January 28, 2014 by Reader's Connection
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is improve mental health—laugh and love more, and enjoy life. If you’re on the path to self- improvement, celebrities can help!
PX90 creator Tony Horton has written his first non-workout book. The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life shows how good physical health creates a positive outlook to be successful in all areas of life. If this book is anything like his workouts, excuses are not an option.
Age is no excuse to stop challenging ourselves. Hoosier native and former Today show anchor Jane Pauley has written Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. She shares stories of people age 50 and older who have reinvented themselves in the second half of their life, and shows that midlife is the perfect time to get re-energized.
Former Entertainment Tonight anchor Leeza Gibbons has a slightly different view. In Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings she urges us to “redo” our lives whenever we’re feeling unmotivated and stuck in a rut. She believes life is our biggest production, and we have the creative control to shape our storyline.
Gloria Gaynor’s number one hit “I Will Survive” has become the theme song of many people’s lives. We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song, was inspired by messages from fans. It features stories of people worldwide who have used the song to inspiration to overcome difficulties in their lives.
Iyanla Vanzant is certainly a survivor. The life coach and host of “Iyanla, Fix My Life” has been from rags to riches to rags and back to riches. In Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything she outlines the skills needed to forgive hurt, move on, and live in peace. Each chapter features a specific exercise to help us forgive ourselves and our choices, in areas of life including relationships, money, and career. The book ends with three sample forgiveness letters to send to ourselves, or others in our lives.
If affirmations and positive talk are not your style, business speaker Larry Winget is your guy. His Grow a Pair: How to Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business, and Your Sanity. He says enough with tolerating bad behavior and going along to get along. Happiness and success come from being assertive, and demanding the best from ourselves and others.
No matter what area of your life you want to improve, there’s a celebrity whose approach will resonate with you. Look for these and other self-titles in print, audio ebook, or downloadable audio.
–Selector Beth Baker Schoch
January 25, 2014 by Reader's Connection
We have just received an email from the groundhog, who doesn’t want to be associated with the weather we’re having, and would rather not be consulted next weekend about when it’s going to end. He recommends that we stay warm in February by reading good books and attending discussions.
Our One Book, Two Cities book discussions continue this month. Eva Menasse’s novel Vienna will be discussed at ten branches. Or nine branches and Big Car Service Center. A couple of the discussions even happen on Saturdays. We’re working with the groundhog on this.
Eagle Library‘s discussion will transpire at Big Car Service Center (3819 Lafayette Road) on Saturday, February 1st at 12:00 noon.
Franklin Road Library Monday, February 3rd 6:30 p.m.
Brightwood Library Tuesday, February 4th 6:00 p.m.
Warren Library Thursday, February 6th 10:30 a.m.
Glendale Library Tuesday, February 11th 10:00 a.m.
Fountain Square Library Thursday, February 13th 1:30 p.m.
Garfield Park Library Saturday, February 15th 11:00 a.m.
Wayne Library Saturday, February 15th 2:00 p.m.
Lawrence Library Tuesday, February 18th 10:15 a.m.
Pike Library Wednesday, February 19th 6:00 p.m.
Spades Park Library Wednesday, February 26th 6:00 p.m.
And remember that, since this novel is so concerned with family history, the library is hosting two related programs at different branches.
In an effort to honor the groundhog’s wishes, Wayne Library, in addition to the 2/15 Vienna discussion listed above, will host a discussion of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre on Monday, February 3rd at 6:30 p.m.
This is not merely a work of great promise; it is one of absolute performance. It is one of the most powerful domestic romances which have been published for many years. It has little or nothing of the old conventional stamp upon it … but it is full of youthful vigour, of freshness and originality, of nervous diction and concentrated interest. The incidents are sometimes melo-dramatic, and, it might be added, improbable; but these incidents, though striking, are subordinate to the main purpose of the piece, which is a tale of passion, not of intensity which is most sublime. It is a book to make the pulses gallop and the heart beat, and to fill the eyes with tear –The Atlas (1847)
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks was going to be discussed in January at Central Library , but snow and arctic cold shut the library down. The discussion has musically moved to Tuesday, February 4th at 6:00 p.m.
Music seems to be meaningless, and our love of it inexplicable, but neurologist Sacks, one of the foremost physician-essayists of the day, charmingly argues that music is essential to being human in ways that have only begun to be understood. In many different circumstances, music may arise involuntarily within a person, as attested to by Sacks’ initial presentation of cases of sudden intense affinity for music and development of musical skills, of so-called brain worms or tunes that automatically repeat within the mind, and of musical seizures and hallucinations . . . the seeming universality of musical mental imaging, even in the utterly deaf, has encouraged the therapeutic use of music to treat an ever-increasing number of illnesses, including the results of severe brain damage, congenital retardative conditions, and such degenerative neuropathies as parkinsonism and Alzheimer’s. Sacks’ reporting on all of this makes for quite an omnium-gatherum on the main contention that, in essence, musicality is humanity. His customary erudition and fellow-feeling ensure that, no matter how clinical the discussion becomes, it remains, like the music of Mozart, accessible and congenial. — Booklist
They read the works together, they discuss, they eat refreshments. If this appeals to you, but you haven’t wanted to commit to reading a novel with the group, now’s your chance to experience shared reading.
On February Fridays–the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th–they’ll be there from 10:00 to 11:30. If you don’t want to read aloud, you don’t have to.
Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been close friends since girlhood, growing up in the 1960s in the southern Indiana town of Plainview. Their personalities and cool good looks earned them the name the Supremes when they’d meet regularly to eat at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, with Big Earl keeping a watchful eye on them. Now in middle age, the Supremes meet regularly with their husbands for dinner at Earl’s, now managed by his son. The aging Supremes and Earl’s are institutions in a black community that has seen much progress since the 1950s, when the restaurant became the first black-owned business in a racially divided town. But the town as well as the women have also seen much trouble. Odette makes time in her busy life for the regular visitations of her dead mother, Clarice copes with the humiliation of an unfaithful husband, and Barbara Jean struggles to hide her drinking to assuage the death of her child. Moore intersperses episodes from the past with their current lives, showing their enduring friendship through good times and bad. — Booklist
Lina Sparrow, the daughter of two moderately successful artists, is a New York attorney. In 2004, she is assigned the career-making job of discovering a living person with American-slave ancestry for a class-action suit seeking reparations for abuse and bondage. Josephine Bell, a 17-year-old house slave in antebellum Virginia in 1852, tends her mistress Lu Anne Bell, a mediocre artist, and dreams of freedom. Conklin switches between the two women’s viewpoints as she slowly reveals the identity of the painter responsible for poignant works representing the people, free and enslaved, of Bell Creek Plantation. VERDICT Simultaneously telling the stories of two women separated in time by 150 years, the author slowly builds a suspenseful and dramatic revelation of their deep connection across the decades. Conklin’s debut is a seamless juxtaposition of past and present, of the lives of two women, and of the redemptive nature of art and the search for truth and justice. Guaranteed to keep readers up long past their bedtimes. — Library Journal
For one response to the controversy, you might read Roy Peter Clark’s article “Why Jonah Lehrer’s ‘Imagine’ Is Worth Reading, Despite the Problems” at Poynter.
You can click on some of the links in Mr. Clark’s article, to read about the “problems” with the book.
The Nora Library, in conjunction with the Jordan YMCA, will host a discussion of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows on Monday, February 17th at 6:30 p.m.
Registration is required. Call 275-4472 or come to the Nora Information Desk.
The German occupation of the Channel Islands, recalled in letters between a London reporter and an eccentric gaggle of Guernsey islanders.This debut by an “aunt-niece” authorial team presents itself as cozy fiction about comfortably quirky people in a bucolic setting, but it quickly evinces far more serious, and ambitious, intent. In 1946, Juliet, famous for her oxymoronic wartime humor column, is coping with life amid the rubble of London when she receives a letter from a reader, Dawsey, a Guernsey resident who asks her help in finding books by Charles Lamb. After she honors his request, a flurry of letters arrive from Guernsey islanders eager to share recollections of the German occupation of the islands . . . The engrossing subject matter and lively writing make this a sure winner, perhaps fodder for a TV series. — Kirkus Reviews
Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, February 23rd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The theme this month will be “Magic, P.I. – detective stories in F&SF settings From hard boiled PIs in high fantasy to wizard investigators in Chicago, from amateurs with something extra to robot cops).”
For years I used to bore my wife over lunch with stories about funny incidents. The words ‘My book,’ as in ‘I’ll put that in it one day,’ became a sort of running joke. Eventually she said, ‘Look, I don’t want to offend you, but you’ve been saying that for 25 years. If you were going to write a book, you’d have done it. You’re never going to do it now. Old vets of 50 don’t write books.’ So I purchased a lot of paper right then and started to write. — James Herriot
The East 38th Street Library is going all out to honor the groundhog’s wishes. In addition to their regular discussion on 2/10, they’re going to host a new discussion group (new to this blog, anyway): The Eastside Readers Youth Book Club will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 5:30 p.m., to discuss Sharon Draper’s Tears of a Tiger
Teens are invited to join their peers and dive into the fast-paced Hazelwood High Trilogy – three powerful stories that cut past the drama and get to the heart of what real high schoolers experience. Discussions will draw inspiration from the challenges the characters face and focus on turning hardships into experiences that build character and confidence. This discussion series is sponsored by the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, and Winning Experiences.
January 22, 2014 by Reader's Connection
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the film The Third Man, and don’t want to learn about any of its plot twists, you should avoid this blog post.
In the film, an American (Joseph Cotton) called Holly Martins comes to Vienna to look for an old friend, Harry Lime. He learns upon arrival that Lime has been killed, and Holly begins to suspect murder. He develops a crush on Lime’s girl friend, and while visiting her fails to get along with her cat. The girl explains that the cat liked only the late Harry.
The camera goes out onto the street, where we see the cat cozy up to a pair of nicely shod feet in a doorway (Postwar Vienna is, as commentators on our DVD say, one of the film’s stars.) A little later, Holly is out on the street, hears the cat, sees the feet, and instigates one of cinema’s great revelations. Click on the kitty-cat to watch the scene.
The Third Man was filmed in 1948 in Vienna, with many of the indoor scenes filmed in England in 1949. During the Vienna shooting, Orson Welles, who plays the suprisingly alive Harry Lime, was a pain in the butt. He was wandering around Europe and wouldn’t show for work. The shadow of Harry Lime that you see running along in Vienna belongs in fact to assistant director Guy Hamilton, with a coat hanger in his coat to make him more Welles’s size.
And according to the narrator of Eva Menasse’s novel Vienna, the feet which the cat finds so cozy actually belong to “my father.”
Vienna is of course our One Book, Two Cities selection, being read and discussed in Indianapolis and our sister city Cologne, Germany.
This claim that the narrator’s father had been a foot model in The Third Man gave me an excuse to watch the movie again, and watching the film while fondling the novel has inspired me to assemble an exciting FAQ list.
Was Eva Menasse’s father a popular soccer star, like the narrator’s father in Vienna?
Yes. Hans Menasse.
Were those really his feet in The Third Man?
It’s possible. Stand-ins were used, but they weren’t named in the DVD’s commentaries. And remember that this family history is to some extent (what extent?) fictionalized.
Does she have a brother who, like “my brother” in the novel, has been skeptical about Austria’s idea of itself as being strictly a “victim” during World War II? The idea, in other words, that there were no Austrian Nazis, just German Nazis?
Yes. Robert Menasse.
Was this family already well-known to the readers in our Sister City, Cologne? Or are they well-known in Austria, less so in Germany? To what extent did such knowledge of the family affect Cologne’s reading of the novel, from the moment they picked up the book?
Wish I knew. A discussion group at College Avenue Library has asked much the same question, in a more general way, about the difference between European and American approaches to the book. You can click on the OBTC image to see that post.
How could I ask the people in Cologne about that, or anything else about their reading of the book?
You could ask Susan Davis to ask them. Click here for info.
It has been said of John Cheever’s novel The Wapshot Chronicle that it is really a bunch of stories held together with spit and chicken wire. Is that true of Vienna?
Haven’t read the Cheever novel, though I’ve bought it in paperback twice. I’ve read almost all of Vienna, and I think it’s a selection of family stories gathered and reshaped as fiction and held together, if at all, by the reader’s desire to learn about this family and their world.
I’ve been enjoying the stories as I read them, but have not felt drawn back to the book. I’m always ready to move on to something else.
But then I came upon a luncheon interview on the web, from which I have copied the two recent pictures of Eva & Hans & Robert Menasse. I listened to them go on in German–the interview runs for ten-some minutes–and given the lack of magnetic pull that the book exerts on me, I was surprised by two things.
First, I was glad to see that they at least seemed to enjoy each other’s company. Eva’s bristling prose had me wondering about that. Why was I relieved?
And second, when looking at Hans Menasse, and thinking back on his strange life–being exiled to England as a boy during WWII, discovering his athletic talent–I realized that he and his family meant something to me, that I had been drawn more deeply into the family’s story than I had realized.
If Harry Lime is alive, then who was buried in his coffin?
Oh, watch the movie.
January 30 Addendum
I posted my question, about how well the Menasse family is known in Germany, on a post of the Sister Cities Blog; and Erik in Cologne has answered.
I think that Eva as a novelist is relatively unknown to German readers. “Vienna” was her first novel. Some of the german readers may have known her as a journalist for FAZ, a german top- newspaper, for which she was correspondent for Austria.
Her brother Robert Menasse is a well-known author in Germany, and in Austria he is one of the top authors. Not only as a novelist, but also as a political author.
All soccer fans in Austria (and a few in Germany) know their father Hans as a member of the legendary Austrian soccer “dream-team” of the early 1950ies. In Austria he is a heroe.
As you can see, there is a big difference in the perception of the Menasse-family between Germany and Austria. And I can imagine how difficult it is to understand this in a transatlantic context.
January 20, 2014 by Reader's Connection
My mother, for her part, was overly beautiful, and if you don’t think excessive beauty is a problem, you should try living with it for a while. The bag boys at the grocery store tried to kiss her at the car. She couldn’t have her phone number printed on her checks. People came to our table in restaurants to comment on her beauty; people let her go to the front of the line at the bank. Along with her looks came an overly sensitive nature that made people want to both protect her and run away with her. She did very little to try to put out the many fires that were started in her wake. When I first read The Iliad in high school I had a better understanding of my life: my mother was Helen of Troy.
That’s from the title essay in Patchett’s 2013 collection This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She chronicles the many divorces in her family history. The story of her current marriage, the way in which her husband convinced her to marry him, reads like a surprising bend-in-the-road from one of her novels.
There are currently 38 requests on this book. I usually try to recommend less celebrated titles, but I can’t help myself; and even if I don’t read all the essays before I have to return my copy to the request queue, I know I’ll be back.
The book I had thought of featuring on Martin Luther King Day didn’t work out. In lieu of that I’ll close with some words from Patchett’s essay “Tennessee.”
Nashville is not a city that can take any pride in its urban planning. Lovely old homes are knocked down, appalling condominiums spring up in their stead, traffic multiplies geometrically, mom-and-pop operations issue a mouselike cry trying to hold back the big-box chains, and then are devoured by those chains in a single bite.
But for every way this city has changed for the worse, there is some other way it has changed for the better. When I was a little girl, the Klan marched down at the square on Music Row on Sunday afternoons. Men in white sheets and white hoods waved at your car with one hand while they held back enormous German shepherds with the other. My sister and I pushed down the buttons of our door locks and sank low in the backseat. Those men are gone now, or at least they aren’t out walking the streets in full regalia. If growth and modernization means getting rid of the Klan while bad condos spread like lichen over tree trunks, well then, let’s hear it for modernity.
January 16, 2014 by Reader's Connection
The Spring 2014 season of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series at Butler University begins on January 28th and will run through April 8th.
The programs are free and open to the public. My thanks, as always, to Butler.
To see all of an author’s titles owned at IndyPL, click on his or her name.
Victor Hernández Cruz
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
Celebrated for creating poetry that is a collision of the sounds, tensions and flavors of New York and Puerto Rico, Cruz achieves a musical vitality that surpasses any of his other volumes. Like a salsa band leader coaxing and challenging dancers to more and more complex steps, Cruz dares readers with dizzying polyrhythms, polymetric stanzas, backstepping word structures and a sense of improvisation: “Humid women in plaza dance/ Tongues out of mouth/ At the men who jump in the shadows/ Panama hats transmitting/ Towards the radar/ of the waist.” While the verses pulse with a cross-cultural harmony of Caribbean and Lower East Side beats, the language approximates the emotional sphere of themes in rumba lyrics: “Machetes taking off like helicopters/ Chopping off branches for timbale sticks.” But topics don’t stop at the tropical; poems like “It’s Miller Time” and “If You See Me in L.A. It’s Because I’m Looking for the Airport” cover the ways in which life in the Americas can converge. Several lengthy narratives in the form of letters from musical influences to his family’s literary oral traditions. Seven poems presented in Spanish highlight Cruz’s bilingual talent. — Publishers Weekly
|Lorna Dee Cervantes
Wednesday, February 12
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
Drive : The First Quartet
Thursday, March 6
Atherton Union, Reilly Room
Three decades after their graduation from Minnesota’s Darton Hall College, the class of 1969 reunites for a July weekend of remembrance and celebration. A draft dodger from Canada still holds grudges against his ex-girlfriend, who appears to be happily married, but now finds himself more fascinated by a female minister who has lost her job in disgrace; a crippled Vietnam veteran, still plagued by gruesome memories of war, discovers that he has much in common with a classmate recovering from a mastectomy; and with a little help from alcohol, two best friends rejoice in rather than despair over their recent divorces. Beset with a surprising array of characters, O’Brien’s latest is every bit as haunting as his most celebrated works, Going After Cacciato and In the Lake of the Woods. While the recurring theme of Vietnam is no longer in the foreground, it is nevertheless, the driving force behind much of what befalls the characters in their past as well as their present. This forceful chronicle of the baby boom generation features the familiar elements of magical realism, mystery, and metafiction and some refreshing novelties, such as dominant female characters and a thoughtful, nonlinear configuration of chapters. — Library Journal
Wednesday, March 26
Robertson Hall, Johnson Board Room
A Night in Brooklyn
Monday, March 31
Clowes Memorial Hall
Wild : From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Tuesday, April 8
Atherton Union, Reilly Room
In four years, five young men dear to Ward died of various causes, from drug overdose to accident to suicide, but the underlying cause of their deaths was a self-destructive spiral born of hopelessness. Surrounded by so much death and sorrow, Ward closely examined the heartbreakingly relentless deathsof her young relatives and friends growing up in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, with few job prospects and little to engage their time and talents other than selling and using drugs and alcohol. She herself had partially escaped, going on to college in Michigan and California; but the pull of close family ties and a deep appreciation of southern culture lured her back each summer. Ward, author of Salvage the Bones (2011), lovingly profiles each of those she lost, including a brother, a cousin, and close friends, and their tragic ends as she weaves her family history and details her own difficulties of breaking away from home and the desperate need to do so. This is beautifully written homage, with a pathos and understanding that come from being a part of the culture described. — Booklist