Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Attention April vacationers: tomorrow, April 26 from 10:00 to noon, the Library is having an animal themed drop-in craft.

You can paint your own animal suncatcher to hang in a window at home. Choose from a frog, hedgehog, owl, or turtle. There will also be foam animal masks available to color.

The crafts are recommended for ages four and up. A parent or guardian must accompany children. Crafts available while supplies last. No registration is required.

After crafting, if the weather is nice, go for a walk on the Windham Rail Trail and look for ducks, squirrels, chipmunks, garter snakes, and other local wildlife.

Take one of these along on your walk:

Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to the Birds: A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. [598 PET]

Silverberg, Judith K. New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide. [974.2 SIL, also J 974.2 SIL]

Taylor, James. The Amphibians & Reptiles of New Hampshire: With Keys to Larval, Immature and Adult Forms. [597.9742 TAY]

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's April Vacation!

Although Earth Day wasn't good weather-wise, there is a lot of good that came of it--a support for science and science education, an acknowledgement that the Earth's resources are finite (that includes clean air and water) and something must be done to halt climate change, and, on social media, many people shared photos and videos such as this one on baby elephants:

Since it is April vacation for Windham school children, perhaps you and the kids might want to visit the zoo? To reserve the pass to Zoo New England, start here. (Please have your library card handy.)

Zoo New England does not have elephants, so you'll have to travel a little further south to New Bedford, MA to the Buttonwood Park Zoo, "one of the finest small zoos in the United States." Buttonwood has Asian elephants and the website tells us that the best time to visit the elephants is "mid day."

Monday, April 17, 2017

International Haiku Poetry Day

I'm sure you all know that April is National Poetry Month, but today there is an international celebration taking place--International Haiku Poetry Day.

Today, on The Haiku Foundation website, EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017 is taking place. It is the internet's largest collaborative poem with contributors from around the world. The theme for 2017 is "reconciliation." You can read through the many entries and/or you can contribute a haiku of your own.

Keep in mind that the definition of haiku IS NOT a poem in three lines with 5-7-5 syllables. For purposes of the collaborative poem try to remember that a haiku is "the essence of a moment keenly perceived." You can write in 3 lines, but don't worry about counting syllables--less is more. Don't write your haiku as a sentence. Don't put a title on it. And. don't use the typical poetic devices of simile or metaphor. The keenly perceived moment is what it is--there's no need for the writer to direct the reader by making comparisons. Of course, you can always read, read, read haiku and come to your own conclusion about its form. I'd suggest you start with The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English [811 HAI] or Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball [811.041 BAS]. A haiku is about the natural world, while a senryu has the same form as a haiku, but it deals with human nature.

Have fun reading and writing. This is the only post for this week as Kurious Kitty is taking time off. See you next week.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern"

Since it is finally spring and it's nearly Easter, and, since I saw a little rabbit skittering through my yard, I thought I'd share a rabbit poem today. This one is by Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893–1986). Coatsworth was a talented writer of fiction and poetry for both children and adults. She is best remembered as the author of The Cat Who Went to Heaven [J COA], which won the Newbery Award for children's literature in 1931. If you don't know The Cat Who Went to Heaven, I highly recommend you pick up a copy!

"Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern" is found in the anthology assembled by NH poet, Donald Hall, titled The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America [J 811 OXF]:
Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern
by Elizabeth Coatsworth

We who play under the pines,
We who dance in the snow
That shines blue in the light of the moon
Sometimes halt as we go,
Stand with our ears erect,
Our noses testing the air,
To gaze at the golden world
Behind the windows there.

Suns they have in a cave,
And stars each on a tall white stem
And the thought of fox or of owl
Seems never to bother them.
They laugh and eat and are warm,
Their food is ready at hand
While hungry out in the cold
We little rabbits stand.

But they never dance as we dance
They have not the speed nor the grace,
We scorn both the cat and the dog
Who lie by their fireplace,
We scorn them, licking their paws
Their eyes on an upraised spoon--
We who dance hungry and wild
Under a winter's moon!

Dori Reads is the host of this mid-National Poetry Month, Friday Round-Up. Be sure to head there before you start this spring-is-finally-here weekend.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!

April 13, 1743, was the date upon which Thomas Jefferson was born. He grew up to write the Declaration of Independence, become the third president of the United States, and, his library formed the basis of what is billed as the largest library in the world--the Library of Congress. (After the British burned Washington in the War of 1812, and with it the collection of the Library of Congress, Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the Library of Congress.)

Jefferson and his time in history continue to be a subject of much fascination to writers and readers of both nonfiction and fiction. Here are just three of the books that were published in 2016:

Dray, Stephanie. America's First Daughter. [F DRA, eBook]

Gordon-Reed, Annette. "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. [eBook]

Taylor, Alan. American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. [973.3 TAY]

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I Kid You Not!

Today, April 12, has been designated as National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Yes, indeed, a day devoted to one of America's best-loved comfort foods--the grilled cheese sandwich!

I'm sure for most Americans, grilled cheese sandwich brings to mind melted American cheese, and often accompanied by a bowl of Campbell's cream of tomato soup. If that's your vision, then more power to you, but I like my sandwich made with swiss cheese and sliced tomato, and, if I'm really feeling indulgent, a few slices of crispy bacon!

Others have their favorites, and writer, Heidi Gibson, seems to have more than one favorite--a whole book's worth. Look for Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Bread + Cheese + Everything in Between [641.84 GIB].

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Woman of Mystery--Emily Dickinson

It is well-known that Emily Dickinson lived as a recluse. The reasons for her reclusiveness are the subject of much speculation and over the years books, plays, and screenplays have been written putting forth various theories. A new film is coming out titled A Quiet Passion, and in an article about Dickinson and the film, novelist William Nicholson wrote,
Did she suffer from acute social anxiety, or epilepsy, or bipolar disorder? Was she lesbian, a proto-feminist, a religious radical, a sexual pioneer? The poems support almost every theory and feed almost every taste.
Doesn't that want to make you look again at the poetry of Emily Dickinson? You can find her poems in:

Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. [811 DIC]

I'm Nobody! Who Are You?: Poems of Emily Dickinson for Children. [J 811 DIC]

New Poems of Emily Dickinson. [811 DIC]

Individual Dickinson poems may be found in hundreds of anthologies!

To learn about Dickinson and her family, look for The Dickinsons of Amherst by Jerome Liebling [B DIC] or either of these similarly titled books. Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon [B DIC] or A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century by Jerome Charyn [B DIC]. Or, pick up this titillating one, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia [809 PAG].

Monday, April 10, 2017

Coming June 2!

This "epic" animated film is opening on June 2. We expect it to be released on DVD about six months after that (maybe in time for holiday gift-giving?). Until then, there are twelve titles in the Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey, to make your way through. The first is The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel [J PIL] and the last is Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot: The Twelfth Epic Novel [J PIL].

Friday, April 07, 2017

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Billie Holiday!

Today would have been jazz singer Billie Holiday's 102nd birthday! She was born on April 7, 1915. By the time she was 20, Holiday had a recording contract. Sadly, due to alcohol and drug abuse, and the effects of relationships and legal problems, Holiday passed away at the age of 44.

Poet, Langston Hughes, wrote many poems related to jazz and jazz singers, so it is not surprising that he wrote a poem especially for her.
Song for Billie Holiday

What can purge my heart
     Of the song
     And the sadness?
What can purge my heart
     But the song
     Of the sadness?
What can purge my heart
     Of the sadness
     Of the song?

Do not speak of sorrow
With dust in her hair,
Or bits of dust in eyes
A chance wind blows there.
The sorrow that I speak of
Is dusted with despair.

Voice of muted trumpet,
Cold brass in warm air.
Bitter television blurred
By sound that shimmers–

Found in The Collected Poems Of Langston Hughes [811 HUG].

Head down to Live Your Poem where Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

It's a Wimpy World?

When I did my earlier post on the celebrations taking place in April, I didn't realize that another one is also taking place--Wimpy Kid Month!

The month's celebration is based on the character from the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney [J KIN, J AB/CD KIN, eBook, J DVD DIA]. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid title hit library shelves back in 2006.

The books, which are a combination of comics and text, were a hit from the get-go. I've heard of children, who were not readers, getting hooked on reading with the "Wimpy Kid" books. They are non-threatening series--by "non-threatening" I mean no big blocks of text, plenty of pictures to provide visual clues, and lots of white space to give eyes a rest. They don't require a large investment of time on the part of a kid not invested in reading, and, they are funny! (Who doesn't like funny?)

Happy anniversary Wimpy Kid!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Icing on the Cake!

There are two types of cake lovers--those who prefer the cake and those who prefer the icing. And those who prefer the icing can be further divided into those who prefer the flavor and those who prefer the decorating aspects. This video is for the person who loves a beautifully decorated cake, but if you need a few minutes of relaxation, this video is for you too. It's rather hypnotic!

We have books for all types of cake lovers--those who like cake itself and those who like the icing. Here is a sampling of titles for those who like the decoration:

Carpenter, Autumn. The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating. [641.86539 CAR]

Sullivan, Karen. Step-By-Step Kids' Birthday Cakes: Over 50 Fabulous Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cake Pops. [641.8653 SUL]

Tack, Karen. What's New, Cupcake? [641.8653 TAC]

Weinstock, Sylvia. Sweet Celebrations: The Art of Decorating Beautiful Cakes. [641.8653 WEI]

Yates, Jen. Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets "Festive." [eBook]

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A Spring Drive

Spring weather is coming and people will want to get out and go places. Living in a New Hampshire suburb, though, the only way to get anywhere is by car and having a license has become a necessity.

If you, or someone you know is looking to get a driver's license, or refresh one's driving skills, then start at the Library.

Getting Ready to Drive: A How-To Guide by Eva Apelqvist [YA 629.283 APE] would be a good start for a teen, as would Rules of the Road, a DVD [DVD 629.28 RUL]. Someone brushing up on skills might benefit from Advanced Highway Driving: Tactics for Safety and Optimization by Paul Maravelias [629.283 MAR].

A complete driver education course can be found in Driver Ed in a Box. Parent Taught Driver Education [KIT 629.283 DRI]. The kit comes with instruction manuals, DVDs, and audio CDs.

Internet resources make New Hampshire driver testing easy. Click on Driving-Tests.org
...provides free and interactive practice tests based on the New Hampshire driver's license manual. No registration information is collected, and the site is ad-free! Study for the permit test, the driver's license test, and the senior citizens' refresher test. Online driver's manuals, as well as practice tests, for car, truck, and motorcycle licenses! Accessibility features allows pages to be read aloud, translated into other languages, and magnified!

Also, practice for a learner's permit at DMV Permit Practice Test.

Once you're safely on the road, take one of the drives found in Scenic Driving New Hampshire: Exploring the State's Most Spectacular Byways and Back Roads by Stewart M. Green [917.42 GRE 2016].

Monday, April 03, 2017

So Much to Celebrate!

April, besides being a month of blossoming flowers and trees, is also a month designated for celebrating! April is officially "National Poetry Month," "Jazz Appreciation Month," and "National Humor Month!" We can help you celebrate all three.

Either of these collections would be a good entre into poetry if you're not already a poetry fan: When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano [J 811.6 FOG] or Felicity by Mary Oliver [818.54 OLI]. By reading Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer [JP ARC] to a young child, you can introduce the concept of poetry being just a different way of looking at things.

The "Jazz Appreciation Month" focus this year is on women in jazz. We've got many women jazz singers in our CD collection from Norah Jones' 2016 release Day Break [CD JAZZ JON], to the 16 CD set The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books [CD JAZZ FIT]. We even have Ella Fitzgerald on a CD for kids titled, Jazz For Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle and Shake [CD CHILDREN JAZ].

And, if you're looking to laugh we have joke books for kids [J 818], the work of cartoonists like Matthew Diffee's Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People [818.602 DIF], hilarious, recorded, old comedy routines such as 2000 years with Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks [CD COMEDY REI], and movie comedy classics like Some Like It Hot [DVD SOM]. We have more than enough humor to carry you through April AND May!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Marge Piercy!

Novelist and poet, Marge Piercy, was born 81 years ago on March 31 in Detroit. She now lives in Massachusetts, so, we'll call her a neighbor. Much of her poetry is concerned with social issues and she pulls no punches. Here is one such poem that is found in The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems With a Jewish Theme [811 PIE]:
Woman in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived
in a shoe, her own two shoes,
men’s they were, brown and worn.
They flapped when she hobbled along.

There was an old woman who lived
in a refrigerator box under
the expressway with her cat.
January, they died curled together.

There was an old woman who lived
in a room under the roof. It
got hot, but she was scared
to open the window. It got hotter.

Too hot, too cold, too poor,
too old. Invisible unless
she annoys you, invisible
unless she gets in your way.

In fairy tales if you are kind
to an old woman, she gives you
the thing you desperately need:
an unconquerable sword, a purse

bottomless and always filled,
a magical ring. We don’t believe
that anymore. Such tales were
made up by old women scared

to be thrust from the hearth,
shoved into the street to starve.
Who fears an old woman pushing
a grocery cart? She is talking

to god as she shuffles along,
her life in her pockets. You
are the true child of her heart
and you see living garbage.

Let that settle in for a while...then, head down to The Poem Farm for this week's Round-Up.

On This Day...

...in 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands, Vincent Van Gogh was born. He grew up to be a painter of great renown. One of his paintings, "Sunflowers," sold for $39.9 million back on this day in 1987! The previous record price for a painting was a paltry $10.4 million. Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" sold for $82.5 million just three years later!

Not everyone is aware that the painting sold in 1987 is only one of Van Gogh's sunflowers. He produced a series of sunflower paintings that you can read about here, and many of which can be seen here.

We have quite a number of books in our collection about Vincent Van Gogh. Here are two:

Charles, Victoria. Vincent Van Gogh. [759.949 CHA]

Naifeh, Steven W. Van Gogh: The Life. [eBook]

There is also a segment on Van Gogh in the DVD Simon Schama's Power of Art. [DVD 709.22 SIM]

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Little Golden Books

I'm pretty sure most American baby-boomers had a Little Golden Book growing up. The Little Golden Book, as a brand, was created in 1942 with the first dozen titles being released in October 1942. They sold for 25 cents each. The books were still selling for a quarter in the 1950s when I was of the Little Golden Book age. Read a history of the series here.

Some of the titles, like The Poky Little Puppy, have been reprinted and reprinted and gone on to sell in the millions. They now also come in collections of titles in reinforced bindings (as opposed the simple stapled, cardboard covered originals with a gold spine), such as Little Golden Book Classics: Three Best-Loved Tales [JP LIT]. The three tales are: My First Counting Book by Lilian Moore; The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse by Miriam Norton; and Home For a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

So as not to be left behind, the Little Golden Books of today can be found in eBook format, which a child can read on a smart phone or tablet. An example in our collection is The Happy Man and His Dump Truck by Miryam.

Also in eBook is this title for adults: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book
by Diane E. Muldrow.
A humorous "guide to life" for grown-ups! One day, Diane Muldrow, a longtime editor of the iconic Little Golden Books, realized that, despite their whimsical appearance, there was hardly a real-life situation that hadn't been covered in the more than 70-year-old line of children's books—from managing money, to the importance of exercise, to finding contentment in the simplest things. In this age of debt, depression, and diabetes, could we adults use a refresher course in the gentle lessons from these adorable books, she wondered—a "Little Golden guide to life"?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pet Shop Party Review

Last Saturday, March 25, the Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW) held a Pet Shop Party for the children of Windham. Hundreds of attendees decorated pet rocks, vied for raffle prizes, ate animal crackers, watched a wild animal show, and had their faces painted by The Art House. And, did I mention there was also a book sale?

If you weren't able to attend, here's what you missed!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bronte Sisters

Did you catch To Walk Invisible last night on PBS? If so, you may want to learn more about the Bronte sisters, or to read their novels.

All three sisters are found on our shelves. Anne, with The Tenent of Wildfell Hall [F BRO], Charlotte with Jane Eyre, Shirley, The Professor, The Search after Hapiness [sic]: A Tale, and Villette [F BRO], and Emily with Wuthering Heights [F BRO].

Several of their novels have been filmed and are available in various versions in our DVD section, and, there's a dramatization of their life and that of their brother, Patrick Branwell in The Brontes of Haworth [DVD BRO]

Friday, March 24, 2017

Poetry Friday--Derek Walcott

Poet Derek Walcott passed away last week at the age of 87. Walcott taught for many years in Boston, and did readings in the Boston area. I was lucky enough to have heard him read his work a few years back.

Walcott, born on the island of St. Lucia, was a poet of world renown. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

He had a distinctive voice, which you can experience by listening to him read his poem, "Sea Grapes."

I'd like to share part III of poem 16. "In the Village" from White Egrets: Poems [811.54 WAL]:
Who has removed the typewriter from my desk,
so that I am a musician without his piano
with emptiness ahead as clear and grotesque
as another spring? My veins bud, and I am so
full of poems, a wastebasket of black wire. The notes outside are visible; sparrows will
line antennae like staves, the way springs were,
but the roofs are cold and the great grey river
where a liner glides, huge as a winter hill,
moves imperceptibly like the accumulating
years. I have no reason to forgive her
for what I brought on myself. I am past hating,
past the longing for Italy where blowing snow
absolves and whitens a kneeling mountain range
outside Milan. Through glass, I am waiting
for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning
of spring, but my hands, my work, feel strange
without the rusty music of my machine. No words
for the Arctic liner moving down the Hudson, for the mange
of old snow moulting from the roofs. No poems. No birds.

We are all "waiting for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning of spring," but we'll no longer have Derek Walcott to show us how beautiful it will be.

Reading to the Core is the place to be for this week's Round-Up--check it out!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

OK? Okay!

On this day in 1839, the initials "O.K." are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for "oll korrect," a popular slang misspelling of "all correct" at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.
from On This Day in History

OK = oll korrect? Who knew? Not me, at least not until now. Okay as it is sometimes written, has been around for a long time! It has made its way into popular culture and into these items in our collection:

Butts, Lauren. OK, So Now You're a Vegetarian: Advice and 100 Recipes from One Vegetarian to Another. [YA 641.5636 BUT]

Dorfman, Andi. It's Not Okay Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After. [eAudio

Dunbar, Dayna. The Saints and Sinners of Okay County. [F DUN]

Eaton, Maxwell. Okay, Andy. [J CX EAT]

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. [DVD GUN]

Hirst, Daisy. Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do! [JP HIR]

LaCour, Nina. We Are Okay. [YA LAC, eBook]

Nichol, Jeff. Is My Dog OK?: How to Know...When Your Dog Won't Say. [636.7 NIC]

Parr, Todd. It's Okay to Be Different. [JP PAR]

Schmidt, Gary D. Okay for Now. [YA SCH, eBook]

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's National Goof Off Day!

National Goof Off Day is celebrated on March 22. There's no official website, and no official proclamation, but if you need an excuse to goof off, then today is the day to do it!

So, how to celebrate? Watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off [DVD FER] or National Lampoon's Animal House [DVD NAT] or Pee-wee's Big Adventure [J DVD PEE]!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Free from NASA

If you're a geeky-type person, you probably already know this, but NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) periodically releases free software to the general public. Their latest released happened a few weeks ago. The 2017-2018 Catalog can be accessed here.

As you would expect, a lot of what is available has to do with aeronautics, but there may be items of interest for the general population, for example Eyes on the Earth 3D "provides a generic means for people to interactively view the real-time location, speed and recent data gatherings of several of NASA's Earth observing Satellites using a 3-D graphical interface." Or, Station Spacewalk Game App, which "features simulations of Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) conducted by NASA astronauts on missions to the International Space Station."

TechCrunch.com has preselected a few things for you to look at, so that you don't have to go through pages and pages of software offerings, click here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chick Knits

This is not a joke--knitters in a MA retirement community make sweaters for chickens! You must click here for the photos.

So, in recent years we've seen articles on sweaters for penguins, elephants, and now, chickens. Who knows what creature will be sporting a sweater next?

Speaking of knitters, did you know that we have a group that meets at the Library twice a month on the first and third Thursdays at 12:30? They offer knitting companionship and expertise, and are willing to help with a knitting question or problem you may encounter with your own projects.

If you've been knitting for any length of time, you probably have a stash of yarn that isn't quite enough for a project, yet too good to simply toss away. If so, we have a collection box at the Library where you can leave your yarn. The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 63, of Salem uses the yarn to make lap robes for veterans at the VA facilities in Manchester and Tilton, NH.

Charitable knitting is a time-honored tradition in the United States, from knitting scarves for active duty soldiers, to making chemo caps for the sick, to making blankets for premature babies. It's an activity that will give you a real sense of accomplishment. And anyone can do it!

Knit Your Bit by Deborah Hopkinson [JP HOP]

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poetry Friday--William Butler Yeats

Since it is St. Patrick's Day, it is only natural to pick an Irish poet to feature, and probably the Irish poet most familiar to Americans is William Butler Yeats. Yeats not only wrote poetry, but he also worked to preserve the old tales and legends of the Irish people.

In our children's collection, Yeats' work appears in one of the splendidly illustrated "Poetry For Young People" volumes issued by Sterling Publishing (we about about 20 titles in the series) [J 821.8 YEA].

Of the poems presented, "To a Squirrel at Kyle-Na-No" is my favorite. The editor of the collection provided this helpful bit of information, "the Irish language place-name "Kyle-na-no" means the wood of nuts.
To a Squirrel at Kyle-Na-No

Come play with me;
Why should you run
Through the shaking tree
As though I'd a gun
To strike you dead?
When all I would do
Is to scratch your head
And let you go.

Don't go messing with any squirrels or leprechauns today, but do stop by Life On the Deckle Edge where Robyn is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Happy Birthday Alice Hoffman!

Prolific novelist, Alice Hoffman, was born on this day in 1952. She is officially a senior citizen, but, I'm sure writing will keep her forever young.

Hoffman has written at least 26 novels for adults and another dozen for children and young adults.

Here are her most recent titles:

The Dovekeepers. [F HOF, LP HOF]

Faithful. [F HOF, AB/CD HOF, LP HOF, eBook, eAudio]

The Museum of Extraordinary Things. [F HOF, AB/CD HOF, LP HOF, eAudio]

Nightbird. [J HOF, eBook]

The Marriage of Opposites. [F HOF, AB/CD HOF, LP HOF, eBook, eAudio]

The Red Garden. [F HOF, AB/CD HOF, eBook, eAudio]

Hoffman's early novel, Practical Magic, was made into a film of the same name [DVD PRA] starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

Happy Birthday, Alice Hoffman!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Family That Started It All

The movie, The Godfather [DVD GOD], based on the book of the same name by Mario Puzo [F PUZ], was released on this day in 1972. That's 45 years ago! I'll bet many of our more mature readers will remember going to the movies to see it. It was a smash hit, and went on to spawn The Godfather: Part II [DVD GOD] in 1974 and The Godfather: Part III [DVD GOD] in 1990.

The prequel to the novel, The Godfather, was written by Edward Falco and published five years ago as The Family Corleone [AB/CD FAL, also eAudio].

The Corleone family started the whole mafia family craze that also included the movie, GoodFellas [DVD GOO] and the television series The Sopranos [DVD TV SERIES SOP].

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yikes! A Nor'Easter

Here it is, March 14, and reports say we will be having a foot of snow! Sorry, but I'm done with winter. Bring on spring!

I may try one of these to put me in a spring mood:

Andrews, Mary Kay. Spring Fever. [AB/CD AND]

Arnim, Elizabeth von. The Enchanted April. [F ARN]

Beckstrand, Jennifer. Huckleberry Spring. [eBook]

Bowen, Gail. A Killing Spring. [F BOW]

Garwood, Julie. Come the Spring. [F GAR]

Greeley, Andrew M. Second Spring. [F GRE]

Kleypas, Lisa. Devil in Spring. [F KLE]

Malliet, G. M. Pagan Spring. [F MAL]

Monday, March 13, 2017

Revolutionary Movies

Revolutionary War, that is--I came across a list of a ten top Revolutionary War movies, as judged by the Journal of the American Revolution. The Library only owns two of the recommended titles:

John Adams. (Starring Paul Giamatti.) [DVD JOH]

Johnny Tremain. (A Disney live action film.) [DVD JOH]

It looks like I'll have to do a search to see what is still available for us to purchase. We have these titles that, although not among the top ten, may be of interest:

1776. [DVD SEV]

America: The Story of Us. [DVD 973 AME]

The Founding Fathers. [DVD 973.3 FOU]

George Washington the Man Who Wouldn't Be King. [DVD B WAS]

Friday, March 10, 2017

Poetry Friday--International Bagpipe Day!

Yes, indeed, there is an internationally recognized day for celebrating the bagpipe--March 10!

Bagpipes are one of those instruments you either love or hate! And sometimes even bagpipe lovers may not be entirely devoted.
Q. What is a gentleman?
A. Someone who can play the bagpipes, but doesn't.

There was only one poem I found that specifically mentions a bagpipe. It's by Shel Silverstein and is titled, "The Bagpipe Who Didn't Say No." It is a typical Silverstein story-poem about a love-struck turtle. Here's a stanza from it:
Said the turtle to his darling, "Please excuse me if I stare,
But you have the plaidest skin, dear,
And you have the strangest hair.
If I begged you pretty please, love,
Could I give you just one squeeze, love?"
And the bagpipe didn't say no.

There are other poems that feature pipes, but not necessarily bagpipes. This one is a classic:
Introduction to the Songs of Innocence
By William Blake

Piping down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee
On a cloud I saw a child.
And he laughing said to me.

Pipe a song about a Lamb;
So I piped with merry chear,
Piper pipe that song again—
So I piped, he wept to hear.

Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe
Sing thy songs of happy chear,
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear

Piper sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read—
So he vanish'd from my sight.
And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear

Found in Poems and Prophecies by William Blake [821 BLA]

Okay, so you didn't think you'd make it through this post without a bagpipe video, did you?

Well, what do you think? Are you a bagpipe lover or hater?

Check out all the poetry being rounded up at Today's Little Ditty.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Opening Tomorrow!

The Sense of an Ending is based upon the book of the same name by Julian Barnes [F BAR, LP BAR, eBook].
Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

The Sense of an Ending is a good choice for book discussion groups. The new movie, when released in DVD, should be an interesting campanion activity for groups that discuss the book.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

My Cousin Rachel

Way back in 1952, novelist Daphne Du Maurier published a mystery called My Cousin Rachel [F DUM]. The best-selling novel was soon made into a movie starring Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland. Now, 55 years later, the film has been remade and will open on July 14. You'll have plenty of time to read the novel before then!

After her husband's death, Rachel comes to England to stay with Philip Ashley, her husband's nephew, who is ten years her junior. Philip succumbs to her charms, but begins to suspect that his uncle's wife may have had a hand in his death.

Here's the trailer from the 1952 version:

(Trailer production has come a long way!)

I'll look into the availability of the older version in case, after reading the book, you can't wait to see a movie version!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Coming in May

It's still a few months away, but The Dinner is scheduled for release on May 5. The thriller, starring Richard Gere, is based upon the book by Herman Koch (originally published in the Netherlands) [F KOC, LP KOC, eBook, eAudio].
On a summer's evening in Amsterdam, two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said. Each couple has a fifteen year- old son. The boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act. As civility and friendship disintegrate, both couples show just how far they will go to protect those they love.

Novelist, Claire Messud, reviewed The Dinner for the New York Times back in 2013,
The success of "The Dinner" depends, in part, on the carefully calibrated revelations of its unreliable and increasingly unsettling narrator, Paul Lohman. Whatever else he may be, likable he is not. There is a bracing nastiness to this book that grows ever more intense with the turning of its pages. It will not please those who seek the cozy, the redemptive or the uplifting.

It may be difficult to read, but it'll probably be great as a movie!

Monday, March 06, 2017

It's Upcoming Movies Week!

Today through Thursday, I want to alert you to new movies that are set to be released in the next few months. If you're smart, you'll read the book now while you still can get it!

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann [918.11 GRA] was published back in 2009. The subtitle alone should have been enough to interest movie makers!

The film will be out in the U. S. on April 24, and it is already receiving rave reviews! Here's what the British newspaper, The Telegraph, had to say,
The Lost City of Z, a film as transporting, profound and staggering in its emotional power as anything I’ve seen in the cinema in years. As a piece of historical drama (it was adapted by Gray from the non-fiction book of the same name by David Grann) it’s sincere and scrupulous.

Here's a brief summary from the publisher of the book:
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called "The Lost City of Z." In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for "Z" and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Hippos on Holiday"

When you read the title did you think I was going to feature a poem from our children's room collection? Wrong! Today's poem is by one of America's most beloved living poets, Billy Collins. And, since it is also the week following the Academy Awards ceremony, I think it is also apropo that it is a poem about the movies!

Without further ado, here is "Hippos on Holiday" from Ballistics: Poems by Billy Collins [811.54 COL]:
Hippos on Holiday

is not really the title of a movie
but if it was I would be sure to see it.
I love their short legs and big heads,
the whole hippo look.
Hundreds of them would frolic
in the mud of a wide, slow-moving river,
and I would eat my popcorn
in the dark of a neighborhood theater.
When they opened their enormous mouths
lined with big stubby teeth
I would drink my enormous Coke.

I would be both in my seat
and in the water playing with the hippos,
which is the way it is
with a truly great movie.
Only a mean-spirited reviewer
would ask on holiday from what?

I hope it made you smile! It did for me. Did you know that March 22 is Billy Collins' 76th birthday? Happy early birthday, Mr. Collins! Who know, we may celebrate it again later in the month, too! For now, you should head over to My Juicy Little Universe where undoubtedly there will be more Billy Collins poems to delight you!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Going Ape

On this day in 1933, the movie King Kong had it premiere in New York. It was reviewed in the New York Times the following day under this headline, "A Fantastic Film in Which a Monstrous Ape Uses Automobiles for Missiles and Climbs a Skyscraper." That just about says it all! To see an ad for the film that was in the paper on March 1, click here.

We have a copy of the 1933 film in our DVD collection [DVD KIN], as well as the 2005 remake [DVD KIN]. And, as if that isn't enough monkey business, we also have Son of Kong [DVD SON], a sequel from 1933.

Kids interested in how movies were made can pick up The Children's Book of the Movies: Explore the Magical, Behind-the-Scenes World of the Movies [J 791.43 CHI], which has a chapter on King Kong.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March is National Craft Month

March is one of my favorite months because it is a sign that we've made it through another winter! It is also the month of St. Patrick's Day, which means corned beef and cabbage, and, it is National Craft Month!

Everyone should be creative and if you're not a artist, you may still have a penchant for crafts. There's a craft for every interest from argyle sock knitting to wreathmaking. We literally have hundreds of crafts books in our adult and children's collections. Look through these titles if you're in need of a little inspiration:

Bonaddio, T. L. Stick It!: 99 D.I.Y. Duct Tape Projects. [745.5 BON]

Braden, Linda Z. Mason Jar Crafts for Kids: More Than 25 Cool, Crafty Projects to Make For Your Friends, Your Family, and Yourself! [J 745.5 BRA]

The Complete Book of Home Crafts: Projects for Adventurous Beginners. [745.5 COM]

Harbo, Christopher L. Origami Palooza: Dragons, Turtles, Birds, and More! [J 736.982 HAR]

Houghton, Peter. Play the Forest School Way: Woodland Games, Crafts and Skills for Adventurous Kids. [J 796.545 HOU]

Kingloff, Amanda. ProjectKid: [100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun]. [745.5 KIN]

Neuburger, Emily K. Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children's Storytelling. [eBook]

Startzman, Katie. The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes for the Entire Family. [746.432 STA]

Van't Hul, Jean. The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons & Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts. [745.59416 VAN]

Ventura, Marne. Kylie Jean Party Craft Queen. [J 745.5 VEN]

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Giraffe Watch

Are you one of the reported millions watching April the giraffe await the birth of her baby at Animal Adventure Park in New York state? I imagine everyone's heard about the live cam by now.

When I wrote this post yesterday afternoon, the baby had yet to put in an appearance on day six of the live cam watch. If April still hasn't given birth by time you read this, you may wish to come to the library to borrow a book about giraffes and get on with your life!

Aroner, Miriam. Giraffes Aren't Half As Fat. [J 599.73 ARO]

Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Baby Giraffes. [E BOR]

Macken, JoAnn Early. Giraffes. [J 599.638 MAC]

Rumford, James. Chee-lin: A Giraffe's Journey. [J 599.638 RUM]

Schuetz, Kari. Giraffes. [E SCH]

Monday, February 27, 2017

Zinio eMagazine Service

If you missed the announcement a few weeks back about our new downloadable magazine service, you'll be pleased to know that with your Nesmith Library card you now have access to dozens of popular magazine titles--for free! These magazines may be downloaded to your computer or smart phone. Click here to get started.

What titles can you borrow? These:

American Patchwork & Quilting
Animals, Volume 1, Celebration Edition--Adult Coloring Book
Better Homes and Gardens
Clean Eating
Cloth Paper Scissors
Country Living
ESPN The Magazine
Every Day with Rachael Ray
Family Circle
The Family Handyman
Food Network Magazine
Golf Digest
Good Housekeeping
HGTV Magazine
Highlights for Children
In Touch Weekly
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Martha Stewart Living
Men's Health
Men's Journal
National Geographic Interactive
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Traveler Interactive
O, the Oprah Magazine
OK! Magazine
Popular Mechanics
Popular Science
Reader's digest
Rolling Stone
Smithsonian Magazine
Star Magazine
Taste of Home
US Weekly
Vanidades USA
Vanity Fair
Woman's Day
Woman's World
Women's Health
Woodworker's Journal
Yoga Journal

The titles can be downloaded 24/7, so if you're on a trip, or stuck waiting for kids to finish soccer practice, you can occupy your time with a magazine!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Poetry Friday--A Grimm Birthday

On this day in 1786, Wilhelm Karl Grimm, German story teller and collector of tales, was born in Hanau, Germany. He and his brother, Jacob, who had been born in 1785, grew up to become famous for what is known as Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Lisel Mueller, in her collection Alive Together: New and Selected Poems [811.54 MUE] has a Grimm-related poem that is perfect for today:
Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny

Jenny, your mind commands
kingdoms of black and white:
you shoulder the crow on your left,
the snowbird on your right;
for you the cinders part
and let the lentils through,
and noise falls into place
as screech or sweet roo-coo,
while in my own, real, world
gray foxes and gray wolves
bargain eye to eye,
and the amazing dove
takes shelter under the wing
of the raven to keep dry.

Knowing that you must climb,
one day, the ancient tower
where disenchantment binds
the curls of innocence,
that you must live with power
and honor circumstance,
that choice is what comes true--
oh, Jenny, pure in heart,
why do I lie to you?

Why do I read you tales
in which birds speak the truth
and pity cures the blind,
and beauty reaches deep
to prove a royal mind?
Death is a small mistake
there, where the kiss revives;
Jenny, we make just dreams
out of our unjust lives.

Still, when your truthful eyes,
your keen, attentive stare,
endow the vacuous slut
with royalty, when you match
her soul to her shimmering hair,
what can she do but rise
to your imagined throne?
And what can I, but see
beyond the world that is,
when, faithful, you insist
I have the golden key--
and learn from you once more
the terror and the bliss,
the world as it might be?

I hope you will seek out this volume of poetry for it is filled with many other, equally thoughtful, poems.

Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Karen Edmisten*. Please stop by.

Making Plans for February Vacation

February vacation begins Friday afternoon right after the last bell rings!

There are a number of things you can do with the kids besides traveling to ski resorts and heading south to Orlando. Friday and Saturday, in Lowell, MA (a short drive from here) there is the 2017 Lowell Winterfest. There will be soup, chocolate, music, and special activities for the kids!

How about visiting a museum? Your library card allows you access to reduced admission pricing at many museums in NH and MA. Click here to learn more.

At the Nesmith Library we have a number of activities planned. On Tuesday, February 28, from 1:00 to 3:00 children are invited to the library to create their own gingerbread houses with graham crackers. This activity is open to children of all ages and no registration is required.

Wednesday, March 1, from 10:00 to 11:00, is Makerspace Club. Kids will make duct tape flowers, and construct marble runs. This event is for children ages 7 and up; registration is required. Also on Wednesday is a Teen Harry Potter Interactive Movie (for ages 11 and up); registration is required.

Thursday, March 2, help celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday at 10:30. Try your luck at Dr. Seuss Book Bingo and enjoy a special birthday cake! This program is for children ages 5 and up; registration is required.

Of course, you can always come to the Library to take out books, DVDs, and CDs to bring home or keep the kids entertained in the car.

There is something for every kid at the Library!

Have a great vacation!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Literary Mystery

One hundred sixty-five years ago, a novel titled, Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, was published anonymously, and soon forgotten. Last summer the novel was discovered and found to be the work of Walt Whitman, a man better known for his poetry than his fiction. On Monday, The New York Times reported on the discovery, and the re-publication, of the book. It seems that this mystery novele provides a clue to the real-life mystery of who Walt Whitman really was.

Life and Adventures of Jack Engle is found on the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review website; click here.

You can read more about Walt Whitman the man in Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography by David S. Reynolds or in any of the other Whitman biographies in our collection. We also have a PBS "American Experience" episode, Walt Whitman, [DVD B WHI].

Whitman's Complete Poetry and Collected Prose is found in 811.3 WHI.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Back in 2009, a nonfiction book was published that spent more than a year on the NY Times Bestseller List: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot [616.0277 SKL, AB/CD 616.0277 SKL, eBook].

HBO has adapted the book and it will be shown on Sunday, April 22. Henrietta Lacks' daughter is played by Oprah Winfrey. Once the movie has aired, I'm sure there will be renewed interest in the original book. If you haven't already read the book, I'd suggest you do it now!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Poetry Friday--Black History Month

This week let's celebrate the poetry of Rita Dove. Ms. Dove won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987, and served a term as United States Poet Laureate (1993–95).

On the Bus with Rosa Parks: Poems [811 DOV] was published in 1999. Here is part of the publisher's description: "...these poems explore the intersection of individual fates with the grand arc of history. If there are heroes, Dove maintains, they continually reinvent themselves, as each of us must do every morning..."

Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick;

back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file...

the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.

I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn't know their names?

Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up visit my librarian friend, Jone, at Check It Out.

If You Missed These the First Time

There are plenty of books to listen to besides the ones on today's bestsellers list. The books that were popular a year or two ago are still worth reading. You may have chosen to skip a title due to the holds list and then gone on to forget you wanted to read it. Now's the time to catch up on those titles you missed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony!

Today is the 197th anniversary of the birth of suffragist Susan B. Anthony. She was born in Adams, MA and died in Rochester, NY in 1906.

In 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted in Rochester and was arrested for the crime of voting illegally in the presidential election (women were not granted the right to vote until 1920). She was convicted in a highly publicized trial, one in which the judge directed the jury to issue a guilty verdict. Anthony was ordered to pay a fine of $100, but she refused to do it. The Rochester authorities declined to take further action.

In 1878, Anthony and fellow activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, arranged for California senator, Aaron A. Sargent, to present an amendment giving women the right to vote. Known as the Anthony Amendment it took 42 years (1920) before it was finally ratified as the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Read more about Anthony and Stanton's work for women's suffrage in Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Geoffrey C. Ward [920 WAR].

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Library has been closed the last two days for snow, but we're now open and playing catch-up. So, for today, a simple wish to all:

© Eric Carle

Download a card by Eric Carle here

© Lita Judge

© Wendell Minor

© Ashley Wolff

All images posted by the artists on Facebook.

Visit the Library today and borrow one of the many picture books we have by these illustrators. Have a LOVEly day!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Poetry Friday--Black History Month

February is Black History Month and for today, and the next two Fridays, I'll be featuring a black poet. Today let's look at a little-known poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872-1906. Perhaps Dunbar would be better known if he hadn't died of tuberculosis, cutting short his career in his early thirties. To learn more about Dunbar borrow this recent addition to the children's biography section, Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar, written by Sally Derby and illustrated by Sean Qualls [J B DUN].

There is a line from one of Dunbar's poems that is more famous than the man who wrote it and is frequently thought of as being written by another poet. That line is, "I know why the caged bird sings," and the other poet is Maya Angelou, who titled her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [B ANG, AB/CD B ANG, also eBook].

Here is Dunbar's poem, which you can find in Jump Back, Paul:

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
     When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
     When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
     Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
     And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
     When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
     But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

The poem is also found at the Library of Congress blog, "From the Catbird Seat," in a post titled, "The Caged Bird Sings: Paul Laurence Dunbar at the Library of Congress."

Visit Katie at The Logonauts for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.