What I’ve Been Reading: The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit

What is a little boy to do when all of his crayons suddenly go on strike? Not only are his crayons feeling tired and overworked but others are feeling ignored and neglected. Through a series of handwritten letters and adorably childlike drawings each and every crayon in Duncan’s crayon box pleads its case in this loveable picture book written for all ages. Red is overworked and has to color on holidays, beige is tired of being second fiddle to brown, yellow and orange can’t stop fighting over who is the true color of the sun, and poor peach is too embarrassed to leave the crayon box because it doesn’t have a paper wrapper anymore. To find out how Duncan negotiates the perfect resolution you’ll simply have to read this delightfully endearing book, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. And don’t forget, the Oliver Wolcott Library has thousands of other fantastically clever and entertaining books in our children’s room.

-Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library


What I’ve Been Reading

finders keepers

To whom does the past belong? You might be surprised to discover that when it comes to the world of ancient artifacts and antiquities the most ethical answer may not be the best solution to this very poignant question. In Finders Keepers author and eco-adventurer Craig Childs explores a multitude of grey areas concerning this very question. He takes the reader on a fascinating journey through time to introduce us to our ancestors as well the present day players in what has grown to become a multi-million dollar industry. Along the way we meet archaeologists, museum curators, illegal pot hunters, and high-end collectors but being able to discern the heroes from the villains may not be as easy as you might think. A captivating book from a highly gifted writer that is lyrical, investigative, unbiased and thought-provoking.

-Tricia is a Library Assistant and the Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

What I’ve Been Reading

creative block

Written with heart, humor and honesty Danielle Krysa’s book Creative Block is a refreshing and inspiring collection of interviews that delves into the creative processes of fifty successful artists. From illustrators to ceramicists, every artist offers practical advice and solutions to help others who may be in need of motivation and inspiration. In addition to presenting fun projects like blind contour drawing to embellishing magazine pages, each artist openly talks about their work, how they cope with their inner critic and how they deal with negative criticism. Ultimately when it comes to creative blocks all of the artists encourage the reader to grow through them by pushing artistic boundaries and to experiment with new mediums to discover amazing creations. With the holidays around the corner, Creative Block will make the perfect gift for all of your artist friends or stop into the Oliver Wolcott Library to check out our copy.


-Tricia is a Library Assistant and the Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.



What I’ve Been Watching


I’ve never been a vengeful person but I am completely hooked on the devilishly well written TV series Revenge. In the show, Emily VanCamp portrays a young, intelligent, and beautiful socialite who is a newcomer to the high society of the Hamptons. Under the guise of a false identity and a sweet and charitable demeanor, Emily has one mission- to destroy the wealthy people who were responsible for her father’s wrongful incarceration and murder when she was just a child. However, “he who seeks revenge should dig two graves” and for every person Emily cunningly smites she also sacrifices a piece of her humanity in the process. Whether or not she will completely succeed in avenging her father in the end may depend on how much collateral damage she is willing to inflict on those closest to her heart. Each and every episode of this suspenseful drama is filled with clever twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more.

-Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library

What I’ve Been Reading

higher call
It’s not often that a book will bring so many tears to my eyes that I have difficulty reading the pages, but the real life story of two enemies and a heroic act of compassion in A Higher Call is as captivating as it is moving. In what is heralded as “the most incredible encounter between enemies during World War II”, author Adam Makos transports the reader back in time to December 20, 1943 when a German flying ace, in a treasonous act of mercy, secretly escorts a lone and damaged American B-17 bomber from enemy territory to the safety of the English Channel. In A Higher Call we come to know, and compassionately understand, the life stories of both pilots as well as the circumstances that led each of these men into war; their quest to find one another after forty years have passed; and a deeply profound friendship that was forged over war torn skies.

Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library

Music is the Language of Memory

The author Jodi Picoult said, “For better or for worse, music is the language of memory” and after conversing with friends the other day about live music concerts we had seen, I couldn’t agree more. What I found remarkable about each of our stories was how we could recall minute details of events that had transpired before, during, and after a show whether it happened a year or twenty years ago. Naturally, this had me reminiscing about some of the more memorable music concerts I have seen throughout the years.

Neil Diamond has sold more than 125 million records throughout his fifty year career and he is best-known for his hit songs Crackling Rosie, Song Sung Blue, Forever in Blue Jeans, and Heartlight. I was just a child when my family went to see him in concert at an outdoor theater on a beautiful sunny day. My mother, who is his number one fan, was so excited but I was filled with panic because Neil Diamond was my childhood “boogie man”. He wasn’t the scary monster kind of boogie man but one who wore a sparkly outfit with platform shoes (I’ve always had a very active imagination). After he took the stage to much fan-fare and sang in his smooth baritone voice I quickly discovered that the boogie man wasn’t so frightening after all.


The Grammy nominated B-52’s who banded in 1976 are regarded as an American New Wave band often recognized for their beehive hairdos, quirky lyrics, and eclectic style. Whenever I listen to the B-52’s, it always takes me back to one of the happiest memories I have of my brother. Like most young siblings we seldom got along. I was a teenager when he surprised me with take-out and a ticket to their Cosmic Thing concert. For two hours straight the B-52’s literally rocked the house and performed their hit songs Rock Lobster, Private Idaho, Love Shack, Deadbeat Club and Roam. We had a blast!

Grateful Dead

I never really was a big Grateful Dead fan but in retrospect I consider myself fortunate to have seen them on not one but two separate occasions. With a combined total of 77 studio, compilation, and live albums, the Grateful Dead had a career that spanned 30 years and played more than 2,300 shows around the world.

The first show I saw was in Northern Vermont with five of my friends. Miraculously all of us managed to fit, rather uncomfortably, into a small four-seater car on what ended up being a fourteen hour round road trip. With more than 60,000 people in attendance at this show I would just happen to run into my first heartbreak in the parking area. Needless to say, I felt a little bit down and out amongst the cheering crowd as the Grateful Dead played Fire on the Mountain, Sugar Magnolia, and Let the Good Times Roll.

Grand Canyon Sunrise

The second Grateful Dead show I saw was in Las Vegas, Nevada a few months before Jerry Garcia’s death on August 9, 1995. At the last minute, I acquired two free tickets from an acquaintance. Late in the night a friend and I left from New Mexico and midway through our journey we arrived at the Grand Canyon in Arizona before sunrise to watch the most spectacular vista unveil itself before our eyes.

Grateful Dead, Las Vegas

The day of the concert was an excruciatingly hot afternoon with temperatures soaring around 110 degrees Fahrenheit inside the amphitheater. Even though we were only thirty feet from the stage I couldn’t see past the woman with the big floppy hat in front of me. Dave Matthews opened the show and played songs from their six time platinum album Under the Table and Dreaming but by the time the Grateful Dead took the stage I was exhausted, sunburnt and dehydrated.

john mayall

With a career that spans fifty years, John Mayall is hailed as the “Father of British Blues”. In addition to his songwriting talents and musical prowess on guitar, harmonica and keyboards John Mayall is also known for taking many now legendary musicians under his wing. Included are Eric Clapton; Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac; Jack Bruce of Cream; and Mick Taylor and Harvey Mandel of The Rolling Stones. To have the opportunity to see and meet John Mayall at a small venue in Connecticut made me swoon even though he only said hello.

david byrne

Not only is David Byrne a gifted musician, singer, songwriter, and founder of the Talking Heads, he is also a Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe recipient as well as the author of nine books. When my best friend treated me and five other friends to see him on his “Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour” on her birthday, I was ecstatic and honored. We had a great time cheering and dancing with the rest of the crowd from the front row balcony. That night David delighted everyone by performing three encores which included the songs Strange Overtones, Once in a Lifetime, and Burning Down the House. Clearly, no one wanted the show to end.


I could go on and on about other great bands I have seen including Billy Joel, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Morrissey, and Arlo Guthrie but I don’t want to take up your entire day. I will finish by saying that every live concert has a story and that music has the power to awaken our memories and remind us of our own incredible life journey whether uncomfortable or profound.
If you would like to take a trip down memory lane, stop by the Oliver Wolcott Library to check out the extensive music collection of every genre with new titles being added every week.

-Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Hooked on Crochet

I love to dabble in a wide variety of arts and crafts and when my creative spirit strikes, I usually dive right in and ask questions later.  So, with the bitter cold of winter upon us and visions of warm handmade scarves, mittens and hats dancing in my head, I decided it was the perfect time of year to teach myself how to crochet.

shell scarf

Needless to say, I could hardly contain my excitement when I happened upon Hip to Crochet: 23 Contemporary Projects for Today’s Crocheter by Judith L. Swartz while perusing the crochet books in the 746.43 adult non-fiction section of the Oliver Wolcott Library.  This book is filled with fun and colorful projects including stripped hats, zig zag scarves, bold design handbags, floral sweaters and even nesting baskets.  After inspecting the pattern for the Block on Block skirt on page 83 and reading,” *ch 2, work 3 dc in ring*; rep from * to * 2 more times, ch 2, join with sl st to top of chain 3”, I knew that learning how to crochet wasn’t going to be one of those craft projects that I could just dive right into.

block on block skirt

For the absolute beginner, trying to decipher a crochet pattern is akin to learning a foreign language replete with symbols and abbreviations.  Fortunately, The Crocheter’s Companion by Nancy Brown is the Rosetta Stone for learning how to crochet.  Not only is this book a fantastic reference guide for toting around in a crocheter’s handbag, the author provides a glossary of terms and symbols, and she dedicates each illustrated page to a different stitch and technique that’s easy to follow.

crochet chart

Crochet much like it’s sister handicraft, knitting, can be utilized to make a wide assortment of apparel and home décor accessories including mittens, hats, sweaters, socks, afghans, shawls, scarves and rugs in a wide variety of colors and textures.  Instead of using knitting needles to create fabrics, crochet uses a single hook.  Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes that are relative to the thickness of the yarn or thread you are using and the size of the stitches you would like to make.  Like knitting, crotchet can be worked “flat” to create scarves and rugs or in the “round” to make socks and hats.  To learn more about the similarities and differences between knitting and crochet check out the Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet Stitch Patterns by Linda Mariano.

Granny square blanket

The art of crochet relies on a few basic stitches and variations there in to create an assortment of garments.  The majority of crochet projects begin with a simple foundation chain that is made up of a series of chain stitches.  Every stitch thereafter is made by hooking the yarn through the stitches on the row beneath it.  The eight basic stitches are the chain stitch (ch), the slip stitch (sl st), the single crochet (sc), the half double crochet (hdc), the double crochet (dc), the treble crochet (tr) and the double treble crochet (dtr) and the triple treble crochet (tr tr).  They may sound intimidating at first but they are quite simple to create with just a little practice.  In just a few short hours, anyone can begin crafting a scarf with a foundation chain and just one other stitch.

herringbone scarf

For me, the most difficult step in learning how to crochet happens while building the first few rows of a garment because there is not a lot of “fabric” to hold onto.  With any crochet project it’s important to establish proper yarn tension to make your stitches even and so your crochet hook can easily glide in and out of every loop that you build upon.

how to crochet

Even though I still haven’t advanced enough to try my hand at crochet patterns like the Block on Block skirt, I am enjoying the calm and repetitive motion of practicing stitches by making simple scarves of my own design and I’m becoming more proficient with every project.

If you’d like to get hooked on crochet, stop in to the Oliver Wolcott Library to check out these other great books for step by step instruction, guidance, and inspiration;

new directions in crochet

New Directions in Crochet by Anne Raun Ough. Published in 1981 the back and white photographs and featured fashions are outdated by today’s standards, however, the author provides a comprehensive introduction to the art of crochet. Not only does she detail every crochet stitch with illustrations, directions and diagrams she provides patterns to a plethora of stitch combinations that can be utilized for a wide variety of garments.

crocheting in plain english

Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.  Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced crocheter, everyone will learn something new within the pages of this book.  The author covers every aspect of crochet from how to select the proper hook, yarn and thread to caring for your crochet items. Included are detailed instructions and illustrations on how to make stitches, decipher patterns and how to fix mistakes.

crochet in color

Crochet in color: Techniques and Designs for Playing with Color by Kathy Merrick.  This book is geared toward more advanced crocheters who are fluent in pattern reading but so it’s easy to get swept away in the beautiful color and luscious yarns featured within these pages.  With twenty different garments to choose from including mohair shawls, silk cardigans and merino wool hats every pattern offers the beginner amazing projects that they can aspire to.

flower shawl

-Tricia is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library who just completed her first patterned crochet hat.

divine hat

Joy of Baking

The fall and winter have always been my favorite seasons for delighting in the creation, flavors and aromas of delicate and buttery baked goods. Every time I bake bread, cakes, cookies or pies I honor the memories of my many baking mentors both past and present who have introduced me to the joys of baking. By freely sharing their knowledge and wisdom with me I have not only learned their tips and techniques but listened to the stories behind their traditional family recipes while also creating a few of my own.

fall tree

Each time I make a pie I joyously think of my grandmother who introduced me to baking when I was just a small child. I’m very fortunate to have so many wonderful memories of the times we spent together whether we were baking, crafting or collecting fresh fruits on the family farm that were ripe for eating, preserving and pie making. She relied on wholesome ingredients for all of her baked goods and she taught me that a flaky pie crust when made with butter should never be overworked and always kept cold. Even though my own pie crust is not as good as hers, I always use a ruffled edge on my pies just like she showed me all those years ago.

apple pie

For some great advice on pie making, try these two books by noted pie expert and author Michele Stuart: Perfect Pies: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes from America’s Pie-Baking Champion and Perfect Pies and More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, and Cakes from America’s Pie-Baking Champion. And don’t miss tasting Michele’s pies! She’ll be at the Oliver Wolcott Library on November 14, 2013 from 7:00- 8:00 p.m., to share her secrets behind her National Pie Championship winners and serve up tips and techniques for a variety of crusts and toppings.

fresh breads

When it comes to bread baking my trusted source has always been the Tassajara Bread Book written by Edward Espe Brown. Gifted to me over 15 years ago, my copy is in dire need of rebinding but that hasn’t stopped me from carefully flipping through the pages to make his Tassajara yeasted bread, French bread, and cinnamon roll recipes. What I love the most about this book, aside from the delectable baked goods, is its simplicity and the authors step by step guidance and gentle encouragement. Depending on my mood I’ll add millet, oatmeal, rye flour, grated cheese or even savory herbs to the bread recipe for a little diversity.

bread books

If you’d like to learn more about the tips and techniques behind successful bread baking check out: Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree, Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor by Peter Reinhart, and Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Ciril Hitz.

A good friend and mentor of mine once said,” cooking is an art but baking is chemistry” and she was right. All of us at one time or another has had a favorite baked good recipe fail without obvious explanation. Many of my own baking disasters have been the result of using butter that was too soft, over mixing my batter which resulted in dense pound cakes or muffins, over-stretching my bread dough and destroying gluten formation, and even improper oven temperature. To understand more about baking chemistry check out The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet and BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with over 200 Magnificent Recipes by Shirley O. Corriher. Not only do these authors take you step by step through important techniques but they also provide invaluable information about ingredients and explain the food science behind hundreds of tried and true recipes.

pastry books

To create unforgettable dessert recipes that not only taste but look spectacular, check out The Everyday Gourmet: Baking Pastries and Desserts by Stephen Durfee and The Culinary Institute of America. In the Great Courses DVD collection, award winning pastry chef and famed Culinary Institute of America instructor Stephen Durfee offers up a plethora of basic concepts, practical tips and insights behind the tried and true methods of baking. In these six lessons Durfee demonstrates how to bake everything from simple cookies and cakes to custards, cream puffs, and chocolate mousse. As well as Baking with Julia by Julia Child, Bevelyn Blair’s Everyday Cakes: The Ultimate Workday, Weekend, and Special Occasion Cake Book! by Bevelyn Blair, and New Baking Book by Better Homes and Gardens.

chocolate cake

Every baked good has its own story to tell. My own recipes take me back to some of my happiest memories with friends and family from baking Tassajara yeasted bread in an old-fashioned wood oven in New Mexico to baking brownies by the hundreds in the Netherlands and my many years of camaraderie and laughter working in a professional bakery. All of my mentors add the same secret ingredient to each and every one of their delectable recipes…love. A love for the process, friendship, memories and traditions but most importantly, love for sharing something wonderfully delicious with others.

linzer cookies

-Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Photographic Eye

In the last decade, the digital camera and personal home computer have changed the way we take and share our photographs. Modern technology has granted us the tools and freedom to capture, share online, and the ability to digitally enhance our photographs entirely from the comfort of home. Unlike the film camera, the digital camera has liberated us from the number of photographs we can take and computer imaging software has evolved into a digital darkroom capable of manipulating pictures with a myriad of effects.

Automatic 4 megapixel digital camera- with computer image manipulation
Automatic 4 megapixel digital camera- with computer image manipulation

When it comes to taking photographs today one doesn’t need to comprehend the technical aspects of the camera to capture a truly remarkable image. In fact, it’s never been easier to take a multitude of pictures to develop ones photographic eye. With the simple click of a button, any inexpensive automatic digital camera will always render the best image for every lighting situation. In addition, many of the free imaging software programs available for PC’s, Mac’s and Linux computers can re-crop, re-size, color correct, sharpen, blur, tint and even completely distort a digital photograph. Anyone with a minor proficiency with computers can create these effects and more with the simple click of the mouse.

One-click computer manipulation effects
One-click computer manipulation effects

By gaining a basic understanding of light, color and composition anyone can improve their photo capturing abilities with the most basic digital camera. Light is a photographer’s best friend and when used in conjunction with color and composition it can really give a photograph its wow factor. In essence, one could say that light sets the tone for the image and color sets the mood. The amount of light available directly affects how we interrupt color and ultimately how we feel. For example, a photograph that is taken in the pre-dawn hours or on a cloudy day will produce cooler shades of color than a photograph taken at sunset when the colors are warmer and friendlier.

10 megapixel digital camera on automatic setting In this series of images one can observe how light affects the color and mood of each photograph
10 megapixel digital camera on automatic setting
In this series of images one can observe how light affects the color and mood of each photograph

Over the last twenty years, I have taken thousands of film and digital photographs and the compositional “Rule of Thirds” has helped me to develop my photographic eye. The theory behind the “Rule of Thirds” is that the human eye naturally gravitates to a point approximately two-thirds of the way up an image. Imagine, if you will, a grid that is divided into equal horizontal and vertical thirds exactly like a tic-tac-toe game. The cross sections of where those lines intersect create visual points of interest that appeal to the human eye. Elements placed along the horizontal or vertical thirds can create balanced and symmetrical photography with stunning results.

Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds Horizontal

Rule of Thirds Vertical

Photography has taught me how to open my eyes to the beauty of life that surrounds us. I take photographs because it restores my spirit and over the years I have learned the importance of making a lot of mistakes in order to improve my skills. When I get behind the lens I mentally become an outsider to the world seen within my camera frame intuitively searching for that rare moment of pure luck where everything is perfectly aligned. With the digital camera I have the capability to take a plethora of photographs and the freedom to experiment with light, color and composition, and I only have to keep the images that appeal to my photographic eye.

Automatic 4 megapixel digital camera
Automatic 4 megapixel digital camera

If you would like to learn more about how to use your digital camera and computer imaging software, stop by the Oliver Wolcott Library to check out:

Fundamentals of Photography by Joel Santore- This amazing DVD collection featuring twenty-four lectures covers every aspect of digital photography from using automatic and manual digital camera settings to composition and lighting. This lecture series also offers invaluable tips to taking landscape, wildlife and close-up photography.

Digital Art Photography for Dummies by Matthew Bamberg and Using your Digital Camera by George Schaub. These two books simplify the art of digital photography and breaks it down step by step so you can concentrate on learning aspects of digital photography that most interest you. Chapters include outdoor, indoor and night photography, tips on photographing people and animals, and how to use Adobe Photoshop for image manipulation.

35mm original film print, scanned and restored with computer manipulation
35mm original film print, scanned and restored with computer manipulation

A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Landscape Photography by John Clements and The Digital Photography Handbook by Simon Joinson. Both of these books will introduce you to the numerous advantages of combining digital photographs with computer imaging software without a lot of technical jargon. Each book is geared toward visual learners interested in learning the basics of Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements 10: the Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage. If you are serious about learning the technical complexities of digital image manipulation then this is the book for you. Written for both Windows and Mac software versions this comprehensive book has it all from basic image adjustments, how to use the tools at your disposal, creating layers and masks, adding special effects, retouching digitized photographs and even web sharing.

10 megapixel digital camera on automatic setting
10 megapixel digital camera on automatic setting

Tricia Messenger is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Puppy Love

I was born and raised to be a dog lover. So it’s no surprise that my first “accidental” pet in adulthood won my heart faster than I could say the words, “I’m not responsible enough to take care of a dog”. I was completely smitten when an adorable eight week old puppy with one floppy ear leapt into my lap. It was love in an instant and I named her Zoe.

As a young and naïve twenty year old I quickly discovered that puppies are not that different from tornadoes. Their lightning fast speed and sharp little teeth are highly capable of creating a whirlwind of canine destruction. In the blink of an eye, one can suddenly find themselves standing in the aftermath with pages from books ripped from there bindings, garbage strewn about, and shoes torn to shreds. Puppies, quite literally, have expensive taste.

In truth, all puppies want to grow up to be good dogs. Training them to be socialized and obedient pets demands a significant amount of time, patience, routine, and repetition; attributes that were not high on the priority list for this young woman living a life of spontaneity. But Zoe and I did alright, she may not have learned any fancy tricks but she yielded to my commands and I managed to keep her out of harm’s way on our many adventures.

Zoe grew up to be a remarkable dog that was faithful to her mixed pedigrees. She had the loving playful nature of a Labrador, the loyalty of a German shepherd, and a natural talent for herding people into walls and chasing down bicyclists which came from her New Mexico Heller side of breeding.

We shared fifteen wonderful years together and when old age finally caught up to her she let me know it was her time to go. When that emotionally painful day arrived my faithful companion comforted me to the end and she departed this world with dignity, confidence, and courage.

As the months slowly passed by, my loneliness and sadness were replaced with fond memories and laughter from the good times Zoe and I shared together. So it’s no surprise that my second pet in adulthood won my heart faster than I could say the words, “I am responsible enough to take care of a dog”. I was completely smitten when an adorable one and a half year old puppy with a spotted tongue tackled me to the ground and slobbered me with kisses. It was love in an instant and her name was Raven.

Raven is a black Labrador, German shepherd and Akita mix who has the strength of an ox with a very loving spirit. She is an intelligent, clever, sweet, and playful puppy that enjoys doing somersaults, making dog angels in the snow, and sitting like a Buddhist monk in meditation. When she isn’t stretching like a cat or making sounds like Chewbacca, she is showing off her Kung Fu moves while chasing flies. Although she is an adept huntress her most prized possession is her stuffed animal monkey that she lovingly treats like her own puppy.

As a stray with a mysterious past I knew there would be gaps in her training when certain essential commands like “come” and “stay” fell deaf on her ears. So I literally ran into OWL to pick up every available dog training book and happened upon Catch Your Dog Doing Something Right: How To Train Any Dog in Five Minutes a Day by Krista Cantrell and Dogs Behaving Badly: An A to Z Guide to Understanding and Curing Behavioral Problems in Dogs by Dr. Nicholas Dodman. These two books have helped me gently guide her beyond some of her fears with positive reward training and taught me to keep our training sessions short. These days Raven can “slap me five” with enthusiasm and no longer tries to pull my arm out of its socket when we take walks together…unless there happens to be a deer, turkey, bunny, bird, squirrel, mouse, mole, or insect nearby.


Both Zoe and Raven “rescued” me exactly when they were supposed to and in all my dog years I have been blessed to spend very few of them without a canine companion. A dog’s love is unconditional; they accept us exactly as we are, comfort us when we are sad, and live their lives in the present. In my opinion, these qualities are just a few of their gifts to humanity.

The Oliver Wolcott Library has an extensive collection of books about dog training, pedigree history, veterinary care, and amazing true stories of dogs that will make you laugh, cry, stand up and cheer. These are just a few of the intriguing books I have read:

101 Fun Things to Do with Your Dog by Alison Smith- Not only is this book easy to understand it’s also jam packed with activities from training and memory games to obstacle courses and speed tests that are guaranteed fun for your dog and the whole family.

The Mythology of Dogs: Canine Legend and Lore Through the Ages by Gerald and Loretta Hausman. This fascinating historical book is filled with the best myths, legends and lore of the world’s top breeds; from the imperial Akita to the Yorkshire terrier, the stories within these pages are both entertaining and insightful.

Going Home: Finding Peace by Jon Katz. This very moving book deals with the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a beloved pet, and offers comfort, wisdom, and a way forward from sorrow to acceptance.

Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog by Emma Pearce. Sofie is an inspirational story of luck, survival and spirit about an Australian cattle dog who was lost at sea. After swimming six miles through shark-infested waters to a remote island, Sofie survived in the wild for five months before being rescued and reunited with her family.

Tricia is the Library Assistant and Publicity Coordinator for the Oliver Wolcott Library.