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Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Halloween!

If you're a Scrooge-type of individual, and don't want to be bothered answering the doorbell and handing out candy, then one of your options is to sit in the dark on Halloween during the hours from 5 to 8. An easy and fun way to do that is to watch a movie without the lights on. Try one of these:

Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection
. [DVD DRA] (Contains six Dracula movies!)

The Omen. [DVD OME]

The Perfect Storm. [DVD PER] (It's about the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991.)

Poltergeist. [DVD POL]

The Rite. [DVD RIT]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. [DVD ROC]

Rosemary's Baby. [DVD ROS]

The Watcher in the Woods. [DVD WAT]

That should be enough to get you through the evening! We have plenty more. Come visit us to browse our DVD shelves--we're open until 8:00, so if you stick around until closing, you'll miss all the trick-or-treaters!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Poetry Friday--Halloween Fun!

As I wrote yesterday, today is Frankenstein Friday. It is also Poetry Friday, and since Halloween is coming up on Monday, I thought it's time for a poetic celebration.

I found a book that I don't remember ever having read before, and we've had it since 2000--Two Skeletons on the Telephone and Other Poems from Tough City by Paul Duggan and illustrated by Daniel Sylvestre [J 811 DUG]. It's kind of too bad I've come to this book so late because the combination of poems and pictures are just plain fun!

Here's one to whet your appetite:
The Reason Skeletons Don't Wear Clothes

The reason skeletons don't wear clothes?
Socks won't stay on bony toes,
And underwear just sags and slumps
When hanging from their bony rumps.
Shirts slide off their bony backs,
And pants drop like potato sacks;
And since they can't wear fancy stuff,
Skeletons walk 'round in the buff.

Can't you see a classroom of kids doing a choral reading?

There are plenty of other, even shorter poems that would provide opportunity for each kid in the classroom to select one to be read aloud.

More Halloween poems will probably pop up at the Poetry Friday Round-Up hosted this week by Linda at Teacher Dance. Have a happy Halloween (and by the way, I love dark chocolate...).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tomorrow Is Frankenstein Friday!

Tomorrow is Frankenstein Friday! It happens each year on the last Friday in October. Start off by looking for either of these two fun books by Adam Rex, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich: And Other Stories You're Sure to Like, Because They're All about Monsters, and Some of Them Are Also about Food... [J 811.6 REX] and Frankenstein Takes the Cake: Which Is Full of Funny Stuff Like Rotting Heads and Giant Gorillas and Zombies Dressed as Little Girls and Edgar Allan Poe... [J 811.6 REX]. These are fun to both read and view! Take a look!

From Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

From Frankenstein Takes the Cake

Then watch one of the Frankenstein films found in the Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection [DVD FRA] or, for a lighter-hearted movie, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello meet Frankenstein [DVD ABB].

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

The Gunfight at the O.K Corral is a film [DVD GUN] from 1957 that stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. But, did you realize that it is based, not on a work of fiction, but on a real incident that happened on this day in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona. The Earp brothers, Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan, along with gambler, Doc Holliday, attempted to disarm the Clanton and Mclaury brothers. A quick round of gunfire (reported to have lasted a mere 30 seconds) resulted in one Clanton, and two McLaury deaths, and two Earp brothers wounded. The story of the gunfight and subsequent trial, in which the Earps and Holliday were acquitted of murder, became a legendary story of the "Wild West."

Besides the movie, we have several novels that were inspired by the gunfight, including Mary Doria Russell's Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral [F RUS, also eBook and eAudiobook]. Epitaph is #2 in a series by Russell, book one is Doc [F RUS, also eBook and eAudiobook]>

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween Is Almost Here!

How about putting together a little Halloween treat for you family? There are probably a thousand online sites where you can find fun Halloween recipes. My Honey's Place is a blog that has links to "Halloween Recipes Galore." I personally love the jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers from Everyday Jenny. I wish someone would make some for me...

You'll also find recipes scattered throughout our cookbook collection, as well as in these:

Drummond, Ree. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations. [641.568 DRU]

Holiday Food Fun--Creative Ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas & More. [641.568 HOL]

Lovén, Zazel. Country Living Handmade Halloween: Ideas for a Happy, Haunted Celebration. [745.5941 LOV]

Maggipinto, Donata. Halloween Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family. [641.568 MAG]

Monroe, Lucy. Creepy Cuisine. [J 641.568 MON]

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Isabella Stewart Gardner Exhibit

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston currently is showing a collection of Italian Renaissance Books. Physically, these books are very different from the ones we read today, and I'm not just talking about the differences between standard print books and eBooks. Medieval books were illuminated, that is, the words were supplemented with decorations, from fanciful initial fonts, to borders, marginalia, and hand-painted illustrations. Color was used and may have included gold or silver leaf. The Gardner exhibition of Renaissance books represents the period of transition from one-of-a-kind illuminated animal skin books to paper books created on a printing press.

The exhibit is part of a Boston-wide project, Beyond Words 2016. You can see examples of the illuminated manuscripts found in the collections of the participating institutions by clicking here.

Learn more about illuminated manuscripts from the National Gallery of Art. If you'd like to try your hand a illuminating a manuscript, start off by doing a quote. Look for Paint Your Own Illuminated Letters by Stefan Oliver [745.67 OLI] and you'll be on your way!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Samuel Taylor Coleridge!

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on this day in 1772. He is known for poems such as "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan," works you probably studied in high school. (More of his poetry can be found in Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Poems [821 COL].)

Courtesy National Portrait Gallery.

Coleridge is an often quoted philosopher, too. Here are a few sample quotes, all relating to poetry:

No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher.


The proper and immediate object of science is the acquirement, or communication, of truth; the proper and immediate object of poetry is the communication of immediate pleasure.


In philosophy equally as in poetry it is the highest and most useful prerogative of genius to produce the strongest impressions of novelty...


Not the poem which we have read, but that to which we return, with the greatest pleasure, possesses the genuine power, and claims the name of essential poetry.


Our conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of poetry, the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by the modifying colours of imagination.


I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose = words in their best order; poetry = the best words in their best order.


Poetry is certainly something more than good sense, but it must be good sense at all events; just as a palace is more than a house, but it must be a house, at least.


I take unceasing delight in Chaucer. His manly cheerfulness is especially delicious to me in my old age. How exquisitely tender he is, and yet how perfectly free from the least touch of sickly melancholy or morbid drooping! The sympathy of the poet with the subjects of his poetry is particularly remarkable in Shakspeare and Chaucer; but what the first effects by a strong act of imagination and mental metamorphosis, the last does without any effort, merely by the inborn kindly joyousness of his nature. How well we seem to know Chaucer! How absolutely nothing do we know of Shakspeare!

You can draw your own conclusions, but for me, I think Coleridge was saying that poetry should be able to reveal its writer, yet still give lasting pleasure by appealing to what is basic to the individuals reading it. What do you take away from these quotes?

Ponder what he was saying, but then visit this week's Round-Up being held at The Miss Rumphius Effect where you'll find more poetry to bring you pleasure.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Ties between Humans and Animals

Those who dismiss animals as being on the earth merely to provide food, entertain, or to perform other services for humans, are selling them short. Animals may feel emotion, sense things (earthquakes), and help us to be kind. Case in point is this story from Australia about the impact on a family of rescuing a young magpie. Please take a few minutes to view, and read through, the slideshow. I think you'll be glad you did!

Photo by Cameron Bloom.

Stories about the bonds between humans and animals are a staple of novels and children's books. Reports of the intellectual and emotional lives of animals are less common, but are increasing in popularity. Here are a few:

Coren, Stanley. The Pawprints of History: Dogs and the Course of Human Events. [636.7 COR]

Facklam, Margery. What Does the Crow Know?: The Mysteries of Animal Intelligence. [J 591.51 FAC]

Montgomery, Sy. The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. [594.56 MON, also AB/CD 594.56 MON]

Morell, Virginia. Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures. [591.513 MOR]

Pepperberg, Irene M. Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process. [636.6865 PEP]

Yoerg, Sonja. Clever As a Fox: What Animal Intelligence Can Teach Us about Ourselves. [591.5 YOE]

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

National Day of Writing

The National Council of Teachers of English has declared tomorrow to be "National Day of Writing."
Every October 20, NCTE celebrates the importance, joy, and evolution of writing through a tweetup, using the hashtag #WhyIWrite and events hosted by thousands of educators across the country.

Last year there were more than 60,000+ tweets with a reach of millions of people.

Writing, besides being useful for communication, also can be an act of creativity, or can function as a form of therapy for those who may be having problems. There is so much good that can come of writing. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. So why wait until tomorrow. Start today with one of these:

Coman, Carolyn. Writing Stories: Ideas, Exercises, and Encouragement for Teachers and Writers of All Ages. [808 COM]

Women on Writing: From Inspiration to Publication. [808 WOM]

Writing: How to Express Yourself with Passion and Practice. [J 808 WRI]

Here's a site that can help almost any writer improve his/her work: Hemingway Editor. It "makes your writing bold and clear."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Got Tots?

A movie blast from the past:

We have Napoleon Dynamite on DVD [DVD NAP], as well as a book of quotes from the movie, collected by Jared Hess, Napoleon Dynamite: The Complete Quote Book [YA 791.4372 HES].

Pick up a bag of frozen tots, bake them crisp, and then sit down and enjoy the show!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Downloadable eBooks & eAudios

There have been, and will continue to be, a number of changes to the two downloadable eBook and eAudio services we belong to, Overdrive (NH Downloadable Books) and 3M Cloud Library. Updating your device to the latest edition of an app is always a good idea so you can get the full benefit of the service.

For Overdrive users, the NH State Library maintains a detailed user's guide that you can access here. Cloud Library has a user's guide here.

One of the biggest changes you will notice is that 3M, is changing its branding from 3M Cloud Library to simply, Cloud Library, due to a change in ownership of the service.

The change in logo will be appearing in our online catalog in late December, but rest assured, no matter which logo you see on your device or desktop, the service is the same.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poetry Friday--'Tis the Season

It's pumpkin time!

Nancy Willard, whom many of you are inclined to think of as a children's writer (won a 1982 Newbury Medal for A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers [J 811 WIL]), is also a prolific writer of adult poetry. In Swimming Lessons: New and Selected Poems [811 WIL] you will find this playfully strange poem for the season:
Saint Pumpkin

Somebody's in there.
Somebody's sealed himself up
in this round room,
this hassock upholstered in rind,
this padded cell.
He believes if nothing unbinds him
he'll live forever.

Like our first room
it is dark and crowded.
Hunger knowns no tongue
to tell it.
Water is glad there.
In this room with two navels
somebody wants to be born again.

So I unlock the pumpkin.
I carve out the lid
from which the stem raises
a dry handle on a damp world.
Lifting, I pull away
wet webs, vines on which hand
the flat tears of the pumpkin,

like fingernails or the currency
of bats. How the seeds shine,
as if water had put out
hundreds of lanterns.
Hundreds of eyes in the windless wood
gaze peacefully past me,
hacking the thickets,

and now a white dew beads the blade.
Has the saint surrendered
himself to his beard?
Has his beard taken root in his cell?

Saint Pumpkin, pray for me,
because when I looked for you, I found nothing,
because unsealed and unkempt, your tomb rots,
because I gave you a false face
and a light of my own making.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place down in Alabama at Irene's Live Your Poem.

Photo by starsandspirals.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Did you know that the United Nations has designated October 13 of each year as International Day for Disaster Reduction? It's a good thing, too, since disasters are almost monthly events, be it hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or any other catastrophic happening that results in loss of life, property, displacement, etc.
2016 Theme: Live To Tell: Raising Awareness, Reducing Mortality

The International Day for Disaster Reduction began in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

How well prepared are you and your community? Something to think about today. To get started in making your family safer, look for Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur T. Bradley [363.348 BRA]. And getting down to basics, you may want to gather the family together and build a kit to keep on hand in case of emergencies. Click here for FEMA guidance in doing so.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Data Breaches and Identity Theft

It seems that every other day you hear a report of some retailer's data being breached. What does it all mean?

The Federal Trade commission has information available on its website, click here. The video below is from that site.

If you're looking to learn more, you may want to also read Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves by Adam Levin [eBook].

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Boats & Ships

Yesterday was a federal holiday representing the arrival of Christopher Columbus's ships in the Americas. The Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria are names familiar to everyone. Other boats and ships have recognizable names--the Constitution, the Titanic, PT-109. More have names lost to history.

In our collection you'll find many books on boats, ships, and other vessels. Here are a few:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Library Closed Today!

The Library is closed today for the Columbus Day federal holiday. We will reopen tomorrow at 9:00 AM. If you really need to read or listen to a book before then, remember our eBook and eAudio services from Overdrive and CloudLibrary, are accessible from you computer or device, 24/7. Have your valid Nesmith Library card ready. To learn more, click here.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Yo-Yo Ma!

Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma was born on this day in 1955. He has recorded about 100 albums and has won 18 Grammy Awards over the course of his career. The United Nations made him a Messenger of Peace in 2006, and he has performed for U.N. events with his Silk Road Ensemble.

I found a lovely poem about the effect that music can have on peace, if only at a very basic level:
Black Boys Play the Classics
by Toi Derricotte

The most popular "act" in
Penn Station
is the three black kids in ratty
sneakers & T-shirts playing
two violins and a cello—Brahms.
White men in business suits
have already dug into their pockets
as they pass and they toss in
a dollar or two without stopping.
Brown men in work-soiled khakis
stand with their mouths open,
arms crossed on their bellies
as if they themselves have always
wanted to attempt those bars.

Read the rest here.

Listen to Ma's music on one of the dozen plus CDs we have in our musical collection.

Violet Nesdoly / poems is the place to visit for today's Poetry Round-Up.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

How Our Children Think

Highlights, the people who bring Highlights for Children to the Library [J MAG HIG] and probably your doctor's and dentist's waiting rooms, too, do a yearly survey, State of the Kid™, in which they ask American children about current topics. This year the focus was on the upcoming election and the role of the president. The survey for 2016, released earlier this week, can be read here.

It seems that half of the children thought that the first job the new president should undertake is keeping the country safe. It is a bit disturbing to think that our children think that the country is in imminent danger and that they live in fear. I suppose, though, it is to be expected when schools undergo "lockdowns," real or practice, on a regular basis.

If you're concerned with your child's anxiety, perhaps either one of these would help: Allison Edwards' Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do About It [155.4124 EDW], or, The Worried Child: Recognizing Anxiety in Children and Helping Them Heal by Paul Foxman [155.4 FOX].

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Wild Robot

Yesterday, I listed several children's books about robots. Today I'm going to look at yet another robot book, and its author, Peter Brown. The name Peter Brown may be familiar to you already since he is the author illustrator of numerous picture books, including, Children Make Terrible Pets, Chowder, The Curious Garden, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not), and many more [find them in JP BRO].

Mr. Brown's lastest book is a children's novel titled, The Wild Robot [J BRO]. It was released in the spring and we have a copy on our shelf. Here's the publisher's summary:
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her...
Doesn't it sound like a fun and mysterious read for kids?

I don't know about you, but I'm always curious about where a writer gets his ideas, and how the written text is turned into an actual book. Peter Brown has explained it all in a online post called, "The Wild Robot Lives!" If you read it you will discover how Brown spent many, many years in researching, writing, and illustrating the book. It's fascinating reading!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Robots have a long history in children's books. One of the earliest robots to appear was Tik-Tok in L. Frank Baum's Oz books, first in Ozma of Oz (1907) and then in Tik-Tok of Oz (1914) [both J BAU]. Back in those days, the word "robot" hadn't yet been used to describe mechanical beings.

Kids have always enjoyed books about robots and we have a number of them in our collection including the "Tik-Tok" books and these:

Barnett, Mac. Oh No! Or, How My Science Project Destroyed the World. [JP BAR]

Catalanotto, Peter. Monkey and Robot. [J CAT]

Dyckman, Ame. Boy + Bot. [JP DYC]

Patterson, James. House of Robots. [J PAT, also J AB/CD PAT]

Pilkey, Dav. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot: The First Adventure Novel. And others in the "Robot Adventure" series. [J PIL]

Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams. [J CX VAR]

Ziefert, Harriet. If I Had a Robot Dog. [E ZIE]

There are plenty more, including the perennial favorite "Transformers," enlightening nonfiction, and animated films like Robots [J DVD ROB].

Monday, October 03, 2016

Are You a Fashionista?

If so, you may want to visit the Europeana Fashion Portal, which makes available vast fashion resources with photos, old historical illustrations, and more. You could spend days poring over it!

Fashion lovers--did you realize we own these?:

Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (and other titles in the series). [391.009 FAS]

Gehlhar, Mary. The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider's Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business. [YA 746.92 GEH]

Gunn, Tim. Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style. [eBook]

Hart, Avril. Fashion in Detail: From the 17th and 18th Centuries. [391 HAR]

Icons of Fashion: The 20th Century. [YA 391 ICO]

InStyle. [MAG INS]

MacDonell, Nancy. The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites. [391 MAC]

The September Issue. [DVD 741.65 SEP]