Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poetry Friday--Celia Thaxter

"Celia Thaxter's Garden" by Frederick Childe Hassam, courtesy The Athenaeum.

I couldn't finish out the month of April, and not feature NH's Celia Thaxter.

One hundred twenty years after her death, Thaxter is probably best remembered for her garden. It is still being visited today! Thaxter wrote about her garden in a book titled An Island Garden. We have a reproduction of the volume that was originally published in 1894 with "pictures and illuminations" by Childe Hassam [635.9 THA].

Thaxter was also an accomplished poet and was especially noted for her poetry for children. Here's a poem that one can imagine was written after a late April day spent in the garden:

The alder by the river
Shakes out her powdery curls;
The willow buds in silver
For little boys and girls.

The little birds fly over
And oh, how sweet they sing!
To tell the happy children
That once again ’tis spring.

The gay green grass comes creeping
So soft beneath their feet;
The frogs begin to ripple
A music clear and sweet.

And buttercups are coming,
And scarlet columbine,
And in the sunny meadows
The dandelions shine.

And just as many daisies
As their soft hands can hold
The little ones may gather,
All fair in white and gold.

Here blows the warm red clover,
There peeps the violet blue;
O happy little children!
God made them all for you.
Now, I'll direct you to visit my friend Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference where she will be rounding up this week's Poetry Friday posts.

Recommended Fiction

Yesterday I participated in a discussion of recommended books at the NH Library Association annual conference. As you can imagine, at a gathering of librarians the discussion of books was lively and opinionated. A few of the novels that I've read, and can recommend, are below:

Baker, Tiffany. Mercy Snow. [F BAK]
Set in the paper mill town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire this atmospheric and lyrical novel follows the lives of two intertwined families, the MacAllisters and the Snows. As the wife of mill owner, Cal, June MacAllister is the privileged first lady of Titan Falls who will do almost anything to protect her picture perfect life. Mercy Snow is a scrappy and resourceful young woman who will do what it takes to protect her older brother Zeke and her younger sister Hannah. For better or worse, secrets and lies bind these two families together and it takes a tragedy for the truth to come to light.

Belfoure, Charles. The Paris Architect. [F BEL]
Lucien Bernard is a young, unemployed architect in Nazi occupied Paris. One day he is asked to design a hiding spot for a Jew. Bernard is intrigued by the challenge of outsmarting the Germans and welcomes the prospect of future employment. However, he is a typical Frenchman of his times and is concerned that he is putting his life on the line for people he has been brought up to despise. Lucien Bernard will find his life, and his thinking, turned completely upside down. The descriptions of Nazi brutally are difficult to read, but overall, the moral issues Bernard, and the reader, must confront are worth the discomfit.

Mower, Simon. Trapeze. [F MOW]
Marian Sutro, a young woman with an English father and a French mother, is comfortable speaking both languages. When the World War II breaks out, she is recruited by the "Inter-Services Research Bureau." Sutro is trained to become a spy and is air-dropped into France where her mission becomes tangled with her private life.

Moyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. [F MOY]
Paris, 1916. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband—a dangerous obsession is born, one that will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Liv’s world is turned upside all over again.

Other novels I would recommend include The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [F BUC], The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd [F KID], Guests on Earth by Lee Smith [F SMI], and The Storied Lives of A. J. Fikrey by Gabrielle Zevin [F ZEV].

So many good books being published, it's hard to find time to read them all!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Busy Week

This week is the New Hampshire Library Association conference. It is being held way up north in Whitefield.

I'll be facilitating a discussion of recommended books, so, I'm going to forego the blog for the next few days, to give me time to prepare for, travel to, and to attend the conference. Check back here on Thursday, when, at the very least, I'll post the list of books I brought along to discuss.

Photo courtesy Mountain View Grand.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--Paul Scott Mowrer

A years back, book groups in New Hampshire all wanted to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain [F MCL]. It was a story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. What many people don't know is that after Ernest and Hadley divorced, Hadley met Paul Scott Mowrer, a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, whom she later married. (To learn more look for Hadley by Gioia Diliberto [B HEM].)

Mowrer retired from the Chicago Daily News in 1948 and moved to Chocorua, NH. He was active in writing and promoting poetry in NH and he served as NH's Poetry Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1971. Unfortunately, we don't have any of Mowrer's poetry books in our collection, but there are several available from other GMILCS consortium libraries. I'm sad to say that I didn't find a single one of his poems in our large collection of anthologies! There are several to be found online, however, and I posted a delightful one, titled "Chipmunks," on my personal blog back in 2012.

Here's another poem that screams New Hampshire in the spring when all manner of frogs and toads venture forth...

The Toad

As I went down by Heathcape Road,
Near Turner's Mill I met a toad.
"Good evening, Toad," said I to him.
"I see you, though the light be dim.
Now turn my friend, before some car
Obliterates you where you are."
"I thank you, but," said he to me,
"Across this road there dwells a She,
And if I cannot come to her,
Death itself would I prefer."

The toad pictured above is a Fowler's Toad, which lives in NH and typically migrates at this time of year. The photo comes courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife through NHPTV's Wildlife Journal.

Robyn Hood Black is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Stop by. Have a happy Easter weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


'Tis the season to be boiling and decorating eggs. And eggs remind me of chickens, so now I have an excuse to share this:

So what do you do with all the hard-boiled eggs you end up with? You can make deviled eggs. I know, you're saying, "my grandmother used to make those--yuck!" However, today's tastes can probably be satisfied with recipes found on Pinterest. If you search for boards using the term, "deviled eggs," you end up with a whole page of results!

Of course, we have many cookbooks in our collection containing a deviled egg recipe or two. And, we have one book that is devoted entirely to eggs: The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Blonder Golson [641.675 GOL].

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WILD New Hampshire

This Saturday is "Discover WILD New Hampshire Day," an annual event that is designed to introduce the whole family to the wonders of New Hampshire wildlife and outdoor activities. It is sponsored by NH Fish and Game and features "exhibits from environmental and conservation organizations from throughout the state."

The festival takes place in Concord and there is no admission charge. To learn more about the day, click here.

If you're interested in New Hampshire's wildlife, these items will get you started:

Carpenter, Ralph G. Fishes of New Hampshire: A Sportsman's Guide to the Fresh-Water Fishes of New Hampshire. [799.1742 CAR]

New Hampshire Wildlife Journal. [MAG NEW]

Silber, Judith K. New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide. [J 974.2 SIL]

Taylor, James. The Amphibians & Reptiles of New Hampshire: With Keys to Tarval, Immature and Adult Forms. [597.9742 TAY]

Wildlines. [MAG WIL]

Photo courtesy NHFG.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Animated Films

With the internet, free sharing of public domain materials, and YouTube, students of film now have the opportunity to view films and to learn from the early masters of animation, or to see films that are a little out of the ordinary.

The following is a film that was created 102 years ago!

OKKULT Motion Pictures has taken old films and created a series of animated GIFs. Their project is called "Excerpts" and is described as
a collection of GIFs excerpted from open source/unknown/rare/controversial moving images. A digital curation project for the diffusion of open knowledge.

An example, starring Donald Duck, can be found here.

If you'd like to try your hand at old-school animation, look for Film Animation Techniques: A Beginner's Guide and Handbook by Lafe Locke [778.5 LOC]. A look at computer animation can be found in The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams [778.5347 WIL].

Monday, April 14, 2014


There was a report over the weekend of a rabid fox that bit a child in Derry. Please instruct your children to stay away from all wild animals! And from stray animals (cat, dog), especially any that appear to be sick or acting strangely. I would also suggest making sure that your pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccination, and that you not let them out on their own--they too can be bit.

Fortunately, rabies shots are not the ordeal they once were, but it is still better not to have to receive the injections! Learn more at the website from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. The State of New Hampshire DHHS also has information. A "Rabies Fact Sheet" can be accessed here.

Rabies has a long history that is briefly touched on in the book Mapping Epidemics: A Historical Atlas of Disease by Brent H. Hoff and Carter Smith III [614.4 HOF].