Monday, March 31, 2014

April Foolery

The most common theory on the origin of April Fools' Day is that it started in France in 1564 when New Year's Day was changed from April 1st to January 1st by King Charles IX.  "April fools" were the people who continued celebrating the old date.  Others played jokes on them and gave them mock gifts and visits of pretend ceremony.*  But mystery still surrounds the true origins of the day, and there are other theories, which you can read about at this link from, the highly-regarded website for rumor and urban legend research:  April Fools' Day Origins.

In the spirit of fooling, here are some titles on pranksters and hoaxes from our library's collection :

Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World by Kembrew McLeod (New York University Press, 2014):  McLeod, a filmmaker and professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, profiles notorious pranks from the 1600s on, how they have served as social critique, and how mischief makers continue to entertain, educate, and affect society.  Con artists, newspaper hoaxes, political pranksters, and shobiz tricksters are among the categories of mischief discussed.

Laughter Therapy [sound recording (CD)]: a Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious (Highbridge Audio, 2013): This audio collection includes several of National Public Radio's April Fools' hoax stories as well as funniest moments from a variety of NPR shows such as Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered.

Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-opening History of Famous Frauds by Melissa Katsoulis (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009):  Katsoulis discusses many literary hoaxes of varying types and motivation, but the "entrapment hoax" is probably the type most in keeping with April foolery.  Its intent is "to lure a particular academic, publisher, or literary community with a prank text and then reveal clever the hoaxer was to trick them."  Among the entrapment hoaxes discussed are the imaginary novel I, Libertine, created in the mid-1950s by late-night radio DJ Jean Shepherd with help from his listeners, and H.L Mencken's phony history of the American bathtub, which was published in the New York Evening Mail on Dec. 28, 1917.

The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York  by Matthew Goodman (Basic Books, 2008):  A narrative history of the 1835 Sun newspaper's publication of a series of articles revealing life on the moon that included unicorns, beavers that walked upright, and flying man-bats.  Within weeks, the upstart newspaper had become the most widely read paper in the world.

* Sources: 2014 Chase's Calendar of Events (McGraw Hill), p. 198 and American Book of Days (H. W. Wilson, 2000), p. 248.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding Books

Sadly we don't have every book published. We have many, many books. Somewhere around 145,000 items! But what do you do if we don't have the book you want? Or if you can't remember the book you are looking for? Or if you want books like that great book you just read, but don't know where to start?

Luckily, we have several great resources to answer all of these questions. Let's start with the first question:

What to do if the book isn't on the shelf
Place a hold online! You can head on over to our library catalog: Bibliocommons and log in. If this is your first time, your password is patron. Search for the book (titles are the best to search with). If you don't get any results at first, check the "Search all Libraries" box and search again.

Now, hopefully, a listing for the book has appeared. If we own the book and you didn't have to check "Search all Libraries", you'll see something that looks like this:
Just below the call number, 576.8 DAR, it says "All copies in use" in red. If we don't own the material, and you checked "Search all Libraries", that area may have the red message or a green one. Either way, click "Place a Hold" and "Confirm". There. You've just put your name on the list and, when one becomes available*, you will be called or emailed to pick it up!
    *Small caveat: if it is a DVD or Video Game that we own, this will not work. If you found the book by searching our library and the text is a green "Available Now", give the librarian a call at (847) 234-0648 to place a Phone Hold.

What to do if you can't remember the book
This is where things get trickier. If you can't remember the exact title of the book and can't track it down to where you first heard about it, try Amazon. Make sure you switch their search to only Books and enter a few of the key words and, if possible, the author's last name. For example: if you know the author is Tom Wolfe and it has something to do with vanity, search "wolfe vanity". If you still are having trouble with different combinations, give us a call!

What to do if you want more books like the one you just read
If you are looking for similar books to a recent read, we have plenty of options. Firstly, our librarians are always happy to talk books and make recommendations. If you are at home, try our resource NoveList Plus.
NoveList Plus has a handy option for finding, what we call in the library 'biz, Read-alikes. Just find the entry for that great book you just finished and look to the right to see suggested books. Don't like any of those? Scroll down a bit to search by the unique themes of the book. For example, here are the themes for Hemingway's classic, The Sun Also Rises:

Check the box for any number of these and see the books that incorporate the same subjects, tones, etc. Make sure to try different combinations for plenty of options!

And, if all else fails, ask a librarian!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Adult Book Discussion Thursday, March 20th

Judy Levin will lead a discussion of Ruth Ozeki's powerful novel A Tale for the Time Being this Thursday, March 20th.  We will meet in the Children's Programming Room at noon.

At the beginning of the novel, we meet a teenaged, Japanese schoolgirl named Nao through her lost diary, which has washed ashore at a small beach half-a-world away from her home.  Nao's diary is found by Ruth, a writer living with her husband in a small town in British Columbia.  Through her writings, it becomes clear that Nao has been struggling to re-acclimate herself to her native country and its culture since her family moved back to Japan after her father lost his high-powered job at a Silicon Valley tech company.  Bullied unmercifully at school and contemplating suicide, Nao begins the diary with the hope that someone somewhere will read her story.  Her one goal before ending her life, however, is to document the life story of her 104-year-old great grandmother, a Zen Buddhist nun named Jiko, a woman who is clearly ahead of her time.

Ruth is struggling with issues of her own, including a severe case of writer's block and a sense that life and time may be passing her by.  Ruth is gripped by Nao's compelling story and the sheer mystery of how the diary, which was tucked inside a lunchbox that also contained various letters and a copy of the book In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, made its way across the ocean to her.  She embarks on a mission to learn the fate of the troubled teenager and her family.
Author Ruth Ozeki

Ozeki succeeds in lending three uniquely beautiful voices to the characters of the emotionally-fragile Nao; the intellectual Ruth; and the wise, old woman Jiko -- producing a novel that is warm, thoughtful, and truly moving.   It is a wonderful tale about three remarkable women that will surely stand the test of time.

Check out professional reviews of the novel from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, and The New York Times.

The library has this title in print, large-type and eAudiobook formats.

We hope you can join us!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Madness!

March Madness is upon us!  Get those NCAA tournament brackets filled out!  Did you know the library has a great collection of materials to help fuel your passion for college basketball?  While you're waiting for the next round of games to start -- settle in with one of the titles highlighted below:

The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League  (2014)
by Ed Breslin

Author Ed Breslin writes winningly of his season (2011-12) spent shadowing Yale's head basketball coach, James Jones.  Breslin details the demands of college basketball from the perspective of both coaches and players:  the academic pressures, relentless game schedules, intense rivalries, and heartbreaking losses that comprise a season of NCAA Division I basketball.

The Perfect Game:  How Villanova's Shocking 1985 Upset of Mighty Georgetown Changed the Landscape of College Hoops Forever  (2013)
by Frank Fitzpatrick

Veteran sportswriter Fitzpatrick chronicles one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history: the underdog Villanova Wildcats' defeat of the mighty Georgetown Hoyas to win the 1985 NCAA Division I tournament.  Almost 30 years later, the duel is still referred to as "the perfect game" -- and the outcome continues to inspire Cinderella teams at every level.

The Last Great Game:  Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds that Changed Basketball  (2012)  by Gene Wojciechowski

March 28, 1992:  the final of the NCAA East Regional, Duke vs. Kentucky.  An 80-foot in-bounds pass from Grant Hill to Christian Laettner, with 2.1 seconds left in overtime.  Veteran sportswriter Wojciechowski recounts the drama behind what many fans consider to be the greatest game -- and greatest shot -- in college basketball history.

Don't Put Me In, Coach:  My Incredible NCAA Journey from the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench  (2012)  by Mark Titus

Mark Titus, author of the popular blog, spent four years warming the bench at Ohio State University, "playing" alongside seven future NBA players, and racking up a total of nine whole points in his career of Big Ten and NCAA tournament play.  A hilarious, uncensored look at life inside an elite NCAA Division I program.

When March Went Mad:  The Game that Transformed Basketball  (2009)
by Seth Davis

On March 26, 1979, Indiana State's Larry Bird squared off against Michigan State's Earvin "Magic" Johnson in an epic NCAA Division I championship game, the only time the future NBA Hall-of-Famers faced each other in their college careers.  The game remains the highest-rated college basketball game in television history.  CBS sports analyst Davis tells the story behind the match-up that transformed the NCAA tournament into the multi-billion dollar franchise that it is today.

Cinderella:  Inside the Rise of Mid-major College Basketball  (2007)
by Michael Litos

Michael Litos spent the 2005-06 season on the front lines of the Colonial Athletic Association, a year when mid-major basketball teams turned the world of college basketball upside down -- including underdog George Mason's historic run to the NCAA's Final Four.  Cinderella is an inside look at the NCAA's mid-major basketball programs, which fight for one shot to battle the elite teams for the national championship.

A Season on the Brink  (1986)  by John Feinstein

Sports journalist John Feinstein was granted unlimited access to legendary basketball coach Bob Knight and his Indiana Hoosiers during their pivotal 1985-86 season -- and his riveting portrayal of the team and its fiery coach remains the bestselling sports book of all time.  A true sports classic, Feinstein's tale reveals the high stakes and emotional toll associated with building a championship-caliber college basketball team. 

Glory Road   DVD  (2006)

This classic sports film tells the true story of future Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins of tiny Texas Western University, who made college basketball history in 1965 by playing the first all-African American starting line-up.  In a turbulent time of social and political change, the team's unlikely success sent shock waves through the sport, ending in an epic showdown with legendary coach Adolph Rupp's all-white, #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats for the national championship.

Schooled:  The Price of College Sports  DVD  (2013)

Sam Rockwell narrates this compelling documentary that examines the business of college football and basketball and the NCAA's treatment of its athletes.  The hard-hitting expose tells a story of how college sports became a billion dollar industry built on dedicated, young athletes who are deprived of numerous rights.  Weaving interviews, archival and behind-the-scenes footage, the documentary sheds a new light on all college sports programs.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

If We Could Talk to the Animals

Ever since Doctor Dolittle mused “If we could talk to the animals” and Charlotte spun SOME PIG, the  idea of communicating with animals has been avidly embraced by young readers. ( If only I could know what they were thinking...)  Along with desire to talk with and listen to our pets and wildlife is the wish to help them.  Grownups might not listen to children, but animals certainly will.  The popularity of this theme is evidenced by the fact that 2 recent Newbery Award winners : The One and Only Ivan and Flora& Ulysses, highlight animals with the ability to communicate as protagonists.  For the animal-loving day dreamer, the following books provide exciting, fantastic adventures within the animal kingdom.
Lionboy Trilogy
Charlie is half African and can talk with cat family, much like his father, the Brother of Lions.  Set in the near future, he sets out from London to seek his kidnapped scientist parents and finds himself on a Paris-bound circus ship learning to train lions. He and the lions join forces as Charlie learns of and attempts to thwart plans by evil pharmaceutical companies intent on making money by increasing an asthma epidemic through genetically altering felines.  The story spins out for 3 books as the plot broadens.  Fast paced and lots of action.  Good for those who have always wanted to be the lion tamer at the circus.
 White Giraffe
Animal Healer Series
 The White Giraffe & sequels 
Is actually set in Africa, as orphaned Martine goes to live on a South African game preserve.  She discovers a mystical ability to commune with and heal wild animals.  She also helps save the game preserve itself from unfriendly intruders.
Mr. & Mrs. Bunny
Mr. & Mrs. Bunny: Detectives Extraordinaire 
As in Lionboy, we start off with a pair of kidnapped parents.  But here the similarity ends.  In this humorous satiric mystery, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny discover a human child can understand them so they attempt to help her find her parents and save the rabbit population from yet another fiendish villain.  More of a peek into a coexisting animal world, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny have further adventures as Lord & Lady Bunny.
Down the Mysterly River
Down the Mysterly River 
Max "the Wolf" is a top-notch Boy Scout, an expert at orienteering, and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger, a black bear, and an old barn cat, all of whom talk, and who are as clueless as Max. Before long, Max and his woodland comrades are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds.  Traditional folklore elements and a rather surprisingly sophisticated twist at the end will either leave readers chuckling or disappointed (and no, it was not all a dream).
Doctor Dolittle series
Doctor Dolittle 
Beginning with The Story of Doctor Dolittle, these gentle adventures of the human doctor who learned the language of animals and became an animal doctor are classics enjoyed by all ages and make good family read-alouds.  Doctor Dolittle is beloved by sick animals and healthy readers all over the world.
Daisy Dawson Is On Her Way
Daisy Dawson Is on Her Way!
Daydreaming Daisy gets kissed by a butterfly one morning and discovers she and all her animal friends can understand each other.  Humorous misunderstandings and adventures follow.  With help, Daisy rescues her beloved basset hound from a mean dogcatcher.  Daisy is delightful in this and other easy chapter books.
Outlandish Adventures
 of Liberty Aimes
  Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes 
Ten-year-old Libby escapes her prison-like home by using a strange concoction of her father's, then tries to make her way to the boarding school of her dreams, aided by various people and animals.  After using some Comprehension Cream, created by her Mad Scientist father, Libby finds she can understand the animal test subjects in his lab. (Evidently they have also used the Cream, as they can understand her, too.)  Telepathy with animals is just one of several paranormal abilities she acquires as she frees herself, turns her evil father over to the police and helps her mother out of her appetite enchantment.
Falcon in the Glass
Falcon in the Glass 
Set in Renaissance Venice, this is the story of Renzo, an apprentice glassblower who takes in a group of children with wild bird companions. Told from his perspective it keeps the reader somewhat mystified as to why the children and birds keep such close communion.
Cyberia Trilogy
Zane discovers that a nefarious vet is attempting to control animal behavior for his own gains, subjecting them to inhumane treatment.  Technology comes into play, as computer chips, wiring and monitoring play a large part in Zane’s ability to communicate with his dog and other animals.  The boy attempts to disconnect both himself and the animal subjects from constant electronic surveillance and experimentation, all the while maintaining a down-to-earth, boy and his dog relationship.  Filled with middle school humor and savvy, Zane’s adventures should especially appeal to boys.

Koko's Story
Koko’s Story 
Talking with animals isn’t all fantasy.  Let’s end with a true life story of animal human communication by reading about Koko, the world famous lowland gorilla who has been taught American Sign Language.  Her ability to both express and comprehend in existing language structure is amazing.  Watch Koko cavort on YouTube