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

television series

Jun 18 2010

Share Reads – Try A Local Author

by ShareReads

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.

Last week, DCPLive featured an interesting post about local, organic food. Part of the slow food movement involves buying food which is locally grown, thereby supporting local farmers. Considering this brought me to the notion that writers bring seeds of ideas to readers in much the same way that farmers grow vegetables. They keep returning to them over and over, nourishing them with patience and diligence until they’re ready for our consumption. No matter what you eat this summer, it’s the perfect time to enrich your reading diet by trying (and supporting) a local author.

We’re very fortunate that DeKalb County is the home of the Georgia Center for the Book. This organization has featured many Georgia authors in DeKalb libraries, including Terry Kay, Mary Kay Andrews, Karin Slaughter (who will be at the Decatur Library on July 1st), and Joshilyn Jackson (who will be at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library on June 29th).

I’ve recently finished a wonderful new book by a local author who presented a GCFTB program back in May. David C. Tucker loves to write about movies and television, and his latest book, Lost Laughs of 50s and 60s Television: 30 Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen, is a wonderful tribute to some shows which got lost in the sands of TV history. Some actors featured in the book, like Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter on M.A.S.H.) Francis Bavier (Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show), or Marion Ross (Richie’s mom on Happy Days), are much better known for their other work. Other actors have been largely forgotten. That’s a shame, and you’ll enjoy reading about them too.

Since it’s hard to see these shows today, I’m grateful that Lost Laughs includes many photos. This is truly a user friendly book, containing an appendix charting the shows in chronological order (I mention this because the shows are presented alphabetically). You can read the book in chapter order, or mix it up in any way you choose. My three favorite shows are Angel, Mrs. G Goes to College, and Wendy and Me. I’ll pique your curiosity by telling you that Angel was created by the man who brought us I Love Lucy, and Wendy and Me featured George Burns.  It’s hard for me to imagine why these three didn’t last longer, but I’m sure you’ll have your own wish list once you’ve picked up this book.

If you’d like another actor fix, I also recommend David’s other books, The Women Who Made Television Funny, and Shirley Booth: a Biography and Career Record. There’s another good dose of wit and entertainment to be found between those covers.

So, do you have a favorite Georgia author? There’s a lot of great writing to celebrate, and some of it is being created right now at a computer keyboard near you!

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Sep 9 2009

TV in Book Form

by Jnai W

The 2009 Fall television season is starting which probably has little to do with books, the Library and real life in general. But this season I’ve noticed that at least two new programs are based on books ( “Hurrah! Relevancy achieved! Click “Publish”. Good night!”).

I was intrigued to learn that ABC is premiering a new show based on John Updike‘s novel The Witches of Eastwick. Also airing is a new CW show, The Vampire Diaries,  based on books by L. J Smith (even though I probably shouldn’t mention this one  because this book series isn’t in our catalog… sorry). But these shows make me curious about how many other TV shows were born from the pages of a book. I did some searching and discovered that Hollywood has a long tradition of mining literature for small-screen fodder…even nowadays. Books on television–who knew?

There are several shows I’ve considered watching but feel like I’d be at a loss because I’ve missed a few seasons. But perhaps I should try reading the book that the show is based on first. Using the library to bolster my TV viewing habits isn’t really as cheesy as it sounds, is it?

Maybe I could pick up Charlaine Harris‘  Southern Vampire Mysteries novels to see what the deal is with True Blood (I have a friend that I’m not allowed to speak to when this show is on). Or I can read Kathy Reichs‘  Temperance Brennan novels before watching the FOX TV show that’s based on them. But as I continue to read reviews and summaries of these shows I’m reminded that film and television shows are often loosely–very loosely– based on the popular books that they draw from. That said, maybe it’s better to simply enjoy the books separately from the TV shows inspired by them.

Still DCPL holds a wealth of Primetime-related materials, whether you’re reading books in their pre-television adaptation form or if you’re catching up on the continued stories of your fave TV characters long after their shows have aired. DCPL has several books based on two shows I liked: Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the prematurely canceled Sci-Fi series The Dresden Files. That, of course, brings to mind one great advantage that good old-fashioned books have over television–greater latitude and freedom to allow their stories to unfold.

Here are some really fascinating books on television in general. You can read these while you’re waiting for the Game of Thrones television series to commence (yep, the George R.R Martin classic is coming to a small screen near you):

Prime Time, Prime Movers by David Marc and Robert J. Thompson

One Nation Under Television by J. Fred MacDonald

The History of Television, 1880-1941 by Albert Abramson

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Feb 26 2009

John Adams: A Review

by Jimmy L

I’m no history buff, but recently I thought it would be interesting to read something about one of our overlooked founding fathers, John Adams. Unfortunately, the book (John Adams by David McCullough) is 752 pages long—too long for a passing interest, especially with 5 other books on my bedside table. So, with J’nai’s post about how to talk about books you haven’t read in mind, I will now talk about how much I loved this book. How do I know?  Simple: the book has been made into an HBO miniseries.

I half-expected it to be boring, as historical recreations often are. But I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was! So far, I’ve finished the first disc and I can’t wait for discs two and three (I’m #22 and #17 in the respective queues (and yes, library staff have to wait for holds just like everybody else!)).

The series covers Adams’s life from his days as a lawyer in Boston after the Boston Massacre up to the years after his presidency, including his death. Paul Giamatti gives a great performance as John Adams, but what really makes it work is the whole cast. The founding fathers come to life with David Morse as George Washington, Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson, and Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin. You can really taste the dynamic in congress as these men and their radically different personalities clash and come together towards a common goal.

I’ve not mentioned Abigail Adams (played by Laura Linney) yet. Though she was not an official politician, the series gives us a glimpse into how influential she was for John. I got the sense that she grounded him, and kept him honest. Her intellect and wisdom was a good complement for John’s passion and integrity.

You should really check out this series. I found it highly entertaining and educational as well. History doesn’t have to be boring!

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