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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]