This story of the Iowa corn farmer who hears voices “If you build it, he will come”, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields, and does, is an all-time favorite. This fantasy-drama film is a wonderful adaptation of the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella.
With the 40th anniversary of Title IX upon us, take a look at this fictionalized account of the story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.
Settle in for the story of a middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs who appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. This is a wonderful adaptation of the novel of the same name by Bernard Malamud.
This title is a tight blend of comedy, drama and romance and follows the intertwining of three lives brought together by the great American pastime. Some list this as the number one baseball movie of all time.
Weller got to know Bradbury in the last ten years of his life and became, by his own account, the son Bradbury never had. This is a warm biography of the writer that nevertheless reveals a few surprising warts and is an enjoyable read.
Weller follows up his earlier book with this collection of personal interviews he conducted with Bradbury. This is the author at his most forthright, and covers topics ranging from his childhood to politics and sexuality.
This book is a bit more scholarly, a great mix of literary criticism and extrapolation and critical biography. It’s got a lot of depth without being overbearing and theoretical. The author is the Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University. You can get the book through Prospector.
Forest fires are in the news, but what do we know about them? We hear and see the results, but for an in depth look there are books to turn to. Here are three titles that will give you an idea of who fights these fires, how they are fought, and how it all came to pass.
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan. The Great Fire of 1910 severely tested a newly formed and severely underfunded U.S. Forest Service. The story of how the Forest Service was created to conserve the wilderness is interspersed with personal accounts of those who fought the fire and lived. Three million acres and five towns across three states burned in less than two days. Ten thousand people turned out to fight for lives and property. Egan has written an absorbing story that explains and adds to these amazing statistics.
Young Men and Fire by Norman MacLean. The story of 1949’s Mann Gulch Fire in Montana. Fourteen smokejumpers were sent to deal with a small fire, a simple fire. Two hours later it exploded, and sent them running for their lives. This award-winning book is a primer on fires and firefighting even as it tells a compelling tale of lives lost and experience gained.
Fire on the Mountain: the True Story of the South Canyon Fire by John MacLean. Fast forward to 1994 and Storm King Mountain in Colorado. A dangerous fire blows up just outside of Glenwood Springs in rugged terrain. John Maclean investigates a fire in modern times that has many of the characteristics (and consequences) as the1949 one his father Norman described.
Vivian Maier, Street Photographer(ed. John Maloof) reveals that behind each photograph are two stories: the details that inspired the photographer to capture the image in the first place and the fictional story that the viewer imagines as she beholds the finished photograph. In the case of Vivian Maier, there is a third story, and that is the story of how her photos were rescued from oblivion. In 2007, a young Chicago realtor named John Maloof placed a bid on the contents of a delinquent storage locker whose owner had recently died. Inside, he found tens of thousands of photographic negatives, mostly black and white, some of them quite elderly. Upon further inspection, he discovered that these pieces displayed an astonishing depth and were clearly the work of an accomplished photographer.
The artist, Vivian Maier, was born in France and emigrated to the United States in her twenties, where she worked on and off as a nanny for forty years. Further research suggested that she traveled widely during her life and spent a period of time homeless. Over the years, she took countless photos of street life, choosing subject matter that most consider mundane and trivial. In doing so, she exposed the hidden dignity of the ordinary, in the style of predecessors like Henri Cartier-Bresson. Her use of shadow and framing often introduced a rich plethora of meanings to her work, and only now, several years after her death, is her work being given an unlikely (but well-deserved) reception.
Nothing daunted: the unexpected education of two society girls in the Westby Dorothy Wickendenis the charming story of two East Coast society women who went to Colorado to teach in 1916. I thought I’d find the history of this book the most interesting, but I really connected with Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, the subjects of this tale. They were lovely, open-minded women who embraced the opportunity as an adventure and had a great deal of respect for the folks they met. Through the eyes of these outsiders, you get a brief glimpse of life led by early settlers in Colorado.
Told by the granddaughter of Dorothy Woodruff, Ms. Wickenden was able to tell the story of her grandmother and best friend through the many letters the women wrote (and a few pictures) and with a great deal of research on the Northwest area of Colorado during this time.
Music to Sooth the Savage Beast, or Just to Calm Down After a Hectic Day
We all know music influences our moods and energy. Today I want to tell you about some of my favorite music to bring about a calm and relaxed mood. This music is perfect for the end of the day or, perhaps for yoga or meditation. You can decide that for yourself but I hope you’ll give these a try. You can find more like these by searching for the author using the musician’s name and even more by searching for the subject, Music for Relaxation.
If you’re interested in the ideas behind healing music, check out this audiobook. This two CD set includes one of Dr. Weil speaking about the healing effects of music and one of music composed by classically trained Kimba Arem using a variety of instruments.
Nancy Roeder will be at Standley Lake Library on Thursday, June 21 at 6:00 pm to talk about her book, Going to the Well: A Mother-Daughter Journey. Nancy’s presentation will appeal to anyone who is interested in women’s live, family relationships, history, and memoir writing.
How does a daughter get to know and understand her mother? The closest bond of any two women is that of mother-daughter. Yet, this relationship often suffers over time from misunderstandings, anger and resentment. Searching for a way to reconcile past mother-daughter wounds, Nancy Roeder and her mother launched a series of taped interviews that extended over 16 years.
In her mother’s voice are vivid recollections of rural life in the early 1900’s, of a family saga filled with sadness and shame, poverty and fear-based religion. As her mother recounts her efforts to overcome her past, she offers insights into steps she took toward mental and spiritual health.
Nancy answers some of our questions about her book.
JCPL: You call Going to the Well: A Mother-Daughter Journey a “double memoir.” Why did you choose that format for your book?
NR: The format really chose me. All along, I planned for the book to be told in my mother’s voice as it came through in the taped interviews. But when I started framing and then writing the story, I realized that it was my journey, too, toward a new relationship with my mother. So, the book evolved into my memoir folded into hers.
JCPL: Who is the intended audience for your book?
NR: Anyone who is interested in parent-child relationships. Early on, I envisioned that mature women would be the target audience. I have been surprised and pleased that men seem to like it, also, as do younger women who are daughters.
JCPL: What are some of the responses you’ve had from readers?
NR: I have been humbled and pleased by the favorable response to the book. Some have expressed admiration for its universal story of overcoming adversity. Others have expressed a wish that they had interviewed one or both of their parents to gain an in-depth understanding of their struggles and triumphs. Still others call it a “page turner,” while some have told me they enjoyed my personal reflections on incidents and events.
JCPL: Are you writing, or planning to write, another book? If so, what topic?
NR: I hope to write another book. I want to tell the story of my relationship with my charming but narcissistic and religiously addicted father. I’m also launching another interview project – this time with a friend who grew up with a mother with multiple personalities.
A Book We Love: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Imagine walking 1100 miles over three months with a back pack weighing far more than anyone else you meet on your travels. Now imagine this is the first real hike you have ever been on. Sounds a little wild doesn’t it?
In Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed recounts how, four years after her mother died, and while her own marriage was ending, she decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. She encounters rattle snakes, snow too high to walk through, and a series of other unplanned situations. As her path and circumstances change again and again, Cheryl keeps going. One of the quotes in Wild comes from Emily Dickinson, “If your nerve, deny you. Go above your nerve.” Watching this spirit unfold in Wild is what makes it such an absorbing read.
The Lakewood Library book group recently read Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson, a fascinating true adventure story. If you like non-fiction that reads like fiction, a fast pace, creative and insightful writing, and a tale which solves a decades-old mystery, then this a book for you. The author, a longtime contributor to Esquire magazine, follows a group of deep sea divers through 11 years of nerve-racking diving and dogged research in the process of locating and identifying the wreck of a German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey. Eventually, the wreck claims the lives of three divers and two marriages, but it also is the catalyst for the development of a strong friendship between two men who share a philosophy of excelling and pushing themselves to the limit to find the truth.
If you love true adventure survival stories like Into Thin Air, then check out this handful of books. We have plenty more like these and are sure to have something to keep you on the edge of your seat.
When the author’s sloop sank west of the Canary Islands, he was adrift alone in a small raft for 76 days with only three pounds of food and eight pints of water. He drifted 1,000 miles to the Caribbean. His story is exciting, devastating, courageous and historic, for he is the only man to have survived more than a month alone at sea in an inflatable raft.
The building of the Panama Canal: The U.S. Darien Exploring Expedition and their ninety-seven-day ordeal of starvation, exhaustion, and madness -- a tragedy turned largely to triumph due to the courage and self-sacrifice of their leader and the seamen who followed him devotedly is one of the great untold tales of human survival and exploration in the tropics.
Describes the four-thousand-mile journey across the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas of seven men who escaped from a Siberian prison camp. The harrowing true tale of escaped Soviet prisoners and their desperate march out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India.
In 1815, twelve American sailors washed up on the shore of North Africa. Captured and sold into slavery, they were then dragged along on an insane journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara-a region no Westerners had ever explored. From the cold waters of the Atlantic to the searing Saharan sands, from the heart of the desert to the heart of man, Skeletons on the Zahara is a spectacular odyssey through the extremes.
Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge and seemed to be lost. How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival, and a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.
An entertaining look at the psychology of food. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, writes about the decisions we make in choosing and eating our food. From his lab have come such experiments as how the size of your dinner plate affects how much food you serve up and eat, or how music and décor will influence eating habits. Knowing what makes us eat, what makes us enjoy food, and what causes our eating habits creates awareness. Being aware helps us make better decisions—or at least understand when we are going astray. While much of the book is devoted to explaining food decisions, some thought is given to specific ways we can change. Breaking bad habits into small parts, and addressing them a few at a time, will lead to slow but steady weight loss. Knowing how food is marketed can help us sidestep traps and create better dining environments.
Eloisa James writes engagingly about the year her family moved to France from the United States in Paris in Love. Many of the chapters are made up of short vignettes adapted from online updates that James wrote to keep family and friends stateside up to date on their lives. Paris and James’ family come alive in her witty comments and observations of school misunderstandings, the sublime and unusual in food opportunities, and life in translation.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005 for this film based upon Truman Capote’s writing of In Cold Blood. Initially, Capote started his book as an article for the New Yorker, but his obsession with the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas grew into the first of its kind, a nonfiction novel published in 1965. Hoffman is excellent as Capote in this film. The viewer, like Capote, will become enthralled with the killers themselves. Capote even attends the execution of one of the killers, Perry Smith.
A sobering look at what doctors are seeing, doing and feeling as they care for wounded soldiers. Faced with terribly injured patients, the doctors in Hnida’s 399th Combat Support Hospital use their skills to manage an astonishing 98% srvival rate. To survive this service with their sanity intact, the doctors keep their sense of humor and play pranks on each other – M*A*S*H 4077th style! At times funny, but always heartbreaking and inspiring, this book by Littleton author Dr. Hnida brings the personal result of war to mind for all of us.
Have you written something that you think needs to be shared with the world? Publishing can be a hard process, but it’s even harder when you’re not even sure where to locate magazines or websites interested in taking new work. What’s a person to do? Luckily, there are a lot of resources to help you along.
Online resources can be very handy, and often have the benefit of being vetted by other writers who can report in real time such important information like the turnaround time between the submission of one’s writing and the publisher’s decision to accept or reject it. Most writers are patient, but there are some magazines out there that will keep you waiting for hundreds of days before they get around to making a decision.
Duotrope (www.duotrope.com) is a great database for fiction and poetry writers. It’s advanced search tool will let you match important information like word count, genre, and payment rates with open markets, including anthologies.
Ralan (www.ralan.com) is a good website for writers who write speculative fiction, including horror, fantasy, and science fiction. You’ll find plenty of listings for websites and magazines that are looking to publish authors—and pay them for their work.
Absolutewrite (www.absolutewrite.com) is one of the largest writing communities online, featuring a massive message board that is partly dedicated to vetting publishers and literary agents. This is a great place to see the latest in publishing trends as well.
There are plenty of more resources online and in the library for you to use. Stop by any of our information desks to discover them, and please post a message if you know of any helpful websites aspiring writers just have to know about.