Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting the Book You Want!


Our #1 goal is to provide each patron with the book(s) he or she would like to read. When we do not have the book in our library we are often able to purchase the book for our collection or borrow it from another library in New Hampshire through 'Inter-Library Loan'. Two vans circulate throughout the state on a weekly basis dropping off and picking up various reading materials. It helps all of the libraries to do a better job serving their patrons. So if you do not see what you want on the shelves, just ask!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We're in the News!



Plymouth Record for December 16th

We're packed to the rafters with Christmas books and movies for young and old alike. Check out one, two, or three and feel the Christmas spirit. Speaking of Christmas spirit, we thank everyone who came to our Holiday Open House and we thank Rhubarb Pie for entertaining us so nicely - so much talent in our little community!

We thank the Awana Christmas Carolers and their leaders from the Rumney Baptist Church who entertained us with a selection of holiday songs last Wednesday night - what a talented group! We hope that you will visit us at the library again very soon!

Fuel economy is an important factor when looking to purchase a vehicle. The annual publication, 2011 Fuel Economy Guide featuring fuel economy data for new model year cars, sport utility vehicles, and light trucks is now available here at the library. An electronic version can be found at www.fueleconomy.gov

Upcoming Events: The Byron G Merrill Knitting Society and Yarn Club will meet next on Wed, Jan 12th at 2 and Helen promises to provide us with some yummy refreshments.

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



The library will be open 2-8, our regular hours, today. We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and open again on Saturday, 10 until noon. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ancestry.com



In honor of Veterans Day, Ancestry.com is offering free access to its
military records collection through Sunday:

http://www.ancestry.com/militaryrecords

Records span from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam.

Have fun!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We're in the News! (Oct 21, 2010)



The Ladies Book Club will be meeting on November 4th to discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Twelve copies have been given out and we have a few left. If you are interested you are welcome to pick one up. Author Annie Barrows will be speaking at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith on Sunday, October 24th at 1pm. This event is free and is part of our Lakes Region Reads.

Our Christmas Club has started. The first assignment is to clear a shelf or two in your home for storing gifts and supplies - everything in one place. Stop in, sign up, and see how to set up your Christmas Control Journal.

Upcoming Events: Rumney Historical Society Program - The Home Front in Rumney during WWII Part 2 - Thur, Oct 21st at 7, Library Trustees Meeting - Wed, Oct 27th at 6:30, Ladies Book Club - Thur, Nov 4th at 7, Knitting Group - Wed, Nov 10th at 2

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com (You must register at the library to use the downloadable audio books and language programs)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're in the News! (Oct 7, 2010)




Our involvement with Lakes Region Reads continues - visit http://lakesregionreads.wordpress.com/ to see what is taking place this week. We have checked out a lot of copies of 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' and look forward to our discussion of this delightful novel with its WWII setting on Thursday, November 4th at 7. We are also looking forward to our next event at the Rumney Historical Museum on Thursday, October 21st at 7 when Marcia Schmidt Blaine will return to lead our forum as our residents share their memories of the WWII years here in Rumney. The program will open with a musical presentation of patriotic songs by members of the Wentworth Church choir. Please plan to join us. (This program is sponsored in part by the NH Humanities Council.)
Fall Festival Fun is up and running for our littlest readers. The children are encouraged to check out one of our new fall themed books on each visit. Each child has a special card to track their reading and will receive a certificate at the end.
Upcoming Events: Library Trustees - Wed, Oct 6th at 6:30, Knitting Group - Wed, Oct 13th at 2, Rumney Historical Society Program - The Home Front in Rumney during WWII Part 2 - Thur, Oct 21st at 7, Ladies Book Club - Thur, Nov 4th at 7

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com (You must register at the library to use the downloadable audio books and language programs)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We're in the News! (Sept 30 2010)

The Byron G Merrill Public Library is proud to be participating in Lakes Region Reads 2010, our first ever One Book, One Community program.To learn more about Lakes Region Reads, visit our website:http://lakesregionreads.wordpress.com/
We're joining eighteen other communities throughout the lakes region in encouraging everyone to read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", a delightful and moving novel set in the Channel Islands during World War II. Stop by the library and pick up your free copy this week! A discussion is planned for Thursday, November 4th at 7.
With over forty events scheduled throughout the Lakes Region in the next several weeks leading up to Veterans Day, there's sure to be something for everyone. Our grand kick-off event is coming up soon at the Wright Museum of WWII History in Wolfeboro on October 2. Special guests Mike Pride and Meg Heckman will lead a discussion and will be sharing some wonderful stories from their book, "We Went to War: New Hampshire Remembers". Tickets for free admission are available from the library.
Our big event, The Home Front during WWII, was held last week at the Rumney Historical Museum and was well attended. Our special guest, Marcia Schmidt Blaine, described life in our area during the early 1940s. A second program is scheduled for Thursday, October 21st at 7 also at the museum. Come share your memories or any stories that you heard about life in Rumney during the war years. (Both programs are sponsored by the Rumney Historical Society and the Byron G Merrill Library and are funded in part by a grant from the NH Humanities Council.)
How nice to go to the mailbox and receive a present! Fishing Without a Hook, Catching Moments at Work, a book of poetry by Nancy Puglisi from PSU arrived today.It "catches moments of experiences and situations that occur in many workplaces as well as the challenges of commuting and the struggles of searching for appropriate work-life balance". The first poem begins, "We want - To work without a hook - But hooked we are - To…" I will let you discover the rest! Thank you Nancy!

This fall, on Saturday, October 2nd, the University of New Hampshire is holding the first ever open house for its Marine Program. Each of the three major marine research laboratories will be open to the public from 10 am until 3 pm offering a unique opportunity to meet and talk with scientists about their work, tour labs and research vessels, and get hands on experience with seaweed, horseshoe crabs, wave tanks and a host of things marine. The UNH Marine Docents will also be part of the day, presenting programs and answering questions. The open house is free and open to all. It will take place, rain or shine.The Coastal Marine Research Facility is located at 25 Wentworth Road in New Castle NH. Learn more at www.unh.edu/knowthecoast

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com (You must register at the library to use the downloadable audio books and language programs)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smithsonian, Sept 2010, is available!

The September 2010 issue of Smithsonian magazine has arrived with several articles to spark ones' interest:

The Art of Resilience
Haiti's devastating earthquake is a source of inspiriration for many of the island's surviving painters and sculptors.

Thinking Like a Chimpanzee
Tetsuro Matsuzawa has spent 30 years studying our closest primate relative to better understand the human mind.

The Shock of War
World War I troops were the first to be diagnosed with shell shock, an injury - by any name- still wreaking havoc.

Reinventing Rio
The dazzling but tarnished Brazilian city gets a makeover as it prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We're in the News - August 26th




Old Home Day 2010 takes on new meaning with the news we received this morning of the passing of long-time Rumney resident Roger Winsor. We were so pleased to see him honored last week as the Grand Marshall of the Old Home Day Parade and how he seemed to enjoy the occasion. Roger was always a welcome visitor here at the library and at the Rumney Historical Society events and will be very much missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to June and the rest of his family at this time.

What a great time we all had at Old Home Day this year. Gail and her committee did it all just right - beautiful weather, a wonderful parade, the delightful music of the Baker River Band, a full schedule of activities, and the colorful fireworks at the end. Our booksale was very well attended and the children will be enjoying some new books in the very near future. A big and very sincere thank you to the entire committee that put together such a special day for us.

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We are in the News! (Plymouth Record on 8/12/10)




Old Home Day is just around the corner, the weekend we have all been looking forward to for so long. Our Annual Book Sale will start at 9 am and run until noon. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will set up tables outside on the lawn with plenty of books to tempt you. We have received a lot of donations this year for the sale so it should be a good one. Proceeds will go towards a matching grant for new hardcover children's books.

The library will be open from 10am to 3 pm on Old Home Day. You are welcome to stop by, peruse the old scrapbooks and enjoy a glass of lemonade. We enjoy seeing everyone.

We are looking for some old photographs from the early 1940's for a project we are working on jointly with the Rumney Historical Society. Our program theme this year is 'Rumney - The Home Front during WWII.' We hope to find some photos which will show Rumney during this time as well as some of the folks who were living here. Can you help?

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plymouth Record - August 5, 2010


We have just one more week until Old Home Day and the Library Book Sale. The sale will start at promptly at 9 am and run until noon. We will have tables set up on the lawn filled with books and videos looking for new homes. Won't you stop by and take a look? Proceeds from this annual event will be put towards a matching grant for children's books. The library will be open from 10 until 3 on Old Home Day and we will set out some of the old scrapbooks to peruse. Stop by, say hello and enjoy a glass of lemonade.

We are looking for some old photographs from the early 1940's for a project we are working on jointly with the Rumney Historical Society. Our program theme this year is 'Rumney - The Home Front during WWII.' We hope to find some photos which will show Rumney during this time as well as some of the folks who were living here. Can you help?

Attention students - get a jump start on your language courses before school starts by trying out our on-line language programs. It is fun and it is easy to get started. Email us and we will send you your password. French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese - we have them for you.

Daniel Silva's 'The Rembrandt Affair', the 10th novel in the suspenseful Gabriel Allon series and a great summer read, just arrived. Who will be the first to claim it?

Upcoming Event: The Rumney Knitters will meet on Wednesday, August 11th at 2. It is always fun to see what everyone is working on. You are invited to stop by for that hour and enjoy a visit along with a cup of tea and a sweet - a pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

News from BGM


Our young patrons are reading up a storm this summer. Two of the children earned free tickets to a Fishercats baseball game and will be taking their Dads on August 3rd. The readers will be invited out on the field at mid-game and recognized for their reading achievement.Several other children are trying to figure out the mystery of 'The 39 Clues'. Our little ones are part of the 'Ladybug Club' and tracking the books they read. It has been a fun summer for all of us.

Our computers are busy most of the time. In addition to our regular users we have grandparents here with their grandchildren. As one patron says, 'I am getting an education', as we learn all sorts of new games.

Two more weeks until Old Home Day and the library book sale. We are busy putting together boxes of discarded books and videos so we will be ready for the big day.We are applying for a grant for new children's books and the profit from the book sale will be put towards the matching part of the grant.

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, August 11th at 2 - Rumney Knitters. A dozen of our ladies took up the challenge and have knitted liners for helmets to give our soldiers comfort and warmth during the winter months in Afghanistan. "We enjoy knitting and supporting our troops", said one of the members of our group. As of last month we have sent fifty-eight of the liners to the troops and we plan to continue this project into the fall. (We would appreciate monetary contributions from our non-knitting friends to put towards the cost of the yarn - we use the 'superwash wool' which is more expensive than regular yarn.) The group, which includes Helen Keniston, June Winsor, and Nancy Kolb, gets together the second Wednesday of each month at two for an hour of knitting, visiting, and enjoying a cup of tea and a sweet. Our ladies are good bakers as well as knitters. Won't you come join us? No experience needed!

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Before You Know Kindness


Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian (2004)

For ten summers, the Seton family --- all three generations --- met at their country home in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. I thought that I would really like these people but, with the exception of 10-year-old Willow, I did not.

In the eleventh summer, everything changed for the Seton family when a hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident.

Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters --- and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity, NOT. Hope some of our readers will disagree with me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg


From the beloved bestselling author of Home Safe and The Year of Pleasures comes a new novel about men and women reconnecting with one another, and themselves, at their fortieth high school reunion. As one time classmates meet up over the course of a weekend, they discover things that will irrevocably affect the rest of their lives. Ms Berg deftly weaves together stories of roads taken and not taken, choices made and opportunities missed, and the possibilities of second chances.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Plymouth Record 6/24/10


The NH Community College System is offering on-line courses to high school juniors and seniors. Students may take these courses for college credits while still in high school. Each course costs $100, plus the cost of textbook(s) and, at the end of the course, the student may request a college transcript showing the credit(s) they have earned which is transferrable to most colleges and universities. Students may enroll for the fall semester through August 25th. Go to www.ccsnh.edu/estart for additional information and enrollment.

Book Club News: Our 3 to 6 year-olds are invited to join the Ladybug Club - Read all 10 Ladybug books and then join us for a special Summer Celebration on Saturday, July 24th at 10 am - Bookies and Cookies for all our little ones. Passports are ready for our 39 Clues Book Club. Attention baseball fans - Our Fans of the Fisher Cats Book Club starts this week - don't be late.

New books include 'Innocent' by Scott Turow, 'Deliver Us From Evil' by David Baldacci, and 'Caught' by Harlan Coben.

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program - stop by and ask. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It is Happening at the Library

It has been a busy week as we have been moving books around. The good news for mystery/suspense lovers is that you will have a whole new bookcase of your favorite titles displayed prominently. Let us know what you think of the new arrangement.

Our 'Pajama Party' was a big success. We read 'Sleep Bear Sleep', 'My Shadow' by Robert Louis Stevenson, and 'Pajama Time' by Sandra Boynton. We liked 'Pajama Time' so much we actually read it twice! After cookies and milk everyone scooted home to bed. We are planning another PJ Party so watch for the date.

Did you know that you can access the Concord Monitor and the Manchester Union Leader here at the library or at home? This is a service provided by the NH State Library. Interested in using this service? Let us know.

Upcoming Events: The Rumney Knitters will meet on Wednesday, June 9th at 2 here at the library - Come join us!

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is Happening at the Library




Disturbed by your electrical bill??? You are welcome to borrow a 'Cut the Carbon' kit from the library. The kit includes a 'Kill a Watt Energy Detector' that can be plugged into any household appliance and show how much energy is being used, instructions, and a worksheet to calculate energy costs. Energy efficiency advice and tips are included in a booklet you can keep.

Interested in downloading audio books onto your computer, ipod, or mp3 player??? We will be explaining how this all works on Wednesday, May 26th at 7:15.

Upcoming Events: The Ladies Book Club will be discussing 'Mao's Last Dancer' by Li Cunxin tonight, May 20th at 6:30 at the library. Pajama Time will take place on Wednesday, May 26th at 6:30. Children ages three to six are invited to come in their pjs and bring a favorite stuffed animal for a half hour of cookies and milk and a few night-time stories. The Rumney Knitters will meet on Wednesday, June 9th at 2. Members of our community are welcome to take part in any of our events.

The Byron G Merrill Library offers books, magazines, dvds, videos, downloadable audio books, interlibrary loan, and an internet-based language program. Located at 10 Buffalo Road, the library is open on Wednesdays 2-8, Thursdays 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturdays 10-12. Phone:786-9520 - Email: rumneylibrary@roadrunner.com - Web: www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Best Love Story of 2010!


The most romantic hero of 2010 is a stuffy sexagenarian who first appears wearing a bright-pink floral robe. (It belonged to his late wife.)
That may not sound promising, but I assure you Helen Simonson's dryly delightful debut novel, 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand', is one of the most endearing love stories I've read in a long time.
After the death of his brother, Bertie, the major finds himself unexpectedly unmoored. He strikes up a friendship with Mrs. Ali - a local widow whose tweedy neighbors don't even see her because she is Pakistani and runs a shop. But as the major and Mrs. Ali bond over Kipling and the loss of their spouses, he finds himself forced to consider that his village - Edgecombe St. Mary - may not be the staunch remnant of right thinking that he's loved all this years.
With her dry wit and incisive detailing, Simonson skewers village life as surely as Jane Austen satirized the 19th century. Fans of Austen and Alenxander McCall Smith should adore 'Major Pettigrew's last Stand'. My only real concern now is: How long will it take Simonson to write her next novel?
(Yvonne Zipp regularly reviews fiction for the Christian Science Monitor.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Watch 'Small Island' on PBS this Sunday


Small Island premieres Sunday, April 18, 2010 on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC.
When Hortense (Naomie Harris) and her husband Gilbert (David Oyelowo)
leave Jamaica for the promised land of post war Britain, their dreams
are tested by hard realities. In the small-minded country, their saving
grace is Queenie (Ruth Wilson), married to the kind but dull
Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch). Bonded by high hopes and
broken dreams, these four lives fuse together in a hopeful story based
on Andrea Levy's award-winning novel. (Two episodes; 90 minutes each)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

House Rules by Jodi Picoult


Emotionally powerful from beginning to end, 'House Rules, looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way and fails those who don't. This is not my favorite of her books but it was interesting just the same.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Sweet It Is!


The change in seasons in northern New England signals one of our favorite traditions -- maple sugaring. Take a drive anywhere in the region right now and you can spot the signs: old metal buckets hanging from a cluster of maple trees, a complex web of plastic tubing snaking through a forest, and smoke spiraling from a sugar shack tucked into the corner of a neighbor's yard.

It's sugaring time, a wonderful season -- and reason -- to reflect on a traditional art form that has been a hallmark of our northern culture since Native Americans first called this region home. Why do traditional arts continue to be important? They connect us to the land and to the generations of people who relied on practical skills to support their families, generate income, and bring a touch of beauty into their lives -- whether it was quilting, weaving, fiddling or maple sugaring. When traditional arts are practiced today they include a hands-on aspect that is appealing in an era when cell phones, instant messaging, emails and eblasts (like this one!) more and more often take the place of face-to-face communication and interaction. In a word, people are hungry for authentic experiences.

For instance, over 100 people visited The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem last Saturday to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, learn about the history of maple sugaring, and sample the sweet syrup produced in the on-site sugar house. Estate manager Nigel Manley said people were pleased to find that they were expected -- and encouraged -- to be participants rather than observers during their visit. "They were amazed that their children could drill a hole in a tree during their visit," he says.

Cultural experiences also fuel the economy. Gail McWilliam Jellie, Director of the Division of Agricultural Development, NH Department of Agriculture, says that maple sugaring adds $3-3.5 million to New Hampshire's economy and is vitally important to the state's agricultural diversification.

So, the next time you see smoke rising from a sugar shack, remember that the folks inside are not only producing a sweet and much-loved product, but that they are also carrying on an important cultural tradition and contributing to the vitality of the North Country.

Want to experience the age-old art of maple sugaring yourself? The Rocks welcomes visitors for an extended stretch during maple sugar season (March 20, 21, 27, 28, and April 3) and on the 27th and 28th joins 64 sugar houses around the state for NH Maple Weekend, as they open their doors to visitors for tours, tastings, and special activities. Visit nhmapleproducers.com for a complete listing.

While the Arts Alliance hasn't yet ventured into the maple sugaring business, we do care deeply about offering culturally authentic and interactive experiences for North Country residents, such as recent appearances by 5th generation Franco-American fiddler Patrick Ross, Irish harper Regina Delaney, and Yankee storyteller Becky Rule. This week, the traditional songs and dances of Mexico are being presented by guest artist Veronica Robles as part of a multi-school residency. You can catch her public performance -- a Mariachi concert -- at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 18, at the Lancaster Town Hall. She's also offering two classes featuring traditional and contemporary Mexican dance, on Tuesday evening at 7 at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem and on Friday at 7 at the Jeanne Limmer Dance Studio in North Conway. Get all the details at www.aannh.org.


Meanwhile, warm wishes for an easy mud season, another North Country springtime tradition!



Eileen Alexander (Arts Alliance of Northern NH)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Author Barbara Kingsolver


Perhaps it is time to take another look at our collection of novels by Barbara Kingsolver known for her richly drawn characters and tangled cultural crossings.

Kingsolver's newest novel, the first in nine years, is entitled The Lacuna - it tells of the short, extraordinary life of writer Harrison Shepherd. Raised in and shaped by America and Mexico, Harrison discovers that his dual national identity is both a blessing and a curse. Do we make history or does history make us?

The Prodigal Summer (2000) is a trio of linked Appalachian tales about the birds and the bees - city girl marries into country family, stubborn codger is sweet on hippie chick, coyote researcher falls for coyote hunter... What's the difference between lust and love?

The Poisonwood Bible (1998) tells of a white missionary and his family who arrive in the Belgian Congo on the brink of its independence in 1959. The pastor's blind determination to 'enlighten' a Congolese village has awful results for both the native people and his own family. How do you atone for the sins of the father?

In The Bean Trees (1988), a Kentucky girl heads to Arizona, adopts a Cherokee girl and falls for a taken immigrant. Her eye-opening travels and her beloved's ordeal make her 'feel like a foreigner' in her own country. When do you have the right to love somebody who is not yours?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (Review by Nancy Pearl)


With good books, it really is better to read them late, long after everyone else you know already has, than to never have read them at all. At least that’s how I felt when I finished Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, which got (as I remember) wonderful reviews in 2009, and which my friend Anne Wyckoff just adored (and I always listen when she recommends something for me to read). It’s a supremely quiet and strangely affecting novel, set in the 1950s. Toibin’s subjects are love, and family, and obligation (to yourself and those you love and how to decide which is the more important). It’s one of those books that you have to read slowly, in order to savor the strength and the powerful simplicity of the writing. I had a weirdish experience while I was reading it, almost as though I had entered a large and empty gothic cathedral, where the atmosphere was hushed and all sounds were muted. Yet I realized that almost everything of importance occurs within those four walls, just as so much of what’s important in Tóibín’s lyrical novel is never said at all: almost everything that matters is written, if you will, between the lines on the pages.

I have to tell you, though, that the plot doesn’t sound prepossessing (maybe that’s why I took so long to pick it up and read it). At the suggestion of a priest coming home from his Brooklyn parish to Ireland for a visit, Eilis Lacey leaves her family and friends in her small Irish town and moves to Brooklyn, where she lives in a boarding house with other young women (all Irish), all watched over (and disapproved of) by “Ma” Kehoe, works days in a department store, and attends night school to get a degree in accounting. Along the way, she meets a young Italian man and falls in love with him.

But it’s Tóibín’s economy of language and his uncanny ability to bring to life both Eilis’s home in Ireland and her adopted city that make this novel so very special.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Big Read is Coming!!!

The Byron G Merrill Library is pleased to announce that during March 2010 we will be part of The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads To Kill a Mockingbird. This is a statewide project of the Center for the Book at the NH State Library which will include hundreds of “Big Read” events throughout the state.

All residents of Rumney are invited to participate. The Ladies Book Club will be sponsoring several events. The first, on February 24th at 7 pm, will serve as a ‘kick-off’ and will be an introduction to the book and its historical setting

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that gives communities the opportunity to come together and read, discuss and celebrate one of 30 selections from U.S. and world literature. In New Hampshire, the program is organized by the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library, which received a grant to coordinate the statewide effort. The Center for the Book chose to focus on To Kill a Mockingbird because of its relevant themes of standing up for what is right, relationships between the races, courage, justice and more.

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library is one of 268 nonprofits nationwide—including libraries, municipalities and arts, culture and science organizations—to receive a grant to host a Big Read project in this grant round. In 2007, its program “The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads Fahrenheit 451” was only one of two statewide Big Read programs focusing on a single book.

For more information about the Byron G Merrill Library, visit our blog at www.rumneylibrary.blogspot.com. For more information about The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads To Kill a Mockingbird, visit www.BigReadNH.org.

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library was established in 2003 to celebrate and promote reading, books, literacy and the literary heritage of New Hampshire, and to highlight the role that reading and libraries play in enriching the lives of the people of the Granite State. It is an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

The NEA, which designed The Big Read as a way to restore reading to the center of American culture, presents the program in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for the Big Read is provided by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Katherine Wentworth by D E Stevenson

I just finished reading 'Katherine Wentworth' written by D E Stevenson in 1964. It is a delightful story of a widow in Scotland with three lively children. The description of the cottage they visit in the highlands is wonderful - I want to go there!