Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November Reading Theme: The Holocaust

In November, our Reading Theme and the Spotlight DVD display both feature works about the Holocaust and its aftermath.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Code Ezra by Gay Courter
The ``Ezra'' group of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence arm, has been betrayed, and Eli must find the traitor. As he reviews the files on his operatives, their histories and motivations are revealed. Could the defector be Lily, Holocaust survivor grown into an aloof, sophisticated woman; Aviva, tough sabra whose lifelong byword has been sacrifice; or pampered, soft, American Charlotte, who has always been suspected by Mossad leaders? Courter claims to have based her story on events shared by some real Israeli spies… A fictional view of Israeli intelligence from the in side from 1939 to 1979. (Library Journal review)

See Under: Love by David Grossman
Grossman's brilliant and difficult novel addresses the Holocaust in a unique way: as powerful shaper of the mind of an Israeli boy--later a novelist--who lives in the shadow of his survivor-parent's nightmares... Grossman knows that our idea of the past is inseparable from the language that summons it to consciousness, and in the novel's four sections he provides a stylistically diverse but coherent narrative that reveals the imaginative daring of the writer-hero as he struggles to reclaim a usable identity from catastrophe. (CHOICE review)

Disturbance of the Inner Ear by Joyce Hackett
With the death of her cello teacher, Signor Perso, Isabel Masurovsky is overcome with memories of her parents, who perished in a car crash on the night of her Carnegie Hall debut. A child prodigy, Isabel was managed by her father, Yuri, a Holocaust survivor and an acclaimed pianist in his own right. Now living in Italy and teaching cello to a reluctant young student, Isabel meets a surgeon named Giulio, who is also a male prostitute. Though an unlikely couple, they help each other come to terms with their individual problems. Isabel's quest to make peace with her past and to start living in the present culminates in Terezin, formerly in Czechoslovakia, where she finds the remains of the Nazi camp, Theresienstadt. Here, Yuri played piano in the prisoner orchestra which saved his life. (Library Journal review)

A Prayer for Katerina Horovitzova by Arnost Lustig
Twenty rich Jews, waiting to be exchanged for important Nazi POW's, try to save a young girl from the gas chamber. (Publisher’s summary)

Liquidation by Imre Kertész
Ten years after the fall of communism, a writer named B. commits suicide, devastating his circle and deeply puzzling his friend Kingsbitter. For among B.'s effects, Kingsbitter finds a play that eerily predicts events after his death. Why did B.-who was born at Auschwitz and miraculously survived-take his life? As Kingsbitter searches for the answer -and for the novel he is convinced lies hidden among his friend's papers-"Liquidation" becomes an inquest into the deeply compromised inner life of a generation. The result is moving, revelatory and haunting. (Publisher’s summary)

Enemies, a Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer
A Jewish refugee who escaped Hitler's Holocaust and is living in New York with his second wife faces a dilemma when he discovers that his first wife is still alive. (Publisher’s summary)

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The time is 1947. Sophie, a Polish Catholic beauty who survived Auschwitz, has settled in America. Stingo, a 22 year-old aspiring writer from Virginia, is drawn to Sophie and Nathan--a madly romantic couple whose instability and flamboyance utterly capture his imagination. The deeper Stingo sinks into these people's lives, the more he learns that each harbors terrible secrets. (Publisher’s summary)

QB VII by Leon Uris
Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven becomes a seething battleground when a famous novelist stands trial. Author Abraham Cady first became aware of Jadwiga Concentration Camp when he learned it was the place where his family was exterminated. This terrible revelation gave impetus to his decision to write a book that would shake the consciousness of the human race--and with the publication of "The Holocaust", his goal was accomplished. (Publisher’s summary)

Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
Harvard, the New Deal, the Holocaust, World War II, Watergate, two prison terms, and a giant conglomerate - Walter Starbuck, who tries to live by the Sermon on the Mount, experiences them all. Shall the meek inherit the earth? Perhaps on a short-term basis. (Publisher’s summary)

Friday, November 1, 2019

November DVD Spotlight: The Holocaust on Film

All through the month of November, we'll be spotlighting films about the Holocaust in our DVD display.  Along with our extensive special collection of Holocaust and genocide studies books, our holdings include dozens of films spanning a variety of Holocaust-related topics.  From documentaries like Paper Clips (2004) and A Film Unfinished (2010), to narrative feature films like Schindler's List (1993) and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008), these films tell a range of stories about this tragic chapter in human history.

Other featured titles include:

Denial (2016)
This riveting legal drama tells the true story of historian and author Deborah Lipstadt, who was forced to prove in court that the Holocaust actually happened after being sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving.

Europa Europa (1990)
The true story of Saloman Perel, a Jewish boy who avoided the concentration camps by hiding in plain sight and eventually joining the Hitler Youth.

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)
This Oscar-winning documentary relates the story of 10,000 children saved from the Nazis and placed with foster parents and hostels in Great Britain at the outbreak of World War II.

The Pianist (2002)
A powerful and harrowing story of survival, this Oscar-winning film stars Adrien Brody as Polish Jew Wladyslaw Szpilman, a brilliant pianist who managed to escape the Nazis and hide out in the ruins of Warsaw.

Shoah (1985)
This chilling, 9 1/2-hour long examination of the Holocaust is not only a brilliant, monumental piece of filmmaking, but an important historical work and a revealing oral history as well.

Son of Saul (2015)
Stylistically daring and intimate in scope, this Auschwitz-set drama follows a member of the Sonderkommandos, the group of Jews forced to assist the Nazis by working in the crematoriums, as he tries to secretly bury the body of a young boy he takes to be his son.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday Reads:

Adam Pellman, our Cataloging & Acquisitions Librarian, is a big fan of this week's Friday Reads pick, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren:

Adam Pellman with Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

I recently finished reading Hope Jahren's superb memoir Lab Girl, and I've already recommended it to half a dozen people since then. Jahren is a geochemist and geobiologist who has spent much of her career studying fossil forests and teaching at universities in the U.S. and abroad, but her book is far more than the dry account of her life and work that one might expect from someone in her field.

Jahren writes beautifully about her her childhood in Minnesota, her college life and early struggles to fund and run laboratories with her longtime colleague Bill, her struggles with manic depression and workplace sexism, and her experiences with love and motherhood. The chapters about her life are interspersed with shorter chapters about tree life and other elements of the natural world, and Jahren's elegant prose truly illuminates the wonder and beauty of nature.

Strong writing skills are one of the essential elements of the liberal arts education that students get here at Seton Hill, and great science writing like Jahren's is a testament to the value of those skills.

P.S. This book really is amazing, and it's not that long, so I can't recommend it highly enough.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Friday Reads: Herding Cats

Today Michelle Frye shares about the book that has had her laughing out loud all week-- Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen!

Michelle Frye is reading Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

After a long while since I read anything resembling a comic book, a student recommended
Herding Cats by Sarah Anderson. There are four cats in my household, so even the title and cover held instant appeal.

The first read had me grabbing sticky-notes and marking the pages that made me laugh out loud.
The author’s bold illustrations have basic figures, but display clear (and hilarious) expression.
Anderson shares the experiences of insomnia, procrastination, retail and music therapy, and
her adaptation to general “adulting." Even the portrayal of days sidelined by doubt and anxiety
are conveyed with warmth and humor.

This is a light and quick read – it could be a perfect pick-me-up for college students who might
also battle with the snooze button in the morning, or who consider pumpkin lattes medicinal.
Find it in the graphic novels display near the Library circulation desk!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Homecoming Book Sale

Homecoming is just around the corner, which means so is our annual book sale!


This year's sale will take place Friday, October 11th through Sunday, October 13th during library operating hours. Stack up your purchases and pay just a dollar an inch! (Cash or check only.) This year we have everything from philosophy and history to baby-food cookbooks. Stop by Reeves Room 116 and find a bargain!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October DVD Spotlight: Horror Movies

Another October is upon us, and that means it's scary movie season!  If you're in the mood for chills and thrills, Reeves Memorial Library has got you covered.  We've got horror movies about all manner of things that go bump in the night, from vampires and zombies to mutant animals and murderous aliens.  And let's not forget the scariest monster of all, humankind.

Featured titles include:

Audition (1999)
This cringe-inducing Japanese film, surely one of the most disturbing movies ever made, is both an extremely unsettling piece of revenge horror and a surprisingly affecting examination of loneliness.

The Exorcist (1973)
This horror classic, about a possessed teenage girl, is considered by many to be the scariest movie ever made.

Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele's acclaimed hit, about a young African-American man's nightmarish weekend visit to his white girlfriend's parents' house, is the perfect combination of slowly-escalating unease, disturbing horror, and brilliant social commentary.

Nosferatu (1922)
This silent, expressionistic adaptation of the Dracula story features some of the most haunting imagery in all of cinema.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
With equal parts horror and humor, this wildly entertaining film tells the story of a slacker who tries to win back his ex-girlfriend amid the chaos of a zombie apocalypse.

The Thing (1982)
Tension and paranoia abound in John Carpenter's gory horror classic, about an Antarctic research station that comes under attack by a shapeshifting alien.

Stop by the library and check one out today ... if you dare.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday Reads: Range

This week's Friday Reads selection is shared by Kelly Clever, who has been reading Range by David Epstein.

Kelly Clever with Range by Daivd Epstein
Academic librarians are generalists in an environment of highly-specialized specialized experts. When I heard about this book, which claims to prove that "generalists triumph in a specialized world," I knew I had to read it.

Conventional wisdom tells us that we need to pick our specializations early or else we'll be left in the dust by all of our competitors who do. Epstein shows that this can be the secret to success in "kind" environments, like the world of chess players, where learning a lot of information that responds consistently is important. In an information-saturated, ever-changing, uncertain world, however, most decisions and actions need to be made in a "wicked" environment. It is in these "wicked" environments that those with wide-ranging interests and experiences come into their own.

Range reads a bit like Freakonomics or Outliers, even though it turns one of Outliers' much-touted truisms (the 10,000-hour rule) upside down. It's an engaging and fascinating look at how some of the most successful and well-known athletes, artists, musicians, prediction-casters, and scientists dabble in a lot of things instead of hyper-focusing on one area. After all, if the only tool you have is a hammer, things tend to start looking like nails... but if you have a well-stocked toolbox with a variety of tools, you're more likely to find a better solution. While the book hasn't talked about the value of the liberal arts (yet, anyway; I still have 100 pages to go!), that has been on my mind as I consider our university goals of educating students to be "fit for the world in which they will live." Critical thinking, problem-solving, ethical reasoning, and more are skills we seek to cultivate in our students, and they are abilities and mindsets that Epstein finds, again and again, were vital ingredients in major discoveries and accomplishments.