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The World in Translation

By Grace Benedick, Youth Services Library Assistant

RedJune 1st marks the beginning of the Summer Reading Program at Manhattan Public Library. Every year the program has a different theme, and this year the theme is “Build a Better World.” When it comes to making changes for a better world, it’s only reasonable to first be familiar with the world we live in today. Translated literature is a wonderful way to gain a more global perspective. It is estimated that only approximately 3% of books published in the English language are translations. Hopefully, that number will continue to rise, but in the meantime we can start by reading the translations that are available.

In our own children’s collection, the picture book section is home to the largest supply of translations. For toddler listeners, Satoshi Iriyama’s Happy Spring, Chirp! translated from Japanese, follows a baby chick on a quest to find a gift for its aunt and meets other animals, as the reader lifts flaps. Little ones will laugh at Andrée Poulin’s Going for a Sea Bath, originally written in French, as a father attempts to make bath time more appealing for his daughter by bringing creatures from the ocean for her to play with in the tub—eventually they just have to have bath time in the ocean. Also translated from French, Blanche Hates the Night by Sibylle Delacroix, is a silly story about not wanting to go to sleep, and Hannah’s Night by Komako Sakai is a translation from Japanese about those early morning play sessions, when the youngest wakes up before the rest of the family. Today and Today by Kobayashi Issa is a collection of classic Haiku poetry with lovely atmospheric illustrations by G. Brian Karas. A Little Bitty Man: and Other Poems for the Very Young by Halfdan Rasmussen is a translation of playful Danish poetry.

For listeners with longer attention spans, more delightful translated picture books include Beatrice Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy, originally written in French, which is a silly romp that details a child’s search through all the neighborhood shops for the perfect birthday gift for her mom. On My Way to Buy Eggs by Chen Chih-yuan, first published in Mandarin Chinese, is about all the small adventures you can have between home and the local corner store. Red by Jan De Kinder was originally published in Dutch in Belgium. Red is a sensitive narrative about teasing that goes too far, and tells how to speak up and be kind. First written in Hebrew, Just Like I Wanted by Elinoar Keller illuminates the trial and error of making art, and the fun of adapting, as a girl’s drawing morphs into something new each time she thinks she’s made a mistake.

Nonfiction translations are less common than picture books in our collection, but we have a few: In the Forbidden City by Chiu Kwong-chiu is a translation from Mandarin Chinese. A thorough journey through the Forbidden City in Beijing, it has illustrations of the entire grounds, and it has a small magnifying glass to aid the reader’s inspection of the meticulous drawings. Originally published in German, Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws by Ingo Arndt is a photographic exploration of the many types of feet that animals have. Traveling Butterflies by Susumu Shingu is a bright and simple chronicle of the life and migration of monarch butterflies which was first written in Japanese.

Some of the great children’s classics were translations. Starting with the Grimm’s Fairy Tales from German, Hans Christian Andersen from Danish and Charles Perrault from French. Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking was translated from Swedish, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince from French, and Carlo Collodi’s Adventures of Pinocchio was originally printed in Italian. Modern chapter book translations include the popular fantasy Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, who wrote them in German, and many would be surprised to know that the Geronimo Stilton books, so voraciously consumed by elementary students, were written in Italian. Fans of the Warriors series will love The Cat Who Came in off the Roof written by Annie G. Schmidt in Dutch. It tells the story of a reporter, on the verge of being fired for writing too much about cats, who starts getting juicy news from the cats, themselves.

While you’re reading books from all over the world, come by the children’s room to sign up for summer reading. We will have a come-and-go kick-off party on June 3rd from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with crafts, performances and lots of balloons. Then, our weekly summer clubs and storytimes will begin on June 5th.

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Summer Reading for Adults

By Marcia Allen, Technical Services and Collections Manager

The River of KingsLast week was the annual North Central Kansas Libraries System Book Fair.  Many librarians from around the region attended, and all had the opportunity to learn more about marketing, cost-cutting measures and recently released books.  The following are a few of the newer book titles we discussed.

  • The River of Kings is the latest from Taylor Brown, author of the historical romance, Fallen Land. Interwoven throughout this new fictional adventure are three distinct stories: the exploration of the Altamaha River in Georgia by the French in 1564, the misadventures of one Hiram Loggins in the latter part of the 20th century, and the efforts of Hiram’s sons, Hunter and Lawton, to take their now-deceased father’s ashes to the sea.  This is a violent tale, with all parties the victims of some treachery or other while traveling this rugged river.
  • A Single Spy by William Christie is all that a good spy novel should be. Sixteen-year-old Alexsi is captured while running guns in Azerbaijan in 1936.  Given the choice of death or spying on Nazis, he chooses to travel to Germany to spy in behalf of the Russians.  Soon, his skills are noticed by high-ranking Nazis, and he is recruited by them to spy on the Russians.  Alexsi, who speaks fluent Russian and German, also possesses other traits, like lock-picking and combat skills, so he finds himself in a precarious situation.  This one has lots of betrayals and violence.
  • Setting Free the Kites by Alex George is a nicely done coming-of-age novel. Middle school student Robert Carter is routinely bullied, until a new student, Nathan Till, assaults the tormenter.  Soon Robert and Nathan become fast friends, and as they grow older, they rely on each other when family tragedies strike.  Nathan is usually the daring leader of the exploits the two discover, and at some point old secrets will come into play.  This is a great story about maturity and about love.
  • The Great Outdoors by Brendan Leonard is a terrific selection for nature-lovers. This nonfiction book is full of excellent advice about trekking, camping, skiing and just about any outdoor adventure.  Selections like “In the Water” present loads of good sense tips, as well as warnings about dangerous behavior.  Outdoor expert Leonard has an excellent sense of humor, and his cautionary advice about bison behavior and selfies is outstanding.  Leonard’s book is clad in a nice hard plastic cover, so it’s meant to be well-used.
  • Himself by Jess Kidd is a novel/mystery heavily dependent on Irish folklore. Young Irishman Mahoney has just learned that he grew up in an orphanage, not because his single mother had abandoned him, but because something caused her to disappear.  To learn more about her, Mahoney travels to the little village of Mulderrig and meets some unusual local characters.  He also encounters deceased folks who died violently in the village, and they seem to be trying to tell him something.  It seems Mahoney possesses some of the same supernatural skills that may have led to his mother’s disappearance.
  • Will It Skillet? By Daniel Shumski is an astounding collection of no-hassle recipes that can easily be created in a cast iron skillet. Chocolate chip cookies turn out beautifully, and there’s a 30-minute recipe for macaroni and cheese that skips the boiling water completely.  This is the kind of book that could easily lead to all kinds of variations. Simple steps, appealing photographs and the promise of some delectable dishes.
  • Her Secret by noted inspirational author Shelley Shepard Gray gives us the story of Hannah Hilty who lives contentedly with her siblings and parents until a young man’s attentions turn into stalking. Hannah’s parents, who do not trust law enforcement, decide the only solution is to relocate the family far away.  And so they all move where Hannah and family have to make new friends.  The attentions of a young man named Isaac frighten Hannah at first, but she gradually learns to trust him.  And then the stalker from before comes back into her life.

It’s always fun to talk about books with other readers, and this year’s Book Fair was no exception.  It was special day we all enjoyed.

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Graduating to the Next Level

By Vivienne Uccello, Public Relations Coordinator

Daring GreatlyThis spring, if you find yourself on the cusp of a new chapter in life – or yearning for one – you might also find yourself completely terrified! Not to worry, once again books are here to help. You can find a mountain of good advice in books, but sometimes that mountain of advice can be a little frustrating to climb. To save you some time, here are a few of my favorite authors. They give coaching that is based on both personal experience and academic research. Their advice is packaged in good humor and relatable experiences, which makes their books even more enjoyable.

Brené Brown, Ph.D., is an inspiring TED Talk speaker and a research professor at the University of Houston. Her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead debunks myths about perfection and vulnerability – which she believes often cause us to resist new challenges and opportunities. She suggests that being vulnerable is the most courageous thing a person can do. Her book walks us through ways to embrace vulnerability so we can open our lives to an entire world of possibilities.

Brown shares her academic research as well as personal experiences as a wife and mother. “For me, vulnerability led to anxiety, which led to shame, which led to disconnection, which led to Bud Light,” writes Brown. This book isn’t about becoming perfect; it’s about finding the courage to be yourself and allow others to do the same. I consider Daring Greatly a road map to the idea of authentic living and recommend Brown’s work very highly.

Starting a new chapter in life can also mean shouldering new financial responsibilities. Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover is a National Bestseller and is chock full of useful financial advice. He goes through practical steps to change your approach to wealth and break bad habits. “Winning at money is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. What to do isn’t the problem, doing it is,” says Ramsey. His “Baby Step” plan is focused on getting you out of debt completely, which may sound like a fairy tale at the moment. After reading the book, you will have the tools to make debt-free living a reality.

Speaking of changing our habits, David Allen is a bestselling author and professional productivity consultant who can help you figure out how to establish new behaviors. His book Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity also includes tactics for breaking larger tasks into smaller action steps, putting all notes and papers in one place, and focusing on one thing at a time. His advice can help take some of the “overwhelm” out of your life.

Many of Allen’s ideas sound like common sense but I was surprised how much I needed to read them. Simple solutions often escape us when we’re in the throes of a modern, scattered, and overbooked life. His advice is refreshing and original, and addresses the root of several universal problems such as clutter, multi-tasking, and planning ahead. Allen will calmly walk you through simple steps to begin gaining control of your time and space.

David Allen also has a lynda.com video course entitled “Getting Things Done” in which he talks you through the steps to change your patterns. The courses on lynda.com are accessible for free through the library’s website at www.MHKLibrary.org. A library card is required, so stop by the library if you don’t yet have one or if you would like advice about accessing the service online.

While exploring lynda.com, you will find other courses such as “Overcoming Procrastination,” and “Managing Stress” along with video tutorials for interview skills and computer programs. These expert-taught courses can help you take on new challenges with grace and forethought.

The final book on my list has been plastered all over social media lately. I Hope I Screw This Up by Kyle Cease sounded like a very exciting read. Cease describes himself by saying “If Eckhart Tolle and Jim Carey had a baby, that baby would be Kyle Cease.” His promotional videos on Facebook show a dynamic speaker who is able to change lives, but his best work might be saved for the stage. I’ve only just started, but so far, the book has mostly been about his anxiety over writing the book. I’m holding out hope for meaty content, but have found only mild entertainment value in the title so far.

We all need guidance from time to time, that’s no secret. The world’s experts are available to help you along your journey with tender advice, tough love, and age-old wisdom. All of these treasures are available to you for free at the local library. Good luck on your journey!

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Summer Reading Begins June 1!

Registration for summer reading opens Wednesday, May 17.

Summer Reading 2017

People of all ages can participate in the library’s summer reading program for free. Sign up online after May 17 and simply keep track of the time you spend reading from June 1 to July 31. You can also visit the library for the kickoff party on Saturday, June 3 from 10:00 a.m. to noon to sign up, have fun, and collect your registration reward!

Prizes

Different prizes are awarded based on your age group, but everyone will receive a small reward when they sign up. A larger reward will be given at 300 minutes (5 hours) of reading time, and the grand prizes will be awarded at 600 minutes (10 hours) of reading time. Participants will also get drawing chances or stickers for every summer reading program they attend.

This year, prizes include: free books, ice cream cones, donuts, kids’ meals, and passes to local attractions. Teens and adults will earn free books and other rewards, plus they will get to enter drawings for grand prizes such as Kindle Fires and Birkenstocks!

Prizes have been purchased by the Manhattan Library Foundation, the Manhattan Library Association, or donated by local businesses and organizations.

The library would like to thank the following sponsors for their support:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Flint Hills Discovery Center
  • Goblin Games
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Manhattan Arts Center
  • Manhattan Kiwanis
  • Manhattan Library Association
  • Manhattan Library Foundation
  • Manhattan Town Center
  • Olson’s Birkenstock
  • Pediatric Associates
  • Sunset Zoo
  • Target
  • Varsity Donuts
  • Vista Drive In

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Time for a Hike

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

The Autumn CalfIt is time to get out and go for a hike! The library recently hosted a book reading and signing on Earth Day for Jill Haukos’ The Autumn Calf, which tells the story of a baby bison born on the Konza Prairie. Illustrator Joyce Mirhan Turley was also present to talk about the artwork for the picture book. Haukos has offered to give away free copies of The Autumn Calf to any teachers, libraries or schools who contact her; just e-mail konzaed@ksu.edu.

The story includes some information on the tallgrass prairie ecosystem, and it is the perfect introduction for kids to start learning more about the Konza, even visiting it to hike the trail. Lately, articles and facebook posts have highlighted how the Konza Prairie Biological Station’s trail is sometimes misused. Luckily, Haukos, who is the director of education there, says they are keeping the trail available for hikers, and they continue to educate the public about their rules and explain why it is so important to follow them.

We can all help by following any posted rules at outdoor sites, and by instilling those values in our kids or students, no matter where they are encountering nature. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics website, LNT.org, includes resources for promoting good habits when exploring nature, camping or hiking.

A number of new titles at the library will inspire children who seek to understand the world around them, to treat our environment with respect, and to learn from nature.

The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea by Bryn Barnard describes the current state of the Earth’s waters, and how the changes in pollutants, climate, and people’s eating habits and use of technology within the ocean are affecting ocean life. The book’s succinct and understandable format covers six “sea dwellers,” and shows how they have changed and what consequences may come in the future. While jellyfish and blue-green algae thrive, some of the “losers” in this scenario are orcas, sea turtles, tuna and coral reefs…and ultimately, us.

Booklist Reviews notes that “Despite the unsettling statistics, including ocean acidification and dead zones, the evolutionary wonders on display will hopefully inspire readers to help protect this vulnerable, vital Earth system.” Rather than protecting our children from learning the disturbing facts, Barnard informs young readers and then calls on them to study science and nature to find new solutions.

In Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You, author Karin Ireland and illustrator Christopher Canyon, use each double page spread to feature two or more animals or parts of nature, and relate them to a child’s emotions or attitudes. In one set, Ireland focuses on the lion not always catching its dinner, and zebras moving until they find grass to graze on. She adds, “Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to. Don’t blame someone else, and don’t blame yourself, either. Just try again.” Children will gain some understanding by comparing their own experiences to those of animals and nature, knowing these shared experiences are a part of living and learning.

This book provides a great entry into exploring nature with kids in a thought-provoking way. An appendix adds activities for home or the classroom. A simple one is to release a child into a natural area and have them choose one object to study, and then complete these sentences about it: “I notice,” “I wonder,” and “It reminds me.” Every child’s story will be unique and meaningful to them.

For a truly harrowing adventure, both children and adults will appreciate Samantha Seiple’s Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure. In 1913, Roosevelt was offered the high-risk opportunity to travel with the explorer Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon down an uncharted river in the Amazon, the River of Doubt. He jumped at the chance, and brought along his son Kermit as well.

In 190 pages, Seiple details the many challenges, dangers and life-threatening encounters with piranhas, malaria, poisoned arrows, and river rapids to name a few. Roosevelt’s charisma, loyalty and persistence add much to the tale, which includes quotes and stories from the diaries, letters, articles and lectures of T. R. and his son, as well as others from the Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition. Before his death in 1919, Roosevelt wrote to a friend, “I am an old man now, and I did have a murderous trip down South, but it was mighty interesting.” Teddy Roosevelt will never look the same to these kids when they study the 26th president.

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HCCI Credit Counseling

Financial Counseling Available at Manhattan Public Library

Beginning May 1, 2017,  the library will offer a new service to provide financial counseling using a web-based video-connection with Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI) in Topeka.

The video-counseling is available for people in all income levels but will primarily benefit:

  1. individuals and families wanting to budget well, reduce debt, and save for short-term and long-term financial goals; and
  2. low and moderately-low income working families wanting to build good credit and get ahead.

A typical HCCI counseling session is 1.5 hours and includes a thorough review of spending habits, debts, credit report data and score, any garnishments and the client’s short and long-term financial goals.  Each client develops – with guidance from their HCCI Counselor:

  • a personal Spending Plan (budget), and
  • “Next Steps Action Plans” to meet their short and long-term financial goals.

To make an appointment:

Call HCCI at 800-383-0217.  HCCI staff will arrange a time that is convenient for you to come to the Manhattan Public Library to connect online for a video-counseling session.  Staff here can help you with this web-based connection.

You will be able to visit with your HCCI Counselor directly and view (on a computer screen) the helpful forms HCCI uses to guide people to develop a practical budget of their own.  HCCI will pull your credit report and explain what lenders and employers look for in a credit report.  You will also receive an Action Plan and guidance from HCCI about the steps you can take to reduce debt, build your credit, and begin to save for emergencies.  Everything you need will be e-mailed or mailed to you by your HCCI counselor.

HCCI tells us 70% of the people they counsel qualify for free counseling because their income or household qualifies for grant funding HCCI receives to help cover counseling costs.  For example:  there is no charge to military personnel or their families.  There is no fee for people earning lower-incomes.

 For all others, a one-time counseling fee of $45 covers the initial 1.5 hour session plus continuing counseling, as often as needed, at no charge.  Additional counseling visits may be by phone, e-mail and video-counsels at the library.

To learn more go to HCCI’s website at www.hcci-ks.org or call 800-383-0217.

HCCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, founded in 1972.  HCCI is certified by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) and is licensed and regulated by the Office of the Kansas State Bank Commissioner.  HCCI is funded in part by United Ways in Emporia, Junction City, Lawrence, Manhattan and Topeka, by government grants, and by corporations, foundations and individuals.  HCCI’s CSO License # is 0000003.

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Folklore beyond Grimm & Mythology beyond the Greeks

By Crystal Hicks, Adult Services Librarian

Akata WitchI love books that tie in folklore, so it’s no surprise that I recently read Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, a veritable love letter to Russian folklore.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be completely caught in its thrall—Arden weaves a brilliant, impeccably-detailed tapestry in her debut novel, and it absolutely captivated me.  Not only is Arden a wonderful storyteller, but the vast Russian folklore she draws from felt like a fresh breeze after so many books that call on the same stories.  You know the ones: Beauty and the Beast, or Sleeping Beauty, or even Zeus and Odysseus and Achilles.  Arden’s book whet my appetite for alternative folklore and mythology, so I went looking, and I’ve found plenty to feast upon.

Helene Wecker delves into both Jewish folklore and Arabian mythology with her book The Golem and the Jinni.  A Golem is created aboard a ship, and then her master suddenly dies; a Jinni is awoken, hundreds of miles from the Syrian Desert.  Unexpectedly, both magical creatures find themselves in New York City in 1899, unmoored and struggling to find their way in the modern world.  Wecker’s fish-out-of-water narrative is delightful and unusual, bringing together many different worlds in a satisfying, oddly plausible manner.

If you’d like to dive further into Arabian mythology, look no further than One Thousand and One Nights.  Hanan al-Shaykh helpfully retells these classic tales for a modern audience, focusing on just nineteen stories from the original collection.  Al-Shaykh’s straightforward, almost blunt prose reminds me of reading fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, but she smartly interlinks these stories so that each feeds back into the previous one, creating an endless chain of storytelling.  For a young adult spin on these same tales, check out Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn, which develops the relationship between the quick-witted Shahrzad and Khalid, the murderous Caliph of Khorasan.  Though Shahrzad is determined to stay her death in order to exact revenge on Khalid, there’s more to his story than there first seems.

Like Wecker’s novel, M.H. Boroson’s The Girl with Ghost Eyes takes place in turn-of-the-century America, though this time it’s 1898 in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and Li-lin can see spirits.  As a young widow with yin eyes, Li-lin is considered doubly unlucky; as a ghost hunter from the Maoshan tradition of Daoism, Li-lin is also the only person who can save Chinatown.  Li-lin narrates with a simple voice, concretely describing every fantastical thing in her world, and the story flies along, propelled by Li-lin’s kung fu expertise and deft touch with her peachwood sword.  To top all this off, Boroson provides an author’s note indicating where he blended facts and mythologies in order to create a cohesive story, and he encourages readers to continue the story by doing their own research and searching out local legends.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things roots itself in Aztec mythology, but from there it spreads to include mythological beings from across the globe.  Domingo is a lonely nobody, collecting trash in Mexico City, so he’s surprised when the confident and beautiful Atl takes an interest in him.  Even more surprisingly, Atl is a Tlahuihpochtli, a Mexican variety of vampire, and she’s snuck into one of the few havens left from vampires.  Moreno-Garcia combines Latin American mythology with a noir sensibility for a darkly sensuous urban fantasy book that’s delightfully conscious of all the vampire lore around the world.  For those curious, she ends with a glossary fully outlining the different species of vampires and the rules she created for their world.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the book I’m currently reading, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch.  Okorafor’s narrative takes place in Nigeria, effortlessly swirling together local lore and magic.  Sunny, an albino girl born to Igbo parents while they lived in New York, has never fit in since they moved back to Nigeria.  Then, Sunny learns that juju is real and there’s a reason she’s so different.  Akata Witch is already a captivating read, and I can’t wait to see where Okorafor’s imagination will lead me.

If you’re interested in finding more retellings of folklore or on any topic, feel free to stop by the Reference Desk and strike up a conversation.  You can also request a personalized reading list and receive a list of books picked specially for you by one of our librarians.

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Laugh a Little, at the Library

By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

Airplane!I hope you’ve been laughing, because April is National Humor Month. What better time to look at some of the funniest movies of all time.

What any one individual thinks is funny is a matter of personal opinion. There are many lists of the funniest films, but no two lists include the exact same titles. Comparing the all-time greatest comedy films as judged by the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com/list/ls000551766/) and the American Film Institute (www.afi.com/100Years/laughs.aspx), only five films appear among the top ten of both lists. They are:

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” 1964, directed by Stanley Kubrick. This dark comedy satirizes Cold War fears of nuclear war. Air Force General Jack Ripper believing that the Soviets have used the fluoridation of drinking water to pollute Americans’ “precious bodily fluids,” orders bombers to deliver a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The President of the United States (Peter Sellers), his advisers, and the Joint Chiefs are successful in recalling or assisting the Soviets in destroying all the bombers, but one. The Dr. Strangelove of the title (Peter Sellers again) is a former Nazi scientist who hasn’t quite resigned himself to the fact that he’s no longer working for der fuhrer.

Annie Hall,” 1977, directed by Woody Allen. In this romantic comedy, comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) falls in love with nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Alvy’s insecurities sabotage the affair, unfortunately, driving Annie to Los Angeles with a new life and lover. Realizing that he may lose Annie forever, Alvy braves the LA freeways to recapture the only thing that ever mattered to him, true love.

Duck Soup,” 1933, directed by Leo McCarey. In this Marx Brothers classic, Groucho (Rufus T. Firefly) is president of small, bankrupt Freedonia, a country in dire need of financial assistance. Neighboring Sylvania, in an effort to annex Freedonia, sends in spies Chico (Chicolini) and Harpo (Pinky) to infiltrate the Freedonian government. In the process Chicolini is made Secretary of War. War is declared and a hilarious battle ensues. Classic comic sequences include the mirror scene in which Pinky dressed as Firefly pretends to be Firefly’s reflection in a missing mirror.

Blazing Saddles,” 1974, directed by Mel Brooks. Its 1874 and the railroad is coming through the town of Rock Ridge. Governor Le Petomane (Brooks) and Attorney General Hedley Lemarr (Harvey Gorman) scheme to drive the citizens of Rock Ridge away from their homes and drive down the price of land by hiring a black man, Bart (Cleavon Little), to be their sheriff. Facing a hostile reception, Bart teams up with recovering alcoholic gunslinger The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) to save the town. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll remember the campfire scene.

Airplane!,” 1980, directed by David and Jerry Zucker. In this parody of the disaster film genre, traumatized ex-combat pilot, Ted Striker (Robert Hays) nervously boards a Chicago to Los Angeles flight to win back his wartime girlfriend, flight attendant Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty). After contracting food poisoning from the fish served for dinner, both the pilot and co-pilot are incapacitated. It falls to Striker to fly the plane, assisted from the ground by his former commanding officer, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), and an odd assortment of air traffic controllers.

In additional to the official list, here are a few of the titles that library staff consider to be among the funniest films of all time.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” 1975, directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. The troupe of Monty Python’s Flying Circus take on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

The Sandlot,” 1993, directed by David Mickey Evans. In 1962, Scotty Smalls learns to play baseball and much more in this coming of age story.

Groundhog Day,” 1993, directed by Harold Ramis. Weather man Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, reliving Groundhog Day over and over and over again.

Young Frankenstein,” 1974, directed by Mel Brooks. Frankenstein’s grandson, Frederick (Gene Wilder) inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania and resumes his grandfather’s experiments in reanimating dead tissue.

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“Autumn Calf” for Earth Day 2017

MANHATTAN, KS – At 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 kids of all ages can celebrate Earth Day with a story about a special baby bison living in Kansas. Author Jill Haukos will read her children’s picture book, “The Autumn Calf,” which follows the true story of a calf born on the Konza Prairie late in the season. Haukos is the KSU Director of Education for the Konza Prairie Biological Station, and she wrote the book as a way to show the unique aspects of the Konza Prairie environment, how the animals and plants relate to each other, and what this ecosystem means to us.

The book’s illustrator, Joyce Turley, will also speak and show some of the original artwork she created for the book.

Children in attendance will receive a free copy of “The Autumn Calf.” Haukos and Turley will be available after the reading to visit and sign books. This event is co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Konza Prairie and Manhattan Public Library.

For more information, please contact the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, (785) 776-4741 ext. 400.

Autumn Calf by Jill Haukos and Joyce Turley

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Books That Sarah Made Me Read

By Rhonna Hargett, Adult Services Manager

The Thirteenth TaleAround my house, we call Sarah “the book pusher.” I have several friends who exchange recommendations, but Sarah takes it a step further. She starts with “You have to read this book.” I respond politely, putting it on my list of books I might get around to. But then she checks up on me. This would be annoying, except that she’s always right. Each and every one has turned out to be an amazing book that I can’t put down and lingers with me for weeks after I finish. You would think I would eventually learn to stop fighting the recommendation magic and maybe this article is a turning point to acceptance. Hopefully, you will be more open to the treasures than I have been as I share with you the books that Sarah made me read.

In The Fault in Our Stars John Green explores what life is like for a teen with cancer – both the good and the bad. Sixteen-year-old Hazel has been dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis for three years and she’s depressed. Her doctor recommends Cancer Kid Support Group, where she meets Augustus. The two of them become fast friends and show us that, even in the midst of the pain and fear of cancer, there can be love, joy, and adventure.

Katherine Howe takes us back to 17th century Salem, Massachusetts in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. While going through her grandmother’s things after her death in 1991, Connie Goodwin comes across a scrap of paper with the name “Deliverance Dane,” setting off a hunt into her family’s past. Alternating chapters go back and forth between Connie and Deliverance, a woman accused of witchcraft. Howe creates a gripping story, as well as an insightful look into the context of the lives of women during the witch-hunt period of American history.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles teaches us how to make the best of a bad situation. In Moscow in 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is sentenced to house arrest. Fortunately, his current residence is the luxurious Metropol Hotel. Even after being moved to a more austere room, Rostov manages to find delight in expanding his social circle and appreciating the small pleasures in life.

In The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Vida Winter is a world famous author, but has scattered inconsistent details about her life. Now that she is unwell, she agrees to finally reveal the truth. Winter reveals to her biographer, Margaret, an eerie narrative of mysterious sisters, a tragic fire, and disturbing specters.

I’m especially drawn to mysteries with great characters, and Louise Penny fits the bill with the Chief Inspector Gamache series, starting with Still Life. When Jane Neal, beloved retired teacher, is found dead in the woods on Thanksgiving Day, Armand Gamache is called to the scene. With a humble demeanor and excellent listening skills, he immerses himself in the small community to solve the crime. The complex characters and the insight into rural Québec make for an engaging story.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is a charming romance that doesn’t read like a romance. Annie McMorrow is 31, just lost her boyfriend, and is struggling to establish her career as a chef. When she picks up a dusty painting in a junk shop, her life and her apartment are turned upside down. Exploring both the intrigue of the art world and a passion for good food, Rothschild creates an absorbing novel that truly satisfies.

Even librarians get in a reading rut. We all get comfortable with our genres and rarely venture out. Fortunately, I have friends who keep my suggestion list full. If you ever need a suggestion, stop by the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of the library and we will gladly help you out.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, Mercury Column, News, Uncategorized, Young Adult Dept

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