Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baseball : Never Out of Season

America's Favorite Pastime...
Bet you didn't know our state was home to three professional baseball teams or that CT teams played a major role in baseball's transition from amateur pastime to major league sport.

If you are a baseball or state history fan to the core, check out local author Dave Arcidiacono's latest : Major League Baseball in Gilded Age Connecticut : the Rise and Fall of the Middletown, New Haven and Hartford Clubs. The author here adds the third in series of books about 1870's baseball and the Middletown, Hartford, and New Haven teams who however briefly, competed at the highest levels of the sport.

Also by the Author
Middletown's Season in the Sun : the Story of Connecticut's First Professional Baseball Team (1999)

Grace, Grit and Growling : the Hartford Dark Blues Baseball Club, 1874-1877 (2003)

About the Author
Dave Arcidiacono is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, publishing articles specializing in 19th-century baseball. He has been a featured speaker at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Read an author interview, courtesy of the Shoreline Times.

Post by Bev Simmons

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Very Happy New Year for Fiction Fans

Hot Picks
Tuesday's hot fiction releases (and those that came but a few days before) are well worth adding to your holiday-wind-down reading list. Make some 'me' time with these and other good books this weekend, by way of your library.

Altar of Eden by James Rollins : a standalone thriller by the author of the Sigma Force novels.

Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux : a prequel to Lavender Morning, second in the author's Edilean series.

Deeper than Dead by Tami Hoag : The author's latest, after The Alibi Man (2007).

The Honor of Spies by W.E.B. Griffin : The fifth in the author's Honor Bound series picks up where 2008's Death and Honor last left Marine Major Don Cletus Frade... battling the Nazis.

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz : The first in a new trilogy by an author who deftly writes both paranormal and romantic thrillers. A good pick for fans of the Arcane Society series, written by Krentz and alter-ego, Amanda Quick.

The Hidden Flame by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn : Second in the Acts of Faith historical fiction series, which weaves Biblical events into the story lines.

The Heavenstone Secrets by V.C. Andrews : The author died in 1982 but her series books live on... and on... and on. This one starts a new series with next up, Secret Whispers, due for release in February 2010.

Summertime by J.M. Coetzee : The author again delivers yet another multi-layered novel; here he invents a fictional author who sets out to write his (Coetzee's) biography. By the way -- the author's a Nobel laureate.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
Woody Holton’s Abigail Adams presents a refreshing look at one of the most influential 'Founding Mothers' of our country. Material not previously examined reveals a picture of Abigail Adams as competent businesswoman and powerful personality, who was not afraid to express her views. The advice she gave to her husband, famed politician and second President of the United States, John Adams, "Remember the Ladies..." was ahead of its time.

Holton's latest will not disappoint fans of Colonial American history, women's history, or the sharply-written biography.

About the Author
Holton was a 2007 National Book Award finalist for Unruly Americans & The Origins of the Constitution.

Further Reading and Viewing
My Dearest Friend : Letters of Abigail & John Adams edited by Margaret A. Hogan & C. James Taylor
Ladies of Liberty : The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
John Adams by David McCullough
John Adams, an award-winning/three part series on DVD; Laura Linney plays Abigail and Paul Giamatti, John.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jazz Giant : Satchmo!

Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
Terry Teachout’s latest book, Pops : a Life of Louis Armstrong, reexamines the life of one of the finest and most recognizable musicians in American jazz history. Using new sources for research and illustrated by unique photos, many never previously published, Teachout covers the life of this famous musician in grand style. The biography also describes Armstrong's life against the social backdrop of the times in which he lived; times during which he was both criticized and revered.

Related Books for Adult and Younger Readers
Louis Armstrong's New Orleans by Thomas Brothers
Louis Armstrong by Judith Pinkerton Josephson
Louis Armstrong by Kindle Fahlenkamp-Merrell

Also find Louis Armstrong's music in our CD collection or for a more complete history of jazz and its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans, checkout Ken Burn's Jazz series on DVD.

Post by Bev Simmons

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home and Garden

Do-It-Yourself Wonders
If you sew, garden, knit, or are looking for new ways to impress you family and friends with your DIY wizardry, here's a short list of new titles that are especially delightful.

Better Homes and Gardens Beds and Borders : More than 90 Plant-by-number Gardens You Can Grow offers first-time and experienced gardeners a range of ideas on how to plan and execute a beautiful garden. Pair this or any gardening title with New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques : the Indispensable Illustrated Practical Guide from the American Horticultural Society.

Elegant Scarves and Wraps : 25 Gorgeous Felt Designs by Jill Denton delivers step-by-step instructions for stylish wraps and scarves sure to add pizazz to your existing wardrobe. A nice addition to any felt maker's list of must browse titles.

Gather : Memorable Menus for Entertaining Throughout the Seasons by Georgeanne Brennan targets cooks who love to entertain. Though organized by season, the title features many gem recipes than can be used year round.

Fashion Sweatshirts : Tots to Tweens by Lorine Mason offers great ideas on how to turn traditional sweats (inexpensive, cozy, boring) into flattering fashion statements. Also watch for Carmen Webber and Carmia Marshall's Chic Sweats : 22 Ways to Transform and Restyle Your Sweatshirts, soon to arrive on our shelves.

In Sweet Nursery Chic, Susan Cousineau suggests 10 themes you might consider if you're readying for a new addition to your family. Pick and choose among patterns that match to skills you've mastered or would like to try.

In Terrific Table Toppers : Decorate Your Home with Fast Fusible Applique : 10 Quilt Projects, master quilter Patrick Lose offers 10 designs that once made, will last through a lifetime of celebrations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Warriors Series Goes Manga

Picture This...
Erin Hunter's Warriors Series is huge among young adult readers so it comes as no surprise that HarperCollins and Tokyopop moved the series in to manga land. The art work in the 4-part series showcased here is slightly more detailed than conventional manga but the story lines are straightforward and action-filled.

These are good choices for existing fans of manga or reluctant readers who might like to start with manga and move on to the novels. Parents are advised that the warrior cats aren't cuddly.

Read 'em in order:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Books That Cut Like a Knife Through a New York Cheesecake

Reading War...
After reading Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory : the Odyssey of Pat Tillman (quick, genuine, to the point, and hard to put down) it occurred to me that for every historical period, there's at least one tome that sums up its problem and directs us to the next. Here's a list; one tome per conflagration.

Pre-WWI read : The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

The Great War itself : All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque

For the short peace in between the two wars : The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans

WWII : The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich : a History of Nazi Germany by William Shirer

Korea : The Coldest Winter : America and the Korean War by David Halberstam

Vietnam : A Bright Shining Lie : John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
by Neil Sheehan

Post by Phil Carr, library staff member and
author of the novel, Giving Up Genet

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt and "The Big Burn"

The Birth of Conservationism
Timothy Egan's The Big Burn : Teddy Roosevelt & The Fire That Saved America relates the tragic story of the great fire which rolled through Idaho, Washington, & Montana in August 1910 and scorched millions of acres. Fuelled by drought conditions, the fire was the worst fire disaster our country had seen up to that point.

Matched against the fire were forest rangers and almost ten thousand firefighters from all walks of life, whose heroism helped shape public opinion about conservationism. The story of the fire is also TR's, whose leadership in the face of devastation and politics forever linked his name with conservation and preservation of America’s natural resources.

Further Reading
Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt & the Crusade for America, 1858-1919 by Douglas Brinkley conveys the larger story of TR's views on the natural world, their source, and his accomplishments in the arena of 20th century environmental politics.

For middle school readers, Jeanette Ingold's historical/adventure fiction novel, The Big Burn, deftly tells the story of three very different teenagers whose lives intersect as the 1910 fires burn.

Post by Bev Simmons

Home for the Holidays...

In a Green Kind of Way...
During the holiday season everyone wants their house to look its best, inside and out. So while you are scrambling to finish that last minute paint job before the company arrives, take a minute to think about making some green choices for your holiday home improvement projects. Environmentally and health conscience brands of paint, for example, are popping up at your local home improvement stores. Ask an associate to help you compare conventional and green options.

In addition, check out our great selection of green home improvement books here at the library, including:
Your Eco-friendly Home : Buying, Building, or Remodeling Green by Sid Davis Green

Home Improvement : 65 projects that Will Cut Utility Bills, Protect Your Health, Help the Environment by Daniel Chiras

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods by Clarke Snell

The Good House Book: A Common Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding by Clarke Snell

This Green House: Home Improvements for the Eco-smart, the Thrifty, and the Do-it-yourselfer by Joshua Piven

The Natural Home: Inspiration and Decoration by Judith Wilson

Post by Kathleen Sands

Monday, December 14, 2009

Early Literacy Fun for Little People

December's Fingerplay of the Month
December's fingerplay of the month helps young children learn the important skill of counting in a fun and seasonal way. It also encourages them to work on their motor skills because this fingerplay requires them to lift just one finger at a time, which is a learned skill that takes time and practice. Enjoy this fingerplay during the snowy months and watch your favorite little fingers and young minds get better at moving and counting.

Ten Little Snowflakes (Follow-along Video plus Script)

One little, two little three little snowflakes;
Four little, five little, six little snowflakes;
Seven little, eight little, nine little snowflakes,
Ten little snowflakes in the air!

Catch, catch, catch those snowflakes!
Catch, catch, catch those snowflakes!
Catch, catch, catch those snowflakes!
Catch those snowflakes in the air!

Further Reading
Check out our wonderful holiday book section or for wintry books, our nature book section. Here's a few among the many titles you may enjoy with your child:

First Snow by Bernette Ford
Hello Snow by Hope Vestergaard
Snow by Cynthia Rylant
Snow Day by Lester Laminack
Hanukkah by Alan Benjamin
Arthur's Christmas by Marc Brown
Fancy Nancy's Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor
This Is the Dreidel by Abby Levine

Post by Kathleen Sands

Sunday, December 13, 2009

All Cakes Considered

Baking on the Radio
All Things Considered, the weekly two hour National Public Radio show, features Melissa Gray. Gray is the author of All Cakes Considered: A Year’s Worth of Weekly Recipes Tested, & Approved by the Staff of NPR’s All Things Considered.

On Mondays, Gray bakes a special cake for the NPR staff; the book is a collection of her special recipes, mentioned on air. Baking tips for 50 cakes come with fascinating-to-funny commentary on baking. Mouth-watering illustrations of each creation support the recipes. Listen to the story of the book on NPR.

Baker Considerations Plus
Here's but a few other titles about baking, equally instructive and fun:
Baking : From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

The Essential Baker : the Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients by Carole Bloom

Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, December 11, 2009

Making a List...

Best Fiction Books, 2009
As 2009 draws to a close, expect to be inundated with "best book" lists. Though we cannot image how difficult it must be to choose a handful of books from a much longer list of goodies, here's the top five fiction picks by the sometimes venerated but always influential New York Times.

A short story collection by the author of Liars and Saints.

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
The latest from the very inventive and genre-bending writer of Gun, With Occasional Music and the superb Motherless Brooklyn.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
This compelling post 9/11 backdrop novel is Moore's first in more than decade.

Half Broke Horses : a True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
An autobiographical novel by the author of the stunning memoir, The Glass Castle.

A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
Walbert (The Gardens of Kyoto) definitely writes about and for women; here about five generations of women whose options, choices, and priorities change over time.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fanging Around with the Undead...

The "Other" Popular Vampire Series
Mother-daughter author team P.C. and Kristin Cast may not have yet reached Stephenie Meyer's exalted status but their House of Night series is a winner in its own right. Well over 5 million copies in print is nothing to sneeze at...

Read the books in order (Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted and the latest, Tempted) and follow main character, 16 year-old Zoe Redbird, as she is "marked" and undergoes the "change" from old life to new. Great pop-culture references, laugh out loud humor, and good writing about finding a moral compass make the series well worth your time. The vampire backdrop adds icing to the popular fiction cake.

Further Reading and Listening
Click on over for "Twilight" notes posted on your library's Music and Movies Blog.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Holiday Fiction

Seasonal Reads
The holiday season presents an ideal setting and subject for many authors. Contemporary era stories by popular authors, as well as classic stories that have endured for more than a decade or century, are represented here.

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck was an inspirational hit with adults last season; the new picture book version is a hit with families this season.

Mystery writer Anne Perry offers a series of holiday themed books; A Christmas Visitor (2005) is among the most enduring.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg won the Caldecott Medal in 1986 and made a much deserved come back when Tom Hanks took to the book to film.

We haven't yet figured out exactly why but NPR favorite Garrison Keillor's recent holiday story, Christmas Blizzard, pairs nicely with CT-based author Wally Lamb's Wishin' & Hopin'.

The Christmas title books (Christmas Box, Christmas Candle, and most recently, Christmas List) by Richard Paul
Evans attract readers in need of a pick-me-up year round.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss) is a perennial hit and don't miss Barbara Robinson's wildly funny The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Add in Clement Clarke Moore's The Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (the Muppets and Barbie know a great story when they see it) and you have a full menu of classic favorites.

Ask our staff for other holiday recommendations for adults and kids, written by a wide range of very or less famous authors you may have missed.

More Seasonal Read Posts Coming Up
Hanukkah begins at sundown on Friday, December 11; Las Posodas on December 16. Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll offer reading suggestions about these and many other religious or secular December holidays celebrated by our neighbors and friends.

Posted by East Hampton Public Library Staff

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Poet of the Month

December's Featured Poet
Lewis Carroll, pen name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), was born in Daresbury, Cheshire, England. He was a mathematician, a logician, a deacon in the Anglican Church, and a photographer. More important, he penned what has become probably the most famous literary nonsense poem in English, “Jabberwocky.” It was originally part of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and What Alice Found There (1871), which was the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). All are among the most well-known and well-loved examples of fantasy literature in English.

(Library Staff Note : Read this aloud and with gusto. It'll make perfect sense! )

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker‑snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Further Reading: The Collected Verse of Lewis Carroll
Next Month:
Michael Ondaatje

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
The latter title was recently reviewed by Kirkus Discoveries.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

'Tis the Season for Gingerbread Houses

Build a House... Then Eat It!
Who doesn't love putting together a gingerbread house during the holiday season? If you want to start from scratch (though there is something to be said for kits) here's a few titles that include outstanding ideas and tips. In order of complexity and range:

Gingerbread Houses, Animals and Decorations by Joanna Farrow gives step-by-step instructions for 20 adorable projects.

Making Gingerbread Houses : Dozens of Delectable Designs and Ideas by Veronkia Alice Gunter showcases a variety of cool, unique and of course, tasty designs. Samples include Dorothy's House Lands in Oz, Santa's Workshop, Tropical Tiki Hut, Feathered Friends Houses, and even a Medieval Castle.

In Susan Matheson & Lauren Chatman's The Gingerbread Architect : Recipes & Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes, gingerbread houses receive classic treatment. The visuals are breathtaking and range from town houses to farm houses. Equipment, ingredients, templates, resources and a glossary of architectural terms are included, as well as the recipes themselves.

Further Reading
For an accompanying storybook to read to your special little helper, try:
The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Boy (Try Kathy Wilburn's or Harriet Ziefert's)
The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
The Gingerbread Rabbit by Randall Jarrell
Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins
Hansel and Gretel, the classic "grimm" fairy tale, retold by James Marshall

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, December 04, 2009

For Fans of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."
In 1933 Cornelia Meigs gave us the classic Invincible Louisa and in 1967 Martha Saxton gave us Louisa May. Now in 2009 we have a wonderful new biography by Harriet Reisin, Louisa May Alcott : the Woman Behind Little Women.

Reisen's book presents an updated story of the celebrated author based on journals and letters. Alcott lived in an era when everyone wrote letters; the letters used in Reisen's research include those from Alcott's family, friends, fans, and publishers.

Click here for a selection of Alcott's fiction works for children or adults. Most could be considered autobiographical and provide insight into the explosive and dramatic pre and post Civil War times during which Alcott lived.

Related Reads
Eden's Outcasts : the Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson
American Transcendentalism : a History by Philip F. Gura
American Bloomsbury : Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau : Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever

Surf's Up
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Close to Home
If your holiday plans include travel of the nearby variety, the latest edition of Fun with the Family, Connecticut : Hundreds of Day Trips with the Kids by Doe Boyle may be helpful. The book is arranged by county and provides much needed information for each place listed; top picks by country and appeal by age group are very useful features. Something for everyone summarizes the scope of this family-friendly guide book.

Pair the above with Connecticut Restaurants 2009/10, an outstanding Zagat Guide which covers Connecticut, plus near-by Berkshires and New York dining establishments. The directory surveys and rates restaurants and offers a stunning array of indexes to help guide your choices.

The Library's Museum Pass Program
Also keep in mind the library's circulating museum pass program, funded by the Friends of the East Hampton Public Library. Courtesy of the CT Science Center, the library also provides discounted admission coupons to this latest addition to our state's portfolio of premier attractions. Coupons, while they last, offer a 20% discount off family admission; save about $12 for a family of four.

This Saturday, December 5 @ The CT Science Center
If your calendar is uncluttered, enjoy Half Price Day at the Science Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discount applies to general admission only; the offer may not be combined with the library's coupon program.

Post by Bev Simmons