Shelfish: The Blog of Answers
Fall is the perfect time to get your yoga practice in top form. This month, visit hoopladigital.com to stream or download all your favorite Gaiam yoga videos on your computer or mobile device. Just starting out? Try Yoga for Beginners. Or maybe Advanced Yoga is more your speed. No matter your experience level, there's a great video for you on Hoopla. Even if you're a kid!
Then, visit the Hoopla Facebook page to get entered into a drawing for a yoga workout prize package. Maybe you'll win a bamboo yoga mat and a cork yoga brick to help keep you going all winter long. Entry ends September 30th.
Today, President Obama released his summer reading list. Read these books and, before you know it, you'll be the president. If I had to guess, I'd say you've probably read at least two of them already. You're almost halfway there.
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.
And in case you missed it, here's what made the cut last year:
While you're working on your presidential reading assignment why not listen to the music on President Obama's summer playlists?
Theaters in 2016 have been filled with movie adaptations of popuar books. The Fifth Wave, Me Before You, The BFG, and of course, The Jungle Book (I mean, come on, it has "book" right in the title). Although time flies, the year's not over yet and there are a lot more movies based on books to come. Here are some of the higher profile ones. You should have just enough time to borrow and read them so you can feel superior when you tell all your friends how the movie wasn't as good as the book.
Halfway through Textbook, Amy Krouse Rosenthal reflects on her unique mid-life crisis. She didn't have an affair or buy a fancy new car or any of those cliches. She merely found herself becoming more emotional, moved to tears by the everyday things her kids did or by the small kindnesses of strangers.
Known mainly for her children's books, including Little Oink, Uni the Unicorn, and Spoon (a favorite at Muddy Buddies my wife's storytime/ceramics class for kids), Amy Krouse Rosenthal has also had some success writing books for adults. Her newest, Textbook, is tough to describe. Amy is obsessed with coincidence and serendipity, with finding transcendence in the mundane. Part memoir, part poetry, part conceptual art, part interactive project, the book collects Amy's thoughtful remembrances, observations, drawings, and photos into sections organized like a school textbook with subject headings Art, Music, Math, Science, History, etc. Occasionally, the smartphone-using-reader is prompted to send a text message to Amy and receive one in return. The responses either augment the book with sound recordings and videos or ask you to participate in the book. Submit a story of your own. Suggest a tattoo. Make a self portrait. Assist in the search for a long-lost copy of Hemmingway's A Moveable Feast. Reader submissions are being archived online at www.textbookamykr.com.
While my cynical side wants to call Textbook too cute or too clever, I'd be lying if I didn't say there were stories in the book that made me tear up, thinking about all the goodness in the world. Maybe Amy and I are sharing a mid-life crisis.
In 1969, woodworker Armand Lamontagne made a replica of the famous Brewster Chairs, a pair of chairs once owned by pilgrim William Brewster, who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. Annoyed by the self-importance of museum curators, Lamontagne made the copy to prove that they were capable of being fooled. He gave his chair away and waited patiently for it to appear on the antiquities market. Six years later, the fake was purchased by the Henry Ford Museum and Lamontagne came clean. Today, the museum displays the chair for educational purposes.
This story is at the center of the culmination of The Wrong Stuff, the third in a series of mystery novels by author Sharon Fiffer. In her "Killer Stuff Mysteries", Fiffer writes about Jane Wheel, a one-time ad executive who now makes her living as a "picker", searching Chicago-area flea markets, rummage sales, and auctions in search of antiques that might be sold for a profit. More often than not, she keeps her finds, worried that no one else will respect the history of these objects; the love their previous owners might have had for them; or the stories they tell about times now passed. Jane also happens to be really good at finding dead bodies and bringing their killers to justice.
On October 2nd, Sharon Fiffer will visit us at the Eisenhower Library to discuss her books, her life, and her own love for antiques. You can find all the details and register for the event by visiting our calendar, or calling 708-867-2299.
On January 1st, 1953, after years of alcohol and drug abuse, county singer Hank Williams died in the backseat of a Cadillac heading to a gig in West Virginia. Earlier that day, a doctor had given him two shots of vitamin B12 laced with morphine.
Steve Earle's novel, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, picks up the story ten years later with Doc Ebersole, a fictional composite of the doctors and hangers-on who encouraged Williams' destructive drug habit. Doc has settled into the worst part of San Antonio, supporting his heroin habit by doctoring gun shot wounds and performing abortions for the prostitutes of the South Presa Strip, all the while being haunted by the ghost of his old friend, Hank Williams. He's in a downward spiral and isn't too worried about what will happen when he hits the bottom.
But when Graciela, an innocent young Mexican immigrant obsessed with Jackie Kennedy and the part-Catholic-part-pre-Columbian religion of her grandfather, appears in search of Doc's services, miraculous things begin to happen. South Presa starts to change and Doc's chances of redemption seem better than ever.
A county singer and one-time addict himself, Steve Earle is ideally suited to tell this difficult story. His depictions of heroin withdrawal symptoms and the things an addict will do to avoid them are harrowing and disturbing. But despite its focus on darkness and mortality, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is ultimately a story of atonement, absolution, and self-forgiveness.
Find I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive in the library catalog.
Steve Earle's companion album of the same title is available to download or stream at hoopla.com.
We all need a little help once in a while. If you or I need some assistance we might call a friend or a family member. If a secret government organization needs help, they arrest a bunch of low-level techno-criminals and force them to become hackers-for-the-man.
Our heroes (self-named, the Zeroes) are a do-gooder social engineer, better at working people than computers; a streetwise credit card thief who'd rather his mother not know about his profession; an online troll who just wants to make you feel bad about yourself; an ethical hacktivist with ties to the Syrian resistance; and a hippie-era hacker/gun-nut prepared for the inevitable apocalypse. Together they're tasked with infiltrating corporate computer systems and finding connections to the mysterious TYPHON, a project so secret even their government handlers don't know what it really is.
By the time the Zeroes work out what's happening with Typhon, they're on the run, bullets are flying, and the plot has taken a hard left turn into Terminator territory.
Can the Zeroes, evade capture, make a plan, and stop arguing long enough to save humanity as we know it?