Thursday, November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Peace Tree

Twenty-nine years ago today... (caption transcribed below image)

A dove tree, symbolizing peace, was planted outside Reeves Library by Sister Noel on November 9, to mark the first anniversary of the Holocaust Institute and to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, a night of Nazi terror in 1938 that foreshadowed Hitler's Final Solution. Looking on (l to r) are Sister Mary Ann Winters, Major Superior, Sisters of Charity, Seton Hill College President JoAnne Boyle, and Rhonda Morgan, president of the Seton Hill Student Government Association. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reading Theme: WWII Fiction

In honor of Veterans’ Day, this month we are featuring World War II fiction. In this season of giving thanks, make sure to thank a veteran.

Image courtesy of

Guard of Honor by James Cozzens (Pulitzer Prize, 1949)
Balances a vast cast of intricately enmeshed characters as they react over the course of three tense days in September 1943 to a racial incident on a U.S. Army airbase in Florida. (Publisher’s summary)

The Tenth Man by Graham Greene
During World War II a group of men is held prisoner by the Germans, who determine that three of them must die. This is the story of how one of those men trades his wealth for his life—and lives to pay for his act in utterly unexpected ways. (Publisher’s summary)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. (Publisher’s summary)

A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
An Italian-American major, part of American occupation forces in Sicily during World War II, tries to reform the town in his charge by being decent to people. His efforts are epitomized by his efforts to replace the 700-year-old bell melted down for bullets by the fascists. (Publisher’s summary)

Cold Harbour by Jack Higgins
As D-day approaches in Europe, the Allied command learns of a German staff conference to be held in Brittany at the Chateau de Voincourt, where the Nazis will discuss their Atlantic Wall defense strategy. Foreknowledge of these plans could mean the difference between success and failure for the Allied invasion, and as luck would have it, the chateau happens to be the home of an undercover French Resistance agent, beautiful Anne-Marie Trevaunce. (Publisher’s summary)

The Thin Red Line by James Jones
They are the men of C-for-Charlie company… infantrymen who are about to land, grim and white-faced, on an atoll in the Pacific called Guadalcanal. This is their story, a shatteringly realistic walk into hell and back.
In the days ahead, some will earn medals, others will do anything they can dream up to get evacuated before they land in a muddy grave. But they will all discover the thin red line that divides the sane from the mad—and the living from the dead—in this unforgettable portrait that captures for all time the total experience of men at war. (Publisher’s summary)

And Then We Heard the Thunder by John Oliver Killens
And Then We Heard the Thunder follows the dreams, lies, and anguish of black World War II GI Solomon Sanders during his tour of duty in Indochina, Australia, and the United States. Harvard-trained in the law and a political moderate, Sanders is married to an upper-middle-class black woman who pushes him to "make something of himself" by becoming an Army officer. Given his credentials, he appears a shoo-in for Officer Candidate School, yet he rejects the opportunity as the vestiges of Jim Crow racism, the strains of war, and his interactions with disgruntled black troops thrust him into black activism. Forced to make common cause with his race rather than with the Army, he and some fellow soldiers write a letter to American newspapers about the poor treatment of blacks in the military. For this outcry, they encounter harassment and further discrimination, resulting in a full-scale battle between black and white troops and a blood-curdling climax to this second novel by acclaimed African American author John Killens. (Publisher’s summary)

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing. (Publisher’s summary)

Tales of the South Pacific by James A Michener (Pulitzer Prize, 1948)
This collection of tales is set against the background of the South Pacific, the endless ocean, the coral specks called islands, the coconut palms, the reefs, the jungle and the full moon rising against the jungle. The tales are told by a young naval officer whose duties on an Admiral's staff take him up and down the islands. (Publisher’s summary)

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Booker Prize, 1992)
At the end of World War II, a mysterious, horribly burned man who claims not to remember his name, known only as the "English patient," lies near death in an Italian villa. He is cared for by a quietly desperate young nurse, Hana, herself a victim of the war. With her at the villa are Kip, a young Sikh bomb-disposal expert, and a shadowy thief with bandaged hands named Caravaggio. The key to the burned man's past may lie in his commonplace book, a volume of Herodotus, and its intimations of the sacred whirlwind of a great, mysterious, passionate, and tragically doomed love, which trapped two unsuspecting people, forever. (Publisher’s summary)

Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy
In a stunning tour-de-force, Marge Piercy has woven a tapestry of World War II, of six women and four men, who fought and died, worked and worried, and moved through the dizzying days of the war. A compelling chronicle of humans in conflict with inhuman events, Gone to Soldiers is an unforgettable reading experience and a stirring tribute to the remarkable survival of the human spirit. (Publisher’s summary)

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (National Book Award, 1973)
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the 20th century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force. (Publisher’s summary)

The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva
A World War II spy novel about a beautiful Nazi secret agent and her pursuer, a former history professor turned spy catcher. The setting is England, the time just before the D-Day landings. (Publisher’s summary)

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. (Publisher’s summary)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November DVD Spotlight: War Films

Americans will honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Veterans Day, November 11.  With this in mind, Reeves Memorial Library is featuring war movies from our DVD collection all month long.  While many of these films, like Jarhead (2005) and the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker (2008), focus on American soldiers both on and off the battlefield, our spotlight collection will also include films from other countries, such as the classic French anti-war film Wooden Crosses (1932), and the claustrophobic German U-Boat epic Das Boot (1981).

Other featured titles include:

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War opus, about an Army officer sent deep into the jungle to terminate a rogue colonel, remains the ultimate cinematic statement about the madness of war.

Battleground (1949)
One of the best World War II films to come out of classic Hollywood, Battleground follows a group of American soldiers through the Battle of the Bulge.

Grand Illusion (1937)
This somber classic, directed by the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, explores the conflict between duty and honor in a World War I prisoner-of war-camp.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg's influential, grittily realistic World War II film, about a small group of American soldiers on a rescue mission behind enemy lines, is both a grisly reminder of the horrors of war and a moving testament to the honor and courage of those who have given their lives fighting for freedom.

The Steel Helmet (1951)
Written and directed by Army veteran Samuel Fuller, this underseen Korean War film is perhaps the most startlingly unromantic and realistic American war movie of its era.

Three Kings (1999)
This darkly humorous Gulf War caper, about three American soldiers hunting for a cache of stolen gold, is formally daring, unabashedly political, and highly entertaining.

Stop by the library and check one out today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Practice babies

We had an inquiry a few weeks ago about a former "practice baby" in the Home Economics program. While high school students today often get to spend a weekend taking care of an "infant simulator" that cries and demands attention, Seton Hill students of the past had the opportunity to care for real children.

Babies from an orphanage would be "lent" to the college for a period of time to be taken care of in the "practice house" (present-day crime scene house) by several college students under the supervision of the faculty.

students and Sisters with a baby in the Practice House Living Room, c. 1940s

The babies would then return to the orphanage and would go on to be adopted in the usual way.

While this practice would likely be considered detrimental today due to the large number of caregivers, "scientifically-cared for" babies were apparently in some demand by adoptive families. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Break Hours



October 7-8                           CLOSED

October 9-10                         8:00 a.m. –  4:50 p.m.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Art in Canevin

We almost forgot this week's TBT! We don't always put them here on the blog, so make sure you're following us on Facebook or Twitter to get the weekly posts.

Here's a shot labeled "Art 1950's-60's-Canevin Basement Hall."

Remember, now, no smoking in the studios. That's what "the smoker" is for. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Reading Theme: Horror Fiction

‘Tis the season to be spooky. These horror picks will keep you up at night… whether to keep turning pages or because you’re too afraid to turn out the lights!

Image courtesy of

100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories by Michael Arnzen (yes, Dr. Arnzen!)
One hundred very satisfying small stories by one of the true masters of flash fiction. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes humorous, and sometimes musical, this collection is essential reading for anyone interested in flash-bizarro-horror, not to mention the fact that it's basically a clinic for anyone interested in writing the stuff. A modern classic. ( reviewer Scott Cole)

Ghost and Horror Stories by Ambrose Bierce
Drawing on his own experiences as a Civil War veteran and a San Franciscan journalist, Bierce uses the backdrop of the Civil War, the South and California as the setting in many of his tales. His highly intelligent, highly critical and biting personality comes through in the bizarre menagerie of characters populating his narratives, in the descriptions of their actions and in the world they inhabit. ( reviewer Amazon Customer)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Have you ever tiptoed down a hall in a dark house late at night, not sure if you really heard that bump in the night? That is what reading this novel was like, in all of the best ways possible. Shirley Jackson is a renowned master at the macabre, the unnerving, the Gothic genre, and this work puts her talents on full display—in HD. ( reviewer Navidad Thelamour)

Four Past Midnight by Stephen King
You are strapped in an airline seat on a flight beyond hell. You are forced into a hunt for the most horrifying secret a small town ever hid. You are trapped in the demonic depths of a writer's worst nightmare. You are focusing in on a beast bent on shredding your sanity.
You are in the hands of Stephen King at his mind-blowing best with an extraordinary quartet of full-length novellas guaranteed to set your heart-stopwatch at- FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT.
(Publisher’s summary)

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Does this classic need a synopsis? A young and beautiful primadonna is visited by a masked "Angel of music" who teaches her to sing and jealously demands her devotion. (Publisher’s summary)

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft
Incantations of black magic unearthed unspeakable horrors in Providence, Rhode Island. Evil spirits are being resurrected from beyond the grave, a supernatural force so twisted that it kills without offering the mercy of death! (Publisher’s summary)

Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
Lestat's kiss has awakened Queen Akasha from her 6000 year sleep. She immediately begins a wholesale slaughter of most of the world's vampires, sparing only a small remnant (including Lestat) who she expects will join her in a crazed crusade against male mortals. (Publisher’s Weekly)

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Presents the classic macabre tale of a vampire, Count Dracula of Transylvania, and the small group of people who vowed to rid the world of him. (Publisher’s summary)

Fog Heart by Thomas Tessier
Oona Muir has visionary trances that involve self-laceration, bleeding and fits. Expressing her visions in the disjointed, imagistic language of traditional prophecy, she convinces a few believers but lets more skeptical acquaintances scoff--until she hints at their own dark secrets. (Publisher’s Weekly)

Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Herbert A. Wise
This is the bedrock of horror anthologies; the quintessential collection of spine-chilling tales; the keystone in any serious horror buff's collection. ( reviewer R.D. Ashby)

The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story by Horace Walpole
On the day of his wedding Conrad, heir to the house of Otranto, is killed in mysterious circumstances. Fearing the end of his dynasty, his father, Manfred, determines to marry Conrad's betrothed Isabella, until a series of supernatural events stands in his way. A giant helmet falls from the moon, a portrait sighs, a statue bleeds and spirits warn of impending tragedy, as the curse on Manfred's house inexorably works itself out. (Publisher’s summary)