Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Summer Reading & Talking Service Book Club


“A Universe of Stories” is this year’s Summer Reading Theme.  Children may sign-up for special programs beginning at 2:00 p.m. on May 31.  Read all summer and track reading progress in a special Citizen of the Universe Passport.  For every three hours a Citizen reads, he/she will receive a stamp for the completed continent and a prize!  Once all seven continents have been stamped, each Citizen will receive an invitation to a special library surprise at the end of the summer.  The last day to turn in Reading Passports is August 4.

Ashe County Public Library joins a nationwide discussion this summer with a new book club, “Talking Service.”  This group plans to get together and reflect on short, powerful writings about military service by some of the world’s greatest authors. Participants are encouraged to share their insights, build on each other’s comments, and challenge their assumptions through lively, informal conversations centered on the anthology Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian, published by the Great Books Foundation. 

Each monthly meeting begins with a selection from a collection of works ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent memoirs by veterans of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The readings serve as an entry for veterans to talk candidly about their own experiences.  Talking Service Book Club is for veterans, as well as their families, friends, service providers, and caregivers.

The group will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the second Friday of each month at the library, beginning on July 12.  The first meeting’s reading and discussion will be of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s epic poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (facilitated by Deeanna Burleson, PhD).   Stop in the library to pick up information and materials to read for this special book club. 

Copies of the Ashe County Public Library Veterans History Magazine are also available for purchase at the library, Museum of Ashe County History, and the Ashe County Veterans Service Office.   Proceeds from this project will be used to preserve and publish veteran stories each year.  Although Memorial Day is nationally celebrated on the last Monday of May, it is important for us to Never Forget the sacrifices made for our freedom.

Dates to remember in June: 
Children’s Programs

  • ABC Storytimes, for all ages, are at 11:00 a.m. every Saturday in June.  Join us for Alphabet Adventures with stories, art, and music.
  • Chess Club, for all ages, meets at 3:00 p.mm. every Friday in June. Up your game with this table top classic.
  • MARS: Molly’s Activities & Random Shenanigans EVERY WEEK! Join Ms. Molly every week for crafts, learning, and FUN!  Follow our Facebook page for details.
  • SUMMERFEST is a day full of fun discoveries (Star Wars, Soap, Sounds, and Soil)!  Come spend the day from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on June 15.  Begin with the multifarious music of Sound Traveler and finish with liquid nitrogen plied by KidSenses.

Children’s Events Requiring Registration: Sign-ups begin May 31.

  •  Native American Pottery (ages 6-9) 10:30 a.m. on June 7,14, and 21.
  • Turchin Art for Kids (ages 4–6) 11:00 a.m. on June 18.
  • Turchin Art for Big Kids (ages 7–9) 1:00 p.m. on June 18.
  • Turchin Art for Tweens (ages 10-12) 2:00 p.m. on June 18.
  • Gemstone Mining (all ages) 9:30 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. on June 20.
  • Tween ITNL Taste Testing (ages 8–12) 2:00 p.m. on June 20.
  • Science Tellers (all ages) 10:30 a.m. on June 25.
  • Tween Crafty (ages 8-12) 2:00 p.m. on June 27.

Children’s Events Requiring Tickets: You may pick up a ticket at the Youth Services Desk for programs listed below, beginning 30 minutes before the start of each program.


  • Zootastic (all ages) 10:30 a.m. on June 11.
  • Wildlife (all ages) 1:00 p.m. on June 28

THE SUMMER BUZZ: Teen Summer Learning Program (ages 12-18)

  • Cooking with Rhonda, in partnership with NC Cooperative Extension, meets at 4:00 p.m. on June 4.  Featuring Red Pepper Hummus with Pita Points and Veggies.
  •  Board Game CafĂ© meets at 4:00 p.m. on June 11.
  • Cooking with Rhonda, in partnership with NC Cooperative Extension, meets at 4:00 p.m. on June 18.  Featuring Avocado Toast and Tzatziki. 
  •  Dance class with Laura (a professional choreographer) takes place at 4:00 p.m. on June 25.

Adult Programs

  • Throughout 2019, VAYA Health is sponsoring a Public Presentation Series at the library.  Two topics will be highlighted, back-to-back, from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Join us on June 6 for “Emotional and Behavioral: The Impact of Chronic Illness on the Brain,” and Enhancing Mental Health with Alternative Treatments.”
  • A Building Strong Communities Discussion takes place at 12:00 p.m. on June 24 in the library.  In this session, we ask ourselves, what is authenticity in the workplace?  To inform our discussion we look to Alan Briskin’s “The Stirring of the SOUl in the Workplace.”  Facilitated by Deeanna Burleson, PhD.  A light lunch will be provided.  Free, but pre-registration is required.
  •  For all your tech troubles, book an appointment with our friendly reference librarians.  Call 336.846.2041 x227. 
  • Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
  • Vickie’s Book Club meets at 1:00 p.m. June 17 to discuss Before We Were Yours by, Lisa Wingate.
All Ages

  • Get Crafty meets at 10 a.m. on June 15.  Find out about the ongoing project “365 Days of Granny Squares,” bring along your current project, or join the group and start on a crafty project now!  All skill levels welcome, materials are provided.
  • The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on June 13 and 27.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
  •  Mountain Music Slow Jam will meet from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on June 1 and 15 in the downstairs meeting room. Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.

Special Events


  • Visit the library at Museum of Ashe County History between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on June 8 for a special Children’s Day Event.  Learn how to make corn husk dolls!
  • Volunteer & Donor Appreciation (Requiring RSVP): takes place from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  This is the first annual ACPL Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Event.  Clyde Edgerton, author of Walking Across Egypt and The Bible Salesman, will be the featured speaker.  Enjoy a meal, enter to win door prizes, and learn more about how volunteers and donors impact the library.  This event is open to library volunteers, Friends of the Ashe County Library, and individuals who have supported the library through gifts and donations.  Call 336.846.2041 or email ashereference@arlibrary.org to RSVP.
  • Ashe Seed Library Food Narrative Contest: (Submissions accepted May 15 - July 15)  Very few things are as central to our existence as food.  In honor of spring and the reopening of the Ashe Seed Library, we invite you to put food front and center.  We're not looking for snarky Yelp reviews, and the food needn't be fancy.  But it should hold meaning for you, and it's that meaning we'd like to see in your submissions.  Visit the information desk on the library’s Upper Level or call 336.846.2041 x111 or email ashereference@arlibrary.org to learn how to enter! 

Literary Birthdays for May



Lena Anderson
Lena Christine Anderson is a Swedish author / illustrator of two children's books you “must read before growing up.”  One book is titled Stina, beautifully illustrated in a watercolor technique.  Stina is a young girl who visits her grandfather every summer at his seaside home.  She is a curious child who collects assorted things washed ashore by the sea.  One night a storm comes, bringing a special gift!

 I chose to read Anderson’s book Bunny Bath in recognition of her birthday, May 27, 1939.  This particular book has no words, so I should probably say that reading this book was more like a “show and tell” type of experience. 
This story, recommended for ages 0 – 3 years, is told with charming illustrations, involving two characters, a child and bunny.  I shared it with Elizabeth Mosley, a five-year old and it was a great conversation piece as well as inspiration for an entry in the library's Peeps Literary Diorama Contest.
Through my interpretation, the bunny looks slightly larger than the child and I'm not entirely certain if the child is a boy or girl.  Obviously this is not a realistic bunny, but a fantasy character that engages with the child in a parental sort of way.  

My young reader friend, Elizabeth, is an artist and very good at observing detail in pictures.  She told me the story as we flipped through the pages of this charming book.  Elizabeth referred to the child as a “boy with messy hair.”  The boy in the story is fully dressed, including a coat, mittens, and boots.  Holding the book and “reading the illustrations,” you see a bunny helping a boy shed his clothes piece by piece on the left-hand page.  Each removed item is enlarged, filling the right-hand page.  This technique gives the reader an opportunity to interpret the story. 
Elizabeth noted, “The mittens are dripping water, so maybe the boy was playing in the snow … and that's why he is wearing “snow” boots.  Those boots look tight, since the bunny is really pulling to get them off.”  

You can point out lots of things with each clothing item, such as polka-dotted underwear and striped t-shirt. Before his shirt comes off, you see the boy is hiding something under this last remaining garment. On turning the page, without explicit nudity, the child is now in the bathtub with the bunny and you will find out what the secret is.  At this point in my summary you may be wondering … “What? What is it?”  Now, one thing I hate to do is spoil a story.  My hope when writing about books is to encourage reading.  I will include a visual clue here with a photo of Elizabeth's Bunny Bath scene.  And personally I think creating a diorama with marshmallow Peeps is quite fun. 

Anderson has several wordless bunny books (alternatively titled as rabbit books) about other adventures and surprises.  Her unique art creates magical images that will delight all ages.  Bunny Bath is a great book for using your imagination too!   

Nobel Prize laureate, Henryk Sienkiewicz, was born on May 5, 1846.  The originator of the prize, Alfred Nobel, requires that this honor is given "in the field of literature, the most outstanding work in an ideal direction." This Swedish literature prize has been awarded annually since 1901, and Sienkiewicz received it in 1905 with his historical novel Quo Vadis: A Narrative in the Time of Nero.  In his acceptance speech, he said this honor was of particular value to a son of Poland: "She was pronounced dead — yet here is proof that she lives on.... She was pronounced defeated — and here is proof that she is victorious."  Quo Vadis is certainly the most famous piece of literature that came out of this country.
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Sienkiewicz was a Polish journalist who became popular in 1876 through writings about his travels in the United States.  When his wife contracted tuberculosis he traveled with her throughout Europe in search of treatment. He spent several years working as editor-in-chief of a Warsaw newspaper (The Word), and publishing various short stories and novels. Sienkiewicz was also a well-known philanthropist, establishing funds for social welfare projects to assist with starvation relief and building a tuberculosis sanatorium.  
 
It wasn’t until 1895 that Sienkiewicz began writing Quo Vadis in serial form for Warsaw’s Polish Gazette.  The series was converted to a novel the following year and soon became an international bestseller.  There is no doubt that writing this novel required extensive research.  It was translated from Polish into English by Jeremiah Curtain in 1906. Although, it is heavy with Latin vocabulary, making it a challenge to read at times.   I found an online quiz site with interactive flashcards for words in the novel.  This is a fun way to help learn unfamiliar terms and expressions.  For instance, quo vadis is Latin for “Where are you going?”  Another word I will remember is lector, meaning “a reader, or one who reads.”  

The story is set in Rome during the first century A.D. and carries a pro-Christian message.  Sienkiewicz describes immorality in this period of time as intolerable.  “The rich entertained themselves with drunken orgies while the masses went to the arenas where human beings where killed for their entertainment.”  

Several historical figures are prominent characters; of course the infamous emperor Nero Claudius Caesar and his empress wife Poppaea, Roman courtier Petronius Arbiter, Peter the Apostle and Paul of Tarsus (disciples of Christ).  This is a love story between fictional characters Lygia, princess of a deceased barbarian king, and Marcus Vinicius a military tribune.  Lygia is a Christian who finds loving Marcus, a non-believer, heart wrenching.  The book’s particular focus follows the spiritual journey of this typical pleasure-loving Roman into a new believer in Christ.  There is also a 1951 film starring Robert Taylor as Marcus Vinicius and Deborah Kerr, as Lygia.  My book club attended a special viewing of Quo Vadis at the Blue Ridge Movie Lounge.  It was truly amazing to see ancient Rome burning on the large screen.  For those interested in the film it is now available for check-out at the Ashe County Public Library.  

I am still tackling the print edition of this book, was able to listen to the entire audiobook for free on YouTube.  It is recorded by LibriVox volunteer, David Leeson, and can also be accessed in LibriVox’s catalog for a free iTunes download.  LibriVox is a website that provides “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain.”  Anyone can volunteer on this site to read and record a book or just a couple chapters with a group of other readers.  David Leeson did an excellent job as reader of Quo Vadis, even changing his voice for the princess Lygia and evil Emperor Nero.  I also discovered that Amazon Prime Video has a great closed caption film about Nero.   I learned a lot about historical Rome with Sienkiewicz’s cinematic book and recommend it to readers who are looking for an exciting and larger-than-life story!