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Looking back: CHS Yearbooks at the Chelmsford Library

   February 24th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

1944 Fighter PlaneI recently spoke with a woman who was trying to help a ninety-year-old friend track down some pages from his yearbook from the 1940s. Our local history room actually contains a collection of Chelmsford High School yearbooks dating back to when the school opened at its current location in 1929. In the process of going through the books for the specific page, I was amazed at how universal the high school experience appears from the photos, with their little bios beside each – so many bright, ambitious, excited young people about to embark on adulthood.

Upon receiving the scanned pages we sent him from the yearbook, he called to express his thanks. He shared some of his memories from that period so many years ago, and the impact it had on his future. The gentleman in question had grown up on a farm in Chelmsford, and in those years during the war, his family had been intensely busy supporting the war effort.  Upon graduating, first from Chelmsford, and then from university, he was able to move away to begin a successful career in another area. He was delighted and overwhelmed to return briefly to the time and the person he had been so many years ago.

If you would like the opportunity to reminisce about your youth, visit our collection anytime we are open. You can browse the collection we have through our catalog (each year is listed in the call number), and check out a few of the interesting covers in our Flickr photo collection here. We have many of the years between 1929 and 2013, but our set is by no means complete. If you have any old yearbooks collecting dust around the house, consider donating them to the collection.

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Twisted Threads by Lea Wait

   February 19th, 2015 - by: Christine Sharbrough, Head of Reader Services & Circulation

Image of itemA decade after she left Haven Harbor, Maine, Angie Curtis returns after receiving news that the remains of her mother have been found.  Raised by her grandmother, Charlotte, since the disappearance of her mother, Angie believed she was abandoned.  Now there is evidence not only that her mother was murdered, but that Angie knows the killer. When a member of Charlotte’s needlepointing business dies under mysterious circumstances, it starts to look like the two murders may be connected.

Twisted Threads is promising start for a new series.  If you enjoy crafting mysteries, try Maggie Sefton’s knitting series starting with Knit One, Kill Two or Laura Childs’ scrapbook series starting with Keepsake Crimes.

I love cozy mysteries.  They are perfect for a snowy day spent reading with a cup of tea and my lap cat.  Stay warm!

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Slip into Slipstream

   February 10th, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Get in trouble Vampires in the lemon grove Thunderstruck tenth of december color master x

I learned this week, thanks to an article in the Wall Street Journal, that I actually have a favorite genre. Technically, it’s not a genre; it’s more of a technique or style, but being a reader who has never before been able to claim a more specific taste profile than "general fiction," I could now say that I’m a fan of Slipstream. This term, while not really new, has recently been gaining more of an audience. Slipstream was actually coined back in 1989, by critic and author Bruce Sterling, in an essay addressing the evolution of his genre. He was eager to separate what he considered to be true science fiction, from the stories that simply incorporated elements of the genre. So he called this area of science fiction “slipstream.” He explains the genre thus:

It seems to me that the heart of slipstream is an attitude of peculiar aggression against "reality." These are fantasies of a kind, but not fantasies which are "futuristic" or "beyond the fields we know." These books tend to sarcastically tear at the structure of "everyday life."

And he goes on to describe other characteristics. The whole essay is available online here.

Before, I would often apply the term magical realism, or realistic fantasy to the stories I preferred to read most, but that never quite seemed adequate. Sometimes the stories would contain charming supernatural creatures, mysterious plant life or visitors from another time or dimension. Other times the stories simply presented a reality that was slightly off kilter, creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere, and would make little attempt to directly address the dissonance. Kelly Link, in a recent NPR interview, describes her stories, many of which are written in this way, as adhering to a “night time logic”, similar to the way the mind, while asleep, sort of accepts the events in a dream, events that would confound us when awake.

I’ve collected some of the titles that fit this type into a Pinterest board on our Chelmsford Library Pinterest page,and included links for a few recent examples above. So, the next time you’re feeling a bit mischievous or playful, or would like to read something a little more out of the ordinary, try one of these books.


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Chelmsford Winterfest 2015, Feb 6th to Feb 8th!

   February 4th, 2015 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Chelmsford WinterfestChelmsford Winterfest 2015 is this weekend - Friday, February 6th through Sunday, February 8th.

A complete list of Winterfest events is available at http://www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/winterfest/, along with a map of event locations. There are lots of fun happenings all around town - but be sure to check out the events taking place at the library:

  • Saturday, Feb 7th: the Children's Department will be hosting performers Davis Bates and Roger Tincknell with songs and stories for WinterFest, at the main Library at 10:30 a.m.
  • Sunday, Feb 8th: the popular WinterFest Social from 2-4 p.m. This is also the kick-off event for Chelmsford's One Book program, so we will be handing out copies of The Sandcastle Girls along with a program brochure and a colorful bibliography of books about Armenia and the Armenian Genocide. Armenian folk music and dance songs will be provided by Ara Jeknavoroian and Harry Alexanian.

Chelmsford Winterfest ArtWalk

  • Sunday, Feb 8th: start of the Center Village ArtWalk. Eleven artists and nine businesses in Center Village are participating in the Artwalk, so stroll around the Center and viewing the displays in the shop windows. Then, cast your vote for your favorite - a People's Choice ballot will be available at the library, or you can vote online at http://www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/winterfest/artwalk
  • Sunday, Feb 8th: opening of the WinterFest Photography Contest February Photography Exhibit. There will be a "People's Choice" ballot box for the public to vote for their favorite photographs in each of the 3 categories. On Sunday the Cultural Council will hand out awards for the juried prize for each category, but the People's Choice award won't be announced until the end of the month. The Cultural Council will also recognize the 2015 grant recipients.

We've had plenty of snow already this year, and this weekend is the time to get out and enjoy winter!

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Seconds, a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O`Malley

   February 4th, 2015 - by: Christine Sharbrough, Head of Reader Services & Circulation

secondsOk, I've been on a binge of graphic novels this past month. But, that's because there are so MANY that are SO GOOD!! This one has to be my reigning favorite (outside of the Marvel and DC Universes that is). It tells the story of a rather prickly restaurant owner and chef, Katie. The restaurant, Seconds, is doing a brisk business and Katie wants to open an additional restaurant across town.  The location is in a less desirable area but the building has historic charm.  Life is good.

After a series of mishaps and accidents at the restaurant, her life is starting to seem not so good. One night after work, she falls asleep wishing she could reverse all the bad that has happened.  Waking in the night she finds a mysterious girl crouching on her dresser. (Stay with me here) As the girl slowly disappears from view, Katie finds a small notebook and a red mushroom left behind.

Within the notebook is a recipe for a do-over, a second chance to make things right. All Katie has to do is write down her mistake in the notebook, eat the mushroom, and things will go back to the way they were. Katie, a type-A personality, cannot be happy with making things the way they were however.  She succeeds in finding the source of the red mushrooms and begins redoing her entire life over and over to disastrous results.

With chibi-like characters, bright coloration, and unusual framing for a comic, it is a delight to the eyes yet remains a cautionary tale. How many second chances can you have without your life becoming unrecognizable as your own? The answer lies within.


   Posted in Books, Graphic Novels, Reading Room | No Comments »




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