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Archive for Category: Reading Room
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Food and Music are the Keys to Memory

   Friday, April 16th, 2010 - by: Becky Herrmann, Library Director

Do I need help? I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and talking about food.

As I ponder the benefits of using Meyer lemons over your basic supermarket brand, I wonder at times what matters of consequence I could be contemplating instead - the pros and cons of health care, the meaning of life or perhaps why the sky is blue. But no, I would prefer to think about food. It is part of my genetic make-up - when planning family get-togethers, the first question any of my sisters asks is, "What can I bring?" (meaning food, of course…).

I think I have been obsessed with meal planning since I made my first dinner from the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook - homemade "Shake and Bake-style chicken, a bunny salad (pears with cottage cheese tails) and molasses crinkles for dessert.

Food stimulates my sense memories - it is how I navigate my history. I even recollect visits from friends by what I served them for dinner - "Ah yes, I remember it well, that was the night of the roasted tomato and goat cheese appetizer." "No, I think you are wrong - I distinctly recall we had the porcini mushroom risotto."

Food is my memory trigger. It starts with the recollection of the meal, leads to remembered conversations - a shared laugh and a visual journey down memory lane. Food memories are how I orient myself. I even give directions in the Boston area using restaurants as my compass points - they are just around the corner from Redbones; they live half a block from Dali; you won't miss their place, they are right next to Rosie's Bakery.

Music is the other trigger for me - a familiar provocation for most. Rickie Lee Jones' "Chuck E.'s in Love" sends me to a spring day, hanging out on a dorm roof in my first shorts of the season. "Truckin" by the Grateful Dead brings me to Harvard square on a summer evening, listening to the street musicians. Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of your life)" has me back in an auditorium seat watching the Senior class video as my daughter graduated from high school. And it is not always your favorite songs that elicit the memories - "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas was my senior high class song. I am sure that is what made it pour that day.

There is nothing I like better than to invite friends over, try out a few new recipes and put on some of my favorite music. Here are two cookbooks I have recently admired and a few CD's that are worth checking out.

Cookbooks:

The Conscious Cook -Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change Your Life by Tal Ronnen - A vegan cookbook that puts protein at the center of the plate and creates satisfying meals for both meat-lover and vegetarian palates. 75 creative and diverse recipes accompanied by beautiful full-color photographs (and they taste good too!).

Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition by Barbara Lynch - A local girl, self-taught chef Barbara Lynch was raised in the projects of South Boston, where she ate mostly processed foods. She was introduced to cooking by her high school home economics teacher and fell in love with the craft. Since then, she's opened a cooking school, a cookbook store, a deli, a butcher shop and several award-winning restaurants including No. 9 Park. She has also given us this gorgeous cookbook filled with mouth-watering recipes including a few of her restaurants' signature dishes.

Music:

Theresa Andersson, Hummingbird, Go! - Raised in Sweden and based in New Orleans, Andersson got her start recording quirky harmonies in her kitchen. Influenced by both folk music and Motown, her voice is reminiscent of a contemporary Dusty Springfield.

Big Star, #1 Record and Radio City - With the untimely passing of Alex Chilton, it is time to look back at the pop band, Big Star - a cult-level band that followed Chilton's stint as the lead singer of the Box Tops. Big Star was said to combine elements of the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks and the Byrds. Bands like R.E.M., the Replacements and Wilco have helped Big Star to gain its mythic stature, citing the band as influential on their music (watch for these two CDs, soon to be in our collection).

XX, The XX - This young Indie quartet from London sings candidly about relationships and makes music that's simple and raw, but very captivating. I suspect that this is a band to watch.

Neil Young, Sugar Mountain Live at Canterbury House, 1968 - Neil Young was just 22 when he took the stage at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was nervous and had to be coaxed from his hotel room. The concert was an intimate performance combining new material and familiar Buffalo Springfield tunes. Forty years had to pass before we could hear this concert in its entirety - but it was worth the wait.

   Posted in Books, Column, Reading Room | No Comments »




Pleasure Reading for Adults

   Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

book group imageThis summer, we're encouraging adults to rediscover the pleasure and magic of reading!

Join the library’s staff for brown bag lunch series called "Now... It's Your Turn." While this program is aimed at baby boomers - you've worked hard, and now it's time to relax and enjoy yourself - it is open to everyone.

The lunch series will be at noon by the library's fireplace, and will feature book talks on both current and classic titles you can add to your summer reading list.

If you're looking for reading suggestions, check out the latest series bibliography or visit the library's Reading Room web page. Then, come to one of the lunches and enjoy talking about what you're reading.

For more information, visit the "Now... It's Your Turn webpage," or contact Mayleen Kelley (mkelley@mvlc.org) or Becky Herrmann (bherrmann@mvlc.org) at 978-256-5521.

   Posted in Books, Programs, Reading Room | No Comments »




Summer Reading Begins June 6

   Friday, June 5th, 2009 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Listen to the Wind book coverChelmsford's 2009 Summer Reading program is here!

This year's program has been tailored to fit with the 2009 One Book Chelmsford, Three Cups of Tea and author Greg Mortenson's picture book edition, Listen to the Wind. There are many aspects to this year's Summer Reading program, but the two main themes are collecting Pennies for Peace and outdoor adventures.

  1. Everyone is encouraged to keep track of the time you spend reading, and for every 5 hours of reading, the Friends of the Library will contribute 100 pennies for peace. Our goal is to donate $500 by the end of the summer to Greg Mortenson's foundation for building schools
  2. Enjoy hiking through Chelmsford! Chelmsford has many open spaces and trails, and hiking and exploring our community is a great way to start your own trek towards K2 like Greg Mortenson. The summer challenge for children is to hike 5 miles and record your adventures in your passbooks

For reading logs, hiking passbooks, book suggestions and links to trail maps of Chelmsford, visit the Summer Reading webpage or stop by the Children's Room.

   Posted in Books, Childrens, One Book, Reading Room | No Comments »




New History Book Group

   Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

The Old Middlesex Canal book coverThere is a new History Book Group starting on at the library on Thursday, April 30th.

Do you have an interest in history? Library volunteer Bob Hanlon will be leading a new book group on the last Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the conference room. This group is for people with an interest in history - local, U.S. and world history.

The titles will be determined by the participants in the group. Attend the first program April 30th and help choose future titles. For this first meeting Bob suggests reading
The Old Middlesex Canal, by Mary Stetson Clarke.

For more information on the new book group, visit their webpage or contact Kathy Cryan-Hicks at kcryanhic@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x109.

For information on all of the book groups at the Chelmsford Library, visit our book groups webpage.

   Posted in Books, Programs, Reading Room | No Comments »




Holiday Book Guide

   Thursday, December 11th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

The Gift of the MagiThe Youth Services staff of the library put together this list of books that would make nice gifts this holiday season. These books are divided up into type of book and age groups.

Following this listing, there are links to book guides from other sources around the internet to provide additional ideas.

Pop-Up Books

Picture Books

Ages 5-7

Ages 8-10

Ages 10-12

All Ages

Here are a few lists from other sources on the internet, listing their top book picks for the holiday season:

Other Book Gift Guides

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »




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