In a year of special focus on reading women, it’s meaningful to hear this month that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 (shared with Kailash Satyarthi). Yousafzi’s memoir, “I Am Malala,” tells her incredible story as a passionate advocate for education for girls. Find it in print at PPL here, or check it out as an ebook!
A rich crop of other memoirs and essays are being published in the last months of 2014. As a City of Readers team member here at the library, I’m engaged with many of the conversations being sparked around new (and old) books. Some issues are timeless: is a writer-who-happens-to-be-a-woman a woman writer, or just…a writer? Authors Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser tackle these and other ideas in a recent New York Times Book Review article, “Is This a Golden Age for Women Essayists?”
To help you celebrate the Golden Age, here are some of Portland Public Library’s own New Nonfiction releases. Click on the titles below for more info:
This list should stop somewhere…but it feels like a good thing that it could go on and on! Happy reading.
(For more recommendations, to ask questions, or to request books and other materials over the phone, please contact your branch, the Reader’s Advisory Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 705, or the Reference Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 725).
Portland poet Megan Grumbling at the Port City Poems reading.
Last Tuesday, October 7, a group of local poets drew a crowd of 91 to the Rines Auditorium. Anita Clearfield, Wil Gibson, Megan Grumbling, Claire Hersom, Annaliese Jakimides, Michele Leavitt, John McVeigh, Edward J. Rielly, Betsy Sholl, David Stankiewicz, Sally Woolf-Wade, and Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel read from their poetry. They were introduced by Marcia F. Brown, Portland Poet Laureate and editor of the anthology Port City Poems. It was an evening full of thoughtfulness and humor, celebrating Portland but also touching on other themes.
For those of you who couldn’t be there, I took notes.
Ed Rielly read his poem, “The Sea Dogs Come Out of the Corn.” The poet muses at a baseball game. “ ‘Is this heaven?’ I ask my wife, joking…‘No, it’s Portland, Maine.’ ” One of Wil Gibson’s poems was written as a love letter to Portland. “I miss your freckles,” Wil Gibson read aloud (addressing spurned Illinois, a former home) “but Portland, she is different. She is the most amazing, attentive lover…I have the scratches on my back to prove it.”
Sally Woolf-Wade read poetry on island life.
Other images of Portland rose, as sweetly and sharply, out of the readings. Megan Grumbling’s poem, “Landing,” evoked the golden light caught in the curved windows of a staircase at the Portland Museum of Art, a place to return to in deep winter. One of Claire Hersom’s poems spoke to a favorite wharf-haunt: J’s Oyster Bar. John McVeigh paid homage to the horses that pulled the old engines (“The spokes of the wheel are a blur”) of the Portland Fire Department in 1912. Later, David Stankiewicz’s Saint Augustine-inspired poetry moved the audience from Bailey Island’s Cribstone Bridge to travels on the Downeaster: “If I sit very still, might the conductor overlook my transgression?”
Annaliese Jakimides before the crowd.
The poetry that resonated could be both beautiful and stark, as in Michele Leavitt’s excerpt from a cycle of poems on Hepatitis C. Or the poems imparted unapologetic knowledge: what comes to us may come as a surprise. “Because,” Anita Clearfield noted, “what happiness have we ever had that we asked for?”
And there was laughter, as the poets touched on religion, on menopause imagined or real, on the Old Port…“At last I’m old and wrinkled, celibate and wise,” read Michele Leavitt, tongue-in-cheekily. “I keep trying to write these spiritual poems that won’t be obnoxious,” quipped Betsy Sholl. The evening ended more seriously, with Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel’s poem on Alexander Hamilton. “I am afraid to do as Alexander Hamilton did: predict the future.” Nonetheless, Wrobel noted: “I think I know which duel to fight.”
I walked home that night through the city, thinking of Wil Gibson’s words: “Portland: she is the family I always wanted.”
Privacy is one of the main tenets of public libraries, so the recently exposed security concerns for patrons using Adobe Digital Editions to access library eBooks is very troubling to us at PPL.
You can read more about the developments here and here, but in short, if you are using the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions software, information about any eBooks on your computer delivered in the ePub format is being transmitted to Adobe in plain text format and is potentially visible to anyone who can read the stream of data.
NOTE: PPL’s eBook service is provided by Overdrive. Read below OverDrive’s statement about Adobe Digital Editions privacy concerns
UPDATE: 2:30 PM 10/10/14
In response to concerns expressed by our library partners about the Adobe privacy situation, OverDrive CEO Steve Potash met with Adobe management at Frankfurt Book Fair today. Adobe reported that next week they will release an update to Adobe Digital Editions 4 to address the known issues.
To clarify, this affects only Adobe Digital Editions 4 for Windows and Mac. Adobe reports that the issue does not affect third party apps in any way, including the OverDrive app. Adobe reports that the issue is not present with Adobe Digital Editions 3 or previous versions of Adobe Digital Editions.
If you are concerned about your eBook privacy, we recommend that you uninstall Adobe Digital Editions version 4 from all of your devices immediately. You can still read eBook content online, or contact the library for print options. The Kindle app for accessing the Amazon format of eBooks is available to mobile and tablet users, and materials read directly through the Overdrive app are excluded from this breach of privacy.
We have expressed our dismay to our eBook provider, and have asked them to advocate for the principles of privacy that libraries are pledged to uphold. We are committed to challenging anyone who confuses “privacy policies” with “invasive policies.” Please contact the library if you have any additional questions or concerns about this issue.