Friday Reads: Every Body Yoga

 

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

 

Today we are adding a unique little yoga book to our collectionEvery Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley.  The author, a certified yoga instructor with an atypical yoga body, writes in her introduction: “I wrote this book for every fat person, every old person, and every exceptionally short person.  I wrote it for every person who has called themselves ugly and every person who can’t accept their beauty.  I wrote it for every person who is self-conscious about their body.  I wrote it for every human being who struggles to find happiness on a daily basis, and for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by the mere act of being alive.  I’ve been there.  We all have.”

If you have “been there” too and you are looking for a new path, check out this book and see if you catch Stanley’s enthusiasm.   She includes reminisces about her troubled childhood spent feeling self-conscious about her weight, which was a product of overeating an unhealthy southern diet and worrying about her very sick mother, and she liberally sprinkles her narrative with adult-rated language and street slang.  A spiritual, peaceful book featuring a slender white woman wearing all white and calmly posing on a beach, this is not.  This is a body-positive, you can do this sh*t, type of book for people who have thought yoga is not for them.

If the memoir aspect of the book is not appealing to you, skip those parts and focus on Part 2: “What the Hell is This?” where she introduces the history of yoga, the various types, and what supplies you need to do it; and Part 3: the poses.  Clear photos show Stanley in a variety of asanas (yoga poses) often wearing an infectious smile along with her colorful outfits and they are accompanied by clearly written instructions and tips about how to position your body.  There is even an index, which makes reference librarians cheer.

Here final paragraph is a good sendoff: “At the end of the day, we all struggle with emotional, physical, and spiritual turmoil.  This struggle is our great unifier.  And if we all deal with the same struggles, yoga is the equalizing influence that can calm all of our lives.  Yoga is for everyone, and body shape/size/color is completely irrelevant.  Whatever your shape, shade, whatever baggage you’re carrying around with you, put it down and get on the mat.  Find a place for yoga in your life today.”

You can find this book on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 613.7046 STA.

 

 

 

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Books & Authors Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Books & Authors Festival

The Falmouth Public Library and Eight Cousins Bookstore are proud to present the second annual Books & Authors Festival. The Festival will be held between July 13 – August 29. Celebrate the wonderful community of local authors on the Cape, meet bestselling authors, including Anita Diamant, and hear from recognized debut author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, plus many more.

All of our events are free and made possible by the Board of Trustees at the Falmouth Public Library. In addition, all events will be held in the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room at the Main Library. Copies of the authors’ books will be available for purchase and signings will follow.

No registration is required. Doors will open 15 minutes prior to start time.

Books & Authors Newsletter

More events may be added for August 2017. To receive Books & Authors event reminders, consider signing up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on our festival lineup. Click here to sign up.

2017 Event Schedule

Download 2017 Festival Brochure

Thursday, July 13, 2017 | 5:00pm
The Outer Cape with Patrick Dacey
Reading & Signing

Robert and Irene Kelly were a golden couple of the late ‘70s—she an artist, he a businessman, each possessed by dynamism and vibrancy. But with two young boys to care for, Irene finds herself confined by the very things she’d dreamed of having. And Robert, pressured by Irene’s demands and haunted by the possibility of failure, risks the family business to pursue a fail-safe real estate opportunity.

Twenty years later, their now-grown sons, Nathan and Andrew, are drawn back to confront a fateful diagnosis. As they revisit the Cape Cod of their childhood, the ghosts of the past threaten to upend the tenuous peace of the present.

In The Outer Cape, Patrick Dacey delivers a story of four people grappling with the shadow of infinite possibility, a book in which chasing the American dream and struggling to survive are one and the same.


Saturday, July 15, 2017 | 11:00 am
Fiction Writer’s Panel with Ellen Herrick (The Forbidden Garden) & Anne LeClair (The Halo Effect), Kathy Aspden, (Baklava, Biscotti and an Irishman), & Holly Hodder Eger (Split Rock)
Reading & Signing

The Kirkland Hall estate in England is a vast property (a mini Downton Abbey) with one black mark upon its grounds. The Shakespeare garden is cursed, and any family member who tries to improve its bleak state is harmed in some way. The lord of the estate, Graham Kirkland, hears of Sorrel’s magic-touch gardening skills and lures her from her New England home to restore the garden. Since she is no relation to the family, he assumes she will not be affected by the curse. But -Graham’s brother-in-law, the broody Andrew, is thrown into the mix. He’s at a turning point in his life and is staying at Kirkland Hall to evaluate his future options. As Sorrel works wonders in the garden, the tender bud of a romance begins. As the curse is researched, secrets of the family’s past emerge.

In this tour de force, a father, shaken by tragedy, tries to avenge his daughter’s murder–and restore his family’s shattered life. It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner of lamb tagine, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods. With shocking events that reverberate for a lifetime, all are drawn closer to unraveling the mystery as their paths collide in a series of inextricably linked, dark, dangerous moments that could lead to their undoing…or to their redemption.

Artfully weaving together three lives, three coasts and three generations, Kathy Aspden’s breathtaking debut, Baklava, Biscotti, and an Irishman is a dazzling pastiche of love, deception, acceptance and forgiveness. When the choices that Teressa, Danny and Gregory make intersect with circumstances out of their control, they must straddle the fine line between what is right and what is unimaginable to live without – each asking What would I do for the sake of a child? It is a deeply moving story about the dynamics of love and loss, and what it takes to survive both.

After inheriting a house on Martha’s Vineyard and finding herself alone there with three young children, Annie Tucker must confront her past when an unresolved love tests whether she has the courage to resist the pull of seduction and reclaim her true self. Both poignant and funny, this story is about forgiveness, acceptance, and the power of love and family.


 

 

Monday, July 17, 2017 | 3:30pm
The Outer Beach: a thousand-mile walk on Cape Cod’s atlantic shore with Robert Finch
Interviewed by a special guest (to be announced)

Those who have encountered Cape Cod—or merely dipped into an account of its rich history—know that it is a singular place. Robert Finch writes of its beaches: “No other place I know sears the heart with such a constant juxtaposition of pleasure and pain, of beauty being born and destroyed in the same moment.” And nowhere within its borders is this truth more vivid and dramatic than along the forty miles of Atlantic coast—what Finch has always known as the Outer Beach. The essays here represent nearly fifty years and a cumulative thousand miles of walking along the storied edge of the Cape’s legendary arm.

Finch considers evidence of nature’s fury: shipwrecks, beached whales, towering natural edifices, ferocious seaside blizzards. Throughout these essays, Finch pays tribute to the Outer Beach’s impressive literary legacy, meditates on its often-tragic history, and explores the strange, mutable nature of time near the ocean. But lurking behind every experience and observation—both pivotal and quotidian—is the essential question that the beach beckons every one of its pilgrims to confront: How do we accept our brief existence here, caught between overwhelming beauty and merciless indifference?


Tuesday, July 18, 2017 | 6:30pm
In Conversation with B.A. Shapiro (The Muralist)
Interviewed by Mary Fran Buckley, Eight Cousins Bookstore

When Alizée Benoit, a young American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her arts patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends and fellow WPA painters, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who, while working at Christie’s auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?


Thursday, July 20, 2017 | 3:30pm
Meet the Authors: Meaghan Brothers (Weird Girl and What’s His Name) and Cristina Moracho (A Good Idea)
Reading & Signing
Recommended for ages 14 +

In the podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything–sci-fi and fantasy fandom, Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they don’t quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she’s shared with him her “sacred texts”–the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula’s life. But then Lula discovers that Rory–her Rory, who maybe she’s secretly had feelings for–has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers.

Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl? Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates. Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones-and herself-at risk.


Saturday, July 22, 2017 | 6:00pm
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (The Fact of a Body: A Murder & A Memoir) in conversation with Leah Carroll (Down City: a Daughter’s Story of Love, Memory, and Murder )

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes — the moment she hears him speak of his crimes — she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood.

Like James Ellroy’s, My Dark Places, Down City is a gripping narrative built of memory and reportage, and Leah Carroll’s portrait of Rhode Island is sure to take a place next Mary Karr’s portrayal of her childhood in East Texas and David Simon’s gritty Baltimore. Leah Carroll’s mother, a gifted amateur photographer, was murdered by two drug dealers with Mafia connections when Leah was four years old. Her father, a charming alcoholic who hurtled between depression and mania, was dead by the time she was eighteen. Why did her mother have to die? Why did the man who killed her receive such a light sentence? What darkness did Leah inherit from her parents? Leah was left to put together her own future and, now in her memoir, she explores the mystery of her parents’ lives, through interviews, photos, and police records.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017 | 6:30pm
Stealing Rembrandts: the untold stories of notorious art heists with Anthony Amore
Presentation by the author

Art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion dollars in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. In Stealing Rembrandts, authors Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg reveal the actors behind the major art heists of the Dutch Master in the last century. Through thefts around the world–from Stockholm to Boston, Worcester to Ohio–the authors track daring entries into and escapes from the world’s most renowned museums, and robbers who coolly walk off with multimillion dollar paintings. Stealing Rembrandts is a dramatic and brilliant account that lets you peek into the alluring and little-known criminal art world.


 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 | 6:30pm

In Conversation with Anita Diamant (The Boston Girl)
Interviewed by Mary Fran Buckley, Eight Cousins Bookstore

Anita Diamant is the author of twelve books.

Her first novel, New York Times bestseller, The Red Tent, has been published in more than 25 countries. Winner of the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award, it was adapted into a two-part miniseries by Lifetime TV.

Anita Diamant’s other bestselling novels include Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, Day after Night, and The Boston Girl.

Diamant has also written six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, the first of which, The New Jewish Wedding, has recently been revised and updated as The Jewish Wedding Now. Her other guidebooks include The Jewish Baby Book, Living a Jewish Life, Choosing a Jewish Life, How to Raise a Jewish Child and Saying Kaddish. A collection of her essays, Pitching My Tent, is drawn from twenty years worth of newspaper and magazine columns. An award-winning journalist, her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, Parenting Magazine, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine.

Anita Diamant is the founding president of Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh, a 21st century reinvention of the ritual bath as a place for exploring ancient traditions and enriching contemporary Jewish life.

Anita Diamant grew up in Newark, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in comparative literature and holds a Master’s degree in English from Binghamton University. She resides in the Boston area with her husband, Jim Ball.


Saturday, July 29, 2017 | 3:30pm

Cape Cod and the Islands: where beauty and history meet with Kathryn Kleekamp
Presentation by the author 

Cape Cod and its neighboring islands, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, possess extraordinary beauty. Magnificent ocean vistas, spectacular sand dunes, quiet marshes, and historic seaside villages bring people back year after year. Featuring more than 50 of Kathryn Kleekamp’s original oil paintings depicting land and seascapes along with rare historic photographs, this edition includes more than 20 new images and a chapter on current conservation efforts directed at preserving the area’s natural resources. Images and text capture the fundamental nature of this remarkable place: the heartbeat of those who farmed the land, fished the seas, captained the great schooners, or waited at home for a loved one’s return. For the inquiring visitor these remarkable stories of courage and enterprise provide background for thoughtful reflection. Traditional Cape and Island recipes are included as another link to the past.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017 | 6:00pm
Eden with Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg
Reading & Signing 

Becca Meister Fitzpatrick – wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community – is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition. That is until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: She has a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship, will react. Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family – her parents beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named Eden.

 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017 | 6:00pm
Sears Point: a novel of Cape Cod with Jim Coogan
Reading & Signing 

Set in Brewster on Cape Cod, the story features the life and challenges of Washington Foster Sears. Born in the early years of the 20th century, Washy Sears lives a century in the town of his birth and experiences the transition of his community from the traditional rural village life so well portrayed in the novels of Joseph Crosby Lincoln to the realities and demands of today’s world. Author Jim Coogan has created a series of interesting characters who share Washy’s life’s journey though such events as the days of Prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II and beyond into the post-war years where rapid growth changed not only the economy of Cape Cod, but also the political and social norms of the peninsula. More than just a history of a single town, Washy Sears’ life can be viewed as a mirror as to what happened not only to Brewster, but to all of Cape Cod over the last century.

 

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New Book Club for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Teens and Adults

Falmouth Public Library recently joined the Next Chapter Book Club Affiliate Network and will soon be launching a local club.  Founded by Dr. Thomas Fish, a professor at The Ohio State University in 2002, Next Chapter Book Club is a community-based book club program for individuals with Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other types of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Next Chapter Book Club, which was awarded the “Innovations in Reading Prize” by the National Book Foundation in 2016, has clubs throughout North America and in other parts of the world.  Clubs meet in public places and are comprised of four to eight members and two volunteer facilitators who are trained to engage readers of all levels – including those who cannot read or are “emerging readers.”

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities love books for the same reasons most people do. They enjoy being transported to different worlds where they meet interesting characters and learn about exciting new things.  Taking that journey with a group of friends makes it even more delightful and fun.”

– Susan Berg, Executive Director of the Ohio-based Next Chapter Book Club.

Although reading skills of Next Chapter Book Club members often improve as a result of reading more often, the program is more about “reading to learn,” rather than “learning to read.”  The primary focus is on having fun with friends in public place on a regular basis.

We currently are inviting new members and facilitators to join us on Monday afternoons from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM starting on June 5, 2017. Free training for facilitators will be provided.

 Anyone interested in joining the club or becoming a volunteer facilitator should contact: Donna Burgess 508-457-2555 ext. 6 or email: dburgess@falmouthpubliclibrary.org

Friday Reads: 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.

Books of Ireland for a Green Spring Day

Today’s The Point with Mindy Todd on WCAI featured books about Ireland and by Irish authors. We think all of today’s Spring green was a perfect setting for Irish books. Joining Jill Erickson, Head of Reference & Adult Services, was Vicki Titcomb of Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich. What a pleasure it was to have Vicki back in the studio with us! And if you missed the show this morning, you can listen online.

I did have a few updates on past shows this morning. Thanks again to the anonymous donor who brought me six paperback copies of Josephine Tey mysteries, after I mentioned I had not read them, last February when we did the mystery book show with Jennifer Gaines of the Woods Hole Library. I have now begun to read Josephine Tey, and very much enjoyed reading Miss Pym Disposes.

Last month, when we were talking about bird books, I had mentioned a novel that I had not yet read nor even seen, but had learned about via Twitter! It was published in Australia, and thus was a bit tricky to find a copy. However, I now have read The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, a very beautiful and moving novel about Elizabeth Gould, wife of ornithologist John Gould. Thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library you can see many of her bird paintings on Flickr! The novel is also chock full of details about painting and science, childbirth, and most especially the collecting of birds to identify new species. It also is a particularly beautiful book, with fabulous endpapers and jacket and even the paper is lovely, all thanks to Affirm Press, as they say on their web page: “an independent Melbourne-based publisher dedicated to publishing great Australian stories, big ideas, and the most engaging local and international authors.” The novel is now available at the Falmouth Public Library, and I hope soon will be picked up by an American publisher! If you want your very own copy, you currently can purchase a copy via Book Depository. As they describe themselves on their web page: Book Depository is “the world’s leading specialist online bookstore. We’re proud to offer over 17 million titles, all at unbeatable prices with free delivery worldwide to over 100 countries.”

So here are the lists, and now I have to go do my reference librarian homework, and see if Frank Zappa really was the first to say: “So many books, so little time.”

Vicki’s Picks

Opened Ground Selected Poems, 1966-1966 by Seamus Heaney “Digging”
Collected Stories by Frank O’Connor
Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
In the Woods by Tana French
The Green Road by Anne Enright
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
The Princes of Ireland: the Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherford
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea by Patrick Taylor

Didn’t cover, but really wanted to:

The Immortal Irishman: the Irish Revolutionary who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan

Jill’s Picks

A Journey with Two Maps: becoming a woman poet by Eavan Boland
The Search for Missing Friends: Irish immigrant advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot
Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien (or any collection of Edna O’Brien stories)
The Springs of Affection: stories of Dublin by Maeve Brennan (or any collection of Maeve Brennan stories)
An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Walking in Ireland: 50 walks through the heart and soul of Ireland by Christopher Somerville
Irish Travellers: the unsettled life by Sharon Bohn Gmelch & George Gmelch

Listener Picks

A Shocking Assassination by Cora Harrison
The Trick of the Ga Bolga by Patrick McGinley

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: 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.

 

New Books are Blooming

Springtime is here and these new books are blooming with hilarious and human tales about life. What do you get when Elvis, Lucy, Vance, Nelson and Nadia share their stories? Books to add to your ‘must read’ list.

1. Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

Twelve-year-old Elvis Babbitt has a head for the facts: she knows science proves yellow is the happiest color, she knows a healthy male giraffe weighs about 3,000 pounds, and she knows that the naked mole rat is the longest living rodent. She knows she should plan to grieve her mother, who has recently drowned while sleepwalking, for exactly eighteen months. But there are things Elvis doesn’t yet know–like how to keep her sister Lizzie from poisoning herself while sleep-eating or why her father has started wearing her mother’s silk bathrobe around the house. Elvis investigates the strange circumstances of her mother’s death and finds comfort, if not answers, in the people (and animals) of Freedom, Alabama. As hilarious a storyteller as she is heartbreakingly honest, Elvis is a truly original voice in this exploration of grief, family, and the endurance of humor after loss.

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2. The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

A hilarious and emotionally charged novel about a couple who embark on an open marriage-what could possibly go wrong?

 

 

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3. News From the End of the World by Emily Jeanne Miller

“A novel about the lovable but dysfunctional Lake family of Cape Cod and the four fraught days that will make or break them…Vance Lake is broke, jobless, and recently dumped. He takes refuge at his twin brother Craig’s house on Cape Cod and unwittingly finds himself smack in the middle of a crisis that would test the bonds of even the most cohesive family, let alone the Lakes. Craig seethes, angry and mournful at equal turns. His exasperated wife, Gina, is on the brink of an affair. At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Amanda: adored niece who can do no wrong to Vance, surly stepdaughter to Gina, and stubborn, rebellious daughter to Craig. She’s also pregnant. Told in alternating points of view by each member of this colorful New England clan and infused with the quiet charm of the Cape in the off-season, The News from the End of the World follows one family into a crucible of pent-up resentments, old and new secrets, and memories long buried. Only by coming to terms with their pasts, both as individuals and together, do they stand a chance of emerging intact”– Provided by publisher.

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4. Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler


An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp–from the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs

 

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5. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

“From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, twoyoung people meet–sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors–doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner–both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid’s most ambitious and electrifying novel yet”– Provided by publisher.

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