Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
My sister and I have corresponded by email almost every day since about 1998. That was during the time that my sister, Stevie, was caring for our mother in Stevie's home. A couple of years later Mom moved to assisted living, then to a nursing home, but she was always near my sister's home in North Carolina, and Stevie did most of the caregiving and care management. We spoke every day via computer, though, and she has always said that she felt my support in that way.
Mom died in 2007, but Stevie and I were well in the habit of keeping in touch by then. We are 6 years apart in age, and we'd never been close as children, but we are best friends, now. During Mom's last years and since, we have treasured the time we get together in person. We share interests--dolls, crafts, cooking, family of course--and though we don't see one another as often as we did when Mom was alive, we still correspond almost every day. For years, the subject lines of the letters were simple greetings, or more often, a row of Re:Re:Re:Re and a simple greeting. Then one day, my brilliant sister had a brainstorm. She chose a poem. I don't even remember what the first poem was, but she used the first line for the subject line, and sent me an online link to the whole poem in the body of the letter, with the instruction to use the next line as my return subject line.
We have read a lot of poems together since then. One spring "When April with his showers sweet with fruit/The drought of March [had] pierced unto the root" we got onto Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and went through the Prologue and several pilgrims, right into midsummer. Recently we've had Where the Sidewalk Ends and some Maya Angelou. We take turns, when a poem ends, choosing the next poem. What makes it even better is this: our mom loved poetry. She memorized poems in high school, and would recite them to entertain us at bedtime or while waiting for buses or during any of the times when restless kids need entertainment. So now one of us may start a poem and say, "Do you remember? This was one of Mom's favorites." Stevie doesn't know this, but around Halloween, we will be reading Robert Burns' story poem, "Tam O'Shanter", which is a long, spooky ghost story and Mother loved it!
So that's the story of how my sister and I have shared memories of our mother, and personal poetry favorites and all sorts of other ideas while staying connected and enriching our minds, or something! Now I'll close, and check whether I have email from Stevie yet today. We're about done with a favorite of Mother's and mine, "The Bacchante to her Babe", by Eunice Tietjens, and I can't wait to see what Stevie is going to share with me next.
Monday, August 23, 2010
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
~from "The Hill"
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Idris Goodwin + Chaz Bojórquez: New Mexico Remix
Collaboration takes center stage with AMIRI BARAKA + CECIL TAYLOR and IDRIS GOODWIN + CHAZ BOJORQUEZ. The Outpost Performance Space, 516 ARTS and ACLU-NM have joined together to present a unique evening of performance and art, featuring legendary jazz artist Cecil Taylor and literary luminary Amiri Baraka performing Diction and Contra Diction, and Hip Hop poet/playwright Idris Goodwin performing New Mexico Remix with Chaz Bojórquez’s calligraphic mural inspired by this piece.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Also consider watching Hilary & Jackie, about cellist Jacqueline du Pré & her tumultuous relationship with her sister.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Also, today is the last day of Elvis Week, an annual celebration that includes a meet & greet, fan reception, a benefit, trivia tour, tribute artist contest, & more! To see photos of the 2010 Elvis Week, click here. For a list of Elvis books & media, just search the catalog under the keywords "Elvis Presley". For more information about the King, check out his official website.
ABC Libraries boasts a wide offering of music CDs in our catalog. For a list of some of the newest holdings, click here; for a specific genre, try a keyword search by genre (you might also click on the dropdown menu & change "View Entire Collection" to "Music on CD").
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Boneshaker is set in Seattle of the late 1800s. In a clever alternate history, part of Seattle was destroyed by inventor Leviticus Blue's "Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine". This device, the titular Boneshaker, was supposed to help Russians mining for gold to drill through Klondike ice. Instead, Blue, in testing it on his hometown, released a poisonous gas called 'the Blight' & part of Seattle-& anyone unfortunate to be left inside-has been walled off. Boneshaker is the story of the late (& not lamented) Blue's wife Briar & son Zeke. Zeke finds his way into the sealed area, looking for evidence that will clear this father's name, & Briar must follow him & bring him back out.
I'm finding Boneshaker to be a quick read, inventively plotted & full of colorful characters. It started slowly, but now I sometimes think that the author is hurtling through the plot a little too speedily, as one adventure doesn't so much lead to the next but instead each new twist is brought up & dropped in quick succession. The idea that Dr. Minnericht, the head honcho in the walled city, might be Briar's husband, is drummed into the reader a bit heavily. But the action is steady, the historical technology (bellows! airships! a mechanical arm!) well thought out, & all in all it's pretty entertaining.
Cherie Priest is also the author of the Southern Gothic Eden Moore trilogy, which starts with Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
A keyword search by "cooking" (sorted by date) will show you the latest additions to our catalog-including offerings from Emeril, Jillian Michaels, & local author Deborah Madison-& will also show you if we have any upcoming cooking classes. Some of the latest finds I have savored:
Life's Too Short to Chop Onions: 99 Dishes to Make When You'd Rather Be Doing Something Else by Kitty Greenwald
This small volume had some good, easy recipes. Plus the author has a fun style-chapters have clever titles like "Shut the Oven Door and Run".
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin
This is one of those "memoirs with recipes". Possibly the best of its kind!
Taste of Venice/Brunetti's Cookbook by Roberta Pianaro & Donna Leon (recipes by Roberta Pianaro ; culinary stories by Donna Leon)
Taste of Venice has exquisite recipes-some of the meat & fish dishes have ingredients like cuttlefish, which I'm not sure how to find, & veal, which I don't care to eat, but there are many other delights to choose from. None of the recipes are more than a couple of pages in length, most are less, & all are straightforward, if not easy. The cookbook is enhanced by mouth-watering excerpts from Donna Leon's mystery series & essays about Venetian life on culture by Leon & Roberta Pianaro.
A co-worker has been watching Daisy Martinez on PBS & loving her, so I thought I would put in a plug for her new cookbook: Daisy, Morning, Noon, and Night: Bringing Your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes. Another co-worker is enjoying the recipes from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano.
I'm also curious to take a look at: Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa; Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton; & The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food, One Recipe at a Time by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
One of my favorite Gorey books is the gloriously macabre Gashlycrumb Tinies (I have a poster of it in my house & frequently wear the matching T-shirt)-you can view it online here, from "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs" to "Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin". Carolyn Parkhurst has updated Gorey's words for 2010. Read her version here, from "A is for Avery, whose Wii was miswired" to "Z is for Zuma, who died of the snark" & see how you think her version compares.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
About the author:
Ursula Kroeber was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California, where she grew up. Her parents were the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the writer Theodora Kroeber, author of Ishi. She went to Radcliffe College and did graduate work at Columbia University. She married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953; they have lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1958, and have three children and four grandchildren.
Ursula K. Le Guin writes both poetry and prose, and in various modes including realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young children's books, books for young adults, screenplays, essays, verbal texts for musicians, and voicetexts. She has published seven books of poetry, twenty-two novels, over a hundred short stories (collected in eleven volumes), four collections of essays, twelve books for children, and four volumes of translation.
Most of Le Guin's major titles have remained continuously in print, some for over forty years. Her best known fantasy works, the six Books of Earthsea, have sold millions of copies in America and England, and have been translated into sixteen languages. Her first major work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, is considered epoch-making in the field for its radical investigation of gender roles and its moral and literary complexity. Her novels The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home redefine the scope and style of utopian fiction, while the realistic stories of a small Oregon beach town in Searoad show her permanent sympathy with the ordinary griefs of ordinary people. Among her books for children, the Catwings series has become a particular favorite. Her version of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, a translation she worked on for forty years, has received high praise.
Three of Le Guin's books have been finalists for the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and among the many honors her writing has received are a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, SFWA's Grand Master, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award, etc.
Le Guin leads an intensely private life, with sporadic forays into political activism and steady participation in the literary community of her city. Having taught writing workshops from Vermont to Australia, she is now retired from teaching. She limits her public appearances mostly to the West Coast.
[abridged from her website]
Some things to think about as you delve into your reading:
Ged grows up in the course of this novel. What are the qualities that mark him as childish in his early youth? What are the qualities that mark him as adult at the end?
What meanings are associated with Ged's Shadow? Why does it flee from him when he begins to pursue it?
Discuss pride. Is it Ged's pride that causes all his problems? Is the shadow a part of Ged's pride? Is pride always a bad thing? Are there times when pride is appropriate?
Discuss names. Names are important to a lot of cultures. Name one culture that treats names in a similar fashion to this novel. Why is it important to Ged that he not reveal his name to anyone?
What are the rules that govern magic in Earthsea? What can magic do and what is impossible using magic?
This novel is similar to traditional fairy tales in which characters succeed by confronting frightening beings, such as "Hansel and Gretel" and "Little Red Riding Hood." What are the similiarites & differences between those fairy tales & this novel?The Big Read's A Wizard of Earthsea Reader's Guide