Book of the Week (2/20/2017)

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar (New York : 37 Ink/Atria, 2017.)

While researching stories about slaves in New Hampshire months ago for my own interest, I came upon the name of Ona Judge and was fascinated by her story. Owned by George and Martha Washington as a slave in Philadelphia (the temporary seat of the nation’s capital), Ona escaped to Portsmouth, NH, and lived out the rest of her life in Greenland, NH. When I heard that "Never Caught" was coming out, I was very interested to learn about hidden NH and national history, and the amazing story of Ona Judge.

"Dunbar brings to life the forgotten story of a woman who fled enslavement from America’s First Family. Her mostly Northern story is a powerful reminder that the tentacles of slavery could reach from the South, all the way to the state of New Hampshire. The surprising part of this true history is not that she achieved her freedom, but the lengths to which George and Martha Washington would go to try to recapture a young woman who insulted them by rejecting bondage." --Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, Dean of Commonwealth Honors College and author of Mr & Ms. Prince.

Erica will be at Gibson's Bookstore on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in Concord, NH promoting "Never Caught".


Book of the Week (2/13/2017)

Golden Age by Seth Abramson (Buffalo, NY: BlazeVOX, 2017).

The third book in The Metamodern Trilogy, Golden Age, is "204 pages of post-postmodern experiments that are also earnestly self-expressive on topics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, class, mental health, social media, celebrity culture, and transgressive art," according to NH author, Seth Abramson. Sounds interesting to me! You can learn more about the book and read an excerpt at the BlazeVOX website.
Seth is the author of six books: Golden Age (BlazeVOX, 2017); DATA (2016); Metamericana (2015); Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013); Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011); and The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009). He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University). He writes about metamodernism for The Huffington Post and Indiewire, and is Executive Editor for the forthcoming refereed academic journal Metamodern Studies. --Author's website


Kids Can Be President for a Day (Or at Least a Minute)

On President's Day (Monday, February 20, 2017), the Library of Congress is hosting an open house in The Young Readers Center (YRC) to honor our past presidents. During the event, kids will have a chance to give their presidential remarks from the YRC Presidential Podium. Of course, we know that everyone can't make it to the Library in Washington, D.C. this February, so we're taking the Presidential Podium digital.
Kids in grades K-12 who record a one-minute video answering the presidential "speaking prompt" will have a chance for their video to be selected to be aired at the YRC President's Day Open House and here on Read.gov.
·        Kids: Learn More Here
·        Parents and Educators: Learn More Here
·        Need to learn more about past presidents? Visit us here


Book of the Week (2/6/2017)

Boomtown Portsmouth: The World War II Transformation of a Quiet New England Seaport by Rodney K. Watterson (Portsmouth, NH : Piscataqua Press, 2016.)

New Hampshire author Rodney K. Watterson, author of two prior Portsmouth, NH naval histories brings us "Boomtown Portsmouth" about Portsmouth's little known history during WWII history.

"Portsmouth’s World War II legacy is well hidden. The city’s narrow streets, which offer frequent glimpses into its heyday during the era of sailing ships and colonial struggles, reveal little of the events that occurred on those same streets during World War II. Yet it is that wartime transformation that revitalized the city and equipped it to move so boldly into the future that it enjoys today. Boomtown Portsmouth tells the story of that frenzied transformation—a story with many subplots: booming navy yard, hordes of immigrant workers, a flood of federal dollars, burgeoning population, unprecedented prosperity, U-boat threats, a mined harbor, blackouts, raucous liberty town, soaring VD rates, massive infrastructure development, and much more. The story concludes with an aggressive postwar plan designed to capture the best and shed the worst of that wartime experience—first steps on the path that led, in time, to the prized jewel that Portsmouth is today." --Publisher's blurb.


Book of the Week (1/30/2017)

Soldier Engraver Forger: Richard Brunton's Life on the Fringe in America's New Republic by Deborah M. Child (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015).

Deborah M. Child, NH author of The Sketchbooks of John Samuel Blunt, has written a fascinating account of the traveling engraver Richard Brunton, whose presence has been documented in much of New England, including New Hampshire. As someone with a great interest in genealogy, I was delighted to see the decorative keepsake family registers that he produced for recording births, marriages, and deaths. One such register has beautiful engravings of birds, flowers, angels, and the phrase "Keep sacred the Memory of your Ancestors." You can view these family registers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society's AmericanAncestors.org database.
In this richly illustrated biography, the author follows in the footsteps of Richard Brunton, a British grenadier who fought in the American Revolution before deserting in 1779. A trained engraver and diesinker, his primitive but charming works include some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in America. Despite his many talents and efforts, he was never able to make an honest living from his craft. Instead, he spent years living on the fringes of society, forging and counterfeiting currency, until his death in a New England almshouse in 1832.--Jacket flap