Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Truth Universally Acknowledged


One of my favorite first lines comes from Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. While intended to be tongue-in-cheek, this line sets the stage for one of Austen's most beloved comedies of manners.

The 1940 adaptation of the novel will be shown at the Newport Public Library on Tuesday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Greer Garson stars as Elizabeth Bennet, Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane Bennet, and Laurence Olivier as Fitzwilliam Darcy. While flamboyantly costumed, the spirit of this film stays true to Austen's sharp, witty portrait of rural 19th century social mores.  Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters. When the rich Mr. Darcy purchases the nearby Pemberley estate, Mrs. Bennet is determined he will marry one of them. But pride, prejudice, and misunderstandings all combine to complicate their relationships and to make happiness difficult.


Pride and Prejudice was critically well received upon its release.  The New York Times film critic praised the film as "the most deliciously pert comedy of old manners, the most crisp and crackling satire in costume that we in this corner can remember ever having seen on the screen."  The film received an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, Black and White.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mmm, mmm, good - Soup Night!!


Soup brings people together, and when people share, they get to know each other in new and wonderful ways. On Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m.,  Portland author Maggie Stuckey will offer soup and insights from her most recent book, Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup

Her talk will appeal to anyone interested in good food, simple healthy meals, and the broad notion of building community. She will talk about the Soup Night tradition, in which neighbors all around the country are building a real sense of community through the age-old idea of getting together for a simple meal on a regular basis. 

Stuckey has eleven books to her credit, including The Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers and 200 Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Pacific Northwest. In 2014, Soup Night won a Silver Nautilus Award, given to “books of exceptional merit that make a literary and heartfelt contribution to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership and positive social change.”

This program is sponsored by the Newport Library Foundation, with support from The Whaler Motel and the 60+ Activity Center. Admission is free, and open to all. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sick of Books on CD? Playaways are Here!

Books on CD (or BCD’s) as a format have significant drawbacks. They require the listener to change disks often and can easily be damaged, making for frustrated patrons and librarians.

Enter the Playaway! This handy gadget is an all-in-one audiobook that comes pre-loaded with content and weighs only two ounces! And it automatically remembers where you last stopped listening! Simply plug your headphones or car audio cord into the universal jack, press play, and you're off! 

There are about 150 Playaways in the system now with more being added monthly. Just type "Playaway" into the search box in our online catalog to locate Playaways and place holds. Happy listening!





Friday, January 15, 2016

Compost

Twenty years ago I was new to my home and confronting clay soil for the first time. Every spring I would buy four inch potted plants, dig a lovely hole for each, place them in, water and tamp only to find their piteous root balls exposed in the summer heat surrounded by what I came to call ‘The Cracks of Doom.’

A concerned friend gave me this bit of advice, “put the fifty cent plant in a five dollar hole.”

So I took my buddy’s advice and bought and hauled bag after bag of organic compost crimping our budget and frequently sending me to the chiropractor but saving my baby plants.

Then one winter morning my husband, the fisherman, asked me why I didn’t just bury the waste from our crab feed like Native Americans used to do. To stymie predators we dug deep and barricaded the hole. The vine we planted there eventually ripped the siding off our house.

It’s January and daffodils are pushing up through our lawn, but it’s hardly time to plant since a brutal frost could come at any time. Why not build some lovely black dirt while the rains are around to help?

Newport Public Library has a handy little book that completely demystifies the process, Backyard Composting: Your Complete Guide to Recycling Yard Clippings, which you can hold here.

Oregon State Extension Service of Lincoln County is spending its slow winter months building new Master Gardeners who are taking classes through the end of March. They are a tremendous free local resource and only an email or phone call away at 541-574-6534 Ext 57414 to answer all kinds of gardening questions. For more elaborate composting options that I tend to avoid like worm farms, hugelcultur, and rotating drum composters, I’d recommend their services.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to add my kitchen vegetable garbage and newspaper shreddings to a simple wire cage and spend my days inside with a good book while nature works her magic outside providing me with fresh black compost this spring.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Arcadia by Iain Pears....or.... What The Heck Is It?



One hundred pages into this novel, I asked myself just exactly what was I reading? A science fiction novel about time travel? A metaphysical treatise on parallel universes? A literary experiment into the meta-semantics of what fiction really is?

 I’m still not sure. Arcadia, the latest novel by English writer Iain Pears, might be an Alice in Wonderland for the 21st Century. Or a novel as written by MC Escher. It’s a story that twists and turns, winds back into itself, and still manages to remain both entertaining as well as thought-provoking.

Summarizing the plot is difficult. In 1960’s England, Henry Lytten, an eccentric Oxford don and sometime spy, scribbles away at a Tolkien-esque fantasy novel about a young man, Jay, an apprentice Storyteller in a faraway time and place. Henry befriends an even more eccentric woman, Alice Meerson, a mathematician who may just be from the future. And then there is Rosalind, a 15 year-old neighbor who stumbles into a world of Storytellers, time travelers, and a fictional world turned into a fantastic future reality. Then she meets Jay.

And don’t even get me started on poor Alexander Chang, who definitely isn’t a Russian spy, but rather, another mathematician who’s been sent back from the future to retrieve Alice.

Plot and subplots weave magically, brilliantly, in, out, and around each other, creating a rich tapestry of a novel. Am I reading just a story? Or am I reading The Story as told by the Storyteller in the story? You see what I mean? It’s a literary puzzle to be sure. But it’s written with such skill that you don’t seem to mind all the literary contortions.

Gareth, a reader/reviewer from GoodReads.com sums it up nicely:
“The most entertaining Shakespearean time-travel, dystopian science fantasy spy thriller romance I’ve read in that terribly over-crowded genre.”

I couldn’t have said it better!

Ian Pears Arcadia will be published in February, 2016. Look for it on Newport Library’s Online Catalog in a few weeks.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A swashbuckling we will go


Having visited the site of the Battle of Culloden a few years ago, I look forward to seeing how it is portrayed in this month's Literary Flick, The Master of Ballantrae.  The film, produced in 1953, is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's book. 

Errol Flynn stars as Jamie Durie, the elder son of the Laird of Durrisdeer. With Bonnie Prince Charlie calling for the clans to rise up  against King George II, the Durie brothers tactically choose sides in order to preserve their title as Laird of Durrisdeer. Jamie joins the Jacobites, while his younger brother Henry (Anthony Steel), remains loyal to the King. 

After the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, Jamie returns home, but is betrayed by his mistress when she catches him with another woman.  He escapes with an Irish adventurer, Colonel Francis Burke (Roger Livesey), and becomes embroiled with pirates in the West Indies.

If stories full of romance, sword fighting, and sibling rivalry are your cup of tea, join us on Tuesday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m.  Free popcorn will be served!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Whitewashed Jacaranda


Diana Polisensky with talk about her book Whitewashed Jacarandas at the Newport Public Library on Saturday, January 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Whitewashed Jacarandas is the first volume of The Umzimtuti Series, a quartet describing the burst of development that took place in Southern Rhodesia between the end of WWII and crisis with Britain over the rise of African Nationalism.

Jobs are scarce after WWII but Doctor Sunny Rubenstein lands an appointment in Southern Africa at a gold mine. Attached to it is the smallest municipality in the world, Umzimtuti. Surgically competent and self sufficient, Sunny anticipates a free rein in this backwater where dread disease is still commonplace. He needs to save his marriage to Mavourneen and overcome the mine management, the hospital matron and the entrenched mayor to bring Umzimtuti into the 20th century.

He decides to stand for council but Mavourneen and the small Jewish community worry that rising hostilities in Palestine against British occupation threaten his chances. Furthermore, King George VI and the Royal Family are due to stop off for afternoon tea at the Railway Park on their Victory Tour. Though Empire is on the wane, fervor for King and Empire have never been higher in Umzimtuti.

Based on real events, this is the story of conflicting values, small minds and big ideals of a Colonial era that is seldom portrayed.

Polisensky was born into a medical family in Southern Rhodesia, during a time when colonialism was still respectable. She crossed the Atlantic as a young woman, ending her career in genetic engineering at Rice University. Now retired, she lives as a recluse on the Oregon coast.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase. This program is free and open to the public.