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


Sep 7 2011

Literature in layers

by Dea Anne M

We all know about sandwiches named for celebrities, a stellar example being the “Woody Allen,” a ridiculously huge conglomeration of pastrami, and corned beef on rye which is served at the Carnegie Deli in New York. Well, what about sandwiches inspired by all matters literary? Last October, the New Yorker ran a short article on its blog page on just this topic. The idea is that you invent a sandwich that suggests a particular book or author. I thought it looked like fun and decided to give it a try. Here are my own spins on the concept.

 The Great Gatsby – Baked spiced ham and bewitched turkey on bread that no one knows exactly how the host came to possess. Serve with a salad of harlequin design and lots of bathtub gin.

Oliver Twist – Plain bread. One slice. What do you mean you want more?

Pride and Prejudice – Oh, I think we had the cold mutton and tea afterward, but my dear, did you see the ribbons on her hat? Has she been so long in the country that she’s forgotten how one dresses in Town?

The Catcher in the Rye – Regular bread. Regular ham. Mayo, but no fancy mustard or chutney. I mean, what the heck is chutney anyway? All I’m saying is I don’t want anything phony. Oh, maybe it doesn’t matter. I mean, people never notice anything.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – State issued bread filled with the stuff of your worst nightmares, and you’d better eat all of it because you-know-who is watching.

The Old Man and the Sea –  Cuban bread topped with a REALLY BIG piece of fish. You’ll have to fight off the sharks to get it though.

Why don’t you give it a try? Believe me, it’s really fun once you get started. Also, if you’re into the sandwich as art form, don’t miss the website Scanwiches which consists entirely of scanned cross sections of sandwiches of all sorts. The text is minimal and the images are strangely beautiful floating against a black backdrop. As these things seem to happen, there will be a tie-in book released on National Sandwich Day which this year is November 3rd.



Aug 15 2011

Borders Memories

by Greg H

More and more information is seeping out about the demise of the Borders book chain and, from the sound of it, Borders’ failure was self-inflicted and expected by those in the know.  The Atlanta Booklovers Blog featured a link to a story in The Stranger that was especially enlightening. Written by a former employee at the Boston store, the piece touched on numerous corporate missteps and gaffes, not the least of which was the management’s attitude shift from very cool and high quality to very corporate and bottom line. I loved shopping at the Buckhead Borders and that blog post was like the autopsy report that explained why a friend died. Just desserts or not, losing any bookstore is like losing an acre of rain forest, so, in the spirit of speaking no ill of the dead, or the bankrupt as the case may be, I want to share my best Borders moment.

In the late spring of 2007 I visited my brother and future sister-in-law in Los Angeles. The trip within this trip was an excursion to the bay area that we’d planned so that we could visit the major league stadiums in Oakland and San Francisco. We stayed at a very nice hotel near Union Square on the fringe of the Tenderloin district and I was thrilled to find a big, beautiful Borders store only three steep blocks up Powell Street.

Our first full day included breakfast with one old friend, an afternoon Boston-Oakland baseball game, and dinner with two other friends. They had to get their little boy to bed so I had a couple hours of early evening light and a big city at my disposal. I took the train back to our hotel, fetched some postcards from my hotel room, and headed for the Borders. I got a tea and a snickerdoodle cookie, found a seat in the cafe, and began writing to friends.

And to each of those friends I couldn’t help but write ‘Guess where I am writing you from?”  I was in one of our most literary cities, surrounded by books, writing! Yes, only postcards…but writing in any case.  As I worked at my cards, the sunlight faded and the lights of the buildings outside grew brighter. Somewhere out past those lights were Coit Tower and Fishermen’s Wharf and Alcatraz and streetcars and the Pacific Ocean.  Suddenly I felt that I was in a very enviable place.  I would visit City Lights book store the next day but for that evening the second floor of a Borders felt like the best possible place to be.

For lovers of books and bookstores, be sure to our check out our blog links (on the right) from time to time.


Jun 27 2011

Civil War Live-Blogged (sorta)

by Jimmy L

Attention Civil War buffs!  Did you know the Civil War was live-blogged?  Well, it wasn’t.  But if it were, it might read something like Disunion, a blog where every day they blog what happened in real time, 150 years ago.  It starts with the run-up to the 1860 election and will continue to the end of the war.

To learn more about the Civil War, check out some of these books at the Library.


Jun 24 2011

ShareReads: Talk Show

by Ken M

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

A few years ago, I was driving home after visiting a friend, and happened to turn on the radio. I tuned in during a segment in which Dick Cavett was talking with an interviewer about the DVD release of some collections of episodes of the Dick Cavett Show. I didn’t watch his programs when they were on the air (I was too young), but I knew of his work. I was curious to see some of these episodes, and was delighted to find these collections available in the library catalog. Watching these, I became a new fan.

Not too long after that, I found that Mr. Cavett had a blog on the New York Times website. I don’t think it was promoted in the radio interview, and I can’t remember how I stumbled onto it. I followed the blog for several weeks, and then life got busier, as life tends to do, and I fell out of the habit of reading it. Recently, I was very happy to see the publication of Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary and Off-Screen Secrets. This is a compilation of many of those blog entries, with some additional editing and comments from Mr. Cavett. Now I could catch up on what I missed, without the aid of an electronic device, enjoying it in comfy book form.

The book revisits some of his shows, and includes reflections on Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal, Groucho Marx, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Richard Burton, Bobby Fischer, Janis Joplin, and lots more. Some of the material about these famous folks is not from the shows at all; it comes from the author’s recollections of other conversations and encounters.

It’s not all about showbiz, rock stars and celebrities, however. There are articles on current events (well, current at the time they were written anyway), and topics which affect us all, like coincidence or depression. Laughter mixed with insight and intelligence can be found on most every page. In fact, I laughed at Mr. Cavett’s famous wit right to the very end of the book. Whether one chooses to dip into it an article at a time or read straight through, I hope there’s another reader out there who enjoys Talk Show as I did.


Jun 8 2011

Face Book (literally)

by Jimmy L

Book covers are one of the things I miss the most now that more people have adopted eBook readers.  I love seeing at a glance what people are reading in public places.  And, covers are often just so well designed, like a breezy doorway, visually welcoming you into the world of the book itself.

We’ve written about book covers here on DCPLive before, but a few days ago I found a new twist on them in a blog called Corpus Libris. It’s a simple idea, but it’s so fun and funny.  Take a picture where your world blends in with the book cover design. I’m itching to try it myself.


May 20 2011

Food in Fantasy Literature

by Jesse M

This evening they had supped on oxtail soup, summer greens tossed with pecans, grapes, red fennel, and crumbled cheese, hot crab pie, spiced squash, and quails drowned in butter. Each dish had come with its own wine. Lord Janos allowed that he had never eaten half so well.
A Clash of Kings

Have you ever read a passage in a fantasy novel describing a hearty meal the characters are about to consume, and found your mouth watering? If so, you’re in good company. Many readers, intrigued (and hungry!) after learning what their favorite characters have been eating, have decided to try their hand at preparing the dishes referenced in books they’ve enjoyed. The passage quoted above, along with the spread of food pictured, is courtesy of a blog called The Inn at the Crossroads, a reference to an inn featured in the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. There are numerous descriptions of food throughout the books in the series, and the authors of the blog have featured over two dozen dishes thus far, each with mouth-watering illustrations and accompanied by the relevant passage from the book in addition to recipes for the dishes. In many cases, two recipes are presented; one medieval version along with a more modern variation.

The bloggers behind Inn at the Crossroads are the most recent in a long line of chefs who have prepared dishes inspired by their reading material. For instance, recipes for food from the seminal Lord of the Rings trilogy (such as Lembas, the highly nutritious elven bread) are featured on a number of websites, one of the best known of which is Middle-Earth recipes. Fans of the Dragonlance series of books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman might like to try Otik’s spiced potatoes, a recipe for which can be found here. And no list of fantasy literature cuisine would be complete without mentioning the delectable descriptions of foodstuffs from Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. The meals described in the various books of the series were so appealing to fans that in 2005 Jacques published The Redwall Cookbook, which featured recipes for some of the most appetizing dishes.


Sep 17 2010

Shop, Shop, Shop

by Amanda L

(picture courtesy of Sky City Blog)

Sometimes I am inspired by other blogs and this is such a time.  I  recently discovered through a friend, a blog dedicated to Southern Retail.  The blog is a  history but more importantly the architecture of malls. This blog explores malls in the South both in the past and present. Each entry displays pictures and a brief history of the mall. This blog reminded me of the website the Atlanta Time Machine.  DCPLive wrote a post about this several years ago.

Having spent many an hour at most of the malls listed in the Atlanta area due to my previous career, I found the site fun and informative. Who doesn’t think about shopping when a mall is mentioned. One thing that has always puzzled me, not being a shopper, is why people shop. The Library has many books about this subject and the joy of shopping.

If you like history and like to reminisce in days gone by, the Library has a histories of Sears, Macy’s and Rich’s in our collection.  I am always amazed what the Library has that will quench my desire to re-experience the past.


Mar 15 2010

Blog, Blog, Blog

by Vivian A

On an unusually snowy March night I ventured out to take Laurie Foley’s free workshop called “Blogging- Who, What, Where & How?” at the brand new Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams library. The audience was small due to the weather and mostly women. (Two-thirds of bloggers are men.) We all wanted to know the same thing — how do I start a blog and more importantly how do I get readers?

Laurie Foley is an award-winning blogger and business coach.  She presented us with the history of blogging. Did you know that 133,000,000 blogs have been indexed since 2002 but ninety-five percent are abandoned within four months? 72% are hobbyists, 15% are part-times, 9% are self employed and 4% are professionals.  A great professional blog is Huffington Post and a good local one to check out (besides DCPLive) is Decatur Metro.

Then she recommended some good books: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott; WordPress for Dummies, 2nd Edition by Lisa Sabin-Wilson and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (you can find all of these titles at DCPL).  Then she wowed us with the fact that 900,000 blog entries are posted every twenty-four hours. I must say I feel a little daunted but determined.

If you missed this class, don’t worry.  Every month the Library has many other computer classes which you can check out in our events calendar.


Aug 19 2009

Wild Things

by Nancy M

wherethewildthingsare_l200904071204While the movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is not due to be released for another two months, there are plenty of Wild related things to keep our anticipation at bay and ensure that we will be ready to experience Spike Jonze’s movie to its fullest. If it has been awhile since you’ve read Sendak’s 1964 Caldecott winning book, you can check it out at the Library which has copies in English, Spanish and Chinese. If you haven’t seen the original movie trailer yet, which is pretty awesome, you can do so here.  And lucky us! A new trailer was released a couple of weeks ago, giving us a little bit more insight as to how they’ve taken a 10 sentence book and turned it into a feature-length film.

There are numerous people out there blogging about pretty much everything Wild related, but one of the coolest sites I’ve found is Terrible Yellow Eyes. The blogger was so inspired by Where the Wild Things Are that he set up a site that pays tribute to the book and its author. Artists from all over the world send in their own artistic reproductions of the book and the site is updated frequently.

The movie has been an enormous undertaking which has spanned many years and has involved hundreds of people. Check out Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are blog, We Love You So, to learn how the movie came to be.

And don’t forget to pre-order your Where the Wild Things Are figurines!

Do you have any fun Where the Wild Things Are sites to share?

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Nov 24 2008

House Blogs: One More Way to Journal

by Nolan R

Maybe it began with This Old House.  I remember when I was a kid, watching the show with my dad.  Norm and crew would take you step by painfully slow step through a kitchen renovation of an old house in New England, with the process often running to several episodes.  Later, I discovered a love/hate relationship with HGTV, where entire homes are magically transformed in two days or less.

Last year, I discovered the website Houseblogs.  I was fascinated.  I wanted a house blog!  I didn’t even have a house yet, but I started a generic house blog on Blogger, ready to document each step of the progress on our hypothetical house.  (I know others who have also fallen prey to putting the blog before the house.)  My husband and I finally bought an old bungalow, and as we began work on it, I got to work on the blog, personalizing it and even registering our own domain name.  My husband was pretty good-natured about it, except when I would snap photos of him climbing a ladder and temporarily blind him with the flash.

Originally, I planned the blog as a way for friends and family to keep up with our progress, but what I gradually discovered is that a) your friends and family don’t always care that you’ve just spent four weeks painting the trim on your house in original Craftsman colors, and b) a lot of strangers do seem to care, interestingly enough.  Wondering how to strip paint from your dining room molding?  A Google search will turn up at least one houseblog where someone has already done the hard work and figured out the best way.  We’ve even gotten several emails and comments from readers all over the country, sharing their experiences with us.

Here are a few of my favorite houseblogs (including a local one):

De-Victorianization on Division
House in Progress
Our Little Bungalow
Tiny Old House
Westview Bungalow

If you like the idea of reading someone else’s experiences transforming a house into a home, but aren’t into blogs, here are a few great books:

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling Down House by David Giffels
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
Renovations : a Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other by John Marchese
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayer
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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