Looking for a book, DVD, CD, or other item? Search our catalog!

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.