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Monday, September 29, 2014

Coffee-holics Rejoice

As caffeine lovers, we were delighted to discover that today is National Coffee Day. It seems that despite the early hour when we usually imbibe the world's most flavorful drink, we've managed to come up with quite a few names for it. According to the Oxford English Dictionary and The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang, here are just a few other names for coffee:

For Mississippi coffee lovers, we've found a fun trivia nugget for you! The town of Hot Coffee, Mississippi was apparently named after--you guessed it--everyone's favorite morning beverage. There are two slightly different stories as to who gave the town its name:

According to Hometown, Mississippi, the town:
was supposedly formed in 1870 when E. L. Craft built a lunch counter to serve the people who traveled the road to market. The people did their marketing either in Mobile or Ellisville, so Craft built his lunch counter on the road which served both places. The Craft Lunch Counter specialized in the making of good coffee and became famous for miles around (as) the place to get real good hot coffee. The settlement finally took the name Hot Coffee and a big coffee pot was erected as a sign to let travelers know they had reached the place. 124
Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State has a different account:
According to James Street, immediately after the War between the States, J. J. Davis of Shiloh swapped a sabre for a sick horse, swapped the horse for a wagon, swapped the wagon for another horse, and after a week of such swapping found himself with enough cash to start a store. He gathered his possessions and came here, building a store by the old Taylorsville-Williamsburg Road. He hung a coffee pot over his door, and served hot coffee that was both hot and good, made of pure spring water and New Orleans beans. He used molasses drippings for sugar and the customer could have either long or short sweetening; he refused to serve cream, saying it ruined the taste. Politicians from Taylorsville and Williamsburg patronized the store, serving coffee to their constituents and anyone else who happened to be around. Travelers coming by on their way from Mobile to Jackson drank Mr. Davis's coffee while eating the food they brought with them. Old Mr. Davis died in 1880... 499
No cream? No matter. We invite you to drop by the Mississippi Library Commission, with coffee, if you so choose. Pick up a book and a coffee-scented bookmark and have a caffeinated day!

Brieger, James. Hometown, Mississippi. 1980. Print.
Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2009. Print.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014: Graphic Novels

Banned Books Week’s theme for this year focuses on comic books and graphic novels.  Comic books and graphic novels have become very popular in the last few years, and we see more of them popping up in library collections.  The Mississippi Library Commission has even added a new graphic novels collection.

According to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, comic books are challenged for the same reasons as other books, but are more vulnerable because of their visual content.  Comic books are commonly challenged for “adult content,” “inappropriate language,” “violence/horror,” “sex/nudity,” or not being “age appropriate.”  Some have the misconception that comic books are a low value of speech and only for juvenile audiences.

Banned/challenged comic books and graphic novels from MLC's graphic novel collection:

by Craig Thompson
  •     Sexually explicit/nudity

Fun Home
by Alison Bechdel
  •          Sexually explicit/nudity
  •          Homosexuality

by Art Spiegelman

  •         Anti-ethnic
  •      Unsuited for age group

by Marjane Satrapi

  •           Offensive language
  •            Violence
  •            Unsuitable for age group

Stuck in the Middle
edited by Ariel Schrag

  •           Offensive language
  •           Sexually explicit/nudity
    •           Drug reference

      by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

      •           Violence
      •           Sexually explicit/nudity
      •           Offensive language
      •           Unsuited for age group

      For more information about comic books and graphic novels that have been challenged visit
      Don't forget to stop by MLC or your local library to check out more banned books.

      Monday, September 22, 2014

      Celebrate the Freedom to Read - Banned Books Week 2014

      Banned Books Week 2014 runs from Sunday, September 21-Saturday, September 27. Each year, libraries, booksellers, readers, and other people whose business is books gather in their support of the "freedom to read". During the week, many places hold special events and present special displays with the intent of highlighting banned and censored books. This year, the Mississippi Library Commission is joining in the festivities for this important commemorative event. Drop by the Reference Department between 8 and 5 this Monday and Friday and have your picture taken with a censored or banned book. We bet there are some on our censorship cart that will surprise you. By the way, the theme this year is graphic novels and comic books. How exciting for us that we get to show off our new graphic novel section in such a rewarding manner!

      We designed these nifty bookmarks to go inside some of our books that have a history of being suppressed.

      If you'd like to make your own, you can borrow our templates here:

      Friday, September 19, 2014

      Happy birthday, Mr. Kossuth!

      My dad is in the market for a new dog. A Vizsla puppy, to be exact. Because Vizslas are a Hungarian dog breed, he's been brainstorming on traditional, Hungarian names for his pet. During a recent conversation about his pet name ideas I learned that the town where my dad grew up is named after a very famous Hungarian. That town is Kossuth, MS and today is their namesake's birthday!

      Kossuth, Mississippi is a small town located in Alcorn County right outside of Corinth. The community was first established in 1847 and was called New Hope. In 1852 the name was officially changed to Kossuth in honor of Louis (or Lajos) Kossuth. Here's a little about Louis from The History of Alcorn County by the Alcorn County Historical Association: "Kossuth was a Hungarian patriot who was exiled for the stand he took in regard to Vienna's intervention in Hungary. Mr. Kossuth, a man of inestimateable [sic] character, visited Mississippi and was much admired by the community. Colonel Polk and Major Wallace, the postmaster, wrote to the United States Post Office Department requesting that the name be changed. The change was made April 23, 1853."

      The town didn't forget about Kossuth even 100 years after the name change! According to The History of Alcorn County, a stamp was released in Kossuth's honor on his birthday in 1958 and the official release was held in Kossuth! "In 1958, a Mr. Dunch from Milltown, New Jersey, along with a Mr. Gayer, a Hungarian refugee, came to visit the town of Kossuth. Their visit was in connection with a new stamp commemorating the Hungarian patriot Louis Kossuth, for whom the town was named. This stamp was released in the town of Kossuth on September 19, 1958. To promote relations between the two countries, Mr. Gayer's sister, postmaster of a small town in Hungary behind the Iron Curtain, sent a miniature flag of Hungary and a book on the life Louis Kossuth. She also sent many pictures of the buildings and homes as well as street scenes of Hungary to Kossuth."

      Kossuth, MS isn't the only place named for the great Hungarian. There's a Kossuth County in Iowa. There's also bust of Kossuth in the United States Capitol. According to the American Hungarian Foundation, Kossuth's bust is one of the only two busts in the Capitol honoring non-Americans! You can read more about the bust here

      Happy Birthday, Louis!

      Alcorn County Historical Association (1983). The History of Alcorn County Mississippi. p. 91-92
      Original photo here. Birthday rendering by me, the blogger.

      Friday, September 12, 2014

      Cures, Maybe?

      Did you know? Eating five almonds before partying hard will guard against total inebriation and hangovers. Sounds pretty nifty, right? As scientific and medical research have progressed over the years, we  have come to dismiss such bold claims. Back in the 1400s and 1500s, however, people believed such professions, and they were held widely as fact. I've been exploring a book I found in the Mississippi Library Commission's collection called Folklore and Odysseys of Food and Medicinal Plants and having a wonderful time. Wouldn't it be delightful if some of the herbs and plants covered actually did what people thought they did, way back when?

      • Caraway seeds were the early Renaissance's precursor to Rogaine. Pop some of these babies, and hello luxurious head of hair a la Fabio. Nowadays, you'll find caraway seeds flavoring some Havarti cheeses and rye breads.
        Fabio, with a healthy mane
      • If caraway seeds were the Rogaine of the 15th century, then pepper was surely thought of as a wonder drug like penicillin. People thought pepper could cure toothaches and prevent the Bubonic Plague, among many other maladies and diseases. In modern times, many people like using it to flavor eggs. What an embarrassing descent.
        Would you like some eggs with your pepper?
      • If you use your imagination, nutmeg sort of looks like mini-brains. Naturally, people of the Renaissance used them to cure a variety of brain problems. And poor eyesight. I suppose because of the brain and eyes close proximity to each other, it's a semi-logical jump. I like to use nutmeg as a substitute for cinnamon because I have a slight cinnamon sensitivity. It's definitely tasty on French Toast! I don't think my eyesight is improving, though.
      Nutmeg posing as brains

      If you, too, have a penchant for the medicinal practices of yesteryear, stop by the Mississippi Library Commission and check out this book!

      Lehner, Ernst and Johanna Lehner. Folklore and Odysseys of Food and Medicinal Plants. New York, New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1962. Print.

      Friday, September 5, 2014

      Cats and Books and Libraries and Books and Cats
      Library cards from Mississippi public libraries
      The month of September marks the celebration of two of my favorite things. It's both Library Card Sign-up Month and Happy Cat Month.

      For all my fellow library-loving ailurophiles, here are some of my all-time favorite cat books found at the Mississippi Library Commission:

      Jean Craighead George nails cat behavior for the younger set in How to Talk to Your Cat. Your cat still won't be able to talk back, but you'll have much better insight as to what your fuzzy feline is thinking.,0,10,0,1,bks,1/1022/0
      What is it about certain animal books that always makes me tear up? Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery is a tale of true friendship between a dog named Bobbi and a cat named Bob during and after Hurricane Katrina. Their survival story is a completely satisfying read for young and old.,0,10,0,3,bks,1/1024/0
      Gary Soto's Chato's Kitchen features a trip to the barrio. The mouthwatering descriptions of food and the vibrant pictures will pull you in, but you and your kids will be captivated by the adventures of Chato the cat. Will he be able to lure his new mice neighbors to his home for a feast where they feature as the main course?,0,10,0,1,bks,1/1041/0

      The Sophisticated Cat is a cat-lovers smorgasbord, with offerings of cat poetry and cat stories both new and old. Want to know what Faulkner had to say about cats? How about Balzac? This is definitely the book for you.,0,10,0,1,bks,1/1042/0
      My Cat Spit McGee is Willie Morris' memoir of the first cat he ever loved, and what a wonderful tribute it is. Fall in love for the first time all over again.,0,10,0,1,bks,1/1044/0Vicki Myron's spirited tale of library cat Dewey is enough to enchant the most stout-hearted ailurophobe. Dewey is also, in my reckoning, the perfect book for Happy Cat Month and Library Card Sign-up Month--it's the best of both worlds.
      I invite you to drop by the Mississippi Library Commission or your local public library to pick up your own library card... and a book about your favorite cat!
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