SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
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JULY 30, 2010
“What’s with the pants?”
Carol’s latest creative book display had us standing on tables to string a clothesline from the ceiling tiles. And they’re not pants. They’re shorts. For short stories – get it!
Anyways, when Carol finally got her shorts hung, she asked me if I wanted to add any short story collections to her display. I guess I never really thought about it before, but I do read a LOT of short stories.
Here are a few of my favorites that I added to her display…
When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
I'm a huge David (and Amy) Sedaris fan. His latest book of short stories and essays is just as hilarious and twisted as you would expect from him. I read this one a while back, but I can still remember laughing out loud at the stories about David's 'stop smoking' trip to Japan.
Pretty Monsters, by Kelly Link
The cover is what initially attracted me to this book, and I'm glad it did! The short stories in this collection are very strange, often dark, and sometimes even funny, all geared to YA readers.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Edited by Dave Eggers
I brought this little gem with me on my recent trip to Japan, and the short stories, essays, and articles were perfect for those rare moments when I had a chance to read.
While writing this post I was googling around and came upon an interesting article about short stories from the Dallas Morning News, written by A.O. Scott a movie critic for The New York Times. In it he suggests that short stories may become more popular than ever, pointing to popularity of other 'short' writing like blogging and tweeting. He also puts forward this interesting thought…
Just as “the iPod has killed the album, so the Kindle might, in time, spur a revival of the short story. If you can buy a single song for a dollar, why wouldn’t you spend that much on a handy, compact package of character, incident and linguistic invention?”
Hmm…a dollar per downloaded story. The whole idea opens up the possibility of no-name writers making their work available to Kindle users, in the same way musicians can put their stuff up on iTunes. What do you think?
JULY 28, 2010
Special thanks to Mercedes for this post....
This morning I went into the living room and something small and furry, but no tail, scurried across the floor and under the chair. It didn't move like a mouse either but if it was a bug, it was the biggest bug I had ever seen. Of course I screamed. Rand came running and when he checked it out, he didn't know what it was but suspected a spider (he was wise enough not to mention this though). He decided to get a glass to put over it and then figure out what to do next. I was worried we had some mutant, diseased mouse running around. Well, he moves the chair to catch it and exclaims: "It's Mr. Crabs!" We have a crab in our fish tank, a pretty big one, it looks kind of like a mini-lobster (our best educated guess is that he is a red claw crab). Apparently he escaped from the tank, as Rand had been worrying for months he would do, was covered in fuzz and dust (hence the furry look) and was scuttling around my living room. Glad to say, Mr. Crabs has been returned to the tank and I am so glad Rand was home to deal with it! That was enough excitement for one day for sure!!!
Tuesday night, Crabs strikes again! Rand and I are sitting on the couch talking when all of a sudden something furry comes scuttling across the floor. I shriek, because you can't get over the gut reaction but it's a short shriek and then I announce Mr. Crabs is out again. This time we got pictures and video of our escape artist. He looks much more spidery this time than last time, not quite as furry.
Clumsy crab / by Ruth Galloway.
One is a snail ten is a crab : a counting by feet book / April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre ; illustrated by Randy Cecil.
I love crab cakes! : 50 recipes for an American classic / Tom Douglas
JULY 26, 2010
A How Many Star Review?
I love the ability to leave comments about books I’ve read on our library catalog. I then copy these and post them to my Goodreads account. Both sites allow ratings of 1 to 5 stars and a place to comment about what you thought about the book or other media. Looking over those I’ve chatted about, I see most books I’ve read have received a 4 or 5 star review from me. I think the lowest star rating I ever gave a book is a 3. I frequently see 1 or 2 star reviews from other people. I started to wonder why I’m not more critical of what I read.
The main reason I could come up with is that I choose my books very carefully as I have limited time to read. The books that make it to the top of my list are books I truly want to read. I may be in the mood for different things at different times, but the book of choice definitely has some appeal factor when it gets on my list.
Though I read lots of reviews, follow many blogs, and pay attention to the best seller lists, nothing works as well for me as a personal recommendation by a friend or one of our patrons. When someone hands me a book and says, “Oh, you’ve got to read this one”, this extra endorsement might push the book to the top of the pile for me.
How about you? How do you choose what you’re going to read next? Do you have a system or is it willy nilly? I’m also curious as to where you find the books you put on your own list? Do you read reviews? Use social networking sites like facebook or Good Reads? Depend on a friend for recommendations?
However you pick, consider leaving a reader review on our catalog. I’ll post any left there to our blog, Saxton Reads & Reviews. Who knows? the next book I read may just be one you’ve recommended!
JULY 22, 2010
A long, long time ago I took the LSATS, the required test for admission to law school. It required a lot of security measures. Two forms of id, one had to be a picture. You had to also have a copy of your picture id, as that was going to be collected and kept. Then, finally, seated in my assigned seat and a test booklet passed out sitting closed in front of me, they came around and fingerprinted every one on their test booklet. I remember thinking this is just insane.
Recently, I read about a primary school near Manchester, England that is trying out a system of using finger prints to replace library cards. I must admit, I had the same reaction as putting my thumb print on that test booklet so many years ago.
I can see the ‘ease’ factor. You never forget your fingerprints at home. They are yours, it can’t be denied or confused. For a child, it wouldn’t require them to carry anything. But this seems wrong on so many levels. First, where does one learn responsibility and keeping track of things? A library card lost is really no big deal. So let’s work with young people to keep their library cards and not have problems later in life when they loose their credit card.
But more than this, a finger print… Think about this. A finger print in a database. Databases are hacked. Data lost. Accidents happen…. Once on a online game site I frequent, they ‘host’ server provider was moving from California to New Jersey. The plan was to transfer all the data from one machine to another. Unfortunately, the servers they ran got lost and confused and in a blink of an eye… all the companies and individuals who used this hosting location lost their data. They tried to find it, put it back together like Humpty Dumpty and return it.
For us gamers, it was really no big deal. A bunch of userids like Troll2, Tolkien_Fan and passwords for this particular game site. No one really cared. But for others… it was their business, people’s credit cards, addresses, phone numbers….
We were lucky; the computer company sent a business in the UK what was supposed to be their data. The business looked at it, recognized it as not their data. Because there had been online discussions of this whole fiasco by the IT departments of those affected and us geek types, the UK businessman recognized the data as probably ours. He contacted our site leader (a man in Australia) and sent him a sampling of the data to see if it was ours.
It was, and out of the goodness of this businessman’s heart. He spent 5 hours electronically sending our data to yet a third location so that our site leader could find a new hosting company and restore us. Very little was lost. Others not so lucky.
This was just some silly accident… what if this were fingerprints?
JULY 19, 2010
There's Nothing to Do!
It's mid-July, school's been out a few weeks, and the kids are already bored to distraction, Saxton B. can help. In addition to our dropin story times, Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30AM, summer reading program, First Friday Film Flicks (August 6th, The Water Horse, rated PG at 10:00AM, doors open at 9:45AM,) and Megan's cool events, including a teen movie on July 30th at 6PM, here's a few ideas of things to do.
Start by visiting our webpage located at www.columbiactlibrary.org. The menu on the left will guide you to a full listing of our events, our library materials, and a list of our discounted passes. One extremely popular pass is The Connecticut State Parks and Forests Day Pass which will get you a free day of fun in the sun at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, and Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. Phone us at 228-0350 to reserve any pass.
How about a picnic? Besides locales close to home including the public beach, Szegda Farm or Recreation Park, take a look in this great book:
Cruising Connecticut with a picnic basket by Jan Mann. 9780977717415
We've got several books featuring Connecticut's best. Most are located around 917.46 on our shelves. Here's just a sampling of what you'll find:
Off the beaten path Connecticut : a guide to unique places / Joan and Tom Bross.
Fun with the family, Connecticut : hundreds of ideas for day trips with the kids / Doe Boyle. or Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Gone fishin'-- with kids : (how to take your kid fishing and still be friends) / by Joe Perrone, Jr. and Manny Luftglass. 0965026140
Connecticut Magazine, Yankee Magazine, The Hartford Courant and the Willimantic Chronicle will keep you up to date on what's happening in the area.
Learn a new craft - 746...
Borrow one of our over 1,000 movies on a rainy day.
Save this date, August 6th (rain date, August 9th), when we invite the whole town to join us for D.E.E.R. Day, Drop Everything, Everybody Read. Bring a lunch, 12-1PM, and then we'll read on our front lawn from 1-3PM. Yeah, we librarians will finally get to read on the job!
And if you need a break from family fun, consider traveling The CAT Trail (Connecticut Author Trail). You'll find details on our event calendar or http://sites.google.com/site/ctauthortrail2010/HOME.
Chris Knopf - Tuesday, July 27th at 6:45PM
Look around, possibilities abound! Oh, and of course READ!
JULY 16, 2010
A portrait of Maurice Sendak
Last week I watched Tell Them Anything You Want, a short film/documentary on Maurice Sendak made by Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze. The documentary was made while Jonze was working on his film version of Where the Wild Things Are. It’s clear in the film that Sendak and Jonze became close friends during the collaboration, and in the bonus material you find out that Sendak has even spent Thanksgiving with Jonze and his family, and see that the two are not shy about saying how much they love each other. Not that Maurice Sendak seems all that shy about saying anything! I think the fact that the two have a real friendship is what makes the film feel so intimate. You see an 80 year old curmudgeonly Sendak, talking frankly and openly about his life and his art, not just to the camera, but to a real life friend.
Sendak spends a lot of the film talking about his own childhood and how a mix of both wonderful and traumatic childhood experiences have influenced his work. He spends even more time talking about death and dying. He seems certain he is about to die, and makes dark and sarcastic comments alluding to that throughout the film. He alternates between seeming deeply unsatisfied with his life and his work, and almost in the same breath speaking lovingly of what makes him happy - his dog, memories of his siblings, his art. All in all, he comes across as a brilliant, bizarre, funny, dissatisfied old man, and a completely engaging storyteller.
I knew the film was bound to be interesting, after all Sendak is both a beloved and controversial children’s author, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I even watched all the DVD bonus features, which I never do. The documentary made me want to re-read all his books, and watch Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are movie, something I had (for no good reason) been putting off.
JULY 14, 2010
Happy Audio Book Month!
Yes, June is Audio Book Month. While it feels like it’s been the recent past that audio books have taken off, they really have a long history, at least in some form. As early as 1933 anthropologist J.P. Harrington was driving around the country recording oral histories of Native American tribes. Granted this was not a cd, but recordings on aluminum discs using a car-powered turntable. Still, it is technically and audio book.
The Library of Congress recordings made especially for the American Foundation for the Blind were also introduced over a half century ago. And according to Robin Whitten, the editor and founder of AudioFile (the only magazine which is dedicated solely to the audio book industry), a small New York publisher called Caedmon started recording the audio of noted authors and poets during the 1950's.
Like music, early recordings were made into vinyl records, later came a transition to audiocassette tapes in the late 1970’s. Audio books really took off with the advent of the cd and now, we also have mp3, downloadables, and playaways.
I still have trouble thinking of audio books as “reading,” but they sure make long car trips much better.
Here in the library we have over 1500 audio books, come check one out!
JULY 12, 2010
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Reading List
Need something else to read while you’re on the list for any of the books in the popular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.? Compiled from many resources you’ll find books by other Swedish authors that you may have missed, some titles that have a similar appeal including strong female protagonists and/or exciting plot, and a few other international thrillers that will put you in an exotic locale. Though nothing may quite compare with Steig Larsson’s Lizbeth Salander, these may keep you reading while you wait. You just might be surprised and find a new favorite.
If you liked Girl With the Dragon Tattoo try these
JULY 7, 2010
There’s No Delete Button on the Internet
Okay, so for a long time now, I’ve been asked: Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Linked In? What!? No social networking site? There is pressure from certain factions in Librayland that librarians should be visible in these places; that their Libraries should be visible in these places. Those that say there should be Facebook accounts for the Library, the Children’s Department, the Teen department and Friends and all should be unique!
I do not agree. Not that I don’t have some accounts in these places. I have. I’ve gone, looked, snooped about, investigated. But I’ve seen no appeal or value. First, to post (or worse receive) one liners every few hours about nothingness is not my thing. We are busy with other things. The minute I created an account, I had people I don’t know wanting to be my friend. And people sending me information and pictures I didn’t want to know. The sheer quantity of info, like junk mail, was overwhelming.
Our Friend’s of the Library have such an account and I think it’s nice if people wish to get updates this way and someone has the time to do this. But this information is available on our website and in the Library. This layer of time consuming work to post: “Remember Program Tonight” seems intrusive.
Not that I don’t love the Internet and communicating on it. I’ve multiple e-mail accounts that I check daily (even on vacation.) You are reading this blog. I’ve written other blogs. I am on various topical Internet lists. In fact, I even hosted a South African woman for a weekend whom I met online through a social network list.
But I make a distinction between things that I do online in which I choose to make contact, there is a moderator approving and watching the participants and a select group participating then the open call. My name and information is not going out to the trillions for access and no one is using the venue as a marketing ploy. These lists are for specific purpose, members join for specific shared interest. Topics of no interest can be ignored, deleted…
This is not the case on social networking sites. Worse, hackers abound, so what appears to be posted by an particular person, may not actually have been. As a result, we have bullying, pictures posted without right or permission, and virtual identity theft.
In response to this new push for online social life we’ve started to see the repercussions. Under age drinkers being caught, parents in trouble for allowing the party, employees dismissed because of their derogatory comments about their work places and others denied employment because of their online behavior. Was this just? Maybe… maybe not.
And now… we have newly started businesses that for $20.00 a month or $100.00 a year will guard your online reputation. What do you get for this? Reports telling you where your name appears, a personal agent who advises you on your reputation, and information removed from online databases.
Funny, I always thought advising on one’s reputation was called parenting. But I do know that librarians have been able to tell you how to get this information and eliminate your name from certain sites for a long time. But we’ve been doing it for free.
JULY 5, 2010
The Little Library
We, at Saxton B. always think of ourselves as the little library. This week we learned that we're huge compared to one library in our state. Located on Money Island, just 12 acres, The Island Library, is so small that one person has trouble fitting inside. Not much larger than a telephone booth or garden shed, the library serves 32 homes. You can see a picture of Jay Fernandez, an island resident by clicking on this article from the the June 25th, 2010 in The Hartford Courant. Mr. Fernadez assures all that though the library is little it has just the right books for summer reading!
I'll bet this library is just as dear to its' residents as Saxton B. is to us. Small in size, large in heart!
JULY 2, 2010
Todd loved his parents…
But he had grown much closer to his TV.
A few weeks ago I read a *starred review* in School Library Journal on the book Todd’s TV, by James Proimos. It sounded good, so I ordered it. When my big orders of picture books arrive I usually flip through the books as I am unpacking them, just to get an idea of what they are about, and if they would make a good Story Time read. Well, as soon as I read Todd’s TV I passed it on to all my co-workers and I slapped my own star sticker on it.
In the story we meet Todd, his busy parents, and his beloved television. One day when both of Todd’s parents are busy, the TV offers to bring Todd to his parent-teacher conference, thus beginning a long a beautiful relationship between the two. The TV takes Todd out for ice cream, tucks him in at night, and even takes him on vacation. When the TV tells Todd that he is considering ‘legally adopting’ him, Todd’s parents finally intervene. If you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to read it yourself!
I LOVED this book. It’s clever and funny, and the clunky black, gray, and orange cartoon illustrations really appeal to me. Although kids will like Todd’s TV, the sarcasm is definitely directed to adults, who just may think twice about how often they plop their kids down in front of the television after reading it. Proimos’s humor reminds me of some of my all time favorite children’s authors, like Daniel Pinkwater and Jon Scieszka. We own a number of other books by James Proimos, each with his signature cartoon-ish illustrations and offbeat humor. Check ‘em out: