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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Remembering Gene Wilder

The sad news came through on Monday that actor, Gene Wilder, passed away at the age of 83. I don't think anyone would dispute that Wilder can be considered one of the great comedic film actors of the 20th century. One might even make that declaration simply on the basis of his role in the Mel Brooks film, Young Frankenstein [DVD YOU].

Other Gene Wilder films in our collection include Silver Streak [DVD SIL], Blazing Saddles [DVD BLA], The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Younger Brother [DVD ADV], and the kids' classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory [J DVD WIL].

Here's Wilder from a PBS interview back in 2007:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy National Dog Day!

Who doesn't love a dog? Even cat people can appreciate the loyalty and love expressed by a dog. Today, August 26, is National Dog Day, so let's celebrate with a poem!

Would it surprise anyone to know that we have at least 10 poetry books that have "dog" in the title, and dozens, perhaps hundreds more that contain individual poems about dogs.

For today, I've found a poem by Joyce Sidman in the young adult collection, The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices [YA 810.8 WOR]:
Dog in Bed

Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.

If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.

O, that languid, movie-star drape!
I can never resist it.
Digging my fingers into your fur,
     I wonder:
How do you dream?
What do you adore?
Why should your black silk ears
feel like happiness?

This is how it is with love.
Once invited,
it steps in gently,
circles twice,
and takes up as much space
as you will give it.
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Short Break

There will be no posts today, Monday, and Tuesday. However, since tomorrow is National Dog Day, there will be a Poetry Friday post with dog poetry! And not to short-change cat lovers, here's Sir John Tenniel's Cheshire Cat.

Courtesy The Morgan.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Freebie You Won't Want to Miss!

Tomorrow, August 25, through Sunday, August 28, admission to National Parks is FREE! What a lovely gift to the people of our beautiful land, and to visitors from abroad. It may be too late to book reservations to Yellowstone, or the Blue Ridge Mountains, but there's still plenty of parks to visit in our neck of the woods! Many are a short drive away! Click here to find which ones.

If you haven't been to a National Park, let NY Times columnist, William Kristol, inspire you with this opinion piece, "This Land Is My Land (And Yours, Too!)," which was published on Saturday.

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

Ken Burns' documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea [DVD 333.783 NAT] provides a nice overview of the history and growth of the National Park system since its beginning. Warning: watching it may result in a lump in your throat, a tear in your eye, and the feeling you may burst with pride.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Art of Book Covers

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover (but we all do), yet you should judge a cover by its art!

Since a book cover is an instantaneous advertisement for a book, and we all know advertising's sole purpose is to sell a product, then wouldn't you expect all books to have eye-catching, if not beautiful, covers?

One thing I know for sure, the design of the cover should in some way reflect what you will find within the book itself. I'll bet we've all read a book where there's a gorgeous girl on the cover, only to find that the main character has severe acne and wire braces on her teeth. She may be beautiful, but not in the way she's portrayed on the cover!

Periodically, websites will feature book covers. Shortlist had "50 Coolest," Flavorwire showed us "20 Most Iconic."

The most surprising book cover I've come across is the cover for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan [F SLO]. The book was recommended to me by a friend, but the cover was never mentioned. Imagine how freaked out I was to discover that, with the lights out, the book on my nightstand glowed!

If you're interested in the topic, may I suggest checking out Pinterest. Here are two boards that are a delight for the vintage book art lover: Book Bindings and Vintage Book Covers. There are many, many more!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Battle of Stalingrad

On this day in 1942, the Battle of Stalingrad began as the Germans attempted to capture the Russian city of Stalingrad, now know as Volgograd. It was not to be. After five months, and the loss of 750,000 Russian troops, 400,000 Germans, 200,000 Romanians, 130,000 Italians, and a massive number of civilians, the Germans surrendered.

As Americans, with our own battles to recall, we often forget about the actions our allies took part in that didn't have American involvement. You can correct that oversight by doing a little reading from Antony Beevor's Stalingrad [940.54 BEE] or William Craig's Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad [940.54 CRA].

Friday, August 19, 2016

Poetry Friday--Good Poems

Yesterday was "Bad Poetry" day, however, I spared my readers any bad poems. Instead, I included resources to help poetry writers not to write bad poetry.

I thought that today I would counteract the "bad poetry" vibe, created yesterday, by looking at an anthology called Good Poems (selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor) [811.008 GOO]. The poems in the book have all been heard on Keillor's radio segment, "The Writer's Almanac." If you're not familiar with the daily offerings, you owe it to yourself to browse the website. (For a listing of stations that broadcast "The Writer's Almanac," click here.

Keillor writes in the Introduction, "Good poems tend to incorporate some story, some cadence or shadow of story." I believe he's correct, don't you?

Photo by aspasso.

Here's one of the poems from Good Poems that I think is really, really good:
by C.G. Hanzlicek

I’m scrambling an egg for my daughter.
"Why are you always whistling?" she asks.
"Because I’m happy."
And it’s true,
Though it stuns me to say it aloud;
There was a time when I wouldn’t
Have seen it as my future.
It’s partly a matter
Of who is there to eat the egg:
The self fallen out of love with itself
Through the tedium of familiarity,
Or this little self,
So curious, so hungry,
Who emerged from the woman I love,
A woman who loves me in a way
I’ve come to think I deserve,
Now that it arrives from outside me.
Everything changes, we’re told,
And now the changes are everywhere:
The house with its morning light
That fills me like a revelation,
The yard with its trees
That cast a bit more shade each summer,
The love of a woman
That both is and isn’t confounding,
And the love
Of this clamor of questions at my waist.
Clamor of questions,
You clamor of answers,
Here’s your egg.

Head over to Dori Reads for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up and more good poetry!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Are You Guilty of "Bad Poetry"

Today is "Bad Poetry Day!" I'm glad it's today and not tomorrow, because tomorrow is Poetry Friday, the day when I share a poem each week. I wouldn't want to share bad poetry when there's so many good poems out there!

However, since it's Thursday, I don't have to share a poem, but, I will share some resources on reading and writing poetry. If you follow the advice given in these books, I foresee good poetry in your future.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What the Heck Is a Hack?

A hack, in the sense we're going to explore it today, is listed as the #6 definition at Merriam-Webster online dictionary
a usually creative solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation

With the recent proliferation of social media, this definistion is out of date. For most of us on social media, a hack is a creative solution to any type of everyday problem. There are cooking hacks, knitting hacks, car hacks, etc. You can find new and unusual ways to trim your own hair, or to clean the ugly mold off your shower, or to rid your yard of crabgrass!

Individuals have created careers in hacking. Take a look at Crazy Russian Hacker on YouTube. He has filmed videos for hundreds of hacks! Plus, his presentation is always entertaining.

If you don't want to get sucked into YouTube rabbit hole. We still have plenty of books that list what would today be called hacks, but in the recent past were simply referred to as hints and tips. Here are a few:

Ask the Experts: 2500 Great Hints & Smart Tips from the Pros. [640.41 ASK]

Kent, Cassandra. Organizing Hints & Tips: [More Than 1,000 Ideas to Help You Organize Your Work, Home, and Family Life]. [640.41 KEN]

McMahon, Tom. Ten Tips: A Practical Survival Guide for Parents with Kids 11-19. [649.125 MCM]

Minecraft Ultimate Guide: Minecraft Tips, Hints and Ultimate Redstone Guide. [eBook]

1001 Hints & Tips for Your Garden. [635 ONE]

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Sad Anniversary Today

It was on this day in 1977 that Elvis Aron Presley died at the age of 42. Presley, often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll," was instrumental in introducing, and popularizing, rock and rock to white middle-class America. His estate in Memphis, TN, "Graceland," is a popular tourist destination, especially today, which concludes "Elvis Week 2016."

Relive the era when Elvis became king by borrowing the 2-disk DVD set of The Decades Collection: 1950-1959 [DVD 973 DEC].

Monday, August 15, 2016


Want to feel really old? If you attended the original Woodstock Music Festival, you are probably in your 60s! The three day festival opened on August 15, 1969--47 years ago, today!

Watch the original documentary film, Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music on DVD [DVD 782.421 WOO], or read the tale of the event, The Road to Woodstock written by festival producer, Michael Lang [eBook].

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Poetry Friday--The North Star

Last night was the peak of the 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower. Were you able to see it? If not, try again tonight after midnight, there may still be plenty of falling stars to see!

One of the poetry books in our collection is an anthology titled Verse & Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics, edited by Kurt Brown [811.008 VER]. The book contains two sections of "heavenly" poems. I found a profound little poem, "The North Star" by Sue Owen. It is so much more than a description of the North Star. See if you don't agree!
The North Star

See, it is the only one
that will not lie.
It is not tempted
to change like the others

that flicker to color
and disappear.
It has seen so much it knows
better than that.

It remembers the frailties
of being human
and becoming lost, all those
drowned ones it saw,

begging to the end for air.
or those claimed by
the woods who never again
would hear the human voice.

This star is the only one
that knows the importance
of position
in the flow of time and weather.

And that if you want
salvation, you will
look to it as the others did
and not ask it why.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week is taking place at To Read To Write To Be. Stop by!

The Stars!

If you're up past midnight tonight (into early Friday morning), and you happen to look up, you may be treated to a display of meteor showers. It's the Perseid Meteor Shower, an annual event that for 2016 is peaking tonight! NASA has lots of information on its website, click here to get started.

Here's a time lapse video of last year's meteor shower taken at locations around Yosemite:

Of course we have plenty of books on stars including works of fact, as well as fiction. Look for these books for young children since they will probably be asleep by time the meteor shower is visible.

Brown, Margaret Wise. I Like Stars. [E BRO]

Elliot, David. Henry's Stars. [JP ELI]

Lyon, George Ella. My Friend, the Starfinder. [JP LYO]

Marzollo, Jean. I Am a Star. [E MAR]

O'Connor, Jane. Stellar Stargazer! [JP OCO]

Ray, Mary Lyn. Stars. [JP RAY]

Rockwell, Anne F. Our Stars. [JP ROC]

Sky Magic: Poems. [J811.6 SKY]

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The U. S. Constitution

No, not the wooden sailing ship in Charlestown, MA, that's the U. S. S. Constitution. (It's a great time of year, by the way, to plan a visit to the vessel.) What I'm referring to is the document that has been much in the news of late. The document, and its amendments, which governs the United States of America--THE CONSTITUTION. Here's a summary from Wikipedia:
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles entrench the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six entrench concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and of the states in relationship to the federal government. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it.

There's a poster design contest on the Constitution taking place between now and October 1. Kids in grades K through 12 (includes homeschoolers) may participate. It sounds like a good keep-them-busy-until-school-starts project. The details are on the poster, or click here.

Read more about the Constitution in The Story of the Constitution by Tamra Orr [J 342.73 ORR] or in any number of other books in the J 342.73 section.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Love Story of The Sound of Music Continues

Every time I rewatch The Sound of Music, I'm always amazed that it portrays the story of a real family. The von Trapp family managed to escape the terror of the Nazi invasion of Austria and move, eventually, to the United States. They settled in Vermont, opened an inn, and went on to live as Americans. The family grew and several months ago, the New York Times ran an article titled, "The Sound of Music Is in His Blood and Now His Heart." It is about the great-grandson of Maria and Georg von Trapp, Nathaniel Peters, and his new wife, (Barbara) Jane Sloan.

I recommend reading the article and viewing the slideshow of their lovely wedding. Sit down and watch The Sound of Music [DVD SOU]. Read the non-Hollywood version family in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by the matriarch, Maria [B TRA], then sigh--life is good.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Is It Really Almost Over?

It's only August 8 and summer is winding down with our summer reading program coming to an end on Thursday, August 11 at 6:00 PM. Entertainment will be provided by the Steve Blunt Band and ice cream sundaes will be provided. No registration is required. For teens, summer reading ends the following week with a Scavenger Hunt and party on Friday, August 18 at 1:00 PM. Many thanks to FLOW for their continued support and sponsorship of our summer activities!

There is really no need to stop reading once our summer activities conclude. There should always be time made for reading in a child's life. Readers live longer! Read about that startling revelation here.

Just a reminder: Windham's Helping Hands back-to-school drive for children's clothing and supplies is also coming to an end, yet, as of this morning many requests still remain on the "school house."

Photo taken August 8!

Please come down today and purchase requested items for kids who are in need. All items must be returned to the Library by Friday, August 12 at 5:00. If you are unable to shop, donations are welcomed.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Poetry Friday--Adventures in Connections

Adventures in connections? Let me explain: tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy fame. She was born on August 6, 1911--105 years ago. I thought I might find a poem about Lucille Ball, or I Love Lucy, since she and the sitcom were such a notable part of post-WW II popular culture. I always check first the Poetry Foundation website search feature, but found nothing directly related to Lucille Ball.

A general search at Poetry Foundation for the term "Lucy," led me to a poem by Ben Jonson called, "To Lucy, Countess of Bedford, with John Donne's Satires" Its opening and closing lines perfectly fit Lucille Ball with her red hair and comedic genius:
Lucy, you brightness of our sphere, who are
Life of the Muses' day, their morning star!

I also found a number of poems written by a poet named Lucy Eddy (1863-1931). Several of which are found in the February 1918 edition of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. Included is this:

"In the sand a foot-fall/Sings..." Led me to wonder if the song of a desert's singing sands is the same as the song of Manchester-by-the-Sea Massachusetts' Singing Beach. And that in turn led me to this short video for those who have never been to the Singing Beach.

Not a straight path to a blog post, but I hope you see the connections. Half the fun in getting there is in the trip itself!

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Tara at A Teaching Life.

Thursday, August 04, 2016


Last week we saw the celebration of the 150th birthday of the beloved children's writer and illustrator, Beatrix Potter.

Next month we will be celebrating the publication of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, a recently rediscovered manuscript on September 6. The book has been ordered and will hopefully arrive by that date.

Until then, please look for one of Potter's standard picture books, the ones just perfect for little hands. They are found under JP POT GREEN DOT (the green dot designation is for books about 6" or less in height).

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Museums for Children

If you haven't planned your vacation yet, and, if you have young kids, you may wish to plan a getaway to one of the ten cities on this list from NPR on children's museums.

One of the ten is the Boston Children's Museum. You'll be happy to know that the Library has a pass to the museum that is good for discounted admission.

Besides the museum in Boston, we also have a pass to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, which has AWESOME exhibits! One example is the Dino Detective exhibit that includes something called the "augmented reality sand table." Say what? Watch the video below and prepare to be wowed. Makes you almost want to be a kid again!

To book either of the two museum passed mentioned, or one of the many others supplied to us by FLOW (the Friends of the Library of Windham), click here. Have your library card ready!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Today is National Coloring Book Day!

Yes indeed! Grab your kids' box of crayons and let yourself go! Over the past few years coloring books for adults have become a best-selling item at book and crafts stores. Coloring is not just for kids.

Tired of crayons? Explore the world of colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and more to unleash your creative spirit. Add cut paper, glitter, scraps of ribbon, etc. and you have the beginnings of a mixed-media project!

There are dozens of online sites where adults can print off pages to color. Try Coloring Pages for Adults, or look for the pages provided by crayon manufacturers Crayola and Faber-Castell.

Design your own coloring sheets by utilizing the art of Zentangle, another "new" adult craze. We have Zentangle books in our collection if you wish to explore this technique:

Hall, Kass. Zentangle: Untangled Inspiration and Prompts for Meditative Drawing. [eBook]

McNeill, Suzanne. The Beauty of Zentangle: Inspirational Examples from 137 Tangle Artists Worldwide. [741.9 MCN]

Pacé, Deborah A. Creating Mandalas: How to Draw and Design Zendala Art. [743.86 PAC]

Reinhart, Trish. Creative Tangle: Creating Your Own Patterns for Zen-Inspired Art. [741.201 REI]

Have a colorful day!

Monday, August 01, 2016

August Is Read-A-Romance Month

It's summer time and people love to take a book on vacation, or to read while at the beach or poolside. For some the perfect choice is a romance novel. It only seems fitting that August has been designated Read-A-Romance Month.

Wikipedia defines a romance novel in this way: "Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an 'emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.'"

On our shelves we have classic romance novels such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [F AUS] and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte [F BRO], as well as this sampling of titles released in 2016:

Carr, Robyn. What We Find. [F CAR, LP CAR, eBook]

Cass, Kiera. The Siren. [YA CAS, eBook]

Laurens, Stephanie. The Lady's Command. [F LAU]

Quinn, Julia. Because of Miss Bridgerton. [F QUI, eAudio]

Roberts, Nora. The Obsession. [F ROB, AB/CD ROB, eBook]

Romances are extremely popular; the Romance Writers of America shared this statistic as proof, "Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billions." It should come as no surprise that we have quite a few! We probably have enough romances so that you could read three a day for the entire month and not even make a dent in our collection! Have a emotionally satisfying and optimistic month!