STAFF RECOMMENDATION: How to Be Both

By Julia McGehean

I am always interested in reading books by authors who have an outside-of-the-box approach to writing. The kind who radically shake up the rules in a way that pushes my understanding of what a story can be into new territory. As soon as I picked up Ali Smith’s novel How to Be Both for the first time, I was immediately struck by her intriguing ability to format a novel in a way that I had never experienced before.

Beginning on the first page, it became evident that this Man Booker Prize shortlist finalist is highly ingenuitive and eloquently executed. There is a note in the very beginning explaining that the novel is broken up into two interchangeable sections. It is then up to the audience to decide which order to read first. Half of the books are published with George’s story as the first half, while the remaining copies begin with Francesco. If you prefer a strong personal narrative, I would suggest beginning with George’s half, a spunky 16-year-old coping with the sudden death of her mother. If you enjoy a historical mystery, begin with Francesco, a bold fifteenth-century Italian fresco painter navigating the afterlife.  

As a result of the twists and turns driven by a non-linear plot design, How to Be Both is tricky to describe without spoiling the mystery and marvel of it all. Main themes that are highlighted within the dueling narratives of Smith’s novel include the timeless importance of art and the artist in society, an honest interpretation of loss including the grief that follows, as well as the open exploration of gender and sexuality. With one half of the story set mainly in contemporary England, and the other in historic Italy, the main characters are separated by hundreds of years in two seemingly disparate worlds. As the pieces slowly come together in whatever order you choose to read, it becomes evident that their lives have been so cleverly intertwined without the reader initially having any idea how or why.

How to Be Both is located in the Greenfield Library, call number PR 6069 .M4213 H69 2015.

Looking forward to your thoughts,

Julia McGehean, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant

New database: QWEST TV

QWEST TV:
Journey into jazz and beyond

The UArts Libraries is happy to announce we are a subscriber to Qwest TV, featuring streaming video of concerts and more!

What is qwest TV?

Qwest TV, co-founded by Quincy Jones and Reza Ackbaraly, was launched for individual subscriptions in December of 2017. As soon as institutional access became available, we signed up! The growing collection has 300+ streaming videos, including full-length concerts, documentaries, and archival footage. This resource houses exclusives and original programming, and is growing fast! Principally focused around jazz, you will also discover some pop music, world music, and more.

What can i find in qwest tv?

In the mood for a Count Basie performance? Check out their archives! Thelonious Monk? Yes! Ella Fitzgerald? Yes! Art Ensemble of Chicago? Ertha Kitt? Maceo Parker? Yes, yes, yes! All these musicians and more are represented.

Feel like watching Sun Ra at Estival Jazz ’85? Well you can. Are you feeling more contemporary? Check out London’s Morcheeba play a sold-out show at Jazz à Vienne in Vienna last year. Maybe stream the Charles Lloyd Quartet circa 2011, or check in on bassist Omer Avital at the 2013 Nice Jazz Festival.

A documentary on the Indian music of Benares? They have you covered. Docs on Ornette Coleman? Chick Corea? Blue Note? Check, check, check.

There is just far too much to list, so check out this site as soon as you have a minute and explore the wealth of amazing content!

And Qwest TV isn’t “just” streaming video. Explore articles, interviews, news updates, album reviews, and more.

To Access qwest tv:

Visit library.uarts.edu and click the link “Audio/Video Online” in the Online Resources section.

After you find and click on Qwest TV near the bottom of that page, you will be taken right in. You’ll know it worked when you see the UArts icon in the top right. Especially since this is a new subscription, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any problems.

If you have any questions about this or other UArts Libraries resources, just ask me:


Jim Cowen
Music Reference Librarian
jcowen@uarts.edu
215-717-6293

Staff Recommendation: Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

“Remember Drew Peterson? That cop that killed his wives? It was a big news story in 2007. I was dating Emma that summer. We used to sit in her mom’s basement and watch movies all night. We were watching a TV special about Drew Peterson one night when we leaned in and kissed each other for the first time. Now whenever I see or hear anything about Drew Peterson, I feel like I’m eighteen in Emma’s basement again. Is it weird to feel nostalgic for stuff like that?”

New to the library: Sabrina is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Nick Drnaso, published in 2018. It is the first ever graphic novel to be longlisted for The Man Booker Prize. Deep and introspective with minimalistic illustrations, Drnaso tells the story of a young woman kidnapped in Chicago, and how the events that unfold from this affect everyone connected to her. At the same time, it is also a poignant commentary on the fast-paced dissemination of information in our digital age, how this numbs us to the continuous stories of violence bombarding us on our screens, and the confusion we feel in a “fake news” world. The above quote, spoken by character Calvin Wrobel, is a perfect example of this sense of disassociation. Instead of remembering the Drew Peterson case as a horrific event where women went missing and were found murdered, Wrobel only remembers kissing his girlfriend at the time, because the television story was simply background noise. Drnaso does a beautiful job reminding us that moments of tragedy and horror aren’t background noise, and that we need to realize there are individuals behind every story.

If you’d like to check out Sabrina, it is available in the Greenfield Library, call number PN6727 .D76 S25 2018.

Recommended by Lillian Kinney, Cataloger/Archivist

Staff Recommendation – “Illuminations” by Turiya Alice Coltrane

If a musically contemplative evening is what you’re after, why not delve into this 1974 collaboration with Alice Coltrane and Carlos Santana? With the parallel feel of experimental free jazz, 70s rock and Indian classical music, this album runs the gamut between serene and chaotic and is best listened to the entire way through.

Alice, who had been a musical collaborator in the jazz world with her husband John Coltrane, continued producing spiritually charged music after his death. Coltrane and Santana intersected at this time in their lives with a special interest in the spiritual traditions of the Indian subcontinent, having been separately involved with religious music through Christian churches earlier in life. Accordingly, a meditative chant kicks off the album, which sways back and forth with free jazz wanderings of guitar, harp, horns, violins, piano, and percussion. It finds its way to an energetic rock burst and meets with classical Indian stylings complete with tabla, winding its way down to a resolution.

The album is more typical of how Coltrane’s style would develop than Santana’s, as she would delve further into the world of experimental and spiritual free jazz during her career.

This album is available on vinyl in the Music Library LP nook, at call number JLP COLT-A ILL. LPs can be listened to at the Music Library with our own turntables and headphones, or can be checked out for one week to enjoy at home. If you’re interested in further explorations of her work, another album, Universal Consciousness, is right next door.

Happy listening,

Mike Romano, Music Circulation Assistant

New Script Database

The UArts Libraries has signed up for a database we hope you all will enjoy: 
New Play Exchange is “the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers. Designed and built with the needs of the entire new play sector in mind, the New Play Exchange serves writers, producers, directors, artistic directors, literary managers, dramaturgs, publishers, agents, actors, professors, students, and even fans of the theater.”
 
To access this resource, visit the Online Resources portion of our homepage, library.uarts.edu, click the link to E-books, and scroll down to the second to last option where you’ll find New Play Exchange
 
If you are on the campus network, you will be taken directly into the database. From off-campus, simply enter your UArts credentials and you’ll be able to gain access. 
 
You can search this resource by play, people, or organizations: 
 
 
The options by which you can limit your search results are awesome! Though too numerous to list here, some limiting options include by age, genre, gender, sexual identity, race, ethnic identity, and more. 
 
Results will include abstracts for plays, as well as full text plays. To limit results to only full text scripts, click the Full scripts available for download option under the Script Availability limiter on the right hand side: 
 
 
When you find a script in full text you like, you can quickly download it:
Please note: our institutional license does not include the option to create reading lists, but as I just mentioned you can just download the ones you like, or even save the website URLs to visit them again later.
 
Questions?
 
Don’t hesitate to contact me, Jim Cowen, your library liaison to the Brind School of Theater Arts! 
 
Enjoy!