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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patron Book Review: A Journey Through Economic Time, a Firsthand View by J.K. Galbraith

Posted by EPL patron and guest blogger, Irv S.

John Kenneth Galbraith was a distinguished scholar, brilliant writer, and prominent public servant. He exerted vast influence on his students, other economists, our presidents, and the public.

He was born in Canada in 1908, awarded a doctorate in economics from Cal in 193  , and appointed to a Harvard professorship and various policy-making positions in the federal government. His early specialty was agricultural economics.

He draws on an extensive background and vast experience in the writing of A JOURNEY THROUGH ECONOMIC TIME, A FIRSTHAND VIEW, published in 1994. The book deals primarily with the period from 1914, the start of The Great War, through the early 1990's. He uses the events of that period to describe and expound  economic theories, with some  of which he agrees. As an important bureaucrat and an advisor to presidents, he indeed provides a first hand view of policy-making and the results thereof.

He explains the significant role of the Great Depression in the allied victory in World War II, contrasts the relationship between government and business in the Axis powers with that in Great Britain and the U.S., and shows how the mistakes following W.W.I were for the most part avoided after W.W.II.

The book is an excellent read for anyone interested in 20th centuryhistory or modern economics in general. It is not a dense treatise but an entertaining interpretation of recent history concluding with some thoughtful suggestions for the future. I enjoyed the book and learned a great deal from it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beat the Guilt Challenge: Results

Posted by Staff

Fifteen of us accepted the Beat the Guilt Challenge in October to read a book that we felt guilty for not having read. We have hit the deadline for completing the challenge, and here are the results. Many of us finished the book that we picked and even those of us that didn't were glad that we tried! 

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Read by Karen K.
It has been a while since I read a book by Steinbeck but I'm so happy I chose this one. I love his straight forward style and the way he can sum up a character's personality in a simple sentence. I have wanted to read this book since visiting the Monterey area. I'm grateful for the "push" to add it to my list of books I've read and loved. Next: The Moon is Down!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Read by Allie L.
I am so glad I took this challenge! If I would have read this book in High School when I was supposed to I don't think I would have liked it as much as I do now!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Read by Susan C.
I really like this book but at the same time I was really no liking it! It is a fascinating read. i had to learn how to read and understand the flow of the dialogue, which took concentration. Good plot! Quite the adventure mystery. I highly recommend this book!

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. Read by Cary H.
The famed author of A Christmas Carol -- bestseller of his day--Dickens writes with a great understanding of human nature and great humor. I laughed aloud on several occasions, which is rare for me. The humor is timeless and relateable. Despite all this I was 'fidgety' while reading, unable to keep my mind off the stack of current series novels I am enjoying. Alas, I did not finish the book, but I do recommend!

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Read by Katherine R.
I found this book to be interesting though the writing got to be a bit tiring as it is very flowery. The plot is very fun and I found it amusing that at the slightest provocation a duel must be fought.  I finished this book and am glad that I read it. The challenge gave me the little extra push that I needed to pick it up.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Read by Jacob D.

I got a third of the way through the book before I felt like I was forcing myself to read it. Huxley is much more interested in creating a world with radically different social norms than he is about introducing interesting characters. By the time the book gets around to introducing substantial characters, they weren't anyone I cared about. Another problem with reading this book in 2014 is the fact that so many other works of science fiction have borrowed/taken its ideas about emotional engineering, caste systems, etc. It’s interesting to see how much influence this book has had on the last century of science fiction, but I think I should have read this book in 1931, and I blame myself for not having done so. The guilt lives on.

Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Devin G.
I'll be honest, I didn't finish the book. It was so dry I just could never get into it. The plot itself had the possibility of being great, but it was weighed down by a writing style I didn't mesh with. I would definitely recommend it to those who love classics and have read Sherlock from the beginning. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Read by Judy T.
I'm glad that I accepted the challenge and read The Kite Runner. What I liked best about the book was the depiction of Afghan culture and day to day life as the political situation moved from the fall of the monarchy to the Soviet invasion to the rise of the Taliban. Parts of the book are incredibly sad but ultimately it's a story of love and redemption.

Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Read by Melissa P.
I want to preface this by stating that I love the idea of this. However, as I did not finish the first chapter, my guilt has quadrupled. Sigh.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Read by Gerry B.
I am currently still reading Where the Red Fern Grows but I am so glad I finally started reading it! This book is very well done and I would recommend it to everyone who has not read it already. I am happy I accepted the challenge because it motivated me to read a book I have been meaning to read for a long time.

Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison. Read by Gwen B.

Unfortunately, I was not able to finish this book. I am glad that I attempted to read it because now I understand that I just don't comprehend the writing style of Ralph Ellison. If you enjoyed his first book then I would recommend reading this one.

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Read by Megan P.
I'm glad that I participated in this challenge. I had seen the movie and really liked it, but was worried about the book keeping my attention since I already saw the film. I would recommend this book to others.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Read by Zach H.
For the longest time I had only seen the movie adaptation. I'm glad that I finally got around to reading it. I would definitely recommend the book to others. The amount of research that Crichton put into his writing is astounding.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Read by Sam O.
No, I have not finished the book yet, but I am glad that I chose to give it a second shot. I would definitely recommend this book to others. It's a fun and easy read. I am glad that I accepted the challenge because it gave me a reason to finally start reading the series again, and hopefully finish this time!

Atonement by Ian McEwan. Read by Joanie S.
A young girl witnesses something beyond her comprehension. She is a budding writer and invents a story to suit her interpretation of what she saw. What she does not know is her story will set forth a chain of events that will not only affect her life, but also those she is closest to. The first half of the book is somewhat slow and, for me, did not hold my attention for too long. The second half of the book was much easier to read, things picked up and became more interesting. There is a moment where you are faced with an entirely different perspective that throw things into a new light.

I am glad that I read this book and accepted the challenge. I do not often read fiction, so it sparked and interest to explore other genre.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meet the Staff: David R.

Posted by David R.

How long have you worked at the library?  1 month

How many items do you have checked out right now?  1 item

How many items are on your hold list?  1 item

What book can you read again and again without losing interest? Why do you still read it? 
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanual Kant – each new read is a new discovery. 
In the Land of Time by Lord Dunsany – humor, religion, and mystery too!
The Evolution of the Weird Tale by S.T. Joshi – the field’s best critic at his peak
The Blockbuster Guide to Film and Video – it’s discontinued now, but it remains an eclectic source. Russell Kirk: a Critical Biography of Conservative Mind-Subjective Analysis of a Literary Great.

If you were a literary character, who would you be and why?  Bastian, from The Neverending Story. Probably because the more he reads the more he begins to manufacture and develop the world inside of his own head.

What aspects of the library do you think are underutilized?  Genre specific sections of the library.

What is your favorite book format? Physical book

What is your favorite book format (book, audio, mp3, e-reader, etc.)?  80% book, 20% computer monitor

What is your favorite aspect of working at the library?  The wonderful group of co-workers who are always helpful and upbeat.

What is your guilty reading (or listening) pleasure?  Movie novelizations!

What books do you feel guilty for not having read?  
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Pisan Cantos by Ezra Pound 
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein 
Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianty by J.D. Tabor.

What is your perfect reading environment?  A private reading room with unlimited coffee!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what single genre of books would you want with you?  Fiction – I think.

What was your favorite children’s book when you were a child? What is your favorite children’s book now?  
The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff by Paul Galdone (youth)
The Fairy Tales of George MacDonald (present)

Before you worked here, what was your worst library transgression? I was three days late on returning a book!