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Monday, November 30, 2015

Holy Cows! Tomorrow It's the First of December!

Hasn't the fall just flown by? It's still officially autumn, but with tomorrow being December, and Hanukkah (begins 12/6) and Christmas looming, people need to relax and know that if tasks don't get done, then they don't get done. Will anyone really notice if you're missing a dozen cookies more cookies, or if you only have a wreath on your door, but no sparkly lights? I doubt it.

Take some time to relax. Watch a Hallmark movie. It may be overly sappy, but you'll cry anyway, and end up feeling warm and fuzzy. Or, listen to some traditional carols.

Here's a list to get you started:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I'm posting a short "virtual field trip" to Plymouth Plantation so that you can get an idea of what life was like 400 years ago.

Give thanks for what we have in the 21st century, and for those who endured throughout our history.

The Library will be closing at noon today and remain closed on Thursday and Friday. It will be open for regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Young Jack

For those of you lived in the Boston area prior to JFK's rise to the presidency, there's an exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, that should appeal to you. "Young Jack" shows us JFK "as a boy, a student, a decorated war hero, a young man seeking his life's path."

Kennedy definitely had humorous streak! "The future president as a Leaning Tower of Pisa tourist, August 1937," courtesy JFK Library.

Some items from our collection cover the pre-presidential period of his life:

Cooper, Ilene. Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy. [J B KEN]

Donovan, Robert J. PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II. [940.545 DON]

Graham, James W. Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea. [973.922 GRA]

Hamilton, Nigel. JFK, Reckless Youth. [B KEN]

Matthews, Chris. John Kennedy, Elusive Hero. [B KEN]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dancing for Your Brain

I read an article on a report that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine from the Bronx Aging Study. It showed that dancing reduces a person's chance of developing dementia by 76%! Let me say that again 76%!

The biggest barrier to dancing is one's own mindset. "I can't dance." "I have two left feet." "I look like a dork." get over yourself and just dance. No equipment necessary, other than a radio or other source of music. You can waltz or rhumba with a partner, or you can dance all by your lonesome.

If you want to increase the level of dance to also benefit your heart, there are forms of dance exercise such a Zumba, or something like this:

Start simply, borrow a video from our collection:

Ballroom Dancing for Beginners. [DVD 793.33 BAL]

Booty Bounce. [DVD 613.715 BOO]

Chair Dancing around the World. [DVD 613.71 CHA]

Dance Workout for Dummies. [DVD 613.715 DAN]

Latin Sensation Dance Workout. [DVD 613.715 TUT]

Swing: Invitation to Dance. [DVD 793.33 SWI]

Zumba Fitness Complete Total-Body Transformation System. [DVD 613.715 ZUM]

Friday, November 20, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Pilgrims Came"

"The First Thanksgiving, 1621" by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Right up there with the turkey as a symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday are the Pilgrims. Here's an old children's poem that appears in Our Holidays in Poetry, compiled by Mildred P. Harrington and Josephine H. Thomas [808.81 HAR]. The book was published in 1929, and the poem was originally published in 1919:
The Pilgrims Came
by Annette Wynne

The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;
And yet it's very strange the way
We think of them Thanksgiving Day.

We tell their story old and true
Of how they sailed across the blue,
And found a new land to be free
And built their homes quite near the sea.

Every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail,
And journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

The people think that they were sad,
And grave; I'm sure that they were glad--
They made Thanksgiving Day--that's fun--
We thank the Pilgrims, every one!

What a highly romanticized tale we've woven about the Pilgrims! However, the real story is somewhat less appealing. Ric Burns, brother of Ken, and a documentary film-maker himself, visited the studio of "On Point" at WBUR in Boston to tell listeners what he learned had really happened. You can listen to the complete segment below:

Burns' documentary film The Pilgrims, will be shown on PBS next week.

Visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dutch Treat

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston currently is showing "Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer." It runs through January 18. Masterpieces have been loaned to the MFA from institutions such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Here's a introduction to the exhibit:

To borrow the Library pass to the MFA, have your calendar and library card handy, and start here.

To prepare yourself for a visit to the exhibit, borrow by The Rembrandt Book by Gary Schwartz [759.9492 SCH] or Vermeer: A View of Delft by Anthony Bailey [B VER].

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Only a Month Away!

As if December isn't busy enough, a month from today, December 18, will see the opening of the lastest Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Theoretically, there's plenty of time to see the Star Wars movies that led up to this new one, we have them all, however, they are constantly going in and out, so you may want to put a hold on them to make sure you get them all by December 18.

Or, you can read one of the bazillion Star Wars books in our SF section or in our children's room collections; you'll find them in J STA, or E STA.

Another way to spend the time waiting for the new movie to be released is to cut out Star Wars: The Force Awakens snowflakes to decorate your Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is This a Week For Movies Or What?

Next week is Thanksgiving, so, movie theaters will be seeing an abundance of long-awaited movies opening this week and over the next few weeks. Here we go! Opening this week:

The 33 based upon the real story of 33 miners trapped for 69 days in 2010. Look for any of these for the complete story:

Aronson, Marc. Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet below the Chilean Desert. [J 363.119 ARO]

Franklin, Jonathan. 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners. [ebook and downloadable audio]

Lüsted, Marcia Amidon. The Chilean Miners' Rescue. [J 363.119 LUS]

Tobar, Héctor. Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free. [363.1196 TOB, also AB/CD 363.1196 TOB]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. This sensation started with The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, which can be found in our Young Adult collection, in audiobook, ebook, and in Chinese (Chōngjī yóuxì)! We also have the prior movies in DVD; Mockingjay Part 2 completes the series.

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, a documentary about the early life of one of the finest actresses of the twentieth whose life was also touched by scandal. Catch one of these movies Bergman starred in:
Anastasia. [DVD ANA]

Casablanca. [DVD CAS]

For Whom the Bell Tolls. [DVD FOR]

Indiscreet. [DVD IND]

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. [DVD INN]

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guess What?

Thanksgiving is 10 days away! Yes, you'd better start planning your menu. What will you be having besides turkey and stuffing? Potatoes, pie, and what else? Vegetables!

Surprise your family and guests with something new in the vegetable category. Browse through the table of contents of any one of these to find something that is good for you and tastes good, too!

Hesser, Amanda. The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside. [641.65 HES]

Krissoff, Liana. Vegetarian for a New Generation Seasonal Vegetable Dishes for Vegetarians, Vegans, and the Rest of Us. [ebook]

Ottolenghi, Yotam. Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. [641.5636 OTT]

Peterson, John. Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. [641.651 PET]

Silverstein, Clara. A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the First Family for Your Family. [641.597 SIL]

Friday, November 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Catch Your Breath

The book I want to share with you today includes a haiku that I wrote! It's Catch Your Breath: Writing Poignant Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas [808.1 SAL].
autumn wind
the cat in a frenzy
chasing leaves

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I'm not writing about the book just to toot my own horn, but because it is a fabulous book for teens (and adults, too) who want a little direction in writing poetry.

There is so much to admire in this slim volume. It is concise. It's conversational and easily understood, for example, I like this paragraph about rhyme:
Rhyme takes over meaning, resulting in nonsense or overused words. If you write a rhyming poem about a girl who skis, and you mention that she has fleas, your reader will know that you put that in just for the rhyme. Try to make your rhymes sound natural--like it's a coincidence that the perfect words for your poem happen to rhyme!

One feature that tickled my fancy is the section headings, such as this: Look Around (It's Like I've Never Seen a Jelly Bean Before!). Doesn't that make you want to read more? There are also short "Author Profiles" of contemporary poets and others who fall into the "dead poets" category, writing prompts, and scads of poems that illustrate the forms being covered.

The design is awesome--lots of white space, and colorful graphic elements, which are sure to be attractive to teens.

I only have one minor complaint. The subtitle is "Writing Poignant Poetry." I understand it is alliterative, but I can see it being a turn-off for some people who think poignant means poems that will tear at your heart, make you sad, or otherwise discomfort the reader. The subject of poignancy doesn't seem to be addressed within the book itself. It's a shame such a great book may not find its audience due to an unfortunate subtitle.

Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy 200th Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton!

One of the women instrumental in the women's fight for the right to vote was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton was born on this day in 1815, in Johnstown, New York; she died in 1902.

Photo of Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony, courtesy Library of Congress.

For adult readers we have Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: An Illustrated History, by Geoffrey C. Ward [920 WAR].

There are many more books for children written about Stanton Stone, here are three:

Fritz, Jean. You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? [J B STA]

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Ballot box Battle. [J B STA]

Tanya Lee. Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote. [J B STA]

It's hard to find a better role model for girls than this woman who was born two hundred years ago. She was a woman who spoke her mind and made a difference!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

The Library is closed today to observe Veterans Day. If you're not going out to purchase a new car or take advantage of other Veterans Day sales, spend some time at the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project: A Project of the American Folklife Center. It covers veterans of World War I through to the veterans of our most recent conflicts. If you have friends or loved ones who served, their stories may be found in the project's archives.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Monsters are a favored subject for kids all year round, not just as Halloween. They often get quite creative with their personal interpretations of what a monster would look like. I invite you to visit "The Monster Project 2015" in which children's monster drawings are redrawn by professional artists and illustrators. It is a real treat!

Art by Carlos Lerma, courtesy The Monster Project 2015.

Share "The Monster Project 2015" with your kids, too, and encourage them to express themselves with paper and crayons, clay, or whatever their favorite medium may be. A child who is not particularly comfortable with his/her drawing skills, may just prefer to look through a series of books called "Fantasy field guides" by Aaron Sautter (all found in the J 398 section). One title is A Field Guide to Dragons, Trolls, and Other Dangerous Monsters [J 398.2454 SAU].

And my favorite monster movie--Monsters, Inc. [J DVD MON], is fun for those kids who find scary monsters a bit too much to take.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Unusual Items Part 2

Back on October 28, I posted about a workshop the staff had attended on "unusual items" found in public libraries. In that post I listed a few of the unusual (by that I mean not books, movies, or CDs) the Nesmith already has in its collection.

Today we have one more ready to borrow (and a few more on their way--keep watching this space)!

What you see is a Kala Makala MK-S soprano ukulele [KIT 787.89 UKU]! The ukulele comes with a case, a tuner and instructions, an introductory DVD, and a cloth to keep it shiny!

"A ukulele?" you say. Yes, it seems to be a fairly common unusual item for libraries to loan out. (Click on this New York Times article with the title, "These Public Libraries Are for Snowshoes and Ukuleles.") Some libraries have local ukulele groups that meet at the library. Whipple Free Library in New Boston is one. Information about their group was on display when I visited there in September.

If you'd like to listen to a pro ukukele player, borrow our copy of Ka 'Ano'i by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole [CD INTERNATIONAL KAM]. Kamakawiwo'ole is the musician who had a hit several years ago with his rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"."

Once you learn the ukulele, you may want to accompany someone dancing the hula. In that case, look for Be a Hula Girl [J DVD BE] and get your kids to dance!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Subway"

Here's a simple poem with a powerful message I think. It's by poet David Ignatow, and is found in Wherever Home Begins: 100 Contemporary Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko [YA 811.54 WHE]:

I thought that if he could stoop
to pick out rubbish, each piece
placed in his bag--a tedious job
in front of crowds, all day
the trains at a steady roar,
the lighting dim, the air stagnant--
from bin to bin, searching
to the bottom for gum wrappers,
crumpled newspapers, torn sandwich
bags, cigarette stubs, particles
clinging to his fingers. All this
without a word, bending
at the foot of a steel pillar,
it was not too much for me
to be witness.

No words needed.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Sleigh Bells

This is a small portion of a six-minute 1928 cartoon by Walt Disney titled "Sleigh Bells." The cartoon was found in the archive of the British Film Institute and has been restored. It will be shown next month in England, and undoubtedly be shown here sometime thereafter. Read more here.

As you can see, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was easily morphed into the beloved Mickey Mouse. More early Mickey Mouse cartoons are found in Walt Disney's Vintage Mickey [DVD WAL]. Mickey, in a polished, later version, can be seen in The Three Musketeers [J DVD THR]

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


For those of you who may travel a lot, or who don't have time to visit the library, you should remember that the Library gives you access to thousands of downloadable ebooks (and audios, too). Go to your app store and download the 3M or Overdrive app (both are free) and you're good to go.

If you don't HAVE to read whatever is on this week's bestseller list, then your choices are wider. For instance, on this week's bestseller list you'll find Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. Every single copy of every format is checked out. However, if you look for last year's bestselling Grisham novel, Gray Mountain, you'll find 3 out 4 3M ebook copies are waiting to be checked out.

All copies of After You by Jojo Moyes are checked out, but if you look at Moyes' past titles, you'll find several available right now. One Plus One, The Ship of Brides, and Windfallen were all sitting on the virtual shelf when I checked last night!

The point being, you probably missed a few bestsellers from the past, now that interest has died down, they're waiting for you to download!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Halloween May Be Over, However...

I forgot to post a list of Halloween-type movies last week. There's no reason you can't watch scary movies at other times of the year! We ordered a bunch of creepy, scary, horror movies to beef up our collection.

Some of the titles below are films we've owned for a while, some have newly arrived, and some will be here shortly, so please keep checking back. (And please let us know of any we've missed!)

The Birds
The Blade Trilogy
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
Dawn of the Dead
Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection
The Exorcist
Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Land of the Dead
Night of the Ghouls
Night of the Living Dead
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
The Omen
Rosemary's Baby
Salem's Lot
The Shining
The Stepford Wives
Village of the Damned
Wait Until Dark

Some other titles that are not exactly scary, but still fun!

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Dracula Dead and Loving It
Edward Scissorhands
Hocus Pocus
Hotel Transylvania
Practical Magic
Young Frankenstein

Monday, November 02, 2015

November Is...

"National Inspirational Role Models Month!" It's a mouthful, isn't it? We have so many inspirational role model stories in our collection, it would take days to list them all! So, to make my job a little easier, I'm going to pick only those books in picture book format--ones that will show kids what handicaps or social restraints people overcame, or people who went over and above to achieve a goal.