Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day

In 1868 Gen. John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order for a Decoration Day to remember Union and Confederate soldiers lost during the Civil War, but when it was extended to include the dead of all wars it became known as Memorial Day.  It was observed originally on May 30 because it was not an anniversary of a battle.

By the 20th century Memorial Day became an occasion for more general expression of remembrance as more people visited the graves of relatives whether they served in the military or not.

The poppies sold by veterans around Memorial Day signify the blood of fallen soldiers in France during World War I. The idea of poppies for remembrance was made popular by John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields.  The following link will take you to Columbia Ganger’s Poetry Database where you can read or listen to the poem.,cpid,url,uid&custid=concordt&db=jgh&AN=00000043125&site=ehost-live

The Uniform Monday Holidays Act passed in June 1968 moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May creating a three day weekend for most people. Veteran’s groups continue to claim it undermines and takes away the solemnity and purpose of this day of remembrance because most people regard this weekend as a kickoff to the summer season devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, and the Indy 500.

In her short story, “Decoration Day” New England author Sarah Orne Jewett hides the moral “that comfortable citizens should not forget the sacrifice of soldiers” (Gale, 1999) as the three main characters, veterans of the Civil War, plan to have a parade to remember fallen and injured soldiers.

Gale, R.L. (1999). Sarah Orne Jewett Companion. Westport, CT:           Greenwood Press. pp. 66-67 Retrieved May 18, 2011 from Ebrary.
Jewett, S.O.  Decoration Day In: Novels and Stories pp. 773- 86.  New York: Library of America.   PS2131 1994

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review – A Kurt Wallander Novel

The Troubled Man

Henning Mankell (2011)

PT9876.23.A49 O7613 2011

Highly successful mystery/detective story writer. Very popular, almost revered, fictional detective known world-wide (translated into forty languages selling more than thirty million copies globally) the subject of films, television (Mystery, starring Kenneth Branagh no less), commentaries and other books. An instantly recognizable city and region inhabited by fictional characters who feel real. How does the mystery writer kill-off the detective, his most successful creation – and the source of his livelihood and freedom? Sound familiar? 

Close to the renown of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, Henning Mankell is faced with the same decision in his latest (last?) Kurt Wallander novel, The Troubled Man as Conan Doyle was with Holmes in his short story, The Final Problem: how to write a page-turning, compelling novel and kill-off Kurt Wallander?

The parallels between both authors are unmistakable and the structural similarities are recognizable even as readers are carried along by carefully plotted mysteries which are satisfyingly resolved. Where Holmes has his Moriarty, Wallander has his Alzheimer’s. Will Mankell, like Conan Doyle, regret his decision and have Wallander return to intuitively solve complex mysteries and crimes?  And, by the way, The Troubled Man is a great mystery! Wallander unravels the mystery of the disappearance of a retired top Swedish naval officer and his wife during which time Wallander also plausibly “solves” the real-life mystery and scandal in the 1980’s of the alleged incursion of Soviet submarines into Swedish territorial waters as well as indirectly suggesting a possible scenario for the assassination of Sweden’s then prime minister, Olof Palme, in 1986. Ghosts of the Cold War from the former Soviet Union, East Germany, western and eastern spies, the CIA and NATO continue to haunt contemporary Europe. People, who in their younger years served the west or east (or in some cases both!), are still alive in today’s Europe and for any number of reasons don’t want secrets revealed, ambiguities clarified or mysteries solved. Who would have thought that naval maneuvers and submarine incursion could be the stuff – the basis - of an enthralling mystery?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The I Hate to Cook Book - “50th anniversary edition”

For cooks who believe Rachael Ray invented 30 minute meals, first there was Peg Bracken, who wrote the I Hate to Cook Book, published in 1960.  It was a time when housewives were expected to spend all day in the kitchen preparing meals from “big fat cookbooks”.  Peg and several friends met for lunch; these were women who hated to cook but had to daily. They decided to “pool our ignorance, tell each other our shabby little secrets, and toss into the pot the recipes we swear by instead of at”.  She goes on to say “the recipes have not been tested by experts. That’s why they are valuable” (p. 3).

Written with timeless and still relevant humor, each chapter covers culinary challenges one might face such as Chapter 2: The Leftover or Every Family Needs a Dog and Chapter 5: Potluck Suppers or How to Bring the Water for the Lemonade.

Peg’s daughter, Jo Bracken, wrote the preface to this 50th anniversary edition and the recipes, such as Skid Row Stroganoff, still work today.

Bon appetite!

Bracken, Peg (2010) I hate to cook book (50th anniversary ed.) New York: Hachette.  TX740 .B63 2010

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook

While browsing through the gardening books, Designing the New Kitchen Garden, caught my eye, especially the word “potager”.  When I looked it up in Credo Reference,  I learned it means a small kitchen garden and comes from the French word potagรจre.  I should have recognized the word  because one of my favorite soups is French Potage*, a blended vegetable soup of leeks, carrots and potatoes always served before meals in France.  

Bartley's book is more than planting rows of vegetables in a patch of dirt.  It recalls the history and development of kitchen gardens, beginning in the Middle Ages as medieval monastery gardens, where gardens supplied vegetables, fruits, herbs and healing plants.  She writes about private potager gardens in Texas, Maryland and Vermont and includes wonderful color photos and garden plans for a kitchen garden.   Flip through the pages on a quiet, rainy day and imagine your new garden filled with vegetables and herbs, ready for soup.

Bartley, J.R. (2006) Designing the new kitchen garden: an American potager      handbook. Portland, OR: Timber Press.   SB324.3 .B38 2006

*Chappell, M. (2008, January). The soup cure. Vegetarian Times, 355, 78-63.      Retrieved March 20, 2011 from EBSCOhost .

Recipes for 6 healing soups used in different cultures around the world.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

New DVDs

  • 8 ½ - DVD. PN 1997 .O88 2010 
  • Amish Grace - DVD. PN 1992.77 .A4574 2010 
  • Black Swan - DVD. PN 1997.2 .B53 2010 
  • David Copperfield - DVD. PN 1995.9 .M45 D3853 2006 
  • The Departed - DVD. PN 1997.2 .D47 D47 2007 
  • Directors: Life Behind the Camera - DVD. PN 1998.2 .D57 2006 
  • Fagbug - DVD. HQ 76.5 .F34 2010 
  • Fresh - DVD. S 494.5 .S86 F738 2009 
  • Friday Night Lights. The Fifth and Final Season - DVD. PN 1992.77 .F75 2011 
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - DVD. PN 1997.2 .M3676 2010 
  • Good Will Hunting - DVD PN 1997 .G663 G663 2001 
  • Hopalong Cassidy Enters - DVD PN 1995.9 .W478 H663 1992 
  • The Infidel - DVD. PN 1997.2 .I54 2010 
  • Jesus Camp - DVD. BV 1585 .J47 2007 
  • The King’s Speech - DVD. PN 1997.2 .K56477 2011 
  •  A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism - DVD RJ 506 .A9 M68 2010 
  • Once Brothers - DVD. GV 884 .O53 2010 
  • Post Mortem: Death Investigation Crisis in America - DVD. RA 1063.4 .P67 2011 
  • A Quick Guide to Beowulf - DVD. BL 312 .Q53 2010 
  • The Ten Commandments - DVD. PN 1997 .T46 2011 
  • H.G. Wells’ Things to Come - DVD. PN 1997 .W455 T4564 2006 
  • Upstairs Downstairs. Complete Series - DVD. PN 1992.77 .U678 U678 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Summer Reading

Looking for something to read this summer? Stop by the library to pick up one of these bestsellers:  

  • The Jungle, by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul - PS3553.U75 J86 2011
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan - PS3555.G292 V57 2010
  • Night Road, by Kristin Hannah - PS3558.A4763 N54 2011
  • A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness - PS3608.A7436 D57 2011
  • The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, by Alexander McCall Smith - PR6063.C326 S37 2011
  • The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain - PS3563.C383495 P37 2011
  • Room, by Emma Donoghue - PR6054.O547 R66 2010
  • Sing You Home, by Jodi Picoult - PS3566.I372 S56 2011
  • Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys - PZ7.S47957 B489 2011
  • The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace - PS3573.A425635 P35 2011