February 2: Imbolc (Imbolog), Candlemas, and Groundhog Day

February 2 is a cross-quarter day, marking the mid-point of Winter, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. We have gotten off easy so far this Winter. Let's hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow.

Stormfax Weather Almanac has historic data. The odds favor six more weeks of winter. Shadow: 96 years; No Shadow: 14 years.

On Groundhog Day the Pittsfield Branch is hosting Harley, a groundhog from the Howell Conference and Nature Center. We are not sure what weather effect can be expected when the groundhog visits the library on Groundhog Day.

Wikipedia (have you noticed how many recent New York Times articles cite Wikipedia? An article in Monday's New York Times reported on the use of Wikipedia by judges in their opinions) on Imbolc; Candlemas; and Groundhog Day

Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day

Library books about Groundhog Day

Library picture books and readers about Groundhog Day

Someone has busily been tagging the library's Groundhog Day materials.

On The Night You Were Born

On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Beautiful illustrations. Lovely text. No wonder this book is given a lot at baby showers as a gift for the newborn. What people might not know however is that this is not just a book for the very young... Try reading it aloud to anyone you want to give an instant ego boost to. Really, you can't help but feel good after hearing this book, like everything is right with the world, like your life has purpose. It's like someone naming a building after you or making you your favorite desert for no reason. It's that nice.

"Smoke gets in your eyes," Mr. Kern

Today, January 27, is the birthday of American composer, Jerome Kern. Kern was born in New York City in 1885. In addition to writing scores for stage and screen, Kern wrote many memorable songs like "Ol' Man River" and "The Last Time I saw Paris." His song, "The Way You Look Tonight" won an Oscar for the best song of the year in the film, "Swing Time." Who can forget those sweetest of verses:

"Lovely...Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
'Cause I love you...Just the way you look tonight."

There's Nothing Like the Art from our Youth

If the Downtown Library seems like a cozier place to be during this icy month, it may be due to the warm colors and shapes emanating from the paintings by young artists on the lower level and third floor of the building. Now the glass case in the Youth Department is filled with colorful ceramic, woodwork and other hand work created by the 1st through 12th grade students from the Rudolf Steiner School. We look forward to this exhibit each year! For books to inspire youthful creators, try A Rainbow at Night, My Wish for Tomorrow and Children of the World Paint Jerusalem.

La Perdida

Jessica Abel, known for her comics series Artbabe, has already received a lot of acclaim for her latest graphic novel, La Perdida (The Lost One).
Mexican-American Carla, moves to Mexico City (with a Frida Kahlo obsession and a pair of rose colored glasses) in search of her Mexican heritage and herself. Her naiveté and preconceived notions soon get her into trouble.
Abel’s brushwork is amazing. The black and white artwork, though simple, adds depth to the story. She does some interesting things with the Spanish dialogue to really give you an idea of what it is like for a non-Spanish-speaker.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #48

Call Me By Your Name* is the “clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable” first novel by André Aciman, author of Out of Egypt: A Memoir.

Set in a cliffside mansion on the idyllic Italian Riviera, what is to be another relaxed summer of fun and sunshine for Elio and his family, becomes the erotic coming-of-age for this 17 year-old, with the latest in a string of visiting resident scholars invited by his father, a prominent expatriate professor.

From the moment Oliver steps out of the taxi, Elio found himself troubling attracted to the young, breezy, spontaneous and sexy American graduate student working on a book about Heraclitus.

"In his first work of fiction, Aciman describes Elio's anxiety, uncertainty, awkwardness, and, later, passion in incredibly vivid detail, leaving no thought process unexplored. The strong bond between the two characters is reminiscent of the bond between Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain, where each finds in the other the one true love of his life."

*= Starred Review

Edgar Award Nominees - Children's Category

Every year the Mystery Writers of America honor the best mysteries with the Edgar Award. Five nominees for each of their categories were recently announced. The awards will be handed out on April 26, 2007.

Here are the five nominees in the Best Juvenile category.
Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake by Jennifer Allison
The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery by Sarah Masters Buckey
Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements
The Bloodwater Mysteries: Snatched by Pete Hautman & Mary Logue
The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer

Those titles not yet in the Library's holdings are being ordered.

Circle Unbroken by Margot Theis Raven

Margot Theis Raven’s story of a grandmother teaching her granddaughter the tradition of basket weaving flows like the baskets that were weaved by the free peoples of Africa and then by slaves in the Americas in Circle Unbroken. The circle knot starts the basket and “when the finger talk just right the circle will go out again—past slavery and freedom, old ways and new, and your basket will hold the past.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Polish journalist and author, has died

Ryszard KapuscinskiRyszard Kapuscinski

Ryszard Kapuscinski, a world-renowned Polish journalist and author, died yesterday in Warsaw.

Kapuscinski’s personal reporting of political events, a style he referred as “literature by foot.,” transcended the bounds of traditional journalism with his inclusion of illustrative examples of magical realism,

His 1978 book about Ethiopian leader, Haile Selassie, The Emperor:Downfall of an Autocrat first brought him to the world’s attention. Among his impressive body of work, he wrote about Latin America (The Soccer War) and Angola (Another Day of Life).

Kapuscinski was 74.

Barbara Seranella, creator of the “Munch” Mancini mystery series, has died

Barbara SeranellaBarbara Seranella

Mystery lovers have lost one of the genre's most original voices. Barbara Seranella, creator of the eight-book series featuring “Munch” Mancini, died January 21 in Ohio while awaiting a liver transplant.

Ms. Seranella’s complicated, troubled anti-hero P.I., “Munch” Mancini, is an ex-con prostitute who fled her dreadful past to pull her life together as a Brentwood mechanic. Munch’s first appearance was in No Human Involved. The last entry, An Unacceptable Death, was published last year.

Ms. Seranella, whose last book, Deadman’s Switch, will be published posthumously in April, was 50.

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