April 4, 2016 by Reader's Connection
From Selector Emily Chandler: Since the beginning of time, people of all ages have delighted in the magic of fairy tales and folklore. Passed down from generation to generation, many of these tales have transcended centuries, oceans, and even cultures. Their influence is absolute, producing works featuring beloved fairy tale characters film, stage, and literature. Their popularity is so widespread, in fact, that many tales have been retold and rewoven into modern adaptations. Here are some adult fiction titles that offer a different approach to some popular fairy tales!
Bavaria, 1776. When Albrecht Durer the Much Much Younger’s Frog Prints go missing, he knows exactly where to turn for help. Gretel (yes, that Gretel), now thirty-five and still living with her gluttonous brother Hans, is the country’s most famous private investigator, and she leaps at the opportunity to travel to cosmopolitan Nuremberg to take on the case. But amid the hubbub of the city’s annual sausage festival, Gretel struggles to find any clues that point toward the elusive thief — Dust jacket flap.
Card, Orson Scott Enchantment
In a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, American graduate student Ivan stumbles upon a mysterious sleeping maiden in the Carpathian forest whom he awakens with a kiss, setting in motion a series of events encompassing the modern world and a world that vanished a thousand years ago. — From the library’s catalog
Chance, Maia Snow White Red-Handed
Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. But to solve a fairy-tale crime in the haunted Black Forest, she’ll need more than a bit of charm. 1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up deadpoisoned by an apple, the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene. To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out — Publisher’s description
Cunningham, Michael A Wild Swan: and Other Tales
Fairy tales for our times from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours. A poisoned apple and a monkey’s paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan’s wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away–the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder–are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation. Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed: the years after a spell is broken, the rapturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly realized, or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse. The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child. A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother’s basement to getting a job, until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans. Reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, and exquisitely illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, rarely have our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true. — From the library’s catalog
Maguire, Gregory Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
A retelling of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, told from the point of view of one of the ugly stepsisters, turns the entire legend around in a thoughtful look at what it means to be beautiful.– Publisher’s description
Novik, Naomi Uprooted
Once every ten years, a powerful wizard known as the Dragon chooses one young woman from Agnieszka’s valley and spirits her away to his enchanted tower. Agnieszka expects him to take her best friend, Kasia, who’s beautiful, clever, and brave. However, when Agnieszka is chosen instead of Kasia, she discovers untapped talents, challenges the Dragon’s rules (and patience), and battles the malevolent influence of the nearby enchanted Wood in order to save the people she loves. Based on Polish folklore, this stand-alone novel by Temeraire series author Naomi Novik, is a fantastical coming-of-age tale combining magic, warfare, politics, and romance. —from NoveList
Oyeyemi, Helen Boy, Snow, Bird
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty– the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Now Boy, Snow, and Bird must confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. — Publisher’s description
Pinborough, Sarah Beauty
Offers a steamy re-telling of the classic tale of a beautiful princess slumbering under a curse that can only broken by a true love’s kiss. — From the library’s catalog
Turgeon, Carolyn Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale
Falling in love with a prince whose rescue by a mermaid she secretly witnessed, Princess Margrethe is promised in marriage to the prince to bring peace to their warring kingdoms only to discover that he has taken a familiar-looking lover. By the author of Godmother: A Secret Cinderella Story. —Publisher’s description
Valentine, Genevieve The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
This reimagining of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” traces the story of a family of flappers who work in a 1920s speakeasy until their suspicious father decides to marry them off, prompting a confrontation with a bootlegger from the eldest sister’s past. — from the library’s catalog
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March 31, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
Love, sex, and relationships in contemporary Cincinnati provide an incisive social commentary set in the framework of Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld’s inclusion of a Bachelor-like reality show is a brilliant parallel to the scrutiny placed on characters in the neighborhood balls of Jane Austen’s novel, and readers will have no question about the crass nature of the younger Bennets, or the pride—and prejudice—of the heroine. — Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY
The Obsession by Nora Roberts
Readers who love romantic thrillers will be mesmerized by the latest Roberts offering. The suspense kept me up all night! Naomi Carson, a successful young photographer, has moved across the country and fallen in love. She thinks she has escaped her past, but instead finds that the sins of her father have become an obsession. The serial killer premise makes it a tough read for the faint-hearted, but sticking with it leads to a thrilling conclusion. —
Marilyn Sieb, L. D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI
Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She’s opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers’ delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery. — Deborah Walsh, Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, IL
‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Gothic atmosphere meets tender romance in Quick’s latest Victorian era tour de force. Calista Langley asks crime novelist Trent Hastings for assistance in unmasking a twisted secret admirer that seems to have singled her out, and the two become tangled up in more than just an investigation. Quick perfectly balances setting, characters, plot, and relationship development–the end result being a story that will delight her legion of fans, as well as earn her new ones. — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read. — Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL
For centuries, Arabic manuscripts were collected by private households in Mali, particularly Timbuktu: gilded manuscripts painted with real gold, showing vibrantly colored illustrations of nature. These highly valued manuscripts were handed down within families who acted as caretakers. As radicalized Muslim leaders came into power, the manuscripts were seen as corruptions of true Islam, requiring intervention. History and adventure at its best. — Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It’s certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West’s school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It’s up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written. — Jennifer Kelley, Kershaw County Library, Camden, SC
Best of My Love by Susan Mallery
Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn’t want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read. — Jenelle Klavenga, Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, IA
A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
Kendra is a smart, confident protagonist who is familiar with the hustle it takes to stay afloat in a male-dominated profession. Thrown into a situation completely alien to her, she manages to assimilate to her surroundings, albeit roughly, while using her wits to catch a ruthless killer. She can be abrasive, and I found myself cringing, curling my toes, and muttering out loud. It will be fun to watch her mature in future books. McElwain has created a highly entertaining story. — Randee J Bybee, Upland Public Library, Upland, CA
Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss
Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world’s new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn’t ready to finish. — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL
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March 28, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Unusual things will happen in April. Warren’s book discussion will happen at Irvington, due to the renovations going on at Warren. Lawrence will have two book discussions, both on April 19th. And the Indianapolis Museum of Art will host a book discussion in its café.
From 10:00 to 11:30, refreshments will be nibbled and coffee sipped. And a poem will be read.
You don’t have to read aloud if you don’t want to. Or drink coffee, either.
Louise Booth’s When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections will be discussed at the Franklin Road Library on Monday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m.
At 18 months old, Booth’s son Fraser was diagnosed with autism and hypotonia, a physical condition that made it difficult for him to walk or to use his muscles for other movement. While these circumstances provided obstacles for many aspects of daily life, the author and her husband endeavored to create a routine to soothe their son’s outbursts and enable him to thrive. The introduction of a lively shelter cat, Billy, further assisted with this process. For example, bath time became less stressful for Fraser with Billy sitting quietly by the tub. Already a Sunday Times (London) best seller, the account of Fraser’s challenges, Booth’s family’s struggles, and their collective love and appreciation for Billy has proven popular. Balmoral Estate, the Queen of England’s summer residence in Scotland, provides a picturesque setting for this touching memoir. — Library Journal
Gruen’s riveting fifth novel follows Philadelphia socialite Madeline Hyde; her husband, Ellis; and his best friend, Hank, on a quest to Loch Ness in January 1945 as they seek proof of the legendary monster, which Ellis’s father allegedly photographed 13 years earlier. Once the trio is ensconced in the tiny village of Drumnadrochit, Hank and Ellis begin disappearing for days at a time, leaving Maddie alone back at the inn with no ration card, no practical skills, and no emergency gear. She soon bonds with the locals–even Angus, the inn’s brooding, standoffish owner–and her newfound friendships help her cope with household chores and air raids alike. As the days drag on, Maddie begins to uncover truths about her family, as well as secrets about Ellis, that force her to reimagine her entire life as she knows it. — Publishers Weekly
The Cooking Chats program at Glendale Library, on Monday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m., will have the theme “Say Goodbye to Frozen TV dinners.” The group will focus on mug meals and cooking for one or two.
“… a passionate and tormented novel about the summer of 1954 as it transpired in the lives of two young Korean War veterans returning to their Indianapolis homes…. it is possible that the current publishing season will produce no book more urgently felt.” –New York Times Book Review, August 9, 1970
“A brilliant book.” –John Ciardi
“Wonderful, sad and funny; a scathing portrait of middle America through the eyes of a new fictional character who will inevitably be compared to Portnoy and Holden Caulfield.” –Gay Talese
The book discussion group that usually meets at the Warren Library will be elsewhere in April, due to the building renovations at Warren. They will meet at the Irvington Library to discuss F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby on Thursday, April 7th at 10:30 a.m.
The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds’ third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the “first step” American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised “the charm and beauty of the writing,” as well as Fitzgerald’s sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald’s “best work” thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature. — Simon & Schuster
Chloe Brooks is vexed that Atlanta multimillionaire widower Quentin Chambers has strung her along for five years. A true gold digger, Chloe has given it her best shot at the elusive wedding ring, starting by thrusting her surgically enhanced bosom in Quentin’s face during his wife’s fu-neral. Quentin is further distracted by Montana Ellis, the new nanny for his five children, who brings a Mary Poppins sweetness to the depressed household. Chloe realizes the power of a black lace teddy that allows her to spend Quentin’s cash for Louis Vuitton bags and Louboutin heels. On the other hand Montana knows her way around a kitchen and encourages Quentin’s children to joyfully sing church songs. These two women have no hope of coexisting in Quentin’s world . . . — Library Journal
The Replacement Wife is also available as a downloadable e-book.
A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009) brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women. — Booklist
Based on the recently discovered diaries of Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy recounts an inspiring real-life tale of triumph over adversity, when an Australian taught a British king with a crippling speech defect how to speak to his subjects. At the urging of his wife Elizabeth, the Duke of York (know to the royal family as “Bertie”) began to see speech therapist Lionel Logue in a desperate bid to cure his lifelong stammer. Little did the two men know that this unlikely friendship, between a future monarch and a commoner born in Australia, would ultimately save the House of Windsor from collapse. Through intense locution and breathing lessons, the amiable Logue gave the shy young Duke the skills and the confidence to stand and deliver before a crowd. And when his elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry for love, Bertie was able to assume the reins of power as King George VI-just in time to help steer the nation through the dark waters of the Second World War. — Publisher’s note?
As part of the Before I Die Festival, Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, will be discussed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art Café on Saturday, April 16th at 2:30 p.m.
In life, death is the only guarantee, yet many of us live in fear of the great equalizer. Doughty, a licensed L.A. mortician, is here to reinstate death to what she feels is its rightful place–at the heart of life. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes recounts Doughty’s fascination (nay obsession) with death, which began, as a child, when she witnessed a toddler’s fatal two-story fall, and has continued through her work monitoring a cremation retort and her studies at mortuary school. Doughty pairs her personal narrative with an engrossing examination of various cultures’ relationships with death (1800s Parisian morgues displaying corpses for public view, complete with food and toy vendors; Brazilian Wari’s roasting and consuming their dead tribesmen; North America’s current billion-dollar funeral industry). Not shying away from candid descriptions of corpses, cremation, and putrefaction, Doughty–professional both in the field and on the page–details postmortem proceedings not to repulse but to reveal our modern society’s “death denial” (as Carl Jung put it, “It won’t help to hear what I think about death”). Doughty begs to differ. Her sincere, hilarious, and perhaps life-altering memoir is a must-read for anyone who plans on dying. — Booklist
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is also available in large print.
Returning to Burgdorf, the small German community she memorably depicted in Floating in My Mother’s Palm, Hegi captures the events and atmosphere in the country prior, during and after WW II. Again she has produced a powerful novel whose chilling candor and resonant moral vision serve a dramatic story. With a sure hand, Hegi evokes the patterns of small-town life, individualized here in dozens of ordinary people who display the German passion for order, obedience and conformity, enforced for centuries by rigid class differences and the strictures of the Catholic church. The protagonist is Trudi Montag, the Zwerg (dwarf) who becomes the town’s librarian; (she and most of the other characters figured in the earlier book). A perennial outsider because of her deformity, Trudi exploits her gift for eliciting peoples’ secrets–and often maliciously reveals them in suspenseful gossip. But when Hitler ascends to power, she protects those who have been kind to her, including two Jewish families . . . Trudi is a complex character, as damaged by her mother’s madness and early death as she is by the later circumstances of her life, and she is sometimes cruel, vindictive and vengeful. It is fascinating to watch her mature, as she experiences love and loss and finds wisdom, eventually learning to live with the vast amnesia that grips formerly ardent Nazis after the war. One hopes that Hegi will continue to depict the residents of Burgdorf–Germany in microcosm–thus deepening our understanding of a time and place. — Publishers Weekly
A blessing is followed by a curse at the Broken Buffalo ranch, owned by Dennis and Sheila Carey on the Arapaho reservation. The week after the birth of a white buffalo calf–considered by Native Americans to be a sacred message that the Creator is with the people–Dennis Carey is murdered, apparently by someone he knew. Sheila Carey fingers disgruntled ranch hand Rick Tomlin, who has disappeared, failing even to appear at the trial of Arnie Walkfast, Vicky Holden’s client, whom Tomlin accused of assault. Father John O’Malley, puzzling over a murder confession from an anonymous cowboy months earlier, pieces together the disappearance of six hands from the Broken Buffalo . . . The white buffalo calf adds an element of spiritualism to this eighteenth entry in the consistently strong Wind River series, with the Holden-O’Malley relationship still simmering as something more than friendship. — Booklist
Night of the White Buffalo is also available as a downloadable e-book.
Even within the author’s extraordinary body of work, this stands as a radical achievement, a novel that demands to be read and reread.McCarthy pushes his thematic obsessions to their extremes in a parable that reads like Night of the Living Dead as rewritten by Samuel Beckett. Where much of McCarthy’s fiction has been set in the recent past of the South and West, here he conjures a nightmare of an indeterminate future. A great fire has left the country covered in layers of ash and littered with incinerated corpses. Foraging through the wasteland are a father and son, neither named (though the son calls the father “Papa”). The father dimly remembers the world as it was and occasionally dreams of it. The son was born on the cusp of whatever has happened-apocalypse? holocaust?-and has never known anything else. His mother committed suicide rather than face the unspeakable horror. As they scavenge for survival, they consider themselves the “good guys,” carriers of the fire, while most of the few remaining survivors are “bad guys,” cannibals who eat babies. In order to live, they must keep moving amid this shadowy landscape, in which ashes have all but obliterated the sun. In their encounters along their pilgrimage to the coast, where things might not be better but where they can go no further, the boy emerges as the novel’s moral conscience. The relationship between father and son has a sweetness that represents all that’s good in a universe where conventional notions of good and evil have been extinguished. Amid the bleakness of survival-through which those who wish they’d never been born struggle to persevere-there are glimmers of comedy in an encounter with an old man who plays the philosophical role of the Shakespearean fool. Though the sentences of McCarthy’s recent work are shorter and simpler than they once were, his prose combines the cadence of prophecy with the indelible images of poetry.A novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth. — Kirkus Reviews
Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, April 24th at 1:00 p.m.
This month’s theme: Steampunk + Open Topic. Bring your favorite steampunk stories – or, if you don’t have one, any science fiction, fantasy, or horror that you’d like to share!
Kim Cross’s What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley will be discussed at the Spades Park Library on Wednesday, April 27th at 6:00 p.m.
Alabama-based journalist Cross’s gripping chronicle of the events of April 27, 2011–the deadliest day of the largest tornado outbreak in history–is divided into three parts: “The Storm,” “The Aftermath” and “The Recovery.” The first section introduces readers to various people on the scene when the storm hit, including veteran TV meteorologist James Spann, storm chasers Brian Peters and Tim Coleman, and the civilians–both survivors and soon-to-be victims–caught in nature’s path of destruction. All told, 252 Alabama residents lost their lives in one of the 62 tornadoes that terrorized the state that day. The gruesome second section re-creates the panic and despair that set in when the wind died and the dust settled, revealing wiped-out communities and mangled corpses while inspiring random acts of kindness among strangers. Victims and their families struggle to seek closure and peace in the third and final section. Cross conducted more than 100 hours of interviews, and her detail-oriented reporting anchors a novelist’s flair for drama. — Publishers Weekly
What Stands in a Storm is also available as a downloadable e-book.
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March 24, 2016 by Reader's Connection
From Electronic Resources Librarian Michael Perry: We now offer two new ProQuest newspaper databases. You can access most of the historical subscription runs of both the New York Times (NYT) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) through the ProQuest Newsstand eResource found on www.ilibrary.org under the title ProQuest Newsstand.
In the ProQuest Newsstand, you will find these two new historical newspapers listed : The New York Times (1851-2012) and The Wall Street Journal (1889-1998), both now with fully searchable PDF images.
You can see the actual FULL PAGE IMAGE of the newspapers like the one pictured – the day after the Titanic sank.
Why don’t The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal go all the way to the present day?
Both newspapers have a rolling coverage gap — 4 years for the NYT and 16 years for the WSJ. This means that the last issue available advances with the calendar. Next year, the available range will be 1851-2013 for the NYT and 1889-1999 for the WSJ.
Well, what about getting access to that gap in coverage?
We already offer microfilm of these titles at Central. That is not going to change. We are looking at adding a possible digital microfilm solution in the future, that would close the gap coverage within a month or two. However, online access to the most current month of these newspapers is not available to libraries for a reasonable cost, so we must refer patrons to our print subscription copies and the newspaper’s websites for those time periods.
We had access to NYT and WSJ already. How is this new?
You’re right! But before, IndyPL had access to very short runs of these newspapers, with bibliographic record only access (you just could see the issue and page information along with the title of the article and a very brief description of the article itself). Both were available through EBSCO databases, with WSJ access from 1/03/1995 to present, and NYT access from 1/1/1989 to present. Now our patrons have full keyword search and browsing discovery back to the 19th century when these important newspapers began publication. Not only can they read the full articles, they can see all parts of the newspapers, including images, advertisements, classified sections and obituaries.
Can patrons email, save, or print articles or pages?
Email: No, not directly. However they can save the article or page, go to their email account and include it as an attachment.
Lit up!!!!! (A book review in the course of which I confess that I’ve never liked Slaughterhouse-Five)
March 21, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Film critic David Denby was curious about the books high school students are reading. He sat in on classes at three different schools–attended by students on different economic levels–during two different school years.
He says that his new book is a sort of prequel to his 1996 title Great Books: My Adventures With Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World, in which he described how he went back to Columbia University a few decades after graduating, to see how books were being taught and read there.
I’m reading Great Books now, and I recommend that you do as I did. Don’t read them in the order that they were published. Go to high school first (Lit Up) and then to college (Great Books).
This is from Lit Up:
Denby is awed by the amount of work that the high school teachers put in, and he can be moving when he writes about the students (whose names he has changed) and the way their thinking can change as the school year goes on.
When talking to his class about the mass addiction to the drug soma in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, a teacher at the Beacon School in Manhattan relates that addiction to our current mass addiction to electronic media.
The teacher insists that all the students try to go on a “digital fast.” By and large the fast does not go well.
The same teacher has assigned Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. Denby thinks that’s a weird assignment for tenth-graders, but he has fun with students who try to treat that novel’s querulous hero as a victim of persecution. (FYI, Denby would probably be considered a liberal.)
But there is one student who is able to tune in to Dostoyevsky’s vibe.
Denby tries to talk Marina (who, as he puts it, is “a Dostoyevskian creature right before us, a sister of the Underground Man”) into staying at Beacon School, thinking it’s her best chance of getting into a good college. Marina won’t go for it.
Oh, Vonnegut. I was going to say something about Kurt Vonnegut. He’s a favorite son of Indiana, and Slaughterhouse-Five is supposed to have been his breakthrough novel, but his grafting of science fiction and wartime memoir has never worked for me. Though I love experimental fiction–fiction that bends the rules–I’ve always felt that Slaughter-House Five was a clunker.
The teacher at Beacon School disagrees, and so does David Denby. I’m not ready to give the novel a third try, but Denby is quite compelling when he sings its praises.
So hey, go to high school. Get lit up. Denby might give you a fresh look at a book you didn’t like, or one that you did. Or maybe (it’s never too late) you’ll get around to reading some “classic” for the first time.
Lit Up is also available as a downloadable e-book.
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