Ship’s Log Project

We are looking for volunteers with an interest in history and a willingness to learn about whaling ships. The library has the digital files of 48 handwritten ship logbooks that are part of the Falmouth Historical Society’s collection. The logs date back from 1806 to 1879. “We are ready to embark on an exciting project to transcribe these documents so they can be made available on the library website,” says library Director, Linda Collins. She has been working on one to see what the experience will be like for volunteers. “It is a challenge at first, but you do get to know the handwriting and become familiar with the language of sailing and whaling. The more you work with the document, the easier it gets.” The logs are as short as 8 pages and as long as 392, with most being between 100 and 200 pages. Volunteers will be given a thumb drive with their ship’s log and a document describing the process. Occasional meetings of the volunteers will be scheduled to share tips and encouragement. If you are interested in being a part of this exciting project, please contact Linda Collins at

Books about Trees on The Point with Mindy Todd

This morning Mindy and Jill were joined by Dennis Minsky, naturalist and a big reader! It is always fun for us when Dennis is able to find time to drive from Provincetown to Woods Hole to join us. We have previously talked with Dennis about nature books, maritime books, whaling books, and bird books. When we are done with the show, our books to read list is always longer than it was before we began, and we hope yours are as well! Dennis and I had both brought so many titles that we didn’t have time for, that we are making an extra long list today of both books we mentioned and books that we did not have time to mention, but are terrific. Miss the show? You can listen online!

I want to particularly thank our caller who suggested I read Trees in a Winter Landscape by Alice Smith, and to let her know that I was able to request a copy of  the book from off Cape, so I should be seeing a copy soon! (And thus she won’t have to drive to Falmouth to deliver me a copy, but thanks so much for the offer!)

After we went off the air, I got an e-mail from a listener who wrote:

“I kicked myself for not remembering my decades old theory that looking at the sunset through winter trees was the inspiration for church stained glass.”  What a grand theory!

Dennis’s Picks

Lost” a poem by David Wagoner

The Hidden Life of Trees:  what they feel, how they communicate:  discoveries from a secret world  by Peter Wohlleben

Thoreau and the Language of Trees by Richard Higgins

Essays:  a fully annotated edition by Henry David Thoreau, specifically the essays: “Wild Apples,”  “Walking,”  “Autumnal Tints” and “The Succession of Forest Trees”

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Barkskins, a novel by Annie Proulx

American Canopy:  trees, forests, and the making of a nation by Erick Rutkow

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Cape Cod Shore Whaling:  America’s first whalemen by John Braginton-Smith and Duncan Oliver

Not Enough Time For:

Remarkable Trees Of The World  by Thomas Parkenham

Trees, Woodlands, and Western Civilization by Richard Hayman

A Natural History Of Trees by Donald Culross Peattie


Jill’s Picks

Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams (and you can find lots more W.C. Williams in his Collected Poems!)

The Long, Long Life of Trees by Fiona Stafford

From the Forest: a search for the hidden roots of our fairy tales by Sara Maitland

Nature Writings by John Muir (Particularly his essay The American Forests.)

Trees by W. S. Merwin (and lots more tree poems can be found in Collected Poems, 1952-1993.) You also need to watch Even Though the Whole World is Burning, a documentary on W. S. Merwin and the trees he is trying to save.

The Tree by John Fowles

Novels in which trees play a role:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (and notice the tree on the book jacket!)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (as suggested by Brian Engles)

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (as suggested by Brian Engles)

And, of course, Shakespeare!

Not enough time for:

The Book of Trees: visualizing branches of knowledge by Manuel Lima

Arboreal: a collection of new woodland writing edited by Adrian Cooper (Includes essays, photos, and stories by, among others Andy Goldworthy, Ali Smith, Philip Hoare, and Germaine Greer.)

Oak: the frame of civilization by William Bryant Logan

Be in a Treehouse by Pete Nelson (Includes the Hidden Hollow Treehouse at the Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich)

The Songs of Trees: stories from nature’s great connectors by David George Haskell

Maple on Tap: making  your own maple syrup by Rich Finzer

Picture Books

Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky with photographs by Christopher G. Knight

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Poetrees by Douglas Florian

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry


Patron Suggestions

American Canopy: trees, forests and the making of a nation by Eric Rutlow

Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wolfe

The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wolfe

Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Trees in a Winter Landscape by Alice Smith










Books to Make You Laugh on The Point

This morning on The Point with Mindy Todd we discussed books that make us laugh. Joining Mindy were Jill Erickson, Head of Reference and Adult Services at FPL and Vicky Titcomb of Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich. We hope you’ll now be able to start your new year with a chuckle! Below are our lists, as well as listener picks.

Mindy’s Picks

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: understanding philosophy through jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: understanding political doublespeak through philosophy and jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Craig Kingsbury Talkin’ by Kristen Kingsbury Henshaw


Vicky’s Picks

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

One Man’s Meat by E. B. White

Theft by Finding Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris

The Inevitable Guest by Marcia Monbleau

Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance by Bill McKibben

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman

Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, Everybody’s Fool and The Straight Man by Richard Russo

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Tao of Martha: my year of living; or, why I’m never getting all that glitter off of the dog by Jen Lancaster

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Jill’s Picks

The Complete Peanuts 1950 – 1952 by Charles M. Schulz

The Complete Peanuts 1963 – 1964 by Charles M. Schulz

The Awdrey-Gore Legacy by Edward Gorey (Also available in the Gorey collection Amphigorey Also.)

Home Cooking: a writer in the kitchen by Laurie Colwin

Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel

The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse

Vacationland: true stories from painful beaches by John Hodgman

The 50 Funniest American Writers edited by Andy Borowitz

Listener Picks

How Not to Do Things by Susan Blood

Himself  by Jess Kidd

I’m a Stranger Here Myself and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Holiday Books on the Point

Today’s show was pre-recorded, due to the WCAI pledge drive, which means that the morning show was abbreviated, but the 7:00 PM show will be the complete show.  So if you see books on this list that you didn’t actually hear about when you were listening, that would be the reason! You can also listen online at WCAI. Vicky Titcomb of Titcomb’s Bookshop joined Mindy Todd and Jill Erickson to talk about books to give and books that inspire you to make, bake, and decorate for the holidays.

Here is the Harry Potter quotation, read on the show, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling:

“Sir — Professor Dumbledore? Can I ask you something?”

“Obviously, you’ve just done so,” Dumbledore smiled. “You may ask me one more thing, however,”

“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”

I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks.”

Harry stared.

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

And here is a link to the poem Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda.

And here is the recipe for snow filling for cake, as written in the Girls Friendly Cook Book:

“Scrape 1 apple in a large bowl, add 1 cup sugar; pour over the unbeaten whites of 2 eggs; then beat about twenty minutes. At first it looks brown, but when done it will be like snow. This may be used for cake or for coffee jelly.”


Vicky’s Picks

Beautiful Gift Books

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 

Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza

The Message of the Birds by Kate Westerlund (picture book with the true Christmas story)

Gratitude: A Book of Inspirational Thoughts & Quotes by Susan Branch

For the History Buff

The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism  by John U. Bacon.  Boston Red Cross and the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee provided immediately after the Halifax Explosion of 1917

The Mayflower: The Families, The Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser.  Winslow family

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

For the Nature Lover

The Outer Beach: A Thousand Mile Walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore by Robert Finch.

365 Cape Cod Ponds Day by Day by Susan Anarino

Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti

For the Adventurous

Ruthless River: Love & Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios by Holly Fitzgerald

For the Cook

The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine by Erin French

America the Cookbook: A Culinary Road Trip Through the 50 States by Gabrielle Langholtz

For the Music Lover

The Greatest Album Covers of All Time by Barry Miles, Grant Scott and Johnny Morgan

For the Sports Lover

Count the Rings: Inside Boston’s Wicked Awesome Reign as the City of Champions from 2001 to 2017, Ten Titles, Four Teams: Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics by Bob Halloran

For the Boater

Unsinkable: The History of Boston Whaler by Matthew Plunkett

Books to Inspire

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

God: 48 Famous and Fascinating Minds Talk about God compiled by Jennifer Berne

The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace by Patrizia Collard

Just for Fun

Shakespeare Box Set (Running Press Miniature Books)


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. National Book Award for Fiction 2017

For Children

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Ages 10+)

Max and Charlie Help a Hero: Never Too Young to Give Back by Kim Rodriques and K. M. Ginter (ages 6 and up)

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser (Ages 9-12) – A Christmas story

Harry Potter Pensieve Memory Seta journal for any Harry Potter fan!

Picture Books for Children

The Mermaid by Jan Brett


Jill’s Picks

Bookshops: a reader’s history by Jorge Carrión

A Very Merry Paper Christmas

Unpacking My Library: artists and their books edited by Jo Steffens and Matthias Neumann

The New Christmas Tree by Carrie Brown

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes (The image on this page is from this book.)

Christmas for Greta and Gracie by Yasmeen Ismail

Novel Destinations: a travel guide to literary landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon

The Usual Santas: a collection of Soho Crime Christmas capers

The Girls Friendly Cook Book

The Cape Cod Cook Book by Suzanne Cary Gruver

A Family Christmas selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy


Patron Suggestion:

The Work of Christmas: the twelve days of Christmas with Howard Thurman by Bruce Epperly


Lost in Translation

Today’s book radio show on The Point with Mindy Todd was all about books that have been translated, primarily translated into English, as well as the challenges for translators of translating one language into another language. Joining Jill Erickson and Mindy was author Peter Abrahams. Below you will find a list of books mentioned, and if you missed the show you can listen online anytime!


Peter’s Picks

The Trial by Franz Kafka, translated from the German by Willa and Edwin Muir

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, translated the French by Jacques Le Clercq

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, translated from the Russian by H. T. Willetts

The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: the complete first edition, translated from the German by Jack Zipes

Holy Bible, the King James Version


Jill’s Picks

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated from the French originally by Katherine Woods and in 2000 translated by Richard Howard

Is That a Fish in Your Ear: translation and the meaning of everything by David Bellos

Collected Poems by C. P. Cavafy, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn in 2009 and by Edmund Kellery & Philip Sherrard in 1975.

December Heat By Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, translated from the Portuguese by Benjamin Moser. Part of the Inspector Espinosa series.

In Translation: translators on their work and what it means, edited by Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, translated from the French by Lydia Davis

Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector, translated from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin. Also try The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated by Katrina Dodson and Why This World: a biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser. That’s the cover from Lispector’s complete stories that illustrates this blog.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett or Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky or Rosamund Bartlett or Marian Schwartz. Article about the Anna Karenina translations can be found in The New York Times, written by Masha Gessen.

Bonus book, for which there was no time, but is well worth reading if you are interested in a short book on translation. Why Translation Matters by Edith Grossman. (Includes a list of the author’s picks of important translations.)




Funeral and Memorial Readings

Over the years we have often been asked for words or poems that might be read at a funeral. Recently we were asked again, and decided it might be useful to write a blog entry on this topic. We hope the list of books below might be helpful during the difficult time of planning a funeral or a memorial service.

The Book of Eulogies edited with commentary by Phyllis Theroux. This is a collection of memorial tributes, poetry, essays, and letters of condolence. It includes an index, so should you know a specific author that your loved one used to read, you can find all the names of the writers in the index. Perhaps unexpectedly, but helpfully, there is an entire section of tributes devoted to animals who have died.

Funeral and Memorial Service Readings, Poems and Tributes edited by Rachel R. Baum is sorted by the type of tribute you are planning. Thus there are sections, among others, for mothers, fathers, children, friends, soldiers, and pets.

Readings & Poems edited by Jane McMorland Hunter. Included in this volume are sections of readings and poems that would be appropriate for a funeral or a memorial service. The two sections are “a quiet door” and “love and go on” and include poems by Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, and A. E. Housman among others. One of the loveliest things about this particular book are the illustrations. (One used to illustrate this blog.) In the introduction the author writes: “Death is one of the certainties of life, as is the fact that at some stage each of us will almost certainly have to deal with the loss of someone close. The pieces here deal first with death itself and then with solitude, but the dividing line is deliberately hazy; somehow we have to find a balance between shedding tears and moving on, remembering and being sad or forgetting and smiling.”

Bartlett’s Poems for Occasions edited by Geoffrey O’Brien with a foreword by Billy Collins.  There are sections for “death and mortality” and “grief and mourning.”

The Art of Losing: poems of grief & healing edited by Kevin Young. This volume includes “150 devastatingly beautiful contemporary elegies that embrace the pain, heartbreak, and healing stages of mourning.”

The Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series offers two possible volumes. One is Poems of Mourning selected and edited by Peter Washington and the other is Poems of the Sea selected and edited by J. D. McClatchy. Because we live by the sea Poems of the Sea feels appropriate for many an occasion, but for a person who loved the ocean you might just find the perfect poem to read aloud at a funeral or a memorial service.




Young Adult & Children’s Books on The Point

Joining Mindy today on The Point’s monthly show on books were Sara Hines of Eight Cousins Books and Mary E. Cronin. The topic was books for children and young adults, and below you will find a list of books that were mentioned, as well as listener picks. We know we discovered lots of new titles we want to read! Miss the show? You’ll be able to listen online!

Jill Erickson, Head of Reference and Adult Services at FPL, took this month off from the book show, but will return next month with Peter Abrahams who will be joining Mindy and Jill to discuss books in translation.


Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

I am Gandhi (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer

Martin Sandler books

Journey by Aaron Becker

The Little Sock Pirate by John Whelan; illustrations by Clara Urbahn



Brick by Brick by Giuliano Ferri

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: a story about knitting and love by Michelle Edwards; illustrated by G. Brian Karas

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Robert; illustrated by Christian Robinson

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: future author extraordinaire by Susan Tan; illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Patina Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down (book in verse) due out in October



Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz and Neil Brennan

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Posted by John David Anderson

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman

Doing Her Bit: a story about the Woman’s Land Army of America by Erin Hagar; illustrated by Jen Hill

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stann Yogi; illustrations by Yutaka Houlette

The Reading Without Walls Challenge

The Nantucket Sea Monster: a fake news story by Darcy Pattison

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl



The Cookie Loved ‘Round the World: the story of the chocolate chip cookie by Kathleen Teahan

One by Kathryn Otoshi

Big Hair Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates and Megan Bair

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton

Mad Scientists Club by Bertrand R. Brinley

Shadow Man by Melissa Scott


Our New Assistant Director Has Arrived!

We asked Jennifer Woodward, our brand new Assistant Director, to write something about her first week at FPL for the blog, and she did! We are so delighted she is here!


“Hello! My name is Jennifer Woodward and I am the new Assistant Director here at the Falmouth Public Library. I am thrilled to be here. I spent my first week on the job getting to know the library staff and the library building, as well as learning my new tasks and more about Falmouth. The library staff welcomed me with a party which featured a pie making contest! Both Liz Farland and Tammy Amon won the coveted Golden Spatula awards.

My most recent position was the Director of the public library in Northbridge Massachusetts. I’ve also worked in a corporate library, a law library and two other public libraries in Massachusetts. I grew up in Massachusetts, mostly in Plymouth, and spent my adult years (to date) in Metrowest and Central Massachusetts.

One of my new tasks is to choose which fiction books and DVDs to buy for adults. If you have any suggestions or thoughts about what you would like us to buy,  I would love to talk to you about it!

Thank you to the library staff and Director Linda Collins for helping make my first week a successful one.  And I hope to see you at the library soon!”

Books About Ephemera on The Point

Mindy and Jill were delighted to be joined today by Ken Gloss of the Brattle Book Shop located in Boston. Ken arrived with piles of ephemera, and below you will find the books that Jill mentioned, with a few bonus titles. If you are interested in local postcards, check out our digital Robert C. Hunt Postcard Collection, and for menus drop by the New York Public Library Lab’s historical menu collection! Miss the show? You can listen online!

Encyclopedia of Ephemera: a guide to the fragmentary documents of everyday life for teh collector, curator, and historian by Maurice Rickards

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewlery by Leanne Shapton

Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a novel in pictures by Caroline Preston

S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Richard Nickel: Dangerous Years: What He Saw and What He Wrote by Richard Cahan & Michael Williams

Scrapbooks: an American history by Jessica Helfand

No Time For ..

The Postcard Age: selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection by Lynda Klich and Benjamin Weiss

Urgent 2nd Class: creating curious collage, dubious documents, and other art from ephemera by Nick Bantock

Vintage Ephemera from the collection of Cavallini & Co. by Brian D. Coleman


Simon Says …

I am always astonished by all the science that takes place in the town of Falmouth, thanks to all of our scientific institutions. Recently I met Simon Ryder-Burbidge who is a guest student at WHOI. He and his colleagues are conducting a survey to understand how the community of Falmouth experiences “connection” to the ocean. They want to build a model for the design of community-based ocean policy, and they need your help! The survey is daunting at first, but as Simon tells me: ” It was a difficult balance to make it a manageable length without losing too much.” However, he also shares: “That being said, I’ve been very impressed by the level of participation so far. Some of the open-ended responses have been an absolute joy to read, and others very informative. People have been really generous with their time, and I do feel that something good is growing here.”

Simon and his colleagues are only looking for Falmouth residents, but Heather Goldstone, of WCAI, is also interested in your ocean stories. She writes: “Wherever you’re from, tell us your best ocean story. Throughout the summer, Living Lab Radio will be featuring your tales of ocean connections. E-mail a brief version of your story and your contact information to Living Lab Radio, or leave us a voicemail at (508) 289-1285.”

So you have two great opportunities to tell the world what the ocean means to you! You can find Simon’s survey for resident’s of Falmouth at As long as I was chatting with Simon, I also thought I’d ask him if he had any favorite books about the ocean, and this is what he told me:

“As for books, I have really been enjoying one called Cod by Mark Kurlansky (very locally relevant) at current. Blowing my mind about once per chapter so far.
Another one I really liked was Sex in the Sea by Marah Hardt. Some crazy stuff going on under the water. “
The full titles are Cod:  A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Kinky Crustaceans, SexChanging Fish, Romantic Lobsters and Other Salty Erotica. Try some ocean reading to get you in the mood for filling out a survey or telling your ocean story!
Jill Erickson
Head of Reference & Adult Services