History Gone Missing

Once upon a time, I was a history major and I think I stay pretty current, historically speaking.  One day, not too long ago, I realized that I had basically missed an entire era and civilization.  Byzantium – hummm, wasn’t that some sort of precursor to the Ottoman Empire.  Decadent and short lived right?  Wrong. 

In late 2009, I stumbled across Lars Brownworths’ podcast series – 12 Byzantine Rulers: the history of the Byzantine Empire and I was stunned.  And then I was hooked.  The Roman Empire didn’t fall in A.D. 476 but survived for another thousand years in glorious splendor (and yes, decadence) with its magnificent new capital at Byzantium.  The podcast series is delightful and Brownsworth deserves all the praise heaped upon him. Continue reading “History Gone Missing”

New Podcast Series: Seattle Biblio Café

Seattle Biblio CafeLooking for some good books to read? Want to know what librarians are reading?

Then tune in to a new podcast series started by a group of Fiction librarians called Seattle Biblio Café.

This short podcast — about the same time as a coffee break — features  librarians talking about books they’ve read recently. Take a coffee break or quick walk with us! 

We have more Biblio Café podcasts coming up, and each one will feature a different mix of librarians and a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles. Download (or subscribe), enjoy and look out for the next installment!

Oliver Sacks walked my dog this morning

Oliver Sacks has been hanging out on my iPod for a few months. I actually forgot he was there until this morning when I was looking through my podcasts and found his presentation at the Central Library. At one hour and one minute, that’s about the right length for a walk with my hound, Owen.

And let me tell you, those were 61 fascinating minutes spent as Sacks, a neurologist and author, talked about his research and writing for Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.

I have my computer set up so that the Library’s podcasts automatically download to my iTunes Continue reading “Oliver Sacks walked my dog this morning”

Who’s your favorite audio book reader?

Many of us relinquished the pleasure of listening to stories as part of the process of “growing up.” A couple years ago I realized that I could reclaim that delight, and became hooked on audio books. Now, I can’t imagine riding the bus or walking to work without a good story to listen to.

The reader’s voice is so important in audio books. I’ve had to stop listening to otherwise good books because the narrator’s voice grated on me, and conversely some readers have become such valued companions that I’ve branched out of my genre comfort zone to follow a particular reader.

Following, in no particular order, is a list of FAVORITE AUDIO READERS based on an informal poll of Library staff:

Frank McCourt
Reading his own books, especially Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man. His lilting Irish brogue is so integral to the text, it’s hard to imagine that a anyone reading words on a page could appreciate his genius and side-splitting humor.

Lynne Thigpen

She’s a great reader and records a number of contemporary literary African American authors including Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Maya Angelou and Virginia Hamilton.

Jen Taylor
Reading Elizabeth Berg’s trilogy Joy School, True to Form, & Durable Goods.  Jen, a local actress, captures the sweet innocence of a little girl’s voice without the cutesy cliches. From the first sentence, you strike an Continue reading “Who’s your favorite audio book reader?”

High adventure and inspiration

 Do you like a touch of inspiration with your real-life adventure?

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Tby Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin errorism and Build Nations — One School a3cupsoftea.jpgt a Time

OK, I’ll admit I picked up this book because “everyone’s reading it.” It was featured in The Seattle Public Library’s “September Project” and the author Greg Mortenson, mountain climber turned humanitarian, spoke at the Library (listen to the podcast).  But what really grabbed me once I started reading this book were the descriptions of mountain climbing in the forbidding Karkoram mountains of northern Pakistan and Mortenson’s encounters with tribal people in Korphe, a village nestled high in the mountains, who had never seen foreigners before. Continue reading “High adventure and inspiration”