PBF | April

Party Banter Friday: 

In Which A Librarian Provides You With An Interesting Fact to Make You More Popular During Weekend Socializing

In honor of this week’s Earth Day and so you know who to thank when you want to refer to someone who litters with a word that is not an expletive, we give you this month’s Party Banter Fact:

The term “litter-bug”, which became a national slogan, was coined by Traverse City native, environmentalist, and internationally-known painter, Maud Miller Hoffmaster.

This is she:


Mrs. Hoffmaster was born in 1883 and passed away at 85 in 1969, having earned the titles of painter, author, teacher, and activist. She sold her scenic paintings at galleries across the world, especially in France. She wrote two novels and also lectured for 35 years about the relationship between painting and music.

While she wasn’t doing those little old things, she was engaging in her Up North community as a member of the Friendly Garden Club here in Traverse City as well as advocating for the Great Lakes. In 1920 she started a local anti-litter campaign, using the word “litterbug” and it quickly caught on across the country.

So, when you’re out and about this weekend, you may spot a litterbug. You may not, the campaign was pretty successful. But if you happen to spot a roving  bachelorette party and its remnants: dollar store plastic sashes, stray high heels, Taco Bell wrappers: think of Maud. And maybe the voice of Maud might whisper to you to spend your Sunday walk to brunch picking up trash. Wear gloves.

Photo credit: Our featured image for PBF is a picture from our digital history collection. You can view the original image and browse our collection here.

Reference Couch: Pity Party

The Reference Couch

In Which A Librarian Tries to Solve Your Personal Problems with Literature

Q: I have been striking out all over lately (broke and broken up with to start), and I’m feeling like a bit of a loser. Anything you can recommend to shake me out of the blahs?

A: Poor reader! Are April showers streaming from your eyes? To make you feel like less of a loser, I told everyone who works here at the library about your situation. Guess what? We’ve all felt like the underdog from time to time. Here are a few recommendations from the gang:

Tom advises watching Rushmore to dust off your blahs (Max saved Latin, what’d you ever do?).

Linda: “I like to watch Ouran High School Host Club. It makes me laugh and laughing always makes me feel better. Other times I re-read Library Wars: Love and War. No matter what is going on, the outrageous premise and beautiful art makes the world brighter.”

Cathy: “The movie The Sound of Music because it encourages you to “climb every mountain. And the books  Wonder by  R.J. Palacio and Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin.”

Kristen:Fistfull of Steel by Rage and it’s kind of cool that guitarist Tom Morello is on the board of our local TCFF.”

Margaret suggests the classic football film Rudy.

Jill: “The Trampps’ Disco Inferno when I’m flame weeding the garden.” (Seriously, she flame weeds. Don’t mess with Jill).

Amy:Skyrim, a video game available for PS3. Whenever I have an insurmountable task to do, such as filling out federal income tax forms, I pop in Skyrim, slay a dragon, and suddenly “itemized deductions” are a lot less terrifying.”

If none of the above put a smile on your face and skip in your step, then you know it’s serious and I’m going to have to prescribe a Pity Party, attendance: one.

First, get ‘dem yoga pants on. Then, drink down the following cocktail of pop music, in this order:

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift (dance and feel sorry for yourself), F*** You by Ceelo (get a little angry, but in a cute way),  Royals by Lorde (rise above it, being broke is hip), Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson (make that chaaaaange), Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine (see how we came full circle there?).

After that, either pop in High Fidelity because John Cusak is the best lovable loser around or get cozy and read one of these books:

The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland: Roger is a middle-aged guy working at Staples who gets caught writing a diary in the voice of his twenty-something co-worker, Bethany. Don’t you feel better about yourself already?

Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett: Amy is a loner author with writer’s block who’s in a rut of her own. Until she falls and hits her head, then gives an interview that she doesn’t remember while suffering from a concussion. Suddenly, everyone thinks she’s a genius.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron: You might be broke and single, but are you pregnant when your husband announces he’s in love with someone else, then the group therapy session you go to to cry about it gets robbed? This book is the most hilarious pity party read of all time. I would suggest it on audio, but Meryl Streep reads it and she does such a good job that you might get distracted thinking about how much better she is at everything than you.

When your party’s ended, you have to put on real pants and go out into the world. That’s the rule.  I sincerely hope we’ve found a cure for you and I hope you’ve realized that all the best stories start with a loser.

Photo credit: The featured image has been modified from this Creative Commons licensed picture.

Got a question for The Reference Couch? Email us at ask@tadl.org, or send a message to us on Facebook.


Local author Cari Noga’s debut novel, Sparrow Migrations, has gotten great reviews. And we can’t wait to talk with her in person this month at Books & Brewskis. Here’s what’s in her #toread pile:


Cari says:

“From the bottom up, here’s why these titles wound up with me:

Both The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan and A Land We Can Share (subtitled Teaching Literacy to Students with Autism) were chosen so I can help my son’s reading improve. Rules is also autism-related, an award-winning middle grade book written from the POV of a sister of a boy with autism. It might help with my daughter someday.

On Immunity is actually already read (my review here.) My community experienced an outbreak of pertussis last year, and more isolated cases of measles. As a staunchly pro-vaccination parent yet personally disinclined to invite conflict, I’ve been struggling with how vocal to be on this matter of public health. Reading Bliss’ book (and recommending it) is a first step.

The Second Chance Key is part of my effort to read more self-pubbed authors. Jacque Burke is the wonderful ML (municipal liaison) of my NaNoWriMo area and this is her debut novel. The next two are also by authors with northern Michigan connections. Nuts to You is the latest by Newbery Medal winner Lynne Rae Perkins (President Obama also picked it up recently) and Field Notes for the Earthbound is a much-acclaimed, first full-length work by John Mauk, a former colleague at Northwestern Michigan College. I’m lucky to have all three of these signed by their authors.

Topping it all off is a coming-of-age classic that I’ve stopped and started a few times, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Maybe this will be the year.”

Want to show us what you’re reading?: Post a picture of your #toread stack and use the hashtags #tadltoread and #fineprint.

3 to 5 with Cari Noga

3 to 5 Questions for Authors:

In Which A Librarian asks a Talented Author a Small Number of Questions

sparrow cari

We are lucky. We have quite a few local writers around these parts, one might even say a bevy if one were looking for an excuse to use that word. And we feel even luckier when they come to visit! In this case, popular author and Traverse City resident, Cari Noga has agreed to visit our blog and one of our book clubs!

Later this month we will be meeting with Cari to chat about her novel, Sparrow Migrationsa story about characters involved in the Miracle on Hudson plane crash in 2009. But we got a head start by asking her some questions here on Fine Print:

Q: Where do you write?

A: As the composition and members in my household have grown over the last 10 years, I’ve used four different rooms as my home office. As of the new year I’ve come full circle, back to my original location, a big open space at the top of the stairs. The walls are painted bright chartreuse, my favorite color, and it has both south and west-facing windows. My husband and I share an L-shaped desk and I have a tablet with detachable ergonomic keyboard that I use as my dedicated writing computer. While it does have an Internet connection I don’t have any social media passwords saved on it, nor email. Quiet and concentration are necessary for me to write, so I’ve found this technological nakedness important to productivity. My prime writing time is 9-11 p.m., when everyone else is asleep.

Q: Is there a sentence or phrase in Sparrow Migrations that you are most proud of? Why?

A: “Like the piping plover was a rare bird, Robby was a rare boy. But he was a boy, not a diagnosis.”

These lines belong to Sam Palmer, father to the 12-year-old autistic protagonist Robby Palmer, who comes to this realization near the end of the book. I like them for both writerly and personal reasons – the original use of simile, comparing an endangered species to a human with special needs, the spin that saves the first sentence from being a cliché. The second part sums up what Sam learns in the book and makes the point I hope readers take away. No matter what labels we assign to people, they are fundamentally people first.

Q: If you were a Dewey Decimal number, what number would you be?

A: 093 Incunabula

I Googled “Dewey Decimal” to answer this question and the spelling and pronunciation of this word made me smile, so I picked it. Then I learned that incunabula are books printed before 1501. It’s a Latin term that means “the earliest stages or first traces in the development of anything.” As Sparrow Migrations is my debut novel, my fiction is still in its early stages, so it seems quite fitting, as well as fun to say.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Re-engaging with my second novel, Pinata Tears. Like Sparrow Migrations, I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo (2013). Afterward, I changed the ending, which meant I had to change quite a bit more! I was about 80 percent done last fall when I got an offer to re-release Sparrow Migrations, which I had originally self-published. My attention turned back to that book, and I just completed revisions in February. (The new edition will be out June 23 from Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing.) The break affords me fresh eyes on the story and characters, which ultimately should be a good thing. I hope to send Pinata Tears to beta readers this spring.

Read more about Cari and her book here. And join us at Books & Brewskis April 28!

Photo credit: All photos are from www.carinoga.com.