EVPL Communities: MediaPhile@evpl's Blog Postshttp://evpl.org/community/blogs/All of MediaPhile@evpl's blog posts on the EVPL Communities site.en-USCommunityServer 2008 SP1 (Build: 30619.63) <![CDATA["Perdido Street Station": a steampunk classic]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/02/09/quot-perdido-street-station-quot-a-steampunk-classic.aspx Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:12:00 G2T 2076 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/02/09/quot-perdido-street-station-quot-a-steampunk-classic.aspx to post your comments!

perdido street stationperdido street stationIf you're in the mood for something really different, try this marvelously inventive fantasy novel.

British author China Mieville (who has a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics) self-describes it as "basically a secondary world fantasy with Victorian era technology...so rather than being a feudal world, it's an early industrial capitalist world of a fairly grubby, police statey kind!"  

First in a trio of novels, "Perdido Street Station" (c2000) is set in the city-state of New Crobuzon in the fictional world of Bas-Lag.  The following two novels, "The Scar" (c2002) and "Iron Council"  (c2004) explore different areas and races of Bas-Lag, so the novels don't have to be read in sequence. 

To give you an idea of the type of creatures you will encounter, here is a list from a review by David Soyka from sfsite.com:

  • moth-like creatures that combine the motifs of Japanese monster movies and vampire allegory;
  • bio-engineered "Remades" upon whom are bizarrely grafted any number of animal and mechanical parts, sometimes to serve a particular function, such as bodyguards with "built-in" weaponry...; in other cases as punishment, such as the baby murdering mother who has her child's limbs attached to her face as a constant reminder of her sin;
  • a giant spider with human hands obsessed with perfecting and protecting the interconnected web of existence that is utterly oblivious to the disastrous consequences its actions have on individual lives;
  • a machine intelligence spontaneously emerging in a junkyard of Victorian-era "steampunk" technology spreading a virus of consciousness to other mechanical constructs;
  • various co-existing species of ambulatory cacti, amphibious, parasitic, demonic, and ornithic creatures;
  • a humanoid insect -- complete with wings, mandibles, and head scarab -- who communicates by hand signals to her human lover

"Perdido Street Station" has won numerous SF/Fantasy awards and has inspired a number of artists to attempt to recreate this complicated world on paper.  Here are some of those images.

new crobuzon

new crobuzonnew crubuzon

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Fantasy steampunk china mieville perdido street station
<![CDATA["Catcher in the Rye" one of the most censored books of the 20th century]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/30/quot-catcher-in-the-rye-quot-author-j-d-salinger-dead-at-age-91.aspx Sat, 30 Jan 2010 12:26:00 G1T 2050 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/30/quot-catcher-in-the-rye-quot-author-j-d-salinger-dead-at-age-91.aspx to post your comments!

salinger

salinger

catcher in the rye

Reclusive novelist and short story writer J. D. Salinger died on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at the age of 91.

"Catcher in the Rye" the penultimate novel of teen angst -- first published in 1951 -- has sold 65 million copies worldwide and over half a century later still sells 250,000 copies each year. 

"Catcher in the Rye" has been the object of many censorship efforts through the years.  Pamela Hunt Steinle in her book "In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye, Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character" (Ohio State University Press, 2002), reported that the novel "had the dubious distinction of being at once the most frequently censored book across the nation and the second-most frequently taught novel in public high schools (after John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men.")

Salinger hated celebrity and fought mightily to keep himself out of the news, even though his works continued to generate both literary and mass appeal.  His last published work was "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter and Seymour: an Introduction," two novellas that had originally appeared in the "New Yorker" and were published in book form in 1963.

Salinger refused to give interviews, and his veil of secrecy has really only been punctured twice, by a long-ago lover, Joyce Maynard in "At Home in the World: a Memoir" (Picador, 1998) and his daughter, Margaret Salinger in "Dream Catcher: a Memoir" (Washington Square Press, c2000).  Both revealed intimate details about the author and man that were less than flattering.  Others have disputed many of the claims in these two exposes.

Rumors are that Salinger continued to write after his "retirement" from the world.  One wonders if some long-buried Salinger masterpieces will soon see the light of day. 

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reviews catcher in the rye J D Salinger censorship
<![CDATA["John Dillinger : the life and death of America's first celebrity criminal" by Dary Matera]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/27/quot-john-dillinger-the-life-and-death-of-america-s-first-celebrity-criminal-quot-by-dary-matera.aspx Wed, 27 Jan 2010 16:16:00 G1T 2037 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/27/quot-john-dillinger-the-life-and-death-of-america-s-first-celebrity-criminal-quot-by-dary-matera.aspx to post your comments!

public enemiesJohn DillingerJohn Dillinger                             wanted posterindiana visitor's center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the Indiana connection, I've always been somewhat interested in John Dillinger.  But it was only after watching Johnny Depp bring the notorious bankrobber to life in his latest flick, that I decided to check out the details.  This book was just the ticket.

Here are some brief FAQs of his short but infamous life: 

  • He was born in Indianapolis. His father was a grocer who believed in harsh discipline, and his mother died just before his fourth birthday.  He attended school through 7th grade, then quit to work in a machine shop.  He started getting into trouble and his father moved the family to rural Mooresville to avoid the urban temptations.  It didn't help.
  • His first arrest -- and first real crime -- was at age 19, for auto theft.  He enlisted in the Navy but was soon dishonorably discharged.  He returned to Moorseville, got married and stayed somewhat settled until the marriage ended in divorce when he was 26.
  • Shortly thereafter, he robbed a grocery store clerk of $50 and was convicted of assault & battery, then sentenced to 10 to 20 years in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.  He was still a really inept criminal but he became friends with quite a few of his fellow prisoners, many of whom made a career of crime.  After 8 years he got parolled, then was immediately re-arrested following a couple of bank heists  -- in Ohio -- and sent back to prison. He escaped four days thereafter with the help of the first "Dillinger Gang."  Two guards were killed in the process, which meant he had moved a step up the criminal justice chain.
  • Of course we all know what followed -- dozens of bank robberies during a legendary cross-country crime spree that captured the imagination of the nation, even though it only lasted about a year.  The chase very much resembled the Keystone Kops, with much of the population rooting for Dillinger.  The heist that sealed his fate was one in East Chicago, Indiana (that he may not have even been at) where a policeman was killed.  Now he was a cop killer.
  • He was finally captured in Tuscon, Arizona, and shipped back to Indiana to be charged with murder.  Media descended on the small northern Indiana town of Crown Point to interview the famous criminal.  His gang within a matter of days "busted him out" -- embarrasing the state of Indiana even more than they already were -- and the gang headed to Chicago.  That was basically their downfall since they crossed the state line in a stolen car, bringing down the official wrath of the DOI, the agency which soon became the FBI.  
  • Dillinger's last few months were spent hiding and scrounging, and he was even forced into getting a real job as a clerk. The DOI eventually tracked him down to the Chicago area.  Agents gunned him down at the Biograph Theatre in Chicago's Lincoln Park on July 22, 1934.

Having grown up in "da Region" (northwestern Indiana), I was happy to see the award-winning Indiana Welcome Center open there a few years ago.  But I never bothered to plunk down a few dollars to visit the Dillinger Museum that is part of it.  Next time I'm "home" I will.

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reviews John Dillinger Indiana Welcome Center public enemies Dillinger Museum Johnny Depp movies
<![CDATA[Spenser creator Robert B. Parker dead at age 77]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/21/spencer-author-robert-b-parker-dead-at-age-77.aspx Thu, 21 Jan 2010 16:24:00 G1T 2028 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2010/01/21/spencer-author-robert-b-parker-dead-at-age-77.aspx to post your comments!

parker

Prolific and beloved mystery/suspense author Robert B. Parker died suddenly on Monday, January 18.  He was at his desk working on his latest Spenser novel.

Parker actually wrote three different series, as well as a number of unrelated titles, but his most well-known character was, of course, Boston P.I. Spenser.  Spenser (whose first name was never revealed) was the centerpiece of 38 mysteries, many of which were made into TV movies.  The mystery series was also adapted into the TV series "Spenser for Hire" which ran on ABC from 1985-88, with Robert Ulrich playing Spenser.

Here is a list, from Robert B. Parker's website, of his series and the titles in each series:

The Spenser Series

Back Story
Bad Business
A Catskill Eagle
Ceremony
Chance
Cold Service
Crimson Joy
Double Deuce
Early Autumn
God Save the Child
The Godwulf Manuscript
Hugger Mugger
Hundred-Dollar Baby
Hush Money
The Judas Goat
Looking for Rachel Wallace
Mortal Stakes
Now and Then
Pale Kings and Princes
Paper Doll
Pastime
Playmates
Potshot
The Professional
Promised Land
Rough Weather
A Savage Place
School Days
Small Vices
Stardust
Sudden Mischief
Taming a Seahorse
Thin Air
Valediction
Walking Shadow
The Widening Gyre
Widow's Walk 
  
The Sunny Randall Series
Blue Screen
Family Honor
Melancholy Baby
Perish Twice
Shrink Rap
Spare Change: A Sunny Randall Novel  

The Jesse Stone Series
Death in Paradise
High Profile: A Jesse Stone Novel
Night and Day
Night Passage
Sea Change
Split Image
Stone Cold
Stranger in Paradise
Trouble in Paradise 
 
Other Books
All Our Yesterdays
Appaloosa
The Boxer and the Spy
Brimstone
Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel
Double Play
Edenville Owls
Gunman's Rhapsody
Love and Glory
Perchance to Dream
Poodle Springs
Resolution
Wilderness 

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<![CDATA["The Angel's Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/03/quot-the-angel-s-game-quot-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon.aspx Thu, 03 Sep 2009 23:13:00 G9T 1817 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/03/quot-the-angel-s-game-quot-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon.aspx to post your comments!

angel's gameshadow of the wind

If you read and enjoyed Ruiz's international bestseller "Shadow of the Wind," you should probably read his newest (and related) novel "The Angel's Game."  This is the second in a series of novels that will all link back to the fictional Cemetery of Forgotten Books featured in "Shadow."   

"Angel's Game," set in gothic 1920s Barcelona, centers around an impoverished pulp fiction writer, David Martin, who unwittingly sells his soul to the devil.  He finds, of course, that he has made a terrible bargain and must pay a price.

The plot is labyrinthian.  Either read this one really carefully the first time, or plan on reading it twice in order to grasp all the threads.  I read it twice, and am glad I did. 

The author's website is full of intriguing tidbits, including downloadable Barcelona wallpaper and original soundtrack music composed by the author. Barcelona wallpaper

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reviews books gothic fiction ruiz shadow of the wind
<![CDATA["A weed by any other name : the virtues of a messy lawn, or, learning to love the plants we don't plant" by Nancy Gift]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/06/quot-a-weed-by-any-other-name-the-virtues-of-a-messy-lawn-or-learning-to-love-the-plants-we-don-t-plant-quot-by-nancy-gift.aspx Thu, 06 Aug 2009 09:46:00 G8T 1735 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/06/quot-a-weed-by-any-other-name-the-virtues-of-a-messy-lawn-or-learning-to-love-the-plants-we-don-t-plant-quot-by-nancy-gift.aspx to post your comments!

weeds by any other name


I recall a gardening workshop where I posed a question having to do with lawns.   The speaker asked what kind of grass I had and I replied "weedy grass."  The audience laughed, but it was a serious reply.  That was the only kind of grass I knew growing up and it is the same kind of grass I have now, so rest assured I was delighted with this book.

A blog post self-describes Dr. Gift as "an assistant professor of environmental studies and acting director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a lawn full of weeds."  I love it!

Each chapter focuses on the pluses and minuses of the various "weeds" that creep into our yards -- violets, dandelions, morning glory, etc.  You won't be able to finish this short book without wondering whether you really need commercial spraying of noxious chemicals to maintain a perfect monocultural lawn -- one that doesn't contribute to the viability of insects, birds, or any other life (including that of barefoot kids). 

p.s. when you read about the intensive spraying done on golf courses, you might decide to switch to a different sport.

 

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reviews books and reading environmentalism rachel carson weeds
<![CDATA[Former Governor Kernan in town March 10 for Local Government Reform Workshop ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/03/05/former-governor-kernan-in-town-march-10-for-local-government-reform-workshop.aspx Thu, 05 Mar 2009 13:39:00 G3T 1341 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/03/05/former-governor-kernan-in-town-march-10-for-local-government-reform-workshop.aspx to post your comments!

governer kernan

The 8:30 am - 3 pm event is at USI's Carter Hall.  Registration is $10, which covers the cost of a box lunch.

Speakers and panelists include the following:
 
Former Indiana Governor Joseph Kernan
Indiana University Historian James H. Madison
Gibson County Council President Tony Wolfe
City Councilman Jeff Kniese
Township Trustee Mary Hart
City Councilman Joe Kiefer
Former County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave 
 
with Moderator Evansville Courier & Press Editor Mizell Stewart III
 
Go to USI extended services for more information or to register.  You can also register that morning between 8:30 and 9 am.

This event is underwritten by the Indiana Center for the Humanities and the Ball State University Bowen Center for Public Affairs.  Local partners include the League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana, Leadership Evansville, the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana, the Evansville Courier & Press, Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, and USI.

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evansville Vanderburgh County local government reform kernan shepard report joe kernan
<![CDATA[Identify Birds in Winter -- with Sharon Sorenson]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/02/16/identify-birds-in-winter-with-sharon-sorenson.aspx Mon, 16 Feb 2009 17:39:00 G2T 1272 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/02/16/identify-birds-in-winter-with-sharon-sorenson.aspx to post your comments!

downy woodpecker

Can't tell the difference between a downy woodpecker and a hairy woodpecker?  Or a house sparrow and a house wren?

Join local birding expert Sharon Sorenson for a Powerpoint presentation that will help you identify birds in your wintertime backyard. 

DATE:  Wednesday, February 18, 6:30 pm

PLACE:  Oaklyn Branch Library

(This program was originally scheduled for January 25th and resheduled due to the ice storm.)

JUST COME -- NO ADVANCE REGISTRATION.  Call 428-8234 with any questions.

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oaklyn branch birds
<![CDATA[Help protect your credit with a security freeze]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/02/08/help-protect-your-credit-with-a-security-freeze.aspx Sun, 08 Feb 2009 14:22:00 G2T 1242 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2009/02/08/help-protect-your-credit-with-a-security-freeze.aspx to post your comments!

vaneta beckerHere's a tip from Indiana State Senator Vaneta Becker:

Hoosiers can help protect their credit with one of the strongest security freeze laws in the nation.

Consumers can freeze access to their credit reports. When the consumer wishes to release their credit report, they use their personal identification number to temporarily allow access to the report.

Security freezes work because they prevent criminals from falsely obtaining credit through someone else's name.

When you are shopping for credit, you can 'thaw' the freeze by making a simple phone call or sending an e-mail and then re-freeze the credit when you want. Freeze and thaw requests are honored within 15 minutes of their receipt.

Placing a security freeze does not hurt a consumer's credit rating and the service is free to everyone in Indiana.

Criminals will go to great lengths to steal a consumer's credit because obtaining good credit is highly difficult. People are struggling as it is and the last thing a consumer needs to deal with is having their credit stolen. By following a few simple steps, Hoosiers can help protect the credit they've established.

Free Security Freeze Kits can be obtained by calling AARP Indiana toll free at 866-448-3618 or by sending an electronic mail message to inaarp@aarp.org .  

Beginning January 1, 2009, consumer reporting agencies made electronic security freeze requests available online. More information can be found at www.indianaconsumer.com .

Indiana lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the security freeze law in 2007. 

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Indiana credit ratings security freeze
<![CDATA["Desperate Passage: the Donner Party's Perilous Journey West" by Ethan Rarick]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/02/04/quot-desperate-passage-the-donner-party-s-perilous-journey-west-quot-by-ethan-rarick.aspx Wed, 04 Feb 2009 17:10:00 G2T 1214 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/02/04/quot-desperate-passage-the-donner-party-s-perilous-journey-west-quot-by-ethan-rarick.aspx to post your comments!

desperate passageIf you've been suffering the privations of the ice storm and resulting electrical grid collapse this past week, just remember that whatever your conditions, they were much better than those faced by the Donner Party in the winter of 1846.  At least that's what I kept reminding myself as my family and I suffered through 7 days without power.  After all we had a house, a fireplace, firewood, hot water, candles, batteries, flashlights, a radio, and plenty of warm dry clothes and blankets.  (Oh, I forgot the car, gasoline, restaurants, the list goes on and on).

I had just finished this fascinating history last month.  Before that, the only thing I knew about the Donner Party was that they ended up eating each other.  Now I marvel at the fact that the majority of the group actually made it out of the mountains in one piece (no pun intended).

In fact, it seems like a whole different breed of Americans who were willing to walk alongside their ox carts (saved for carrying children and worldly possessions) for 2000 miles, starting in Independence, Missouri and ending in the warm paradise of California.  The secret was in the timing.   The trip must start when there was enough new grass for the cattle and must end before winter closed the steep passage through the Sierra Nevadas. 

The group that is forever remembered as the Donner Party made a few fatal mistakes.  They started their journey a little late in the spring.  They lagged at the tail end of the large crowd making that year's trek.  And, worst of all, they made the foolhardy decision to try to shave some time off their trip by following a treacherous shortcut through Utah  that had never actually been traversed.  80 men, women and children ended up being trapped by a series of blizzards at the base of the pass.

This story of triumph is a lesson in the ability of the human spirit to transcend great odds.  An interesting side note is that the woman did better than the men -- largely due to their determination to save their children (but also to the fact that they store more fat).

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nonfiction History sierra nevadas donner party
<![CDATA[Literary world lending Hollywood its best material]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/01/18/golden-globe-best-movie-drama-nominees-all-based-on-books-short-stories.aspx Sun, 18 Jan 2009 10:08:00 G1T 1146 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/01/18/golden-globe-best-movie-drama-nominees-all-based-on-books-short-stories.aspx to post your comments!

slumdog posterIt's interesting that all five of the nominees for the 2009 Golden Globe Best Drama award were based on books or short stories.  What is significant is that few of the movies nominated in other Golden Globe categories, as well as for other annual film awards, were! If this year is any indicator, we'll be seeing more and more films made from original screenplays, often written by the director.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is very loosely based on a 1921 short story penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald at age 25. As everyone knows by now, Benjamin is born old and gets younger as the years pass, but that's about the only thing that the short story and movie have in common. Eric Roth, who wrote the screenplay for the 1994 megahit, "Forrest Gump," has basically turned Fitzgerald's creation into "Forrest Gump 2" -- which is not to say that the lavish production isn't well worth the ticket, just that you might want to read the short story for comparison.  The text is available online at www.readbookonline.net.

"Revolutionary Road" comes from a novel by Richard Yates that was a National Book Award finalist in 1961 and was heralded by Kurt Vonnegut as "The 'Great Gatsby' of my generation."  I've read this book about a young couple in crisis trying to decide between a "revolutionary" move to Europe or a humdrum middle-class existence, but the movie hasn't made its way to Evansville yet. All reports say that director Sam Mendes and stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio adhered to the printed word, although I suspect there is a feminist message in the film that wasn't in the novel.

Golden Globe Best Drama winner "Slumdog Millionaire" is based on "Q & A," a 2005 first novel by Vikas Swarup just re-released in a trade paperback edition bearing the movie's title. Swarup, an Indian diplomat who has served in Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, and Great Britain, is currently India's Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa.  The story of a young, penniless, and semi-literate waiter who must justify how he managed to win India's biggest-ever quiz show jackpot, "Q & A" was an international bestseller, translated into 36 languages. The breakaway hit movie looks like a top contender for the Oscars.

"The Reader" owes its being to a short semi-autobiographical novel by German law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink.  It is about a teenage boy who falls into a passionate but short-loved affair with a woman in her thirties, only to encounter her ten years later when she goes on trial for war crimes.  He has some information that might help her, but should he reveal it?  I must admit that I had never read this bestseller, even when it became an Oprah selection, but recently sought it out.  I won't say that I enjoyed it, but it is thought provoking. 

The screenplay for "Frost/Nixon" was written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote the Tony Award winning play.  If you want more detail, pick up Sir David Frost's 2007 book "Frost/Nixon: Behind the Scenes of the Nixon Interviews" or his earlier book, "I Gave Them a Sword," penned in 1977.

Finally, a prediction for future Award seasons.  I asked fellow librarians to name their favorite books of 2008.  If their instincts are correct, look for a movie entitled "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society," from the novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.   "People Magazine" called it "...A small masterpiece about love, war and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends."  

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reviews revolutionary road frost/nixon curious case of benjamin button golden globes slumdog millionaire
<![CDATA["Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/26/quot-revolutionary-road-quot-by-richard-yates.aspx Fri, 26 Dec 2008 16:04:00 G12T 1070 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/26/quot-revolutionary-road-quot-by-richard-yates.aspx to post your comments!

revolutionary road

I just finished this 1961 novel by Richard Yates.  The paperback edition's cover, published to coincide with the release of the new movie, caught my attention. 

Directed by Sam Mendes of "American Beauty" fame, "Revolutionary Road" stars his wife, Kate Winslet, and Leo DiCaprio.  It is in the running for all the top Golden Globe Awards in drama, including Best Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Performance by an Actor, and Best Director.

The setting is a Connecticut suburb in the late 1950's.  Frank Wheeler (DiCaprio) and his wife April (Winslet) have settled into tame middle class existence (due to an unexpected early pregnancy), but feel like they are play-acting.  Frank delights in skewering all the people who live in their suburb, as well as those he works with in Manhattan.  April seems resigned to her fate but has hidden depths.  Will the Wheelers' make a "revolutionary" move to Europe or continue their humdrum existence? "There's the rub," as Hamlet would say.

Just put into limited release, the movie has yet to make it to Evansville.  As always, I am looking forward to seeing how closely my understanding of the novel coincides with the movie version.

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reviews revolutionary road richard yates leo dicaprio sam mendes kate winslet
<![CDATA["Our Bright Future" by Tracy Chapman]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/12/16/quot-our-bright-future-quot-by-tracy-chapman.aspx Tue, 16 Dec 2008 15:35:00 G12T 1017 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/" target="_blank">Music Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/12/16/quot-our-bright-future-quot-by-tracy-chapman.aspx to post your comments!

our bright future

tracy chapman

I have long been a fan of Tracy Chapman.  She has a beautiful, soulful voice that lends itself to the simple but smart and touching songs that she writes.

tracy chapman in harvard square

"Our Bright Future" is her 8th album. She started out 23 years ago in little cafes near Harvard Square, strumming her acoustic guitar and singing her songs to whoever would listen.

Now of course, she can afford to hire expensive backup players and arrangers.  But it is still the same Chapman we know and love.

You can listen to these songs for their social message or you can just relax into their warm beauty.   Either way a new Chapman cd is always a treat!

And visit her website.  It's way cool!

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reviews rock and roll soul tracy chapman our bright future
<![CDATA["The Quiet Girl" by Peter Hoeg]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/13/quot-the-quiet-girl-quot-by-peter-hoeg.aspx Sat, 13 Dec 2008 11:53:00 G12T 962 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/13/quot-the-quiet-girl-quot-by-peter-hoeg.aspx to post your comments!

quiet girlIf you read literary fiction, you might want to pick up "The Quiet Girl." 

Danish author Peter Hoeg's first novel, "Smilla's Sense of Snow," is one of my all-time favorites. All his novels since then have sounded rather weird, and this one also fits that bill.  Reading it is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without having any idea of what the final picture will look like.

That said, this novel is worth the effort.  It does for sound what "Smilla" did for snow -- in fact, one reviewer joked that it should be called "Kaspar's Sense of Sound."  But it also, like "Smila," takes us into mystical new realms of being and thinking.   

The main character is Kaspar Krone.  Kaspar is a world-renowned circus clown and accomplished violinist who has a gambling adiction and unwise spending habits that have left him deeply in debt and about to be arrested.  He also has an uncanny hearing ability (developed during an episode of blindness as a child) that has led to a secondary career doing music therapy with children.  He is hired by an order of nuns to track down the "quiet girl," one of a number of children who have special powers.  All sorts of daredevil action results, and the end leaves us begging for a sequel.

"Marie Claire" Magazine wrote, "(read it) because the kooky conceit frames a smart-but accessible look at the Big Questions, and the cinematic story will no doubt be made into a movie -- we hope starring Johnny Depp."  Well, number one, if there is a movie and it stars Depp, count me in.  Number two, translating this into a movie will be an accomplishment second only to that of putting Jonathan Safron Foer's "Everthing Is Illuminated" on film.  And, three, I hope a movie version unravels the plot without decimating it.

Like "Smilla," the atmosphere and ambience of this Copenhagen-set novel stick with you after you put it down.  If you're brave, give it a try.

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reviews fiction mysticism peter hoeg copenhagen the quiet girl
<![CDATA["Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/11/quot-last-child-in-the-woods-saving-our-children-from-nature-deficit-disorder-quot-by-richard-louv.aspx Thu, 11 Dec 2008 14:59:00 G12T 989 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/12/11/quot-last-child-in-the-woods-saving-our-children-from-nature-deficit-disorder-quot-by-richard-louv.aspx to post your comments!

last child in the woodsMy fondest memories of childhood include exploring the "wild" areas in my neighborhood.  When I was in the third grade we moved into a new subdivision on the edge of some undeveloped areas.  You wouldn't think that anyone could find nature in an industrial city like Hammond, Indiana -- but we did!

We found fields where the weeds were head high and pretended we were in the Wild West or on another planet.  We searched for interesting insects.  We tried to grow frogs from tadpoles.  We built forts out of old cardboard from tv sets or refrigerators.  We even nailed some planks on the trunk of an apple tree so we could "climb" it, then brought books home from the local library to read among its branches.  (We got caught on that one and had to dismantle our creation). 

Richard Louv makes the point that few children are growing up with nature these days.  Population is centered in urban areas.  Kids' lives are pretty structured -- even "play time" is organized into team sports.  When they do have free time, they spend hours absorbed in television, video games, or the Internet.  Due to concerns about safety, children aren't allowed to "run free" nor are most playgrounds designed to encourage any contact with nature.  As a result, kids are losing their sense of wonder.

Citing a wide range of research, Louv argues that this nature deficit is bad for children and may even contribute to behavioral problems.  He is the co-founder and chairman of the Children & Nature Network, which was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature.  Cities throughout the U.S. have embraced this concept.

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nonfiction nature nature deficit disorder last child in the woods richard louv
<![CDATA["The War Within : a Secret White House History, 2006-2008" by Bob Woodward]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/28/quot-the-war-within-a-secret-white-house-history-2006-2008-quot-by-bob-woodward.aspx Fri, 28 Nov 2008 17:38:00 G11T 936 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/28/quot-the-war-within-a-secret-white-house-history-2006-2008-quot-by-bob-woodward.aspx to post your comments!

war within


We will soon have a new President making decisions about the war in Iraq.  So is this book ancient history?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.

I had read all three of Bob Woodward's previous books about the Bush White House, starting with Bush at War in 2002, followed by Plan of Attack in 2004, then State of Denial in 2006.  So when the fourth and final volume in the Bush series was published earlier this year, I got on the hold list.  The War Within is primarily about the downward slope toward civil war in Iraq and the contentious decision to implement the Surge in the spring of 2007.

A lopsided majority of Americans now think that it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq.  But there is still speculation about whether we can get out without duplicating our tragic experiences with Vietnam. 

Here Woodward pieces together the deliberations of various top level players in Defense, the military, the State Department, the White House, the Iragi government, and various Iraqi factions concerning the 2007 decision to send additional troops to secure vital regions in Iraq.  Most would agree that the Surge has worked; the question becomes once again whether or not our withdrawal will just see Iraq fall back into chaos. 

Woodward doesn't give us a failsafe plan for the future -- but at least he acquaints us with how complicated the withdrawal of troops might become.  And he gives flesh to some of those who will be involved with the pullout, including current (and possibly future) Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. 

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nonfiction bob woodward iraq war military the war within
<![CDATA["Zen and Now: on the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Mark Richardson]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/27/quot-hot-flat-and-crowded-quot-by-thomas-friedman.aspx Thu, 27 Nov 2008 21:23:00 G11T 933 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/27/quot-hot-flat-and-crowded-quot-by-thomas-friedman.aspx to post your comments!

zen and now

No, you aren't seeing double.  The cover of this biographical travelogue features zen and the art...an out-of-focus motorcyle.

I was in grad school in 1974 when "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was published.  I never read it or its British precursor, "Zen in the Art of Archery" -- I wasn't a big fan of either Zen OR motorcycle maintenance.  Starting small,  sales of the book grew by word of mouth, eventually totalling in the millions, with translation into 27 languages.  It became a sort of cult classic with philosophers as well as the counter-culture.

Fast forward 30+ years, and a motorcyle enthusiast and sports writer named Mark Richardson has reproduced Robert Pirsig's 17-day motorcycle trip from Minneapolis to San Francisco.  Pirsig, travelling with his young son Chris and a married couple, had roughed it -- camping every evening. Richardson, armed with GPS and a laptop, did the trip alone and stayed in cheap motels. 

Richardson cleverly intersperses his narrative of his own trip with biographical information about Pirsig.  Pirsig, who claimed an IQ of 170, had degrees and both science and philosophy.  He taught at several colleges, but constantly rankled adminstrators with his refusal to follow the institutional rules.  He was eventually diagnosed as a schizophrenic and endured a series of shock treatments, which he later claimed destroyed a large chunk of his personality.

Pirsig returned to his wife and two sons and took a job as a writer of technical manuals.  He had earlier flown small planes, but now become a motorcyclist.   He found he loved not only the open road, but also the connectedness that resulted from maintaining his own bike.  Hence his cross-country trip and the book of philosophical ruminations that resulted.  Publication brought financial independence, including an ocean-going yacht, but not peace.  Both sons had their own problems, as did his marriage.  And his second book, "Lila," was a relative flop.

I was intrigued enough by this book to attempt to read "Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenance,"  but I must admit that I only made it through about the first 75 pages.  I guess I find Pirsig's story more interesting than his thoughts.

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nonfiction reviews biography philosophy robert pirsig zen and now zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
<![CDATA["Hoosiers in Hollywood" by David L. Smith]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/24/quot-hoosiers-in-hollywood-quot-by-david-l-smith.aspx Mon, 24 Nov 2008 19:08:00 G11T 921 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/24/quot-hoosiers-in-hollywood-quot-by-david-l-smith.aspx to post your comments!

David Smith, professor emeritus of telecommunications at Ball State University, wrote this coffee-table tome hoosiers in hollywoodabout Hoosiers who found fame in Hollywood. Here are some you may or may not know about:

  • Alice Terry (born on a farm near Vincennes, she was a silent film star)
  • Clifton Webb (born in Indianapolis, he made his opera debut in Tosca at the Boston Opera House at age 17)
  • Red Skelton (grew up in a poor section of Vincennes called "Oklahoma," in the north end of town)
  • William Marshall (born in Gary, he starred in the movie Blacula)
  • Steve McQueen (born in Beech Grove as "an unwanted child who was virtually abandoned by his teen mother")
  • James Dean (born in Marion and given the first name of his attending physician)
  • Fred Williamson (born in Gary, he graduated from Northwestern in architecture, was drafted by the NFL, and played in Super Bowl 1 - he later directed or starred in 40 films)
  • Greg Kinnear (born in Logansport and lived there until he was nine)
  • Marilyn Miller (born in Evansville in 1898, she became the "Queen of Musical Comedy")
  • Louise Dresser (born in Evansville in 1878, Dresser lived here until her teens and went on to star in both Vaudeville and silent films)
  • Carole Lombard (born in Fort Wayne, her family moved to San Francisco when she was six)
  • Marjorie Main (born near the small town of Acton in 1890, her most famous role was "Ma Kettle")
  • Anne Baxter (born in Michigan City, she was the granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Betsy Palmer (lived in Hammond and East Chicago, then attended secretarial school, followed by the IU extension in Gary before becoming a theatre major at DePaul U in Chicago)
  • Florence Henderson (the youngest of 10 children born to a poor farming family in Dale)
  • Shelley Long (born and raised in Fort Wayne; both parents were school teachers)
  • Vivica Fox (born in Indianapolis, she graduated from Arlington High School and later found fame as an actress and singer)
  • Richard, Barbara, Constance, Joan Bennett (Richard, who grew up in Bennett's Switch, near Logansport, became an actor and producer and father to three actresses)
  • Jackson Five (born and raised in Gary)
  • Elmo Lincoln (born in Rochester and the first Tarzan -- in the 1918 Tarzan of the Apes)
  • Buck Jones (born in Vincennes, he grew up in Indianapolis and later became a leading movie cowboy)
  • Roberta Wise (born and raised in Connorsville, he later directed Citizen Kane and many other movies)
  • Sydney Pollack (born in Lafayette, he moved to South Bend while in elementary school)

Many many more Hoosiers are covered in this heavily illustrated compendium.

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nonfiction reviews stars hoosiers hollywood
<![CDATA["Auschwitz: a new history" by Laurence Rees]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/18/quot-auschwitz-a-new-history-quot-by-laurence-rees.aspx Tue, 18 Nov 2008 20:20:00 G11T 894 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/18/quot-auschwitz-a-new-history-quot-by-laurence-rees.aspx to post your comments!

evpl catalogA friend of mine who just returned from a trip to Poland handed me the paperback edition of this book and auschwitz gatetold me I had to read it.  He had picked it up at a bookstore in Poland after visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps.  

The author, who is an award-winning filmmaker and author as well as Creative Director of History Programs for the BBC, has written five previous books about various aspects of WWII.   He and his researchers dug deep to find both survivors and workers who would sit down for in-depth interviews.  

What was most disturbing to me was how coldly efficient the Nazis were.  Once the decision was made to eliminate the Jewish population in the areas that they conquered, the Nazis needed to develop a method.  They started out shooting people but there were too many bodies to be disposed of, plus the murders offended the SS troops' sensibilities.  They tried trucks and carbon monoxide poisoning, then eventually moved on to the fake shower chambers and the crematoria. 

Engraved over the entrance to Auschwitz was the slogan "Work Makes One Free."  The guards were instructed to calmly greet their victims and invite them to remove their clothes and put them neatly in a pile (to reclaim later) before showering.  Attempts were made to keep the new arrivals as ignorant as possible of their terrible fate.  Only a small number of SS troops were stationed at each of the camps, manning the guard towers and machine guns.  The prisoners themselves were coerced into doing the awful work of killing their fellow prisoners and disposing of them.

We all know that the Nazis killed not only Jews but also gypsies, Catholic clergymen, homosexuals, Soviet soldiers, the disabled and anyone else they abhorred.  But they also killed so they could sieze property, resources, and assets of the displaced to support their expansion and war efforts.

It has always been difficult to understand how an advanced Western country such as Germany could descend to such depths.  With the problems facing our world due to scarce resources and exploding population growth, one hopes that the mechanized killing techniques developed by Hitler and the Nazis do not rear their ugly head in the future.

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nonfiction Nazis auschwitz concentration camps
<![CDATA[New Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders album]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/11/13/new-chrissie-hynde-and-the-pretenders-album.aspx Thu, 13 Nov 2008 14:04:00 G11T 869 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/" target="_blank">Music Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/11/13/new-chrissie-hynde-and-the-pretenders-album.aspx to post your comments!

 

break up the concrete

Chrissie Hynde is back -- and she's spectacular -- in the Pretenders' first studio album in 6 years, "Break Up the Concrete."   She hasn't lost her voice or her style!

The hard-rocking Hynde, who wrote all the songs, fronts an all-new band consisting of Jim Keltner, Eric Heywood, and James Walbourne.

hynde

Born in Akron, Ohio, in 1951, Hynde attended Kent State University and knew one of the students killed during the Kent State protests.  She has spent most of her life living in London, but now also owns an apartment  back in her Midwestern hometown.

Hynde is a longtime vegan and, according to Wikipedia, she "opened a vegan restaurant in Akron in 2007 called The VegiTerranean.  The restaurant....serves fusion Italian-vegetarian food."  She has been known to perform there.

On October 17, 2008 Hynde played with fellow Akron-area musicians Devo at a special benefit concert for candidate Barack Obama at the Akron Civic Theater.

Welcome home, Chrissie!

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reviews rock and roll chrissie hynde pretenders
<![CDATA["Called Out of Darkness: a Spiritual Confession" by Anne Rice]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/12/quot-called-out-of-darkness-a-spiritual-confession-quot-by-anne-rice.aspx Wed, 12 Nov 2008 12:34:00 G11T 860 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/12/quot-called-out-of-darkness-a-spiritual-confession-quot-by-anne-rice.aspx to post your comments!

Called out of Darkness

 

I have long been a fan of Anne Rice's legendary vampire and witch series so was intrigued enough to pick up this short autobiography.  Rice describes the reasons behind her return to Christianity after 38 years as an athiest.

She details her parochial school upbringing in New Orleans and her strong attachment to Catholicism that got derailed during college and subsequent years living in the San Francisco area. 

Her discovery 10 years ago that she had Type 1 diabetes, followed by the death from cancer of her beloved husband Stan 4 years later led her to resolve that she would only write works praising God.

Thus she began her "Christ the Lord" series of biographical novels.  First came "Out of Egypt", in 2006, followed by "The Road to Cana" this year.

Visit Rice's website for more information on all her works -- as well as further explanation of her changed world view.  Wikipedia also has an informative article.

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witchcraft Vampires anne rice christ christianity
<![CDATA[Obama in photos]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/11/obama-in-photos.aspx Tue, 11 Nov 2008 23:06:00 G11T 857 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/11/obama-in-photos.aspx to post your comments!

evpl catalogTwo brand new collections of Obama photos were released to coincide with the election.evpl catalog

"The Rise of Barack Obama" is a memorable collection of black and white photos taken by an Award winning photographer who covered Obama for the "Chicago Tribune." Souza's photos start with Obama's U.S. Senate election and run through the heated 2008 primary election.  

Some of the most touching photos include the President-elect at Nelson Mandela's former prison cell in South Africa; sharing a laugh with fellow senators John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Bill Nelson; examining dismantled weapons with Dick Lugar in Russia; and getting a hug from Ethel Kennedy.

"Obama: the Historic Campaign in Photos" is a collection of both color and black and white photos, connected with an ongoing narrative of the campaign.

Both would make worthwhile collector's items.  If you buy them on Amazon.com using the Public Library Friends referral link, you can also help out the Library Friends.  Follow these links:

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nonfiction reviews Presidents of the United States barack obama
<![CDATA[MTVMusic.com]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/11/11/mtvmusic-com.aspx Tue, 11 Nov 2008 09:55:00 G11T 850 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/" target="_blank">Music Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/11/11/mtvmusic-com.aspx to post your comments!

mtvmusic                                                                             

MTVMusic.com has just been launched by MTV.  22,000 videos are available on the site. 

Finally, a direct route to all your favorite music videos! 

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mtvmusic.com music videos
<![CDATA["Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton is dead at age 66 ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/05/quot-jurassic-park-quot-author-michael-crichton-is-dead-at-age-66.aspx Wed, 05 Nov 2008 16:08:00 G11T 836 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/11/05/quot-jurassic-park-quot-author-michael-crichton-is-dead-at-age-66.aspx to post your comments!

crichtonBestselling author, scriptwriter and director Michael Crichton is dead at age 66 after a "private battle with cancer."

Crichton used his scientific background, which included Harvard Medical School, to create believable thrillers where technology grows beyond man's ability to control it.  His first big hit was the 1969 book and 1971 movie "Andromeda Strain," where an alien virus brought back from space threatens man's existence.  (A new version of this was just released on DVD).

Other scenarios faced by his characters included dinosaurs cloned from DNA ("Jurassic Park"), super-intelligent gorillas ("Congo"), sexual harrassment ("Disclosure"), genetic mutation ("Next"), intelligent predatory molecules ("Prey"), an alien spaceship on the ocean floor ("Sphere"), Japanese techno-dominance ("Rising Sun"), (fear of environmental calamity ("State of Fear"), time travel to 14th Century France ("Timeline"), and a super tornado ("Twister").  Most of his books have been made into blockbuster movies. He was also the creator and driving spirit behind the very successful medical series ER.

Anyone who reads or watches movies will miss this incredibly talented man who combined contemporary science with fiction, always asking what if....... 

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reviews suspense bestsellers Michael Crichton Jurassic Park
<![CDATA[Early voting at libraries ended October 31 but you can still vote early at the Election Office (or go to your polling place on Election Day)]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/31/early-voting-at-libraries-ends-october-31-but-you-can-still-vote-at-the-election-office.aspx Fri, 31 Oct 2008 09:18:00 G10T 805 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/31/early-voting-at-libraries-ends-october-31-but-you-can-still-vote-at-the-election-office.aspx to post your comments!

voting buttonFriday, October 31 was the last opportunity for early voting at the Vanderburgh County Libraries! 

However, early voting for all Vanderburgh County residents continues at the Election Office in Room 214 of the City County Building through Monday, November 3.  Hours at the Election Office are these:

Saturday, November 1, 8 am to 3 pm
Monday, November 3, 8 am to noon

A sample ballot is available on the Vanderburgh County Clerk website.  

If you are unsure whether or not you are registered, go to the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System website.  Once there you can see the location of your polling place on Election Day as well as driving directions. On Election Day the polls are open from 6 am to 6 pm.  You must go to your own polling place on Election Day!

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evansville libraries early voting evpl
<![CDATA["Little Wild One" by Joan Osborne]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/10/27/quot-little-wild-one-quot-by-joan-osborne.aspx Mon, 27 Oct 2008 17:17:00 G10T 786 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/" target="_blank">Music Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/music/archive/2008/10/27/quot-little-wild-one-quot-by-joan-osborne.aspx to post your comments!

Little Wild One

"Righteous Love" is one of my all-time favorite albums, so when I read in rolling stone cover"People" 
magazine that Joan Osborne had a 7th album out -- "Little Wild One" -- I made sure the library ordered it.

Osborne's music has elements of rock, folk, country, and blues -- so it's hard to squeeze her into a box.  She kind of transcends the usual genres. 

Her ethereal voice is complemented by the songs themselves, co-written with her band members.   Yes, not only is she a fabulous singer, but she also fronts her own band as well as being a guitarist and composer.  She has toured with the Dixie Chicks and Grateful Dead, among others.

If you like to sing in the car -- or in the shower -- and need some new material, check out Joan Osborne

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reviews rock and roll little wild one joan osborne righteous love
<![CDATA[Find out if you are registered to vote -- as well as your polling place]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/24/find-out-if-you-are-registered-to-vote-as-well-as-your-polling-place.aspx Fri, 24 Oct 2008 16:23:00 G10T 776 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/24/find-out-if-you-are-registered-to-vote-as-well-as-your-polling-place.aspx to post your comments!

                                                      state registration website

If you're not sure that you're registered to vote, or you want to double check the location of your Election Day polling place, go to the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System.  Click on "Voter Registration" and you will be asked to fill in these fields:

  • county
  • last name
  • first name
  • birth date

Hit FIND and you will see your registration status as well as your township and precinct.  You can also see this other valuable information:

  • POLLING PLACE: Click on the PLUS sign in front of "Polling Place" and the location, address, and even driving directions pop up.  You can also see if the polling place is ADA compliant.
  • DISTRICTS: Click on the PLUS sign in front of "Districts" and you will see your districts for U. S. Congress, State Senate, State House, County Commission, County Council, City Council and School system.

Visit the League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana website at www.lwvswin.org for links to this and other election information.

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voting Indiana registration
<![CDATA["Against Medical Advice" by James Patterson]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/10/22/quot-against-medical-advice-quot-by-james-patterson.aspx Wed, 22 Oct 2008 15:09:00 G10T 755 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/10/22/quot-against-medical-advice-quot-by-james-patterson.aspx to post your comments!

Against Medical Advice

Having published over 50 novels -- with sales worldwide of more than 140 million copies, James Patterson has just released his second non-fiction title, "Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Condidtion."  His first non-fiction work, "The Day America Told the Truth," was published in 1991. 

His co-writer is good friend and former advertising colleague Hal Friedman, whose 4-year-old son woke up one morning with symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome. 

Read the USA Today review.  Or go to the Tourette Syndrome Association website for more information on this insidious illness whose treatment can be worse than the disease itself.

 

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nonfiction reviews james patterson tourettes syndrome
<![CDATA[Local election info on League website]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/21/local-election-info-on-league-website.aspx Tue, 21 Oct 2008 08:58:00 G10T 753 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/10/21/local-election-info-on-league-website.aspx to post your comments!

League of Women VotersThe League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana has pulled together local election information on its website at www.lwvswin.org.  There you can find information about early voting at the Vanderburgh and Warrick county libraries, in addition to links to various websites with information about the candidates and the two Vanderburgh County referendum questions.

The League also worked with WNIN to broadcast live 3 local debates -- as well as a discussion of the EVSC referendum that will be broadcast live on Wednesday, October 22 at 7 p.m.  These programs can be viewed online at http://www.wnin.org/election-2008/the-candidates.html

 

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<![CDATA[Hot Topics]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/09/23/hot-topics.aspx Tue, 23 Sep 2008 16:17:00 G9T 632 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/" target="_blank">Research Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/research/archive/2008/09/23/hot-topics.aspx to post your comments!

HOT TOPICS.....

Need some ideas for a topic for a research paper?  Don't know what subject heading to look under for books on manga drawing?  On a quick trip to the library for materials on kitchen remodeling but don't know the Dewey Decimal #?

Then the HOT TOPICS section of our website may be the answer. 

Access this alphabetical list of subjects and Dewey #s by.....

  • bookmarking it
  • clicking on the Search Catalog button at the top of our home page, then selecting Hot Topics on the left
  • or clicking on the Research tab, then on Topic Guides, then Hot Topics

This information is also available in a free pamphlet at many library locations.  So check the literature rack and "get in the know."

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hot topics subject headings research Dewey Decimal research hot topics subject headings Dewey Decimal
<![CDATA["Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is Oprah pick!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/19/quot-story-of-edgar-sawtelle-quot-is-oprah-pick.aspx Fri, 19 Sep 2008 17:10:00 G9T 607 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/19/quot-story-of-edgar-sawtelle-quot-is-oprah-pick.aspx to post your comments!

edgar sawtelle

And the winner is.................

I am going to play the Devil's Advocate here and ask why this is such a sensation!  There was alot of buzz about it at the American Library Association conference earlier this year.  The reviewers have been ecstatic and several friends after reading it have spoken its title in awe.

To fill you in a little, it is a novel about a mute boy named Edgar Sawtelle growing up surrounded by dogs on a homestead in Wisconsin.  His parents are continuing the family legacy by breeding dogs.  Not any dogs -- mind you -- but a new breed of dogs named after them.  This breed, the product of careful selection to produce a perfect specmen, is highly intelligent (perhaps even approaching human capabilities).   Edgar's best friend is his absolutely wonderful dog, Almondine. 

I really enjoyed Edgar's interactions with Almondine and the other Sawtelle dogs.  But I grew weary of the various trials and tribulations of the extended family.  And I won't even mention my disappointment with the end.

So help me out here.  Read it first, then tell me what is so great about it -- in your own words!  Am I just not literary enough?

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reviews books dog training oprah edgar sawtelle
<![CDATA["American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/17/american-wife-by-curtis-sittenfeld.aspx Wed, 17 Sep 2008 15:24:00 G9T 574 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/17/american-wife-by-curtis-sittenfeld.aspx to post your comments!

american wifeLoosely based on the lives of George and Laura Bush, this novel is causing a sensation in both political and literary circles.

Thirty-three year old author Curtis Sittenfeld hit the bestseller lists with her first novel, "Prep," in 2005, utilizing her Seven Sisters background in a fictional probe of elite prep schools.  Now she tackles one of American's premier political dynasties.

I'm only halfway done but find it interesting that the cover featues a formal wedding gown, since Laura actually wore a simple white two-piece outfit in a small ceremony within months of meeting George.  She was a sweet book-reading thirty-one-year-old elementary school librarian and he was a charming, funny young politician hoping to do big things and please his family. 

                                                bush family

bush wedding

The most revealing chapter so far involves the secretly engaged couple's weekend visit to the family compound, Halcyon (Kennebunkport).  There Alice (a thinly disguised Laura) must contend with the athletic, boisterous, and somewhat bawdy Blackwell (Bush) clan.  "Maj" (Barbara) -- short for Major -- proves to be a special challenge.  (Am I imagining it or do the Bushes and Kennedys resemble each other -- if not in politics than in their clanishness, good time 'tudes and hunger for power?)

Far greater reviewers than I have covered this novel -- including Joyce Carol Oates for the New York Times and Joe Klein in Time Magagine.  Or read an author interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS News.

I can't wait to get off work -- but should I watch rehashed political commentary on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC or read my novel?  I think I'll read.

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politics reviews george bush laura bush biographical fiction
<![CDATA["T*h*e*E*d*u*c*a*t*i*o*n*o*f*H*y*m*a*n*K*a*p*l*a*n" by Leonard Ross]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/10/t-h-e-e-d-u-c-a-t-i-o-n-o-f-h-y-m-a-n-k-a-p-l-a-n-by-leonard-ross.aspx Wed, 10 Sep 2008 16:22:00 G9T 492 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/10/t-h-e-e-d-u-c-a-t-i-o-n-o-f-h-y-m-a-n-k-a-p-l-a-n-by-leonard-ross.aspx to post your comments!

hyman kaplanThis was an Oaklyn book discussion selection this month, so there are plenty of copies, even though it was originally published in 1937.  The group member who had suggested it brought in a hardcover copy printed during WWII that still had the price sticker on it - $1.37.

Leonard Ross is a pseudonym.  The author's real name is Leo Rosten.  He immigrated from Poland as a two-year-old child and grew up on the south side of Chicago, eventually getting his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.  While working on his degree, he taught English as a second language in night school and ran into an immigrant who was the inspiration for the character Hyman Kaplan. 

Rosten starting writing short stories about this Yiddish immigrant with an indominable spirit, who plunged right into the English language with lots of creativity but outrageously incorrect spelling and grammar.  He submitted them to the "New Yorker" magazine using a pseudonym because he was fearful that his professors would disdain such pedestrian efforts.  However, the stories were a resounding success, and when he revealed himself as the author, he actually went up a notch in their estimation.  The stories were eventually collected in two volumes, with this the first.

Interesting Leo Rosten trivia

* One of his classmates at U of Chicago was Milton Friedman and he studied under Harold Laski at the London School of Economics
* During WWII he was deputy director of war information
* Most of his novels were adapted to movies, including 1963's CAPTAIN NEWMAN, MD which starred Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson, Eddie Albert, Tony Curtis, Bobby Darin, and Robert Duvall -- what a lineup -- has anyone seen it? -- we don't own it and it's not available on Midwest Tape but it's a classic!
* He is the person who actually said about W. C. Fields, "Any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad" - a quotation routinely attributed to Fields himself.
* English comic author Evelyn Waugh thought Hyman Kaplan a character "worthy of Dickens."

I read this in the staff room in breaks and at lunch and actually giggled my way through it.  By the way, the stars are in the title because Hyman Kaplan always spelled out his name in crayon using different colors and stars between each letter.

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humor reviews immigration english as a second language
<![CDATA["Are the Rich Necessary?" by Lewis Hunter]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/09/are-the-rich-necessary-by-lewis-hunter.aspx Tue, 09 Sep 2008 16:50:00 G9T 477 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/09/09/are-the-rich-necessary-by-lewis-hunter.aspx to post your comments!

richI picked this up because I thought it might serve as an Economics 101 substitute. The subtitle is great economic arguments and how they reflect our personal values and each chapter asks a questions and answers it with statements from economists throughout history.

Questions include these:  Are the rich compatible with democracy?  Are private profits necessary?  Are there alternatives to the profit system?  Does the profit system glorify greed?  You can even go to the author's website afterward and cost your vote (as well as read reviews).

So are the rich necessary?  Hunter argues that they are because they are the only ones with surplus cash that can be used for investment in new business and growth - the rest of us are essentially living from pay check to pay check.  He does, however, admit that the really poor and disadvantaged might need some assistance and his solution is expansion of the non-profit sector.  He avers that non-profits, like the free market system itself, are much more benign than government and could ultimately do a better job.  He even advocates a change to the tax structure whereby individuals or corporations could redirect some of their tax dollars to non-profits.   

Food for thought!  Are the rich necessary?

 

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reviews non-profit sector poor rich economics
<![CDATA["The Condition" by Jennifer Haigh]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/30/the-condition-by-jennifer-haigh.aspx Sat, 30 Aug 2008 16:09:00 G8T 343 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/30/the-condition-by-jennifer-haigh.aspx to post your comments!

the condition

With its sympathetic portrayal of a family in crisis, "The Condition" reminds me of Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections" and Joyce Carol Oates' "We Were the Mulvaneys."  All three novels convey the message that every family has points of stress and conflict -- we all just differ in the specifics.

In this case, the problem seems to be that thirteen-year-old Gwen has been diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality that causes short stature, delayed or absent puberty, and a variety of other possible problems.

But it doesn't take long to figure out that the McKotch family has other hairline fractures in their persona.

Haigh is so adept at both characterizations and plot development that I have shortlisted her other critically acclaimed novels -- "Mrs. Kimble" and "Baker Towers" -- for future reading.

Baker TowersMrs. Kimble

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reviews families turners syndrome
<![CDATA["The Lace Reader" author hits it rich!]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/28/quot-the-lace-reader-quot-by-brunonia-barry.aspx Thu, 28 Aug 2008 16:43:00 G8T 318 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/28/quot-the-lace-reader-quot-by-brunonia-barry.aspx to post your comments!

The Lace ReaderI recently heard Brunonia Barry talk about her very successful first novel, "The Lace Reader," a Mary Higgins Clark sort of adventure/love Barrynovel set in contemporary Salem, Massachusetts.  

Barry, a former scriptwriter with theatre experience who now lives in Salem, quit her job to write a novel -- with her husband's permission, of course.  After seven years of research and rewrites, she offered the manuscript  to a reading group at a local bookstore.  She and her husband then self-published "The Lace Reader" through Flap Jacket Press.  

On a whim, she sent a copy off to a friend in Hollywood to promote to the studios.  The manuscript landed in the right hands and next thing she knew there was a huge bidding war between publishers.  "The Lace Reader" has just been re-released by William Morrow this summer with a major promotion and a $2,000,000 book deal for Barry.

So the moral of the story is this:  never give up, success is around the corner.  Even for 50 something women wannabee writers.

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witchcraft salem suspense psychic
<![CDATA["The Garden of Last Days" Andre Dubus III]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-garden-of-last-days-by-andre-dubus-iii.aspx Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:49:00 G8T 285 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-garden-of-last-days-by-andre-dubus-iii.aspx to post your comments!

garden of last daysThe author of the award-winning and best-selling "House of Sand and Fog" returns after a long hiatus with this fictional recreation of the days leading up to 9/11.  

Building on news reports that the men who would later take over the planes on that fatal day spent time in southern Florida strip joints in the last weeks of their lives, the author sets the first half of his novel in -- yes -- a strip joint.

There we meet a young stripper/mother trying to make a quick buck and retire to a decent way of life, an angry construction worker with a bad drinking problem, and a young terrorist hoping to figure everything out before he dies.

This is a sobering tale that, like "House of Sand and Fog," explores both the challenges that people from different cultures face in understanding each other and the irrational and explosive anger that will, if unchecked, build to unanticipated climaxes.

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reviews terrorism strippers alcoholism 9/11
<![CDATA["The Third Angel" by Alice Hoffman]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-third-angel-by-alice-hoffman.aspx Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:18:00 G8T 284 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/08/26/the-third-angel-by-alice-hoffman.aspx to post your comments!

third angel

Alice Hoffman has long been one of my favorite authors.  But the truth is that I have grown a bit weary of the atmospheric, otherworldy touches that are entangled into every scene in every novel.

So I was pleasantly surprised to read this intricately woven story of three women whose lives are connected by family and circumstance -- with only one minor ghost muddying the reality.

Much of the action takes place in a fictional London hotel patterned after the legendary and bohemian Chelsea Hotel in NYC.  Spanning the last few decades, each of the three sections of the novel sheds more light on the puzzle of how and why these women's lives turned out like they did. 

This is a book to be savored and, perhaps, reread.  You might want to keep a pad and paper at hand to jot down names and details. 

Oh, and a juvenile John Lennon shows up briefly -- but I will let you find him yourself.   

 

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reviews London faith Chelsea Hotel
<![CDATA["The Impressionist" by Hari Kunzru]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/07/23/quot-the-impressionist-quot-by-hari-kunzru.aspx Wed, 23 Jul 2008 17:29:00 G7T 77 MediaPhile@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2008/07/23/quot-the-impressionist-quot-by-hari-kunzru.aspx to post your comments!

The ImpressionistOne of the hardest tasks a librarian faces is getting rid of a book that he or she treasures.  Today I was reviewing a cart of books that one of the clerks had pulled for me and stalled when I reached "The Impressionist" by Hari Kunzru.  A report that I had done showed that it had only been checked out a total of 5 times in its lifetime, and never in the past 18 months.  In fact, no customer had removed it from the shelf since June of 2005. 

I think I read "The Impressionist" after Sandy Schultheis reviewed it in a library book review column.  I don't remember any of the details -- just that I sunk readily into its glorious pages.  The library catalog blurp says "At the age of fifteen, a boy is thrown out onto the streets when the truth of his parentage is revealed, forcing him to reinvent himself to survive as he journeys from Victorian India to Edwardian London."  The Barnes & Noble website shows it won several prizes and was translated into 19 languages.  It was quite the buzz in literary circles in 2002.  

So where's the movie?  Where's the miniseries?   Where are the dog-turned pages?  Where is Oprah?

For now, I think I will just leave it on the shelf.  I feel better knowing that it is there.

 

 

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reviews Edwardian London India tags books