Book of the Week (10/24/2016)

New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012).

I am absolutely fascinated with old cemeteries and gravestones. So when I saw this book on the shelf while searching for spooky books, I knew I had to read it! Author Roxie Zwicker provides a glimpse of the history and spooky tales surrounding the oldest burial grounds in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire's historic graveyards, from Portsmouth to North Conway, have bizarre and eerie stories to offer their visitors. Graveyards often invoke fear and superstition among the living, but the dead who rest within them may have more to communicate to the world they left behind. The sands of Pine Grove Cemetery in Hampton once concealed the tombstone of Susanna Smith, but now its message--which reads simply "Slaine with thunder"--and her story have risen from beneath the soil. The Point of Graves Cemetery in Portsmouth is home to the spirit of Elizabeth Pierce, who beckons departing guests back to her grave. Along the state's southern border in Jaffrey, tombstones at Philips-Heil Cemetery caution the living to cherish life. Author Roxie Zwicker tours the Granite State's oldest burial grounds, exploring the stones, stories and folklore of these hallowed places. -- Back cover


Book of the Week (10/17/2016)

Preserving old barns: Preventing the loss of a valuable resource by John C. Porter and Francis E. Gilman (New Hampshire : UNH Cooperative Extension, 2001.)

On October 28th, 2016, the N.H. Division of Historical Resources will host “We’re Golden: Celebrating 50 Years of the National Historic Preservation Act.” This is a daylong symposium that focuses on historic preservation in New Hampshire, and will occur in Concord.

Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the NHDHR and state historic preservation officer was stated as saying, “New Hampshire is well-known for our historic buildings, bridges, landscapes, cemeteries and archaeological sites – they are part of who we are. We’re looking forward to sharing inspiring stories about the great work that can be accomplished when people come together to preserve elements of our past that are still very much part of both our present and our future.”

I chose "Preserving old barns: Preventing the loss of a valuable resource" as the book to feature this week because of its strong connection to the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as the fact that it features the preservation of New Hampshire barns; one of the many beautiful features of the Granite State.
"Old barns are tangible evidence of our rural past and the evolution of agriculture in New Hampshire. Along with various outbuildings, barns were essential parts of the farm unit in meeting the needs of rural life. These structures are being abandoned to make way for newer structures better adapted to today's modern agricultural requirements. However, there is renewed interest in preserving these venerable structures. Barn preservation requires the owner to appreciate the aesthetic and historical value of the structure and make a commitment to maintain its structural integrity." -Amazon.com
For more information about “We’re Golden” and to register for the event, visit nh.gov/nhdhr. There is no fee to attend but seating is limited and advance registration is required.


Book of the Week (10/10/2016)

Mount Kearsarge: History, Stories, Legends and Folktales by Larry Sullivan with original artwork by Mimi Wiggin (NH: Warner Historical Society, 2015).

Not only is this book visually stunning, it is also filled with historical recollections, stories, and even some poems. A beautiful tribute to a special place, and as the inside jacket states: "you will never see it in the same old way."
Mount Kearsarge: History, Stories, Legends and Folktales is the product of research and data collection from the Kearsarge region and beyond. The book starts with an overview of Mount Kearsarge, to provide the “back story” for over 30 stories and several folktales related to the mountain. Also included are many “Recollections” of the mountain, from an early account by Henry David Thoreau about his grandmother’s visit to the Kearsarge Gore, to excerpts of writings by local people who looked up one day and saw a huge, unwelcome tower on their mountain.” --Publisher’s blurb


Book of the Week (10/3/2016)

Peregrine Spring: A Master Falconer's Extraordinary Life with Birds of Prey by Nancy Cowan (Guilford, Connecticut : Lyons Press, 2016.)

In Peregrine Spring, local author Nancy Cowan writes about her many decades of experience working with a variety of birds of prey.

"Nancy Cowan’s memoir of her thirty years living intimately with raptors, gives us a new perspective on the relationship between humans and the natural world. Cowan shares her experiences running a world-famous falconry school, and the lessons she's learned from her birds. From retrieving her falcon from the local police “lock up,” to finding her husband in bed with a gyrfalcon, to a heart-breaking race to save her young peregrine from attack by a wild hawk, Cowan’s life is a constant, ever-changing adventure. Cowan’s birds have immersed her so much into their world that she has found herself courted by a Goshawk and bossed about by a Harris’ Hawk. The book carries her readers along, so they, too, meet hawks and falcons in ways they never imagined possible." -Amazon.com
Nancy is a master falconer, wildlife rescue expert, sled-dog sportswriter and historian, popular speaker, and award-winning writer. She spearheaded a campaign to win legalization for falconry in the state of New Hampshire, and founded the internationally-known New Hampshire School of Falconry with her husband. Cowan has also written for DogWorld, Yankee Magazine, DOGFANCY, and Down East magazine.

Nancy will be visiting Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, NH, Thursday, October 20th, 2016 at 5:30 pm to present "Peregrine Spring".


Letters About Literature 2017

The Center for the Book at the NH State Library invites New Hampshire students to enter  Letters About Literature, a national writing competition sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Students in grades 4 to 12 are asked to write as if to a favorite author—past or present—describing how that author’s work changed the reader’s view of the world. Readers respond to the book they’ve read by exploring the personal relationship between themselves, the author and the book’s characters or themes. Readers may select authors, living or dead, from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. A wide variety of books have inspired students whose letters were selected as New Hampshire semi-finalists in recent years.
Letters must be submitted using the required entry coupon and be postmarked by the deadline. 
Deadline for Level III (grades 9-12)  is December 2, 2016
Deadline for Level II (grades 7-8) and Level I (grades 4-6) is January 9, 2017

Entries will be judged at each of the three competition levels and a state winner chosen at each level. New Hampshire's winning letters will each be awarded a $100. cash prize and will be sent on to the national competition. State winners will be notified in April 2017.