Nantucket Atheneum News

Feeling Overwhelmed? Some Thoughts About How We Use Our Time

How do you manage your time?

By Janet Forest

How do you manage your time? Well? Poorly? Not at all? Some professional development experts say you can’t manage time. It trucks along with or without you. So, a better question is, “How do you use your time?”

There can be a lot of a social pressure to do more and faster and more efficiently. But is it making us more productive? Are we getting where we want to be?

Carl Honore observes in his Ted Talk that we are racing to go faster and faster in every aspect of our lives. “We used to dial; now we speed dial. We used to read; now we speed read. We used to walk; now we speed walk. And of course, we used to date and now we speed date.” Honore makes the argument that we will actually be happier and more fulfilled if we learn to slow down.

But how do we slow down? Where do we start? In her book, Overwhelmed, Brigid Shulte talks about the pressure adults (and working moms in particular) are under to do everything and have it all. But what does that mean? And is it possible to have it all?

 One place to start, as Arianna Huffington and Dr. Matthew Walker suggest, is to get more sleep. In our effort to more and be more productive, sleep has become associated with laziness. People wear their sleep deprivation like a badge of honor. Yet Dr. Walker explains in his book Why We Sleep that trying to skip sleep during the week and catch up on the weekends is like deciding not to breathe for a day and breathing really deeply the day after. There are all sorts of physiologic activity that only happens during sleep and we need to do it every day.

 Another avenue to explore is finding ways to reduce our distractions. Cal Newport, a computer scientist and author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, believes that by giving in to constant interruptions and distractions, we are denying ourselves the fulfillment of deep focused work.

 For those feeling underwater and at the mercy of their maxed out schedules, the first step is to take a first step. Start somewhere. You didn’t get here in a day, and it won’t be solved in a day. But what can you do this month to make things a tiny bit easier for yourself?

Here’s one suggestion, sign up for our FREE 3-week Time Management Toolkit workshop and learn some new tools and strategies.

Janet Forest is a programs department associate at the Nantucket Atheneum.

New In Nature

By Elizabeth Kelly

The natural world is a vast and awe-inspiring topic. Every so often a book will come along and capture the perfect narrative of flora and fauna. These new titles explain discoveries about nature, science, and how it is all deeply interconnected.

The Secret Wisdom of Nature is the third in the Mysteries of Nature trilogy by Peter Wohlleben. This final chapter in his series focuses on ecosystems and how all life communicates. Wohlleben has studied plants and animals for decades with special attention to the way they interact within their own networks of language. His writing uncovers how delicate the balance is within and between ecosystems on our planet. Wohlleben also warns about the destruction of nature by humans and what we can do to preserve our world.

Sy Montgomery is an award-winning author and naturalist who has written dozens of books about animals from around the world. In her newest release, How to Be a Good Creature, Montgomery focuses on the pets and animals that made her a better person. Her memoir tells the story of her life through the creatures she encounters; from a childhood Scottish terrier named Molly to a group of endangered tree kangaroos in the rainforest. Every animal changed her life in a significant way and taught her important lessons about love, loss, and purpose. The illustrations by Rebecca Green are equally as charming as the writing within.

Primate researcher Frans de Waal writes about the deeply emotional aspect of animal behavior through a remarkable chimpanzee in his book Mama’s Last Hug. Mama was the matriarch of a large chimpanzee family at a zoo in the Netherlands who lived to be almost sixty years old. In her final moments, though weak and tired, her face lights up when she is reunited with an old friend. In a now-viral video, Mama embraces a biology professor she had known for over forty years by pulling him close and patting his head. It was an emotional goodbye previously only attributed to human interactions. De Waal uses Mama and other extraordinary creatures to deconstruct the myths and stereotypes placed on the natural world to understand the importance of emotions.

Elizabeth Kelly is a reference librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum.

New Sports Books To Celebrate the Playoffs and Spring Baseball

It’s good to be a Boston sports fan. First, there were the Patriot’s Day Weekend playoff wins for both the Celtics and the Bruins. Then, on Monday, fans finally got to go outside after a long winter to cheer on Boston Marathon runners and queue up for Red Sox opening day at Fenway Park.

And in the middle of this confluence of winter and spring sports comes new books to help us celebrate the best of team efforts, offer reflections, and examine the cost of choosing a career in sports.

Sportscaster and baseball player Ron Darling’s book 108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game (April 2, St. Martin’s Press) is a collection of wild, wise, and wistful stories reflecting the full arc of a life in and around our national pastime. Through relationships with baseball legends on and off the field, like Yale coach Smoky Joe Wood, Willie Mays, Bart Giamatti, Tom Seaver and Mickey Mantle, Darling’s reminiscences reach all the way back to Babe Ruth and other turn-of-the-century greats.

New York Times baseball columnist Tyler Kepner breaks the history of the sport down into 10 pitches in K: A History of Baseball (April 2, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group). He traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the 10 major pitches with each chapter highlighting a different pitch. Kepner shares insights from many of the best pitchers in baseball history including 22 Hall of Famers.

George Howe Colt delves into the history of an epic Harvard-Yale Football match in The Game: Harvard, Yale, And America in 1968 (October 2018, Scribner). The two teams played their final game of the season on November 23, 1968, which ended with a score of 29-29. This is the story of an iconic American year as seen through the young men who lived it and were changed by it.

Brian Windhorst tells the story of LeBron James’s incredible transformation from basketball star to sports and business mogul in LEBRON, INC., The Making Of A Billion Dollar Athlete (April 9, Grand Central Publishing).

With eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, James has proven himself one of the greatest basketball players of all time and also become a global brand and businessman.  LEBRON, INC tells the story of James’s journey to becoming a billionaire sports icon and shows how he changed the way most elite athletes manage their careers.

Often called America’s best sports writer, Wright Thompson investigates what it takes to pursue a career in sports in his book The Cost of Dreams: Sports Stories And Other Serious Business (April 2, Penguin Publishing Group). A gifted writer, Wright’s profiles of some of the biggest names in sports, both past and present — Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Ted Williams, and Bear Bryant – with style and smart storytelling and “cuts through the mythology with a scalpel,” said The National Book Review.

Four time Olympic runner Meb Keflezighi offers his insights on his sport in 26 Marathons: What I learned About Faith, Identity, Running and Life From My Marathon Career (March 19, Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale). Keflezighi is the first person in history to win both the Boston and New York City marathons as well as an Olympic marathon medal. He shows runners of all levels how to apply the lessons he’s learned to their own running and lives.

And, in case you missed it, Tiger Woods had a great Patriot’s Day weekend too – he won his fifth Masters competition. Earlier this month, Simon & Schuster issued the paperback version of Tiger Woods, a comprehensive biography by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian. A new work by David Sowell offers a history of the venerable golf tournament in The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic (March 1, UNP Nebraska).

2019 One Book One Island – The Monk of Mokha

Now in its 13th year, the One Book One Island community reading project announces the 2019 selection is The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers.

The book is about Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people.

Beginning Thurs., Jan. 17 selection free books will be available at:

  • Annye’s Whole Foods
  • Nantucket Atheneum
  • Nantucket Historical Association main office
  • Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror
  • Nantucket Preservation Trust
  • Saltmarsh Senior Center

One book per person. The book supply runs out quickly and readers are asked to please return their copy to the Atheneum or pass it on to a friend.

Join us for a week of free events related to the story and themes of The Monk Of Mokha from March 1- 10.

One book One Island Calendar of Events

Fri., March 1  5:00 – 7:00 pm. Artist Association of Nantucket  at the Johnson Gallery,19 Washington Street.  Exhibit opening, “Salam and the Art of Coffee.”

Mon., March 4 

  • 2 pm Maria Mitchell Association library, Vestal Lane.
    Film: “The English Sheik And The Yemini Gentleman.”
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall, 1 India Street.
    Film: “A New Day In Old Sana’a.”

Tues., March 5,  5:30  pm. Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall, 1 India Street. Book discussion of The Monk of Mokha facilitated by Molly Anderson, Atheneum executive director.

Wed., March 6

  • 2 pm Maria Mitchell Association library, Vestal Lane.
    Film: “A New Day In Old Sana’a.”
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall, 1 India Street.
    Film: The English Sheik And The Yemini Gentleman.”

Thurs., March 7

  • 12 pm Nantucket Historical Association
    Lecture Yemini Architecture
  • 2:30 pm Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum
    Children’s calligraphy and henna program.

Fri., March 8 5:30 pm Nantucket Atheneum Great Hall, 1 India Street.
Panel Discussion and Q&A with Nantucket Entrepreneurs.

Sat., March 9

  • 10:30 am Nantucket Community School, 56 Centre Street
    Children’s music and story time.
  • 4 – 6 pm Nantucket Dreamland Theater, South Water St.
    Special Presentation on Yemen.

Sun. Mar 10, 3 -5 pm  Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum, Finale featuring Yemeni food and music with henna and calligraphy demonstrations.


Art Exhibit                          March 1-9 at Artists Association at the Johnson Gallery,19 Washington Street.

Coffee Shop Crawl          Feb. 1- Mar. 9   Participants receive passports entitling them to a 10% discount on a cup of coffee purchase at any of ten Nantucket coffee shops. Those participants who collect 6 stamps on their passports are then eligible for the drawing for a gift card at the Finale.


Past selections include:

TransAtlantic (McCann)

Elephant Company (Constantine Croke)

The Invention of Wings (Monk Kidd)

Enrique’s Journey (Nazario)

To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee)

The Red Garden (Hoffman)

The Maltese Falcon (Hammett)

 The Postmistress (Blake)

Coal Black Horse (Olmstead)

American Chica (Arana)
Seedfolks (Fleischman)
Abuela (Dorros)

 The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)
The Young Man and the Sea (Philbrick)
Island Boy (Cooney)

The Kiterunner (Hosseini)
The Breadwinner (Ellis)
The Librarian of Basra (Winter)

Support for One Book One Island

The program is made possible by funding from the Tupancy-Harris Foundation and the Hale Family Foundation together with financial and staff support from:

* Founding sponsors

Please consider supporting the One Book One Island Program. A $100 gift provides 10 additional free books for the community. To donate, or for more information, please contact Molly Anderson, Nantucket Atheneum, 508-228-1110.

people sharing a meal

Broadening Your Culinary Horizons – AtoZ World Food

The degree to which we try new things and attempt to teach our kids about expanding their food choices is the degree to which we make acceptance the norm. When we learn that food comes in many forms, we learn a bit more about each other as people.  New foods and new flavors, just like learning new words in a language or new traditions in a culture, can be fun.

picture of a Grater cake, a Jamaican dessertFor that reason, the Nantucket Atheneum is pleased to announce that it has recently added AtoZ World Food to its online reference offerings. This new library resource contains more than 7,000 traditional recipes from 174 countries. It describes thousands of ingredients, and contains many articles about food culture.

International cookbooks are very popular at the library. In the past, we’ve never been able to offer a cookbook that was so broad in scope.  So, we’re very excited to offer this database to our patrons.  AtoZ World Food can be viewed the library’s computers or from anywhere in the world from the library’s eMagazine portal with their library card. “World Food” also enables users to forward recipes to friends by email, print the recipes, or even create their own personal cookbook of favorite recipes.Kulish, a Ukrainian pork porridge in a bowl

AtoZ World Food was designed for students, world travelers, and anyone who wants to learn about world cuisine without having to purchase individual country cookbooks. Our hope is that, our patrons will find the intersection of food and culture intriguing, and that they will appreciate how it can expand our world, one taste at a time.

a quote by Doug Larson, Never doubt the courage of the French. They were the ones who discovered that snails are edible

Staff Picks For Holiday Reading

By Adelaide Richards

It should come as no surprise that many members of the Atheneum staff are giving the joy of a good book this holiday season.  Here are some titles to check out:

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992 and has written many books. Her latest book investigates the fire at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 which destroyed four hundred thousand books. The fire effected more than half of the collection, as Orlean notes you can still smell smoke in some of the books. Alongside her well researched inquiry into the fire is a poignant testament to the power of libraries as formative and essential places in society.

Frederick Douglass by Donald Blight

We were fortunate to host Professor Blight at the Atheneum in October to discuss his new and highly praised biography of Frederick Douglass. The first full biography of Douglass in nearly thirty years, Blight’s portrait of this incredible man is informed by his many years of teaching and unprecedented access to new material. An extensive collection of family albums allowed Blight to shed more light on Douglass’ life, particularly his later years.

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Murakami is a masterful storyteller and his latest novel is no exception. Readers will delight in his complex characters and beguiling prose. The novel centers on a portrait artist who moves to a secluded house once owned by a famous Japanese painter. Described as an epic homage to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Murakami’s novel is a meditation on loneliness and art.

Adelaide Richards works in the Atheneum’s Adult Programming Department and in the Circulation Department.

Nantucket Atheneum

Nantucket Atheneum Board Chair Letter

Dear Friends of the Nantucket Atheneum:

This is my first letter to you as Chair of the Atheneum’s Board of Trustees. It is an honor and a privilege to be in this role. Public libraries are the lifeblood of their communities. The Atheneum is that and more to the people of this island.


I am delighted to report that the Atheneum is in splendid condition by all measures. In the past year, Molly Anderson and her talented team delivered over 1,300 high quality programs to our island’s full time and seasonal residents. Our financial picture is strong – a balanced budget, record fund raising of over $1.1 million, and a growing endowment. The Dance Festival, now a major cultural event, once again brought some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers to our island and presented a sublime evening of dance. We have a talented and engaged board of trustees who have committed their knowledge, leadership, and resources to the Atheneum. We honored our heritage with programs celebrating the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass and his five speeches at the Atheneum. Over the course of the year, over 165,000 visitors made full use of the resources of this great library as well as finding it a gathering place for conversation, exploration, learning, and contemplation. It is a vibrant, wonderful place in which to hang out.

We are proud of the Atheneum and we know you are as well. You show your appreciation with your generous financial support and we can’t thank you enough for that. Your donations pay for about 75 percent of the Atheneum’s operating costs. We are accessible and free to everyone.
You make that possible. Thank you so much.


Every year we must get better in order to stay financially strong, relevant, and indispensable to the quality of life on Nantucket. We know that we must regularly revisit our priorities and operating assumptions and create new ideas, strategies, and possibilities for the future.

We spent considerable time this year thinking about the future of the Atheneum with significant input from the Atheneum staff and the community. We are excited about this work. We cannot predict the future but we can build on our existing strengths to position the Atheneum to respond effectively to changes in the needs of our community and our operating environment going forward.

Let me highlight three goals for the next few years.

We have a talented, dedicated staff, an extraordinary Executive Director, and a strong, engaged Board of Trustees. We need to insure that we invest in the professional development of our people, position the Atheneum to attract and retain talented professionals in both leadership and technical positions, and continue to recruit the very best talent for our Board. Our Executive Committee and our Committee on Trustees have laid out specific goals and deliverables for the next two years in this area.

We are financially solid today because of strong expense management, a well-managed endowment, an excellent development function and your generosity. Going forward, we need to expand the tools in our development tool box. We will launch a major gifts program next year. This is not a one time effort but rather a permanent program designed to provide donors with the rationale and opportunity to provide major support. Our Dance Festival Committee is also working on ways to expand sponsorship opportunities and participation.

The hallmark of a public library is universal access at no cost to users. Direct support is essential to free access and we must expand our efforts to communicate the unique public private nature of our role. We also believe that we should develop better ways to measure and communicate the impact of the Atheneum and value to the community. We need to make the case for support in terms of more specific outcomes and measures. And then tell our story.


This year Bob Greenspon stepped down after chairing the Board for over four years. Bob brought energy, wisdom and passion for all things Atheneum to his role. The Board honored Bob at the June Annual Meeting by awarding him the title Chair Emeritus.

We also said goodbye to four trustees whose terms expired. Thank you Barbara Jones, Will Hannum, Jeanne Miller and Bonnie McCausland. They were engaged, impactful trustees and we are deeply grateful for their service.

We are delighted to welcome our new class of trustees – Tracy Flannery, Sam Flax, Clement Durkes, Marcia Welch, and Barbara Fife. We know that each will make a difference moving forward.

Thank you again for your support of the Atheneum. You make so much possible and we are deeply grateful. I hope you are as excited about the future of the Atheneum as we are and we look forward to seeing you soon at our fabulous public library.

Warm regards,
Joan Gulley, Chair

We want to hear from you, an image of a hand to ear

Library Survey – Help us make our services more useful and relevant to you

The Nantucket Atheneum is developing a strategic plan for 2019 – 2021. We image of word bubbles saying, your voice mattersvalue your thoughts as we plan for the future and would like to ask you to take a few minutes and respond to the following survey. Thank you.


What Happened? True Mysteries To Investigate

By Elizabeth Kelly

The Secret Token: myth, obsession, and the search for the lost colony of Roanoke (Andrew Lawler)

In 1587, a ship of 115 English men, women, and children landed in modern-day North Carolina to establish the first successful British colony. John White, leader of the voyage, returned to England to acquire new members and supplies. His trip was intended to be brief but war with Spain made it impossible to sail back to the colony until 1590, a full three years later.

Upon his arrival the remaining Roanoke inhabitants were nowhere to be found, including White’s wife and daughter. There was no evidence of foul play and the only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved into a fence post, the name of a local Native American tribe. No one knows what happened to the Roanoke colony but author Andrew Lawler attempts to deconstruct the mystery in his new book. His work focuses on the social and archeological history of the Roanoke colony as well as the cult obsession it has inspired.

Chopin’s Piano: in search of the Instrument that transformed music  (Paul Kildea)

Polish virtuoso Frédéric Chopin and his partner traveled from France to a monastery in Majorca during the winter of 1938. When the piano he planned to use during their vacation did not arrive quickly enough the famed composer resorted to practicing on a small pianette built by a local craftsman. Author Paul Kildea writes in his newest book about how this one instrument would become an integral part of musical history.

Not only was the small piano used to complete Chopin’s Preludes, arguably his most famous work, but it was later stolen by the Nazis during the infamous art plunder of World War II. Kildea shares the intertwined stories of Chopin’s legacy and fellow Polish pianist, Wanda Landowska, who inadvertently spared Chopin’s famed instrument from obscurity. The book is an inspiring look at one of the world’s most beloved musical talents.

A Deal with the Devil: the dark and twisted true story of one of the biggest cons in history  (Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken)

While investigating financial crimes for CNN, reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken happened upon a story about a French psychic named Maria Duval. The team began to connect the dots between multiple reports of elderly and vulnerable people being scammed into sending large sums of money to Duval with the promise of good health and fortune in return. Some of the victims sent their life savings and cashed out entire retirement funds.

This type of financial crime is not uncommon but the amount of money that had been swindled, over $200 million dollars, was astounding. At least 1.4 Americans were victims of the scam over the course of 20 years including the sick and disabled who trusted Duval’s promises of curing their ailments or winning the lottery. Ellis and Hicken’s book delves into the dark reality of the Duval con in attempt to uncover the truth and seek justice for the victims. It reveals a much larger and more sinister fraud than anyone could have imagined.

Elizabeth Kelly is a reference librarian at he Nantucket Atheneum.

pillow with written words "be our guest"

GALE – Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Collection

If your love of business or hospitality has brought you to Nantucket working in that industry, then you might enjoy studying the resources the Atheneum has on Tourism & Hospitality. This research might be added to your  knowledge base on hospitality, sales and tourism; or could help your employer to excel within Nantucket’s dynamic travel and hospitality industry.

Moreover, such study might apply to your general business knowledge, making you more employable. An informed and engaged team-member is valuable on Nantucket. And, a strong knowledge of the tourism and hospitality industry on Nantucket makes the whole island’s economy stronger.

Hospitality, Tourism and LeisureTo that end, the Nantucket Atheneum offers the Gale -Hospitality, Tourism, and Leisure Collection. This database provides access to scholarly journals, magazines, and trade publications that cover topics including the cultural and economic aspects of travel and tourism. This database offers current/relevant content that provides well-rounded coverage of both the historical and current state of affairs in the hospitality and tourism industries worldwide. A business professional as well as a curious traveler will find a wealth of information from its contents.

matrix of travel and hospitality subjects and their connections

The collection can dig deep into hospitality and tourism subjects.

A complete digital library of facts and resources related to hospitality, travel, tourism, and the culinary arts is included in this database. This one-of-a-kind database lets users browse the latest information, quickly conduct targeted  research, or pinpoint specific answers using sophisticated search tools.