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

Greetings from isolation! We hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. The library building may be closed, but our staff has been working remotely on some pretty great “virtual” programs for the month of May. You’ll find events for kids, teens, and adults on our Event Calendar – we hope to see some familiar faces and some new friends joining us!

Jackbox Games with Zoom

Mondays, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Looking for ways to connect with friends? Tired of only talking to your pet all day? Let’s play a Jackbox Party Pack! Fibbage, Drawful and more!Please register through our Event Calendar, and we will email you before start time with a link to join this Zoom Virtual program. THEN go to https://jackbox.tv/ on your mobile device, enter the 4-letter Room Code, your name, and click PLAY! For grades 6-12.

Virtual Cheshire Anime Club

Fridays, 3:00 – 5:00pm

Konnichiwa, minna-san! Can’t get enough Anime and Manga? Be an “Otaku” and join the Cheshire Anime Club! We’ll meet on Zoom and watch Anime movies together! The link to this Zoom Virtual Program will be posted on Cheshire Anime Club’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/13673851607/) OR you can register through our Event Calendar, and we will email you before start time with a link to join this Zoom Virtual program. For grades 7-12.

Virtual Storytime

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 10:00 -10:30am

The library might be closed, but storytime is still on! Join us virtually for interactive songs, stories, and other fun activities for little ones with Miss Ali (Tues), Miss Andrea (Wed) and Miss Lauren (Thurs). No registration required, click the link in our Event Calendar to join the fun!

Support Through Meditation

Tuesdays 2:00 – 3:00pm

This introductory meditation class presented by Tia Mandrozos 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. Please register via our Event Calendar. Registered participants will receive an email link to attend the day of the program.

Switch it up with CPL!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, (check Event Calendar for dates and times)

Teens: add us on  Nintendo Switch and let’s play! Our Friend Code is: SW-2591-8360-3045 under CheshirePL. We’re playing Animal Crossing on Tuesdays, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Wednesdays, and Thursday games are TBA. No registration required! Info on how to join in is on our Event Calendar. For grades 6-12. (A Nintendo Online Account required to connect with others and play online.)

Organizing Your Photos

Thursday, May 7, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Are your printed photos hiding in boxes, drawers, and closets all around your house?  You aren’t alone!  Cathi Nelson, author of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed will share her top tips on ways to bring your photos and their stories back into your life. Please register via our Event Calendar. Registered participants will receive an email link to attend the day of the program.

Creating Musical Readers: Listen to My Trumpet!

Monday, May 11, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

Musicians from the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra will read Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems and use a trumpet to bring the story to life! Children will be shown the different parts of a trumpet and learn how it works. Best for ages 3 & up. Advance registration required. You will receive a link via email for the Zoom meeting prior to the event. If you would like to ask the performer questions, you can send questions to cplkids@cheshirelibrary.org. Please include your name and age.

Food Explorers

Join Katie, Registered Dietitian from Food Explorers for a fun virtual baking program for ages 7-12. Parental help may be needed for some steps, ingredients listed on the registration page. Registration through our Event Calendar is required  (1 registration per device), registered participants will receive a link to the Zoom meeting before the program.

Virtual Author Talk: A Fatal Finale

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Local author Kathleen Marple Kalb will explain how her career in radio news inspired her to write A FATAL FINALE, the first in a Gilded Age mystery series featuring a swashbuckling mezzo-soprano who sings male roles. She’ll also share some fun facts from the period, and shed a little light on some unexpected corners of Old New York. Please register via our Event Calendar. Registered participants will receive an email link to attend the day of the program.

Organizing & Decluttering Your Life

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Jan Blatrush, professional organizer and creator of FindYourStuffCT.com will teach you the tools to get organized.  Jan will help you tame the paper piles and organize your closets, kitchens, garages and home offices. Please register via our Event Calendar. Registered participants will receive an email link to attend the day of the program.

Creating Musical Readers: Trombone Shorty

Friday, May 22, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

Join us virtually as musicians from the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra read Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews and use a trombone to bring the story to life! Children will be shown the different parts of a trombone and learn how it works. Best for ages 3 & up. Advance registration required. You will receive a link via email for the Zoom meeting prior to the event. If you would like to ask the performer questions, you can send questions to cplkids@cheshirelibrary.org. Please include your name and age.

Virtual Trivia

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Test your knowledge from general categories, including pop culture, current events, history, music, and of course literature! It’s all For Pride, Not Prize. Please register starting May 14 via our Event Calendar. Registered participants will receive an email link to attend the day of the program.

A Lighthearted Romp Through the Spaceways

Our Teen Librarian, Kelley, shares some of her favorite sci-fi:

Recently I rediscovered a book that I loved long ago: The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more than before. The book is a rarity among older science fiction, it doesn’t show its age with ridiculous predictions or stilted dialog and literally feels as if it could’ve been written yesterday. Partly, I believe that this is because it is as much a fantasy book as a science fiction book, but mostly it’s because the author’s writing is funny, imaginative, and clever, and his characters are delightfully quirky and likeable.

Between the 1940s and the 1970s Schmitz wrote a large number of short stories and several, fairly short, novels. His fiction is characteristically light-hearted, fast-paced, amusing and entertaining. It straddles the SF/fantasy genres, can be equally enjoyed by adults and younger readers, and (very unusual for the time and genre) features female characters who are every bit as strong and interesting as the men. This spurred me on to read more of Schmitz’s work, happily most of which are again available, both digitally and in hard copy, and a lot of it is available online for free.  I read all of it- Eternal Frontier, the Agent of Vega story sequence, all of his series set in the “Hub”, and all of the numerous independent tales. Twelve of his stories are available from Project Gutenberg , and more are available from Free Speculative Fiction Online (including the entire full-length novel The Witches of Karres). I loved them all, but I still love Witches best.

The Witches of Karres was originally a novelette published in the December 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Schmitz expanded the novelette into a novel in 1966, and it is unusual in being relatively long. As is common with this author, it is set in a far-flung future in which humanity has spread across many planets in a substantial part of the galaxy. The story is about Captain Pausert, an amiable, well-intentioned, but inexperienced young space ship captain who finds himself increasingly embroiled in wild adventures when he rescues a young female slave from an abusive owner. Events snowball from there, and he soon finds that he has purchased three young sisters. But these are no ordinary girls; they are from Karres, the witch world, and skilled in manipulating klatha – the universal force which powers witchcraft. This is the start of a whole series of adventures in which Pausert and his feisty and formidable young allies face multiple threats and problems as a result of attracting the attention of some powerful and dangerous organizations, with the survival of civilization being ultimately at stake.

And- if you found Witches as utterly funny and charming as I did, you are in luck! The story has been continued by other authors (but are not unfortunately available online for free). The Wizard of Karres, by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer, The Sorceress of Karres by Eric Flint and Dave Freer, and (forthcoming) The Shaman of Karres also by Eric Flint and Dave Freer are direct sequels but were written long after James Schmitz’s death in 1981, the first being published in 2004. The authors make a good job of matching Schmitz’s light and amusing writing style and they pack in enough new ideas to keep readers involved and entertained. These stories are not quite as terrific as the original, of course, but still great fun, as are all the James H. Schmitz stories linked above. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

If you enjoy The Witches of Karres, here are some other titles from our downloadable audiobook collection you might like:

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What’s up all you cool cats and kittens? Books for those craving more Tiger King!

You, like many others across the world, just finished watching Tiger King. The Netflix docuseries just launched on March 20th, and it’s already taken the world by storm. The series received acclaim from critics, and according to Nielsen ratings, was watched by 34.3 million people over its first ten days of release, ranking as one of Netflix’s most successful releases to date.

The series follows the larger than life character Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, and his sprawling zoo, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Joe has quite the history, with the law and with other big-cat owners. He twice unsuccessfully ran for public office, first for President of the United States in 2016 as an independent, and then for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018 as a Libertarian. In 2019, Maldonado-Passage was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse (eight violations of the Lacey Act and nine of the Endangered Species Act) and two counts of murder for hire, for a plot to kill Big Cat Rescue CEO, Carole Baskin. He is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison.

It doesn’t seem like reality until you’re watching it unfold in front of your eyes, and like some terrible fire, you can’t pull your eyes away from the madness. There are no “characters” you can root for, except for the cats. As a true crime lover, I felt myself wanting more after the credits rolled! Instead of digging deeper into the depths of Netflix, I decided to do some digging through the libraries’ digital collections to satisfy my craving for tiger true crime mania.

Due to the fact that the library is closed at this time, we’re recommending books and audiobooks that are accessible through the libraries’ digital services, including RBdigital, Libby, and Overdrive. If you need help accessing these services, help is available on our website, and librarians are available by phone remotely. Call 203-272-2245 and leave a message. Someone will get back to you shortly! 

First up is The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. The book is described as “The Sopranos of Snakes”, focused on the fascinating account of a father and son family business suspected of smuggling reptiles, and the federal agent who tried to take them down. If you’re looking for more animal justice and federal takedowns, then The Lizard King is the perfect fit. The audiobook and ebook are available online through RBdigital.

Next is a little bit more fanciful, but showcases a star tiger, Richard Parker. Life of Pi is a classic, and mixes fantasy and dangerous reality into a beautiful story, in which you can’t quite tell reality from fiction (much like tiger king, is this guy real life?) The story’s back cover states: ” Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. ” The story is an escape from reality all of us could use right now. The audiobook and ebook are available online through RBdigital. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt is a true crime classic, covering art dealings, murder and mystery, all in the deep south. It includes the same courtroom drama that was brought to life in Tiger King. The book is described as: ” Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.” Another classic worth checking out from our digital collections, available online as an audiobook through RBdigital, and ebook through Overdrive.

If you spent the whole documentary wishing they’d focus more on the tigers less on the mullets, then The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus could be your fit. Written by Jacques Cousteau, an author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water, the book “weaves gripping stories of his adventures throughout, he and coauthor Susan Schiefelbein address the risks we take with human health, the overfishing and sacking of the world’s oceans, the hazards of nuclear proliferation, and the environmental responsibility of scientists, politicians, and people of faith”. It’s a heartfelt tale which inspires us to do better, and be better for our planet, and the animals we share it with. It’s available online as an audiobook through RBdigital.

“A man is killed for his prized pet fish” Whaaaaaat? That first line hooked me right away on The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story Of Power, Obsession, And The World’s Most Coveted Fish“A tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other” This book follows tiger kings footsteps in chasing animal smugglers throughout the globe, all for the very expensive, very lucrative, animal black market. Download the audiobook through RBdigital.

Looking for more? Here are a few more titles available through RBDigital, Overdrive and Libby for your phone, tablet, or computer!

 

A Playlist of Inspiration and Hope

Bill, our Head of Adult Services, has put together an online playlist of uplifting songs.

Music unites, inspires and comforts us. Songs express strength, joy and sadness. They are a common thread through our culture and our lives. Music unites us across the country. It ties us together whether we live in Connecticut, Florida or California – and these songs resonate across generations and offer hope in our troubled time.

This song list is dominated by Boomer Generation songs (alas, what can I say? I’m a Boomer) – but they are timeless inspirational tunes that speak to everyone.

Song Sequence

(click on the artists’ names to see more titles by them in our physical collection):

  1. Lean On Me – Bill Withers
  2. In Times Like These – Mavis Staples
  3. The Weight – Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr & others
  4. Bridge Over Troubled Water– Simon & Garfunkel
  5. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King
  6. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  7. Secret of Life – James Taylor
  8. If You Want to Sing Out – Cat Stevens
  9. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  10. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

***

Lean On Me (Lyrics)

In Times Like These

The Weight

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Lyrics)

You’ve Got a Friend  (Live at Farm Aid 1985)

Make You Feel My Love

Secret of Life

If You Want to Sing Out

Here Comes the Sun (2019 Mix)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The Easter-Passover Connection

During the next week many people will celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover (April 8-16) or the Christian holiday of Easter (April 12). Some will celebrate both, some neither. Either way, they are both prominent holidays on the calendar, and have more in common than you may have thought.

Both holidays fall on different dates every year, although they always fall in the springtime, and the dates often overlap. Do you know how the dates for each holiday are determined? Passover is a fixed date on the Jewish calendar, the 15th day in the month of Nisan. The Jewish calendar follows the cycles of the moon, while the Gregorian calendar (the most widely-used) is a solar calendar, using the Earth’s orbit around the sun as its measure of time.

This explains a little of why Passover begins on a different date on the traditional Gregorian calendar each year, but why Easter? You have to dig into history a bit to understand the connection. Historically,  the events of Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter Sunday) are are believed to have taken place place during Passover, a holiday which predated the birth of Christ by many centuries. Some theologians and historians have theorized that Christ was actually sharing a Passover meal with his disciples at what became known as the “last supper”.

So we know both holidays historically took place near each other on the calendar, but it wasn’t until the 4th century that things got standardized. Jewish scholars assigned Passover a fixed date  – the 15th of Nisan – on their calendar, and the Christian Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter would be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Then there’s Orthodox Easter, which goes by the Julian calendar (differing from the Gregorian calendar by 13 days). It can all get pretty confusing!

Need to convert dates from one calendar to another? Click here.

Whether you’re a religious observer, or just in it for the chocolate eggs,  here are some fiction finds to kick back with during this holiday season:

Passover:

The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz. After Sylvia Gold discovers that her daughter has invited the very wealthy parents of her boyfriend for Seder, she agonizes over making the right impression, but when old memories and grievances surface, she learns the importance of acceptance.

All Other Nights by Dara Horn. How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover in 1862 he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln.

Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman. Rabbi David Small uncovers a Passover plot than undeniably raises more than Four Questions — threatening to ruin not only his holiday Seder but his role as leader of Bernard’s Crossing’s Jewish community.

 

Easter:

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. When the charming, seemingly idyllic town of Three Pines is rocked by a killing during an impromptu Easter séance at a local haunted house, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is confronted by a web of baffling questions as he searches for a killer.

Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier. Spring has sprung in Tinker’s Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list from painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter. She hardly has time to search for a killer with a deadly case of spring fever.

Alibis & Angels by Olivia Matthews. With the Lenten season fast approaching, Sister Louise “Lou” LaSalle looks forward to a final day of indulgence before giving up her favorite sweets. But one Briar Coast resident won’t get the chance to repent. Opal Lorrie, the mayor’s director of finance, just turned up dead in the parking lot of the Board of Ed.