National Poetry Month: April 23rd (Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!)

Sonnet XXV by William Shakespeare

Let those who are in favor with their stars
Of public honor and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlooked for joy in that I honor most.
Great princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honor rased quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
    Then happy I, that love and am beloved
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)

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Foresooth! ‘Tis the Bard’s Birthday

Hear ye, citizens of the fair land of Illinois! It’s official–today is not only Shakespeare’s birthday, it’s “Speaketh Like Shakespeare Day.” For help in sorting out your thee’s and thou’s, and some tips on rhyming couplets (all the rage back then), this helpful guide will assure you that all’s well that speaks well. 

As to the birthday part of the celebration, well, the date has never been confirmed. Church records show Shakespeare’s baptism dated April 26, 1564, and as this Shakespeare site explains, odds are that the 23rd was the actual birthdate. Coincidentally many scholars accept his date of death as April 23, 1616, a fact  so loaded with irony, fate, astrological forces and a satisfying balance that old Will just might have made use of this device in one of his plays.

So lift a glass in Will’s honor as you ponder the impact of his genius on our lives today.

Barbara L.

National Poetry Month: April 22nd

Long Gone Lonesome Blues by A.E. Stallings

Death was something that hadn’t happened yet.
I was driving in my father’s pickup truck
At some late hour, the hour of broken luck.
It seeped up through the dashboard’s oubliette,
Clear voice through the murk — the radio was set
Halfway between two stations and got stuck.
But the words sobbed through, and I was suddenly struck
Like a gut string in the key of flat regret.
The voice came from beyond the muddy river —
You know the one, the one that’s cold as ice.
Even then, it traveled like a shiver
Through my tributary veins — but twice
As melancholy to me now, because
I’m older than Hank Williams ever was.

This poem was selected by Jeff B. (Reader’s Services)

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National Poetry Month: April 21st

Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
Happiness.  It comes on
unexpectedly.  And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

This poem was selected by Rika Ghorbani (Reference Librarian)

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Coming Soon: Kindle Compatible with MyMediaMall/Overdrive!

Wow.  Pigs can fly.  And Kindle will soon be compatible with Overdrive/My Media Mall.  This is huge…  And I finally get to stop feeling guilty for loving my Kindle.  Here are a couple details below but for the whole story, see the complete blog post from Overdrive

The Kindle Library Lending program will support the existing business models that you have already set in OverDrive’s catalog.
The Kindle eBook titles borrowed from a library will carry the same rules and policies as all other eBooks.
As usual, users will still need a valid library card from a participating library, school, or college to check out an eBook for Kindle Lending.

Let’s see what happens next…


2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Winners for this year’s Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in 13 journalism categories and 7 arts categories, including fiction, poetry and drama. See this NYT article for all the news that’s fit to print.

Laura, Reader’s Services

National Poetry Month: April 20th

Don’t Go Far Off, Not Even for a Day by Pablo Neruda

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.
Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.
Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,
because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back?  Will you leave me here, dying?

This poem was selected by Lesley W. (Reference Librarian)

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National Poetry Month: April 19th

Mirror by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact.  I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful —
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles.  I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart.  But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake.  A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her.  She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)

Poetry Copyright Notice

Facts in “Three Cups of Tea” Questioned

Greg Mortenson, author of the enormously popular book Three Cups of Tea, has been called upon to support the facts in his book and to explain how his charitable foundation is spending its money. The controversy puts publisher Penguin Group USA in the uncomfortable position of having to defend its fact checking of nonfiction books and could jeopardize support for Mortenson’s foundation. See this New York Times article for the full story.

Mary B., Reader’s Services

Royal Wedding Inspired eBooks

With the royal wedding only two weeks away, it seems that everyone is hoping to cash in on the Kate Middleton/Prince William bandwagon. According to USA Today, Harlequin has just commissioned seven novellas for its “Royal Weddings” ebook collection. Another publishing house, Avon, has also announced a royal anthology ebook which includes three love stories.

For all of the romance readers out there, the Harliquin novellas and the Avon anthology can be downloaded from any site where ebooks are sold. All cost $1.99.

Rika G.