Tom Ashbrook

Library Love at the Newton Free Library

Here is link to a recent write-up about the Newton Free Library Benefit in the Boston Globe West Weekly Section.

Spring Fling Authors 2011

A very long time ago, a young mother joined a committee. She was newish at this and did not realize that committees are everywhere but that is another story. This committee helped raise money for the local library and that was good. So she worked on the committee and the library raised more money (for technology) each year and that was also good. Each year the event hosted new authors and more people came to the event and it is now held in the very beautiful library. The young mother is oldish now and still loves the library.

The benefit this year is being held on March 26, 6:30-10 pm at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street, Newton, Massachusetts. The always interesting Tom Ashbrook of NPR’s On Point will be a featured speaker and the inimitable William Novak will present the authors. We are lucky to have such a wonderful group of authors each year and this year is no exception.

Here are our Spring Fling authors and we hope you plan to join us at Spring Fling, Saturday, March 26th, as we honor their literary contributions.
Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
By Caldwell, Gail
2010-08 – Random House

In this gorgeous, moving memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Caldwell reflects on her own coming-of-age in midlife, as she learns to open herself to the power and healing of sharing her life with a best friend. …More

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--And a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness–And a Trove of Letters–Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression
By Gup, Ted
2010-10 – Penguin Press
An inspiring account of America at its worst–and Americans at their best–woven from the stories of Depression-era families who were helped by gifts from the author’s generous and secretive grandfather. More

TinkersTinkers
By Harding, Paul
2009-01 – Bellevue Literary Press
2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner An astonishing first novel of memory, consciousness, and man’s place in the natural world. …More

Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind
By Watson, Bruce
2007-08 – Viking Books
In the first full-length narrative of the case in thirty years, Bruce Watson unwinds a gripping tale that opens with anarchist bombs going off in a posh Washington, D.C., neighborhood and concludes with worldwide outrage over the execution of the good shoemaker and the poor fish peddler. Sacco and Vanzetti mines deep archives and new sources, unveiling fresh details about these naive dreamers and militant revolutionaries. This case still haunts the American imagination. Authoritative and engrossing, Sacco and Vanzetti will capture fans of true crime books and everyone who enjoys riveting American history. …More
No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale
By Frankel, Felice C.
Author Whitesides, George M.
2009-11 – Belknap Press
“No Small Matter” uses dazzling images and evocative descriptions to reveal the virtually invisible possibilities of nanoscience. Authors Frankel and Whitesides offer an overview of recent scientific advances that have contributed to this ever-shrinking microtechnology. …More

We’re Gleeks

It’s true. We are way into Glee. This hasn’t happened since…um, Gray’s Anatomy and that was only me – everyone else called it that medical show that Mommy likes. I have always watched television programs with my children (you are supposed to, you know). Yes, from Barney (shudder) to Sesame Street (yay!) and Arthur. I do draw the line a a full episode of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody  (whether on the boat or off) but we are aware of the media they are exposed to and monitor what they watch and how much screen time they have in general.

Having said that, I let my kids watch Glee. Wow, that is pretty adult content. Yes, yes it is (that is cribbed from Phineas and Ferb which I shamelessly enjoy).  Is there an app for that? Well, there is a rationale. Here goes. I attended a seminar a while ago with Dr. Michael Jellineck of MGH* and he gave great advice to a packed conference room of (nervous) parents of teens.  The easiest one to implement (not to say this is the only one I am following) was to watch tv shows with your kids (his choices were Nip and Tuck and Hill Street Blues – his kids are older). Not just to veg out but to talk about situations the characters experience with your children. Almost any show will involve a teen pregnancy (see Glee) and the emotional distance when talking about a character on the show means that it is easier to talk about tough topics.

So far, so good. Is my rationale good enough for watching Glee with my children? Yes, it works for us and we all genuinely like it. capability mom gleeGlee is fun, funny, well-written, edgy but not too edgy, quirky, clever and – oh, the music! We discuss plot lines, ridiculous ones are easy pickings, and we having good conversations. I emphasize that this is a show and made to look dramatic and scandalous for ratings and it does give us plenty to talk about.

Do I think including the Rocky Horror Picture Show is over the top? That remains to be seen because I just saw this Time Warp video

(I fondly remember it, too – yes, there was at least one midnight show that I attended  – no more details, please) yesterday. Sadly, I missed the show because I was crashing a Reinventing Your Career Seminar run by the Kellogg School of Management. (No, I don’t have an MBA from anywhere -never mind Kellogg – I was a guest of someone with an actual MBA – that is a whole other story, stay tuned).

What I am ready to weigh in on is the photo spread in GQ – Glee Gone Wild. Inappropriate may begin to cover it. If Glee maintains it is an adult show then why are there Glee products at Claire’s (as tween/teen a store as you can get)? Here are the links for articles from Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe and NY Daily News.

Where do you stand on this topic? Even more information and discussion was to be found on NPR. Yesterday, Tom Ashbrook’s program On Point yesterday was about Selling Youth Sexuality – and Glee was one of the hot topics.  Go check it out. Write a comment if you have an opinion on this topic – I’d love to have a discussion about it.

*Michael Jellinek, M.D.Chief, Child Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital President Newton Wellesley Hospital

Here is a link to  some of the videos from Glee – Will did end up deciding it was too racy for them to perform for the school – nice decision and great performances. Maybe a bit of a nod to the seriously upset parents storming them…

capability mom links to msn blog tv buzz

Swollen feet, social ‘ept-edness’ and flowers at the library

Swollen feet notwithstanding, I had a great night.  The library fundraiser went off without a (discernable) hitch.  Sure, a computer crashed during check-in but only because of an over-zealous book return.  The library was transformed in to spring-like bower (flowers by Whole Foods and 1-800-flowers).  Authors* hosted and honored – check.  Guests well-fed (wonderful food from Bakers’ Best) and entertained (Tom Ashbrook and Bill Novak  as hosts – check.  Great silent auction items scooped up – check.

The library was transformed by a team of dedicated volunteers and library employees who have been working towards this day since last year.  We range in age from 40 (ish) to 80 (ish) and share a love of books and the library. We are some or all of the following: visual, literary, quiet, chatty, giving, caring, considerate, kind, opinionated, employed, retired, SAHMs, socially adept**, talented, and dedicated.  We spend a good amount of time in the weeks leading up to the event putting together auction items, labels, programs, name tags, planning the catering, setting up the event, getting babysitters,chatting up the event to friends, selecting and buying books to go with each auction item (from the New England Mobile Book Fair  – long-standing supporters of the library) , and wrapping, wrapping, wrapping.  We are lucky to have a community that supports the library with donations of professional services, goods and one time events (Kiss 108 concert and tour of studio) and the wonderful people who host authors, bid on auction items, support the library with time, energy and showing up for events like this one.

* Authors celebrated last evening:  James Carroll, Anita Diamant, Lisa Genova, Jean Kilbourne, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Mitchell Zuckoff.

** I have the temerity to invent the word “ept” as in inept or adept in front of the editor of the local paper, The Newton Tab.

Return to work? School? Stay home? I want it all.

I have always loved libraries, the peace, the enforced quiet (sometimes I need to be forced to be quiet), and the books – so many books!  There is an application for Simmons college for an MLS degree in my inbox – it has been there awhile now and I almost don’t notice it anymore but I still think about it. 

I  get my library fix in a few ways these days, aside from just using it as the amazing resource that it is, I also volunteer for the Spring Fling, a wonderful annual fundraiser for the Newton Free Library (Tom Ashbrook of NPR as host)  for the Friends of the Newton Free Library (book and author lunch, book sales) and at my children’s schools (I do need that Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again button).  All of these groups are filled with lovely and intelligent women who are kind, supportive, level-headed and generous with their time and energy.  It is a pleasure to spend time with them.  There is a great (almost endless) supply of energy among these women. Whether it is a book sale, an author’s evening,  a school-wide fundraiser or Understanding Our Differences program, the dedication and talent of these women is remarkable.

That said, I am on the precipice of wanting to – gasp – Return To Work.  I know my skills are rusty or possibly non-existent, I know it is a horrible job market and I do value my time with my children at home (and volunteering) and still want to do that, too.  I also want to be paid.  I am glad that I have been home with my children and wouldn’t have missed it for the world (this is in no way a  judgement of moms who work outside of the home, it is just what worked for us).  But I still dream of those mother’s hours (10 am to 2 pm) and a fulfilling and financially rewarding career. Dreaming?  Unrealistic? How do you balance your life?  Let me know in the comment section.

Here are links to the Spring Fling, Friends and UOD

http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net/?sec=about&doc=sf10

http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net/?sec=about&doc=sf10

http://www.understandingourdifferences.org/uod_nps.html

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