- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
With the arrival of the film version of Cloud Atlas, there's sure to be increased interest in the 2004 novel by David Mitchell on which the film is based. From my perspective, that's great - this novel should be reintroduced, so that readers who have not yet delved into the extravagant prose and complexity of plot and language of this extraordinary story can experience a truly original work of literature.
I've heard that the novel can be compared in structure to a Russian matryoshka doll: opened in layers until the center piece is reached, then reassembled piece by piece to form the whole.
And the novel's structure does have that kind of symmetry. The novel is the clever blending of six novellas, wildly divergent in setting and tone, but with a common thread that emerges at crucial junctures in each story. The first is the story of a nineteenth century American, Adam Ewing, whose innocence and faith in humanity is tested on a voyage through the south Pacific. The subsequent tales are set in Belgium in the 1930s, California in the 1970s, present-day Britain, Korea of the future (the 23rd century?), and, at the book's center, a post-apocalyptic Hawaii where civilization is reduced to a few small agricultural tribes surviving in one of the few areas of the world that has not be made uninhabitable by pollution and the depletion of natural resources. After this central piece, the other stories unfold in reverse order until we finally return to the nineteenth century and discover the fate of the Adam in the middle of the Pacific.
If you want a challenging read with beautiful prose and a timeless theme of hope in the midst of man's inhumanity to man, I recommend Cloud Atlas: Available in print, and as an e-book from San José Public Library.
Michael entertains children of all ages with an amazing 15-minute performance,
This program is made possible through the generous contributions of the Friends of the Santa Teresa Branch Library.
Date: Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
Place: Santa Teresa Branch Library Community Room
On Saturday, July 7th 2012, Santa Teresa Branch Library will present a special kids' concert featuring local musician, storyteller, magician and entertainer extraordinaire Peter Apel. Young music fans will be delighted by Peter's special blend of original music, magic and humor, delivered with unique care and respect towards children. In January 2011, Peter received the "Kids' Music Award" for best album for his CD I've Got a Dinosaur on My Head, available for checkout at San Jose Public Library.
Visit Peter's official website to get a preview of what promises to be an entertaining afternoon of songs and stories.
Date & Time: Saturday, July 7th 2012 at 3:30pm
Place: Santa Teresa Branch Library Community Room
Steven Spielberg's most recent film, War Horse, is a grand Hollywood epic that depicts the losses and agony of war in a sweeping historical drama. Though the film stays true to the plot of the 1982 young adult novel on which it's based, the book and movie are sharply different in tone and mood. The film boasts Spielberg's signature lush cinematography, stirring musical score, and high drama.
The book, on the other hand, is a small, simple tale that approaches the same subject in its own original way. The book is narrated by the horse Joey, whose innocence and loyalty carry him from his early years as the beloved companion to English farmboy Albert, to the muddy trenches of World War I, after he is sold to the British army by Albert's destitute father. Part of the beauty of the book is seeing the events unfold through the horse's eyes, as he finds kindness and cruelty on both sides of the battlefield. Middle school and high school teachers might want to initiate discussions with their students, comparing the two very different treatments of the themes of war, loss, and the bond between man and horse.
For a third take on this story, theater lovers can look forward to the summer arrival in the Bay Area of the award-winning Broadway production.
Listen to an excerpt from the novel read by the author by selecting this LINK. War Horse is number 17 in the list of audio files.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is perhaps the best-reviewed non-fiction book of recent years. In the official trailer for the book, the author, Rebecca Skloot, says that the book she started out writing is not the one she ended up with. And, fortunately, the reader gets to take this journey with her.
At first, the reader follows the author as she exposes an amazing tale of medical science and ethics. In 1950, doctors at Johns Hopkins harvested a poor, dying black woman's cancer cells without her knowledge or consent. Those cells, multiplied by the billions and used in labs worldwide, have led to an astonishing number of medical breakthroughs, from the polio vaccine to modern chemotherapy treatments. Some in the medical field became very rich from these discoveries, made under questionable ethical circumstances.
But the story turns slowly into a family saga, one filled with tragedy, loss, and longing. The author becomes entwined in the complicated lives of Henrietta's children and grandchildren. Henrietta was a sharecropper most of her life, and the family still suffers from slavery's legacy of poverty, racism and ignorance. The beauty of the story is witnessing how the family finally comes to some sort of redemption as they uncover, with the help of the author, Henrietta's incredible gift to all of us. Available from San José Public Library as an e-book, downloadable audiobook, audiobook, and in print, it is San Jose State University's Campus Reads Fall Book Selection for Fall 2011.
Would you like to learn how to juggle? Would you like to watch a professional juggler as he balances watermelons and raw eggs? Would you like to see him do his tricks while riding a six-foot-high unicycle?