Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Reads: The Demon of Brownsville Road

Dr. Stanley has a personal connection to today's Friday Reads feature! Read on to learn more about The Demon of Brownsville Road: A Pittsburgh Family’s Battle with Evil in Their Home by Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred.

David Stanley with The Demon of Brownsville Road

Coming from a family who has lived on Brownsville Road for 4 generations I was familiar with the house that inspired the book. Growing up there were rumors of at least one haunted house on Brownsville Road; however, it was not the one that is talked about here. Being familiar with the Pittsburgh political scene I am familiar with Bob Cranmer but did not know that he lived just a few blocks away. Not being a true believer in hauntings, ghosts, etc., I wanted to see what was happening at the house that was always one of the better-kept in the area. It was fun to try to decipher a lot of the areas and people alluded to in the book. I still see the house quite often but now I slow down and look for specters in the windows!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Melvil Mondays: 700-709

We're all the way to the 700-709s today-- "The arts." There's a lot of wild, wacky, and beautiful stuff in the 700s, and today we start out by looking at the first few "standard subdivisions" sections.

* 700 - Standard subdivisions of the arts, including decimal classes for philosophy and theory of the arts and even computer applications that are "used as a technique to support traditional techniques in the arts."
700.1 F85
But is it Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory
by Cynthia A. Freeland

700.103 P76
Politics, Gender, and the Arts: Women, the Arts, and Society
edited by Ronald Dotterer and Susan Bowers

* 701 - Philosophy and theory (of fine and decorative arts... just tack that onto the end of all of these categories!)

701.15 K91
Creative Sparks
by Jim Krause
* 702 - Miscellany

* 703 - Dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances

* 704 - Special topics, including ethnic and national groups and iconography

704.0392 S44j
Jewish Art
by Gabrielle Sed-Rajna
* 705 - Serial publications

* 706 - Organizations and management

* 707 - Education, research, and related topics

* 708 - Galleries, museums, and private collections

* 709 - History, geographic treatment, and biography

Monday, November 19, 2018

Melvil Mondays: 600-609

We're running out of Mondays for the semester! This week we explore the 600-609 section, which is a relatively slim segment of our collection.

The 600s are for Technology (Applied sciences). This includes a great many things, and we sometimes refer to the 600s as the "catch all" block of the Dewey Decimal System. Much of it has to do with mechanical engineering, which is of course not a program that is or that has been offered at SHU. As a result, we only have a few shelves' worth of books in this call number range.

* 600: "Class here inventions."

How Things Work: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Technology
Translated from the German original, Wie Funktioniert Das? by George Allen

* 601: Philosophy and theory
* 602: Miscellany (the catch-all section of the catch-all section-- the true junk drawer of the DDC)
* 603: Dictionaries and other reference materials
* 604: "Technical drawing, hazardous materials technology; groups of people"

Hazardous Materials Chemistry
by Armando S. Bevelacqua
604.7 B57
* 605: Serial publications
* 606: Organizations
* 607: "Education, research, related topics"
* 608: Patents
* 609: History (like industrial archaeology), geographic treatment (of industry, production, and the related economics), and biographies of inventors and/or patentees

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Reads: Motherless Brooklyn

Happy Friday!

Today, our Cataloging & Acquisitions Librarian, Adam Pellman, tells us about Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem:

Adam Pellman is reading Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

I'm still working through my reading challenge for the year, which is to read one book published each year since I was born.  Motherless Brooklyn is my pick from 1999.  The novel follows Lionel Essrog, a New York City private detective who is working to solve the murder of his boss/mentor, Frank Minna.  Lionel has Tourette syndrome, a disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive movements and vocal tics.  The disorder makes for a unique variation on the detective genre, as Lionel's focus on his investigation and its clues is sometimes sidetracked by his compulsions.  It also makes the novel a great work of psychological fiction, and it's interesting to view the world through such a distinct lens.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Reads (or listens): Blue Lily, Lily Blue

We made it to Friday! Today, Public Services Librarian Kelly Clever tells us about the book she's currently listening to. Yes, audiobooks "count"-- librarians and cognitive scientists say so! Here's a bit about Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater:

Kelly Clever is listening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I'm finally getting around to listening to the third book in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. It was published four years ago, but the audio version wasn't released right away, and then I got sidetracked. I'm so in love with Will Patton's narration that I couldn't bring myself to read it in print. It's been worth the wait.

The Raven Cycle books follow Blue, a psychic's teenage daughter, as she becomes reluctant friends with four boys who are attending the local elite prep school. She is drawn into their quest to find a mystical king they believe to be in an enchanted sleep somewhere beneath the nearby Blue Ridge mountains. In Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Blue is becoming increasingly stressed as a new school year starts; her mother has vanished and Gansey (unbeknownst to him) is fated to die before the end of the coming April.

As I said, Will Patton does an amazing job with the narration of these stories. His husky voice is perfectly suited to the creepier passages, and he does a hilarious job with characters' voices in the lighter moments. I'm also a huge fan of his performance of Jack Kerouac's On the Road; give that one a listen if you get the chance. I'll probably seek out more of his work in the future just because I enjoy listening to it so much.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Melvil Mondays: 500-509

Back to the dusty, musty stacks today to check out the 500s. Well, actually, we hope they're neither dusty nor musty and we employ student aides and dehumidifiers toward that end, but--

Wait, where were we? Oh, right: in science and mathematics.

* 500: "Natural sciences: sciences that deal with matter and energy, or with objects and
processes observable in nature"

The next few numbers are "the usual": 

* 501: Philosophy and theory
The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age
by John Horgam
501 H81
Also as an ebook!
* 502: Miscellany
Einstein Simplified: Cartoons on Science
by Sidney Harris
502.07 H31
* 503: Dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances

* 504: unassigned

* 505: Serial publications

* 506: Organizations and management

* 507: Education, research, related topics

Re-Engineering Female Friendly Science
by Sue V. Rosser
507.1073 R82
* 508: Natural history. "Class here description and surveys of phenomena in nature."

* 509: History, geographic treatment, and biographies of those engaged in scientific and mathematical pursuits. 

Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science
by Charles Homer Haskins
509 H35

The biographical dictionary of women in science : pioneering lives from ancient times to the mid-20th century
509.22 B61 v. 1 & 2

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Reading Theme: ...But I've Seen the Movie!

If you’re a habitual user of the phrase “No, but I’ve seen the movie,” this month’s book display is for you! We have a list of books that inspired some of the favorite films of the last few decades. BYO popcorn (just not into the Reading Room, please).

Most of these probably need no introduction, but here you go, anyway...

Image courtesy of

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Here is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy's phenomenal career. A military thriller so gripping in its action and so convincing in its accuracy that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a top secret Russian missile sub….

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on...
(Publisher’s summary) (Take me back to the 80’s in the best possible way --Kelly)

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

   a. lose 7 pounds
   b. stop smoking
   c. develop Inner Poise

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.
(Publisher’s summary) (A bit dated now, but still laugh-out-loud funny, even lacking the hilarious Colin Firth/Hugh Grant “fight” scene of the movie --Kelly)

The Firm by John Grisham
When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert and Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray-doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail- already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch's firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice-- if he wants to live. (Publisher’s summary)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. (Publisher’s summary) (Don’t read this one when you’re home alone for the week with only your cat to protect you --Kelly)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Who is Jason Bourne? Is he an assassin, a terrorist, a thief? Why has he got four million dollars in a Swiss bank account? Why has someone tried to murder him?...

Jason Bourne does not know the answer to any of these questions. Suffering from amnesia, he does not even know that he is Jason Bourne. What manner of man is he? What are his secrets? Who has he killed?
(Publisher’s summary)

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson. (Publisher’s summary)

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. (Publisher’s summary)

The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Almost fifty years ago, a classic was born. A searing portrayal of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and their powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor. The seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and the allegiance to family—these are the themes that have resonated with millions of readers around the world and made The Godfather the definitive novel of the violent subculture that, steeped in intrigue and controversy, remains indelibly etched in our collective consciousness. ( via

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. (Publisher’s summary)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't. (Publisher’s summary)

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined… (Publisher’s summary)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
(Publisher’s summary)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls 'father', she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker - a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
(Publisher’s summary)

Friday, November 2, 2018

November DVD Spotlight: The Criterion Collection

Although streaming services have become the go-to movie watching platform for many people, there are still companies devoted to producing high-quality releases of Blu-rays and DVDs, and many of these companies have cultivated large and loyal customer bases.  This is certainly true of The Criterion Collection, a company whose beautifully-designed cover art, extensive supplements, and gorgeous restoration work have made their releases of important classic and contemporary films the pinnacle of Blu-ray and DVD quality.  Reeves Memorial Library's collection includes over 140 Criterion releases, such as undisputed classics like Grand Illusion (1937) and Seven Samurai (1954), and modern masterworks like Hoop Dreams (1994) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).  All through the month of November, our display will highlight a selection of our Criterion offerings.  Featured titles include:

Amarcord (1973)
Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical film is a loving, vibrant portrait of life in a small Italian town in the 1930s.

Brazil (1985)
This darkly comic surrealist masterpiece, from the mind of visionary director Terry Gilliam, presents a nightmarish dystopian world where technology and bureaucracy reign supreme.

Crumb (1994)
This biographical portrait of legendary underground artist Robert Crumb and his eccentric family is a revealing look at his life and provocative work.

Les Diaboliques (1955)
This classic French thriller centers on the murder of a sadistic boarding school headmaster by his mistreated wife and mistress.

High and Low (1963)
The great Akira Kurosawa directed this masterful crime thriller, about a wealthy businessman who must decide whether to pay a ransom when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped in mistake for his own.

In the Mood for Love (2000)
This gorgeous, swooningly romantic period drama, directed by the great Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, chronicles the relationship between two neighbors who realize their spouses are having an extramarital affair.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
This vivid dramatization of the trial and execution of Joan of Arc is one of the true masterpieces of the silent era, featuring an all-time great lead performance by Renee Falconetti.

The Red Shoes (1948)
In what may be the most gorgeous color film ever made, a ballerina becomes torn between her love for a young composer and her devotion to her career and the demands of an uncompromising ballet impresario.

Stop by the library and check one out today!

Friday Reads: Leave the Grave Green

You made it to Friday! If you're looking for the literary equivalent of comfort food, Judith Koveleskie has a book that might fit the bill: Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie.

Judith Koveleskie with Leave the Grave Green

Who could resist a book with a title like this?

A body fished from the Thames opens this British-style whodunit by an American author. It stars the Scotland Yard superintendent, Duncan Kincaid, and his sergeant, Gemma Jones, as they investigate the drowning of the black sheep of a wealthy family. Zest is added to the probe by the growing attraction between Kincaid and the victim's widow, something which his lady sergeant frowns upon.

I never tire of English mysteries, especially on a cold winter night with a hot cup of tea.