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deaths

I’m a music lover and, as a result, I’ve got an internal jukebox in my brain (or, for DCPLive’s Generation Y readers, an internal iPod Shuffle). Sometimes random phrases, words and nouns trigger memories of a forgotten song or musical artist. Usually it’s something innocuous like the Tropicana billboard in a MARTA station (“Southern Hospitality Doesn’t Apply During Rush Hour Traffic,” screams the sign) that will cause me to think about the song “Southern Hospitality” by Ludacris. I’m silently rapping lyrics like “When I get on the floor/throw them bows” before I even realize why. That’s bizarre, right?

Just yesterday, my internal jukebox flips over to “Dim All The Lights” before I realize that it’s because I’m looking at a picture of Donna Summer—and that the reason I’m seeing this picture is because the R&B/Disco icon has just succumbed to cancer. My delight at remembering a song I haven’t thought about in years instantly turns to disappointment upon learning of her death.  Shortly afterward “Dim All The Lights” gave way to Joni Mitchell‘s “Big Yellow Taxi”. Before I was fully conscious of why I was thinking of this song, I’d just read a Donna Summer fan’s distraught posting in the comments section of the web article I was reading: “Dont kno whatchu got til its gone. R.I.P Donna Summer.”

That really started me to thinking of other musical artists I’d taken a break from appreciating until they were no longer with us. 2012 is still young—it’s not exactly halfway gone yet—but it has already seen the loss of artists I’ve always loved,  like the aforementioned Donna Summer,  Whitney Houston, Adam Yauch (a.k.a MCA) of the Beastie Boys and, as I’ve just read as I’m writing this blog post, Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees. My Internal Jukebox has just set itself to “How Deep Is Your Love”.

Lest this become the Somber Post About People Who Are No Longer With Us,  I’d like to invite you guys to take a break from what you’re doing—even if it’s just reading this entry—and remember something, some place or someone that’s been off of your radar for a while. Let’s not wait til they’ve passed away. Who’s your internal jukebox, photo album or movie reel turned on to?

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Feb 17 2011

Brian Jacques, 1939-2011

by Joseph M

Brian Jacques, English author of the popular Redwall series of books, among others, died last week at the age of 71.

Reflecting the rich tradition of such works as Watership Down and The Wind in the Willows, the Redwall novels feature anthropomorphic animals in a medieval setting. The series currently consists of twenty-one novels and two picture books, with another novel slated for publication later this year, and adaptations have been created for television and even opera. You can find Redwall and other stories by Brian Jacques in our catalog. Happy reading.

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Dec 8 2010

Breathingearth

by Joseph M

I was browsing the web the other day when I came across an intriguing site that I thought I would share. It’s called Breathingearth, and essentially, the website features a real-time cartographic simulation providing information on births, deaths, & CO2 emissions worldwide. You can also obtain population and emissions data about individual countries by moving the cursor over the different nations on the map.

Birth & death rates are obtained from 2010 estimates in the CIA World Factbook, while information about CO2 emissions is based on 2006 figures from the United Nations Statistics Division. In addition to providing an appealing visual display for fans of maps (like myself), choosing to represent the information in this format puts data from individual countries in a framework that allows for quick comparison and helps users to see “the big picture”, so to speak.

If you’d like to find out more about global issues like pollution and population control, the website has a few suggested links to visit, but you can always take advantage of the wealth of information available at your local library as well!

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Jan 29 2010

Too Many Goodbyes

by Lesley B

CatcherThis has been a sad month for the world of books and readers. We lost Robert Parker, mystery writer, on January 19. Howard Zinn, the people’s historian, died January 27 and yesterday came the news that  J.D. Salinger, reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, has died at the age of 91. According to their obituaries, Parker and Zinn were writing up to the very end. Parker was especially prolific and at least two finished books will appear after his death; but Salinger famously stopped publishing 45 years ago, although he continued to write fiction.  The author fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his unpublished letters private. If Salinger had novels and stories locked away, will his family decide to publish them? If they do, will you read them? I’m not sure I will. It seems disrespectful to read work the author so definitely did not want me to see. When unfinished works are published after an author dies,  I always wonder if the writer was really ready for me to see his work. We readers can be greedy and we want more of the characters and stories that we love, but I feel like I’ve arrived too early at a party. My company was requested—but not just yet, please.

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elynn1503The literary world lost a great talent on Thursday July 23rd when E. Lynn Harris suddenly passed away on a train to Los Angeles.  Details of his death are not yet known. The part-time Atlanta resident and best selling author had been on a West coast tour in support of his new novel Basketball Jones.  All ten of his previous novels have hit the New York Times bestseller list.

As a gay man with a tumultuous childhood, Harris often wrote about African-American men who publicly identify themselves as heterosexual but privately sleep with men. In an AJC blog post, Philip Rafshoon, Owner of Outwrite Books in Midtown, recalled  Harris’ early literary career in Atlanta, including him spending $25,000 of his own money to self-publish his debut novel Invisible Life in the early 90s.

Harris was born in Little Rock, AR and called many cities his home during his lifetime, but most recently had been dividing his time between Atlanta and Fayetteville, AR.  In addition, he has often read his works at our library.  You can hear a podcast recording of his last Georgia Center for the Book reading at the Decatur Library by clicking here.

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s-ashesFrancis “Frank” McCourt, an Irish-American high school teacher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, died July 19 at the age of 73. He is best known as the author of Angela’s Ashes, a gripping memoir about his childhood growing up in both America and Ireland during the 1930s and 1940s. Angela’s Ashes was awarded the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, as well as the 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award (Biography) and the 1997 Boeke Prize. It’s success led to it’s adaptation as a feature film released in 1999 by Paramount Pictures. Along with Angela’s Ashes, McCourt has published two additional autobiographical works which continue chronicling his life after his move back to America. ‘Tis examines his experiences attempting to acclimate to life in New York City, his stint in the Army, and his attendance and eventual graduation from NYU and later Brooklyn College, while Teacher Man focuses mainly on his life as a teacher in NYC public high schools. In addition to his autobiographical works, McCourt has also written a children’s picture book entitled Angela and the Baby Jesus and appeared as the host of a travel DVD entitled The Historic Pubs of Dublin. For those interested in more information on Mr. McCourt, Time magazine has published an obituary replete with details of his life and work. Additionally, I have linked to a NY Times piece wherein several of his former students have written letters sharing their recollections of him and the affect he had on their lives.

“My dream was to have a Library of Congress catalog number, that’s all,” said McCourt, speaking of his modest hopes for the success of Angela’s Ashes. It went on to sell over 5 million copies. Sometimes dreams come true, and then some. E 184.I6 .M117 1996

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Jan 6 2009

So long, farewell

by Heather S

Many notable people, who left an incredible mark on our culture and society, passed on in 2008. This year we have said good-bye to the people listed below, whom I greatly admired and enjoyed their work.  I also picked my personal favorite or most memorable piece of theirs from the Library’s collection.

Let us remember their work fondly.  For a more complete list of people who died in 2008, you may want to try this article from Wikipedia.  Who will you miss?  What are your favorites from his or her work?

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