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Friday, December 29, 2017

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Jude Law!

Today is actor Jude Law's 45th birthday! It seems like the actor has been appearing in films for a long time, certainly longer than a 45th birthday would lead one to believe. If you're not familiar with his work, visit us to borrow one of the many DVDs such as Cold Mountain [DVD COL] and the recent HBO miniseries, The Young Pope [DVD YOU], in which he appears.

It's not a stretch to feature Jude Law's birthday on Poetry Friday, since he is a big reader, and, he reads poetry. He was interviewed by the British newspaper, The Telegraph, two years ago. In the article, "Jude Law: the books that made me – from Charlie Brown to Iris Murdoch," he mentions a poem by Philip Larkin, "And the Wave Sings Because It is Moving." Of it he says,
I had it on my fridge for a while, and then it was in a folded-up piece of paper by my bed for four years, because it moved me so much, and yet I couldn’t quite work out what it was about. Well, I think in the end it’s about death – but there’s more marrow in it.

It’s proof that you don’t always necessarily need to understand – if you feel, that’s almost enough.

Happy Birthday, Jude Law! And many more!

Here's Larkin's poem (1946):
And the wave sings because it is moving

And the wave sings because it is moving.
Caught in its clear side, we also sing.

We are borne across graves, together, apart, together,
In the lifting wall imprisoned and protected,
And so devised to make ourselves unhappy.
Apart, we think we wish ourselves together,
Yet sue for solitude upon our meetings,
Til the unhindered turning of the sea
Changes our comforts into griefs greater
Than they were raised to cancel, breaking them.

Such are the sorrows that we search for meaning,
Such are the cries of birds across the waters,
Such are the mists the sun attacks at morning,
Laments, years, wreaths, rocks, all ridden down
By the shout of the heart continually at work
To break with beating all our false devices;
Silver-tongued like a share it ploughs up failure,
Carries the night and day, fetches
Profit from sleep, from skies, driven or star-slung,
From all but death takes tithes,
Finds marrow in all but death to feed
And frame to us, but death it cannot invoke.

Death is a cloud alone in the sky with the sun.
Our hearts, turning like fish in the green wave,
Grow quiet in its shadow. For in the word death
There is nothing to grasp; nothing to catch or claim;
Nothing to adapt the skill of the heart to, skill
In surviving, for death it cannot survive,
Only resign the irrecoverable keys.
The wave falters and drowns. The coulter of joy
Breaks. The harrow of death
Deepens. And there are thrown up waves.

And the waves sing because they are moving.
And the waves sing above a cemetery of waters.

Visit Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for the last Poetry Friday Round-Up of 2017! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Old Trees

It has been reported that on the White House grounds a giant old magnolia tree has been growing for nearly two centuries. It was planted in the time of President Andrew Jackson (served 1829-1837). The tree, long in deteriorating condition, will soon be significantly trimmed. With luck, it will survive. Read more here.

The Jackson Magnolia was literally a witness to history!

When the weather is a little more conducive to hiking, borrow Big Trees of New Hampshire: Short Hikes to the Biggest Trees in New Hampshire from the Seacoast to the North Country by Kevin Martin [917.42 MAR]. The trees, although not as historically relevant, are surely impressive!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Trip through Time

With the coming of digital technology, color printing has advanced considerably in the past quarter-century. Children's book illustrators no longer have to bother with color separation or be restricted to one or two colors plus black. The sky is the limit!

It doesn't mean that color picture books from the past were all lifeless. Take a look at this picture from a book titled Abroad, published in 1849:

The color palette is limited, but the viewer certainly doesn't feel like anything is missing. The characters are detailed and scene is inviting.

If you enjoy looking through old illustrations, or reading books from the last century, or the one before that, you're going to love UCLA Children's Book Collection. Classic titles such Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales, or Anna Sewell's Black Beauty are included as well as more obscure titles such as Billy Lovegood's History of Birds and Beasts or The Nine Lives of a Cat: A Tale of Wonder by Charles Bennett.

Did you read the text? "Poor Kitty was hung." Yikes! Young readers weren't "protected" in most old tales!

Within the collection is an explanatory work, Picturing Childhood: Illustrated Children's Books from University of California Collections, 1550-1990 by Cynthia Burlingham, published in 1997. Interesting reading for fans of children's literature!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Poetry Friday--"A Christmas Carol"

An old chestnut by George Wither (1588-1667).
A Christmas Carol

So, now is come our joyful feast,
     Let every soul be jolly!
Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
     And every post with holly.
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your brows let garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
     And let us all be merry!

Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke,
     And Christmas logs are burning;
Their ovens with baked meats do choke,
     And all their spits are turning.
Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if for cold it hap to die,
We'll bury it in Christmas pie,
     And evermore be merry!

from Christmas in Poetry: Carols and Poems, chosen by a committee of the Carnegie Library School Association (1922).

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

Don't you like the idea of burying your sorrows in pie? I can deal with that. What's your favorite holiday pie? I'd have to say chocolate pudding pie with real whipped cream because of its associations with my youth. Plus, it's easy to make!

Just a reminder, the Library will be open regular hours on Saturday, 9 - 4, and then closed Sunday and Monday.

Stop by Buffy's Blog now, for the Round-Up. Then, have a happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Last Day of Autumn

Today is the last day of autumn. The winter solstice occurs tomorrow morning. It marks the shortest day/longest night of the year.

A good way to spend the solstice is to sit in a comfortable chair, find a good book (we have thousands to choose from), listen to A Winter's Solstice [CD HOLIDAY WIN] or George Winston's December [CD HOLIDAY WIN], and be grateful that spring is only three months away!

Here's George Winston playing "The Holly and the Ivy." Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hurry--Read It Now!

There are a number of films to look forward to that are being released between now and the end of January 2018. Look for these books before the theater or television adaptation comes out:

Bond, Michael. A Bear Called Paddington [J BON]. Film title: Paddington 2.

Carr, Caleb. The Alienist [F CAR, eBook]. Mini-series title: The Alienist.

Christie, Agatha. Crooked House [F CHR MYSTERY]. Film title: Crooked House.

Dashner, James. The Death Cure [YA DAS, eBook]. Film title: Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

Stanton, Doug. Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan [ 958.1047 STA, AB/CD 958.1047 STA]. Movie title: 12 Strong.

Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji [JP ALL]. Film title: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Zadoorian, Michael. The Leisure Seeker [F ZAD]. Film title: The Leisure Seeker.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Renown British actress, Dame Judi Dench, has taken up a new role--arborist. She started small, planting trees in memory of friends and family who passed away. Over the years, though, she has developed an appreciation for her trees.
"Beneath our feet is a huge network. Not only can they send messages but they can share food and water between other trees," she said.

Dench has discovered what others also are finding. To learn more about the story of trees, look for Pete Wohlleben's The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World. [582.16 WOH, eBook, eAudio].

Friday, December 15, 2017

Poetry Friday--Concrete Poetry

On this day in 1832, Andre Gustave Eiffel was born. Eiffel lent his name to the landmark tower that he designed, which is the most recognizable symbol of Paris, France. I'll bet he never imagined that his tower would also become the shape of innumerable concrete poems! Probably the most famous one was written in 1916 by Guillaume Apollinaire. Here it is translated by Claudia Habergham (courtesy Stephen Spender Trust).

We have several books that feature concrete poems (a.k.a. shape poems) if the form interests you. Two, Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick, are written and illustrated by John Grandits [YA 811.6 GRA]. Paul Janeczko selected concrete poems for A Poke in the I (illustrated by Chris Raschka) [J 811.008 POK], and, Bob Rascka wrote and illustrated Wet Cement [J 811.6 RAS].

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up will be found at Random Noodling!

Thursday, December 14, 2017


The art of letter writing has almost totally disappeared in this day of texting, even email has lost ground as a way to correspond. How will future generations discover what went into our day-to-day lives? With our local papers gone, our letters gone, and our journals turned from daily recordings to an unburdening of feelings, this question looms large.

If you want to know about World War II, a considerable amount of letters still exist. They paint a vivid picture of life during that period. A story in The Washington Post tells of a cache of letters recently discovered.
The mostly handwritten letters, on tissue-thin paper, dated to World War II and were penned mostly by the members of a single family — the Eydes of Rockford, Ill. Three brothers were in the military: one in the Marine Corps, one in the Army and one in the Army Air Forces.

It's a fascinating look at American society and one American family during the war years. I recommend reading the entire article and the letters that are included. If you prefer to listen to the story, there is a podcast, "Letters from War," available, too.

We also have compilations of World War II letters in book form, including these:

Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters--And One Man's Search to Find Them. [355.0092 BEH]

Fritzsche, Peter. An Iron Wind: Europe under Hitler. [eBook]

Ippisch, Hanneke. Sky: A True Story of Resistance during World War II: Illustrated with Photographs, Ddocuments, and Letters from the Author's Collection. [YA B IPP]

Vonnegut, Kurt. Kurt Vonnegut: Letters. [813.54 VON]

War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars. [355 WAR]

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Philosopher's Stone

The Philosopher's Stone is a term not many had heard of before Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published twenty years ago. As a matter of fact, the American publisher changed the title to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [J ROW, YA ROW, J AB/CD ROW, eBook, eAudiobook] because it thought American audiences wouldn't understand the reference. The Philosopher's Stone is a concept from the ancient art of alchemy that has to do with turning ordinary metals into gold.

Here's a fascinating look at a scroll that is being sold at auction today, which was a guide for alchemists in their pursuit of gold and the elixir of life.

Learn more in The Chemistry of Alchemy from Dragon's Blood to Donkey Dung, How Chemistry was Forged by Cathy Cobb [eBook] and Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball by Trevor H. Levere [540.9 LEV].

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Take Refuge in a Hallmark Movie

The writer of an article in the Washington Post recently mused,
Watching Hallmark in December this year feels like a metaphor for all of the good citizenship questions we’ve been asking ourselves: Must we watch yet more CNN guests debate the tax bill? Must we have yet another fight on Facebook about Roy Moore? Must we always remain alert, in case the country just curls up and dies?

Should we be watching a climate-change documentary instead? Or is there time in the middle of all of that to just . . . watch Hallmark?
I know people who start watching the Hallmark Channel as soon as Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten! But, what if you don't have cable and can't watch the Hallmark Channel? Come to the Library where we have Hallmark holiday movies such as

Call Me Mrs. Miracle [DVD CAL]

A Christmas Wedding Tail [DVD CHR]

A Heavenly Christmas [DVD HEA]

A Princess for Christmas [DVD PRI]

Now don't you feel better already?

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Best Books Lists

Every media outlet that reviews books has a yearly "best of" list that it publishes in November or December. There's the New York Times, NPR (National Public Radio), GoodReads, and a gazillion more lists to choose from.

One of the annual lists is published by LibraryReads, a website you probably don't know unless you're a librarian! If you're looking for good books, with general appeal, and that are well-written, LibraryReads is probably THE source to check out. The books are reviewed by librarians with a eye to books that will probably be popular among general library readers. LibraryReads publishes a list of ten books that will be published during the upcoming month. The annual list is the "favorites" of the 120 recommendations. You'll find no esoteric books here. All are good solid readable choices. And, the Nesmith Library owns all ten!

I have read three out of the ten: Little Fires Everywhere, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and News of the World. I highly recommend all three, but, I can say Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is probably the best book I've read in years! It has everything I look for in a good book--it is well-written, discussable, has a likeable main character, albeit a character with faults, has a bit of humor, and, the book ends exactly as it should end!

Friday, December 08, 2017

Poetry Friday--Rossetti Again

On Tuesday we celebrated the birthday of Christina Georgina Rossetti and listened to her poem, "In the Bleak Midwinter," sung by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir.

Photo by Kizzume.

Today, I'd like to feature another of Rossetti's seasonal poems that is found in Poems: Rossetti [821.8 ROS].
from Later Life: A Double Sonnet of Sonnets


So late in Autumn half the world's asleep,
    And half the wakeful world looks pinched and pale;
    For dampness now, not freshness, rides the gale;
And cold and colorless comes ashore the deep
With tides that bluster or with tides that creep;
    Now veiled uncouthness wears an uncouth veil
    Of fog, not sultry haze; and blight and bale
Have done their worst, and leaves rot on the heap.
So late in Autumn one forgets the Spring,
    Forgets the Summer with its opulence,
The callow birds that long have found a wing,
    The swallows that more lately gat them hence:
Will anything like Spring, will anything
    Like Summer, rouse one day the slumbering sense?

We are definitely in that late part of autumn when "half the worlds' asleep." The Winter Solstice is still two weeks off and then hopefully we will rise up in anticipation of spring. It will come.

Lisa at Steps and Staircases is playing hostess to the Round-Up this week.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Kind World

Radio station WBUR in Boston has a regular feature titled, "Kind World," this week's segment told the story of a woman, Rachael Cerrotti, whose grandmother, Hana Dubova, was the beneficiary of an act of kindness during World War II. I strongly recommend you listen/read to the segment here, especially if you need a boost of "feels."

The world is a better place for the myriad and unheralded acts of kindness performed daily. Some kindnesses and actions, however, are recognized in books, film, and radio. Here are five additional stories of World War II and the good people who helped along the way:

Ackerman, Diane. The Zookeeper's Wife. [940.5318 ACK, AB/CD 940.5318 ACK, eBook, eAudiobook]

Greek, Joe. Righteous Gentiles: Non-Jews Who Fought against Genocide. [YA 940.5318 GRE]

Mazzeo, Tilar J. Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto. [940.5318 MAZ]

Talbott, Hudson. Forging Freedom: A True Story of Heroism during the Holocaust. [J 940.5318 TAL]

Winton, Barbara. If It's Not Impossible--: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton. [940.5318 WIN]

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Halifax Explosion

Photo courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.

One hundred years ago today, a massive explosion of munitions headed for the war in Europe occurred in the Halifax harbor. The resultant damage included approximately 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injuries, and most of the structures within a half-mile of the explosion were leveled. News of the explosion traveled quickly and within hours the people of Boston had met and organized a relief effort. To this day, the people of Halifax remember the Bostonians' act of kindness by sending a majestic tree for the holidays each year.

Learn more here:

Or borrow one of these:

Bacon, John U. The Great Halifax Explosion. [eAudiobook]

Walker, Sally M. Blizzard of Glass; The Halifax Explosion of 1917. [eAudiobook]

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Happy Birthday Christina Rossetti

Poet, Christina Rossetti, was born in London on this day in 1830. Her work is still being read and published today. A collection of her work is found in Poems: Rossetti [821.8 ROS].

At this time of year, Rossetti's "In the Bleak Midwinter" is often heard sung by choirs worldwide. It is a rather beautiful, albeit melancholy, piece.

Other musical versions can be found on these Christmas collections:

Brightman, Sarah. A Winter Symphony. [CD HOLIDAY BRI]

Colvin, Shawn. Holiday Songs and Lullabies. [CD HOLIDAY COL]

McLachlan, Sarah. Wintersong. [CD HOLIDAY MCL]

Taylor, James. James Taylor at Christmas. (Also on Taylor's A Christmas Album.) [CD HOLIDAY TAY]

Monday, December 04, 2017

Mary Celeste

On December 4, in the year 1872, a British cargo ship, Dei Gratia, discovered the American ship, Mary Celeste adrift near the Azores. The Mary Celeste was boarded and the only things found missing were a lifeboat and all the people. The last entry in the Mary Celeste's logbook had been posted ten days earlier, at a location about 700 miles away. To this day the mystery of the Mary Celeste remains.

Such unsolved mysteries are great inspiration for researchers and fiction writers. These titles from our collection prove that point:

Cussler, Clive. The Sea Hunters II. [930.1 CUS]

Krasner, Barbara. The Mystery of the Mary Celeste. [J 001.94 KRA]

Martin, Valerie. The Ghost of the Mary Celeste. [eBook]

Yolen, Jane. The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History. [J YOL]

Film makers also find the mystery to be of interest. Clive Cussler appears in this documentary:

Friday, December 01, 2017

Poetry Friday--"First Snow"

It's the first of December and this year we've only had a stray snowflake or two, no measurable amount of snow. Without a doubt, we'll be getting some soon.

For kids, and adults, too, the first snow of the season is a magical event. Here's one adult's experience of it:
First Snow
by Ted Kooser

The old black dog comes in one evening
with the first few snowflakes on his back
and falls asleep, throwing his bad leg out
at our excitement. This is the night
when one of us gets to say, as if it were news,
that no two snowflakes are ever alike;
the night when each of us remembers something
snowier. The kitchen is a kindergarten
steamy with stories. The dog gets stiffly up
and limps away, seeking a quiet spot
at the heart of the house. Outside,
in silence, with diamonds in his fur,
the winter night curls round the legs of the trees,
sleepily blinking snowflakes from his lashes.

from Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985 [811.54 KOO]

Ted Kooser's poems are simple and accessible. The kind that make you stop, sigh, and say, "Ah, yes..." If you'd like to learn Kooser's "secrets" to writing poetry, he's outlined it in The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets [808.1 KOO]

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Photo by Brian Jobson.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Man Who Invented Christmas

A new film, The Man Who Invented Christmas, stars Dan Stevens (you may recognize him as "Matthew Crawley" from Downton Abbey). It opened last Wednesday in local theaters. The reviews are mixed, however, I'm sure anything starring Dan Stevens will be a hit with Downton fans.

The film is based on a book of the same name, by Les Standiford, which was published in 2008. Nesmith doesn't own a copy, but there are 6 copies available in the GMILCS consortium that you may borrow.

The film, based on an episode in the life of Charles Dickens, revolves around his holiday novella, A Christmas Carol. We own copies of A Christmas Carol in many formats: book [F DIC], children's book [J DIC], children's picture book [JP DIC], audiobook [AB/CD DIC, also J AB/CD DIC], an old radio dramatization broadcast in 1939 [AB/CD 791.447 DIC], and many filmed versions including Scrooge [DVD SCR] and The Muppet Christmas Carol [J DVD MUP].

And if you want even more, head to Manchester for the Palace Theatre production which begins on Friday and runs through December 23.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Cookie Swaps!

If you've never heard of a cookie swap, it is simply a gathering where people exchange cookies. Let's say there are 6 people attending. Each person bakes 6 dozen cookies of ONE type. At the swap every person receives a dozen from each attendee. In the best case situation, everyone brings a different type of cookie and the attendees have a nice variety to take home. In the worst case situation, everyone bakes chocolate chip cookies and the exchange is a complete flop. This last scenario can be avoided by having each attendee tell the host ahead of time what type of cookie he/she will bring to exchange. The host can keep track, thus ensuring a successful exchange.

Sounds simple, but there's always ways to improve or add variety to the gathering. It's not surprising, then, that cookie swaps are featured in home and lifestyle magazines. If you'd like to compare presentations, here are five to peruse:

Better Homes and Gardens
: Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party.

Bon Appetit: How To Throw A Holiday Cookie Swap Party.

Cooking Light: How to Throw a Cookie Swap Party in 4 Easy Steps.

Good Housekeeping: Christmas Cookie Exchange Party--Ideas for Cookie Party Swap.

Real Simple: Holiday Cookie Exchange Checklist.

All of the magazine titles above are ones we have in our collection. The latest issue is on display and issues going back a year or two are available to borrow.

If magazines don't include enough recipes for you to choose from, borrow The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook by Susan Mahnke Peery [641.8654 PEE] or Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share throughout the Year by Julia M. Usher [641.8654 USH].

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cat and Dog

Cats and dogs, long portrayed as natural enemies, not only tolerate, but also develop genuine affection for each other. The online site, Bored Panda, recently featured a dog and cat duo that hike and camp together, and even share a sleeping bag! You really shouldn't miss reading about them here.

Share the article with your kids and they'll probably want to learn more about animal friendships. As you'd expect, animal friendships are "big" in children's books.

Aruego, Jose. Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom. [J 577.8 ARU]

Shields, Amy. Best Friends Forever!: And More True Stories of Animal Friendships. [J 591.5 SHI, J AB/CD 591.5 SHI, eBook]

Tym, Kate. Puppy Love: True Life Stories of Animal Friends. [J TYM]

If you want to read of some fantastical animal friendships, a great place to start would be with the classics A. A. Milne's The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh [J Mil] or Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows [J MIL].

Monday, November 27, 2017


You can't get away from it, each day women are coming forward to tell their experiences of unwanted sexual contact. It is as if a giant weight has been lifted from the shoulders of Americans and they are free to speak of what happened to them. If you are a follower of social media, you'll remember the proliferation of #MeToo posts which began in mid-October. You may have been surprised at the number of your family and friends who posted. The problem has been hidden for too long. It should also be noted that victims can be of any sexual orientation.

There needs to be a change in society and the "it's no big deal," or "I was only having a little fun" attitudes should be the first thing to go. The "blame the victim" mentality: "she shouldn't have worn that short skirt," etc., and self-blaming by the victim, should also be totally eliminated.

Quite often teens and especially teen girls are victims. Respect: A Girl's Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line is Crossed by Courtney Macavinta [YA 158.1 MAC], How Long Does It Hurt?: A Guide to Recovering from Incest and Sexual Abuse for Teenagers, Their Friends, and Their Families by Cynthia L. Mather [YA 362.768 MAT], It Happened to Me: A Teen's Guide to Overcoming Sexual Abuse by William Lee Carter [YA 362.768 CAR] were all written with young adults in mind.

For those who have been victimized, recovery may be a long time in coming. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi [616.8521 SCH] may be of help.

Of course, the incidents shouldn't have happened in the first place, so it is incumbent upon us to educate the public as to what constitutes sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.

We will continue to hear #MeToo stories for the foreseeable future, but as Alyssa Rosenberg wrote in The Washington Post, "All this pain needs to turn into concrete action, or we’ll be back here again in 20 or 30 years--and the stories we tell then may be even worse."

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Holidays Have Begun

Even though the stores have been promoting the holidays since September, you may have put off thinking about gifts until now. There is time, albeit not a lot, to make something instead of buying a gift. A handmade present is always welcomed, but, rather than knitting a scarf, try one of these more unusual gift ideas:

You've all heard the wonders of coconut oil being touted over the past few years. Use coconut oil to make beauty products for gift giving. Look for Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil: 50 Homemade Beauty Recipes Using Nature's Perfect Ingredient by Lucy Bee [646.72 BEE]. You control what goes in, so there's no worry about unnatural ingredients.

Ever see fancy bottles of vinegar in specialty stores? You may not have time to ferment your own vinegar, but there's time to put herbs into a pretty bottle, pour some store-bought vinegar over them, cap and tie up with a ribbon. It'll cost a whole lot less! Look for Making & Using Vinegar: Recipes that Celebrate Vinegar's Versatility by Bill Collins [641.62 COL].

If you've got old photos in a box, or thousands of new ones on your phone, spend the long weekend sorting through them. Then, use your favorites in a variety of ways. Borrow Fun with Family Photos: Crafts, Keepsakes, Gifts by Jennifer Barry [745.593 BAR].

If you want to get your kids involved in making gifts, there's Earth-Friendly Clay Crafts in 5 Easy Steps by Anna Llimós Plomer [J 731.42 LLI]. You can start off by making a vegan clay! Again, you'll know what's in your materials, so there's no fear of the young crafter ingesting something harmful. And, a small child-crafted object always finds an honored place on a grandma's display shelf!

Make or bake a pie! Borrow Ken Haedrich's Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie [641.8652 HAE] or Kate McDermott's Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life [eBook}. Spend a little time browsing the recipes for something too good not to make, then do a test run. With a month to go, there's plenty of time to try out different recipes! There are probably family members who wouldn't mind playing guinea pig! Then, when you've found the perfect pie, bake several to give away!

Enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Remember the Library is also closed on Friday, but we're open again on Saturday so you can browse our shelves for even more holiday gift ideas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Not edible peanuts, but the characters created by Charles Schulz. Yesterday I mentioned A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving [J DVD CHA] for holiday viewing, but we have a gazillion more Peanuts characters DVDs to keep your kids entertained while you cook Thanksgiving dinner or drive to celebrate at a distant relative's home. Here's just a few:

A Boy Named Charlie Brown. [J DVD BOY]

Happiness Is--Peanuts: Snoopy's Adventures. [J DVD HAP]

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
. [J DVD I]

The Peanuts Movie

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. [J DVD RAC]

If your kids (or you) have had your fill of DVDs, then jump on the computer and design your own Peanuts character. Click here to begin. (Don't be fooled, there isn't a new Peanuts film coming out in December 2017, the film, for which this design program was developed, came out two years ago. It's a good thing Peanuts characters don't age!)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Viewing

Thanksgiving is on Thursday, but if you're not traveling or baking up a storm, then you may want to sit back and watch a Thanksgiving movie or two before then.

There are Christmas movies galore, but not many Thanksgiving ones, a fact that is the subject of a New York Times article by Glenn Kenny, "It’s Time to Talk Turkey About Thanksgiving Films." Kenny reverts back to his childhood, and his annual viewing of the classic, King Kong [DVD KIN].

Here are some titles from our collection to watch by yourself, or with your family.

Capturing the Friedmans. [DVD CAP]

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. [J DVD CHA]

Garfield: Holiday Celebrations. [J DVD GAR]

Home for the Holidays. [DVD HOM]

Planes, Trains and Automobiles. [DVD PLA]

A Danish film, Babette's Feast [DVD BAB] although not about our American holiday, is one of the best films ever about people gathering together for a feast. [Note: if you don't do subtitles, this movie is not for you.]

And here's the clip of the dinner toast from Funny People, which Glenn Kenny mentioned in his article:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Thanksgiving Magic"

Here's to the cooks who will be preparing family feasts next Thursday. Rather than cooks, let's call them "magicians."

To celebrate these culinary magicians, Rowena Bastin Bennett has written a little ditty. It is found in both Merrily Comes our Harvest In: Poems for Thanksgiving (selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins) [J 811 MER] and The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (selected by Jack Prelutsky) [J 811.008 RAN].

Thanksgiving Magic

Thanksgiving Day I like to see
Our cook perform her witchery.
She turns a pumpkin into pie
As easily as you or I
Can wave a hand or wink an eye.
She takes leftover bread and muffin
And changes them to turkey stuffin’.
She changes cranberries to sauce
And meats to stews and stews to broths;
And when she mixes gingerbread
It turns into a man instead
With frosting collar ’round his throat
And raisin buttons down his coat.
Oh, some like magic made by wands,
            And some read magic out of books,
And some like fairy spells and charms
            But I like magic made by cooks!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week is hosted by our Canadian neighbor, Raincity Librarian.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Diana Krall

Canadian jazz vocalist, Diana Krall, was born on this day in 1964. With her mellow voice, she has become a Great American Songbook star keeping old jazz and big band standards alive. Her latest CD, Turn Up the Quiet [CD JAZZ KRA] is a prime example with her renditions of Cole Porter's "Night and Day," and Rodgers and Hart's "Isn't It Romantic," among others.

She tackles popular songs from a more recent period in Wallflower [CD JAZZ KRA], where she sings a fabulous medley of "California Dreamin'," "Desperado," "Superstar," and "Alone Again (Naturally)," with Michael Bublé.

We have quite a number of Krall's CDs in our collection, as well as individual songs by Krall on many "duet" albums such as Tony Bennett's Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues [CD MALE VOCALIST BEN].

It is nearing the season for Christmas music, so get ready to sing along with Krall's Christmas Songs [CD HOLIDAY CHR].

Here's wishing Diana Krall a great birthday and many more years of songs!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Season of Eating

We're fortunate to come from an area where food is abundant and readily available. This fact is, sometimes we tend to forget that others may not be able to avail themselves of the abundance. The New Hampshire Food Bank, based in Manchester, has compiled some statistics that may surprise you. Here's one:
Approximately 10% of all men, women and children in the Granite State are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from.
That's one in ten NH citizens. And yes, there are food insecure people living in Windham!

If you want to do something, contact the Shepherd's Pantry on 1 Church Road in Windham to volunteer your time, or, better yet, make a monetary donation.

Rather than prepare more food than you can possibly eat over Thanksgiving weekend, make a bit less and donate the money you would have paid for another two side dishes, or two extra plates of cookies, or whatever your family and friends don't really need.

Make this coming season of eating food, a season of giving food. A donation to a food bank would be a fine gift for someone who doesn't need another coffee mug or a tie or a "favorite teacher" ornament. The NH Food Bank has special holiday cards for your giftees.

To learn more about food insecurity, look for Food: The New Gold by Kathlyn Gay [YA 338.19 GAY] or watch the DVD A Place at the Table [DVD 338.19 PLA].

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving's Coming!

This romanticized version of "The First Thanksgiving, 1621" was painted by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris around 1915.

If you haven't planned your Thanksgiving meal, you're running out of time!

For inspiration, borrow one of our many cooking and entertaining books:

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

Garten, Ina. Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. [641.555 GAR]

Let's Talk Turkey...And All the Trimmings 100 Delicious Holiday Recipes, Tips, and Ideas from America's Top Magazines. [eBook]

Rodgers, Rick. Thanksgiving 101. [eBook]

Sanna, Ellyn. Thanksgiving. [641.568 SAN]

Stewart, Martha. Holidays: Recipes, Gifts, and Decorations, Thanksgiving & Christmas. [641.568 STE]

If you want to get your kids involved, look for The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult [J 641.568 BER] or My Very Own Thanksgiving: A Book of Cooking and Crafts by Robin West [J 641.568 WES].

Monday, November 13, 2017

Read It before the Movie Comes Out

You have a long time before The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell [F RIN, LP RIN] comes out in theaters, but if you borrow it now you'll be ahead of the curve.

The screenplay is currently being rewritten for the film that will star Keira Knightley. Knightley signed onto the project back in 2013!

From the book's synopsis, though, it sounds like it'll make a great movie:
Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

Let's hope it's worth the wait!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Poetry Friday--Veterans Day

The Library is closed today and tomorrow for the Veterans Day holiday. Not all veterans engaged in a war, however, for those who did the memories linger for a lifetime. I wish all our veterans peace in their lives and memories.

For today I'm sharing a poem by Randall Jarrell from 1944, ironically titled, "A Lullaby":
A Lullaby

For wars his life and half a world away
The soldier sells his family and days.
He learns to fight for freedom and the State;
He sleeps with seven men within six feet.

He picks up matches and he cleans out plates;
Is lied to like a child, cursed like a beast.
They crop his head, his dog tags ring like sheep
As his stiff limbs shift wearily to sleep.

Recalled in dreams or letters, else forgot,
His life is smothered like a grave, with dirt;
And his dull torment mottles like a fly’s
The lying amber of the histories.

Poetry Friday is being hosted this week at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Sensory Issues

You may have come across the term "sensory issues" or "sensory integration issues" with regard to children. These issues are recognized as sensory processing disorder or SPD. So what is SPD? WebMD provides this definition:
Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.

Formerly referred to as sensory integration dysfunction, it is not currently recognized a a distinct medical diagnosis.

Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming. The light touch of a shirt may chafe the skin.

Others with sensory processing disorder may:
  • Be uncoordinated
  • Bump into things
  • Be unable to tell where their limbs are in space
  • Be hard to engage in conversation or play

Sensory processing problems are usually identified in children. But they can also affect adults. Sensory processing problems are commonly seen in developmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder.

Now imagine a parent who would like to offer a sensitive child the opportunity to take part in a typical pre-holiday activity--visiting with Santa. A trip to the mall, with its lights, sounds, crowds, just won't work.

FLOW has joined with the Nesmith Library in trying to make the Santa experience possible. On December 10 we will be having Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the Library before the facility is open to the general public. A parent may reserve a time for a quiet visit with the "Jolly Old Elf." This event is exclusively for children with SPD or other developmental disabilities. Reservations will be taken beginning Tuesday, November 14. Non-Windham residents may sign up, but will be put on a waiting list.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Adult Coloring

About two years ago, adult coloring was all the rage with adult coloring books topping many bestsellers list. Interest has waned somewhat, but the opportunities for finding unique free coloring pages have multiplied.

Earlier in 2017, many libraries and museums banded together to make their public domain (copyright expired) collections accessible to those interested in coloring. Click here for a list of free coloring pages.

I'm going to post a few pages to give you an idea of the variety available:

Michigan State University Libraries.

Newberry Library.

Kansas State University Libraries.

Don't ever feel guilty about coloring! It's a way to relax, and, it is a marketable skill! Look at this catalog entry for a kid's graphic novel--the writer, the illustrator, and the colorist are all given credit. Maybe a new career awaits you!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Dutch Art

The Boston Globe alerted me to the fact that Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum has been given an outstanding collection of Dutch drawings that date from 1590-1630. With other collections of Dutch art in the area, it seems that Boston is now a mecca for those who have an interest in the golden age of Dutch art. Selections from the Harvard collection, donated by George S. Abrams, is now on exhibit at the Fogg Museum in Cambridge. Read more here.

Dutch art and artists of the golden age period, have, not surprisingly, proven to be great subjects for writers of fiction. Here are three:

Chevalier, Tracy. Girl With a Pearl Earring. [F CHE, AB/CD CHE, DVD GIR]

Smith, Dominic. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. {F SMI, eBook, eAudio]

Vreeland, Susan. Girl in Hyacinth Blue. [F VRE, eBook]

Monday, November 06, 2017

November 6

On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first term as President of the United States. November 6 was also the date a President was elected in:

1888 Benjamin Harrison, his only term.

1900 Theodore Roosevelt, his first term.

1928 Herbert Hoover, his only term.

1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower, his second term.

1984 Ronald Reagan, his second term.

2012 Barack Obama, his second term.

Lots of information on U.S. presidents can be found in this recently published book, Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency by Ann Bausum [J 973.09 BAU].

What else has happened on this day in history?

1528 Cabeza de Vaca "discovered" Texas (although native peoples would dispute that claim).

1854 John Philip Sousa, known as the "March King," was born.

1917 The Bolsheviks revolted in Russia.

1970 Aerosmith performed their first gig at Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Massachusetts. They are reported to have sold 150 million records since that time.

2006 The first post at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet! Happy 11th anniversary!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Poetry Friday--It's National Sandwich Day!

Yes! Time to celebrate the mighty sandwich--once a purely lunchtime staple, but now, something to be enjoyed at every meal. Who doesn't love a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast? Or, for dinner, a Reuben sandwich loaded with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and dripping with Russian or Thousand Island dressing, served on rye (preferably grilled)? One day a year is not enough time for National Sandwich Day!

Of course there are poems about sandwiches! Here's a delicious little one from Pocket Poems selected by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by Marylin Hafner [J 811 POC]:
by Valerie Worth

They always
End up

The soft

The round

Linda at Teacher Dance is playing hostess for this week's Round-Up.

Mousekin's Golden House

Sometimes readers like to revisit some of the books that remain in their childhood memories. One such book is Mousekin's Golden House by Edna Miller [JP MIL]. The book was first published back in 1964! It is long out of print, but we still have a paperback copy on our shelf.

Why is it so memorable? Because it is a sweet story of a field mouse who could be found anywhere in New England. Mousekin comes across a jack-o-lantern that could make a perfect home.

Being as it's November, and jack-o-lanterns have completed their lives as Halloween decorations, it is fun to imagine Mousekin's little adventure taking place in your backyard today. Here are three of the scenes, which were illustrated by the author:

What are some of the favorite books from your childhood?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

November is Movember!

Think back to November of last year. Did you notice a number of normally clean-shaven men suddenly start sprouting mustaches? They were probably "Mo Bros," that is, men who grew mustaches as part of the Movember movement. Movember was created to make people aware of, and to raise funds for, men's health issues. The movement is not exclusively for men as women are encouraged to raise money through participation in "Move."
Set a distance goal at the start of the month, and walk, run, cycle, swim or row your way to achieving it. You can raise much needed funds for men’s health while you’re at it.

To learn more, check out the Movember website https://us.movember.com/. The Movember Foundation also has a presence on social media.

Have fun with your kids this Movember by making fake mustaches out of paper! Watch the classic I Love Lucy episode, "The Moustache" found on I love Lucy: The Complete Series [DVD TV SERIES I]. You can also borrow one of these from the Library:

Heos, Bridget. Mustache Baby. [JP HEO]

Palatini, Margie. Moosetache. [JP PAL] (Also look for Mooseltoe by the same author.)

Van Draanen, Wendelin. Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary. [J MYS VAN, eBook, eAudio]

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

After the Storm!

Due to the power outage following Sunday/Monday's storm, we were closed all day yesterday. We are open once again with lights, public computers, and WiFi. And, of course, all of our other offerings like books, magazines, musical CDs, etc.

As you can imagine, most of our phone calls this morning run like this, "Are you open?" "Yes." "Do you have power?" "Yes." "Do you have internet???" "YES!"

Many are coming in to use the internet and to charge their devices. We have a dedicated charging station that is free for anyone to use.

If you can't visit us, where else might you find WiFi? Here's an article that may help with your search.

Please stop by!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Celebrating Cats!

Yesterday, September 29, was National Cat Day. Since I don't post on Sundays, we'll celebrate today with these recently published cat picture books for kids:

Bauer, Marion Dane. Little Cat's Luck. [JP BAU]

Bogart, Jo Ellen. The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán." [JP BOG]

Cole, Henry. Spot, the Cat. [JP COL]

Cooper, Elisha. Big Cat, Little Cat. [JP COO]

Donaldson, Julia. The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat. [JP DON]

Grant, Jacob. Cat Knit. [JP GRA]

Kang, A. N. The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon. [JP KAN]

McDonnell, Patrick. The Little Red Cat: Who Ran Away from Home and Learned His ABC's (The Hard Way). [JP MCD]

Vere, Ed. Max at Night. [JP VER]

Wenzel, Brendan. They All Saw a Cat. [JP WEN, eBook]

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Poetry Friday--Sing a Song of Bones

Next Tuesday is Halloween, and one of the big symbols of the holiday is the skeleton. The reason for that is simple: Halloween is the eve of All Hallows Day. All Hallows Day, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, and Samhain, all occur on November 1 or 2, and, no matter what tradition they come from, all revolve around the veneration or remembrance of the dead. Once a body has died, the skeletal stage follows closely behind!

We have a number of books about skeletons in our Halloween collection, and quite a few of them are poetry. One skeleton book, which we have as an eBook, is Halloween Forest by Marion Dane Bauer. Rather than rhyming couplets or another metered form, this colorful book about bones is written in unmetered rhyme. It is still highly rhythmic through its use of repetition and playful language. Here's an example:
And hanging from
the branches
are bat bones,
Climbing the trunks
are cat bones.
Snarled in the roots
are rat bones.
The illustrations by John Shelley are visually striking and present a unique view of skeletons and bones. And, in case you haven't read a picture book on a device, let me assure you, you get the same "wow" effect, just in a smaller package:

Happy Halloween!

Join Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales for this week's Round-Up of poetry links.

The Erie Canal

On this day in 1825 the Erie Canal was officially completed and was opened to shipping. The canal was begun on July 4, 1817. It covered 363 miles from Lake Erie in Buffalo to the Hudson River in Albany. It is second to the Grand Canal in China for its length.

Photo circa 1900, courtesy Library of Congress.

The Erie Canal was an important shipping lane before the rise of the railroads and more than a century before automotive trucking, and the interstate highway system, were developed.

The story of the Erie Canal is found in these books for chldren:

Harness, Cheryl. The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. [J 977.1 HAR]

Murray, Julie. Erie Canal. [J 974.796 MUR]

Thompson, Linda. The Erie Canal. [J 386.48 THO]

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


On the evening of November 16, the Museum of Science in Boston will be holding a forum titled, "Outbreak: Fighting Disease in a Changing World." This is how it is described:
Human health is connected to the health of the environment and the animals inhabiting it. Viruses that originate in wildlife, such as HIV, Zika, Ebola, and influenza, can infect humans and our livestock and spread rapidly around the globe. Influenza and HIV have killed tens of millions of people every year. What is our role in preventing the next pandemic? How can society work toward reducing our risk? As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic, what have we learned?

Join us behind the scenes as we develop a forum that will be used in museums and libraries across the country and beyond. Learn about infectious diseases that affect millions of people all over the world and consider how we can apply lessons from diseases we've managed to eradicate. Discuss your ideas with other participants and help the Museum of Science improve this forum.

This program is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Yesterday we looked at World Polio Day. There are many such days each year to make us aware of the wide-spread problem of diseases and their control.

Here are some books you may be interested in reading on the subject of diseases and epidemics:

Barnard, Bryn. Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History. [eBook]

Biddle, Wayne. A Field Guide to Germs. [616.01 BID]

Hays, J. N. Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impacts on Human History. [614.49 HAY]

Jarrow, Gail. Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America. [YA 614.5732 JAR]

Koontz, Robin Michal. The Science of a Pandemic. [J 614.4 KOO]

McNeil, Donald G., Jr. Zika: The Emerging Epidemic. [eAudio]

Shah, Sonia. Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. [eAudio]