Monday, April 23, 2012

The Pulitzer Perplex

Recently the Pulitzer Prize board created quite a stir when it declined to make an award this year in the prestigious Fiction category. The announced reason is that there were three finalists and three jurors, and no majority decision could be reached.  Commentators cite causes from publishing politics to a lamentable decline in the quality of American literature.

On the face of it, this year’s three finalists don’t seem to fit the “great American novel” mold of past winners like John Updike, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and Richard Russo. “Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson is a novella, weighing in at only 128 pages.  David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” has heft (560 pages) but was unfinished at the time of the author’s death in 2008 and completed posthumously by others.  “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell was marketed in some quarters as young adult literature. 

What do you think?  Have you read any of the finalists?  Did you read another book published in 2011 you think should have been considered? Visit the Fiction Room to pick up a ballot or cast your vote in a comment on this blog.  If the Pulitzer folks won’t pick a winner, it is up to the readers of America!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Library Supports School-Community Initiative

Have you noticed the round decal with an orange paw print that is now mounted on the main entrance door to the Library?  This is a visible symbol of our support for new East Ridge Middle School School-Community Initiative.  The emblem “signifies that a healthy, safe and thriving community is a partnership between students, staff, parents, business owners, town officials and other residents” while serving to remind students that good citizenship extends beyond school.  The Library is a daily destination for scores of students from ERMS and other schools, and we are proud to support this initiative.

Several other decals on our door advertize our participation in other programs that might be of interest to you. One is the emblem of the Ridgefield Senior Gold Card program, through which we offer seniors a one-on-one training session with a librarian on our catalog, one of our research databases or downloadable audiobooks or ebooks.  Another demonstrates our membership in the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, with whom we partner to provide numerous programs for the benefit of the business community.  Finally, there are the universal logos indicating that we accept MasterCard and Visa for payment of fines, replacement charges and even tax-deductible donations.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It’s National Library Week!

Why should you come to the Library during National Library Week April 8-14? 

  •   Launch of an enhanced catalog and updated circulation system that will provide an easier-to-use, more attractive interface and other new features (more in coming weeks on this)
  • Opening reception Saturday for “To Infinity and Beyond: Images of the Universe,” an exhibit of astrophotography and poems created by middle school participants in the recent Astro4Girls NASA pilot project
  • To drop off donations for the Friends of the Library used book sale coming up in May
  • To pick up audiobooks, music on CD, paperbacks and more for entertainment during spring break travel
  • The return of guitar virtuoso Peppino D’Agostino to Ridgefield Folk on Sunday
  • Also on Sunday, a tempting evening of readings and refreshments with top romance writers Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Sarah Maclean
  • An additional 6 book discussions, film screenings, lectures and other meetings for adults, plus 18 storytimes, book groups, Scrabble classes, movies and other kids’ programs
  • Tax forms, photocopiers and high-speed access to the IRS website!
  • In the words of our mission statement: To exchange grow

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Titanic Floats On in People’s Imaginations

Next week marks the 100th anniversary of an event that has fascinated generations of historians, novelists, adventurers and schoolchildren – the April 15, 1912 sinking of the Titanic.  This one story seems to have all the elements human beings require in a legend – romance, villainy, heroism, cowardice, greed, sacrifice and the irony of fate.

Whatever your interest in this historical incident, the Library has many materials to help you explore all things Titanic.  Check our current displays of novels, coffeetable volumes, picture books, young adult stories, mysteries, time travel tales, biographies, accounts of undersea exploration, historical non-fiction, musicals and, of course, James Cameron’s epic film version.

Our collection ranges from the tried and true (Walter Lord’s classic 1955 “A Night to Remember”) to the brand new.  And we have a special treat in store for children in grades 2 and older.  On Tuesday, April 10 at 4:30, the Library, along with Books on the Common, will present a visit with Barry Denenberg, author of the new book “Titanic Sinks!”, which promises readers will “Experience the Titanic’s Doomed Voyage in this Unique Presentation of Fact and Fiction.”  What a great chance for yet another generation to become hooked on this iconic story!