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November 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Li-yan lives with her family in a remote Chinese mountain village. Ritual shapes her entire life – until she makes a startling choice to give her illegitimate baby up for adoption. Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, grows up in California with a tea cake as her only clue to her origins. “Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins, and across the ocean, Li-yan longs for her lost daughter.” – Book flap 

 

Katherine

convenience store womanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko is not “normal.” She thinks in a very logical/literal sort of way, and feels pressured to fit into society, despite not understanding society’s expectations. So she fakes it. Her job as a convenience store worker suits her well, but she is worried about what will happen if she doesn’t meet society’s expectations that she either marry or get a better job.
I enjoyed this book mainly because it was so interesting. Keiko does not think like I do, and her exploration and experience of the world is just so different. I was hooked. It is also a short book and doesn’t drag on.

 

Sarah

The Tomten Astrid LindgrenThe Tomten by Astrid Lindgren
This warm and inviting picture book is by Astrid Lindgren, the famed children’s book author of the Pippi Longstocking series. The Tomten is a little gnome-like fellow who discreetly watches over the farm in the woods during the cold dark of winter. With lulling repetition he visits the farm animals and the family to reassure them that he is watching over and caring for them. This book is a gentle exploration of the promise of spring during the depths of winter. A charming, quiet story to share with your little ones.

 

Cheryl

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

With colder days upon us, and flurries that remind us of the urgency to “put summer to rest” I’ve gathered up the last of the seeds and pods to tuck away for spring’s rebirth. ‘Til then, after a summer of the garden’s resplendent bloom, I will need to settle for bulbs and books! The Language of Flowers, a novel written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, tells us of the Victorian custom of communicating messages via flowers. It gives us a detailed look at the ‘language of flowers’ through the eyes of an emancipated from foster care eighteen year old girl.  Victoria is a young woman consumed by fear, anger, and hostile behavior. Raised in multiple placements, Victoria is unable to place her trust in relationships, and is unable to give what she does not have within her. Through the broken, yet committed determination of a woman who is willing to love just a little bit more, she is taught about flowers and our fragile lives. The Language of Flowers is a story of foster care, told in past and present, beautifully interspersed with the magic of flowers. Short chapters with deep themes!  A fascinating read on a quiet afternoon with a cozy fire and some bulbs growing on the window sill!

 

Kelly H.

The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kayla Butts is sad, if Avery has anything to say about it. She’s chubby, weird, and doesn’t hang with the right crowd. Avery Armisted is awful, if Kayla has anything to say about it. She’s spoiled, mean, and too caught up in her social media. The two clash; societal reject verses spoiled brat. However, Avery’s father doesn’t see this. Mr. Armisted decides that his daughter would benefit from a trip to Spain alongside her former best friend Kayla. After a perilous plans journey (including a lost passport and a lot of running) they arrive. Mr. Armisted expects to get work done and Kayla and Avery anticipate beautiful views and even more beautiful Spanish boys. What they actually find, could be more groundbreaking: a family secret.

 

Kelly R.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

A great, lighthearted, and engaging pre-holiday read with a dab of drama thrown in for fun. The main character, Olivia, is a pastry chef in a big city restaurant with a penchant for dying her hair crazy colors when she is stressed out. After an unfortunate incident at work that involves a flaming dessert she escapes to a little town in Vermont with her giant dog Salty and stays with a good friend, intending to stay only for a short time.  She finds a small town full of quirky characters who make her feel right at home.  She also finds a job and a place to stay as a baker at the local country inn run by a rather cranky owner. The cherry on top with this book is the recipes sprinkled throughout the story and included in detail in the back of the book because, of course, the author Louise Miller is a professional pastry chef herself. Louise is also New Englander making her home in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

November 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I read this book about the same time that its very adult almost title twin was just hitting it big (no wonder the movie is called Ashes in the Snow). We’re in WWII Lithuania, where the Soviet Secret Police arrest 15 year old Lina and her family. There’s an amazing author’s note at the end talking about her family’s connection to these events. Poignant and lovely.

Linda

this is howThis is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs
The author dispenses advice “for young and old alike.” Although presented in his original zany manner, the writing and content are somewhat serious in nature. Burroughs continues to write about what he knows and his advice is based on personal experience not conjecture. The author dispenses advice in regard to whatever one’s poison may be: perhaps a proclivity to excess or, the inverse, as well as how to continue to live while losing someone you love…and more! As usual, Burroughs carefully sets his gems and leaves readers with much to consider.

Sarah

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
An unflinching portrayal of the human behind the myth. Geraldine Brooks captures the biblical King David’s life amidst the backdrop of his rise, reign, and eventual death while portraying him as the human he was: a leader with a great vision but not without imperfection. The names of the regional areas and other integral characters are depicted accurately in Hebrew so if you are more familiar with the anglicized versions be prepared for a bit of cross-referencing. The brutality that came with David’s ascent and the tests of his faith are all explored within the historical context of the era and illuminated with prose that is achingly beautiful.

Amelia

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silveira
Now you may think that this book isn’t going to be good just because the title spoiled it. Or because the title is too sad for you to think it will be intriguing. Let me just tell you now, that’s what I thought, too. It isn’t like that, though. Adam Silvera created this thrilling tear-jerker, to not make people sad, but to make them aware that they need to live their lives out as best they can. He created a whole present-day society with a futuristic twist. A phone company called “Death Cast” that calls people they know will die within the next 24 hours. The people in this society who are called “Deckers,” are the ones who Death Cast knows will die. Sadly, not how they will pass, though. That makes you keep reading. Trying to figure out how the two main characters of this book will die was just another reason to keep the pages turning. The two newly made friends met on a decker-made website for strangers that got the call. Deckers can talk for a bit and perhaps even meet them in person. Which is what brought the two main characters in this book to meet. Mateo and Rufus are just two normal teenagers with normal life struggles and the hope to get away. Their unique friendship will certainly make you smile and get you attached. Read this book with an open mind that you need to “live your life to the fullest.” Enjoy!

Kelly R

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
This is a first for me – recommending an audio book via the Libby APP.  Downloading the APP is a fairly simple process using your library card number and password.  The Boston Girl is read by actress Linda Lavin (yes, Linda Lavin from the Alice sitcom in the 70’s).  In this narrative, 85-year-old Addie Baum tells her life story after her adult granddaughter asks her how she became the woman she is today.  Addie begins her story in 1915 as she is about to turn 15.  As a young Jewish girl and the daughter of immigrants growing up in Boston she has many challenges in finding her place in a changing world.  She is the first in her family to complete high school and not work in a factory, much to her mother’s disapproval.  Her mother thinks she should go to work like her sisters did at age 10 or 12 and then settle down and get married before she becomes an “old maid” in her twenties.  Addie’s world grows through other young women she befriends who encourage her to be herself and follow her dreams. The book follows Addie throughout more than seven decades through both heartbreak and triumph, winding through the milestones of the twentieth century; two world wars, women winning the right to vote, better working conditions, all the while watching as her family grows and changes.

I have to say I have become a fan of Libby audio-books, downloadable through the Libby APP on my phone.  While having a physical book in my hands to read is always my preference, Libby audio-books affords me the opportunity to enjoy another book while doing simple tasks at home or driving in the car. One more way to enjoy a library membership.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

October 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

stiff mary roachStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Mary Roach tackles serious science with humor. The author of Grunt (war) and Spook (the afterlife) began with what can happen to the body after death. The book skims the history of grave robbing, crash test dummies, cremation and organ donation, and much more. This book is not for everyone, but it’s fascinating.

Linda

without a mapWithout a Map by Meredith Hall
The writer lays bare pain-filled experiences without sentiment or judgment. Regardless of the many hardships, including being shunned by her immediate family, Hall charts a course for a meaningful life as a wife, mother, student, and writer. Her resilience is evident throughout the
novel. Hall lays bare the facts without rancor and readers are able to identify and sympathize with her. The novel is the writer’s search for meaning and readers accompany her on her journey.

Sarah

Sweep Jonathan Auxier

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Easily one of the best books I have read all year; written for children but enjoyable at any age. After her adopted father dies, Nan Sparrow is kidnapped and forced into indentured chimney-sweeping servitude by the horrid Wilkie Crudd. After surviving a near-death chimney incident, Nan runs away and unexpectedly becomes the caretaker of a Golem. This Golem has much to teach Nan and much to learn. Their friendship leads them on an unforgettable adventure that teaches them both about love, friendship, and wonder. The setting is evocative of Charles Dickens’ writing but the magic is all its own.

 

Cheryl

have you seen luis velez catherine ryan hydeHave You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde
At 17, Raymond doesn’t fit in, either at school or at the homes he toggles between. His best, and only, friend is moving away. Mildred, a 92-year-old neighbor calls out repeatedly into the hallway of her 4th story New York city apartment “Have you seen Luis Velez?” Others glance, and pass on by, uncomfortable or unwilling to listen.  Raymond stops. He discovers that Mildred is blind, has not seen Luis, her care provider, for three weeks, and is in urgent need of food and care.  Raymond assists her.
Mildred is concerned about Luis’ absence.  Fearing a poor outcome, Raymond sets out on a door to door search to find Luis.  Raymond’s search exposes all; the good, the bad, and the ugly, how we care for one another, and form opinions of one another, perhaps too quickly.
Mildred lends a lovely wisdom throughout this novel, “We just see terrible everywhere we look. So, what you do for your friend is you bring up the wonderful, so both are side by side.  …One doesn’t negate the other, but the wonderful keeps us in the game.  It keeps us moving forward.  And I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Raymond, but that’s as good as the world is going to get.”
As good as it gets – this novel is both heartwarming and authentic.  A great read for the season!

Amelia

eleanor and park

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The classic star-crossed lovers hits a turn with this book. It shows the effort and desperate attempt for love between two misfit teenagers. Both who know that first love is a difficult thing. This book gives a brilliant perspective of the beauty of innocence and the societal norms of love. Rowell will have you holding onto every word and sentence with either a smile, or a tear on your face.

 

 

Kelly R

belmontBelmont by Diane Marden, with the Belmont Historical Society and Reminiscences of a New Hampshire Town by Wallace Rhodes
As we prepare for what I like to call “nesting season” aka cuddling up near a warm fire on a cold day with a good read, it is a great time to learn a bit about Belmont history.  I am recommending two books this month for this purpose, Belmont (postcard history series) by our local citizen Diane Marden with the Belmont Historical Society along with the book Reminiscences of a New Hampshire Town, written/compiled by our late town historian, Wallace Rhodes.
Diane Marden’s book Belmont is a great pictorial way to travel across town via the many postcard images collected over the years.  I found it both fun and interesting to compare the old photos with homes and public buildings still in use today along with learning a bit of town history.  Wallace Rhodes’ compilation of town history, facts and figures, and interesting anecdotes made a wonderful trip down memory lane along with learning new historical tidbits.
I confess to being a history buff and enjoying the time spent reacquainting myself with Belmont through these books.  Whether you’ve grown up in Belmont, recently moved here, or just want to learn a bit about our small town check out one or both.   Both of these books are real little treasures of Belmont.

 

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September 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Lighted Heart by Elizabeth Yates
Gentle, old-fashioned memoir. Elizabeth Yates is famous for her children’s stories. I found this book remarkable for its vivid appreciation of nature and “slice of country life” stories. I also liked the subtle humor and quiet bravery as Elizabeth and her husband deal with his health problems. For some reason it makes me think of Madeline L’Engle.

Linda

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Steinthe art of racing in the rain
A dog’s life as told by a dog! Enzo is Denny’s loyal canine companion and Denny dotes on Enzo. It is a mutual love and life affair…until the unpredictable end. The story is joy-filled, and humorous. The writer (Enzo) does not dwell on the dark times and the reader is left with a feeling of wonder at the unbreakable bonds that join man and beast.

Sarah

the hobbit

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
I chose to revisit this classic while on vacation. I have fond memories of it as a family read-aloud; if you have kids that enjoy being read to, this book is enchanting to hear a loved one read. True to form, the lovable Bilbo Baggins, the wise and mischievous Gandalf, and the determined band of dwarves helmed by Thorin proved a welcoming and adventurous retreat. The narration is engaging and the feel is cozy, and charming with a bit of a thrill. This is a great book to curl up with as the nights begin to cool off and autumn air begins to roll in. A trip to Bag-End and the Wilderland is still imbued with peril and magic. The Hobbit is worth a revisit or, perhaps, a maiden voyage!

 

Cheryl

snow childThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This novel was the author’s debut work. Haunting and thought provoking, it is a story grounded in the Alaskan wilderness and weaves a beautiful tale of grief, hardship and hope as a childless couple is driven to start life anew. In the midst of their loneliness and isolation a child appears to them. Is she real, or  is she the power of their imagination?The magic in this story is that it is not as simple as it seems. It beckons us to read on, as we turn the page to many unexpected directions. So much more than another Alaskan tale, it is a tale of life, and is not to be missed. This book held me captive until the very end.

Amelia

thug

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give is a very informative book that gives people an intense view on racism and the fight to end it. This book will make you feel many emotions and make you view many things in a different way. You will get connected to characters and hate some of them and you will gain many opinions on what you think should or should have happened. It gives you a taste of realism and will definitely teach you about very intense topics. 

 

 

Kelly R

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and Crazy Rich Asians the movie
First time ever with a staff pick that I am able to ‘double dip’ with both a book and a movie (DVD) with the same title. The book is first in a series of three and I must confess I watched the movie first which is just as witty as the book. Kevin Kwan gives us a birds-eye view into the lives of a culture totally unknown to me. He has a way of introducing his audience to multiple entertaining and interesting characters while masterfully leading us through the plot, all the while making us laugh out loud at their antics. This was a fun ride on a crazy, twisting, turning road with a “wow I never would’ve guessed that people do that or live like that” moments on a regular basis.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Last of Summer Reading

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

the undomestic goddessThe Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Samantha Sweeting, high-powered London lawyer, has made a career-ending mistake. Fleeing, she ends up at a beautiful country house where she’s mistaken for the new housekeeper. “I can do this. Of course I can. It’s not quantum physics. It’s housework.” If her old  life catches up with her, will she want it back?

 

 

 

Sarah

The Round House by Louise ErdrichA suspenseful coming of age tale set on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. Joe’s mother returns home from work soaked in gasoline and traumatized from being the victim of a brutal assault. She survived and knows who did it but refuses to share who the perpetrator is. Joe decides  to figure out who attacked his mother in order to ensure justice is served and ends up finding out more than he anticipates about his family, his culture, and himself.

 

 

Cheryl

how to raise monarch butterflies carol pasternakHow to Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak

It is monarch season and with some urgency I share last year’s pick in hopes that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy these winged creatures while they are here! For us, in New Hampshire, the monarch’s beauty belongs to us for a short while. It charms us with its graceful flight as it samples the nectar from our flowers. Mesmerized, we often wish they would remain in our gardens for just a bit longer yet the time is quickly approaching when monarchs will make their journey back to Mexico. Through colorful photos this little book shares with us the transformation of a black, white, and yellow caterpillar as it emerges into a Monarch butterfly. I remain excited for all children to witness this wonder, and hope this book might find itself a handy reference when a butterfly is seen.

If you want to learn more, search for monarchs, or perhaps see them take flight you may want to visit the annual Monarch Festival at Petals in the Pines, in nearby Canterbury, on September 7. I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy and delight in these dancing blooms!

Kelly H.

good omens

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
The end of the world is nigh in this cult classic as the Antichrist has reached the age where his powers can truly flourish. He’s been trained by both ends of the universe, an angel gardener and a demon nanny who taught him the value of love and power respectively. The problem? This boy, despite his wicked behavior and dark first name, is not the Antichrist. In a comical Switched At Birth type scenario, the Antichrist was given to the wrong parents and raised normally under the name Adam Young. All is well until his powers begin to change the world, from replacing nuclear waste with candy to raising the lost city of Atlantis from the sea. These events were each predicted by Agnes Nutter, a Witch who jotted down the future on index cards for her descendants, namely Anathema Device who has had the Apocalypse scheduled for her. As Adam’s powers grow, Heaven and Hell learn of his mistaken identity through a Hellhound who finds Adam playing with his friends rather than turning the sea red and bringing down plagues from above. Under the command of Heaven and Hell respectively, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley are commanded to secure Adam’s power for their own side. But these celestial beings have some issues with that; they’re best friends and they do not want to see their world end. 

Liz

Haley’s Hints Green Edition by Graham & Rosemary Haley

 

haley's hints green edition

 

Kelly R

in another timeIn Another Time by Jillian Cantor
Historical fiction, mystery, and time travel, three of my favorite fictional genres all rolled into one book.  If you missed this one when it arrived at BPL this spring, this is a good summer read.  The story is set in Europe and toggles back and forth between 1931 and 1946 when Hanna Ginsberg wakes up disoriented and afraid in a field outside Berlin, Germany.  She has no memory of the last 10 years including the whereabouts of her beloved Max. She moves to London to live with her sister and becomes absorbed into her music career as a concert violinist.  Over the years she is continually haunted by her forgotten past and the memories of the man she loved.

I enjoyed both the subject matter and the orderly way in which this novel was written.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Cool reads for hot summer nights

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Six Wakes Mur LaffertySix Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Six crew members. One ship. One Killer. On a spaceship, far from earth, someone is murdering the crew. And the crew’s newly-awakened clones need to figure out which of them is the killer? Nominated for the 2018 Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards.

 

Sarah

Astronomy by Ian Ridpath

Astronomy: A visual guide by Ian Ridpath
Astronomy features gorgeous illustrations and imagery illuminating everything one could ever want to know about space. The text does not fall short on history either with highlights the history of our understanding of space, stars, and our solar system. Included in this book are star charts and a month by month guide to the night sky. Check it out along with our new telescope and then join us at Bryant Field on Wednesday August 7 at 8:30 pm for a guided tour of the night sky conducted by a member of the NH Astronomical Society.

Cheryl

her right footHer Right Foot by Dave Eggers
At the library words come in abundance, in books and in the conversations with patrons about those books.   So it was, in conversation, that a patron shared a suggestion that I “read the book – you will like it.”  I tucked the book, Her Right Foot, in my bag for a later look. Once the work of the day was done I reached in to take a look and found myself totally and delightfully absorbed. Her Right Foot is written by Dave Eggers, full of historical and fascinating facts about the Statue of Liberty, and playfully illustrated by Shawn Harris.  If you have a few moments during your next library visit, treat yourself to this absorbing book. This best loved immigrant to the United States continues to shine her light brightly.  A timely read for July!

Kelly H.

red white and royal blue

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
When in the midst of the American presidential re-election and the royal family’s royal wedding, the last thing First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz can think of is his sworn enemy, Prince Henry Of Wales. This is, of course, before he comes face to face with none other than the bratty prince himself at the royal wedding of Prince Phillip.  After too many flutes of champagne and a press worthy dance between the Prince and the First Daughter, Alex decides (with some help from gravity) to topple the royal wedding cake onto himself and the Prince. Mortified, his presidential mother’s team of advisers and the royal family’s advisers decide the best option to avoid scandal is to have the two royal twenty somethings kiss and make up by faking a friendship of newsworthy proportions. The two agree and begin their tour of amity. But as the boys begin to act more and more like friends, they begin to realize that their distaste for each other was a cover-up for much stronger feelings. As their relationship grows, the Prince and First Son must decide what they value; royalty or loyalty.

Liz

every soul a starEvery Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
In keeping with the library’s, summer reading, space theme the book Every Soul A Star is a gem of a YA space related read that is a delightful mixture of a coming of age story and astronomy. The book centers around the perspectives of three teens, Aly, Bree, and Jack, who all find themselves at Moon Shadow campground because it has a perfect view of a total solar eclipse. As all of their storylines intertwine the teens have a chance to grow into the futures that seem to lie ahead of them beyond the pages of the book. This plot paired with Mass’s details and descriptions of the solar eclipse makes for this to be a great easy read. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves to look up at the stars or the moon in the night sky, or anyone just interested in an interesting story with a good serving of space and science on the side.

Kelly R

hidden figuresHidden Figures 
A great rainy day movie that the whole family can enjoy (rated PG).  Hidden Figures is the little known true story of the struggles of three brilliant African American women who worked for NASA during the very beginning of our country’s part in the Space Race. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson played a big part in the successful launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn. They not only had to overcome racial discrimination of the time but also just being women working in male dominated NASA was a struggle. This story chronicles decades of their lives leading up to the successful launch and orbit of Friendship 7.  Pop the popcorn and settle in for an out of this world ride back in history with this movie.

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

A book and a place: A celebration of the beauty of New Hampshire and the books we are loving at BPL

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

This month we are exploring our beautiful state. We encourage everyone to share pictures, tips, and suggestions about places to see in New Hampshire. Be sure to pick up and fill out a recommendation card at the library so you can be entered to win $25.00 for your next road trip!

Stop in and see what your neighbors and the staff of BPL are recommending too, you never know what hidden gems might become your next favorite spot to getaway!

We also are very excited to host our first local artist, Leroy Zutter. His nature photography  highlights the beauty of New England and will be on display throughout the month of June so don’t miss it!

Eileen

Artemis Fowl by Eoin ColferArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Coming to theaters in August! “A genius. A criminal mastermind. And he is only 12 years old.” Now Artemis Fowl is after fairy gold but standing in his way  is Captain Holly Short, LEPrecon. “He needed a plan. Something audacious and brilliant. Something that had never been attempted before. Artemis was not unduly worried on that front. His brain had never let him down before.”

 

Sarah

Shinrin Yoku The Japanese art of forest bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki

Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese art of forest bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki
” I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.” -Henry David Thoreau

What is forest bathing? Perhaps you saw it mentioned in the Belmont Conservation Commission’s news in the town newsletter back in February 2018 and never explored it further (see more here: https://bit.ly/2KoYs1B ). Shinrin Yoku translates to “forest-bathing.” The term was coined in the 1980’s as a new form of preventative medicine. The Japanese people have integrated the restorative and refreshing nature of being in the forest as a daily practice in wellness. This eclectic and beautiful book explores what forest bathing is (no fear, it does not involve actually taking a  bath in the forest!), how to do it, why it works, and continuing scientific research on the positive effects and benefit to the human body of regular forest bathing. It also includes how to bring some of the benefits of the forest into your home through essential oils derived from trees and plant-life naturally found in forests.

Cogswell Mountain Conservation Area in Gilmanton, NH
The Cogswell Mountain Trails are nestled behind the Gilmanton Year Round Library, and are a quick, easy (trust me!) hike that beginners or people who are just warming up for the season can do in an afternoon. The John and Ursula Allen Tract picks up right behind the Gilmanton Year Round Library (you can park your car there) and the Beaver Pond Loop skirts an area of water where you can view beaver dams. There is a picnic area with a table towards the top, so stop at the Gilmanton Cafe or at the Iron Works Market and pick up some sandwiches to complete your afternoon! Here is a link to the map so you can find all of the trails that lead to the summit of Cogswell Mountain. It’s a beautiful, quiet place to be out in nature with a change in scenery but not far from home: https://bit.ly/2HNl7CO

Cheryl

New Hampshire Veteran’s Cemetery Boscawen, NH
One of my favorite road trip destinations is the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery located in Boscawen, NH. Previously a state forest of 104 acres, this land is heavily forested, with 14 acres to date developed to pay tribute to veterans and their families.  (Bug spray is a must on evening walks!)
This is truly a place of beauty and serenity.  From the moment you drive up, and behold the grand flag, to the splendor of the monuments, there is much that soothes. Lawns and gardens are meticulously cared for and 65 monuments are in place along a Memorial Pathway that winds amongst the trees, commemorating all of the branches of the United States Armed Services.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of the annual 100 Nights of Remembrance, a simple yet powerful tribute to all as the live sounding of taps takes place every evening at 7:00 p.m. precisely. September 11th  concludes the 100 Nights, and taps is again sounded every Sunday at precisely 1:00 p.m.. Take a stroll, sit a spell, and inhale deeply!   A beautiful place to hit the pause button!

Kelly H.

julian

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julian appears to be a regular little boy who enjoys spending time with his Abuela. But he has a simple wish; to be a mermaid like the ones he sees on the train. So the young boy suits up in his own mermaid attire, with a floral headpiece and a tablecloth tail, ready to meet the world as a mermaid. Read this short story for a wonderful “tail” about the importance of expression and acceptance, told through beautiful art and a young boy’s dream.

The Jeff Marden Town Forest
The Town Forest is place of memories for me. I would walk in it with my parents and friends, my brother’s Boy Scout friends would do projects and hang out there, and I would walk my neighbor’s dog there. The Town Forest was always welcoming and felt like a place that I could enjoy even if I wasn’t too fond of going outside. This forest is also a prime spot for photo taking.

 

Liz

Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
From the beginning of everything to the creation of the world to the end through Ragnarok, this book by Neil Gaiman is a beautiful and captivating re-telling of old Norse myths, or the ones that haven’t been lost to the ages or forgotten. Each chapter is filled with a new enthralling tale, such as the origin myth of how Thor was united with Mjolnir, his famous hammer. Along with fun tales including Loki’s time as a horse, and Thor donning a wedding dress. Apart from the actual story, the writing style of Gaiman is beautiful, as always, and the way the separate tales flow together, as more than just a collection of stories, paired with the attention to detail in each by Gaiman and his team really makes the book a work of art and a fantastic read! If you have any interest in the history of not just Norse, but Egyptian, Greek, Roman, or any other ancient myths, or if you just feel like you want a little bit more of the background mythology on Loki and Thor after Avengers: Endgame this book could be for you!

Kelly R

seasoned with grace bertha lindsaySeasoned With Grace: My generation of Shaker Cooking by Bertha Lindsay
Not just a cook book but a great gastronomic historical guided tour of Canterbury Shaker Village by one of the last living Shakers, Eldress Bertha Lindsay.  I chose this as my staff pick to go along with my NH Summer Road Trip choice “Canterbury Shaker Village.” Eldress Bertha begins with basic Shaker history with an easy to reference timeline from 1774-1987 (copyright is 1987) with a simple diagram of the village as it appeared in 1987.  I found it very interesting to discover the various dietary traditions throughout the years of the Canterbury community sometimes based on availability of foods, time to prepare them (their diet was very simple in the beginning due to lack of time as they were busy constructing initial buildings), or even moral judgement calls (fermentation for preservation was common in early days but changed later).

Eldress Bertha includes many of her favorite recipes such as summer squash casserole, baked apple casserole, bewitching salad, and Eldress Bertha’s lemon meringue pie.  A huge bonus are several great photographs sprinkled throughout the book.  I think my favorite section of the book though is the biography section where she includes a simple paragraph of noted Shakers such as Henry Blinn who drew the well-known map of Canterbury SV) and Ethel Mary Hudson (one of Eldress Bertha’s fellow last surviving CSV members). For lovers of history and local recipes this one is a treasure. NOTE: Ask about passes to Canterbury Shaker Village at the library’s front desk and we also have a very well done DVD by Ken Burns on the Shakers available to borrow.

 

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May 2019 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

city of brassCity of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
This book caught my eye when we got it two years ago, but I just made room in my reading life this past month. Nahri is a con artist in 18th century Cairo who accidentally summons a djinn – and gets a one-way trip to the magical city of Daevabad and its centuries-old divisions. I devoured this and the next book, Kingdom of Copper, and now am impatiently awaiting the third, Empire of Gold.

 

Sarah

DumplinDumplin’ by Julie Murphy
While working at the local fast food joint Willowdean meets Bo, a super-cute boy her age who is enrolled in private school. Willowdean is pretty sure that Bo likes her back but she lacks the confidence to ask him out. Willowdean and her best friend Ellen decide to try what scares them the most in the hopes that it builds confidence so they both enter the beauty pageant. This pageant is a time honored ritual and is hosted by Willowdean’s mom, a former beauty pageant queen and notorious believer in slimming diets and frequent exercise. In this small town, challenging stereotypes of beauty really shakes things up but it also sets Willowdean on the road to acceptance, love, and joy. If you love Dolly Parton, big dreams, small town stories, and books about self-acceptance, this one is for you! Bonus, it is a Netflix original movie as well!

Cheryl

magnolia tableMagnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
With visions of a family gathering complete with cotton tails this month, a little meal planning was in order.  I brought home Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines and sat down a good spell!  The book is a collection of recipes for gathering, featuring 125 down to earth recipes infused with a Southern flair and seemingly served straight from the heart.  Joanna has a sweet story or sharing with most recipes and many are also accompanied by pictures. A delightful book to peruse. The pork bellies and bacon used in abundance cautioned me to reconsider some recipes and adjust others!  How fortunate we are to have our very own library at the corner of Mill and Main to make such beautiful books available!

Kelly H.

what if it's us

What If It’s Us? by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Arthur and Ben come from extremely different walks of life. Arthur’s a Georgia-born, Yale accepted, Jewish boy with a heart for the stage while Ben’s a Puerto Rican, city-slicker and summer school student whose heart remains bruised by his ex-boyfriend Hudson. At the hands of a highly opinionated universe, the two meet, talk, and bond before they are split up by a good, old-fashioned, New York flash mob. Despite the sign from the universe that the two should not be together, the boys are determined to reconnect. Through Craigslist ads, coffee businesses, another chance encounter, and some classic internet stalking, the two find each other. They decide the discovery of one another is a sign from the universe but as several below average dates kick off their relationship, the boys’ relationship rests on thin ice and leaves them asking: What if it’s us?

 

Kelly R.

welcome to the world baby girl

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg
Welcome to the World Baby Girl is the first in the four book Elmwood Springs series by Fannie Flagg, the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The story begins with an introduction to Elmwood Springs, MO 1948 and its inhabitants; a virtual stroll through the small town that may spark memories for readers who grew up in a small town. Their stories are interwoven through three decades with Flagg’s usual humor, respect, and affection for her characters.  I particularly enjoyed this excerpt at the beginning…”Poor little old human beings – they’re jerked into this world without having any idea where they came from or what it is they are supposed to do, or how long they have to do it in.  Or where they are gonna wind up after that. But bless their hearts, most of them wake up every morning and keep on trying to make some sense out of it.  Why, you can’t help but love them, can you? I just wonder why more of them aren’t as crazy as betsy bugs.” – Aunt Elner, 1978 (resident of Elmwood Springs).
If you loved Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe you will so enjoy this novel.  It has the same flavor with a town full of characters whose stories are expertly interwoven with each other with a wonderful page-turning, heartwarming expertise that is truly Fannie Flagg. The best part is that there are three more books to enjoy in the series.