Friday Reads: American Fire

 

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

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This month the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club started a new 6-month session with the theme, “Connect the Dots.”  Readers will be asked to identify some small, but interesting likeness between the first book in the session and the second book, and then another connection between the second book and the third, and so on.

To start off our new session I chose American Fire:  love, arson, and life in a vanishing land by Monica Hesse because it has a connection with last month’s book, Oneida:  from free love Utopia to the well-set table by Ellen Wayland-Smith.  In Oneida, there is a lengthy discussion of the mysterious burning of the Oneida Community’s archived historical papers.  Why were the papers burned?  Who did it?  What is the significance of fire?  The dots (fires) were easy to connect with American Fire:  love, arson and life in a vanishing land.  Future connections will be smaller and subtler.

American Fire, published in 2017 to rave reviews and nominated for an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America, tells the true story of a rash of fires that consumed a struggling rural county on the Eastern Shore of Virginia a few years ago.  Abandoned buildings that signified a more prosperous past were set ablaze almost nightly for months before the arsonists were discovered.  A troubled but truthful man confessed to setting all 62 fires, at the urging of his girlfriend, whose love he was desperate to keep alive.

Part mystery, part love story, part vignette of this nation’s changing economy, American Fire is a well-researched, compelling narrative that made for a lively book discussion.  Some of us were convinced by the author about the motivation for arson and were sympathetic to the culprits, but others in the group didn’t buy-in to the explanation.  Professional reviewers said, “Hesse is a lovely stylist.” (Jennifer Senior, New York Times), “The book has the brisk diligence of big-city journalism (…) and the languid chattiness of the small town …” (Karl Vick , Time), a “vivid depiction,” (Ilana Masad, NPR.org) and “One of the year’s best and most unusual true-crime books.” (Randy Dotinga, Christian Science Monitor).  Give it a read and post your thoughts on the book here.  We’d love to know your reaction.  Were you convinced?

Edgar Award winners will be announced on April 26, 2018.

 

Dive Into the Ocean with Us!

Ready to read some great novels about the ocean? Novels that will take you from April right into beach season? Then join the Books on the Half Shell book group at the library for six great reads. You even get your choice of morning or night sessions. We meet at 7:00 PM on the third Wednesday of the month and at 10:00 AM the Thursday morning after. Books are available to check out at the Reference Desk. This series of book discussions includes:

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticant

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

The Lightkeeper’s Wife by Sarah Anne Johnson

Our first discussion will be on April 18th at 7:00 PM or April 19th at 10:00 AM. Take your pick!

 

Friday Reads: Practical Magic

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

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Practical Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics & Spells
by Nikki Van De Car with Illustrations by Katie Vernon

As the author notes in the introduction, this is a book for the occult-curious.  Do you read your daily horoscope in the newspaper? Have you bought an amethyst because it just might bring peace and happiness?  Do you want to learn how to interpret your dreams? “You don’t have to believe in magic to enjoy this book, you just have to want to…” states Van De Car.

Part 1, titled “Healing for Hedge Witches,” explains chakras, crystals and auras.  A chakra is an energy center in the body, generally envisioned as a wheel or swirl found in specific places along the spine (chakra is Sanskrit for “wheel”).  Crystals, as you may know, are thought to have healing qualities. This book describes over twenty crystals and how to clear and activate them.  Turquoise, for example, guards against disease and environmental pollutants.  Auras, visible energy fields around the whole body, have seven layers and several colors, all of which reveal something about the person’s physical and mental states.  “An orange aura generally means that the person is healthy and full of vitality and energy.”

Part 2, titled “Magic for the Weekend Wiccan,” covers healing with herbs, plant-based magic, pagan holidays and white magic.  Here you can learn how to make tinctures, oils and poultices, smudge sticks, a gris-gris (otherwise known as a sachet or charm bag), and of course, spells.  (I purchased this book for the library because a patron requested a book with spells.)  The next pagan holiday will occur on the full moon after this Tuesday’s spring equinox.  Called Ostara (pronounced OH-star-ah), it is a celebration of the balance of night and day at the midpoint of spring and it is sacred to the goddess of fertility, Eostre.  Do either of these italicized words make you think of a Christian holiday around this time?

Part 3, titled “Casual Clairvoyance,” covers tarot, astrology, palmistry and dream interpretation.  In this section you can “learn to interpret messages from within, as well as without.”  With lots of explanations of signs, markings, and symbols in this section you should be able to interpret a variety of messages with greater clarity.  Have you had a dream where you were flying?  You can attribute that to finally making a decision you were putting off or feeling confident that you can achieve your goals.  Good for you.

Practical Magic: a beginner’s guide to crystals, horoscopes, psychics and spells by Nikki Van De Car can be found on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 133.4 VAN, until it vanishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Reads: How to Cake It

 

“Friday Reads” is (an almost) weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Topics may be 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. 

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Since I know many people who have a birthday in March, from my soon-to-be 93-year-old father to frequent patrons of the library, the book of choice this week is How to Cake It: a cakebook by Yolanda Gampp.   Recently added to our very large and popular cookbook section, you can easily spot this one on the new nonfiction shelf with its pink binding and hot pink title.

You may have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but it is pretty safe to do it this time.  Yolanda herself is featured front and center wearing a brightly colored tee that says caké and as you flip through the pages you will see the theme develop as she wears several other bold and bright tees proclaiming her cake love.  In front of her is an elaborate 7-layer chocolate cake, sculpted into a pink and gold crown, festooned with oversized candy jewels, fit for the most demanding princess.  You get the idea: bold, bright, whimsical cakes ‘r us.

“On her You-tube channel, How to Cake It, Yolanda creates mind-blowing cakes in every shape imaginable.  From cakes that look like food, such as a watermelon and a Thanksgiving turkey, to cakes designed as oversized everyday objects, like a giant nail polish bottle and a Rubik’s cube, Yo’s creations are fun and realistic.  Now, Yo brings her friendly, offbeat charm and caking expertise to this colorful cakebook filled with imaginative new cakes to make at home.” (Publisher’s summary from the inner flap.)

I expect my father would not be into the “Fried Chicken and Waffles” cake (vanilla cake and puffed rice) or the pink velvet cake shaped like a purse, but I bet he would love the coconut cake and Italian meringue buttercream frosting recipes.  With Yolanda’s clear and thorough instructions and great tips for making the cake look professional, even a novice can turn out a dazzling and delicious cake.

 

This book is geared for children and the fanciful at heart with all of the design ideas, but if you are in need of great directions on leveling/layering, spreading a crumb coat or working with fondant, as well as a few cake and frosting recipes to create your own designs, then this book will be very helpful for you too.  Okay, so that last statement may negate the idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Bakers who are not into pink and whimsy should not judge by the cover, but by the contents instead.

How to Cake It is currently on the new nonfiction shelf with the call #641.8653 GAM.

Friday Reads: Unseen: Unpublished Black History

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Topics may be 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 this final Friday of Black History Month, Friday Reads is highlighting Unseen:  Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives by Times photo editor, Darcy Eveleigh, and three colleagues, Dana Canedy, Damien Cave and Rachel L. Swarns.  The book is born from the highly popular New York Times series, “Unpublished Black History,” that ran in February, 2016 both in print and online.  “It garnered millions of views on The Times website and thousands of comments from readers,” the inside flap states.  Eveleigh discovered dozens of unpublished photos of black history in The Times archive and together with Canedy, Cave and Swarns researched the back stories.

Unseen showcases those photographs and digs even deeper into The Times’s archives to include 175 photographs and stories behind them in this extraordinary collection.  Among the entries is a 27-year-old Jesse Jackson leading an anti-discrimination rally in Chicago; Rosa Parks arriving at a Montgomery courthouse in Alabama; a candid shot of Aretha Franklin backstage at the Apollo Theater; Ralph Ellison on the streets of his Manhattan neighborhood; the fire-bombed home of Malcom X; Myrlie Evers and her children at the funeral of her slain husband, Medgar; a wheelchair-bound Roy Campanella at the razing of Ebbets Field; a behind-the-scenes- photo shoot with Arthur A. Mitchell, cofounder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and his principal dancers; images of peaceful and organized demonstrators at Resurrection City in 1968 that contrast the photographs of disorder and theft dominating the coverage of the time; and  series by Don Hogan Charles, the first black photographer hired by The Times, capturing life in Harlem in the 1960s.” (Inner flap).

This book can be found on the new nonfiction book shelf with call number 973.0496 UNS

 

Pictured:  cover and pps. 96-97 “Arthur Mitchell, Dancing Through Barriers”

Friday Reads: African American Folktales

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

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In celebration of Black History Month, this week I am highlighting a beautiful new book we recently added to the collection, The Annotated African American Folktales, edited and with a forward, introduction and notes by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar.  It joins other wonderfully designed annotated books of classic American literature from W. W. Norton and Co., such as The Annotated Alice, The Annotated Huckleberry Finn (which I put on in staff picks collection a few years ago) and The Annotated Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to name only a few.

 

The inner flap states, “Drawing from the great folklorists of the past while expanding African American lore with dozens of tales rarely seen before, The Annotated African American Folktales revolutionizes the canon like no other volume. ( …)  acclaimed scholars, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar assemble a groundbreaking collection of folktales, myths and legends that revitalizes a vibrant African American past to produce the most comprehensive and ambitious collection of African American folktales ever published in American literary history.  Arguing for the value of these deceptively simple stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these remarkable stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature, and American literature more broadly.”

With this book you will make sense of the world with Anansi, figure out dilemmas with a variety of tales, read of enchantment and wisdom in fairy tales and enjoy many stories of flying Africans, magic instruments, witches, hants and spooks, talking skulls and singing tortoises.  The Tar-Baby and Uncle Remus are well represented and one section features folktales collected by Zora Neale Hurston.  This isn’t all, there is a section of tales about John and old master, ballads about heroes, outlaws and monkey business and preacher tales as well.

The essays, annotations and assorted photos, drawings and other illustrations combine to provide illuminating context for these “deceptively simple stories,” making The Annotated African American Folktales a real treasury.  You can find this book on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 398.208996 ANN.

 

Welcome Dr. Budson!

As you age, you may find yourself worrying about your memory. Where did I put those car keys? What time was my appointment? What was her name again? With more than 41 million Americans over the age of 65 in the United States, the question becomes how much (or, perhaps, what type) of memory loss is to be expected as one gets older and what should trigger a visit to the doctor. Dr. Budson’s new book, co-written with Maureen K. O’Connor addresses these key concerns and more. Join us for a talk with Dr. Budson on Saturday, March 10, 2018, as he discusses his research and his new book, Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory: What’s Normal, What’s Not, and What to Do About it.

Request Your Copy 

Event Information:

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time: 1:30 -2:30 pm

Location: Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main Street, Hermann Meeting Room

No registration needed. Register on our registration page to receive a reminder email.


Andrew E. Budson, MD, majored in chemistry and philosophy at Haverford College before receiving his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Budson is Professor of Neurology at Boston University, Lecturer in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. His career combines education, research, and clinical care to help those with memory disorders.

Maureen K. O’Connor, PsyD, was educated at Ithaca College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. O’Connor is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Boston University, Director of Neuropsychology at the Bedford Veterans Affairs Hospital, and Member at Large of the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Her award-winning research, education, and clinical care focuses on patients with memory disorders.


Reviews:

“Memory concerns are common and addressing them in practical terms is rare. Andrew Budson and Maureen O’Connor take on this challenge in Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory, providing understandable real-world advice about how to know if memory is normal or abnormal and how to understand what memory impairment means. The advice is practical, comprehensible, and valuable – don’t forget this book.” — Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas, NV

 

“This book provides a comprehensive review of how the brain stores memories, the causes of memory disorders and how these disorders should be evaluated, treated and managed. This book is so clearly written that it provides valuable information and practical advice for people with memory disorders, their families and health-care professionals.” — Kenneth M. Heilman, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL

“The book combines scientific data from the research literature, clinical knowledge, and their extensive experience to offer a helpful, practical guide to managing concerns that older people may have when their memories start to falter.” — Martin L. Albert, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

 

“This thoughtful book offers insight into how the mind works and provides answers to fears about ‘losing our memory’. Through a series of vignettes, the authors help sort fact from fiction and, by the end of the book, the reader will be comforted to learn that being unable to find the keys for the tenth time in a week is likely the result of an overtaxed mind rather than something more serious. In this world of media bombardment and multitasking, here is a book that provides just the reassurance we need. A ‘must read’ for everyone over the age of 40. Just don’t forget to buy it!” — Cecilia McVey, RN, MHA, Certified in Nursing Administration, Boston, MA

 

“An informative and accessible discussion of memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental-health concerns. This primer will be useful to middle-aged and elderly readers, caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals, and others striving to understand the aging brain or find concrete ways to enhance brain health.” – —Publishers Weekly

 

“Understanding how memory works, and how well it works, is key to understanding yourself. For this this reason, Seven Steps To Managing Your Memory is recommended reading for everyone.” — The Electric Review

 

“Overall, I would highly recommend the book as a valuable resource for patients and families. I found it to be clear, accessible, generally accurate reading. I will gladly recommend the book to my patients and their families, and I would encourage other neurologists to do the same.” — Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology

Friday Reads: Ocean Echoes

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Topics may be 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, I’m highlighting a Staff Pick from a staff member who is also a free-lance writer on the side, so I figure she knows a well-written book when she reads one.  And, with full disclosure in mind, she is married into the MBL-WHOI* community of scientists in Woods Hole.  Our book this week is Ocean Echoes, a novel by Sheila Hurst.

Our staff member writes, “Sheila Hurst, local author and long-time WHOI employee describes the research world of oceanographers – with a fictional setting closely resembling Woods Hole, Ocean Echoes takes you on board a research vessel bound for distant seas.   Interesting plot developments tell the tale of an ocean that we all should be concerned about.”

From the back cover:  “Marine biologist Ellen Upton gives up on love to study jellyfish.  Her ultimate goal is to make a difference through her research, but the ocean would rather mystify than reveal its secrets.  When her funding is threatened, her future will depend on the success or failure of an upcoming research cruise.  During the cruise, she discovers what could be a new species.  Every discovery only leads to more questions.  She is driven to learn the truth behind its existence, even as the truth continues to change.  Either her dreams of recognition are within her grasp or her research is slipping into obsession. – Reverberating with mysteries of life and love, Ocean Echoes is a journey into the unknown.  A percentage from the sale of this book will go toward nonprofit organizations working to protect the world’s oceans for future generations.”

You can find this self-published book on the Staff Picks shelf, near the new self-checkout station.

 

*Marine Biological Laboratory – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

 

 

 

Friday Reads: Small Pets

 

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

 

If you have a small pet or are thinking of getting one, you should know about a wonderful little book we recently added to our collection … The Illustrated Practical Guide to Small Pets and Pet Care by David Alderton

The inner flap states:  “This expertly written guide looks at small mammals – including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and jirds [Yes, that is correct, a jird is a gerbil-like animal.], chinchillas, rats and mice – as well as birds, herptiles [Yes again, herptiles is a group that inlcudes reptiles and amphibians.], invertebrates, and fish. Each chapter features popular breeds from within each species, based on a availability and suitability for a domestic home-life.  There is detailed advice on how to choose the best pet for your lifestyle and which species are the most suitable for younger children, as well as practical tips for what to look for when buying a pet; suitable housing and exercise; foods for a balanced diet; pet health and how to respond when your pet is sick.”

This book is sure to be popular once word gets out.  You can find it on the new nonfiction shelf with the call # 636.0887 ALD.

Valentine’s day is coming up.  Please be a responsible pet owner and do not surprise someone with a pet for a gift.  Rabbits and love birds may seem like a cute idea, but if the new owner is not emotionally invested and prepared to take care of a surprise pet, it will likely be neglected or even abused.  This book will let you know what you can expect with small pet ownership so you can make an educated decision about which type of pet will be right for you.

 

 

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