Music on the Steps: August 25 - Marenje Marimba Ensemble
Uniquely Stafford Call for Artists: Deadline September 26
Believe Write Share Community Gathering: Tuesday, August 26
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Stafford 350
Music on the Steps: August 25 - Marenje Marimba Ensemble
Uniquely Stafford Call for Artists: Deadline September 26
Believe Write Share Community Gathering: Tuesday, August 26
Learn fast with Mango Languages
Sign up NOW for summer reading!
Stafford 350

LibraryPoint Blog

07/25/2012 - 12:28pm

A good friend headed off to a new life last week.  I am thrilled with the happy events that led her to these new adventures, but miss her terribly.  I hadn’t expected it to be so hard considering I’m, well, let’s just say of an age when I have experienced my share of changes.  It’s renewed my sympathy for any younger person facing a move, either his own or a friend’s.  Luckily there are some wonderful children’s books that can serve as a discussion starter or maybe just as a way to validate their feelings.  I know I appreciated living vicariously through the petulance of the characters in the first two books!  

The title says it all in “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me?  I mean it!) Going to Move” by Judith Viorst.  Alexander is age appropriately melodramatic about his impending move.  According to him, he’ll never again have a best friend like Paul or a great sitter like Rachel.  The new cleaners won’t save anything they find in his pockets even if it’s gum wrappers or an old tooth.  Anything is preferable to moving, even living in the weeds next to his friend’s house and getting poison ivy.  His understanding parents reassure him that he will find boys his age and a new sitter.  His brother tells Alexander that he can sleep in his room if he gets lonesome.  Slightly persuaded, Alexander decides that although he still doesn’t like it, he’ll pack  He does have one caveat: this is the last time (Do you hear me? I mean it) he’s going to move!  

07/25/2012 - 3:31am
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

In Train Dreams, Denis Johnson constructs a melancholy portrait of the U.S. frontier. Instead of focusing on the raw potential and opportunity most associate with the Western expansion, Johnson elucidates the isolation and stasis involved in “taming” a wild place. Johnson artfully constructs a non-linear account of Robert Grainier’s life on the frontier. Through Grainier’s perspective, we witness the rapid transformation of America – from railroad construction to the proliferation of sleek highways; from influenza epidemics to a random encounter with Elvis Presley. Despite the changes going on around him, Grainier remains a lonely outsider, observing the world’s expedited evolution from a distance.

Fittingly, Grainier’s first memory is of an iconic symbol of movement and progress: a train. As a child, he was sent to Idaho on the Great Northern Railroad to live with his cousins. The experience of locomotion erased all memory of his origins, leaving him with a vague and malleable sense of self: “The whole adventure made him forget things as soon as they happened, and he very soon misplaced this earliest part of his life entirely.

07/24/2012 - 7:34am
The Forgotten History of America by Cormac O'Brien

History, particularly popular history, need not be dull, something that Cormac O’Brien demonstrates readily in his book, The Forgotten History of America. Written in a conversational tone and broken into vignettes, old history is made new when written this way. Even so, it’s not the standard stuff taught in schools. It’s about wars and both sides in those wars, reaching back to the country’s colonial beginnings in the 16th century. With personalities writ large on both sides and a good understanding of the differences in modern and historical society, O’Brien leads his readers on journeys back in time:

It begins with the first permanent European settlement in North America:

1565

Pedro Menedez de Aviles anxiously paced the deck of his flagship, San Pelayo. Two days earlier, off the coast of Florida, he had gone ashore and met with Indians who offered valuable information about the prey he was desperately seeking.  Now, confident of success, he led his five vessels northward along the coastline, scanning the beaches for any sign of European settlement.  The day was September 4, 1565, and Menendez was hunting heretics.