Information, Answers & Reviews

The New York Dog

ISBN: 
9781617690907

There are dog people in this world and then there others! Sorry, cat afionados. But for you lovers of all things canine, this new book of photographs with New Yorker's "best friend" stories will charm you. When you think of it, what could be more counterintuitive than a Manhattan or Brooklynite pup? Imagine the crowds (homo sapien primarily), the honking horns, lights, and police and fire sirens. It's enough to set even a human howling.

The photos are lovely. They include: an endearing poodle with its mouth open leaning into the wind from a cab window, a Great Dane crossing a car-filled side street, and several mixed breeds running free past colorful graffitied walls. There's even a refreshing series of summer beach scenes with dogs coated in sand or racing into the surf. Famous photographer William Wegman is shown with four of his graceful dog models: Flo, Topper, Candy, and Bobbin. Read more »

Monroe County Public Library Adds More Sunday Hours

Monroe County Public Library's hours are changing for the first time in 25 years, highlighted by 2 additional open hours on Sundays at the Main Library in downtown Bloomington. Beginning September 2, the Library's new hours will be:

Main Library Hours

Monday–Thursday .... 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

Friday–Saturday .... 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sunday .... Noon–6 p.m.

Ellettsville Branch Hours

Monday–Thursday .... 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Friday–Saturday .... 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sunday .... 1–5 p.m.

The Library's decision to increase Sunday hours at the Main Library is driven be three factors—the request for "expanded weekend hours" in the Library’s 2012 Community Survey, the recent addition of parking meters in downtown Bloomington that have created new barriers to Library service for many, and interest expressed by the Board of Trustees to review hours for the first time in 25 years. 

“Our goal with the hour shift is to make it easier for people to visit the library,” says Library Director, Sara Laughlin. “We’d like to see those people who have not been coming because of the parking or because of the schedule.”

With the expansion of Sunday hours, the Library also hopes to make downtown Bloomington a Sunday destination for community members. The new Sunday hours will provide more opportunities for community organizations to host meetings and events at the Library. Downtown businesses and community organizations can contact the Library for partnership opportunities and to book meeting rooms or the auditorium. 

With the newly renovated auditorium about to open, the Library will be hosting a greater variety of entertainers and programs. Sunday program highlights in the new auditorium this fall include:

  • Talk Like a Pirate, with The Pirate Flags from 4–5 p.m. on Sunday, September 21. Live music with Bloomington’s own band of scurrilous rogues, The Pirate Flags.
  • Silver Screen Sundays at 3 p.m. every fourth Sunday: 9/28, 10/26, 11/23. Classic movies on the big screen.
  • "Good Night and May God Bless" from 2–3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 19. Storyteller Stephanie Holman on the early life of Hoosier Red Skelton.
  • Nutcracker Fantasy from 2–3 p.m. on Sunday, November 16. Dancers from IU Jacobs School of Music perform The Nutcracker ballet.
  • Gustafer Yellowgold's Show from 1:30–2:15 p.m. on Sunday, November 30. Morgan Taylor's multimedia performance featuring his character Gustafer.

In order to add the additional hours on Sunday, the Main Library shifted its Friday and Saturday hours to 10 a.m.–6 p.m.  The Ellettsville Branch hours also shifted slightly.  The branch will now be open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Problems with People

ISBN: 
9780385351485

This is Guterson’s first story collection in nearly twenty years. Ignore the bland title for these stories set in his native Northwest and in foreign countries including Germany, South Africa, and Nepal are muscular, well-written, and anchored with a deep sense of place.  An air of melancholy and of possible tragedy hangs over a few of them, especially two of my favorites, “Pilanesberg” and “Krassavitseh.”

In “Pilanesberg” a brother visits his sister in Africa to go wildlife viewing, but you soon discover that the sister has cancer and her favorite thing to do is “sleep.” They share a wonderful experience viewing big mammals: elephants, tigers, etc. but the trip is marred by the fact that they animals are fenced in, and the couple find themselves at dusk locked in as well.  Next follows a humorous and ludicrous conversation with the gatekeeper who says he cannot let them out. Read more »

Richard Attenborough: 1923 – 2014

Richard AttenboroughThis last Sunday brought us the passing of actor, producer and director Richard Attenborough.  He is perhaps most recently remembered today as John Hammond, the eccentric founder of Jurassic Park.    However, he has been involved in the movies since 1942.  Besides being on screen as an actor he has produced thirteen films, including Gandhi and Cry Freedom. He directed twelve films including Gandhi, A Chorus Line and A Bridge Too Far. The library has a nice collection of his films.  We hope you enjoy them.

 

     Richard Attenborough


From the color of Your Eyes to Your Type of Earwax

ISBN: 
9781440567643

If the last thing you learned about genes was Gregor Mendel’s pea pod experiments, you might want to try this easy to read science book to get up to speed about many fascinating changes in hereditary theory.

For instance, humans have only 20,000 to 25,000 genes, downgraded from a previous estimate of 100,000.  In comparison, a tiny water flea--barely visible to our naked eye--has about 31,000.

You’ve heard the word genome in the news and on PBS. Your genome is your full set of genes. Every cell in your body gets a copy of the full set although each cell cannot read all of them.  By the way, the word “cell” came from Robert Hooke, the first person who saw them in the 1600s. When he first discovered them under a microscope, they reminded him of monks’ cells.

Other interesting facts about your genome.  The chromosomes scientists have discovered have something to do with either inherited diseases or traits. For instance, chromosome 1 is associated with deafness, schizophrenia and maple syrup disease.  (You read that right!) If you have red hair, thank chromosome 2.  Blue or green eyes?  Chromosome 19 is for you.  And yes, previously scientists thought that there were only two possibilities for eye color: brown or blue.  Those green eyes, they just tagged as a variant of blue. Read more »

The Book of Unknown Americans

ISBN: 
9780385350846

With immigration a hot button issue both politically and in the news, it was interesting to read Cristina Henriquez’s second novel The Book of Unknown Americans. It tells the stories of various immigrants (from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries) who have all landed in Delaware.

The book opens with a family’s arrival at night from the border. A paid driver has brought Arturo, Alma, and their daughter Maribel to this immigrant enclave outside of Dover.  They are legal immigrants given papers to work on a mushroom farm.  Or at least Arturo will work there. They have come primarily to get special schooling for 15 year old Maribel who fell off a ladder at her father’s construction site in Mexico and has brain damage.

The story of this family is the heartwood of the novel. But woven in are life stories of other immigrants including a boxer, who came to the states to win matches but became instead a landlord, and an actress who worked hard to make it in New York City, but came to Delaware and formed her own theatre. 

This beautiful books gives you a feel of how hard it is to start life over in a new place, not understanding the language or culture.  It also explores issues of guilt and secrecy, and how they affect even the strongest of marriages. Read more »

Safety Not Guaranteed

ISBN: 
043396407428

“Wanted:  Someone to go back in time with me.  This is not a joke.  You’ll get paid after we get back.  Must bring your own weapons.  I have only done this once before.  SAFTEY NOT GUARANTEED.” 

The above classified advertisement along with a contact PO Box address that appeared in a local paper near Seattle Washington sets the stage for Safety Not Guaranteed.  The ad intrigues a reporter for a Seattle based magazine. Is the man who placed it crazy, disturbed or legit? For reasons of his own he sells his editor on the idea of checking it out as a human interest story.   He takes along two interns: one of whom, Darius, ends up applying for the position in order to get the story behind the ad. Read more »

Touching Strangers

ISBN: 
9781597112499

Anyone with the ability to get a stranger to pose for a camera while touching two or three other strangers in New York City must have both courage and amazing diplomatic skills. Enter photographer Richard Renaldi. Since 2007 Renaldi has been hauling his big, 8 by 10 inch view camera not just around New York, but around other cities and towns across America.  This cool involving book presents some of the amazing portraits he’s created.

The juxtapositions are captivating: ages, races, classes, sexes, outfits, jewelry, tattoos, and indoor and outdoor settings all present a panoply of portraits of 21st century Americans. In “Jesse and Michael,” a bearded middle-aged man in an orange sweatshirt and woolen cap clutches the hands of a very old woman wearing a wig, with her cane draped over her purse.  Atlantic Ocean waves break behind them.

“Pedro and Neal” touch in some kind of shop or factory.  Pedro sits, his body exuding confidence and authority, a radio attached to his shirt.  Neal in a blue cap has claimed a perch on Pedro’s desk and Neal places one hand on Pedro’s shoulder, another around his wrist.

“Michael and Sarah” look like they could be engaged. Sarah leans into Michael’s shoulder on the NYC subway during winter—both wear coats and hats; their opposite hands are clasped on Sarah’s left wrist. Read more »

Lauren Bacall 1924 - 2014

ISBN: 
0060755350

Yesterday we lost one of the most memorial actresses of classic film, Lauren Bacall. She exploded on to the silver screen in 1944 in the film To Have and Have Not as Marie “Slim” Browning opposite Humphry Bogart.  Few could forget the sultry look and delivery of one her most famous lines, “You know how to whistle, don’t you?  You just put your lips together and blow.”   This film also introduced her to Humphry Bogart the man who would later become her husband, in a life imitates art moment.  They were together until his passing in 1957. It is said that she placed a whistle in his coffin as a memorial to the line and film that brought them together.  She stared in more than forty-three films in her career.  In 2010 she was given an honorary Academy Award of her work in what is termed the Golden Age of Hollywood.

     Lauren Bacall

Robin Williams 1951 - 2014

Robin WilliamsLast night I read that we had lost one of the greats; Robin Williams was no longer with us.  When we think of him we most often think of his almost manic comedy.  He was one of the best, and perhaps one of the few that could go one on one with the late great Johnathan Winters in comedy improvisation.   We know however that Robin Williams was also a great actor.  Like many comedians his view of life gave him great insight into the human condition and he was able to bring this to his more serious roles.  He will be missed.  

          Books and Films by Robin Williams

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