Looking for a book, DVD, CD, or other item? Search our catalog!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Stories of Perseverance

Perseverance is defined as "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement." (from Dictionary.com) On Thursday last week, I posted a video that showed artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir who managed to paint after developing rheumatoid arthritis. It is amazing what individuals with handicaps manage to do by persevering!

Some other real-life stories of perseverance include:

Giffords, Gabrielle D. Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope. [AB/CD B GIF]

Hamilton, Bethany. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. [YA B HAM]

Keller, Helen. The Story of My Life. [ebook]

Maynard, Kyle. No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life. [B MAY]

Sherrow, Victoria. Wilma Rudolph. [J B RUD]

I'd also like to suggest Murderball [DVD 796.333 MUR], a documentary film about wheelchair athletes.

These and many others are available to inspire you to overcome whatever obstacles come your way!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, William F. Cody!

Born in the frontier of Iowa, in 1846, William F. Cody would later be known as Buffalo Bill. He lived until 1917 and gained great renown as a showman, as this film illustrates:

And since it is Poetry Friday, here's probably the most famous poem ever written about Cody, it is commonly known as "Buffalo Bill's Defunct," and is by e. e. cummings.

Found in e. e. cummings: A Selection of Poems. [811 CUM]

(I took a screen shot of the poem from poets.org in order to preserve its unusual formatting.)

Yee ha! The Poetry Friday Round-Up can be found at Elizabeth Steinglass--mosey on over!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, Monsieur Renoir!

Painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, was born on this day in 1841. In his later life, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis, which resulted in limited mobility and deformities of his hands. Renoir worked in spite of these limitations, and despite the fact that he had to have an assistant put a paint brush in his hand!

This was filmed 101 years ago, and you can see the awkward way Renoir had to hold a brush:

Artists seem to be fair game for novelists, especially French artists. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman [F HOF, AB/CD HOF, ebook] deals with Camille Pissarro and his family. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [F BUC, ebook] is about young ballerinas posing for Edgar Degas. Renoir, too, gets the fictional treatment, from Susan Vreeland, in Luncheon of the Boating Party [F VRE], it features one of Renoir's most famous paintings:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Winslow Homer

In Boston, on this day in 1836, Winslow Homer was born. Homer, as you probably know, was one of the great American painters of the 1800s. I would suggest a quick look at the Winslow Homer website for an overview of his life and work. We own several older volumes on Homer, including Winslow Homer at Prout's Neck by Philip C. Beam [759.13 BEA]. Prout's Neck is in Scarborough, ME. (The Portland Museum of Art owns Homer's home and studio and conducts tours beginning April 14.)

In the following video, two art experts explore "The Life Line, 1884":

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

More Discussable Books

Last week I mentioned two titles to consider if your book group is looking for a slightly older, yet still discussable book, here are two more:

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier [F FRA, AB/CD FRA, and ebook].
Luce inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, but the coming of the children changes everything. Her formerly comfortable and solitary life is changed in difficult, hopeful, and dangerous ways.

Swamplandia by Karen Russell [F RUS, AB/CD RUS, and ebook}.
Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, an alligator theme park in the Florida Everglades. After Ava’s mother dies, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love, her big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. Ava sets out on a mission through the swamps to save them all.

Monday, February 22, 2016

R. I. P. Harper Lee

Last week saw the passing of Harper Lee at the age of 89. Lee is the author of the much-beloved modern classic, To Kill a Mockingbird [F LEE, AB/CD LEE, LP LEE, ebook, and DVD TO]. One can only hope that her passing does not mean her family, friends, and other interested parties will embark upon a money-grab with regard to the rights and ownership of the writer's works and estate.

There had been great consternation and speculation about the publication of her second novel, Go Set a Watchman [F LEE, AB/CD LEE, and ebook] last summer--was it done of Lee's own free will, was she coerced, etc. We can expect more of the same...

Although there are already several biographies and other books about Lee, be prepared for the floodgates to open in the near future. Until then, you can look for these:

Mills, Marja. The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee. [B LEE]

Shields, Charles J. I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee. [YA B LEE]

Shields, Charles J. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. [B LEE]

Friday, February 19, 2016

Poetry Friday--Japanese Internment

On this day in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. The order forced 110,000 Japanese-Americans, who lived on the west coast of the U. S., into internment camps. They could only bring what they could carry. They lost homes, businesses, and other property (estimated at a total of $400 million). It wasn't until January 2, 1945, that they were allowed to leave the camps. (See yesterday's post on documenting history.)

Poet Lawson Fusao Inada, at the age of four, was interned with his family in Colorado. He has written the experience into his poems.

The National Park Service, Tule Lake, CA. Has some information and a PDF of poems from Inada's book, Legends from Camp.

The following is a poem that appeared in World Literature Today, November 2014.
To This Day

Have you ever wondered
whatever happened to all the
barbed wire that defined
and confined the so-called
camp at Tule Lake?

That’s a good question
we have a right to ask
as ordinary tax-paying citizens:
"Whatever happened
to all that barbed wire?"

When you think about it,
the very idea of fencing such an expense of land
was a daunting challenge
for all those concerned

because it wasn’t easy
to coordinate "back East" planning
with "out West" implementation,
along with the manufacture
and transportation of materials
from all points in between.

And it was also
an innovative undertaking,
a historical precedent,
because this fence was to confine,
not cattle or criminals,
but residents of the American West,
who, in the western tradition,
were to be "rounded up,"
and "herded" into fenced areas--
Tule Lake being but one such place.

Read the rest here.

Here's a PBS video about the Granada Relocation Center, also known as Amache, in Colorado.

At Mainely Write, you're be greeted by Donna who is hosting the Round-Up and holding a between-times celebration.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Documenting History

One of the more shameful episodes in American history was the internment, in the United States, of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

On Tuesday, NPR published an article on the camp in Manzanar, and three photographers who recorded the place and its internees.

Be sure to watch the video segment in the article. It tells the story of one of the photographers, Toyo Miyatake, and the lengths he went to to document history.

To learn more about the internment camps, look for one of these:

Grant, Kimi Cunningham. Silver Like Dust [one family's story of America's Japanese internment]. [AB/CD 940.5317 GRA]

Kent, Deborah. The Tragic History of the Japanese-American Internment Camps. [YA 940.5317 KEN]

Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience. [940.5317 ONL]

Robinson, Greg. By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans. [940.5317 ROB]

Stanley, Jerry. I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment. [J 940.53 STA]

The Library of Congress has a collection of photos of what was referred to at the Manzanar Relocation Center; click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Discussable Books

This is a crazy week, so I'm not doing much in the way of posting. However, for today, I'm going to tell you about two discussable novels that book groups should enjoy. They're both a few years older than anything you'll find on the current bestseller list, which means it should be easy to get multiple copies from other libraries.

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott.
Moving to the mill city of Lowell in 1832 to escape farm life, young Alice is disillusioned by the local factory's harsh working conditions and struggles to advocate on their behalf while recklessly falling in love with the mill owner's son, a situation that is complicated by a murder and sensational trial.
A little bit of local history, a little bit of romance, and a trial--what's not to like? Your book group may want to take an excursion down to Lowell for one of the mill tours.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl.
Working as a public relations hotline consultant for a once-prestigious culinary magazine, Billie Breslin unexpectedly enters a world of New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors while reading World War II letters exchanged between a plucky 12-year-old and James Beard.
This is a bit cliche with its hidden beauty main character slowly emerging as a desirable woman, however, there's plenty to discuss about a hidden room and what the MC finds inside. And books about food are always fun with a book group!

I'll be back tomorrow with a few more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy 204th Birthday to Henry Wilson!

Who? Henry Wilson, was born on this date in 1812, in Farmington, New Hampshire and served as vice-president of the United States, under Ulysses S. Grant, from 1873 until his death in 1875 (November 22).

This from the NH Historical Marker (0098) in Farmington: "Born...Jeremiah Jones Colbath, this self-educated farm boy changed his name when of age to Henry Wilson." I wonder what's the story behind that?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Presidents Day!

The Library is closed today for the Presidents Day federal holiday.

The History Channel has many short videos related to Presidents Day. There's sure to be something fascinating about the presidents that you never learned in elementary school!

And, if your younger children have an interest in the Presidential race, then If I Ran For President by Catherine Stier [JP STI] would be a perfect introduction to the subject.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Poetry Friday--Poetry Out Loud

Beginning next week, students in the fifty states will begin the final rounds of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest for 2016. The finals in our state, New Hampshire, will take place on March 21.

If you're wondering about the poems included in the contest, we have a copy of The Anthology: Poems for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Students must pick poems from the "more than 100 celebrated poems that are suitable for performance." The Anthology is also found here. The online pages also include additional sanctioned poems.

Here's an example of a poem from The Anthology:
My Grandmother’s Love Letters
by Hart Crane

There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.

There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother’s mother,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.

Don't you wish you had written this? Read the rest here.

Last year's New Hampshire champion, Dessaline Etienne, represented us in the National Finals:

Kimberley is this week's Round-Up host, she hangs out at Written Reflections!

Don't Forget Your Valentine!

Sunday is Valentine's Day, so consider this fair warning--ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT TO GET A GIFT!

When in doubt, there's always chocolate! Two decades ago you probably didn't have much choice in chocolates--there was milk chocolate and dark chocolate (white chocolate doesn't count) and that's about it. Today, you can't keep track of all the fabulous chocolates that are available. Even your local supermarket now carries "gourmet" varieties of chocolate.

Have you ever thought about making your own gift of chocolate? Do a Google search on "make your own chocolate truffles" and you'll come up with dozens of easy recipes!

Or why restrict yourself to candy? There are chocolate cakes and cookies. Mason jars filled with hot chocolate mixes. You can even treat your Valentine to a Mexican dinner--homemade, of course--that includes chocolate. Again, search Google for "Mexican mole recipe."

To learn more about chocolate, you can visit the Exploratorium's "The Sweet Lure of Chocolate," borrow Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum [641.3374 ROS], or, if you're adventurous in the kitchen, there's Chocolate on the Brain: Foolproof Recipes for Unrepentant Chocoholics by Kevin Mills [641.6374 MIL].

Have a very happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Laura Dern!

Actress Laura Dern was born on this day in 1967. She is the daughter of the actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, so it's no surprise that she, too, excels at acting.

Dern is known primarily for her roles in film but she has also made a name for herself in television as the star of Enlightened. She will be appearing in the new Twin Peaks, which is scheduled for 2017.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Nature Photography

Photo by Wendy Lorentzen.

Last Friday, after the snowstorm ended, one of our town employees who was helping shovel out snapped the above photo as the sun was setting. Lovely.

A lot of nature photography is being in the right place at the right time, but, there are some things you can learn to help get the best shot possible! That's where the Library comes in.

With 100 Ways to take better Nature & Wildlife Photographs by Guy Edwardes [ebook], you can read about taking photos and actually take them on your smart phone. Ah, the wonders of the 21st century!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Happy New Year!

Today, February 8, is the Lunar New Year. It is celebrated in many Asian countries and in communities all over the world!

To celebrate, we are holding a Chinese New Year celebration here at the Library on Saturday the 13th beginning at 1:00 pm. No registration is required.

This program is for anyone interested in celebrating the Chinese New Year and learning about the history of the holiday. There will also be a demonstration of a Chinese Tea Ceremony, a concert of songs played on an Erhu (two-stringed, traditional instrument), and a traditional Lion Dance.

Other activities will take place, and special Chinese treats will be served!

2016 is The Year of the Monkey.

Information on the Chinese Zodiac can be found in Chinese Zodiac Animals by Sanmu Tang [J 133.5 TAN] or Why Rat Comes First: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Clara Yen [JP YEN].

Friday, February 05, 2016

Poetry Friday--A Poem for Black History Month

Unless you're someone who is a big reader of poetry, if I were to ask you to name a black poet, you'd probably say, "Langston Hughes." Hughes' poetry is accessible and his recognition is justified, so, for today, I'd like to offer this poem by Hughes that is short, provides a tiny history lesson, and, ultimately, is painful to read.

Colored child at carnival:

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in the back--
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where's the horse
For a kid that's black?

From Selected Poems of Langston Hughes [811 HUG]

Tricia will be hosting the Round-Up at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Photo by Arthur Rothstein (1939), courtesy Library of Congress.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Opening Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will be released in theaters. It is based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith, the full title of which is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance--Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! [F GRA, also ebook]. That book was based upon Jane Austen's classic, Pride and Prejudice [F AUS, AB/CD AUS]. There have been many filmed versions of the classic, as well as retellings and extensions of the basic book. Somehow, though, I think Jane Austen would have been most surprised by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Here's the U. S. trailer for the film (warning: if you're squeamish, please skip the trailer).

A few other, less gruesome, Pride and Prejudice related books are Longbourn by Jo Baker [F BAK, also ebook], which is a story of the kitchen staff at the Bennet family's estate, Ladies of Longbourn by Rebecca Ann Collins [ebook] about an imagined grandchild of Jane and Mr. Bingley, and Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James [F JAM, AB/CD JAM, ebook, and DVD DEA], in which Lydia's scoundrel husband, Mr. Wickham, is murdered (but not eaten by zombies)!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

There's a Reason For Everything!

If you're a regular reader of Kurious Kitty, you'll have come across a number of topics I visit over and over again. One of those topics is cheese. I love cheese. You might just say I'm addicted to cheese, but who can be addicted to a dairy food? Well, it turns out you can be addicted to cheese!

The British newspaper, the Evening Standard, ran an article titled, "Cheese Triggers the Same Part of the Brain as Hard Drugs, Say Scientists."

It make cheese seem almost sinister, doesn't it! Oh, well, this is one addiction I don't want to beat! Which way to the mac and cheese? (And I don't mean the easy reader by Sarah Weeks [E WEE]!)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

It's That Time Again!

I don't mean the circus that is presidential politics! I'm talking about Groundhog Day! When people head to Pennsylvania to see is a medium-sized rodent sees its shadow. What ridiculousness! However, if you need something to celebrate...

Monday, February 01, 2016

It's February!

And today is the birthday of famed Hollywood Director, John Ford. Ford was born February 1, 1894. He started making movies in 1917 during the silent film era. Ford won four Academy Awards. He passed away in 1973.

Here are a few of his films: