Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday all day

 Greetings on a steamy Friday.  I'd rather not believe that today was the last day of the Summer Reading Program--another great series of events-thank you Leigh! and that I just got the template for the 2022 budget from the town Finance Director.  I will permit myself a continued period of denial.  Like Scarlett, I'll think about it tomorrow...or next week.  Speaking of next week, if you haven't checked out the Covid art show, you should give it a peak and consider attending our opening event next thursday from 5-6:30.

On the reading front, I am almost done with the new Francine Prose book "The Vixen" and quite enjoyed it. The unlikely premise is the potential publication of a bodice ripper based on the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the layers of intrigue surrounding that.  A great novel?  Perhaps not, but a good read, which features Coney Island, a place of my youth, as a character of sorts.  I'm moving on to the new Jhumpa Lahiri book:.  "Whereabouts" A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies--her first in nearly a decade--about a woman questioning her place in the world, wavering between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties.

Thoroughly looking forward to it.  This is a departure for Lahiri, who wrote the book in Italian and translated it herself.  This is a kind of literary/linguistic gymnastics that I have a difficult time getting my brain around...Will let you know.  Good weekend to all. If you're at the Farmers Market, visit the library's tent and mini booksale.  Fill out our brief survey while you're there!  many thanks...


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Summertime and the living is ....messy

 today "Messy Art Day" was the featured activity for the Summer Reading Program.  It was a perfect day to get messy and it seems to have been a hit with young and old!  


Messy SPLAT


why NOT just paint your body??!!

Today' I completed my report on our ARPA grant (American Rescue Plan) funding.  We received $1,630 to support three months of our Hoopla contract (downloadable books, movies, music and comics).  We added this service when Covid hit to provide more online content to our users.  It was great to have these resources,  freeing up dollars for other library materials.  But, reporting back on a government grant is...um...tortured.  I have become a big Hoopla fan.  I'm currently listening to Madeline Miller's "Song of Achilles" after my string of classics (various Dickens and Hardy's "Return of the Native."  Great escape and Hoopla's collection is strong..

Thursday, August 5, 2021

A day that will live in.....

 I can't let August 3rd pass without noting what happened on that date three years ago.  Remember??!!

This has been quite a series of years at the Hopkinton Town Library...


Meanwhile, things are back to sort of normal here at HTL and it feels very good.  The Covid Art Show has been getting alot of traffic and really feels like a worthwhile thing to have done.  Kudos to all who participated.  Come see the wonderful and varied work.

Leigh reported that there were 78 at the Summer Reading Program event last night.  Audubon was here to present "Moose to Mice:  Animals in our Community" under our tent!  Apparently it was a crowd pleaser.  And next week I'll be presenting "Chipmunks and Voles:  Animals in our garden."  Not really.  But I could.  

And if you haven't checked out our "I Spy" Cabinet, it is worth a peak. Staff brought in all manner of this and that and assembled it into a giant cabinet of curiosities out near the community room  People of all ages can come and do our "I Spy" challenge, or just look at it.  Makes me smile every time.




Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Covid Art Show

 It's been installed and it is worth a visit.  Thanks to the Gallery Committee's (Ruth Chevion, Ellen Davis, Inge Eddy and Peg Kimball) valiant efforts, the show went up on Monday, overcoming a variety of interesting challenges.  How to display three quilts???  Well, why not move the sofa up to the front of the library and drape Jan Stillwell's lovely piece over it to welcome people to the show?  The two other quilts are up on the wall.  Come check it out, or wait for the opening event on Thursday August 19th from 5-6:30.  All welcome.

Here we are wrestling with the work....


This beautiful, but heavy mosaic by Maura Zankel turned out to be too heavy to hang on the wall. ("Isn't that piece an inch or so lower than it was a minute ago...?)  It now rests on the fireplace and looks stunning with its collection of shards.



Friday, July 30, 2021

Oh Man (Booker)

 One thing (among many, it's true) I look forward to each year is the release of the long list of nominees for the Man Booker Prize.  From the Booker website:

The Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world, and has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over five decades. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK and Ireland. It is a prize that transforms the winner’s career.

The winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the six shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a global readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

I like to see what has already been added to our collection or is on order and what titles I missed (but will be added).  This year of the thirteen titles, we already owned three and two were on order.  Seven of the titles were available either on Hoopla or Overdrive to download and the balance will be ordered, with the exception of "The Fortune Men," which for some reason isn't available from our book distributor.  Here's the list with notes:  

The 2021 longlist, or ‘The Booker Dozen’, of 13 novels, is:

  • A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Books, Granta Publications) new order
  • Second Place, Rachel Cusk, (Faber) new order OD audiobook
  • The Promise, Damon Galgut, (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH) new order Hoopla ebook
  • The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris (Tinder Press, Headline, Hachette Book Group) already on order OD ebook
  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber) in HTL collection and on OD as ebook and audiobook
  • An Island, Karen Jennings (Holland House Books) new order
  • A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH) new order
  • No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing) new order and OD Audiobook
  • The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin General, PRH) not yet available
  • Bewilderment, Richard Powers (Hutchinson Heinemann, PRH) new order
  • China Room, Sunjeev Sahota (Harvill Secker, Vintage, PRH) new order OD audiobook
  • Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers, PRH) in HTL collecition OD ebook and OD audiobook
  • Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford (Faber) in HTL collection
Good weekend to all.  Relax, bake (how 'bout a blueberry cake??!!) , read, repeat.  And probably wash your hands.  A lot.  



Thursday, July 29, 2021

What the hail?

 I've been away awhile, mostly deeply marveling at the weather and figuring out what to do with a bumper crop of blueberries (the latter being a nice problem to have, the former, not so much...)



the hail storm last week was quite an event resulting in severely torn leaves throughout the garden.  The hostas, which are all about the leaves, were especially hard hit and we have ample blueberries with little dents in them from the hail.  Fortunately, they are mostly still edible.  Blueberry tart, anyone???



I'm going to try to get back in the blog swing, but first a quick story.  My younger daughter who gets around in a wheelchair was in White Park in Concord with her wonderful aide yesterday.  While sitting on a bench enjoying watching several duck families, she noticed that someone had plunged into the pond and was swimming towards them.  The young man in question was holding a bunch of flowers.  He emerged from the pond and presented the flowers to Elena.  When he was joined by a couple of his friends, Elena and Amy were serenaded with songs and handshakes all around.  Turns out they were from "Chaos and Kindness" a project of the rock band "Recycled Percussion."  Apparently they are a NH based group that has its own TV show.  Who knew?  I didn't, but Amy did and she was quite awestruck and Elena was all smiles! From their website:   Chaos & Kindness is an innovative brand and movement. We believe it is powerful when Chaos & Kindness come together. Our products have positive messages and are high quality. Our experiences are creative and fun!  A percentage of all of our sales always goes toward making the world a kinder place.

Amen to that!! 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Farmers Market

 We are 'egg'cited and 'peas'ed that the library will have a table at the Contoocook Farmers Market all summer.  Inspired by Leigh Maynard's success, members of the Friends of the Library and Library Board of Trustees will be hosting a table there each Saturday through the end of August, which will feature a mini "pop up" used book sale.  No, we will not only be selling pop up books. We will be selling gently used fiction and non-fiction for all ages.  Come check it out.  There will be other information about library services and hours as well.

I'm about to return "Perestroika in Paris" and will be sad to see it go.  It was the pleasantest escape.  I was a bit startled when looking at the catalog entry that under "You might also like" (a feature of our online catalog that I think I like and others have said they do...) they suggested the new Chang-rae Lee "My Year Abroad" a book I thoroughly enjoyed, but it is about as connected to the Jane Smiley book as I am to Britney Spears.  It is pretty angst ridden and has a fair amount of fairly graphic and somewhat warped sex.  It makes me wonder what algorithm they use to make the connections. 

Next up is Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng. A lyrical novel set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution that follows a father's quest to reunite his family before his precocious daughter's momentous birthday, which Garth Greenwell calls "one of the most beautiful debuts I've read in years."

I'm a bit worried about the "lyrical" part.  That can be good or really bad...We'll see.  Here's to flowers all summer long!!  















 




Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Even more normal

 Things are opening up even more.  The community room and study rooms are open for business and we are having more foot traffic than curbside business this week than we've had in a year.  God willin' and the crick don't rise, things will continue to move in this direction through the fall....another one, as soon as I typed it (and I'm embarrassed to say I probably use this phrase more than I should and more than I have any right to...but here it is from Wikipedia:  

The expression "...the creek don't rise" is an American slang expression implying strong intentions subject to complete frustration by uncommon but not unforeseeable events. It presumably evokes occasional and unpredictably extreme rainfall in Appalachia, that has historically isolated one rural neighborhood or another temporarily inaccessible on several or many occasions. It is sometimes thought that the word "Creek" instead refers to the Creek people, but this is not the case.[1][2]

Classic versions of its use tend to be along the lines of "The good Lord willing, and the creek doesn't rise"—i.e. "If God so wills, and as long as intense rain does not wash away bridges or parts of dirt roads, or cover roads too deeply for safely following them." It may take the form of real or mock dialect, in variations like "... Lor' willin' an' th' crick don' rise."

On the good news front, the TENT IS UP (thanks to the Library Foundation and to Todd Olkonen and his crew for putting it up!) and various summer reading program activities will take place in it.  The book discussion group perhaps as well.  It looks very festive out there on the lawn


and we are slowly reintroducing some toys, even our new giant chess board purchased for us by the Friends of the Library.  Come and play.  We'll be wiping it down.  All of those precautions are still in place.






Friday, June 18, 2021

almost Normal on a Friday

 We were open from 10 to 5 and actually may have had more bodies in the library (Clue??) than curbside picker uppers.  We've opened up the Community Room and the Local History Room for meetings and the quiet study rooms are open for business as well. We are asking that capacity in the study rooms be limited to two.  For the moment masks are still required in the library in keeping with the town ordinance for mask wearing in town buildings.  

We put up a couple of book displays recently--something for everyone!  One on outdoor activities for people of all ages...


and one on gardening!
and in partnership with the school district, a display of books on the Hopkinton Middle High School Summer Reading List.  We've also included information on whether titles are available to download on one of our platforms.  


And on the reading front, I find myself much surprised to be quite taken with Jane Smiley's newest "Perestroika in Paris" featuring...wait for it...a horse, dog, raven and two ducks and a handful of humans.  I'm sure it is rich in metaphor, but it is also simply a nice quiet read with charming and clever characters.  How can one NOT be smitten by a raven named "Sir Raoul Corvus Corax, the twenty-third of that name"

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author: a captivating, brilliantly imaginative story of three extraordinary animals--and a young boy--whose lives intersect in Paris.

"If you're looking for a feel-good escape, try this." --The New York Times

I'm also listening to "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman because my daughter recently reported that it is one of her favorite books. It is also charming escape, read by the author who does a masterful job.  Finally, I'm regularly dipping into "Mantel Pieces" by Hilary Mantel, author of the award winning Thomas Cromwell series.  They are pieces that she wrote for the London Review of Books and very entertaining and covering a range of subject matters from contemporary issues to Anne Boleyn and Diana, Princess of Wales.  the title alone, made me want to pick it up.  Good summer-y weekend to all....Rhubarb focaccia is on the menu...another way to deal with the bumper crop.  At least the chipmunks don't eat that.... 










Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Miracle of nature

 I buy new amaryllis bulbs after Thanksgiving to offer some  color for new years and usually over-winter at least one or two.  After the blooms die off, I generally put them out while still in leaf to live in the garden until the fall.  The bulbs (sometimes in their pots, sometimes not, depending on how lazy I am) then go into the basement.  This year, I totally forgot that I put one potted bulb (a particularly dramatic and plentiful bloomer)  into a cabinet in the garage.  This weekend, lo and behold, my husband was looking for something and found this amazing ghost plant.  Even Mouse was impressed.  This intrepid plant wanted to burst forth even without benefit of sunlight...

It has been slowly greening up and transitioning through a whole spectrum of pinks.  Here it is from early this morning.  Miracle of miracles...


and speaking of Mouse, here she is on the porch on one recent 90 degree day.  She has quite a life.  I confess that I'd like to put her to work lately to help us deal with the bumper crop of chipmunks we have who are feasting on our garden.  But alas, she must remain an indoor beast in the interest of our bird population and to keep her from getting tick ridden and safe from cars and coyotes.