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

March 2011

Mar 30 2011

Can’t Do That With An eBook…

by Joseph M

Amidst the debate over the relevance of printed books versus eBooks, some artists are creating surprising works of art using the traditional print format in decidedly nontraditional ways.

This first link will take you to the art of Brian Dettmer, aka The Book Surgeon. Currently a resident of Atlanta, Dettmer has been working with books as art projects for almost 10 years. He begins with old and out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, dictionaries, and other similar books, manipulating the pages and spines in various ways to form the shape of his sculptures, sometimes combining multiple books in one piece. He then uses a variety of small precision tools to remove material, until you end up with interesting art like the piece shown to the right.

You can see more pieces, and read an interview with the book surgeon, by clicking here

Book art of a similar nature can be viewed at this flickr gallery.

If you’re into this sort of thing, take a look at previous posts showcasing other types of book art.


Mar 28 2011

Roses are red…

by Greg H

I always had a guilty secret during my years as a college English major:  I was never a big fan of poetry. I always felt that too many poems were top-heavy with personal imagery and minute, intimate details that must have meant everything to the poet; I, however, was frequently thwarted.  I also believe, however, that there is a poem out there for everyone.  I myself have stumbled onto poems whose meaning simply opened up for me and then I felt as though I’d just been given a small treasure. But how do we find our treasure of a poem if we don’t regularly read poetry? Well, the month of April is National Poetry Month and a perfect time for us to read outside of our comfort zones.  The following titles, available through the DeKalb County Public Library, may help even the most infrequent poetry reader find his or her special poem.

Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky.

An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky

Good Poems/Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor

By the way, my favorite poem is Anthony Hecht’s The End of the Weekend. What’s yours?


Mar 25 2011

Quakes and Revolutions

by Jimmy L

Sometimes there is so much going on in the rest of the world that it is hard to keep up.  The news tends to focus on the particulars, which makes it extremely difficult to see the big picture.  That is why I was really excited when I came across this interactive timeline of unrest in the Middle East.  If you’re a visual learner like me, this will definitely help you see a “big picture” of the region’s recent history.

Meanwhile, Japan’s recent earthquake is truly hard to watch.  And the nuclear power plant disaster that is unfolding is confusing and scary at the same time.  I found this simple diagram (also from Guardian’s website) that explains what’s going on visually.

Ultimately, there is only so much we can do from across the Pacific.  One way of helping out is to donate money to charities that are working around the clock to help the earthquake victims.  But it’s hard to know which charities to give to sometimes, because there are so many and their causes are all worthy.  Here are two websites that might help you make your decision.  They independently evaluate charities and give them a rating based on how well run and efficient their operation is, so that you know your money is going into capable hands.

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Mar 23 2011

A poem for your pocket

by Dea Anne M

April 1st will mark the beginning of National Poetry Month. Past celebrations have included The Free Verse Project and the National Poetry Map (check out Georgia!). The celebration for 2011 will include a national Poem In Your Pocket day.  The idea is that on April 14th, you will carry a poem that you love with you all day to share with friends, co-workers, and others.

What are your favorite poems. Who is your favorite poet? I’ve known people who have told me that they don’t read poetry because they think it’s “too serious,” but poetry can actually be quite entertaining. Not only that, poetry is written on a variety of unusual topics and themes.

Do you like oysters? Check out “Oysters” by Seamus Haney in Selected Poems, 1966-1987. Of course, you won’t soon forget about the giddy young oysters in “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll which is included in The Annotated Alice: Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Are you a horse lover? Don’t miss “The Name of Horses” by Donald Hall included in Old and New Poems, or any of the poems about horses included in Herds of Thunder, Manes of Gold compiled by Bruce Coville.

Do you experience the occasional sleepless night? Next time that happens, try reading “Insomnia” by Elizabeth Bishop which is included in The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. For the younger set (and those of us who think that way) , don’t miss “I’m Tortured by Insomnia” which is part of Jack Prelutsky’s fun collection It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles.

And finally there are poems about…pockets! These include “Pockets” by Howard Nemerov included in The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov and “A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes” by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon included in her collection by that same title.

So do something different, and fun, next month and pick up some poetry at DCPL!


Mar 21 2011

Thank you Mr. Applegate

by Patricia D

We spent part of January, the part where we were actually able to come to work instead of  holing up in our snow covered homes, quietly passing the magazine around the office, exclaiming in hushed tones during breaks and lunch over the full color photos and the enticing captions.  It was the Burpee seed catalog and I fall for its charms every year.  I can also be felled by the catalogs from Jackson and Perkins and the McMurray Hatchery catalog (that is a whole other post) but every year Burpee sets me daydreaming about lush rows of Snappy Sugar Peas, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Heatwave Blend Lettuce and Camouflage Hybrid (the better to hide it in your unsuspecting coworker’s bag) zucchini.  Of course bountiful mounds of various heirloom tomatoes go without saying.

I was lucky enough to learn how to garden in a 10 x 10 foot space at Kingwood Center, where the Master Gardener patiently taught us how to companion plant and weed, when to harvest and which insects to leave alone.  It was a wonderful program and probably one of the best parts of my education.  I’m not going to lie to you,  I hated taking care of the garden on blistering July mornings, but  I have wonderful memories of  taking a knife and a salt shaker out as the day cooled to the smoky blues of dusk.  Standing barefoot in the dirt,  grazing on sun warmed tomatoes,  fuzzy to the tongue snap beans and baby carrots—not those bagged, milled baby carrots we’ve all come to love, but small, intensely flavored carrots that would have been huge and sweet if only they’d been left to finish the year—was the best part of summer.

These days I still dream of warm, rich, juicy tomatoes drizzled with fruity olive oil and fresh mozzarella and a few basil leaves,  but I gave up on everything else years ago.  A wacky work schedule and too many drought ridden summers made successful gardening too much effort.  Now though, I’m honor bound to pass along what Mr. Applegate so patiently taught me on those Saturday mornings all those years ago.  At my house we’ve been talking about Sunflower Houses (sunflowers planted with runner beans to make a bio-degradable, child sized hideaway),  Pizza Gardens (basil, tomatoes and peppers) and pumpkins, because I think every child should get to grow pumpkins.  Also, what’s a summer morning without a joyous riot of Heavenly Blue Morning Glories, or a summer evening without the heady fragrance of roses and jasmine?

For the Pizza Garden and the Sunflower House look in Roots, shoots, buckets and boots by Sharon Lovejoy.  Other books you may want to use with children are The garden that we grew by Joan Holub and Grow it, cook it edited by Deborah Lock.  If you’re just learning the basics of gardening Fresh food from small spaces by R.J. Ruppenthal,  All new square foot gardening by Mel Bartholomew and Don Hastings’  month-by-month gardening in the South are hugely helpful.

Now, go forth and garden!





Mar 18 2011

Don’t Let the Story End

by Jimmy L

Fan fiction is generally defined as fiction about stories, worlds, and characters written by fans of an original work, rather than by the original work’s creator.  You can find many works of fan fiction on websites such as FanFiction.net, based on works as diverse as The Great Gatsby to Star Wars.   It’s not the most respected of genres, usually seen as derivative and amateur.  But who hasn’t wished, at the end of a book, movie, or TV show, to spend just a few more hours with these characters to whom you’ve invested so much emotion?  It’s totally understandable that a true fan would have little choice but to pick up pen and paper (or laptop) and start jotting away.

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, fan fiction is produced that reaches that high bar set by the original works.  There are many examples of these in the form of published fiction, and here are just a few:

Do you know of any others?


Mar 16 2011

A New Way to Explore History

by Joseph M

I’m a total geek for maps and history, so when my brother showed me this nifty webpage I couldn’t help but think it was really cool. The concept is a collaborative effort utilizing a Google programming tool which combines Google Maps with dynamic scrolling timelines to create “timemaps”; The one mentioned at the beginning of this post describes World War II, but the site also has a timemap for the American Civil War, and one on the Napoleonic Wars is in the works. The events on the timeline have brief explanations as well as links to articles in Wikipedia which flesh out the material. You can read more about the project here.

These innovative learning tools are just one part of a website chiefly involved in mapping the exploits of the main characters in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series. I’m not personally familiar with the author’s work, but after exploring the maps I must admit that I’m becoming more interested. Luckily, the library has lots of O’Brian’s novels available for checkout, such as Master and Commander. We also have plenty of material about the various wars mentioned above, as well as conventional atlases to peruse. Embrace your inner history geek!


Mar 14 2011

Willie Morris

by Greg H

I picked up Willie Morris’ book New York Days in a local thrift store some months ago and finally got around to reading it, mostly so that I could then free up space on my shelves.  I expected the book to be a writer’s love story about the New York City of Morris’ youth since so many books of that type have been written (I have a Dan Wakefield book of the same kind that has also been waiting patiently for my attention!), but before I began reading I knew only that Willie Morris was a Southern writer who had written My Dog SkipNew York Days, however, has added significantly and pleasantly to my understanding of Morris and his importance as a Southern literary figure.

Morris hailed from Yazoo City, Mississippi, was a Rhodes Scholar and, at age 32, the youngest editor-in-chief at Harper’s magazine, guiding that venerable publication through the most turbulent years of the Sixties and, in the process, making it more relevant than it had been in some time.  He gathered together a staff of excellent young writers, among them David Halberstam, Marshall Frady, and Larry L. King (NOT the elderly guy with the suspenders and talk show) and made Harper’s a magazine in which many of the greatest writers of the day wanted their work to appear.

As editor-in-chief, Morris moved among Manhattan’s elite, becoming good friends with James Jones, Truman Capote and George Plimpton; but he also saw the underside of fame.  He recounts how he once stopped in a nondescript bar and thought he recognized the woman who was bar tending from somewhere. She allowed that he probably did.  He later found out that his server has been Veronica Lake, once one of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars.

Willie Morris experienced great success and great disappointment during his tenure in New York but he remained a transplant from Yazoo City and, when he left New York, the South again became his home as well as the focus of his work.   He died of a heart attack in 1999 but not before he has written much that celebrated and explicated the South that he knew.  His friend and colleague  Larry L. King honored him with his book In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor. This book and several others by Willie Morris are available through the Library.


Mar 11 2011

A Dance With Dragons

by Jesse M

Big news for fantasy fans: author George R. R. Martin has announced an official publication date for the long awaited fifth installment of his celebrated A Song of Ice and Fire series! Originally slated to be published in 2007, A Dance With Dragons will finally be on shelves by July 12 of this year.  But the good news doesn’t end there.
Martin has also been hard at work adapting a miniseries, “A Game of Thrones“, based on his novels for HBO. The first episode will debut in just over a month, on April 17. HBO has just released a trailer for the series, which you can watch here.

For those not in the know, George R. R. Martin is a prolific and acclaimed author of science fiction and fantasy. Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by TIME magazine, he also possesses the distinction of being my favorite fantasy writer of all time. You can read more about the author and his work at his website, and learn more about the world in which the novels are set here.


Mar 9 2011

The Passing of Cupcakes

by Veronica W

I know all about fashion trends: bell bottom pants, mini skirts, kitten heels, shoulder pads, skinny jeans, big pocketbooks, ankle bracelets, french manicures and black nail polish—the list goes on. What I didn’t know is that some foods fade in and out as well. Imagine my amazement (actually more like amusement) when I  read recently that cupcakes were popular in 2010 but 2011 will be the year for pies. After reading that, of course, the (re)search was on!

According to “knowledgeable sources,”  there will be a number of new culinary trends in the new year.  For those folk who would prefer to be caught naked and starving rather than wearing  or eating last year’s anything,  here are some of the “Top Ten Foods to Watch in 2011.”

  • Sweet and savory small pies (remember, they’re the new cupcake)
  • Nutmeg  (reportedly has aphrodisiac qualities)
  • Moonshine (has gone legit- you can break out your still)                 
  • Gourmet Ice Pops (bacon, peanut butter, mango chile—Yummy.  Not)
  • Grits (The South is finally vindicated!)
  • Sweet Potatoes (will become the new, better-for-you french fry)
  • Fin fish (head, tails, eyes)
  • Cupuacu fruit ( the next “super” fruit)
  • Beans (no news there)

This same source says moving out of your food comfort zone (eating things you wouldn’t touch before), canning or “putting up” otherwise perishable foods (fighting with those pesky mason jar lids) and rediscovering the butcher, the baker and the cheese maker, will be popular as well.

Although the library does not have a lot of materials on trends (perhaps because by definition they are so short- lived), if you want to explore this subject for yourself, feel free to visit “the source.”   Also check out Silence Dogood’s report on  2011 food trends  in the Poor Richard’s Almanac, if you want a good laugh.

Every Tuesday evening, at nine o’clock, Cupcake Wars is aired on the Food Network.  Every Tuesday evening, at nine o’clock , I am sitting in place to watch it.  This puzzles me because actually, I like pies better than cupcakes. They’re juicer. I feel pretty good about my preference  however, because if “the sources” are right, finally I will be considered trendy.