The Long and Winding Road

Cover of "Wanderlust: A History of Walkin...

Cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Today is Take a Walk in the Park Day.  The weather is certainly nice enough for a walk in the park, especially compared to what it was like last week during Spring Break (it figures).  Even if you can’t get out to a park for a nice walk, you can read about some remarkable walkers:

  • The things a brother knows by Dana Reinhardt (FIC Reinhardt) – Although they have never gotten along well, 17-year-old Levi follows his older brother Boaz, an ex-Marine, on a walking trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. in hopes of learning why Boaz is completely withdrawn.
  • Planetwalker by John Francis (921 Francis, J.) – John Francis, a man inspired by an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 1971 to give up using motorized vehicles and take a vow of silence, discusses the reasons why he embarked on his long, silent walk, and explains the meaning of the experience for him and society.
  • The deserter’s tale: the story of an ordinary soldier who walked away from the war in Iraq by Joshua Key (956.7044 Key) – Tells the true story of Joshua Key, an American soldier who refused to return to Iraq and fled with his family to Canada because of the things he saw and did in Iraq.
  • Daniel’s walk by Michael Spooner (FIC Spooner) – With little more than a bedroll, a change of clothes, and a Bible, 14-year-old Daniel LeBlanc begins walking the Oregon Trail in search of his father who, according to a mysterious visitor, is in big trouble and needs his son’s help.
  • Wanderlust: a history of walking by Rebecca Solnit (796.51 Sol) – Discusses walking as a political, social and aesthetic act, exploring its history and how famous walkers such as Wordsworth, Socrates, and Jane Austen’s characters used it, and explains the necessity of walking instead of always driving and hurrying.
  • Going after Cacciato by Tim O’Brien (FIC O’Brien) - An American soldier in Vietnam decides to leave the war and simply walks out of the jungle, with the intent of going to Paris.
  • Cold mountain by Charles Frazier (FIC Frazier) – Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, leaves the hospital where he is being treated and determines to walk home to his sweetheart Ada, only to find the land and the girl he remembers as changed by the war as he.
  • Into the wild by John Krakauer (921 McCandless) – Tells the story of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old who walked into the Alaskan wilderness on an idealistic journey and was found dead of starvation four months later.

Here is a question for you: why do you think so many of these books are about young men and/or soldiers?  Something to think about while to take that walk in the park …

WE DID IT!

Funds 4 Books closed last Monday (3/21) with a grand total of $1,141 in our account, which means WE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL of $1,000!  Hooray!

We could not have done it without all the WONDERFUL donors on and off campus who each gave a little to help us reach our goal.  Individual donations ranged from $5 to $100 and included donations from staff members, students, community members and service organizations.  ALL OF US WORKING TOGETHER MADE THIS COME ABOUT!

Now comes the fun part: choosing which books to buy!  We can only get 40-50 books with this amount of money, so there will be some tough choices.  Our priority will be to fill in some holes in the collection, of course, but we’ll make sure to order a few fun things, too.  :)

Spring Break!

Movie poster for The Master Mystery with Harry...

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Spring Break starts tomorrow!  This year, we are getting an extra day off, so Spring Break is 10 days long instead of 9 — hooray!  If you don’t already have plans, here are some “holidays” to observe while we are away from school:

March 19th - National Quilting Day : Make a quilt, buy a quilt, or just curl up under a quilt and read a book or watch a movie.

March 20th - Extraterrestrial Abduction Day : Watch a great sci fi movie, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

March 21st - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : Be more aware of your own thoughts and actions toward people who are different from you.  Donate money to a charity that works to fight racial discrimination.  Watch a movie about discrimination, like Invictus.

March 22nd - National Goof Off Day : This one is self-explanatory! :)

March 23rd - World Meteorological Day : Enjoy the weather, whatever it may be.  Check out a website that explains weather phenomena.  Watch the Weather Channel.

March 24th - Birthday of Harry Houdini (1874) : Watch a movie about escaping.  Try a few magic tricks.

March 25th - Waffle Day : Eat waffles for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or all three!)

March 26th - Make Up Your Own Holiday Day : Go for it – create your own special day and celebrate it however you want!

March 27th - National “Joe” Day : Say “thank you” to all the Joes in your life.  Have a cup of joe (coffee).

March 28th - Something on a Stick Day : Eat a corn dog, a sucker, kebabs … anything on a stick!

Most important of all …. ENJOY YOUR SPRING BREAK!!  :)

The Wearing of the Green

Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathed...

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Or as they say in Ireland Lá Fhéile Pádraig!  This day celebrates the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  Aside from the religious aspect of the holiday, it is also a day to celebrate all things Irish and to wear something green.

Some fun facts about St. Patrick:

  • He wasn’t Irish!  Patrick (or Pádraig, in Irish) was actually British.  He was captured by Irish slavers as a teenager and spend 6 years in Ireland as a slave before escaping and returning home to Britain.  After joining the Church, he went back to Ireland as an ordained bishop to convert the Irish to Christianity.
  • He didn’t drive the snakes from Ireland!  In fact, there have never been any snakes in Ireland, at least since the last Ice Age when the glacier retreated and Ireland became an island.
  • His “official” color is blue, not green!  Gradually, over time, the color green began to be associated with him because of the legend that he used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity.  The color became associated with Irish pride during the 1798 rebellion against England, when Irish soldiers wore all-green uniforms on St. Patrick’s Day to get attention.

Some facts about Ireland:

  • Ireland is the name of the whole island, which contains the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is a part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Wales and Scotland).  The Irish name for the Republic of Ireland is Éire.
  • The Irish flag is green, white and orange.  The green stands for the mostly Catholic Irish nation, the orange stands for Northern Ireland (those who wanted to remain part of the Protestant UK were known as Orangemen) and the white symbolizes peace between the two.
  • A flag known as St. Patrick’s Saltire, a red X on a white background, was incorporated into the “Union Jack” flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  This flag combined the crosses of St. George (patron saint of England), St. Andrew (patron saint of Scotland) and St. Patrick (Ireland).  The patron saint of Wales, St. David, didn’t make the cut. :(

 Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish book, like one of these:

  • Bog child by Siobhan Dowd -
    In 1981, the height of Ireland’s “Troubles,” eighteen-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother’s hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog.

  • A swift pure cry by Siobhan Dowd -
    Coolbar, Ireland, is a village of secrets and Shell, caretaker to her younger brother and sister after the death of their mother and with the absence of their father, is not about to reveal hers until suspicion falls on the wrong person.

  • Creature of the night by Kate Thompson – Bobby recklessly smokes, drinks, and steals cars in Dublin, and when his mother relocates the family to a small cottage in the countryside, Bobby believes a certain spookiness lurks in the corners of the new home.
  • Switchers by Kate Thompson – When freakish weather grips the Arctic regions and moves southward, an Irish girl and her strange companion save the world from disaster through their ability to switch into animal forms.
  • Hush: an Irish princess’ tale by Donna Jo Napoli -
    Melkorka, an Irish Princess, is kidnapped by Russian slave traders, and learns how to survive amidst her captors’ brutality while adhering to a vow of silence that gives her unique power.

  • Nory Ryan’s song by Patricia Reilly Giff -
    When a terrible blight attacks Ireland’s potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan’s courage and ingenuity helps her family and neighbors survive.

  • Skullcrack by Ben Bo – Jonah, a troubled boy who escapes from his dreary life with an alcoholic father by surfing on the coast of Ireland, discovers that he has a twin sister with whom he has an unusual mental link
  • Paddy Clarke, ha-ha-ha by Roddy Doyle – A young boy grows up in an Irish Catholic town.

If you prefer nonfiction, try:

  • Angela’s ashes: a memoir by Frank McCourt (921 McCourt)
  • How the Irish saved civilization: the untold story of Ireland’s heroic role from the fall of Rome to the rise of medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill (941.501 Cah)

Freedom of Information

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...

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Today is Freedom of Information Day, celebrated on James Madison’s birthday each year (March 16th).  Madison was the 4th president of the United States and is also known as the “Father of the Constitution” and the author of the Bill of Rights.  Today we celebrate the American citizen’s right to access government information and, more specifically, the Freedom of Information Act that was passed in 1966, which outlines how federal information is to be made available to anyone who requests it.

This is another great example of First Amendment rights, which is something libraries are very interested in. 

Funds 4 Books is Almost Over!

Our Funds 4 Books fundraiser ends next Monday, March 21st!  We are SO close to our goal of $1000 but we still need a few more donations to make it.  If you haven’t already, please visit our fundraising website and make a donation.  It’s easy and secure.  The more money we raise, the more new books we can put on the shelves!

The Ides of March or, Happy New Year?

The Death of Caesar

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Julius Caesar was famously told to “beware the Ides of March.”  This sounds ominous, but it’s just the ancient Roman way of saying “beware the 15th of March.”  Every month in the Roman calendar had an Ides (15th or 13th, depending on the month) as well as a Kalends (1st) and a Nones (7th or 5th).  The other days of the month were referred to by how many days before the next Kalends, Nones or Ides they were: for example, if March 7th was the Nones of March, then March 5th was III Nones.  Complicated, I know!  I’m glad we use a simpler calendar system!

According to the book Classical living: reconnecting with the rituals of ancient Rome by Frances Bernstein (292.3 Ber), March 15th is also the day of the goddess Anna Perenna, who was “a female deity who oversaw the continuity from one year to the next.  She was depicted as an old woman and honored on the Ides of March.”  Yes, at one time March 15th was the first day of the new year! 

To learn more about the ancient Romans, read:

  • The ancient Romans by Don Narco (937 Nar)
  • Ancient Rome by Simon Jones (937 Jon)
  • Women of ancient Rome by Fiona Macdonald (305.42 Mac)
  • Triumph of the hero: Greek and Roman myth by Tony Allan (292 All)
  • What life was like when Rome ruled the world: the Roman Empire, 100 BC – AD 200 (937 Wha)