Category Archives: Library Staff Recommendations

Staff from the University of the Arts University Libraries recommend their favorite library materials.

Staff Recommendation – My Best Fiend

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

Staff Recommendation – Still Life with Woodpecker

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

Staff Recommendation: Global Philadelphia: Immigrant Communities Old and New

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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.

–Mike Romano, Circulation Assistant

Staff recommendation- Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver

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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.

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– Jo Dutilloy, Music Library Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation – The Blessings, by Elise Juska

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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.

Greenfield Open Stacks – 813 J98b 2014

Lauralee Martin, Work Study Library Assistant at the Greenfield Library 

Staff Recommendation: Mall Flower

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.

Mall Flower

by Tina Barry

Call # 811.54 B279m

Recommended by Barbara Danin, Greenfield Library Acquisitions and Administrative Coordinator
Recommended by Barbara Danin, Greenfield Library Acquisitions and Administrative Coordinator

Staff Recommendation: The Box Man

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.

The Box Man

by Kobo Abe

Greenfield Vault Call # 895.635 Ab335b 1980

Recommended by Bill Rooney, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant
Recommended by Bill Rooney,
Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Domestic Science: Idioms

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. Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 10.22.24 AMThe 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

American Experience: New York, a Documentary Film

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This documentary series features 8 episodes which chronicle the history of one of America’s largest and most important cities – New York.  Beginning with the islands colonization by the Dutch, these episodes span several centuries of urban development fueled by conquest, immigration, ingenuity, innovation, greed, lust, sweat, and love.  You’ll take a tour through the desperate tenements of poor immigrants, the opulent streets of capitalist mansions, the stupendous feats of human engineering, the great works of art and literature, and the complex personalities of the cities political elites.

Curious about about this history of grit and gold? This series is available through Kanopy streaming database. Use your UArts credentials to log in!

https://uarts.kanopystreaming.com/video/american-experience-new-york

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Staff Recommendation: Close-Up

 

Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 film Close-Up is an inventive and engrossing experience that challenges the delineations of documentary and film. The story it tells is a true one: Hossein Sabzian, a poor man in Tehran, convinces a well-to-do family that he is actually famous Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf and that he wants to use their home for his next film. After Sabzian is found out and the story is reported in a local magazine, Kiarostami quickly begins filming.

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What develops is a movie that blurs the lines of documentary and narrative so well they are often indistinguishable. Kiarostami receives permission to film the courtroom while the trial is underway and then proceeds to question Sabzian on his artistic motives alongside the mullah judge questioning his criminal ones.

Kiarostami then takes everything one step further and portrays reenactments of the events leading up to and following Sabzian’s imprisonment and trial; with everyone from Sabzian, to the family he fooled, to the director he impersonated playing themselves. What emerges is a beautiful musing on film and its ability to both blur and cross lines.

Recommended by Bill Rooney, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant
Recommended by Bill Rooney,
Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant