Friday Reads: The Hemingway Thief

“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. 

The Hemingway Thief by Shaun Harris

I am a fan of ‘hard-boiled’ crime novels, such as Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, and I just read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, on which this novel is dependent.  So, there is no question why I enjoyed Shaun Harris’ The Hemingway Thief.  I laughed aloud at John Grisham’s expense, thoroughly enjoyed all of the literary references and got caught up in the rollicking adventure.  If you don’t mind the foul language and violence that goes along with the hard-boiled characters, then try out this buddy caper.  Reading A Moveable Feast first would help, but is not required.

This summary from the publisher will give you a taste of the style:

“Novelist Henry “Coop” Cooper is contemplating a new book between sipping rum and lounging on a Baja beach with hotel owner Grady Doyle.  When Grady tries to save a drunk from two thugs, Coop tags along for the sake of a good story.  The drunk is Ebbie Milch, a small-time thief on the run in Mexico because he has stolen the never-before-seen first draft of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast from a wealthy rare book dealer. The stolen manuscript is more than just a rare piece of literary history. It reveals clues to an even bigger prize: the location of a suitcase the young, unpublished Hemingway lost in Paris in 1922.  A year’s worth of his stories had vanished, never to be seen again.  Until now.  But Coop and Grady aren’t the only ones with their eyes on this elusive literary prize, and what starts as a hunt for a legendary writer’s lost works becomes a deadly adventure.  For Coop this story could become the book of a lifetime . . . if he lives long enough to write it.”

You can find The Hemingway Thief on the Staff Picks Shelf, unless …

 

Friday Reads: I am of Cape Cod

 

“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. 

 

I am of Cape Cod:  people and their stories, a new book by Chatham author John Whelan, seeks to portray a variety of people who call this beautiful peninsula home.  Beginning in Provincetown and working his way to the canal, Whelan highlights 139 people, from young to old, with different occupations and backgrounds.  Each person relates their connection to the Cape in a brief narrative and photographer Kim Roderiques expertly captures their character in thoughtful black and white photographs.  Bestselling author, Anne D. LeClaire (The Halo Effect and The Lavender Hour) wrote the introduction.

You can enjoy this book by flipping through and finding people that you recognize or you can read from start to finish and see the patterns that emerge as you travel from one end of the Cape to the other.   Henry David Thoreau is a common theme and beach photos abound.   Perhaps you’ll find a kindred spirit when you read someone’s testimony to this land.

We have two copies of this local hit.  While you wait for our circulating copy to work its way through the wait list, come to the reference room and peruse the reference copy.  While you’re at it, you can look at Succanessett Snapshot: the people and places that make Falmouth a community by Troy Clarkson or Legendary Locals of Falmouth by the Falmouth Historical Society.

Friday Reads: Rise of the Rocket Girls

 

“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 Rise of the Rocket Girls:  the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt.  Even though the we had a small group, only 5 as opposed to our typical 10, we had a spirited discussion and enjoyed many laughs while we dissected this interesting book.

Both a New York Times and a Los Angeles Times hardcover nonfiction best seller and an Amazon best book of April, 2016, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the story of a tight-knit group of women who were human computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California from the 1950s up to the present day.  Combining both the math and technology they worked with, as well as their personal lives, Holt aims to inspire women in the sciences by holding up these important, but little known women, as role models.

At a time when only 20% of women entered the work force and were limited to only a few occupations, which they had to leave when they became pregnant, this unusual group thrived in an intense and pioneering work environment.  Their every calculation needed to be done quickly and accurately.  They worked long, fast-paced hours, sometimes spending the night in the lab.  But somehow, some women still managed to keep a marriage afloat and raise a family too.   They were respected by the men at JPL for their accomplishments and eventually, as their roles changed from computing to designing, given the new titles of engineers.

If this sounds a bit like that movie that was nominated for three Oscars and won the Screen Actors Guild Award earlier this year, you are not entirely mistaken.  That movie was Hidden Figures and it was based on a book also about a group of women doing the same thing at the same time, but on the opposite coast.  Whereas the JPL group was primarily white with one black woman and a few Asian women, the Hidden Figures group was all black.

We will be reading Hidden Figures: the American dream and the untold story of the black women mathematicians who helped with the space race by Margot Lee Shetterly next and during our discussion on Thursday, September 7, we will also compare the two books.  If you would like to join us, pick up a copy of Hidden Figures at the reference desk.

 

 

Our New Friend Libby

It’s no secret how much I love e-audiobooks. I’ve been known to chat to anyone about them at the library and in my book clubs (and at the grocery store, the coffee shop, the laundromat…) They are just so easy to download and I’m a bit of a give-upper when it comes to confusing technological processes. That’s why I was excited when I heard that Overdrive released a brand new user-friendly app to use! Meet my new friend, Libby. Not only does Libby offer amazing audiobooks and ebooks for free with your library card, but it does it with a much more visually appealing and easy-to-navigate interface than before. Libby gives you the option of previewing audiobooks, whether or not they are immediately available, which is great for those of us who judge a book pretty quickly by its narrator.

If you’re tech savvier than I am, feel free to just head to your preferred app store and get going on Libby. If you think you might need more help, stop by the Info Desk in the Reference Room at the Main Library to ask us for help.

We are working hard to learn all about Libby and how it works. If you have any questions, please ask us and we will look for the answer together!

 

Celebrate Thoreau on Wednesday

In celebration of Henry David Thoreau’s Bicentennial, we are happy to welcome Geoff Wisner, editor of two books: “Thoreau’s Wildflowers” and “Thoreau’s Animals” to the Hermann Meeting Room at the Main Library on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 7:00pm.

In his lecture, Wisner will present Thoreau’s profound spirituality and belief in the earth-human connection as revealed through his explorations of Thoreau’s best nature writings. Wisner has contributed to publications including the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, and Wild Earth. A graduate of Harvard University, he lives in New York City.

Many of the most vivid writings in Henry David Thoreau’s journals were inspired by the plants and animals that inhabit the sprawling fields, forests, and wetlands of Concord and nearby communities. An inveterate year-round rambler and keen and thoughtful observer, Thoreau wrote frequently about these creatures, faithfully recording each sighting or encounter with the accuracy of a scientist and the deep spirituality of a transcendentalist and mystic.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration encouraged.

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Friday Reads: Book Club Central

“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’s post is a little different than usual as I’ll be highlighting a new website of interest to readers, rather than a book or magazine in our library.   Book club members read on … let me tell you about Book Club Central (www.bookclubcentral.org).

This website was created with the help of librarians (“Expert librarians,” according to the press release, but really, is there any other type of librarian?), to give the reading public an all-you-can eat buffet of helpful recommendations for a great book club.

Launched in late June by the American Library Association, this new resource boasts actress Sarah Jessica Parker as its honorary co-chair.  If you are wondering why, it is because Parker is also a library supporter and avid reader, dating back to her childhood.  Look for her book recommendations featured under the tab, “SJP Picks.”  Her first recommendation is No One is Coming to Save Us, by Stephanie Powell Watts (see photo.)

Under the tab, “How to Book Club,” leaders will find advice about what to have in mind when selecting books for a club, how to lead a great discussion and how to troubleshoot a book club gone awry.  Readers looking for a book club to join will get tips on places to search, such as their local library or book store.

The “Find Books for Clubs” tab is the place to go for the latest book recommendations, reviews and author interviews.  I will say here, that most recommendations are for novels and they don’t make it easy to find nonfiction book recommendations, but they do exist.

You can find Book Club Central at bookclubcentral.org, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

Books About Boats on WCAI

This morning was pledge drive at WCAI, so the book show was a little bit shorter than normal, but we had lots of calls! Thanks to all of you who called with your boat book suggestions! There was so little time and so many calls, that both Vicky and I are going to give you some bonus books in today’s book blog. If you missed the show, not to worry, you can listen online!

 

Mindy’s Pick

How I Became a Pirate written by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon

 

Vicky’s Picks

Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard by Michael Ruhlman.   About the boatyard of Nat Benjamin and Ross Gannon on Martha’s Vineyard.

Herreshoff: American Masterpieces by Maynard Bray, Claus Van Der Linde and photos by Benjamin Mendlowitz

The Lazarus World Voyage: A Hurricane Wreck Circumnavigates the Globe by Tim Sperry.  5 young men, most from Marion, Mass. who sail around the world.

The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float by Farley Mowathilarious!

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Spartina by John Casey

Not enough time for:

Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin

Crossing the Bar: The Adventures of a San Francisco Bay Bar Pilot by Captain Paul Lobo.  Captain Lobo lives part of the year in Falmouth.

Ninety Percent of Everything Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate by Rose George

Two Coots in a Canoe: An Unusual Story of Friendship by David Morine

A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossings to the New World by Stephen R. Berry

First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life and Living by Richard Bode

Children’s Books

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus – based on the true story of Manjiro, a 14 year old Japanese boy who was shipwrecked in 1841 and picked up by an American whaling ship whose captain was from Fairhaven

A Storm Without Rain by Jan Adkins – 15 year old boy from Buzzards Bay goes back in time and meets his grandfather.

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome – Classic! (I had this on my list too! Jill)

 

Jill’s Picks

Stuart Little by E. B. White (Particularly chapters VI, VII, and XIV.)

Schooner: building a wooden boat on Martha’s Vineyard by Tom Dunlop, photographs by Alison Shaw

Tinkerbelle by Robert Manry

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog!) by Jerome K. Jerome

The Green Ray  by Jules Verne

Hemingway’s Boat: everything he loved in life, and lost, 1934-1961. (p. 56 mentions his trip to Cape Cod & Nantucket)

Food at Sea: shipboard cuisine from ancient to modern times by Simon Spalding

NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR

“The Sea and the Wind That Blows” essay by E.B. White in Essays of E.B. White. The first sentence: “Waking or sleeping, I dream of boats — usually of rather small boats under a slight press of sail.”

A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time: Joel White’s Last Boat by Douglas Whynott

Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau

On the Water: Discovering America in a Rowboat by Nathaniel Stone

Images of America: Steamboats to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket by William H. Ewen Jr.

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello

 

LISTENER PICKS

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

The Endurance: Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expedition by Caroline Alexander

The Adventures of Onyx and the Fight Against the Falls by Tyler Benson

Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin series. Here is the order.

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

10,000 Leagues Over the Sea by William Albert Robinson

Voyages to Galapagos by William Albert Robinson

Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester. Dan Tritle tells us the character of Captain Kirk was based on the character of Hornblower!

 

 

Friday Reads: The New York Times – Large Print Weekly

“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. 

 

BREAKING NEWS!

Falmouth Public Library now carries The New York Times Large Print Weekly.

If you have been frustrated with the tiny print of the daily New York Times, or given it up altogether, then you will be relieved to learn there is a large print edition in 16-point type for easier reading.

The large print weekly comes out on Mondays and contains a “full range of content from the past week’s Times.”  It includes world and national news, business, science and health, the arts, sports, and editorials.

You can find the large print weekly next to the regular print edition in our reading room.

Did you know, we also carry the large print edition of The Reader’s Digest and back issues can be checked out.

If you have any suggestions for other large print newspapers or magazines, let a reference librarian know.  We’d love to hear from you.

Friday Reads: Midnight Rising

“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 Friday Reads blog is written by retired reference librarian and member of the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club, Adrienne Latimer.

If you enjoyed reading Confederates in the Attic (featured in last Friday’s blog), then you must read another Tony Horwitz title: MIDNIGHT RISING: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War!  It is a detailed account of how John Brown planned and carried out the 1859 attack on the Federal Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.  Many historians consider this event to be the spark that launched the Civil War.
Born in Connecticut, Brown came from a deeply religious family and grew up to abhor slavery.  As an adult he became an active Abolitionist.  He was not content simply to protest the continuing of slavery, he was determined to stop spread of slavery into the new territories and ultimately, to abolish slavery in the United States.  Southerners considered him a terrorist, but many Northerners revered him as a moral leader, a hero. Tony Horwitz provides that incredible event the added color of the backstory, with details gleaned from his research.  He has such a vivid, energetic writing style, he draws the reader into the story.  Never has history been so engrossing or exciting.

Friday Reads: Confederates in the Attic

 

“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 month the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club discussed an old, but timely book.   Just a couple days after Independence Day, we got together on a sunny morning to examine Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by West Tisbury Pulitzer prize winning author, Tony Horwitz.

The timeliness was two-fold:  most obviously, we were discussing one of the most important events in the history of the United States during our country’s birthday week, with arguably the most significant battle of that war, the battle of Gettysburg, having taken place from July 1 to July 3, 1863.  Horwitz writes, “Probably no half hour in American history had been more closely scrutinized than Pickett’s Charge,” which was the culminating clash at Gettysburg on July 3rd.   It was also timely in view of our current political climate in which state capitals and old academic institutions are reconsidering the flags they wave and the reputations of the historic people in whose honor they have named buildings, while we grapple with our country’s racism.

The main theme in Confederates in the Attic, which was published in 1998, is that the civil war is still festering under the surface, that ancestors of Confederate soldiers and people of the south in general feel that their “way of life” is still under siege.  They still want to assert their states’ rights and not be dictated to by big government.  Reading this book helped explain to some of us northerners in the group, how southerners felt then and feel now about their “way of life,” the meaning of the Confederate flag and what they were fighting for.  It also helped explain our recent presidential election.

There was a lot to discuss with this book.  As I tried to break up the group at 5 past the hour, regretting aloud that I had to pull the plug, someone called out that we could go on talking for another hour, which was answered with a resounding, ‘yes!’  So, if you are looking for a good book for your book group, I can recommend this one.  It will surely get you talking.  You can find our copy on the staff picks shelf.

Join us next month when we will discuss Rise of the Rocket Girls:  the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt.   Pick up a copy of the book at the reference desk and come to the discussion on Thursday, August 3 at 10:00 AM in the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room.  We look forward to another great discussion.