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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Poetry Friday--International Day of Peace

Seventy years ago, the United Nations developed a document titled the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and each year on this date an International Day of Peace is celebrated.
...a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

There are many interpretations of peace, and here is one of my favorites:
The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Found in Good Poems, selected by Garrison Keillor [811.008 GOO]

This poem has been set to music and several versions are available on YouTube.

Erin at The Water's Edge will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Opening Tomorrow

About thirty years ago we had children's mystery writer, John Bellairs, visit the Library. He was from the nearby town of Haverhill, MA. Bellairs books were quite popular at that time and surprisingly, it took several decades before someone decided to film one. The House With the Clock in Its Walls [J MYS BEL] has been filmed with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, and, it opens tomorrow!

Quite a number of John Bellairs' books remain in our collection because his stories are so good! Sadly, Bellairs passed away in 1991, but his books live on, and now, so will his film!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Forbes magazine posted an interesting article last week titled, "Is The Podcast Club The New Book Club?" It seems that groups of people are now getting together to discuss a podcast rather than a particular book. There are definite advantages to a podcast in that they do not involve multiple hours of listening whereas a book, print or audio, often involves 10 hours, maybe more. Also, a podcast can be listened to while traveling, exercising, or doing other activities.

The choice of topic found on podcasts is amazingly vast, and a podcast can be downloaded to a device through an app. If you'd like some assistance in picking an app, here's a listing for iPhones and one for Android.

If you've lived in this area for any length of time, you'll remember the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft, which took place in 1990. That's right, 28 years ago! The thieves have yet to be caught, and, none of the stolen art has been recovered. Radio station WBUR in Boston periodically reports on the case, and this week they have begun a new podcast on the heist, titled Last Seen. Episode 1 is ready and you can listen to it on the WBUR website or look for it on your podcast app of choice.

To get a brief overview of the heist, we have the documentary, Stolen [DVD 363.259 STO], and several books on the subject.

Here is detail from one of the priceless works stolen back in 1990, Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee." It is scanned from European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum [750 ISA], which was published in 1974, before the theft. If you go to the museum today, you will see an empty space on the wall where the painting once hung.

Once you listen to "Last Seen," WBUR has set up an Facebook discussion group that you may consider participating in.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Manic Squirrels

Squirrels have become a major topic on Facebook, at least among New England friends. It seems there are a lot of squirrels meeting a rather tragic end on the roads. And a lot of gardeners are wondering why squirrels have been running wild in their gardens.

If you're wondering why, click here for a report from AP (formerly known as the Associated Press).

Squirrels are also running wild in children's books. Here are a handful of squirrel books your kids may enjoy:

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

Hill, Chris. Lucky. [J HIL]

Meisel, Paul. Good night, Bat! Good morning, Squirrel! [JP MEI]

O'Donnell, Tom. Hamstersaurus Rex vs. Squirrel Kong. [J ODO]

Pilutti, Deb. Bear and Squirrel are Friends...Yes, Really! [JP PIL]

Rose, Nancy. The Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School! [JP ROS]

Sayre, April Pulley. Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep. [JP SAY]

Vande Velde, Vivian. Squirrel in the House. [J VAN]

Willems, Mo. I Lost My Tooth! ("Unlimited Squirrels" series). [E WIL]

Monday, September 17, 2018

Punny Mysteries

One of my favoritest library things is finding a series that uses puns in the titles. Primarily they are mystery series. Here are a few examples from our collection:

Sarah Graves writes the "Home repair is a homicide" series: Mallets Aforethought. [F GRA]

Home repair is also the subject of Kate Carlisle's "Fixer-Upper" series: Deck the Hallways. [eBook]

Jill Churchill has the "Jane Jeffry mystery" series, which contains a number of food-related puns: Fear of Frying. [F CHU]

Diane Mott Davidson also writes about food in her books starring a Colorado caterer: Catering to Nobody. [F DAV]

Cleo Coyle writes "Coffeehouse" mysteries: Decaffeinated Corpse. [F COY]

There's even a "Tea Shop" mystery series by Laura Childs: Scones and Bones. [F CHI]

There are many, many more punny mysteries--do you have a favorite one that I missed mentioning?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Poetry Friday--"Defence of Fort M'Henry"

On this day in 1814 Francis Scott Key, in the aftermath of the Battle of Baltimore, sat down to write a poem titled, "Defence of Fort M'Henry." Of course, we know it today as the U. S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Have you ever read the poem in its entirety?

O! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there —
O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream —
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havock of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul foot-steps' pollution,
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home, and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto — "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

I don't know about you, but I found it hard to sing anything after the first verse!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at The Poem Farm where Amy is waiting for you to stop by!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Silent Films, Part 2

Novelist, Melanie Benjamin, writes a compelling story of Hollywood's female screenwriters, directors, and actresses in the early part of the 20th century in The Girls in the Picture [F BEN, LP BEN, AB/CD BEN, eBook, eAudio]. If women have difficulty being accepted as something other than a pretty young face in today's motion picture industry, imagine what it was like 100 years ago!

It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.

In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have given her the title of America’s Sweetheart. The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.

But their ambitions are challenged both by the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price.

Read the book, then visit YouTube and do a search on some of the names--Mary Pickford, Frances Marion, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, etc. You may find yourself lost for hours in the filmed stories that captivated movie-goers a century ago.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Silent Films

We barely think of silent films when we talk about movies. They were part of the early history of film and were fairly primitive in comparison to today's films--no sound, uneven cinematography, black and white. Expression had to take the place of dialog, and the faces and exaggerated action of the players strike us today as ludicrous. Still, the time before the talkies and The Wizard of Oz's launch into color, is something worth knowing about! The best way to learn is through watching silent films:

The Birth of a Nation. [DVD BIR]

The Birth of Motion Pictures: Rare Gems from the Earliest Days of Cinema! [DVD BIR]

The Harold Lloyd Collection. [DVD HAR]

The Ten Commandments. [DVD TEN] Note: this set contains two films with the same title, a 1923 silent version and the 1956 version starring Charlton Heston.

Here's a crash course in silent film era and the people who became stars (the scandals they became embroiled in):

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Seventeen Years Gone By

This is the seventeenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11. Those of you who were adults at the time will never forget the images from that day.

Do you remember how quiet the skies were in the days after the attack when air traffic ceased? There were travelers stranded in locations around the world.

Whole plane loads of travelers were stranded in Canada and spent days welcomed by, and housed in the small town of Gander. Read the amazing story in Jim DeFede's The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland [971.8 DEF]. Here's the publisher's description:
When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.

As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.

To counteract the anxiety you may feel in reliving that day, please remember the heroic actions of the first responders, and recall the acts of kindness shown to others in the aftermath.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Woman of Fashion

On this day in 1890, fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli was born in Rome. She went on to become one of the most successful women of fashion of the 20th century (surpassed only by Coco Chanel). Some of her fashion innovations include shoulder pads, the promotion of the color "hot pink," surrealism in design, and the use of nontraditional fabrics.

Look for Fashions of a Decade: The 1930s [391.009 FAS] to learn more about Schiaparelli's designs and the whole movement, during the 1930s, toward long, lean, slightly androgenous clothes using flowing materials such as silk and satin.

To put Schiaparelli within the continuum of fashion, look for Costume and Fashion: A Concise History by James Laver [391 LAV].

If you're interested in designing for fun or profit, we have a new book titled Fashion Design Course by Steven Faerm [746.92 FAE] that will provide you with the basics, including how to prepare a resume.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Poetry Friday--Celia Thaxter

Poet, Celia Thaxter, was noted for her Isles of Shoals cottage garden. Her friend, the artist, Frederick Childe Hassam, used it for inspiration for several of his magnificent paintings, including this one aptly titled, "Celia Thaxter in Her Garden":

Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Hassam also illustrated a slim volume of Thaxter's reflections, An Island Garden [635.9 THA], which you can find in our collection. Here's a sampling from An Island Garden:
From time to time through the calm morning, as I labored thus peacefully, I heard the loons laughing loud and clear in the stillness, and by lifting my head could see them off the end of the wharf at the landing swimming to and fro with their bright reflections, catching no end of fish and having the most delightful time,--every now and then half raising themselves from the water and flapping their wings, showing the dazzling white with which the strong pinions were lined, and laughing again and again with a wild and eerie sound. This means that a storm is coming, I know. But I love to hear them, and how devoutly thankful I am that there is not a creature with a gun on this blessed island! The loons know it well, or they never would venture in so near, while they shout to the morning their wild cries.

Near me, where I had made the earth so very wet, suddenly fluttered down a ruddy-breasted barn swallow, the beauty! for on such heavenly terms are we that he did not mind me in the least as he gathered a tiny load of mud for his nest against the rafters in the barn, and flew away with it low on the wind. The barn swallows do not visit my small inclosure as often as do my nearer neighbors, the white-breasted martins.

Her love of flowers and birds find their way into this little ditty written for children:

SING, little bird, oh sing!
    How sweet thy voice and clear!
How fine the airy measures ring,
    The sad old world to cheer!

Bloom, little flower, oh bloom!
    Thou makest glad the day;
A scented torch, thou dost illume
    The darkness of the way.

Dance, little child, oh dance!
    While sweet the small birds sing,
And flowers bloom fair, and every glance
    Of sunshine tells of spring.

Oh! bloom, and sing, and smile,
    Child, bird, and flower, and make
The sad old world forget awhile
    Its sorrow for your sake!

Contemporary New Hampshire writer and publisher, Peter E. Randall, is also a film-maker. One of his films looks at Thaxter and her garden.

Carol is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week at Beyond Literacy Link.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

SCOTUS Personalities

It's important to remember that Supreme Court of the United States justices are people with their own histories and backgrounds and are fodder for writers and film-makers. The latest to be captured in film is presently serving justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A documentary on her life, RBG [DVD RBG], was recently released on DVD and is in our collection. It is a fascinating story of love--both romantic and of the law.

One of the most interesting parts of the film is the exploration of a friendship between Ginsburg and the late justice, Antonin Scalia. The two, one a progressive and the other a conservative, found common ground in opera and humor!

Information on Ruth Bader Ginsburg may also be found in Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon [B GIN, AB/CD B GIN, eBook, eAudiobook].

Antonin Scalia spoke directly to the public in Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived [eBook].

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Supreme Court of the United States

This week, in the Senate, hearings are taking place in the first step to confirming a new justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

If you've forgotten the social studies/civics lessons of your youth, then we can help refresh your memory about the Supreme Court with these:

Chemerinsky, Erwin. The Case against the Supreme Court. [347.7326 CHE]

Freedom of Speech Decisions of the United States Supreme Court. [347.73 FRE]

Greenhouse, Linda. The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction. [347.7326 GRE]

Leiter, Richard A. Landmark Supreme Court Cases: The Most Influential Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. [347.7326 LEI, 3 volumes]

O'Connor, Sandra Day. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court. [eBook]

Patrick, John J. The Supreme Court of the United States: A Student Companion. [YA 347.7326 PAT]

And if you prefer film, we have this title in the "United States History" series of DVDs:

United States History: History & Functions of the Supreme Court. [DVD 347.7326 UNI]

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

September is National Honey Month

Since 1989, the month of September has been designated as National Honey Month by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture .

Honey is a natural sweetener with nutritional benefits that white sugar does not have. For some, honey is a comfort food (a reminder of home or your childhood)--think of a cup of tea with honey, or buttered toast with honey.

A quick Google search of honey will bring up scads of recipes and may make you wonder why you haven't cooked with honey before now! If you do regularly cook with honey, what are your favorite recipes? Maybe you'll find a new favorite in the Healthy Honey Cookbook by Larry James Lonik [641.68 LON].

Here's a quick and easy snack food that your kids will love to help you "cook":

If you're looking for a basic understanding of the flower-to-bee-to-honey process, look for one of these:

Chinery, Michael. How Bees Make Honey. [J 595.79 CHI]

Dawson, Emily C. How Bees Make Honey. [J 638.16 DAW]

Gibbons, Gail. The Honeymakers. [JP GIB]

Ilona. A Short History of the Honey Bee: Humans, Flowers, and Bees in the Eternal Chase for Honey. [638.1 ILO]

Milton, Joyce. Honeybees. [E MIL]

Have a sweet month!