Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pet Therapy Animals

Doggie Smooches and Kitty Purrs
Remember Baxter? Melissa Joseph's 2009 title, Moments with Baxter : Comfort and Love from the World's Best Therapy Dog tells the story of a rescue dog who at age 12, started volunteering his time to visit and comfort terminally ill people in hospice care.

Well... now we have new pet therapy book featuring a nursing home resident named Oscar, who happens to be a cat. In Making the Rounds with Oscar : the Extraordinary Gift of an Extraordinary Cat, David Dosa, M.D., expands on an article that originally appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (view excerpt). More than a cat story, this one is about an intuitive animal who's made a difference to end-of-life people and to their families.

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thank a Friend... Be a Friend!

Friends of the East Hampton Public Library
The Friends of the Library -- an all-volunteer group of people who share our passion for books, learning, and high-quality recreational opportunities -- have for over a decade operated a used book store located in the East Hampton Community Center.

The Friends Book Store is one of the few regular library book store operations located in our state.
Proceeds from book store sales have for years supported a variety of public library programs.

Over the the course of the last snowy days of February (here's hoping) and throughout March, we'll post about what the Friends do as library ambassadors in our community and how their book store benefits you. First up...

Museum Pass Program
This program offers free or discounted admission to 13 premiere 'staycation' attractions located in our area. Though pass conditions vary, we offer one example: fully using our Mystic Seaport pass (2 adults, 2 children) saves your family $65-$70. Last year alone, 82 individual adults borrowed this pass for a total savings of $1,636 and needless to say, none of the 82 used the pass to visit the Seaport alone...

On the compound savings front, and since the Seaport pass is not the only one we offer, the book store-funded pass program annually yields major savings to our community's families. Thank a Friend... Be a Friend!

Coming Next Week:
Books 'On the Cheap' in Your Good and Hard Times

Monday, February 22, 2010

Daring and Different

Good Reads by Elizabeth Kostova
Long before Buffy and Meyer used vampires to explain teen angst, vampire fiction was already a staple in our pulp fiction diets. Let's face it; Bram Stoker's not so pulpy Dracula was published in 1897 and how many times has this classic been read, recycled, and read anew?

If you are a fan of the vampire genre, we recommend The Historian (2005), Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel. Many of you have indicated you missed this one along the way and so we recommend it here. Very entertaining, very well written, eerie, scary, and a must read... preferably with the lights on.

Though Kostova's latest novel, The Swan Thieves, is not about vampires; fans of elegant mysteries and tales of obsession will find a friend here. There's enough history, psychological drama, and love to satisfy fiction readers with all kinds of interests. Great book and a good choice for you or your book club group...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Books to Film

A Couple of Biggies...
In 2008, almost 9,000 Connecticut kids voted for their favorite Nutmeg Book. Rick Riordan's mythology-based adventure story, The Lightning Thief, won top honors, hands down. The film version of this first in a five-book series is now showing on nearby big screens. Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films, was again in charge of translating a young adult book sensation to film.

Expect Avatar to fall down the list of top films on March 5, when Tim Burton's 3-D version of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland, hits the big screen. The long-time Burton/Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter collaborations continue here; Depp plays the Mad Hatter and Carter, The Red Queen.

Learn a bit about Lewis Carroll or tune-up your rhyming ears by clicking on over to December's Poet of the Month

Friday, February 19, 2010

February's Poets

Part 2
Alice Walker (1944-) is best known for The Color Purple, a novel which won her the Pulitzer Prize and became a movie. She is the author of 17 other novels and short story collections, ten collections of poetry, and eleven non-fiction titles. She was born in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth child in a sharecropper’s family. Her brother accidentally shot her blind in one eye with a BB gun, disfiguring her. Ridiculed by school children until age 14, when surgeons removed the scar tissue, her experience enabled her "to see people and things... to notice relationships and to learn to be patient enough to care about how they turned out." High school valedictorian, she attended Spellman College, where she met Martin Luther King and became a leading civil rights activist. On transfer to Sara Lawrence University, she published her first book of poetry while still a senior.

Expect Nothing

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Further Reading:
The Same River Twice
Alice Walker Banned

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
21st Century Bread (2007)
In Vitro : New Short Rhyming Poems Post-9/11 (2009)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cold Days... Hot Reads

Fiction and Non-Fiction
From current bestsellers or sure-to-be-listed soon, you're likely to find a hot read here. Favorite fiction authors predominate but non-fiction reads also tell extraordinary stories. Mix it up!

Big Girl by Danielle Steel -- You guessed it. The latest luvv story from the prolific Steel tackles the topics of weight and self-esteem.

Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb -- The latest "in death" novel, after Kindred in Death, featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

Flawless : Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell -- From the author of Blood Diamonds, the book chronicles the $108 million theft at the Antwerp (Belgium) Diamond Center on February 15, 2003.

Staying True by Jenny Sanford -- The first lady of South Carolina's memoir about public betrayal and private faith comes without a chorus of Tammy Wynette's 'Stand by Your Man'.

Tudors : the Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G.J. Meyer -- Often glamorized in fiction and film, the Tudors were not a family to be messed with.

Money to Burn by James Grippando -- The author rips a page from the headlines in this thriller about how the destruction of financial institutions (and people) can happen in a New York minute.

How to Defeat Your Own Clone : and Other Tips for Surviving the Biotech Revolution by Kyle Kurpinski and Terry Johnson -- Drawing on the reality of existing DNA technology, the authors use popular science explanations to explore the implications of meeting your very own 'Mini-Me'.

Split Image by Robert B. Parker -- The ninth Jesse Stone mystery (after Night and Day) also features P.I. Sunny Parker (Spare Change). Parker died in January. Adieu, old friend.

The Wild Zone by Joy Fielding -- The author's latest takes place in night-life central, South Beach (Miami Beach, Florida) and hinges on a crass bet that goes very... very... awry.

Gator a-Go-Go by Tim Dorsey -- This one (after Nuclear Jellyfish) features vigilante serial killer Serge A. Storms. If you're a fan of Florida fiction (Carl Hiasson does it best) or of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series, give Dorsey a try.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Craft Ideas

Making 'Me' Time or 'We' Time
Winter can be a great time to take up a new hobby yourself or with your kids. Let's face it -- winter days are cold; we spend more time indoors, and being creative sure can take the edge off. The following titles offer some inventive and easy craft ideas:

Sew Me, Love Me : Best Stuffed Friends to Make by Hsiu-Lan Kuei makes creating a stuffed animal an easy project. Templates are simple and useful to fashioning a unique animal that is sure to delight the recipient. What a great way to use fabric scraps and extra notions!

Kata Golda's Hand-stitched Felt : 25 Whimsical Sewing Projects not only contains patterns for stuffed animals but others ideas for finger-puppets, pillows, gift tags, journals and even pin cushions. Very cute.

Crocheted Gifts : Irresistible Projects to Make & Give Away by Kim Werker has something for everyone in this instruction-filled, fun to browse, fun to make craft book.

Leigh Radford's One More Skein : 30 Quick Projects to Knit presents suggestions for using leftover yarn and ideas for projects using one or two skeins. Basic projects include hats, sweaters, and blankets.

Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins' One-Yard Wonders includes simple, stylish projects that can be made with just a single yard of fabric. For each project, the book provides a full-color photograph, easy, instructions, and simple illustrations.

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, February 11, 2010

String Theory?

Nope, Not Physics But Oh So Much Fun!
Thursday afternoon 'Take a Break' programs sure are interesting. Last month, library staff member Phil Carr led a beading workshop, complete with presentation about beading in world cultures. (Find our beading workshop photo album on Facebook.)

Today, Phil led a workshop about the cultural history of string figures and string games. Participants from different generations also learned 'the ropes' of using their hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and problem solving skills to create a number of string figures, familiar and not so familar.

Further Reading
Most string game/string figure books are included in our children's collection and yet we ask : who cares? No matter your age, creating string figures is a great, often relaxing way to keep your brain well-oiled and your fingers nimble. Not to mention, string is cheap...

Photo and video by Marilou Overson

Early Literacy Fun for Little People

February's Fingerplay of the Month

This month's fingerplay introduces little ones to the ideas of how transportation and social interaction work. As kids do the hand motions of how wipers work and mimic mom's quieting loud children, they will begin to understand the inner workings of the bus as well as how people act in public. The other great thing about this fingerplay is it's easy to make up your own lines for added fun and family lessons.

The Wheels on the Bus (Follow-along Video Plus Script)

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the town.

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish
swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish,
All through the town.

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep
beep, beep, beep,
beep, beep, beep.
The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep,
All through the town.

Don't forget to check out our amazing Songs and Poetry picture book section where you can find other songs in story format. Some of our favorites:

If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera
Down by the Station by Jennifer Vetter
Yankee Doodle by Patti Goodnow
Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Trapani
Eentsy, Weentsy Spider : Fingerplays and Action Rhymes by Joanna Cole

Post by Kathleen Sands

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Resume and Cover Letter Workshop Scheduled

Job Searching? We Can Help...
Join us on Tuesday, March 16 for a two-hour seminar about crafting the perfect resume and cover letter. Business professional Jeff Thierfeld leads this workshop and will demonstrate how to develop a polished resume which focuses directly on capturing the attention of target employers. Teams will share experiences and draft custom/tailored resumes and cover letters that showcase specific talents and proficiencies.

This instructional event offers great opportunities to any job seeker : high school and college students seeking summer employment, graduates seeking full time work, adults looking for new job within their field, career changers, or anyone seeking part-time or temporary employment opportunities.

The workshop begins at 6:15 p.m. and ends at 8:15 p.m. but registration is required. Our presenter, Jeff Thierfeld, has led similar workshops for Middletown Adult Education, the Portland Economic Development Commission, the Jewish Community Center in Bloomfield, and the Russell Library in Middletown.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Invention and Discovery @ your library

What's the Big Idea!
Last Wednesday, the library kicked off a four-part 'What's the Big Idea!' series of pilot programs for second and third-graders, in collaboration with the Connecticut Invention Convention. Staff member Phil Carr channelled Albert Einstein and conducted amazing 'experiments' using a low-power laser pen. Participants also searched high and low and identified many inventions used at the library.

Who's Big Idea Was It?
Identifying inventions leads us to wonder about the people who made them. Here we list a few inventors, their inventions, and a fun fact or two about the inventors when they were children. If you have any of the traits that these inventors had, you are on your way to creating your own invention via What's The Big Idea!

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. As a child he asked his teacher many, many questions of his teacher; so much so that his teacher was amazed. Young Thomas eventually did a lot of learning at home and by going to the local library, which his parents taught him how to use.

George Eastman invented film for the camera. As a child he was a very big help to his family. As he prepared for a vacation, he bought a camera to document his travels. It was very complicated to use and carry around and he thought about how to make it better, a key trait of all inventors.

Philo Farnsworth invented television transmission. As a child he was a wonderful musician and he was interested in the topic of electricity. He even made an electronic washing machine for his family.

For information about many other inventors, enjoy our Invention and Discovery book display next time you stop by the library.

For More Information About 'What's the Big Idea!'
If your child missed the first session of this four-part series, there are a few openings for the remaining three sessions, all of which must be attended. Phone the library for info or visit our online events calendar to register.

Post by Kathleen Sands

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

February : American Heart Month

Saying 'I Love You' to Your Heart
To say the least, your heart is a very important organ and there are many things you can do to take care of it!

First up, check out these and many other books on how to cook heart healthy:

Cleveland Clinic Healthy Heart Lifestyle Guide and Cookbook by Bonnie Polin
Quick and Easy Cookbook from the American Heart Association
Eat well, Live Well with High Cholesterol

Also, check out some books/videos to learn a new way exercise or revive your interest in an old favorite. These, among other instructional exercise materials are available for checkout:
Classic Yoga for Stress Relief by Vimla Lalvani
Pilates for Everyone with Denise Austin
The Goddess Workout: Cardio Bellydance with Dolphina
15 Minute Workouts for Dummies

Participate in National Wear Red Day; on February 5th wear red to support heart disease awareness. Tell your neighbors about it, too, and visit the Heart Truth website to learn more. Information about heart health may also be obtained via the American Heart Association.

Post by Kathleen Sands

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dirty Laundry... and Some History, Too!

I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something - something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry --
Lyrics from Dirty Laundry by The Eagles

Politics at all levels seems to have become a contact sport. Here's a few hot political books, with and without wash 'n fold exposé.

Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
Two top political reporters offer an inside story of the historic 2008 presidential election.

Crisis and Command by John Yoo
A Berkeley law professor and former Justice Department official explores and defends the expansion of presidential power during war time.

The Politician by Andrew Young
The rise and fall of John Edwards, 2008 presidential candidate.

Bomb Power by Gary Wills
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Lincoln at Gettysburg) discusses presidential power post WWII and expands on an idea, first expressed in Necessary Evil, that the atomic bomb altered American democracy.

The Forty Years War by Len Colodny and Tony Shachtman
Two bestselling investigative writers trace the arc of the neoconservative movement from the Nixon era through the end of George W. Bush's second term.

Moolah Matters

A Different Kind of 'Green' Movement
Personal finance books have always been popular though the tone of these tomes has certainly changed over the last two years. Here's a short list of latest titles about growing green...

Making the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn
The 2010 version of what Consumers Union named the best personal finance book on the market.

The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson
Tricks of the trade from talk show favorite and creator of

The New Frugality : How to Consume Less, Save More and Live Better by Chris Farrell
Farrell is economics editor for public radio's Marketplace Money. Here again he offers a great case for moderation; saving/spending according to your values, and avoiding consumer debt by knowing when you have 'enough'.

Save Big : Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands by Elisabeth Leamy
The author is Good Morning America's consumer correspondent. Cost areas discussed are houses, cars, credit, groceries and health care.

Budgeting Tips for Kids by Tamra Orr
Follow a class of (are-you-smarter-than) fifth-graders as they figure out the world of finance, from earning, budgeting, and saving to investing, and collecting coins from around the world. Never too early to help your kids learn about moolah.

To consider reading a few other recent books about personal finance, click here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Sand and War

Ukraine's Got Talent
We all know about the extraordinary Susan Boyle but the worldwide appeal of reality talent shows took a different turn last summer. Kseniya Simonova, age 24, won 2009's top prize by using sand animation to show how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during WWII. Ukraine was devastated by the pre-war famines under Stalin; war casualties took the lives of nearly one in four.

If you've not seen the video, please do. If you have seen it, well worth another view.

PEAKS for Parents

A New Way to Network

As many of you know, the library is an active meeting place for community groups. As such, we thought you might like to know about PEAKS, a newly forming group of parents in the East Hampton area of Connecticut who all have a child with special needs.

The goal of this group is for area parents to have an opportunity to share information and make connections. The group hopes to share conversations and experiences, generate topics of common concern, offer guest speakers, and network with local and state agencies all while generating friendships in the process.

For more information, visit the PEAKS website or send an email to

February's Poets

Part One
Nikki Giovanni (1943-). Outspoken, charismatic, activist poet and author of 15 books of poetry, 11 children’s titles, and 3 she co-authored, Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni is currently Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech. Like her mother and sister, Giovanni suffered lung cancer. She had one lung removed. Afterward she commented, "[I]f it takes a near‑death experience for you to appreciate your life, you're wasting somebody's time." Long an activist for civil rights and black power, she has often spoken truth to authority. At Virginia Tech she demanded the administration remove an unknown student, Seung‑Hui Cho, from her poetry class. She offered to resign over the issue. The day following the shooter’s massacre, she brought healing to mourners overflowing Cassell Coliseum by intoning the “chant poem” which follows:

We Are Virginia Tech

We are Virginia Tech
We are sad today
And we will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning
We are Virginia Tech
We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry ...
And sad enough to know we must laugh again
We are Virginia Tech
We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it
But neither does a child in Africa dying of aids
Neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by a
rogue army
Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water
Neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of night in his crib in the home
its father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was
No one deserves a tragedy
We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to
those who offer their hearts and minds
We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid
We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be
We are alive to the imagination and the possibility
We will continue to invent the future
Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness
We are the Hokies
We will prevail

Further Reading : a Selection for Adults and Children
Bicycles : Love Poems
Hip Hop Speaks to Children : a Celebration of Poetry with Beat
The Genie in the Jar
On my Journey Now : Looking at African-American History through the Spirituals

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of: