>One of my fondest memories of childhood was my mother reading poetry to my sister and I. I think it had to do a lot with the fact that we didn’t own a television and entertainment had to be on the cheap.
This instilled a love in me for the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Robert Frost. In fact my most treasured volume of poetry was The Complete Robert Frost that was given to me by my Aunt Roberta upon graduating from high school. Going on 20 years ago, and she still asks me if I am enjoying it. (The answer is still and will always be ‘yes’.)
Going into college I was turned onto people like Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, and Jenny Holzer. Poetry rules and I hope to show my son the same love for poetry that I have.
A new DVD added to the Library collection will be a good first primer for my son. It features the poetry of Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and many others.
I usually avoid non-fiction, or I intend to read it and never actually get around to doing it, but then one day a patron arrived at my desk, plopped this book down and said, “You have to read this book.” Um, ok, I guess. I casually picked it up and it did look like it might be good, so I took it home and, after procrastinating for a while, picked it up and started reading. From the very first chapter I was sold. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner is a travel book combined with a quest for happiness. Weiner travels to the reportedly happiest countries on earth to try to learn their secrets. He tells the tales of these countries with respect, but also a touch of good old American skepticism. This is a funny book that will entertain you and maybe make you think just a little. Don’t procrastinate: you have got to read this book.
> Hospice volunteers are special people that aren’t afraid to confront death regularly. The Hospice Foundation of America states that volunteers find it personally gratifying, intellectually stimulating and emotionally meaningful to assist those in need at a critical point in their lives. Glimpses of Heavenwritten by a former hospice nurse tells the encouraging stories of 44 patients as they experienced the natural process of death. Trudy Harris shares some of her personal stories in an easy to read, heartwarming way. The death experiences related here will bring comfort and hope and possibly help all of us that will face the death of a loved one in the future.
>I love book lists, partially because I can feel superior about how many books I’ve read and partially because it reminds me of what I want to read someday. I found this list on one of my favorite blogs, Jane Austen’s World, and had to pass it on. It’s a unique list, including classics and some newer fiction. I thought about using the same idea with a list of top 100 novels from the Modern Library, but I wouldn’t be able to say I’ve read as many of them and thus would not feel as superior.
I tried to track the list back through the blogs and see who originally made it. It seems to be from the Big Read, although I can’t find it anywhere on their site. But everyone loves to point out the quote “The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.”
So here’s the deal. If you blog, change the list to suit your reading and post it. If not, you may want to e-mail it to all your friends. If you want to do neither, then glance through and feel superior at how many more books you’ve read than I have. I also welcome comments about things I didn’t italicize but really need to read. I agree with the writer of Jane Austen’s World in that I didn’t strike through anything. I might want to read it someday. I also didn’t mark things that I’ve read part of: the Bible, Shakespeare’s complete works. I had to mention it so you don’t think I’m a complete loser who hasn’t read any Shakespeare. But I’m not mentioning how many of these books I started and didn’t finish.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read. 2) Italicize those you intend to read. 3) Underline the books you love. (I couldn’t figure out how to underline, so I made them blue.) 4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated. 5) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 4 The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 6 The Bible 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell 9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman 10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy 13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien 17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger 20 Middlemarch – George Eliot 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald 23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh 27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll 30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame 31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis 34 Emma – Jane Austen 35 Persuasion – Jane Austen 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis 37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres 39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne 41 Animal Farm – George Orwell 42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving 45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery 47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy 48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding 50 Atonement – Ian McEwan 51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel 52 Dune – Frank Herbert 53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen 55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth 56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck 62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov 63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt 64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold 65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas 66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac 67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding 69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie 70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville 71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens 72 Dracula – Bram Stoker 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett 74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson 75 Ulysses – James Joyce 76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath 77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome 78 Germinal – Emile Zola 79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray 80 Possession – AS Byatt 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker 84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro 85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert 86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton 91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad 92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery 93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks 94 Watership Down – Richard Adams 95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole 96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute 97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
>I know, I could barely contain myself when I saw these new computer books. Geared towards the beginning PC user, these books provide easy to follow instructions and examples to help you become more familiar with your computer and that thing they call the Internet. These books also go beyond just a perfunctory explanation of PCs and the Internet to provide even the most experienced user with a nugget or two of knowledge. Worth looking at the next time you find yourself scratching your head about a computer problem.
>Believe it or not, I was in the military when I was younger. One of the things I appreciated the most about being in the Army was the camaraderie of being a soldier and the lifelong friendships that sprang forth from the shared experience.
There were some ups and downs, as with most things that are difficult, but there were also some really good times. One of my favorite moments was walking to graduation with my fellow soldiers and singing the cadence “Tiny Bubbles” as we marched by our families. Probably not a dry eye in the stands that day.
A book just came across the desk that instantly took me back to those days: Modern Military Cadence. Filled with some of my all-time favorites marching cadences/chants/songs and some new ones that I had never heard before. For those wanting to take a walk down military lane this book is just for you.
If anything it will remind you of what foot is your left….your military left. 1,2,3,4 1,2, 3,4!
>Deliverance-DVD Yes, you know the movie. Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jon Voight, and those scary kids from the backwoods of Georgia. Usually, for most people when they hear the name they think of the song “Dueling Banjos”. Once a pretty little ditty, the song is now a cultural audio artifact that instantly conjures up all kinds of frightening images. This movie is Rated “R”, and for good reason. It is here and in the library, and it is the reason that breaking down in the middle of nowhere is the last thing you want to do. My favorite quote from the movie is about the only one repeatable in public: “Explain this to me again. I didn’t know somebody could shoot themself with their own arrow. “
My Best Friend’s Girl by Dorothy Koomson is the story of Kamryn–a 30-something career woman who is suddenly thrust into the world of parenthood following the death of her closest friend. Kamryn is totally unprepared for the responsibility of caring for another person. At times sad and at other times funny, we follow her journey to becoming a a parent and creating a family with her newly acquired daughter Tegan. Their journey is complicated by past and present boyfriends and involves interrelationships and the challenges of family, race, friendships, forgiveness and unconditional love.
Doug Fine has led an exciting life as a journalist, reporting from war zones in exotic countries. But that was excellent training for his adventures in living locally on the Funky Butte Ranch in New Mexico. Farewell, My Subaru: an epic adventure in local living is Fine’s account of his venture into carbon neutral living.
With the help of a local expert, Fine converts a ROAT (ridiculously oversized American truck) to run on veggie oil from greasy restaurants. The only drawback is the “powerful craving for Kung Pao chicken” he gets whenever he drives it. Next he has solar panels installed on his home to generate enough electricity to become independent of the power utility.
Fine wants to eat locally too, so he buys two young milk goats, (nicknamed Melissa and Natalie), who quickly acquire a taste for his rose garden. Meanwhile, a marauding coyote (nicknamed Dick Cheney) quickly acquires a taste for Fine’s nervous chicken flock. Fine also tries deer hunting to supplement his meat supply, but he doesn’t really fit in with the local hunters: “I might have been the only hunter in New Mexico history to have his laptop, complete with wireless internet, with him as he aimed for dinner…I had packed local bean burritos for the trip, so Sadie (the dog) and I ate quite splendidly as well. As we dined, we listened to NPR.”
Includes helpful websites and statistics, plus recipes for Kung Pao Chicken and Grilled Rattlesnake Dijon.
Do you love the movies based on Jane Austen’s books, but you’re not quite sure about taking on the actual novels? I have the authors for you. In Miss Austen’s defense, her presence in literature classes makes her work seem much more intimidating than it actually is. (Start with Pride and Prejudice. It really is better than the movie.) But if you want something lighter that still has romance, humor, and Regency atmosphere, you will be delighted by the books of Georgette Heyer and Mary Balogh.
Georgette Heyer is known for sparkling romances where the men are noble (and maybe just a little rakish) and the women are spirited. Her stories are always happy and very chaste.
I am most familiar with Mary Balogh’s Simply series, but she’s very prolific. Her Simply series contains stories about the adventures of teachers at a girls’ school. They thought they were all unmarriageable spinsters, but, of course, we discover they are not. These are a bit more spicy than Heyer, so be cautious if you prefer the innocence of Miss Austen.
>Roxy Music. Really the name says it all. Roxy Music has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Mainly due to the fact that you had Brian Eno in the band. This month we got a new biography in about the history of this influential band: Re-Make/Re-Model. Full of awesome pics of the band members in art school, moments on the rise to stardom, and then as they grew apart and went down their own paths. Ferry went on to be the leading innovator of what was to become New Wave, and Eno, well, Eno went on to chart territory no one could have conceived when rock and roll first started.
How big was Roxy Music? In America, just another band in weird clothes, in England, the beginning of the Brits love affair with all things odd and glam. Certainly, punk rock and new wave might never have occurred without this band.
I heart Roxy Music.
Here, check out this video of the television appearance that launched their careers. Many critics liken this performance to other pivotal performances such as the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, the Elvis comeback show, and Ricky Martin at the Grammys.