Thursday, May 31, 2018

True Crime War Crimes Edition

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services Department Head at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 31, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Long Walk to Freedom -
The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
I already admitted to my true crime addiction in my May 3rd column/confession. The genre generally refers to murders, assaults, kidnappings and the stuff of Investigation Discovery programs. Although it’s hard to imagine worse crimes than these, victims throughout history have experienced such horrors on a grand scale: genocides, torture, ethnic cleansing. Grim as it may sound, my non-fiction leanings extend into the realm of some of the most disturbing events in modern history. A book that impacted me deeply, for example, bears the shockingly candid title, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Love @ First Click

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou internet Romeo? Buckle in and hang on to your hats, folks, we’re about to take a ride through the exciting, data-driven world of online dating. If you don’t agree that something data-driven can be exciting, then we probably wouldn’t be a good match. Swipe left.

You may have heard the phrases “swipe left” or “swipe right” bandied about in recent conversations or on weeknight sitcoms. These phrases have become part of our modern lexicon thanks to “swiping apps” where you swipe right to “like” a photo, or swipe left to “dislike” a photo. One of the earliest swiping apps was Tinder, a location-based dating service that launched in 2012 and that is still going strong today. When you open the app, you only see potential  matches within a certain distance of your location who are also using Tinder, and all you see are a person’s photo and some brief bio information.  Everyone swipes left or right through their potential matches, and when you and Mr./Ms. Dreamboat both swipe right, demonstrating interest, the app lets you start chatting. Location-based  efficiency of meeting someone is Tinder’s big strength, and therefore the app has a reputation as a “hook-up” app, yet many people who meet on Tinder end up in long-term relationships or even marriage.

The Day the Fugitive Stopped Running

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

I was eleven when I moved from the city to the suburbs in the East Bay Area west of San Francisco. I left all the city streets behind – in the 1880s Berkeley had been designed as a grid that easily and efficiently moved from the Bay waters to the golden hills above. Those foothills rose across to the Sierra in the distance.

Moving as a pre-teen, I also abandoned all of my elementary school friends and started afresh in a town where the valleys and grassy rolling hills were situated next to the freeway that headed to Sacramento and Nevada.

There were three or four floor plans in the houses of this post-World War II development of Pinole Valley Estates. Houses were lined up on the streets that were tucked among the ravines. The outside paint color and landscaping distinguished one home from another, but the interiors were eerily similar. Spending the night in a classmate’s home was always a bit surreal when the pink or green porcelain sink in the twin, back-to-bath baths matched those in my own home. Each kitchen had the modern miracle of a dishwasher; each garage was built for two cars.  One was usually a station wagon. The small, manicured yards were fenced and lines with wild, red berried pyracantha and tall, resilient oleander bushes.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Surprise Royal Watcher

Victoria Andrilenas is a reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 10, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

After my one column about space turned into two I did not think I would be writing more anytime soon. However, when I discovered my colleagues did not share my level of excitement over the upcoming royal nuptials I knew I had found something else to write about. For those of you who attended our “Real Hollywood Royalty” film series featuring Grace Kelly (m. Prince Rainier III of Monaco) and Rita Hayworth (m. Prince Aly Kahn), I hope you enjoyed my attempt to build excitement for when American actress Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry on May 19.

As a child I was fascinated by Queen Victoria because we shared a first name. She was my go to option for any assignment on a historical figure where she could be made to fit the requirements. Given that interest in the British royal family, the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 was very exciting for nine year old me. It came as no surprise, to my mother at least, that I wanted to get up early enough to not only see the 11:20 am BST ceremony (6:20 am EDT) but also the procession to St. Paul’s and guests entering the Cathedral. Fortunately it was summer so I didn’t need to worry about missing school, but I never voluntarily got up that early! Like many young girls I was taken with Princess Diana’s seemingly fairy tale marriage and so impressed by the spectacle that I decided I would require female guests to wear hats when I got married. I outgrew that fascination before I got married, much to the relief of my female relatives and friends, though not until after I graduated from college.

Of course I was excited to read about the births of Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. The 1996 divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales four years after their separation made it clear the marriage was not a fairy tale. 4 am EDT was too early for me to watch the entire thing live but I did get up early to watch part of the funeral of Princess Diana after her tragic death in 1997. The 2006 film The Queen depicts the royal family’s response to this event.
When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986 I was a teenager and we had a VCR so I had my dad record it and watched it at a more reasonable time of day. I had not been at my first professional job for very long when Prince Edward got married, and for some reason wasn’t very interested anyway.

When the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced in 2010, my previous workplace had some lunchtime conversations about reusing an engagement ring from a wedding that ended so unhappily. The general consensus was that we’d be happy to have to such a beautiful piece of jewelry, but not as an engagement ring. In the months leading up to the wedding, whenever I was in a waiting room I devoured PeopleUs Weekly, and the like for photos of the couple and information about their wedding plans. I took the day of the wedding off so I could watch it on TV. 

Although I watched the repeat broadcast rather than the live version, I was up early making British scones and cakes to eat with my friend who came to watch it with me. I was not alone in having a wedding watching party. In fact, serious royals fans would consider me an amateur since I didn’t watch it live and we didn’t dress up or wear hats. I did get some awesome swag though: a commemorative tea tin and china mug. The births of their children has also been exciting and I eagerly awaited the arrival and naming of Prince Louis last month.

While I’m sure there are many people who will find it easier to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on a Saturday, I would prefer a workday since my family would be busy at school and work leaving the TV, and my time, free for binge watching the wedding. My understanding is the British would have preferred a work day as well so they could get a Bank Holiday. Unfortunately my friend who watched the 2011 wedding with me will be working, and my other potential watching partners live elsewhere, so I probably won’t spend much time creating a special menu just for me.
I was too young to pore over gossip magazines when Princes Charles and Andrew got married and am not a committed reader of them now, but if you are, Morrill Memorial Library’s Flipster app gives you access to several of them. I prefer to look at a few blogs that follow the royal family. My favorite is written by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Each week they do a “Royals Round-Up” with links to articles about and photos of European royals from the preceding week. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel, the site often has daily posts with photos from the trip. The two also wrote book The Royal We about an American who goes to college in England where she falls in love with the heir to the British throne. What Kate Wore has fashion coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge and an offshoot called What Kate’s Kids Wore has information about what the young princes and princess wear. Meghan’s Mirror covers Ms. Markle’s style including an entire page about her handbags (a weakness of mine).

I know some of my coworkers were surprised to learn just how interested I am in the British royals.  I am clearly not a slave to fashion, do not watch reality TV shows, and generally have very little interest in celebrities. The truth is I love some of the fashion worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and Miss Markle but my practical nature means that even their off the rack styles aren’t likely to be found in my closet since my lifestyle doesn’t call for cocktail dresses or high heels. But now you know I’ll be glued to the TV next Saturday morning!