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“A cup of coffee would save my life!”*: an ode to coffee in literature

In honor of Jane Cullen, my Great Diamond Island coffee buddy

October 1st is International Coffee Day, and what better month, with our crisp weather which makes us crave hot drinks, to pay tribute to … coffee! Although an inveterate tea drinker, these past few years I’ve fallen in love with café society, especially in Portland, with its plethora of coffee venues. What better place, especially on a cool autumn day, to hang out with a good book in places like Arabica, Bard, or Higher Grounds, while waiting for the ferry. By tradition, coffee houses are a place to gather, whether in the 1960s beatnik era or the 16th century Middle East, and thankfully that tradition has not waned. Coffee is alive and well today, whether you like your coffee as a cappuccino, espresso or latte! (or just regular old fashioned coffee)

As far as coffee in literature, who can resist non-fiction titles such as

The coffee lover’s diet : change your coffee, change your life

Coffee for one : how the new way to make your morning brew became a tempest in a coffee pod

Coffee: a dark history

Fun fiction titles include cozy mystery titles, such as these by Cleo Coyle: Holiday Buzz, Murder by Mocha, and Murder Most Frothy. And then there are these great titles by Alex Erickson: Death by Coffee, Death by Vanilla Latte, Death by Espresso, etc. Sandra Balzo also jumped on the coffee house bandwagon with her mystery series, which includes Murder on the Orient Espresso, Uncommon Grounds, and To the Last Drop.

And just as I was about to write this blog, “Signature,” a literary website, tempted me with this list of “best coffee books for coffee lovers”
(Which just goes to show I’m on the right track with these coffee books)

So, while my first love is tea (see this blog for October 2016), I hope you enjoyed my ode to coffee!

*Excerpt from Blood and thunder: an epic of the American West, by Hampton Sides. Description of a French trapper, hovering near death: “The men has more or less written off the poor fellow, who in his death agonies kept hallucinating that he smelled coffee – a luxury no one traveling with Kearny had seen or tasted in months. ‘Don’t you smell it?’ Robideaux beseeched them. ‘A cup of coffee would save my life!’” eventually someone did make him a cup of coffee, and poured “’this precious draught into the waning body of our friend Robideaux. His warmth returned, and with it hopes of life.’

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/

 

Anne Kilham post cards: Maine’s snowy winters – new exhibit at LICL

Curated by Beth MarchakAnne Kilham winter card

 I began collecting Anne Kilham’s postcards in the early 1980s when we lived in Augusta. I loved how she used gorgeous saturated colors to portray classic coastal Maine scenes. As I acquired more postcards, I began to realize how skillful she was at capturing snow scenes in winter sunlight on those short, cold snowy winter days. After we moved to Arlington, VA, in 1983, I recall vacationing in Maine and loading up the car with sea shells, nautical treasures, fabric by the pound, thrift shop finds, and more Anne Kilham. As more and more shops added her calendars, post cards, gift cards, and note cards, I scooped up all her designs. I also started collecting her Advent calendars, because she portrayed Christmas in a festive, yet timeless way.

According to her website, “Anne Kilham has been living in and painting Rockport, Maine since 1970. The love affair is mutual. In 2008 the Town of Rockport honored Anne as its first artist laureate. A bronze plaque hanging in the Town Office lobby recognizes Anne for not only generously donating her time and talent to worthy town causes, but for ‘always showing Rockport in our best light.’

The uniqueness of Anne Kilham’s talent is in how she gives color to the stoic beauty of New England, each season its own palette and each set to its own melody of rhythm and soul. There is a quiet comfort in Anne’s images, whether they’re gardens of colorful flowers, meadows that melt into the ocean, or lighthouses surrounded by lupines, ledge and ocean. If there’s a chair in an Anne Kilham painting, you want to sit in it.

Although Anne’s original designs were handprinted blockprints, she works mostly in watercolors today. She usually begins with photographs, many photographs, that she lays out before making her first sketches. Once the sketch meets Anne’s expectation, she is ready to create an Anne Kilham original. Anne was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico, grew up in eastern Massachusetts and lived in Rhode Island before moving to Rockport. She comes from a family of creative people: artists, architects, engineers and inventors, and credits their willingness to offer criticism with the honing of her talent. Teachers at Colorado College and the Rhode Island School of Design contributed to her understanding of composition and color.

In 2011 the Town of Rockport honored Anne again, this time by dedicating its Town Report to her – a report whose cover has been graced with an Anne Kilham original painting since the early 1980’s. It’s safe to say there are few towns, if any, in New England with a report like Rockport’s!”

Beth Marchak , Long Island, Maine

For more information about Anne Kilham and her artwork, please see her website: http://www.penandincgifts.com/magento/anne-kilham/about-anne-kilham.htm

The exhibit, located in the small glass case in the Long Island Community Library, can be viewed during library hours

Deck the Halls: Christmas ornaments and decorations made by Long Islanders

We are pleased to announce that our winter exhibit is installed – we are showcasing Christmas ornaments and decorations made by Long Islanders, past and present. The exhibit is in the library’s small glass case, and can be viewed during library hours. Come on down and see sheep, butterflies, a snowflake, snowmen, pinecones, Christmas trees, and other wonderful ornaments and decorations, made by our talented islanders.

christmas-ornament-exhibit-2christmas-ornament-exhibit

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Brunswick, Maine

Harriet Beecher Stowe houseThere’s a “new kid on the block” – that is, another historic house in Maine open to the public, and a literary site, too. The house where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” can now be visited. Well, at least one of the rooms – “Harriet’s Writing Room” is a public exhibit space commemorating Stowe’s literary legacy. The home is a National Historic Landmark and a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site. Harriet also sheltered a slave in her home, John Andrew Jackson, while living in this house on Federal Street in Brunswick.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House sign

Why was Harriet Beecher Stowe in Brunswick? Her husband Calvin was a professor at Bowdoin College, his alma mater. They lived there only a short time – from 1850 to 1852 – but what a lot Harriet accomplished. Much of her over 500 page book was written there; a book which  which would soon become a classic, and would influence laying the groundwork of the Civil War. All while raising children and running a household (and sheltering slaves).

Harriet Beecher Stowe House interior

For more information: http://bowdoin.edu/stowe-house

Santa’s Village – a new exhibit at LICL

Santa's Village closeupWe are pleased to announce a new exhibit in the Long Island Community Library’s small glass case about Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, a Christmas themed village. Even though we are enjoying a lovely and warm autumn, we all know that winter is around the corner, including a visit from Santa on December 24th. This exhibit will put you in the mood. It includes memorabilia (plates, ashtrays, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, etc.) and family photographs, which will enchant and delight.

The exhibit is curated by Sue Hemond, whose family owns the items in the exhibit. Sue’s grandparents owned a dairy farm in Jefferson, NH. When they sold a piece of their land in the 1950s to the friends who started Santa’s Village, the deal included a lifetime pass to the park for all the family. Thus began many summers of visits to Santa with cousins in tow, and a permanent love of anything to do with Christmas.

Santa's Village

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibit is open during library hours

 

The Maine Photo Project – as seen through the eyes of Long Island and Long Islanders

LICL exhibit on photography 1

 

Announcing a new exhibit at the Long Island Community Library (glass case between the main room of the library and the small meeting room)

 

The Maine Photo Project, a statewide collaboration among museums, galleries, historical societies, and other nonprofit cultural organizations across Maine, celebrates the 150th anniversary of photography.

 

This exhibit reflects the history of photography through the collections of the Long Island Historical Society, as well as private collections. From daguerreotypes to digital photography, Long Island has long been photographed – people, places, homes, ferries. The exhibit is supplemented with antique cameras from private collections and books from the collections of the Long Island Community Library.

 

Open during library hours – see the library website for hours: http://library.long-island.lib.me.us/

LICL exhibit on photography 2

 

Love in Maine

Valentine cookies

Looking for a literary, artistic, or historical spin on love this month? All sorts of options are available, right in Portland, Maine!

The Maine Historical Society is offering this month “Love in the Longfellow House: Couples Guided Tour,” complete with champagne, chocolate, roses, and valentines.

http://www.mainehistory.org/programs_events.shtml#event_463

On February 18th, I’ll be sharing some of our historic valentines at a Maine Memory Network presentation:

http://www.mainehistory.org/programs_events.shtml

Just a block away, at the Portland Public Library, on February 14th is an afternoon of “frightfully good tales that will add chills to your holiday of otherwise hot romance:”

Our Bloody Valentines: Love Notes, in which the Tuesday Mayhem Society, a group of local authors centered in Lisbon Falls, who are dedicated to carrying on the literary traditions of Poe, Lovecraft, Bradbury, and King, will be exploring the concepts of Love, Sex, and Murder through our fiction and poetry at the Portland Public Library: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/bloody-valentines-love-notes-tuesday-mayhem-society/#sthash.KWFWnVPB.dpuf

And, if you haven’t had your fill by then of twisted love, you can head down the hill to the Osher Map Library for a Valentine’s Day celebration at 5 p.m. which includes a talk on “Mapping Desire: Erotic Imagery in Old World Cartography.” Osher Map Library Acting Director Ian Fowler will present an enticing lecture covering the representation of love and the human body in cartography through the ages.  Cash bar and tasty treats will be served.

https://www.facebook.com/oshermaps

Finally, if you need a little guidance in writing a love letter, head to the Glickman Library at USM for a workshop by Arielle Greenberg on “How to write poems for your lover(s),” hosted by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance:

https://www.facebook.com/oshermaps

Happy Valentines Day from the Long Island Community Library!

The snowmen are here!

Snowmen 1Well, it may not officially be winter on the calendar, but on Long Island winter has arrived, with snow on Thanksgiving. So, to celebrate the season, we have a lovely winter exhibit of snowmen, collected over the years by Penny Murley. Stop by the small exhibit case, between the library and small meeting room, and say hello to this wonderful collection of snowmen.

Snowmen 3