Winter reading on Long Island

Winter is here! Well, at least according to Casco Bay Lines. My heart always drops to see the cold blue color of the winter schedule, which runs from October through April. Yes, winter is 6 months long in Casco Bay! Well, us book lovers make the best of it and anticipate spending the dark evenings sitting by the fire, reading all those long tomes we put off during the other more inclement and lighter months, perhaps that Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind that we’ve been waiting for a “rainy day” to read (i.e., snow, sleet, hail, or whatever the gods bring us). And thanks to the longer check-out period that the Long Island Community Library is hoping to set into motion soon (from 2 weeks to 3 weeks), we will now have more time to read the wonderful selection of library books offered by our own island library. So, now that “winter” is here, it’s time to head to the library, and stock up on your favorite authors, as well as the wonderful array of films that are waiting to be viewed (including the recently viewed movies shown at our foreign film night). Enjoy!

More special libraries in Portland to investigate

A few months ago I wrote about the Maine Charitable Mechanics Association Library, as well as the Maine Irish Heritage Center Library – both of which are elegant destinations in and of themselves, let alone the books they hold. Here are a few more libraries to investigate:

The Greater Portland Landmarks Frances W. Peabody Library is located at 93 High Street, in the Stafford House. The GPL library is the “only library specializing in architecture, preservation, and restoration.” The staff is dedicated to making the collection of books and magazines on architecture, home improvement, and preservation a useful resource to members of the Landmarks, as well as researchers interested in the history of their house and neighborhood.

If art is your thing, the Maine College of Art’s Joanne Waxman Library on Congress Street has the best view and sunshine in which to relax and read. Although you have to be a student or own a library card to check books out, Library Director Moira Steven welcomes folks in the community to just enjoy reading, in this large open modern library, the numerous art books and periodicals that she has available. Moira says, “We have approximately 30,000 titles and 100 journal subscriptions, 85% of which are art-related. Our Special Collections room holds over 500 titles, many of them examples of Victoria printing and binding as well as an artist book collection of over 150 titles.  We hold exhibitions of student and community art and thematic displays of art and design titles throughout the academic year.”

If your interests lean towards religion and spirituality, Portland is most fortunate to have the Bangor Theological Seminary General Theological Library. This library is in the same building as the State Street Church offices, just up the street from the Maine Irish Heritage Center. (Go upstairs for the church office, and downstairs for the Seminary offices, classrooms, and library). Librarian Laurie McQuarrie is available to help you navigate your way through their collections of theological books and periodicals. While their primary mission is to serve their faculty and students, the public is welcome to use the library. Sadly, though, this library will no longer be with us after next summer, as Bangor Theological Seminary will no longer be granting degrees, thus no library. So, visit this library while you can.

So, if art, architecture, and religion is your thing, these three downtown Portland libraries offer wonderful resources, including books to absorb and relish.

Foreign film night: “Monsieur Lazhar”

FOREIGN FILM NIGHT

“Monsieur Lazhar”  (Canadian/French, 2011)

2012 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.   An Algerian immigrant becomes a substitute school teacher and changes the lives of the children he teaches after a tragedy.  (English Subtitles)

Wednesday, September 26, Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.

FREE (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world)

Bennett’s Island Trilogy revisited

Some of you know my story – how I came to live on an island. It goes something like this: “years ago, when I was living in California, I came across Elisabeth Ogilvie’s novels about an island off the coast of Maine, and the families that lived there. When I read these books, I thought ‘someday I want to live on an island in Maine.'” Now I’m fortunate enough to call Long Island home, so when I reread these books, do they still hold the .same magic for me? I’m happy to say that they still do. I just finished rereading the third in the trilogy, which consists of High Tide at Noon (1944), The Storm Tide (1945), The Ebb Tide (1947). Ogilvie contined to write about the characters well beyond the initial trilogy, for about 50 years, but these first three books are the ones that really captured my imagination with their descriptions, voice, plots, and characters.

Foreign film night: “A Separation”

FOREIGN FILM NIGHT

“A Separation”

(From Iran, 2011)

2011 Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Language Film.

Set in contemporary Iran, a family struggles with the decision to improve the life of their daughter by leaving the country, or staying to care for a grandfather with Alzheimer’s.            (English Subtitles)

Wednesday, September 19, Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.

FREE   (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world)

Winter Weekend 2013: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Something to look forward to this winter…

On the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, the Maine Humanities Council is delighted to announce our first Dickens novel for Winter Weekend. Great Expectations, one of Dickens’s mature novels, is replete with his trademark colorful characters and biting criticism of society. This bildungsroman is a powerful and dramatic story from Dickens at his prime.

Winter Weekend is a humanities experience that, though lectures and discussions, unites historians, writers, artists, public intellectuals, and others to help us understand each year’s book in its rich historical and cultural context.

Winter Weekend 2013 will take place March 8 and 9 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The $225 registration fee includes a copy of the book, background readings, a reception, dinner, lunch, and coffee. CEUs are available for teachers. Limited scholarships are available for college and high school students. The program starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and continues until mid-afternoon on Saturday.

To register, visit http://mainehumanities.org/programs/2013.html

The Red Dory – A Long Island Book

The Red Dory –  a Long Island Book

by Chris McDuffie

It is not only the new books in our library which are interesting. I signed out The Red Dory by Hazel Wilson recently because I knew its author had spent a lot of time in her family’s cottage next to ours in Beach Cove, the one now owned by her grand nephew Greg Brown. Hazel Wilson published about 20 books, mostly for young readers, and The Red Dory was her first, published in 1939. It presents the summer adventures of a boy, Donald, living with his grandparents on Long Island.

In this book Wilson changed the name of Long Island to Pine Island, but there is no doubt as to the real location when she talks of Harbor de Grace where Donald lives, catching a lobster thief off the Stepping Stones, and taking summer people fishing off Outer Green Island.

Pasted in the back of the library’s copy there is a note from Hazel Wilson to a Mrs. Hewey which says, “The old captain in the book is partly modelled after Captain Ben Woodbury, whom I knew as a child. None of the happenings are really true, but his character was kind and dignified as I made Captain Eben in my book.”

The “happenings” (like the day a swordfish takes Donald and his red dory for a “Nantucket sleigh ride”) are things she may have made up to appeal to her young readers, but the book is so rich in details about the lean circumstances of a fishing family on Long Island in the 1930s that I think anyone who loves Long Island, as Hazel Wilson did, will find this a fascinating read.

There’s another Hazel Wilson book at the library, Island Summer, and again it is set on Pine Island (Long Island to those of us in the know). That’s going to be my next read.

Wednesday foreign film night: “Le Havre”

Wednesday FOREIGN FILM NIGHT   “LE HAVRE” 

 (2011 Finland/France)

An elderly shoeshine man stands up to officials pursuing an immigrant child in this contemporary fable. English Subtitles.

COME EARLY AT 7:15 PM TO SEE A REPEAT SHOW OF THE 12 MIN. FILM STARING BOB JORDAN, EMIL BERGES, AND PHIL HALE, DIRECTED BY CALLUM HALE THOMSON.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22

Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.

FREE   (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world.)

The Maine Garden Journal

For those of you who missed the talk at the beginning of this summer’s Long Island garden tour by Lisa Colburn, you will have another opportunity upcoming, at Portland Public Library’s Local Author’s Lecture Series on Friday, August 31st, at noon. Lisa’s book is subtitled: Insider  secrets  from  Maine  people  who  love  to  put  their  hands  in  the  dirt.

For more information on Lisa and her book, check out her website: http://www.mainegardenjournal.com/

 

Foreign film night begins again!

Our foreign film night series begins again tomorrow night (Wednesday August 8) at the Library Learning Center with:

“The Women on the 6th Floor”  (2010 France).

A French businessman’s life is turned upside down when he discovers the world of Spanish maids living in his family’s building.  Comedy set in 1960’s Paris.  (English subtitles.)

Come join us at 7:30 p.m. This series is free and highlights movies from around the world.

In addition, we’ll have a bonus short feature to show beforehand: “Sandwich.” This short (12 min.) film is a story of mystery, suspense, and comedy. Filmed on Long Island, Maine, (although a British project), it stars the well-known Long Island actors, Bob Jordan, Emil Berges, and Philip Hale.

The film was written, directed, filmed, produced, and financed by young, award-winning Callum Hale Thomson of the Hale family, long-time summer residents.  The film has just been accepted for entry in a Chicago film festival this October.  Come and see a fine film and great acting!  FREE at the Long Island Learning Center at 7:30 p.m., before “The Women on the 6th floor.”

A small library on an island on the coast of Maine