Friday, August 31, 2018

Labor Day Weekend hours

The Library (the library office upstairs and the downstairs quiet study rooms with the books) will be CLOSED on September 2 & 3. Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Reading Theme: Top 100

This month we’re featuring some of the titles on Modern Library’s100 Best Novels” list. While there are an awful lot of great novels not present on their list and they seem to have some significant cultural biases at play, it’s still a list of impressive writing.

Image courtesy of

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the thirties, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London. There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal--and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature. (Publisher’s summary)

Deliverance by James Dickey
The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance. (Publisher’s summary)

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
The tale of Carrie Meeber's rise to stardom in the theatre and George Hurstwood's slow decline captures the twin poles of exuberance and exhaustion in modern city life as never before. The premier example of American naturalism, Dreiser's remarkable first novel has deeply influenced such key writers as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow, and Joyce Carol Oates. (Publisher’s summary)

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
After a terrible hurricane levels their Jamaican estate, the Bas-Thorntons decide to send their children back to the safety and comfort of England. On the way their ship is set upon by pirates, and the children are accidentally transferred to the pirate vessel. Jonsen, the well-meaning pirate captain, doesn't know how to dispose of his new cargo, while the children adjust with surprising ease to their new life. As this strange company drifts around the Caribbean, events turn more frightening and the pirates find themselves increasingly incriminated by the children's fates. The most shocking betrayal, however, will take place only after the return to civilization. (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)

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
Jake Donaghue, garrulous artist, meets Hugo Belfounder, silent philosopher.

Jake, hack writer and sponger, now penniless flat-hunter, seeks out an old girlfriend, Anna Quentin, and her glamorous actress sister, Sadie. He resumes acquaintance with formidable Hugo, whose ‘philosophy’ he once presumptuously dared to interpret. These meetings involve Jake and his eccentric servant-companion, Finn, in a series of adventures that include the kidnapping of a film-star dog and a political riot in a film-set of ancient Rome. Jake, fascinated, longs to learn Hugo’s secret. Perhaps Hugo’s secret is Hugo himself? Admonished, enlightened, Jake hopes at last to become a real writer. (Publisher’s summary)

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
The American poet John Shade is dead. His last poem, 'Pale Fire', is put into a book, together with a preface, a lengthy commentary and notes by Shade's editor, Charles Kinbote. Known on campus as the 'Great Beaver', Kinbote is haughty, inquisitive, intolerant, but is he also mad, bad - and even dangerous? As his wildly eccentric annotations slide into the personal and the fantastical, Kinbote reveals perhaps more than he should. (Publisher’s summary)

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and found himself mysteriously "handcuffed to history" by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent - and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times. Through Saleem's gifts - inner ear and wildly sensitive sense of smell - we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colourful background of the India of the 20th century. (Publisher’s summary)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods and strives to bring out the best in each one of her students. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises them, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me." And they do--but one of them will betray her. (Publisher’s summary)

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Wallace Stegner's Pultizer Prize-winning novel is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical. Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family. (Publisher’s summary)

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the "Daily Beast", has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner-party tip from Mrs Algernon Smith, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. One of Waugh's most exuberant comedies, "Scoop" is a brilliantly irreverent satire of "Fleet Street" and its hectic pursuit of hot news. (Publisher’s summary)

Join us for board game night!

Join us on Tuesday, August 28th at 7:00 p.m. in Reeves 116 for a fun round of the board game Pandemic. Pandemic is a favorite from the library's game collection, but feel free to bring your own favorite board or card game to play, too! Bring a friend or drop by on your own and make some new friends.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Reads: The Quiet Side of Passion

Our Serials Librarian, Judith Koveleskie, has been ready a cozy mystery-- perfect for the dropping temperatures!

Judith Koveleskie with The Quiet Side of Passion by Alexander McCall Smith

"As usual this cozy mystery with a large dose of philosophical musings does not disappoint. Alexander McCall Smith offers in a gentle way keen insights on our modern world along with commentary on the universal realities that are timeless."

Isabel becomes involved in a delicate paternity case in the twelfth installment of the beloved Isabel Dalhousie Series. Isabel finds herself befriended by Patricia, a single mother whose son, Basil, goes to school with Isabel's son. Isabel discovers that Basil is the product of an affair Patricia had with a well-known Edinburgh organist, also named Basil, who was, rumor has it, initially reluctant to contribute financially to the child's upkeep. Though Isabel doesn't really like Patricia, she tries to be civil and supportive, but when she sees Patricia in the company of an unscrupulous man who peddles fake antiquities, her suspicions are aroused and she begins to investigate the paternity of Basil Jr. When Isabel takes her suspicions to Basil Sr., she finds that, although paying child support is taking a severe financial toll on him, he likes the idea of being the boy's father and, in fact, wishes he could have more of a relationship with Basil Jr. Patricia, however, has no interest in Basil Sr. taking a more hands-on role in Basil Jr.'s parenting, even as she continues to accept his financial support. Should Isabel help someone who doesn't want to be helped? As Isabel navigates this ethically-complex situation, she is also dealing with her niece, Cat, who has taken up with a tattoo artist. Isabel considers herself open-minded, but has Cat pushed it too far this time? As ever, Isabel must use her kindness and keen intelligence to determine the right course of action. --Google Books

Friday, August 17, 2018

August-September DVD Spotlight: The AFI Top 100

From now until the end of September, Reeves Memorial Library is spotlighting those films in our collection that have been included in the American Film Institute's 2007 list of the 100 greatest American films of all time.  This display was inspired by the recently-launched podcast Unspooled, in which co-hosts Amy Nicholson and Paul Scheer watch and discuss one film from the AFI list each week.  We've got nearly half of the titles on the list, including the film taking the top spot, Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941).  From undisputed classics like Casablanca (1942) and Singin' in the Rain (1952), to modern favorites like The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Sixth Sense (1999), there's something for everyone in this month's display.

Other featured titles include:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick's monumental science fiction epic is a challenging, beautiful work of cinematic art that still inspires awe 50 years after its release.

The Godfather (1972)
Far more than just a simple gangster film, Francis Ford Coppola's great mafia epic is both a sweeping family saga and an incisive examination of the corrupting influence of power.

High Noon (1952)
Gary Cooper gives an Oscar-winning lead performance in this suspenseful classic, about a retiring marshal who must face a gang of vengeful outlaws on his own after being abandoned by his cowardly fellow townspeople.

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 Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Oscar-winner Jodie Foster plays a young FBI cadet who must seek help from imprisoned cannibal murderer Hannibal Lecter in order to catch another serial killer.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This perennial favorite follows Kansas farm girl Dorothy, who must find her way back home after being magically transported to the land of Oz, where she and her new friends must defeat the evil Wicked Witch of the West.

Stop by the library and check one out today!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Reads: The Republic of Pirates

Arrrr! Public Services Librarian Kelly Clever has been spending the summer (mentally) in the Caribbean with Blackbeard & Co.
Kelly Clever with The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard

"The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard book popped up on an Audible sale list. While I didn't want to use one of my audiobook credits on it, I was interested enough to get a print copy from the public library. My family often vacations on the Outer Banks, where the legacy of Edward Thatch (Blackbeard) and other pirates is still remembered.

"I enjoy history, so I'm enjoying the book, but it's not exactly a page-turner. There's a lot of detail, and while sometimes that's delightful, it can also bog things down. There are also a lot of details that I didn't really want to know; the 1700s were a cruel time, and it's been hard to read about a lot of the suffering endured by everyone but particularly by slaves and children.

"Still, I'm glad that I picked up this book. My favorite story so far has been about the eight pirates who captured a wine merchant ship and decided that it was REALLY important that they all get hammered drunk in the middle of a horrific storm, leaving the operation of the ship to their captives. I think I would have conducted my own risk/benefit analysis somewhat differently in those circumstances."