Tuesday, October 30, 2007

While in the waiting room at the auto mechanic this morning, I happened to start chatting with the other person waiting for auto repair. He was a lovely man, 90 years old with a quick wit and kind heart. We chatted about his life and where he was living now (with his daughter and her family). We started talking about his years in the Service, 1940-1945. Like both of my grandfathers, he fought in the Pacific (he called it the jungle and said for every inch they won, they lost a yard).

In my senior year in college, I happened to take a course on the New Deal and World War II with Professor Allen Koop (the son of C. Everett Koop). He was a marvelous professor, and I didn't miss one of his classes. That semester, I also found Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener in the stacks of Baker Library (there were nine floors of stacks at the library at the time... I adored wandering around each one of them). Michener made the war on the Pacific front really come alive for me.

That year for spring break, I took the train down to Philadelphia to spend the week with my grandparents. (In those days, you could take the Montrealer from White River Junction to Philadelphia overnight; it was a lovely way to travel.) My class with Koop and my enjoyment of "Tales of the South Pacific" prompted me to ask my grandparents about their experiences during WWII. Listening to my grandfather's tales is one of my most treasured memories. Most of the stories he shared were ones that had been silent for more than fifty years. I remember my grandmother exclaiming again and again, "I've never heard that story!"

My grandfather died two years later; I won't learn any more of his stories. I shared some of the humorous ones this morning with my waiting room comrade. We both chuckled over the long-ago antics of twenty year old boys.

Veterans Day is coming in just a couple of weeks. There will be a number of different local community celebrations for Veterans Day. I hope that some of you take the opportunity to visit with veterans and hear their stories. Reading the books or watching the movies will never give you the same experience.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sometimes the days and weeks feel just too short for novels.
I have been seeking comfort from the library's magazine collection!

Tonight I'm bringing home the following magazines:

The Economist (I'm trying something new...)

The New Yorker (Who can resist "Shouts and Murmurs" (and I've given up my subscription at home))

Bon Appetit (I have in-laws coming for Thanksgiving!)

Architectural Digest (The cover caught my eye.)

Gourmet (No cranberry jelly from a can this year..)

US Weekly (My brain at times needs a break.)

People (Lots of breaks.)

Entertainment Weekly (I read this every week. I love the reviews, the writing, and the humor!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

After far too many months of failing to get to Agway on the weekends, I finally made the trip and now my birdfeeders are full of seed and birds!! A birdfeeder or two is a wonderful way to introduce children to our feathered friends and nature in general. I found some great bird guides in the Children's Room to introduce my child to the birdworld.

Here are some to get your young friends started!

Bird Watching for Kids: A Family Watching Guide by Steven and Elizabeth May Griffin. A super introduction to the joys of bird watching, this is a great book for independent readers. It includes a rather nice bird watching log at the end. These can be copied and used for future trips. (The log offers an opportunity for children to indicate how much fun (or how little) the bird watching trip was!)

Bird Watch: A Young Person's Introduction to Birding by Mary MacPherson is another nice introduction for independent readers. It is filled with lovely information about such things as feathers and how to make your own birdfeeders.

Backyard Birds by Jonathan Latimer and Karen Stray Nolting. This is one of the Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists, and it's great for beginners. There are two page spreads on birds commonly found in most communities. (Caution! At only 48 pages, it won't be enough if your child develops an interest!)

Birds of Maine Field Guide by Stan Tekiela is the guide I purchased from our local Children's Book Cellar. Filled with glossy photos of birds found in Maine, this book goes on walks with us when it's not ready by the window. The index at the back has boxes next to each entry so you and your young birder can keep track of birds seen (we mark down dates for each bird seen, as well!). The size of this guide is also quite attractive for small hands. While there have been a couple of birds we have seen in the nearby meadow that weren't in the guide, both Jack and I have loved having this in our home library!

Have some feathered fun today!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On Monday, October 15, at 7:00pm, Richard Russo will be reading from his new novel Bridge of Sighs. The event will be held at the First Baptist Church at 1 Park Street in Waterville (right across the street from the library!). This promises to be a wonderful time. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and Russo has generously consented to do a book signing!
We hope to see you there!