SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
319 Route 87 Columbia, CT 06237
Phone: 860 228 0350 Fax: 860 228 1569 E-mail: staff@columbiactlibrary.org

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Speaking Volumes

Keeping you up-to-date on what's happening at your library. We invite you to join in the conversation!
OCTOBER 30, 2009
Mini Me

I’ve been reading a lot of YA and Junior Fiction lately, and often times I find that these books seem like children or teen versions of adult books I’ve read. I got thinking about this after talking with one of our volunteers about When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. I had just read it and recommended it to her (it’s so good!) and after she finished she commented that it reminded her of a kids version of The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. I’ve read both and could definitely see her point. Even saying that they are alike almost gives away too much, so I won’t elaborate on this one!

 

             

 

When I read The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd, all I could think of was the adult book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. Both are mysteries and both are told from the point of view of a teen boy who falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.

 

              


The YA book, Alphabet of Dreams, by Susan Fletcher reminded me of The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. Both stories take place in biblical times and (in my opinion) conjure up beautiful imagery.

  

          

When I read The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin, I was reminded of The Wolf at the Table, by Augusten Burroughs. Both are about young men dealing with abusive parents who play some serious mind games. Except, The Wolf at the Table is a memoir of Augusten Borroughs relationship with his father – very disturbing. Even the covers have similar look!

 

          

 

This one might be a stretch, but this summer I read The Girl Who Could Fly, by Victoria Forester, and parts of it reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey. 

 

SPOILER ALERT: In The Girl Who Could Fly, the main character, Piper, gets sent to an underground school for kids with special/unusual talents. The Headmaster of the school tries to ‘fix’ the kids to be normal with drugs and sometimes lobotomies…. Nurse Ratchett anyone? The covers look a lot a like as well:

 

              

 

It’s impossible to tell if any of these similarities are on purpose or not, but they do make interesting comparisons. Has anyone else read any other adult/child read-alikes? Let me know!

 

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.

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OCTOBER 28, 2009
Frightful and delightful

Okay, having spent the last few weeks posting on scary things, I think it only fitting this last week before Halloween, to continue the trend. But this time, I thought I’d offer a bit of a twist:

 A list of my all time favorite Halloween-y books – for the young and young at heart!
 
 
I’m not a big fan of dogs, but how can one resist Martha, who dresses up as a cat for Halloween?
 
 
 
Perhaps you’ve heard of psychic vampires? Bibliophile’s beware of this fellow! He's far more sinister.
 
 
 
Everyone knows I’m a big Halloween fan, what people didn’t know (until now – watch for that trivia contest in the future!) is that I collect alphabet books.
 
 
 
Don’t you hate it when this happens?
 
 
 
Sheldon, a pig who works as a short-order cook, encounters a mad scientist one stormy Halloween night and must face all of his biggest fears.
 
 
 
And on this note, I leave you with one last thought: 
 
 
Great Pumpkin Is Comin' To Town
 
Oh, you better not shriek, you better not groan,
You better not howl, you better not moan,
Great Pumpkin is coming to town!
He's going to find out from folks that he meets,
Who deserves tricks and who deserves treats;
Great Pumpkin is coming to town!
He'll search in every pumpkin patch, haunted houses far and near;
To see if you've been spreading gloom, or bringing lots of cheer!
So you better not shriek, you better not groan,
You better not howl, you better not moan;
Great pumpkin is coming to town!!
 
 
Be sure to watch for the Great Pumpkin and check out these books and more pumpkin carols @ the Library!
 
 

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Su

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OCTOBER 25, 2009
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

While October may make many of you think of Halloween and Trick or Treating, costumes and candy, ghouls and ghosts, October also is the month chosen as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our library owns many books to help you with treatment, make decisions, and guide families on how to support your loved one. Most of our non-ficition books on breast cancer can be found in 616.99449, or in 362.1969. A staff member is always available to help you find material. Connecticut residents can use the health databases at www.iconn.org. which include The Health & Wellness Center, Medline Plus, and Connecticut Physician Profiles. A particularly valuable resource is also available to Connecticut residents in Healthnet,  The University of Connecticut Health Center Library's consumer health information program for Connecticut residents and public libraries. Here you contact  a librarian. with personal medical questions. 

 Don't forget that breast cancer is not only a woman's cancer as evidenced in one man's story Saving Jack : a man's struggle with breast cancer / Jack Willis.

Books we have purchased this year include:

Stand by her : a breast cancer guide for men / John W. Anderson.

Choices in breast cancer treatment : medical specialists and cancer survivors tell you what you need to know / edited by Kenneth D. Miller.

Pretty is what changes : impossible choices, the breast cancer gene, and how I defied my destiny / Jessica Queller

Nordie's at noon : the personal stories of four women "too young" for breast cancer / Patti Balwanz

The Everything Health Guide to Living with Breast Cancer: An Accessible and Comprehensive Resource for Women

In addition I'd like to recommend this poignant memoir that has touched the hearts of many...Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place. The opening line gives a picture of what is to come...The thing you need to know about me is that I am George Corrigan's daughter, his only daughter. It is the story of her life growing up in the Irish -American Corrigan family and the story today of her father and her own successful battles with cancer.

Hear  a bit of Kelly's story here...

 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK

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OCTOBER 23, 2009
Caldecott Art

 

I love picture book art! Of course the ultimate recognition for picture book illustrators is the Caldecott Medal given out each year to the artist of the "most distinguished American picture book for children." The winner and honor books are announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, which will be in Boston this year from January 15-19.

 

Elizabeth Bird of School Library Journal makes predictions on the major book award winners on her blog. Last year she correctly predicted one of the Newbury honor books, The Underneath, by Kathi Applet, and two of the Caldecott Books; The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes and How I learned Geography, by Uri Shulevitz

 

Two weeks ago she predicted these four as possible Caledcott winners:

 

   
The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney

   

14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

  

Moonshot: Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca

  

Robot Zot, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Shannon

 

(We own all of these if you are interested in checking them out for yourself!)

 

Here is the link to Elizabeth's blog post: 

 

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1790000379/post/440049644.html

 

What do you think? Have any picture books blown you away this year? Do you agree with Elizabeth’s predictions?

 

For those interested in learning even more about the Caldecott medal and some winning artwork, make sure you sign up for one (or all!) of our upcoming Caldecott programs:

 

At each session we will read a Caldecott Medal Winner or Honor book and create original artwork in the style of that illustrator. Hope to see you there!

                      

Wednesday, Oct. 28th @ 6:00:

2004 Honor: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus & 

2005 Honor: Knuffle Bunny; A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems

                                           

Wednesday, Nov. 4th @ 6:00:
2009 Winner: 
A House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes, written by Susan Marie Swansen

 

Wednesday, Nov. 18th @ 6:00:

1993 Honor: Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.

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OCTOBER 21, 2009
What is scary?

Many things have raised this question for me recently… Last week I wrote of scary (or not so) movies. When Megan was writing of Where the Wild Things Are, I noted I didn’t want to see the film, though it looked technically very well done. Why? I found the book and the movie trailer, scary. This has been given no credibility, as I also announced I wanted to see the new film, Zombieland. But I hold one thing has nothing to do with the other.

 Since it is the season… in one of this month’s Library trade publications was a short write up on the differences between what men and women find scary.   The male writer wrote that men find plotlines in which people they love are harmed and they are powerless, terrifying. The female writer suggested it was tales that wrote of threatening interpersonal relationships frightening.
 
This sponsored me thinking…what have I read or seen that I found truly frightening? Nightmare frightening? Hauntingly frightening?
 
There have been a few…
 
 
 
 
 
 
(The book, not the movie.)
 
 
 
 
 
So, what have you found truly frightening? 
 
 
Let us know or check out these books @ the Library!

Add a comment  (15 comments) posted by Su

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OCTOBER 19, 2009
Don't Miss this Program!

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary"

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth (January 18, 1809 - Ocotober 7, 1849). You can follow events of his bicentennial at the Edgar Allan Poe Baltimore, Maryland Bicentennial Celebration website.

It has always amazed me that such a young man has had such a profound affect on world literature, detective fiction and poetry. I often wonder where his career would have gone had he lived to a ripe old age.

I'd think most of us are familiar with at least one of his works, be it The Fall of the House of Usher or perhaps, his haunting poem The Raven. My first encounter with Poe was reading The Murders in the Rue Morgue, one of 3 of his tales which are credited with establishing the major characteristics of detective fiction, particularly the convention of amateur sleuth. It seems sad that during his lifetime, his works weren't fully appreciated only gaining a legion of zealous fans after his death. Today, he has come into his own. I can't imagine any reader who has not heard of the great Poe.

Lou Harmon from The Tale of Terror , will bring Poe to life at our library this Wednesday evening, October 21st, 7:00PM. Hamon will appear in costume, in the persona of Poe, providing an intimate glimpse into the life of the writer. The lecture is free and appropriate for high school students and adults.

This lecture is presented by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts as part of The Big Read. Please visit www.bushnell.org for information on additional Big Read events, including BOO! At The Bushnell, a one-day conference to explore the evolution of the horror genre in theater, film, and literature. Saturday, October 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don't miss it!
 

 And if you'd like to read more about Poe, both his works and those written about him try these at the library. I'd particularly recommend The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl which presents a fascinating look at the last hours before Poe's death in Baltimore.


Essays and Reviews
Poetry and Tales

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe

The Poe Shadow Matthew Pearl 

An Unpardonable Crime Andrew Taylor
 

 

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by CarolK

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OCTOBER 16, 2009
Let the wild rumpus start! ~ Revised 10/17/09

Will you be going to see Where the Wild Things Are in the theater?

 

         

 

I’m not sure if I will or not. I’m thinking I’ll wait until I get some feedback from library patrons. If people are raving about it, then I might go. I am very curious as to how they turned the 48 page book, which is mostly pictures, into an hour and half long movie.

 

Last Thursday we had a special Wild Things Program, where I read the book and then did a variety of crafts with the kids. While getting ready for the program, I found a Maurice Sendak biography which had some very interesting information on the author. Apparently, Sendak was planning on writing a children’s book about horses, but he couldn’t draw horses that well, so he decided to switch to ‘things.’ He based the drawings of the monsters on his aunts and uncles, who he hated! From chatting with a co-worker I found out that Sendak had a pretty disturbing childhood, his parents frequently telling him they never wanted him in the first place. In fact, HBO recently made a documentary about Maurice Sendak, called Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, where he talks about his work and his bizarre childhood. I don’t get HBO, but I would love to see this! Here is the link to a trailer on HBO’s website:

 

http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/tellthemanything/index.html

 

For some Where the Wild Things Are movie reviews, copy and paste the following link:


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386117/news#ni1088707

 

If you see the movie this weekend please comment!
 

*** added by CarolK 

I'm not certain if I'll go to see the movie. Max and his creatures scare me just a bit. Still, I think it's the perfect movie for seeing on the big screen. Maybe I can find a child to hold my hand!

Jennifer Brown posted a great take on Spike Jonze in Shelf Awareness entitled Deeper Understanding: Where The Wild Things Are. It's worth reading. Here's just a clip:

Max has appeared in a book again only once,
a reissue of Ruth Krauss's 1948 text Bears (HarperCollins/di Capua, 2005).
Ruth Krauss and her husband, Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon),
whom everyone called Dave,
mentored Sendak throughout his early career.
On weekends, he visited them in their Connecticut home
with the manuscript for Wild Things.
"Dave gave me the word 'rumpus,'" Sendak said in an interview
(
Publishers Weekly, April 18, 2005)
"Max was like our child."
Would Sendak entrust Max to just anyone?"
 
Here's to Spike Jonze,
who has shepherded Max to the big screen
and safely home again.
--Jennifer M. Brown


Do let us know if you go...

 

 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.

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OCTOBER 15, 2009
Bee Move Confessions

I have always loved Halloween and things eerie. However, in my youth, I must admit… I was scardy cat. I whimpered in line at the Haunted House at Disneyworld. Refused to go to Haunted nights at the amusement park, then known as Riverside. And watch a horror movie? Only under duress, with all the lights on and complaining bitterly about it!

In the early ‘90s I did a major research project for which I analyzed over 350 films. Ironically, it turned out, these were mostly horror films.  Quite nervous about it, I approached it with scientific precision: I watched the films in the bright, sterile environment of the university library, keeping clinical notes and reading up on special effects. It was still an … interesting process, but that’s another story.
 
After this? I am now uncomfortable to admit, I am the horror movie queen. Not only do they not bother me, but… they hold a special place in my heart. I’ve seen enough of them to catch the inside jokes, the referencing and to scoff at the more recent  film makers who substitute visceral gore for a good solid scare.
 
The sad truth is I have seen, in sequence all 12 of the Friday The 13th series,  all 10 of the Halloween franchise (John Carpenter's and Rob Zombie’s) and all  7 (or 8 if you count Freddy vs. Jason) of the Nightmare on Elm Street series… just to name a few. In recent years the ‘gore factor’ has increased and my interest has waned. I miss the good old fashioned monsters, be it a vampire or Michael Myers.
 
Still, here at the Library we have a nice collection of frightful delights…
 
 
 
Remember the short lived television show, Project Greenlight? In the genre of reality TV, it followed a budding film maker through their first film making project. This film was their Horror project.
 
 
 
 
One of the early films of Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Keifer Sutherland, in which medical student’s near death experiments start to go a bit awry. 
 
 
 
 
I’ve written here before, I love Bruce Cambell… and how can one go wrong fighting a Medieval  army of the dead with a chainsaw? This film is a campy classic.
 
 
You can just never trust a witch, even if they are created by Disney.
 
 
 
 
Tim Burton’s aliens can certainly compete with Ridley Scott’s and  M. Night Shyamalan!
 
 
 
Want another suggestion? Come see us @ the Library!
 
 

 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su

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OCTOBER 12, 2009
To Purchase or Not, That Becomes the Question!

Shortly after Megan wrote her October 2nd blog about the controversial book, Tender Morsels, another book has caught media attention and is causing a stir.
In the Middle of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Killed in Cold Blood by Brian McDonald and published by St. Martin True Crime, seems to hit a bit too close to home for those of us living in Connecticut. McDonald is the attorney for Joshua Komisarjevsky, charged with the horrific murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela, July 23, 2007 in their home in Cheshire. The book, released on September 29th is sold out in most book stores in the area. In it, Komisarjevsky blames his crime partner Steven Hayes for the murders and gives graphic details of the time leading to the Petit deaths. There have been many news articles in area papers and comments from the public, including area lawyers, voicing their outrage and shock that the book was allowed to be published before the two men are brought to trial. William Petit told Fox 61 on Tuesday that he was "too disgusted to comment" or to give the book "any further thought."

I've read true crime ever since I can remember. I hesitate to say I'm a fan of the genre as the word fan comes from the word fanatic, and I don't think that's a fair description. Still, I've read many true crime stories over the years, many by Ann Rule, regarded as the queen in this field. Rule comes to the subject with a degree in law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. According to her website, her books deal with three topics, "the victims' stories; the detectives and prosecutors and how they solve their cases with old fashioned police work and modern forensic science, and the killers’ lives". The part that is of most interest to me is the dedication and determination of the detectives and prosecutors to find and bring to justice the person who committed these brutal crimes.

Some librarian discussion lists have pondered the question whether or not to purchase the McDonald book. Some say they won't purchase it regardless of demand. If one of their patrons want the book, they can just go buy it. A search of the state catalog returns 0 results, meaning no one in the state has added it their collection as of yet. In Columbia, we've had enough interest in the book to add it to our purchases. At this time, it is back ordered but is expected to ship in the near future. I just don't feel it's my right to judge whether or not YOU should be reading the book. What do you think?


 


 


 

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by CarolK

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OCTOBER 7, 2009
84 104 101 102 117 116 117 114 101 (The Future?)

Google informs me that today is the anniversary of patent for the barcode! Awarded October 7, 1952, the barcode is 57. Initially created with supermarkets in mind, its first use was on railroad cars. Today, the barcode is everywhere! For me it has become the universal symbol of technology and Big Brother’s tracking system.

 I’ve mixed feelings about the barcode. On the one hand, I know the series of lines are only machine readable squiggles. It makes it infinitely easier at check out lines. I’ve seen them on cars for parking lots, and we all know I adore the E-Z Pass (a barcode system.) On the other hand…. A few lines and so much information can be stored, read and sent. How easy the barcode makes all things a number…humans included.
 
In Libraryland, the barcode has become indispensable. We use the ISBN to assure the right material in purchase and for acquiring database records. We use another barcode to anonymously identify each patron and to allow for keeping patron’s records. And yet a third barcode to identify each item in the library, again allowing for record keeping and tracking.
 
Some library’s create and print their own barcodes, some find it more efficient to purchase them,  and some have systems where the magic number is read electronically by a radio frequency identification device (RFID). Still,  I’d venture a guess that all Librarians at least to some degree can read their barcodes. Like reading the data in The Matrix, we can look at barcodes and know by line thickness and pattern or number what the code is telling. Which Library does this item or patron belong to? What book publisher produced this book?
 
How strange to think this entire system was set into motion 57 years ago. How strange to think the future of bar coding humans may not be fantasy.
 
Entertain this idea more @ your library….
 
And check out the following:
 
 
 
“Bar Coding Humans” by Angela Swafford, Boston Globe 
 
"Human Bar Code" 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su

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OCTOBER 5, 2009
Wonderbra or Wonderbread?

 

Now there's a combo! Wonder where that came from?

The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures compiled by Sam Still, Lou Harry, and Julia Spalding is full of such entries. Yep, 320 pages of "things people relish in private, but in most cases wouldn't be caught dead eating, visiting, viewing, listening to, touching, or rubbing all over their bodies in public". From ABBA, a band that started as Bjorn & Benny, Agnitha & Anni-Frid to Zinn, a Russian word meaning winter, evolved into a clear malt-beverage, you're bound to find something to make you smile.

Have you ever craved Chef Boyardee, Spaghettios, or those yummy Ramen Noodles? Have a hankering for spam, vienna sausages or ambrosia? Then this is the book for you.

But wait, there's more! 1,001 things you hate love, to be exact. Besides being a trip down nostalgia lane, each entry includes a brief narrative as to the history of the item. Did you know that Marshmallow Fluff dates back to 1917 and that it was sold door to door by Archibald Query? I sure didn't. And after all these years there's still no chocolate fluff. Read the book to find out why.

From A to Z, besides food, you'll find celebrities, products, movies, literature, toys and games, music, dance and much more. Trivia fans will love this book.

Boone's Family Strawberry Hill anyone?

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Caro

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OCTOBER 2, 2009
Tender Morsels

                                 

In light of Banned Books week, I would like to post about the book I am listening to, Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan. It’s a Young Adult book. Heard of it??

 

When I first heard of the book, it was because it was getting wonderful reviews across the board. Tender Morsels had starred reviews in Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. It was on School Library Journal’s Best Book list. It was a 2009 Printz Honor Book. The reviews all say things like, “beautifully written and surprising, this is a novel not to be missed,” and “a story of extraordinary depth and beauty.” So, after reading all of this I ordered a copy for the library, and got the audio book as well.

 

However, the book has stirred up some major controversy, although I’m not certain it has been officially challenged anywhere (anyone know?). The controversy stems from the content; incest, rape, forced miscarriages, and bestiality (sort of..), combined with the fact that it is a labeled as a Young Adult novel.

 

Interestingly enough, I first heard of the controversy from other librarians on an email listserv I belong to. Librarians were discussing whether or not they were going to purchase it. Some chimed in saying they would not – due to the content. During a week where libraries are celebrating our freedom to read, it’s important to remember that it’s not always parents and patrons who want to censor what is available at library, censorship can also come from within.

 

Carol found this great snippet from an interview with the author, Margo Lanagan, where she shares her views on censorship:

“Censorship, and protests about dark or sexy books often seems to me to be fear parading as concern for children and young people. If you really respect young people you make yourself available to answer any question they pop up with, at whatever time it happens and in whatever circumstances. If you're not ready to answer the questions that a challenging book poses, I don't think the issue is with the book.”

To read the whole interview copy and paste the link below:

http://writing-genre-fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/margo_lanagan_interview

Anyways, as I said I am almost done listening to Tender Morsels. Here’s my two cents; the beginning was TOUGH, and I almost didn’t make it through. But, the writing is beautiful, the story is completely unique and imaginative, and in my opinion the book deserves all the praise and awards it has received.

Anyone else read it? I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

 

Add a comment  (4 comments) posted by Megan Q.

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