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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Poetry Friday--What Work Is

Just a reminder that the Library will be closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day. Today, we'll look at a man who labored in the factories of Detroit and went on to become a National Book Award winning poet of great renown. Philip Levine was born in 1928, the son of immigrants. His father died when Levine was only five. By time he was 14, Levine had gone to work in one of Detroit's auto plants. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 87.

In 1991 Levine won the National Book Award for What Work Is: Poems [811.54 LEV]. Here's the title poem from that collection:
What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is--if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it’s someone else’s brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours of wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, "No,
we’re not hiring today," for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who’s not beside you or behind or
ahead because he’s home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You’ve never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you’re too young or too dumb,
not because you’re jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don’t know what work is.

Not what you expected the poem to be after just reading the title, is it? Plenty to think about, including the idea that relationships are work of another kind.

Robyn is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Life on the Deckle Edge. Have a great weekend!

Happy Birthday, Mary Shelley

Mary Wollenstone Shelley, author of Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus [F SHE, AB/CD SHE], was born on this date in 1797. She was married to the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and edited his work after his death.

New Hampshire author/illustrator, Lita Judge, wrote a novel-in-verse about Mary Shelley. It was published earlier this year. The title is Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein [YA JUD]

Writer, Mary Quattlebaum, offered this review of Mary's Monster for The Washington Post:

Two hundred years ago, the "first science fiction industrial-age novel" was published anonymously, notes Lita Judge in her haunting, graphic novel Mary’s Monster (Roaring Brook, ages 15 and older). Since then, "Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus" has inspired heated discussion, countless speculative fiction stories and numerous theater and film adaptations. Yet today, most teens know little more about the book’s English author than her name: Mary Shelley, who at 19 wrote her masterpiece in nine months. Through free-verse poems that draw vividly upon Shelley’s journals, letters and manuscripts, Judge offers a riveting immersion in Mary’s experiences as a teenage runaway. Judge’s intense, shadowy watercolor illustrations add to the dark drama of her tale. Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died soon after Mary’s birth, but young Mary absorbs her mother’s then-radical ideas about women’s rights by reading her books. These bolster Mary when she faces rejection — by her family, friends and society — for running off with a married man, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Judge also revisits that stormy summer in Geneva, when the Shelleys’ erratic host, Lord Byron, challenges them to write a ghost story. Throughout Judge explores the circumstances that deeply animated Mary’s creation of her bereft, wandering “Creature”: the early deaths of her children, the suicides of her older half sister and Percy Shelley’s estranged wife and most especially, the banishment by her father. For teens, Mary’s life is a powerful example of resilience and artistic integrity. Fittingly, it is her monster who has the last word, praising this long-dead author for the hard work that allowed her fierce genius — and him — to flourish: "Her spirit whispers eternally through me."

Happy Birthday to Mary Shelley, and, on Halloween this year, there will be a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Best?

The Washington Post recently posted "The New Canon: The 23 Best Films of the 2000s," by Ann Hornaday. "The Canon" is a list of films generally accepted as
revered films that helped form cinematic language, broke it open, captured not only their own zeitgeist but proved wisely prescient, and have stood the test of history to remain mini-master classes in aesthetics, technique, grammar and taste.
Hornaday suggests that the 23 titles below, in no particular order ("reflecting a loose, intuitive collection rather than a strict hierarchy"), may also, one day, fit the bill:

Children of Men (2006)

25th Hour (2002)

The Hurt Locker (2008) [DVD HUR]

Michael Clayton (2007)

Pan's Layyrinth (2006) [DVD PAN]

There Will Be Blood (2007) [DVD THE]

Boyhood (2014) [DVD BOY]

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) [DVD FOU]

Old Joy (2006)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) [DVD ETE]

Hunger (2008)

You Can Count on Me (2000)

No Country for Old Men (2007) [DVD NO]

I'm Not There (2007)

Minority Report (2002) [DVD MIN]

Dunkirk (2017) [DVD DUN]

Mudbound (2017) [not yet available on DVD]

Spotlight (2015) [DVD SPO]

Son of Saul (2015)

Stories We Tell (2012)

The Fog of War (2003) [DVD 973.92 FOG]

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) [DVD ROY]

Spirited Away (2001) [DVD SPI]

The titles we own are marked. Look for those we don't have to be added in the future!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Living on Earth

Early Sunday morning I caught the NPR program, Living on Earth, and was pleasantly surprised to hear a segment with NH authors Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

I heard Sy Montgomery speak at a library conference, a few years back, after her book The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness [594.56 MON, AB/CD 594.56 MON, eAudio] was released. After hearing her, I borrowed the audio version of The Soul of an Octopus and spent a lot of time saying, "Wow." Although I hate when someone tells me that a book "changed my life," I think this particular book did change my thinking. It revealed to me that there is more to animal consciousness than we know, and we have wronged the creatures of the earth with our self-interested thinking. Shame on us.

The Living on Earth segment teaches some of the same lessons--humans are not the only beings with emotional needs! Montgomery and Thomas co-authored the recent book of essays, Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind [591 MON, eBook], which inspired the radio interview. Please take the time to listen to the interview, then read the book!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Happy Birthday, LBJ!

Today is the 110th anniversary of the birth of our 35th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson was born in Texas in 1908, represented the state in the Senate, 1949-1961, and died in Texas in 1973. So, on the date of his birth, in the great state of Texas, August 27 is Lyndon Baines Johnson Day is a legal state holiday!

The life and legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson is explored in the multi-volume set by Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson [B JOH, eBook]. The titles are:

Volume One: The Path to Power (1982)

Volume Two: Means of Ascent (1990)

Volume Three: Master of the Senate (2002)

Volume Four: The Passage of Power (2012)

Volume Five is still being written and will cover the period after John F. Kennedy's assassination.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the bio-pic, LBJ [DVD LBJ], but actor Woody Harrelson did a marvelous job of portraying the man on screen.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--Vesuvius!

On this date, in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted completely destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Still, nature has a way of bouncing back as is shown in this poem by Babette Deutsch:
Lizard at Pompeii

Little finger of fiery green, it
flickers over stone. Waits
in a weed's shadow.
Flashes emerald-
is gone.

Here once horror poured so hot, heavy, thick,
everyone was dead before he was sick.
Now here is no heat but the sun's
on old stone treads;
no motion but that rippling inch of whip:
yours, you little live jewel, who slipped away
into silence. Yet stay on to haunt memory,
like those dead.

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week.

Old is Relative

If you're a long-time eBook reader, or new to the format, I'd like to point out that newly published books are generally "hot" items. Everyone wants to read them as soon as they are released. To accommodate multiple holds requests, multiple copies are purchased.

Once the "blush is off the rose," we tend to have the additional copies sitting on the virtual shelf. And, the titles may not be all that old! Here are a dozen CloudLibrary eBook titles, published in 2018, with multiple copies that appear as available (as of 8/21/18 when this post was written):

Benedict, Marie. Carnegie's Maid.

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists.

Hendricks, Greer. The Wife between Us.

Lee, Mira T. Everything Here is Beautiful.

Mallery, Susan. Sisters Like Us.

Patterson, James. All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers' Row.

Preston, Douglas J. City of Endless Night.

Quindlan, Anna. Alternate Side.

Slimani, Leïla. The Perfect Nanny.

Steel, Danielle. Fall from Grace.

Willig, Lauren. The English Wife.

Wolff, Michael. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Since all these titles are less than a year old, you're not that far behind in your "bestsellers-to-be-read" list!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Twentieth Century Music

The 20th century saw the birth of jazz and rock. In the classical music field there were also major changes. An example is the rise of atonality, which Wikipedia has described:
Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another.
One of the early writers of atonal music was Claude Debussy, who was born on this day in 1862. He fit into the whole impressionist movement in the arts and wrote what he called "tone poems."

Here is one, "La Mer" (1905):

To learn the complete history of 20th century music, look for The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross [780.904 ROS].

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Arrested for Wanting to Read!

Back on August 21, 1939, a small group of African-American readers entered the public library of Alexandria, VA and were told that the library was not for them. They were refused a library card, so, they simply sat down to read. This took place 79 years ago, several decades before the Woolworth sit-ins and other forms of civil disobedience and protest during the civil rights era of the 60s. The five young men who asked for a library card were arrested! All because they wanted to read.

Let's not take our freedom to read for granted! Please support those who work to educate and provide reading material to all individuals regardless of race, creed, color, sex, etc. And, please support your local library!

Here are a few titles about libraries that you and your children can enjoy together:

Brown, Monica. Waiting for the Biblioburro. [JP BRO]

Bunting, Eve. Our Library. [JP BUN]

Joyce, William. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. [JP JOY]

Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems. [J 811.54 JUM]

London, Jonathan. Froggy Goes to the Library. [JP LON]

Miller, William. Richard Wright and the Library Card. [J MIL]

Mora, Pat. Tomas and the Library Lady. [JP MOR]

Morris, Carla D. The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians. [JP MOR]

Ruurs, Margriet. My librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children around the World. [J 027.42 RUU]

Sierra, Judy. Wild about Books. [JP SIE]

Monday, August 20, 2018

Happy Birthday Amy Adams!

Actress Amy Adams was born on this date in 1975. This 43 year-old has had a very busy career since her first major film role in Catch Me If You Can, with director Steven Spielberg, in 2002. A quick search of her name in our catalog brings up 22 movie titles in which Amy has a role!

My favorite Amy Adams films are:

American Hustle. [DVD AME]

Big Eyes. [DVD BIG]

Doubt. [DVD DOU]

Enchanted. [J DVD ENC]

Junebug. [DVD JUN]

Leap Year. [DVD LEA]

Amy Adams has been signed to star in Disenchanted, a sequel to Disney's Enchanted (2007). Disenchanted won't be out for a while yet. Six months ago it was revealed that the script and the music had not yet been completed, but rumor has it there is even more music and dance than in the original, so it's something to look forward to as we head toward 2019.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Poetry Friday--Vivid

So new it's just out of the box is Vivid: Poems & Notes about Color by Julie Paschkis [JP PAS]. Vivid is illustrated by the author and she draws the reader into her poems with inviting and playful scenes.

Lost in the woods.
Brown branches all around,
Brown sounds--
hoot, scurry, crunch,
and creak.
Although Vivid will sit in our picture book section, slightly older kids will enjoy the word play:
Inquired Patrice:

"What color paint would you like tonight?
Crimson, scarlet, or cadmium light?

Magenta, madder, beet, carmine?
Quinacridone rose, alizarin?

There are a zillion!
Even vermilion!"

"Red," said Fred.
The notes add another dimension to the package and will also attract educators for use in a classroom. Here's an example:
In the 1920s pink was considered a color for boys. Red is a forceful color, and pink suggested masculinity because it is light red. In the 1940s pink switched to being associated with girls. Pink is for everyone now.

Christy at Wondering and Wondering is holding the Round-Up this week and has also issued a challenge to Poetry Friday participants to contribute poems about birds!

Palindrome Week

A full week of palindromes, yes, but it's also ten days of palindromes 8/10/18 - 8/19/18! You probably wouldn't be surprised that I found this on Facebook, and that on Facebook there was a huge discussion over the validity of the "Palindrome Week" label since not all countries write dates in the same way we do here in the United States. There was even some people who claimed the dates couldn't be palindromes since there were hyphens. I'd say there are people who just like to be contrary!

Palindromes are a topic you wouldn't expect to find a whole bunch stories about, however, we do have two in our collection:

Lubar, David. Punished! [J LUB]
Logan and his friend Benedict are playing tag in the library. Logan gets caught when he runs into a mysterious man. When Logan doesn't apologize sincerely, the mysterious gentleman punishes him by causing him to speak in puns. Only finding seven examples each of oxymorons, anagrams and palindromes within the time limits will return Logan to normal.

Shulman, Mark. Mom and Dad are Palindromes: A Dilemma for Words--backwards. [JP SHU, eBook]
Bob has a problem. He's a palindrome. In fact, once he learns what a palindrome is, he starts finding palindromes everywhere: his little sis, Nan; his pup, Otto; even his Mom and Dad! It's making Bob feel like a kook. Is there no escape? There are over 101 palindromes hiding in the words and pictures of this zany book.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I'll bet you thought pirates belonged to an era long gone. Wrong! Pirates remain a threat in certain areas of the world, and in some regions, like the Caribbean, pirates are making a comeback!

I don't think we'll have to worry any time soon about pirates of the Isles of Shoals or pirates of Georges Bank, but, in today's world, nothing would surprise me!

Pirates of the time of Blackbeard and Anne Bonny remain a romantic fascination. Here's a list of ten famous pirates.

We have plenty of pirate resources for you to borrow found in 910.4 and J 910.4 sections. We have biographies of pirates The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks [B KID, AB/CD B KID]. Novels of typical historical piratical characters such as Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton [F CRI, AB/CD CRI, eBook]; futuristic space pirate fiction--Star Wars: the Clone Wars: Secret Missions: Curse of the Black Hole Pirates [J STA]; thrillers of spies and pirates--Pirate by Ted Bell [F BEL]; and even pirate fowl--Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi [JP CRI].

Lest you think I've forgotten, there's everyone's favorite droll pirate, Jack Sparrow, played by Johnnie Depp in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series of movies. The series began with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [DVD PIR].

And for gamers we have Pirates: Hunt for Blackbeard's Booty [VIDEO GAME PIR WII].

If there's one thing we have a lot of--it's pirates! Aargh!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Summer Reading

The "Libraries Rock," summer reading programs for children, teens, and adults, are winding down this week.

Adults will be finishing up tonight, August 14, with a "Trivia Night and Adult Summer Reading Wrap Party" starting at 6:00. Teams will tested in their trivia knowledge! Pizza will be served! The readers who have been placing their tickets in raffle baskets will see the winners drawn! For tonight, participants must be age 16 or older, and registration is required (for pizza planning purposes). Call the library at 432-7154.

Tomorrow the kids get a party of their own, although the whole family is invited to attend. "End of Summer Reading Party!" happens between 2:00 and 3:00 (a rain date has been set for Thursday at the same time). Entertainment will be provided by Flying High Frisbee Dogs! These dogs are fantastic!

Raffle prizes will be drawn and readers will be rewarded for their efforts! Since the event is taking place outdoors, please bring blankets, chairs, and sunscreen!

Teens will continue reading this week and their party will take place next Thursday, August 23 at 2:00. This year's party includes a ROCK CLIMBING WALL! Vertical Dreams will be bringing their 24 foot Spectrum Sports Climbing Wall (a liability waiver will be required from all climbers). For those not into rock climbing, there will be plenty of other activities. Raffle prizes will be drawn and snacks will be available. This is an event for readers aged 12 through 18.

All our summer reading parties are sponsored by F.L.O.W. (the Friends of the Library of Windham)! Their generous support makes our summer activities and events possible! Consider joining if you're not already a member.

Before we know it, it will be the first day of the 2018-2019 school year, so enjoy your days of summer reading and fun by "Rocking Out" at the Library!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

See You Next Week!

Kurious Kitty is taking a few days off and will return on Tuesday of next week. See you then!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


If you're someone who has trouble sleeping at night, then you're one of the lucky ones this week since you'll go outside, look up, and be wowed by a show in the sky.

This is the peak week for the annual Perseids meteor shower, and according to NASA, "Observers should be able to see between 60 and 70 per hour at the peak."

This is probably a good time to remind you that with your Nesmith Library card, you can borrow a telescope from our collection of "unusual" items. It is an Orion StarBlast 4.5," and comes with an instruction manual and a National Audubon Society Pocket Guide Constellations book.

If you're not one of those people who have trouble sleeping, there is always something celestial to see, night or day. Out of the Blue: A 24-hour Skywatcher's Guide by John Naylor [551.56 NAY] will explain the features of the sky--everything from halos (not the angelic kind) to rainbows.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

What's New in DVDs?

We're always getting new DVDs to satisfy demand for new things, and to fill users' wishes to watch a movie they "saw way back when."

Here are a few titles from the last two months--you'll find them on the "New" items displays immediately in front of you as you walk in the front door:

7 Days in Entebbe



The Leisure Seeker

I Feel Pretty

Isle of Dogs

Love, Simon

Midnight Sun

Ready Player One

Sherlock Gnomes

Super Troopers 2

Tomb Raider

Many are available in both standard and blu-ray!

Monday, August 06, 2018


You may have seen the crows that hang around the Library. I love to see them gather at the top of a pine tree and carry on a conversation. They are smart, curious, very regal looking when one perches on the Library's roof.

In the adult collection you'll find Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World by Candace Savage [598.864 SAV]. We also have many books on crows in the children's room, if you and your child find them as fascinating as I do.

Appelt, Kathi. Counting Crows. [JP APP]

Cunningham, David. A Crow's Journey. [JP CUN]

Lowry, Lois. Crow Call. [JP LOW]

Wiley, Melissa. Fox and Crow Are Not Friends. [eBook]

Ziefert, Harriet. Go Away Crows! [E ZIE]

Below is a 20 minute documentary on a human-crow relationship. It was share by a friend who thought I might like it. I do, and I think you might like it, too!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Poetry Friday--Forgotten Women

I attended the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in May and went to a reading by contributors to an anthology, Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry edited by Ginny Lowe Connors. I was so impressed by the readers and their poems that I ordered a copy of the book for the Library's collection [811.008 FOR].

The poems give a voice to women, some whose names you may know, but mostly those without a name, who found their contributions to the world were dismissed or never appreciated. Here is one:
My Mother Comes Home Crying from GE
by Ann Clark

My father, who works swing shift
and makes Campbell’s Tomato Soup
and grilled cheese for me every day
when I get home from kindergarten,
asks what’s wrong hon, what’s wrong,
why are you back early, are you sick,
but she is still going oh, oh, oh, out
loud like me or my brother when we cry,
as if she has skinned her knees,
and I sit at the white and silver
kitchen table and swing my legs
and wait for soup, and she says
he took my idea, he took it and said
it was his after he promised to present
it to engineering, he didn’t give me credit;
they gave him a thousand shares
in the company and when I told him
he stole my idea, he just smiled
and said sure I did, how are you
going to prove it you little, oh, oh,
and her knees are hurt again so
she can’t say the words, and smoke
is choking the kitchen because
my grilled cheese is burned
so I know my soup will have
a thick, dark skin like a scab.
Mary Lee is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up today at A Year of Reading--be sure to stop by!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Creativity in Action

Some artists work to satisfy their need to create, others work to make money to live. The end result is the same--the creation of something satisfying/awe-inspiring/thought-provoking for the viewer.

Here is a short documentary on one of those artists who works to feed his family:

How does one become a creative person? The best way is to start young and work to please yourself. We can foster creativity in children in any number of ways. One is to borrow the DVD, Little People: Creativity Collection [J DVD LIT].

10 captivating clay animation adventures with Little People friends will show your child how everyone can be creative in his own special way!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

It's August!

It's August and beach romance is where it's at, so, it is only fitting that August is "Read-A-Romance Month"!

To find romance novels in our collection, search our catalog using the term "Romance fiction." Here are several romance fiction titles added in 2018:

Devereaux, Jude. As You Wish.

Frank, Dorothea Benton. By Invitation Only.

Hoffman, Alice. The Rules of Magic.

Kingsbury, Karen. To the Moon and Back.

Kinsella, Sophie. Surprise Me.

Macomber, Debbie. Cottage by the Sea.

Rivers, Francine. The Masterpiece.

Woods, Sherryl. Lilac Lane.

Coincidentally, this first day of August is "National Girlfriends Day"! The perfect excuse for a romantic film night with friends! Around Valentine's Day earlier in the year, Harper's Bazaar listed the "17 Most Romantic Movies on Netflix," but, if you don't subscribe to Netflix, there's always the Library to fulfill your romantic movie cravings! It's probably safe to say we have a gazillion--everything from Addicted to Love [DVD ADD] to You've Got Mail! [DVD YOU]. There's even romance in the children's section--think Beauty and the Beast [J DVD BEA] and Lady and the Tramp [J DVD LAD].

Romance--it's in the August air!