Friday Reads: Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon


“I’m sittin’ in the railway station / Got a ticket for my destination…”

Homeward bound – were you among the many who were homeward bound this Thanksgiving week?

For Paul Simon and many baby boomers the phrase conjures up the 1960s when the duo Simon and Garfunkel were popular folk-rock singers.

Author Peter Ames Carlin takes the reader from the late 1960’s to present day and the release in June 2016 of Simon’s latest album, Stranger to Stranger. Over the past 60 years of Simon’s life we have listened to and memorized many of his lyrics. We were disappointed in the break of the duo Simon and Garfunkel and relieved when they reunited, only to separate again. We have bought many of his albums (which have sold more than a hundred million!) We have heard his political views and championed his sometimes controversial roles in many of the significant events of the last several decades.

In this biography of Simon, Carlin illuminates the on, and off again stage life of this singer/composer. With several pages of photos, you’ll get a glimpse of Simon’s life yesterday and today.

Look for Homeward Bound in the new nonfiction section, Call # 927.8 Simon

Library Mindfulness Program on FCTV

In October, we had an overwhelming response to Dr. Sang H. Kim’s “Mindful Movement and Meditation programs held here at the library. Many people in town were already familiar with him and the unique program he developed to ease stress and improve mindfulness. The last of the three October programs was filmed and edited by volunteer FCTV videographer and Falmouth Public Library patron, Kate Eldred. Kate just told me the approximately one-hour long show went on air this weekend!

So, get out your yoga mat or chair, put on some comfortable clothes and clear your schedule for an hour of mindfulness with gentle exercises and breathing techniques lead by Dr. Kim. What better time to take a break and learn how to de-stress, than now, the beginning of the holiday season. Here are the times this week for the show titled, “Sang Kim at Falmouth Library” on FCTV, channel 13:

Monday, Nov. 21,   7:00 PM
Tuesday, Nov. 22,   8:30 AM
Wednesday, Nov. 23,   12:30 PM
Thursday, Nov. 24,   3:00 PM
Friday, Nov. 25,   3:29 AM (Yes, according to their schedule, AM)
Saturday, Nov. 26,   3:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 27,    7:04 PM

Visit FCTV for scheduling info beyond this week:…/c…/public-channel-programming-schedule

We have some of the many books Dr. Kim has written, including his latest, “Mindful Movement: mastering your hidden energy.”  Here is a list from our catalog.

You can also visit his website,, to see more videos of him performing his movements or his other website to learn more about mindfulness.

Peace and joy to you this holiday season.

Friday Reads: Home Accessibility

While reviewing our shelves recently, making sure that our books on home maintenance and repair were in good repair themselves, I came across an overlooked gem I want to share:  Home Accessibility, 300 Tips for Making Life Easier by Shelley Peterman Schwarz.

The author writes, “This book has been written for anyone who is experiencing either a short-term disability such as after surgery or while healing a broken arm or leg, or a long-term chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or cancer.  It is also for people who are challenged by sensory, vision, hearing, or tactile limitations: mental health issues including memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease; and for those who have had an accident, heart attack, stroke, or are getting older and find it more and more difficult to bend, reach, twist, and get up or down, in and out.”

After discussing basic concepts, Schwarz, who is wheelchair bound, goes through the house room by room pointing out how areas can be made accessible.  Starting with the front path and doorway, she notes such things as:  “Pathways and ramps should be 4 feet wide. (…)  Railings should be built to support 250 pounds at any point along their length. (…) For someone in a wheelchair to open a door, they will need 18 to 24 inches of clear space on the side where the door opens.”  Inside the house she advises about lighting, flooring choices, appliances, plumbing, safety and much more.  Each chapter includes a list of resources and products.

This very helpful little book offers many “affordable solutions to make your home safer and more accessible without costly remodeling,” which is sure to be of great interest here in Falmouth.  If you are looking to make your home easier to live in, or if you know someone with any of the issues mentioned above, be sure to check out this book.  These tips could be just the thing to make one’s life easier and safer or prolong one’s independence.  Why put up with hassles in your home when you know how to make it more comfortable and safe?  Accessibility improvements might make a welcome holiday gift for the aging parent who has everything and wants to remain in their home as long as possible.

Home Accessibility is shelved with the call number 643.087 SCH.  You can also ask at the reference desk where to find it.

Cancer Resource Center at the Main Library

Do you or someone you know have cancer?  Do you want to find out more about the disease and treatment options?  Do you want financial or emotional support?  There is such a wealth of information online that it can be overwhelming and websites can contradict each other.  It is hard to sift through it all.   Well, there is a place where you can skip all that frustration and get reliable and comprehensive cancer information both in person and on the web — The Cancer Resource Center at the Falmouth Public Library.

The Cancer Resource Center (CRC) was created in 2010 through a partnership of the Falmouth Hospital and the Falmouth Public Library.  Located at the main library, the CRC is a place where patients, their loved ones and anyone looking for cancer information can go to find reliable sources.    Reference librarians are always available to help you find the best materials to answer your questions, whether it be free handouts in the reference room, magazines and newsletters in the reading room, books on our shelves or reliable websites.

If you prefer to find your information online, visit our newly re-organized webpage.  Here you will find links to websites you can trust.  You can search local support groups, clinical trials, help for caregivers, drugs, details about several common types of cancer, and much, much more.  All of these sites have been inspected and selected by a reference librarian for reliability, timeliness and ease of use.  Many of the websites are described by a librarian so you can decide which links to click on to suit your needs.  For example, if you want to know how to pronounce a term you saw in print so you can talk to your doctor about it, read the descriptions of three online cancer term dictionaries and you will see only one of the dictionaries offers pronunciations and phonetic spellings.

To get to our Cancer Resource Center webpage, start at the library homepage, and click on “eBranch” in the white bar at the top of the pager.  Under the heading “Research & History,” you will see the link to “Cancer Resource Center”.  Once on the CRC webpage, you will see an online form where you can write a question to a reference librarian if you like.  Be sure to scroll past that form to get to the list of helpful websites.

Finding information to help you cope with a cancer diagnosis in yourself or someone you care about can be overwhelming.  If you would like help finding reliable online sources, books, newsletters or pamphlet, please ask any of the reference librarians at the main library and we would be happy to help you.

Yours in health,

Faith Lee
Reference Librarian

Friday Reads: Cure Back Pain

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives.”  If you are one of these people, you may be interested in a new book we received this month … Cure Back Pain:  80 personalized easy exercises for spinal training to improve posture, eliminate tension and reduce stress by Jean-François Harvey.

The author, who is an osteopath, kinesiologist and athlete, writes in a clear and conversational way.  Reading his explanations of evolution, how the body works, and how to do the exercises, is like having a trusted and expert guide leading you along the path to recovery.   Armed with his insights about why certain common treatments don’t solve back pain (taking pain relievers, doing sit-ups or wearing orthopedic soles, for example), the reader is educated, not just prescribed a set of one-routine-fits-all exercises.

A Publisher’s Weekly review highly recommends this excellent book and describes it as follows: “His spinal training regimen combines a number of exercise methods, such as yoga, Pilates, advanced stretching, rehabilitation exercises, qigong, and breathing exercises, as well as the principles of osteopathy, biomechanics, and the Godelieve Denys-Struyf method (a way to stabilize the spine that combines several therapies, including stretching, manual massage, reflex techniques, and muscle stimulation).  (…) Readers can choose which exercises suit their health issues and lifestyle, though Harvey recommends that readers consult with a doctor first.”

This book is on the NEW NONFICTION shelf with the call number 617.564 HAR.  Look for a bevy of new health, medicine and fitness books on this shelf over the coming weeks with numbers ranging from 613 – 618.

To your good health!

Friday Reads: Rail U.S.A. Museums and Trips





So I might be stretching the meaning of the word “reads” in this “Friday Reads” blog by featuring an illustrated map and guide set, rather than a book; but I am really happy with this new arrival, so I want to share the news.   Anyone remotely interested in trains or know a child who is, will want to keep reading.

We have recently received Rail USA Museums and Trips.  It is a set of three large, illustrated maps of the United States featuring 425 railroad museums, depots, scenic railroads, dinner trains, model layouts, miniature railroads, historic sites and trolley and train-watching locations.  The three maps cover the eastern states, the central states and the western states.   The front, a typical road map with major highways, features little red train icons for all 425 points of interest and several lovely watercolor illustrations of selected sites.  I was very pleased to see a picture of the beautiful Chatham Railroad Museum on the Eastern States map.

The back of the maps list all of the points of interest, state-by-state.  The listings include icons to quickly explain what features are available (for example: museum, depot, historic site, excursions, dinner train) and if the site has layouts, it notes what they are.  Did you know Bay State Model Railroad Museum in Roslindale has layouts HO, HOn3, N and O-scale?  Of course the listings also include street addresses, telephone numbers and web addresses so you can make your plans.  Since hours and admission prices are subject to change, they are not included.  You can get the most up to date information by visiting the website or calling.

I highly recommend this set to rail enthusiasts as well as parents and grandparents who are looking for something to do with the kids during these crisp fall weekends and during school breaks.  There are 19 sites in Massachusetts alone, four in nearby Rhode Island and 18 in New Hampshire.  If you are planning a vacation further away, you can consult these maps to see what attraction you might want to add to your itinerary.  Going to Pennsylvania?  You’ll be overwhelmed by the choices.   California?  You could spend two weeks visiting only railroad sites and not get halfway through them all.  You can find Rail USA Museums and Trips on the new nonfiction shelf, for the moment anyway with call number 917 RAI.  Have fun!







Friday Reads: Knitting Magazines


Did you know the library has over 250 magazine titles for adults?  We have additional collections for young adults and children too.  Adult magazines range widely across topics, from literary reviews to cooking.  You can feed your mind, feed your body and so much more.   If you like music, poetry, cycling, sailing, quilting, coin collecting, traveling, fashion or learning about medical topics, politics, religion, foreign affairs, science, social issues and celebrities, we’ve got you covered.  I’m sure I’ve left out several things, but you get the point.

Fall is here and with trying to keep the heat off at home as long as possible, my passion for knitting has kicked into high gear.  One way I feed my passion is by devouring knitting books and magazines during my lunch hour.   We have four magazines for knitters and today’s blog will give you a taste of each one.

Interweave Knits  The current issue, Fall 2016, is their 20th anniversary edition.  With notes from almost all of the editors over the years, reading this issue describes the magazine’s history and how their mission has changed as knitters have changed their approach to the craft over the past 20 years.  Interweave Knits is popular in knitting circles for its focus on a large number of appealing projects, from small to large, and for all members of the family.  It also includes interesting articles about yarns and designers, as well as clearly written and illustrated descriptions of techniques.  The numerous advertisements serve to inspire as well!

Creative Knitting  At 37 years old, Creative Knitting bills itself as “the first all-knitting magazine”. With the tagline, “Knits with a timeless twist,” you can expect that the projects are tried and true classics blended with current styles.  They pride themselves on clear instructions for projects for casual home knitters, including clothing, accessories and home décor.   The winter, 2016 issue focuses on cables, with several articles on techniques and uses for cables and, of course, patterns featuring cables.  The patterns range from having only simple cable panels to being completely covered with cables.  Knitters of all levels of cabling abilities should find something of interest in this issue.

Vogue Knitting  If you are looking for patterns that are more avant-garde than the magazines described above, then flip through the selections here.  The clearly written patterns are mainly geared toward fashion-conscious women, but they do include a few for men and a little home décor.   The fall, 2016 issue features “Modern Fair Isle” knitting, “No Wool, No Vikings, the fleece that launched 1,000 ships,” and “The Iconic Baby Surprise Jacket.”   There are also articles on the colors and stitches of the season, and designers.  The photos of yarns and models wearing projects are eye-catching.

Piecework “The purpose of this magazine is to promote historical and ethnic handwork by providing articles on history, techniques, and individual items and people, and then offering a few projects based on the article using techniques such as needlework, knitting, quilting, crocheting, beading, drawn thread and other crafts.  Entire issues may be devoted to a single theme. ( … )  The projects all have clear instructions and are well designed, although none are for the novice or timid crafters.  This is not a magazine that will teach a technique in simple terms; if readers are at all shy about picking up new techniques, then some of the projects may be beyond them.  (…)  The magazine is beautiful and inspiring and is devoted to the history and current state of common and ethnic handicraft arts.”  (Magazines for Libraries, 2014)

If you are looking for a little inspiration for your knitting this fall, why don’t you curl up in one of our easy chairs by a sunny window and flip through these knitting magazines.  I challenge you not to add a few projects to your “to knit” list.

Faith Lee

A reference librarian who is currently getting her Irish sweater in a twist.

Friday Reads: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

by Donna Burgess

It was just over fifty years ago that the first “narrative nonfiction novel” appeared on the New York Times best-seller list of January 23, 1966.  In Cold Blood:  a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences, Truman Capote’s masterly work, was described in a review as “conceived of journalism and born of a novelist.”

After browsing through the New York Times in November, 1959, Capote read the headline on a deep-inside page, “Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain.” It struck him that the study of this crime might be the broad scope he was seeking for his nonfiction novel.

Capote traveled with his friend and neighbor, Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird), to Holcomb, Kansas where he “spent five years unraveling and following to its end every thread in the killing of Herbert W. Clutter and his family”.  The criminals, Perry Smith and Richard Hickok, were so well depicted that you could almost see their faces come alive in the narrative.  Richard, a blond charmer with an unsavory weakness for little girls, and Perry, a pixyish- looking loner who was fascinated with words and maintained his own dictionary of memorable vocabulary.

Capote captures the stillness of the western Kansas countryside, a tumbleweed strewn farmland of stubbled fields.  You can feel the eeriness of the vacant Clutter home long after the murders were committed.

What is remarkable is Capote’s ability to capture the dialogue and recreate the atmosphere and mood of the killers.  He interviewed both convicted killers, though Perry was much more willing to talk to him.

He never used a tape-recorder in the interviews as he felt that it would change the dynamic of the meeting.  Instead, he had trained himself to transcribe conversations.  He would have a friend read passages from a book and then write them down to see how well it compared to the original. With an almost 95 % accuracy, Capote didn’t want a tape recorder or note-taking interfere between him and his subject!

In this morning’s book discussion there was some sympathy for Perry as his childhood was both sad and abusive.  A bed-wetter, Perry was constantly beaten and punished for his enuresis. In an interview with George Plimpton, Capote notes that “Perry wasn’t an evil person. If he’d had any chance in life, things would have been different, but every illusion he’d ever had, well, they all evaporated so that on that night {of the murder} he was so full of self –hatred and self-pity that I think he would have killed somebody….”

In Cold Blood has generated a whole new genre of books and captured the attention and perhaps the soul of many readers. Perhaps it is time for you to reread this chilling character study.

Congratulations, Maureen!


One of our regular patrons came in to the reference department for a visit recently.  She had something special to show us.  As she pulled a flat rectangular object out of her tote bag and proceeded to carefully remove the plastic bag that protected it from the torrential rain, I was silently making guesses as to what this item, that was clearly very important to her, could be.  Actually, I had a pretty good idea when I saw her beaming face as she walked in, and I was right.  It was her diploma!  From Bridgewater State University.  Maureen came to the reference department for at least the last two years on a regular basis to use the public computers to do her research and writing for all of her classes.

Not only did she learn what was taught in her classes, but from all of us in the reference staff, she learned how to use a computer, find the best materials for her research, write a bibliography and more!   She never failed to express how much being in the library helped her to make it through her social sciences program.  As a commuter student, she relied more on her local library than the university library for support because, well, it was home and she knew we’d help her with whatever she needed.  We all enjoyed keeping abreast of her progress and loved hearing about all those A’s she earned!

So, Maureen, thank you for letting us be a part of this milestone in your life and congratulations on your Bachelor of Science from Bridgewater University!  We know you worked hard for it.  We look forward to your next milestones.  Keep us posted!

This is truly one of the most gratifying aspects of being a reference librarian.


Faith Lee


Photo: Maureen holding her diploma and me.

Friday Reads: This Book is Gay

This week, September 25 through October 1, is Banned Books Week.  Librarians, book sellers, teachers and book lovers across the country celebrate the freedom to read and publicize attempts to censor books, especially in the past year.  Yes! People are still trying to censor books from public and school libraries for too many reasons.   The top three reasons for banning or challenging books are because the book: (1) is sexually explicit; (2) contains offensive language, and (3) is unsuited for age group.  Less common reasons are because the book contains: abortion, suicide or a political viewpoint that someone finds objectionable.  And there are more.

Censoring books is an infringement of our constitutional right to the freedom of free speech.  We need to protect this freedom so we can continue to be an open-minded and multi-faceted country.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I am highlighting This Book is Gay by James Dawson, a young adult work of nonfiction that was published in 2015 and caused quite an uproar in Wasilla, Alaska.

The author’s note states, “This Book is Gay is a collection of facts, my ideas, and my stories but also the testimonies of more than three hundred amazing LGBT* people who shared their stories.”  The goal of the manual, written by a young teacher specializing in personal, social, health and citizenship education in the U.K., is to show teens what experiences he and a great many others have had as LGBT* people.   He aims to mentor a younger generation with testimonies from those who have been there already.  “When I was in high school, there’s no way a book like this would have made it to me,” writes gay young adult novelist David Levithan in the introduction.   “But what if it had?  I imagine I would have figured out things sooner.  I would have been less clueless – because this is, if nothing else, and extraordinarily helpful book of clues.  And here’s the thing about clues:  They don’t tell you what to do, but they do show you what you can do.”

David Levithan credits this book with providing much needed clues to help people figure out their sexuality and all manner of issues that revolve around it.   He points out that book doesn’t tell readers what to do, it shows them what “you can do” and that is empowering.   Dawson writes, “We have to be able to talk about sexuality and identity in a nonhysterical way.”

Residents of Wasilla, Alaska didn’t see it that way, though.  In 2015, the public library “moved its entire young adult nonfiction to the adult stacks in response to a complaint about Dawson’s book.  Several Wasilla residents attacked the book at a city council meeting saying that ‘they didn’t want “gay books” or books about gay people in the library at all.’ For defending the sex education book for teens, the library director was branded as a pedophile in the highly controversial public debates.”   (Journal of intellectual freedom and privacy spring, 2016, p. 53.)

The author points out that this manual is not just for LGBT* people, it is for anyone who is wondering.  If you are wondering, or you know, or you want to know more, you can find this book in the nonfiction section in the young adult room.  That is, after we take it off the front row of our Banned Books display.