Happy Birthday, Doris!

Century GirlA friend told me about the book Century Girl: 100 years in the life of Doris Eaton Travis, last living star of the Ziegfeld Follies, by Lauren Redniss, a mind-blowingly original and unique illustrated biography of Doris Eaton.  I love this book so much for all its cultural cross referencing and magnificent handwritten text, memorabilia and photo montages.  It discusses the social and cultural movements that shaped her career from the age of fourteen when she became the youngest chorus girl to ever join the Follies.  She interacted with so many stars and famous people, you’ll hardly believe it’s possible!  It would take 10 lifetimes for most people to accomplish what she was able to do in just one: “from receiving her honorary doctorate at age 101, she starred in silent and talking pictures, performing for presidents and princesses, bantered with Babe Ruth, offended Henry Ford, outlived six siblings, wrote a newspaper column, hosted a tv show, earned a Phi Beta Kappa degree in history (at 88), raised turkeys, and raced horses. And that’s just for starters.”– from the title page.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about this one-of-a-kind book–by far the best I’ve read in a long time.   March 14th is her 104th birthday—Happy Birthday Doris!

~ Amy

Dijiste Que Me Querías: Como Sobrellevar lo Impensable por Maria Antonieta Collins

 Our library serves people speaking many languages. Here is one of them.

dijiste-que-me-querias-book-cover.jpgMaria Antonieta es una escritora fácil de leer, con un colorido y peculiar lenguaje. En este libro nos narra el sufrimiento y dolor que soporto con la enfermedad de su esposo Fabio Fajardo; para después descubrir que su amado esposo cometió bigamia y estaba casado con otra mujer en Colombia. ¿Cómo un hombre que dice quererla como nadie pudo haberla engañado de esa manera? He leído casi todos los libros de María Antonieta pero este me ha sorprendido muchísimo. Quizás porque no logro entender por que ella siguió con él al descubrir el engaño. ¿Es posible perdonar un engaño de esta naturaleza? No lo sé y tampoco quiero averiguarlo. Pero si nos enseña mucho de la calidad humana de Maria Antonieta, que se enteró de toda la verdad de a poquitos. ¿Qué lleva a un hombre a cometer ésta clase de delito? ¿Piensa acaso que nadie lo va a descubrir como quiere hacernos creer Fabio? Este libro es como una telenovela, con María Antonieta como la actriz principal y Fabio como el malo de la telenovela. Ojala les guste a ustedes, como me gustó a mí pero que me dejó un sabor agridulce cuando lo termine de leer.   ~ Marcela

Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?

dalai-lama-book-cover.jpgA historic five-day gathering to focus the world’s attention on the importance of nurturing kindness and compassion will take place at large-scale venues in Seattle from April 11 to 15, 2008. This spiritually-significant event will include public presentations by the Dalai Lama, as well as other luminaries. For a complete listing of events see Seeds of Compassion.

At the local level, the children’s, young adult and adult services librarians at Green Lake Branch are inspired to join forces and mount an interactive display, and to compile a list of suggested books for all age levels in the community. We invite you to visit our Branch to exchange seed packets in our “Sow Seeds of Compassion” display.

We also invite YOU, the reader, to contribute to and expand this list for our diverse communities in Seattle, and elsewhere. What books are you familiar with that signify compassion, or can help people become more compassionate by reading them? Feel free to provide your favorite author/title(s) and short comments at the end of this list. Let’s share our knowledge and awareness of compassion so that everyone can benefit!

Sow Seeds of Compassion:

Recommended Reading for adults, teens and children

 

ADULT BOOKS

Kindness in a Cruel World by Nigel Barber

Buddha Heart, Buddha Mind by Robert R. Barr

Ordinary Grace by Kathleen Brehony Continue reading “Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?”

What are your sure-fire hits when it comes to books?

If you’re looking in on Shelf Talk, chances are good you are a “book person,” and as such, are probably the go-to person for friends and family when it comes to what books they should read. This task requires much thought. What do they normally like to read? What mood have they been in recently? Are they hoping for a surprise, or books similar to what they usually read?
corellis-mandolin-book-cover.jpg Sometimes, however, it is just a matter of putting a title out there so they have something to read. This is the wonderful moment where I pull out my “sure-fire hits” (SFH). SFH are those books that satisfy such a wide variety of readers that they can be suggested to any friend, loved-one or library patron with a high likelihood that they will be enjoyed. These are books that somehow seem to be all things literary in one package. They are intelligent, yet approachable; thoughtful, yet exciting; and wise, yet current and novel.
My number one SFH is Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres. This novel has a war story, love story, historical tale, and comedy all rolled into one. It is the engrossing story of life on a small Greek island during WWII and the ways in which the citizens coped with life under Italian, then German occupation.
confederacy-of-dunces book cover.jpg The other title that has worked as a standby for an any-situation read is the hilarious A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Toole’s tale follows Ignatius J. Reilly, an ever-indignant and deluded man-child, as he single-handedly wreaks havoc on 1960s New Orleans. The book, like all great satire, is filled with moments of outrageous and nearly ridiculous hilarity while remaining intelligent and insightful.
Now that the secret of my SFH’s are out, what books do you rely on for the on-the-spot recommendation? ~ Erik

(Reading About) The Great Outdoors

One of the things I love about living in Seattle is our proximity to the ocean and mountains and old-growth forests. Hey, occasionally you can even see the mountains (when it’s not overcast).  Alas, I don’t seem to get out into the great outdoors as often as I would like, but the next best thing to being there is reading about it.

For finding good Nature reads, one place to start is the National Outdoor Book Awards (“Honoring the best in outdoor writing and publishing”).

Following are some other books about the natural world that I’ve enjoyed:sandcountryalmanac.jpg

A Sand Country Almanac, and Sketches Here and There by Leopold Aldo

First published in 1949, this book by one of our country’s foremost conservationists was hailed by the New York Times as “full of beauty and vigor and bite.”

If you enjoy nature writing and personal accounts of extreme outdoor adventure, you can’t go wrong with the classic Continue reading “(Reading About) The Great Outdoors”