Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Yes, once again it’s time for me to pick a vice and try to turn it into a positive. I lay in bed last night thinking what should it be this year: smoking, weight loss, better organizational skills and give up procrastination? Hmm, there are just so many to choose from that it's hard to decide. Perhaps I’ll put them all on my resolution list and see which one really sticks.

Now that I have chosen my resolutions, I need help to succeed, and what does a librarian do? That’s right - I head for the self help collection at the library. Wow, there are hundreds of books on self help of all types. Here are a few of my choices:

  • A Woman’s Way: The Stop Smoking Book for Women by Mary Embree.
  • Simplify Your Work Life: Ways to Change the Way You Work So You Have More Time to Live by Elaine St James.
  • The Organized Parent: 365 Simple Solutions to Managing Your Home, Your Time, and Your Family’s Life by Christina Baglivi Tinglof.
  • Strong Women Eat Well by Miriam E Nelson, Ph.D.
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Futness by Dave Ramsey
The books are now piled up on my desk just waiting for me to jump in wholeheartily with note pad at my side, ready to jot down every helpful hint I can find. I left plenty of books on the shelf so I invite all those who are making New Year's resolutions to come by the Library and check them out.

If you need some ideas, here is a list from Wikipedia. In the United States, the most popular goals include:

  • Pursue a satisfying and fulfilling career
  • Lose weight
  • Get out of debt
  • Become more organized
  • Maintain a diary
  • Save money
  • Improve grades
  • Get a better job
  • Get fit
  • Eat right
  • Get a better education
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others
  • Be less grumpy
  • Be more independent
  • Learn something new (such as a foreign language or music)
  • Try to get up early in the morning
  • Time management
  • Help the poor
 However you decide to start the New Year, your Library is here to help you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Books Recommended

Here are a few titles of Christmas stories for adults and children which we thought you might enjoy over the holidays:


The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans is a holiday classic that is as beloved in our time as A Christmas Carol was in Dickens's.

Finding Noel, a novel by Richard Paul Evans, is about how people come into our lives for a reason. It is a love story about Macy and Mark, two young people from different worlds.

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck delivers an instant holiday classic about boyhood memories, wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of the gifts we give to one another in love.

A Christmas Promise by Thomas Kinkade takes you to the holiday season of the townspeople of Cape Light, and the village has a special guest.

The Christmas Thieft by Mary Higgins Clark creates an entertaining and suspenseful tale featuring two of her most beloved characters - Alvirah and Willy - who become embroiled in a Yuletide mystery in Manhattan when the Christmas tree destined for Rockefeller Center disappears.


The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell. An earth-sick little angel newly arrived in the celestial kingdom finds his recent transition from boy to cherub a difficult one.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. Why is the Grinch such a grouch? No one seems to know, until little Cindy Lou Who takes matters into her own hands and turns both Whoville and the Grinch's world upside down, inside out...and funny side up in her search for the true meaning of Christmas.

The Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. An illustrated version of the classic poem about a visit from St. Nicholas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

The Library Staff wishes you a Merry Christmas and hopes to see you over the holidays.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Most Popular Books of 2009

I’m always amused by the end of the year wrap ups from pundits and critics of the best and worst of everything during the year. I thought it would be fun to look back over the most circulated books here at the library – our greatest hits of 2009, so to speak.

The biggest splash, of course, was made by Greg Iles’ latest, The Devil’s Punchbowl, which not only stirred the literary pot in Natchez, but apparently the political pot as well.

Probably the most discussed and requested book was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a narrative of 1960’s Mississippi family life from the viewpoint of – well – the help. Just about the time demand would die down a little, a new flurry of requests would start as a different group of readers discovered it. The most remarkable thing about this book is that it is Ms Stockett’s debut novel.

There were some new offerings by a number of authors not heard from for many years: Thomas Pynchon, John Irving, Pat Conroy, and E L Doctorow. Pat Conroy has a particularly loyal following in Natchez.

One book still causing a stir is The Shack by William P Young. I mean how many books claim to depict a weekend spent conversing with God in a shack?

Though originally published in 2004, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger enjoyed great popularity last year among the book clubs and local readers in general. The release of the movie spurred another burst of interest. I found this book especially intriguing.

Dan Brown’s latest, The Lost Symbol, was highly anticipated and is still in demand.

Remember, one the new features of our online catalog is that patrons may request to receive an email when their favorite authors are about to release a new title.

I think overall 2009 was an exciting year for book lovers. We hope you will join us to see what 2010 has to offer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Secrets of Mistletoe

Last weekend as I was decorating my house for the Christmas holidays, I was looking for just the right place to hang my fake mistletoe ball for maximum kisses and began to wonder about its place of tradition during the Christmas season. Being a reference librarian, the need to know sent me off to the stacks looking for holiday traditions, and this is some of what I found out.

We are all familiar with at least a portion of the mysterious mistletoe's story: namely, that a lot of kissing under the mistletoe has been going on for ages. Few, however, realize that mistletoe's botanical story earns it the classification of parasite. Fewer still are privy to the convoluted history behind the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.

The kissing under the mistletoe myth comes from Norse mythology. Baldur’s mother, Frigga, Goddess of Beauty and Love, went to all plants and animals asking them to protect her son and cause him no harm, since he was the God of the Summer Sun. She overlooked one, mistletoe. Loki, God of Evil, found this out and got another to kill Baldur with a spear laced with mistletoe. Baldur was eventually brought back to life. Frigga cried tears of little white berries, like the ones found on mistletoe. Out of admiration, Frigga vowed to kiss anyone who walked under the mistletoe, so beginning the kissing under the mistletoe myth.

Washington Irving, in Christmas Eve, relates the typical festivities surrounding the Twelve Days of Christmas, including kissing under the mistletoe. Irving continues his Christmas passage with:
We have conveniently forgotten the part about plucking the berries (which, incidentally, are poisonous), and then desisting from kissing under the mistletoe when the berries run out!
“The mistletoe is still hung up in farm houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”
At Christmas time, a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect to marry the following year. In some parts of England, the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Whether we believe the myths or not, mistletoe always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations.

Along with the Christmas holly, laurel, rosemary, yews, boxwood bushes and, of course, the Christmas tree, mistletoe is an evergreen displayed during the Christmas season and symbolic of the eventual rebirth of vegetation that will occur in spring. But perhaps more than any other of the Christmas evergreens, it is a plant of which we are conscious only during the holidays. One day we're kissing under the mistletoe, and next day we've forgotten all about it (the plant, that is, not the kisses).

When the Christmas decorations come down, mistletoe fades from our minds for another year. Particularly in regions where the plant is not native (or is rare), most people do not even realize that mistletoe does not grow on the ground, but rather on trees as a parasitic shrub. That's right: as unromantic as it sounds, kissing under the mistletoe means embracing under a parasite. Most types of mistletoe are classified as hemi parasitical (i.e., partial parasites). They are not full parasites, since the plants are capable of photosynthesis. But these mistletoe plants are parasitic in the sense that they send a special kind of root system (called haustoria) down into their hosts, the trees upon which they grow, in order to extract nutrients from the trees.

Mistletoe’s popularity has not waned in present times, and its pretty leaves and berries are one of the most fun and endearing parts of our Christmas celebrations today.