When in doubt, ask your mother. So I turned to a source of great wisdom for what to read next. My Mom recommends The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown. This is a true account of hard working young men from our neighbor to the north, Washington State. The nine Washington University students persevered against the odds of the Depression, Nazi Germany and elitism to compete in the 1936 Olympics. It is a very readable account of a tumultuous time in history and the life story of Joe Rantz. — Lisa
October 1, 2014
September 30, 2014
One of my all-time favorite movies is A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Tennessee Williams. Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando give stellar performances in this steamy drama about life in one of New Orleans’ poorer sections that touches on subjects such as marriage, family, scandal, and the difference between appearance and truth. In my opinion, Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Stanley Kowalski is his best performance, even though he didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor that year. Vivian Leigh, as Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter, as her sister Stella, and Karl Malden, as Mitch, all won awards in the other three acting categories. Everyone should see this movie, even if they don’t typically like old movies.
Tennessee Williams’ plays are known for their dark, brooding quality, always pushing the limits of what was considered acceptable material for his time, and reaching to the very depths of the human experience. Williams was never afraid to cover topics that were somewhat taboo, such as mental illness, homosexuality, alcoholism, loveless marriages, domestic violence, and the things people will do when they reach their lowest point of desperation. Along with his plays, Williams also wrote two novels called The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, and Moise and the World of Reason, several short stories, some poems, and an autobiography simply called Memoirs. His notebooks have also been collected and published. John Lahr just published a biography about Tennessee Williams called Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh that was recently longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award. Several of Williams’ other plays have been made into movies, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Glass Menagerie (1973), Night of the Iguana (1964), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), and The Rose Tattoo (1955). Another interesting tidbit is that Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for Best Actress, is a modern retelling of A Streetcar Named Desire. Enjoy!
September 29, 2014
We’re so excited to announce that reading free library e-books just got a lot easier! We recently launched our 3M Cloud Library, which allows you to download and read e-books anywhere with your library card.
Whether you’ve been enjoying e-books for years or have never read an e-book before, you’ll love the 3M Cloud Library. It’s easy to set up and use. There’s a great (and growing) collection of popular materials for all ages. You can even check out and return books from our library catalog.
If you’re attached to our Library2Go service, don’t worry! We still have that, too, and it continues to improve. You’ll also want to stick with Library2Go for now if you read on a Chromebook, Linux Computer, e-ink Kindle (the Fire is compatible with 3M) or Sony Reader.
Give it a try using the 3M Cloud Library app on your tablet, phone, PC or Mac. Find more details and device-specific instructions at www.wccls.org/3mcloud. Happy reading!
September 26, 2014
Last week’s episode of Doctor Who, entitled “Listen,” is rapidly gaining a reputation for being one of the greatest Who episodes of all time. I recently got back into the show after leaving it alone for a couple of years, due to my curiosity about the newest Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and the variety of ways in which he is different from his last few predecessors. Capaldi is older, more mature, less Gen-Y, crankier and more enigmatic than the quirky Matt Smith and impressively likeable David Tennant – qualities which more closely resemble the myriad of classic Doctors who took center stage before the series’ cancellation and subsequent reboot.
In conversation with colleagues about Doctor Who in general, I found the most common reason many of them have not begun watching is that they have no idea where to start. Indeed, fifty years of backlog is a lot to catch up on, if you look at it all as essential viewing. The thing is, Doctor Who doesn’t have to be viewed from its first episode in 1963 all the way up to last week’s brilliant display – truthfully, you can pick it up almost anywhere! For anyone wishing to get into Doctor Who but not quite sure where to start, I would suggest picking a Doctor – any Doctor – and starting from the beginning of their run. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself oriented and invested within an episode or two.
However, with twelve Doctors to choose from, that still leaves you with a bit of choosing to do. Thankfully, the library has a wonderful selection of Doctor Who episodes from every era, old and new – and I’m here to give you a sampler platter of every Doctor, to help you decide where you may want to begin. Here we go!
THE FIRST DOCTOR: WILLIAM HARTNELL
For those wanting the complete package, we may as well start at the very beginning. This is the very first story Doctor Who ever told, about a strange old man with a magic police box and a mysterious girl who calls him Grandfather. You’ll learn about the TARDIS, which is the Doctor’s spaceship and time machine, take a trip back to the Stone Age with a couple of unsuspecting schoolteachers, and learn just a little bit about the Doctor and his past – but only enough to raise ten thousand more questions about who he really is. When looked at through the lens of 1960s TV programming, the episode ends up looking pretty darn impressive.
THE SECOND DOCTOR: PATRICK TROUGHTON
One of the tragic things about the Second Doctor’s years is that many episodes have been destroyed, or otherwise lost to time. However, thanks to the revival of the show and many dedicated fans and producers, we get to experience many of these stories from start to finish anyway, in the form of animated reconstructions of the missing parts. The Ice Warriors is one such example – out of the six parts, episodes two and three have never been found in their original form, and have been recreated using animation and voice acting in order to fill in the gaps of the story arc. Although one can hope that someday, in some dark basement, the lost episodes may be recovered, fans can still experience more of Patrick Troughton’s more hands-on, childlike portrayal of the Doctor through the skillful restoration of animators.
THE THIRD DOCTOR: JON PERTWEE
The Third Doctor’s era was unique in that, instead of being able to zip around time and space at will, the leaders of the Time Lords (the alien race he belongs to) decided to get him under control, broke his TARDIS, and exiled him to Earth. There, he was to work with UNIT, a human-led organization dedicated to the investigation and pacification of alien elements on Earth. He spent much of the series trying (and failing) to fix his TARDIS in his spare time while doing dirty work for UNIT, but catches a break in this story arc due to some unexpected help. Featuring a crazy hive-minded alien and an appearance by the Doctor’s nemesis, the Master, The Claws of Axos is one of the more exciting arcs in the Third Doctor’s four-year run.
THE FOURTH DOCTOR: TOM BAKER
Tom Baker, whose seven year run on Doctor Who made him “THE Doctor” for many fans who grew up with the show, is my personal favorite Doctor as well. In direct contrast to the suave and authoritative Doctor before him, Baker’s Doctor is tall and imposing, with popping eyes, a wide-brimmed hat, and a seven-foot-long multicolored scarf to bundle everything up in, and has the intense personality to match. Throughout an episode, he can oscillate between goofy and childlike to harsh and merciless in a heartbeat, and his previous incarnations’ kindness and amiability with humans has turned into more of a detached fascination, as if he were studying them as specimens in a laboratory. There are many, many stories I could choose from the Tom Baker years, and it is only after a heavy amount of thought that I have decided on Genesis of the Daleks as my Tom Baker sample. I ended up choosing this story because it rolls three “most famouses” – the most famous Doctor, the most famous companion, and the most famous monsters – all into one dramatic story, all while establishing a good amount of Doctor Who backstory and lore for the rest of the series to draw on.
THE FIFTH DOCTOR: PETER DAVISON
Out of all actors who have ever played the Doctor, Peter Davison’s job was the hardest – he had to follow Tom Baker. His early episodes were a little weak as he struggled to find his niche and personality, but by the end, he had a dramatic flair all his own. Davison was far younger than all other Doctors before him, a fact that served him well once he began to take advantage of it. Davison’s Doctor was less of an instigator than any of his predecessors, preferring to react to situations instead of creating them, and tried to include his companions as team members rather than take the smarter-than-thou approach of the four before him. I’ve decided to feature Davison’s personal favorite story arc – The Caves of Androzani – in this post, as it shows the Fifth Doctor at his very best, as well as highlights a key aspect of what makes the Doctor unique – regeneration. This is, in fact, the final story to feature Davison as the Doctor, and the first to feature…
THE SIXTH DOCTOR: COLIN BAKER
Colin Baker is not a well-remembered Doctor. There are often complications and crises that arise upon a new regeneration, but this one was a doozy, and instilled him with some strange personality quirks and flaws – not strange in the adorable or mysterious way, like Tom Baker or William Hartnell, but strange in the “I can’t stand this man” way that, well, made him really hard to stand. A shameless, egotistical genius, he wore a costume that Baker himself described as “an explosion in a rainbow factory,” and flaunted his way through the next three years with reckless abandon, angering just about everybody he encountered. The Twin Dilemma is the very first of Colin Baker’s episodes, and I chose it because (in my opinion) you can see everything you need to know about Doctor Number Six, and then move right along to something else. Colin Baker is for the completionist or the die-hard Who fan only, and would be my least-recommended spot to pick up the series.
THE SEVENTH DOCTOR: SYLVESTER MCCOY
Poor Sylvester McCoy – fans were so frustrated by his predecessor by the end of his run that there was hardly anything the seventh Doctor could do about it. I’ve chosen Dragonfire as the McCoy sample because it is the introductory story of one of my favorite companions – Ace, the explosives-loving teenage girl who starts off rough but eventually becomes his protege. McCoy’s Doctor is less gregarious, more secretive than Colin Baker, taking more after the second Doctor and his tendency toward manipulation and puppet-mastering to achieve his goals. It’s sad that McCoy didn’t get more of a chance to develop his character, but the ratings for Doctor Who were dismal by this point, and the show was cancelled in his third season.
THE EIGHTH DOCTOR: PAUL MCGANN
If you want to start with Paul McGann, there aren’t many choices – in fact, he has only had one significant appearance onscreen, in the lukewarm-reviewed Doctor Who TV Movie. It’s actually not a bad film, all things considered, and it sets the stage for the Eighth Doctor’s incredible quantity of novellas and audio dramas which were written and produced in the years since the film was considered a failure. These performances are terrific, and in fact what I would truly recommend if you wanted to start getting to know the Eighth Doctor – however, we do not have any of them directly available through WCCLS, so you’ll have to go with the TV movie! It features the return of the Master as a villain and serves as a nice bridge between the campy, technologically dated previous incarnation of Doctor Who and the CGI-rich reboot of 2005.
THE NINTH DOCTOR: CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON
The choice of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor was, at first glance, a strange one for a reboot. He had few of the qualities of the strange, often foppish Doctors, often opting to be far more emotionally intense and brooding. However, upon further inspection, it makes a lot of sense, and in fact it set the tone of the show in a few important ways, even after it got more lighthearted once again – his portrayal offered a chance for the audience to connect with a more human Doctor, and for the Doctor himself to establish a strong connection with his companion. The show became less about the Doctor showing everyone else who’s boss and more about his relationships with those around him, a tone which makes more sense within the context of modern television. Eccleston left after just one series, but his twin legacies are his remarkable empathy toward the young and underprivileged, and his powerful hatred of the Daleks, who forced him to sacrifice the entire race of Time Lords in order to save the universe from the Dalek scourge. The Empty Child is the ultimate example of the former: the Doctor’s willingness (and, perhaps, his wish) to sacrifice absolutely everything for the greater good. I would highly recommend Eccleston’s series as a starting point for those just getting into Doctor Who, as it was naturally designed as a reintroduction to its ideas and themes, and the chemistry between the Doctor and his companion Rose is more than brilliant.
THE TENTH DOCTOR: DAVID TENNANT
One of the inevitable consequences of making the show more about the relationship between the Doctor and his companions is that, eventually, an actual romantic relationship has to rear its ugly head. This was not made less likely by the casting of David Tennant as the Doctor – a ridiculously sociable, well-adjusted, sexy young man, especially when compared to the off-limits, broody Eccleston. Doctor Number Ten loves people, is highly fashionable according to Gen Y standards, loves technobabble, and flashes his sonic screwdriver around like nobody’s business. A little romance is okay in any show, but after not one, but two companions got themselves romantically entangled with the Doctor and were subsequently burned, fans ended up wishing for a return to the more platonic days of yore. Then came Donna Noble, a feisty temp worker from Chiswick who makes it VERY clear that she has no interest in funny business with the Doctor. Donna’s pushy, bombastic personality perfectly compliments Tennant’s compromising nature, allowing her to push him along when he gets too twisted around to get the job done. Silence in the Library, one of the best episodes in New Who, is also one of the more important episodes in terms of the new series’ long-term continuity, introducing several characters and ideas that only pay off a couple of years down the line.
THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR: MATT SMITH
After David Tennant, the “People’s Doctor,” finally regenerated, it was up to Matt Smith to provide a different spin on the character without compromising the audience’s ability to relate to him. He did so marvelously, adopting odd habits and clothing items (bowties, anyone?) while still remaining able to connect with his human companions on a high level like Tennant could. I chose The Eleventh Hour because it serves as another excellent starting point for the new viewer: not only does it reintroduce the basic mechanics of Doctor Who to the uneducated, but it lets us learn about the Doctor right alongside him, as he copes with his new regeneration and learns about himself. Add in some excellent acting by Karen Gillan as his new companion (and her cousin, who plays her younger self), and you’ve got a great recipe for excitement as only Doctor Who can deliver.
THE TWELFTH DOCTOR: PETER CAPALDI
I’d rather not say more about Capaldi’s superb Doctor than I’ve already said. Rather, I would encourage you to just jump in here, with the first episode of the latest season, and let him help you figure it out. Deep Breath is an acceptable starting point as any – you’ll learn about the Doctor, his ability to regenerate, the TARDIS and its time travel abilities, and all the other Who-basics that make the show so great. Before you know it, you’ll be watching “Listen” and looking under your bed for the next three weeks. Enjoy!
September 25, 2014
Communities across the country are celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week! Each year, libraries and bookstores illustrate the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. In honor of this week, we wanted to share some of our favorite challenged or banned titles. Stop by the Cedar Mill Library to see our Banned Books display and “Have You Seen Us?” posters.
Jeff Smith’s Bone series was challenged in a Minnesota elementary school in 2010 based on its depiction of smoking and drinking in the comic series. One character is frequently shown with a cigar in his mouth and another character owns a drinking establishment. After reading a letter from the author at the hearing, the board voted 10-1 to retain the titles.
Persepolis is a graphic novel about Marjane Satrapi’s childhood growing up in Iran after the Iranian Revolution. It was removed from all Chicago public schools in 2013 because of “graphic illustrations and language”. Several 7th and 8th grade classrooms were studying the book. The students rose up to support the book and eventually the high schools decided to reinstate the book.
The original 1987 edition of Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford was #87 on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most frequently banned books from 1990-1999 because of a (tiny) topless sunbather. You can see the same sunbather wearing her bikini top in the 1997 Anniversary Edition.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak ranks #25 on the ALA’s 100 frequently banned and challenged books from 2000-2009. The young boy featured in this story is nude in some of its illustrations. Some chose to burn the book while others drew a diaper over the boy’s genitals.
Published in 2005, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell has made the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s top ten most frequently challenged books six times during the years 2006-2010 and 2012.
It’s the true story of two male chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, who discover each other at the Central Park Zoo and become a couple. Emulating the other penguin couples, Roy and Silo build a nest and find what they think is an egg to sit on and keep warm. Roy and Silo continue taking turns sitting on their “egg” (which is really a rock) day after day. When their penguin keeper finds an egg that needs to be cared for, he brings it to Roy and Silo’s nest and they take turns warming the egg until out hatches Tango, their baby! Tango becomes the first penguin at the zoo to have two fathers, who raise her until she becomes an adult.
Despite this heartwarming true story that is beautifully told with charming illustrations by Henry Cole, this book has been challenged frequently at both elementary and public libraries. The reasons have ranged from those who felt it promoted homosexuality to those who felt it was anti-ethnic, anti-family and unsuited for children.
September 23, 2014
With school back in session, those of us at the Bethany Branch took some time to remember our favorite books that we were assigned to read throughout our lives as students. Books assigned in school have the unfortunate stigma of being boring and/or awful, but this isn’t always the case! Here’s a list of some of the ones we loved the most, from elementary school to college.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis – My fourth grade teacher read it out loud to our class and we had a group adventure with that book. The whole class loved it.
Maus I, by Art Spiegelman - This was my first introduction to graphic novels blended with historical account. Compelling, horrific, and brilliant.
The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks - A toy that comes to life. What’s not to like?
Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren – A quirky, adventurous girl? What’s not to love!
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Mystery, murder, and magical realism drive this incredible novel. Garcia Marquez makes social commentary exciting.
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles - This was the first time I learned about symbolism and it’s a heartbreaking tale of jealousy and betrayal.
Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede - A princess is bored of normal princess activities, so she runs away with dragons.
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind, by Suzanne Fisher Staples - This book presents the everyday life of non-Western culture in an exciting way.
Mythology, by Edith Hamilton – Who doesn’t love a great story about a minotaur?
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding - Disturbing island survival adventure that arouses thoughts about human behavior, instinct, and the potential darkness in everyone. Good times!
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin - This Newberry Award winning book is an excellent mystery full of interesting characters (especially Turtle) and tricky puzzles. It’s still one of my all-time favorite books!
Beloved, by Toni Morrison - This book will rip your heart out, throw it on the ground and then dance the Flamenco on top of it, and it’s absolutely worth it.
-The Bethany Staff
September 22, 2014
Every year the American Library Association promotes Banned Books Week. The annual event is a great way to shine the spotlight on attempts to censor and suppress books. At the Cedar Mill Library this week you’ll find a display featuring popular and unexpected books someone thinks you shouldn’t read. You’ll also find posters detailing why certain books were banned or challenged (and sometimes burned). In the following list you’ll find a selection of the books that were challenged in the U.S. in the last year. Celebrate your freedom to read with Banned Books. –Laura T.
|The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Alexie, ShermanIllustrator Forney, Ellen
2009-04 – Little, Brown Young Readers
Check Our Catalog This novel about a teenage Native American who transfers from the reservation to an all-white high school was challenged several times this year, including at a Montana high school because it is “written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people.” Also challenged at Sweet Home Oregon Junior High because of what some parents saw as the objectification of
|The Handmaid’s Tale
Atwood, Margaret1998-03 – Anchor Books
Check Our Catalog
|The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Chbosky, Stephen1999-02 – MTV Books
Check Our Catalog
Published in 1999, a recent movie adaptation has given the book more attention. And with attention come more challenges! This year, the coming-of-age story told all in letters was challenged for sexual situations, drug use, and language.…More
|Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Frank, Anne1993-06 – Turtleback BooksCheck Our Catalog
Anne Frank’s powerfully honest writing has made her diary a common choice for classrooms. When it recently was challenged at a middle school because of anatomical descriptions in the book, 10 free speech organizations signed a letter urging the school to keep the book on shelves. The book was retained.
Gaiman, Neil1997-07 – William Morrow & Company
Check Our Catalog
When his fable of London’s hidden magical underworld was removed from a high school’s shelves for a half-page scene of drunken adulterous fumbling,Gaiman had the perfect response.He said: “Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading. Stop them reading what they enjoy or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like […] you’ll wind up with a generation
|Looking for Alaska
Green, John2006-12 – Speak
Check Our Catalog
This Printz Award-winning book by the author of The Fault In Our Stars was challenged this year because a parent felt the sexual content was inappropriate.
|Eleanor & Park
Rowell, Rainbow2013-02 – St. Martin’s Griffin
Check Our Catalog
When this bestselling teen love story was challenged for profanity and sexual content, the controversy led to the author’s scheduled Banned Books Week speaking event being canceled.
|The Complete Persepolis
Satrapi, Marjane2007-10 – Pantheon Books
Check Our Catalog
In response, students mobilized a media campaign opposing the banning of a book that is itself about freedom of speech. Their actions led to the book
|The Color Purple
Walker, Alice1992-05 – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Check Our Catalog
September 18, 2014
Your child has read all the Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, or Nate the Great books. What’s next?? Puzzled as to how to find an appropriate beginning chapter book? Today I’ll share 3 secrets which might help you find the next best book.
Secret #1: Look for orange tape in the Juvenile Fiction collection. Easier books have the orange tape on a spine label.
Secret #2: Open a book to see the font size, number of pages, and pictures. Good transition books will have a slightly bigger font than regular longer chapter books and include some pictures.
Secret #3: Five fingers rule: Open the book to page #2 or higher and let your child read one page. Hold up a finger for each unfamiliar word. 4 or 5 – too many. Your child will not feel comfortable with this book. 0 to 2 – maybe the book is not challenging enough. 3 unfamiliar words = a good choice!
Remember: Beginning readers need to re-read books as well, so if they ask for the same title, let them have it! They need to feel confident and able to say: “I read this book in ONE DAY!” And this is possible only when they know a book very well. More tips how to find “Just Right” Books from Reading Rockets -Marta
Here are ten appealing beginning chapter book series for young readers:
September 17, 2014
I love seeing creative nail art on others, but never had the time to attempt it myself. Seeing these great books on nail art come in gave me an inspiration to try it at home myself. If you want to learn how to wear cool design on yourself or your friends, I highly recommend Cool Nail Art, DIY Nail Art, Nails! Nails! Nails!, and Nail Candy.
September 16, 2014
School days are back! Here in the U.S., reports show that our kids are falling behind in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The library has many great books to help kids get interested in STEM subjects. We have a great series here at Bethany called Batman Science. Each book takes items from Batman’s fictional world, and explores the real world science and engineering of those items. For example, in Batarangs and Grapnels: the Science Behind Batman’s Utility Belt , the book explores the connection between boomerangs and the fictional batarang, including an explanation on how boomerangs function. In the back of the book, there is a list of other books and websites to further explore topics introduced.
This is a great way to explore engineering and scientific concepts with kids who are fans of superheroes! Other titles in the Batman Science series are Batmobiles and Batcycles: the Engineering Behind Batman’s Vehicles, Batplanes and Batcopters: the Engineering Behind Batman’s Wings, and Batsuits and Capes : the Science Behind Batman’s Body Armor.