Politics on the Point

This morning’s book show on WCAI was a bit different than our usual book show, not least of all because it began with Mindy interviewing a Nantucket candidate for sheriff! On top of that, our guest book talker, Rosie Gray a political reporter for BuzzFeed News (as well as a Falmouth Academy graduate!) was on the road, not in the studio with us. Added to that confusion, we had not one call or e-mail this morning from our wonderful listeners! Feel free to add your comments to this post, with books on politics that you recommend.


Rosie’s Picks

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail by Hunter S. Thompson

David Foster Wallace’s essay Up Simba, which you can find in his book Consider the Lobster and other essays

Barack Obama: the story by David Maraniss


Mindy’s Picks

Run: your personal guide to winning public office by Marian Walsh

Counselor: a life at the edge of history by Ted Sorensen

Bobby Kennedy: the making of a liberal icon by Larry Tye

The Negotiator: a memoir by George Mitchell

What You Should Know About Politics But Don’t by Jessamyn Conrad

Presidential Campaigns by Paul F. Boller, Jr.

Campaigns: a century of presidential races from the photo archives of The New York Times

Molly for Mayor by Judy Delton

Kennedy Through the Lens by Martin W. Sandler

Lincoln Through the Lens by Martin W. Sandler

Lincoln Tells a Joke: how laughter saved the president (and the country) by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst


Jill’s Picks

Bringing Home the Dharma: awakening right where you are by Jack Kornfield (chapter five is on politics)

Healing the Heart of Democracy: the courage to create a politics worthy of the human spirit by Parker J. Palmer

Becoming Wise: an inquiry into the mystery and art of living by Krista Tippett

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

Whistlestop: my favorite stories from presidential campaign history by John Dickerson

America’s Founding Food: the story of New England Cooking by Keith Stavely & Kathleen Fitzgerald

VOTE! by Eileen Christelow

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

The Art of the Possible: an everyday guide to politics by Edward Keenan, Art by Julie McLaughlin

Friday Reads: Rail U.S.A. Museums and Trips





So I might be stretching the meaning of the word “reads” in this “Friday Reads” blog by featuring an illustrated map and guide set, rather than a book; but I am really happy with this new arrival, so I want to share the news.   Anyone remotely interested in trains or know a child who is, will want to keep reading.

We have recently received Rail USA Museums and Trips.  It is a set of three large, illustrated maps of the United States featuring 425 railroad museums, depots, scenic railroads, dinner trains, model layouts, miniature railroads, historic sites and trolley and train-watching locations.  The three maps cover the eastern states, the central states and the western states.   The front, a typical road map with major highways, features little red train icons for all 425 points of interest and several lovely watercolor illustrations of selected sites.  I was very pleased to see a picture of the beautiful Chatham Railroad Museum on the Eastern States map.

The back of the maps list all of the points of interest, state-by-state.  The listings include icons to quickly explain what features are available (for example: museum, depot, historic site, excursions, dinner train) and if the site has layouts, it notes what they are.  Did you know Bay State Model Railroad Museum in Roslindale has layouts HO, HOn3, N and O-scale?  Of course the listings also include street addresses, telephone numbers and web addresses so you can make your plans.  Since hours and admission prices are subject to change, they are not included.  You can get the most up to date information by visiting the website or calling.

I highly recommend this set to rail enthusiasts as well as parents and grandparents who are looking for something to do with the kids during these crisp fall weekends and during school breaks.  There are 19 sites in Massachusetts alone, four in nearby Rhode Island and 18 in New Hampshire.  If you are planning a vacation further away, you can consult these maps to see what attraction you might want to add to your itinerary.  Going to Pennsylvania?  You’ll be overwhelmed by the choices.   California?  You could spend two weeks visiting only railroad sites and not get halfway through them all.  You can find Rail USA Museums and Trips on the new nonfiction shelf, for the moment anyway with call number 917 RAI.  Have fun!







Friday Reads: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

by Donna Burgess

It was just over fifty years ago that the first “narrative nonfiction novel” appeared on the New York Times best-seller list of January 23, 1966.  In Cold Blood:  a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences, Truman Capote’s masterly work, was described in a review as “conceived of journalism and born of a novelist.”

After browsing through the New York Times in November, 1959, Capote read the headline on a deep-inside page, “Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain.” It struck him that the study of this crime might be the broad scope he was seeking for his nonfiction novel.

Capote traveled with his friend and neighbor, Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird), to Holcomb, Kansas where he “spent five years unraveling and following to its end every thread in the killing of Herbert W. Clutter and his family”.  The criminals, Perry Smith and Richard Hickok, were so well depicted that you could almost see their faces come alive in the narrative.  Richard, a blond charmer with an unsavory weakness for little girls, and Perry, a pixyish- looking loner who was fascinated with words and maintained his own dictionary of memorable vocabulary.

Capote captures the stillness of the western Kansas countryside, a tumbleweed strewn farmland of stubbled fields.  You can feel the eeriness of the vacant Clutter home long after the murders were committed.

What is remarkable is Capote’s ability to capture the dialogue and recreate the atmosphere and mood of the killers.  He interviewed both convicted killers, though Perry was much more willing to talk to him.

He never used a tape-recorder in the interviews as he felt that it would change the dynamic of the meeting.  Instead, he had trained himself to transcribe conversations.  He would have a friend read passages from a book and then write them down to see how well it compared to the original. With an almost 95 % accuracy, Capote didn’t want a tape recorder or note-taking interfere between him and his subject!

In this morning’s book discussion there was some sympathy for Perry as his childhood was both sad and abusive.  A bed-wetter, Perry was constantly beaten and punished for his enuresis. In an interview with George Plimpton, Capote notes that “Perry wasn’t an evil person. If he’d had any chance in life, things would have been different, but every illusion he’d ever had, well, they all evaporated so that on that night {of the murder} he was so full of self –hatred and self-pity that I think he would have killed somebody….”

In Cold Blood has generated a whole new genre of books and captured the attention and perhaps the soul of many readers. Perhaps it is time for you to reread this chilling character study.

Friday Reads: This Book is Gay

This week, September 25 through October 1, is Banned Books Week.  Librarians, book sellers, teachers and book lovers across the country celebrate the freedom to read and publicize attempts to censor books, especially in the past year.  Yes! People are still trying to censor books from public and school libraries for too many reasons.   The top three reasons for banning or challenging books are because the book: (1) is sexually explicit; (2) contains offensive language, and (3) is unsuited for age group.  Less common reasons are because the book contains: abortion, suicide or a political viewpoint that someone finds objectionable.  And there are more.

Censoring books is an infringement of our constitutional right to the freedom of free speech.  We need to protect this freedom so we can continue to be an open-minded and multi-faceted country.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I am highlighting This Book is Gay by James Dawson, a young adult work of nonfiction that was published in 2015 and caused quite an uproar in Wasilla, Alaska.

The author’s note states, “This Book is Gay is a collection of facts, my ideas, and my stories but also the testimonies of more than three hundred amazing LGBT* people who shared their stories.”  The goal of the manual, written by a young teacher specializing in personal, social, health and citizenship education in the U.K., is to show teens what experiences he and a great many others have had as LGBT* people.   He aims to mentor a younger generation with testimonies from those who have been there already.  “When I was in high school, there’s no way a book like this would have made it to me,” writes gay young adult novelist David Levithan in the introduction.   “But what if it had?  I imagine I would have figured out things sooner.  I would have been less clueless – because this is, if nothing else, and extraordinarily helpful book of clues.  And here’s the thing about clues:  They don’t tell you what to do, but they do show you what you can do.”

David Levithan credits this book with providing much needed clues to help people figure out their sexuality and all manner of issues that revolve around it.   He points out that book doesn’t tell readers what to do, it shows them what “you can do” and that is empowering.   Dawson writes, “We have to be able to talk about sexuality and identity in a nonhysterical way.”

Residents of Wasilla, Alaska didn’t see it that way, though.  In 2015, the public library “moved its entire young adult nonfiction to the adult stacks in response to a complaint about Dawson’s book.  Several Wasilla residents attacked the book at a city council meeting saying that ‘they didn’t want “gay books” or books about gay people in the library at all.’ For defending the sex education book for teens, the library director was branded as a pedophile in the highly controversial public debates.”   (Journal of intellectual freedom and privacy spring, 2016, p. 53.)

The author points out that this manual is not just for LGBT* people, it is for anyone who is wondering.  If you are wondering, or you know, or you want to know more, you can find this book in the nonfiction section in the young adult room.  That is, after we take it off the front row of our Banned Books display.

Cats & Dogs on The Point

This morning Peter Abrahams joined Mindy Todd & Jill Erickson to talk about books about cats and dogs on WCAI. Thanks for the many, many suggestions you made during the show! We now have a plethora of cat and dog books on our reading lists, and we think that Peter might have come to better understand cats. Here are the titles mentioned on air.


Mindy’s Pick

E. B. White on Dogs edited by Martha White

Peter’s Picks

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Cat by B. Kliban

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot

I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Carbonel: the King of the Cats by Barbara Sleigh

“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe in Murder Short & Sweet edited by Paul D. Staudohar

Cat Wars: the devastating consequences of a cuddly killer by Peter P. Marra and Chris Santella

A Street Cat Named Bob and How He Saved My Life by James Bowen

Dewey: the small-town library cat who touched the world by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter


Jill’s Picks

The Animals’ Who’s Who by Ruthven Tremain

Pets on the Couch by Nicholas Dodman

Flush: a biography by Virginia Woolf

Shaggy Muses by Maureen Adams

Dog Songs: Poems by Mary Oliver

The Rose Garden: short stories by Maeve Brennan

Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs foreward by Malcolm Gladwell

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats foreward by Anthony Lane


Listener Suggestions

The Cat Who … mystery series by Lilian Jackson Braun

Cats of Martha’s Vineyard: 101 island tales by Lynn Christoffers

The Trainable Cat by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis

A Man and His Dog” short story by Thomas Mann

The Fur Person by May Sarton

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern

Dirty Wow Wow and Other Love Stories by Cheryl & Jeffrey Katz

The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

Dogist: photographic encounters with 1,000 dogs by Elias Weiss Friedman

Anna Karenina, Levin’s dog Laska



Friday Reads: James Bond and Espionage

The reference staff has espionage on its mind these days.    Actually, we began plotting our moves before all the recent news coverage of email hacking by the Kremlin; the August death of Doris Bohrer, an Allied spy in World War II; and the execution of Iranian scientist/spy, Shahram Amiri.

Our mission?  Two-fold: first, to increase our number of active cases on the shelf (in other words, buy more espionage books); and second, to establish a spy ring with a variety of fictitious members for a six-month duration (in other words, have espionage as our new theme for the library’s fiction book club).   All systems are now go.   This week new books arrived and the fiction book club announced the titles for the next six months.

To satisfy part one of our mission we have purchased an attractive set of paperbacks by Ian Fleming, creator of the suave British secret agent with a license to kill, James Bond.  (We have also purchased several terrific nonfiction works, but that is another blog.)   Ian Fleming drew heavily on his own past in creating his Bond character and his glamorous missions.  Fleming, like Bond, was born in England and had first-hand experience with the Soviet Union when he worked for Reuters News Agency in Moscow. “During WWII [Fleming] served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations.”  (From “About the Author” in the Thomas & Mercer series.)  Bond, the most famous fictional cold war spy, was in the Royal Navy.  And did you know, that Fleming lived part time in Jamaica, where not coincidentally, several Bond books are set?  Intrigued?  Here is a list of the complete series that arrived this week.  If you want to check some out, you’d better move fast as they won’t stay in one place for long!

Casino Royale

Diamonds Are Forever

Dr. No

For Your Eyes Only

From Russia with Love


Live and Let Die

The Man with the Golden Gun


Octopussy and The Living Daylights

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The Spy Who Loved Me


You Only Live Twice


To satisfy part two of our mission, we have dedicated the next six months to reading espionage books in the fiction book club.   We’ll range from classic to contemporary authors.  If you are interested in any title listed below, come to the reference desk before the meeting to pick up a copy then join us for a rousing discussion.  New members are always welcome!  You have your choice of two meeting times: Wednesdays from 7:00 – 8:00 PM or Thursdays from 10:00 – 11:00 AM.  We hope to see you there!


October 19 & 20:  The Secret Agent: a simple tale by Joseph Conrad

November 16 & 17:  Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon

December 21 & 22:  Sweet Tooth by Ian Mc Ewan

January 18 & 19:  Bloodmoney by David Ignatius

February 15 & 16:  All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer

March 15 & 16:  Swimmer by Joakim Zander

Friday Reads: FallScaping

As Cape Codders, we know the secret … fall is a wonderful time to live here!  The weather is wonderful and the crowds have dissipated.   If you are a gardener, you can spend more time doing what you love in the cooler fall air.

Gardeners of all varieties may be interested to know about our second fall gardening lecture that will be held on Wednesday, October 21 from 7:00 – 8:00 PM in the Hermann Room.  Master Gardener Patrice “Pat” Amos will present, “Plant Your Best Fall Garden, Then Put It to Bed.”  Her talk will focus on late fall plants that are featured in the area and she will discuss garden cleanup and winter preparation.   In anticipation of her arrival, we have put together a large display of books in the adult collection room. Chief among them is Fallscaping: extending your garden season into autumn, by Nancy J. Ondra and Stephanie Cohen, with great close-up photos by Rob Cardillo.  I’ll let the book itself tell you what’s inside.  Here is the summary from the inner flap:


“Bring late-season appeal to your yard with vines, shrubs, trees, and flowers that retain their good looks through the sweet, golden days of autumn.  Nancy J. Ondra and Stephanie Cohen identify all the key fall-specific players and explain how to combine them with multi-season workhorse plants to create gardens that move gracefully from spring through the riotous days of summer and into the last hurrah of autumn.

Beautiful blooms, rich foliage, and dramatic seed heads all have their roles to play in long-lasting fallscapes.  Ondra and Cohen discuss dozens of their favorites in each category and offer extensive advice on how to best to integrate them into landscapes that give as much pleasure in October as they do in July.  Ten complete garden plans pull everything together. Particularly stunning in the fall but designed to deliver three-season appeal. They cover a range of growing conditions and color themes, and will satisfy even the most intense post-summer gardening urges.”

Master Gardener Pat Amos will be here, thanks to support from the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library.  If you would like further information, contact the reference department at 508-457-2555 x 6, info@falmouthpubliclibrary.org or text us at 66746 and begin your message with “askfpl”.  You can also stop by the desk!  We’d love to see you.


Friday Reads: 50 Best Stuffings and Dressings

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to check out this little gem.  In 50 Best Stuffings and Dressings, author Rick Rodgers says you can amend these recipes to stuff “duck, goose, chicken, Cornish hens, pork chops, crown roast of pork, zucchini, cabbage, eggplant and sweet peppers”.  If you start now and try one new recipe each week then you will have a smorgasbord of taste-tested stuffings and dressings to pick from when planning your special holiday feasts.

Chapter one, “How to make the best stuffing ever,” lists safety and time-saving tips, as well as preparation advice you can use for any recipe you make.   The following chapters group recipes according to the base ingredient: Bread Stuffings, Cornbread Stuffings, Rice and Grain Stuffings, Fruit and Vegetable Stuffings and Meat Stuffings.  The librarian in me also loves the fact there is an index, so you can look up apples, bacon or cheese, for example, and quickly see which recipes include these ingredients.

If you are like me and think the stuffing is the best part of your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, then you’ll have fun with this collection of recipes.   I’m thinking “Gingered Cranberry and Almond Cornbread Stuffing” or “New England Oyster and Clam Chowder Stuffing” are two I want to try right away.

If the traditionalists in your family say you have to use the same stuffing you always make, don’t let that stop you.  Why not add a second stuffing?  Check out 50 Best Stuffings and Dressings and let us know how your dish turned out.  You can find this little book on the Staff Picks shelf.

Ken Gloss Talking Rare Books on The Point

If you missed The Point‘s book show this morning, not to worry, you will be able to listen online over at WCAI! Ken Gloss, proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop in Boston, joined Mindy Todd and Jill Erickson to talk about rare books and books about rare books. Thanks to all of you who called in with your comments and questions! Ken brought with him some Brattle Book Shop treasures, and below you’ll find the list of books Jill mentioned on the show. If you want to see pages from The Queen’s Royal Cookery, you can head over to the British Library!

ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter and Nicolas Barker

Rare Finds: a guide to book collecting by David and Natalie Bauman

Thieves of Book Row: New York’s most notorious rare book ring and the man who stopped it by Travis McDade

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: the true story of a thief, a detective, and a world of literary obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett

Booked to Die by John Dunning

A Gentle Madness: bibliophiles, bibliomanes, and the eternal passion for books by Nicholas A. Basbanes


Whether You’re Anxious or Mindful, a Gardener or a Carpenter; These Titles May be Just for You…

…and they all start with Dewey Call Numbers in the 150′s and are located in our NEW Non Fiction section!

Check out these titles on psychology:

152.46 BOY  The Four Gifts of Anxiety : Embrace the Power of Your Anxiety and Transform Your Life, by Sherianna Boyle, MEd, CAGS.

Unlock anxiety’s powerful gifts!

It’s time to break free from the tight grip of anxiety and live the life you’ve always wanted. The Four Gifts of Anxiety shows you how to tap into the power of your anxiety and reveal its gifts of resiliency, hope, empathy, and purpose. Filled with exercises, meditations, and reflection prompts, this book teaches you how to access these positive attributes…

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­153.35 GRA   Originals : How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Grant Adam.

The television show “Seinfeld” was a flop with its pilot episode. It didn’t conform to the standard family situation comedy that provided some meaningful message. It was a show about nothing. That nothing turned into a ratings success.  Grant…describes successful and unsuccessful unconventional behavior in entrepreneurial, scientific, and other ventures. He cites failures such as Segway and successes such as Disney, Apple, Skype,…the Central Intelligence Agency, Martin Luther King Jr., baseball players who steal bases, and Polaroid. [Showing that successful] innovators often take a new rather than a familiar perspective.

155.4 GOP  The Gardener and the Carpenter : What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children, by Alison Gopnik.

In The Gardener and the Carpenter, the pioneering developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik argues that the familiar twenty-first-century picture of parents and children is profoundly wrong…

Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world.

158.1 TIP  Becoming Wise : An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett.

Tippett, recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the host of the acclaimed NPR radio show “On Being”…, is used to taking on the big questions and discussing them with some of the most influential voices in religion, philosophy, and science. This book focuses on turning elements of various spiritual traditions…into actions.

158.12 WIL   Growing Up Mindful : Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm, and Resilience, by Christopher Willard, PsyD.

Introducing mindfulness into the lives of our children and teenagers is perhaps the greatest gift we can offer. Mindfulness builds emotional intelligence, boosts happiness, increases curiosity and engagement, reduces anxiety and depression, soothes the pain of trauma, and helps kids (and adults) focus, learn, and make better choices. If that weren’t enough, research now shows that mindfulness significantly enhances what psychologists call “flourishing”–the opposite of depression and avoidance…Growing Up Mindful helps parents, educators, and counselors learn how to embody and share the skills of mindfulness that will empower our children with resilience throughout their lives.

*This posting is part of a Catablogging@FPL series on Melvil Dewey’s classification system and features new titles that represent the ten main classes of the Dewey Schedule.  Follow along!