What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in December

It’s cold outside, but we’ve got some hot programming to warm you up this month. Here’s some of what’s in store for December.

December Art Show–Assemblages by Sarah Schneiderman

All month

This month’s exhibition by Sarah Schneiderman, MFA tells the stories of some barrier breakers from marginalized groups and celebrates their wins.

TAB: Teen Advisory Board (Grades 6-12)

  • Thursday, December 1, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm
  • Thursday, December 15, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm Holiday Party!

The Teen Advisory Board is a group of teens in grades 6-12 who want to take an active part in helping the library and the community. Giveaways and snacks will be provided. Register on our volunteer Signup page and you will receive community service credit. You will earn 1 hour of community service credit for attending this event and 1 hour for every additional hour spent working on projects outside of the event.

Baby & Toddler Playgroup (Ages 0-36 months)

A playgroup for babies, toddlers, and their caregivers to socialize and connect. Children will enjoy unstructured play with their peers and age appropriate toys provided by the library. Registration is required. Best for ages 0-36 months and their caregivers.

Open Art Studio

Fridays from 1-3pm

Bring your works in progress and supplies to this weekly drop-in art program. This is an opportunity to create in a collaborative environment with other artists. No formal instruction will be provided, but informal critiquing for those who want it is encouraged. Table covers will be provided. There is a sink in the room for basic cleanup (please do not bring turpentine).

The Hot Flashes Holiday Concert

The Hot Flashes Holiday Concert

Saturday, December 3, 2022 2:00 – 3:00pm

The Hot Flashes will be returning to Cheshire to perform their popular holiday concert, blending upbeat, fun and familiar songs with more contemplative quiet music coupled with the Flashes’ captivating on-stage camaraderie.

Movie Matinees

Join us in the Library Loft for a movie on the big screen! No registration is required and movies begin at 1pm. Both movies this month are rated PG.

Cheshire Art League–Mike Berlinski Painting Demonstration

Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

The Cheshire Art League is hosting a presentation by guest artist, Mike Berlinski.  Much of Mike’s work is created outdoors in the “plein-air” tradition. For this demonstration, he will set up his French easel and paint a small painting from a photo, describing the process and talking about some of the basics of the painting process along the way. Registration is not required.

Cat Tales Writers Group

Thursday, December 8 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a monthly open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Registration is required.

John Singer Sargent: Master with a Brush

Thursday, December 8, 2022, 7:00 – 8:15pm

John Singer Sargent, a masterful nineteenth-century artist, is celebrated for his Grand Manner portraiture of the European and American elite. This online program will explore his most beloved as well as rarely seen images, including portraits, forays into Impressionism and stunning watercolors. Registration required. A Zoom link will be sent to your email one hour before the start of the program.

R & R Book Group (Grades 3-5)

Friday, December 9, 2022, 4:00 – 4:45pm

R & R (Reading & Relaxation) Book Group is an interactive book discussion group, that meets once a month. Refreshments will be served! December’s title: The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin. Registration is required.

Caregiver Support Group

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 12:00 – 1:00pm

A support group for caregivers to share tips, strategies, challenges, and successes. Caregivers of all types are welcome, including spouses and adult children caring for relatives, caregivers to children, and professional caregivers. Registration is required.

Adult Loft Knitters

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Come socialize, learn, and share your techniques with other knitters.  Experience the relaxing and calming effect of knitting. All levels of adult knitters are welcome. Please bring your own yarn and knitting needles (crocheters are also welcome!). This group meets monthly, please register in advance.

Preschool Playgroup

Thursday, December 15, 2022, 10:00 – 10:30am

A playgroup for preschoolers and their caregivers to socialize and connect. Preschoolers can enjoy unstructured play with their peers and age appropriate toys provided by the library. Best for ages 3-5 months and their caregivers. Registration is required.

Library After Hours: Bingo Night

Friday, December 16, 2022, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Bring your good luck charms to an evening of action-packed Bingo excitement! Snacks and drinks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. We will also have an ugly sweater competition! Wear your ugliest sweater and the winner will take home a special prize! Players of all ages are welcome. Registration is required for each person and will be checked at the door.  Bingo as well as other interactive games will be played from 5:30-7:00pm in the Mary Baldwin Room. The Children’s room, lobby, and lower level will be closed during this event

Family Storytime

Saturday, December 17, 2022, 11:00 – 11:30am

Family Storytime is a drop-in, interactive storytime for children and family members! Learn through talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing! This storytime is for children of all ages. No registration is required.

Winter Ball (Ages 0-5)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022, 10:30 – 11:30am

You are cordially invited to the Winter Ball! Please join us on the twenty first of December at ten thirty in the morning at the Cheshire Public Library. There will be music, dancing, playing, and crafts. We request formal attire. Best for ages 0-5. Please register each child. Costumes or formal attire is strongly encouraged.

Cocoa & Cookies Storytime

Thursday, December 22, 2022, 6:30 – 7:00pm

Cocoa & Cookies Storytime is a drop-in, interactive storytime for children of all ages! Enjoy cocoa & cookies and learn through talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing! This storytime is for children of all ages. No registration is required.

Jigsaw Puzzle Competition

Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 2:00 – 4:30pm

Looking to get out of the house in the middle of all the winter holidays? Grab your best puzzling buddies and see who’s the fastest puzzler of them all! Winner gets a puzzle prize and bragging rights! This is a great opportunity to do something fun with visiting friends and family. Sign up as a team of 3-5 people, or sign up as a single or pair and we’ll place you on a larger team. You’ll have two hours to complete a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, provided by the library. Please leave personal puzzling equipment at home. We will provide puzzle trays and snacks. Registration required. To accommodate as many participants as possible, registrations will go on the wait list for staff to review, and you will be notified when your registration is approved. Priority will be given to Cheshire residents.

Crazy Librarian's Office: Teen Escape Room (Grades 6-12)

Crazy Librarian’s Office: Teen Escape Room (Grades 6-12)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

A teen escape room set in a “Crazy Librarian’s Office”, work as a team to solve the puzzles and get the final prize! For teens in grades 6-12. Registration required. 

Teen Book Reviews: All the Bright Places and Thoughts & Prayers

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Reviewed by Anja J.

This book had me in tears. If you ever have one of those feelings where you just want to read a book and cry, this is the book to pick off the shelf. I was able to finish this book within a week. The story starts off with Violet Markey standing on the ledge of the bell tower of her high school. It wasn’t until a boy, who goes by Finch showed up, did she stop thinking about what it would be like if she jumped. After this encounter, Finch takes an interest in why he found Violet on that ledge that day, and Violet wonders how it ended up being the school outcast and “freak” that basically saved her life. The two are then assigned together on a project that gives them a chance to answer their questions about one another and learn even more.

This story, however sad it may be, was beautifully written and explores the experiences of teenagers and mental health. The quick paced story had me smiling at many parts and borderline sobbing at others. As I teenager myself, reading this book significantly impacted me. It showcased the struggles of teenagers that know one really knows and how it can impact daily life. There are not many books written this spectacularly that focus on sensitive issues like these. Jennifer Niven worked wonders when she wrote this book as she intimately described these two characters and how they fit each other perfectly.

Reading this book gives an insight into how people can fall victim to their own minds. The feeling of being lonely in a crowded room or out of touch and control is perfectly demonstrated. The intrusive thoughts of death play a big role in this novel, and it is seen how Violet and Finch are each others tethers that keep each other going every day. Despite tragedy in the book, the writing is magnificent and the feelings that ignite in you while reading it will have you full of joy or borderline sobbing.

4 stars.

Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss. Reviewed by Ima T.

Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss, is an impactful novel of today’s world. It follows the perspectives of three teenagers — Claire, Eleanor and Brezzen, completely different people who seem to have nothing in common. Eleanor is a popular basketball player, Brezzen is a gamer, and Claire only has a few close friends. The one thing that unites them is that they all hid under the same set of stairs during a school shooting.

Every character deals with this issue in different ways, and this is what Bliss explores in the novel. Claire becomes a shell of her old self. While she was introverted before the incident, she turned into herself even more. Eleanor did her best to move on after the shooting, but she’s angry that none of the adults are doing anything to stop the jokes about the shootings. She experiences a lot of prejudice as well, since she is a feminist that none of the conservatives in town can relate to. Brezzen chooses to stay home, getting home schooled. He has to fight the battle of going back to school and feeling safe. The entire situation is very relevant nowadays, because of the constant barrage of news about school shootings.

I would highly recommend this book to kids in high school. It’s very impactful to read about kids who are the age of high schoolers, but struggling to understand the impact of the negative events that can destroy people’s lives. Claire, Eleanor, and Brezzen each provide different lessons that any reader can relate to, even if they are not a star athlete or avid gamer. This story gets even more relatable still because of the first hand perspective of each person. It’s interesting to see how differently they all view each other and the scenario since they all experienced the same thing at the same time. I would highly recommend Thoughts and Prayers to whichever reader wants to truly understand not only the horrors of school shootings, but the hope and resilience that can follow.

5 stars

True Crime for the Faint of Heart

I used to love true crime. For my first research paper in high school, I wrote about the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese and the phenomena of the bystander effect. In college, Investigation Discovery was my background noise while working. More recently, murder podcasts and true crime audiobooks accompanied my commute to work, and I unwound with Netflix miniseries that dissected cold cases.

But my tastes are changing. Death got a little too close to me over the last two years. A podcaster made me question the ethics of finding entertainment in another’s pain. And becoming a parent obliterated my tolerance for stories where terrible things happen to small and vulnerable beings. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still fascinated by the darkness. I just need to be more selective. Minimal death and violence. Minimal gore. Thefts, forgeries, con artists. White collar crimes. Maybe the occasional plane crash or disaster.

So I present you with an updated list of true crime stories in various formats for those who, like me, have to say “hard pass” to serial killers and kidnappers.

Flying Blind : The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing by Peter Robison. A fast-paced look at the corporate dysfunction–the ruthless cost-cutting, toxic workplaces, and cutthroat management–that contributed to one of the worst tragedies in modern aviation.

Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. Recounts the story behind Theranos, the medical equipment company that misled investors to believe they developed a revolutionary blood testing machine, detailing how its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, perpetuated the lie to bolster the value of the company by billions.

Empire of Pain : The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe. Presents a narrative account of how a prominent wealthy family sponsored the creation and marketing of one of the most commonly prescribed and addictive painkillers of the opioid crisis.

Midnight in Chernobyl : The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham. Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s definitive, years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster–and a powerful investigation into how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters.

Confident Women : Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion by Tori Telfer. The art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best– or worst. Telfer introduces us to a host of lady swindlers whose scams ranged from the outrageous to the deadly.

The Gardner Heist : The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art heist in history. But after thousands of leads, hundreds of interviews, and a $5-million reward, not a single painting has been recovered. Worth a total of $500 million, the missing masterpieces have become the Holy Grail of the art world and one of the nation’s most extraordinary unsolved mysteries.

The Living Daylight

The Earth turns at roughly 1,000 miles per hour, making one revolution toward the east every 24 hours. Obviously, the sun can’t be on both sides of the planet at once, and if you’re trapped in Vladivostok you’re not going to have the same amount of daylight as Denver, or even Moscow. Because of that, the Earth is divided into roughly 38 local time zones to account for it (those Pacific Islands don’t always fit neatly in a zone). Time is counted from Greenwich Mean Time, running through London. Connecticut is in the Eastern Time Zone, which is Greenwich time minus 5 hours (Midnight in London is 7 pm in Hartford – think back to all the TV shows of newsrooms with multiple clocks showing times in other countries.)

And just when you think it’s safe to call your friend in Italy, we get hit with Daylight Savings Time. DST is something everyone dreads, turning the clocks ahead one hour to somehow “gain” more daylight hours (the sun and Earth don’t actually change, and can’t give more light than they do). Everyone gets lost, from trying to remember when you’re supposed to turn your clocks forward or backward, to losing an hour’s sleep, to a sudden massive shift in your hours of light. This year, we turn our clocks back to Eastern Standard Time on November 6.

So why do we even bother? Some states don’t do it. The majority of the world doesn’t do it (only 70 countries do). Why do we torture ourselves? It wasn’t always this way. And no, it’s never been about farmers, or kids going to school.

The idea of stretching usable daylight hours (because people would rather stay up later than get up an hour earlier for the same amount of light) actually began in Prince Edward Isle, Canada in 1908. It lasted a few months, and then they were done.

The second try came in 1916 in Germany, trying to conserve fuel during the war (back then it was the only war). Other countries soon followed. The US didn’t jump on the bandwagon until 1918 – and even then we only did it for 7 months before repealing the act (i.e., the war was over). We tried it again in 1942-45 (war again), and then it was fairly random between states until the 1966 Uniform Time Act. In 1973, we stayed on Daylight Savings Time for a full year (I don’t remember this) due to the great Oil Embargo, when fuel was expensive and hard to get (I do remember the gas rationing. No, really. We did that, here in the US.) but then we went back to Eastern Standard Time. 

If we hate changing clocks, why do we still do it? There’s overwhelming public support for stopping it. Changing time – and all its demands – does a job on our bodies. Consider that in the week following the leap to Daylight Savings Time:

Fatal traffic accidents increase 6%.

Heart attacks increase 24%

Strokes increase 8%

Depression increases 11%

People with cancer are 20% more likely to have a stroke

There are increases in drug use, digestive and immune disorders, injuries, and complications in pregnancy and delivery. 

There is a very real effect on people when you mess with time – let alone the poor airlines trying to track their speed and landing times when Denver is on savings time but Phoenix isn’t, but tomorrow it changes. 

In 2018, Congress introduced The Sunshine Protection Act . It was slated to take place in spring of 2023. We’d go on to Daylight Savings in the spring and just never come off again, no more switching. It passed the Senate, but is still stuck in the House, and still hasn’t passed yet.

To minimize the effects of time changes:

  • Keep your regular sleep habits
  • Get outside in the morning to reset your inner clock
  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and blue light (phone use!) two hours before bed
  • Exercise in the morning
  • Call your representative to see what’s holding up the bill!

While you wait for Congress and figure out how to change your car’s clock yet again, check out these books on maximizing your sleep!

Eat Move Sleep

How to Sleep

Let’s Talk About Sleep

The Secret World of Sleep

The Sleep Fix

Sleep Smarter

The Sleep Solution

Why We Sleep

Teen Book Reviews: the “Raven Cycle” series

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from someone who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

The Raven Cycle consists of four books, all reviewed below. WARNING: Possible spoilers exist.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Reviewed by Mia V.

The Raven Boys is the first book in the Raven Cycle, and is the story of four prep school boys, Adam, Ronan, Gansey and Noah, who embark on a journey to find the deceased Welsh king, Glendower. Adam is a poor farm boy with an abusive father, while Ronan is a somewhat scary and viciously protective friend, and Gansey is an extremely passionate and extremely wealthy boy who simply wants to find Glendower. And Noah… well we don’t know a lot about Noah other than that he is friends with the other Raven Boys.

Blue, the daughter of a psychic, also finds herself swept up in the quest to find Glendower, while she tries to make sense of the prophecy her mother has given her; that she will cause her true love to die. Despite coming from a family of clairvoyants, Blue does not possess the ability to see into the future. Although she initially dislikes the snobby, prep-school boys, she later becomes close friends with all of them.

The four boys spend practically all of their time together, at their school Aglionby Academy, and at their own place, Monmouth Manufacturing. Gansey leads Adam, Ronan, Noah and Blue, on the quest to find Glendower which proves to be both frustrating and dangerous. Gansey and his friends find themselves competing with Mr. Whelk, their high school Latin teacher. Mr. Whelk has his own reasons for finding Glendower, which are revealed later as the race to Glendower commences. Blue and the Raven Boys uncover shocking secrets and supernatural powers as they try to find Gansey’s king.

The Raven Boys is a beautifully adventurous novel with many supernatural elements and crazy occurrences. I also enjoyed the witty humor of many of the characters as well as their unique personalities and hobbies (and their secrets). Overall I would definitely recommend this book. But get ready to read the next three Raven Cycle books (which are just as good or maybe even better than the first,) because this book ends on a cliffhanger.

4 stars.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Reviewed by Mia V.

The second book in the Raven Cycle focuses more on Ronan rather than Gansey. The Dream Thieves focuses on Ronan’s ability to bring items from his dreams to the real world and his struggle with controlling this power. Ronan tells his friends Gansey, Blue, Adam and Noah, about this skill early in the novel. Ronan and his friends had already been on a supernatural quest to find “Gansey’s king”, Glendower, who is a deceased Welsh king. At Aglionby Academy, the private school that Ronan, Adam and Gansey attend, Ronan’s brother, Declan is badly beaten by a sinister man who calls himself the Gray Man. The Gray Man was hired by a powerful man who wants to find the Greywaren, an object that can bring items back from dreams. Even though Declan knows his brother is the Greywaren and that it is not a physical object, he keeps his mouth shut to keep his brother safe.

Meanwhile, in the hunt for Glendower, Ronan finds himself accidentally bringing horrifying and powerful creatures back from his dreams. Ronan and his friends have to battle Ronan’s uncontrollable dream-nightmare creatures while continuing the quest to find Glendower. Simultaneously, Ronan is being hunted down by the Gray Man, who is out to kill Ronan because of his ability to bring things back from his dreams. This book is fantastic, and possibly my favorite out of all four of the Raven Cycle books.

The stakes have definitely been raised since the last book, with all of the characters experiencing more risks in the quest to find Glendower. Meanwhile, Ronan battles some deep internal issues which manifest in the things he brings back from his dreams, which can sometimes be dangerous. This book is great and I highly recommend it!

5 stars.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Reviewed by Mia V.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in the Raven Cycle, which continues the tale of Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah and Blue, and their quest to find Glendower, a dead Welsh king, whom Gansey feels a strange connection with. This connection has led him to embark on a quest to find Glendower, a quest that he drags his friends on as well.

After the friends discover Ronan’s ability to bring items and creatures back from his dreams in the previous novel, it is discovered that Adam also has a unique power. Henrietta, Virginia, the town where the book takes place, has a large ley line running directly through the town. Blue’s family of psychics are very familiar with ley lines, which emit energies that psychics are able to harness to help see the future. These energies are also responsible for the various supernatural occurrences in Henrietta. Adam discovers that he can harness the power of the ley lines with the help of Peresphone.

Meanwhile, the Raven Boys and Blue discover a new threat in an artifact collector, Colin Greenmantle who targets Blue’s mom, Maura. As the group continues their search for Glendower they discover many strange and supernatural occurrences. The Raven Boys and Blue navigate new territories, and encounter unexpected surprises in their quest to find Glendower. Blue and her family unveil new prophecies that tell terrible fates for some of the characters, and reveal hidden secrets. I really enjoyed this book.

Although I feel like the other Raven Cycle books are better, I still really enjoyed this book, and I know that the Raven Cycle would not be complete without Blue Lily, Lily Blue. This book sets the reader up perfectly for the last book in the series, The Raven King.

4 stars.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. Reviewed by Mia V.

The Raven King is the final book in the Raven Cycle series, which completes the story of the Raven Boys and Blue, as well as their search for Glendower. Noah, the friendly ghost-friend, Ronan, with his powers in pulling objects from his dreams, Adam with his power to harness the energy of the ley lines, Blue the psychic’s daughter and Gansey, their fearless leader, face many challenges in finding Glendower.

Their quest has stretched out for a very lengthy period of time, and has taken a toll on many of the characters. However this quest for Glendower seems it may finally come to a close, though not without many obstacles and near-death experiences. One of which occurs when Gansey and his friends make a major blunder by awakening a demon which is set upon “unmaking” the world. Meanwhile, Cabeswater is in danger of dying due to a strange sickness. As black ooze drips out of the beloved trees of Cabeswater, Gansey and his friends become increasingly more concerned about the health of Cabeswater. Perhaps more terrifying, Adam, with his deep connection to Cabeswater, finds himself falling apart along with Cabeswater.

The quest to find Glendower becomes increasingly complex as new threats rear their ugly heads and time begins to run out. The final book closes the series with a dramatic flare as prophecies are tragically fulfilled and demons are fought. Additionally, during The Raven King, romantic relationships that were hinted at during the previous books are finally made official.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventurous books that involve the supernatural. The Raven King closes off the Raven Cycle with a fantastic ending that helps finish the Raven Boys’ story, while leaving an opening to other related books in the future (like Call Down the Hawk). All in all, highly recommended.

5 stars.