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Weekly Shhhout-Out


Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Literary Deficiencies

  To Kill a Mockingbird book cover                                                                                              book cover

 

                                  I was talking with a very talented young journalist acquaintance, and I mentioned that I had seen a wonderful documentary on Harper Lee recently. I brought it up, partly because I enjoyed it so much and partly because it showed how cultured I am. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/harper-lee-hey-boo/watch-the-full-documentary/2049/

His answer stunned me. He had never read To Kill a Mockingbird.  He wasn’t sure how he could have missed it in school since he’s sure it was assigned, and he never saw the movie either. He told me he didn’t like “old” movies because they spoke too fast.  And besides, my own daughter, he said, hadn’t read Moby Dick  (who has, really?) Now we are speaking about a well educated, well read young man with a bookshelf so laden with books that it recently tipped over. Anyway I was aghast and made him promise that he would read it or at the very least, watch the movie.
It made me think about holes in my own classics education:
The Alexandria Quartet: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea  by Lawrence Durrell which I’ve always meant to read since the smartest girl in my high school read it. Maybe I thought it was just too intellectual for me. The first three books shows the same set of circumstances looked at by several points of view. The fourth is after a period of 6 years. Yes it’s definitely on my list.
Anything about Greek Mythology (I must have been absent that day). Although I did read Gods Behaving Badly  by Marie Phillips, a 21th century adaptation of the twelve gods of Olympus living in a London town-house quarreling constantly and like the title says, behaving badly. A good place to start if you are Greek Mythology deficient  is D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  (oh how embarrassed I am now) but I did see the movie released in 2011 and read the wonderful time-travel sendup The Eyre Affair  by Jamie Fforde. This is a start of his Thursday Next Literary Detective series where literary characters come alive…and behave badly.
Ulysses  by James Joyce but I’ve seen so many adaptations in movies that I feel like I’ve read it. (see Brother Where Art Thou!)
And anything by William Faulkner. Now I am properly chastised.
Of course there are many other titles, but I don’t want to completely discredit my reputation as a reader’s advisor. If you are wondering what you haven’t read and want to fill in the gaps, start out with:
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die  edited by Peter Boxall which covers a century of “book readin’” complete with lovely illustrations.
Book Lust  by Nancy Pearl or check out this wonderful uber-reader’s advisor’s web site: www.nancypearl.com (I have her action figure, signed and everything)

So now the next time anyone admits that they haven’t read something they should have, I will be more patient. Think about the holes in your own literary treasure chest.

 

CATEGORIES: Literature , Lisa N.
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maryland, My Maryland

Every month has a holiday or two some well-known and some obscure. In March, for instance, we have: National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, simultaneously! And who could forget the Ides of March? Not Julius Caesar! (There is an Ides in every month, you know; right in the middle of each one.)

March also contains Dentist’s Day and Panic Day – but not at the same time.

National Pi day is 3.14, of course (think about it), but since 1918 March twenty-fifth has been Maryland Day – commemorating the settlement of the proprietary colony of Mary Land in 1634.

State House dome with flag in foreground Click on the flag to hear our State Song from Music Online.

How about a terrific wallow in all things Maryland, in honor of the occasion? Books and audio books about Maryland, Maryland people, places and history? Books by Maryland authors? Crab cake recipes? The potential is endless!

book cover for Other Wes Moorebook cover Sisters of FortuneFrederick Douglass memoir

Maryland authors such as:  (click on the author photo to see our holdings of their works)

Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman, creator of Tess Monaghan, Baltimore's own Reporter-turned-PI
Nora Roberts
Did you know that Maryland is the lifelong home of New York Time multi-Bestseller and oft-award-winning Romance author Nora Roberts?
Tom Clancey Southern Maryland is the home of the originator of the techno-thriller genre -  Tom Clancy
Stephen Hunter Along with Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Hunter
Mary Downing Hahn

And for the kids and 'tweens, two authors who not only live in Maryland, but who do not hesitate to set their stories here, too.

Mary Downing Hahn  

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Why don't you check one of these out at your nearest branch, pour a glass of milk and settle in for a great read with a Berger's (made in Maryland) cookie or two. What a great place we live in!

Chocolate over shortbread decadence

CATEGORIES: Maryland , Holidays , Literature , Jan D. , writers
POSTED: 10:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007