Thursday, April 7, 2011

April is the Cruelest Month

Marie Lydon is the head of the Reference Department at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

“April is the cruelest month,” as T. S. Eliot once wrote in his famous poem “The Waste Land.” Not to most of us who live in this part of the country. In this area, there is so much to look forward to and celebrate in April and books to lift the spirits after a long cruel winter. April is National Poetry month and at the library we have numerous books of “Pocket Poets” on subjects such as motherhood, friendship, fatherhood, love and marriage that are easy to carry with you when you need a poetry jolt. We also have “The Poets Laureate Anthology” edited by Elizabeth Schmidt as well as collections by our current Library of Congress Poet Laureate, W. S. Merwin, and current Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout, a new collection by Caroline Kennedy entitled “She Walks in Beauty: a Woman’s Journey through Poems,” as well as many other collections by old and new poets, most found in the 811 section of the library.

If sports and not poetry is your interest we have the opening of the Red Sox home season against the Yankees this weekend and many current and older books about our team and players to get you in the spirit when you are not watching the games. Among them are “Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch” by Tim Wakefield with Tony Masarotti, “78: the Boston Red Sox, a Historic Game and a Divided City” by Bill Reynolds, and “Born to Play: My Life in the Game” by Dustin Pedroia with Edward Delaney.

If participatory rather than spectator sports are your thing, we have the excitement of the Boston Marathon next weekend and books about preparing and running in a Marathon if you are up to it. Among them are “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training” by David Levine, “Boston Marathon: How to Qualify” by Jeff Galloway and “26 Miles to Boston” by Michael Connelly. You can also pick up a copy of “Runner’s World” magazine in the Reading Room. None of this will help, however, unless you are really determined or challenged to do it, which I can admire but would never attempt. We have watched from the sidelines often, usually in Natick, as our neighbor has run for years and a cousin came up from New Orleans one year to run. It was on our daughter’s “bucket list” and we were very proud of her when she accomplished her goal last year but she hasn’t mentioned it this year, content to do shorter fun road races.

Moving on, we celebrate the beginning of the Revolutionary War in Lexington and Concord with a state holiday. There are numerous books about the war and “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Fischer in the 973.3 section of the library. If you want to relive this event, you can get up very early on April 18th, as my husband, son and his friend did many years ago, and drive to Lexington to watch the annual reenactment. You have to be a history buff, which they were, to want to do this but it was memorable for the three of them and they still talk about it. My husband tells me that Maine also celebrates this holiday, as Maine was once part of Massachusetts. After checking this out in “Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events” I find that he is correct. You can also read about previous reenactments by checking it out on the recently acquired library database “Historical Boston Globe, 1872-1979” where you learn that at the April 20, 1894 commemoration, the speakers were hoping to make this a national holiday. This useful database can be found by going to and clicking on “Databases in the Library” where the databases are listed alphabetically. There you will find all sorts of interesting historical tidbits about long ago Marathons, baseball games, and even Norwood events and personalities.

In April we have our local elections and if you are a newly elected Town Meeting member we hope that you will come to the library to borrow a copy of the “Town Meeting Time: a Handbook of Parliamentary Law” to help you find your way. As we read in Shelby Warner’s column several months ago, there was a time in the early days of the town when women could only vote for the School Committee, using “tinted ballots.” Thank goodness we have come a long way from that. Congratulations to all!

And, last but not least, we at the library can celebrate the end of tax season, even if you cannot. We have instructions to use in the library, forms to take home or photocopy, or forms we can google for you if you don’t have a computer or printer at home and are still working on your taxes.

And then there is gardening, too many beautiful helpful books to mention. Visit the library, in person or online, for materials and programs. If the books you are looking for are not on the shelf, reserve them in person, online, or by calling the library. Forget about the winter, if you can, and have a great spring!