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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Bugs!

On this day in 1938, Bugs Bunny made his debut as the rabbit antagonist in "Porky's Hare Hunt," (Porky, as in Porky Pig).

Boy, has he changed in appearance! You can see how Bugs, and all the Looney Tunes characters have evolved over the years in the six volume set of DVDs, The Looney Tunes Golden Collection [DVD LOO]. Each volume consists of four disks, so there's a lot of viewing fun in store for you! (That's a not-so-subtle hint for those of you who have kids who are on school break this week!)

If you're curious as to when Bugs first spoke the line he is most famous for, "What's Up, Doc?", that didn't take place until 1940.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Got Trivia?

Do you like trivia? Are you a naturally curious person? Well, then, I came across a site I think you will enjoy. It's called Today I Found Out, and I urge you to visit the site and sign up to receive trivia in you inbox, listen to podcasts of each day's offerings, or view an educational video such as this one:

You just might consider our whole nonfiction collection as a trivia collection, but we do have some books devoted exclusively to "trivial pursuits" such as Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of the Earth's Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst [J 590 HEA].

Monday, April 28, 2014

Robot Dreams

In the 1950s, futuristic movies showed robots vaguely reminiscent of the Tin Man. I doubt if people back then could have dreamed of anything like the robots of today. Just last week, I found an article about a robot with feathers built specifically to study the habits of grouse! Here's the robotic bird:

Photo by Gail Patricelli, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

Perhaps you'd like to build a robot with your kids this coming school vacation week? If so, look for Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff--Projects You Can Build For (and with) Your Kids! by Scott Bedford [745.5 BED]. Or, borrow a copy of Make:, which we've recently begun to receive [MAG MAK]. Check out the website to learn more about this magazine for do-it-yourselfers.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Poetry Friday--Celia Thaxter

"Celia Thaxter's Garden" by Frederick Childe Hassam, courtesy The Athenaeum.

I couldn't finish out the month of April, and not feature NH's Celia Thaxter.

One hundred twenty years after her death, Thaxter is probably best remembered for her garden. It is still being visited today! Thaxter wrote about her garden in a book titled An Island Garden. We have a reproduction of the volume that was originally published in 1894 with "pictures and illuminations" by Childe Hassam [635.9 THA].

Thaxter was also an accomplished poet and was especially noted for her poetry for children. Here's a poem that one can imagine was written after a late April day spent in the garden:

The alder by the river
Shakes out her powdery curls;
The willow buds in silver
For little boys and girls.

The little birds fly over
And oh, how sweet they sing!
To tell the happy children
That once again ’tis spring.

The gay green grass comes creeping
So soft beneath their feet;
The frogs begin to ripple
A music clear and sweet.

And buttercups are coming,
And scarlet columbine,
And in the sunny meadows
The dandelions shine.

And just as many daisies
As their soft hands can hold
The little ones may gather,
All fair in white and gold.

Here blows the warm red clover,
There peeps the violet blue;
O happy little children!
God made them all for you.
Now, I'll direct you to visit my friend Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference where she will be rounding up this week's Poetry Friday posts.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recommended Fiction

Yesterday I participated in a discussion of recommended books at the NH Library Association annual conference. As you can imagine, at a gathering of librarians the discussion of books was lively and opinionated. A few of the novels that I've read, and can recommend, are below:

Baker, Tiffany. Mercy Snow. [F BAK]
Set in the paper mill town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire this atmospheric and lyrical novel follows the lives of two intertwined families, the MacAllisters and the Snows. As the wife of mill owner, Cal, June MacAllister is the privileged first lady of Titan Falls who will do almost anything to protect her picture perfect life. Mercy Snow is a scrappy and resourceful young woman who will do what it takes to protect her older brother Zeke and her younger sister Hannah. For better or worse, secrets and lies bind these two families together and it takes a tragedy for the truth to come to light.

Belfoure, Charles. The Paris Architect. [F BEL]
Lucien Bernard is a young, unemployed architect in Nazi occupied Paris. One day he is asked to design a hiding spot for a Jew. Bernard is intrigued by the challenge of outsmarting the Germans and welcomes the prospect of future employment. However, he is a typical Frenchman of his times and is concerned that he is putting his life on the line for people he has been brought up to despise. Lucien Bernard will find his life, and his thinking, turned completely upside down. The descriptions of Nazi brutally are difficult to read, but overall, the moral issues Bernard, and the reader, must confront are worth the discomfit.

Mower, Simon. Trapeze. [F MOW]
Marian Sutro, a young woman with an English father and a French mother, is comfortable speaking both languages. When the World War II breaks out, she is recruited by the "Inter-Services Research Bureau." Sutro is trained to become a spy and is air-dropped into France where her mission becomes tangled with her private life.

Moyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. [F MOY]
Paris, 1916. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband—a dangerous obsession is born, one that will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Liv’s world is turned upside all over again.

Other novels I would recommend include The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [F BUC], The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd [F KID], Guests on Earth by Lee Smith [F SMI], and The Storied Lives of A. J. Fikrey by Gabrielle Zevin [F ZEV].

So many good books being published, it's hard to find time to read them all!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Busy Week

This week is the New Hampshire Library Association conference. It is being held way up north in Whitefield.

I'll be facilitating a discussion of recommended books, so, I'm going to forego the blog for the next few days, to give me time to prepare for, travel to, and to attend the conference. Check back here on Thursday, when, at the very least, I'll post the list of books I brought along to discuss.

Photo courtesy Mountain View Grand.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--Paul Scott Mowrer

A years back, book groups in New Hampshire all wanted to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain [F MCL]. It was a story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. What many people don't know is that after Ernest and Hadley divorced, Hadley met Paul Scott Mowrer, a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, whom she later married. (To learn more look for Hadley by Gioia Diliberto [B HEM].)

Mowrer retired from the Chicago Daily News in 1948 and moved to Chocorua, NH. He was active in writing and promoting poetry in NH and he served as NH's Poetry Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1971. Unfortunately, we don't have any of Mowrer's poetry books in our collection, but there are several available from other GMILCS consortium libraries. I'm sad to say that I didn't find a single one of his poems in our large collection of anthologies! There are several to be found online, however, and I posted a delightful one, titled "Chipmunks," on my personal blog back in 2012.

Here's another poem that screams New Hampshire in the spring when all manner of frogs and toads venture forth...

The Toad

As I went down by Heathcape Road,
Near Turner's Mill I met a toad.
"Good evening, Toad," said I to him.
"I see you, though the light be dim.
Now turn my friend, before some car
Obliterates you where you are."
"I thank you, but," said he to me,
"Across this road there dwells a She,
And if I cannot come to her,
Death itself would I prefer."

The toad pictured above is a Fowler's Toad, which lives in NH and typically migrates at this time of year. The photo comes courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife through NHPTV's Wildlife Journal.

Robyn Hood Black is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Stop by. Have a happy Easter weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


'Tis the season to be boiling and decorating eggs. And eggs remind me of chickens, so now I have an excuse to share this:

So what do you do with all the hard-boiled eggs you end up with? You can make deviled eggs. I know, you're saying, "my grandmother used to make those--yuck!" However, today's tastes can probably be satisfied with recipes found on Pinterest. If you search for boards using the term, "deviled eggs," you end up with a whole page of results!

Of course, we have many cookbooks in our collection containing a deviled egg recipe or two. And, we have one book that is devoted entirely to eggs: The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Blonder Golson [641.675 GOL].

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WILD New Hampshire

This Saturday is "Discover WILD New Hampshire Day," an annual event that is designed to introduce the whole family to the wonders of New Hampshire wildlife and outdoor activities. It is sponsored by NH Fish and Game and features "exhibits from environmental and conservation organizations from throughout the state."

The festival takes place in Concord and there is no admission charge. To learn more about the day, click here.

If you're interested in New Hampshire's wildlife, these items will get you started:

Carpenter, Ralph G. Fishes of New Hampshire: A Sportsman's Guide to the Fresh-Water Fishes of New Hampshire. [799.1742 CAR]

New Hampshire Wildlife Journal. [MAG NEW]

Silber, Judith K. New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide. [J 974.2 SIL]

Taylor, James. The Amphibians & Reptiles of New Hampshire: With Keys to Tarval, Immature and Adult Forms. [597.9742 TAY]

Wildlines. [MAG WIL]

Photo courtesy NHFG.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Animated Films

With the internet, free sharing of public domain materials, and YouTube, students of film now have the opportunity to view films and to learn from the early masters of animation, or to see films that are a little out of the ordinary.

The following is a film that was created 102 years ago!

OKKULT Motion Pictures has taken old films and created a series of animated GIFs. Their project is called "Excerpts" and is described as
a collection of GIFs excerpted from open source/unknown/rare/controversial moving images. A digital curation project for the diffusion of open knowledge.

An example, starring Donald Duck, can be found here.

If you'd like to try your hand at old-school animation, look for Film Animation Techniques: A Beginner's Guide and Handbook by Lafe Locke [778.5 LOC]. A look at computer animation can be found in The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams [778.5347 WIL].

Monday, April 14, 2014


There was a report over the weekend of a rabid fox that bit a child in Derry. Please instruct your children to stay away from all wild animals! And from stray animals (cat, dog), especially any that appear to be sick or acting strangely. I would also suggest making sure that your pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccination, and that you not let them out on their own--they too can be bit.

Fortunately, rabies shots are not the ordeal they once were, but it is still better not to have to receive the injections! Learn more at the vaccines.gov website from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. The State of New Hampshire DHHS also has information. A "Rabies Fact Sheet" can be accessed here.

Rabies has a long history that is briefly touched on in the book Mapping Epidemics: A Historical Atlas of Disease by Brent H. Hoff and Carter Smith III [614.4 HOF].

Friday, April 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--Richard Eberhart

Continuing with our NPM celebration of New Hampshire poets, this week we have Richard Eberhart who served as a U.S. poet laureate 1959-1961, back in the days when it was called "Consultant in Poetry." Eberhart was later NH's Poet Laureate 1979-1984, and he taught poetry at Dartmouth College for 20 years.

Here's a poem that was published in 1970 in the October 3 issue of The New Yorker. We have it in The Poets Laureate Anthology [811.5 POE].
As If You Had Never Been

When I see your picture in its frame,
A strait jacket, pity rises in me,
And stronger than pity, revulsion.
          It is as if you had never been.

Nobody in the world can know your love,
You are strapped to the nothingness of ages,
Nobody can will you into life,
          It is as if you had never been.

I cannot break you anonymity,
The absolute has imprisoned you,
Most sentient, most prescient, most near.
          It is as if you had never been.

Before you go off to Today's Little Ditty for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, I wanted to share an excellent NPM presentation created by Christine Heaton of Hollis Brookline High School Library.

Photo of Richard Eberhart courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Power of Music

This amazing video was passed on by a friend who works with the elderly.

Oliver W. Sacks, a noted authority on the psychological aspects of music, and who is seen in the film, has written a powerful book called Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain [781.11 SAC]. When last I looked, it was still on the shelf!

More about music and the brain can be learned from the PBS video, The Musical Brain: A Journey of Discovery into the Mystery of Music [DVD 781.11 MUS].

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Coming Next Year!

Coming in 2015! They release these trailer teasers a full year in advance. It's not quite fair, is it? However, it will give you plenty of time to rewatch the older films from the makers of Wallace & Grommit:

Chicken Run. [DVD CHI]

Gromit's Tail-Waggin' DVD. [J DVD GRO]

Shaun the Sheep: A Woolly Good Time. [J DVD SHA]

Shaun the Sheep: Off the Baa! [J DVD SHA]

Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind. [J DVD SHA]

Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. [DVD WAL]

Wallace & Gromit. The Complete Collection. [DVD WAL]

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. [DVD WAL]

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Quilts and Color

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened a new exhibit over the weekend called "Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection."
April 6–July 27, 2014
Trained artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy searched out and collected quilts with bold, eye-popping designs echoing the work of mid-20th century Abstract Expressionist and Op artists. “Quilts and Color” features nearly sixty quilts from their renowned collection.

Check out the webpage where there's a slideshow of some of the quilts displayed, and two videos.

Remember, if you're planning a visit to the MFA, the Library has a museum pass, which was donated by FLOW (Friends of the Library of Windham). Click here to get started with the reservation process (have your library card handy).

Speaking of colorful quilts: the Nesmith Library Quilters are selling raffle tickets for this year's spectacular quilt, the winner of which will be drawn at the Strawberry Festival on May 31. Isn't it a colorful delight!

If you're a quilter--and you're uncertain of your color selecting skills--have we got a book for you, or two, or three...

Peagler, Maria. Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts. [746.46 PEA]

Seely, Ann. Color Magic for Quilters: Absolutely the Easiest, Most Successful Method for Choosing Colors and Fabrics to Create Quilts You'll Love [746.46 SEE].

Wolfrom, Joen. Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts. [746.46 WOL]

Monday, April 07, 2014

Survival Tools

Fans of The Red Green Show will appreciate this post. If you've never seen the show on a public television station, this quote from Red is all you need to know: "The handyman's secret weapon--duct tape."

Wow, that's some display! It's enough to make you want to go out and buy up stock in a duct tape company!

Writer Joshua Piven has made a reputation for himself with his survival guides. Some of his titles in our collection [all found under 613.69 PIV] are The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Life, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition.

The Piven books are meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but, if you're ever out in the woods, the information in
Complete Book of Outdoor Survival by J. Wayne Fears [796.5 FEA] might be a little more practical!

I suppose, there may come a time when your survival tools and book learnin' fail you. In that case, remember the motto of Red Green's Possum Lodge: Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (When all else fails--play dead.)

Friday, April 04, 2014

Poetry Friday--Happy National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month, but I'm going to localize it by declaring it be New Hampshire Poetry Month! and by featuring a New Hampshire poet each Friday. (Yes, there are other NH poets besides Robert Frost!)

I'm going to start with NH's current Poet Laureate, Alice B. Fogel. Since, it is beginning to feel a little more like spring after the long, extremely cold and snowy winter, I thought I'd share Alice's poem, "Degrees of Gratitude," which appears in her 2007 collection, Be That Empty: Apologia for Air [811.08 FOG].
Degrees of Gratitude

It was given me to be grateful for the branch,
how I got to see it day after day as if intentionally
placed on that steep rock, center-stream, in spring--

for an ordinary branch, two-pronged, long, and of a size
for brandishing in an angry hand--and more,
for how unreachable it was by any hand

and for the tall gray rock softly splitting the run
of the water, and for the water itself so hard and fast
it was a force that, rising, could lift a broken limb

out of and above itself and place it soundly upon a rock--
yes, and for the same water so gentle that falling
it could leave the branch, leave forever without bearing it

over to the other side...even more for the balance
of nature that moves the eye to attend to a branch,
inert for days on a rock unmoved by rapids; so wonder

must be a thing that can flow upstream, so that as the river
becomes the other rivers moment by moment, the moment
of wonder remains in the stream.

Fogel's Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for The Reluctant Reader [808.1 FOG] is also in our collection. It's such a good introduction to poetry that I bought a copy for myself!

Head over to The Poem Farm to visit a while with Amy and the other Poetry Friday participants.

Happy spring days ahead!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Fruitful and Multiplying

Last week on NPR's Morning Edition, there was a segment on biblical movies being released this year. One, Noah, starring Russell Crowe, is playing locally.

The Morning Edition segment also went into a history of biblical movies, and the social context in which they were released. I've created a little carousel of some of the earlier biblical films in our collection.

[Please note: if you click on a title, it will take you out to our catalog and from there you can log in and place a request for the item! How simple is that?]

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

It's International Children's Book Day!

The April 2nd birthday of legendary storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, is the date for the International Children's Book Day, an annual celebration sponsored in the U.S. by the Children's Book Council.

Andersen's tales are classics and are continuously being published in new illustrated editions. Andersen's life is of interest, too. Few people know that he was quite an accomplished paper artist. The intricate cut-work can be viewed here. Here's one example:

Tree courtesy visitandersen.com.

You can celebrate International Children's Book Day by reading a children's book about Andersen. Here are two from our children's room.

Hesse, Karen. The Young Hans Christian Andersen. [J B AND]

Yolen, Jane. The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen. [J B AND]

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month all over the United States, and, in other parts of the world, too! It’s a month in which people read poetry, listen to it, write it, and learn to give up their fears about it. Real life is NOT high school English class. You can simply read a poem and enjoy it without having to discuss rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, theme, or form!

The Nesmith Library has an ever-expanding collection of poetry books. In the past year, we’ve added many newly published poetry books, including these, which should satisfy a variety of audiences:

Collins, Billy. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems. [811.54 COL]

Engle, Margarita. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist. [3M ebook]

Heard, Georgia. Poetry Lessons to Meet the Common Core State Standards: Exemplar Poems with Engaging Lessons and Response Activities that Help Students Read, Understand, and Appreciate Poetry. [372.64 HEA]

Janeczko, Paul B., sel. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. [J 811.008 JAN]

McCarthy, B. Eugene. Sound Ideas: Hearing and Speaking Poetry. [808.545 MCC]

Nelson, Marilyn. How I Discovered Poetry. [YA 811.54 NEL]

Poems to Learn by Heart. [J 821.008 POE]

Szybist, Mary. Incarnadine: Poems. [811.6 SZY]

Rather than think of April as a month in which to promote poetry, think of it as a joyous celebration of the written word. Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, recently said,
Promotion doesn’t interest me, and poetry is too large and fundamental for such a thing. Art made of the sounds of words is basic. As far as I know it is part of all cultures….I think of myself as encouraging those who love the art, and helping make it available.