Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interview with Ann Brashares

Author of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants talks about how she is adding to the Sisterhood world in her newer book, Three Willows.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop

Hey aspiring writers in grades 7-12!

Apply for this summer's Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop at Austin Peay July 12-18. Writers will spend the week writing and taking part in workshops with amazing faculty, including poets, novelists, essayists and songwriters.

Click here for tuition and scholarship info.

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 Pulitzer Prize Books

Olive Kitteridge

from the Random House website:
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Click here to read the review from O, The Oprah Magazine

The Hemingses of Monticello
Annette Gordon Reed

from the W.W. Norton website:
This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
Jon Meacham

from the Random House website:

Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency. Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson’s election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad. To tell the saga of Jackson’s presidency, acclaimed author Jon Meacham goes inside the Jackson White House. Drawing on newly discovered family letters and papers, he details the human drama–the family, the women, and the inner circle of advisers–that shaped Jackson’s private world through years of storm and victory.

One of our most significant yet dimly recalled presidents, Jackson was a battle-hardened warrior, the founder of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the presidency as we know it. His story is one of violence, sex, courage, and tragedy. With his powerful persona, his evident bravery, and his mystical connection to the people, Jackson moved the White House from the periphery of government to the center of national action, articulating a vision of change that challenged entrenched interests to heed the popular will–or face his formidable wrath. The greatest of the presidents who have followed Jackson in the White House–from Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt to FDR to Truman–have found inspiration in his example, and virtue in his vision.

Jackson was the most contradictory of men. The architect of the removal of Indians from their native lands, he was warmly sentimental and risked everything to give more power to ordinary citizens. He was, in short, a lot like his country: alternately kind and vicious, brilliant and blind; and a man who fought a lifelong war to keep the republic safe–no matter what it took.

Jon Meacham in American Lion has delivered the definitive human portrait of a pivotal president who forever changed the American presidency–and America itself.
Click here to read a review from the Nashville Scene

The Shadow of Sirius
W.S. Merwin

from the Cooper Canyon Press website:

The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, temporality, and eternity interweave throughout Merwin's newest collection of poems. "I have only what I remember," he admits, and his memories are focused and profound: well-cultivated loves, the distinct qualities of autumnal light, memories of Pennsylvania miners, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, and "our long evenings and astonishment." From the universe's chiaroscuro shadows, Merwin once again calls upon the language of surprise to illuminate existence. He is writing at the peak of his powers.

Click here to watch and listen to Merwin read his poetry at PBS.

General Nonfiction
Slavery by Any Other Name
Douglas A. Blackmon

from the Random House website:

In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Click here to listen to Tavis Smiley interview Douglas Blackmon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oprah's Kids Reading List Ages 10 and Up

Check out Oprah's picks for kids age 10 and up. You can find most of these books in the St. Mary's Library.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apply for Memphis Public Libraries' Teen Tech Camp

Join teens from all over Memphis as they learn how to use new technological tools. For more information, go here. For the application, go here. To view finished projects from previous year's go here. Applications due by May 15.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Operation Teen Book Drop

The Iliad at Memphis Public Library

New York’s acclaimed Aquila Theatre is coming to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Thursday, April 30 to perfrom The Iliad (at 4pm). Members of the Aquila Theatre will also provide an acting workshop before the performance (at 2pm).

Friday, April 3, 2009

How Many Pages Do You Give a Book to Impress You?

The Wall Street Journal's Cynthia Crossen recently tackled this question

I for one like Nancy Pearl's rule of 50:

If you are 50 years old or younger = give a book 50 pages
If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and give a book that many pages.