decorations for the holidays, time is running out!

We recently added two new titles to our collection that may provide you with some simple and easy ideas. The first book is Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love by Blair Stocker [745.5 STO]. If you love it, then chances are, the giftee will also love it. A few of the fun and simple projects are: hand-woven placements made on a board-and-nail loom, wall hooks made of sturdy forked twigs, a tabletop garden, second-hand oil paintings which are embellished with beads and other trinkets. Some of the projects, like the felt pot handle covers could be adapted so you can have your kids make them as gifts. Simply having the kids hand-stitch the edges with yarn, rather than sewing by machine, should do the trick!

Don't be put off by the second book's title: Artful Christmas: 30 Elegant Craft Projects by Susan Wasinger [745.59412 WAS]. The projects may look elegant, but they're not necessarily difficult--ornaments can be made from paper, glue, and glitter, and others from cut and folded playing cards. A purchased foam wreath is wrapped in wide satin ribbon and decorated with hat pins and metallic beads. There are a number of more extensive projects, too, if you have the time and the skills.

If these two titles are out when you visit, we have plenty more in our crafts section to satisfy your creative decorative and gift-giving needs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

The Library is closed today for the Federal Holiday, Veterans Day. Please take some time to think about the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect our lives and liberty.

Since World War II is now 70+ years in the past, many of the Veterans of that war are no longer with us. The other day, though, on NPR's The Moth, Dawn Seymour, a 97 year-old vet told her story. Please listen here!

To learn more about WW II's American women pilots, look for American Women Pilots of World War II by Karen J. Donnelly [940.544 DON] or Women of Courage: The Story of the Women Pilots of World War II [DVD 940.544 WOM].

Photos courtesy The Moth.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Painting--You Can Do It, Part 2

Last Tuesday I wrote about a differently-abled painter and I included some titles of how-to books that show you that you can learn to paint, too. Those titles were all about painting as a fine art. Today, I'll list some titles that are how-tos for painting as a practical art, that is, how to paint home exteriors, walls, and furniture.

Some of these books can really unleash your creativity, so you may dispute my calling them "practical art"!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Poetry Friday--Poetry Writing for Kids

In our children's room is a book in the "Poet's Workshop" series: Read, Recite, and Write Free Verse Poems by JoAnn Early Macken [J 808.1 MAC].

This slim volume is packed with practical advice for kids and includes plenty of examples. The layout is colorful and bright and invites the reader to pick and choose what pages to read, rather than require that one go through the book sequentially.

A feature of the book are sections within each chapter, which are explained by the author thusly:
Literature Links explore the tools that all types of literature use.

Poetry Pointers explain the parts that are special to poetry.

Thinking Aloud sections include discussion questions, brainstorming tips, graphic organizers, and examples of students' writing.

Now It's Your Turn! gives you tips on how to weite your very own free verse poems.

It's a book worth exploring for children and adults! I particularly liked the Poetry Pointers section that explains enjambment, since it is a term that I've wrestled with for years!

Head over to Random Noodling for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Happy Birthday to Kurious Kitty!

I have no idea who taught the automaton at Blogoversary how to count, but when I look at the start date of this blog, November 6, 2006, and calculate the number of days until the next blogoversary, I get either 0 or 365. The Blogoversary counter from Monday had the countdown as 328 days.

Old counter:
I removed the old counter and put up a new one that also has a cat on it! You can see it on the right hand side of the page. It seems to be accurate.

I'd rather think of the blogoversary as Kurious Kitty's BIRTHDAY, and today, Kurious Kitty is 8 years old! So, let's party! To quote Grover, "Don't sit like a potato on the couch!"

I'm sure KK would love it if you brought over a cake or a pie to celebrate with her and the staff. I'd recommend the cake found on page 37 of The Cake Bible [641.8653 BER]. Or, the pie found on page 226 of The Pie and Pastry Bible also by Rose Levy Beranbaum [641.865 BER]! And while we're eating, maybe someone will read Splat the Cat Takes the Cake [E SCO] to us?

Isn't this a perfect day?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

An Art-Lover's Bonanza!

Art-lovers are in for a treat! Three of the museums to which we have library passes are featuring exhibits of the works of famous and much-loved artists. At the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston you can see the art of Francisco Goya--"Goya: Order and Disorder," through January 15, 2015.

"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" courtesy MFA, Boston.

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), Salem, MA, is exhibiting Alexander Calder in "Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic," through January 4, 2015.

The Currier Museum in Manchester, NH displays the mind-boggling works of M. C. Escher, "M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion," through January 5, 2015.

The Friends of the Library of Windham have made available passes to all three museums. The passes are good for admission to the museum, but, on occasion there is an additional charge for special exhibits (check out the links above for specific information). To book a pass, click here. You will need your library card number to reserve a pass.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

"There Is Painting After Blindness"

What a seemingly incongruous statement, but it is true for artist Sargy Mann. The BBC News Magazine featured this totally blind artist whose works sell for thousands to the likes of Steven Spielberg and other serious art collectors.

The video didn't go into how he chose his colors, but, there are several more videos available on YouTube that may explain. Viewing them all will be a project for another time, though. What is explained is how Mann manages proportions--he uses Blu-tack! Blu-tack has long been a favorite of the Library staff for use in securing posters without the risk of removing paint when the poster is taken down. It is a delight for me to realize that there are other, more creative uses for the stuff!

Now, if a blind man can paint, why can't you? It's all about attitude (see KK's Kwotes for today)! Borrow one of our how-to books and give it a go. You CAN do it!

Monday, November 03, 2014


We've had ebooks through the 3M and Overdrive services for several years now. Many people borrow ebooks to travel. A smart phone travels with you anyway, so why not put a book on it to read on the plane?

Most often, people think of ebooks for fiction, and we try to keep current with the new releases, but we also have a growing collection of nonfiction that you might want to consider for a change of pace. Here are some recently added titles to our 3M collection:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poetry Friday--Remembering Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell, a poet from the neighboring state of Vermont, died on Tuesday. The New York Times said that Kinnell wrote
verses that, as he said, could be understood without a graduate degree. He succeeded well enough that all of the volumes of poems he published from 1960 to 2008--evocations of urban streetscapes, pastoral odes, meditations on mortality and frank explorations of sex--are still in print.

He had an admirable goal--to have his work appreciated by the average person. I also know, from having heard him speak at the Dodge Festival a few years ago, that learning poetry by heart was something he did well, and something he thought we all should do. My memorization skills are minimal, but it would be a way to honor his memory if I attempted to memorize one of his poems. Maybe this perfect little one?

On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into the mud; they faded down
into it and lay still; and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

From Galway Kinnell: Selected Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1982 [811 KIN].

It's also Halloween today, so I imagine there's lots of holiday poetry and fun taking place at TeacherDance where the Poetry Friday Round-Up is happening.

Photo by Eli Duke.

Day of the Dead

Halloween is Friday and the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos , or, Day of the Dead begins on that day extending through Sunday. In Catholic countries around the world, November 1 is "All Saints Day" and November 2 is "All Souls Day." Dia de los Muertos encompasses Halloween and both holy days.

Not at all creepy or depressing, Day of the Day celebrates the connections between the living and those loved ones who are deceased. These items may be of interest this coming weekend:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What? You Don't Have a Costume?

What are you waiting for? Halloween is Friday!

Don't panic, some costumes/masks require little more than imagination, paper, and a pair of scissors. If you need some inspiration, visit our 391 section, or, visit Pinterest and use "costumes" or "masks" as a search term. There are enough boards to keep you browsing until next Halloween! Here's one pin that links you to "45 Adorable Toddler Halloween Costumes." And another that has animal masks made from brown paper (remember those brown paper grocery bags from pre-plastic days?)

While you're cutting, listen to the "Masquerade Suite" by Aram Khachaturian.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

'Tis the Season

For spooky, creepy, and HAUNTED! There are "haunted" happenings going on in quite a few local places this year, including Screeemfest at Canobie Lake Park, Haunted Acres in Candia and Nightmare New England in Litchfield. Since Halloween is Friday, most of the haunted attractions will be closing shortly, so plan your visit for this week!

Salem, MA has spooky attractions and tours year-round. I would strongly suggest waiting until all the Halloween craziness dies down in Salem before trying to go. The whole month of October is a literal nightmare there. Easy parking is nonexistent!

If you prefer your haunted happenings in books, we've got quite a collection for you:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hot Beverages

Hot beverages have been served long before Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory [DVD BIG] learned of their social benefits (as taught by his mother).

Even longer before Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, there were tea and coffee shops. The University of Cambridge recently posted an article about a archeological find of the remnants of one such 18th century coffeehouse. A cache of 500 related items were discovered, including 78 teapots. I found the article fascinating!

we have several books on hot beverages in the 641 section. Look for one of these on your next visit:

Evans, Sarah Jane. The Book of Tea & Coffee. [641.2 EVA]

O'Connor, Sharon. Afternoon Tea Serenade: Recipes from Famous Tea Rooms, Classical Chamber Music. [641.53 OCO]

Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. [641.3 PEN]

Slavin, Sara. Tea: Essence of the Leaf. [641.3372 SLA]

For readers of mysteries there's a "Coffeehouse Mystery" series by Cleo Coyle with punny titles like French Pressed and Through the Grinder for you to enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Poetry Friday--Creature Carnival

Creature Carnival by Marilyn Singer [J 811 SIN], is, as you would imagine, a book of poems about animals, but, its subjects are truly creatures of the mythological, legendary, and tall-tale type. And, considering what time of year it is, these creatures are fitting for Halloween! I need to add that the illustrator, Gris Grimly, does himself proud with equally creepy pictures. (A word of warning, his website was not created for a young child audience!)

The book is set up like a carnival sideshow and has a helpful glossary of "Featured Creatures" at the back of the book in case readers are unfamiliar with the creatures on display.

I think this one's my favorite:

Hurry, hurry, kids, gents, ladies!
Step inside the gates of Hades!
There'll be thrills, there'll be chills
        in this land of the dead,
And you'll get to pet Cerberus
        on the head
                                and head.

We can guarantee kicks
        when he shows off his tricks--
Fetching three balls at once
        from the deep River Styx.
Such an excellent pooch,
        but with one fault, alas--
You must toss him a treat
        if you're eager to pass.
For no matter how often
        he tries and he tries,
He's no good with hellos--
        and he's worse with good-byes.

Watch out for the creatures hanging out at the Poetry Friday Round-Up hosted at Merely Day by Day--poetry lovers are a wild and crazy bunch!

Animal Groups

One of the highlights of my morning is the daily Savage Chickens comic that comes into my inbox at home. This one from earlier in the week tickled me!

Courtesy Doug Savage of Savage Chickens.

Did you know, we have a number of books devoted to the listing of group names (also known as collective nouns). From picture books, A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns by Ruth Heller [JP HEL], to poetry A Bundle of Beasts by Patricia Hooper [J 811 HOO] to books for adults, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton [428.1 LIP]!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Got Opera?

We sure do! Quite a bit of it, too! Rather than start off by reading about it, it is always good to watch it live. Next best after that is to listen to it! We have a series of audio books that are part of the "Black Dog Opera Series." In each three disk package, disk one is devoted to background information such as an act and scene synopsis, as well as biographical information on the performers. The other two disks contain the complete opera for you to enjoy. One of the titles is Bizet's Carmen [AB/CD 782.1 BIZ].

Tomorrow, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a.k.a. the Met, is live-streaming Carmen starting at 7:25, five minutes before the curtain rises. Click here for the schedule of upcoming operas, and, to access the live stream.

If the opera's not for you, you still can enjoy an adaptation of Carmen in the film, Carmen Jones [DVD CAR]. Or, pick out snippets of Carmen from Looney Tunes cartoons. Or, watch Carmen: A Hip-Hopera starring Beyonce [on order]. Here's a song from the film:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What the Lion Ate

Actually, the lion didn't eat anything. The lion is the gold statue, which, along with the silver unicorn, were removed from the Old State House in Boston for cleaning and repair. When the two statues came down in September, it was rumored that there was a time capsule inside the lion.

Last week the capsule was opened, and its contents, placed inside in 1901, were revealed. Read about what was found, here.

If you're interested in the period during which the time capsule was filled, early 1900s Boston, let me suggest a few of the "Images of America" series books of old photographs:

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Century of Progress. [3M ebook]

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Historic Walking Tour. [on order, but a copy is available through GMILCS]

Photo by Mikkashar.

Monday, October 20, 2014


There has always been a need for dolls in children's lives--something for comfort, something to substitute for an absent parent, etc.

Over the past 50 years there has been an effort to move away from gender stereotypes regarding dolls. Books were written for children with the subtle, or not so subtle, message that it is okay for a boy to want a doll. One example is William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow [JP ZOL], published back in 1972.

The Barbie doll made a big splash when it came out in 1959--dolls became more than baby dolls. The Barbie appealed to a slightly older audience, and strictly a female one. Barbie's manufacturer even made an effort, by example, to show girls that women can compete in a man's world.

Fifty-five years later, Barbie is still going strong, and her continued popularity is reflected in our collection of nearly 100 Barbie books and DVDs! (Do a search of our catalog using the term "Barbie.")

Barbie and others of her ilk, have moved into a whole new realm as you can see if you spend a little time on Pinterest, or a site such as My Froggy Princess.

Despite last week's article from the Business Insider, "Barbie Dolls Are Quickly Becoming Obsolete," I don't think Barbie is going to disappear from American culture! Nor, do I think that dolls will fall out of favor as items of comfort for kids.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--Richard Eberhart

New Hampshire poet, Richard Eberhart, had lived over 100 years when he died in 2005. In that time I'm sure he had many days when he wished for the time "when everything is as it was in my childhood." Don't we all wish that on occasion?

If I could only live at the pitch that is near madness
When everything is as it was in my childhood
Violent, vivid, and of infinite possibility:
That the sun and the moon broke over my head.

Then I cast time out of the trees and fields,
Then I stood immaculate in the Ego;
Then I eyed the world with all delight,
Reality was the perfection of my sight.

And time has big handles on the hands,
Fields and trees a way of being themselves.
I saw battalions of the race of mankind
Standing stolid, demanding a moral answer.

I gave the moral answer and I died
And into a realm of complexity came
Where nothing is possible but necessity
And the truth waiting there like a red babe.

Published in Poetry magazine, January 1938.

Eberhart was United States Poet Laureate 1959-1961. You can read a sampling of his work in The Poets Laureate Anthology [811.5 POE].

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty is hosting this week's Poetry Round-Up. Stop by!

Cover courtesy Poetry Foundation.

Happy Dictionary Day!

Today is Dictionary Day, and also the anniversary of the birth (1758) of Noah Webster, the man for whom Webster's Dictionary is named.

Believe it or not, we have a children's picture book biography of Noah Webster! It's titled Noah Webster and His Words, and was written by Jeri Chase Ferris [J B WEB].

Writer Jeri Ferris has developed lesson plans for teachers to use with the book, and she also has a short trailer on her website.

It's great that writers are bringing history alive for kids! When I was growing up, there were few picture books, let alone nonfiction picture books for children!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Mushrooms and other fungi seem to pop up after a period of rain, but this film clip makes it look instantaneous:

I found the film on the website, Fantastic Fungi: The Official Site for Everything Fungi. I guess in the 21st century you can expect fungi to have their own website, and blog, and Facebook page!

If you look at nothing else on the Fantastic Fungi website, make sure you look at the gallery of fungi photos. They are amazing!

I know that most people are hesitant about picking wild mushrooms, but there some in our area that are okay to eat. One is the Giant Puffball. I've seen a puffball the size of a basketball that was found in the woods in Windham. It smelled heavenly!

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat by Ellen Zachos [641.303 ZAC] has a chapter titled, "Friendly fungi: five easy mushrooms."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bill Murray

Later this month a new film, St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray will be opening in theaters (see trailer here).

Those of us who have been around for a while, will never forget Murray's stint as a comic on Saturday Night Live. But, Murray's versatility as an actor came to the forefront when he want on to make movies.

If you haven't seen all of these, then what are you waiting for?

There are still others that aren't listed here. So you have plenty of time to catch up on Murray before St. Vincent opens on the 24th.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Library is Closed Today

The Library is closed today for the federally designated holiday, Columbus Day. Do something typically "American" today to celebrate, like visit the Topsfield Fair, travel north to view the foliage, or pick some apples and bake a pie!

Enjoy the day and we'll see you back at the Library tomorrow!

Photo by Scott Law.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Poetry Friday--Billy Collins

Last Friday The Washington Post published an interview, "Billy Collins on Life, Death, and Poetry." I particularly like this,
Poetry can do a lot of things to people. I mean it can improve your imagination. It can take you to new places. It can give you this incredible form of verbal pleasure. But leadership to me suggests that there’s a place to lead the person to, that there’s a mission or a goal involved. I don’t think poets are that purpose driven. A poem actually can have either no point or a very nuanced point.

Sometimes the point of a poem is just to make someone smile!

Here's a poem from Collins that makes me smile:

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

From Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems [811.54 COL].

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is stepping into the Round-Up host slot for today. Be sure to stop by!

Happy! Part 2

So, Monday's post on movies that make me happy engendered a lot of discussion among the staff. They asked to have their happy movies included, too. I'm always HAPPY to oblige (this list does not include everyone--it's mighty hard to poll a group):

Carl: Cars [J DVD CAR] and Mud [DVD MUD].

Carolyn: Chariots of Fire [DVD CHA] and The Birdcage [DVD BIR].

Cathy: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [DVD BES].

Elaine: The Money Pit [DVD MON].

Maureen: It's Complicated [DVD ITS].

Terrie: Bridget Jones's Diary [DVD BRI] and Midnight in Paris [DVD MID].

There were several films mentioned by multiple staff people:

Big [DVD BIG].

Elf [DVD ELF].

Love, Actually [DVD LOV].

Moonstruck [DVD MOO].

Young Frankenstein [DVD YOU].

And the happiest song from a movie:

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Edgar Allan Poe Back In Boston!

A new statue of Edgar Allan Poe was unveiled this week in Boston. Poe spent a brief period in Boston--the first two years of his life, but that's enough for us to stake a claim on him as a New Englander!

Poe wasn't fond of Boston, the reasons why are discussed in an article on the unveiling, which was published in The Boston Globe on Sunday.

The statue is the work of Stefanie Rocknak, and shows Poe as a confident and determined individual striding through Boston. It also has the obligatory raven!

Since Halloween is nearly upon us, it's probably time you dip into a little Poe to put yourself in the mood for the macabre! Look for the Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe [F POE] or The Annotated Tales of Edgar Allan Poe [818 POE].

Model of the statue courtesy the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Blood Moon

Blood moon-it sounds like the name of some creepy speculative fiction novel, but, this week, blood moon refers to the lunar eclipse that will be occurring tomorrow beginning at 6:25 AM.

If you just need a refresher on lunar eclipses, NASA also has this short explanatory film, "Understanding Lunar Eclipses":

You'll find books about the moon in 523.3, and in our children's room J 523.3.

Monday, October 06, 2014


Kurious Kitty is back from a brief hiatus and ready to get back to blogging. While I was away, I read somewhere that people who self-identify as being happy for at least a few minutes each day, live longer.

Of course, now I can't find where I read it, but, there are plenty of articles discussing research that supports the idea that happy people are better off health-wise. Here's something from the Harvard School of Public Health:
Keys to a happier, healthier life

Research suggests that certain personal attributes—whether inborn or shaped by positive life circumstances—help some people avoid or healthfully manage diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and depression. These include:

            Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement

            Optimism: the perspective that good things will happen, and that one’s actions account for the good things that occur in life

            Supportive networks of family and friends

            Being good at "self-regulation," i.e. bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again; choosing healthy behaviors such as physical activity and eating well; and avoiding risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating

One of the easiest ways to put me in a happy state, is for me to watch a film. I'm not talking about a inane slapstick movie (although that may work for you), but rather a movie that is light-hearted, but not necessarily sappy. Here are just a few of the films that make me happy:

American Women. [DVD AME]

The Commitments. [DVD COM]

Happy Texas. [DVD HAP]

An Ideal Husband. [DVD IDE]

Waking Ned Devine. [DVD WAK]

What movies make you happy?