Genre Feature: Coping with Loss

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay, and Siobhan Dowd

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

It may sound like a fantasy, but this lovely book is all about the anger and frustration that comes with grief–a moving read for any age.

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

A poetic exploration of denial, grief, and coming to understand the harsh truths of reality.

Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech

“How about a story? Spin us a yarn.”
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. “I could tell you an extensively strange story,” I warned.
“Oh, good!” Gram said. “Delicious!”
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.

As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold — the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.

For a more balanced, fun, and moving tale of loss, try this story weaving a humorous tale of one family with tragic tale of another.

Small Spaces
by Katherine Arden

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Perhaps you prefer to temper your anxiety with a dose of spookiness. In that case, this book by a Middlebury College alumnus is for you.

H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

If you love nature, this is more the book on grief for you–a true story of healing told in gorgeous detail.

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Coming Soon: Summer Reading Program!

Summer Reading Program

Our 2019 Summer Reading Program theme is, “A Universe of Stories.” We meet every Saturday from July 13th through August 10th from 10 – 11 am and read, learn, craft, and otherwise interact with themes surrounding space.

July 13th: The Moon – Have you ever noticed the phases of the moon? Why does the moon change?  

July 16th: Special Evening Program viewing the moon through a telescope (weather permitting and time/place to be announced).  

July 20th: Aliens – Are we alone in the universe? Who else is out there? Design your own alien being to take home.  

July 27th: Stars – We’ll examine the constellations and even design one! Learn about the night sky.  

August 3rd: Astronauts – What does an astronaut wear? How do they eat and sleep in space? How do they land on a planet?  

August 10: Planets – How many planets are there and where are they located in our universe?  

Don’t forget to keep track of the books you read this summer! If you turn your list in to your school at the end of the summer RML will present you with a free gift.  

Happy Reading!

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Vermont Reads 2019: March Book One by John Lewis

The Vermont Humanities Council 2019 selection is the graphic novel March: Book One. The book is the first of a trilogy written by civil rights icon John Lewis, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and award-winning graphic artist Nate Powell.

Lewis was chairman of the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement. He has served in the US Congress since 1987 and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011. March: Book One tells of Lewis’s childhood in rural Alabama, his desire as a young man to be a preacher, his life-changing interactions with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nonviolent sit-ins he joined at lunch counters in Nashville as a means of undermining segregation.

The East Monkton Church Association and the Russell Memorial Library are collaborating to sponsor Vermont Reads 2019. Copies of the book are available at the Russell Memorial Library during regular hours.

After you’ve read the book, consider participating in the following events:

July 11th at 6:30 pm at the Russell Memorial Library
Book discussion to explore some of the themes of the book.

July 26th at 7:00 pm at the East Monkton Church
Rise!, episode five of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Written and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Episode five highlights the historic events of African-American people from 1940-1968.

For more information contact Candace at:
453-7575 or

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Podcasts about Libraries

99% Invisible
Episode 354: Weeding is Fundamental

All about weeding items from library collections–a necessary, but often dreaded task.

Episodes 1-2: Guatemala and Bhutan

Interlibrary celebrates the good work being done by libraries all around the world. Each episode focuses on a different country with several interviews that feature personal stories of libraries making a big difference in people’s lives.

This American Life
Episode 664: The Room of Requirement

Libraries aren’t just for books. They’re often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It’s actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required.

Down to Earth

Kurt gives us a brief history of how libraries have adapted to the times and explains why they’re much more than the books they have on their shelves.

Episode 7/10/2017: Libraries

Shhhhh!!! Hello Internet! Anything in particular you’re looking for today? Anything we can help you find? Maybe a book on manners? Maybe LIBRARY MANNERS in particular? Well, you’ve come to the right place because that is what this episode is all about! Do you really need to be quiet? Should you reshelf your own books? How did libraries get started? Answers to all these and more! Enjoy and be sure to tell a friend!

(Thank you to our patrons for recommending these podcast episodes!)

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Librarians’ Recommend: The Montague Siblings

Kat recommends: The Montague Sibling’s Series
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
by Mackenzie Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

There’s something delightful about how these books explore topics you don’t normally see in historical settings. Characters have period-appropriate views, of course, but they also spend time thinking through their own very modern problems around sexuality, privilege, race, and gender.

The character work is also absolutely stunning. Monty is such a mess, and suffers a great deal of abuse due to his sexuality, but he doesn’t realize just how much privilege he has compared to his sister and mixed race friend. Similarly, Felicity initially dismisses her best friend for showing interest in traditionally feminine things like marriage and pretty clothes. These wealthy white siblings learn so much by traveling around Europe, Asia, and even down into the Middle East–meeting people of different religions, races, sexualities, economic classes, and experiences from themselves and grow incredibly over the course of these novels.

Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

The adventures are fun to follow, too. Lee’s sense of humor is delightful, and her writing is quick and flowing–reading these books is such a pleasure, and a delightful departure from the slog of our world today.

I would recommend these novels for any fan of period fiction, of LGBT lit, or even just solid character work or romping adventure.

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What’s so great about horror?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that one of our contributors has a things for scary stories. Many patrons have made strange faces when she mentioned this to them, shying away from the subject. In fact, so few patrons read horror that RML only has a handful in the collection, most of them written by Stephen King, Joe Hill, or Alvin Schwartz.

THE gateway horror book for generations of young people.

So why read horror? There are plenty of reasons. For our contributor, it makes everything seem better somehow. After a long day of administrators forcing coworkers out of work, of coping with dementia sufferers in the family, of the relentless misery of the news, it’s sometimes nice to delve into a story that makes all those little things about the day seem so unimportant. Sure, the president may have just tried to instigate a war via twitter, but at least you’re not dodging zombies while trying to report on election catastrophes?

Horror also satisfies a sense of morbid curiosity many of us have. There is just so much that can be done with something when the constraints of proper “literature” don’t apply. You want to see what horrors happen when everyone has to tell the truth? There’s a book for that. Want to know what kind of events make people want to shoot up public places? There’s a novella for that too. Want to know how twisted a family can be? There are so many, many books for that.

What’s more, each of these stories gives their reader an idea of what to expect when their worst fears come true, and often times, a way to survive the worst. Afraid of the dark? There’s a lovely book in RML’s collection about how the dark’s a bit scary, yes, but really just wants to help. Or there’s a much more adult story about how to survive a serial killer who has your kid. Chances are good you won’t ever be in that situation, but it’s nice to know that there is hope even in the darkest of situations. Having concrete examples of how to deal with those horrors doesn’t hurt either.

What drew our contributor to horror, though, was actually a series of articles on how horror movies reduce anxiety. Vice talks about how “[e]xposure to horror films can be gratifying when the negative emotions caused by the film are manageable.” Other articles talk about how horror movies serve as a form of exposure therapy, giving short bursts of anxiety that help desensitize a person to their own anxiety. Whatever the reason, there are many people who find that horror movies help calm their anxiety. What’s to say that horror novels can’t do the same?

The author of this blog post has relied on anything from killer mermaids to monster blood to help control her anxiety. Yet, she lives a relatively well-adjusted life as a stereotypical yarn obsessed, cat-crazy librarian. Let her be proof that even fans of gruesome horror stories can turn out okay, at least on the outside.

Read more about this topic:

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Now Accepting Book Donations!

Letting you all know that we have officially opened for book donations!

We accept donations at any of the following times:
Tuesday 3:00 – 7:00
Thursday 3:00 – 7:00
Friday 9:00 – 1:00
Saturday 9:00 – 1:00

If you can’t make it during these times, but still want to donate, contact us and we’ll set up a time to meet you.

Please be considerate with donations! Nothing moldy, badly damaged, or missing pages, please.

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