Friday Reads: 97 Orchard

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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The library’s Narrative Nonfiction Book Club had another lively time at our meeting this month when we discussed 97 Orchard:  an edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement by Jane Ziegelman.  Actually, I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic many members of the group were about the book.  I expected them to find it interesting and informative, but I underestimated just how much they would connect with parts of it.

97 Orchard tells the story of five families who lived in the tenement building at 97 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan from the late 1800s until the 1930s.  The building is now the New York Tenement Museum and the author, Jane Zeigelman, is the director of the culinary program there. Through meticulous research using a wide variety of resources Ziegelman discovers the significance of foods in the lives of the Glockner family from Germany, the Moores from Ireland, The Gumpertzes, who were German Jews, the Rogarshevskys, who were Lithuanian Jews, and the Baldizzi family from Italy.

At times the reader feels as though she is in the cramped tenement apartment at the supper table or buying ingredients alongside the mother of the family from the pushcart vendor on the street, the writing is that compelling.  At other times, though, the style is journalistic as the perspective pans back to show how these families fit into the broader fabric of the city and their unique food cultures intertwined with established American food norms.

The group was delighted to learn several factoids, such as: corned beef and cabbage is not a traditional dish from Ireland – rather it is Germanic in origin; schmaltz is fat from a goose or chicken and “the greatest contribution made by German bakers to the American kitchen came in the form of yeast-baked cakes, which began to appear in East Side bakeries during the second half of the nineteenth century.” (p. 30) Have you used Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast in your baking?  Three Fleischmann brothers who immigrated from Vienna: Max, Charles and Louis,  are responsible for bringing yeast to our country.  Louis created quite the sensation in New York City with his Vienna Bakery and neighboring café, which was the place to be for the elite class in the 1880s and 90s.  

You can find 97 Orchard on the Staff Picks shelf.  Join us next month when the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discuss Mrs. Sherlock Holmes:  the true story of New York City’s greatest female detective and the 1917 missing girl case that captivated a nation by Brad Ricca.  Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and plan to meet us on Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 10:00 – 11:00 in the Hermann Foundation meeting room at Falmouth Public Library.

Photo of Fleischmann’s Yeast advertising card (1870- 1900) from the digital commonwealth.  Card owned by Boston Public Library print department.  Photo of  schmaltz from Hazon.org

Friday Reads: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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 This Friday Reads is a slight departure from my usual fare.  The other day I was scanning a cart of new books and a fun looking book cover caught my eye.  With a purple background and a tongue in cheek drawing of a Victorian couple on the cover, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, seemed like just the thing to chill out with after a hot and hectic month.  I didn’t even bother to read the summary or beyond the first blurb on the back.  Since New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen called it “A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy.” that was enough for me.

And indeed it was delightful.  Debut author Dianne Freeman captured the era well – exposing the absurdities in aristocratic etiquette.  Her characters were enjoyable and the plot was fun in this cozy mystery.

Did you know cozy mysteries or cozies are terms book mavens use to describe a particular type of mystery?  They are easy reads featuring everyday people following clues to solve a neighborhood crime, enlisting the help of neighbors, relatives or friends.  Often set in small towns or attractive locales, there is no sex, violence or grave danger.  They are very popular with readers who enjoy puzzles and seeing the average joe succeed, because all of the mysteries are successfully solved, of course!

If you were a fan of the exceedingly popular PBS TV series Downton Abbey, then this book might remind you of the witty retorts often employed in the show and of a few episodes featuring Lady Mary and one of her lovers who dies in her bed.  I won’t go any further, except to say this book is lighter and more amusing than the TV show.

This is Dianne Freeman’s first book, after a career in corporate finance, and I am happy to see that she is working on another “Countess of Harleigh Mystery”.  I look forward to that and hopefully many more.  If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer, then Dianne Freeman will likely appeal to you too.  Look for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder on the Staff Picks shelf … and be sure to look closely at the cover.

Friday Reads: fact and fiction about trees

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

Today’s blog is written by Christine Lynch, Falmouth Public Library employee and free-lance writer who knows a good book when she reads one.  You can usually find her at the service desk upstairs.

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A year or so ago while working on FPL’s Service Desk,  I picked up
a book that I saw being checked out numerous times.  After reading a review of
it, I grabbed the copy for myself.  I’m so glad I did because I am a nature lover
and really appreciated Peter Wohlleben‘s book, The Hidden Life of Trees:  
What They Feel, How They Communicate:  Discoveries from a Secret World.

For those of you who haven’t read it, there are abundant facts that just might
make you say, “Wow!”  I’ve talked with others who have read it and we all agree
we’ll never look at trees and their surroundings in the same way.  For people who
enjoyed the Wohlleben book, I’d like to make a recommendation.

I recently read another review of a lovely book entitled Overstory by
Richard Powers. This is a new novel, just out in 2018.  I am yet to read it, but
will check it out after it’s circulated a bit.  The premise of this book spins a
fable-like tale where trees are able to summon a group of people together in

mysterious ways in order to correct many of the world’s ills and to greatly
improve the quality of life on Earth.

Knowing what I now know from reading The Hidden Life of Trees, I believe
in the untold power of trees.  Overstory is another book that lets us know how important
trees are to our planet’s survival and that we humans should do everything to protect them.

 

Photo: Peter Wohlleben by Gordon Welters for “The New York Times”

Friday Reads: The Seabird’s Cry

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here.   The blog below was written by Reference Librarian, Donna Burgess.

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Friday Reads: The Seabird’s Cry: the lives and loves of the planet’s great ocean voyagers

by Adam Nicolson

In the introduction we learn that the author’s father had purchased in 1937, with funds left to him from his grandmother, the Shiant Isles, a cluster of “three small specks of grass and rock, each about a mile long, a total of 500 uninhabited acres, with one rat-ridden bothy (a small cottage) for £1300.

At age eight the author accompanied his father on an “unforgettable trip” to the Isles to observe nesting seabirds. Since then Nicholson has pursued the birds around the world, reaching out across the “great widths of the ocean.”

Ten chapters, each describing a different bird: Fulmar, Puffin, Kittiwake, Gull, Guillemot, Cormorant and Shag, Shearwater, Gannet, Great Auk and its Cousin Razorbill, Albatross, and the Seabird’s cry. And “each displays a different facet of the central question: how to exist in all three elements. They are the rarest form of creation, the only animals at home on the sea, in the air and on land.”

In the Guardian, a British newspaper, a reviewer wrote , “the author Adam Nicolson says this ‘paean to the beauty of life on the wing’ began when he read a Seamus Heaney lecture exploring French philosopher Simone Weil’s aphorism: “Obedience to the force of gravity. The greatest sin.” It says everything about this gorgeous book: a poetic, soaring exploration of 10 species of seabirds: gull, guillemot, gannet and so on – which revels in the way they “float like beings from the otherworld.”

Replete with photos of the birds, occasional lines or stanzas from poems, maps, and several pages of notes, this book is not just for ornithologists but for anyone with a fascination for birds, especially ocean going ones.

Look for The Seabird’s Cry on the New nonfiction shelf, Call # 598.17 NIC

 

 

Dr. Sang H. Kim Returns to Library

Falmouth Public Library invites you to Breathe Your Stress Away Workshop with Dr. Sang H. Kim.  This free workshop will be offered twice, on Saturday, July 21, 2018 from 10: 00 AM to noon and Tuesday, July 24, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main Street.  Those interested may sign up for either the Saturday morning or Tuesday evening session, but not both.

Dr. Kim will focus on simple breathing exercises and a set of mindful movements to help you reduce stress, reinvigorate your energy levels, and improve your sense of focus and balance in daily life.  More specifically, you will have hands-on experience of practicing the deep breathing and stretching exercises that he developed for a federally funded medical research project to reduce chronic stress symptoms.  Most exercises may be adapted to be performed in a wheel chair and by people with back stiffness and other mobility constraints.   All adults and teens are welcome to come try it out.

Dr. Kim will also share some of the science behind the positive effects of deep breathing and mindful movement. After attending the workshop, you will be better equipped to recognize stress signals, modify your breathing patterns and response, and integrate your knowledge to reduce your stress levels and boost your energy.  Additionally, his research team’s results show that regular practice of mindful movement and deep breathing exercise improves chronic stress symptoms at clinically and statistically significant levels.

Dr. Kim has presented his research findings and taught his methods at various settings including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine, University of Oxford campus, Harvard Medical School’s Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and self-healing retreats in Hawaii and Asia.

Dr. Kim will have 12 autographed copies of his book, Mindful Movement:  Mastering Your Hidden Energy available for sale for $10.00 at each session.

The workshop is free and open to adults and teens.  Space is limited and preregistration is required.  To register, please call the Reference Dept. at Falmouth Public Library, 508-457-2555 x 7, register online at falmouthpubliclibrary.org/register or stop by the reference desk.

Friday Reads: The Lifeboat

“Friday Reads” is a weekly (almost) blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work. Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read. Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things. Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too. No matter the source, good reads are featured here. This week’s blog was written by Jill Erickson, head of reference and adult services and one of two librarians who run the library’s fiction book club.

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Last week the library fiction book group, also known as “Books on the Half Shell,” met to discuss our most recent selection in our six-month series of books having to do with the ocean. We have already read The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje and Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticant in this series, and the June book was The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.

The novel focuses on a young newlywed, Grace Winter, during the summer of 1914, just two years after the Titanic sank. Grace is on an ocean liner with her new husband, Henry, crossing the Atlantic when the ship has a mysterious explosion. Henry is lost and Grace ends up in an overcrowded lifeboat. The story revolves around the lifeboat, and also the trial that occurs as a result of Grace’s time on the lifeboat.

In no time at all, we were all discussing the fact that Grace is one of the most unreliable narrators ever! The New York Public Library Literature Companion describes an unreliable narrator in this way:

“A narrator whose judgment is suspect.  Narrators may be untrustworthy for a number of reasons; they may be dishonest, self-serving, or self-deceiving, deranged or of questionable sanity, or naïve and unaware of the full significance of the events they relate. Such narration forces readers to bring their own critical capacities to bear on the account in question.”

Much of our discussion was about our narrator, and if we could believe ANYTHING she wrote. Her story is told primarily through the record she has been asked to write by her lawyer of everything that happened on the lifeboat and the events that led up to the lifeboat. As Richard Eder wrote in his Boston Globe review of the novel:

“In her account of the lifeboat and subsequent talks with her lawyer and a psychiatrist, Grace is not specifically unveiled as a self-server with secrets. Rogan has done something more complex. The veil remains; only hints come through; enough to leave the reader – intrigued, yes, and also frustrated – in doubt somewhere short of certainty. And indeed the writer has performed a fictional equivalent to a phenomenon in sub-atomic physics: that observing a phenomenon can make it slip away and alter.”

This book also introduced us via the author’s epigraph to the myth of Atrahasis. The epigraph reads: “I shall sing of the flood to all people. Listen!” Upon a bit of sleuthing, The Oxford Companion to World Mythology by David Leming informed us that Atrahasis was: “An Akkadian-Babylonian version of the ancient Mesopotamian flood myth, which influenced the Noah story of the Torah, features the flood hero Atrahasis.  One of the great things about our book group is that every month we learn something new, as well as have a great discussion.

The book group reviews were definitely mixed on this particular novel, with probably half the group really loving the book and half the group barely able to finish it.  Of course, that is the mixture for a great discussion!

Next month reference librarian Donna Burgess will lead a discussion of Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet.  New members are always welcome.  Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and join us on either Wednesday, August 15 at 7:00 PM or Thursday, the 16th at 10:00 AM in the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room for a rousing hour talking about mermaids in a Caribbean island resort.  Sounds like fun.

Friday Reads: Endangered Species Day

“Friday Reads” is a weekly (almost) blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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Today, May 18, 2018, is the 13th annual Endangered Species Day.  Proclaimed by the U.S.  Congress in 2006, the day “is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places and is an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species, as well as everyday actions they can take to help protect them.” (Chase’s Calendar of Events, 2018 p. 280).

In recognition of the day, I am highlighting a stunning new coffee table style book we are adding to our oversize collection today titled, Endangered, featuring the work of British animal photographer Tim Flach and text by Professor Johnathan Baillie and writer Sam Wells.  Flach writes in the introduction, “ … this book is something of an experiment:  I have tried to bridge that otherness and instead invite sameness by creating portraits of animals that emphasize their personality, while incorporating abstracts and landscapes that show the material aspects of their ecosystems.”  In doing so, he endeavors to connect the viewer emotionally with his subjects.  He shows their sameness to us through vivid and compelling photographs in the hopes that we will be moved significantly enough to fight for their preservation.  The golden snub-nose monkey looks pensive against a black ground; the beluga sturgeon resembles a tired, old traveler; and the black and white ruffed lemur evokes thoughts of a maestro with his outstretched arms and focused expression.  Pictured, is the Bengal Tiger shaking water off his head much like a house cat.   Photos are accompanied by short passages describing the predicament the species is in and other important facts.

This book is a must-view for all ages.  You can find it with the new oversized books.

 

P.S. The book is international in scope.  If you are curious about the status of wildlife in Massachusetts, here is a link to the “MESA List,” the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act list of endangered, threatened, and special concern species from the Mass.gov website.  There are “427 native plant and animal species” on this list.  I am pleased to  report that the American Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus, for which I have a great fondness, is not included.  The coast is not clear for them however, as species that eat the crabs and their eggs are in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  endangered species database.

 

photo:  Bengal Tiger, Tim Flach, Endangered, page 237

Smythe Scholarship Applications are here!

Good news Falmouth students and parents!  The Herbert Henry Smythe Scholarship applications have arrived!

Here are some important excerpts from the cover of the application:  “The committee typically awards more than thirty scholarships.  The application deadline is FRIDAY, June 1, 2018 at 3:00 PM. ( … ) Decisions will be announced by June 30, 2018.  (… ) Mr. Smythe’s will stipulates that the money may be used for ‘boys or girls in Falmouth, Massachusetts.’  A maximum age of 24 years as of January 1, 2018 will apply.  Only applicants who are themselves voting residents of Falmouth (or whose parents are) are eligible for the grants.  Applications cannot be considered from families who have second homes in Falmouth. ( … )  The trust agreement states that ‘character be given equal consideration with scholarship,’ and evidence of both personal characteristics and school success is asked for on the application forms.  Financial need is a secondary factor in determining recipients.  ( …) The committee will continue its practice of limiting scholarships to one per family.  If two children from the same family apply, the committee will decide which seems most deserving of the scholarship”

Applications are available a the reference desk.  Stop by to get your copy.  Good luck!

Reduce Your Toxic Exposure

The Falmouth Public Library is very pleased to host a traveling educational exhibit about how to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals.  Titled, Let’s Talk Prevention:  Reducing Toxic Exposure, the exhibit features a booklet citing scientific evidence linking exposure and effect for many common chemicals, as well as brochures, available in several languages, describing basic steps you can take to reduce problematic exposures and choose safer alternatives to toxic products.

The exhibit was created by the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC), our commonwealth’s leading breast cancer prevention non-profit, which is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy.  The aim of Let’s Talk Prevention is “to facilitate discussions between health professionals and patients about environmental exposures and chemicals of concern.”

The exhibit is up now through late May in the Katharine Lee Bates Lobby.  Please stop by, take copies of the brochures and sign up for MBCC newsletter.   For more information about reducing your exposure, visit mbcc.org and click on the Let’s Talk Prevention tab.

Information about the exhibit is an abridged version of the Press Release supplied by Julia Withers, Program and Community Outreach Consultant, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.  If you would like host the exhibit, email Julia Withers at mbcc.juliawithers@gmail.com with the subject line:  Let’s Talk Prevention Tour.

Friday Reads: How to Window Box

“Friday Reads” is a weekly (almost) blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here.  

This week’s blog is written by Reference Librarian, Donna Burgess, who loves to garden.


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How to Window Box: small-space plants to grow indoors or out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit

This delightful book has 16 chapters, each devoted to a different topic ranging from Sunny Succulents to Edible Petals, Salad Bar, Herb Garden and even a Detox Box!  Whether you are planning on an indoor or outdoor box, this little gem has ideas for you.

The combinations of plants and color schemes are delightful including my favorite combination, orange and purple.

Each section has a “plant with personality” hint such as painting your box an aubergine color to make the citrus colored plants “pop!”

Clear instructions with plenty of demonstrated techniques are often followed by a TIP. Individual photos of each plant include both the Latin name and the common one.

If you missed the fall planting time for Spring bulbs, no worries, the authors suggest planting your box with Nursery purchased plants.

A catchy little inset: When in Rome explains that “window-box gardening may seem like a new idea the trend has been flourishing since ancient Rome. Back then, sills overflowed with medicinal herbs and ornamental flowers so much so that the philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote, “Every day the eyes might feast on this copy of a garden, as though it were a work of nature.”

The Beach dune chapter seems very appropriate for Cape Cod window boxes. Inspired by the urban meadow High Line in New York, the suggested plants include fairy lily, blue fescue, purple fountain grass, interspersed with small stones or bark mulch you can create dramatic colors and irresistible textures.

Another hint: Create small vase holders in your box to add color while waiting for your plants to bloom.  See page 126 for detailed instructions.

How to Window Box is in high-demand now, so put your name on the wait list.  When it does come back to rest on our shelves, it will be in the NEW nonfiction area with call #635.9678.