Essays

Celebrating Black Voices: Jacqueline Woodson & Coretta Scott King Awards Exhibit

Celebrating Black Voices

On Saturday, February 5 from 7–8:15 PM, The Friends of the Library and Monroe County Public Library will host award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater as part of the biennial “Power of Words: Changing Our World One Author at a Time” programming series. The talk is free and open to the public. 

Listen to the internationally acclaimed author, who gives voice to African American life through more than 30 books, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult literature to adult novels. Woodson is a National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature for her New York Times bestselling memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming”, among many other awards. The doors will open at 6:30 PM and tickets are not required. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required per the Buskirk-Chumley Theater’s policy.

   
Think Library    Adults    Teens   

Quaranzine, Vol. 3

Quaranzine, Vol 3

Welcome to the third issue of the Library's community Quaranzine!

There are two different versions––one is for reading on a screen, and the other has been imposed so it can be printed at home, folded, stapled, and read in that fashion. Select short-side binding on most printers to print correctly.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this zine. Please consider contributing to the next issue, coming September 1!

   
Connect    Essays    Local Interest    Read   
Think Library    Adults    Teens    Zines   

Sherwood Forest Digital Zine Library

Sherwood Forest Virtual Zine Library

Looking to read more online zines? The Sherwood Forest Zine Library, based in Austin, Texas, has a truly amazing and updated collection of free digital zines. The collection ranges from topics on self care, food and music zines, to an updated collection of state policing and protesting zines. Updated frequently, polished, and easy to use, this zine archive is definitely worth checking out.

They are also adding to their zine collection actively, so if you have a pdf of a zine you’d like to submit, you can be published on their website!

   
Create    DIY    Essays    Learn    Read   
Think Library    Adults    Teens    Zines   

The Best American Essays 2015

The year 2015 has rushed out the exit door, but no worries, this wonderful mix of essays is not time-centric.

My favorite in the collection I randomly chose first. Sorry, editor, Ariel Levy, I just dive into these collections and start reading wherever my finger lands. Tim Kreider’s “A Man and his Cat” describes a single fellow’s devotion for his cat.  How one small nonhuman creature fills his home with love and his life with a sense of purpose.

On the other hand, in the humorous sounding essay “My Grandma the Poisoner” John Reed makes a strong case that the early deaths of several relatives and the upset stomachs and inertia of certain houseguests were not accidental. Reed found himself comatose for fourteen hours several times after eating a Grandma meal.

The sweet and spot-on “65” describes how aging has affected one boomer’s life.  Mark Jacobson milks the slowing down and aches and pains of age for all they are worth. The tone is light but the sentiments serious, especially when he ponders the overarching question, how did this happen to me.

   
Nonfiction    Essays   

Limber

Nature, particularly trees are central to this lovely book of essays.  Several of the narratives were unusual enough that I wondered if they had been fictionalized. They seemed more like creative nonfiction than essays. For instance, “Moon Trees” begins with this sentence, “There are cinnabar trees growing on the moon. “ But soon the world of facts—and interesting ones—becomes paramount.

Did you know that astronaut Stuart Roosa brought lots of tree seeds—katsura, loblolly pine, sycamore, sweet gum, and redbud onto Apollo 14’s moon expedition?  Unfortunately, he did not get chosen to land on the moon so he brought these seeds back, and 450 of them were planted and studied by scientists. But they just grew normally like tree seeds that had never left Earth. However, for a brief while, Roosa got to combine his early career as a forest service Smoke Jumper (saving beautiful trees) and an astronaut whirling through space.

   
Limber   
Essays    Nonfiction   

The Best American Essays 2013

The Best American Series may seem like a boring reading choice, but whenever I choose a volume from it, I am rewarded to discover new and unfamiliar authors. Plus, reading this series helps me to nudge my book selections in fresh directions. Wilderness writer Cheryl Strayed edited The Best American Essays 2013 and her intriguing selections offered lots of surprises.

Here are examples of a few of the titles: “Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel,” “Highway of Lost Girls,” “My Father’s Women,” “I’m Jumping off the Bridge,” and “Confessions of an Ex-Mormon.”  In “I’m Jumping off the Bridge” Kevin Sampsell, a bookseller at Portland’s Powell Books—my favorite bookstore in the world, described dealing with a suicidal patron and how artfully he handled it. But as the essay continues, you realize that the bookseller had considered suicide himself.

In the chilling “Highway of Lost Girls” Vanessa Veselka decided to investigate the murder of some female hitchhikers in the 1980s. During that time period, she had a terrifying experience while hitchhiking.  A truck driver had exited the highway and transported her down a back road. He stopped and pulled out a knife demanding that she climb in the

   
Nonfiction    Essays   

Roger Ebert: Film Critic and Writer

Life ItselfRoger Ebert, film critic extraordinaire and Pulitzer Prize winner, died last week after a battle with cancer.  Immediately following his death, there were lots of quotes circulating online from Ebert which reminded me what a great writer he was.  In writing about movies, Ebert was able often able to put his finger on the pulse of real life human behavior and articulate the human condition - both the happy and the sad.  I forgot how funny he was, and his reviews are a joy to read even if you disagree on the rating.

Those interested in starting with the basics, check out his Movie Yearbooks - complete with movie reviews, essays, tributes, journal entries, and new additions to his popular Movie Glossary.  If you are looking for critiques that might lead you to viewing of really good movies, try The Great Movie series. However, some of Ebert's best writing was in critiquing bad movies.  If you aren't looking for movie suggestions, but just some hilarious examples of his writing check out Your Movie Sucks

   

Proper care and feeding of your DVDs, CDs and BluRays.

Not this wayWhen compact discs first came out they were proclaimed to be almost indestructible.  I still remember watching the Today Show and being amazed as the new media storage for music was demonstrated.  Part of the demonstration was taking a small hammer and hitting the CD disc with it.  A wonder of wonders; the disc still played.  Looking back on this event today I wonder if the disc would have played all the way through.   The Idea that digital disc storage was indestructible has been more than a little overblown.  Digital discs need the same care and sometimes greater care than the old vinyl recordings.   I would like to share with you some guidelines for caring for your digital discs. "

   
TV & Movies    Essays    DIY    Music   

Tips for Finding Foreign Films using the Library Catalog

I will admit it, creating a list of foreign films using the library's catalog can be a frustrating experience for many patrons;  however,  it can be done and it is simpler than you might think.  Here are some tips to help you generate a list of foreign films in various languages.

   
TV & Movies    Essays    Science   

China in Ten Words

Although I've spent some time in Asia, I never visited China, so when I came across this personal narrative that combines essays on life in modern China with growing up during the Cultural Revolution, I couldn't resist. Through the focus of ten simple words, contemporary novelist Yu Hua presents a vivid picture of how Chinese life has changed in many ways, yet in others remained the same for over fifty years. With humor and an incisive take on his own culture, Hua shows how conformity vies with individuality in his country and how conformity often wins.

The chapter titled "Leader" focuses on the era of Mao Zedong. Although Yu was only a boy when Mao was Chairman, Yu entered the spirit of things by writing big-character posters. These were signs that were put up in all public place: movie theaters, schools, stores, and outside people's houses. In these anonymous signs, people criticized their neighbors for being landlords or for not following the precepts of the little red book. Yu Hua himself wrote many about his teachers and parents. In fact, he traces his love of writing from this childhood activity.

   

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