DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

April 2012

Apr 30 2012

The Fenway Way

by Greg H

This April marked the 1ooth anniversary of the opening of Boston’s Fenway Park.  Plenty has been said and written about this landmark’s centennial and I can’t think of much to add except by way of a juxtaposition. Here in Atlanta we’re talking about demolishing a perfectly serviceable twenty year old stadium to build a new facility with that most fashionable of all features: a retractable roof. The cost is projected to be in the neighborhood of one billion dollars.  Readers can take sides over which number is the more outrageous; the one billion dollars for the new structure or the mere 20 years in age of the old.

We have always been a disposable society, but there must have been a time when, at the very least, a twenty year old, multimillion dollar building was not considered something suitable only for the wrecking ball.  Fenway Park, then maybe only ninety years old, was once thought to be ready for demolition.  That was, however,  before three and four generations of Red Sox fans, and baseball fans everywhere, considered the memories and history that Fenway embodied and decided it needed to be restored, not replaced.

Comparing Fenway Park to the Georgia Dome is an apples and oranges type of exercise.  And I’m not suggesting that  Bostonians  have a more cultivated sense of history than Georgians do. (After all, look at the lengths to which Atlanta went to preserve the Margaret Mitchell House.)  It’s just that places become special precisely because they’ve been given time to become special. If the Georgia Dome’s days are numbered,  here’s hoping that maybe Turner Field can, someday,  be like Fenway.

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Apr 27 2012

Oh BookMyne, How Do I Love Thee!

by Amanda L

I was fortunate enough to be one of the folks to test out this new mobile app (Android and Apple) for the Library. I have been using it for the last three months and have found it very valuable to me.  One of the biggest features I love about this app is that you are always logged into your account.  I can immediately see when I have an overdue item or when a request is available for pick-up by just tapping the app. Finally, I enjoy this app because I am constantly updating my reading lists on Goodreads. No longer do I need to log into my library account to request a book or open another browser application. I can easily go between my Goodreads app and my BookMyne app to find something new to read.

For New Users here are the steps to get started:

1.  You will need an Android or Apple device and select the app from their mobile store.

2. Once you download the application (from here if you have an Android and from here for Apple devices), you will need to open the BookMyne app on your device.

3. Either use the GPS or location service on your device or search for the Library to find the right location. For us, you need to look for DCPL-branch. For me, the GPS function did not work well so I used the search function. Make sure you search for DCPL-Stonecrest or whichever branch you prefer to be your “home” branch. (TIP- I just typed in DCPL and then the local branches came up. I then scrolled until I found the branch I wanted as my home library. It did take me a few tries to get the DCPL branches to show in the app.)

4. Tap the house to begin searching or to access your account for the first time. You will need to log into your account with your library card and pin number.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Apr 24 2012

The Old Man and the Sea in Four Minutes

by Joseph M

Here’s a really nifty video of artist Marcel Schindler sketching out the plot of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. When it was shared on booklicious, the blogger compared the video to “watching someone read your mind as you read a book.”

Interested in seeing more art inspired by famous literature? Check out this article from The Atlantic for artists’ renditions of Moby Dick, Finnegans Wake, and more!

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Apr 23 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole

by Jesse M

In the late 1970s, acclaimed author Stephen King began work on a series of interconnected stories which would eventually become his magnum opus: The Dark Tower series. Comprised of seven installments written over the course of 4 decades, The Dark Tower is a heady mixture of genres, incorporating elements of fantasy, horror, western, and science fiction literature. The universe in which the tale is set features references and allusions to many of King’s novels, including Salem’s Lot and The Stand, among others.

In 2004, after the publication of the 7th (and ostensibly final) novel, it seemed that the epic tale was finished. But the characters and story continued to linger in King’s mind. In a 2009 interview, King stated, regarding the Dark Tower series, “It’s not really done yet. Those seven books are really sections of one long über-novel”, and mentioned that he had an idea for a short story which would become the basis for a new Dark Tower novel. The novel would take place in between the fourth and fifth installments and serve to bridge the narrative gap between them.

That new novel is The Wind Through the Keyhole, and it is slated to be released tomorrow, April 24th. DCPL has ordered 30 copies and you can reserve one for yourself here. Additionally, if you’re new to the series or just need a refresher, DCPL has all of the previous installments available in our catalog (beginning with The Gunslinger).

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Apr 20 2012

Bad Boys of Fiction

by Patricia D

Answer quick here.  Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?  You said Han Solo, right?  In all the years since there was a choice to be made I’ve never met anyone who picks Luke.  You know why?  No one wants to try to raise a family and pay the bills with a bad boy (or girl), but when we can indulge through fiction, most folks will choose the scuffed up, dangerous man for a dizzying night of dancing until the wee hours of the morning or a breakneck trip on a moon splashed road in a Harley over the guy (or chick) who will be there in the wee hours of the morning when you need to go the hospital.  Luke will get you to the hospital, but Han will wreck you first.

SPOILER ALERT:

I think this “we love bad boys” theory also explains almost every romantic interest in a Sarah Dessen novel as well as all the the vampire fiction out there, especially the stuff aimed at teen girls (Silver Kiss, Darkangel, Twilight.)

Fiction is full of these guys and you know what?  It starts early.  My first “bad boy” fictional crush was the dashing fur trapper in Calico Captive.  Set during the French Indian Wars, our heroine in the end chooses the safe, steady, poor American who only wants to be a farmer and help establish his country when she could have been rich, had Quebec at her feet and her handsome voyageur husband by her side for a few weeks every five months or so.  Imagine my disappointment.  Louisa May Alcott threw two bad boys my way:  Dan in Little Men and Jo’s Boys and Charlie in Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.  Because they were created by Louisa May there was never any chance at happiness for either one of them—she didn’t seem to have a good feel for a redemption story—so the bad boy dies, leaving the responsible, respectable fellows to pick up the chicks.

As a grown up of course I’ve got Richard Sharpe and Patrick Harper.  They aren’t just your average scuffed up, rough around the edges bad boys.  They are at times remorseless killers and cheerful thieves.   However, they are a special type of  “bad boy” because they will also take you to the hospital at 2:00 a.m.  or bail you out of jail at 3:00 a.m.  They might be the reasons you need emergency care or bail money, but they will be there.  As will Rhett Butler, who never really worked for me but obviously he worked for some.

Okay, time’s up.  Han or Luke?

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Apr 16 2012

Brit Chic Lit

by Jessica O

I have a confession.  I love chic lit.  Don’t get me wrong, I cheered when Katniss stood up for her sister, I’ve reveled through all of Toni Morrison’s strong female characters, and I adore the spunk and wit of Shakespeare’s Portia.  But on a warm summer evening, you’ll find me curled up on my swing with a glass of wine clutching Mansfield Park or steeping in a bathtub enjoying Jane Eyre. These are things I read over and over.  They have become like old friends.  I never outgrew Jane Austen.  I love the tenor, the social intricacies, and the strained romance of that type of writing.

There are very few authors who will even attempt to match that brand of writing style.  It takes a special skill to make simple moments noteworthy.  I mean can you imagine us cheering because Edward brushed his hand against Bella’s.  Would we take note?  No, we wouldn’t.  Edward needs to sparkle.  Bella needs to skip school and run into the woods with Edward to get our attention.  I don’t know about you, but I get tired of the razzle dazzle of these overworked plots.

I have finally found an author who has complex, gentle love stories with an interesting steam punk twist that matches (well not matches, but comes close to) my old friend Jane Austen.  Cassandra Clare.  I know I probably lost you at steam punk.  Don’t be put off by steam punk.  Cassandra Clare gracefully weaves a beautiful love story through the social classes of a burgeoning industrial England.  The characters are smart.  The plot is intricate.  All this and more in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, which you can find at your local library.

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Apr 13 2012

April 15 – Also an Infamous Date?

by Greg H

I’ve always  found it interesting that April 15, a menacing date to those of us who pay taxes (and, therefore, just another day to those “people”  who just happen to be corporations), is also the date of at least two other calamities of great significance.  President Abraham Lincoln died of his gunshot wound and the Titanic sank, both in the morning hours of April 15.  Both mortal events occurred, however,  on the evening of April 14 so perhaps the wrong date is getting the rap here.

Well, I checked the internet for other historical events that happened on April 14 and, while I found several disasters of a smaller magnitude, I could not find anything else so engaging that James Cameron would want to make a movie about it. In fact, the historical event that most intrigued me was that in 1191 Giacinto Bobo became Pope Coelestinus III.  I was first amazed that anyone known by the name Bobo who, as Pope, could then choose pretty much any other name for himself, would choose Coelestinus, which, face it, sounds like an intestinal bacteria. Then I realized that two other guys before him had made the exact  same choice!  Maybe in the 12th Century Coelestinus was as popular a boy’s name as Jacob and Ethan are today.  And I think Pope Bobo would have been kind of endearing.

Still,  let’s give April 14 some credit for its bad mojo.  The uncertainty and anxiety that one feels after waiting this long to file a tax return must reach its peak by late in the day of  April 14th.  Those poor souls on the Titanic certainly understood that sinking feeling. And they couldn’t file for an extension.

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Apr 10 2012

National Library Workers’ Day

by David T

In conjunction with National Library Week, Tuesday, April 10 has been designated National Library Workers’ Day (NLWD) to honor the contributions of librarians, support staff, volunteers and others who make library services possible.

Library workers are responsible for a wide variety of services that patrons have come to expect from their libraries. They are in charge of more than just checking books in and out. Library workers catalog and shelve materials; retrieve requested items and send them to other libraries; answer phone calls and emails; organize programs and events; administer computer networks; update the library’s website; select and obtain books, CDs, DVDs, and databases; and much more.

Event organizers have invited library users to mark the occasion by “submitting a star” — telling everyone what makes a library employee special by submitting a favorite worker’s name and why he or she is wonderful. You’re encouraged to submit a star to the NLWD website, but feel free to make a comment here as well. We know there are many “stars” here in our own DCPL constellation—who’s yours?

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Ursula K Le Guin (photo credit Marian Wood Kolisch)For today’s post I’m going to share an essay written by award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin regarding the much discussed concept of the death of the book.

In this entertaining and insightful piece, Le Guin makes the distinction between the medium (the printed book or e-text) and the act of reading itself, and argues that despite the prevailing notion that technology is responsible for the death of the book, this isn’t actually the case; rather, technology has allowed the book to grow into a second form and shape, the eBook, and both forms will be useful to humanity in the years ahead.

Follow this link to read the essay, and if you’re interested in checking out any of Le Guin’s published work, DCPL has dozens of titles available in our catalog.

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Apr 4 2012

Gardening for squares

by Dea Anne M

I’ve posted here before about gardening and particularly food gardening for small or unusual spaces.  You might have decided by now that I’m a little fanatical on the subject and all I can say to that is…you might be right. This year, we’ve expanded our gardening ambitions around my place a bit and have put in some raised beds at the side of the house and in the back yard. The strawberry pyramid measures 6ft. X 6ft.at the base, 4ft. X 4ft. in the middle, and 2 ft. X 2 ft. at the top.  The rectangular beds measure 4 ft. X 8 ft. I have great hopes for this project and I’ve already planted potatoes, peas, radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach, chard, and tomatoes. Strawberries are coming out now, and we’ll soon be putting in tomatillos, eggplant, beans, melons, and corn (notoriously difficult to grow so we’ll see). Here’s a picture…

You might notice the grid pattern laid across two of the beds. Allow me to explain. We’ve taken our planting  inspiration from Mel Bartholomew’s All-New Square Foot Gardening. The idea is that you measure your raised bed out into square feet and plant a specific number of vegetables in  each. There’s much more to it than that, but suffice it to say that  Bartholomew’s technique promises to produce healthy, densely planted beds that are easier to tend than the traditional row garden set-up. He provides clear instructions on plant spacing as well as various tips on vertical gardening. More vegetables and fruit in less space…who doesn’t love that? I highly recommend this book, even to those who are new to vegetable gardening. It’s well-illustrated and very user friendly.

Are you interested in small space gardening? Be sure to check out these titles as well:  Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces by Patricia Lanza,  The Edible Container Garden by Michael Guerra, and The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible by Edward C. Smith.

Finally, let me brag a little and show you my beloved Top Hat blueberry bush. I’ve had it in a pot on my deck for 4 years now and it’s still going strong. It’s a “dwarf” variety but it’s put out an increasingly larger crop each year of deep blue, intensely flavored fruit. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a muffin filled with berries you’ve grown yourself. Tri it and see!

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