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Olympic Vocabulary

posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Health

Over the past week or so, many of us have been glued to our televisions, radios or computers rooting for our favorite Olympians. Many of the commentators are former Olympians themselves and have steeped themselves in the sport and its vocabulary. The rest of us can probably barely differentiate from a remise or a riposte or may just not understand why the runners are jumping over hurdles and small bodies of water. We are here at PPL to help you broaden your sports horizons and maybe even provide you with a few new words for your sports vocabulary or your next crossword puzzle clue. This incomplete list consists of various terms used in sports or games played in the Summer Olympics.

Archery:
fletching: (also called vanes), feathers near the end of the shaft. The fletching, which may be actual goose or turkey feathers or, especially in target arrows, may be made of plastic, make an arrow spin in flight. The spinning motion steadies the arrow and keeps it flying straight. Most arrows measure between 25 and 28 inches (63 and 70 centimeters) long.
From the Britannica Library Reference Center

For more information on Archery, check out Precision Archery

Athletics:
steeplechase: is an obstacle race, run usually over a 3000-m course containing hurdles, water jumps, and other hazards.
From Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia

Before you put on your sneakers and head out onto the track, check out The New Rules of Running

Badminton:
shuttlecock
: traditionally a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers that is now sometimes made of nylon, is hit back and forth over the net with lightweight rackets. With the shuttlecock traveling at speeds up to 260 km/hr (162 mph), badminton is considered the world’s fastest racket sport.
From Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia
Check out the Funk & Wagnalls’ article on badminton to learn about battledore, which sounds like a lot more fun or check out Better Badminton from 1939 to see if women were still required to wear skirts at that time.

Cycling and Rowing:
repechage
: a second-chance heat in cycling or rowing in which losers of the first round of competition are matched against each other for another chance to qualify for the final heat.
From Webster’s Sports Dictionary

Also check out The Boys in the Boat

Equestrian:
dressage
: In dressage, the riders guide their horses through a series of movements. There are two types of dressage, a championship test with predetermined movements and a freestyle test in which athletes choose the movements and music. In addition, there is a team test. Both men and women compete.
From Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia

Fencing:
remise:
a second thrust at the target while still in the lunge position and with the arm still extended after an initial attack has missed that is made immediately after the opponent has parried the initial attack but before he makes a riposte or before he is able to complete the movements of a complex riposte.

riposte: a counterattack immediately following a successful parry.
From Webster’s Sports Dictionary

Also check out By the Sword

Track Cycling:
keirin:
created in Japan in 1948, this event features nine racers competing over a distance of 2km. Each racers starts in his own lane. At the starting signal, the racers struggle to catch up to a lightweight motorcycle that is already running. The motorcycle sets the pace of the race, which lasts 3 to 5 laps. When the motorcycle leaves the track at the start of the second last lap, the racers sprint to the finish.
From Sports The Complete Visual Reference

For a step back in time, come to the Portland Room at the Main library and take a look at the 1895 book, A Road Book for Cycling and Carriage Driving in Maine

This list barely scratches the surface of athletic terms used in the Games, but hopefully this list will give you a better understanding of what’s going on when your rooting for your favorite team or Olympian!

 


July Staff Picks: Version 2.0

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture

 

july

We’ve noticed that the library is just chock full of stories built upon stories. Books become films. Comic books become films. Films become films. Also: fairy tales are fractured, classics are reborn, characters evolve, one story inspires another wholly new. At worst, the old made new is a little awful, and leaves us wistful for the original. At the very best, though, remakes and reworkings offer bold and creative new worlds at play with the old. Our July staff picks explore the idea of everything old made new again.

Yikes.

Yikes.

Case study:  The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley Jackson’s unsettling novel was made into the 1963 black-and-white film The Haunting, in which super-scary wallpaper (uh-huh) and terrifying sound effects psychologically mangled me every Halloween of my childhood. So good! Then The Haunting was remade with cheesy CGI (no subtlety = no fear) in 1999. I felt an incredible sense of loss and dismay. Would anyone ever know how great the original film remake of the original book was?

Haunting aside, there’s hope, and endless reboots to check out. The Princess Bride swashbuckled straight into The Princess Bride. Roald Dahl’s fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox morphed into Wes Anderson’s fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox. Like Water For Chocolate? Like Water for Chocolate. Orlando became Orlando: Annie became Annie. The Namesake became The Namesake. In the near future, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will become The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Why change the names? Meanwhile, classic folk and fairy tales, myths, and legends can be revisited again and again. Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless is a brilliant re-telling of the Russian fairy tale The Death of Koschei the Deathless. The One Thousand and One Nights are wonderfully retold by Hanan Al-Shaykh, Naguib Mahfouz, and Renée Ahdieh, among others. The Odyssey re-envisioned becomes Love in the Time of Global Warming or The Penelopiad or O Brother Where Art Thou? How to choose between all these exciting versions? And then there’s our favorite comics…as Marvel remakes a version of the Avengers for the umpteenth time this summer, let it be known: I’d love to see Kamala Khan on the big screen.

Which brings us to July 2016…as Ghostbusters just became Ghostbusters! I’m looking forward to catching this newest of remakes this week. I’m sure it won’t be as scary as The Haunting, but I bet the blazing comic talent of Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon will truly shine. Like ectoplasm.

 


Kelley’s Picks

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – Science fiction meets classic fairy tales in clever ways. One of my favorite YA series of the past five years (and I’m not alone); if you haven’t read these yet, you’re in for hours of addictive adventure, romance, and one seriously evil queen.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier – the Twelve Dancing Princesses has been my favorite fairy tale since childhood, and this adaptation is just lovely inside and out. It’s clear from the sweeping text to the glossary in the back that the author did some serious research into Transylvanian folk tales and customs. A classic.

Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones (book), Hayao Miyazaki (film) and a dreamy, brooding wizard voiced by Christian Bale. This adaptation sure has my number.


Elizabeth’s Picks

Beauty! Life! Poetry!

One of my favorite novels, Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, is a homage to E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, which was also made into a fantastic movie with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Forster’s writing (along with the work of luminaries like Kazuo Ishiguro and Henry James) provided Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory, and Ismail Merchant with inspiring film fodder for years.

 Old-fashioned as this choice may be, my picks for a book-and-film-original-and-remake-duo are the lovely and irrepressible A Room with a View and A Room With A View (the Merchant Ivory version) which both make me beam, whether I am re-reading or re-watching. Forster’s heartwarming chapter titles show up in the book (of course), but also helpfully turn up onscreen in the film as the scenes change. Chapter 13: How Miss Bartlett’s Boiler Was So Tiresome. Chapter 14: How Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely. Chapter 15: The Disaster Within. In the film, you also get to see George climb up a tree in Italy and shout “Beauty! Life! Poeeetrry!” in a deeply beautiful and silly and life-affirming scene, while Daniel Day-Lewis is wonderful as a mustachioed and stuffy Cecil. Poor Cecil.

Back to the book. In one of the best chapters in literature (Chapter 19: Lying to Mr. Emerson), you really get to sink into Mr. Emerson’s sweet advice to Lucy Honeychurch as she’s trying to sort out her life and her heart. I would quote his kindhearted wisdom here, except it’s scattered over eighteen pages. It has to do with not getting stuck in a terrible muddle, making the wrong choice, and ruining your life. You should read it, because the whole scene is much better in the original: the book. (But how nice it is to have to choose between the good movie and the good book).

 

everything old (2)

 

Sonya’s Picks

Hamlet on Harleys

It may not fit the quiet, thoughtful librarian stereotype to admit this: I love the FX show Sons of Anarchy. It is loud and filled with mayhem, but man… is it good! So good. The acting is spot on and the story line is intense (to say the least).

Here’s the twist: SoA is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Show creator Kurt Sutter has admitted it is not a version of Hamlet, but it is definitely influenced by it. “I don’t want to overplay that but it’s there. It was Jax’s father who started the club, so he’s the ghost in the action. You wonder what he would have made of the way it turned out.”

The show includes a discontented prince (Jax), a treacherous stepfather and an honorable dead father whose voice we hear guiding Jax throughout the series. There are further theme similarities regarding external symbols vs. internal truth. Numerous episode titles refer to Hamlet including Burnt and Purged Away, To Be, Act 1, and To Thine Own Self.

So for the more erudite library users, you can feel A-OK about binging on the tales of this outlaw motorcycle club because it is based on the Bard, after all.

When you finish, get back to me on which character you think best exemplifies Ophelia.

We have all seven seasons on DVD at PPL.

 

everything old

 

Raminta’s Picks

Infernal Affairs vs. The Departed

It seems as if Hollywood spends a considerable amount of time remaking perfectly good shows and films. Such as Broadchurch, a British miniseries starring David Tennant. I didn’t watch the US remake, Gracepoint, starring David Tennant (see what they did there?) because I wasn’t too keen on the original. Aside from television, Hollywood just can’t seem to come up with original blockbusters (that aren’t based on comic book heroes).

A few years ago, my uncle (a PI turned nurse) told me of this fantastic movie based on the life of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger.

“Martin Scorsese is a GENIUS!” he shouted. “Martin Scorsese is a thief,” I retorted. The Departed, by all accounts, is actually a decent movie. However, it is not a work of genius. It is almost a shot for shot remake of the brilliant Chinese movie Infernal Affairs starring Andy Lau. Any implication that this is the story of Whitey Bulger’s life is purely coincidence. A few weeks after our initial conversation, my uncle and I sat down and watched Infernal Affairs. “Holy Cow! That’s a much better film,” he yelled with his thick Boston accent. I had finally won my argument.

Now I’m not saying, that Hollywood CAN’T make decent remakes. The Departed really is a great film. You just have to remember that it’s not original. I’m just saying: sometimes you really should see the original… Now just don’t get me started on the remake of The Wicker Man starring Nic Cage.

 


Patti’s Picks

Rear Window and Planet of the Apes, Simpsons-style

Rear Window, the Hitchcock film starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, was remade in 1998 as a TV movie starring Christopher Reeve as the wheelchair-bound hero. The movie was remade again in 2007 as Disturbia starring Shia LeBeouf as a young man under house arrest. My favorite remake was done by The Simpsons, in Season 6, Episode 1, titled “Bart of Darkness.”

The Simpsons have remade, referenced, or spoofed dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of stories (including the Ghostbusters) from classic and popular culture. Another favorite Simpsons remake is Planet of the Apes as a musical starring Troy McClure (Phil Hartman), featuring the lyrics, “I hate every ape I see/ From chimpan A to chimpan Z.”

 


As always, thanks for reading! For more suggestions from the PPL collections, check out our booklists for Adults, Kids and Families, and Teens.


From Rome to the Replacements: June Staff Picks

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture

June staff picks (1)


Film


 

june3

Gabrielle’s Pick

The Salt of Life, directed by Gianni Di Gregorio

What happens when an aging Italian filmmaker realizes that women no longer look at him with desire? He makes a film about the experience, of course.

Gianni e Le Donne, or The Salt of Life, is a semi-autobiographical film that follows the film’s hero, played by the filmmaker himself, in his hapless (yet always polite) attempts at romance and flirtation. Charming, poignant, slightly melancholy, and funny in a poker-faced way, the movie is also a feast for the eyes with its lovely scenes of Rome.

 


Nonfiction


Audre Lorde in a film still from director Dagmar Schultz's "The Berlin Years: 1984-1992."

Audre Lorde in a film still from director Dagmar Schultz’s “The Berlin Years: 1984-1992.”

Elizabeth’s Pick

Sister Outsider was published in June of 1984, and more than thirty years on, Audre Lorde’s essays and speeches around racism, sexism, homophobia, and on many other themes—women’s relationships, anger vs hatred, communication, responsibility, love—remain as powerful and empowering as ever.

From The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect… 

And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger… 

In the cause of silence, each of us draws the face of her own fear- fear of contempt, of censure, or some judgment, or recognition, of challenge, of annihilation. But most of all, I think, we fear the visibility without which we cannot truly live. 

…For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition… 

The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.”

Lorde died of cancer in 1992. Re-reading her work this June, I wonder what she might write about today…reflecting and calling as strongly as ever for individuals and communities to grow, break silence, recognize, and hear one another?

 


Fiction


Brandie’s Pick

june2Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

“We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So, when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth?” 

I don’t know the last time I read something that I loved as much as Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This happens to be her debut novel, which blows me away. If you love family sagas that make the family trees in the opening pages necessary to refer to, this is the book for you.

Gyasi, who was born in Ghana and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 2, said she was initially inspired to write this book after she visited the Cape Coast Castle. In Homegoing she introduces us to Effia and Esi, half-sisters born in 18th-century West Africa. While Effia becomes the bride of a British slave-trader and goes to live in the Cape Coast Castle, Esi become a slave living in the dungeons of the castle awaiting the trip to the New World. Homegoing then follows generations of their descendants, free and enslaved, on both sides of the ocean. Each chapter follows the story of a different character, moving forward in time from one generation to the next. From these stories of Effia and Esi’s descendants grow “two branches split from the same tree.”

Extraordinary for its beautiful language, Homegoing is a portrait of what it means to belong, both to a nation and to a family, and the forces that shape those nations and families. Gyasi packs so much into each of the short chapters and she accomplishes it all with the astounding efficiency of just 300 pages. Trust me, you won’t be able to put this book down.

“Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.” 


Eileen’s Pick

june1Thomas Murphy, by Roger Rosenblatt

When I read Roger Rosenblatt’s work of fiction Thomas Murphy, pre-Orlando but post- so many other, earlier mankind-vs-itself horrors, this quote grabbed me.  It is posted desk-side where I can read it anytime my eyes wander from workaday whatevers:

That’s all civil rights means anyway—returning to a state of natural dignity.  The movements are called revolutionary, but they are really restorative.”   

The italics are mine because important things assume italic formation in my head, but the bold-ness of the statement (if not of the typeface) comes from the main character, Thomas Murphy himself.

Thomas is a character, all right: a poet whose memory is likely failing (he awaits clinical proof), possessor of a meandering mode of expression (oh! how I love a fellow meanderer!), blessed and cursed with a cast of acquaintances, living and dead, that makes for an extraordinary ordinary life.  For a fictional fella, he makes more sense than he ought.

Perhaps it is only in fiction that a statement of the obvious, like his regarding civil rights, can hope to stand without assault.   Perhaps it is up to real folk like us to take his assertion into the world and see the sense it makes.

Fiction is a vehicle for truth.  Nonfiction can mislead.  Tragedies are tragic.  Love is love.  We are what we are.  We all yearn for the restoration of our natural dignity.

 


Music


Hazel’s Picks

 The Replacements’ golden age: Let It Be (1984), Tim (1985), Pleased to Meet Me (1987) [Recommended if you: are 15-25, have ever been 15-25, are already mourning the fact that we are on the wrong side of the summer solstice]

Imagine that Peter Pan wakes up in Neverland one day feeling uncertain about his signature stance on adulthood, and the only way he can process this identity crisis is to make three jangly punk records. I go through regular phases where the only albums I want to listen to are these, preferably while driving, windows down. Bonus points for sunglasses that make me feel tough, but like, in a sensitive way. These smart and bittersweet power pop classics are available to stream with your library card via Hoopla along with the rest of the Replacements’ catalogue. (If you prefer CDs, Let It Be and Pleased to Meet Me can be found in PPL’s collection, but you’ll have to go through ILL to get your hands on Tim, my personal favorite).

June staff picks (1)


As always, thanks for reading.

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