Thursday, January 31, 2013

Memoirs of Inspiration

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the February 1, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I am a reader of memoirs. Many times I read them to see the world through another lens. Sometimes I read them to experience a life I’ve never lived. Most of them I find compelling and intriguing.

I’m certainly not the only one reading memoirs. The memoir genre has been increasing in popularity in the past twenty years. “Angela’s Ashes” (Frank McCourt 1996), “Under the Tuscan Sun” (Frances Mayes 1996), “A Walk in the Woods” (Bill Bryson, 1998), “Eat, Pray, Love” (Elizabeth Gilbert 2006) and “Three Cups of Tea” (Greg Mortenson 2006) are just a few of the blockbuster memoirs that still sell in hardcover and paperback and are checked out from libraries across the country.

This week four memoirs appeared on the nonfiction hardcover bestseller lists in the New York Times – “My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor, “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen, “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and “My Share of the Task” by Stanley McChrystal. In addition, “Proof of Heaven”, a memoir about a neurosurgeon’s near-death experience, tops the paperback non-fiction list this week. There are still hundreds of requests in the Minuteman Library System for the hardcover edition of “Proof of Heaven” and it was published months ago.

Friday, January 25, 2013

56 Years and Still Growing Up

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the January 25, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In 1964, a young Canadian director created a documentary for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Director Paul Almond assembled fourteen seven-year olds from differing socio-economic backgrounds from across England and created a forty-minute television program that aired on British television in 1964. In Seven Up!, Almond examined the lives and personalities of fourteen children, ten boys and four girls. The narrator states: “Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000.” The mission, it seemed, was to prove the Jesuit adage “Give me a child when he is seven and I will give you the man.”

It was the beginning of a fascinating sociological study that has now spanned nearly half a century. Seven Up! was followed in 1971 by 7 Plus 7. Subsequent episodes, filmed every seven years, were titled 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56 Up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Reading Challenge

Read Marg Corjay's column in the January 18, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Marg is an Outreach and Circulation Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library and a voracious reader.

Do you feel like a kid in a candy store when you come into your town library, everything looks so tempting, you want to sample it all, and you can’t decide which one to choose?  If you love to read as much as I do, it is not unusual for me to read two or three books a week, I find that my favorite authors cannot keep up with my cravings for new material.  Now imagine you work there, surrounded everyday by all this unexplored reading material!!!!  Every time new books come in, I want to take them all home that night to read. My love of reading goes back almost fifty years to elementary school and the summer reading club at my local library. It was for third- through sixth-graders, you would try to read as many as you could in the eight weeks of July and August from a selection that was chosen by the librarians. You could take out two at a time, and after you read it, the children’s librarian would ask you questions about it.  I would go almost every day, take out my two books, return, report, and take out two more, and by the end of summer, I would have read at least seventy-five books.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Les Misérables

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the January 11, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Victor Hugo was born in 1802 of a French military officer and a royalist mother. In his younger years, perhaps due to his privileged birth and upbringing, Hugo was not a denigrator of the French throne and the Church. Hugo’s early literary fame actually came from his poetry and other dramatic works. He wrote his first full-length novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, or the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, over thirty years before his second most-famous novel, Les Misérables.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Leaving Your Mark in the Children's Room

Read Kelly Unsworth's column in the January 14, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kelly is a children's librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

A number of years ago, I designed a program in the library known as the Jr. Friends of the Library. The idea was to give students in grades 6 and older a chance to volunteer in the children’s department on a weekly basis, doing simple tasks that would match their interests and skills. At the time, I had no concept of how quickly the program would take off, or what a large impact it would have; on the children’s room, on the participants of the program, or on the library staff.