Author Archives: Tony

Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon

Comics, horror, noir crime, sword and sorcery, and YA lit are all brought to the fore in Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands. This collection of short essays riffs on the gamut of genre fiction, finding interesting ways to defend genre fiction and to connect it to “high” literature. Chabon brings his own insights on writing – a process often obscured by one’s experiences as a reader – as he alchemically unites diverse and disparate topics from Norse epics to Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!  Not just dry literary theory here, no sir. 

In the essay from which the book derives its name, Chabon regales readers with a childhood tale of his family’s move to an unfinished subdivision. Rather than the typical narrative of being stifled by suburban newness and sterility, Chabon imparts a feeling of awe at such open opportunity. It is an awe that motivates him to fill a sketchy map of the subdivision with wonders, as if drawing out secrets from the air. Readers are able to vicariously feel that rush of power inherent in the creative process, one which leaves you in its afterglow wondering how you have gotten from start to finish.

Filling in the map is – to the author – part of a more general aesthetic of writing from the vantage point of exile. As he sees it, both Jews and lovers of genre fiction are vibrant communities often excluded from the mainstream of society and literature respectively. It is this position of exile which tethers Chabon to his Jewish roots and to genre fiction as a collective whole.

Other pieces are, in some ways, meditations on loss of youth and its closely-associated sense of adventure. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is characterized in such a manner. The only criticism in this laudatory essay is that the heroine of the trilogy, Lyra Belacqua, becomes a much flatter, less interesting character as she moves from unbounded agency to dutiful fulfillment of destiny. In essence, Chabon views Pullman as much greater at exploring the map of his richly developed tale than in reaching the story’s destination.

Maps and Legends is for fans of genre fiction, particularly those who do not mind blending and blurring of genre’s boundaries, or of writing about writing. 

Formats Available: Book

Review by Tony, Main Library

AnimeCon 16 is coming!

AnimeCon, LFLP’s annual celebration of all things anime and manga, descends on the Main Library this Friday, August 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.!

Teens ages 12-19 are invited to join us for a fun-filled day of anime, cosplay, manga, and Asian culture as we close out Teen Summer Reading. They can enjoy tea the Japanese way along with a screening of Yuri on Ice, learn about the art of Shibori, compete in the 16th annual Ramen Noodle Eating Contest, dance, enjoy some K-Pop, make stuff, and hit the ice on our indoor ice rink! We’ll end the day with a costume contest with prizes!

Registration for this event is requested. 

Register online at http://www.lfpl.org/tickets/animecon-registration.asp 

In the Rearview: The Road Back to Jack

Editor’s Note: The following review contains a quote from Jack Kerouac that may be offensive to some. However, it is used by the reviewer to capture a certain point of view from a certain place and time, not for shock value.

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” ― Jack KerouacOn the Road

JACK KEROUAC published his most famous book in 1957. He had been working on it off and on for a few years, when he sat down and typed it all out in 3 weeks in 1951 on a 120-foot-long scroll. It would take him over 6 years to find a publisher. When he did find a publisher, they cut it, changed it, and cleaned it up for the Puritanical society of 1950’s America. On September 5, 1957, The New York Times published a glowing review and Kerouac became famous overnight.  Jack was a shy man and serious writer, and couldn’t handle the pressures of fame and drank himself to death in 12 years.

In 2007, this uncut version was published as it looked when Jack typed it out. No paragraphs or spaces between lines. I started reading this when it came out, but the print threw me off and I only made it through about 30 pages. How can a person who worships Kerouac as the greatest American Writer since Wolfe wait almost a decade to read this?  So now, with GLASSES and a will to move…FAST THIS TIME (the words Jack used to describe how he was going to tell his new novel.), I read this as fast as possible to get the feel of how Jack spewed it out onto paper.

I first read ON THE ROAD in my late 20’s around the same age as Jack was when he wrote it. It became my bible. So, I re-read it several times and through the years every year or two to get different perspectives as I age. Most people that I know who read it, have no desire to read it again. It is considered, much like Thomas Wolfe’s books (Jack’s favorite writer) to be a book for the youth. It is a book of youthful promise and WILD adventure that is sometimes criminal. But the way Jack tells it, it all seems to make sense. So, I’m almost 55, what am I doing reading this book now?

VISIONS AND GIRLS…and more?

“Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.”

When my Great Aunt read OTR about 10 years ago, in her late 70’s, she gave me the one-line review, “it’s nothing but a lot of cross-country drinking, drugging, and screwing.”  On the surface yes. Isn’t that want most guys in their early twenties are seeking? But, Jack’s ramblings have a deeper aim. He knows he is a writer and for him that is a religious duty.

The Scroll version has vulgar language and uses the names of the actual persons instead of a pseudonym. Some of the Characters would go on to become very famous, such as Allen Ginsberg, Williams S. Burroughs, and Alfred Kinsey. Also, this version has a lot about homosexuals that 1950’s America was not ready for, even though Kinsey’s report in 1948 told us that over 1/3 of males had had at least one sexual experience with another male. That stuff, along with anything sexual, was supposed to stay in the closet or at least behind closed doors. Jack and his gang blow those doors off of their hinges.

But The Scroll is a purer text than the cleaned up version. It is what you tell your friend directly, but not the whole world. But because Jack had felt that God wanted him to “Go moan for man,” he is tell us all. The most controversial section of OTR wasn’t in the Scroll at all:

“At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night. I stopped at a little shack where a man sold hot red chili in paper containers; I bought some and ate it, strolling in the dark mysterious streets. I wished I were a Denver Mexican, or even a poor overworked Jap, anything but what I was so drearily, a “white man” disillusioned. All my life I’d had white ambitions.”

And this sums up what Jack is. He is looking for something on the road. Neal’s father? Religious Enlightenment? Girls? It is all there. And being a young, White, healthy male in 1950’s America it was his pearl to find.

But those fun kicks come with a weary price. And in this book you will find Joy and Sadness are but one taste.

MODERN LIBRARY rated On the Road as #55 in its 100 Best Novels. I would rate the Scroll even higher and as great as anything written at that time. It is a book (even more so than OTR) that preaches and practices NON-CONFORMITY, and as I age the more I get outside of society. It is also a book that preaches poverty for art’s sake or adventure’s sake. For better or for worse, this book in both versions, has had the most influence upon my life. I am not disillusioned and have no white ambitions at all.

Reviewed by Tom, Main Library

Upcoming Books Sales at LFPL

Friends of the Louisville Free Public Library maintains ongoing book sales on carts at every branch library. They also schedule weekend book sales throughout the year at certain branch libraries. Below is a list of the currently scheduled book sales.


Bargains galore at the branch book sales!

In addition to weekend book sales, all branches offer in-house
sales on library book carts during regular hours.


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Portland Branch Library
Saturday, June 1, times TBD

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Main Library 
Saturday, June 15, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
​Sunday, June 16, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

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Western Branch Library 
Saturday, June 22, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm,
+ annual BLOCK PARTY!

Saturday, September 21, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
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Southwest Branch Library
Sunday, July 14, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
7410 Moorman Road, 40272
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Jeffersontown Branch Library
September 1 – 30

Month long sales in the front lobby

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Shively Branch Library
Saturday, November 9, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Friends of the Louisville Free Public Library is a volunteer, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of local citizens whose primary interest is promoting the welfare and growth of LFPL.

If you would like more information, please click
here.

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper

 “I am dead to the world’s tumult

And I rest in a quiet realm

I live alone in my heaven

In my love and in my song.”


-From What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper

Who are you when everything is stripped away? Who do you become when your possessions, family, and dignity have disappeared and you are left bare? The future can seem impossible when you start with nothing.  

In What the Night Sings, Gerta has endured two long years in a German concentration camp. Surviving with her is the hint of a song and her dream to sing. In front of her is her heritage, a people she doesn’t know and overwhelming decisions about who she is to become. Gerta didn’t even know she was Jewish and now that empty part of her past makes moving forward even more difficult.

Gerta befriends Lev, a traditional Jewish man who represents Gerta’s personal struggle to shed the traditions of a people and follow her dreams, to be free of others’ rules and sanctions for her. Can her personal dreams survive a Holocaust and thousand year old customs? Will it become another prison? Music has sustained through all the horrors. Will it be part of her future?

Stamper embeds ink wash illustrations within the text. In the Author’s Note she describes how she took some direction from “slow cinema” to tell her story, using elements from directors like Tarkovsky and Tarr to create haunting pieces of art. These gorgeous additions add to the already powerful story. Her use of language and the role of music in Gerta’s life makes this story stand out in a sea of Holocaust books.

Review by Catherine, Main Library

Celeste Ng, Susan Crawford & Dorothea Benton Frank headline spring Author Series

From hi-tech broadband to the family dramas of Shaker Heights and the Carolina Lowcountry, the Louisville Free Public Library’s spring author series is an eclectic mix of hot topics and book club favorites from bestselling authors and policy experts. LFPL’s author programs are FREE and open to the public, but tickets are required. To register, go to LFPL.org or call (502) 574-1644.

The Craig Buthod Author Series presents WIRED columnist and Harvard law professor Susan Crawford

Main Library, Tuesday, May 7, 7:00 p.m.

Susan Crawford is the John A. Reilly Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School and an expert in tech, public policy, and how these affect our lives. She is a contributor to WIRED and the author of three books on technology, including her latest: Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It. The book seamlessly combines policy expertise and on-the-ground reporting to reveal how giant cable and internet corporations use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, and hold back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the U.S. to move forward.

Professor Crawford served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2009) and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations. She also served as a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Advisory Council on Technology and Innovation and is now a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Broadband Task Force. Join her at the Main Library (301 York Street) on Tuesday, May 7, at 7 p.m.for a discussion of Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It, followed by a book signing.

Carmichael’s Bookstore presents Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

Main Library, Wednesday, May 22, 7:00 p.m.

Celeste Ng is the New York Times bestselling author of two novels, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Just released in paperback, Little Fires Everywhere was Amazon’s #2 best book and best fiction book of 2017, and was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications. This complex suburban saga was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and is currently being adapted for an eight-episode series on Hulu, starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Join Celeste Ng at the Main Library (301 York Street), in conversation with Anne Bogel—author and creator of the popular Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and “What Should I Read Next” podcast—for a discussion of Ms. Ng’s work, followed by Q&A, and a book signing.

The Craig Buthod Author Series presents New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank

Main Library, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m.

Fans of New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank’s Carolina Lowcountry will delight in her twentieth novel, Queen Bee. An evocative tale that returns readers to her beloved Sullivan’s Island, Queen Bee tells an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart. Join Dorothea Benton Frank at the Main Library (301 York Street) on Monday, June 10, at 7 p.m. for a discussion of her latest novel, followed by a book signing.

LFPL Supports Teachers and Educators in the Louisville Metro area

Chalkboard

The Louisville Free Public Library is dedicated to supporting teachers and educators in the Louisville Metro area. Please take a look at all the services we provide to teachers.

  • Featured Database:
    • LearningExpress Library – LearningExpress Library is a comprehensive, interactive online learning platform of practice tests and tutorial course series designed to help patrons—students and adult learners—succeed on the academic or licensing tests they must pass. You’ll get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of your results. Some of the practice tests included are: ACT and SAT prep, GED, ASVAB, GRE, MCAT and more!

Note: Most tutorials require Adobe Acrobat reader

Library Newsletters

To subscribe to any of the newsletters listed below, click the following link:
http://library.booksite.com/6416/signup/?list=NLSGN


LFPL News 
Check out what’s going on at the library with our Louisville Free Public Library news.
Click here to see the current issue. 

Audio 
 Listen up for recommendations on the best in new audiobooks. Each month, you’ll hear about new spoken-word audios to keep you entertained, enlightened and in-the-know.
Click here to see the current issue. 

Book Sizzle 
 A weekly roundup of reading recommendations including bestsellers, new arrivals, collection highlights and books discussed on television and radio this week. Look for this newsletter in your inbox every Friday afternoon, just in time for the weekend. Then stop by the library to pick up your selections.
Click here to see the current issue. 

Bookletters Daily 
 Stay in the know — sign up for this newsletter and receive a review of the “Book of the Day” each morning.
Click here to see the current issue.

Books&Brews502 – Short Reviews

Do you know about LFPL’s Adult Winter Reading Program? It is called Books&Brews502 and has been running since the first of December 2018. The program will continue until the end of February 2019.

Participants are able to earn points by reading books and attending programs – either at the Library or at Books&Brews502-specific programs with partners like Heine Brothers’ Coffee and Against the Grain Brewery. The more points you have, the more chances you have to win!

One of our patrons, Bonnie G., enjoyed the program enough to do short reviews of the books she read. She has given us permission to share her reviews. The two below are ones that the library has copies available for checkout.

The Kennedy Curse by Edward Klein

I love reading about the Kennedys. This book takes the Kennedy clan from its very beginnings in Ireland, when Patrick first came to the U.S. It tells us how he did that and how he was treated. He was treated uglier than the immigrants are being treated today, maybe worse. It impressed upon me that this supposedly welcoming country is indeed hateful towards all peoples not from America.

This book begs to ask the question, then who is from here? No one. Only the native Americans are and look how this nation has treated them.

Each chapter in this book is about a specific Kennedy and their back story with almost unbelievable tidbits of information on each person. The book reads very quickly if you like dialogue and information all thrown into one. 

Relentless: A Memoir by Julian Edelman 

This is a book written by the slot receiver for the New England Patriots football team. Unlike most books written by non-writers, this book is very well written. Jules is a pleasant surprise as a dialog and descriptive writer on the events in his life, leading up to him being on the Patriots football team and during.

I have recommended this book to everyone whom I believe would be interested. There are definitely some very funny parts, especially behind the scenes. If you are a Patriots fan, this is the book for you.