Student Recommendation: Black Lives, Black Words

“I started Black Lives, Black Words because I felt there needed to be an opportunity for me as a playwright to speak out against the sins committed in this world inflicted upon black bodies: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, and the countless many others.” ~ Reginald Edmund

Reginald Edmund started a project that asked black playwrights, visual artist, and poets from the US, UK, and Canada to create a ten minute play answering the question, “Do Black Lives Matter?” This anthology is product of the project.

Cover of Black Lives Black Words

Black Lives Black Words takes its opportunity to use art as activism and places its reader and audience members in situations where they may feel comfortable until there is no room for the word even exist. There is humor, songs, and a diverse community all ready to be explored within these pages. Each play gives life to voices who we haven’t heard from and to voices we will never hear again. There is an endless stream of names that get lost, forgotten, and/or dragged through the mud in the BLM movement. Reginald and his team of incredibly gifted artist have done their part in making sure we never forget that these names are more than just names. The lives and words of these selected black people are consciously shared in a way that has left a lasting impact on myself.

I highly recommend heading over to the Greenfield Library and checking out Black Lives, Black Words (call #:  PN6119.7 .B53 2017 ) This title is also available in eBook format through EbscoHost’s Academic eBook collection.

~ Recommended by Briana Gause, UArts Music Library Work Study Assistant

 

Staff Recommendation: Tin House



I recently discovered the pleasure of reading professional literary magazines. In particular, the magazine Tin House which is carried by the Greenfield Library. At a glance, the magazine’s eye catching cover illustrations stand out on the periodical shelf. The journal even includes the artist’s interpretation of the illustration at the back of the book. But mostly it is filled to the brim with beautifully crafted short stories and poems in a format that is pleasant to hold and to read.

A literary magazine is the perfect option for my attention span and life obligations when I just want to get a little creative refresher in the middle of the day. Tin House’s selection recently featured a beautiful atmospheric short story by Ursula K. Le Guin called Pity and Shame that took me right out of my obligations and into a quiet interpersonal exploration between a mine examiner and his nurse. They offer this story as well as a selection of other work on their website at http://tinhouse.com/read-the-latest/

Tin House is also a great way of staying up to date with contemporary authors and to sample works before committing. It’s a little bit like a Spotify recommended playlist: it helps to identify artists you might enjoy delving into so you can look up their album (or in this case their poetry collection) and dig in even deeper.

I recommend just a glance at this literary magazine, you can always find the latest issue at the Greenfield Library. Maybe even at one of their previous issues like Candy because much like the sweets on the cover you may find yourself delectably hooked. 

~ Recommended by Jo Dutilloy, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant 

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: 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: 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

Staff Recommendation: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is heart-wrenching, thoughtful, and compelling. Starr, a high school student, is the lone witness to the shooting of one of her childhood friends, Kahlil. While dealing with the trauma of this experience, the incident gets national attention, flooding hashtags and news stations. She is caught between two worlds: her predominantly black neighborhood and her predominantly white private school. Tension from bothsides ignites, with Starr under pressure as the only one able to get Kahlil justice. This book is an absolute must read for it’s empathic perspective and political relevance.

This book is available in the Greenfield Library open stacks at call #PZ7.1 .T448 H3 2017  

Recommended by Alyssa Winscom, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Staff Recommendation: Blankets

From the author of Good-bye, Chunky Rice, winner of the 1999 Harvey Award for Best New Talent, comes a touching graphic novel aptly titled Blankets. In 2004 Blankets won three Harvey Awards for Best Artist, Best Graphic Album of Original Work, and Best Cartoonist, cementing Craig Thompson’s place in the graphic storytelling community.

In this novel, Thompson shares an autobiographical recollection of growing up and experiencing first love. We travel with Craig from childhood into adulthood, watching as our narrator learns about the world, about himself, and about what it means to actually grow up. Craig’s delivery of the story and wonderful illustrations help us to see the way that the world around us shapes who we grow to become: whether it’s discovering our talents, questioning the religions we grew up with, or finally coming to terms with the inner workings of our own selves. At times funny, heartbreaking, and incredibly joyful, Blankets is a great read for anyone interested in literature or graphic novels.

This book is available in the Greenfield Library open stacks at call #741.50924 T372b

Recommended by Lauralee Martin, Greenfield Library Work Study Assistant

Staff Recommendation: David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

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David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations consists of ten interviews collected over a timeline of four decades. Each of the selected conversations focus on a variety of topics outside of the realm of the musician’s technical process. The conversations also provide readers with the ability to explore the personal identity of the man behind the music. The collection begins with Bowie’s first interview at age sixteen on BBC Tonight in 1964, touching on everything from the performer’s childhood experiences on the calloused streets of South London, to his battles with substance abuse. The series concludes with his final interview in 2006, just a decade before his final album release and imminent death.

This book is a perfect quick summer read, recommended for any individual interested in David Bowie’s personal identity outside of his role as a musical performer. It is available in the Music Library new books display area at call # ML420.B754 B694 2016.

-Nichole Seedes, Circulation Assistant