Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steampunk in September!

This month, the library has a display dedicated to one of the newest literary genres: Steampunk. According to Wikipedia, Stempunk is:
"Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace's Analytical engine.
Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk."

Some of my favorite books this year, including "Shipbreaker", "Dapperman" and "Boneshaker" all incorporate Steampunk elements.  Steampunk has a following through music, fashion, and technology--If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps check out one of the books located on the display, or make a Steampunk piece of jewelry: http://www.steampunkjewelry.ffxoh.com/

Steampunk is increasing in popularity--which is why the display in the library was created.  We could all use a bit of heads up from every once and a while...and a little time travel never hurt anyone.......got goggles??

Friday, September 23, 2011

Movie Book Props: An Expert Forger

Movie Props: Book Forgery for Fun & Profit
via Shelf Awareness
Ross Macdonald is a typographer and editorial illustrator who moonlights as a creator of very special props for movies and television. He is a forger. The Atlantic reported that many of Macdonald's "most exquisite forgeries--or, more precisely, replicas--are currently seen, if you look closely enough, on the new season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire," for which he recently finished eight months of work on the second season. "I did probably 15,000 pages of documents, books, passports, tickets, newspapers, notebooks," Macdonald said.

For his first film, Baby's Day Out (1993), Macdonald "illustrated and handled the design and production of the children's book used to push along the movie's plot. The illustrations were also used in the opening credits, and appear full-screen throughout the movie," the Atlantic wrote.
More recently, for The Adjustment Bureau, he "printed and hand-bound over a hundred of the small books, in four different colored bindings. The large books are bound in a white material that I had custom made. In the scenes in the Adjustment Bureau office, we see shelf after shelf--over 2,200 in all--each filled with dozens of copies of the large white book. I made a couple of dozen of those books. The rest are faux." Those scenes were shot in the New York Public Library.
Macdonald said he has to "really think about the particular document: How old is it? Where has it been? Was it handled a lot or stored in a file? How was it handled and how was it used? If you look carefully at old books and documents, you can read a lot of their history from the stains and wear marks. A book cover may have rounded corners from being carried in a book bag. Wrinkled corners indicate that it was likely dropped. Often the bottom edges of the cover are worn a lot from the book being slid on and off a bookshelf a lot. Tears and wear on the top of the spine show that people pulled there to slide it out slightly from a tight bookcase, and you can often see stains on the front and back cover near the spine where hands have grabbed it to continue pulling it out. Book pages are more often stained and worn near the bottom because that's where people turn pages."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Texting Librarians by Bernard Radfar

ME: My life is falling apart and it makes me question everything. How can I tell if it's me or the world?
THEM: sorry to hear you're hurt: Thought: Questions are natural responses to life = part of what we are as humans/ and things can fall apart in many ways - not always yr fault- hang in there.
In the elevator back to the lot, with a stack of DVD's about the fall of the Roman Empire in hand, I noticed for the first time a curious printed announcement, halfway up the yellow wall, notifying people that questions could be texted to the library for free, using ASK A LIBRARIAN.
I'm a person who is full of questions, most of which, I'm hesitant to admit, fall into the category of bizarre or unanswerable. Thus the philosophy degree and far too many books read on nihilism.
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernard-radfar/post_2408_b_961984.html?ir=Books

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creepy Collection of Stories--NPR

Smoke from the campfire swirls up into the darkness. I peer up through the woods, the black branches against the gray night, and wonder if I'm alone.
My imagination was forged by storytellers, my father spinning tales of decapitated coal miners running through fields of corn; my mother telling me, like a secret, about waking in her childhood home to see an Indian in the moonlight, watching her through her bedroom window.
Nothing makes the world more alive to me than a ghost story. And when I need my fix of spectral wonder, I turn to the Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood, authored by an Englishman whose name is not known as much as his influence is seen in the work of everyone from H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King.

For the rest click here:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: The Family Fang

Performance artist Caleb Fang knew two things: no sacrifice for art was too big if "the outcome was beautiful enough, strange enough, memorable enough" and "kids kill art." When Camille became pregnant, he found a way around the second fact. Annie and, later, Buster grew up as actors, taking on whatever persona was needed for their parents' current act and never breaking character, no matter what chaos ensued.

Beneath the surface of the fun and fast-paced The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson (author of the story collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth) explores self-identity and families in the context of life lived as art. After years of sacrificing everything, even their names, to their parents' art, Annie and Buster struggle with recognizing reality. No family outing was ever what it seemed, and the siblings learned to react to every mishap as if it were orchestrated. Once, when Caleb fell, Buster immediately played a familiar role in a performance piece, showing no concern for his bleeding father until he was told it was an accident.

As young adults, Annie and Buster are determined to end the cycle of manipulation but can't quite grasp the idea that life isn't scripted. Only when the two are forced to question the truth of an extreme performance can they muster the strength to break from Caleb and Camille. The longer Annie and Buster are on their own, the more we wonder who's in charge: Did the artists force the split for their own purposes? Or did the children simply reject their parents' realities and thus their place within the family? --Candace B. Levy, freelance editor blogging at Beth Fish Reads

Discover: A fun, fast-paced, well-crafted novel that examines what happens to a family when the line between art and life is erased.

From: Shelf Awareness