Tag Archives: books

Which is better – the book or the movie?

Which is better – the book or the movie?  For me, it’s usually the book, but there are always exceptions.

This past month I checked out two DVDs from the Long Island Community Library based on some of my favorite books in recent years. One was “Wild” by and about Cheryl Strayed and her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail – this was a great book, but the movie was merely good. It’s difficult to get the interior voice into a story. It seemed to focus more on Cheryl’s backstory than on her transformative journey. The other movie, which I watched last night, was “Light between oceans” based on M. L. Stedman’s book about a family on a remote lighthouse off Australia. This was a lovely movie, which portrayed the drama with fine casting, and of course the beautiful scenery provided a great backdrop. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I dropped a few tears at the end.

 Another favorite book of mine that I read last year didn’t translate well into a movie, in my opinion: JoJo Moyes’ “Me before you.” I loved this book, especially the dialogue and inner voices. While it was a good story on film, it didn’t seem to be as entertaining as the book. But there again, I knew how it would end. The real test is what my husband thinks of a movie, as he hasn’t read the book and doesn’t know the story. It was fun to watch “Gone Girl” with him as I knew what was going to happen, having read the book by Gillian Flynn, and he didn’t read it. Often when I’m reading a book I think “hmmm… this would make a great movie” – and sometimes a movie is made from the book, and it delivers.

And then there are the times when I see the movie first and then read the book, such as “Gone with the Wind” – I read this book many years after I saw the movie. I loved the book, although I did picture Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh as Rhett and Scarlett as I read the book.

I didn’t care for “A man called Ove” by Frederik Backman, but maybe it will make for a better movie experience. The movie, as well as “Girl on the train” by Paula Hawkins, are available at LICL. Since I haven’t read “Girl on the train” yet, I think I will read it first, and then check out the movie. I’ll let you know what I think – about both!

July 7th: Regarding “Girl on the Train: I enjoyed the book, and the movie! I thought the movie did a good job of translating the book into a movie, although they changed the setting from the London suburbs to the New York City suburbs (but Emily Blunt got to keep her British accent)

 

You can buy the mug above at:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/204814503/funny-mug-coffee-cup-tea-cup-bookworm?ref=finds_l

 

In celebration of tea … and books!

As the cool autumn wind blows over our island community, what better time than to curl up with a great book and a cup of tea? Several years ago I showcased my tea pot and tea cup collection at the Long Island Community Library, along with a list of some of my favorite tea books, which I will share below. What are some of your favorite books about tea?mhs-tea-party

The book of tea / preface by Anthony Burgess. Flammarion, 2005.

Barnes, Emilie. If teacups could talk : sharing a cup of kindness with treasured friends. Eugene, Oregon : Harvest House Publishers, 1994.

O’Connor, Sharon. Afternoon tea serenade : recipes from famous tea rooms, classical chamber music. Emeryville, Ca. : Menus and Music Productions, Inc., 1997.

Rubin, Ron. Tea Chings : the tea and herb companion : appreciating the varietals and virtues of fine tea and herbs / Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold. New York : Newmarket Press, 2002.

Smith, Michael. The afternoon tea book. New York : Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.

Siegal, Helene. The totally teatime cookbook / by Helen Siegal and Karen Gillingham. Berkeley, Ca. : Celestial Arts, 1995

Coffeehouse Library Project

PPL outreach 3Several of us islanders like to wait for the ferry in places other than the ferry terminal, including Portland’s numerous watering holes and cafes. But what if you have no reading materials while drinking your cappuccino? Thanks to the Coffeehouse Library Project, an outreach of the Portland Public Library, great books are at your fingertips, with no due dates or fees – just return the books when you are done! This is where I found the wonderful “Under the wild and starry sky” by Nancy Horan, about Fanny Stevenson, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. Brilliant!

PPL outreach 2

So, next time you are killing time, waiting for the ferry, settle in to a great cup of coffee or tea … and a book!

For more information see:

https://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/coffeehouse-library-project/PPL outreach 1

 

Cambridge Book Bike

bike on beach

I just heard, from a librarian friend, about a great program in Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Book Bike. Librarians ride around on bikes loaded with books and park in a designated park at a designated time to give kids free books. Their logo is:

Delivering books and a love of reading in Cambridge, ma.

Their VISION:

All children in Cambridge will have access to quality literature to build home libraries for enjoyment and learning outside of the academic year.

Their MISSION:

  • The Book Bike supports healthy bodies and healthy minds by visiting many of the Cambridge parks that participate in the Summer Food Program.
  • Meeting families in the park for stories and activities, the Book Bike models that reading is fun!
  • The program empowers children of all ages to choose their own free book, selected by literacy professionals to encourage reading in summer months.  Books include a wide variety of titles, topics and languages.
  • The Book Bike connects families to other programs that support summer reading in Cambridge including the local public library.

What can be better – to combine exercise (at least for the librarians) and book reading, as well as being in a park on a beautiful sunny day. (And food and snacks provided)

For more information:

http://www.cambridgebookbike.org/

 

Tribute to travel books

Not books about traveling, but books to read while traveling! This is my tribute to, and observations about, books to read while traveling. Not one for a Nook or Kindle, I prefer the old fashioned paper copies(which don’t require batteries). I travel most days by boat (some call it commuting) and I carry two books to dip into per voyage – a non-fiction and a fiction book. Preferably paperbacks, for the weight factor. Sometimes this isn’t possible, give that public libraries, where I get many of my books, tend to avoid paperbacks, as they don’t hold up as well as hardcovers. If a hardcover is needed for one book, hopefully the second book is a paperback.

Connie reading

And then there are airplane books. I’ve learned over the years that the best books to bring while flying are not only light in weight, but light in reading – that is, ones you don’t have to think too much about. So when you’re stuck in an airport because of a layover or flight delay, you have a book that absorbs you and provides an escape from the tedium. As well as when you’re on a long flight, you need a great read to really take you away.

suitcase

While traveling it’s also good to have books that are not library books nor belong to someone else – in other words, books that you don’t have to worry about if you lose or damage them. Or, if you don’t like them, you can leave them somewhere along the way, such as at your relative’s house or in the back pocket of the seat in front of you. That will lighten your load during your travels (or allow you room to pick up more books).

Finally, for the many people who vacation/travel end up on beaches (lucky us Long Islanders who can visit the beach much of the year), there are beach books. These are also books you don’t want to have to worry about if they get damaged or sandy, as well as being lightweight as you stretch out on your beach blanket.

beach reading

And then there are the contents of books that you bring on travels, but that’s another topic for another time.

See you on the ferry!

Ode to Knit Lit!

yarn 2

This past winter has been a great opportunity to curl up with a knitting project, or just enjoy reading knitting books and magazines. Here are a few that I’ve enjoyed in past winters, and all throughout the year.

Nancy Berges, our island knitting maven, lent me a wonderful trio of books that she picked up on a trip to Wales many years ago: Cornish Guernseys & knit-frocks, by Mary Wright; Patterns for Guernseys, jerseys & Arans : fishermen’s sweaters from the British Isles, by Gladys Thompson; and Traditional knitting of the British Isles : Fisher-Gansey patterns of N.E. England, by Michael R. R. Pearson. Full of interesting stories, these books offer a glimpse into some of the island fishing communities in England, the men who wore the sweaters, and the women who knit them.

No idle hands: the social history of knitting, by Anne L. Macdonald, is another good winter read. From colonial days, through the Civil War, and up into the post World War II, Americans were busy knitting, often out of necessity, and later on for pleasure.

I love Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac : projects for each month of the year. While most of her projects are beyond my abilities, her charming writing made it just plain fun to read about her projects such as an Aran sweater, socks, long underwear, etc.

If you just like to read knitting essays, I would recommend Knitting yarns: writers on knitting, edited by Ann Hood. You’ll recognize some of the names, such as Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, Elinor Lipman, Joyce Maynard, Ann Patchett, Anita Shreve, and Jane Smiley. Ann Hood also wrote another knitting book, the novel The knitting circle, about a group of women in Rhode Island providing comfort and therapy to each other through knitting. For more knitting fiction I would recommend Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series, also about a knitting group and knitting shop, A Good Yarn, in Seattle.

Knitting is also a wonderful way to tell others that you care. Several books provide a means to do this. One is Knitting for peace: make the world a better place one stitch at a time, by Betty Christiansen. I’m trying to work my way through this book, in order to not only make projects for various charities, but also to “knit outside the box,” and hopefully improve my knitting skills. Charities include afgans for Afghans, Project Linus, and Warm up America! There are also prayer shawl books out there, to make someone you love a prayer shawl, to bring comfort, or sometimes just to celebrate good things. The prayer shawl companion is just one of the several books available. Simply reading the stories will inspire you to make a shawl yourself. It really does mean a lot to receive, and give, a prayer shawl.

Finally, for just pure visual delight, I enjoyed Coastal knits: a collaboration between friends on opposite shores, by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. Alana (in mid-coast California) and Hannah (in Portland, Maine), offer their patterns and stories. I especially loved this book, not only for the photography, but because I grew up in California and was familiar with the area described, as well as of course, the Portland and Casco Bay area.

The Long Island Community Library offers the best of both worlds when it comes to knitting – books about knitting and a place to gather with fellow knitters – every Thursday afternoon, in the small meeting room. Come join us!

Yarn 1

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – a literary list

Dublin - Dublin Castle 2

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some of my favorite Irish or Celtic reads of the past few years to share with you. Many of these books are available at the Maine Irish Heritage Center Library in Portland, a real treat for all things Irish.

http://www.maineirish.com/cultural-services/library/

 

Johnson, Margaret M. The new Irish table: 70 contemporary recipes. San Francisco, Ca. : Chronicle Books, 2003. We’re going to cook some of these recipes for our St. Patrick’s Day feast tonight, including Haddock in Cider, and Colcannon. But just looking at the pictures is a delight!

Adam, David. Cry of the deer: meditations on the hymn of St. Patrick. Wilton, Conn. : Morehouse-Barlow, 1987. These meditations are based on the eternal certainties of the Christian faith, as acclaimed in the translation of the hymn of St Patrick known as The Deer’s Cry. A good reminder to us that St. Patrick’s Day is named after a saint, who is probably rolling over in his grave knowing that his saint’s day is for many an excuse to drink all day.

Barker, Matthew Jude. The Irish of Portland, Maine: a history of Forest City Hibernians. Charleston, SC : The History Press, 2014. Matt’s passion is all things Irish, especially history and genealogy. This book is a great read about a fascinating aspect of Portland’s history and ethnic groups.Dublin - cross

Cronin, Deborah K. Holy ground: Celtic Christian spirituality. Nashville, TN. : Upper Room Books, c1999. Deborah Cronin writes, “My encounter with Celtic Christianity has been a journey to islands…” No wonder I like this book!

Taylor, Patrick. An Irish country doctor. New York, NY : Forge, 2007, c2005. Similar to Cornwall’s Doc Martin, a city doctor practices medicine in a small eccentric country village. This book is the first in a series by an author who used to practice medicine in rural Ireland before immigrating to Canada.

Severin, Timothy. The Brendan voyage. New York : McGraw-Hill, c1978. Tim Severin and his crew recreated the mythical journey of St. Brendan, “The Navigator,” and his gang of Irish monks from Ireland to Newfoundland by boat. Great armchair reading but a journey we would never want to undertake – a lot of miserable days at sea. But a great way to learn about voyages, building a skin boat, weather patterns, Iceland, ice packs, etc.

Knight, Elizabeth. Celtic teas with friends : teatime traditions from Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Perryville, KY : Benjamin Press, 2008. For someone who likes tea and all things Celtic, this is a perfect fit. Celtic Teas with Friends provides that history in anecdotes and stories alongside practical advice on how to host unique and colorful tea parties.

Murphy, Dervla. Wheels within wheels. London: Murray, 1979. Dervla Murphy is one of my favorite travel writers – I loved her book “Full tilt: Ireland to India with a bicycle.” She is an amazing writer and traveler – truly fearless. Wheels within wheels is her autobiography, about her life before she set out on her bicycle adventure in her early thirties. Well-written, humorous, and interesting.

Fitzgerald, William John. A contemporary Celtic prayer book. Chicago, IL : ACTA Publications, [1998]. A wonderful book to take you through the week, with prayers for each time of day every day, as well as prayers for certain occasions including “prayer to the divine marriage broker,” “prayer of the divorced,” “prayer of single parents,” “blessing for a journey,” and “blessing of children.”Dublin - head

Llywelyn, Morgan. Strongbow : the story of Richard and Aoife : a biographical novel. New York : TOR, 1996. A story based on true events of twelfth-century Ireland follows the adventure of Richard de Clare, a great Norman knight, and Aoife, a free-spirited princess who is sworn to protect her people. One of my favorite Irish writers, Morgan Llywelyn’s books are a great way to learn about Irish history through fiction.

 

Maine Literary Awards winners!

Great Diamond Island tour - Moon Garden

The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (MWPA) announced the winners of the 2014 Maine Literary Awards.

The winners for book awards included Roxana Robinson for “Sparta” in fiction; Al Lamanda for “Sunrise” in crime fiction; Mark D. Diehl for “Seventeen: Book One” in speculative fiction; Lincoln Paine for “The Sea and Civilization” in nonfiction; Peter Korn for “Why We Make Things and Why it Matters” in memoir; Christian Barter for “In Someone Else’s House” in poetry; Lynn Plourde for “You’re Wearing THAT to School?!” in children’s; Maria Padian for “Out of Nowhere” in young adult; Martha White for “E.B. White on Dogs” in anthology; Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto for “New England Gardener’s Year” in the John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed nonfiction; and Elizabeth W. Garber and Michael Weymouth for “Maine (Island Time)” for excellence in publishing.

For more information see:

http://mainewriters.org/winners-of-the-2014-maine-literary-awards/#more-2719

 

 

Cookies, cookies, cookies

Happy New Year! It’s been a wintry year so far, with bitter cold, snow, wind, and even some rain. Perfect time to do some serious cookie baking, and eating. In order to celebrate the fine art of this culinary pleasure, we’ve installed a new exhibit in the library
to inspire you.  This exhibit of cookie cutters, collected by Nancy Noble throughout the years, has been installed in the glass case between the library and the small meeting room. These include not only Christmas cookie cutters, but also other holidays, from Presidents Day to Thanksgiving, as well as animals, teapots, fish, boats, and even Mickey Mouse. Come visit the exhibit, if you can, and pick out your favorites! A few cookie recipe books are also displayed (so, yes, there is a book connection)cookie exhibit at LICL