Staff Recommendation: The Philadelphia Story (1940)

I love old movies. And I especially love old movies with Cary Grant in them. I could probably write a whole review about the various Cary Grant films available in our library, because I’m sure I’ve gone through most of them at this point.

Despite the fact that Cary Grant is in this film, full of gentlemanly sharp wit and amazing suits, it is Katherine Hepburn who truly steals the show and makes this her movie. A strong-willed, spoiled, and haughty aristocrat from the Main Line, Hepburn’s character finds herself in a series of awkward situations the day leading up to her wedding to an equally wealthy (yet completely dull) second husband. Grant plays her ex-husband, who invites himself to the wedding festivities, with a tabloid reporter (Jimmy Stewart) and photographer in tow disguised as friends of her brother. Hilarity ensues like most of these 1940s “screwball comedies,” including one of my favorite scenes of Hepburn and Stewart drunkenly dancing late into the night before the wedding day.

People sometimes pre-judge black-and-white films like The Philadelphia Story as being boring and stuffy, but this movie is actually really funny. Watch for a great scene right at the beginning of the film involving Hepburn breaking a golf club over her knee.

If you enjoyed this movie as much as I did (Greenfield Library GD2171), check out Bringing Up Baby, (also available in the Greenfield Library, GD1895) another award-winning film starring Grant and Hepburn as love interests, and equally ridiculous.

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist, Greenfield Library

Staff Recommendation: The Toaster Project: or, A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

Have you ever looked at a simple machine or object and figured, given the right materials, you could make one? If you have, where do you think you would even get those materials? In The Toaster Project, Thomas Thwaites sets out to make, you guessed it, a toaster, completely from scratch. This small book is divided into sections based on the materials needed and how Thwaites sets out to acquire them, from pouring a gooey potato concoction into hand-carved molds to make a kind of plastic, to digging for iron ore. There are even correspondences with different experts who charitably (and with varying levels of enthusiasm) try to help Thwaites with his seemingly ridiculous goal.

I first picked up The Toaster Project in college to pass some time. It’s a pretty short read and, in my opinion, interesting enough that you can get through it in one sitting. It’s ended up really sticking with me, and when I saw it in our collection I knew I had to pick it up again. I think what I love about it is that the book and the project are at once self-contained and expansive. There’s something satisfying about getting from one end of the book to the other, seeing the initial conception of the idea and the journey all the way to the final strange-looking, mildly-functional toaster. Thwaites set out to make something and then made it, and that’s that. But the book also brings up broader questions about industry, the environment, the human experience, and more. Where do your things really come from? How long do they take to make and how long do they last? How separated are we from the production of the things around us? And what even is a toaster?

If you’re interested in those kinds of questions, or just in design, fabrication, sculpture, industry, environmentalism, or really any number of various related topics, I suggest giving this book a try. Aside from the project itself, the writing in the book is honest, funny, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. And if you’re interested in Thwaites’ work, you should also check out another of his well known projects, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

Find The Toaster Project at Greenfield Library, call # NK1447.6.T49 A35 2011

~Recommended by Kait Sanchez, Music Library Circulation Assistant 

Staff Recommendation – David Bowie Made Me Gay

Newly arrived at the UArts Music Library, David Bowie Made Me Gay, by Darryl W. Bullock, is a chronicle of the past century of the extraordinary contributions to the world of music made by people in the LGBTQ community.  Bullock covers several historical time periods, mostly focusing on countries within the Anglosphere. Taking us through the drag parties of the 1920-30s Pansy Craze era, the underground LGBTQ life of the WWII and post-war period, the liberation of the post-Stonewall era, to the ongoing fight for acceptance in American society, Bullock paints the development of LGBTQ music within its own community and larger society.  The growth and enrichment of musical genres such as blues, jazz, pop, and rock flow through the narratives. More than Bowie himself, notable artists portrayed include Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Leslie Gore, Boy George, and George Michael. We recommend this book for anyone with a curious desire to learn more about LGBTQ history, music, and culture.

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music, ML3470 .B85 2017  

 

 

 

 

 

– Mike Romano, Circulation Assistant, Music Library

Staff Recommendation: Princess Mononoke

Released in 1999 and holding a 94% audience approval rating, this Miyazaki film was hailed as “The ‘Star Wars’ of animated features!” by the New York Post. Princess Mononoke brings together the world of the spiritual and the realities of man. Similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, and Miyazaki’s later movie Spirited Away, this film exists in a world where fantasy and reality push against each other as humans seek to destroy the old ways to make way for new.

At the center of the story is a young man named Ashitaka, who makes his way to a mining village after being cursed by a dying animal god.  There he meets Lady Eboshi, whose desire to acquire more iron for the village has put her in direct conflict with the nature gods that inhabit the land nearby who are lead by Princess Mononoke, a human girl raised by the wolf god. As his curse spreads, Ashitaka seeks to find a balance between these two opposing forces before both are destroyed by their own short sightedness.

This incredible film asks the questions; ‘Can Man and Nature coexist?’ ‘Is it possible to stand in the middle of conflict, or must we choose sides?’ ‘Who is really the villain?’ ‘Is there a place for those who are different?’With beautiful animation and subtle storytelling, Hayao Miyazaki asks us to come to our own conclusions through the actions of Ashitaka, Lady Eboshi and Princess Mononoke.

You can find this DVD at the Greenfield Library, stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # GD1475

~ Recommended by Lauralee Martin, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Jazz Italian Style, from its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra

51YF55tFGRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Taking readers on a transatlantic musical journey, Jazz Italian Style explores how jazz permeated Italian culture, both through Italian immigration to the USA, and through the post-WWI introduction of jazz to the peninsula itself.  Jazz, an African-American innovation in music, evolved a distinctive Italian offshoot by the 1930s, due to the works of Italian-Americans on one side of the Atlantic as well as mostly northern Italians on the other side. Italian jazz musicians on both sides of the Atlantic would then in turn influence one another. The resulting distinctive style of jazz  became associated with Italian fascism and was even supported by Mussolini as an expression of national pride. Despite this dark co-optation, the style lives on today and is cherished by many around the world. This book will give you an appreciation for names of musicians such as Nick LaRocca and Gorni Kramer, and a unique picture of how this particular Italian style of jazz influenced the world of music.

This book is available at the UArts Music Library, call # ML3509.I85 C44 2017.

Mike Romano – Circulation Assistant, UArts Libraries

Staff Recommendation – The Artists Way

Do you ever feel creatively blocked, a feeling like all the color and life is lost from your artwork or craft? The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron, is a guidebook designed as a course in creative artistic recovery. Each section of the book describes practices, mindsets, and techniques for creative people, all of which build upon each other, to guide the reader into a more authentic artistic expression. The course is 12 weeks long. The aims include overcoming creative blocks and self-destructive beliefs, while building creative relationships, gaining confidence, and re-connecting to what she believes are the spiritual underpinnings of the creative drive.

In my opinion, this book is a valuable read, even if one does not pursue the entire 12 week course. The various practices described within it encourage one to be more mindful and creative on a consistent basis. For example, the practice of writing a full page of thoughts every morning, described in one chapter early on, can have the effect of bringing one face to face with what is going on the their life, paving the way for action. I recommend this book to anyone with an open mind who feels the need to re-connect to their creative self, whether you want to dive into a full-on course, or could use a few well placed pointers.

The Artists Way is available in the Greenfield Library open stacks at BF408 .C175 1992.

Mike Romano, Music Library Circulation Assistant 

New Year, New Call Numbers!

Dear UArts Community Members,

As some of you may already know, we began a large-scale project in the Greenfield Library in the final months of the Fall 2017 semester. We reclassified every item in our collection from Dewey Decimal call numbers to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Okay, so you might be thinking, why? Well, there are a number of reasons.

  • The Library of Congress system is the standard system in the United States for academic libraries.
  •  It is already in use by the UArts Music Library and will help streamline the collections.

 It is widely regarded as a more effective system to use for classifying and finding academic materials.

You will encounter the LC system throughout your research at UArts and beyond. Even a cursory knowledge of its various sections will help you identify places in the library to browse and find materials. You can find out more about how LC call numbers are structured by taking a look at our UArts Libraries Call Number Guide on our website.In addition, we’ve created an LC subject heading guide, as well as corresponding bookmarks, available at the circulation desk:

The project included putting new labels on the books, removing every book from the shelves, and then moving the books into their new location.

From left to right: Barbara Danin, Acquisitions & Administrative Coordinator, Mary Louise Castaldi, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian, and Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist, sorting books that were relocated to their new sections in the stacks.

Above: William Rooney, UArts Visual Resources & Special Collections Assistant, sorting books with new LC labels into their new respective aisles.

As you can see from the images taken over the holiday break, it was organized chaos with books all over the library (on tables, chairs, carts, and the floor), and staff moving in all directions!

Thanks to the participation of the entire library staff and two very capable student assistants, the project was mostly complete before the beginning of the spring semester despite the interruption of 2.5 snow days. As we continue to power through the final stages of this project, please remember that we are always here to help you navigate your way through the library. Please don’t ever hesitate to visit us or stop by the circulation desk and ask for assistance!


~The UArtsLibraries

Staff Recommendation: Fahrenheit 451

As a librarian and an avid fan of reading in general, I’ve read a lot of books. Well, I’ve read a lot, but there certainly are many books that I still haven’t read yet. Fahrenheit 451, a classic (and often banned) modern novel is one of those books that had me saying to myself, “Why have I never read this?!” Especially since this is a true book lover’s book.

But it’s also more than just that. As Neil Gaiman says in the wonderful introduction to this 60th anniversary edition, “This is a book about caring for things. It’s a love letter to books, but I think, just as much, it’s a love letter to people….” Since I think this book is so magical, I won’t spoil the plot. What I want to focus on is this book’s important message, gloriously amplified by Ray Bradbury’s lyrical descriptions (trust me, he makes describing moonlight sound heavenly).

What I loved so much about Fahrenheit 451 is its striking relevance to our world today, which can often be said for these types of dystopian sci-fi novels. Even though I found myself nodding along to Bradbury’s finger-pointing at the horrible aspects of modern society (which are eerily similar to the world of 2018), I also felt reassured to hear a voice who feels the same way I do. Books matter. Stories matter. People matter. Quiet thought and compassion matters. In a world that seems too loud and insane and imploding in on itself at times, it was refreshing to read the words of an author calling out into the void, saying, “Slow down. Look around you. Care more. Read a book.”

You can check out Fahrenheit 451 from the Greenfield Library at call# PS3503 .R167 F3 2013. This special edition of the book also includes historical context essays and reviews for some in-depth reading.

There is also an audio guide available from Greenfield CDs (GCD409), featuring a radio program and Bradbury discussing his work. We also have the 1966 film available behind the Greenfield circulation desk, just ask for call# GD23Coincidentally, HBO will be premiering a new movie version of Fahrenheit 451, to be released Spring of this year. You can watch the teaser trailer here.

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist at the Greenfield Library

Staff Recommendation: Look Inside, Cutaway Illustrations and Visual Storytelling

LookInside

This fascinating book reveals a variety of cross sections for the reader to gaze at, appreciate, and ponder. The Velasco brothers take the reader through the history and theory of these artistic cutaways, while delving into their aesthetic and edifying qualities.  From grand 19th century buildings, to modern transportation vehicles, and through wild rain forests and the human body itself, the book covers a lot of ground and explores the myriad ways in which these cross sections can be beautiful and educational. Large colorful prints of the cutaways dominate the book and are a reason, in and of themselves, to pick it up and start learning!

This book is available for check out at the Greenfield Library.  Just stop by the circulation desk and ask for call # T11.8 .V85 2016

Mike Romano – Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

 

Philip K. Dick can be regarded as one of the prominent science fiction authors of the 20th century, with many of his works posthumously inspiring film and television adaptations, such as Total Recall, Terminator, The Man in the High Castle, and Minority Report. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of these works, establishing the world of Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking film Blade Runner and its recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Like the 1982 movie, Do Androids focuses on Rick Deckhard’s search for rogue Nexus-6 androids in a futuristic, yet very bleak, California. If you are familiar with the classic Harrison Ford feature, this novel might not be what you are expecting, but it delights nonetheless. Characters like Pris, Rachael, and Roy will be recognizable to those who have seen the 1982 movie, as well as other entities that parallel elements in both films. While the films touch on themes of empathy and “What does it mean to be human?” Dick expands upon these in more detail, taking a very philosophical approach with his writing, almost along the lines of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. If you are looking for a challenging read that will make you puzzle and ponder the meanings of life, yet in the setting of a post-nuclear war America, this is for you.

Available now in the Greenfield Library open stacks at call #: PS3554 .I3 D6 2017 In addition to this great read, the director’s cut of the Blade Runner film can be found behind the Greenfield Library circulation desk, just ask for call #: GD9 !

~ Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist at the Greenfield Library