Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memorial Day Reads

Did you know Memorial Day was started by the former Confederate States after the Civil War? It was a day set aside to decorate the graves of soldiers who had died serving their country. Each state picked their own day to honor the dead, but now it has become a federal holiday, always on the last Monday of May. We at the Bartow Library have compiled a list of books that tell soldiers' stories (under Military Reads), and you might want to check one out for the long weekend. Here are a few selections.

Redeployment by Phil Klay. This recent publication got a lot of buzz last year, and was up for numerous awards. It tells a few different stories of soldiers returning home from the horrors of war, and how they cope with the trials they experienced and how those episodes affect them now. Many are already calling it a classic in the war stories genre.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Published a few years ago, this satire focuses on the surviving members of Bravo Squad and become celebrated heroes going on a victory media tour to drum up support for the war in Iraq, meeting the Dallas Cowboys during one stop. We follow Billy Lynn as he struggles to cope with the loss of his fellow soldiers and the fame the rest of them got. Is being released as a film featuring Vin Diesel next year.

From Here to Eternity by James Jones. The title is probably more well-known as the name of an Academy Award-winning film starring Frank Sinatra, but the book came first! This book follows the lives of a few soldiers stationed in Hawaii leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor as they navigate their careers and love lives, and is a heralded exploration of military life. Regarded as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Thank a soldier this weekend!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Read Harder Challenge: Microhistory

Are you committed to reading harder this year? We're getting closer to the halfway point (how crazy is that?), so there's still time to join in and try out some different genres to change up your reading. In an effort to help you find some good new reads, today we're giving you some microhistory suggestions!

What is a microhistory? They're like a really in-depth look at one event, or community, or family and how to relates to history as a whole. You'll find that authors and researchers have published on some crazy specific topics, and you've probably already read one or two without calling it a microhistory! Here's some of our current favorites:

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. Consider this a preview of our Adult Summer Reading Club starting May 22nd. I did not grow up reading comic books, but I did watch the Wonder Woman TV show on reruns. This is a FABULOUS and FUN look at the creators of Wonder Woman, how she developed, public reaction to the character, and LOADS of other historical influences that contributed to the character of Wonder Woman. Great read not only for comic book fans, but also those interested in the history feminism, psychology, cinema, and politics. A little something for everyone!

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Larson is a well-respected historian and writer, and his latest is one of his best. One of the most famous maritime disasters of the 20th century is recounted here is great detail, and gives you a rich background in early 20th century warfare, submarines, class structure, immigration stories, and how this event related to other disasters of the time. It's a chilling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The trivia alone about how some passengers had missed the Titanic but ended up on the Lusitania will be rewarding enough!

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. Are you into medical procedurals? Do you like Abby Sciuto from NCIS? Are you not that squeamish? You should try this book! Part memoir, part guidebook, Doughty goes into great detail of how she became a mortician, and includes loads of stories on caring for the dead. The book has made quite a sensation since it got published, and the author recently signed on for more books, and the book has been optioned for a TV show. Get on the bandwagon now!

Stop by the Reference Desk and let us know what you're reading! We'd love to hear about it!