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Diary of Saxton B. Little


Speaking Volumes

Keeping you up-to-date on what's happening at your library. We invite you to join in the conversation!
MARCH 25, 2011

Maybe you've noticed that we haven't been 'speaking volumes' lately. We promise we haven't forgotten about our blog or our lovely readers! We are in the process of exploring new/other ways to engage with our patrons. That's all I can reveal for now (ooh how mysterious!). We promise to keep you updated, so stay tuned! 

In the meantime, we want to hear from you. If you have a comment for us about our blog, now is the time to speak up!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan


MARCH 21, 2011
The Good Title
A week or so ago I did a little rant dance about all the books with tiger in the title. I'm still having trouble getting those tigers out of my mind but another title word is strongly vying for my attention. 

Good! Yes, good, I say. A plain and simple four letter word I've been hearing since I wasn't one or what I should be, as a little girl. Good! Just what does this mean when used in a title? Merriam Webster has several meanings. Suitable, fit, agreeable, pleasant, well-behaved, better, best. All these definitions sound good

The good psychologist : a novel / Noam Shpancer.
What good thing or deed did the psychologist do to earn his wings? According to the summary I read, the psychologist takes on a new client, an exotic dancer with anxiety problems that keep her off the stage. As the psychologist treats her, he becomes awfully involved and professional boundaries are crossed. Sounds like the bad psychologist to me! 

Try this one out...The Good Divorce by Raoul Felder, Barbara Victor. I saw this one today and couldn't help but thinking "what is good about divorce"? Maybe if one or the other partner is a creep, the divorce could be good. Or maybe, if the two divorcing people can maintain a friendship after the divorce, that's good. Here's the answer from the horse's mouth, or the publisher blurp in this case "Celebrity divorce lawyer Felder draws from his experience to show readers how to avoid an acrimonious divorce and move on with life. He uses his expert knowledge to suggest how to make divorce more fair, civilized, and painless." Painless, fair, civilized, how good can it get! 

Then there was The Good Son by Michael Gruber. The annotation of this one describes it as a thriller about a group of peace activists who are being held hostage in Pakistan.The reviews leads me to believe that someone's son, in this case a boy named Theo, will be the hero to save the hostages. Well, that sounds good

Joyce Maynard keeps the women in the picture with The Good Daughters. I thought some lucky family was fortunate enough to have double the goodness but this was not to be as the daughters here are not sisters, just born in the same hospital on the same day. Ruth and Dana, the good daughters are not exactly bad but certainly give their parents a run for their money while growing up. Starred reviews from Booklist promise this one to be a good pick! 

Man's best friend gets in the act with Good old dog : expert advice for keeping your aging dog happy, healthy, and comfortable by the faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. I'm not certain here if the dog is good or the advice is good to keep your good ol' dog healthy. Keeping you older dog happy and fit can't be bad so I guess that's good. And the dog on the cover is sure cute. 

Moving right along here's one I wish I could have put under my parent's radar when I was young. The curse of the good girl : raising authentic girls with courage and confidence by Rachel Simmons exposes the myth of the Good Girl once and for all. I don't see a counterpart called The Curse of the Good Boy but everyone knows boys aren't supposed to be good so no need for anyone to hurry to write this. 

Soon to be published more good books will be The Good Nurse: A True Story by Charles Graeber, The Good House by Veronica Soebarto, Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shereen, and this gem of a title, Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gaitlin. 

That's a wrap and brings me full circle. Good! Just what does that mean?


Have you seen any Good titles in your travels that made you scratch your head and wonder?

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by CarolK


MARCH 14, 2011
Women's History Month March 2011
   For most people March is the month that we think of as "in like a lion, out like a lamb". Connecticutites celebrate "March Madness" and the Irish hail St. Patrick's Day. While all of these are fun and worthy events, I cannot let the month pass without a nod towards National Women's History Month (NWHM). It took awhile for NWHM to become an annual event. According to the National Women's History Project it all began with a move for a weekly celebration in 1979. "In 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of our group, was invited to participate in The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was chaired by noted historian, Gerda Lerner and attended by the national leaders of organizations for women and girls. When the participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a "National Women's History Week." By 1986, fourteen states In 1987, Congress proclaimed March as National Women's History Month in perpetuity.

This year's theme is Our History is our Strength. These simple five words can have powerful meaning to our gender. I wonder what image they evoke for you. I hope you'll take the time to think of where we've been and how truly far we've come. Take a moment to visit the National Women's History Project, read their brochure, take a quiz, and read about some famous women.

At Saxton B. we have many excellent books honoring women. This past year we have added many titles to support this theme through a generous donation by our First Selectwoman, Carmen Vance. They include non-fiction, biography, and fiction across all age level. I hope you've noticed the book plates honoring Carmen's donation and that you'll take the time to thank her when you see her. These are just a few of the the titles Carmen's gift has provided to our library:

Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League -/ Martha Ackmann

Liz Claiborne: The Legend, the Woman / Art Ortenberg

The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton / Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Changing Shoes: Getting Older--Not Old--With Style, Humor, and Grace / Tina Sloan

Jane Addams: Spirit in Action / Louise W. Knight

The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder / Erin Blakemore

Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from My Life with Autism
/ Temple Grandin

The discovery of Jeanne Baret : a story of science, the high seas, and the first woman to circumnavigate the globe / Glynis Ridley.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


MARCH 11, 2011
Bad news bears...

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to my adoring public (by which I mean my dad) for failing to blog for the past 2 (3?) weeks. Sorry! A lot has been going on here at the library, including a recent 'Teddy Bear Sleepover,' where I was in charge of a whole sleuth of unruly teddy bears while they camped out at the library for the night. Before leaving their bears in my care, the children of Columbia made them nametags and bear-beaded necklaces. We also enjoyed teddy grams (eh - cannibalism?) and some bedtime stories. By the way, there are a ton of great bear/teddy bear/sleeping bear books out there so it was hard to choose, but I ended up reading Ira Sleeps Over, by Bernard Waber, and The Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson. Two no-fail options for sure:


Anyways, it was after the kids left that all the fun began. To put it simply, the bears were bad. They didn't sleep wink, they were loud, they wanted to play on the computers, they made a huge mess, and they ate a ton. They started off the night tucked into our tent by their loving parents. They look sooo innocent, don’t they?
Yeah, not so much…



Narcissism: Bolt watching 'Bolt,' starring Bolt, & and Panda reading about pandas....



Some serious carnivores in the crowd…

When kids came back the next day for pick-up, each bear had an envelope to give them with a letter and pictures explaining what they were up to all night. This is the best part – one kid laughed so hard I thought he was going to pee his pants. So, even though it is tiring and it means supervising bad bears for a night, I will continue to do the Teddy Bear Sleepover each year just to get those awesome reactions from the kids.
In other recent news, I have read quite a few WONDERFUL books lately which I'll be blogging about, and we had a cutthroat cupcake decorating contest here with 4 lucky ‘Golden Spatula’ winners, which I will also be blogging about in the upcoming weeks... so stay tuned!

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Megan Q.


MARCH 6, 2011
Tigers, Tigers, Everywhere

Several blogs this past week commented on the recent abundance of books with TIGER in the title. Not wanting to be outdone here's my two cents on the subject.

Most of the books have nothing to with tigers but use the term as descriptive; to be tough, fierce and aggressive. Wikipedia says "The word "tiger" is taken from the Greek word "tigris", which is possibly derived from a Persian source meaning "arrow", a reference to the animal's speed and also the origin for the name of the Tigris river."

Some of the authors got it right by publishing their books in 2010 - The Chinese Year of the Tiger while others missed the boat by just a few months. 

The most controversial of the new "tiger books" is without a doubt 

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua which some describe as an absolutely hilarious, honest take on one mom's tough love parenting and others feel borders on the edge of child abuse. Whether you agree with Chua's style or not, Tiger Mother is one hot book. It's been chatted up so much that I actually thought I had purchased it for Saxton B. but it slipped through the cracks. Rectified, so if you're inclined to read this it will be on our shelves soon. 

You can understand why I might have thought we owned Tiger Mother when you consider that I did order the recently published 

Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

another memoir about parenting. This one is about the horrible child abuse Ms. Fragoso endured starting at age seven when she met a fifty-one year old man named Peter at a swimming pool. Fragoso's account of the sexual abuse over a fifteen period is heart wrenching. 

Then there's 

The Tiger's Wife, debut fiction by Tea Obreht

Obreht made the recent New Yorkers current 20 under 40 and you'll find her short story in the collection of that name 20 under 40 : stories from The New Yorker / edited by Deborah Treisman. This new title is described as an exploration of the power of myth, story and memory. Natalia Stefanovi, a doctor, is on her way to inoculate a group of orphans in an unnamed village, when she gets news that her beloved grandfather has died. Natalia remembers a story, a bit of a tall tale, that her grandfather entertained her with as a child, about a tiger that escaped from a nearby zoo in 1941 and menaced his village. This story as it blends with the present day villagers own lore, provides a memorizing read. 

Last year's The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant was fascinating. I finally read it while on vacation and commented on it on the reader reviews on our catalog. 

Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann was another fiction debut in 2010. A thriller set in the modern China, it is a wild ride in the world of online gaming, international espionage and the world of art. 

If you search the word tiger in our online catalog you'll get 122 hits, add the "s" and you'll have 53 more. Many of these are excellent children's picture books; some are about that other tiger, not a tiger at all, Tiger Woods. 

One more I'd like to mention is the dvd documentary, Living With Tigers, Discovery Channel's exploration of Ron and Julie, two tigers born in captivity. John Varty, brings the two tigers to Africa to introduce them into the wild, something that is unprecedented, controversial, but captivating to view. Be warned, it does contain graphic scenes. 

Stop by Saxton B. and literally, hold that tiger!

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by CarolK


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