SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
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MAY 30, 2010
Bookexpo America 2010
BookExpo America (BEA) is like being a kid in a candy shop for book lovers. See the picture. Well, that's me organizing my bounty into piles after the show, kind of like a trick or treater on Halloween. Oh, what fun!
BEA was held at the Javits Center in New York, May 25th-May 27th. It's the biggest publishing event in North America. All the big boys are there but there is also great representation from small presses. It's a book lover's dream as many of the publishers hand out galleys of the best of what is due to be published and also, lots of great book giveaways. And authors, authors, everywhere. Autograph signing tables and in booth signings keep fans happy throughout the show. I saw Dr. Ruth, John Grisham, Micahel Connelly, Sara Gruen, to name a few, On top of all this, there are some great panel discussions, celebrity breakfasts and lunches and if you were there on the first night, the keynote speaker was none other than Barbara Streisand.
I attended my 4th show last Thursday going by bus (what a convenience) provided by CLC and the show sponsors (thank you). You'd think by now I'd have it down pat. You aren't allowed rolling carts on the floor so you either need to carry all of what you pick up or you can bring a suitcase and park it in packing area, fill your bags or backpacks, run back and forth to the suitcase , empty the bags and start all over.. You can even ship your finds home. As I was only attending one day, my strategy was to keep it simple, one backpack, one bag, about all this packhorse librarian can carry. Not long into my browsing I knew the plan was not going to work. Luckily I came across the big red bag from McGraw that someone had thrown away. Three bags full; that was absolutely the limit!
A small sampling of my finds:
The Tattooed Lady: A History Amelia Klem Osterud, Speck Press c2009.
Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free Melinda Dennis, MS & Daniel Leffler, MD, Aga Press, c2010.
Dear Dad KY-Mani Marley, Farrah Gray Publishing, Inc, c2010.
MAY 26, 2010
Okay, yes another Twilight post. I can't resist. With the new movie coming out, the series has been, yet again, in the spotlight. I don’t get it. I mean… I kind of get it. As I wrote here, when the first book came out, I knew by story and cover art – this was going to take. And while I think the writing leaves something to be desired and the story a bit trite, I did devour the first two books before becoming disenchanted. But I’m fussy. I know that, so I understand why others didn’t become disenchanted at book three or even four.
But now,...we are a whole franchise deep. Books, movies, stuff. But what I really, really don’t understand? Twilight Moms.
Okay, I’m (cough) in that age bracket. I read the books. I even shamefully admit I enjoyed some of them… but we’re not talking Elvis.
I saw this on another site and have since seen it popping up a lot online. I think it speaks for itself:
Though I almost can’t imagine it, if you’ve not checked out the Twilight series, come by the Library.
MAY 23, 2010
Are you LOST?
The final episode of LOST is airing as I post. Will you be lost without LOST? Does the sixth and final season series finale already have you sweating or anxiously hyperventilating as to what you'll do without a weekly fix of the popular tv program?. I'd love to sympathize but have to admit I've never watched the show! Oh, no, hang my head in viewer shame. But I'd have to have my head even deeper in the sand not to realize the fan appeal of this program. I haven't been able to pick up anything pertaining to tv these past few weeks that's not chatting up something about Lost. Note the dedicated May 14th issue of Entertainment Weekly to all things Lost or TV Guides cover story this week, LOST The Finale with a special tribute and exclusive vintage photos inside. And I'm not oblivious to murmuring at the circ desk as you, our patrons, bemoan its demise.
Depending on your point of view, "all good things must come to an end"or "quit while you're ahead" seem to be quotes tv should heed. Take 24 for instance. It fades into oblivion this year after starting out for just one season, 24 episodes, in 2001. Cold Case bites the dust too. M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, JAG saw their time. Others live or limp on. Smallville begins its 10th season, Two and a Half Men will be back for an 8th season with or without Charlie Sheen, CSI is back, and newcomer hit Glee returns. And then there's the glut of reality shows. American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Greatest Race. Should they live or die? The list goes on and on.
For those of you who mourn the loss of Lost, rest assured something new will come along to take its place. A new, and ever more popular show to wow the fans. Remember too, there's always reruns and if a good deal comes along the library will purchase all six seasons for your viewing pleasure.
Better, yet, if you find time on your hands why not read a few of the books featured on the program, starting with Watership Down as seen being read by Sawyer and offered up in an excellent article on the LA Times Blog. According to the article more than 70 books were mentioned in the 6 years. That should keep you busy..
So are you glued to your tv as the final episode plays out? or do you say good riddance?
MAY 21, 2010
Last year around this time I blogged that I had caught the travel bug and was *wishing* to plan a trip somewhere. At the time I inter-library loaned travel guides to Brazil and Japan. Well, that urge never faded, so a couple of months ago I convinced my boyfriend that we should go to Japan and we bought plane tickets. We don’t speak Japanese, we don’t know anyone who lives there, and we are not going on a guided tour, so since booking our plane tickets I have done a ton of reading in order to plan our trip and book hostels to stay in. Lucky for me I work in a library! Here are some of the guides I used to help me plan my trip:
Before I even booked my trip my lovely co-workers bought me the 2009 Lonely Planet Japan Guidebook for my birthday (Thanks guys!). This guidebook is easy to use, has some great & interesting recommendations, and is very up to date. In the past I have relied on the Let's Go! series for my travels, but Lonely Planet has definitely won me over!
In fact, I liked the LP Japan guidebook so much I decided to buy the LP Tokyo guide. It's nearly pocket sized so it will be easy to carry around, and it helped me narrow down what I want to do when we are in the big city.
Oh, and while I was at it I bought the LP Japanese Phrasebook too... just want to be prepared!
Even though it is now a bit outdated, I did buy the Let's Go Japan! 2004 guidebook (used on Amazon). I have always been a fan of the Let's Go! books because they are written by college students on a tight budget. They haven't steered me wrong yet, so I wanted to find out where LG recommended to stay, eat, see, etc.
Last but not least, I have been driving around listening to the Pimsleur Japanese Short Course. So far I am only able to remember how to say a few key phrases, but overall I like the 'teaching' style and would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good introduction to a new language. The Saxton B. owns Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Greek, Polish, Portugues, Spanish, and Vietnamese. We also own a number of French and Spanish Little Pim DVD's by Pimsleur, which are language learning DVD's for kids.
Needless to say, toting around all these guidebooks will scream “tourist”, but since I’m blond and my boyfriend is over six feet tall, I have a feeling we would look like tourists no matter what.
MAY 19, 2010
Diva or Frat Boy?
Animals have made their appearance in the blog for some time, so I figured it was time to introduce the world to Miss. Lulu Bella Vamp. She is aptly named as she is a small cat, full of vim and vinegar and herself. Her insistence on trying to nibble my neck prompted her middle and last names, but the other meaning of vamp also applies.
Miss Lulu makes it to this blog today because of her dining habits. Like her adopted mom (me), she likes a wide variety of culinary adventures. Some favorites: black olives, red onion, smoked salmon, berries and yogurt, preferably not all at the same time.
We have attributed some of her unique tastes to the fact that she was born and subsequently rescued from above a Subway Sandwich shop. So, more than likely her first real meal was atypical.
However, what most puzzles us about Lu’s dining is not what she eats, but how she eats. Of course, she is a cat so, she will paw at things, beg for things, meow for things. Some times if she’s particularly annoyed, she shifts back and forth lifting her little back feet while shaking her tale like a rattlesnake. We’ve come to understand this means: “I’m angry at you.” But it’s so amusing it cannot possibly be taken seriously.
She will at times eat like a cat… but more often she eats like ... a squirrel. Sitting proper, she will lift a single piece of kibble in her two front paws and nibble. Some times, this is done with just one paw. But the most intriguing is when she picks up the kibble, tosses it in the air and then tries to catch it to eat it. I’ve never seen a cat do this, and she is surprisingly very good at it.
I’ve mixed feelings about this. As on the one hand, it IS amusing. On the other hand, I don’t want to live with tiny female cat that eats like a frat boy.
If you have a cat story, we'd love to hear about it. Or come check out one of our many, many books about cats at the Library!
MAY 17, 2010
Dog or Cat, CaC or Dog
The April 2010 issue of AARP Bulletin reported the results of a survey regarding pet ownership. I was not surprised to see dogs in the lead at 45% for ages 50-64 beating out cats at 27%. he percentages for both drop a bit in the 65 age group but dogs are still the winner at 27% v. 19%. his got me to wondering what the results would be if I conducted my own poll pitting dog against cat in the world of books.
I really like Feathers for Lunch (Cat) by Lois Ehlert and it is an all-time favorite of my daughter Stacy. But then Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (Dog) is neat too. And then I adored the recent novel The Art of Racing in the Rain (Dog) by Garth Stein. Cats seem better at solving mysteries as evidenced by the Midnight Louie series by Carole Nelson Douglas, Koko and Yum Yum of the Lillian Jackson Braun mysteries, and Sneaky Pie Brown brought to the page by Rita Mae Brown. The more I think about this, the more I see it's hard to choose.
MAY 14, 2010
Girls Like Us...
Back in February Su wrote a blog post where she mentioned how much she liked listening to the book Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon, and the Journey of a Generation, by Sheila Weller. Well, her post piqued my interest, so about a week ago I took home Girls Like Us. Now, I’m only about 2/3 of the way through, but I am loving this book!
The three women’s stories are told chronologically and in alternating chapters. Although they all came from very different backgrounds, the three musicians lives intersect and intertwine many times through mutual friends and boyfriends (hello James Taylor!), as well as professionally at different venues. All three women struggle with the contrast between growing up in the 50’s and coming of age in the late 60s, as they stray from the ideals of their parents generation. Carol, Joni, and Carly all wrote songs shaped by the cultural and feminist revolution, and in turn those songs became part of the soundtrack of their generation.
Anyone remotely interested in music, the 60’s, or the women’s movement should give this book a try. I have always loved Joni Mitchell, but I never knew the origin of most of her songs, or who they were about! I was also shocked to read about all the hits songwriting team Carol and her first husband Gerry cranked out in the late 50’s early 60’s (Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow, Some Kind of Wonderful, Natural Woman, Chains….). Anyways, since I’ve started reading Girls Like Us, I keep finding myself spouting off facts about the three ladies, and telling my boyfriend the origins of some of their most famous songs.
Stop by the library to check out a CD by one of these ladies, or try one of my other favorite women singers:
Cat Power, Erykah Badu, Feist...
St. Vincent, Ani Difranco, Jill Scott...
MAY 12, 2010
With a little help from our Friends
Along with our usual activities, our Library space is filling up with other stuff this week. This up coming weekend is a quarterly Friends of the Library Book Sale. As book sales approach it always increases donations and book sale books are over flowing! But also this weekend, the Library Board is hosting a tag sale. So not only are the books piling up, but so is the stuff!
MAY 10, 2010
There are so many wonderful books published that I cannot possibly keep up with them all. I’m always amazed at the books I miss purchasing for our library collection. A recent omission, but one that will be remedied today is
Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, Dave Isay, Editor
For those of you not familiar with StoryCorp, it is the brainchild of Dave Isay and is based on a few basic principles:
That our stories, the stories of everyday people, are as interesting and important as the celebrity stories that we’re bombarded with every moment of the day.
That if we take the time to listen, we’ll find wisdom, wonder and poetry in the stories of people all around us.
That we all want to know our lives have mattered and we won’t ever be forgotten
That listening is an act of love.
I love the idea of this. I’ve always wanted to record an interview with my parents, but you know how good intentions get away from you and I never did. My mom passed away this past January and how I wish I had made that video recording. At least we have a small clip of her talking and laughing at my nephew’s wedding. Storycorp might have been the ticket.
It’s fairly easy to tell your story and have it saved for posterity. First you’ll need to decide the story you want told. Is it your grandmother’s, mother, father, whomever. And then you’ll need to make an appointment to record your story in one of the the Storycorp mobile booths. You can find out where they’ll be by visiting the Storycorp site at
Mr. Isay had little trouble convincing The Library of Congress to be the keeper of the over 16,000 stories that have already been compiled. They are located on the LOC site, in the American Folklore Center, http://www.loc.gov/folklife/. Excerpts of interviews can be listened to each Friday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition.
You can read the stories at both The Storycorp and Library of Congress websites as well as in the book collections:
Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the Storycorps Project
Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps
I’m purchasing both for Saxton B., for Mother’s Day, in memory of my mom, Claudia Jean Ponte.
MAY 7, 2010
Last night was the last meeting of our Mother-Daughter Book Club, until we start up again in September. This was the first year that I have run a Mother-Daughter Book Club, and it was a blast! The group was made up of 2nd- 5th grade daughters and their mothers, and between 6 – 8 ‘pairs’ showed up at each meeting. The ‘pairs’ each took turns choosing a book, creating discussion questions, and preparing a snack and activity for the group. Anyways, in lieu Mother’s Day I thought I would share a few books that our group enjoyed this year.
We kicked off the year with The Doll People, by Ann M. Martin and Laura Goodwin. In it, the Doll family has lived in the same dollhouse, located in the same room of the Palmer family's house, for 100 years. Things don’t change much for Anabelle Doll (who has been 8 years old for 100 years) until she meets her new neighbors, the more modern plastic Funcraft family. Anabelle then teams up with Tiffany Funcraft to try and find her aunt, Sarah Doll, who disappeared 50 years ago. The adventure that follows is full of humor and action as the dolls face challenges like cats, and stairs!
I’m pretty sure this book was a unanimous hit with the girls and moms. I mean, who didn’t secretly think (or at least wish) that their toys came alive when they were gone. I know I did! Plus, the book is filled with beautiful illustrations by Brian Selznick, which really adds to the story. There are two follow ups to The Doll People:
Another group favorite was No Talking, by Andrew Clements. Chatterbox 5th graders, Dave and Lindsey, lead their classmates in a boys vs. girls ‘no talking’ challenge. Considering the 5th graders had been dubbed ‘The Unshushables’ by all their teachers, their silence completely takes the school staff and principal by surprise. If you want to know who wins this boy vs. girl face-off you’ll have to read the book yourself!
This was a fun read that I think everyone in the group enjoyed. Of course, as an all girl group we were definitely a little bias on who we thought would win! No Talking has also landed on this years Intermediate Nutmeg Nominee list, another great reason to pick it up today.
Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, by Chris Riddell was another one the Club really liked this year. Ottoline’s parents are off traveling the world while she is left in her big city apartment with her best friend and guardian, Mr. Monroe. Mr. Monroe just happens to be a small, hairy, silent, creature that sort of resembles Cousin It. Ottoline and Mr. Monroe work together, along with a bear that lives in the basement, to solve a local mystery of missing lap dogs. The story is told in text and pictures, although it is not in graphic novel format, rather the pictures are there to enhance the story, not tell it. Riddell’s, illustrations are tiny and detailed and really fun to look at as you make your way through the story.
The girls loved finding little details in the many illustrations, and discussing Mr. Monroe (just what was he??), and Ottoline’s many collections. This one also has a few sequels:
Other books that the group read this year include:
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! And a great big Happy Mother’s Day to MY mom!
MAY 5, 2010
1 Ringy-Dingy, 2 Ringy-Dingy
Some days I feel very old. I remember when one only needed to dial the last 5 digits of a telephone number in Connecticut. Now we have to dial all 10. I remember pay phones, that cost a dime. I even remember party lines.
I remember when it appeared as if you were talking to yourself meant you were a little… off. Now, it means you are on your cell phone. I appreciate the cell phone. It gives me a false sense of security as I drive. I’m sure I’m not alone in having it save upset, stress and argument when one is running late. In fact, I can think of a million reasons why a cell phone is a good thing.
However, I have come to hate them.
Why? Because too many cell phone users are, well, rude. Despite its illegality, they talk in their car swerving recklessly. They have the most embarrassing and intimate conversations in public spaces. They talk in places where clearly they have been asked not to: cash register lines, movie theaters and yes, libraries.
We all know it’s hard to communicate when someone is on the phone. Why do we think a cell phone is different? Why do we think a transaction at store, bank, library is or should be any different? How do I ask a question, if the person I’m talking to is asking a question of another?
This has been a big debate in Libraryland for a long time. We don’t want to be rude. We don’t want to be ‘negative.’ But at the same time we have business to conduct. We’ve debated. We’ve posted signs. We’ve designated spaces. We’ve asked people to use the designated spaces.
I read today a public library in Wisconsin is talking about the possibility of buying equipment that could block cell phone use in their building. The librarian reporting that there is a lot of user complains about cell phone use which occurs despite a policy prohibiting use in the building.
Personally, while I do confess I’ve fantasized about such devices for my car, I find it sad.
MAY 2, 2010
Button, Button, Where is the Button?
Recently when I went to wear a new shirt, I had to cut the tags off. I never cut tags until I know I'm actually going to keep my purchase. I also cut off the extra button provided, you know that little plastic package with a snippet of thread and one extra button just in case you lose one somewhere down the road. If you're like me you have a bunch of these "extras" hidden away somewhere. Just look at the picture to see a sampling of mine. Now IF I lose the button before the shirt wears out, the question becomes will I actually sew a new one on the shirt. If the button is on the top or the bottom, I'll probably just forget it, who'll ever know. It's not like you're going to see it. If I like the shirt and the missing button is in a conspicuous place, I might decide to sew a new one on. IF I can find the button I so nicely put away for this occasion. How often does this happen? Maybe once in a lifetime! And even IF I do find the little plastic bag with just the right button, will I really use the snippet of thread? Wouldn't it make more sense to just throw the whole thing away as soon as I release it from the shirt?
Look at the can of buttons I've accumulated over the years. If you've got a similar collection hanging around do I have a couple of books for you.
Button it up : 80 amazing vintage button projects for necklaces, bracelets,
Bead and button, ribbon and felt jewelry : 35 sewing-box treasures to make and give / Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell