Friday, May 29, 2009

Author Event at the Glendale Central Library, Monday, June 1st

West of the West
with Mark Arax &
Aris Janigian

Central Library Auditorium
222 E. Harvard Street
Monday, June 1st
7 pm

Almost a century ago, in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide, Yervant Janigian made his way from Turkey to the Great Central Valley, and soon convinced his nephew, Aram Arax, to join him. Together they began picking fruits and vegetables, and putting down roots.

Today, two generations later, their grandsons Mark Arax (West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State) and Aris Janigian (Riverbig: A Novel) offer probing reflections on the West.

Join us for an evening of reading and conversation with two of California's most important storytellers.

Click here for more information on the authors and West of the West and Riverbig.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Week in Reading May 24 - 30

Authors born this week:

Nobel Prize in Literature: Novelist Mikhail Sholokov (1965), novelist Patrick White (1973), poet Joseph Brodsky (1987),

Novelists and story writers
Edward Bulwer Lytton, Louis Ferdinand Celine, John Cheever, Herman Wouk, Walker Percy, William Trevor, Rosario Castellanos, John Barth, John Gregory Dunne, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, W.P. Kinsella, Raymond Carver, Jamaica Kincaid, Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Chabon, Poppy Z. Brite

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Thomas Moore, Countee Cullen, Theodore Roethke Playwrights: Arthur Wing Pinero, Arnold Wesker, Eve Ensler

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Oswald Spengler Believers: William F. Albright Scientists: Paul Ehrlich, David Viscott Historians: Jacob Burckhardt

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
Humorists: Cornelia Otis Skinner, Bob Hope Essayists: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Randolph Bourne, Rachel Carson, George Lakoff, Ian C. Bradley Editors: Bennett Cerf Officials: John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Rudy Giuliani

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
: G. K. Chesterton Crime: Dashiell Hammett, Tony Hillerman Suspense: Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: Al Sorrontonio, Harlan Ellison, Edward Lee, Catherine R. Kiernan, Kelley Armstrong Science Fiction: Hal Clement, Phyllis Gotlieb

Historical Fiction / Romance / Western Writers
Historical Fiction:
T. H. White Westerns: Max Brand

Visual Artists
Cartoonists: Lynn Johnston

Young People’s Writers
Children’s: Mo Willems

Events to read about: The start of this week marks the date when the island of Manhattan was bought by Europeans from unsuspecting native Americans. Or was it? Some scholars suggest the then residents thought they were only selling the right of passage through that part of the earth. Nevertheless, nearly three hundred years later on that day the New York Public Library opened its doors and mysteries of history began to be demythified. The week also offers many pairs of fascinating events and people to read about, such as Queen Victoria and Wild Bill HIckcock; Bennie Goodman and Miles Davis; John Scopes and Amelia Bloomer; Patrick Henry and (Glendale High grad) John Wayne; the Continental Congress and Tianeman Square; and more.

This Week’s Questions:
What a week of exemplars. Some of the best of a genre is here this week, a couple of superb short story writers, a top speculative fiction writer, great writers of mystery and suspense, the editor of many of America's most famous authors, and, finally, the ultimate essay writer whom everybody quotes, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, however, didn't care for quotes himself.

Stay at home in your mind. Don't recite other people's opinions. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

Still, he wrote too many good lines not to quote him. With his words in mind, then, which one of the following quotes are not by Emerson?

Tis the good reader that makes the good book.

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

Never read a book that is not a year old.

A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying "Of course, I do not like green cheese; I am very fond of brown sherry."

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:
Sir, I admit your general rule
That every poet is a fool;
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet

This famous epigram is most often, and most likely, attributed to the witty Alexander Pope, especially since he wrote many epigrams and also wrote The Dunciad, a long verse skewering, among others, the foolish and unpoetic actor - playwright Colley Cibber who butchered poetry in his adaptations of the bard. However, several sources attribute this epigram instead to Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We have two complete works of Pope in the library. The one from Oxford includes this epigram. The one from Cambridge does not. Go figure. Not even a library solves everything.

And what is an epigram? It is simply a short, pithy statement that is easily remembered. From the ancient Greeks to nineteenth century epitaphs they were often attached, in limited word space, to the burial site of someone whom others felt needed to be remembered, but came to be used whenever a short, often poetic, and frequently satiric dig was needed. The best ad copywriters are often epigrammists, and there is little doubt that some of the best users of new media like Twitter will turn out to be memorable epigrammists as well.

What ever can be said today,
About having little or nothing much to say,
And yet you have no more than a slim
Dozen dozen spaces to say it all in?

Social Networking for Ghouls

Book Review - The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Oscar-winning director Del Toro and mystery writer Hogan are working on a vampire trilogy more in keeping with the creepiest of zombie stories than the vampires of the recent Twilight series.

Book one, The Strain, follows a group of characters as they either defy or succumb to a vampire plague. The "virus" hits hard and fast, incubating overnight, with victims returning to their homes to attack loved ones in a perverse form of social networking. Friends attack their own families, who in turn attack more loved ones along with the usual random folks who get in the way.

The authors invent a world where New York City would succumb in just a week, the USA in three months and the world in six. There are also hints of a number of vampire conspiracies working at cross purposes that we'll learn about in the next two volumes. It's a great read if you like vampire/zombie stories with grit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alice Munro Wins 2009 Man Booker International Prize

Canadian short story writer Alice Munro has been named the winner of 2009 Man Booker International Prize. Munro is the third recipient of the award, following Ismail Kadaré (2005) and Chinua Achebe (2007). The Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005 and is awarded every other year.

Born in Wingham, Ontario, and still living in Canada, Munro established Munro Books in Victoria with her husband in 1963. Other awards Munro has received include the Marian Engel Prize, the Canada-Australia Literary Prize, and the Giller Prize.

Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger won the 2008 Man Booker Prize this past October.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Week in Reading May 17 -23

Authors found in our library, born this week

Nobel Prize in Literature:

Novelist Sigrid Undset (1928), mathematician, philosopher Bertrand Russell (1950), novelist, poet Par Lagerkvist (1951)

Poets and Playwrights
Omar Khayyam, Alexander Pope, Robert Creeley, Jane Kenyon Playwrights: Meredith Willson, Lorraine Hansberry

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Thinkers: John Stuart Mill, Rudolph Carnap Scientists: M. Scott Peck Biographers: Merle Miller, Mitch Albom

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
Craig Ferguson Essayists: Margaret Fuller, Vance Packard, Malcolm X, Paul Erdman Officials: Armand Hammer Media and others: Frank Capra, Dennis Potter, Richard Brooks

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Arthur Conan Doyle

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: Manley Wade Wellman Science Fiction: James Blish

Visual Artists
Cartoonists: Herge

Young People’s Writers
Scott O’Dell, Margaret Wise Brown, Diane Duane Teens: Gary Paulsen

Events to read about this week:

This is a particularly active week of events with governmental dates of interest, births of artists and stars, as well as dates of first publications. Check them out.

This Week’s Questions:

Sir, I admit your general rule
That every poet is a fool;
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

There are many Internet sites saying this epigram was famously written by an author born this week but there are very many saying someone else did. Many of the entries, however, are likely based upon each other and unsourced, and upon digitized public domain books on the Internet which, though old, are not necessarily well researched themselves. Can this be researched in a library such as ours, to find out, who in fact did write it?

And, regardless of who wrote the epigram, what is an epigram anyway?

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:

Just as three of this week's group includes three people from other fields who wrote and published novels, Olaf Stapledon was a philosopher first and a science fiction writer second.

Science fiction author L. Neil Smith ran for president in 2000 as a Libertarian but was defeated in the primaries.

Naturalist Farley Mowat readily admitted that some of his nonfiction segments of his books are fiction. According to critics, travel writer Bruce Chatwin fictionalized some of his travel writing, so he explicitly turned to writing novels with similar themes.

Armisted Maupin's Tales of the City and its sequels were first published as periodical sagas in the San Francisco Chronicle.

John Scalzi is just one of a growing number of writers who has collected stories and entries from his web site and has published at least two books in paper from such works.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Robert Scheer to speak Thursday, May 21

Come hear veteran journalist Robert Scheer take aim at America's defense policy and military budget Thursday, May 21, 7 pm.

Scheer argues that war cannot defeat terrorism. What's required is simple police work, dogged, boring and not terribly expensive, not trillion-dollar bombers, submarines and nuclear arsenal, expenditures he contends are unrelated to defeating terrorists and of little use in Iraq.

He soberly reminds readers that Americans have never objected to wasteful defense budgets, and antiwar elected officials fight as viciously as neoconservatives to bring money to their district's defense industries. Scheer's prose is as clear as his evidence; readers will be galvanized by his incendiary account.

Robert Scheer has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines.

Between 1964 and 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, writing on diverse topics such as the Soviet Union, arms control, national politics and the military. In 1993 he launched a nationally syndicated column based at the Los Angeles Times, where he was named a contributing editor. That column ran weekly for the next 12 years and is now based at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Robert Scheer is a Clinical Professor at the Annenberg School For Communication at USC. He was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley, where he did graduate work in economics. Scheer has also been a Poynter fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.

Thursday, May 21, 7 pm
Glendale Public Library Auditorium
222 East Harvard Street, Glendale
(818) 548-2042

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Week in Reading May 10 -16

Authors born this week:

Nobel Prize in Literature: Novelist Camilo Jose Cela (1989)

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Dante Alghieri, Edward Lear, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Andrey Voznesenskii, Adrienne Rich, Kathleen Jamie Playwrights: Arthur Schnitzler, Mikhail Bulgakov, Max Frisch, Anthony Shaffer, Peter Shaffer, Paul Zindel, Allen Ball

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Karl Barth, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Louis Farrakhan Scientists: Richard Feynman, Farley Mowat Historians: Ariel Durant, Janine Basinger

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
Humorists: Mort Sahl, George Carlin Essayists: Hal Borland, Studs Terkel, Edward T. Hall, Jeremy Paxman Officials: Henry Cabot Lodge Media and others: Arthur Sullivan, Irving Berlin, Yogi Berra, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Mystery: Daphne Du Maurier, Leslie Charteris

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: L. Frank Baum, Roger Zelazny, Stephen R. Donaldson, Thomas Tessier Science Fiction: Olaf Stapledon, L. Neil Smith, John Scalzi

Romance / Historical Fiction Writers
Historical Fiction: Barbara Taylor Bradford

Visual Artists
Margaret Rey

Young People’s Writers
Children’s: Rachel Billington, Carolyn B. Cooney, Mike Lupica, Eoin Colfer

Events to read about from the first woman to run for president to the United States first space station.

This Week’s Questions:

Categorizing writers is always a fuzzy undertaking. While it’s obvious that many novelists wrote short stories, that many fantasy authors also wrote science fiction, and some illustrators also wrote books for children, too, some nonfiction writers also wrote poetry and plays. Many fiction writers wrote nonfiction and a few screenwriters also wrote novels and plays. Some historical fiction is also romance, and some crime is both mystery and supense.Nor always is there a clear line between philosophers and religious thinkers, or between essayists and journalists. And some wrote in several genres and for different ages.The categories used here are generally what the author is most known for, though he or she could easily fit into another category as well.

That said, which author born this week was a philosopher first and a fiction writer second?

Which author has also had a political career and ran for president?

Which nonfiction author readily admitted that some of his nonfiction is fiction?

Which authors published the book they are known by only after segments ran in newspapers?

Which one serialized a book first on a website before it was published?

Answer to Last Week’s Question:

Poetry is the art of understanding what it is to be alive.” - Archibald MacLeish, poet

All poetry is putting the infinite with the finite.” – Robert Browning, poet

"Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is only the bemused spectator." – Charles Simic, poet

The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.”Christopher Morley, mystery novelist.

Brand Library Music Series May 17, 2009 3:00 PM

Associates of Brand Library Music Series
Sunday May 17, 2009 3:00 PM

Flute and Guitar, Alone and Together

Sarah Wass, flute

Steven Thachuk, guitar

Music of Bach, Copland, Robert Beaser and Ian Clarke.

A reception for the artists will follow the concert.

More information on Sarah Wass

More information on Steven Thachuk

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Selected Curiosities" exhibition opening at Brand Library Art Galleries - Saturday, May 16th

Please join us at the opening reception for Selected Curiosities featuring the artwork of Monica Furmanski, Michael Pearce, Janet Neuwalder, and Jennifer Tenace.

Reception: Saturday, May 16, 6-9 pm
Exhibition on View: May 16 - June 19, 2009

Selected Curiosities showcases the work of four Los Angeles area artists working in a variety of media to create pieces that promise to pique the viewer’s curiosity.

Using clay, mixed media, and digital photographic prints Monica Furmanski and Janet Neuwalder will collaborate on an installation that speaks to both the micro and macro aspects of the natural world. Their collaborative effort is based on the "use of similar imagery that investigates the poetic and complex structures of natural and industrial systems, networks, and matrices."

With nature as her starting point, Jennifer Tenace uses oil, acrylic and mixed media on panel to create lush abstract landscapes in which the mercurial aspects of process are evident.

Michael Pearce will show his installation, Mr. Pearce’s Cabinet of Alchemical Wonders, for the first time. This installation includes many mixed media pieces and large scale paintings. It reflects Pearce’s interest in the philosophy of alchemy with its base elements of air, water, fire, and earth, to celebrate humankind’s longing to understand the phenomenon of the universe.

More information is on the Brand Library website.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This Week in Reading May 3 - 9

Nobel Prize in Literature
Novelist Henryk Seinkiewicz (1905), novelist, poet Rabindranath Tagore (1913), novelist Wladislaw Reymont, (1924), novelist, poet, playwright Harry Martinson (1974)

Marilyn French (1929 - 2009) was the author of The Women's Room, Her Mother's Daughter, and was an important and active voice of feminism. Her most recent work was a three volume academic work, From Eve to Dawn: a history of women,.

Authors born this week -

Novelists and story writers
Alain Rene Le Sage, Gaston Leroux,, Dodie Smith, Romain Gary, Sloan Wilson, Thomas Pynchon, Nelida Pinon, Amos Oz, Peter Carey, Graham Swift, David Guterson, Almudena Grandes

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Robert Browning, Archibald MacLeish, Mona Van Duyn, Yehuda Amichai, Gary Snyder, Charles Simic Playwrights: J. M. Barrie, William Inge, Betty Comden, Alan Bennett

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Thinkers: Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Richard Wollheim, Martha Nussbaum Believers Fulton J. Sheen Scientists: Thomas Henry Huxley, Sigmund Freud, David Attenborough Historians: H. H. Bancroft,, T. H. White, Theodore Sorenson

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, and Others
Essayists: Edmund Wilson, George Will, Naomi Klein Journalists: Harry Golden, Mike Wallace, Tim Russert Officials: Niccolo Machiavelli, Harry S. Truman Media and others: Andy Adams, James Beard, Norman Corwin, Orson Welles, Pete Seeger, Don Rickles, Robert Osborne, Michael Palin, Kurt Loder

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Christopher Morley, Ben Eliton Suspense: Peter Benchley: Robin Cook

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: Richard Adams, Angela Carter Science Fiction William Tenn

Visual Artists
Jacob Riis

Young People’s Writers
Milton Meltzer, Andrew Clements, Robin Jarvis

Events to read about this week:
Freedom Riders, the Kent State shootings, Cinco de Mayo, the Hindenburg Disaster, Nixon’s impeachment hearings begin.

This Week’s Questions

Which of this week’s authors said the following?

Poetry is the art of understanding what it is to be alive.”

All poetry is putting the infinite with the finite.”

"Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is only the bemused spectator."

The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.”

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:

Dean of Science Fiction. -- Jack Williamson
Father of Space Operas.E. E. Smith.
Laws of Science Fiction. -- Larry Niven

Among Niven's Laws, “There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.”

There exists minds that think as you do, but differently.” (Niven’s Collolary “The gene-tampered turkey you’re talking to isn’t one of them.” )

Niven’s 'laws for writers of science fiction' include

Writers who write for other writers should write letters.”

It’s a sin to waste the reader’s time.”

While E. E. Smith particularly credits the public library with inspiring his science fiction imagination, Robert J. Sawyer has been the Science Fiction Writer-in-Residence at several Canadian public libraries. That country’s program also allows for Mystery Writer-in-Residence and representatives of other genres who give writing workshops to the public in addition to speaking programs such as we have in our One Book – One Community programs in this country.

Search the Book Talk archives!