Friday Reads: A Rainbow of Recommendations

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

 

June is GLBT Book Month!

“The first and most enduring award for GLBT books is the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.  Since Isabel Miller’s Patience and Sarah received the first award in 1971, many other books have been honored for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.” (http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award/stonewall).  The 2017 winners are:

(Clicking on the highlighted titles will bring you to the CLAMS catalog where you can read descriptions and place holds.)

Barbara Gittings Literature Award:  Desert Boys by Chris McCormick

Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award:  How to Survive a Plague:  the inside story of how citizens and science tamed AIDS by David France

Since 2010 the American Library Association has highlighted books published in the prior year that “reflect lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender experience for adults,” with several annual book lists.  Their “Over the Rainbow” lists are for adults and encompass several subjects.  In case you missed them, see below.

2017 Over the Rainbow Top 10 Titles

The Firebrand and the First Lady:  portrait of a friendship:  Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt and the struggle for social justice by Patricia Bell-Scott (Nonfiction)

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction)

In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi (Nonfiction)

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (Fiction)

Bettyville:  a memoir by George Hodgeman (Nonfiction)

A Body, Undone:  Living on After Great Pain by Christina Crosby (Nonfiction)

Stand by Me:  the forgotten history of the gay liberation by Jim Downs (Nonfiction)

Ask a Queer Chick:  a guide to sex, love, and life for girls who dig girls by Lindsay King-Miller (Nonfiction)

Boy, Erased: a memoir by Garrard Conley (Nonfiction)

The Imitation Game:  Alan Turing decoded by Jim Ottaviani (Nonfiction)

 

2017 Over the Rainbow Fiction/Literature Nominees

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction)

Beijing Comrades by Bei Tong

Call Me by My Other Name by Valerie Wetlaufer

The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman

Dig by Brian Borland

God in Pink by Hasan Namir

Guapa by Saleem Haddad

If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There by Dave Madden

The Imitation Game:  Alan Turing decoded by Jim Ottaviani (Nonfiction)

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Moonstone:  the boy who never was by Sjón

Our Young Man by Edmund White

A Thin, Bright Line by Lucy Jane Bledsoe

 

 

Friday Reads: Daring Young Men

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

 

On June 1st the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discussed a book that was a little outside of our usual parameters.  Daring Young Men:  the heroism and triumph of The Berlin Airlift, June 1948 – May, 1949 by Richard Reeves, was light on the narrative and heavy on facts and figures, but it was fascinating reading.

Reeves, a lecturer, syndicated columnist and noted presidential biographer who “has received dozens of awards for his work in print, television and film” did extensive research from hitherto unpublished papers to recount in detail the Berlin Airlift. (From the author’s official website, richardreeeves.com) This amazing organizational feat supplied a city of over 2 million people with food and necessities for almost a year, all delivered by small airplanes.   Furthermore, this generous and daring mission was performed primarily by the U.S. Air Force and British Royal Air Force who had been bombing the city to smithereens only a couple years earlier.

Some readers struggled with the amount of figures, details and lists of supplies, etc.  The intended audience was a clearly a World War II history buff or strategic planner who revels in minutiae.  But for those of us who came to the discussion, which was a high number, especially in view of the rare glorious morning we had, we were happy to have read the book because we all felt that what we learned was important and interesting.  We gained respect for the magnitude of the undertaking, the humanitarian leadership coming from President Truman, and the bravery of the “daring young men.”

Next month we will discuss another war book, but it will be a different writing style altogether: jaunty, narrative and reflective.  Join us on Thursday, July 6 at 10 AM for Confederates in the Attic:  dispatches from the unfinished Civil War, by Martha’s Vineyard author, Tony Horwitz.   I predict it will be a great hour.

Friday Reads: Every Body Yoga

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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 we are adding a unique little yoga book to our collectionEvery Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley.  The author, a certified yoga instructor with an atypical yoga body, writes in her introduction: “I wrote this book for every fat person, every old person, and every exceptionally short person.  I wrote it for every person who has called themselves ugly and every person who can’t accept their beauty.  I wrote it for every person who is self-conscious about their body.  I wrote it for every human being who struggles to find happiness on a daily basis, and for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by the mere act of being alive.  I’ve been there.  We all have.”

If you have “been there” too and you are looking for a new path, check out this book and see if you catch Stanley’s enthusiasm.   She includes reminisces about her troubled childhood spent feeling self-conscious about her weight, which was a product of overeating an unhealthy southern diet and worrying about her very sick mother, and she liberally sprinkles her narrative with adult-rated language and street slang.  A spiritual, peaceful book featuring a slender white woman wearing all white and calmly posing on a beach, this is not.  This is a body-positive, you can do this sh*t, type of book for people who have thought yoga is not for them.

If the memoir aspect of the book is not appealing to you, skip those parts and focus on Part 2: “What the Hell is This?” where she introduces the history of yoga, the various types, and what supplies you need to do it; and Part 3: the poses.  Clear photos show Stanley in a variety of asanas (yoga poses) often wearing an infectious smile along with her colorful outfits and they are accompanied by clearly written instructions and tips about how to position your body.  There is even an index, which makes reference librarians cheer.

Here final paragraph is a good sendoff: “At the end of the day, we all struggle with emotional, physical, and spiritual turmoil.  This struggle is our great unifier.  And if we all deal with the same struggles, yoga is the equalizing influence that can calm all of our lives.  Yoga is for everyone, and body shape/size/color is completely irrelevant.  Whatever your shape, shade, whatever baggage you’re carrying around with you, put it down and get on the mat.  Find a place for yoga in your life today.”

You can find this book on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 613.7046 STA.

 

 

 

Save

New Book Club for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Teens and Adults

Falmouth Public Library recently joined the Next Chapter Book Club Affiliate Network and will soon be launching a local club.  Founded by Dr. Thomas Fish, a professor at The Ohio State University in 2002, Next Chapter Book Club is a community-based book club program for individuals with Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other types of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Next Chapter Book Club, which was awarded the “Innovations in Reading Prize” by the National Book Foundation in 2016, has clubs throughout North America and in other parts of the world.  Clubs meet in public places and are comprised of four to eight members and two volunteer facilitators who are trained to engage readers of all levels – including those who cannot read or are “emerging readers.”

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities love books for the same reasons most people do. They enjoy being transported to different worlds where they meet interesting characters and learn about exciting new things.  Taking that journey with a group of friends makes it even more delightful and fun.”

– Susan Berg, Executive Director of the Ohio-based Next Chapter Book Club.

Although reading skills of Next Chapter Book Club members often improve as a result of reading more often, the program is more about “reading to learn,” rather than “learning to read.”  The primary focus is on having fun with friends in public place on a regular basis.

We currently are inviting new members and facilitators to join us on Monday afternoons from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM starting on June 5, 2017. Free training for facilitators will be provided.

 Anyone interested in joining the club or becoming a volunteer facilitator should contact: Donna Burgess 508-457-2555 ext. 6 or email: dburgess@falmouthpubliclibrary.org

Friday Reads: Writer’s Market 2017

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

Did you know that Falmouth is home to several published writers?  Peter Abrahams (a.k.a. Spencer Quinn), T. M. MurphyBill SargentBrent Runyon, Terri Arthur, Adelaide Cummings, Alice Kociemba and Molly Bang are a few you may be familiar with.   We also have a great many aspiring writers in town who join local writing clubs and workshops or slug it out with their computers at home.  I have met several who have used our library books, reference services, computers and printers to prepare their manuscripts and we are proud to be a part of the process.

Just this week a patron asked for information to help him get started with writing for publication, which brings me to my book of the week:  Writer’s Market 2017, 96th annual edition.  This authoritative guide has been around since 1921, providing “essential information and advice on the business and promotion of writing.”  It opens with several articles written by published authors that offer advice on finding and managing work, such as “Write Better Queries and Sell More Articles” and “How to develop an Effective Author Brand.”  The bulk of the guide comes next, a directory of markets, which lists:  literary agents, book publishers, consumer magazines and trade journals.  Also included in this section are a list of contests and awards.  The final sections are a list professional organizations, a glossary of terms (very helpful for newbies) and two indexes so you can find your way in a flash.

We have two copies of Writer’s Market: one that is always available in the reference room and another that can be checked out.  They both have the call # 070.52 WRI.

New writers looking to be published should also consult Literary Market Place:  LMP, 2017.  This “directory of the book publishing industry” is a two-volume set in the reference room only (call # 070.5 LIT) which lists publishers, editorial services & agents, associations, events, courses & awards, books & magazines for the trade, a personnel index and a company index.

Using both the Writer’s Market and LMP, aspiring writers are well armed to get their books published.

The Writer’s Market is part of a series.  Here are more titles from that series to help different types of creators get their work to the marketplace.  We update them annually.

Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market

Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market

Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market

Poet’s Market

Songwriter’s Market

As always, if you have questions or want to find more resources on writing and publishing, stop by the reference desk.  We’d love to help you.

Friday Reads: Becoming Unbecoming

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

Looking for a thought provoking book?  Have you ever tried a graphic narrative or graphic novel – a book that relies on drawings as well as text to tell a story?  For difficult, intimate stories, a graphic narrative can have an added emotional punch not found in a text-only book.  We have a such a graphic narrative on the Staff Picks shelf right now that staff member K.P. recommends: Becoming Unbecoming by Una.

Una is a British artist and academic who self-publishes graphic narratives with themes of disability, psychosis and political activism.  In Becoming Unbecoming, a wrenching memoir, she takes on another tough subject.  The inner flap states:

Becoming Unbecoming explores gender violence, blame, shame and social responsibility.  Through image and text Una asks what it means to grow up in a society in which male violence goes unpunished and unquestioned.  With the benefit of hindsight Una explores her experience, wonders if anything has really changed and challenges a global culture that demands that the victims of violence pay its cost.”

You can find this book on the Staff Picks cart.

Friday Reads: Voices in the Ocean

The Narrative Nonfiction Book Club has a theme for this six-month session called “Give Two Hoots.”  The first two months we read books about sea creatures.  For June and July we will read books about wars and in August and September, books about female computers.   So this week the discussion was all about the good, the bad and the ugly side of dolphins and their interactions with humans, based on what we learned from Voices in the Ocean, a journey into the wild and haunting world of dolphins by Susan Casey.

Casey, the New York Times best-selling author of The Devil’s Teeth (about sharks), and The Wave, describes the variety of ways that humans throughout history have regarded dolphins, from the Ancient peace – loving Minoans who revered them, to contemporary Japanese in the town of Taiji who hunt, slaughter and traffic them.  “In recent decades, we have learned that dolphins recognize themselves in reflections, count, grieve, adorn themselves, rescue one another (and humans), deduce, infer, seduce, form cliques, throw tantrums, and call themselves by name.”  “Yet there is a dark side to our relationship with dolphins. They are the stars of a global multi-million dollar captivity industry, whose money has fueled a sinister and lucrative trade in which dolphins are captured violently, then shipped and kept in brutal conditions.”   (Excerpted from the inner flap.)

Filled with facts that range from beautiful descriptions of their nature to disturbing accounts of inhumane treatment, Voices in the Ocean will inform, alarm and charm you.   You can find this book on our shelves with call number 599.53 CAS.

If you would like to join us on Thursday, June 6 to read Confederates in the Attic:  dispatches from the unfinished Civil War by Martha’s Vineyard author, Tony Horwitz, come to the reference desk to get a copy of the book or spoken CD.  We have one of each as I write this, but more will be coming in the next two weeks.  Hope to see you there!

Friday Reads: When Women Were Birds

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about 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. 

 

A library staff member put a most unusual memoir on the staff picks shelf.  Author Pam Houston describes it as “much more than a brave and luminous memoir.”  Author Rick Bass calls it “a wise and beautiful and intelligent book.”  And author Sue Halpern calls it “gorgeous.”  When Women Were Birds:  fifty-four variations on voice by Terry Tempest Williams is all of those things, wrapped in a modest little white package.

When Williams’ mother was one week from death, she promised her daughter her journals, but stipulated that Williams could not read them until after she was gone.  When the time was right, Williams located the neatly arranged journals and was surprised to find blank pages.  All of them were blank.  Shelf after shelf of blank journals.  We get some semblance of the shock ourselves when we flip several blank pages in this book.  It is disconcerting.  Imagine being a woman for whom words hold such power, an author who writes beautifully and who loves her mother unconditionally … imagine her finding these blank journals.  In this memoir we follow along her emotional journey as she tries to fathom why her mother did this.  The result is a meditative, poignant and unique exploration for which there is no answer which is well worth the read.  Just don’t be in a hurry.

You can find this book on the staff picks shelf.

Friday Reads: Cape Cod in Poetry

Since April is National Poetry Month what better time to share a little gem of a poetry book I just discovered yesterday.  A patron emailed the reference department to say that she had read that there was a poem dedicated to each town on the Cape, and could we get her a copy of the Falmouth poem.  I hadn’t heard of their being such a series of poems, but it sure sounded like a possibility.  If it didn’t exist already, what a great project for someone.   Now that you mention it, given our rich literary heritage, each Cape town should have an official poem, much like each state having an official bird.

Well, I did some sleuthing and came up with several poems about Falmouth, although none of them were labeled “official town poem,” and the fact that Falmouth appointed its first and only Poet Laureate in 2012, Adelaide Cummings.  Also during my searching, I discovered a nifty little old book:  Cape Cod in Poetry edited by Joshua Freeman Crowell and Florence Hathaway Crowell.  It was published in 1924 by the Four Seas Company of Boston and bears an old stamp from when we were known as “Falmouth Free Public Library”.

Cape Cod in Poetry nearly fits the bill for having what the patron described as a poem dedicated to each town on the Cape.  Orleans and Bourne are not included, but several villages are, such as Craigville, Pocasset and Wianno.  Most towns had a couple poems each, but Falmouth, which appears first for some reason, has nine.  Most are by Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem America the Beautiful, who was born in Falmouth in 1859.  I used this book and others to answer the patron’s question about a copy of a Falmouth poem, but I neglected to mention that there were poems about most other towns on the Cape in it as well.  To my surprise, the patron replied that she already owned a copy of the book and she had purchased it at one of the annual book sales our Friends of the Falmouth Public Library hold around the fourth of July!

The editor, Joshua Freeman Crowell, was a poet and writer of children’s books.  His goal in creating this anthology was to “preserve first, for the friends and lovers of the Cape, the essence of the historical and local spirit; and with that, provide characteristic examples of the work of the more widely known poets who were either born on, or were, in some way, associated with the Cape.”  My favorite part of the book is the index by locality with biographical notes.  You can look up a town and see a list of poets whose work is included in that section.  Most entries also include a biographical note, such as “birthplace,” “visitor,” or “summer resident.”  For instance, did you know Conrad Aiken was a former resident of South Yarmouth, Edna St. Vincent Millay summered in Truro and that Joseph C. Lincoln was born in Brewster and summered in Chatham? I was tickled to find out.

If you would like to make your own interesting discoveries about Cape Cod in Poetry, you can find this book in the local history collection in the reference room.  Due to its importance and fragility, it cannot be checked out, but you are welcome to find a cozy seat by a window and enjoy it in the library for as long as you like.  Stop by the reference desk and we’ll share it with you.

Friday Reads: Northern Armageddon

by Adrienne Latimer

My family background is French Canadian; my husband’s heritage is English Canadian.  Thus, the book Northern Armageddon: the battle of the Plains of Abraham and the making of the American Revolution caught my attention – what happened in Canada, and when did it happen?

Canada is now a bilingual constitutional monarchy – Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is the Head of State, with a governor-general as her representative, and a parliamentary form of government led by the Prime Minister.  But, back in the mid-eighteenth century this outcome was not certain.  The thirteen American colonies were well established, but Britain was not certain of their future, as the French territories to the North, to the west and down the Mississippi were all under French occupation.

The centerpiece of the book is the battle of the Plains of Abraham for the control of Quebec, the capital of French Canada. The author D. Peter MacLeod, curator of the Canadian War Museum, does an outstanding job telling the story in great detail, skillfully integrating his wealth of primary sources into the narrative. His lively, flowing writing style made this a real page turner, despite the fact that I am not a military historian.

You can find this book on the Staff Picks Cart.