Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Kelly, another librarian here at SLPL, forwarded me this item about DailyLit (see below). She said that she now begins her mornings by reading a brief installment from Dracula (my all-time favorite horror novel). WelI, I guess that's one way to wake up your brain and get your blood pumping.


"DailyLit sends books in installments via e-mail. DailyLit currently offers over 400 classic public domain titles that can be subscribed to and read in their entirety for free." Includes some in French, Italian, and Spanish. Search, or browse by title, author, or category. The entry for each work includes a preview of the first installment and the number of installments (such as 675 for "War and Peace" and 149 for "Pride and Prejudice").

Annotation from Librarians' Index to the Internet,

BTW: Kelly said that each daily installment is about a 5 minute read.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Movie: No Country For Old Men

The Coen Brothers, the directing duo that brought you the movies Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou (among many others), have made Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country For Old Men into a movie. It's being released on November 21. I've not read the book, but the NYTimes blog Papercuts calls it "McCarthy's Murder Ballad," so it's a safe bet this movie will have its share of violence and gore. Still, I'll probably be in line the opening weekend. I'm a huge fan of the Coen Brothers writing and directing, the cast looks great, and the trailer leaves me wanting to see more. Hope it delivers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why Women Read More Fiction Than Men

The same recent AP/Ispsos poll that found that the typical American read only four books last year, also reported that men accounted for only 20 percent of the fiction market.

In an essay called Why Women Read More Fiction Than Men, Eric Weiner, a National Correspondent for NPR, examines what's know as the "fiction gap" and offers up some interesting, if speculative theories as to why it exists.
Why Women Read More Fiction Than Men, September 5, 2007 · A couple of years ago, British author Ian McEwan conducted an admittedly unscientific experiment. He and his son waded into the lunch-time crowds at a London park and began handing out free books. Within a few minutes, they had given away 30 novels.

Nearly all of the takers were women, who were "eager and grateful" for the freebies while the men "frowned in suspicion, or distaste." The inevitable conclusion, wrote McEwan in The Guardian newspaper: "When women stop reading, the novel will be dead."Link to article.

Man Booker Prize: Short List Announced

The short list for the Man Booker Prize was announced last week.

The six titles shortlisted are:

  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)
  • Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
For the full story, here's the link:

The above titles that are underlined, link directly to our library catalog. You can click on them to see if they're checked in. If they're checked out, you can put them on hold.

I've put in an order for two of the books: The Gathering and Mister Pip. With any luck, they'll be added to the collection within the next month or so.

And as best I can tell, the other two titles, Darkmans and Animal's People have not been published in the U.S.A. yet.

Books We'll Be Reading Next Year

At the last Reader's Roundtable meeting we selected the books we'll be reading for the February to May 2008 meetings. It's quite a diverse list this time around, but it seems to strike a nice balance between serious and light reading. Anyway, it's always an adventure to discover new books. The chosen titles are listed below along with a brief description.

Philadelphia Fire: A Novel by John Edgar Wideman

In 1985 the police bombing of a West Philadelphia row house owned by the back-to-nature, Afrocentric cult known as Move killed eleven people and started a fire that destroyed sixty other houses. Inspired by this incident, this novel follows Cudjoe, a writer and exile who returns to the neighborhood a decade later to search for the lone survivor of the fire, a young boy who was seen running from the flames.
Saturday, February 2

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
Author Vida Winter is old, ailing and ready to reveal the truth about the violent and tragic past she has kept secret. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida mesmerizes her with a life of gothic strangeness, and together, they learn to confront the ghosts that have haunted them.
Saturday, March 1

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates Biafra’s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, by following the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress. And Richard is a shy young Englishman captivated by Olanna’s twin sister. As Nigerian troops advance and the three run for their lives, their ideals and loyalties are severely tested.
Saturday, April 5

Timothy, or Notes of an Abject Reptile by Verlyn Klinkenborg
Timothy, the world’s most famous, most studied tortoise, once lived in the garden of eighteenth-century curate Gilbert White. Here, he speaks out on his life in the garden, his nine-day adventure outside the gate, his observations of the curious habits and habitations of humans, and the natural world around him. Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving and enchanting at every–careful–turn, Timothy surprises and delights.
Saturday, May 3

Saturday, September 1, 2007

DVDs: Great Writers

The library is currently acquiring two DVD series featuring documentaries on literary luminaries. One series is called Great Writers with DVD's featuring writers such as Joseph Conrad, Truman Capote, Salman Rushdie, and others.

The other series is called Great Women Writers. Currently, we have DVDs on Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, and Emily Bronte.

You'll find the DVDs in the Biography section under the author's last name. They can be checked out individually for two weeks. Each DVD is about 45 minutes long and contains biographical information, commentary, archival documents, and interviews.

I find documentaries like this helpful for several reasons. First, they are an easy way to bone up on authors I'm unfamiliar with and get a handle on their major themes. Two, I'm fascinated to see tangible proof of their existence: where they lived, the type of people they knew, and the ephemera they produced. Finally, if I can see an interview with a writer or hear his or her voice, it sometimes another level of appreciation for me.

If you're interested in watching these DVD's, they are being ordered and cataloged on an ongoing basis, so keep checking the catalog for the latest additions or ask for them at the Information Desk.

NYTimes: A Space for Us

In the New York Times Sunday Book Review, 9/2/07, there's an amusing essay called "A Space for Us," by novelist Pagan Kennedy. In it she reflects on the how the relationship between author and reader is becoming more interactive in the age of online networking sites such as MySpace.
But for authors and readers, MySpace offers something entirely new: a forum where we can finally meet and get to know one another — or even collaborate in literary games. For instance, soon after the novelist Matt Haig put up a MySpace profile to promote his book “The Dead Fathers Club,” he received a message that would make any writer’s heart thump. Someone wanted to “friend” him, and that someone was none other than ... William Shakespeare. Shakespeare “sent a message telling me how much he enjoyed my work,” Haig explained to me (via MySpace mail). “I returned the compliment and told him ‘King Lear’ was pretty good, too, and that I’m sure he has a solid career ahead of him.”
Link to full article.