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.

Friday Reads: The Soul of an Octopus

“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 week, the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discussed The Soul of an Octopus: a surprising exploration into the world of consciousness by naturalist Sy Montgomery.  We always have a rollicking good time talking about great books, but today’s discussion was one of the most fun.   For some it was overcoming the ick- factor, for others it was learning about something familiar, yet completely unknown, and for all, it was sharing our stories about how this amazing book changed us.  And the writing was beautiful to boot!  Sadly, we didn’t get as far as discussing the quality of the writing.  We were too caught up in eight arms of octopus lore.

The Soul of an Octopus is a love letter to the author’s new found friends: octopuses named Athena, Octavia and Kali; and the diverse group of people she meets who love them too.   Montgomery visits the New England Aquarium in Boston on Wednesdays to gather with her friends, feed capelin to the octopuses, stroke their velvety heads and get hickeys on her arms from their strong and inquisitive suction cups.  They literally taste her skin and give her kisses with their cups.  Through Montgomery’s narrative, we learn about the octopus’ distinct personalities, their great intelligence, and yes, their souls.  We also see there are a number of similarities between them and us.  Amazing.  Sprinkled throughout are interesting scientific facts that are integrated well into the story.

I don’t think any of us had a particular interest in octopuses before reading this book, even the group member who recommended it.  But with the compelling subject so deftly and warmly portrayed by the author, you don’t need three hearts like an octopus to be changed for the better.

Friday Reads: Oysters: a celebration in the raw

Bacon-fatty, fruity, funky, mossy, velvety.   What do these words have in common?

They are a just a few selections from the lengthy oyster lexicon that aficionados use to describe this beloved bivalve.  If you’re still reading, then you must have at least a little interest in oysters, so I want to tell you about a little gem of a book in our new nonfiction area:  Oysters:  a celebration in the raw by Jeremy Sewall and Marion Lear Swaybill.   Scott Snider deserves a call out here for his top-notch photos that will make your mouth water while also providing scientific level detail.  No runway model has ever looked as good in a close-up.

This book, small and meaty like the mollusk it celebrates, has four sections that discuss the history and culture of oysters, the people who harvest them, a sumptuous photo gallery, and of course, oyster stories. You can probably guess some of the topics: aphrodisiacs, pearls, and that myth about the R month, but there are additional yarns to educate and entertain.  It is international in scope, but clearly focuses on Massachusetts farms.

You can find this book on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 641.394 SEW.  If you’re going to check it out, plan on hitting an oyster bar soon after!

Friday Reads: Dangerous Years


New to our library shelves this month is an important book on climate change by a leading environmental thinker, David W. OrrDangerous Years:  climate change, the long emergency and the way forward, published by Yale University Press, is “a valuable addition to environmental and philosophical wisdom.” Says Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University.

The inner flap of the book states:

“This gripping, deeply thoughtful book considers the future of civilization in the light of what we know about climate change and related threats.  David Orr, an award-winning, internationally recognized leader in the field of sustainability and environmental education, pulls no punches:  even with the Paris Agreement of 2015, Earth systems will not reach a new equilibrium for centuries.  Earth is becoming a different planet – more thread bare and less biologically diverse, with more-acidic oceans and a hotter, more capricious climate.  Furthermore, technology will not solve complex problems of sustainability.

Yet, we are not fated to destroy the Earth, Orr insists.  He imagines sustainability as a quest and a transition built upon robust and durable democratic and economic institutions, as well as changes in heart and mindset.  The transition, he writes, is beginning from the bottom up in communities and neighborhoods. He lays out specific principles and priorities to guide us toward enduring harmony between human and natural systems.”

You can find this book shelved in the new nonfiction area with the call number 363.73874 ORR.  Close readers will be pleased to know there are copious notes and an index.

David W. Orr has written several other books on the environment and building design, but don’t confuse him with David Orr, (sans W.)  the New York Times poetry columnist, who has a new book on poetry out this year.   If your interests include poetry, as well as climate change, David Orr’s book, You, Too, Could Write a Poem:  selected reviews and essays, 2000-2015, is also in the new nonfiction area with the call number 808.1 ORR.


Friday Reads: Unbowed, a memoir by Wangari Maathai


The Narrative Nonfiction Book Club read Unbowed, a fascinating memoir by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai this month.   As always we had more to discuss than our short one hour would allow.  That is partly because we had a large turnout of vey engaged readers, and also because Wangari Maathai has accomplished so many important things in her life.  And she’s not done yet.

Born in a rural village in Kenya in 1940, she enjoyed a childhood bound closely to nature and her family.  Unlike most girls in Kenya she went to a Catholic school locally, then on to college in the United States. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in East and Central Africa.  She married, had three children, went through a very public and ugly divorce (which was shameful in her society), taught at the University of Nairobi and was a political activist for many causes, especially for women, the environment, and democracy.  Despite of the Kenyan government’s efforts to knock her down time and again, she is a selfless and tireless advocate for causes she believes in.  In 1977 she established the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which has spread across Africa and garnered attention in other continents.   The movement is an effort to replant large swaths of deforested land with indigenous trees, planted by women, who earn an income for their successful seedlings.   This initiative goes a long way to solving both environmental degradation and empowering and employing women.

President Bill Clinton said, “Wangari Maathai’s memoir is direct, honest and beautifully written – a gripping account of modern Africa’s trials and triumphs, a universal story of courage, persistence, and success against great odds in a noble cause.”

The book club loved this book and I highly recommend it.