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

Words

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

Cookies!

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.

Stars

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
Witness
   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

Bears

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!