Monday, February 24, 2014

Carl Sandburg's Chicago

A recent Chicago Tribune article by Steve Johnson celebrates the upcoming 100th anniversary of the publication of Carl Sandburg's poem "Chicago" in Poetry magazine's March 1914 issue along with seven other of his Chicago poems.  This poem, that gave Chicago the nickname "City of Big Shoulders," and Sandburg's other Chicago poems can be found in a couple of  the library's titles:   Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg (811 SAN) and Chicago Poems (eAudiobook) available in MyMediaMall. 

Johnson also mentions that Sandburg's work included a variety of genres beyond poetry, including biography, children's books, music compilation, and movie reviews.  Here are a few examples from our collection:
The American Songbag compiled by Carl Sandburg
 (Harcourt Brace, 1927) 781.6297 SAN Lincoln : The Prairie Years and The War Years by Carl Sandburg (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974, c1966) BIOG Lincoln SAN

Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg
(Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988-89, c. 1922-23)
 J Fiction Sandburg 2 vols.

Want to celebrate Sandburg?  Check out the Newberry Library's Carl Sandburg March event, "Stormy, Husky and Brawling for 100 Years."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adult Book Discussion This Thursday

Elise Barack leads a discussion of Peter Cameron’s 6th novel, Coral Glynn this Thursday 2/13 at 7:15 pm.  The program will be held in the Children’s Programming Room downstairs.

Coral Glynn, an atmospheric period piece filled with an aura of sadness, explores how desire and need can quickly turn to love. Set in post-World War II England, this gothic mystery, with overtones of Rebecca, tells the tale of a young nurse who arrives at an isolated manse, early in the spring of 1950. Hired to nurse the dying Mrs. Hart, Coral also encounters Mrs. Prence, the perpetually disgruntled housekeeper, and Major Clement Hart, Mrs. Hart's war-ravaged son.  After Mrs. Hart’s death, the unexpected transpires. Coral receives a hasty marriage proposal from Major and shortly thereafter, she comes upon a young girl tied to a tree as part of a frightening, dangerous game.  When the child is later found murdered suspicion falls upon Coral.

This beautifully written book, with its many plot twists, holds promise for a lively discussion. We hope you can join us.

For additional insights see articles in the New York Times and on NPR.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wordless Picture Books

   Last week, the American Library Association announced the 2014 Caldecott award winners for best picture books. Brian Floca’s Locomotive , which illustrates traveling on the new transcontinental railroad and the country it united, won the prestigious award. Three Honor books were also announced: Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner, Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle, and Journey by Aaron Becker. What common thing did all 3 of the Honor books share? They were all wordless. This is a first in recent memory.

   Do you enjoy sharing wordless picture books with your youngsters? What approach do you use? Some of us are intimidated when WE must tell the story. However, wpb’s can be used in a variety of ways resulting in an enriching experience for both child and adult. First, you might wish to say the title or subject of the book . Then, as you look at the beginning pages, ask the child what he sees pictured. What’s going on? How do you think the character feels? What might happen next? As you proceed through the story, draw attention to the continuity of the story and its ultimate conclusion. You are reinforcing pre-reading skills of left to right, plot identification, inferring and main point vis a vis details. Here’s a few more tips on reading a wpb together. 

   If your child is used to wpb's, reverse roles and have HIM tell YOU the story, all on his own. Echo what the child is telling you. You could even be doing something else like driving, stationary chores, nap time. (Try not to fall asleep!)
Go through the same book several times, even at the same sitting. Encourage your child to express himself with different words or use imagination to elaborate on what is pictured on the page. Explore wordless picture books. You'll end up making the book truly your own.

Browse other titles in our Staff Picks Lists.   Additional wordless picture books can be looked up by using the subject heading "stories without words."

P.S. Another ALA award trivia tidbit: The name Flora appears in both the Newbery Winner (chapter books) Flora & Ulysses and in the Caldecott Honor Book Flora & the Flamingo.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Love Gone Wrong

Valentine's Day is approaching -- a time to celebrate love and lovers.  We always appreciate a good romance novel, but it's often much more fun to read about heartbreak and love gone terribly wrong!  Below you'll find a selection of titles where couples don't live happily ever after.  Not surprisingly, "love gone wrong" stories make great movies, too -- and most of these tales have been adapted to film.  Read the novel or watch the movie -- but most of all -- enjoy!

 Apple Tree Yard  by Louise Doughty

Renowned scientist Yvonne Carmichael, a happily married mother of two, impulsively begins an affair with a mysterious stranger -- and soon finds herself on trial for murder.  Her co-defendant?  Her lover.  A gripping, psychological thriller about desire, disastrous choices, and their consequences. 
The Silent Wife  by A.S.A. Harrison

Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will surely enjoy this tale of a wealthy Chicago couple whose marriage may not be what it seems.  A woman who has tolerated her philandering husband's behavior for years finds it difficult to cope with his sudden death.  Nicole Kidman is set to star in the film adaptation, due out in 2015.

Revolutionary Road  by Richard Yates

Frank and April Wheeler, a seemingly perfect young couple, become disenchanted with the dreariness of their mid-1950's suburban lives.  While dreaming of a more fulfilling future, both find it difficult to remain true to their ideals.  Yates' novel is considered a masterpiece of realistic fiction.  The 2008 film adaptation stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Postman Always Rings Twice  by James M. Cain

An unhappy, young wife begins an affair with an amoral drifter, and together they plot the demise of her brutish husband.  Cain's 1934 classic tale of greed and lust set the standard for all noir novels that followed.  The story has been filmed twice: in 1946 with Lana Turner and John Garfield, and again in 1981 with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. 

Anna Karenina  by Leo Tolstoy

Russian aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a ruinous affair with the dashing Count Vronsky.  Tolstoy's epic 19th century tale has been filmed several times; the most recent a 2012 production starring Kiera Knightley and Jude Law.

The War of the Roses  by Warren Adler

When their marriage disintegrates, Barbara and Oliver Rose set out to destroy each other during their divorce proceedings.  Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas play the battling duo in the 1989 film adaptation.

An American Tragedy  by Theodore Dreiser

A poor factory worker determined to get ahead in the world falls in love with a beautiful, young socialite.  Both his relationship and his social-climbing ambitions are threatened when his lower-class, former girlfriend informs him of her pregnancy.  The 1951 film adaptation of Dreiser's novel, entitled A Place in the Sun, stars Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters.

The End of the Affair  by Graham Greene

A young writer is consumed with jealousy when his mistress -- who happens to be the wife of his best friend -- ends their affair suddenly and without explanation.  Greene's novel, set in London following WWII, was filmed in 1999 with stars Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore.

The Other Boleyn Girl  by Philippa Gregory

Mary Boleyn's position as the privileged mistress of Henry VIII is threatened by the political ambitions of her extended family and competition from her sister, Anne Boleyn.  Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana star in the 2008 film of the same name.

Atonement  by Ian McEwan

Thirteen year-old Briony Tallis forever alters the lives of those around her when she wrongly accuses her sister's lover of a vicious crime.  Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy star in the lush 2007 screen adaptation of McEwan's WWII-era story.

The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Perhaps the ultimate novel about a doomed love affair!  With the decadence of the Jazz Age as a backdrop, mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby pursues socialite Daisy Buchanan.  Fitzgerald's classic has been filmed several times over the years, most recently in 2013 with stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.