Comic artists: exhibit at Portland Public Library this month

There is a fabulous comic exhibit at the Portland Public Library this month, up for a few more days – if you have a chance stop by! Here is more information about it:

June 1 – 23, 2018:
30×30: Comic Artists
Held in conjunction with the Maine Comic Arts Festival
Portland Public Library and Casablanca Comics celebrate the comic arts in our June 2018 exhibit, 30”x30”. Artists’ panels will be enlarged to an exaggerated size to amplify the expression and detail of each unique work, creating the experience of a giant comic strip throughout the Lewis Gallery. Though the works are non-sequential, each artist has submitted their comic book vision of a library scene—a visual love letter to libraries everywhere. 30”x30” premiers in conjunction with the Maine Comic Arts Festival (MeCAF) at Portland Public Library, a day-long celebration of comics arts and creators (held June 2nd)

Authors on the bay: Anne Weber

This month I’m introducing a new book by Anne Weber, a resident of Great Diamond Island: Constabulary Tales, short stories based on Anne’s experience as the island constable. Extremely well-written, entertaining, and funny, these stories give a glimpse into island life, especially on an island where locals and summer folk blend in an intricate dance. I asked Anne about her book:

How did this book come about?
I’ve journaled on and off for many years, so I’d been writing. When I joined a writing group through ‘senior college’, I began to put some of my experiences as constable down on paper as stories with a beginning, a middle and end.

Obviously although it is fiction, it is based on truth – what percentage, roughly, would you say is based on reality?
While the stories began as memoir – a half-sister to truth, I realized the Constable had far more patience and understanding than I ever had. Once I realized she was so non-judgmental, I knew I was writing fiction. To answer your question, I would say 15%.

How has your community responded to the book?
So far anyone who has commented to me has liked it. The book was available in late fall so I suspect many summer residents haven’t seen it yet. Guess the jury is still out.

Is there still no Constable?
That is correct. We live in a lawless land.

How is island life conducive to writing?
The island provides peace and solitude but the writer still has to provide the discipline.

If someone wanted to buy a copy of your book, what is the best way?
The Long Island Store has copies for sale, as does Ports of Call on Commercial St. It’s available on amazon.com and I seem to carry a few copies with me at all times.

What are you working on now?
I have several projects going. I’m working on another play for the GDI reader’s theater. A novella about an island woman who gets involved in mayhem and mischief is on the shelf. Then there’s my biography of artist John Mulvany, a relative. I’ve been working on this for twenty years.

Although Anne would love for you to buy her book, it is also available to read through the Long Island Community Library.

Great American Read

The Great American Read begins tonight on PBS at 8 p.m. I’ll be watching it – how about you? I’ve already chosen my “my favorite” from the 100 books  (not sure about my choice, as there were a few great options.) Anyway, here is more (from the website):

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.

For more information:

http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/

You can also go through Maine PBS and vote for your favorite there:

http://mainepublic.org/post/welcome-great-american-read#stream/0

Enjoy!

 

 

Illustration Institute

 

I am a big fan of illustration, whether N.C. Wyeth or Barbara Cooney, Arthur Rackham or Beatrice Potter. So how lucky are we in Casco Bay to have an Illustration Institute on our neighboring island of Peaks Island! Co-founded by illustrators Scott Nash and Nancy Gibson-Nash, the Illustration Institute offers lectures and workshops, and artist residencies. From time to time they also sponsor exhibitions. The 2018 exhibition is held at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and features Garth Williams’s original art: “Garth Williams, Illustrator of The Century”  – many will recognize his works if they have read Stuart Little, Bedtime for Francis, A Cricket In Times Square and Charlotte’s Web. The exhibition, held from May 1 to July 31, 2018,  includes over 100 works and will be complimented by lectures and workshops provided by the Illustration Institute.

For more information see: http://www.illustrationinstitute.org/

 

Authors on the Bay – Charlie Adams

This month I’m introducing a new occasional series for the blog:

Authors on the Bay

Many of us have been fortunate over the years to receive e-mails from Charlie Adams, a teacher who is a long time summer resident of Long Island, from the various countries he’s taught at in the last few decades. So many times I would ask Charlie, “When is your book coming out?” Now, we’re finally able to read Charlie’s book, “My Amazing Twelve Year Adventure in Russia.” It makes for fascinating reading, between his wonderful stories and anecdotes, as well as personal information (in case you were wondering, as many of us do, “How Charlie met Helen”).
I was able to correspond with Charlie, who winters in Florida, and ask him a few questions for this blog.

1. Did you keep a journal or is your book based on memory?
The vast majority of the book is based on memory and a rather large collection of photographs.

2. What was the hardest part about writing your book and what was the easiest part?
a. The most difficult part was having to write about the break-up of my first family. It is something I did not want to do. I had no idea that Elaine was going to ask for a divorce.

b. The easiest part was writing about the travels with my sons, because they were such enjoyable experiences.

3. Your book is not exactly chronological – how did you decide to arrange your book?
The only thing I tried to do was to separate the Soviet times from the non-Soviet times. In many cases this was difficult to do. It was the dates that gave me the most trouble, as I wasn’t sure about them. Fortunately, my sons helped me with many of them. A friend who was editing for me said I really needed the dates, so I did the best that I could.

4. Did your sons inherit your sense of humor and love of travel? How do they view their time in Russia/Soviet Union?
My sons use to tease me about my sense of humor, saying things like, “that sounds like a Dad joke.” However, they both have healthy senses of humor. As you know, the three of us did a substantial amount of traveling during our time in Russia. However, family life seems to have kept them close to home. At the beginning, Moscow was the last place on earth that they wanted to be. However, they really enjoyed their life in Moscow and were sad when it was time to leave.

5. Briefly, what are your views of Russia today and how it’s changed for the better or worse since your days there?
In a way it was sad for me to witness the downfall of the Soviet Union. Part of this is selfishness on my part, because I had been living the life of a wealthy person up until then. The saddest part, however, was that the elderly were no longer taken care of, and life became much more difficult for them, including having pension checks delayed for months. That was true for teachers as well. Today, I see a leader who is trying desperately to reinstate Russia as a world power. It frustrates me that I don’t know to what degree Mr. Putin is guilty of the many charges that have been leveled against him. I honestly believe that Crimea should be part of Russia. I visited it many times. Eighty plus percent of the people who live there are Russian. It was Russian blood that was shed during the Crimean War. Also, it was being economically neglected by Kiev.
I am not convinced that things are much better now. It use to be that “things” were simply not available to the people. Now, they are available, but many people cannot afford them.

6. Do you have any more books you’d like to write, perhaps about some of the other countries you’ve lived in since Russia?
I actually started to write a second book about my life in other countries; however, after a couple of attempts, it just wasn’t there. Maybe that will change. As you know, I wrote many letters about my experiences in these countries and sent them to friends. Maybe that was enough.

If you are interested in purchasing a book from Charlie, you can send him a check for $23.50 (the 3.50 is for shipping):

Charlie Adams

4104 S Atlantic Ave. #4

Port Orange, FL

32127

or wait until Charlie arrives on the island at the end of June.

Tribute to Connie Brayley

Last month we lost a beloved former island librarian, Connie Brayley. For many years Connie was our Library Director, and one could often find her behind the desk on Saturday mornings. She and her husband Warren (“Dout”) were on the board for many years, assisting in any way that they could, from technical support to Art and Soul, the island’s big summer fundraiser. They were both involved in creating our island’s current library, serving on the planning committee. When Connie retired the library board named the new library’s circulation desk for her. Connie was a real lover of books, and was part of the island’s classic book group for years, including a subsidiary book group we started of classic women writers. She will be dearly missed by all of us on Long Island, and especially her fellow library and book lovers.

“A friendly, cozy spot” : 30 years of the Long Island (Community) Library

As early as 1931 efforts were made to create a library on Long Island. A letter in the Long Island Historical Society archives is evidence of this. On February 10, 1931, Postmaster Everett E. Clarke wrote a letter to Mrs. Fred Demarest regarding a donation of books for a library on Long Island. Everett wrote: “We have a nice library started here and are collecting books for it by asking our friends to look around and see if they can’t find one more book they can share for our library.”

There was a small lending library in the home of Derrick and Charlotte Gibbens (where our current library director, Paula Johnson, lives) in Harbor de Grace in the 1970s. Portland Public Library would later send books to the school that could be borrowed. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that a real effort was made to create a library for the islanders. At first Alan Bernstein offered the Long Island Civic Association a 100-square foot lot at the northwest corner of Ocean and Beach for a possible library site. But by March 1988 when LICA president Francis Murphy announced in the LICA newsletter, “We have been successful, with cooperation from the City of Portland, in receiving an allocation of $2,700 of current Community Development funds for developing an island library and community center in our school building,” a committee had already been hard at work.
The committee members were:
James Dodwell and Nancy Jordan, co-chairs
Bobbie Blaisdell
Joan Hutchinson
Karen Zywiec
Kathi Lovell
Maggie Carle
Jacquie [Lunt] King

That summer an open house was held, to celebrate the new space, including fundraising for more books. Christine Caliandro established the Ernest Caliandro Memorial Fund, in memory of her husband, whose monies were used to purchase a Maine and regional collection. Bobbie Blaisdell was primarily responsible for the content of this Maine collection: she combed second hand book stores to find all the old Maine classics that we now have. Jacqui Lunt asked Portland merchants to donate office supplies, including Loring, Short and Harmon, and another business donated four colorful little chairs for the children’s corner, and a carpet. Linda Greene painted all the walls and the floor. And many folks processed the early book donations. The new space was lovely and inviting.

By December of 1988 Nancy Jordan was inviting everyone to enjoy the new library in the Long Island Civic Association newsletter. “Looking for a friendly, cozy spot to spend a winter Wednesday evening? Try the new library!” She goes on to say that “we now have approximately 2500 books ready to read… Fifteen busy volunteers are keeping the library open 4 times a week, plus providing a weekly story hour for 2 age groups and Saturday matinees. … 63 of us have library cards and we are circulating 35 books a week, not counting magazines and paperbacks. Two island organizations are using the library for monthly meetings.”

By 1989 computers became available for public use and a book discussion group was started. However, by 2001 the space so happily begun in 1988 was inadequate and plans started to build a new library/school addition. And the rest is history!

A small exhibit about the history of the library can be seen in the Long Island Community Library’s small glass class. It includes photographs, photocopies of items from the Long Island Historical Society, and excerpts from the Long Island Civic Association’s newsletters, which celebrates 30 years in the current building, where our beautiful library now stands.
Open during library hours

Favorite books of 2017: a Top 10 List

According to my Goodreads site, I read 52 books in 2017.

Here are some of my favorites:
*The Rosie Project / by Graeme Simsion. For fun and light reading, but with an undercurrent of thoughtfulness, this is a great read. I especially like that it’s an Australian author, so we get a perspective of life Down Under.

*Scarlett / by Alexandra Ripley. Here’s the story on this one. Several years ago I found this book in a book sale. But I couldn’t read it until I first read “Gone with the Wind” (which is on my “Favorite books of 103” list). Having finally read (and loved) “Gone with the Wind” I could now read “Scarlett,” which is a sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s classic book. Written over 50 years later, Alexandra Ripley picks up the tale, and wow, does she do a wonderful job carrying on the story of Scarlett. I loved it all the way through. Perfect book to read on a cross country train ride last March.

*Lab Girl / by Hope Jahren. Recommended to me by LICL librarian Nancy Jordan, this book was a page turner, which says a lot about a non-fiction book about a scientist. Hope Jahren is not just any scientist, however – she is a fabulous writer, who shares her story with great humor and honesty.

*The forgotten garden / by Kate Morton. For pure British novel escapism, this book which takes place in Australia, London, and Cornwall, is a really fun read.

*When books went to war : the stories that helped us win World War II / by Molly Guptill Manning. This book made the list because of how it inspired me. My interest developed in the subject from my project to catalog our WWI pamphlets. When I found this book it inspired me to head to Bowdoin College Library Special Collections department to view their Armed Services Editions, which were small paperback books read by the soldiers during World War II. I ended up writing a blog for Bowdoin: http://community.bowdoin.edu/news/2017/12/with-books-in-their-pockets-armed-service-editions-at-special-collections/

*Angel and apostle / by Deborah Noyes. This tale picks up where “The Scarlett Letter” leaves off, only by this creative author, Deborah Noyes. Her writing is so lyrical – I wasn’t always sure what she was talking about but reading her novel about Pearl, the daughter of the main character in “The Scarlett Letter,” was pure pleasure.

*Christy / Catherine Marshall. Another classic, I reread this because I gave a copy to a friend, and then decided that I would like to reread it (about 40 years after the first reading). I loved it all over again – such a wonderful story based on a true story – of Christy Huddleston, a young woman who heads into the Appalachian Mountains in 1912 to teach at a mission school.

*Dangerous territory : my misguided quest to save the world / by Amy Peterson. I serendipitously picked up this book from the Portland Public Library, and was immediately immersed into Amy’s story, which can easily echo people I knew at her age. This well written and thoughtful book is so inspiring in many ways, because she doesn’t end up saving the world, but she does find herself along the way (and her husband, too).

*All creation waits : the Advent mystery of new beginnings / by Gayle Boss. This beautifully written and illustrated (with woodcuts) book will make you appreciate all the critters out in the woods and how they are marvelously created to withstand the cold. My sister-in-law in Vermont read it at the same time I did, so it was a shared Advent reading.

What are some of your favorite books that you read last year?

Tea and libraries

I just came across this – how exciting to combine two of my favorite things: tea and libraries ! (for a good cause)

Friend —

We are excited to partner with Arbor Teas, a family-owned organic tea company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan to create a new way of supporting libraries in the United States. You can now purchase tea for yourself, friends, family, and for your staff at your office through Arbor Teas and they will donate 10% of each purchase if you use the coupon code EveryLibrary at checkout. That means you can give the gift of tea AND give American communities the gift of literacy and learning through libraries.
________________________________________
Buy your teas from Arbor Teas this Holiday Season and use the coupon code EVERYLIBRARY to support libraries in the United States.
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“Our primary focus is delivering the highest quality organic teas as sustainably as possible, but underpinning this is a passion to use our success to do good and give back,” said Aubrey Lopatin, co-founder at Arbor Teas. “That’s why Arbor Teas is excited to become a sustaining contributor to EveryLibrary’s efforts to rally communities in support of libraries facing funding challenges.”
Arbor Teas first partnered with the library community to support the Ann Arbor District Library’s Summer Game 2017, a points-based program that rewards reading and library use. EveryLibrary and Arbor Teas view this promotion as the beginning of an ongoing partnership which may include other charitable programs in the future.
Individuals looking to support this new partnership can shop online at www.arborteas.com for certified organic teas as well as teaware, gifts and tea-infused sweets. At checkout, enter EveryLibrary as the coupon code, which will remain active indefinitely as a means to generate ongoing funding for library campaigns. One-time and sustaining donations can also be made directly to EveryLibrary at: action.everylibrary.org/donate.

More information is available at: https://www.arborteas.com/everylibrary

November is National Novel Writing Month

Ah, November… when the days get darker earlier, the wind whips through the trees and buildings, and we all turn inwardly, hunkering down in cafes drinking our cappuccinos and lattes. What better way to spend the month than writing a novel. And now there’s a format to do so:

https://nanowrimo.org/

On this website you can track your progress, get pep talks and support, and meet fellow writers online.

Here’s the Maine group:

https://nanowrimo.org/regions/usa-maine

Even if you don’t do the website, winter in Maine is still an ideal setting for writing a novel – I wrote one a few years ago, based on my grandmother’s house in Albany, California. I never attempted to publish it, but what better way to while away a dreary March day than immersing myself into my fantasy world of sunny California, with my imaginary neighborhood full of colorful and interesting buildings and people. I would highly recommend it!


A small library on an island on the coast of Maine