Friday, September 18, 2015

How intergrated are our personal libraries?

Most folks I know have diverse music collections.  Their CD's and playlists include a wonderful mix of music by everyone from Wynton Marsalis and Stevie Wonder to Beethoven and Diana Krall.  But how many of us have personal libraries that share the same unique and diverse blend of American creative artistry?

I wonder if we take the ease of crossing cultural/stylistic musical lines for granted and think "yes; I like a variety of music styles, so I'm a modern, open-minded person ... so I'm not a racist, blah, blah, blah."  Is that true?  Is enjoying Marvin Gaye, Najee and Snoop Dog enough?  Not to belittle music at all, but that's just music.  There's so much more!

How many Caucasians have read Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, or Terry McMillan?  To enjoy, respect, and appreciate African American culture, we need to read and try to understand their experiences and literature offers us an incredible opportunity to immerse ourselves in this wonderful culture.  I've read Terry McMillan and Tina McElroy Ansa.  I've tried to read J. California Cooper, but gave up because it was hard for me to follow and it was painful.  I have not read Toni Morrison ... yet.  Like I said, there's so much more.  Take a look at your bookshelves and grow it into a multicultural collection.  In the meantime, a whole world awaits and it's all available at your local public library.

Review: Look Up: the Life and Art of Sacha Kolin

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Look Up: the Art and Life of Sacha Kolin by Lisa Thaler

I am currently reading a fascinating biography of Sacha Kolin, a mid-century modern artist who emigrated to the US in the 1930's.  Titled Look Up:  the life and art of Sacha Kolin, it is a scholarly work by professional genealogist, researcher and editor Lisa Thaler, but is readable and friendly to those who lack knowledge of the art world.  Short, informative chapters blend Sacha's personal and professional lives seamlessly into one.  I'm currently about half-way through the book and what strikes me most of all is that, no matter how successful and famous you might be, if you are an immigrant, you live your life always trying to be part of the in crowd, always trying to catch up.  Kolin's talent and tenaciousness leave me in awe.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Moments of Grace

Today I had a moment of grace.  Of course, moments of grace occur all the time, especially throughout the workday in a busy public library, but this one was uniquely special.

I was helping out at a new branch library.  I've helped the manager with some special projects over the last few weeks as she prepared to open the branch.  She graciously offered to buy me lunch to thank me.  So, she went out to a barbecue restaurant and returned with lunch for the two of us.  She set two cans of Diet Coke on the table in the staff lounge.  Both cans said "Dad" on them.  The barbecue came with two kinds of sauce:  regular and North Carolina.  I chose NC because my dad was from NC.

This moment of grace was a wink from my dad.  Here's to you, dad.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Libraries Change Lives

Public library staff make an enormous difference in people's lives.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently posted an article about Gratia Countryman, a librarian in the early 20th century who made a difference. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Busy Winter and Spring

I can't believe it's almost the first of May.  After taking a few online classes and finding myself overwhelmed (in a good way), I am trying to catch up on reading and writing.  Here's a link to some read-a-likes for the uber-popular title The Girl on the Train.  Click here to learn more.  Courtesy of OverDrive, distributor of e-books and more.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

13227454What a delightful book!  This is a sleeper - you don't realize how good it is at first and then, bam, you fall in love with it.  There are a lot of layers here and Harold's journey, while seemingly unrealistic at first, is reflective of our desire to do something drastic, to really take a stand and make a difference.  Just how his journey - the pilgrimage of the title - progresses and transforms him and others is deftly told and you'll find yourself cheering him on.  The author weaves all the layers together into a very satisfying ending.  Highly recommended.

12 Blogs of Christmas

Last year, one of my first blog posts listed my favorite books of the year, past and present.  I listed six books I had read in 2013 that I loved and six books that I hoped to read in 2014.  How did I do?  Oh, geez.  I didn't read a single one this year that I thought I would!  I tried a couple of them, but didn't like them and moved on.  Life is too short to waste time on a book I don't like.

This year, I'm listing my favorite blogs.  Some of them are already posed to the right of the screen, but this time I'll expound a little bit about why I've chosen it.

Sarah Farish - This is unabashed pride because SE is my oldest niece, a high school English teacher, a funny and smart young lady with a keen eye and sensitive heart.

Debra Darvick - Debra is the oldest daughter of a family friend who passed away in the spring of this year.  After reading her mom's obituary in the local paper, I contacted Debra and we connected/reconnected sharing stories about her mom and what it's like to have a parent who loves you because they have to, not necessarily because they want to - and there's nothing personal about it at all.  When my father died 14 years ago, I learned more about grief than I thought I needed to learn and most of it was wrapped up in my dad's inability to be a good dad.   Debra's journey through her grief is eloquent and she writes lovingly, longingly and realistically about her mother.  Until now, I didn't really know Debra, but knew her mother as a library patron.  I always felt some kind of connection to her mom. 

Stacy Horn -  One of my favorites books from last year was Imperfect Harmony:  Finding Happiness Singing with Others.  I loved this book!   When I "googled" the author, I found this wonderful blog, filled with all kinds of NYC delights.

Citizen Reader - She doesn't post often enough, but I enjoy it when she does.  Lots of non-fiction.

Savvy Working Gal - Lots of non-fiction and common sense.  One of my favorites.

Janice MacLeod - The author wrote a great book Paris Letters Good general blog, mostly fiction.  There is a helpful rating system to let readers know about a book’s content.  Check out her “Blog List” to find links to other blogs.   Good general fiction and non-fiction reviews, including young adult titles. This blog offers a variety of reviews, fiction and non-fiction.  The blog also has weekly features such as “Weekend Cooking” and “Wordless Wednesday.” This site features a blog that has links to low-priced Kindle e-books, as well as book recommendations.  There’s a lot of information available, so take a little time and explore. Good general fiction and non-fiction reviews, as well as audiobook reviews. This blog features a wide variety of book reviews – fiction, non-fiction, young adult, etc.  It’s a fun blog to read – personable and informative.

Just a note:  When looking for blogs to follow, it’s important to look for ones that are updated every few days.  This shows a commitment to the subject and to readers who follow the blogs.  A good way to find additional blogs is to find a blog you like and then see what other blogs that person follows.  Explore, explore, explore.  Click on suggested links and discover the online world of book blogging.  Before you know it, you’ll have several blogs bookmarked on your computer or e-reader and your “to be read list” will be longer than you thought imaginable.