The Amazing Short Stories of Ted Chiang

Our sci-fi guy, Harold, has an author recommendation for you:

If I could only recommend one science fiction author to read this year, it would be Ted Chiang. Though Chiang has written only 14 of short stories and one novella, his works have been critically acclaimed. His short story collections are Exhalation and Stories of Your Life.

Chiang has been the recipent  of four Nebula awards, four Hugo awards, and won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (for his short story, “Babylon”).  His short story, “Story of Your Life,” was the basis of the film Arrival (2016). Exhalation was a Goodreads Choice Award in 2019. The New York Times named Exhalation one of the 10 Best Books of 2019. That’s a lot of awards that are, in my opinion, well deserved!

Chiang’s works are hard to describe since they are not conventional science fiction, per se. It’s a subtle distinction, but they are more fiction based on science than science fiction. President Obama, via Facebook, said that they are “a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.”

These are precisely articulated, well-crafted and thought-provoking stories. There are no rocket ships or cosmic battles. Instead, they expand upon and extend science, and technology that exists today. Two of my favorites from Exhalation are “Babylon”, a re-work of the Tower of Babel story, and “Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate”,  about a merchant in ancient Persia who can travel through time to correct past mistakes.

Exhalation  and Stories of Your Life are available at the Cheshire Public Library as printed books.  Exhalation is also available as an ebook, and Stories of Your Life is also available as a downloadable audiobook. They are well worth reading. The film, Arrival, based on Chang’s “Story of Your Life”, is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

President’s Month

Today’s post is from our Head of Adult Services, Bill:

February marks the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. CPL will commemorate Presidents Day and the office of the American presidency with the Arthur Hostage Memorial Lectures – two events in late February. These programs are made possible by donations given to the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library in memory of Arthur Hostage.

Join us on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2:00pm for “Simply Lincoln“. Being in the presence of Howard Wright as President Abraham Lincoln is an experience you will not soon forget. Dressed in precise period attire and speaking with a Kentucky accent, Lincoln’s mannerisms, speaking style, and humanity flows over the listener with each moving sentence, witty observance, or eloquent description of a tortuous time that was the Civil War. Authenticated speeches, letters, quotes, and humorous stories have been the foundation from which Howard Wright has crafted his program, giving you a sense of what it was like to have been in the presence of Abraham Lincoln.

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Dr. Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History, CCSU, will deliver a talk on “The Changing Nature of the American Presidency“. Dr. Warshauer’s books include, Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law: Nationalism, Civil Liberties, and Partisanship (2006); Andrew Jackson in Context (2009); Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice and Survival (2011), all of which have received praise from noted historians. Warshauer’s most recent book publication is Inside Connecticut and the Civil War: Essay’s on One State’s Struggles (2014), in which he edited essays authored by CCSU’s Department of History master’s students.

To learn more about the presidency throughout our nation’s history, we suggest checking out the following titles:

BOOKS

 

DOWNLOADABLE AUDIOBOOKS

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in February

February’s a short month, but it’s long on programs here at Cheshire Library. Visit our Event Calendar for the full roster of programs for adults & kids this month – here are some highlights!

Explore New Worlds: Virtual Reality Tours

Monday, February 3, 2020, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Experience virtual reality with the library’s Oculus Quest headsets. Choose from 3 of our own Cheshire-based VR adventures or visit other new places and experiences. The event starts at 6pm, but you will be contacted prior to the event with the exact time of your personal session.   Sessions will be in the order of registration.

Drop-in Tech Help

  • Tuesday, February 4,  1:00 – 2:30pm
  • Wednesday, February 19, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Do you have questions about your laptop, smartphone, or iPad? Do you need help navigating the internet or downloading an ebook? Bring your technology-related questions and issues to Cheshire Public Library’s Drop-In Tech Help. Our librarians will be available to answer your questions and offer advice. NOTE: Please be sure your device is charged beforehand. Tech help is available on a first come first served basis. Tech help may be limited to 15 minutes per person.

Terrific Tweens – Let’s Make Wishing Bracelets!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 4:00 – 4:45pm

Kids in grades 5-8 can drop in and decorate paper beads on one side with crayons, markers or pencils, and then write a wish on the other. Then we’ll roll them up, string them together and wish for good things! No registration required.

Take Your Child to the Library Day

Saturday, February 8, 2020 9:00am – 5:00pm

Celebrate your local library today! Stop by the Children’s Room and go on a scavenger hunt, play with toys, crafts, and more! Cheshire residents of any age can get a library card with a photo ID and proof of address. Non-residents can bring their card from their hometown library and get set up to borrow Cheshire materials. And as always, no card is needed to enjoy the day’s activities!

The Winter-Wonderland Music, Bubble and Comedy Show!

Saturday, February 8, 2020, 10:00 – 10:45am

This movement-focused 45-minute performance by Turtle Dance Music is a musical experience that is designed to engage children through song, movement, stories, projections, and interactive music technology! Best for children ages 2-12 but younger siblings are welcome to attend. Please register in advance for this program.

Sally Rogers concert

Sunday, February 9, 2020, 2:00 – 3:15pm

Join us for a concert of traditional, contemporary and original ballads and songs with acclaimed folk musician and recording artist Sally Rogers. Much of the material Sally performs includes compositions of her own (accompanying herself on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer),  many of which are considered classics of the folk and popular genre.  No registration required.

Intermediate Mac

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Have you purchased a Mac and want to learn more about the applications?  In this lecture style class we will go over Calendar, Photos, Finder, Preview and more. To take this class you must have a fundamental understanding of Mac computers.   Please bring your fully charged Mac computer and all applicable passwords. Space is limited and registration is required.

Learn to Scan Family Photos

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Do you have albums and boxes of family photos that you would like to digitize? You can do it for free at the Library! Learn how to use the Scannx Scan Center on the library’s lower level in this short hands-on demonstration. Registration is required.

Author Talk: Dear George, Dear Mary

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Author Mary Calvi has written a fascinating book called Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington’s First Love. Did unrequited love spark a flame that ignited a cause that became the American Revolution? Dear George, Dear Mary explores George’s relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.  Books will be for sale and signing after the presentation. Registration is required.

Simply Lincoln

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Being in the presence of Howard Wright as President Abraham Lincoln is an experience you will not soon forget. Dressed in precise period attire and speaking with a Kentucky accent, Lincoln’s mannerisms, speaking style, and humanity flows over the listener with each moving sentence, witty observance, or eloquent description of a tortuous time that was the Civil War.  Registration is required.

The Hot Flashes concert

Sunday, February 23, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

The Hot Flashes are an exciting and eclectic group fronted by three female vocalists who have made a name for themselves on the New England music scene showcasing their tight vocal harmonies and jazzy acoustic stylings. Join us for a rousing afternoon of bluegrass, folk, vintage country, swing, jazz, and blues tunes…with a few cowgirl and traditional tunes thrown in for good measure! No registration required.

Principles of Organic Gardening

Monday, February 24, 2020, 1:00 – 2:00pm

This talk by Dr. Yonghao Li from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station  will explain the basic elements of successful organic gardening including site selection, soil preparation, garden design, irrigation, mulching, fertilization, and disease management. Registration is required.

Trivia Afternoon

Monday, February 24, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Come by yourself or bring friends. Test your knowledge from general categories including pop culture, current events, history, music, and of course, literature! Registration required for this adult program. When registering please register entire group from one person to a max five people.

The Changing Nature of the American Presidency

Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Dr. Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, will deliver a talk on The Changing Nature of the American Presidency. Dr. Warshauer received his Ph.D. (1997) in American Studies at Saint Louis University and joined the faculty at CCSU that same year. He is the author of several history books. Registration is required.

New England Country Dance

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a night of dance!  Hosted by  Rich Sbardella who has been a dance caller for thirty years.  Please wear good shoes for dancing! Registration is required for this adult program.

Color Yourself Calm & Watch a Movie

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Back by popular demand! De-Stress from your busy life and color. In addition to coloring we will be watching New in Town (2009, rated PG) starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. All supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Registration required for this adult program.

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in January

Happy New Year! We’ve packed January with programs to help you start off 2020 right!

New Movie Thursday: Judy (2019)

Thursday, January 2, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Did you miss the screening of a film you wanted to see in theaters?  Join us for the first Thursday of the month for a screening of a recently released film. This month we’re screening Judy, the biopic about Judy Garland, starring Renee Zellweger, rated PG-13. Registration is appreciated.

Nekita Waller concert

Sunday, January 5, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Nekita Waller, Connecticut’s 17th  State Troubadour, will perform a mix of pop, Motown, soul, jazz, gospel and classic rock favorites together with some of her favoite sidemen! No registration required.

Tuesday Movie Matinees

Tuesdays at 1:00pm

A different popular film on the big screen, Tuesday afternoons at CPL. No registration required.

  • January 7: Varsity Blues (1999)
  • January 14: Growing Up Smith (2015)
  • January 21: Marty (1955)
  • January 28: Holiday (1938)

Shooting Vietnam with Author Dan Brookes

Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Shooting Vietnam by Dan Brookes & Bob Hillerby  shares firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a military combat photographer in the most photographed war in history. The book contains hundreds of photographs by men who lived the war through the lens of a camera. Registration is required.

Let’s Celebrate the 20’s!

Thursday, January 9, 2020, 2:30 – 4:30pm

Lets celebrate the roaring ’20s! Join us for a screening of Downton Abbey : the Motion Picture (2019).   Bring your favorite teacup, tea and light refreshments will be served. Come in 20’s attire and have your picture taken at a speakeasy! Registration is required.

Preschool Fair

Saturday, January 11, 2020, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Want to explore the many great opportunities for your child’s preschool education within the Cheshire community? Representatives from local preschools will be at Cheshire Public Library to give you information regarding school facilities, teaching staff, and educational philosophies. Activities for children and refreshments will be provided. Please register so we can contact you in the event of inclement weather. Snow date is January 18.

Food and Inflammation

Thursday, January 16, 2020, 6:30 – 7:40pm

Inflammation in the body is related to many diseases. Marisa McCoy, a Registered Dietitian, will discuss foods that make it worse and foods that make it better. Registration is required.

Intro to iPad

Friday, January 17, 2020, 10:00 – 11:30am

Join us for this lecture style class as we will learn the fundamentals of the iPad.  We will go over how to turn on your device on and off and how to use various apps.  Bring your fully charge iPad if you own one, but a device is not required. Registration is required.

Intro to Social Media

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 1:00 – 2:00pm

Learn the basics of using social media to connect with friends and family.  We will cover everything you need to get started using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. Registration is required.

How to Spot Fake News

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

This talk by Kenn Venit will focus on what “news consumers” should be aware of in terms of how various media ethics, competitiveness, ownerships ,revenue, bias and other factors may affect news coverage. Registration is required.

Caryn Lin’s One-Woman Musical Extravaganza

Sunday, January 26, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Tradition and technology meet when classically trained violinist Caryn Lin literally transforms sound! With her electric violin and the technology of looping and sound effects, on the spot recordings emerge.  Layers of sound with deceptively simple melodies create music that is both other worldly and totally catchy. No registration required.

Trivia Afternoon

Monday, January 27, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Come by yourself or bring friends. Test your knowledge from general categories, including pop culture, current events, history, music, and of course literature! Registration is required for this adult program (please register entire group, from one person to a maximum of five people).

Books Over Coffee: Killers of the Flower Moon

Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Join us for an adult monthly book club program called “Books Over Coffee.”  On the last Wednesday of every month we’ll meet from 12-1:30 in The Loft to discuss the selected title. This month we are discussing Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. You bring your lunch, we’ll provide the coffee and tea. Registration is required.

The Kondo/KonMari Organizing Method

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Let this be the year you get organized! Join us as Certified KonMari consultant Christine Thorn of Connecticut presents a informative, in-depth and entertaining talk on Marie Kondo and the KonMari Method™, as detailed Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Registration is required.

 

 

Lit Kits Are Back!

From our Head of Children’s Services, Ali:

Have you ever wanted to do your own library-style Storytime at home? Well now you can! We’ve revamped our Lit Kits and they are better than ever! These Lit Kits are a great way to take storytime and learning home with you, and help support success in school by providing families with hands-on strategies for building pre-reading and literacy skills while having fun and bonding with your child. They can also help children hit important developmental milestones. Our Lit-Kits are designed for children 3-5 years old, but they can be adapted or modified for use with almost any age group!

Stop by the Children’s Room to see the new and improved backpacks that are available for checkout. Each kit contains 3-4 books on a theme, toys or manipulatives, and a caregiver guide with suggested songs and activities. The following kits are available: Alphabet, All About Me, Numbers, Ocean, Zoo, Dogs, Things That Go, and Dinosaurs. There will be more Lit Kit topics coming soon, and be sure to be on the lookout for upcoming STEM Kits (ages 5 & up), and Early Literacy Kits (ages 0-3)!