Monday, October 29, 2007

This Week in Reading October 28 - November 3

This week is a time of remembrance for things that began, the Internet, PBS, the marriage of Ariel and Will Durant, and the right of women to vote in America, and things that ended, the life of George Bernard Shaw, trust in live television quiz shows, and the flying career of Howard Hughes' large wooden seaplane, the Spruce Goose.

It is also a time of transitiions, from the good times before the stock market crash of 1929 to the Great Depression afterwards, and from Daylight Savings Time to Pacific Standard Time. Technically it doesn't end and begin until 2:00 AM next Sunday morning, but most of us change the clocks in our houses and cars before we retire on Saturday night. It used to happen by now, but by Federal decree as of this year we Fall Back an hour on the first Sunday in November and Spring Forward an hour on the first Sunday in March.

None of this week's authors won a Nobel prize for Literature -- so the streak is over -- but there are a few names you might recognize from various school and library adventures. A famous multipart adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited helped find a literarily inclined audience for PBS.
This Week's question: Orson Welles' broadcast of War of the Worlds scared many Americans who were not at all aware of H.G. Wells famous book and mistook made up scenarios for live news even though the word "dramatization" was announced regularly throughout the program. Do you know the name of the rado series of which it was a part and the theatre from which it got its name? The program actually existed to bring classically famous literature to the general public through radio. Do you know the first book Welles' program dramatized that year, its first?

Answer to Last Week's Question: Moss Hart frequently teamed with George S. Kaufman and the duo created some of America's most performed and most loved comedies such as The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Can't Take It with You, and Once in a Lifetime. They both wrote plays and screenplays with other authors but their six play teamwork stands out. Kaufman wrote movie scripts for the Marx Brothers and Moss Hart wrote the screenplay for Gentleman's Agreement based on Laura Hobson's novel.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Glitz for Lits - The Quill Awards

To be broadcast this coming Saturday on NBC at 7:00 PM, the Quill Awards, selected by booksellers and librarians, were given to popular book authors by celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Al Roker, Joan Allen, Mary Higgins Clark, Gay Talese, and others in a glitzy ceremony.

Nora Roberts won the award for Book of the Year with her romance novel, Angels Fall.

The Platinum Quill, for lifetime achievement, went to David Halberstam posthumously.

The Book to Film Award was given for Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne Trilogy which Universal pictures (also part of NBC) brought to the screen. Ludlum's estate has allowed Eric Van Lustbader to continue the character.

The Debut Author award went to Diane Setterfield for her modern day gothic novel, The Thirteenth Tale which gives tribute to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. It is set in Yorkshire.

Other awards to be seen are:

Audio - Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird - read by Sissy Spacek

Biography / Memoir - Walter Isaacson - Einstein: his life and universe

Business - Robert I. Sutton - The No Asshole Rule

Children's Chapter / Middle Grade - Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Children's Picturebooks - David Wiesner - Flotsam

Cooking - Irma Rimbauer - The Joy of Cooking (75th anniversary edition)

General Fiction - Cormac McCarthy - The Road

Graphic Novel - Scott McCloud - Making Comics

Health / Self Improvement - Jerome Groopman - How Doctors Think

History / Current Affairs / Politics - Al Gore - The Assault on Reason

Humor - Amy Sedaris - I Like You

Mystery / Suspense / Thriller - Laura Lippman - What the Dead Know

Poetry - Kevin Young - For the Confederate Dead

Religion / Spirituality - Stephen Prothero - Religious Literacy

Romance - Nora Roberts - Angels Fall

Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror - Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind

Sports - Michael Weinreb - The Kings of New York (chess)

Young Adult / Teen - Patricia McCormick - Sold

Library's Most Wanted Books

Here's a quick look at some of our most requested books at this time.

Click on the book cover images to find them in our library catalog. There you can read summaries and reviews, find other books by the same authors, or place a hold of your own!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Works on Paper

R. Stanley Johnson’s book Pablo Picasso, works on paper : historical perspectives presents a quick glimpse at the many media and techniques Picasso used to create works on paper. Johnson’s essay focuses on lithography and linocuts and the illustrations include examples of these techniques as well as etchings, pencil or crayon drawings, drypoints, aquatints and several examples of more than one printing technique in the same work. The book also includes a bibliography and chronology. The illustrations are in black and white and color, and include reference to the title, date, size, media, and provenance. The illustrated works date from 1901 to 1970 which demonstrates Picasso’s longevity as an artist.

Works on paper can range from being simple sketches, or doodles, to complete works of art! Brand Library Art Galleries is currently showing an entire exhibition of works on paper. On view through November 16, 2007 is Brand 36 - Works on Paper : Secrets & Confessions. This exhibition was juried by artist Lita Albuquerque and includes 87 works on paper in a variety of media, including etchings, photography, drawings, prints, watercolors and mixed media works. This is an excellent example of the variety of media and techniques that can be used on paper.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Authors, Artists & Friends" Series

Wednesday, October 24, 7 pm for free at the Glendale Central Library come hear John W. Dean discuss the issues plaguing Constitutional structure of co-equal branches of government. Is government broken? Are its processes capable of being fixed? How did it get this way?

Finally, he addresses the question that he is so often asked at his speaking engagements: What, if anything, can and should politically moderate citizens do to combat the extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and increasing focus on divisive wedge issues that exist today?

Can’t make the event or want more?

In his eighth book, Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, Dean takes the broadest and deepest view of what he considers the damage that the Republican Party and its core conservatives have inflicted on the federal government. He assesses the state of all three branches of government. Unlike most political commentary, which is concerned with policy, Dean looks instead at process, making the case that the 2008 presidential race must confront these fundamental problems as well.

John Dean has become one of the most trenchant and respected commentators on the current state of American politics and one of the most outspoken and perceptive critics of the administration of George W. Bush in his New York Times bestsellers
Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse Than Watergate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This Week in Reading October 21 - 27

This week continues the string of weeks with the birthdays of Nobel prizewinning authors but only by the briefest of margins; Doris Lessing who received the latest Nobel Prize in Literature just two weeks ago was born October 22, 1919. Alfred Nobel himself was born in this week. Do we count him?

Fittingly, it is a week of strong literary voices of some very talented feminist writers. Ursula K. LeGuin is one of the most fascinating speculative fantasy creators that has ever been called a Science Fiction writer. Her stories and novels have depth into individual and group psychology, essentially the software of humanity, that goes far beyond the genre's fascination with just the hardware of the future. In fact, my favorite story of hers is The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas in The Wind's Twelve Quarters. It should be read by everyone concerned about America today.

And we also have novelists Maxine Hong Kingston, Anne Tyler, crime writer Ann Rule, poet Denise Levertow, playwright Enid Bagnold, and other women of exceptional note this week. It's their week. Michael Crichton, Dylan Thomas, and Pat Conroy should feel honored to be listed with them.

This Week's Question: Moss Hart, also born this week, was a spectacular Broadway director who teamed up with another writer to create some of America's most performed comedies. Who was the other playwright? Which of them wrote screenplays later?

Answer to Last Week's Question: Noah Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, which was called simply "The Blue-Back Speller" by most people, earned him one cent per copy from its first edition (under another title) in 1786 through his lifetime and sold over a milllion copies per year years after his death in 1843. It was enough to keep him going while he compiled his monumental American dictionary. His books are the reason Americans use "er" and "or" while the British spell words as "centre" and "honour" and the like. He also helped America create copyright laws and started spelling bees.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Season of More Literary Prizes

The Man Booker Prize for best literary fiction was awarded on October 16 in London, England to Anne Enright for her novel The Gathering. It is a story of a grieving family in Ireland dealing with three generations of family secrets.

The Man Booker Prize, once called the Booker prize, was established in 1968 to honor the best novel of the year by a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Using an award committee including academics and literary lights the prize has in fact grown in prestige over the years. However, the web site, sounding like a PR firm, highlights how much more than prize money the winner of the award for "the finest in fiction" will receive in increased book sales and worldwide recognition. (Well, the Man Corporation is an investment firm which joined the Best Foods Group to sponsor it since 2002. They do name ball parks after companies these days. One wonders what prestige remains under these conditions.)

The PEN USA Literary Awards have been announced. They will be awarded to the winners at the Beverly Hills Hotel on November 6 in an evening hosted by television and screenwriter Larry Gelbart. Along with a lifetime achievement award to Clancy Sigal, the Second Amendment Award, and the Freedom to Write Award there will be other special acknowledgements and guests.

Fiction - Kevin Brockmeier, A Brief History of the Dead

Creative Fiction - Debra Marquart, The Horizontal World

Research Nonfiction - Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower

Journalism - Jake Silvrstein, "Highway", Harper's Magazine

Drama - Craig Volk - Mayakovsky Takes the Stage

Poetry - Ralph Angel, Exceptions and Melancholies

Translation - Mary Funge and David Lunde, The Carving of Insects by Bian

Teleplay - Phylis Nagy, Mrs. Harris

Screenplay - Zach Helm, Stranger Than Fiction

Monday, October 15, 2007

This Week in Reading October 14 - 20

It's a very long list this week which includes John Dean from the Nixon Whitehouse, who will speak here at the library next week on Wednesday, October 24 about the current Whitehouse.

Besides fascinating events which bear some looking into, there are some best selling authors, the suspense writers John LeCarre and Mario Puzo, masters of their craft Italo Calvino and Gunter Grass, as well as English wits P. G. Wodehouse and Oscar Wilde. There are also many authors who are well known generally and extremely important to their field, the top two American playwrights Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Michael Foucault, poets e.e. cummings, Arthur Rimbaud, Ntozake Shange, Robert Pinsky, thoughtful analyzers of education and culture, John Dewey and C.P Snow, as well as a president, economists, journalists, historians, essayists, humorists, atheletes, businessmen, travel writers, celebrties, and to keep the streak going, three more Nobel prizewinners. Is it significant that thirteen of these authors were all born on October 15. What is there about that day?

This Week's Question: Which author in this week's list sold a book at the rate of a million copies per year and yet received only one cent per copy royalty which was enough to live on?

Answer to Last Week's Question:The Quill Book Awards is the only televised book award event. Unlike awards with explicit literary merit as the criteria, the Quills are meant to include the public who can vote for awards in their favorite genre.The author born last week who has won the Quill for romance, for her book Angels Fall, is Nora Roberts, who also writes in a different genre under the name J.D. Robb. This year's awards will be broadcast next week, October 22 with the specific intent to add glitz to the book biz.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Take Your Best Shot Glendale!

Designed to bring our community together, the City of Glendale encourages Glendale photograph-ers to capture diverse images of life in our City through the camera lens.

Take your best picture(s) in Glendale on Saturday, November 3, 2007 and submit it for consideration. Selected photographs will be printed in a highly quality commemorative book. For more info and guidelines, visit the City website.

This picture was taken at the Verdugo Skate Park. What fancy tricks can you do with your camera? Take your best shot Glendale!

TEMPTING TITLES - New Nonfiction (4 of 4)

Here are more new nonfiction books that have arrived or are coming to the Glendale Public Library. To get to the catalog record of any book where you can place an online hold click on the image or the book title.

Dewey Decimal 900s (Travel, Biographies, History)


Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski

"Inspired by the commonsensical Herodotus, who tried to explain the world beyond their gates to his fellow Greeks, Kapuscinski embarked on a series of travels that he details in his many other books and describes, sometimes allusively, here. - Throughout, Kapuscinski tests and emulates Herodotus's methods: 'he wanders, looks, talks, listens, in order that he can later note down what he learned and saw, or simply to remember better.' Author and subject, student and mentor, are perfectly matched. Illuminating reading for any aspiring journalist or travel writer, for any traveler, for any citizen of the world." (Kirkus)

Fly Solo: the 50 best places on earth for a girl to travel alone by Teresa Rodriguez Williamson

"Williamson uses 10 criteria - among them safety, transportation and friendliness - to determine a list of destinations for adventurous women, then provides the skinny on each. But before delving into her exceedingly thorough chick-trip dispatches, Williamson provides an incisive quiz to help readers determine the best trip for them. Dozens of global hot spots are profiled here, with an especially extensive list of European locations. - Even though this easy-to-breeze-through guide offers information on locales as far-flung as Machu Picchu and Tokyo, a number of fun stateside escapes ensures that even "girls" on a limited budget will be ready to lone-wolf it." (Book summary)

Biographies (92s)

The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh, a woman in world history by Linda Colley

"Colley uses Marsh's life as a lens through which to show a period of great social transformation; travel, technology, commerce, international politics, and gender roles all changed swiftly and dramatically during the 18th century. Colley brings alive many historical personalities, especially the 'bold and impudent' and 'intelligent and curious…not scholarly' Elizabeth and the petulant Moroccan sultan whose corsairs captured her Britain-bound ship when she was 20. Elizabeth married a fellow captive after their release and later wrote a memoir of this episode, which became her first publication. Colley's grounding in her subject makes her writing authoritative and her analysis savvy." (Library Journal)

A Russian Diary: a journalist's final account of life, corruption, and death in Putin's Russia by Anna Politkovskaia

"This diary includes interviews with mothers of the murdered children of the Beslan school, with Russian soldiers mutilated in Chechnya, and a fascinating encounter in the fortified hideaway of a deranged Chechen warlord. Furthermore, she exposes the degradation and even death of many young conscripts in the Russian armed forces. One cannot help but admire this tenacious correspondent, who wrote with integrity and honesty regardless of the consequences. Although her voice has been silenced, it is important that her words be read, digested, and promulgated."
(Library Journal)

Belva Lockwood: the woman who would be president by Jill Norgen

"Astonishingly, this is the first scholarly biography of 19th-century activist Belva Lockwood. Lawyer, lobbyist, wife, mother, and contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lockwood was among the most formidable of equal rights advocates. The first female lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the relentlessly ambitious Lockwood ran for the U.S. presidency in 1884 and 1888 on the Equal Rights Party ticket." (Library Journal)


Sovereign Ladies: the six reigning Queens of England by Maureen Waller

"The list comprises Mary I, Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne, Victoria, and Elizabeth II. Only the unfortunate Mary I neither gave her name to an age nor presided over a great era of British history. Each mini biography shows off excellent scholarship and research while giving readers the feeling that they are getting not just the facts but the 'downstairs' take on what really happened." (Library Journal)

Inside the Red Mansion: on the trail of China’s most wanted man by Oliver August

"August (former Beijing bureau chief, Times of London) draws on his observations of China's almost lawless business underworld to write a rattling good story: Lai Changxing rose from illiterate poverty to amass a fortune by bribery, networking, and brass. Eventually, he fell foul of the law, or at least of political rivals, and became China's most wanted man. August's search for Lai takes him through the frenetic China that we had always suspected but never saw so vividly analyzed." (Library Journal)

World of the Vikings by Richard Hall

"In a very readable narrative, Hall (director of archaeology, York Archaeological Trust, U.K.; The Viking Dig) ably presents Viking civilization, from its origins during the early first millennium C.E. to the final 15th-century settlements in Greenland. - Other features are sidebars with summaries of topics related to each chapter's time period, a gazetteer of where to find Viking archaeological sites and museums, and a time line of Viking history." (Library Journal)

Al Gore Given 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

Sharing recognition with the IPCC, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, former vice-president Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace prize today for "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

Gore said: "I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change--the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis--a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.

"My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis."
The library has copies of both his movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth. The DVD was created by a Glendale resident and library user. Other books about Al Gore and global warming are available as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TEMPTING TITLES - New Nonfiction (3 of 4)

Here are more new nonfiction books that have arrived or are coming to the Glendale Public Library. To get to the catalog record of any book where you can place an online hold click on the image or the book title.

More Taz, the blog dog. See below --

Dewey Decimal 700s (Art, music, entertainment, sports)

Coltrane: the story of a sound, by Ben Ratliff

"Ratliff, the jazz critic for the New York Times, isn't interested in simply retelling the biographical facts of John Coltrane's life. Instead, he analyzes how the saxophone player came to be regarded as “the last major figure in the evolution of jazz.” Always going past the legend to focus on the real-life stories and the actual recordings, Ratliff's assessment is a model for music criticism." (Publishers Weekly)

Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle, by Lars Anderson.

"Before Jim Thorpe had his Olympic medals taken away, before Dwight Eisenhower became president and before Glenn "Pop" Warner became synonymous with Little League football, all three men tore up the gridiron with a reckless abandon that reflected their single-minded, Type-A personalities…Gripping, inspiring coverage of three powerful forces' unforgettable convergence: the sports version of The Perfect Storm." (Kirkus)

Dewey Decimal 800s (Literature)

The Science of Stephen King: from Carrie to Cell, the terrifying truth behind the horror master's fiction by Lois H. Gresh and Robert Weinberg

"Gresh (senior science writer, Univ. of Rochester) and Weinberg are popular and prolific authors who have separately published many works of fiction and nonfiction and have collaborated on seven books. Their aim here is to relate Stephen King's novels, stories, and films to their literary and cinematic precursors as well as to the pop science and pseudoscience that underpin them. Thus, we get a chapter discussing string theory and the plot details of The Dark Tower and another chapter discussing the Drake equation (How many intelligent races are out there in the universe?) and the plot details of The Tommyknockers. (Library Journal)

At Large and At Small: familiar essays by Anne Fadiman

"Starred Review. Fadiman, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Spirit Catches You and You Fall, makes a bold claim: "I believe the survival of the familiar essay is worth fighting for." The "familiar essays" that Fadiman champions and writes are in the mold of the early 19th century, rather than critical or personal works as we've come to know them. Her essays combine a personal perspective with a far-reaching curiosity about the world, resulting in pieces that are neither so objective the reader can't see the writer behind them nor too self-absorbed. And spending some time with Fadiman is a pure delight. She loves the natural world and taxonomies of all kinds .." (Publishers Weekly)

Note: Anne Fadiman, who called herself an autodidact, (self learner, a frequent library user), is the daughter of the great polymath Clifton Fadiman about whom I rhapsodized in This Week in Reading (May 13-19). Her earlier book, Ex Libris: confessions of a common reader is also a great read for any bibliophile.

Taz, the Blog Dog, was found today lying in this corner of the 800s with his paws over these three books.

"Dogs live life with a joy and abandon most humans envy. This book of sayings and dog-isms will give you a glimpse into the canine psyche. It will amuse, and maybe inspire-no, probably just amuse readers. Rubino's illustrations are equally funny. A fool and his half a sandwich are soon parted. If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it's yours. If it doesn't come back, bark and bark and then bark and bark and just bark and bark and bark and bark and bark." (Book summary)

"Cat lovers will enjoy this and cat haters will have all their fears confirmed - your cat is smarter than you, is better than you, and is plotting something sinister. Includes illustrations. People say, a thousand years ago cats were worshipped as gods. That implies this is no longer the case. Aren't people CUTE when they're in denial?" (Book summary)

"Celebrating all things canine, a heartwarming anthology of writings about dogs draws from the best in English and American literature to include such works as The Call of the Wild by Jack London, "To Flush, My Dog" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles M. Schulz's "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Snoopy," and other works by Margaret Truman, O. Henry, and others." (Publisher's summary)

Search the Book Talk archives!