Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grandma's Favorite Book: Gone with the Wind

This year my reading and writing resolutions will involve family and friends in conversations and experiences that surround various books.  The books we choose to read will come from Peter Boxall's compiled list of “books that must be read before you die.”  Peter Boxall is a Sussex University literary professor and his list contains contributions from many of his colleagues.  Had I known about this list earlier in my life, I feel I may have been able to tackle completing the required life reading much easier.   At my current mid-life stage, I find the most pleasure in reading when I can share discoveries found in the pages of books with others. So now as the year 2017 begins and I consider again the daunting task of reading all of Boxall's recommendations, my plan this year is to match books with friends and family.  I hope to compile our conversations, thoughts, and experiences that reflect on these selected reads in my own sort of bookish memoir. 

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, was chosen to make a connection with my maternal grandmother, Hilda Hartman, who just turned 94 years old this month.  My grandmother was a children's librarian in her younger years and passed on her love for books to me.  This epic novel is her all-time favorite and raised a lot of discussion while analyzing the story and characters at our last visit.  We both feel that understanding the character's feelings, actions, and motives is what makes reading books so enjoyable. Grandma remembers that after reading GWTW she had to see the movie.   Before granddaddy went off to fight in WWII a special date night to the movie theater was planned.  Grandma was pregnant at the time and months later while granddaddy was away at war she gave birth to my mother, her firstborn.  Knowing the impression Mitchell's story had on her, explains why she named her daughter Bonnie.  For those who may not know, or remember, Bonnie Blue Butler is the name of Rhett and Scarlett's daughter.   Scarlett was a headstrong and impulsive character who exhibited a lot of gumption when dealing with situations in GWTW.  I personally can relate to these traits, although I have never had to endure the extreme conditions that played out in Mitchell's story.  Both my grandparents lived through the Great Depression and knew exactly what Scarlett felt when she utters one of the most well-known lines from GWTW: “as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."  Granddaddy, as a boy, even experienced the loss of his family's home and business in a horrible fire.  When granddaddy returned from fighting in the war, he worked several jobs to secure land and a home for my grandma and mother.  He bought an old house that he spent years restoring and worked hard to raise a significant garden that kept his family fed.  Grandma stocked the pantry every year with canned goods.  They also raised chickens, and goats too.  My parents have always been hard workers and good providers, setting an example for me as well.  In my own life I have been there, working multiple jobs at once while maintaining a garden and raising children.

 Even through times when money was tight, there was always plenty to eat.  Doing what needs to be done was a way of life that built a strong work ethic in me. Scarlett seemed to find strength in working to restore Tara, her home place, after the war.  She dove right in and rolled her sleeves up to get back what the Yankees stole.  Life on southern plantations wasn't easy following the war. Mitchell's description of the determination Scarlett and the South had for restoration left a legacy of inspiration for her readers. 

In regards to the romantic feelings of these characters, grandma would have been a great confidant to Scarlett.  If she could have, she would have encouraged Scarlett to trust in the Lord for guidance and prayed for her to change her manipulative ways.  Scarlett was a flirt and used her beauty and charm to get what she wanted.  Although with Ashley her heart was broken, and with Rhett her actions were so transparent she couldn't fool him.  Grandma had a “que sera sera” sort of philosophy and if she was in the story, she would have tried to get Scarlett to let up on the need for total control.


It is also puzzling about Scarlett's deep love for Tara.  Yes, we should feel that family comes first. But Scarlett seems to put Tara before Ashely, Rhett, and her children.  She remembers her father's words that land is "the only thing in the world that lasts..."  I recently struggled with the loss of my father's boyhood home.  I had so many good family memories there, visiting as a child.  Once my paternal grandparents passed on it seemed that keeping the land and house where they lived was so important. I mourned the loss of that place when unable to finance the purchase and keep it from falling into hands of “outsiders.”  My Grandma Hartman solaced me by sharing how she felt sad to leave behind the house granddaddy worked so hard to make into a beautiful home.  She explained that in their older years the house and all that land was too much for them. They needed to downsize and move to a warmer climate.  But the memories are always there and family does last … something else grandma would have shared with Scarlet.  Yet I realize now that a story changes meaning for us if read at different times in our lives.   And like Margaret Mitchell's last words in GWTW, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Circulating Unusual Items

There is a growing trend of adding “unusual items” to libraries’ circulating collections. For example; circulating cake pans, post- hole diggers, ukuleles, soil testers, bread machines and more. Ashe Library is exploring options for its own unique collection. In the coming months, we will survey our community to determine which types of items are of the most interest to our patrons.  One goal of our strategic plan is to see that the personal education and information goals of library users of all ages and backgrounds will be supported by up-to-date and relevant library collections.  An objective to meeting this goal includes adding non-traditional items to our library’s circulating collection.
The idea of circulating unusual items is a tangible representation of the future of libraries. I once heard that libraries can be considered to be “The People’s University’ and I really believe that is right.  There are books, yes, and DVDs for entertainment, but the notion of circulating items other than these can offer patrons the chance to take their interests off the page.  When household budgets are tight, patrons are relying on their public library in different ways. In our regional counterparts (Watauga / Wilkes), circulation of Wi-fi hotspots, fishing poles, and seeds are popular.  Ashe Library already has SPECK air-quality monitors that will soon be available for check-out.  And, in partnership with NC Candid Critters, the library plans to be part of a statewide Citizen Science camera trapping project.  This project will provide several motion sensitive camera traps that patrons can check out and use on their property to help in a wildlife study.  The wildlife pictures collected by these cameras will help to map trends in animal populations across the state.  We encourage our community to participate in user surveys and to provide suggestions for items they would like to borrow from the library.  With the New Year just around the corner, why not visit the library and make new discoveries. 
Dates to remember in January:
The Library will be closed for New Year’s Day on January 2 and for Martin Luther King’s Birthday on January 16.
Children’s Programs
·         Baby Bounce is every Monday at 10:00 a.m. for birth to two year-olds.  Bring your young ones for stories, rhymes, bounces, and songs with “stay and play” social time afterwards.
·         Tot Time is a fun-filled time for 2 & 3 year-olds, featuring stories, art and music at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays.
·         Story time for 4 & 5 year olds feature ABC Adventures at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays.
·         A special story time for daycare classes takes place at 9:30 a.m. on January 6.  Call 336.846.2041 x223 to register.
·         Build, create, and make new friends at a Lego Block Party at 4:00 p.m. on January 19.
Tween Programs
·         Tween Takeover! Hangout, eat, laugh, and play games at 4:00 p.m. on January 10.
Teen Programs
·         What’s your geek? What’s your game? Meet, hang out, game, and eat every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. with the Geeks & Gamers. 
·         Help plan upcoming events at the library with the Teen Advisory Council at 5:00 p.m. on January 17.
Adult Programs
·         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.
·         The Deep Focus Film Club meets at 5:00 p.m. on January 26, for the second installment of Malcolm X.  See the biographical epic of this controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.
·         Brouhaha Book Club meets at 5:30 p.m. on January 30 in Boondocks Restaurant for “Books, Beer and Bookworm Babble.”  Come and find out what everyone has been reading lately! Try the new Ashe Bookworm Porter!
·         The Coloring “Book” Club celebrates reading (and coloring) as a group experience at 5:30 p.m. on January 31. Relax with adult coloring books while listening and discussing a different short story audiobook each month.
 All Ages
·         A family program, Book and a Bite, takes place from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on January 7. Create a centerpiece for the table, pick up a recipe and browse selected books for dinner table conversation starters.
·         Get Crafty and make Quick Knit & Crochet Gifts at 10:00 a.m. on January 14.  Instruction available for beginners and project materials are provided.
·         The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on January 10 and 24.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
·         Mountain Music Slow Jam will meet from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on January 20 in the downstairs meeting room (after-hours access through side door on lower parking lot).  Get together with other musicians and jam.  Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.

Special Events
  • If you participated in our 2016 Reading Challenge, or if you want to learn about what we have planned for the 2017 Challenge, please join us! The 2016 Reading Challenge Wrap-up and 2017 Reading Challenge Kick-off will take place at 5:00 p.m. on January 5.  Play games for the literary-minded, vote for the Best Reviews of 2016, and check out recommendations from this year’s challenge. Participants in the 2016 Reading Challenge are eligible to win prizes. You do not have to be present to win, but your attendance is strongly encouraged!
  • Stop by to meet Lisa Muir, author of Taking Down the Moon, at 3:00 p.m. on January 30.  Her finely-wrought collection of short stories is inhabited by characters who are at once quirky and compelling. Lisa works as an English instructor at Wilkes Community College. This is her first book.

The library extends gratitude for donations given to the Youth Service Department by the Skyline Membership Corporation’s Board of Directors and Polly Hughes who also gave an unrestricted donation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Art Display for December 2016



 Art Display for December 2016

The December art display includes paintings by library staff members Julia
Grace May and Jessica Weaver, as well as paintings by Gay Murrill, marketing coordinator for Library’s Financial Literacy program.  This collaborative effort illustrates different styles and different subjects in art.  As such it is a feast for the eyes while expressing different methods of painting.  The display is located in the upstairs gallery and can be viewed during regular library hours.  In January we welcome paintings by local artist, Susan Van Wyk who is a retired school art teacher.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Clock Strikes Twelve at December's Book Club Meeting

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series features "everyone’s favorite" bounty hunter in Twelve Sharp, another madcap mystery. 

As you may know, or have imagined, this is the twelfth book in Janet’s Plum Series and it represents the twelfth hour on our library’s wall clock. While hoping not to confuse you too much, the library’s Read Around the Clock Book Club will meet on December 12 at 12:00 p.m. to discuss ANY book with the number 12 in its title.  The words noon or midnight also meet the criteria for the twelfth month's selected read. This past year I have read every book used to create the library's wall clock,as well as a few other books that I probably wouldn't have read, because of their numeric titles. The club's discussions have centered on a mix of fiction and nonfiction books and most were fairly good reads. Although I wasn't into reading Twelve Sharp, my OCD tendencies about finishing what I start, kept me turning pages in hopes of finding something worthwhile. One of my close friends loves the series. I guess Stephanie Plum just isn't a character I can relate to. As mentioned, she is a bounty hunter who is torn between to lovers: Joseph Morelli, bad boy turned vice cop, and Ranger a fellow bounty hunter. This dilemma sets the stage for romance and suspense.

Some reviews have compared Stephanie to a cross between Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry. I'll agree that she is very daring and spunky. In the opening chapters of Twelve Sharp Stephanie finds herself
hanging mid-air over an upper level mall floor, trying to talk Melvin Pickle, a fugitive from court into not jumping. Melvin is a shoe salesman who failed to appear on an obscenity charge.

Her sidekick, Lula, is a former hooker and quite flamboyant. Lula's attire is described as too skimpy for her well endowed figure and with each scene her outfits seem to get more and more shocking. Lula is also trying to establish herself as a punk rocker and has recruited Stephanie's grandmother to join her band.

The main case in this novel evolves when there appears to be someone impersonating Ranger,and his daughter is kidnapped. Evanovich's high action style is portrayed in this series as comedic. Set in New Jersey, I sort of expected Snookie to appear at any moment.

The quest to read a book with number 12 in the title did lead me to a favorite classic holiday tale, Jan Brett's,The Twelve Days of Christmas. Jan Brett is known for her beautiful detailed illustrations and is a well-loved children's book author. The illustrations fit the song/story so well. There is a story here, not just the song’s lyrics, but a whole family preparing for Christmas and New Years. The illustrations also include holiday greetings in various languages too, which is a nice touch.

You may like action comedy with an adult theme, you may like reading something to get you into the Christmas spirit, or you may discover something else interesting when you look to find a book that meets the 12:00 discussion requirements. And, whether or not you are a fan of Janet Evanovich I hope you'll join us at the library to share your reading discoveries.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Reading is “Snow” Much Fun!



In preparation for winter weather 
many folks are stocking up on firewood and loading their pantries.  It's also important to gather up plenty of books to get you through those cold months. While summer reading may get all the hype, winter reading has its advantages. In fact, we would even go as far as to argue that winter is the best season for reading.  Listed here are the top ten reasons for and ways to make reading a number one winter activity.  1) Excuses like “Sorry I can’t make it tonight,” are easy considering that days are shorter with colder weather, and staying home to read is a perfectly valid excuse when it’s snowing.  2) Curling up by the fire with a book and a big glass of red wine, or swapping out the wine for hot cocoa, is so relaxing.  3) There is no better way to “waste away” the entire day, than in a reading nook with a beautiful snowy view and piles of fuzzy blankets.  Basically all reading nooks are better in the winter.  4,5, & 6) Opening a literary Advent calendar each morning, getting swept away by magical holiday novels, and revisiting your favorite holiday stories from childhood, are all great ways to melt away holiday stress.  7) Incorporating books into your holiday décor has never been easier.  You can stack books of various shapes and sizes for a tabletop tree or even in the shape of a snowman!  8) Treats at your book club can get very creative and delicious, there are lots of things you can do with sugar cookies.  9) You can give everyone on your holiday shopping list a book, because everyone knows that literature is the gift that keeps on giving.  10) And of course, receiving new books as gifts.  Happy Winter Reading! 


Dates to remember in December:
The Library will be closed on December 24 and 26 for Christmas.
Children’s Programs

  •  Small Business Story Walk features Amy Rosenthal's picture book Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons.  Begin at the Chamber of Commerce and finish the story walk as you stroll through West Jefferson.
  • Baby Bounce is on December 5 and 12 at 10:00 a.m. for birth to two year-olds.  Bring your young ones for stories, rhymes, bounces, and songs with “stay and play” social time afterwards.
  • Tot Time is a fun-filled time for 2 & 3 year-olds, featuring stories, art and music at 10:30 a.m. on December 7 and 14.
  • Story time for 4 & 5 year olds feature ABC Adventures at 10:30 a.m. on December 1, 8, and 15.
  •  A special story time for daycare classes takes place at 9:30 a.m. on December 2.  Call 336.846.2041 x223 to register.
  •  Build, create, and make new friends at a Lego Block Party at 4:00 p.m. on December 20.

Tween Programs

  • Tween Takeover! Hangout, eat, laugh, and play games at 4:00 p.m. on December 6, 13, and 20.

Teen Programs

  • What’s your geek? What’s your game? Meet, hang out, game, and eat every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. with the Geeks & Gamers.
  •  Help plan upcoming events at the library with the Teen Advisory Council at 5:00 p.m. on December 20.

Adult Programs

  •  For all your tech troubles, book an appointment with our friendly reference librarians.  Call 336.846.2041 x227
  • Visit the Poetry Café at 3:30 p.m. on December 8 and share original or favorite poems over coffee.
  •  Join our Holiday Tea with a variety of teas, music and a sneak peek at the newest books and DVDs at 1:00 p.m. on December 10.
  •  Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
  • The Deep Focus Film Club meets at 5:00 p.m. on December 29.  For the first installment of Malcolm X.
  •  Brouhaha Book Club meets at 5:30 p.m. on December 19 in Boondocks Restaurant for “Books, Beer and Bookworm Babble.”  Come and find out what everyone has been reading lately! Try the new Ashe Bookworm Porter!
  • The Coloring “Book” Club celebrates reading (and coloring) as a group experience at 5:30 p.m. on December 27. Relax with adult coloring books while listening and discussing a different short story audiobook each month.

 All Ages

  •  Book and a Bite, takes place from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on December 3.  Create a centerpiece for the table, pick up a recipe and browse selected books for dinner table conversation starters.
  • Get Crafty and learn to “Crochet Your Way Through the ABCs” at 10:00 a.m. on December 10. You can make an alligator, a bear, a cat, ...you get the idea. Project materials are provided.
  •  The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on December 13 and 27.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
  • Mountain Music Slow Jam will meet from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on December 3 and 16, in the downstairs meeting room (after-hours access through side door on lower parking lot).  Get together with other musicians and jam.  Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.
  • The Read Around the Clock Book Club meets at 12:00 p.m. on December 12 to discuss any book with the number “twelve,” the word noon, or the word midnight in the title. 
  • Ornamentality and Santa begins at 4:00 p.m. on December 15.  Visit with Santa and create make-and-take ornaments at different stations around the library.
  • Throughout December share your favorite recipes and find some new ones in the library's annual recipe swap.  If you have a recipe to contribute, please bring it to one of the library service desks or email ashereference@arlibrary.org