Jakob Von Gunten is a novel by the mostly forgotten Swiss writer Robert Walser. Published in 1909, the novel tells the story of a boy named Jakob Von Gunten and his time at the Benjementa Institute — a school for servants. The novel is based off of Walser’s own experiences at servant school and as a butler. The title character is also the narrator of the story. He tells his surreal accounts of going to the school, living in a city away from his parents and interacting with the principal and teacher of the school. Even though Jakob is somewhat of an unreliable narrator and all-around snot-nosed brat, his story makes for a fascinating read.
Recommended by Isabella Braun, Music Library Work Study Assistant
All throughout the first thirteen years of our educations we’ve been swamped and regaled with tales of the men who shaped our society into what it is today. We learn about the founding fathers and various kings and popes, but what about the women working both in the spotlight and behind the scenes? Jones presents us with another history, a history filled with women ready to lead armies and topple government expectations, all the while owning their sexuality and the power that comes with it. Here are women who have transcended history and marched into the realm of legend.
Jones takes us to the legendary Amazons and their incredible feats of power and military tactics that placed them squarely in the realm of fearsome myth, and whose legacies helped shape the DC heroine Wonder Woman. After this we visit the Battle Queens of Arabia, Kali’s Daughters of India, the British Isles, Africa, and Asia. We meet women such as Bat Zabbai, who conquered the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and the female pirate Hsi Kai Ching, who terrorized the Chinese government for years and retired as one of the most successful pirates in history. To anyone looking for strong, self-empowered women, this book delivers.
My Best Fiend is a documentary by the famous German director Werner Herzog about his tumultuous relationship with actor Klaus Kinski. Herzog and Kinski worked together on five films. The documentary details all sides of Kinski’s personality, including examples with massive arguments between Kinski and Herzog, some even involving the film crews. There are also many parts of the documentary that humanized Kinski. You do not have to watch any of Herzog’s or Kinski’s films to enjoy this story about a crazy relationship between two hardworking men of cinema.
Recommended by Isabella Braun – Music Library Work Study Assistant
Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins is a witty and funny — but never corny — love story between an environmentalist vegetarian princess, Leigh-Cherri, and an on-the-run outlaw, The Woodpecker, who was in jail for bombing a number of buildings. They both meet at a environmental convention in Hawaii where the Woodpecker wants to wreak havoc at and Princess is simply trying to enjoy her vacation. The pair end up becoming somewhat star- crossed lovers and are separated by the Princess Leigh-Cherri’s royal parents who do not approve of their relationship. The rest of the story follows both characters as they attempt to reunite. In typical Robbins fashion the whole novel has absurd scenes that will make you question what you’re reading. Some of the covered topics include aliens, redheads, and a pack of Camel cigarettes. This novel will keep you laughing and genuinely curious as to whether or not the Princess and the Woodpecker will live happily ever after.
Recommended by Isabella Braun, Music Library Work Study Assistant
Philadelphia is a city which is built upon layers of immigration. In the centuries since its founding, people have traversed oceans to land here and make this their home, transforming our city in the process. These essays include stories and struggles of older arrivals such as the Germans, Irish, Jews, Puerto Ricans, Chinese, and Italians, and also cover the immigration taking place in more recent history, which includes groups such as Indians, Mexicans, Southeast Asians, and Ethiopians. This book helps the reader understand how immigration is and has been vital for a vibrant and competitive Philadelphia, and how the immigrants and their descendants continue to change and enhance the cultural face of our city.
This title is currently on exhibit at the Greenfield Library, and is available for immediate check-out, call number 305.800974811 G51t.
Mary Oliver’s poems have a soft natural glow to them. They deal with a wonder for nature and the world around us. Each poem gives an opportunity to refocus on the parts of our day that are often forgotten like the wind in the leaves and the ants beneath our feet.
The effect of Mary Oliver’s poetry is quieting and eye-opening. In tough times, people often turn to poetry to find a sense of solace or understanding. Mary Oliver speaks to the broader troubles of the world by reminding us of the world we are in and often fail to be aware of or marvel at.
In her most recent novel, The Blessings, Elise Juska explores the connections between members of a large family. From birth to death, divorce and strained marriages, leaving home for the first time and learning what it means to take on the traditions of the family, this work follows the lives of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and gives the reader no shortage of personal triumphs and losses to explore and understand. Through her deft use of differing narrators spanning four generations of the Blessings’s family tree, Juska pushes us to ask ourselves how much of our identity is shaped by family, and what happens when we step outside those boundaries.
The UArts Libraries is proud is recognize Juska as an esteemed faculty member of our own institution.
These poems and stories are beautifully woven thoughts that almost jump off the page with fresh humor and poignant memories. They surprise and delight with their colorful details, sensitive observations and raw emotion. Tina Barry takes you on a journey full of deep losses but also clarity, defiance and acceptance.
The Box Man by Kobo Abe is a surreal journey through the mind of a man in 1970’s Japan who decides to disconnect from society by becoming a “box man.” He walks through life with a cardboard box (meticulously described by Abe) over his upper body. The box is filled with objects and the man’s scrawled thoughts and observances. The protagonist of The Box Man is a textbook example of an unreliable narrator and you as the reader will be often unable to tell what is real, imagined, or deceptive.
Recommended for fans of Kafka, Beckett, Haruki Murakami, David Lynch.
In Domestic Science: Idioms, Nance O’Banion combines simple illustrations of familiar objects and a playful color palette to build a narrative which is informed by the readers’ experience with these objects. She explores the objects further through the text, in which she only provides the name of the object at hand, accompanied by an extensive catalog of phrases and synonyms for the subject, prompting the reader to consider their own experience of the object even further than the push of the image. The structure of the book is both complex and playful. With its pop up elements and accordion Easter eggs, this artist’s book continues to give the reader rewards for exploring the book.
Recommended by Alyssa Winscom, Greenfield Library Work-Study Assistant