Two strong women characters dominate the latest novel by Sue Monk Kidd, “The Invention of Wings.” Her “Secret Life of Bees” was a runaway bestseller in 2003. Kidd examined different theories of feminist theology in that book. This time she focuses on a young girl, Sarah Grimke, and the girl given to her as a slave, “Handful.” The novel follows the course of their lives over the next few decades and the struggles they face during the 1800′s in Charleston. Here’s the link to Oprah‘s website and discussion of this selection. This link will take you to the LA Times article on the Oprah book club process.
Fifty-two “envelope poems” written by Emily Dickinson in the early 1860s have been published in a coffee table size book titled Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings. These “pocket-size” poems written on parts of envelopes have been in print since the 1950s, but “this is the first book devoted to full-color, actual-size facsimiles of a specific body of her work.” One of the poems begins” The way/Hope builds his/House” and is written on a “piece of house-shaped paper.” For more about these poems and the poet who “pushed the envelope”, check out this article in the New York Times. EPL is purchasing this book for its collection.
We are happy to announce an exciting new exhibit in our ongoing Local Art @ EPL series. Throughout December, we’re proudly featuring over three dozen stunning samples of contemporary folk art from India right here on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library. Curated by Chicagoland artist Manvee Vaid, the exhibit features works from the Madhubani, Gond, Warli, and Bengal Scroll regions of India done in acrylics, ink, vegetable colors, red mud, charcoal, and gouache. The exhibit will be on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library throughout December, and you can hear Ms. Vaid discuss the creative processes behind various pieces on December 14th at 4 pm in our Community Meeting Room. You can learn more by visiting Ms. Vaid’s online gallery Deccan Footprints, and make sure to check back with Off the Shelf early next week for an interview with the artist herself. Stay tuned.
Former library director Marino Massimo De Caro is accused of theft and embezzlement of thousands of volumes of rare books, including “centuries-old editions of Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo and Machiavelli” from the Girolamini Library in Naples. The president of the Italian Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association noted that “this is the biggest books scandal to hit in the past 150 or 200 years.” At the center of this plot to remove these books, Mr. De Caro “a character who seems to have been conjured jointly by Jorge Luis Borges and the Italian crime novelist Andrea Camilleria”, said he took the books in order “to raise money to restore the library.” As an interesting aside, Mr. De Caro, who doesn’t have a college degree, apparently became director of the Girolamini Library through political connections. Read the entire fascinating NYT article here – this is the stuff movies are made of.
If you’re the parent or grandparent of a 2 to 5-year old, you must be living under a cone of kiddie lit isolation if you haven’t heard of the oh-so popular books by Mo Willems. Featuring the all-about-me Pigeon, the ever polite Duckling, best friends Elephant and Piggie, and more, the stories are presented in simple language, the illustrations charming, and the messages provide gentle guides on how to behave and be a good friend to others. The hilarious situations (e.g., should a pigeon drive the bus?) appeal to both kids and adults. One book, however, may have caused debate and disagreement in some households. It’s Knuffle Bunny. How does one pronounce “knuffle?” ‘The problem is hereby settled with this bit of research done by my fellow librarian, Kate. Here’s the skinny:
My granddaughter and I disagreed on the pronunciation the word in Mo Willem’s book. Here is the “definitive” answer.
Knuffle Bunny Too addresses a point of confusion raised by its predecessor: How do you pronounce k-n-u-f-f-l-e, a Dutch word that means “to snuggle or hug”? The fictionalized Trixie, a girl in the know, pronounces it the Dutch way, “ka-nuffle.” Sonja, her rival, says “nuffle.” Magnanimously, Willems said, “If you buy the book you can pronounce it any way you like.” He’s hardly in a position to split hairs, having learned — too late — that he goofed by transposing the “e” and the “l” in “knuffel” all through the original book.” After it was published, my mother said, ‘Why did you misspell it?’ ” His only excuse: “It didn’t come up on my spell check.”
I’m now going to agree with Leila and use “ka-nuffle.”
The Bodleian and the Vatican Libraries have joined forces to make a number of rare ancient texts available free to the public, including a 1455 Gutenberg Bible, a manuscript of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, and the oldest surviving Hebrew codex. Funded by a $3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, this “unique cultural and scholarly enterprise will provide students, scholars and the general public with easy access to these rich hidden treasures.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that on seeing the texts, “there is a lifting of the spirits.” Read more about this project in today’s NPR article.
Marc Perlish is an Evanston photographer and the latest artist to be featured in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL. His striking new collection is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Library where it pays “poetic homage to Bookman’s Alley and the bookstore’s imaginative creator Roger Carlson.” You can catch his Bookman’s Alley series through the end of November, and after that, you can learn more about Mr. Perlish’s work by visiting his website. We recently spoke with Mr. Perlish via email about the magic of Bookman’s Alley, his creative process, and his future artistic projects.