Rebecca Tull

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

A couple of weeks ago the Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced. The list includes six titles selected from the previous “long list” of 13. This year’s competition is significant because it is the first year in which works by American authors, in fact any authors writing in English worldwide and published in the UK, were considered. (Since the prize’s inauguration in 1969, its awarding has been restricted to authors from the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, Ireland or Zimbabwe.) Two Americans made the final round.

While the titles are pretty ambitious, the judges do include people outside the traditional literary circle of critics, academics, and authors, and have included poets, politicians, journalists, broadcasters, and actors. According to Ion Trewin, the literary director for the Booker Prize Foundation, this is one of the reasons regular and intelligent readers can trust the prize. Visit the Man Booker Prize website for interviews with the nominee authors and more about the prize. And check out this Guardian Books podcast to listen to a lively discussion about this year’s chosen authors.

The Moraine Valley Library has a number of past Booker winners, as well as Karen Joy Fowler’s currently shortlisted We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Can’t find the Booker Prize winner you are looking for? Check with one of the MV librarians for help in tracking it down.

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Pop in to the Pop-Up Book Fair

Looking for something fun to do tomorrow? What better way to spend a Saturday in spring than in Oak Park at Curbside Splendor’s Annual Pop-Up Book Fair! Not only will you be able to meet independent publishers and authors, but comic book artist Chris Ware will be there conversing with literary scholar Hilary Chute, William Hazelgrove will read from his new novel The Pitcher, and Rey Andujar will perform Saturnalia. And what would a literary event at The Hemingway Museum be without readings and discussion about Oak Park’s most famous literary son? Best thing (or one of them): it’s free if you register online in advance!

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The Power of Music

Alice Herz-Sommer won’t know whether the film of her life, The Lady in Number Six, receives the Oscar for Best Documentary Short this Sunday but hopefully she had more than an inkling of the indelible mark she left on the world. The oldest living Holocaust survivor and renowned concert pianist died yesterday at the age of 110. The inspiring Herz-Sommer performed over 150 concerts during her two years in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp. While her artistry at the piano enabled the Prague native and her son to survive the camp where nearly 35,000 prisoners perished, it was her optimism and self-discipline (she practiced the piano for three hours a day into her 100s) that made her life so remarkable. As she told The Guardian in 2006, “… life is beautiful, extremely beautiful… When you are older you think, you remember, you care and you appreciate. You are thankful for everything. For everything.”

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Veterans’ Stories

Since 2008, more than one million veterans have returned home to pursue post-secondary education or a certificate (MVCC’s Veterans Information webpage has helpful information for student veterans). This Fresh Air interview with Iraq War veterans Roy Scranton and Jacob Siegel, editors and contributors to the new fiction anthology Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, provides insight in to the experience of modern soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Siegel also edits the Daily Beast’s blog, The Hero Project, which showcases veterans’ writing and covers issues of interest to veterans. Visit the Library for help tracking down a copy of Fire and Forget, or other titles relating to veterans’ stories.

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Food and Democracy

As part of its continuing Democracy Commitment, the college will present the upcoming panel presentation “The Politics of Food: Building Community Through Local and Sustainable Food,” on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Moraine Room 2. Speakers include local growers, farmers, and activists focusing on sustainable food systems, agriculture, and food policy. The library has lots of resources to support this topic. The online Sustainability Research Guide, and simple catalog searches for food supply, food habits, and organic gardening, are a good place to start.

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Burgers or Wheatgrass on Monday? It May Depend on the Bears

You may have heard this story on NPR this morning, but it just seemed too good to not post. Especially with the Bears playing Pittsburgh this weekend. Researchers at INSEAD, the business school in France, “tracked the eating behavior of people in cities with NFL teams and measured how eating changed after victories and defeats.” Fans of losing teams tended to eat more and fattier foods, while those who rooted for the winning teams ate lighter and less food. Turns out sports defeats can impact other aspects of human behavior as well. Interested in learning more about sports psychology? Visit the library!

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Angels in America This Weekend

This weekend Angels in America opens at the Moraine Valley Fine & Performing Arts Center, twenty years after Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama debuted on Broadway. The play, which runs this weekend and next, is set in the 1980s, against a backdrop of “greed, conservatism, sexual politics, religious identity and the discovery of an awful new disease: AIDS.” The playwright reflects on the era in this NPR interview. You can also read the play and related essays, both of which are available at the Library.

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Eat Right, Starting This Month!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has declared March National Nutrition Month. The theme of the education and information campaign is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.” You can find tips and resources on healthy eating on the Academy’s web site, but the Moraine Valley Library also has resources that not only may help you reconsider your diet (more whole grains, anyone?), but also its implications for the planet. Visit the library for help finding more nutrition and diet related resources.

Nutrition essentials and diet therapy / Nancy J. Peckenpaugh

Measured meals : nutrition in America / Jessica J. Mudry 

Food and nutrition controversies today : a reference guide / Myrna Chandler Goldstein and Mark A. Goldstein

Diet for a hot planet : the climate crisis at the end of your fork and what you can do about it / Anna Lappé ; with a foreword by Bill McKibben

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West Side Story Redux

In case our resident film blogger Sarah Ando’s Valentine’s Day post on big-screen love stories left you pining for a larger “West Side Story” experience than what our DVD allows, Chicago’s Music Box Theater has you covered. The historic Southport theater kicks off its 70mm Film Festival tonight with a showing of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” “West Side Story” will be shown in all its cinematic glory three times over the course of the festival, which runs through February 28th. What is so special about 70mm? According to the Music Box, “it is a format that allows for more information and more visual clarity than its 35mm counterpart. There is a depth to the image that is unlike 35mm, and certainly very different from digital projection.” Get your tickets now.

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The Writing Behind the Writing of “Lincoln”

With Tony Kushner’s recent Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay for “Lincoln,” there have been numerous media references to its only official source, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. But some critics have pointed out that the overlap between the book and the movie is only slight.

So, what were Tony Kushner’s sources then? Unlike in academic writing, the screenwriter is hardly required to reveal his sources but according to Slate’s Aisha Harris, Kushner is planning “to create a comprehensive list of the many books and other documents he consulted during his six years of preparation.” Tony Kushner discussed his influences with Dave Davies on NPR, while the New Republic’s Timothy Noah speculates about another major source in his piece, “Tony Kushner’s Real Source for ‘Lincoln’?”

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