Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Groundhogs and Bees, Oh My!

Great news library fans! 
Punxsutawney Phil 
did not see his shadow today!

A screengrab of a video by the tourism website of the state of Pennsylvania shows the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil being watched for signs of his shadow.
Phil and The Groundhog Club of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this morning

(As if anybody around these parts was doubting that we would have an early spring this year. Ha, we have barely had winter!) With the unbridled sunshine of the past 2 days and temps in the 60's, I'm thinking we didn't need to bother a sleeping groundhog for this information, but I don't think this group of gents gets out too much. I'm curious if there are any women in the curious club or perhaps they find the garb too mundane?

Other famous groundhogs around the country corroborated on what Phil had to "say", so the outlook is promising for sunshiny days ahead. Although truth be told, my daffodils are already coming up and my bees took a cleansing flight today, so that's also pretty telling. Did I mention that I live in Maine?! It should be noted that ole Phil has an accuracy rate of like 28%, but for all intensive purposes let's just embrace this early spring thing. I like the sounds of it.

And thus I am thinking of getting you out of your winter reading funk and into some fresh and breezy literature. How's that sound to put a spring in your step? Think butterflies and Paris, love and verandas. 

I also mentioned my bees because this school is abuzz with our first successful hive and now we are fundraising for an additional one. If you have any interest in learning more about the hive and the bee club, contact Sophia  at sophia.duplin@govsacademy.org. If, however you would like to learn more about the nature of honeybees or the hobby of keeping bees, come check out our latest book display on one of nature's most darling species. You an also seek me out. We'll talk.

A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell -
(my personal favorite book about honeybees)

In terms of springing ahead with a book selection, it's time to put down War and Peace or that depressing memoir from Maine (no offense, Elizabeth Strout, I love your work!). On Groundhog day, may I suggest we focus anew on a fresh start and rebirth?

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster: Spring may as well be a character in this romantic comedy set in Italy and England. As Miss Lucy Honeychurch, a proper young Edwardian lady destined for a respectable marriage, explores verdant Tuscany with her genteel chaperone, she finds the intoxicating atmosphere of spring and the allure of unsuitable (but kind and soulful) George Emerson threaten to loosen her lady-like reserve: “In the company of this common man the world was beautiful and direct. For the first time she felt the influence of Spring.” Lucy’s settled path, through a properly repressed girlhood to a properly repressed marriage, no longer seems so assured, as she awakens to the possibility of a different, more open way of living. (Huffington Post)

Breakfast at Tiffany's - In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm. (Amazon)

                                                           *one of Mrs. Mcvicker's favorite books!

Though The Art of Fielding is his fiction debut, Chad Harbach writes with the self-assurance of a seasoned novelist. He exercises a masterful precision over the language and pacing of his narrative, and in some 500 pages, there's rarely a word that feels out of place. The title is a reference to baseball, but Harbach's concern with sports is more than just a cheap metaphor. The Art of Fielding explores relationships--between friends, family, and lovers--and the unpredictable forces that complicate them. There's an unintended affair, a post-graduate plan derailed by rejection letters, a marriage dissolved by honesty, and at the center of the book, the single baseball error that sets all of these events into motion. The Art of Fielding is somehow both confident and intimate, simple yet deeply moving. Harbach has penned one of the year's finest works of fiction. (Amazon)

Now this blog post couldn't end without a recommendation to watch Bill Murray in Groundhog Day for the hundredth time! It's still funny, trust me on this one. I think The Groundhog Club in Pennsylvania is having a free showing tonight, if you're game! If not, we have it in our collection

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Art in the Library

What do you get when you cross AP creativity with library resourcefulness? A sculpture made entirely of upcycled books depicting a mermaid-pirate on her tropical oasis - obviously. I swoon over book art and artist's books or anything that combines the written word and fine art for that matter, but when I saw this site of the  Most inspiring book sculptures , I felt compelled to get Ms. Srtuck's AP studio art kids to indulge in the idea. And that they did - check it out!

Detail of palm trees

A dragon fly detail

From 2011-2013, an anonymous artist left 10 beautiful book sculptures at libraries in and around Edinburgh, Scotland. Poetree, seen below, was the first of the ten. A delicate paper tree with a cracked open egg aside it. There was a gift tag attached which read:
"We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books...a book is so much more than pages full of words...This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...a gesture (poetic maybe?)"


Truly exquisite, right? Just for the record, we Pesky Librarians would not be opposed to receiving any such anonymous sculptures from you!

Another variation on fine arts and books is Book Art, which refers to the physical book itself as a work of art.  If this catches your interest, look no further than the Victoria & Albert Museum's collection of artist's books V&A book arts.

In the meantime, stop by to see the work of your friends and imagine the book anew. Just don't take up the exacto knife just yet! See us if you are interested in making something similar as we can certainly provide you with the right stuff!

These days the very notion of the traditional book is constantly challenged, but I beg you to see validity in the book for its many virtues. The very concept of book art seems to be at the crux of what a book and a library could and should be, as it asks us to reflect on information resourcing and creativity. As the anonymous Scottish book sculptor suggests, a book is more than just a book after all! And the library - we like to think is a special kind of building, to inspire those who enter. To escape, to dream, to ponder and to create! Thanks for checking in and checking out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year's Gifts

Last year, while visiting China, Dr. Quimby received a very beautiful and symbolic gift from the Hua Family of Bejing, in the form of a silk and brocade long scroll representing the "Painting of Dwelling in Mount Fuchun". The scroll was gifted to the Pescosolido Library and is now on display in the study nook next to the circulation desk. 

The scroll is a facsimile of the most famous work of Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) and renders what is a now a fragmented painting into a singular landscape as it was first created. "Dwelling in Mount Fuchon" is often referred to as a masterpiece of Chinese landscape painting and depicts the area around the Fuchun River in the central Zhejiang Providence. The painting was burnt in 1650 and the remnants existed in separate hands for 350 years, but has recently been exhibited as one in the National Palace Museum.

After talking with Fine Arts faculty member Joe Repczynski, it was decided to make a formal display for the scroll in the library using student carpentry.   The project didn't begin in earnest until the middle of the first semester this year when Zane Nishan, a junior, was selected to create the display.  A member of the Carpentry for Theatre course, Zane researched the project proposal and hit the ground running.  

Using new skills in biscuit joinery, he first fashioned a display surface out of maple (a light colored wood in wide use in the library).  After setting up the dado blades on the table saw he created grooves in that surface in order to inlay darker walnut strips and a lip to keep the scroll from falling.  

Over two months he glued, sanded, and finished the display as his classroom project.  We're still waiting for the acrylic hinges to arrive for a plexi-glass cover, but you can already see his fantastic installation and the scroll on display.

We feel so lucky to such gifts bestowed on us. Perhaps we should play the Powerball!

Stop by to see a gift from China and the master craftsmanship of a peer! GREAT JOB, and thank you for all the hard work, Zane!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hour of Code

Last Tuesday, in acknowledgement of Computer Science education week, Govs students filled up the Frost library to participate in an “Hour of Code”, which is a one-hour introduction to computer science and the language of coding. Hour of Code sessions are being organized and taught around the world, everywhere from Mozambuque to Miami! So far over 100 million students have participated in the event, in over 40 languages.
Mr. Karin organized the afternoon program here at Govs for students (and faculty!) to learn an introductory lesson about coding from AP Computer Science students in his class. Students that were already familiar with the basics were able to participate in “power coding” taught by the Govs Programming Club. 

If you are interested in learning more about coding, we suggest the following sources:

Here you will find the next step in your coding education, whether you are age 6 or 106. Tutorials for ipads, making web pages or college courses from Harvard available here!

Khan Academy 

Learn how to program drawings, animations and games using JavaScript or webpages with HTML. You can also share what you create with others and vice versa!

And if you would like to host an Hour of Code somewhere near you check this short video out:
If you are so inclined, you can also volunteer to be a part of 
Hour of Coding near you. Now that would look pretty fantastic on a college application, don't you think?

After you graduate from that fabulous college, you can feel grateful for whatever coding education you have because as of today there are reportedly over 600,00 computing jobs open nationwide and last year only 38,000 computer science graduated into the workforce!


Monday, December 07, 2015

Feast your eyes on this!

Although the turkey soup has been gobbled and the mashed potatoes are just a distant memory, we have plenty of great displays to feast your eyes on here in the library!
Appropriately enough, the first of which is called "Hungry for a new book?" All of the end caps in the fiction section offer up some delectable reads. Ms. Bennett handpicked a potpourri of fiction that deals with our insatiable appetite for FOOD!

And for all of you procrastinators out there, you know who you are, the ones who think there should still be 50 days left in the year, instead of the reality being a mere 25, for you a "Time is running out!" display. Here we have put out an array of short stories regarding the holidays. From David Sedaris to Alice Munro and John Green, we've got your holiday palette covered!

And since the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is upon us, we have sampled a few books from our collection on the Jewish tradition. Alongside the books we have a recipe displayed for traditional potato latkes!

In honor of Advent and Christmas, we have our festive trees surrounded by holiday books and DVDs. 'Tis the season for "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life". Or if your preference is more of the Will Ferell genre, we have "Elf" or "A Christmas Story", but don't get caught up in the occasion and shoot your eye out with a red rider B.B. gun!

And speaking of the color RED, Ms. Bennett created another very clever display called, 
"Red anything good lately?"in which all of the book covers are of the vermilion pigment. And though red can have both negative connotations (blood, fire & war) and positive (love, warmth and compassion), I believe we are going for the latter!

If none of the above displays speak to you and you are actually looking forward to the holidays being over before they even begin, we still have something that might flip your pancake! Check out the VIP/Backstage pass shelf located at the circulation desk. Here is a sampling of books from our music collection that will definitely take your mind off some of the not-so-wonderful parts of the season. 
Feeling cold? the autobiography of Aerosmith will heat you up for sure.
Feeling lonely? Eminem might make you feel a whole lot more loved in the Byfield bubble!
Feeling atheist? That's OK too, but U2 can dish out some authentic spirituality in a rock and roll way!
Want world peace? Find a kindred spirit in Lennon

Yours in books,
The Pesky Librarians

Monday, November 16, 2015

National Book Finalists!

A few days ago, the National Book Foundation announced the finalists for the 2015 awards. This is pretty big doins 'round these parts! We have quite a few of the books in our collection, so if you want to show off how avantguarde you are and read them before they become NBF winners, come on in and check them out. Winners will be announced on November 18, so stay tuned!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara  [FIC YAN]

"Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers." (Amazon)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisis Coates    [305.8009 COA

 "Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” 
(The New York Observer)

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann  [770.92 MAN

"Richly compelling and evocative.... An unforgettable memoir. But it's more than that.... The abiding and precious gift of this book is precisely this: Mann's highly personal exploration of her passion, and her perseverance." (Bookforum)

Ordinary Light: A Memoir by Tracy K. Smith  [818.6 SMI

“Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, a talent evident in every line of this crystalline memoir. Hers is not the dysfunctional family story we've grown accustomed to reading; in fact, Smith recalls her family of seven as ‘steady, steadfast, happy, and whole.’ In loving detail, she recalls both the happiness and the complex questions of her childhood. Religion is a force to be reckoned with again and again [and] questions about race are also ever-present . . . Smith’s honest, unflinching book offers an inspiring model for seeking the light in an ‘ordinary’ life: ask the tough questions, look in the hidden corners, allow yourself to understand, and never stop searching for faith.”  
(Oprah Magazine)

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby [FIC RUB]

"The story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are." (Amazon)

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman   [FIC SHU]

Caden Bosch lives in two worlds. One is his real life with his family, his friends, and high school. There he is paranoid for no reason, thinks people are trying to kill him, and demonstrates obsessive compulsive behaviors. In his other world, he's part of the crew for a pirate captain on a voyage to the Challenger Deep, the ocean's deepest trench. There he's paranoid, wary of the mercurial captain and his mutinous parrot, and tries hard to interpret the mutterings of his fellow shipmates as they sail uncharted waters toward unknown dangers. Slowly, Caden's fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, until his parents have only one choice left. Shusterman's latest novel gives readers a look at teen mental illness from inside the mind of Caden Bosch. He is a credible and sympathetic character, and his retreat into his own flawed mind is fascinating, full of riddles and surrealism. Shusterman based the novel on his son's mental illness, and Brendan's input regarding his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and psychiatric care makes the novel ring true. Teens, especially fans of the author's other novels, will enjoy this book. VERDICT This affecting deep dive into the mind of a schizophrenic will captivate readers, engender empathy for those with mental illnesses, and offer much fodder for discussion. (School Library Journal)

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson  [GN STE]

“Those of you who haven’t read Nimona yet are lucky, because you can buy the fantasy comic in book form instead of waiting for Noelle to post an update twice a week. Seriously, that wait was always excruciating.” (Bustle.com)

“If you’re going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.” 
(Kirkus Reviews)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Mark Twain!


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. dream. Discover."

Happy Birthday 

Mark Twain!

This month we celebrate the birth of one of America's comedic and literary geniuses - the iconic Mark Twain. Born on November 30, 1835, in Missouri, Samuel Langhorne Clemens would become the small town of Hanibal's most legendary figure. After Samuel's father died, when he was only 13, he went to work in a printing press and discovered his love of writing. In 1856, he left home (at age 17) and headed to St. Louis, to become a river pilot. In this period he adopted his pseudonym of Mark Twain, which is the term used when the depth of the water is safe for a boat to navigate. Once the Civil War began, much of the river trade began to slow and thus Samuel Clemens went looking for work off the Mighty Mississipi and landed jobs reporting for multiple newspapers around the country.  In 1870 He married Olivia Langdon and they had 4 children only one of which survived over the age of 20.

It wasn't until 1865 when a piece entitled, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County" got picked up by the Saturday Evening Press, that Twain began to receive acclaim for his writing. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" was published in 1876, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1885. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches. 

Here in the library we are honoring Twain with a November display of his most famous works and quotes. Come on in for a visit to pay homage to the printer, pilot, soldier, miner, reporter, lecturer, editor, humorist, author, businessman, publisher.

"Good Friends, good books and a sleepy conscience : this is the ideal life."

And remember, "Never put off til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow!"

If you still can't get your fill of all things Twain, check out the following sites and online exhibits: