New to the Collection: Neither Snow Nor Rain by Devin Leonard

Do you ever wonder what might become of the U.S. Postal Service with the advancement of technology? We can print stamps at home on our personal computers, pay more and more bills online, use E-mail instead of “snail mail,” and even have packages shipped directly from vendors to recipients without ever setting foot in a post office. While stamps are probably one of the best bargains around, the U.S. Postal Service has been losing money, closing many of its offices, and debating whether to cut mail delivery days.

New to the MVCC Library collection is the book Neither Snow Nor Rain: a History of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard. The tagline always was that “neither snow nor rain” or any type of bad weather could keep the postman away. What could possibly keep them away would be dogs; in fact, I just saw a postman interviewed on a morning show this week stating that, while it’s humorous to think of, the biggest stumbling block for him has been dogs chasing him down! Even the word “snail” mail emanated from the dawn of E-mail because it was faster sending electronic mail than using the slow postal service.

An excerpt from Leonard’s interesting book reads: “In parts of America that it can’t reach by truck, the USPS finds other means to get people their letters and packages. It transports them by mule train to the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Bush pilots fly letters to the edges of Alaska. In thinly populated parts of Montana and North Dakota, the postal service has what it refers to as ‘shirt pocket’ routes, which means that postal workers literally carry all their letters for the day in their shirt pockets.” Hearing situations such as these remote delivery areas leads one to wonder if the U.S. Postal Service will continue to exist in the future…pick up this book and check it out!

For a limited time you can find the book shelved in the library lounge on the 2nd floor among the new arrivals. Otherwise, it can be found here in our catalog.

Easy Recording

Need to record a podcast or narrate your powerpoints?

You can check out microphones and other recording equipment from the library to help you create podcasts, soundtracks, or other audio assignments. Or check them out for your own personal use.

For example, the iRig handheld microphone helps you easily make professional quality recordings with your phone or tablet—the microphone plugs into the headphone jack. A tripod stand is also available. You can check out the iRig microphone for 4 hours or for 1 week.

Cameras, headsets, laptops, microphones, cables, calculators, flash drives, adapters, and chargers are also available. Loan periods vary, depending on the item. Ask at the Circulation Desk.

Transgender & Gender Identity

Explore our library’s collection of materials on transgender people, gender, and identity. You can browse the call number HQ77.95.U6 for materials on transgender people in the United States and HQ1075 for works on sex role and gender identity, located on the first floor of the library. Also, here is a list of five documentaries and motion pictures recently added to our collection to open the dialogue on transgender experiences, one of the current topics making headlines:

  • American Transgender originally aired on the National Geographic Channel in May 2012. This documentary follows the different lifestyles of three transgender individuals, addressing topics like identity and relationships.
  • Boy Meets Girl is a 2014 film regarding the changing relationship between Robby and his best friend, Ricky, a transgender girl.
  • The 2015 film by Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl, is based on the true life story of a transgender Danish painter, Lili Elbe.
  • I Am the Queen is a documentary examining the Vida/Sida Cacica Pageant in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, where transgender participants compete in a pageant with support from the larger Puerto Rican community.
  • Sex, Lies & Gender is another National Geographic Channel documentary, originally broadcast in September 2009. The program explores how doctors and parents face gender decisions and the options in traditional and controversial therapies for transgender individuals.

 

 

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven

If “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” sounds very familiar to you, it should! It’s probably one of the most recognized lines from one of the most famous poems ever written by Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven was first published under his name on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror. While it made Poe a household name, it didn’t bring him overwhelming financial success.

Our library has access to the free eBook provided by Project Gutenberg. This particular copy is illustrated by Gustave Doré. His illustrations were woodcuts, “A method of printing from an inked block of medium-soft wood (usually pear or cherry) from which an artist has excised all but an illustration…in a woodcut, the finished print is conceived as dark lines on a light ground.”[i]

While the poem is hauntingly beautiful and melodic in its own right, Doré’s illustrations are even more so. Check out The Raven in our catalog.

[i] (Reitz)

Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Poes-Biography. n.d. Website. 26 January 2017. <https://www.poemuseum.org/poes-biography>.

Reitz, Joan M. “Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science.” 2004-2014. ABC-CLIO.com. Online Document. 26 January 2017. <http://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/odlis_w.aspx>.

 

Graphic Memoirs

Gain insight into different experiences by exploring the graphic memoir genre. These autobiographical comics allow authors to bring their experiences to life with simple, engaging text and vivid illustrations. Here is a list of a few of the graphic memoirs in our collection to get you started:

  1. Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee and Peter David, illustrated by Colleen Doran, tells Lee’s story, from his impoverished childhood in New York City to his rise as the creator of numerous comics in the Marvel Universe.
  2. Arab in America by Toufic El Rassi draws on his experiences with prejudice and discrimination as Muslim and Arab in post-9/11 America.
  3. The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East (1978-1984) and The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985), two graphic memoirs by Riad Sattouf, recount his childhood in rural France, Libya, and Syria, moving between countries with his Syrian father and French mother.
  4. Calling Dr. Laura is Nicole J. Georges’ story of her search for identity after discovering family secrets regarding her biological father.
  5. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel is a coming-of-age story complicated by Alison’s relationship with her father and their family-owned funeral home business.
  6. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me follows Ellen Forney’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder and her struggle to keep balance between mental stability and creativity.
  7. I Remember Beirut highlights Zeina Abirached’s childhood in war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s.
  8. March presents John Lewis’ account of the civil rights movement. In Book One, Lewis writes about his childhood in rural Alabama and the beginning of his involvement with the Nashville Student Movement to end segregation through non-violent protests.
  9. Persepolis and Persepolis 2 tell Marjane Satrapi’s story of life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and afterwards, in the dictatorship that followed.
  10. Stitches by David Small is about a troubled childhood after Small unknowingly underwent an operation removing his vocal cord to prevent cancer.

ORWELL’S 1984 on AMAZON’S BESTSELLER LIST

 

 

The 2016 election may have helped propel Orwell’s 1984 to Amazon’s bestseller list.  The book, published in 1949, continues to be read especially at this time when everyone’s talking about fake news and ‘alternative facts’.

The MVCC library contains an interesting array of formats of 1984.

A visual history of the book covers of 1984.

View the Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial.

 

New to Collection: Nutcracker(s)

nutcrackerIt’s that time of year again, when the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…and you might want to watch the Nutcracker ballet! Two new versions have been added to our library collection. The first is The Nutcracker featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and the American Ballet Theatre. It premiered in 1976 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and was recorded for television in 1977. It remains one of the most popular televised productions even until today and earned Baryshnikov an Emmy nomination. Our copy is the Blu-ray version which was released in 2012.

The second version is the Nutcracker choreographed by Helgi Tomasson for the San Francisco Ballet. This was a new version of the ballet, which premiered in 2004 at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. The story is set during the time of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, a 1915 world’s fair held in San Francisco celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and the city’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake. Another difference from Baryshnikov’s version is that the main female character of Clara is played by a young girl instead of an adult female dancer. One of the extra features of our copy is a documentary on the 1915 World’s Fair.

Both versions of the Nutcracker can be located in the library’s main floor lounge for a limited time. In the meantime, here’s some fun Nutcracker facts!

“The Perfect Crime”


Earlier this year, PBS aired an episode on Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb’s murder case as a part of the American Experience television series. The episode titled “The Perfect Crime” examines how Leopold and Loeb murdered a 14-year-old Chicago boy in 1924 and the significance of the trial that followed. Broader issues of morality and capital punishment were brought to light in the heated debate amongst Cook County Prosecutor Robert Crowe and defense attorney Clarence Darrow. You can now check-out this episode on DVD from our library, and further explore this case in fact and popular imagination.

This case has been an inspiration for numerous other works, including:

  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, starring James Stewart, John Dall, and Farley Granger, released in 1948.
  • Meyer Levin’s novel, Compulsion, published in 1956.
  • Richard Fleischer’s 1959 movie, Compulsion, starring Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, and Diane Varsi.
  • Swoon, a 1992 film by director Tom Kalin, starring Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, and Ron Vawter in lead roles.

Each adaptation adds something unique to the original story, while providing a true depiction of the original “thrill-seeking” motive of the crime.

Too Cool for the Nobel Prize?

Music’s mysterious cool guy: it’s a role that Bob Dylan has been filling for decades but he’s really taken it to the next level in the past couple of weeks.   There is a committee trying to reach him with news that almost every other artist would be delighted by… he won the Nobel Prize!!! Insert party here, right?  Well, not for him!  Read this article about how he won’t return the committee’s calls or get in touch with them.

Perhaps only Mr Dylan and his friends know why he’s playing coy, but let’s focus on what we do know: he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and he’s most famous for his songwriting. What do you think – is songwriting literature?  Even if he is one of the English-speaking world’s most poetic and truthful songwriters, should he be getting an award that usually goes to authors?   There is no right answer.. make up your own mind, it’s what Bob would want you to do! Learn about his body of work with the help of our collection:

Books

Let the Work Speak for Itself