Usually we spend a lot of time reading book reviews in professional journals like Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Booklist, but there’s a lot of satisfaction in perusing the book shelves and reading the blurbs and descriptions on dust jackets. There are always surprises to be found. Especially in Chop Suey.
Here’s what we picked up:
Atlas Obscura collects curious and unusual destinations and happenings around the world. This book is a collection of some of their oddest, wonderful places around the world.
All things Richmond and food from Sauer’s seasonings and Sally Bell’s to lunch counter sit-ins and
This book has nothing to do with the Netflix show Stranger Things. Or does it? Perhaps the Duffer brothers are huge fans of Kelly Link. Maybe this 2001 short story collection inspired them just as much as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. If you’re unfamiliar with Kelly Link, you should remedy that soon.
Leigh Calvez does for owls what Sy Montgomery did for octopuses. Calvez sheds new light and perspective on these mysterious, amazing animals.
And have you seen the owl gifs on the Internet?! GAH!
Michael Branch takes us through his adventures in the hostile environs of the Great Basin Desert in Nevada. Branch is a humorist, environmentalist, and captivating storyteller.
Talk about the Virginia State Penitentiary may not make for the best Thanksgiving, but the history of the prison, which sat along Belvidere, Spring, and 2nd Streets, is interesting all the same. The penitentiary was demolished in the early 90s.
The puppet workshop started out with these peepers by Tobey Ford.
Look closely at the hands of these teachers. See those peepers. Also, did you know how hard it is to keep one’s hand and arm raised like this?
Team work! These three practice Bunraku, a traditional form of Japanese puppetry with a head puppeteer, a left puppeteer, and a third puppeteer operating the feet.
This marionette horse is part of the Naked Puppet exhibit where you can see and touch puppets to better understand how they work. The marionette is by Kurt and Kathy Hunter. It’s a replica of a horse by Albrecht Roser.
Puppets are really simple machines.
Did you know that there are things called found object puppets? These are puppets made from objects like tea kettles, vases and brooms, or dowel rods and milk jugs.
This adorable bush baby was the star of the show. His eyes are made from orange ping pong balls with glass marbles smushed (and hot glued) in.
But it wasn’t the only handsome puppet in attendance.
(the legs for this elephant are made from slinkies and lids to peanut butter!)
This chicken kind of stole the show too. Also, I’m sorry for shooting vertically.
We delved into shadow puppets as well. They’re quick, versatile, and will give you a reason to hang out to that overhead projector if you still have one.
We also learned about crankies. What you see below is the back side of a crankie. The background moves with the cranking of a handle suggesting movement or the passing of time. Check out Manual Cinema for amazing examples of shadow puppetry.
Here is Ms. Cunningham demoing the crankie. She has a neutral face, because the person cranking can be a part of the story. He/she can remain neutral (like Ms. Cunningham), or perhaps they could be dressed as a character from or related to the story.
On the floor on the left is a toy theater. I didn’t get a good picture of that, but here’s a song about it!
- It has an arch
- It’s miniature
- It’s made of paper
- And it’s flat
- YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF
Don’t forget that part.
If you want to get started on some puppets of your own, check out the following (in the Saunders Family Library):
Eileen Blumenthal’s Puppetry: A World History
David Currell’s Shadow Puppets & Shadow Play
David Wisniewski’s World of Shadow: Teaching with Shadow Puppetry
Imagine it: You’re returning home from school. By your front door you see a package from Amazon. It feels like your birthday! You have a package! Everything is going your way. “What could it be?” You wonder. You rip through the packing tape, and there it is. The special thing you ordered.
We get to experience that delight often here in the library. Sometimes the delivery is a total disappointment (office supplies…),
but usually the delivery brings an assortment of hand-picked treasures (i.e. books). And with each book comes the possibility that you have found the gateway to your next epiphany, the source of your next guffaw, the reason why you went through that entire box of tissues.
Without further ado, take a look at some of the contents of our most recent delivery.
The Grip of It is here just in time for October, THE month for horror and thrillers. This experimental novel compared frequently to Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves is the story of a young couple and their haunting new home.
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult (or even as a young adult, I bet) revisits classics like Charlotte’s Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, and more. Have you read Goodnight Moon recently? Go back and take another look. It’s poetry! What do we get out of these children’s classics when we go back and read them with more experience?
The First Tour de France: Sixty Cyclists and Nineteen Days of Daring on the Road to Paris chronicles the beginnings of the Tour de France, which was not at all glamorous. Amateur cyclists and their 35-pound bikes were rounded up to race the hills and substandard roads of France.
The Solace of Trees follows an orphan from Bosnia as he seeks refuge in the United States. However, the impacts of September 11th, 2001 touch the boy and his adoptive family in unimagined ways.
Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games is a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to make video games today.
The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from “Islamic State” is the first hand account of a young man who shared his experiences of being in Raqqa as ISIS infiltrated the city. The book began with broadcasts on BBC’s Radio4’s Today program.
Four high school seniors wait and watch as an asteroid makes its way toward Earth in We All Looked Up.
Rebecca Entel’s debut novel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, is set at a Caribbean resort, which was once a former slave plantation. Myrna, a maid at the resort, explores the plantation’s ruins by night. “…Entel explores what it means to colonize and be colonized, to trespass and be trespassed upon, to be wounded and to heal.” (That’s from the back of the book).
Which one(s) would you like to read?
Tyler Boyd, inquisitive Latin teacher, breezed through the library this morning with book in hand. “You know what the problem is?” He asked. “There are too many books, and not enough time to read them.”
It’s true. So true.
But maybe we can find a few minutes here and there to get into a good book. Something we don’t have to read because we’re required to read it.
There’s so much out there to learn about.
Tammy Dunn in the technology department reads two books a week (at least. TWO. BOOKS. A. WEEK. How does she do it? She’s reworked those wasted moments spent on Facebook or Twitter.
We know that not all of those moments on the internets is wasted time.
We don’t judge here.
The point is that we have a lot of new, amazing books, and it may be worth your time browsing. Maybe check one out. Put it in your backpack for those 10-minute breaks here and there. A 25-minute extra help/clubs period (if you don’t have extra help or a club to attend0 is a great time to get some reading done on the reading porch.
There’s just so much out there.
It’s 2017. How did that happen?
What resolutions did you make?
What resolutions did you break?
Did you resolve to read more this year?
Did you embrace with the idea of reading more in 2017 with complete and absolute glee?
Yes! You did!
But where do you start? You could just pick up a book and get to reading, or you could challenge yourself to Read Harder with Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder Reading Challenge.
While you’re at it, commit to the Good Reads Reading Challenge. You can knock out your Good Reads reading challenge with the Book Riot challenge. Two birds, one stone so to speak.
If you want some suggestions on where to start in your book challenge, check out Richmond Public Library’s Staff Picks (the blog with GIFs!) or come see us in Saunders.
Let us know if you’re accepting a reading challenge. We’ll help keep you on task.
The Saunders Family Library welcomes new and returning faculty and students to the 2016-2017 school year. As the song says, “We’ve only just begun,” but it’s never too early to start thinking about how to put your library to work for you.
We have an incredible collection of print, film, and digital resources, and are here to help connect you with what you seek.
To explore resources currently available join the Saunders Family Library Schoology Group:
And if there’s something you need that we don’t have you can request it.
Faculty: Drop a line or just drop by to request titles that might benefit your students, enrich their research, and improve their projects. We also encourage you to request titles of personal or professional interest to you and the faculty community.
Students: Stop by to request titles related to course work and/or independent study, to enhance an honors project, to fill gaps in our collection, or simply (and shockingly) for pleasure reading in your down time.
Recently purchased titles requested by Collegiate faculty and students include:
- Joe Sacco’s striking “illustrated panorama” The Great War for Vlastik Svab.
- The doorstop (read: large, heavy) history Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty and the gorgeous children’s book Wabi Sabi for Mary Arzt.
- How to Make Books for Shayna Cooke’s.
- For Ling Fung-Wu, a selection of texts on the history of the Chicano Movement and a collection of Spanish language films.
- Books on the history of women’s education in the South for the Julia A. William’s Study & Archives Center.
- By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design for a student honors project.
- Various fiction titles for student’s free reading assignments.
Call, e-mail, or just stop by and let us know how we can put the Saunders Family Library to work for you this school year.
We all know there are too many places on the web to go for news, to be inspired, to be challenged. Sure, it can be overwhelming, but every now and then I find something that feels different in a provocative way. My new find is JSTOR Daily: Where News Meets Its Scholarly Match.
Describing itself, the newsletter offers a fresh way for people to understand and contextualize their world. Our writers provide insight, commentary, and analysis of ideas, research, and current events, tapping into the rich scholarship on JSTOR,
Here’s how it works: I subscribe to the weekly digest of JSTOR Daily. Then I get an email with links to great, thought provoking stories with relevant links to scholarly essays on JSTOR.
This week I received these wonders:
Why We Love to Learn Klingon
with a link to Created Languages in Science Fiction
By: Ria Cheyne
Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Nov., 2008), pp. 386-403
The Road to Utopia: A Conversation with Juliet Schor
[She’s the sociologist who for decades has been writing about the benefits of reducing the hours people spend at their jobs.]
with a link to The Triple Imperative: Global Ecology, Poverty and Worktime Reduction
By: Juliet B. Schor
Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Vol. 45 (2001), pp. 2-16
We’re all told not to do this.
That phrase has even become a way of saying, “Don’t be superficial. Take the time to look beneath the surface.” But there are some book covers that just beg the reader to pick them up. This morning I decided to take a few minutes (I know this is a luxury) to revisit the library’s collection, looking for covers that invited me to stop and engage. Now I haven’t read any of these books, but I will take home Things That Are, essays by Amy Leach. I can’t resist an essay that begins with, “In the seventeenth century, his Holiness the Pope adjudged beavers to be fish.”
My resolution for this year is to find more ways to be surprised and delighted. This little visit through the library accomplished both.
It’s true. Everybody poops. It’s also true that 2.6 billion do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. In response to that distressing problem, Shayna Cooke’s Biology II students are exploring ways to design an inexpensive, light, and easy-to-use toilet for densely populated regions in India.
Prior to the Skype session, the Bio II students brainstormed potential user groups, researched existing toilet options and developed questions about materials, privacy issues, and cost.
The students talked with Jasmine Burton, founder and president of Wish for WASH, about her experiences and current work with Wish for WASH and the Society for Family Health in Zambia. Burton, a recent Georgia Tech Industrial Design graduate, considers herself a empathic designer, who places emphasis on getting to know a product’s users in order to design for and exceed their needs.
Burton talked about the importance of getting to know one’s users before embarking on design. What’s the point of designing and building something if the product is not going to be used. Burton also discussed how important behavior change and incentivizing that behavior change can be in getting people to accept and use products. The students also considered the different user groups designers need to consider. Not only do designers think about the person using the toilet, but they also ask how they design for the person who may be disposing of the waste and how that disposal affects the population.
Based on their research and the information they gained from their talk with Burton, the Bio II students will now design a prototype of a toilet. They plan to talk with Burton again once their prototype is finished. Burton cheered on the students’ desire to build a prototype by saying that research and ideas are awesome, but making something and bringing something into the world matters. The testing of a physical thing matters and can result in so much knowledge.