Friday, May 30, 2008

Are You in Good Spirits?

Good Spirits: recipes, revelations, refreshments, and romance shaken and served with a twist by A.J. Rathbun.

Is there anything more decadent and yet quaintly old fashioned than sipping an ice cold martini on a hot summer night? This is THE book for the aspiring mix-ologist who doesn’t want to just throw some gin in a glass and be done with it but who wants to learn to mix the perfectly elegant cocktail and then recount its illustrious, scandalous, or just plain odd history to her (or his) enraptured guests. Filled to the brim (no pun intended) with “imbibement” trivia, your friends will be as impressed with your mixing skills as they are with your knowledge all things liquor related. On the downside, be prepared to spend, spend, spend as these gorgeous, frosty libations require the best and usually most expensive ingredients (like that lovely blue gin…ahhh …but I digress). They also require the perfect glasses, the perfect swizzle sticks, the perfect coasters, and quite possibly, the perfect little black dress and shoes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Shadow Year

I just finished Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford. It takes place in the mid sixties and follows the adventures of a nameless boy and his brother who are trying to cope with an alcoholic mom, a father who has to work too much to support his family, and all the usual school age traumas. Throw into the mix a mysterious prowler, a school mate who has vanished, neighbors who suddenly die, an insane librarian, some supernatural events, and you have an involving, nostalgic novel that is hard to put down. Enjoy a little taste of Ford’s atmospheric story telling.

The lingering twilight finally breathed its last, and that first moment of night was like a gunshot at the start of a race. Instantly, frantic kids in costumes streamed from lit houses, beginning their rounds, not to return until they had reached the farthest place they could and still remember how to get home.

We traveled door-to door around the block, joining with other groups of kids, splitting away and later being joined by others. Franky Conrad, dressed like a swami, with a bath towel around his head, eyeliner darkening his eyes, and a long purple robe, walked with us for a dozen houses. The Farley girls were angels or princesses, I couldn’t tell which, but their costumes, made from flowing white material, glowed in the dark. President Henry Mason was dresses in his Communion suit, a button on the lapel that said VOTE FOR HENRY, and his sisters were ghosts with sheets over their heads. Reggie Bishop was a robot, wrapped in silver foil, wearing a hat with a lightbulb sticking out the top that went on and off without a switch, and Chris Hackett wore his father’s army helmet and told us how his dad had gotten hand-grenade shrapnel in his ass and lost three fingers in Korea.

We worked the trick-or-treat with dedication that rivaled our father’s for his three jobs, systematically moving up one side of the street and then down the other. Our pillowcases filled with candy. Old Lady Restuccio gave out Chinese hand-cuffs, a kind of tube woven from colored paper strips. You stuck a finger in each side and then couldn’t pull them out. That’s how we lost Franky Conrad. He was left behind, standing on Mrs. Restuccio’s lawn, unable to figure out that you just had to twist your fingers to free them. The slow, the hobbled, the weak—were all left in our wake as we blitzkrieged Willow Avenue and moved on to Cuthbert.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If I had the time...

New non-fiction titles in the library's Children's Room collection that I would read if I had more time:

  • King George: What was his Problem? : Everything your schoolbooks didn't tell you about the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin
    After years of writing American history textbooks, Steve Sheinkin uses all the amazing stories and quotes that he collected in his research (that textbook editors would never let him use) to write this funny but entirely true account of the American Revolution that kids (and adults) will actually want to read!

  • Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying Truth! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, and More by Joshua Gee
    This quote on the back cover had me wishing for the time to read every frightening page: "Bursting with evidence--special investigations, exclusive interviews, rare images, and chilling eyewitness accounts--ENCYCLOPEDIA HORRIFICA proves that the truth is not only stranger than's also a lot scarier!".

  • The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon
    Why global warming happens, the ways it affects our planet, and how we can work together to stop it are topics dicussed in easy to understand language and catchy chapter titles such as "It's getting hot in here, Weird wacky weather, and Extinction stinks".

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do you ChaCha?

I recently read about a new free service for cellphone users who need quick answers to simple questions. It's called ChaCha (800-2chacha or 800-224-2242). Supposedly you just state your question and in a few minutes you'll get your answer via a text message. All for free! An article in the Wall Street Journal (April 24) said that their test of the service correctly answered queries such as: the name of the winning pitcher in last night's Red Sox game...the weekend forecast for Boston...the date of death of Abigail Adams...the cast members of "Brothers & Sisters"...Peyton Manning's salary...the sodium content of a McDonald's quarter pounder...and a Revolutionary War date. Your question is routed to one of 10,000 hired "guides" who look up the answer on the Web (they're paid $.20 per answer) and reply back. Speed and accuracy can vary but you can always text back for clarification or more information. ChaCha requires no registration and claims to work with most cellphone carriers. The only fee may come from your carrier if you're paying for minutes or text messages.
Has anyone out there tried this?
Of course, it's only natural that I also remind you that your library also supplies a free question-answering service (603-516-6082) and you can talk to a real, live human being and a professional librarian at that! You can even ask complex, multipart questions and we won't blink an eye! But I also believe that ChaCha has a place in our "search world", perhaps when the library is closed and you have that nagging question at 3am that's keeping you from going back to sleep!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Evening of Poetry

These are the second category readers.

The Curse Reversed

This is an absolutely amazing poem: a history of the Red Sox in verse. It’s long but a must hear for any loyal Red Sox Fan.

An Evening of Poetry

Tuesday night the Library held its annual Evening of poetry, the culmination of the 2008 Poetry Contest. We are delighted that this year we can share video with you of some very talented students reading their poems. The evening started with the youngest group.
The video takes a while to download, please be patient.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It’s an Odd Day

The latest installment in Dean Koontz’s wildly popular Odd Thomas series, titled Odd Hours, is being released today. Have you reserved a copy yet?

Dean Koontz says: "The legend began in the obscure little town of Pico Mundo. A fry cook named Odd was rumored to have the extraordinary ability to communicate with the dead. Through tragedy and triumph, exhilaration and heartbreak, word of Odd Thomas’s gifts filtered far beyond Pico Mundo, attracting unforgettable new friends—and enemies of implacable evil. With great gifts comes the responsibility to meet great challenges. But no mere human being was ever meant to face the darkness that now stalks the world--not even one as oddly special as Odd Thomas."

Great Stone Face Award Announced

The Great Stone Face Book Award is sponsored by the Children's Librarians of New Hampshire and is given each year to an author whose book receives the most votes from fourth through sixth graders throughout the state. Each year a committee chooses 25 recently published titles, which children then use as a guide for voting. The vote takes place every April during National Library Week, and the winner is announced in May. The purpose of the award is to promote reading enjoyment, to increase awareness of contemporary writing, and to allow children to honor their favorite author.

And the winner for 2007-08 is ...

Rules by Cynthia Lord

The new Great Stone Face nominees list for 2008-09 is now available in the Children's Room and on our website (click here to view).

Monday, May 19, 2008

If I had the time...

Here's more brand new non-fiction in the library that I'd read if I had the time...

Nextville: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life by Barbara Corcoran and Warren Berger
Corcoran is a frequent real-estate commentator/guest on The Today Show and here she predicts where 77 million baby-boomers will settle into retirement. Interesting stuff and she knows the market!

Vermeer's Hat: the 17th Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook
Examines the myriad details of such items as tobacco, furniture, carpets, silver and beaver pelts in Vermeer's paintings to explain the 17th century's growth in commerce, transport, trade and the exchange of cultures. Brook's studies of Vermeer's works enlighten us on military power and even the status of women. Fascinating!

The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial that Ushered in the 20th Century
by Harold Schechter
This true story of a 1900 Manhattan murder reminds me of the novels of Caleb Carr. This high-profile case became a NYC media circus, complete with yellow journalism, vice, money, romance, and the liberal use of poison!

Dover Middle School Art

Take a moment to enjoy the new slideshow on the right side of the blog. The art was created by students at the Dover Middle School and illustrates the 2008 Poetry Contest booklet. We have such talented students in Dover!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Poetry Winners Announced!!!

The following is a list of winners in the Dover Public Library's 6th annual Poetry Contest for kids in grades K-12. Congratulations to all!

K-2 Category:

1st Place: Aiyana G. Brough, Grade 2, Garrison School (tie)
Adrianne Page, Grade 2, Garrison School (tie)
2nd Place: Shawn DeKorne, Grade 1, Saint Mary Academy
3rd Place : Emma Goodridge, Grade 2, Woodman Park
Honorable Mention: Ailia Rochefort, Grade 2, Woodman Park

3 & 4 Grade Category:

1st Place: Asia Merrill, Grade 4, Belmont Elementary
2nd Place: Kaylee Burke, Grade 4, Woodman Park
3rd Place : Megan Whitten, Grade 4, North Hampton School
Honorable Mention: Niko Alexandropoulos, Grade 4, North Hampton School (tie) Danny Provencal-Fogarty, Garrison School (tie)

5 & 6 Grade Category:

1st Place: Merranda Donnelly, Grade 6, Saint Mary Academy
2nd Place: Lydia Carlson, Grade 5, Marshwood School
3rd Place: Kevin Gould, Grade 5, Saint Mary Academy
Honorable Mention: Olivia Furino, Grade 6, Saint Mary Academy

7 & 8 Grade Category:

1st Place: Sean Lombard, Grade 7, Dover Middle School
2nd Place: Grant Flewelling, Grade 7, Dover Middle School
3rd Place: Clayton Stanley, Grade 7, Dover Middle School
Honorable Mention: Riley Gowen, Grade 7, Dover Middle School

9 & 10 Category:
1st Place: Leah Guercio, Grade 9, St. Thomas
2nd Place: Sofia Kouninis, Grade 10, St. Thomas
3rd Place: Faithlynn Robinson, Grade 9, Dover High School
Honorable Mention: Kelly Voltz, Grade 9, Dover High School

11 & 12 Category:

1st Place: Katy Sternberger, Grade 11, Portsmouth Christian Academy
2nd Place: Kyle Lanzit, Grade 11, Berwick Academy
3rd Place: Molly Hearn, Grade 12, Dover High School
Honorable Mention: Stephen Guptill, Grade 11, Portsmouth Christian Academy Kile Townsend, Grade 11, Portsmouth Christian Academy

The Follett Fitness Program

I have been lugging Ken Follett’s World Without End around the past few days. Literally. It is 1024 pages. It is so darn heavy that I actually weighed it this morning. It's three pounds! No wonder I am having such a difficult time finding a comfortable position to read. I either have to lay it out flat on a desk or table, or lie on my back and balance it on my stomach. Needless to say I have not been reading late into the night. So far the extra workout for my arms has been well worth it to enter the medieval world of Kingsbridge Priory and its scheming, intriguing characters.

By the end of this book I am going to look like Popeye.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Sound of Summer Running

Ray Bradbury is renowned as an author of Science Fiction, a label he disputes, and rightfully so. Many of his finest works are not Science Fiction at all. He wrote a series of stories about a young boy named Douglas growing up in Illinois. They are masterpieces of nostalgia, vividly evoking the experience of childhood. Can you remember the delight, the wild freedom of the first few days of summer? While all of his stories are memorable, one had a particular resonance for me and I often think of it this time of year.

“Dad!” He blurted it out. “Back there in that window, those Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Shoes…”

His father didn’t even turn. “Suppose you tell me why you need a new pair of sneakers. Can you do that?”


It was because they felt the way it feels every summer when you take off your shoes for the first time and run in the grass. They felt like it feels sticking your feet out of the hot covers in wintertime to let the cold wind from the open window blow on them suddenly and you let them stay out a long time until you pull them back in under the covers again to feel them, like packed snow. The tennis shoes felt like it always feels the first time every year wading in the slow waters of the creek and seeing your feet below, half an inch further downstream, with refraction, than the real part of you above water.

“Dad,” said Douglas, “it’s hard to explain.”

Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted. They put marshmallows and coiled springs in the soles and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness. Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden. The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees and a lot of rivers going down to the lakes. Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer.

Rediscover the magic of summer; pick up a copy of Dandelion Wine.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Infected by Scott Sigler

This Book on CD is not for the squeamish. I cringed a lot while listening but never thought of giving up. I’m not sure how I would classify this novel; science fiction, techno thriller, saving the world, they came from outer space? There was a great deal of dark humor, a fast moving plot, and well defined characters. The author does a fantastic job reading the book which is not surprising if you know that he already has a large fan base from the podcasts he does. Look for the sequel and movie to come! J.M.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


New NON-FICTION titles in our library's collection that look so intriguing I would read them IF I HAD THE TIME:
  • A Wolf at the Table: a Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs who wrote "Running with Scissors"
  • Perfumes: the Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez – an essential guide to shopping for fragrance; nearly 1500 fragrances are separated into the "divine and the good from the monumentally awful"
  • Erased by Marilee Strong – about missing women and murdered wives who have essentially been "erased". Some have vanished never to be seen again and others found dead under mysterious circumstances, most murdered by a husband or boyfriend and then made to disappear.
  • 1 Dead in Attic by Chris rose –a collection of stories recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mystery Authors Revealed

I recently attended a conference that featured a panel of well known mystery authors, and since I recognized a couple of my favorites like Laura Lippman and T. Jefferson Parker, thought it would be great fun to see them and find out who was accompanying them.

Much to my surprise one of the other authors was C. J. Box, whose newest book "Blue Heaven" I had just read and loved. I was enthralled by the pictures these three authors painted as to how they came to write, get published, and even become famous. They are now real personalities to me, and I will pursue their books with greater interest and curiosity.

An even bigger treat for me was the introduction of another author I had never encountered in my quest for new mystery authors: Linwood Barclay. Barclay is a popular newspaper columnist in Canada who broke on to the mystery scene with a humorous mystery "Bad Move" several years ago. Since I'm more in to the suspense/thriller type of mystery, I didn't follow up on his later books until he spoke about "No Time for Goodbye" which was published a year ago. I promptly checked out the book when I came back from the conference and am now convinced his forthcoming books will be at the top of my favorite mysteries list. He drew me right in when he said, "Imagine being a 14 year old and waking up one morning to find your whole family had disappeared during the night". The 14 year old grows up never knowing what happened.

Barclay went on to describe the plot of another book he is working on in which "the family next door is murdered" and you discover that it was your family that was supposed to be murdered. Barclay is right up there with John Hart and Greg Iles if you're looking for some different mystery authors, and don't forget C. J. Box.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Holy Moley!

I have had unwanted visitors in my neighborhood this spring. I love the return of the peepers and the song birds, and resignedly accept that spring in New Hampshire also means the return of the Black fly. However, this year spring also brought mysterious tunnels and piles of dirt all over my pristine lawn. Well, it’s as pristine as you can hope for with two large dogs frolicking on it. The dogs were not the culprits of lawn destruction this time. I was whining to one of the neighbors about it when they mentioned that they were having troubles with moles too. Another neighbor farther down said he had tunnels all over his yard and he had never had problems before. I established an informal poll and found every neighbor I talked to was having mole problems. I was duly appointed to find a solution since I work in the library. Sure enough, the Library collections came up with some helpful books.

Bugs, Slugs & Other Thugs by Rhonda Hart recommended:
Whirligigs and whistling soda bottles
Placing used kitty litter in the tunnel
Planting Castor oil plants (these are poisonous, children should be kept away from them)
Drenching the soil with a solution of 2 parts Castor oil, 1 part liquid detergent. Dilute in one gallon of water and saturate the soil inside and around the mound
Trapping them with a mole trap

Tiny Game Hunting by Hilary Klein had further suggestions:
Flood the tunnels with a garden hose
Get rid of the grubs the moles are eating by applying milky spore disease and beneficial nematodes
Digging a trench at least 2 feet deep all around and filling it with stones and clay
Put peeled garlic cloves, hot peppers, Juicy Fruit gum, or pet droppings in the tunnel

So far the Castor oil solution has been the most successful, Juicy Fruit gum was a total bust. Let me know if you have some clever solution to the attack of the moles!

Friday, May 02, 2008

If I had the time...

There's never enough time to read everything you want. I pretty much stick to reading fiction as its "escapism" has a special lure for me. But there's many extremely interesting non-fiction titles being published every week. I thought I'd start a recurring post, listing new NON-FICTION titles in our library's collection that look so intriguing that, even though I probably won't get to them, I would read them IF I HAD THE TIME! Maybe you'll find the time to read them and report back!!!

Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus and Golf's Greatest Rivalry by Ian O'Connor ---Explores their complex, at-times contentious, rivalrous relationship over many decades. One reviewer said Arnie had the crowds but not the trophies; Jack had the championships but wanted the love.

The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death Madness and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus by Joshua Kendall --- Biography of Peter Mark Roget (1779--1869) who anxiously and obsessively classified words to fend of the cycle of madness in his family. Sounds fascinating!

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop
--- Americans are choosing homogenous places to live, compatible with our lifestyles and beliefs. Think red states versus blue ones, but on an even smaller scale. Alarming social research!

(Can you tell by this abbreviated list that I like golf, words, and statistics? )

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Crime Scene is Cleared

We have been living with crime scene tape across one of the entrances into the addition for months. Falling ice had damaged two of the sky lights, making it unsafe to walk under them.

We are delighted to announce that the tape has come down and we have lovely, new sky lights. You can look through them and actually see the sky now!