hydraIt will get easier to say no to Windows 10.  Soon when you click on the x in the upper-corner of the pop-up box nagging you to “upgrade” to Windows 10, the box will actually disappear as you would expect instead of downloading Windows 10. Furthermore the pop-up will soon feature the option “Decline Free Offer” which means you will never see it again.

But be aware if you use Windows 7 there will be no more system updates. However, Microsoft will continue to support the system with security patches until 2020. Windows 8.1 updates will end in 2018.

If you’re still wondering if you should bow to the inevitable and switch to Windows 10, here’s the latest on the issues people have with the system.

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Last week I posted about books, plays and television programs related to Henry VIII (last Friday was the anniversary of his coronation). A reader of this blog pointed out to me that I omitted a certain musical tribute to England’s most famous king, so here it is:

 


I also discovered this video that sums up most of what you would learn from any books about Henry VIII and his wives:

 

Never say I don’t give the public what they want.

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…for June 24:

henryviiiHenry VIII was crowned King of England on this day in 1509. It was the beginning of a turbulent reign, and nearly all of the turbulence was caused by his difficulties in fathering a son: he was only the second monarch of  the Tudor dynasty, a family whose claim to the crown was shaky at best. To prevent a return to civil war it was essential Henry have at least one male heir. In his quest for sons, he married six times, beheaded two of his wives, and took England out of the Catholic Church.

His dramatic life (and those of his wives) have inspired many novels, biographies, plays and television programs. Among them I recommend the award-winning Wolf Hall, one of the best historical novels ever, narrated from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, a soldier and merchant from a working-class background who becomes an important figure at Henry VIII’s court.

If you’re in the mood to read a biography, I suggest Alison Weir’s Henry VIII: The King and His bookcoverCourt. Alison Weir is one of the most popular and readable historians  of the past twenty years, and her portrait of this “larger than life” king who during his lifetime who went “from Renaissance prince to mean old king”  gives “ample evidence of her talent” (Booklist).

If you’re in the mood to watch rather than read, you have two great options. The play A Man for All Seasons (1966) recounts Henry’s campaign to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his abandonment of the Catholic Church from the perspective of his disapproving minister, Sir Thomas More. Paul Scofield’s portrayal of More, a man whose firm, quiet integrity costs him his life, won him that year’s Oscar for Best Actor, and the film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

And if you haven’t yet seen the award-winning BBC series The Tudors, you’re in for a treat. There are many historical inaccuracies, but it’s very enjoyable.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers gives a riveting performance as Henry VIII. And if that’s not enough for you, there’s Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine of Aragon, and  Henry Cavill in a neck ruffle.

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Children who don’t read during the summer vacation don’t do well on reading comprehension tests when school resumes. The cumulative effect can be devastating: summer non-readers can end up two years behind their peers by sixth grade. By contrast, children who read four or more books over the summer fare much better academically in the fall than their peers who read only one book or no books.  The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is challenging people of all ages to read four or more books this summer.

So what’s your four? Here are mine, chosen from my unread shelf:

whatsurfour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promote this campaign on social media with the hashtag #WhatsYourFour

And tell us: what are your four?

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The Friends of the Somerville Public Library are hosting a six-mile tour of the three library branches, with refreshments and activities along the way.  The aims of this event – beyond celebrating the arrival of summer! – are to introduce Somerville residents to the three historic branch libraries and to highlight the wonderful programs and services they offer.

When: Saturday, June 18, 9:15 AM.

Where: The Library Ride starts at the West Branch, 40 College Avenue (near Davis Square).

Cost: $10 per adult, children bike for free. All proceeds go to the Friends of the Somerville Public Library to help fund library programs.  Thanks to the Somerville Police, Union Square Donuts, Whole Foods, and Hubway for their partnership!

You can register online here.

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Ladies, are you looking to read a trashy novel that’s going to get you into the summer mood? Do you want to travel to Nantucket but don’t have the time? Try reading about it instead. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrumorand is set on the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachuset ts. The book is set around two housewives Grace Pancik and Madeline King. Grace, with two teenage daughters, may just start a steamy love affair with her landscaper. Madeline, a famous writer, struggles to find something to write about, but may just end up betraying her elinnewbest friend, using her secret as a story line for her book.

But these aren’t the only two rumors floating around on the island, Grace’s husband, Eddie, gets himself into money trouble and illegal activity. Teenage drama unfolds into this story as well. So, if your looking for a summery scandalous escape, this is it! Elin Hilderbrand is a New York Times Bestselling Author, has written 20 books, including titles such as Summerland and Nantucket. If you already a fan of Hilderbrand, click here.

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ramadan-moonLast Sunday marked the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim year.  If you’re a non-Muslim and don’t know anything about Ramadan, this brief article at Vox.com covers the essentials. Muslims believe Ramadan  to be the month God revealed the first verses of the Quran to Mohammed. It’s a time of contemplation and celebration. There are an estimated 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, so there’s a possibility you know someone or will run into someone who’s observing  it. As a shorthand for those of a Christian background, think of it as a cross between Lent and Christmas. Like Lent, it’s a time of reflection. Unlike Lent, Ramadan sounds extremely demanding. Instead of just giving up one thing for the season (I’ve known people who have given up chocolate, for example), Muslims fast all day every day. They eat and drink water before sunrise, and don’t consume anything again until sunset. And like Christmas, at the end of Ramadan people come together for celebratory meals and exchange presents with loved ones.

Ramadan ends July 5. Until then if you’re not Muslim and you’re in a seat on the bus or subway during your end-of-day commute and see someone standing who you think might be Muslim, it would be a nice gesture to offer them your seat.

They haven’t eaten anything all day.

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logo2The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to producing  durable high-quality editions of the best of American writing. And it’s not just fiction: their nonfiction volumes include the World War II reporting of A.J. Liebling, the movie reviews of James Agee, and the four-volume collection of diaries and letters, The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It. If you want to get exposure to a range of American writing but are daunted by the size and number of LOA books, sign up for “Story of the Week,” their free e-newsletter that sends an excerpt from an LOA volume to your inbox every week. I’ve been a subscriber for years. Last week LOA sent me  “The Kiss,” a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932). Chesnutt was the first African-American writer acknowledged by the white literary establishment.  “The Kiss” is about a woman who has an affair with her husband’s nephew. It’s a rather melodramatic period piece, but the treatment of adultery is interesting considering the time period: the woman achieves redemption, while the man is the one punished–he’s killed by a train.

Other memorable Stories of the Week that I’ve received via email: “Xingu” by Edith Wharton (one of the funniest short stories I’ve ever read); “Remember the Ladies,”Abigail and John Adams’ correspondence on women’s rights, and Frederick Douglass’ “Letter to His Old Master,” an extraordinary window on the personal devastation created by slavery.

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flagsIt’s Memorial Day weekend, which means the library will be closed Monday. However the library will be open tomorrow and Sunday.

Regular hours resume Tuesday, May 31.

If you haven’t already made plans for this weekend, the Boston Discovery Guide has quite a few suggestions.

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Our latest staff profile is of Heidi, our Technology Librarian extrordinaire.

Heidi says, “I deal with technology issues at all three library locations.  I fix things when they get broken, and I also order and set up new tech equipment from computers, to scanners, to WiFi paraphernalia and more.  I offer one-on-one technology training to our patrons, and collaborate with SCATV to provide a series of classes called Getting Comfortable in the Digital World.  I work on technology programming too: we’ve  recently provided several “Technology Petting Zoos,” which let the public get some hands-on time with the Library’s circulating iPads.  And we’re offering a 12-week class this summer that will teach high school age kids computer programming using the credit card sized computer, Raspberry Pi.”

In addition to this, I do scheduling of library staff, sit on several committees both at SPL and in the Minuteman Network, work regular shifts at the Central Library’s reference desk, and cover public desks in all departments as needed.”

“In my free time I enjoy reading, hiking, traveling, going to the beach, and I’ve just taken up kickboxing.”

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