Friday, February 5, 2016

Scandinavian Mystery Discussion

The library will sponsor a discussion series featuring Scandinavian mysteries this winter. The first discussion will focus on a classic in this category, The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

The discussion will be held Monday, February 22 at 7:00 PM, and will be free and open to the public.

The popularity a few years ago of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels considerably raised the international profile of mystery novels from Scandinavian countries, but in fact the region has a significant history in this area. In addition to The Laughing Policeman, this discussion series will also feature Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (March 28) and The Snowman by Jo Nesbø (April 25), both internationally bestselling authors.

The Laughing Policeman features Swedish police detective Martin Beck. It won the Edgar Award for Best Novel when published in its English translation in 1970, and was subsequently adapted (rather loosely) as a film starring Walter Matthau. In the novel, Beck investigates a mass murder carried out on a city bus, in which a man with a machine gun shoots and kills eight people – including one of Beck’s fellow detectives.

Sjöwall and Wahlöö wrote a total of ten novels featuring Detective Beck. Their police procedurals were unusual in engaging with social issues current in Sweden, and this focus has become characteristic of mystery novels from this region, Reflecting on their influence, Henning Mankell has said, “I think that anyone who writes about crime as a reflection of society has been inspired to some extent by what they wrote.”

Wahlöö died in 1978. In 1995, the Mystery Writers of America ranked The Laughing Policeman second on a list of the best police procedurals.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mah Jongg Class

The library will offer an “Introduction to Mah Jongg” class in February, taught by trustee Eleanor Ingbretson. The class will meet at the library on the four Saturdays in February from noon to 2:00 PM (February 6, 13, 20, and 27).

Participation is limited to eight people and the registration fee of $40 per person will benefit the library.

Mah Jongg is a game for four people played with tiles. Similar to rummy, it is played by drawing and discarding tiles to form hands. Mah Jongg originated in China, where it probably evolved from a card game in the nineteenth century, and traveled to the United State in the 1920s, where it enjoyed an initial fad and has remained popular ever since. This class will teach the American version of the game.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Mah Jongg is the use of tiles, most commonly one hundred forty-four. These are often colorful and are organized into “simples,” “honor,” and “bonus” groups. The simples are numbered tiles in three suits (Bamboos, Circles, Characters); the honor tiles are the Winds and Dragons; the bonus tiles are the Flowers and Seasons. American sets also include Joker tiles.

A match consists of four rounds, each of which represents a “prevailing wind,” beginning in the East. The dealer is always East, and each player takes a turn as dealer. Points are scored according to the hands that players construct by drawing and discarding tiles.

Mah Jongg is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation that also involves a degree of chance. In China, the game is deeply ingrained in the culture; many restaurants keep Mah Jongg sets available for customers, and it is often referenced in popular culture such as songs and movies. The game is also popular throughout East Asia, often with regional variations; it has been said to be the most popular table game in Japan. In the United States, two different governing bodies, the National Mah Jongg League and the American Mah-Jongg Association, sponsor tournaments and other events.

To register for the class, call the library at 603-989-557.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Club for Writers

The library will hold its next Book Club for Writers discussion on Thursday, January 28, featuring short stories by Tony Earley, Barry Hannah, and Tim O’Brien.

Copies of “Here We Are in Paradise” by Tony Earley, “Water Liars” by Barry Hannah, and “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien will be available to pick up in advance. The discussion will begin at 7:00 PM and will be free and open to the public.

Tony Earley is the Samuel Milton Fleming Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, and other magazines, and early in his career, he was named one of the “twenty best young fiction writers in America” by The New Yorker. He grew up in North Carolina, and many of his stories are set there.

Barry Hannah taught creative writing at the University of Mississippi for twenty-five years. He was a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Robert Penn Warren Lifetime Achievement Award, and the PEN / Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story. “Water Liars” was the opening story of one of Hannah’s best-known books, the collection Airships. He died in 2010.

Tim O’Brien is best known for his fiction drawing on his experiences in the Vietnam War, including the novel Going After Cacciato and the story collection The Things They Carried, which includes “On the Rainy River.” Going After Cacciato won the National Book Award. His other works include In the Lake of the Woods and Tomcat in Love. He teaches at the Texas State University in San Marcos.

Book Club for Writers is a fiction discussion program that meets four times a year. Discussions are open to all, and focus particularly on questions of craft and technique that will interest writers and aspiring writers. Created by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Book Club for Writers is sponsored locally by a fiction writing group that meets weekly at the Haverhill Corner Library.

The next Book Club for Writers discussion will be held in April and will feature “Slow Sculpture” by Theodore Sturgeon and “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death” by James Tiptree, Jr.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Haverhill Library​ has joined the New Hampshire Downloadable Books consortium to offer expanded services for town-wide participation. Audiobooks and eBooks are now available to download from the library’s website. Library card holders from any of our four libraries in town can check out and download​ ​ digital media anytime, anywhere by visiting   
Users may browse the library’s website, check out with a valid NHDB library card, and download to PC, Mac®, and many mobile devices. Users will need to install free software. For audiobooks, music, and video: OverDrive® Media Console™. To read eBooks, users will need Adobe® Digital Editions. Titles can be enjoyed immediately or transferred to a variety of devices, including iPod®, Sony® Reader™, Nook, and many others. Some audio titles can also be burned to CD to listen on-the-go. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period. There are no late fees!  
This new service, powered by OverDrive, is free for patrons with a NHDB library card. To get started downloading audiobooks, eBooks, and more, a one-time visit to Haverhill Library on Court St will be required to obtain your card and instructions.  
For more information contact:  Haverhill Library  603­989­5578

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Neil Gaiman Book Discussion

The library has will sponsor a discussion of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman on Monday, December 14 at 7:00 PM. It will be free and open to the public.

This is the third in a series of book discussions about Gaiman’s work. Copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane are available to borrow from the library in advance.

Published in 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a number one New York Times bestseller and was voted “Book of the Year” in the British National Book Awards. It tells the story of an unnamed narrator who returns to his hometown after forty years to attend a funeral. On an impulse, he visits the farm down the lane from the house in which he grew up, only to find himself overwhelmed by memories of the strange girl he knew there and the dangerous encounter they shared with the other-wordly.

USA Today hailed the novel as “worthy of a sleepless night . . . a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what’s past one’s proverbial fence . . . Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own.” And the London Times said, “[Gaiman’s] prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable—if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy.”

The author of novels, film and television scripts, and comic books, Neil Gaiman was born in England and now lives in the United States, where he is Professor of Arts at Bard College. He first gained recognition for his ground-breaking comic book Sandman. His work has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbury and Carnegie Medals. His other books include American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.