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Arts and Culture (Books)

Connecting communities through King and art

Dr. Martin Luther King’s message will see you through any month of the year, as readers young and old will learn in Love Will See You Through. In it, King’s niece, Angela Farris Watkins, draws six principles the civil rights leader followed as he promoted peace and non-violence.
    Each core belief is explained with an anecdote from his life, making the book both guide and biography. As African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, protested bus segregation 50 years ago, King told his followers to Have Courage. When King led a march against housing discrimination in Chicago, a rock hit him in the head. Knocked down, he stood up and marched on, proving his commitment to Resist Violence.
    Annapolis artist Sally Wern Comport’s exuberant illustrations match the real life drama of King’s mission. She found inspiration for her work in the bold posters of the 1960s.
    “What a great connector art is, and what a great connector Martin Luther King’s words are,” says Comport, speaking of the Annapolis Art District’s book launch March 13. “We wanted to use the book as a reason to connect communities through art. All ages, all neighborhoods are welcome.”
    Comport has a history of making community connections through art. Starting in 2007, she co-chaired ArtWalk, which made Annapolis an outdoor public art gallery.
    Teaching studio ArtFarm and neighboring Compass Rose Theater have arranged a dramatic opening, with music, theater, meditation and art. Comport’s original illustrations pair with collages created by young artists from Girl Scout Troop 1812 and The Annapolis Boys and Girls Club.
    Join the celebration at the ArtFarm Studio, 47 Spa Rd., Annapolis Friday March 13 6:30-9pm. Books also sold at the Annapolis Bookstore.

You can get (most) anything you want — even a good book

If the medium is the message, then there’s more to be learned from Calvert Library’s huge festival of local authors than you’ll read in this week’s feature story, The Writers Next Door.
    Your neighbor may have written just the one for you, I say, introducing 33 authors and their latest (or favorite) books. These are quick introductions, the literary equivalent of speed dating, with a life compressed into one sentence and a plot into another. At the May 31 festival, you’ll meet even more authors from 9:30 am to 4pm.
    All that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
    The submerged message is that Calvert County’s ­public library system is ambitious in a big way to be a place where people connect with ideas and each other.
    You see it in the Prince Frederick library building, built in 2006 to change the way people use their libraries. Twenty-first century libraries will trend that way, using architecture and location to draw people in and interior design to make them feel comfortable, welcome and ready to stay a while.
    Libraries of the future will be community centers — with the visual appeal of bookstores — according to Anne Arundel Public Library director Skip Auld, who’s thinking toward a new Annapolis Public Library that will be state-of-the-art.
    Sending the message that your library is the center of your community is more than putting it in a place people are likely to go. It’s more than a light-filled building with maritime and local allusions, human-sized spaces and comfortable chairs.
    The medium of that message has to be that here, as in Alice’s Restaurant of Arlo Guthrie’s song, you can get anything you want.
    That’s just about true of our 19 libraries, in Anne Arundel as well as in Calvert.
    They’re open when you want to go. This year, Anne Arundel libraries regained the county funding to open every branch from 9am to 9pm four days a week, and until 5pm Fridays and Saturdays, with some Sunday hours in regional centers. Calvert’s libraries have always opened 9am to 9pm four days, with shorter hours Friday (noon-5pm) and Saturday (9am-5pm).
    Along with longer hours, the Anne Arundel library system added 31 new staffers.
    Many of Anne Arundel’s new service are devoted to kids. The libraries’ Early Literacy Initiative runs 144 programs a year for infants through five-year-olds, as well as reaching out to schools and Head Start centers.
    Bay Weekly’s Kids Time at the Libraries lists as many as 50 kids programs each week. Of course kids programs involve grown-ups as well, and often stuffed animals.
    That’s another part of the message: programs for people of all ages. Stories, songs, fingerplays and stuffed-animal sleepovers for kiddies … Legos, homework help and tutors on call for kids … pizza parties and games, both board and electronic, for teens … and for all ages, computers, shelves and shelves of books in print (large and small) and on recording, collections of databases, movies, music and games — and all for free.

20 timeless books from Bay Weekly’s library — for yours

     Bay Weekly has accumulated quite a library in 27 years. As we prepare to leave our familiar quarters, we find ourselves stopping by a bookshelf to revisit one or another old friend. We’ve compiled a list of 20 that have added strength and substance to our love for the Bay. Their authors are (or have been) all citizens of Chesapeake Country, many of them friends who you’ve met in the pages of Bay Weekly as writers or subjects. 
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Our picks from a dozen one-of-a-kind shops

      Instead of rushing from store to store to find that item on a loved one’s list or frantically searching online for something to please, slow down and enjoy the holiday season. 
     Take a leisurely stroll through some of Bay Weekly’s favorite shops and find a Chesapeake Country-inspired gift for family and friends — or yourself!
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Meet seven Chesapeake Country authors of favorite books

     Need a quality holiday gift for the youngsters in your life? Try a children’s book about the Bay written by a local author. Here are seven of our Bay Country friends and their marvelous collection of books for kids of all ages.
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Good for gifting or keeping

The New Chesapeake Kitchen
by John Shields with photographs by David W. Harp; John Hopkins University Press: $26.95
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In the spirit of the season, we recommend two books about the darker aspects of Chesapeake Country. Both are published by the History Press, an imprint of Arcadia Publishing specializing in local and regional history.
Moll Dyer and Other Witch Tales of ­Southern Maryland
      The Moll Dyer chronicled for us by historian Lynn J. Buonviri is not the powerful spell-caster of spooky Halloween stories. Instead, she is a real woman controlled and eventually crushed by the forces of history. 
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His friend made it a book
      Judging by their book release party, the collaborators are proud of their first-time novel, the memorably named The Dung Beetles of Liberia.
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Colin Rees explores changing seasons
     Birds led Colin Rees — a former environmental advisor for the World Bank — to Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. There he discovered a wider love, of the natural world, so strong it led to his latest book, Nature’s Calendar: A Year in the Life of a Wildlife Sanctuary. 
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Almost everything you wanted to know about terrapins
      Terrapins appear at football and basketball games as the University of Maryland’s mascot. These remarkable creatures are even more fascinating in real life as described in Ecology and Conservation of the Diamond-Backed Terrapin edited by Willem M Roosenburg and Victor S. Kennedy.
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