News & More...

Posts Tagged Books & Reading

The Reader’s Bill of Rights

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

books

 

I  sometimes think we take reading a tiny bit too seriously. Several years ago, in Daniel Pennac’s witty and entertaining book “Better Than Life,” I was delighted to discover his Reader’s Bill of Rights, a declaration of independence from worn-out constraints and rules that change reading from a pleasure to a chore. This list has stuck with me ever since. Here, in Pennac’s view, are your rights as a reader:

 

 

 

1. The right to not read.
2. The right to skip pages.
3. The right to not finish.
4. The right to reread.
5. The right to read anything.
6. The right to escapism.
7. The right to read anywhere.
8. The right to browse.
9. The right to read out loud.
10. The right to not defend your tastes.

If you’re reading for pleasure, definitely read what you love and bypass all the “shoulds.” Read whatever appeals to you at the moment without regrets or excuses. Reading can be many things — fun, inspiring, empowering, entertaining, enlightening – but it shouldn’t be a chore, and you certainly shouldn’t have to conform to someone else’s arbitrary standards. Read trash or treasure, or whatever else you want, with no apologies necessary – see #6 above.
If you’re reading a book that doesn’t capture your attention, or if reading it is simply not an enjoyable experience, by all means stop! Unless you’re going to be tested on it later, don’t read another page. There’s no rule anywhere that says you have to finish every book you start. Life’s too short. Close that book. See Right #3 above.
You should also feel free to use a perfectly acceptable reader’s technique that I like to call “skimming for the good parts.” This can include checking out the photos in a biography, reading the table of contents to get the gist of the book, enjoying the illustrations, looking for the most food-stained pages in a cookbook, going straight to the hot scenes in a novel, or skipping ahead and reading the last page to see how it all ends. We can do this! No one needs to know! See Rights #2 and #8 above.
I exercise my right #7 (the right to read anywhere) by having something to read with me at all times (or trying to remember to). A book in your pocket or bag is a lifesaver when waiting in the dentist’s office, being delayed in an airport, calming a fractious child, or eating a quiet meal alone in a restaurant. Reading anywhere can help the time pass and keep you self-contained and content, inoffensive to others, an island of calm and purpose. I love Right #7.
But in the end, in spite of Pennac’s Right #1 above (The Right to Not Read), I do hope reading is a vital part of your life. If you’re looking for good books at Manhattan Public Library, library staff are always delighted to help. Just ask!
So, what’s your favorite reader’s right?

 

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Ready for Fall

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

The new school year always brings with it a barrage of children’s book publications. It’s a wonderful time to fill shelves and backpacks with brand new books. Here are a few seasonal picture books that arrived just in time for falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and getting settled into another school year.

Fall Leaves“Fall Leaves” by Loretta Holland, with enchanting illustrations by Elly MacKay, is the perfect book to discuss the season. Each spread is centered on a two word phrase, such as “Fall arrives” and “Leaves leave.” Further description gives meaning to the phrase and sometimes a simple scientific explanation of what happens as the season moves from September to December.

“Otis and the Scarecrow,” a new Otis the tractor book by Loren Long, will be a popular choice. Otis is a good-natured tractor who loves his farm, and he is not sure what to do with the new arrival who doesn’t “smile or say hello,” but just stands there with “a sour look on his face, staring at the cornfield.” How does one make friends with a scarecrow? Leave it to Otis to come up with a way. (more…)

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

Leave a Comment (0) →

Book Discussions this Fall at MPL!

If you or your book club would like to join us for book discussions this fall, check out the books and start reading!

ghostSeptember 25 at 7:00 pm, we will discuss The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is the K-State Book Network’s Common Read for 2014, and the devastating effects of cholera and the search for the cause of this deadly disease is written about in this book–a fascinating look at scientific investigation in the Victorian era.

 

October 30 at 7:00 pm we will have the exciting opportunity to discuss the book Revolutionary Heart with the author, Diane Eickoff! The main character of this book is a charismatic suffragist who helped pave the way for change for women.

 

 

carriedNovember 20 at 7:00 pm, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien will be discussed with a guest discussion leader. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, this discussion is part of the events planned for the Manhattan Big Read of this poignant and fascinating look at American soldiers in Vietnam.

 

We hope you can join us for any or all of these discussions!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

KSBN Focus: The Ghost Map

By Marcia Allen, Technical Services Manager

ghost

Each academic year, the K-State Book Network (KSBN) selects an exceptional book for a common reading experience. In conjunction with that all-university-read, campus activities, classroom experiences, and community programs are offered that share additional insights into the book. In the past years, enthusiastic participants have been fortunate enough to share in the reading of outstanding titles like Ready Player One, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Zeitoun, and The Hunger Games.

This year’ title is an equally stellar selection. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which was first published in 2006, is an amazing tale of detective work and perseverance that will demand your attention despite its sometimes appalling content. Here’s a hint about the levels of appeal that the book presents.

First of all, it’s a graphic examination of living conditions in 19th century London. While the story begins with a lengthy description of the scavengers (night-soil men) who sought items for recycling in the filth of the city, the real focus is on a cholera epidemic which began in 1854 in the neighborhood of Broad Street. As is often the case, the first one or two deaths quickly multiplied, and in a period of some ten days, more than 500 people lost their lives.

Secondly, the book is an excellent account of the life of disease, as well as the common beliefs about contagion. Johnson does an exceptional job of describing the source, the growth, and the resulting symptoms and death that accompany a cholera outbreak. The close proximity of cesspools to drinking water sources and the density of the population combined for a perfect hosting environment for the epidemic. Coupled with those physical conditions were the common beliefs in “miasma,” or poisoned atmosphere, as the cause of sickness. Neither medical experts nor average citizens understood the actual causes of contagion, so few productive efforts were made to stop the spread of disease.

Third, and perhaps most interesting, this is an incredible detective story. Dedicated physician John Snow had done pioneering work with the newly discovered use of anesthetics, but he had also pondered the frequent outbreaks of cholera for some years, and even attempted to chart the deaths. When this sudden horrific outbreak near Broad Street caught his attention, he began questioning the unthinkable: Could the water supply be related to the epidemic? At the same time, local clergyman Henry Whitehead began work on his own study involving the reach and duration of the outbreak. Because Whitehead knew his congregation so well, he was able to pinpoint dates of deaths as well as numbers lost to the outbreak. In fact, it was actually his discovery of the timespan when the first victim sickened and died that brought the two investigators together. From that point, the two men were able to chart the spread of the epidemic throughout the neighborhood. Thus, the “ghost map” of the title is the carefully documented layout of the related deaths throughout the area.
Of course, these dedicated souls did not bring about immediate change in London. But their pioneering work served as an impetus for early developments in waste-removal and sanitary water supply that not only improved the health of thousands, but also restored the vigor of the much-polluted Thames River.

If you are interested in learning more about the book and its contents, the following programs are scheduled:
On Science Saturday, September 6 at 10:00 a.m., in the MPL’s lower atrium, Ginny Bernard from Riley County Extension will guide listeners of all ages through some hands-on experiments concerning diseases, germs and water contamination. You can register here.

On Thursday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m., there is an author talk in McCain Auditorium with Steven Johnson. Tickets are required to attend the free event and will be available for community members on Wednesday, September 3 at the Manhattan Public Library.

On Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 p.m., there is a Good Books Club Book Discussion to be held in the Groesbeck Room of MPL. Snacks will be provided.

Please plan to attend these events if your schedule allows, and enjoy your reading of the book. It’s a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Old-Fashioned Gentle Reads for Summer

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

We frequently hear requests from readers for old-fashioned, happy-ending books – perfect reading for summertime.  Here are some of my favorite heart-warming and hopeful books from years gone by, admittedly a list with a distinct girlie slant offered mainly with reading women and girls in mind.

cheaper             Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.  The true, laugh-out-loud adventures of a family of twelve rambunctious, red-haired siblings and their eccentric parents during the first decades of the 20th century.

            The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West.  Scenes from the life of the fictional Birdwell family in Civil War-era Indiana – farm wife Eliza, a gentle, wise, Quaker minister; her more free-spirited husband, Jess; their family and their community – during a time of upheaval and spiritual questioning.  After reading this book, enjoy the wonderful 1956 film version starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire.

 mrs           Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.  A classic novel of love and courage in the Canadian wilderness, this is the story of Katherine Mary O’Fallon, privileged daughter of Boston, and her new husband, Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Mounties, as they start a life together in a dangerous, beautiful, enthralling place.

Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith is another heart-warming novel about early marriage.  Young Annie McGairy leaves her home in Depression-era Brooklyn to join and marry Carl who is studying law at a large Midwestern university.  This is her story of their first year of marriage as she and Carl face many challenges and learn how to honor themselves and their marriage.

            Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough.  A delightful memoir of innocents abroad – footloose, young, and disaster-prone. In 1920, best friends and Bryn Mawr students Skinner and Kimbrough embarked on a memorable European Grand Tour and later recounted with great humor all its surprises, mishaps, wonders, and revelations.

        Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. The charming novel, written in letters, this is the story of orphan Judy Abbott who, through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, is able to attend school and discover a world that offers her undreamed-of possibilities.

lantern      A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.  The story of a young pioneer woman who puts her youthful dreams aside to live a challenging but rewarding life with her husband on the Nebraska frontier.  And if you like this novel, look for The Edge of Time by Loula Grace Erdman, another captivating and romantic pioneer adventure set in the Texas panhandle.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Book News

Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

One of the many great things about working in a library is that you’re privy to all of the hush-hush whispers about what’s going on in the book world. Here are some of the exciting things that are coming down the pipeline soon!

horton

  • New Doctor Seuss book: Lost Doctor Seuss stories will be published in a new picture book in September. Stories will feature early appearances by Horton the elephant and other characters from the Seuss canon.
  • New Harry Potter covers have been revealed! Bloomsbury Children’s Books will be releasing new editions of Harry Potter books on September 1st. The gorgeous new covers are the work of artist Jonny Duddle, who has crafted new designs for each of the seven books. Unfortunately, for the time being, the new editions will only be available to purchase in Britain.
  • New Downton Abbey title: If waiting until January 2015 for the return of British period drama Downton Abbey seems utterly unbearable, you might receive some consolation in the pending October release of A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey. The title features images from the set, back stories behind episodes of Downton Abbey, period research, and interactives such as recipes and instructions on how to curtsey.
  • NASA is giving away free eBooks. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is opening the digital doors of its library to the public by making its eBook collection available for public downloading. If you’re interested in flight research, returning home after space travel and dressing for altitude, or maybe just want to learn about the vast galaxy NASA researches and explores, visit them today.

 

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Classic reading for lovers of English gardens, village life, and country houses

index4LBRRIONIn the 1930s, Englishman Beverley Nichols wrote about his adventure buying and restoring a dilapidated country house and garden, including his introduction to village life and the various neighbors who helped, hindered, and critiqued his efforts. 

His writing is lively, hilarious, and inspiring – perfect summer reading.  In 2006 upon the reissue of these books, Home and Garden described Nichols as being “as observant as Jane Austen, as witty as Oscar Wilde, and as sentimental as James Herriott.  He also happens to be as funny, timely, and un-P.C. as Jon Stewart.”

Get to know Beverley Nichols through his gardening trilogy – Merry Hall; Laughter on the Stairs; Sunlight on the Lawn  – and through the Allways trilogy, which includes Down the Garden Path; A Thatched Roof; A Village in a Valley.  Or try a new compilation of his writings, Rhapsody in Green: The Garden Wit and Wisdom of Beverly Nichols.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

Leave a Comment (0) →

Paperback Book Day

Heather holding a mug of coffee and a copy of the Princess Bride

Demonstration: right hand coffee; left hand book.

By Heather Strafuss, Assistant Circulation Supervisor

Today we celebrate the paperback: the small and inexpensive soft-covered book. (By decree of the Days of the Year calendar.)

The history of the paperback is intriguingly similar to that of the e-book: the ability to produce them cheaper and sell them at lower prices appealed to consumers but frustrated publishers and bookstores. However, despite the controversy created around them when they began, and the worry that e-books might take their place in modern times, paperbacks are still around and making their way into reader’s hearts today.

Like many readers, my favorite way to read is to curl up with a good paperback and a cup of coffee. Long before I tried out an e-reader, a paperback was the most convenient way to read. It was light, fit into my budget and was easily shoved into a backpack or purse if I needed to carry it around with me.

It also hurt a lot less than a hardback if I dropped it on my face while reading.

A paperback still has the “book” feel to it: textured pages and the papery scent that booklovers around the world know so well. It has a bendy cover that allows you to hold it one-handed. While you do have to go to an actual store to buy one, paperbacks have the bonus of being low-priced to also accommodate a visit to the coffee shop.

For me, a well-loved paperback means a familiar story on a rainy-day, with rain pinging on the window and a mind engrossed in a different world.

If you’re looking for your own paperback to read and cherish, stop by Rosie’s Corner Used Book Store on the first floor of the library to purchase one for $1.25 or browse the library to check out as many as you can carry!

Posted in: News

Leave a Comment (0) →

World War I Begins

franz-ferdinandandsophie2The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia von Hochenberg by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip was the event that ignited World War I on this day in 1914. This marks the 100th anniversary of the “Great War”. Manhattan Public Library has many resources to help you learn about this time in history–check our catalog to find out more!

Posted in: Adult Services

Leave a Comment (0) →

Bedtime Books for Summer Nights

by Grace Benedick, Children’s Librarian

As a child, I loved the long summer days and the warm summer nights, but if there was one thing I really hated about summer, it was bedtime. I think we can all remember the childhood trial of trying to fall asleep before the sun had set—when it seemed the whole world was still wide awake. Fortunately, for all of you grown-ups with children undergoing that yearly trial, the library is full of wonderful bedtime stories to appease your wakeful children. In fact, over 200 titles will come up if you search our catalog for picture books about bedtime, so here’s a small selection of summery favorites to get you started:

atnightJonathan Bean’s debut picture book, At Night is all about one of those restless nights when sleep just won’t come. The story moves at a poetic, quiet pace, following a restless girl as she chases the night breeze up to her city roof. With her curious mother trailing behind, she takes her pillows and blankets upstairs to the rooftop terrace, where she can see the moon and feel the breeze, and better yet—fall asleep.

 

(more…)

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 3 123