Earth Day 2014

April 22nd, 2014

 

Herewith, 100 planetary facts for Earth Day from Slate….

More branches find eggs….

April 22nd, 2014

Word has it that the mystery rabbit left eggs with tiny books inside at 15 branch libraries this weekend.  The Awesome Foundation may have figured in all this.  Awesome!

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Mystery eggs appear at two more Branch Libraries

April 22nd, 2014

stacks Easter eggs with miniature books inside have been found at three branch libraries:  Richmond, Presidio, and Mission branches.  If you have any clues about the identity of the mystery rabbit, please let us know!

Discovered in the Stacks

April 21st, 2014

What a delightful surprise Richmond Branch Library staff discovered in the stacks on Easter!  Several Easter eggs containing miniature books:

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Sad news – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 17th, 2014

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at age 87 at his home in Mexico City.  The Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera was a native of Colombia.    The novelist, short-story writer, journalist and screenwriter was credited with popularizing “magical realism”.

Read more here from the NY Times.

Pulitzer Prize Winners for Books, Drama, Music

April 15th, 2014

 Here are the names of the winners of the Pulitzer Prizes for Books, Drama, and Music, awarded yesterday:

 

FICTION

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DONNA TARTT

The Goldfinch

Finalists Philipp Meyer, “The Son”; Bob Shacochis, “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul.”

 

 

 

DRAMA

ANNIE BAKER

The Flick

Finalists Madeleine George, “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence”; Lisa Kron, book and lyrics, Jeanine Tesori, music, “Fun Home.”

 

HISTORY

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ALAN TAYLOR

The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

Finalists Jacqueline Jones, “A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race From the Colonial Era to Obama’s America”; Eric Schlosser, “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety.”0

 

 

 

 

BIOGRAPHY

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MEGAN MARSHALL

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Finalists Leo Damrosch, “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World”; Jonathan Sperber, “Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.”

 

 

 

 

GENERAL NONFICTION

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DAN FAGIN

Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation

Finalists Gary J. Bass, “The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide”; Fred Kaplan, “The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.”

 

 

 

POETRY

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VIJAY SESHADRI

3 Sections

Finalists Morri Creech, “The Sleep of Reason”; Adrian Matejka, “The Big Smoke”

 

 

MUSIC

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS

Become Ocean,” by John Luther Adams

Finalists  “The Gospel According to the Other Mary,” by John Adams;  “Invisible Cities,” by Christopher Cerrone

Frog Music – A new novel based on a true San Francisco murder mystery

April 14th, 2014

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If you’re looking for a book you won’t want to put down, try Emma Donoghue’s new book, Frog Music, which is based on a true, unsolved San Francisco mystery. Set in the sweltering summer of 1876, amid the panic of the smallpox epidemic, and the rising anti-Chinese sentiments of the time, the novel features the murder of a young, cross-dressing woman, Jenny Bonnet. Having recently befriended local dancer and prostitute, Blanche Beunon, the two women are staying in a tavern in San Miguel Station, south of San Francisco (now part of San Francisco’s OMI neighborhood), when shots blaze through the window of their room, killing Jenny.

Donoghue explores the underside of San Francisco’s boomtown, including the farming-out of babies, opium dens, gambling, the San Francisco Industrial School that housed juvenile criminals as well as mischief makers; fancy houses of entertainment in which a gentleman, or a miner with dirt under his nails, and a bag of gold, can buy a variety of personal services for high prices; as well as the Chinatown cribs in which girls can be had for pennies.

As the story unfolds, and new twists and turns are slowly revealed, Jenny’s and Blanche’s characters are shown to be more complicated, and perhaps less scrupulous than initially represented. However, the reader’s sympathies remain with the two women.

 

National Poetry Month at the Library

April 11th, 2014

 

 

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California Dreaming: poems from California poets selected by Library staff.

Join us for an exhibition of poems by California poets, lining the atrium on the third floor of the Main Library. The 15 poems were selected by Library staff and represent some of our favorite poetry. The poets are both well-known (Alejandro Murguia and Al Young) and new to the scene (Stewart Shaw and Monica Xu).

Make your next trip to the Library a literary one with these wonderful poets. We’re sure you will find something to love in this exhibit.

The exhibit will be up from April 1, 2013 (National Poetry Month) to June 30, 2014.

Throughout the month of April the San Francisco Public Library celebrates National Poetry Month with many exciting programs that emphasize the importance of poetry in American culture.

National Recordings Registry adds new recordings

April 3rd, 2014

From the Library of Congress blog: 

The Librarian of Congress and the National Recording Preservation Board have released this year’s choices for the prestigious national Recording Registry – and as always, it’s a veritable sonic smorgasbord of terrific stuff, from many genres.  The selections are made to ensure the preservation for posterity of sound recordings with cultural, artistic or historical merit.

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George Washington Johnson, recording

Some highlights:

  • The haunting Jeff Buckley version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Buckley’s 1994 take is remarkable; the song itself has gone around the world several times, sung by its author, by John Cale, even by contestants on American Idol. Like many songs written by Cohen, it has arresting lyrics (“It goes like this – the fourth, the fifth – the minor fall, the major lift…”)  Another verse notes, “All I ever learned from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.”

 

  • “The Laughing Song” by George Washington Johnson, who in addition to having an infectious laugh that made his recording into a nationwide bestseller was a key figure in recording history as the first African-American recording artist (you can hear this song, recorded in 1903, on the Library’s National Jukebox website.)

 Art Blakey’s 1954 jazz album, “A Night at Birdland.”

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Vol. 1 of Art Blakey’s “Night at Birdland”

 

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 song “Fortunate Son.”

For a full listing and description of the 25 recordings and information about the artists, see here.

 

徒步中國

April 2nd, 2014

imagesCAWAEYFL 徒步中國 Tu bu Zhongguo / [] 雷克Christoph Rehage 2013.

德國青年雷克(本名 Christoph Rehage),曾是北京電影學院的外國交換生,中文極好。一日突發奇想,要徒步從北京走到德國與在德國留學的中國女朋友見面。於是,從20072008年,由北京徒步走到了新疆烏魯木齊,全程4646公里。這並不是一本遊記,而是一個外國青年與讀者分享他在中國徒步過程的所見所聞所言所想,而貫穿全書的則是他與在德國留學的女朋友小象之間若即若離的戀愛關係。事實上,也正是小象決定跟雷克分手宣告了雷克徒步中國的結束。

全書分“秋”、“冬”、“春”、“夏”、“又一秋”五章。每章分別以途中趣聞為題分十數個小節。全書從行程的結局開始寫起,然後以倒敍的方式講述他從北京出發到烏魯木齊的全過程。作者並沒有太多花筆墨介紹沿途的風光名勝,因爲觀光並不是他的意圖;作者的關注對象是途中有趣的人、事、物。作者在書中非常直率地提到了他對中國各地拆舊立新的看法,也實地看到了中國環境污染的嚴重程度。一路上雷克遇到了許許多多熱心幫助他的中國人,有小孩,農人,老闆,驢友,也有跟他一樣行走天下的人,等等等等。很多次正愁晚上沒地方住,鄉間的農家會對一個完全不認識的“老外”毫無顧忌地敞開自己的家門讓他去過夜。很多次好心的過路人看見這個走路的老外,有的給水,有的給瓜果,有的還請吃飯,諸如此類,不一而足。雷克一路上也交了不少朋友,申叔叔、朱輝、謝老師等等,他們不但和雷克一起走了不少路,還給了雷克很多幫助和鼓勵。天真、好奇、好問的小孩們也是雷克筆下的重要人物,多少次正是這些可愛的小朋友們給雷克帶來的危機中的轉機。

此外,雷克在書中也從不諱言他的不檢點行爲。雖然他把小象視爲女朋友,但是徒步過程中,在女色當前,他也有“失控”的時候。事後,他還跟小象說,結果可想而知,但是小象還是原諒了他。小象的父親,對雷克是心存疑問的,在雙方見面的時候,直接表示對雷克這種徒步行爲不以爲然,對雷克沒有正經工作表示疑慮。雷克非常珍惜這段感情,但是小象需要一個穩定的戀愛關係,一個能在她身邊的人。最終,在雷克走到吐魯番的時候,小象告知要分手。雷克繼續走到烏魯木齊,與朋友重聚之後,返回德國。

雖然是中譯本,但是翻譯者“麻辣Tongue”功力頗深,行文流暢自然。當然,雷克本身對文字的駕馭可謂駕輕就熟,生動的形容修飾,讓作者的個性躍然紙上。讀者很容易被作者一路的遭遇和生動的文字所吸引。非常值得一讀!

John—Chinatown