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Friday, January 18, 2019

Poetry Friday--"Moon and Water"

I was going to look at moon poems today in recognition of the upcoming total eclipse, but then I heard the news of Mary Oliver's death, yesterday.

So, in celebration of the life of this modern master poet, here is a moon poem from Mary Oliver's 2009 collection, Evidence [811.54 OLI]:
Moon and Water

I wake and spend
the last hours
of darkness
with no one

but the moon.
She listens
to my complaints
like the good

companion she is
and comforts me surely
with her light.
But she, like everyone,

has her own life.
So finally I understand
that she has turned away,
is no longer listening.

She wants me
to refold myself
into my own life.
And, bending close,

as we all dream of doing,
she rows with her white arms
through the dark water
which she adores.
We have many volumes of Oliver's poems in the 811.54 section for you the enjoy. Rest in peace, Mary Oliver.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. I'm sure there will be many remembrances of Mary Oliver and many meaningful poems shared.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Look Up at the Moon

Guess what? If we don't have snowy skies on Sunday, January 20, we should be able to see a total eclipse of the moon at 9:15 pm. It's also a Super Blood Moon! And, if you borrow folk terminology, which labels the first full moon of the new year as a "wolf moon," then Sunday's moon will be a Super Blood Wolf Moon!

How cool is that? Sky & Telescope magazine has a detailed explanation of this weekend's celestial phenomenon, click here.

Little ones, with early bedtimes, will miss the Super Blood Wolf Moon. Before they drift off to sleep, read one of the classic Frank Asch Moonbear books. Of those books, my favorite one is Happy Birthday, Moon [J ASC]. Other titles that include the moon are Mooncake [JP ASC], Moondance [JP ASC], and Moongame [JP ASC]. (There are several others that don't specifically have the moon as a "character," but are fun just the same.)


When the weather grows warmer and skies are predicted to be clear, borrow the Orion StarBlast 4.5" telescope we own, and take the family outside for a little nature, science, and memory-making.



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Who's Up for a Tea Party?

The English are noted for their love of tea, and the habit of drinking tea came over to America with the colonists. We can't forgot what an important role tea played in Boston's Revolutionary history.

Even though coffee is the hot beverage of choice in the United States today, tea continues to hold its own in supermarket aisles next to coffee and a distant third hot beverage--hot chocolate.

Many children grow up drinking pretend tea, and there are still miniature tea sets sold for contemporary kids. The idea of being invited to a castle to have tea with the king and queen, and wearing gowns and tiaras or bowties and tophats, informs imaginative play such as is found in these:

Dyckman, Ame. Tea Party Rules. [JP DYC]

Hall, Kirsten. Our Tea Party. [E HAL]

Kann, Victoria. Pinkalicious: The Royal Tea Party. [E KAN]

Kirk, David. Miss Spider's Tea Party. [JP KIR]

O'Connor, Jane. Fancy Nancy: Tea Parties. [JP OCO]

January is National Hot Tea Month, so let's all celebrate with a cuppa!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Artful Tunes

Okay, this may be pushing it...Monday we covered "Artful Fiction," Tuesday "Artful Film," so today we'll look at MUSIC about art and artists.

The movie mentioned yesterday, Sunday in the Park with George [DVD SUN], is a film about a French painting. It has music by the noted American composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim. Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany [782.14 SON] contains the lyrics to the songs in Sunday in the Park with George.

The great vocalist and jazz pianist, Nat King Cole, recorded a song titled, "Mona Lisa;" it was top radio hit back in 1950. You can find it on The World of Nat King Cole [CD JAZZ COL].

A decade later a number of vocalists recorded "Portrait of My Love." Here's a look at Perry Como's rendition as you would have seen it on television's Kraft Music Hall:



In the 1970s, friends from the Rhode Island School of Design formed a band called The Artistics. They went on to become Talking Heads. "Artists Only" is a song found on The Name of This Band is Talking Heads [CD ROCK TAL].

I think I've wrung this subject dry, don't you?

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Artful Film

Yesterday we looked at novels about art and artists, so I thought today we'd see what we have in the way of film.

One of the most striking films is one that is animated, but animated in a way you haven't seen done before--with reproductions of an artist's paintings and style. The movie is Loving Vincent [DVD LOV] and it deals with the last days of the troubled painter.

The life of the legendary Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, is presented in the bio-pic, Frida [DVD FRI].

Girl with a Pearl Earring [DVD GIR], based on the novel of the same name, imagines the circumstances behind the painting of Johannes Vermeer.

Little Ashes [DVD LIT], explores the relationships between Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, and Federico García Lorca in 1920s Madrid.

The Miniaturist [DVD MIN], also based on a novel of the same name, was shown on PBS "Masterpiece" last year. It is a story of intrigue revolving around a miniature recreation of a young wife's new home in Amsterdam.

Sunday in the Park with George [DVD SUN] is a musical interpretation of the scene presented in the painting by George Seurat, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

Mr. Turner [DVD MR] tells of the tempestuous life of British painter J. M. W. Turner.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Artful Fiction

The GMILCS consortium of libraries in southern NH, of which Nesmith Library is a part, offers eBooks and eAudiobooks through a service called CloudLibrary. (The learn more, click here.) GMILCs member libraries each have a representative on an eBook committee that is responsible for spending money allocated for CloudLibrary content.

The committee does its best to keep up with items in high demand--the things everyone wants to read right now--so a good portion of our funds go to buying multiple copies of "hot" items to fill holds. After 6 months or so, demand generally drops off and we are left with multiple copies in our collection that don't get utilized. There are also items we bought initially for our base collection when we started in 2013, which tend to be available because everyone wants something from the bestsellers list.

The committee, beside ordering books, also maintains several browsing shelves on the CloudLibrary app. These shelves contain newly purchased items or items that have been collected around a theme. Last week I put up a shelf I titled "Artful Fiction." On the shelf you'll find novels that feature artists or art-related themes.

It's an interesting collection and I thought I'd share it here, in case you're not an eBook reader and so won't come across it. Here are ten titles from the shelf (there are 25 in total). These ten are found, in hard copy, on our real library shelves:

The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro [F SHA].

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant [F DUN].

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman [F RAC]

Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell [F BLA]

Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland. [F VRE]

The Muralist by Barbara A. Shapiro [F SHA].

The Muse by Jessie Burton [F BUR].

Robert B. Parker's Old Black Magic (by Ace Atkins) [F PAR].

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts [F ROB]

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud [F MES].

Friday, January 04, 2019

Poetry Friday--The Moon in the News

On Thursday, the Chinese National Space Administration's lunar craft, Chang'e4, landed on the far side of the moon. It is a landing that is significant because it hasn't been done before, despite the lunar landings which took place 50 years ago!

The far side, also referred to as the dark side, has always presented a problem because of lack of communications capability. The Chinese appear to now have conquered the communications problem and it looks like the "space race" is on again.

Those of you who lived through the 1970s--tell me you don't have Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album [CD ROCK PIN] running through your head! To learn more about the dark side of the moon, click here. What's really exciting is we now have close-up photos!



I suppose writers will now start writing poems about the far side. Until then, here's an Emily Dickinson poem about what she was able to "see" of the side facing us:
The moon was but a chin of gold
    A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
    Upon the world below.

Her forehead is of amplest blond;
    Her cheek like beryl stone;
Her eye unto the summer dew
    The likest I have known.

Her lips of amber never part;
    But what must be the smile
Upon her friend she could bestow
    Were such her silver will!

And what a privilege to be
    But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
    Beside your twinkling door.

Her bonnet is the firmament,
    The universe her shoe,
The stars the trinkets at her belt,
    Her dimities of blue.

Found in Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson [J 811 DIC]. I'll save you the trouble of looking up "dimity": it is cotton fabric with woven stripes or squares.

Join Sylvia at Poetry for Children for the first Poetry Friday Round-Up of 2019--she'd love for you to stop by!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Il Duce



Leader of the Italian National Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini, became Prime Minister in 1922. On this date in 1925, he dissolved the Italian parliament and declared himself dictator. He gave himself the name, "Il Duce." Mussolini continued to run Italy until the war in Europe was winding down and he was executed by firing squad on April 28, 1945.

The following quote sums up his view of humanity, "War is the normal state of the people."

It might be interesting to view two DVDs in our collection Benito: The Rise and Fall of Benito Mussolini [DVD BEN] a fictionalized version of his life, and Tea with Mussolini [DVD TEA] a look at the dissolution of normalcy in Italy during the period leading up to WW II. It is based loosely on director Franco Zeffirelli's autobiography. It is a comedy, but with dark undertones.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Happy New Year and Happy Oatmeal Month!

Nothing says warmth like a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold January morning. Is it any wonder then, that January has been declared "National Oatmeal Month"?

Besides being a heart-healthy breakfast, oatmeal is also gluten-free. The Whole Grains Council shares this bit of good news about oatmeal:

Unique among the most widely-eaten grains, oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing. So if you see oats or oat flour on the label, relax: you’re virtually guaranteed to be getting whole grain.

That's definitely worth knowing if you're concerned about your family eating highly-processed foods!

Here at the Library our collection of cookbooks has a nice variety of recipes using oatmeal. From cereal: "Overnight Baked Oatmeal" found in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love--Fast! by Nicole Hunn [641.5638 HUN] to cookies: "Oatmeal Bar Cookies" in 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make by Stephanie R. Mueller [J 745.5 MUE] to bread: "Peach-Oatmeal Bread" in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains [641.815 KIN]--this hefty volume has several dozen recipes that use oatmeal--not just bread!

And, here's a bonus: oatmeal is a natural ingredient in many facial scrubs and other health and beauty products! Look for Natural Beauty at Home: More Than 250 Easy-to-Use Recipes for Body, Bath, and Hair by Janice Cox [646.72 COX] where you'll discover soaps, bath treatments, and more you can make at home.