Friday Reads: Confederates in the Attic

 

“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. 

 

This month the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discussed an old, but timely book.   Just a couple days after Independence Day, we got together on a sunny morning to examine Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by West Tisbury Pulitzer prize winning author, Tony Horwitz.

The timeliness was two-fold:  most obviously, we were discussing one of the most important events in the history of the United States during our country’s birthday week, with arguably the most significant battle of that war, the battle of Gettysburg, having taken place from July 1 to July 3, 1863.  Horwitz writes, “Probably no half hour in American history had been more closely scrutinized than Pickett’s Charge,” which was the culminating clash at Gettysburg on July 3rd.   It was also timely in view of our current political climate in which state capitals and old academic institutions are reconsidering the flags they wave and the reputations of the historic people in whose honor they have named buildings, while we grapple with our country’s racism.

The main theme in Confederates in the Attic, which was published in 1998, is that the civil war is still festering under the surface, that ancestors of Confederate soldiers and people of the south in general feel that their “way of life” is still under siege.  They still want to assert their states’ rights and not be dictated to by big government.  Reading this book helped explain to some of us northerners in the group, how southerners felt then and feel now about their “way of life,” the meaning of the Confederate flag and what they were fighting for.  It also helped explain our recent presidential election.

There was a lot to discuss with this book.  As I tried to break up the group at 5 past the hour, regretting aloud that I had to pull the plug, someone called out that we could go on talking for another hour, which was answered with a resounding, ‘yes!’  So, if you are looking for a good book for your book group, I can recommend this one.  It will surely get you talking.  You can find our copy on the staff picks shelf.

Join us next month when we will discuss Rise of the Rocket Girls:  the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt.   Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and come to the discussion on Thursday, August 3 at 10:00 AM in the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room.  We look forward to another great discussion.

Friday Reads: Carved in Stone

“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. 

 

During the course of a day’s work, combing through the stacks of books, I came across this beautiful catalog of early New England gravestones.  Carved in Stone by Thomas E. Gilson and William Gilson features high quality, close-up black and white photographs of over 80 gravestones with quotations by early New England writers and captions with practical information.  This book will be of interest to anyone who studies New England genealogy, early American art, history and those who seek solace in an old cemetery.  The inner flap states:  “These stones tell of death at sea, epidemics such as smallpox, the loss of children, and a grim view of the afterlife.  The graceful narrative explores a long personal involvement with the stones and their place in the New England landscape, and attempts to trace the curious and imperfectly documented history of the gravestone carvers.”

A list of plates in the back of the book indicates where the gravestones are located, (almost all are in Massachusetts, with many in Plymouth) and a short bibliography provides ideas for further reading.

You can find this book on the staff picks shelf.

Friday Reads: Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read

“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. 

 

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of noted Massachusetts author, Henry David Thoreau.  In honor of his birthday, several Massachusetts organizations have banded together to create the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read, a celebration lasting throughout the whole year in which every Massachusetts town is encouraged to offer an event “that brings community member together to read and contemplate a work by Thoreau.  This is the first Statewide Read in the commonwealth that will focus on one author. The Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read is part of a global celebration that highlights the continued relevance of Thoreau’s writings and philosophical contributions, even 200 years after his birth (July 12, 1817). His ideas about the significance of nature, civil disobedience, the power of individual action and deliberate living have influenced millions over the past two centuries.”1

Inspired by Thoreau’s custom of taking long walks in nature minutely observing plants and animals, this week, the Falmouth Public Library and the 300 Committee co-hosted a 3.5 mile nature walk around Long Pond in Falmouth lead by a member of the 300 Committee.  It was followed by a reading of Thoreau on Freedom and refreshments at the main library.  Walkers, and non-walkers who came for the reading portion, all enjoyed the opportunity to take a metaphorical walk in this great man’s shoes on the lovely first day of summer.

The Long Pond walk was so appreciated that there are some murmurings about possibly organizing another one in the fall at another time of the week so more people can come.  Keep your eye on our website or sign up for our newsletter to keep abreast of our programming.

On August 2, we are delighted to present a second Thoreau event with author, editor, book reviewer and contributor to publications, Geoff Wisner of the Boston Athenæum.  Wisner, who edited two new books, Thoreau’s Wildflowers (2016) and Thoreau’s Animals (2017), will discuss Thoreau’s spirituality and man’s connection to nature, drawing from Thoreau’s journals and other writings.

Until that time, if you would like to familiarize yourself with Henry David Thoreau, check out this list of selected titles we have at our library:

The Annotated Walden or Life in the Woods Together with Civil Disobedience

Cape Cod

Collected Essays and Poems

Journal

The Maine Woods

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

A Thoreau Gazetteer by Robert F. Stowell (a geographical guide to the writings of Thoreau)

 

1 “Lincoln Library Hosts Statewide Reading Event to Reflect on Thoreau” by Whitney Retallic, director of education for the Walden Woods Project, posted on Wickedlocal.com Feb. 1, 2017 and viewed on June 22, 2017.

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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.

 

 

 

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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!