Category Archives: book of the week
The Sketchbook Project, housed in Brooklyn, has brought their mobile library to Purchase College for the day. From noon until 6pm on 4/22/13, the library will be parked near Starbucks and will share over 4,000 sketchbooks submitted to the Project from across the U.S. in 2012-2013.
The Sketchbook Project collects sketchbooks from artists, photographers, and creative people all over the world. Their full archive in Brooklyn has over 26,000 sketchbooks from over 130 countries. You can view many of these online in the Project’s Digital Library.
According to the Sketchbook Project’s website:
“We invite participants from all walks of life to fill the pages of a blank sketchbook and send it back for inclusion in our ever-growing library of inspiration.”
So just stop by the truck this afternoon and sign up for a Library card (it only takes 10 seconds…we tried it!). You can search the mobile library collection and check out an awesome sketchbook. You can connect with artists in a particular city, profession, or walk of life.
Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister, died on April 9, 2013 at age 87. Her political career was both celebrated and controversial.
To learn more about this important conservative leader of the 1980s, try one of these books or films in the Library’s collection: Thatcher’s story has been told in various biographies, on film, and through analysis of her economic and political policies. “The Iron Lady” as she was nicknamed influenced (or inspired) art, music, and counterculture in the 1980s.
Check out some of these films and books about Margaret Thatcher from the Library.
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel is giving a reading & lecture on Wed. Oct. 17th at 4:30pm in the Performing Arts Center here at Purchase. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet an award-winning artist and writer.
This week, we are featuring graphic novels and comics by Alison Bechdel whose work ranges from the witty “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic strip to her sardonic yet heart-felt 2006 memoir about her father, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. (If you like to read comics that quote Marcel Proust, challenge gender norms, and reflect on parent-child relationships, Fun Home is for you!)
Her latest graphic novel, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, is a memoir focused on Bechdel’s often fraught relationship with her mother. Described by the New York Times as a “meta-memoir,” this sequel to Fun Home reflects on the morality of sharing family drama as art while painting a fuller portrait of Bechdel’s mother, who was somewhat overshadowed in Fun Home by her father. As her subtitles suggest, Bechdel skillfully blends the tragic and the comic, the personal and the universal.
Bechdel’s books are shelved by author’s last name in the Purchase College Library Popular reading collection on the First Floor.
It’s Banned Books Week! From Sept. 30th to Oct. 6th, 2012, libraries around the U.S. are speaking out against censorship with displays, events, and other activities supporting books that have been banned.
Have you read any banned books? The answer might surprise you. Check out this list of books on the 100 Greatest Classics list that have been banned or challenged in American libraries and schools. Twentieth century classics that have been banned or challenged in American libraries include among others: Slaughterhouse Five, The Great Gatsby, Catch-22, The Color Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, and 1984.
Think censorship is a thing of the past? Check out this list of bestsellers challenged in the 2011/2012 academic year! The list includes popular Sci Fi/Fantasy series like The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Golden Compass and Harry Potter which were banned in various school libraries across the U.S. for sexually explicit language, “themes unsuited to age group,” themes related to witchcraft and the occult, and for being “anti-Christian.” Critically acclaimed teen novels by Sherman Alexie and Judy Blume are also among the most frequently challenged books.
How can you participate in Banned Books Week?
- READ A BANNED BOOK!
Check one out from the library by searching for titles mentioned on the lists above in the Purchase College Library catalog.
- Do a Virtual Read Out: In honor of the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week, the American Library Association is sponsoring a Virtual Read Out in cities across the country. Listen to students, librarians, and celebrities read excerpts from banned books on this dedicated YouTube Channel for Banned Books Week. You can add your own Read Out or share your favs with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.
- Share your voice on the Purchase College Library’s Banned Books Week Wall. Add your favorite book to our community wall or link to a resource about censorship.
- Watch out for a book display at the Library coming later in the week featuring banned books from the Purchase College Library’s collections.
Brooke Gladstone, veteran journalist and NPR host, has written a history of the media in comic book form. The Influencing Machine covers “two millennia of history of the influence of the media on the populace, from newspapers in Caesar’s Rome to the penny press of the American Revolution to today” according to the publisher. Its unusual and accessible format have made it a popular choice for Freshman summer reads across campuses this year.
In a back-to-school interview from Sept. 18th on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” Gladstone fields questions from Freshmen across the country about her graphic novel and the state of journalism today. Gladstone provides some interesting insight into her writing process, explaining how she translated her written ideas into images.
“There’s a wry voice, cutting at times, definitely in the vernacular. This is not an academic book, although it could possibly have been if written differently, without pictures,” Gladstone says. “So I’m grateful for my artist Josh Neufeld…for making sure that there was flow and cohesion.”
You can check out The Influencing Machine from the Purchase College Library Main Stacks, Call Number PN4731 .G53 2011.
The 2012 Olympics will begin on Friday July 27th in London, England. In celebration, here are some great resources at Purchase College Library and online that will get you in the Olympic spirit.
Meet Team USA:
This is the official online guide to the American Olympic athletes. Search by season, sport, or name. http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes.aspx. You can also see schedules, medal counts, video clips, and the Opening Ceremonies at http://www.nbcolympics.com/index.html
Olympics in Art:
Learn about the origins of the Greek Olympics and its depictions in art and artifacts by reading this book, which includes historical information about the earliest Games as well as great images.
Political Aspects of the Olympics:
Learn about the dark side of the Olympics including: negative economic impacts on recent host cities, how Olympic host cities are chosen, bribery investigations, grassroots resistance movements, and the role of the mass media in perpetuating Olympic hype.
Olympics and Ethics:
Olympics on Film:
Olympia [videorecording] / Leni Riefenstahl.
A classic sports film– or classic Nazi propaganda? This 1938 documentary follows the Berlin Olympics of 1936 and was the first film of the Olympics ever made. It was directed by Leni Riefenstahl, a female cinematographer with ties to the Third Reich. For interesting background on this film, see this article from The Sport Journal.
Chariots of fire [videorecording]/directed by Hugh Hudson.
Novelist, humorist, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron passed away this week at age 71 from complications of leukemia.
Ephron’s works make for great summer reading or viewing and have taught generations of women– and men– how to be strong, smart, modern, and romantic.
Or you can taste-test something a little more serious like Julie & Julia (DVD 2513), Ephron’s Julia Childs bio-pic starring Meryl Streep or Heartburn (Call Number:PS3555.P5 H4 1996), her acclaimed novel about a cook-book writer whose marriage falls apart.
Last but not least, for a look at Ephron the humorous essayist, try I feel bad about my neck : and other thoughts on being a woman from our Popular Reading collection or the older but still relevant: Crazy salad : some things about women (Call Number: HQ1154 .E6 1975). Ephron’s work used humor to convey a feminist message that resonated with mainstream American culture and resuscitated a bit of the glamor of Hollywood romantic comedies from the 1940s with a quirky, modern twist.
June 12th is the 70th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s 13th birthday, the day she started the diary that detailed her family’s life in hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
In honor of this anniversary, ProQuest is providing a free trial of various records related to the writing and publication of Frank’s diary. You can read here about the diary’s publication and surrounding controversies.
ProQuest is also making available a database called American Jewish Newspapers, part of the Historical Newspapers collection of databases. This database provides full text access to Jewish newspapers dating back to the 1850s, including: The Jewish Advocate, American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger, The American Israelite, and Jewish Exponent. A great primary source resource for anyone interested in the life of Anne Frank, the Holocaust, Jewish immigration to America, and Jewish history! American Jewish Newspapers will be available until June 30.
You can also check out a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank from the Library’s main collection, call number DS 135.N6 F73313 1989.
This week, the American Library Association released its annual list of the top 10 most challenged books of 2011. As we’ve discussed during Banned Books Week last Fall, “challenged” books are books that members of the public, parents, or school boards formally seek to remove from library shelves because they view the content as offensive or inappropriate. Challenges occur most frequently in school and public libraries and typically involve materials for children and young adults.
This year’s 10 most censored books are wide-ranging and include: pop culture teen lit (Gossip Girl, TTYL series), educational children’s nonfiction (My Mom’s Having a Baby), bestselling science fiction (Hunger Games), national prize-winners (Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), and classics (Brave New World, To Kill a Mockingbird).
According to ALA, the most challenged books in the United States in 2011 were:
2) The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
3) The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
4) My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
5) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
6) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
7) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
9) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
10) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Offensive language; racism
Have you read any of these banned books? Do you think they should have been banned from schools or public libraries? You can search the Library’s catalog to check these titles out from our collections or try Interlibrary Loan for the titles that we do not own. (As an academic research library without a children’s or youth section, we tend not to collect children’s and young adult literature, but we do have some cross-over bestsellers like Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games in our Popular Reading Collection.)
If you’d like to suggest materials for the Library’s collections, just email us.
Do you have Hunger Games fever? The much-anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel, The Hunger Games, opened on Friday March 23rd.
Libraries around the nation have been hosting book parties in celebration, with the excitement rivaling the release of the Harry Potter and Twilight films.
But how does this young adult post-apocalyptic trilogy stack up to those other blockbuster series I just mentioned? Reviewers describe how the film manages to transcend its initially adolescent audience, favorably comparing the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, to strong sci fi heroines like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. According to Manohla Dargis of the New York Times:
“Part of what makes the “Hunger Games” books so effective is that they literalize the familiar drama of adolescence, translating the emotional assaults, peer pressure, cliques and the tortured rest into warfare. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” did the same on television, except there the villains were supernatural demons. In “The Hunger Games” the real enemies are adults, including, of course, the parents catching the show on TV.”
In the novel, Katniss is a hard-luck, bow-and-arrow wielding survivor who is forced by the powerful Capitol to fight fellow teenagers from the starved and oppressed outer districts of Panem (a post-apocalyptic North American dystopia). It’s a fight to the death in a televised battle that mixes the pageantry of the Olypmics with the bloodsport of The Most Dangerous Game. Although also caught in a love triangle, Katniss Everdeen differs greatly from Bella Swann of the Twilight series. Katniss hunts to keep her family from starvation. Not only is she quite capable of defending herself, but she also saves the lives of her sister, mother, and love interests Peeta and Gale at various points in the series. She also finds herself at the center of the Districts’ rebellion against the Capitol. While romantic relationships are the main thrust of the Twilight books, political and social issues are at the heart of The Hunger Games. Rather than wallow helplessly in her emotions, Katniss often struggles to ignore them. It’s not easy to fall in love when you are fighting to the death on national television.
Suzanne Collins’ writing is immediate, snappy, and well-edited. A reader can speed through this series faster than one of Katniss’ arrows. Yet Collins does not sacrifice characterization for action. Although you root for her, Katniss is not always a reliable narrator; you do not always agree with her point of view, and this tension keeps you engaged and thinking critically. While teens can identify with Katniss’s rebellious attitude and (often shortsighted) tenacity for self-preservation, adults can appreciate how both the strengths and flaws of her youth make Katniss a richer, more true-to-life character.
For many, the appeal of the series lies as much in its social message as in the love and adventure stories. Like any strong work of science fiction, The Hunger Games creates a future that extrapolates and exaggerates trends in American society today. The Hunger Games is a critique of celebrity, reality TV, mass media, gratuitous sport, and systems of economic and political repression that exploit the poor, working class to provide luxuries to the wealthy, ruling class. The big question of the novel is never whether Katniss will survive the Games themselves but whether she will be able to win over the Capitol audience and–through her cleverness and grit– escape the cycle of media spin and intimidation that the Capitol uses to control her destiny.
You can check out The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay from the Purchase College Library’s Popular Collection or try Westchester Public Library, NYPL, the Purchase Free Library, or Interlibrary Loan. Keep in mind that library waiting lists have been getting very long due to the premier of the movie. The odds of getting this highly in-demand bestseller this week may not be in your favor… but keep trying. It’s worth the wait.