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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Almost June?

How did that happen? We are well on our way to summer! Here at the Library we are gearing up for summer vacation and summer reading. We'll have something for everyone from the littlest Read-to-Me reader to those significantly older.

After the FLOW Strawberry Festival and Book Fair this coming Sunday, June 5, Summer Reading flyers will be available at the Library in paper form and online on our website.

As you and your family get ready for summer vacation, why not watch one of these:

National Lampoon's Vacation. [DVD NAT]

Summer Vacation. ("Nickelodeon favorites" series.) [J DVD SUM]

Vacation. [DVD VAC]

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day ceremony at the American Cemetery at Suresnes, France, May 30, 1920, photo courtesy Library of Congress.

The Library is closed today for the Memorial Day holiday, we will re-open tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take the time today to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Here's a Washington Post article that may give you pause. Peace to all.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Amelia Bloomer!

Women in bloomers. Photo courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.

The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness; and, while it should not fail also to conduce to her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary importance.
~ Amelia Jenks Bloomer

On this day in 1818, Amelia Jenks Bloomer was born in Homer, New York. She, of course, went on to lend her name to a style of women's pants known as bloomers, but she was also an advocate of women's rights, and a writer and editor.

In honor of Amelia Bloomer's birthday, here's a poem by Lisel Mueller
The Laughter Of Women

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

Found in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems [811.54 MUE]

Before you leave town for the Memorial Day weekend, be sure to stop by The Drift Record where Julie is hosting this week's round-up of poetry.

What Are You Doing on Monday?

You may be viewing a Memorial Day parade, or firing up the grill, but if you lived in Gloucestershire in the UK, you could be running in the The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. Say what?

Rather than explain, here's a short video of the 2012 event:

Click here for more information.

Any excuse to promote cheese is okay in my book!

The Cheese Companion: The Connoisseur's Guide by Judy Ridgway [641.373 RID]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Old Photos

The New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord is offering "Digitizing Documents and Photographs: A Workshop" on June 11. This from the flyer:
Representatives from the Northeast Document Conservation Center will be leading this workshop and addressing such issues as how to prepare documents and photographs for digitization, best practices for digitization, choosing appropriate equipment based on your budget and computer set-up, and tips for making quality digital images of the documents and photographs you want to preserve for generations to come.

If you have been thinking about digitizing your family's photos and documents, this workshop would be a good place to start.

I find old photos fascinating, and I was pleased to come across two Facebook pages devoted to sharing old photos: Old Photo Archive, and New Hampshire--Then and Now, which is devoted to NH photos, old and new. You could very well find yourself spending hours on each page!

Be sure to visit our copllection, too, where we have Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen Alice Taylor [929.1072 TAY] and How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally by Denise May Levenick [745.593 MAY].

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"The Present"

If you're like me, Facebook sometimes suckers you into watching a video clip because ALL your FB friends and groups have it in their posts. This is one of those videos and I'm posting here because it really is worth watching, and would be good to use with kids or in a classroom situation.

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

We have many books in our adult and children's sections about disabilities. And, we do have books on shelter and rescue animals including these titles:

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fight for Life. [eBook}

Charleson, Susannah. The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of "Unadoptables" Taught Me about Service, Hope and Healing. [eBook]

Flaim, Denise. Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Dduck, and a Few Turtles. [179.3 FLA, also eBook]

Furstinger, Nancy. Maggie's Second Chance: A Gentle Dog's Rescue. [JP FUR]

Graham, Bob. "Let's get a pup!" said Kate. [JP GRA]

Heppermann, Christine. City Chickens. [J 636.5 HEP]

Monday, May 23, 2016


"If you were going to start a new life, and could only take a small bag, you'd fill it with your most precious possessions."

The Nazis knew what they were doing. When the luggage of Jews, who were send to Auschwitz, was seized the Nazis looted the valuables that it contained. Some of the valuables, however, were hidden within the objects found in the luggage and remained undiscovered for more than seven decades. At the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, an enamel mug was recently found to have a false bottom that held a gold necklace and a gold ring. Its original owner is unknown.

If you visit this link at NPR, you'll see the jewelry and discover how a round of routine museum work revealed them.

Photo courtesy Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum www.auschwitz.org/.

If you're a reader of fiction, then Love and Treasure, a story of WW II stolen goods, by Ayelet Waldman [F WAL, LP WAL] may interest you.
In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure--a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman--a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life. Publisher's description.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Poetry Friday--"Lucky Lindy!"

Today marks the 89th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic trans-Atlantic flight. Within days of completing his flight, a song had been written and recorded. "Lucky Lindy!" was the title and it was recorded by at least three different orchestras in 1927 (there are three versions to be found on YouTube). Here is the version by Sam Lanin:

Lucky Lindy!
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Music by Abel Baer

Lucky Lindy! Up in the sky
Fair or windy, he's flying high.
Peerless, fearless --- knows every cloud
The kind of a son makes a mother feel proud!
Lucky Lindy! Flies all alone
In a little plane all his own,
Lucky Lindy shows them the way
And he's the hero of the day.

Lindbergh's own account of the 33-hour flight, The Spirit of St. Louis [629.1309 LIN], is in our collection.

Fly on down to Louisiana where Margaret is hosting this week's Round-Up at Reflections on the Teche.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What Does It All Mean?

There has been a lot in the news lately about transgendered people and bathrooms. For some people, the term "transgender" is a new one. What does it all mean? First we have to look at the simple terms "sex" and "gender." They are not the same.
In general terms, "sex" refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences. "Gender" is more difficult to define but can refer to the role of a male or female in society (gender role), or an individual's concept of themselves (gender identity).

From "Sex and Gender: What Is the Difference?" by Tim Newman.

There's a summary of other related terms found here. One of the terms not found in this summary is "cisgender." Cisgender is a fairly new term and it basically defines a person who was born a male or female and is comfortable identifying as such.

What puzzles some people is why someone would choose to be transgender. Choice is not an option, there is an explanation as to why people may not identify as the gender they were born with--genetics. To read more, click here for an article from Nature.
Biologists may have been building a more nuanced view of sex, but society has yet to catch up. True, more than half a century of activism from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has softened social attitudes to sexual orientation and gender. Many societies are now comfortable with men and women crossing conventional societal boundaries in their choice of appearance, career and sexual partner. But when it comes to sex, there is still intense social pressure to conform to the binary model.

It's a confusing issue, but, it deals with people--people, as we all know, are more than just sexual beings. To be empathetic individuals, we must be willing to learn more about others. Start here:

Califia, Patrick. Sex Changes: Transgender Politics. [eBook]

Kuklin, Susan. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out. [YA 306.768 KUK]

Nutt, Amy Ellis. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. [eBook]

Out of the Ordinary: Essays on Growing Up with Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Parents. [306.874 OUT]

Whittington, Hillary. Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached. [eBook]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Circular Economy

Earth Day was last month, so you'll probably be surprised when I tell you today's post is about recycling. A few days ago the Huffington Post ran a piece titled, "Imagine a World in Which Nothing Gets Thrown Away." It's about a circular economy. In other words, goods are manufactured with the idea that the materials that go into them can be recycled or reused. We would end up with a minimum of trash filling up our landfills and our oceans. According to the article, "By 2050, the ocean could have more plastic than fish, by weight." What a horrifying thought--if we don't want this to happen, we need to start changing our habits soon.

Graphic from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

We can all start small, right in our own homes and businesses, by taking care to recycle everything that is recyclable, not to buy products with unnecessary packaging, etc.

These two books from our collection might provide the impetus you need: The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--and a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard [306.4 LEO], and, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough [745.2 MCD]. And for children look for Reducing Waste by Anne Flounders [J 363.728 FLO].

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The National Bison Legacy Act

We now have a national mammal--the bison. Bison, more commonly known as buffalo, were honored by the National Bison Legacy Act signed into law by President Obama last week. (To learn why bison shouldn't be called as buffalo, click here.)

The bison population was decimated in the 1800s, some say, in an attempt to fully conquer the native peoples of North America. Read more about this dark period of American history in an article from The Atlantic.

Not surprisingly, most of the books we have on bison are in the children's section, but for those adults who are interested in our national mammal, look for A Buffalo in the House the True Story of a Man, an Animal, and the American West by Richard Dean Rosen [eBook] and American Buffalo in Search of a Lost Icon by Steven Rinella [eBook].

Monday, May 16, 2016

Getting Older

Today I'm not at the Library. One of the drawbacks of getting older is that when you hit a certain age, you find yourself having to go for "medical screenings." Today, I'm having one of those...

However, getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting duller. Here's one sharp old guy to prove my point:

We have lots of books on aging and how to keep your wits, and hopefully your body, intact.

Adams, Carol J. Never Too Late to Go Vegan: The Over-50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet. [eBook]

Agronin, Marc E. How We Age: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Growing Old. [305.26 AGR]

Apovian, Caroline M. The Age-Defying Diet: Outsmart Your Metabolism to Lose Weight--Up to 20 Pounds in 21 Days!--and Turn Back the Clock. [613.25 APO]

Chang, Joseph Y. The Aging Myth: Unlocking the Mysteries of Looking and Feeling Young. [612.68 CHA]

Diaz, Cameron. The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time. [612.68 DIA]

Grierson, Bruce. What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives. [B KOT]

Heller, Marla. The DASH Diet Younger You; Shed 20 Years--and Pounds--in Just 10 Weeks. [eBook]

Thompson, Edward H., Jr. A Man's Guide to Healthy Aging: Stay Smart, Strong, and Active. [613.04234 THO]

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Joe Louis!

On this day in 1914 World Heavyweight Champion (1937-49), Joe Louis, was born in Alabama. His birth name was Joseph Louis Barrow and he was later nicknamed "The Brown Bomber." Joe Louis, Jr. said of his father,
What my father did was enable white America to think of him as an American, not as a black. By winning, he became white America’s first black hero.

So, where's the poetry connection? Joyce Carol Oates in her book, On Boxing [796.8 OAT] relates this anecdote:
Why are you a boxer, Irish featherweight champion Barry McGuigan was asked. He said: "I can't be a poet. I can't tell stories..."

And yet, another great champion boxer, Muhammad Ali, was known for his little ditties such as this:

Poet Edward Hirsch as stated that poetry has roots in work and work songs. There is a section in his book, How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry [808.1 HIR], on traditional southern black work songs and how they influenced the poetry of black writers such as Sterling Brown.

Hirsch explains,
The work song is a utilitarian form whose main function is to synchronize the efforts of workers who must move together as in a chain gang. A leader provides a strong rhythmic cue with two or three bars which are then answered by the ejaculatory word or words of moving workers. The rhythmic interaction and continual interplay create a call-and-response pattern, making music a participatory activity.

Imagine a boxer preparing for a fight, hitting a speed bag or a heavy bag, developing a rhythm. I can imagine Louis reciting a rhyme or singing a song as he practiced.

If you read Joyce Carol Oates' book you can almost look at the sport of boxing as an artistic experience!
Because a boxing match is a story without words, this doesn't mean that it has no text or no language...the text is improvised in action; the language a dialogue between the boxers of the most refined sort...Ringside announcers give to the wordless spectacle a narrative unity, yet boxing as performance is more clearly akin to dance or music than narrative.

Who woulda thunk it? So, today, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say we celebrate Louis the champion athlete and creative spirit!

Violet Nesdoly/Poems is the place to be if you're looking for even more poetry!

Internet Gaming Database

If you're a big movie fan, you probably already know about the Internet Movie Database. It has changed significantly over the years from strictly a database of films to a tool of Amazon.com. However, it still remains the first place I go for information about movies.

There is new database started, Internet Game Database. Here's a statement from the IGDB FAQ page:
What is IGDB?

The goal of the Internet Game Database is to gather, preserve, and distribute knowledge about games. This knowledge includes not only the data that every gamer finds printed in their analog and digital game manuals, but also the data that can never be captured in stable print: what the games really are. Games are not books, films, or toys - they are all of those things and more. True knowledge of games can only be gained by gaming and study, and this is why IGDB exists: to provide gamers their own shared vision of what games really are. All are welcome to join us on this journey.

If the Nesmith Library were to loan games, what would you suggest we purchase? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


The internet is a wonderful thing. I was looking to identify a New England wildflower, and by following a series of links, I ended up at a site all about foraging, that is, hunting for food. With supermarkets and processed foods, we've gotten away from some of the nutritious "natural" foods that may be growing in our own backyard. The site, Josh's Journal: New England Natural History and Foraging, is a wealth of information!

In the section devoted to foraging, New England Wild Edibles Monthly Guide, you can find out what may be available to hunt and gather now in May. Dandelions, garlic-mustard tops, and violets are just three of the items you'll find outside today.

Here are three books in our collection that would be a good place to start your foraging adventures:

Richardson, Joan. Wild Edible Plants of New England: A Field Guide: Including Poisonous Plants Often Encountered. [581.6 RIC]

Rothman, Julia. Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of the Natural World. [508 ROT]

Zachos, Ellen. Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat. [641.303 ZAC]

We have a number of other edible wild plant guides in the 581.6 section.

"Still Life with Dandelions" by Otto Didrik Ottesen, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

National Bicycle Month, Part 3

In celebration of National Bicycle Month I highlighted a collection of books about bicycles and bicycling. Today, I want to feature a few DVDs.

One DVD from 1979, Breaking Away [DVD BRE], is a personal favorite. I find it laugh-out-loud funny, and it has that "Rocky" vibe going for it--will the underdog come out on top? Here's the trailer if you're not already familiar with it:

The following are from our collection; most of these have cycling front and center, but for a few, the connection is marginal at best!

The Bicycle Thief. [DVD BIC]

Ghost Rider. [DVD GHO]

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. [J DVD PEE]

Rushmore. [DVD RUS]

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. [DVD SEC]

The Wizard of Oz. [DVD WIZ]

These additional bicycle films are available through our GMILCS partner libraries:

American Flyers.

Premium Rush.



You can put these on hold through our online catalog, or give us a call to reserve them for you.

Monday, May 09, 2016

National Bicycle Month, Part 2

As I noted on Friday, May is "National Bicycle Month." Here are books on bicycles, bike maintenance, and a few stories about bikes for kids.

And so you can plan ahead: May 20 is bike-to-work day!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Poetry Friday--It's National Bicycle Month!

The month of May has been designated "National Bicycle Month." The weather, although mostly rainy this past week, should be trending toward bike-riding weather. As soon as we get there, make an effort to get outside and climb on a bike--it's good for your soul (and your heart, and, the environment).

I was surprised how few poems I found that are devoted exclusively to bicycles. I would have thought there'd be hundreds. But, maybe people who ride bikes don't write about the experience. (Try balancing paper and pencil on a moving bike!)

There's a poem by Michael Salinger celebrating "National Bicycle Month" called "Bicycle Dreams." It appears in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish [teacher/librarian edition 372.64 POE, children's edition J 808.81 POE].

Another bicycle poem is by Nikki Giovanni, who titled her 2009 collection, Bicycles: Love Poems [811.54 GIO].

Midnight poems are bicycles
Taking us on safer journeys
Than jets
Quicker journeys
Than walking
But never as beautiful
A journey
As my back
Touching you under the quilt

Midnight poems
Sing a sweet song
Saying everything
Is all right

Here for us
I reach out
To catch the laughter

The dog thinks
I need a kiss

Bicycles move
With the flow
Of the earth
Like a cloud
So quiet
In the October sky
Like licking ice cream
From a cone
Like knowing you
Will always
Be there

All day long I wait
For the sunset

The first star
The moon rise

I move
To a midnight
The dangers

[A little aside: I love the epigraph at the front of the book, "Bicycles: because love requires trust and balance".]

Hop on your bike and pedal over to Poetry for Children for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. This week's hostess is none other than Sylvia Vardell, who, along with Janet Wong, edited the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations mentioned above!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Lilac Time Is Coming!

Any day now, the lilacs in front of the Library will be blooming! Here's a photo of how they looked yesterday.

Our lilacs have white flowers. The New Hampshire state flower is the Purple Lilac, which is probably the most commonly found lilac, but lilacs come in many colors and shades as you'll see in Lilacs: A Gardener's Encyclopedia by John L. Fiala [635.93387 FIA].

The NH Governor's Lilac and Wildflower Commission is holding its 20th annual Lilac Photo Contest this year. Contest rules and last year's photo winners are here.

Now, sit down and relax a little with Rachmaninoff's Op. 21 No. 5 titled "Lilacs."

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

In Newport, Rhode Island!

Captain James Cook sailed the oceans in the 1700s. His ship, HMS Endeavour, is believed to have been discovered in the waters of Newport Harbor! The British newspaper, the Daily Mail, has outlined the discovery, and the ship's history, here.

Portrait by Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland (c 1775), courtesy Wikipedia.

Interest in Captain Cook's voyages is sure to increase over the next few months, so, look for these items in our collection:

American Sea Writing: A Literary Anthology. [810.8 AME] Contains a selection from J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur's A Journal of Captain Cook 's Last Voyage.

Dugard, Martin. Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook. [B COO]

Humble, Richard. The Voyages of Captain Cook. [J B COO]

Petrie, Kristin. James Cook. [J B COO]

Shields, Charles J. James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific. [J B COO]

Sobel, Dava. The Illustrated Longitude. [526.62 SOB]

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Rediscover the 1950s

Last December I came across a website that displayed a series of black and white photos taken by Frank Oscar Larson in the 1950s in New York City. I find old photos fascinating in that they can show us what is lost completely, what has merely been forgotten, and what still remains.

Many black and white films were made in the 1950s and there was a whole genre of film known as "noir." These films were often made from crime novels, also known as "noir." Noir is French for black, and in terms of fiction and film, is described as "crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings."

This photograph of Manhattan was taken by Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., in 1950.

Courtesy Library of Congress.

To get a sampling of the era of black and white "noir" culture of the 1950s, look for one of these:

The Big Sleep. [DVD BIG]

Boston Noir. [F BOS]

Classic Crime Short Stories. [eBook]

Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s. [SC NOI]

Double Indemnity. [DVD DOU]

Spillane, Mickey. Complex 90. [F SPI]

Spillane, Mickey. Lady, Go Die!. [AB/CD SPI]

USA Noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series. [eBook]

Women Crime writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s. [eBook]

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Brain Map (Also Referred to As Brain Atlas or Brain Dictionary)

I apologize for the brevity of this post. I was away on Friday and forgot all about needing a post ready for today. I remembered last night, at home, after reading an extremely interesting article about words and where they are found in our brains, "Neuroscientists create 'atlas' showing how words are organised in the brain." The article is from the British newspaper, The Guardian, and is based upon a study that appeared in Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Here's the short video that accompanies the article:

To read the study, click here. And to explore the colorful brain map seen in the video, click here (be aware that it may take time to load).