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Spring into spring with new fiction!

   March 21st, 2015 - by: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Spring is finally here, so is our bi-monthly round up of new fiction! Highlights from the presentation on March 20th are listed below. Hover your cursor over each book cover to view a brief description. Click on the image to go to the item in our catalog. The full list of books is available on our website. Join us for our next presentation, in two months, on May 22.

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Special Spring Book Sale: April 11 and 12!

   March 12th, 2015 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Book sale!Spring usually just brings rain and flowers - this year, Spring also brings a special Book Sale! The Friends of the Library will be holding a special Spring Book Sale:

2015 Spring Book Sale Dates and Times

Saturday, April 11th 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 12th 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The sale will be in the usual place, the gym behind the Town Office building, 50 Billerica Road, Chelmsford [see a map].

Run by the Chelmsford Friends of the Library, the book sale is a significant source of funding for library programming, museum passes and many extras for Chelmsford patrons. We're holding a special Spring sale this year because of the construction work in our book storage building, the Dutton House.

For more information, visit http://www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/friends/booksale.html or contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

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   Posted in Events, Friends of the Library | No Comments »

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 was established in 1927. 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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   Posted in Reference, Resources | No Comments »

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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   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

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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