Poetry 365

Poet Troy Jollimore

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Troy Jollimore’s eagerly awaited follow-up to his acclaimed debut Tom Thomson in Purgatory, winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award.  In At Lake Scugog, the California State University professor continues his exploration of age-old philosophical questions in clever, flexibly formal verse that includes 14 new sonnets featuring his neurotic title character.  Witty, eccentric, and vulnerable, this engaging collection is further proof that Jollimore is “an utterly fresh, original voice” in American poetry.  So check out this stellar sophomore collection, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

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As close as it comes to having a custom-written book

A cartoon I saw a while back showed a dismayed looking man standing at a customer service desk in a book store. The caption reads, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t have any books with that title, but if you tell me the plot, setting and main characters, we’ll have it written for you.”

Ha, ha, you say, nice fantasy. But wait! I’ve just been introduced to a U.K . website, whichbook.net, that comes as close as anything to helping readers find a book to love. And, it’s so much fun to play around with the parameters of what you’re looking for that it’s almost like a computer game (Stump the Bookfinder!). You select four criteria, set the continuum cursors where you like (e.g., happy….sad,  funny….serious), hit go, and the site produces all kinds of suggestions, annotated and linked with additional info. If you’d rather search by character, plot, and/or setting, it’s an easy click  away to do that. Once you have your hit list, you can click on ‘borrow’ or ‘buy,’ and the site will direct you either to nearby libraries or bookstores. This is a U.K. site, so we Yanks have to click ‘Not in the U.K.,’ to end up at U.S. booksellers or Worldcat (and when I tried it here at the library, I got a direct link to our holdings).

Navigating the site is easy. You can sign in with your Facebook logon or create a new account. You can start your own lists which can be shared. And, you can just browse the site’s pre-selected lists of titles that share characteristics. Front page lists now offer A Terrible beauty, Comfort zone, Laugh your pants of, and Bad luck and trouble.

The site made it onto Real Simple’s “6 Items to Simplify Your Life” list, and you can read the Hooked Bookworm’s blog post (and ensuing comments) to see what others have to say about it.

Barbara L.

Discerning Diva of Publishing

A feature article on Amy Einhorn probes what it takes to be a good editor and publisher. How many of us would have backed The Help, a runaway bestseller, had we known it was rejected 60 times?!

“I need to be able to convince you in thirty seconds of speaking to make you want to read the book,” she said. She said she received around 1,000 submissions in her first year at the imprint, and does not spend much time on manuscripts that do not draw her in from the first page.

This NY Observer piece also delves into her hands-on business practices, aside from her “good taste.” It’s not enough to identify a good work, she also promotes it in various ways within the industry.

Shira S.

A list of favorite business books from Bloomberg News

For those who can’t get enough insight on the current economic environment be it personal, local, or global, James Pressley of  Bloomberg News offers his list of  current favorites as reported in this Chicago Tribune article in Monday’s (1/23/12) edition. Covering the gamut of topics from figuring out if you’re smart enough to work for Google, Greece’s debt crisis, the story of Goldman Sachs, how reckless greed put our whole economy at peril, and much more,  the list is a  excellent resource for keeping current, plus the titles recommended offer readers plenty of thought provoking ideas to liven up your dinner table conversations.

Here’s some pretty basic financial advice from your friendly librarian: check out the books at no cost from Evanston Public Library and save a bundle. I’ve gathered them all on this handy list in our catalog.

Barbara L.

Libraries Struggle to Fill E-book Demands

EarlyWord points out an interesting article in the Washington Post about the difficulties libraries have in obtaining e-books.Some facilities do not have funds to keep up with the need and some publishers are not fully cooperating with the libraries. The article highlights the friction between slashed library budgets and the growing pressure to keep up with digital media. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.   Shira S.

Happy 150th Birthday, Edith Wharton

January 24 is the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth. A native New Yorker, her birthday is being celebrated throughout the city. Some of her most well-known work includes The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence. Yesterday’s New York Times has a wonderful article about her and her connection to the popular BBC series Downton Abbey. And check out the accompanying slide show, as well – it’s somewhat sobering to know that Wharton’s childhood home at West 23rd Street is now home to Starbucks.

Laura

“Babel No More” Explores Multilingual People

This book examines the lives of some figures who manage to study and master not one or two foreign languages, but dozens. The reviewer claims that what might sound like dull material is actually quite fascinating as Michael Erard looks back to discuss prominent language masters of old, such as Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, who could respond simultaneously to many different queries in different languages.

Erard then tracks down today’s polyglots and, to use a word I  have never heard in any language, probes the differences between multilinguals and hyperpolyglots! The former are people learn a few languages out of necessity, such as those who live in border areas, and the latter study for the sake of mastering numerous foreign languages. Author Peter Constantine himself knows several languages, so he approaches this topic with passion and inside knowledge. Tip: If you want to nail down more than 6 languages, be prepared to apply yourself mightily.

Shira S.

What EPL is Reading

Tom Cruise is… Jack Reacher?

Hollywood’s decision to cast the diminutive star as Lee Child’s rugged 6’5″ ex-Army hero is fiercely debated in the Wall Street Journal.  Inviting you to vote for your ideal choice, the in-depth story retraces Reacher’s long road to the big screen and peeks behind the scenes of One Shot.

Baby, Let’s Not Fight

SF Signal offers this hilarious, heartfelt letter from genre fiction to literature. A sample quote: “Please, darling, let us stop this. This artificial separation between us is painful, it is undignified, and it fools no one. In company, we sneer at each other and make those cold, cutting remarks. And why?”

The Accursed Poets

The mythology of the poete maudit – or “cursed poet”- is explored in this excellent essay from First Things.  Ravaged by alcoholism, diabetes, arthritis, and syphilis, greats like Baudelaire and Verlaine helped birth the image of the afflicted genius who suffered for the sake of his art.

The Anticipation is Killing Me

The Atlantic presents 15 books to look forward to in 2012 including new titles from Jonathan Safran Foer, Lionel Shriver, Anne Tyler, Nell Freudenberger, Peter Carey, John Irving, Michael Chabon, and Justin Cronin’s follow-up to The Passage.