What’s Happening (virtually) at Cheshire Library in November

We’re ramping up our online storytime programs and book clubs this month, and looking forward to a virtual visit from our favorite humorist, Joyce Saltman. Reading and laughing, what could be better?

November Teen Volunteering Challenges

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. November’s challenges include:

  • Art: Create fall-inspired art.
  • Writing: Write a story, poem, or essay, about being thankful.
  • Food: Make a dish using pumpkin or apples as an ingredient.
  • Reading: Read a book about voting, elections, or running for office.
  • More Reading: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by reading a book about our nation’s first people.
  • Even More Reading: It’s also Picture Book Month- read a picture book you’ve never read before and review it for our families.

Submit HERE for the Art, Writing, and Food Challenges. Submit a 300 word book review HERE  for the Reading Challenges.

Comics Club –  Pick up New Kid this month!

Comics Club will be held on Thursday, December 17 at 4pm. Starting November 2, copies of New Kid by Jerry Craft and the program supplies are available for pickup at the children’s information desk during open hours. Want to know what the book is about? Watch the book trailer here! For children in grades 3-5, register for the December meeting here.

Book Buzz Teen Book Club – Pick up your December books this month!

In December, we are going to do something different- we will each read a book of our choice (all different books) and then share the stories with each other. Books will be provided and are yours to keep! Books are available for pick up at the Children’s Desk. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing during pickup. We’ll meet on Zoom to discuss our books on December 16. For grades 6-12.

Take + Make: Paper Helicopters

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make kits! With this kit, you’ll make your very own paper helicopter. For grades k-6. We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit at the library on Nov. 2 or 3.

Baby Playgroup on Zoom

Tuesdays, November 3 -17, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

For babies ages 0-12 months and their caregivers,  this program provides an opportunity to strengthen your connection with your child and enriches your baby’s cognitive development through joyful movement and social experiences.  We will meets five times beginning October 20,  you only need to register once to attend all five classes. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the morning of each program.

Support Through Meditation – Weekly Zoom Event

Tuesdays, 11:00am – 12:00pm

This introductory meditation class is geared towards helping you through these anxious and challenging times. You will learn various meditation techniques that you will practice in session and guidance to perform meditation on your own. Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain the purpose of meditation and interact with the participants to provide the help needed and to address specific concerns. Please register via the Event Calendar for each session you wish to attend.

Preschool Storytime

Wednesdays, November 4 & 18, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

A virtual storytime for preschoolers to learn through talking, singing, reading, writing,and playing! Best for children ages 3-5, younger and older siblings are also welcome. This program meets four times: October 21 & 28 and November 4 & 18, (there will be no storytime on November 11). Register once to attend all four sessions. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the morning of each program.

Kids Cook Dinner: Guacamole Grilled Cheese with Baked Fries

Wednesday, November 4, 2020,  4:00 – 5:00pm

Spend some quality time with your children in the kitchen while encouraging them to try new foods! An instructor from Food Explorers will show kids 7-14 how to prepare a delicious meal for the whole family!  Registration is required, and the  ingredients needed for this program can be found on the Event Calendar listing.

Toddler Storytime

Thursdays, November 5-19, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

A virtual storytime for toddlers and their caregivers, with interactive songs, stories, and other fun activities. Best for children ages 1-3. Younger and older siblings are welcome. This program meets five beginning October 22,  you only need to register once to attend all sessions. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link one hour before the beginning of each program.

Take + Make STEM: Polymer 

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make STEM kits! With this STEM-based kit, learn all about polymers by making your own stress ball and completing two other fun experiments for kids in grades 1-6!  We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit at the library on Nov. 9 or 12. Please be advised this kit contains latex.

Adult Take + Make: DIY Folded Book Turkey

Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Do you enjoy the Cheshire Public Library book turkey?  Have you wanted to make one yourself but didn’t know where to start?  Now is your chance to make a Do It Yourself Folded Turkey book.  On November 10 from  10-4PM, pick up the pre-reserved materials you will need at the library.  When convenient watch the video and make your turkey book.  Registration required to reserve supplies. (You will also need: an Exacto knife or other sharp cutting tool,  a ruler, a hot glue gun and glue,  and some tape.)

Pandemic Pandemonium: Joyce Saltman Virtual Program

Monday, November 16, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Is the pandemic getting you down?  Join us for a little dose of positive thinking, with a double dose of humor. In this timely session, Joyce will attempt to lighten our loads with some positive re-framing of the present corona virus pandemic and lots of crazy jokes that have been produced by the creative minds of some obviously desperate individuals! Please register online to receive a link on November 16 to join the program.

Take + Make: Thankful Tree

Populate a tree with leaves of things that make you thankful in this simple craft for kids of all ages. We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit at the library on Nov. 16 or 17.

Book Buzz Teen Book Club: Alice By Heart

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 3:00 – 4:00pm

Our new teen book club!  For our first book we’ll be talking about Alice by Heart by Steven Sater. A young girl takes refuge in a London Tube station during WWII and confronts grief, loss, and first love with the help of her favorite book, Alice in Wonderland, in this debut novel from Tony Award-winning playwright Steven Sater. Books will be provided (pick up a copy starting October 1 in the Children’s Room) and are yours to keep! Please register online, registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program. Didn’t read the book? Join us anyway and hear what others thought of it!

Pajama Storytime

Monday, November 23, 2020, 6:30pm – 7:00pm

Put on your pajamas and fuzzy slippers and tune in for a fun-filled evening of stories, songs, and adventures! Best for ages 2-5. Registration is required for this virtual event. Registered participants will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the event start time.

Murder of the High Wizard – Virtual Murder Mystery

Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 3:00 – 4:00pm

Join us in playing the roles of wizards and faculty for this virtual magic-themed murder mystery game. Your character sheet will be emailed to you about a week before the program so you can become familiar with the wizard you are playing, and the link to this event itself will be emailed to you an hour before start time to join this Zoom Virtual program. For grades 6-12, registration required.

Virtual Books Over Coffee: The Darwin Affair

Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. We will meet over Zoom.. This month’s book is The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link on the day of the program.

Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

Monday, November 30, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join noted floral designer and Cheshire resident Sylvia Nichols virtually in her design workroom as she prepares to “dress up” her home for the holidays. This fun fast-paced program will be filled with easy, affordable, practical ideas. Sylvia uses her personal holiday keepsakes, which will inspire your own creativity. As always, she will entertain you with lively anecdotes and offer her reassurance that you too, can create beautiful holiday arrangements.  No stress!  It’s fun! Please register online for this virtual program.  We will email you an hour before the program begins with a link to join the Zoom meeting.

Outside Book Groups

Art Book Discussion: A Piece of the World

Friday, November 20, 2020,11:00am – 12:30pm

Do you love to read? And love art? Let’s discuss! Join us for a monthly book club discussion on the third Friday of each month from 11am to 12:30pm in a Zoom Virtual meeting.  This month’s discussion is on A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. Please register for this program online.

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: Fer-de-Lance

Thursday, December 3, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Do you like to read and talk about mysteries? Then join us for monthly book discussions, fresh perspectives, new authors and a friendly atmosphere!  We are meeting virtually via Zoom. This month’s discussion is on Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout. Please register for this program online, registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in November

There’s so much going on at CPL this month: two concerts, special programs honoring our veterans, a new Homeschool meetup, the big Fall Book Sale, and so much more!  Check out our Event Calendar for the full roster, here are some highlights:

Play & Learn

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 10:00-11:00am

Our new drop-in play group for children and their caregivers! Explore interactive and sensory activities, encouraging the development of early literacy skills.  We will have lots of movement, songs, and a short storytime during the last 20 minutes of the program. Recommended for ages 2 to 5 years old.  Younger and older siblings are also welcome to attend. No registration required.

College Financial Aid Seminar

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Jennifer Philips’ seminar, “Simplifying the Financial Aid Process, “ will provide parents and students with tips on securing the best possible financial aid package from the college of their choice. Jennifer will describe the best student loans, grants and scholarships available, explain the critical financial aid forms and deadlines and the various components of a financial aid offer. Registration is required.

United States Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Performing classic jazz, blues, and rags with a “New Orleans” flavor. The Dixieland Jazz Band has entertained audiences across America and around the world.  Please join us for a very special concert! No registration required.

Author Talk – Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

Monday, November 4, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Ryan Dostie never imagined herself on the front lines of a war halfway around the world. But then a conversation with an Army recruiter in her high-school cafeteria changes the course of her life. Hired as a linguist, she quickly has to find a space for herself in the testosterone-filled world of the Army barracks, and has been holding her own until the unthinkable happens: she is attacked by a fellow soldier. Join us as the author discusses her powerful book. Registration is required.

Veterans’ Writing Group

Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a short film and a panel discussion with members of the Veterans’ Writing Group. The Russell Library Veterans’ Writing Group has been meeting and writing stories of their incredible experiences for several years, which will be published by En Route Publishing this year. Come get a sneak peak of this fascinating book, and listen to true stories from veterans from all branches of service. Registration is required.

Veterans Day Concert with the Cheshire Community Band

Sunday, November 10, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00pm

The Cheshire Community Band will perform a variety of selections including historical and patriotic numbers in celebration of Veterans Day. No registration required.

Veterans Day Movie: They Shall Not Grow Old 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00pm

On the centenary of the end of the First World War, experience the Great War as never before. Using state-of-the-art technology and materials from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson allows the story of World War I to be told by the men who were there. Life on the front is explored through the voices of the soldiers, who discuss their feelings about the conflict, the food they ate, the friends they made and their dreams of the future. Registration is required.

Homeschool Meetup (all ages)

Wednesday, November 3, 2019, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Meet other local families who are educating their children and teens at home while sharing tips, ideas, and educational materials. Toys and sensory play will be available for young children and crafts will be provided for older children and teens. Please register each child or teen separately.

Medicare Supplement and Advantage: Q & A

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Staff from the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging will present this seminar and provide vital information about Medicare, Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage.  Their mission is to provide the information and assistance necessary for consumers to understand their rights, receive benefits to which they are entitled and make informed choices about health insurance concerns. Registration is required.

A Night with Georgia O’Keeffe ~ Craft night

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a short film on the life of Georgia O’Keeffe and then create your own work of art in her style. All materials will be provided. Registration is required for this adult (18+)  program.

“Are You In Your Right Mind?” – A Joyce Saltman Workshop

Monday, November 18, 2019, 1:00 – 2:30pm

Interactive and fun, this lecture will explore individual differences through left-brain/right brain research, in an effort to understand and appreciate these differences in ourselves and others. Joyce Saltman is a professor Emeritus of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and a former Cheshire resident. Her experience in the areas of education, therapy, and comedy has provided an outstanding background for her research on The Therapeutic Value of Laughter. Registration is required.

Fall Book Sale!

Thursday, November 21  – Sunday, November 24, 2019

Bargains galore at the big Fall Book Sale! Browse more than 15,000 books of every possible genre. Stock up on audiobooks and DVDs. You never know what treasures you’ll find. Book sale hours:

  • Wednesday, November 20, 6:30-8:00pm (Preview Night for Friends’ Members only)
  • Thursday, November 21, 9:00am – 8:00pm
  • Friday, November 22, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Saturday, November 23, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sunday, November 24, 12:00 – 3:00pm

Mysteries of St. Peter’s Basilica

Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Did you know that St. Peter’s church at the Vatican has hidden geometry pinpointing certain locations? Robert Kerson will discuss this fascinating mystery. Learn details of the current basilica few people are aware of. Registration is required.

Books Over Coffee

Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 12:00 – 1:30pm

On the last Wednesday of every month from 12-1:30p we’ll meet in the Loft to discuss the selected title. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is our November selection. Books are available in print,  audio, & ebook format. You bring your lunch, we’ll provide the coffee and tea. Registration is required.

 

Return of the Rom-Com!

The romantic comedy film genre took a serious dive in popularity over the last 2 decades, going from 2 billion dollars in tickets sales (1999) to less than 1/2 million (2018). Romantic comedy novels followed a similar trajectory.  But the film genre is experiencing a resurgence, and rom-com novels are riding their coattails with a comeback of their own.

The past couple of years have seen an explosion of romantic comedies in publishing – heck, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction went to a book with a lot of rom-com characteristics: Less by Andrew Sean Greer. As poignant as it is humorous, Greer’s award-winning novel contains many familiar rom-com tropes, and also turns a few on their heads!

Once known somewhat disparagingly as “chick lit”, these smart and sassy stories explore all the quirks and foibles of modern relationships, often tackling difficult subjects but never losing their sense of humor. If you’re new to the genre, this list of recent romantic comedies is a good place to start:

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are competitive rivals at a publishing company and profess to hate each other, but when the tension reaches the boiling point, they both wonder if the competition is just a game and that maybe they don’t hate each other after all.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. Partnered with a nemesis best man on a paradise honeymoon when her bride twin gets food poisoning, a chronically unlucky maid of honor assumes the role of a newlywed before unexpectedly falling for her companion.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. A 30-year-old math whiz with Asperger’s tries to make her love life as rich as her career by hiring an escort to help her with her lack of knowledge and experience in the dating department.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. Stranded together in an elevator during a power outage, Drew and Alexa agree to pose as a couple at an ex’s wedding and discover afterwards that they are unable to forget each other.

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young. After her delayed flight, Ava has a brief intimate encounter with Caleb, an arrogant Scotsman, and never expects to see him again, but when he is stranded in Boston, they reconnect, and Ava has to deal with her increasing attraction.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting. After meeting the former actor she had a crush on as a teenager and fangirling all over him, Kailyn Flowers strikes up a friendship with Daxton Hughes who needs help acting as guardian to his 13-year-old-sister.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. A modern Muslim adaptation of Pride and Prejudice finds a reluctant teacher who would avoid an arranged marriage setting aside her literary ambitions before falling in love with her perpetually single cousin’s infuriatingly conservative fiancé.

Red, White & Royal Blue  by Casey McQuistion. A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends.

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri. A romantic comedy about gender and sexuality follows the experiences of a traditionally minded Midwesterner who, in the aftermath of an ended engagement, finds herself in a transformative relationship with a self-assured New York businesswoman.

 

 

Leading Ladies in Literature – Strong Female Reads for International Women’s Day (March 8)

When asked to write a post about strong female protagonists, it took me longer than I’d like to admit to think of my favorites. Even if I’ve read hundreds of books over the course of my life, only a handful stand out in their portrayal of a female lead. Most often, the most interesting characters I’ve come across are varied, flawed, and human, filled with errors and quirks that I find easy to relate to in my day to day life. These are the women I find myself relating to (even if I do wish I could be as perfect as Hermione Granger) and rooting for. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorites, which barely scratch the surface of the wonderful and wide world of women in books, but hey, we all have to start somewhere.

If I’ve missed your favorites, please feel free to leave a comment down below, I’m always looking to add books to my reading list.                                                    

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. First off, this is a book I swore to never read again, ironically,  just because of how much it hurts to read. Wally Lamb is a master of creating a character you physically hurt for after getting to know them, and Dolores Price is no different. At once a fragile girl and a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably lovable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections. Through rough edges and rougher trials, including assault, mental institutions, absentee parents and lonely adulthood, Lamb shapes a character you find yourself cursing at, wincing for, and holding close.

519bogs1ivl._sx330_bo1,204,203,200_How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. After she shames herself on local TV, 14-year-old Johanna Morgan reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde–a fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. Watching Johanna stumble through her rebirth into a plucky more confident version of herself made me look back fondly (and lets be honest, not that fondly) on my high school years. Trying to re-brand yourself, whether it be with new fish net stockings, a streak of pink in your hair, or a new favorite band, is a rough process. How to Build A Girl highlights how surface level all of these additions are, and asks the question, how far will one really go to re-imagine themselves? I found myself wanting to hug the pivotal character Johanna, and tell her it gets better, if not by action, then by time. It seems like even if she’s struggling, Johanna is a character you find yourself egging on, and even being somewhat jealous of at times.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein.  I brought this book on vacation thinking I’d enjoy a pulpy novel about crime scene clean up. I’m a true crime fan myself, and my interest in forensic science has led me down an interesting path in terms of books in the past year. This book turned out to be the opposite of pulp, and had very little to do with crime scene clean up after all. Sandra Pankhurst is a titan in the industry of Specialized Trauma Cleaning, she does her job and she does it well. Before she began professionally cleaning up their traumas, she experienced her own. First, as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home. Then as a husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, and trophy wife. The true life story of Sandra left me wounded in ways I didn’t expect. In a world that profits of making jokes of hoarders and death, this book, and Sandra, treat these people with dignity. She bags up their postcards, their books, their recipe cards tucked into binders, and saves them from the despair of dirt and mold. She returns them to their family, and gives the people effected by it hope to start their life over. She never once jokes at their expense, or teases them for their situation behind closed doors. After going through such a violent and unforgiving life, Sandra shows grace and humility, mixed in with grit and sarcasm I find comforting.

51cbsqw0cbl._sx331_bo1,204,203,200_Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.  If you’re looking for a strange, otherworldly novel, that expands into two more books, then the Southern Reach trilogy is for you.  A group of female scientists, ignoring the high mortality rate of the previous missions, travels into an area only known as “Area X” to research a strange phenomenon.  Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.  The narrator, the biologist of the group,  is a strange and difficult character to get a hold on. You don’t know her motives until they uncover themselves, slowly and methodically throughout the text. She seems driven by knowledge and the unknown alone, until it’s revealed that she had a husband who also went into the reach, but who came back strange and unrecognizable. I think one of my favorite parts of this character is that she’s not a broken record throughout the story. She doesn’t repeat over and over her need to find her husband in the Reach, if anything, she loses that goal almost immediately. Her goals become more abstract, her position as a narrator is unreliable at best, which makes her all the more interesting.

Some other books with strong female protagonists worth checking out: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell, Little Women by Louise May Alcott, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

The Best Audiobooks of 2017 (a subjective list)

The editors of AudioFile Magazine have released their selections for Best Audiobooks of 2017. AudioFile is a publication that reviews and recommends audiobooks, taking into account all the things that make an audiobook enjoyable: a great story, of course, but also the skillful pacing, structure, and narration that make them worth listening to.  (Full disclosure: I am a reviewer for AudioFile, mainly for romance books, and I have received free audiobooks from them to provide honest reviews). I have perused the dozens of audiobooks selected as “best”, and winnowed them down to three favorites in six categories, click on the titles to read more about each one. Consider this a jumping off point, audiophiles!

GENERAL FICTION

  • Beartown by Frederik Backman, read by Marin Ireland.
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, read by Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Rutina Wesley, Chris Chalk.
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris and George Saunders, with a full cast that includes Carrie Brownstein, Don Cheadle, Kat Dennings, Lena Dunham, Bill Hader, Miranda July, Mary Karr, Keegan-Michael Key, Julianne Moore, Megan Mullally, Mike O’Brien, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Jeffrey Tambor, Jeff Tweedy, Bradley Whitford, Patrick Wilson, and Rainn Wilson.

MYSTERY & SUSPENSE

SCI-FI, FANTASY, HORROR

ROMANCE

YA FICTION

MEMOIR