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.

Reserve

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?

 

 

Reserve

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.

Reserve

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

 

Reserve

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.

Reserve

Black Literature Matters

On Saturday, March 4,  Sara Hines (co-owner of Eight Cousins) and I hosted “Black Literature Matters: A Book Talk”. The event was a huge success and our thanks go out to everyone who braved the cold to hear about these important titles. As a part of a larger series entitled, “Books Build Conversations,” we focused on #ownvoices books. #OwnVoices is a hashtag coined in 2015 in order to highlight stories written by authors from marginalized communities featuring protagonists who are also a part of those same communities. For our purposes, we chose books by black authors with black protagonists.

A few days ago, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center released a graph on their blog chronicling the rise and fall of children’s books with black protagonists both by non-black authors and #ownvoices authors.

This graph would have been perfect to include in our talk. As the author of the blog points out, authenticity matters: books about black characters written by non-black authors, while well-intentioned, may fall into the problematic tropes and reinforce stereotypes and negative ideologies. Also, as the author of the blog states, black authors and illustrators need to be “given the same opportunities to tell their own stories”.

In order to give attendees the opportunity to really connect with each title, Sara and I limited our scope by each selecting one book from four categories: picture book, middle grade, teen/young adult, and non-fiction. We committed to reading each other’s selections to ensure an in-depth conversation. During the talk, we shared background on the #ownvoices hashtag, the need for diverse representation in children’s literature, and described how books serve as windows or mirrors depending on the reader. In addition, we dialogued about each of our eight selections, discussing the stories and our thoughts about them.

Each attendee was given a pamphlet that included all of the books highlighted during the talk, as well as additional recommended #ownvoices titles. You can view and print the pamphlet below and if you click on the booklist link, you will find a list with additional titles that feature black protagonist by authors/illustrators that may or may not be #ownvoices. All books are available within the CLAMS system. Both the pamphlet and the list are free and may be reproduced. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Sara (sara@eightcousins.com) or I (sseales@falmouthpubliclibrary.org) directly.

–Stephanie Seales
Falmouth Public Library Children’s Room

Click here to view the handout

Click here for the booklist

 

Friday Reads: The Encyclopedia of Journalism

Are you aghast at the prevalence of fake news swirling around? How is one to distinguish it from the real thing? Just in time, the library offered an  enlightening presentation by news professionals on how to spot fake news, and a blog that offered resources to help. One of these resources is The Encyclopedia of Journalism (REF 070.4 ENC 2009). Here you’ll find reliable, credible information, written by academics, to fill in some of the blanks you may encounter in reading the news. Need some background on what exactly is Al Jazeera? Maybe you’re wondering what the relationship is between the Supreme Court and the press? You’ll find it here.

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With all the misinformation swirling around, what is happening to our society all of a sudden? If you think today’s fake news is a new phenomenon, open volume 4 of the encyclopedia to the News Scandals section (page 1273) and discover prominent journalists of the past who plagiarized, fabricated, and otherwise misled their readers in well-known publications. Some even won Pulitzer Prizes before their fake news was discovered. It doesn’t sound all that different from today, except fake news lately seems to be seeping from every imaginable direction.

In the end it’s all about ethics. The press has a tradition of self-regulation. Yet there often is friction surrounding things like what is the truth and the right to know versus privacy issues. Volume 5 presents some key documents that reflect the ongoing struggle between journalists and the public and the courts to define where journalists’ professional rights end and legal restrictions begin.

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