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

photography

Seattle Central LibraryFor nearly two decades, photographer Robert Dawson has been taking pictures of libraries. Since 1994 he has photographed hundreds of public libraries across 48 states, and the results have been compiled in a new book published just this month, titled The Public Library: A Photographic Essay.

Dawson’s photographs reveal the longstanding American institution in all its variety, from the quaint to the awe-inspiring. Check out this NPR story to read an excerpt from the book and hear an interview with the author, as well as view a brief slideshow of some of the images (even more photos are available for perusal on the author’s website).

In the introduction of his recently published work, Dawson writes that “Public libraries are worth fighting for, and this book is my way of fighting”. To reserve a copy of the book through DCPL, follow this link to place a request.

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Sep 16 2013

Inspirations for a healthier life

by Jesse M

Reading Glenda’s post from last month about losing weight got me thinking about books I’ve read over the years that have inspired me to alter my diet or exercise habits. These are not diet or exercise books though. Rather, these books inspire lifestyle changes by providing information that challenges the reader to think about their everyday behaviors in a different way.

Stuffed and starved coverStuffed and starved: markets, power, and the hidden battle for the world’s food system by Raj Patel

In this eye-opening book, author Raj Patel takes readers on a journey through the global food system, demonstrating how both the problems of malnourishment and obesity are both symptomatic of the worldwide corporate food monopoly. Well sourced and argued, this book may make you think twice about alternatives when considering your next trip to the supermarket.

Born to run coverBorn to run: a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Part investigation of the biomechanics of running, part examination of ultra-marathons and their enthusiasts, McDougall takes readers into Mexico’s Copper Canyons to meet and learn from the Tarahumara Indians, who have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury utilizing only the simplest footwear. By the end of this book you’ll want to get up and go for a run yourself.

Hungry Planet coverHungry planet: what the world eats by Faith D’Aluisio

This award-winning book profiles 30 families from around the world and offers detailed descriptions of weekly food purchases; photographs of the families at home, at market, and in their communities; and a portrait of each family surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries. The photography is the real star of this book, especially the images of each family with one week of food. The disparity from country to country (and in some cases, across different regions of the same country) is often startling, and may cause readers to take a closer look at how much they themselves are consuming.

Stumbling on happiness coverStumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Written for a lay audience by Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, the central thesis of this book is that, through perception and cognitive biases, people imagine the future poorly, in particular what will make them happy. Gilbert discusses these issues and suggests ways that we can more accurately predict our future feelings and motivations. A major takeaway for me from this book was that if I wasn’t feeling motivated to do something now, it isn’t likely I’ll be miraculously more motivated later. This applies to all sorts of things in my life I have a tendency to procrastinate on, such as exercising, doing laundry, or starting a diet.

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Dec 28 2012

The Year in Pictures

by Jimmy L

Sometimes it’s hard to look back and remember everything that happened in the past year. But The Guardian has posted 19 beautiful photographs that sum it up pretty nicely, from the athletic feats at the Olympics to the election night moments in November. And this one, taken in Hoboken, New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy wrought its destruction:

Floods in Hoboken

A similar collection of iconic 2012 photographs is also up at the World Press Photo site. Dedicated to understanding the world through photojournalism, the site holds a yearly contest in several different categories including General News, People, Sports, Daily Life, Portraits, and many more. The following photo was the winner in the Nature category, and shows a desperate polar bear who has climbed up on a cliff face, trying (unsuccessfully) to feed on eggs from the nests of guillemots, in late July.

Cliff-climbing polar bear attempting to eat seabird eggs

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Aug 10 2012

Sharereads: Fiction and Nonfiction

by Joseph M

ShareReads intro

I’m a voracious reader, and working in the library, I come across interesting books on a regular basis. That being the case, I often find myself reading multiple books at a time. What I’m reading at any given moment depends on the occasion and my mood, and can run the gamut of content and format types. Generally, I find it easier to juggle more than one book at a time when I’m switching primarily between a work of fiction and a work of nonfiction. Earlier this summer, I found myself in just such a situation, dividing my reading time between two great books, which I’m going to talk more about below.

First, the fiction. The novel is called Hunter’s Run, and I found it noteworthy for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is a collaborative effort between three authors: George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham. All are notable writers on their own. George R. R. Martin is, among other things, the author of the bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series of books, on which the popular HBO series Game of Thrones is based. Gardner Dozois was the longtime editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine and has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for his work as a writer and editor of short fiction. Daniel Abraham is a prolific voice in American science fiction, and no stranger to successful collaborations, having penned the lauded epic Leviathan Wakes (unfortunately not yet available at DCPL) with author Ty Franck under the pseudonym James S. A. Corey.

There are many different ways for authors to collaborate on books, and in this case the story took shape over the course of several decades, passing back and forth between the authors and appearing in a number of different variations before publication in its present form in 2007. You can click here for a more detailed summary of the process. In addition to Hunter’s Run, Abraham and Dozois have separately collaborated with Martin on other projects.

But the writing process which created it isn’t the only fascinating thing about Hunter’s Run. It’s a science fiction novel, but with elements reminiscent of Western and Adventure/Exploration genres of literature. In many ways, it could be classified as a Space Western. The sense of a wild frontier is established with a description of the setting: a mostly-unexplored alien planet, settled by human colonists within living memory, and much of the action takes place in the wilderness away from the human communities. A majority of the characters and place names have a Latin American or Caribbean flavor, which also adds to the “Western” feel of the book.

Another aspect of the novel worth mentioning is the main character, Diego Rivera. Diego could definitely be classified as an antihero (and we’ve written about antihero protagonists before on ShareReads) at the start of the story, but he undergoes a fascinating internal transformation as the plot unfolds, providing an interesting counterpoint to his travels in the external world and allowing the authors to explore complex themes of memory, identity, communication, and the ways we are shaped by our experiences.

In addition to all of that, Hunter’s Run is also quite an exciting book, and does not lack for action and suspense; I certainly had trouble putting it down once I got started.

Now I’d like to talk a bit about What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets by Faith D’Aluisio and Peter Menzel, the excellent nonfiction work I enjoyed concurrently with the novel discussed above. Peter and Faith are a husband and wife team who have traveled the world and documented the lives of people they met through photography and essays. In previous works such as Material World and Hungry Planet, they arrange “family portraits” based on the theme of the work; all the household possessions of the family were piled together for the portraits in Material World, while in Hungry Planet the families were pictured with a week’s-worth of food. In What I Eat, the authors alter the concept, focusing on the food intake of individuals over the course of a single average day, and using meticulous research to determine a caloric count. In all, 80 individuals were profiled in the book, and are ranked from first to last in order of calories consumed. The result is fascinating, informative, and poignant. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. For a “taste” of what the book has to offer, you can visit the official website. Or, you can just check it out from your local library!

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Eruption of the Cordon del Caulle. (© Ricardo Mohr)

Eruption of the Cordon del Caulle. (© Ricardo Mohr)

National Geographic is currently holding its annual photography contest, and so far over 12000 images have been submitted for consideration. The Atlantic’s news photography blog In Focus has posted an entry showcasing some of the amazing photos that have been submitted thus far. If you like those, you can browse all the other submissions here, or view weekly editors picks. You can also check out some of last year’s winners. And if you’d like to submit an entry yourself, you’ve still got time, the deadline is November 30th.

You may also check out issues of National Geographic at the Library. Currently, all branches carry the magazine except for Hairston Crossing and Salem Panola Libraries.

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Oct 14 2011

Fall into the Woods

by Amanda L

All my life I have loved being outside in the Fall. Watching nature make her last spectacular color push until she falls asleep for the winter is one of my favorite pastimes. When I head into the woods each Fall, I often  have my camera and a variety of books within reach to consult.  If you sit quietly for an hour or more, you never know what animal, bird or insect you might see that you have never seen before.

Over the years, I have seen deer, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers, armadillos, skunks and a screech owl to name a few. Last year, my most memorable moment was when I thought a herd of deer were coming towards me as I sat in the woods. To my shock and surprise, I found two rambunctious armadillos chasing each other through the leaves.  If I’m unsure of the animal, insect or even a tree, I always consult a guide book. The Library has a variety of these guidebooks to help you identify what you have seen. There are also books on nature photography.

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Oct 3 2011

The Artistry of Charles M. Conlon

Post image for The Artistry of Charles M. Conlon

by Greg H

In 1993, a collection of baseball photographs was published. The artist was the prolific Charles M. Conlon, a long-time photographer for The Sporting News whose work had only recently been rediscovered.  The result was Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon.  The black and white pictures, some portraits and some action shots, were remarkable for the detail and insight they provided into the game and its players in the first half of the 20th century.

One of my favorites is the the shot of Pirates great shortstop, Honus Wagner, featured above.  His face is not shown but the picture captures the strength of the man, both in the rough, meaty aspect of his hands on the handle of the bat, and in the impressive striations in the muscles of his forearms.  His woolen uniform is dirty and the viewer can almost feel the coarseness of the fabric.

Anyone who loved the first collection will be pleased to know that a second cache of Conlon’s negatives was found recently. Prints from those negatives have been compiled in the new release The Big Show: Charles M. Conlon’s Golden Age Baseball Photographs.

Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon is available thorough the DeKalb Library.  If you like those photographs, look into The Big Show for glimpses into the early days of baseball.

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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.

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Dunwoody Library’s summer Teen Digital Photography Contest is over and the results are in! The nearly thirty photos received by teens ages 13-17 years old were judged by staff on creativity and originality. Teens took pictures of a variety of subjects and the results were very impressive, making it a hard contest to judge! In the end, these were the top three photos chosen:

First place goes to 17 year old Lauren Wray’s Where Sky Meets Sky.

where-sky-meets-sky3

Second place goes to 14 year old Caroline Melton’s Through the Hole in the Leaf.

through-the-hole-in-the-leaf1

Third place goes to 16 year old Kevin Guebert and his entry, Floating in an Ocean.

floating-in-an-ocean1

Great job to all the teens who participated! You can view all of the entries on DeKalb County Public Library’s Flickr page.

Many thanks to the Friends of the Dunwoody Library for making this contest possible.

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Jan 8 2009

Judging a Place by its Cover

by Jimmy L

Can you recognize these legendary album covers?  If so, what about where these photos were actually taken?  Word magazine has created a Google Maps mashup called Album Atlas that makes it really easy to find out, so that you can be the most knowledgeable guy or gal at the music store (at least concerning this topic).  You can click anywhere on the map with a blue flag and it will show you an album cover taken at that location.  Alternately, you may click on an album title from the full list, and it will show you the location on the map.  Continue reading this post if you want the answers to the above questions… [read the rest of this post…]

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