Friday, July 31, 2009

Readers' Rules

I have just been informed that something I regarded as fairly common is actually an odd quirk. What could this possibly be, you ask? I don't like fiction books written in the first person. I will overlook this rule if the novel is by a favorite author or it is a really good story line.

My other quirk, which I am sure is more unusual, is that if a book is really good I will flip to the end and sample a bit of it. I just can't stand not knowing. I only do this with novels that I am really enjoying. Then I can go back to where I left off and enjoy a leisurely reading pace.

I am sure everyone has their own little reading quirks. Fess up, what are yours?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Attention Grabbing Cover

This striking book cover caught my attention. I figured it was going to be a book on the domestic cat. Nope, not by a long shot. This is the publisher's description Amateur Barbarians by Robert Cohen.

Teddy Hastings is more of a doer than a thinker, a man who measures his life by what he has built: a successful career as a middle school principal, a solid marriage, two lovely if distant daughters. But once he hits fifty, in the shadow of his younger brother's death and a health scare of his own, Teddy feels the gravitational pull of his mortality and realizes he is no longer quite so in the middle, no longer building a life but maintaining one. He yearns for delivery and transcendence, for a hint of the sublime, and is determined to find it. What he gets instead is the "intrusion of the irrational in his affairs."

Oren Pierce, a perpetual grad student who has "made a mark, or left a smudge anyway" all over the place, has had more than enough transcendence in his life. Neither the extraordinary existence for which he assumed he was destined nor the woman with whom he assumed he would share it has materialized. In their absence he flounders in the possible, wondering what it will take to anchor himself to the supremely ordinary existence he both longs for and abhors.

The intersecting and diverging paths of these two men take them from the grids of New York City to the domesticated gardens of New England to the wildest, most unstructured landscapes of all -- the bedroom, the classroom, the darkroom, and the far reaches of East Africa, where Teddy at last finds something akin to what he seeks.

The cover made me want to read the book, but the description, not so much. What do you think, are you inspired to read it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apollo 11--40th Anniversary!

July 2009 marks the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. Launched on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was manned by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon while Mike Collins orbited above.

The Children's Room has a number of new books about this historic event that may inspire a new generation of readers and future explorers:

Moonshot: the flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (on the new Cochecho Readers' list)

Eyewitness Books: Moon
by Jacqueline Mitton

and from one of the astronauts--

Look to the Stars written by Buzz Aldrin and illustrated by Wendell Minor (the team that created the New York Times bestseller, Reaching for the Moon).

Long Live Pierre!

My husband and I were both big fans of Patricia and Richard Scarry's books when we were young, and now that we have a child of our own we want to share our favorites with him. This is how my search for Pierre Bear started; my husband has very fond memories of Pierre and so I made it my mission to find him. I did some research, and found it was in Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever. I brought the library's copy home for him, but alas we could not find Pierre Bear. After further research I learned that poor Pierre Bear was dumped from editions after 1973. Apparently Pierre is not PC enough for the current generation of readers. I still wanted Pierre, and so I purchased a used 1973 edition. I am not sure what aspects of the Pierre Bear story caused the ban--perhaps it is because Pierre kills a moose for food and a seal for fur? Who knows, but I say long live Pierre!

Monday, July 27, 2009

You Can Leave Us a Note Anytime

We love this note that was left by a visitor to the Teen Loft.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Best Thrillers of the Year

Members of International Thrill Writers Inc. gathered together recently to hand out awards at “Thrillerfest” in New York. David Morrell, author of The Shimmer (2009), received the lifetime achievement "ThrillerMaster” Award. Brad Meltzer (The Book of Lies, 2008) took home the Silver Bullet Award for contributions to the advancement of literacy.
Other winners included:
Best Thriller of the Year: The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
Best First Novel: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Historical Portraits--A Serious Business

I have been working on digitizing and indexing our Historical Portrait Collection. I love looking through these photographs, and seeing the interesting clothing and hair styles of the past centuries. Having a formal photograph taken would have been quite expensive for most families, and so I believe it was a solemn occasion, hence the absence of smiles. Many of the photos leave me with so many questions: Why are they wearing what they are wearing? (For instance the gentleman above in the fur suit???) Are the props in the photographs just random props or are they brought in by the sitter to highlight something about themselves? Why did they dress little boys in what we might consider girls clothes?(yes the photo above is of a little boy, Carl W. Cartland) I will keep you posted as to how this project is progressing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Those Wacky Twilight Fans

I just read an article on CNN about Twilighters, fans of the Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series, taking over the ComicCon Convention, and being in a frenzy over their own TwiTour Convention. They interviewed a couple of the non-traditional Twilight fans--the ones that are not teenage girls. I was shocked at one 33 year old man's reaction to one of the books: "It was the second book, 'New Moon,' that made me a fan. It was chapter three, and it was the breakup of Bella and Edward; it hit me so hard emotionally that I had to cancel dinner with friends. At that point I was 29, 30 years old, and to make me cry? That's when I knew Stephenie Meyer was a brilliant writer." Have you ever had to cancel plans because of an emotional reaction to a book? Wow! I feel a bit cheated--I have read quite a few books in my time, but I have never had that kind of reaction. I have cried my eyes out, The Book Thief for example, and felt the pain and happiness of a difficult relationship, The Time Traveler's Wife, but I have never, ever canceled plans. Perhaps I am not reading enough heart wrenching novels or maybe Twilighters are just wacky.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are Your Books in Order?

The Guardian recently published an interesting article on how people arrange their books, inspired by a politician who quit his job and used some of his free time time to alphabetize his books. This system was criticized as not being creative enough. The Guardian suggested systems varying from arranging by color to just using the Dewey numbers already on the library books you stole- don't even go there!

Personally, I prefer to arrange my books by subject matter; gardening, cookbooks, etc. It works for me. You may want to try the innovative system suggested by one of our Librarians.

Do you organize your books? What technique do you prefer?

Friday, July 17, 2009

If you liked The Hunger Games....

The second book in Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, is not out until September 2009. For many of us this seems like an eternity, so I have created a suggested reading bookmark titled "If you liked the Hunger Games try..." Here is the list of books I have included:

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Big Empty by J.B. Stephens
Cherry Heaven by L.J. Adlington
City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
Declaration by Gemma Malley
Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam
Epic by Conor Kostick
Exodus by Julie Bertagna
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Gone by Michael Grant
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Mortal Engines (Hungry City Chronicles) by Philip Reeve
Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughton
Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Unwind by Neal Shusterman

P.S. I was also informed by a young patron that they are making the first book into a movie.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Art in America

Art in America by Ron McLarty

This is a great listen- read by the author. A middle-aged unpublished writer from NYC heads for a tiny Colorado town to write a play to celebrate the town's history. The cast of characters he meets includes a bald headed woman artist, a 90 year-old pistol-packing rancher embroiled in a land dispute with a pompous rafting entrepreneur, yuppie idealists, local cowboys, a retired Boston detective acting as sheriff (with his dead partner along), and various other townsfolk.

As the play progresses and history gets written and rewritten (depending on who's telling it), the court fight over property rights heats up and a potentially violent woman plots the town's destruction at the time of the play.

This is laugh out loud funny at times, but also thoughtful and warm. The language might offend some, but it's honest and true.

60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye

JD Salinger recently filed a lawsuit againist Fredrik Colting, a young Swedish author, who was publishing a book called 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, which Salinger claims is an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. A judge has ordered to "indefinitely ban the publication in the United States". You can read more at and from the article "Salinger's Last Stand" in Publisher's Weekly. What has intrigued me about this controversy is that Fredrik Colting did not write the book because of his love for The Catcher in the Rye, in fact, he states "I've only read it twice once when I was 15, and once before I started this book. I still have a hard time understanding why it is such a popular novel. To me, it's just some book." Wow I haven't written book (only these insightful and absorbing blog posts) but I would want to be passionate about my subject matter in order to spend all that time writing a book. Interesting--do you find this odd or is it just me?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harry Potter Arrives Tonight

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince arrives in theaters at midnight tonight! I have included a clip for you to watch; it takes place in a library, of course.

I read the book so long ago I need a refresher now. My sister has a firm rule that her kids must read the book before they see it as a movie. How about you, do you like to read the book first?

Dissension at the Library

I realize that the library is viewed by many as a serene and peaceful place, but there is a feud brewing at the library. What is at the root of this feud? Alice Hoffman. Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors (she has to duke it out for top honors with Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Russo), and so I had been anxiously awaiting her new book The Story Sisters: A Novel. Unfortunately, I was too slow in putting my name on the hold list, and so I had to wait for several other people to read it before I got my hands on it. Several of those people were library employees--one of whom we will let remain nameless, but for the ease of my story we will call her Library Director. From the beginning LD was speaking disparagingly of the novel. She went so far as to post a message on Twitter saying : "Just finished Alice Hoffman's The Story Sister. What a downer! Very depressing, filled with disaster after calamity after dysfunction!" I was devasted--after all the anticipation would I be disappointed? Two other employees read the book and one felt it was OK, and the other liked it and hated to put it down. Hmmm...the tension was building. Finally the book came in for me! I eagerly brought it home, and was immediately drawn into the lives of the Story sisters. I know the reviews have been mixed, but what I love about Alice Hoffman are her descriptions and her ability to make me feel like I am there. I could smell the damp earth in the garden, taste the tomatoes still warm from the sun, and feel the sisters' sadness. The book was definitely sad, but I didn't find it depressing. LD felt the tomato metaphors were overdone, but as an enthusiastic gardener I loved them. Is that it--do you have to be a gardener to love this book? Do you have to have sisters? I don't know, but I would love to hear your comments and opinions so this feud can be put to rest, and peace can be restored to the library.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bees In the Library

This Wednesday at 10:30am in the lecture hall, Wendy Booth, New Hampshire's 2008 Beekeeper of the year, will bring a live, working beehive to the library and discuss the important roll of the honeybee, the fascinating life inside the hive, problems affecting bees, and the exciting hobby of keeping bees. Wendy will also have "hands-on" tools of the trade for all to explore. Wendy is a fantastic speaker with many interesting and funny stories, don't miss this talk!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Perfect Your Job Search Skills

Did you know that the Dover Public Library has resources that can hone your job-searching skills, perfect your resume, and get ready for that interview? These useful and practical skills are an online component of the Learning Express Library, offered to library patrons through our website. You may have already used this online testing database and some of its 700+ practice tests, including the SAT, ACT, and ASVAB. Tests are also available to prepare for civil service jobs, firefighting, real estate, law enforcement, nursing and allied health, and dozens of other occupations. Learning Express can now help you in a job search too. Try their new Job Search and Workplace Skills preparation courses:

*Business Writing--- offers grammar, vocabulary, and
writing tutorials.
*Job Search (2 courses)--- Determining What You Want From Your Career and Job
Search and Networking Skills
*Resumes (2
tutorials) --- Creating Great Resumes and Creating
Great Cover Letters
. You will have the option to download your
cover letter in PDF format, which you can then print and send to a potential
employer. Otherwise, you'll be provided with a text document that includes
everything you've written, which you can paste into a word-processing program
and format/edit on your own.
*Interview Tips to Get the Job You
Learn how to prepare for different job interview styles, conduct
yourself professionally during any interview situation, and evaluate any job
offer you receive.
*Succeeding on the Job. In this course,
discover how to succeed at work through time management skills, how to develop
and maintain professional relationships, and how to move ahead in your

LearningExpress Library, is accessible 24/7 via the library’s website: Just click on ONLINE RESOURCES, and log in to “LearningExpress” with the number on the back of your Dover Public Library borrower’s card. Start enjoying free, unlimited access to interactive skill-building courses which will strengthen your résumé, interview and online job search techniques. You can also log on at the Library, using one of our six 90-minute Internet stations. For more information, please call the Dover Public Library’s Reference Desk at 516-6082.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

New "Big Eye" Magnifying Desk Lamp

We'd like to extend thanks to Dover's Oddfellows, Wecohamet Lodge #3, for their generous donation of a 2-arm "Big Eye" magnifying lamp to the library. This desk lamp features a high intensity light on a 14 inch flexible arm, plus a 5 diameter, 2X distortion-free lens on an 18-inch arm. It's perfect for those who'd like to read an item in larger, clearer print or study a coin, a photograph, or a postage stamp in up-close detail. (I can recall an incident years ago in the library when we used a similar lamp to inspect and remove a deeply-imbeded splinter in someone's finger!)

Our new "Big Eye" is available in the Reference Room for free use whenever we're open!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Never Want to Hear That Word Again!

The Guardian just published an interesting column called "Which Words Make You Wince?" They had a interesting selection of annoying words; don't miss the comments at the bottom of the page. Clearly, it is a very personal choice as some of the words disparaged don't' bother me at all, such as appalled, which I feel perfectly expresses the emotion. And I have always thought defenestrate was a marvelous word, although a little tricky to work into an everyday conversation. I choose 'gal" as the word that makes me cringe.
How about you, what words make you cringe?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Summer Reading Programs for Kids of All Ages

Our Summer Reading Programs have officially begun! Catch the Reading Bug @ Your Library is our Children's Summer Reading Program, and Imagine, Create & Participate is our Teen Summer Reading Program. Both programs offer incentive prizes for hours read so stop by the library, grab an armload of books, and sign up today.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Library Hours This Holiday Weekend

The Library will be closed Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. See you Monday!

A Vampire Video That Will Make You Giggle

This is related to the Library only in the most negligible way but it is too funny not too share. We do carry Buffy the Vampire Slayer books and the Twilight series so there is a link. Rebellious Pixels mashed up clips from the Twilight movie and Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series that casts a whole new light on Edward Cullen's character. Watch and Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Do You Like Nutritious Reading or Brain Candy?

I enjoyed this pithy comparison of authors by a Library patron.
"Robert Ludlum is candy, Gary Disher has nutritional value."