Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
by Thomas Hardy, 1840 – 1928
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Author: Gail Jarrow
Summary: In the early 1900s, an epidemic spread across the southern states. Victims showed physical symptoms – like rashes and digestive problems, as well as mental illnesses. Many went crazy and committed suicide. It was a medical mystery with many suspects, and only one brilliant doctor would figure it out.
Six Word Review: Mystery illness in the South solved!
I give this book 9/10 stars. It’s a great non-fiction book about solving a real puzzle, but it had too many pictures of the sick patients. Yuck!
Gut Reaction: Ewww… but what is causing it??
I loved how deduction was used to finally solve the mystery. The disease was very tricky–it mostly affected women (but not always); it was mostly in the South (but not always); sometimes it would make people go crazy (but not always); it affected the children in orphanages, but not their caretakers. Looking at the clues to figure it out was really fun. Lots of different theories were tested, but only one was right!
This book reminds me of An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic in 1793 by Jim Murphy, which won many awards and received high reviews by top journals.
Confession: I couldn’t wait to find out what caused the disease! I skipped ahead to the end and then went back to read the rest of the book!
–Guest Blogger Amy L., Magnolia Librarian
Valentine’s Day is February 14th every year, everyone knows that! But hardly anyone knows that St. Valentine still rests in a church in Scotland (more about that below!). In Scotland now, Valentine’s Day is an important holiday, full of traditions and unique celebrations.
Valentine’s Day celebrations are not a grand affair in Scotland. People prefer small get-togethers or a romantic candlelight dinner. They exchange gifts and cards with their loved ones to make them feel special.
The history of St Valentine’s Day dates back to Roman times when St. Valentine was martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith.
It is believed that the remains of St Valentine’s remains are in the church of Blessed St. John Duns Scotus in Glasgow, a little-known fact that has led to Glasgow styling itself as the ‘City of Love’ in recent years. It is believed that on the night before he died, he left a wee note to the jailer’s daughter signed ‘Your Valentine’.
He died on 14th February which some see as the onset of spring, with new buds and spring flowers shooting through the winter ground; and this is a time traditionally associated with finding new love. But February 14th has become a time when couples demonstrate their love by exchanging cards and gifts. Some will become engaged to be married, while others will choose that day to marry.
Scotland’s reputation for romantic venues is already well known throughout the world. Indeed the small village of Gretna Green is famous around the world as THE place for romantic weddings. It is the first village over the Scottish border on the road from England to Glasgow. It is renowned for being the place where young English couples in particular eloped; as English Law said they could not marry until they were 18 years old, whereas in Scotland marriage is allowed at 16.
Various games are played in Scottish Valentine parties. In a most popular game, an equal number of men and women are made to write their names on a piece of paper which is then folded and placed into a hat. One hat is for ladies and the other one is for men. The female then draws one name from the men’s hat and the chosen man has to stick with his Valentine throughout the party. Later on, gifts are exchanged and Valentine’s Day is greeted with hugs and kisses. Such “wonderful” Valentine games often result in unusual marriages.
Click here to find more fun things all about Valentine’s Day.
Hugs & Kisses from your friends at the library! ❤
Certainly not the only Marvel movie being released this year (namely, The Winter Solider, aka Cap’n America: Bucky Returns; and Spider-Man, No. 5), but by far, the most anticipated, due to its amazing ensemble cast, which includes Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Hugh Jackman (!) Future Past will act as a sequel to 2006’s The Last Stand, as well as 2011’s First Class.
*Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug 1st), I salute you, and you deserve your own blog post.
The trailer made me cry.
The plot seems simple: Two kids who have cancer fall in love. However, it is the combination of both the characters and storytelling that makes this one stand out against the flood of Realistic contemporary young adult literature.
Time Magazine deemed John Green’s fourth novel “damn near genius,” and though I find the term genius slightly pretentious, I have to agree this is one of those rare genuine and poetically written young love stories that is equal parts sweet romance and, as is evident in the title, existential meditation. I cannot recommend it enough.
Fun fact: The two star-crossed lovers also play siblings in the post-apocalyptic Divergent. As the new YA-film it-girl, Shailene Woodley also stars in The Spectacular Now (2012) — yes, this was also first a book! — opposite a charming, but hedonistic Miles Teller, in a film about The School of Life. Both the novel and film are available in our catalog. Dig it.
The Giver – Aug 15th
Can anyone else say: Finally?! The original “unfilmable” YA novel, before it was even a genre, will be hitting theaters this August!
Boasting a spectacular cast, including Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep (and maybe you’ll surprise us, Taylor Swift… ), Lois Lowry‘s quintessential dystopian tale is set in a futuristic society with all pain and conflict eradicated and one boy chosen as the community’s Receiver of Memories. Published in 1993 and the first of a loose quartet, which was finally completed nearly two decades later in 2012, The Giver was awarded the Newberry Medal in 1994, and remains to this day among the greatest of young adult literature.
Check it out (again!) or for the first time here.
–Amanda D, Ballard Staffer
Title: Jumped In
Author: Patrick Flores-Scott
Summary: Set in South King County, WA, Sam is reluctantly teamed up with “gangster” Luis to create a performance poetry/rap for Ms Cassidy’s 10th grade English Class. Filled with raw teen poetry, you can feel the rain in the book ( we don’t do snow, we love the H²O, baby!)
Gut Reaction: Give me more Patrick! Don’t move to Michigan!
Why: Slick poetry, set in Seattle Area, for the student you sit next to in class but hardly know anything about, Latino characters and author!