Sunday, February 24, 2008


The New York Times book review section reviewed Mr and Mrs Prince today. This book is very popular at the library right now, not just with the people living around Johnson's Pasture. If you'd like to reserve it, and you're a Guilford, VT citizen, reserve it here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


What a great, swashbuckling tale is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I raced through the excitement of rescuing the Queen’s diamonds, D’Artagnon riding headlong through the French countryside, the commupance of Milady. I got out (googled actually) the map of France so I could see where this was all happening. Oh, it was so exciting. And reading Dumas is so fulfilling —the good guys ALWAYS win. Well, mostly. (just like real life).

Then I heard that the people who have just translated the proclaimed new edition of War and Peace had also recently translated The Three Musketeers. So now, we have it in our library, and you don’t even need to ask for it through inter-library loan, as I did. (We only had a Juvenile Classics edition, quite edited.)

Got me to thinking about classics—the ones we have, and the ones we ought to have. Last spring we had a meeting to decide what books we should buy with Calista’s Fund. Bob Anderson thought we really needed to have such classics as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Our editions were old and scraggley, and Bowdlerizd —heavily edited. We have new ones now, with great illustrations. We also ordered a newly illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Should we have more classics, and do we have space to store them in such a small library? It’s not an easy choice- to say nothing of the floor weight that has to sustain them. Roger and I visited the southwest a few years ago, and I heard from many people that I HAD to read Willa Cather’s Death of the Archbishop. The library had that, I read it and had an immediate understanding of that empty part of our world. It’s still in our collection, because it’s now on my classics list.

Well, we have an old translation of War and Peace, and a new translation of Crime and Punishment, (thanks to Robert Stack, who donated it), as well as A Tale of Two Cities (the stories are so good you adapt to the language).

What is a classic? Mark Twain said, A classic--something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." Several years ago I bought many books on tape which were “classics”, thinking that people might enjoy listening to things they had meant to read, but never got around to. On tape we have things like David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, and Animal Farm by George Orwell. That’s just the beginning, but you get the idea.

Some people will say that a classic is something we read again and again, because it means something to us, or says something valuable about the human experience. In trying to give you a list of the classics that we have in the library, I realized that each one of us has our own list of what we consider classics. I found some great lists on the web and in talking with people, and I’ve concluded that the library floor would collapse if we had them all in here. (Even after Dan Stoughton voluntarily put in strengthening supports last spring .)

So, here are a few more of the classic books we have, based on what I think are classics — this week. In addition to those mentioned above:
Watership Down 1972, Aesop’s Fables 6th century BC, Little Women 1868, Not Without Peril 1941, Pride and Prejudice 1813, The Good Earth 1931, Robinson Crusoe 1719, The Great Gatsby 1925, The Old Man And The Sea 1952, A Taste for Death 1988, Washington Square 1881, Smiley’s People 1979, To Kill A Mockingbird 1960, The Call of the Wild 1903, Beloved 1987, Catcher in the Rye 1951, Grapes of Wrath 1939, Crystal Cave 1970, Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852, Walden 1869. There aren’t any new books in this list because another definition of classic is that something is not only really good but also withstands the test of time.

I‘ve included books here that may not seem like classics to you, but it’s my list. You can make your own.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mr and Mrs Prince

Mr and Mrs Prince is new to our collection. About Abijah Prince and Lucy Terry Prince, who are Guilford personalities, and written by Gretchen Gerzina, who researched some of it while she lived in Guilford, many folks have asked to read it. So we have three copies. If you are a Guilford, Vermont resident, you can reserve it at our web page.

Gretchen will be speaking at a Guilford Historical Society meeting on Sunday, April 13, at 2 PM. The meeting will be at the Guilford Central School.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share

Read a few pages of Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share, and read a review by Nancy Pearl if you like.

This book is new to our collection. I thought it would be great fun to read with the first graders next week. I'll let you know what they think about it.