All posts by Arianne Hartsell-Gundy

Solve a mystery with the Low Maintenance Book Club!

ArthurConanDoyle_AStudyInScarlet_annualFor our next Low Maintenance Book Club we will be reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story called “A Study in Scarlet.”  You can download this story in a variety of formats from the Complete Sherlock Holmes Canon website.  If you prefer to read it in print, you can find several copies at Duke Libraries.

Join us as we figure out who killed Enoch Drebber and explore how the world was first introduced to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Not to give too much away, but this story has a bloody message written on a wall and a dead body with no visible marks, so get your magnifying glasses out!

When: April 12th  at 5:30 pm

Where: The Lounge @ The Edge

Registration isn’t required but filling out this brief form will help us to know how many people to expect.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at aah39@duke.edu.

 

What to read this month

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You may be slogging through midterms, but Spring break is just days away, so here are some beach reads from New and Noteworthy and Current Literature as well as ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive* for those of you trying to save space in your luggage. And for those of you stuck on campus, check out Spring Breakers starring James Franco and Selena Gomez. It’s a cautionary tale that will probably make you really glad that you’re not headed to the beach.

  1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell is the story of a sitcom writer who discovers a magic telephone that lets her communicate with a past version of her husband.
  2. The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories by George Pelecanos presents crime fiction with a wide range of characters from the expected (cops and criminals) to the unexpected (television writers for a police procedural).
  3. The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer is a political thriller that follows the wife of an assassinated diplomat as she tries to find her husband’s killer. (It’s also available as an audiobook).
  4. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (ebook) is a collection of narrative essays from humorist and North Carolina native David Sedaris on a wide variety of topics, none of which happen to be diabetes though an owl does make a brief appearance.
  5. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (ebook) is a suspenseful mystery that follows a contract killer in 1970s Oslo as he grapples with the nature of his work.
  6. The Room by Jonas Karlsson (ebook) is a quirky story about Bjorn, a compulsive bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works.

*You can find more details about how to download ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive in our eBook FAQ and from this special help page.

Remembering Harper Lee

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In the days since Harper Lee’s death, much has been written about the iconic author and her small but influential body of work. The New York Times printed a collection of readers’ memories of the scenes that have stuck with them years after reading To Kill a Mockingbird. The editor of the Washington Post’s Book World penned a critical piece on the controversy surrounding the publication of Go Set a Watchman. And FiveThirtyEight posted this statistical look at Monroeville, AL, Lee’s hometown and the real-life city on which Maycomb was based.

Here at the library there’s something for everyone:

  • For those wishing to revisit Lee’s classic work or to enjoy it for the first time, you can borrow a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, listen to the audiobook performed by Sissy Spacek, or watch the movie adaptation featuring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Robert Duvall in his movie debut as Boo Radley.
  • For those not put off by the controversy surrounding Lee’s second novel, you can check out Go Set a Watchman (also available in large print).
  • And for those looking for a new perspective on Lee and her work, we have several books and collections of essays as well as a video or two that may be of interest.

What to read this month

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Presidents’ Day just passed, and primary season is getting underway, so here are some political picks from the New and Noteworthy collection. And don’t forget to vote early and often! (Get more information about voting in North Carolina here or check out the schedule of all the primaries here).  On and consider checking out Duke University’s Campaign Stop page for scholarly commentary, debate, and media resources.

  1. All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins starts with Teddy Roosevelt and chronologically works its way through to the present, shedding new light on the powerful alliances forged between those holding public office and those holding private wealth.
  2. Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney combines elements of memoir, historical narrative, and sociopolitical analysis to explore a century and a half of African-American participation in US electoral politics. Pinckney covers a lot of ground, from Reconstruction to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the ongoing debate over voter ID laws.
  3. The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House by Thomas F. Schaller, a professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This book contextualizes the nation’s increasingly polarized political climate by examining the connection between the GOP’s focus on congressional politics and the growth of radical conservatism since 1989.
  4. Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to Presidents Bush & Obama, 2001-2014 by Ralph Nader is a compilation of over 100 unanswered letters on a broad variety of domestic and international issues. This book even includes a letter on the dangers of mutating bacteria and viruses written from the point of view of E. coli and signed “E-cologically yours.”
  5. Nut Country: Right-wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy by Edward H. Miller. Taking its title from JFK’s remarks on Dallas just hours before his assassination, this book examines the role of the city’s ultraconservatives in the reshaping of the Republican Party over several decades.

First Low Maintenance Book Club meeting!

 

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Update (2/18).  We have already given out 10 free copies to the first ten people to respond, but we would still love for people to join us!  We’d still appreciate people filling out the form, just to get a feel for who would like to come.

Miss reading for fun?  Consider joining us for our first “Low Maintenance Book Club” on March 8th!  This book club aims to provide space for members of the Duke community to connect over reading.  Realizing how busy people are (and how much reading you probably have to do for classwork and research), we will focus on quick reads.  We will read texts like short stories, graphic novels, interesting short essays, poetry, etc.  You can find out more details about this club here.

For our first meeting we will be discussing several stories from Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, which Bookreporter.com says has “something for every type of Gaiman fan here, and those new to his work will find this to be a solid introduction to the type of stories he crafts: lyrical, literary, sometimes quite chilling, and always strange and provocative…This is a book to savor and enjoy.”

Light refreshments will be served!

When: March 8th at 5:30 pm

Where: The Lounge @ The Edge

How: Fill out this brief survey if you are interested in attending this book discussion.  The first 10 people to respond will receive a free copy of the book!

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at aah39@duke.edu

what to read this month

 

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I don’t know about you, but I finally feel like I’m getting in to the swing of the new semester after the holidays and our snow day last week!  Though you may find the pace of the semester is heating up, make sure you leave yourself some time for reading.  As usual, we have some great titles in New and Noteworthy and Current Literature.

  1. Failure : why science is so successful by Stuart Firestein, a professor in the department of biological sciences at Columbia University.  This book examines how trial and error are an important part of the scientific process.  To find out more about this book, check out this interesting NYT review.
  2. Carry on : the rise and fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell is a really fun YA book that turns the common fantasy trope of the “chosen one” on its head!  In this book Rowell takes the Simon Snow world that she created for her Fangirl novel and makes it into its own standalone story.
  3. Lafayette in the somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell, who is the bestselling author of books such as Unfamiliar Fishes and The Wordy Shipmates and a former contributing editor of This American Life on NPR.  Her newest book is an account of the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette.
  4. America dancing : from the cakewalk to the moonwalk by Megan Pugh.  Using the stories of tapper Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, ballet and Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille, choreographer Paul Taylor, and Michael Jackson, Megan Pugh shows how freedom–that nebulous, contested American ideal–emerges as a genre-defining aesthetic. In Pugh’s account, ballerinas mingle with slumming thrill-seekers, and hoedowns show up on elite opera house stages.
  5. Neurotribes : the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity by Steve Silberman, winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.   You can find out more about this interesting book about autism here, here, and here.

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

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Today is Jane Austen’s 240th birthday!  Consider celebrating by reading one of her books or watching one of the many  film adaptions.

Here are some other ways to celebrate:

Read a recent blog post from OUP about some of the birthday letters she wrote.

Speaking of her letters, we have several collections of her letters you can check out.

Take this Guardian quiz.

Enjoy some of the advice gleamed from her novels.

Install this quote of the day app created by the Jane Austen Centre.

Play the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game inspired by Pride and Prejudice.

I myself will be re-reading Persuasion again.  After all, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Emma

 

 

 

What to read this month

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As you  prepare to head home for the holidays, make sure you are packing along some fun books to read!  Of course we have great selections in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections, but if you want to save room in your suitcase, consider using our Overdrive collection.  You can find more details about how to download books and audiobooks from this service in our eBook FAQ and from this special help page.*

Check out some of the books we have available in Overdrive:

  1. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, which is the sequel to The Rosie Project.   Don Tillman, the main character in both of these books has been described by Matthew Quick as someone who “helps us believe in possibility, makes us proud to be human beings, and the bonus is this: he keeps us laughing like hell.”
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl.  If you are looking for something a bit darker (I couldn’t resist), this may be the book for you!  This book was recently made into a movie with Charlize Theron and follows the character Libby Day as she tries to find out the truth about the day in her childhood when her family was brutally murdered.
  3.  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  Make your family wonder what you are reading when you begin giggling to yourself as you read this recent collection of essays.  You can read a review here.  Bonus: we also have Holidays on Ice, his holiday collection featuring the classic “Six to Eight Black Men.”
  4. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.  Read a biography about the woman who gave us classic cookbooks such as Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  You can read reviews of this biography here and here.
  5. Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora.  This debut novel is a series of linked stories set in an affluent suburb.  Alix Ohlin in The New York Times Book Review wrote that “Acampora seems to understand fiction as a kind of elegant design. As characters reappear in one story after another, Acampora reveals herself as a careful architect…accomplishes great depth of characterization, in no small part because Acampora doesn’t shy from the unpalatable…There is a barbed honesty to the stories that brushes up against Acam­pora’s lovely prose to interesting effect. Often a single sentence twists sinuously, charged with positive and negative electricity.”

*Pro Tip: If you are finding a lot of books that are already checked out by someone else, try filtering by “Available Now” to see the things you can immediately download.

 

What to read this month

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Before you leave for Thanksgiving break, consider bringing home a book to read.  We’ve got a lot of great titles in New and Noteworthy and Current Literature.

  1. The League of Regrettable Superheroes : half-baked heroes from comic book history! by Jon Morris.  You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes , you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture.
  2. Keep it fake : inventing an authentic life by Eric G. Wilson.  This is an interesting philosophical exploration of authenticity and how we invent versions of ourselves.  To learn more about it you may want to read this review or this podcast with the author.
  3. For anyone looking for a thriller to read over the break, you might want to try Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls.  Lee Child described this book as a “A stunning family tragedy and a hold-your-breath pedal-to-the-metal thriller magically blended by Karin Slaughter’s trademark passion, intensity, and humanity.  Certain to be a book of the year.”
  4. The gap of time : the Winter’s tale retold by Jeanette Winterson.  This book is the first in a new series called The Hogarth Shakepeare from Vintage books.  It is launching to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and will feature stand-alone retellings written by some of today’s leading authors, including Jeanette Winterson and Anne Tyler (who will be taking on The Taming of the Shrew).
  5. The pleasure of reading edited by Antonia Fraser and Victoria Gray.  This collection features essays from 40 authors, such as Margaret Atwood, J.G. Ballard, A.S. Byatt, Kamila Shamsie, Ruth Rendell, and Tom Stoppard, about what first made them interested in literature and in reading.  You can read some excerpts here.

2015 University Press Week

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Duke University Press will be celebrating University Press Week November 8-15, 2015, along with the Association of American University Presses and its more than 130 members. University Press Week highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.  A number of local events are planned.

For the first time ever, The Regulator Bookshop in Durham will host a pop-up university press bookstore in its lower level. The bookstore will feature books and journals from local presses Duke University Press and Wake Forest University Press as well as presses from around the country. Browsers may be surprised to find how many books of general interest university presses publish, from cookbooks to music books to local history, memoir and travel. The Regulator Bookshop will also host two events during the week, a reading by Alejandro Velasco, author of Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press) and a reception followed by a reading by Ambassador James Joseph, author of Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values (Duke University Press).

Other events celebrating University Press Week include displays of Duke University Press books and journals in the Durham County Library and Duke University’s Perkins Library.  The Perkins display can be found on the first floor near the Duke Authors display. The Center for Documentary Studies will sponsor an artist talk and book signing at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library, featuring Nadia Sablin, whose book Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila is the seventh winner of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.  You can find more details about this event here.

Duke University Press will feature special University Press Week posts on its blog and will sponsor online contests during the week. Fans of university presses are encouraged to use the hashtags #ReadUP and #PublishUP to talk online about why they love to read, teach, and write university press books and journal articles and to use the #UPShelfie hashtag to share pictures of the university press books on their shelves.

 

What to read this month

 

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With the weather turning cooler, I want to highlight some fiction (and one memoir) books in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections to inspire you to curl up with a blanket and hot beverage of your choice.

  1. The shepherd’s crown by Terry Pratchett.  Pick up the final novel of Terry Pratchett’s classic Discworld series and be transported to a comic fantasy world.  Learn more about the characters of Discworld on his official website.  You might also enjoy this recent post from io9 to help you dive in.
  2. Almost famous women: stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman.  Dig into a collection of short stories about intriguing lesser-known women in history.  You’ll find stories about conjoined twins, a cross-dressing oil heiress, a daredevil motorcyclist, and the illegitimate daughter of Lord Byron.  You can find reviews here and here.
  3. Furiously happy : {a funny book about horrible things} by Jenny Lawson.  Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess, has a written an honest, funny, and inspiring book about her struggles with mental illness.  Here’s a description from an Entertainment Weekly review: “Her second book Furiously Happy is a firsthand account of living with mental illness, inflected with the wonderfully strange and frequently inappropriate dark humor you might expect from a woman who opts to put small taxidermied animals on her book covers.”
  4. Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor.  If you enjoyed Longbourn and Mrs. Poe, you might want to pick up this novel about Emily Dickinson told through the eyes of an Irish maid.  As described in this Washington Post review, this  “lovely novel, ‘Miss Emily,’ immerses us in the day-to-day drama of a fictional, spirited Irish maid who comes to work for the Dickinsons of Amherst in 1866 and stirs up their reclusive poet-in-residence. Told in alternating chapters by the title character and her maid, it pulls us in from its first limpid lines and then detonates with an explosion of power — much like Emily Dickinson’s poems.”
  5. Kitchens of the great Midwest: a novel by J. Ryan Stradal will probably make you hungry, but you may also just enjoy this novel about a chef with a once-in-a-generation palate.   You can read more about this book herehere, and here.

2015 Banned Books Week

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This week (September 27th to October 3rd) is Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read.  Here are some great links to learn more and become involved:

Become involved in a Virtual Read-Out

Read a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut in response to a high school’s burning of his books in 1973

Learn about some of the attempts to ban comic books

Read essays by writers and translators about the banned books that mean the most to them

Learn about banned/challenged books that shaped America.  We have many of these books in our collection, including Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldGone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and Native Son by Richard Wright.

 

What to read this month?

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I am starting a new feature where I will be highlighting some of the newest books in our New and Noteworthy collection.  Here are five books I think you should check out!

  1. The Altruistic Brain: How We are Naturally Good by Donald W. Pfaff.  According to a recent review in Frontiers in Psychology, ” Pfaff’s writing is very accessible to the non-specialist, whenever he employs technical terms and concepts from neuroscience, genetics, biology, or anthropology he makes sure to at least briefly introduce them to the reader. Much more important than the style in which it is written, the book provides one of the first—if not the very first—compilation of evidence from primary neuroscience research in favor of such a universal altruistic predisposition.”
  2. The book of Phoenix: A Novel by Nnedi Okorafor, whose previous novel Who Fears Death won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.  You can read reviews for this book here and here.
  3. The Girl from Krakow by Duke University’s own Alexander Rosenberg.  As described by a reviewer on Historical Novel Society, “novels like The Girl from Krakow are important because they remind us that no lie – no matter how white – no secret – no matter how small – comes without consequences.”
  4. Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman.  With several important elections on the horizon, this is a topic worth exploring.  You can find reviews and interviews  in the Chicago Tribune, NPR Books, and Rolling Stone.
  5. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims.  As described in a review in the New York Times, “Lythcott-Haims’s central message remains worthwhile: When parents laugh and enjoy the moment but also teach the satisfaction of hard work, when they listen closely but also give their children space to become who they are, they wind up with kids who know how to work hard, solve problems and savor the moment, too.”

 

 

Human Rights Studies Online

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We have a new database called Human Rights Studies Online.  It is a searchable database of documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide. The collection takes a case study approach, providing primary and secondary materials for selected events, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Darfur. It provides access to books, primary documents, audio, maps, images, and video, spanning 1900-2010.

You can browse by various categories such as titles, discipline perspectives, themes, events, organizations, people, and places.  The ability to look at a variety of documents connected to particular events, such as the Holocaust or Darfur, will make it especially useful for understanding the context and history.

This database is a great complement to our Human Rights Archive located in our Rubenstein Library.  Check out this guide for more resources about this important topic.