Category Archives: Just for Fun

March Movie Madness@Lilly – Sports Films

What’s the best sports film of all time?

March Movie Madness @ Lilly

March Movie Madness @ Lilly  begins Monday, March 19th.

Lilly Library has 100s of sports films – ranging from iconic classics such as Rocky to quirky films like Shaolin Soccer to searing dramas such as Creed. In fact, we have so many sports films, we decided to select just 64 (sound familiar?) for our very own Lilly Library version of March Madness. You may not agree with our title selections (does that also sound familiar?), but don’t let that stop you from joining in the fun and having a chance to win a Crazie great PRIZE!*

Here’s how:

To vote, visit our 64-team Lilly Library March Movie Madness online field here.
To record your selections, vote for your choice of Heavy Hitters in Bracket A versus films that Go the Distance in Bracket B to eventually face those films that are Down to the Wire in Bracket C opposite the Full Court Press of Bracket D. Voting dates are listed below and on the contest page.
Updates will be posted in Lilly Library’s lobby  and on Lilly’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts in addition to our blog, Latest@Lilly.

Only votes submitted via Lilly March Movie Madness count.
Want a copy of the brackets just for fun? Download here.

*Did someone say PRIZE?

Participants who provide their Duke NetID and vote for the sport movie “champion” will be entered into a drawing for a Crazie fan grand prize!

March Madness @ Lilly: Sports Films

The details –  online voting dates:

  • Round 1: Monday, March 19th until midnight Wednesday, March 21st
  • Round 2: Thursday, March 22nd until midnight Sunday, March 25th
  • Sweet Sixteen: Monday, March 26th until midnight Tuesday, March 27th
  • Elite Eight: Wednesday, March 28th until midnight Thursday, March 29th
  • Final Four: Friday, March 30th until midnight Sunday, April 1st
  • Championship: Monday, April 2nd until midnight Tuesday, April 3rd

Winner announced: Wednesday, April 4th!

Bonus: Extra Innings? Overtime?  Want MORE sports movies?

Some movies are so iconic that they are more suitable for the Hall of Fame. If you are wondering what great movies (and maybe not so great) did NOT make the field, check out the bench-warmers here at March Madness – On the Bench

At Lilly Library, now that it’s time for The Big Dance –
we hope you join in!



What to Read this Month: March 2018

Looking for something new to read?   Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads to enjoy!

Brass: A Novel by Xhenet Aliu.  Celeste Ng described this novel as “”a fierce, big-hearted, unflinching debut.”  A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel-and-dime tips will add up to a new life.  Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once both worldly and naive, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams–and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut.  Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when she learns that she’s pregnant, Elsie can’t help wondering where Bashkim’s heart really lies, and what he’ll do about the wife he left behind. Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day.  Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she’s stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie–a fate she refuses to accept.

Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is the first comprehensive account of the growing dominance of the intangible economy.  For the first time, the major developed economies began to invest more in intangible assets, like design, branding, R&D, and software, than in tangible assets, like machinery, buildings, and computers.  Haskel and Westlake bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and its impact on national accounts, showing the amount different countries invest in intangibles, how this has changed over time, and the latest thinking on how to assess this.

Gnomon: A Novel by Nick Harkaway is a virtuosic new novel set in a near-future, high-tech surveillance state, that is equal parts dark comedy, gripping detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle.  In the world of Gnomon, citizens are constantly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of ‘transparency.’  Every action is seen, every word is recorded, and the System has access to its citizens’ thoughts and memories–all in the name of providing the safest society in history.  You can read reviews herehere, and here.

The Meaning of Birds by Simon Barnes offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in. As well as exploring how birds achieve the miracle of flight; why birds sing; what they tell us about the seasons of the year and what their presence tells us about the places they inhabit, The Meaning of Birds muses on the uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese, and the strangeness of feeling sentimental about blue tits while enjoying a chicken sandwich.  From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Charles Darwin toward his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of contemporary climate change, Simon Barnes explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a bird–and the myriad ways in which birds can help us understand the meaning of life.

The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures by Antonio Damasio.  The Strange Order of Things is a pathbreaking investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only the survival but also the flourishing of life. Antonio Damasio makes clear that we descend biologically, psychologically, and even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds and cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways and means of ancient unicellular life and other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate and transmit life.  Read reviews here and here.

Lilly Collection Spotlight: They Came to Play | Women in Sport

To celebrate Women’s History Month 2018, Lilly Library is shining a spotlight on Women in Sport. Books and movies that feature women athletes are “teeming” in our collections. Come to East Campus and check out this month’s Lilly Collection Spotlight.  Click here for the complete line-up.

While you’re at Lilly, visit the exhibit in the foyer, On the Field, the Courts and Beyond: Women in Sports – TITLE IX, that complements our Lilly Collection Spotlight.


Book Cover, Game Changers: the Unsung Heroines of Sports History
2018 | Molly Schiott

Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroines, a celebration of the pioneering, forgotten female athletes of the twentieth century that features rarely seen photos and new interviews with past and present game changers including Abby Wambach and Cari Champion.

Book Cover, Kicking Off: How Women in Sport are Changing the Game
2016 | Sarah Shephard

There’s a battle being fought. It’s raging on the sports fields, in the newsrooms and behind the scenes at every major broadcaster. Women in sport are fighting for equality with more vigour than ever, but are they breaking down the barriers that stand in their way? Sarah Shephard looks behind the headlines to see whether progress is really being made and tells the stories that can no longer be ignored. It’s time for women to switch their focus from the battlefield to the sports field, once and for all.

book cover: Charging the Net, a History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson... to the Williams Sisters
2007 | Cecil Harris and Larryette Kyle-DeBose

Beginning with the Williams sisters, the authors examine the foundation of their development as tennis phenoms during the 1990s and the prophetic yet unabashed approach of their coach, father, and sports psychologist, Richard Williams, in crafting a world within which they would be groomed to be successful. a compelling examination of the impact of African Americans on the world of professional tennis and the various challenges and outcomes of that involvement.

book cover, Sportswomen in Cinema, Film and the Frailty Myth
2015 | Nicholas ChareFILMS

An overview of films about women in sport and a timely critical analysis of their role in shaping perceptions of female athletic ability. It examines themes of aggression, beauty, class, ethnicity, physical feminism, sexuality, synaesthesia and technology in relation to mainstream and arthouse cinematic depictions of sportswomen from Pumping Iron 2 to Bend it Like Beckham. 


book cover The Match: Althea Gibson Angela Buxton
2004 | Bruce Schoenfeld

50 years ago when Gibson and Buxton were two of the top women’s tennis players in the world. Coming from widely divergent backgrounds (Gibson from a poor black family in Harlem, Buxton from a well-to-do Jewish family in London), the two hooked up in the mid-1950s and became tennis partners and lifelong friends.

Book cover, Global Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports
2015 | ed. Alex Channon

Offers a wide-reaching overview of current academic research on women’s participation in combat sports within a wide range of different national and trans-national contexts, detailing many of the struggles and opportunities experienced by women at various levels of engagement within sports such as boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts.


DVD case Offside
DVD 14381

During the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men’s sports. Many of the ambitious young female fans who manage to sneak into the arena are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can’t overcome their shared dreams, their mutual attraction, and ultimately their overriding sense of national pride and humanity.

DVD cover Playing Unfair: the media image of the female athlete
DVD 21482 and Streaming Video

Examines the post Title IX media environment in terms of the representation of female athletes. It demonstrates that while men’s identities in sports are equated with deeply held values of courage, strength and endurance, the accomplishments of female athletes are framed very differently and in much more stereotypical ways.

DVD cover Personal Best
DVD 11362

A promising hurdler, played by Mariel Hemingway, finds needed emotional and athletic seasoning with a caring mentor. After the two fall in love, their relationship is threatened as both vie for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.


DVD cover Grandes Ligas
DVD 25223 and streaming video

Members of the Cuban National Women’s Baseball Team discuss their passion for the sport and hardships they faced in Cuba’s society filled with machismo, prejudice and daily hardships.

DVD cover Watermarks
DVD 6270

The story of the surviving members of the  Viennese Hakoah sports club women’s swim team, a world-dominating competitor in the 1930s. The club was eventually shut down during Hitler’s reign, though all the women managed to escape capture. Combines historical footage and contemporary interviews to reconnect the women’s lives and memories.

DVD cover Edge of America
DVD 5579

The new man in town has just accepted a position as an English professor on a reservation in Utah. Finding it hard to fit in with the Native American community, he decides to take on the challenge of coaching the girls’ basketball team.

DVD cover Whip It
DVD 18946

Bliss Cavender is a small-town teenager looking for her own path. Tired of following in her family’s footsteps, she discovers a way to put her life on the fast track–literally. She lands a spot on a roller derby team and becomes “Babe Ruthless.” Co-starring Drew Barrymore in her feature film directorial debut.


Read Longmire with Low Maintenance Book Club

At the next meeting of the Duke University Libraries’ Low Maintenance Book Club we will be heading west to Absaroka County, Wyoming with the reading of “Messenger,” a short story from Craig Johnson’s popular Longmire series (which has been adapted into a TV series on Netflix).  The story can be found in Wait for Signs: Twelves Longmire Stories, which is available at the Durham County Library and UNC Chapel Hill.  We also have a copy that will soon be arriving here at Duke.

Please register for this event.  Light refreshments will be served.

Date: Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Location: Bostock 127 (The Edge Workshop Room)

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at

Happy International Women’s Day!

Celebrate International Women’s Day with a good book!  I really enjoyed the New York Time‘s recent article “The New Vanguard,” which selected 15 important books by women.  We have most of the books in our collection:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

Outline by Rachel Cusk

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

American Innovations by Rivka Galchen

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

The Vegetarian by  Han Kang

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

NW by Zadie Smith

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Mislaid by Nell Zink

Also, today the Women’s Prize for Fiction announced their Longlist!

Here are some other reading list suggestions:

100 Recommended Books by Arab Women

All Around the World: Women Writers from Every Continent

25 Women to Read Before You Die

14 Debut Books By Women Coming Out In 2018

Search our book catalog to see if we have these titles.  Happy reading!

A Sneak Peek at Downtown Durham’s New Main Library

Last week, the staff of the Duke University Libraries were treated to a fascinating presentation by Durham County Library Director Tammy Baggett-Best, who offered an update on the renovation of Durham’s Main Library on N. Roxboro Street.

With our own major library renovation here at Duke just a few years behind us, it was exciting to see what our colleagues down the street have planned. As downtown Durham continues to grow more vibrant, the renovated Main Library promises to be yet another point of pride for those who live and work in the area.

The Main Library renovation started in early 2017 and is scheduled to be complete in late 2019. With over $44.3 million in funding and a planned addition of 19,804 square feet to the existing 65,000 square feet of library space, Baggett-Best explained that Main Library is undergoing some serious transformations.

“Pretty much the only thing that will be left is the foundation and the frames,” she said—joking that the library outreach program “Downtown Library Without Walls” was being taken rather literally by the renovation crew.

Simplified cross-section of Main Library before (left) and after renovations (right), showing the greater vertical openness, connectivity, and natural light in the new building.

And it’s true: with the goals of creating greater openness and visibility throughout the building site, Main Library may be almost unrecognizable to many Durham residents by the time renovations are complete. New roof terraces, glass walls, and horizontally integrated staircases are all designed to create a heightened sense of freedom and connectivity, while new meeting spaces, public spaces, and a comprehensive literacy and technology center are intended to improve community outreach.

A rendering of how the library will look once complete when viewed from the side facing Liberty Street.

Some areas of particular interest include a career development workspace, a MakerLab / S.T.E.A.M. space, a cultural/arts exhibition gallery space, and an expanded and more accessible space for the popular North Carolina Collection. The newly renovated library will also provide more social space for children, teenagers, and adults, along with multiple event venues.

Outside the building, meanwhile, the library grounds will feature numerous open areas for library and community use, including an art garden, an amphitheater, a public plaza, covered seating, an urban agriculture section, and an interactive play and gathering space. Baggett-Best hopes these and other programs will contribute to a sense of community and connectivity across social groups.

Indeed, the renovations are just one part of the Durham County Library’s mission to help Durham grow and thrive. Improved access and technological services feature heavily in their plans. Baggett-Best said they are currently working on a program that will allow all Durham County public school students’ ID cards to do double-duty as their library cards. They’re also working on a way to clear all outstanding overdue fees by public school students at the end of each school year.

Rendering of a community event at Main Library, post-renovation.

It was heartening to learn that Durhamites are big library users, even before the renovation got started. Approximately 71% of all Durham County residents have a library card, compared with 44% statewide. In a recent city/county survey, the only local government agency or service that gets higher satisfaction marks from residents is EMS. In 2017, Durham libraries circulated nearly three million physical items—a number that has been decreasing slightly in recent years in tandem with increased use of online resources.

This seems like a good time for a public service announcement to our Duke students:  All Duke students are eligible to get a free library card at any Durham County Library location. Even if you’re not a North Carolina resident, you can still use the public library, and you don’t even have to leave your dorm room. If you love the hundreds of popular e-books and audiobooks you can get online through the Duke Libraries’ OverDrive app, consider the thousands and thousands more you have access to through the Durham County Library!

Overall, it’s clear that the renovations at Main Library represent one more sign of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Durham. The “library without walls” will have some pretty spectacular walls once again before long, and we can’t wait to help them celebrate its re-opening in 2019!

Learn more

Visit the Durham County Library’s website to find out more about the renovation and see photos from the construction site.


What to Read this Month: February 2018

Looking for something new to read?   Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads to enjoy!

If you’re looking for even more things to read, I have two other suggestions for you!  First the Low Maintenance Book Club this month is doing a special discussion called “Love between the Covers.”  It’s a chance for people to recommend a book they’ve recently read and loved and for other people to connect with new titles.  We’ll have snacks and some games.  Please join us!

Also, we now have access to NoveList Plus, which is a resource that can help you find lists of recommendations for fiction and non-fiction books based on genres, award winners, etc.  My favorite feature is the “appeal mixer,” which allows you to select several categories and then get recommendations based on it.  For example, if you select fast-paced brooding character with a mystical tone, you get suggestions like Alice Hoffman’s The Story Sisters.

In the meantime here are several selections from our collections!

In Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia, Michael Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like–or that it even exists–today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.  You can read an NYT review here and the Washington Post review here.

Heartland by Ana Simo. In a word-drunk romp through an alternate, pre-apocalyptic United States, Ana Simo’s fiction debut is the uproarious story of a thwarted writer’s elaborate revenge on the woman who stole her lover, blending elements of telenovela, pulp noir, and dystopian satire. It’s a hilarious, genre-defying debut that confronts taboos of race, assimilation, and sex through a high-voltage tale of love, language, and revenge. You can read a review here. You might also enjoy this podcast.


Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard ( with illustrations by Vanessa Baird and translated from the Norwegian by Ingvild Burkey).   Autumn, first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons, begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice–the stuff of everyday life is the fodder for his art. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention. This beautifully illustrated book is a personal encyclopaedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars.

Elements of Taste: Understanding What We Like and Why by Benjamin Errett. Celine Dion. Kanye West. Hamilton. Stranger Things. Wes Anderson. The Bachelor. Doctor Who. House Hunters. The Girl on the Train. We all have our most and least favorite things. But why? This smart, funny and well-researched book brings together the latest findings from the worlds of psychology, neuroscience, market research, and more to examine what taste really means–and what it can teach us about ourselves. Covering kitsch, nostalgia, “comfort food,” snobbery, bad taste, and what it means to be “basic,” this is the ultimate read for anyone who devours popular and not-so-popular culture.

The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe is a powerful and moving account of how refugee teenagers at a public high school learn English and become Americans, in the care of a compassionate teacher. It follows the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers throughout the course of the 2015-2016 school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado. These newcomers, from fourteen to nineteen years old, come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. You can read reviews here, here, and here.


This Valentine’s Day, Go on a Mystery Date with a Book

Does your reading life feel like it’s lost that special spark? Do you find yourself staring at your bookshelves at night, brooding over old flames?

Don’t worry—our love experts here at the Libraries are here to help. This Valentine’s Day, they’ve hand-picked some choice selections guaranteed to improve your circulation, if you know what we mean.

From now through the end of February, sidle up to our Mystery Date with a Book display next to the Perkins Library Service Desk and get a peek at some of our secret suitors.

Now, watch yourself—these books are a bit of a tease. They come wrapped in pink and red paper with “come-hither” teasers to lure you in. Will you get fiction or nonfiction? Poetry or short stories? Travelogue or fantasy? No peeking until until you’re ready to “get between the covers,” nudge, nudge.

Give your date a chance, but if it doesn’t work out, no hard feelings. After the two of you have gotten acquainted, don’t forget to let our matchmakers know how it went. Each book comes with a card you can use to rate your date. Use it is a bookmark, then drop it in our Mystery Date with a Book box when you return your book to Perkins and pick up a little Valentine button from us.

This February, don’t leave our literary lovelies all lonely by themselves. Take one home with you—you might find a perfect match!


Rate your mystery date, and take one of our fashionable buttons! You know you want one of these.
Want another way to make a literary match?

Join us on Feb. 27 for the next meeting of the Low-Maintenance Book Club. Our theme this month is “Love Between the Covers.” We’ll share our favorite reads from the past year and get recommendations from others. All are welcome!

Best in Snow: Collection Spotlight

Collection Spotlight: Best in Snow

Contributors: Carol Terry, Danette Pachtner and Ira King

Winter Sports:  Skiing, Skating and Hockey

Winter Olympics and Sport

Tired of cold wintry weather? Don’t be snowboardcurl up with interesting reading, or peak at these films … what do you have to luge? (Are we skating on thin ice here?)

If you are ready for vicarious international adventures in spectacular snow and ice, Lilly Library’s collections will transport you. Our latest Collection Spotlight shines on winter sports, Olympic history and snowy landscapes inspired by the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Some winning titles are featured below, but judge for yourself and see the full list in Best in Snow.


  • The Price of Gold (2014, dir. Nanette Burstein) ESPN 30 for 30
    The world couldn’t keep its eyes off two athletes at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer – Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde who would stop at nothing to get on the Olympic podium.
  • Sister (2012, dir. Ursula Meir)
    Sister-Lilly DVD 27001

    A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests.

  • Curling (2010, dir. Denis Côté)
    On the fringe of society in a remote part of the French-Canadian countryside, the fragile relationship and unusual private life of a father and daughter is jeopardized by dreary, unforeseen circumstances.
  • Of Miracles and Men (2009, dir. Jonathan Hock) ESPN 30 for 30
    The story of one of the greatest upsets in sports history has been told. Or has it? On a Friday evening in Lake Placid, a plucky band of American collegians stunned the vaunted Soviet national team, 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey competition. Americans couldn’t help but believe in miracles that night, and when the members of Team USA won the gold medal two days later, they became one for the ages. But there was another, unchronicled side to the “Miracle On Ice.”
  • Blades of Glory (2007, dirs. Josh Gordon and Will Speck)
    Cool Runnings
    Cool Runnings Lilly DVD 7974

    In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. Presently, however, they’ve found a loophole that will allow them to qualify as a pairs team.

  • Cool Runnings (1998, dir. Jon Turteltaub)When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games,he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.


  • Speed Kings by Andy Bull
    Spped Kings
    Speed Kings – 1930s Lake Placid Olympics

    In the 1930s, as the world hurtled towards terrible global conflict, speed was all the rage. Exotic, exciting and above all dangerous, it was by far the most popular event at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. It required an abundance of skill and bravery. And the four men who triumphed at those Games lived the most extraordinary lives.

  • Artistic Impressions: Figure Skating, Masculinity, and the Limits of Sport by Mary Louise Adams
    In contemporary North America, figure skating ranks among the most ‘feminine’ of sports and few boys take it up for fear of being labelled effeminate or gay. Yet figure skating was once an exclusively male pastime – women did not skate in significant numbers until the late 1800s, at least a century after the founding of the first skating club. Only in the 1930s did figure skating begin to acquire its feminine image.
  • Two planks and a passion : the dramatic history of skiing
    Sochi 2014
    Sochi 2014 – Olympics in photos

    Roland Huntford’s brilliant history begins 20,000 years ago in the last ice age on the icy tundra of an unformed earth. Man is a travelling animal, and on these icy slopes skiing began as a means of survival. In polar exploration, skiing changed the course of history. Elsewhere, in war and peace, it has done so too.

  • Sochi 2014 : the Olympic Games through the lens of John Huet and David BurnettCommissioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create a personal record of the Olympic Games, Huet and Burnett  capture the essence and adventure of the Olympic Games through stunning and unconventional photographs.

So many more books and films  examine the Olympics from a range of perspectives – from pure sport and Olympic ideals to international political and social concerns and controversies. Explore further in our Collection Spotlight, and visit  Best in Snow.

Low Maintenance Book Club: Love Between the Covers

Have you ever fallen for a book? Want to shout your love from the rooftops, or *ahem* just share about it at a meeting? If so, join us for the February 27th Low Maintenance Book Club meeting to talk about your favorite reads from the past year and to get recommendations from others. If you tell us (aah39@duke) which books you’d like to talk about beforehand, we’ll try to have a library copy available for checkout at the meeting.  We’ll also have snacks and book-themed games to kick off the first meeting of the semester. We hope you’ll join us!

Date: Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Location: Bostock 127 (The Edge Workshop Room)

Register for this discussion.  Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at

What to Read this Month: January 2018

When it’s cold and snowy out, there’s nothing better than a good book (well maybe a hot beverage and some warm blankets).  Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads to enjoy!  Oh and if you’re not planning on leaving the house anytime soon, make sure to see what we have on Overdrive!

All the Beloved Ghosts by Alison MacLeod (a Booker-longlisted author) is a collection of short stories that blend fiction, biography, and memoir.  MacLeod’s characters hover on the border of life and death, where memory is most vivid and the present most elusive.  Moving from the London riots of 2011 to 1920s Nova Scotia, from Oscar Wilde’s grave to the Brighton Pier, these exquisitely formed stories capture the small tragedies and profound truths of existence.  You can find a review here, and you can find an excerpt here.

Before the War by Fay Weldon.  London, 1922. It’s a cold November morning, the station is windswept and rural, the sky is threatening snow, and the train is late. Vivien Ripple, 20 years old and an ungainly five foot eleven, waits on the platform at Dilberne Halt. She is wealthy and well-bred–only daughter to the founder of Ripple & Co, the nation’s top publisher–but plain, painfully awkward, and, perhaps worst of all, intelligent.  But she has a plan. That very morning, Vivvie will ride to the city with the express purpose of changing her life forever.  With one eye on the present and one on the past, Fay Weldon offers Vivien’s fate, along with that of London between World Wars I and II: a city fizzing with change, full of flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked soldiers, and aristocrats clinging to history.

Murder in the Manuscript Room is the second in Con Lehane’s 42nd Street Library mystery series.  It is a smart, compelling mystery in which the characters themselves are at least as interesting as the striking sleuthing. When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City’s iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library’s curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend–or perhaps more-than-friend–Adele Morgan. No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there–not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler.

Careers for Women: A Novel by Joanna Scott.  New York in the late 1950s. A city, and a world, on the cusp of change…Careers for Women is a masterful novel about the difficulties of building a career, a dream, or a life–and about the powerful small mercies of friendship and compassion.  There are reviews from the New York Times and the Boston Globe Kate Atkinson described it as a “[…] spectacular novel about the dreams women chase, the choices we make and the power of those decisions to undo us at every turn. I loved it.”

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden. From a new voice in the tradition of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor comes The Prey of Gods, a fantastic, boundary-challenging tale, set in a South African locale both familiar and yet utterly new, which braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.   Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart . . . even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.  Listed as a Book Riot Best Books of 2017 Pick and a Vulture “The 10 Best Fantasy Books of 2017” Pick!

New Service: Check Out Books with Your Phone

Duke Self-Checkout is a fast, easy way to check out books from the Duke University Libraries.

Starting this week, you can now use your smartphone to check out library books in Perkins and Bostock Libraries, without having to bring them to the desk on the main floor.

Yes, there’s an app for that. It’s called Duke Self-Checkout.

How Does It Work?

Visit the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android) and search for ‘Duke Self-Checkout’ to download the free app.

Make sure to let Duke Self-Checkout access your camera, send you notifications, and use your location.

Open the app and log in with your Duke NetID and password. Click the ‘+’ sign in the top right corner to activate your camera.

When you find a book you want to check out, use the app on your phone to scan the library barcode. The app will blink green when it recognizes the barcode and check the item out to you right there. That’s it!

Remember to demagnetize your book before you leave the building!

If you want leave the building with your book, make sure you stop at one of the Duke Self-Checkout stations to demagnetize your book so it doesn’t set off an alarm.

Don’t have a phone or don’t want to download the app? Use the iPad at the Duke Self-Checkout stations, located in Perkins near the Perkins / Bostock Lobby, and in Bostock at the Edge Service Desk.

Duke Self-Checkout is also available at the Marine Lab Library.

Visit our website to find out more.


Happy Birthday, Jane!

December 16th was Jane Austen’s birthday!  This year was the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death!  Check out the #JaneAusten200 hashtag for some of the conversations around this event.   Even an airline is getting in on the celebration! Also, did you know that Jane is now on British money?

In celebration of her birthday and the anniversary of her death, here are several new titles published this year about her:

The Making of Jane Austen

Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen

The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood

Jane Austen: Writer in the World

Jane Austen and Her World

Since Persuasion turns 200 this year too, here are some titles related to this novel:

Persuasion: Authoritative Texts, Background and Contexts, Criticism

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition


Liberty in Jane Austen’s Persuasion

A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s Persuasion

Persuasion and Persuasion (film versions)

Some people (okay, me) contend that Persuasion is her greatest novel, so you might want to give it a try!

Finally, check out this Vogue slideshow inspired by Jane Austen!



Lilly is Making a List

How Do You Like Your Holiday Films?

Holiday Films
Lilly’s made a list: Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice?

The end of fall semester is near, and finals exams are even closer.  If you feel the need for a little winter holiday cheer or diversion, our librarians can help.  With over 30,000 films in our collections, our staff selected 100 holiday-themed films for December’s Lilly Collection Spotlight. There are traditional titles in the list such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone as well as other winter holiday films such as Eight Crazy Nights, Tokyo Godfathers, and Black Candle.   Animated classics, international gems, and a few offbeat films such as Bad Santa and A Junky’s Christmas  are waiting for you!

Want to see the entire list?
You decide what is Naughty-or-nice-Holiday-films-100 List!
In case you are wondering – yes, we have Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Lilly DVD 15343)

Don’t want to scroll through one hundred titles? Take a peek at some of our selections and sample the first Video Spotlight  on Winter Holiday films in our Video Spotlight Archives.

Happy Holidays!

What to Read this Month: December 2017

Looking for a great read for the last month of 2017? Drop by the New & Noteworthy Collection on the 1st floor of Perkins Library!  Also, don’t forget our Current Literature collection at Lilly Library. There you’ll find, among others*:

Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti. Using new technology, Cheshire and Uberti peer into age-old patterns of animal migration and behavior. The perfect read for the cartography nut, the science geek, or anyone curious about the natural world! You can find excerpts here and read the NPR review of it here.


Eat the Beetles! An Exploration of Our Conflicted Relationship with Insects by David Waltner-Toews. If you’ve ever been to Cafe Insecta at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ BugFest, you might have sampled a dish made with bugs! Eat the Beetles focuses on entomophagy (people eating insects) throughout history, weaving cultural, ecological, and evolutionary narratives in a humorous tone.



After Anatevka by Alexandra Silber. Fiddler on the Roof, the story of Tevye, his wife, and five daughters living in turn of the century Russia, ends with most of the family leaving Anatevka for good…but what about Hodel, the second daughter, who departs the story early to join her fiance in Siberia? Alexandra Silber imagines Hodel and Perchik’s lives after they leave their village, making a life together away from other family and among political turmoil. You can read the NY Times article about the book and its author here.


Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives. A thirty-something museum curator investigates – hilariously – when one of her colleagues goes mysteriously missing. Check out the NY Times review of it here.




The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin. An anthology focused on the djiin/genie as characters in stories and folklore, Murad and Shurin collect tales from eminent writers such as Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, Nnedi Okorafor, and more. Tor has a neat review of it here and Publisher’s Weekly’s shorter take on it can be found here.



*Selections and descriptions by UNC Field Experience Student Ellen Cline.

Puppies in Perkins, Dec. 13

Yes, you read that right. Puppies. In Perkins.

When: Wednesday, December 13, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Perkins Library Room 217

Forget about finals, forget about stress, you deserve a break. More importantly, you deserve a break involving snuggles, barks and happy wagging tails, because seriously, what’s better than puppies?

Don’t get like this poor pooch. Take a puppy study bark… er, we mean break.


Please don’t miss it! The puppies will miss you!

Sad puppy. Why wouldn’t they take a break to come see me?


We like happy puppies, and also happy students. Everyone will be happy! The puppies will be adorable! Come see them! We’ll make buttons! We’re full of exclamation marks just thinking about it!

Finals are ruff, y’all.

What to Read this Month: November 2017

Happy November, readers! Do you find yourself looking at the calendar and wondering where the time has gone this semester? Don’t worry – our New & Noteworthy collection on the 1st floor of Perkins Library is here for your reading pleasure year-round. This month we’ve* picked out five (well, six) new books we hope you’ll enjoy.

Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum by James Delbourgo. Though the scope of its collection has drawn fire over the years,  the British Museum has formidable holdings of artifacts from around the world. Curious about how it came to be? James Delbourgo’s biography of Hans Sloane recounts the story behind its creation, told through the life of a figure with an insatiable ambition to pit universal knowledge against superstition and the means to realize his dream. You can read a review here.


The Black Tides of Heaven & The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang. An introductory pair of novellas from JY Yang’s new Tensorate Series, each follows one of twin main characters. Akeha (the protagonist of The Black Tides of Heaven) struggles with his belief in a rebel cause and his desire to remain close to his sister, Mokoya (a prophetess and the protagonist of The Red Threads of Fortune) who spends her days hunting monstrous beasts in the sky. You can read Tor’s introduction to/review of the series here.


Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony: The Story of a Gamble, Two Black Holes, and a New Age of Astronomy by Marcia Bartusiak. Einstein predicted gravitational waves years ago, but only recently were scientists able to prove their existence! Bartusiak traces the quest of astronomers to build the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, the most accurate measuring devices humans have created, and the discovery of gravitational waves, revealing the brilliance, personalities, and luck required to start a new age of astronomy. Still curious about LIGO and recent cosmic events? You can read all about news from the observatory here.

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by Peter Devereaux. From the Library of Congress comes an ode to all things written and to the fading world of card catalogs. Packed with bookish information and full-color photographs, this is a work that can delight the new library initiate as well as the library aficionado.



Cold Pastoral by Rebecca Dunham. A lyrical look at our world and our place in it…and our effect on it. Dunham covers natural and man-made disasters, everything from Deepwater Horizon to Hurricane Katrina. This collection finds the intersection between moral witness and shattering art in poetry. You can find a review here.



*Selections and descriptions by UNC Field Experience Student Ellen Cline.

Whitman and Popular Culture

In honor of the “I Sing the Body Electric: Walt Whitman and the Body” exhibit (drawn from our extensive Whitman collection) on display until October 28th in the Biddle Rare Book Room, I have been writing several blog posts about Walt Whitman and his life.  This last one will focus on how Whitman continues to appear in popular culture.  You can find mentions of him in movies, television, fiction, and music.  See this article for more examples.


Here are several fun examples of advertisements:

And here’s the poem “O Me! O Life!”

And here’s the poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”

You can also find recordings of poets and actors reading Whitman’s work.

I really love this recent project called “Whitman, Alabama“:

You might enjoy some documentaries about Whitman, including Walt Whitman: An American Original and American Experience: Walt Whitman.

You can also find books about Whitman’s influence on culture:

Walt Whitman and the Culture of American Celebrity

A Companion to Walt Whitman (part two “The Cultural Context” has a chapter called “Twentieth-century Mass Media Appearances”

A Race of Singers: Whitman’s Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen

In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America From Itself

Hip, the History (as the summary of the book says, “Hip: The History draws the connections between Walt Whitman and Richard Hell, or Raymond Chandler and Snoop Dogg.”)

To find out more about Whitman, check out the previous blog posts in this series: Reading Walt Whitman, Whitman and the Body, and Whitman and the Civil War.

Lilly Collection Spotlight on Photography

Post contributed by Ira King, Danette Pachtner and Carol Terry. October has been declared Photography Month in North Carolina—come to Lilly Library and borrow a book or movie from our collection spotlight on photography!   In addition to the books available on our Spotlight shelf , Lilly’s focus on photography can be seen with our exhibits The f-Stops Here: Photography in North Carolina in the foyer, Duke: a Perspective – photographs by William Hanley III, and Mario Sorrenti: Draw Blood for Proof,  the “medium” rare book selected by Visual Studies Librarian Lee Sorensen.

With the advent of the smartphone and social media platforms like Instagram, photography has suffused our daily lives. You may shoot a pic of the Duke Chapel on the way to an early morning class, take a photo of your lunch at West Union, and get a snapchat vista from your friend on vacation in the mountains. If you’re obsessed with images, we’ve got you covered with this month’s Collection Spotlight at Lilly Library! Check out the wide range of photography books and films on display.

Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
Adams, whose work was recently featured in an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, was one of the most celebrated landscape photographers of the Twentieth Century, renowned for his black and white depictions of the stunning scenery of the American West. This book collects photographs from across his multi-decade career. Recommended if you’re craving a reminder of the sublime beauty of the outdoors.

Toy Stories by Gabriele Galimberti
In this unique collection, photographer Gabriele Galimberti traveled around the world photographing children and their toys, spending thirty months on the road and visiting fifty-eight different countries. These striking photographs are fun, but also illuminate the social, economic, and gender issues that surround what toys children grow up with. Recommended if you’re missing your childhood room.

The Beautiful Smile by Nan Goldin
This collection, released on the occasion of Goldin’s 2007 Hasselblad Award, features intimate, diaristic photographs and portraits. Rising to fame as a member and chronicler of the LGBTQ subculture in 1980s and 1990s New York City, Goldin includes both photos from that era and newer works in this book. Recommended if you’re looking for photography that captures both the beauty and fragility of life.

Chromes: 1969-1974 by William Eggleston
One of our personal favorite photographers, Eggleston photographed “ordinary” objects and people around the South and his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Eggleston’s work in color helped legitimize the form in a field that was previously dominated by black and white photography. Recommended if you’re a Big Star fan and/or enjoy photos of old gas stations.

And don’t forget that Lilly has a great collection of films you can borrow.

Here are a few titles from our Video Spotlight: Photography on Film

Lilly DVD 8892

La Jetee (1962)
Since its release in 1962, Chris Marker’s La Jetée has emerged as one of the foundational texts of postwar European cinema. With its rhythmic editing, nostalgic voiceover and parade of black-and-white images, La Jetée exercises a hypnotic effect on its viewers. This short, experimental ‘photo-roman’ stays with you long after its 29 minutes are over.

Lilly DVD 6054

Pecker (1999)
John Waters’ film about a budding Baltimore photographer. Pecker (he got the nickname for pecking at his food as a child) photographs the mundane sights of his Baltimore neighborhood: the hamburger joint where he works, rats making love in the alley behind the diner, the oddball characters in his family, and the dancers in the local lesbian strip club.


Lilly DVD 29861

City of God (2002)
This movie takes place in the favelas or slums of Rio de Janeiro created to isolate the poor people from the city center. They have grown into places teeming with life, color, music and excitement–and with danger. One of the characters, Rocket, obtains a stolen camera that he treasures and takes pictures from his privileged position as a kid on the streets.

Lilly DVD 20755

Our feelings took the pictures: Open Shutters Iraq (2008)
Iraq-born Maysoon Pachachi’s film documents a project in which a group of women refugees from five cities in Iraq living in Syria learn to take photographs and present their lives to each other. Accompanying book is in Perkins Library.

Lilly DVD 26643

Through a lens darkly: black photographers and the emergence of a people (2014)
Filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris offers what he calls a “family memoir” via historical images of African Americans initially through popular and disturbing stereotypes such as those portrayed in D.W. Griffith’s classic 1915 film Birth of a Nation to more realistic and poignant photographs. Using a series of narrative images by African American photographic artists including Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Lorna Simpson, and Gordon Parks, among others, Harris sheds light on a seldom-told aspect of our culture.

As you can see,  Lilly Library offers a wide range of books and film about the art, science and history of photography which we hope you will enjoy.

Low Maintenance Book Club Reads Alyssa Wong


To help get us all in the mood for Halloween, The Low Maintenance Book Club will be reading stories by Alyssa Wong, a Chapel Hill, NC writer who writes fantasy and horror.  She has won several prizes, including a Nebula Award, a John W. Campbell Award, and a Locus Award!

We will be reading two short stories and a short comic: Hungry Daughters of Starving MothersThe Fisher Queen, and The Auntie.


Date: Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm (note it’s an earlier start than previous discussions)

Location: Bostock 127 (The Edge Workshop Room)

Register for this discussion.  Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at



What to Read this Month: October 2017

what to read this month

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads* this month!

Universal HarvesterUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle. Just in time for Halloween, Universal Harvester tells the story of a video store clerk who discovers bizarre videos recorded over the store’s VHS tapes. Darnielle is also known for his work as a musician. You can read more about his local band The Mountain Goats here and find a review of this, his second novel, here.



Family LexiconFamily Lexicon by Natalia Ginzburg. Newly translated from the original Italian by Jenny McPhee, Family Lexicon is an epic saga of family, language, storytelling, and war. First published in 1963, it is set against the backdrop of Mussolini’s rise to power and the tumultuous years of WWII. Ginzburg passed away in 1991, but her autobiographical masterpiece lives on. Check out the review in the New Yorker here.


MoonshineMoonshine: A Global History by Kevin R. Kosar is a part of the Edible series. From ancient times to the modern day, Kosar takes the reader on a voyage around the world of DIY distilleries. Stories ranging from amusing to dangerous complete this history of a unique beverage. Spanning the centuries and the globe, this entertaining book will appeal to any food and drink lover who enjoys a little mischief.


The ChangelingThe Changeling by Victor LaValle. A new take on a classic tale, this thriller/horror/fantasy novel follows a young father searching for his family. That simple-seeming quest takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and dozens of other places in a wonderful and haunting vision of New York. You can read multiple reviews of The Changeling, from the New York Times, from NPR, or from Tor Books.


Affluence without AbundanceAffluence without Abundance by James Suzman. Ever been curious about southern Africa’s San people, also known as the Bushmen? Anthropologist James Suzman documents a proud and private people, introduces unforgettable members of their tribe, and tells the story of the collision between the modern global economy and the oldest hunting and gathering society on Earth. Read an interview with the author and review of the book here.


*Selections and descriptions by UNC Field Experience Student Ellen Cline.


The Hobbit Turns 80!


“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”

Happy birthday to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien!  Here are several articles commemorating the day:

The Hobbit at 80: Much More than a Childish Prequel to The Lord of the Rings

Picturing the Hobbit

The Hobbit at 80: What were JRR Tolkien’s Inspirations behind His First Fantasy Tale of Middle Earth?

The Hobbit Is Turning 80.  Here’s What Reviewers Said About It in 1937.

I’m also really fond of this article from the Oxford Dictionaries blog about the origins of the word “hobbit.

If you are interested in (re)reading The Hobbit, we have several copies in our circulating collection.

Here are some images from a lovely book called Art of the Hobbit.

Durham Reads Together: The U.S. Constitution

One Month, One Book, One Community

Starting on Constitution Day, September 17, the Durham County Library is hosting a month-long series of free programs focused on a community reading of the U.S. Constitution. Events include:

You can pick up a free copy of the U.S. Constitution at any Durham County Library location, while supplies last. And check out their Durham Speaks videos, short interviews with Durham residents sharing their thoughts on the Constitution and what it means to them.

A reminder to Duke students: As residents of Durham County, you’re eligible to get a free library card at any Durham County Library location. You’re not required to have one to participate in Durham Reads Together, but it’s another resource at your fingertips.

Post contributed by Kim Duckett, Head of Research and Instructional Services


What to Read this Month: September 2017


It’s September and fall weather is settling in – why not settle in with a good read from our New & Noteworthy or Current Literature collections? We’ve* picked out a variety of titles for this month, from Ugandan novels to books about data visualization, and these few are reflective of a greater diversity within both New & Noteworthy and Current Literature.

The Book of CirclesThe Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge by Manuel Lima. Curious about information visualization? Love spending hours pouring over intricately detailed infographics? Manuel Lima explores historic and present-day uses of the circle as sign, symbol, graph, and more in his Book of Circles. It features nearly 300 accompanying illustrations covering a large array of topics: architecture, urban planning, fine art, design, fashion, technology, religion, cartography, biology, astronomy, physics, and more, all of which are based on the circle. You can also read a little bit about the author’s account of writing the book here.

EverythingBelongsToUsEverything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz. Yoojin Grace Wuertz spins a lively tale of two friends – one from a privileged background, the other from a lifetime of difficulties – as they enter South Korea’s top university in the 1970s. Mixing personal aspirations (to join the ranks of the rich or the ranks of an underground movement) with charming university students and a secret society, this novel is set against the backdrop of South Korea’s struggle for prosperity in the 70s. Everything Belongs to Us is well lauded in the NY Times and featured in Kirkus.

Alana MasseyAll the Lives I Want by Alana Massey. This collection examines the intersection of the personal with pop culture by looking at different female figures (Sylvia Plath, Britney Spears, Lana Del Ray, and others) in a series of essays that range in tone from humor to academic, but always remain honest. Massey is known for her columns and criticism, and you can read a review of this, her first book, here and check out an interview with the author here.


Eye of the SandpiperThe Eye of the Sandpiper by Brandon Keim. Curious about the natural world? Brandon Keim’s Eye of the Sandpiper looks at nature in four parts: the evolutionary and ecological quirks of our world, animals and their emotions, man’s interactions with nature, and finally ethics and ecology in an age of human ingenuity. Infused with a love of the wild, Keim’s work is scientific but written in delightful prose. You can read more about him here.


KintuKintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s doctoral novel Kintu won the Kwani Manuscript Prize and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature. It follows the descendants of a man named Kintu in multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the Kintu clan’s cursed bloodline. Find an interview with the author here and here, and read more about Kintu, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Uganda here.


*Selections and descriptions by UNC Field Experience Student Ellen Cline.

Come Read ‘March: Book One’ with the Low Maintenance Book Club

The next meetings of the Duke University Libraries’ Low Maintenance Book Club will feature March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis (GA-5), an American icon and key figure of the civil rights movement.

We will be reading the entire graphic novel. Since it’s a bit longer than some past selections (and in the spirit of low maintenance), if you don’t have a chance to finish the entire book, we still welcome you to join us!

You can find a copy at our libraries.  Durham County Library also has copies available.

Please register for this event.  The first ten people to register will receive a free copy of the book.

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Bostock 127 (The Edge Workshop Room)

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at

What to Read this Month: August 2017


Welcome back to a new semester!  While you’re exploring all that Duke has to offer, why not explore our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections?  One of the great things about the books in these collections is the variety of subject areas and genres represented—everything  from popular novels, political histories, and books about animals (and many things in between).

monkeytalkMonkeytalk: Inside the Worlds and Minds of Primates by Julia Fischer. Monkey see, monkey do–or does she? Can the behavior of non-human primates–their sociality, their intelligence, their communication–really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves.  An eye-opening blend of storytelling, memoir, and science, Monkeytalk takes us into the field and the world’s primate labs to investigate the intricacies of primate social mores through the lens of communication.

mothstorytellingThe Moth Presents All these Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown, edited by Catherine Burns. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more.

walkawayWalkaway: A Novel by Cory Doctorow.  From New York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow, an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.  Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation SF thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years…and the very human people who will live their consequences.  You can read reviews here and here.



TheEvangelicalsThe Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald.  This groundbreaking book from a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America–from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election.  Evangelicals have in many ways defined the nation. They have shaped our culture and our politics. Frances FitGerald’s narrative of this distinctively American movement is a major work of history, piecing together the centuries-long story for the first time.  You can read reviews here and here.  You may also appreciate this interview with the author.

fortunateonesThe Fortunate Ones: A Novel by Ellen Umansky. One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–will connect the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in this enthralling and transporting debut novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.  This painting will bring Lizzie and Rose together and ignite an unexpected friendship, eventually revealing long-held secrets that hold painful truths. Spanning decades and unfolding in crystalline, atmospheric prose, this book is a haunting story of longing, devastation, and forgiveness, and a deep examination of the bonds and desires that map our private histories.

Collection Spotlight: North Carolina


Since we know many of our Duke University community are either returning from summer breaks or joining us for the first time, we thought we’d welcome you with books about the state you live in.  You’ll find books about some aspect of North Carolina, novels set in North Carolina, and books written by people from North Carolina.   Check out our Collection Spotlight rack near our Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor of Perkins.   Here’s a selection of some of the titles you’ll find:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, who is from Asheville.  In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it. This novel is set in the fictional North Carolina town of Bascom.

To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry by Will Blythe.  As one of our staff member explained when she picked this book, “When I first moved to North Carolina, I kept thinking, why is everyone so crazy about basketball? And then I read this book, and I started to understand.”

Weird Carolinas: Your Travel Guide to the Carolinas’, Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Roger Manley.  You think Duke is weird! Haunted places, oddities, North Karolina Kultur! This book also includes South Carolina, and fun facts on legends and pseudo history of the upper South.

These Same Long Bones by Gwendolyn Parker.  It’s set in Durham, more specifically in the “Hayti” black section, on the eve of integration and is told from the point of view of a leader in the black community. It’s a powerful family story and a great glimpse into Durham history.

Talkin’ Tarheel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of NC by Walt Wolfram.  Introduces the reader to the unique regional, social, and ethnic dialects of North Carolina.

What to Read this Month: July 2017

What to Read this Month

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster.  Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born.  From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast.  Read reviews here and here.

American Sickness An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal.  At a moment of drastic political upheaval, this book is an investigation into the dangerous, expensive, and dysfunctional American healthcare system, as well as solutions to its myriad of problems.  Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries–the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers–that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before.  You can read a review here.

Comfort FoodComfort Food: Meanings and Memories, edited by Michael Owen Jones and Lucy M. Long, explores this concept with examples taken from Atlantic Canadians, Indonesians, the English in Britain, and various ethnic, regional, and religious populations as well as rural and urban residents in the United States. This volume includes studies of particular edibles and the ways in which they comfort or in some instances cause discomfort. The contributors focus on items ranging from bologna to chocolate, including sweet and savory puddings, fried bread with an egg in the center, dairy products, fried rice, cafeteria fare, sugary fried dough, soul food, and others.

Samantha IrbyWe Are Never Meeting in Real Life is a collection of essays by Samantha Irby, who runs the blog bitches gotta eat.  Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette—she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something”—detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms—hang in there for the Costco loot—she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

Fever of the BloodA Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel.  New Year’s Day, 1889.In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey.Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient–a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition?McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill–home of the Lancashire witches–where unimaginable danger awaits.

New U.S. Poet Laureate: Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2017- 
Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Tracy K. Smith, the 22nd Poet Laureate, was appointed on June 14th.  If you are interested in reading her work, fortunately we have several collections of her poetry that you can read.

You might also want to explore some articles about her.  This great NPR profile discusses her appointment, her process as a poet, and a recording of her reading ‘When Your Small Form Tumbled Into Me.’  Here’s another profile from the NYT.  This PBS article lists four poets that Tracy K. Smith recommends you read: Solmaz Sharif, Erika L. Sanchez (coming soon to our collection) James Richardson, and Claudia Rankine.

Finally here’s a video where she reads from Life on Mars:

New Exhibit: Incredible Insects!

A weevil (family Curculionidae), one of many insects on
display as part of the of the new Incredible Insects exhibit.

Incredible Insects: A Celebration of Insect Biology
On display June 13 – October 15, 2017
in the Chappell Family Gallery and Stone Family Gallery, Perkins and Rubenstein Libraries, Duke West Campus (Click for map)

Please check our website for current library hours.

About the Exhibit

Insects are the most numerous and diverse animals on earth. They can be found in almost every environment. Because of their tremendous diversity, they play many important roles in nature, as well as in human society—enchanting us with their beauty, unsettling us with their strangeness. Whether revered or reviled, these fascinating and ubiquitous organisms can truly be said to have conquered the planet.

A new library exhibit offers a glimpse into the multifaceted world of insects, including research on insects conducted here at Duke.

There are three times as many species of insects than all other animals (mammals, birds, fish reptiles, amphibians) combined. The number of individual insects is estimated to be in excess of a quintillion (that’s a 10 with 18 zeros behind it).

The exhibit is divided into several sections, including insect evolution and diversity, coloration and camouflage, types and stages of insect metamorphosis, the roles of insects in human history and culture, and a fascinating look at two of nature’s greatest mysteries: the migration of the monarch butterfly and the clockwork-like appearance of periodical cicadas.

Periodical cicadas are one of the most remarkable phenomena of nature. They suddenly appear in the millions every 13 or 17 years. Then they disappear as suddenly as they came,

Exhibit visitors can also hear sound recordings of insect calls at a nearby kiosk and see up-close images of insects taken with electron microscopes.

Around the corner from the Chappell Family Gallery, viewers can step inside the Rubenstein Library’s Stone Family Gallery and peruse several selections of rare books that complement the exhibit.  The exhibit curators selected these works because they represent some of the earliest scientific investigations to discover general aspects of biology and natural history through the study of insects.

Image of a fly drawn by Robert Hooke in his Micrographia (1667), one of several rare historical volumes on entomology on display in the Stone Family Gallery.

Incredible Insects was curated by a team of entymology students, faculty and staff from the Duke biology department.

For more information, visit the Incredible Insects exhibit website.


What to Read this Month: June 2017

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

 The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes was named a “10 New Books we Recommend this Week” by the New York Times Book Review.  Tim O’Brien said that “The Afterlife of Stars moved me more than any other novel I’ve read in recent memory.” With dazzling storytelling and a firm belief in the power of humor in the face of turmoil, Kertes has crafted a fierce saga of identity and love that resonates through its final page. The Afterlife of Stars is not only a stirring account of one displaced family’s possibilities for salvation, but also an extraordinary tale of the singular and enduring ties of brotherhood.

 The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power by Joseph Turow is a revealing and surprising look at the ways that aggressive consumer advertising and tracking, already pervasive online, are coming to a retail store near you.  Drawing on his interviews with retail executives, analysis of trade publications, and experiences at insider industry meetings, advertising and digital studies expert Joseph Turow pulls back the curtain on these trends, showing how a new hyper-competitive generation of merchants–including Macy’s, Target, and Walmart–is already using data mining, in-store tracking, and predictive analytics to change the way we buy, undermine our privacy, and define our reputations.

Eveningland by Michael Knight is a collection of stories.  Grappling with dramas both epic and personal, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the “unspeakable misgivings of contentment,” Eveningland captures with crystalline poeticism and perfect authenticity of place the ways in which ordinary life astounds us with its complexity.   These stories, told with economy and precision, infused with humor and pathos, excavate brilliantly the latent desires and motivations that drive life forward.  You can read reviews here and here.


 I’d Die for You: And Other Lost Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a collection of the last remaining unpublished and uncollected short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Anne Margaret Daniel. Fitzgerald did not design the stories in I’d Die For You as a collection. Most were submitted individually to major magazines during the 1930s and accepted for publication during Fitzgerald’s lifetime, but were never printed. Some were written as movie scenarios and sent to studios or producers, but not filmed. Others are stories that could not be sold because their subject matter or style departed from what editors expected of Fitzgerald. They date from the earliest days of Fitzgerald’s career to the last. They come from various sources, from libraries to private collections, including those of Fitzgerald’s family.

 The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy.  In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.  You can read reviews here and here.

Collection Spotlight: Library Staff Picks!

Do you ever wonder what people who work in a library like to read?  Well, it turns out our reading tastes here at Duke University Libraries are extremely varied!  For the months of June and July our Collection Spotlight is going to feature picks from our library staff.  You should come by the display near the Perkins Service Desk on the first floor of the library to see what they picked.  Here is just a sampling:

Valerie Gillispie from University Archives recommended Kitchens of the Great Midwest.  She said: “This is a story of Eva Thorvald, a girl raised in the upper Midwest, who loves food. As a child, she grows hot peppers in her bedroom closet, and grows up to become an extraordinary chef. This novel made me hungry, and nostalgic for Minnesota.”

Janil Miller from our Marine Lab Library picked Whale by Joe Roman, describing it as a “delightfully informative read on Earth’s largest mammal. Through historical illustrations & text, the reader travels from the beast of Biblical fame to today’s wondrous creatures and the many challenges experienced at the human/sea interface.”

Kris Troost from International and Area Studies suggested The Translation of Love, saying that it was a “fascinating depiction of immediate postwar Japan and the struggles faced by repatriated Japanese Canadians who were given few choices after being interned and Japanese Americans serving in the Occupation. Written by a Japanese-Canadian librarian.”

Benov Tzvetan from Access and Delivery Services recommended the classic One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  Here is why he thinks you should read this book: “Ever felt that life is too hard & unfair? Been upset that store X has run out of your favorite brand of Y? Complained that there aren’t enough Z locally? This page-turner might offer you a different perspective on life…but you have to read it first.”

Kim Duckett from Research and Instructional Services submitted the graphic memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast.  Here’s Kim’s description: “Chast’s parents are REALLY old. In this engaging book she explores what it’s like to help your parents as they age, but also tells the story of a long marriage and the intricacies of family dynamics. It’s touching, sad, and darkly humorous.”

Bridgette Chandhoke from the Communications office in the library offered a perhaps less well-known work from the famous John Steinbeck.  She recommends Travels with Charley: In Search of America, saying: “In this genuine and intimate reflection, John Steinbeck details his cross-country road trip with his dog, Charley, to rediscover the beauty and truths of 1960s America. Through autumn soaked trees and dusty deserts, you’ll be right there with them!”

Our staff picked so many great books that it was hard to choose just a couple to highlight, so I do hope you’ll come see the rest soon.  Thanks to everyone recommended a title!


What to Read this Month: May 2017

In the summer I like to read the Duke Common Experience Summer Reading selection.  I am really excited to check out Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco this year.  I noticed something interesting though when I looked at the list of the finalists this year.  Lots of great titles, but all the authors are men.  So I thought I’d suggest some books written by women for your summer reading, just to balance your reading list!

Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi traces traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel.  Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.  You can read reviews here and here.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life–but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientist to each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien has been on both the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlists.  In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.  Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China – from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai – struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay is a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.  The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail.  From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.  If you have never read anything by Roxane Gay, her website has a great list of the short stories, essays, and interviews that have appeared in a variety of online and print publications.   You might also want to check out this NPR interview.

Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age was written by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of  It was a  New York Times Editor’s Pick, where the book was described as a “blunt observation, reflective of the potent message she delivers to her readers, a skillful unraveling of the myth of the submissive Muslim woman and a timely introduction to those other, very American and largely unheard 9/11 kids who bear the destructive burden of that one day, every day.”   It is a harrowing and candid memoir about coming of age as a Muslim American in the wake of 9/11, during the never-ending war on terror, and through the Trump era.  You can read an excerpt here.

As always if you’re looking for even more interesting things to read this summer, we’ve got you covered in our our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

What to Read this Month: April 2017


As always if you’re looking for something interesting to read, we’ve got you covered in our our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.  In honor of National Poetry Month I’m highlighting poetry books this month. Also, check out our Collection Spotlight this month featuring poetry.  It’s on the first floor of Perkins near the Perkins Service Desk!

sythbookcoverSo Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Subversions of idiom and cliche punctuate Shaughnessy’s fourth collection as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence. So Much Synth is a brave and ferocious collection composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer. While Shaughnessy tenderly winces at her youthful excesses, we humbly catch glimpses of our own.  Check out this recent interview with Shaughnessy.

minotaurbookcoverWhosoever Has Let a Minotaur Enter Them, Or a Sonnet- by Emily Carr is part of the McSweeney’s poetry series.  How does a love poet fall out of her marriage and back in love with the world? What happens when you grow up to be the “kind of person who…”? These fairytales are for the heartbreakers as much as the heartbroken, for those smitten with wanderlust, for those who believe in loving this world through art.

poetryandprotestbookcoverOf Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin edited by Philip Cushway and Michael Warr.
Included in this extraordinary volume are the poems of 43 of America’s most talented African American wordsmiths, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Rita Dove, Natasha Tretheway, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Tracy K. Smith, as well as the work of other luminaries such as Elizabeth Alexander, Ishmael Reed, and Sonia Sanchez. Included are poems such as “No Wound of Exit” by Patricia Smith, “We Are Not Responsible” by Harryette Mullen, and “Poem for My Father” by Quincy Troupe. Each is accompanied by a photograph of the poet along with a first-person biography.

quarterlifebookcoverQuarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne, who is the creator of the popular Quarter Life Poetry Tumblr and Instagram.  She captures real-life truths of work, money, sex, and many other 20-something challenges in this laugh-out-loud collection of poetry. Samantha knows that life post-college isn’t as glamorous as all undergrads think it’s going to be… because she’s currently living it. At 25, Samantha began creating doodles and funny poems about her #struggle to share with friends on Instagram. To her surprise, these poems were picked up by 20-somethings all around the world who agreed, “This is literally us.”

dotheadbookcoverDothead: Poems by Amit Majmudar is a captivating, no-holds-barred collection of new poems from an acclaimed poet and novelist with a fierce and original voice.  Dothead is an exploration of selfhood both intense and exhilarating.  From poems about the treatment at the airport of people who look like Majmudar (“my dark unshaven brothers / whose names overlap with the crazies and God fiends”) to a long, freewheeling abecedarian poem about Adam and Eve and the discovery of oral sex, Dothead is a profoundly satisfying cultural critique and a thrilling experiment in language. You can listen to an interview with Majmudar here.

Collection Spotlight: Poetry

2017 National Poetry Month Poster

We’re celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting some of the poetry books in our collection.  You can see them on our Collection Spotlight rack near the New and Noteworthy collection. Our previous  Collection Spotlight was for  Trans Day of Visibility!

Also be on the look out for our “Poet-tree” where you can add lines from some of your favorite poems.  For inspiration check out some of these Poems in Your Pocket.

Here is a selection of some of the titles that we are highlighting:

Beating the Graves by Tsitsi Jaji, a Duke professor!

Shallcross by C.D. Wright (review here)

The Prodigal by Derek Walcott (side note: there will be a Derek Walcott Memorial Poetry Reading on April 18th from 4:00-6:00)

Descent: Poems by Kathryn Stripling Byer, a former North Carolina Poet Laureate.

187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments, 1971-2007 by National Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who did a wonderful reading at Duke on November 17th, 2016.

rack with poetry books


It’s National Library Week: Are You One for the Books?

Are you in the library so often you’ve practically become a part of it yourself?

Join us as we celebrate National Library Week (April 9 – 15) and show off your love of the Libraries by being one for the books… literally!

Last year we celebrated National Library Week by asking people to #ThankALibrarian and tell us how a librarian had helped them recently (see video).

This year, we invite you to become a part of our amazing collections by making a “bookface” and participating in a video celebrating all of the resources the Duke Libraries have to offer!

We will be photographing bookfaces outside Perkins Library on Monday, April 10, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Lilly Library on Friday, April 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  We’ll also have fun celebratory buttons you can take with you!

Join us to help make this year’s National Library Week one for the books!

P.S. Look out for a Snapchat Geotag in Rubenstein, Perkins, Bostock, and Lilly and posts to our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts throughout the entire week!

Thanks for loving your library. You’re one for the books!

Inconceivable! 30,000 and Counting…

Counting what, you may ask?
30,000 DVDs in the Lilly Library!

Lilly Library celebrates the acquisition of our 30,000th DVD

Lilly DVD 30000

Lilly Library has a deep and rich collection of films, and as the films are continually ordered and catalogued, we became aware that we were nearing a milestone of 30,000 DVDs on our shelves. The very first DVD cataloged for Lilly Library was the French film, The Last Metro, and it marked the beginning of a highly regarded collection brimming with classic films, international and global films, serious documentaries and ever popular animated films.

Why The Princess Bride?

The inspiration on what to select as our 30,000th film came from our First-Year Library Advisory Board Group which suggested a “fun” film from 30 years ago.  Films from 1987 such as Predator, Rain Man, Full Metal Jacket and Fatal Attraction didn’t quite “fit the bill”, but The Princess Bride emerged as a favorite, and most importantly – F U N!

To mark the acquisition of the 30,000th DVD in our collection, Lilly Library is sponsoring the following events:

Cake! Enjoy a special Twue Wuv Cake
Meet the people behind the scenes, the catalogers & staff involved in bringing this film, and other films to our library users.

Wednesday, March 29th at 10 a.m.
Where: Lilly Library Lobby
For Duke Students:
If your slice has the “Miracle Max Pill”, you win a prize!

Movie! The Princess Bride

When: Friday, March 31st at 8 p.m.
Where: Trinity Café, East Campus Union
Refreshments provided – while they last

Sponsored by the East Campus Libraries – Lilly and Music –
and Devils After Dark

Comics and Graphic Novels at the Library

Underground & Independent Comics collection

Did you know that Duke University Libraries can provide you with access to a variety of comics and graphic novels?  Keep reading to find out more!

Rare and Original Issues at the Rubenstein Library

The Rubenstein’s comic collection spans many decades, publishers, and styles: from Golden Age Batman to modern graphic novels, and everything in between.

Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection

With more than 67,000 comic books from the 1930s to the 2000s, this is our largest collection.  All of the comic book titles are in the process of being added to the library catalog, so you will be able to search the catalog for your favorite superhero!   The titles currently available can also be found in the catalog by searching for “Edwin and Terry Murray Collection (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library).”   You can try searching by genres, such as “Detective and mystery comics” and  “Underground comics,” as well.

Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection

Contains thousands of additional comics and graphic novels with rich materials in international comics, especially Argentina and France, and comics created by women.  Find them in the Guide to the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection, 1938-2012.

The Underground and Independent Comics Database

The Underground and Independent Comics database is the first-ever scholarly online collection for researchers and students of adult comic books and graphic novels. It features the comics themselves along with interviews, commentary, and criticism. Includes artists such as Jessica Abel, Jaime Hernandez, Jason, Harvey Pekar, Dave Sim, and many more. There are comics from around the world, including Canada, France, Italy, Spain, England, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Korea, Japan.

Comics and Graphic Novels in the Stacks

You can check out comics and graphic novels from our circulating collections.  We also have comics and graphic novels scattered throughout our libraries, with most of them housed at Lilly Library on East campus.  You’ll find everything from The Walking Dead to Persepolis.

There are several ways to identify titles.  If you want to browse, relevant call number sections include PN6700-6790 and NC1300-1766. You can do a title search in our library catalog for specific titles.   You can also use the subject headings Comic books, strips, etc. and graphic novels to discover more titles.


We have manga in the East Asian collection on the second floor of Bostock.  We hold about 600 titles in Japanese and 150 titles translated into English just in PN6790.J3 – PN6790.J34.  You can also find Korean manhwa in PN6790 K6 – PN6790.K64.  Popular titles held at Duke include One Piece, Dragon ball, Naruto, Astro Boy, as well as the complete works of Tezuka Osamu.

Come Visit Us This Week!

We’ll have a table outside of the Perk on Tuesday March 28th from 1-2 and on Wednesday March 29th from 11-12.  We’ll be showing off some of the works in our collections, demonstrating The Underground and Independent Comics database, and answering questions!

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the Low Maintenance Book Club

In honor of National Poetry Month the Low Maintenance Book Club will be reading Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.  We will be reading the following selections:

“I” (pages 5-18)

“V” (pages 69-79)

“VII” (pages 139-161))

You can find several copies of this collection at our libraries.  Durham County Library also has copies.

When: April 11th at 6:00pm

Where: The Edge Workshop Room  on the first floor of Bostock

How: Registering in advance helps us know how many to expect

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at

What to Read this Month: March 2017

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls “Jane Austen with a Russian soul.”  In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Still Here, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.  It was featured in The Millions’ The Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.


My Life, My Love, My Legacy is the life story of Coretta Scott King–wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist–as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.  Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.

The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak is the second novel from National Book Award finalist Andrew Krivak–a heartbreaking, captivating story about a family awaiting the return of their youngest son from the Vietnam War.  Beginning shortly after Easter in 1972 and ending on Christmas Eve this ambitious novel beautifully evokes ordinary time, a period of living and working while waiting and watching and expecting.   You can read reviews here and here.


A Life in Parts is a memoir by Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle.  He maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life–paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities.  He has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance.

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life is by Helen Czerski, a a physicist and oceanographer at University College London. She provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing. She guides us through the principles of gases, gravity, size, and time.  You can read reviews here and here.


Marathon Reading of Toni Morrison’s BELOVED

On Thursday, March 30, the Department of English is hosting BELOVED, a marathon reading of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.   BELOVED will run 8 hours (9AM-5PM) in the Carpenter Conference Room (Rubenstein Library 249), where there will be a podium, microphone, audience seating, and T-shirts for all participants.  Sign up to read via THIS LINK by March 23rd.

The library of course has several copies of this novel available.  If this marathon inspires you to read more by this amazing author, we can help you there too!


Duke’s Edible Book Festival Seeks Submissions of “Bookish Foods”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, entry from the 2014 contest


WHAT: Edible Book Festival
WHEN: Friday, March 31, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Perkins Library, Room 217

Girl with a Pearl Onion, entry from the 2012 contest

Calling all bibliophiles, foodies, pun aficionados, and spectators: Duke’s Edible Book Festival is seeking submissions for its annual contest on March 31.

The Edible Book Festival is an international event started in 1999 that invites people to share “bookish foods” and to celebrate the literal and figurative ingestion of culture.

Duke’s festival is sponsored by Duke University Libraries and will take place on Friday, March 31, 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Perkins Library Room 217.

The event features a contest of edible books, voting for favorite entries, and prizes for winners. Contestants and attendees are also invited to to bring gently used books to donate to a drive for Book Harvest, a nonprofit organization that provides books to local children in need.

To Stir, with Love, entry from the 2014 contest

To participate, individuals are asked to submit edible art that has something to do with books as shapes or content. Prizes will be awarded for Most Edible, Least Edible, Punniest, and Best in Show.

The festival is open to all Duke faculty, staff, students and the general public. Entries should be delivered to Perkins 217 between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. the day of the event.

Need inspiration? See past submissions at Duke or visit the International Book Festival website.

2017 Nadell Prize Winners Announced

The Duke University Libraries are pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 Andrew T. Nadell Prize for Book Collecting.

Since 1947, the Friends of the Duke University Libraries have presented the contest in alternate years to promote reading for enjoyment and the development of students’ personal libraries. The contest is open to all regularly enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at Duke University. The winners for 2017 are:

Undergraduate Division:

  • First Prize: Jessica Lee, “Hamilton to Homer: A Mythoholic’s Journey to Becoming a Classicist”
  • Second Prize: Caroline del Real, “The Unfathomable Journey: A Factual and Fictional View of Life Under the Sea”

Graduate Division:

  • First Prize (tie): Colin O’Leary, “The ‘Library of Forking Paths’: Jorge Luis Borges, His Literary Antecedents and His Descendants”
  • First Prize (tie): Jason Todd, “Century of Upheaval: War and Revolution in China and Around the World”
  • Second Prize: Brent Caldwell, “Politics by Example: My Political Mentors, America’s 20th Century Greats”
Judge Ruth Ross speaks with Caroline del Real, who received second prize in the undergraduate division.

More pictures from the event can be found here.

2017 Andrew T. Nadell Prize for Book Collecting

Join us for the 2017 Nadell Prize for Book Collecting

Date: Tuesday, February 28
Time: 1:30-3:00 PM
Location: Holsti-Anderson Assembly Room (Rubenstein Library 153)

Since 1947, the Duke University Libraries have presented the Prize for Book Collecting in alternating years to promote the development of students’ personal libraries.

Members of the public are invited to a showing at which undergraduate and graduate student competitors will have selections from their personal collections on display and will answer any questions about the works they collect.

The contest is named for Dr. Andrew T. Nadell M’74, who began collecting rare books when he was a student at Duke.  The contest is open to all students regularly enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree program at Duke.  Winners of our contest will be eligible to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, where they will compete for a $2,500 prize and an invitation to the awards ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


What to Read this Month: February 2017

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

Hannah Hart, a YouTube star, has written an at times very funny and very heartbreaking memoir called Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded.  She writes about her internet fame, her family, mental illness, love, friendship, sexuality, and more.  John Green describes the memoir like this: “By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Hannah Hart’s new book is a roaring, beautiful, and profoundly human account of an extraordinary life.”  To find out more about Hannah and her memoir, check out this NPR interview.


Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal is a wide-ranging adventure in becoming a citizen scientist by an award-winning writer and environmental thought leader. As Mary Ellen Hannibal wades into tide pools, follows hawks, and scours mountains to collect data on threatened species, she discovers the power of a heroic cast of volunteers–and the makings of what may be our last, best hope in slowing an unprecedented mass extinction. Digging deeply, Hannibal traces today’s tech-enabled citizen science movement to its roots: the centuries-long tradition of amateur observation by writers and naturalists.  Read an excerpt here.

In Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long history of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin’s days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness.  It is a rich, multifaceted history, full of remarkable characters, from the stamp-collecting FDR, to the revolutionaries who challenged USPS’s monopoly on mail, to the renegade union members who brought the system–and the country–to a halt in the 1970s.  This book is the first major history of the USPS in over fifty years.  Read a review here and here.

Refugee Tales, edited by David Herd & Anna Pincus, collects tales from poets and novelists who retell the stories of individuals who have direct experience of Britain’s policy of indefinite immigration detention. Presenting their accounts anonymously, as modern day counterparts to the pilgrims’ stories in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , this book offers rare, intimate glimpses into otherwise untold suffering.  You can learn more about this project here.   Also check out this review in the Guardian.


 Just in time for Valentine’s Day, check out Love is Love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting from IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment.  This oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world.  Some of the talents include Cecil Castellucci, Damon Lindelof, Patton Oswalt, G. Willow Wilson, Steve Orlando, James Tynion IV, Gail Simone, and Dan Parent.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for more things to read, check out our Blind Date with a Book.  You may need to hurry before all the matches are made!

This Valentine’s Day, Go on a Blind Date with a Book!

Love is in the air. (And under the covers.)

Are you stuck in a reading rut? Is your desire for abstraction not getting any action?

This Valentine’s Day, spice up your reading life and take home a one-night stand for your nightstand.

Check out our Blind Date with a Book display February 9-17 in Perkins Library next to the New and Noteworthy section.

Our librarians have hand-picked some of their all-time favorite literary crushes. Trust us. Librarians are the professional matchmakers of the book world. If these titles were on Tinder, we’d swipe right on every one. (Not that you should ever judge a book by its cover.)

Each book comes wrapped in brown paper with a come-hither teaser to pique your interest. Will you get fiction or nonfiction? Short stories or travelogue? Memoir or thriller? You won’t know until you “get between the covers,” if you know what we mean.

Not looking for commitment? No problem. Let us hook you up with a 100-page quickie.

Or maybe you’re the type who likes it long and intense? Here’s a little somethin-somethin that will keep you up all night for weeks. Aw, yeah.

Either way, be sure to let us know what you think. Each book comes with a “Rate Your Date” card. Use it as a bookmark. Then drop it in our Blind Date with a Book box when you return your book to Perkins. You’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

So treat your pretty little self to a mystery date. Who knows? You might just fall in love with a new favorite writer!

Mystery in the Stacks – A Library Party to Die For, Mar. 3

When: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 9:00 p.m. to Midnight
Where: Perkins and Bostock Libraries, 1st Floor
Admission: Free
Dress: Semi-Formal Attire, or Dress as Your Favorite Mystery Character

The Library Party is a unique Duke tradition. For one night only, Perkins and Bostock Libraries throw open their doors for a night of music, food, and un-shushed entertainment. The event is free and open to the entire Duke community.

After a couple of years on hiatus, the Library Party is back! Once again, the Libraries are partnering with the Duke Marketing Club to organize this year’s event. The theme—“Mystery in the Stacks”—is inspired by classic works of mystery and detective fiction.

The event will feature live music, costumes, decorations, food and beverages, and plenty of mystery!

Senior Toast at 10:30 p.m.
Join us in von der Heyden for a special champagne toast to the Duke Class of 2017, with remarks by Senior Class President Kavita Jain.

Never been to a Library Party?
Check out these images, videos, and recaps from our Life is a Cabaret Party in 2014, Heroes and Villains Party in 2012, and the Mad Men and Mad Women Party in 2011.

On Facebook
, and share!

Keep the Mystery Going
The Library Party will be followed by a Freewater Presentations screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in Griffith Theater at 12:15 a.m.

Many thanks to our not-so-mysterious co-sponsors: the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Markets & Management Studies, Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, and Duke Student Government.


Come Read the Novella that Arrival is Based on!

The Low Maintenance Book Club is going to be reading the novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, which won the Nebula Awards’ Best Novella in 1999.  More famously this is the story that the recent movie Arrival is based on!

You can find several copies of the short story collection that contains this story at our libraries, including an e-book version.  Durham County Library also has a copy.

When: February 21st at 6:00pm

Where: The Edge Workshop Room  on the first floor of Bostock

How: Registering in advance helps us know how many to expect.

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at

What to Read this Month: January 2017

I hope you’re settling in to the new semester.   Why not pick up something new to read? Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett is a “sharp and scintillating” (Publishers Weekly) debut collection of poetry, selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the National Poetry Series, Joshua Bennett’s mesmerizing debut collection of poetry, presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary black experience.  What animates these poems is a desire to assert life, and interiority , where there is said to be none.  Figures as widely divergent as Bobby Brown, Martin Heidegger, and the 19th-century performance artist Henry Box Brown, as well as Bennett’s own family and childhood best friends, appear and are placed in conversation.

I think many of us are still feeling the pain of losing Carrie Fisher.  One way to cope may be to check out her new The Princess Diarist.  When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved–plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naivete, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized.  With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, this is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time–and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty.  If you enjoy this read, I’d highly recommend reading the rest of her writings.

In Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, Emma Tarlo travels the globe, tracking the movement of hair across India, Myanmar, China, Africa, the United States, Britain and Europe, where she meets people whose livelihoods depend on it. Viewed from inside Chinese wig factories, Hindu temples and the villages of Myanmar, or from Afro hair fairs, Jewish wig parlours, fashion salons and hair loss clinics in Britain and the United States, hair is oddly revealing of the lives of all it touches.  You can read reviews here and here.


 In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer?: The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships–our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI.  It traces AI’s origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein, to today’s sci-fi blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. Zarkadakis explains AI’s history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as–perhaps most tellingly–what AI reveals about us as human beings.

Unspeakable Things by Kathleen Spivack is a strange, haunting novel about survival and love in all its forms; about sexual awakenings and dark secrets; about European refugee intellectuals who have fled Hitler’s armies with their dreams intact and who have come to an elusive new (American) “can do, will do” world they cannot seem to find. A novel steeped in surreal storytelling and beautiful music that transports its half-broken souls–and us–to another realm of the senses.  To find out more read a Washington Times review, a Paste Magazine review, and a Jewish Book Council review.

Happy Birthday, Jane!

jane_austen_sketch_1050x700 Jane Austen, as sketched by her sister, Cassandra







Today is Jane Austen’s 241st birthday!  Since the film Love and Friendship came out this year (do yourself a favor and watch it ASAP), I think it would be appropriate to celebrate this year by reading some of her juvenilia and less known works.

Lady Susan (the story that the film Love and Friendship is based on)

Love & friendship: in which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon is entirely vindicated : concerning the beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, her cunning daughter & the strange antagonism of the DeCourcy family by Whit Stillman (includes Jane Austen’s novella)

Love and Freindship [sic], and Other Early Works (much of her juvenilia can be found here)

The Watsons

Fragment of a novel written by Jane Austen, January-March 1817; now first printed from the manuscript.

Northanger Abbey ; Lady Susan ; The Watsons ; Sanditon

Jane Austen’s “Sir Charles Grandison”

Catharine and Other Writings

The History of England: From the Reign of Henry the 4th to the Death of Charles the 1st (a very amusing early work)

Oh and if the image at the beginning of this post made you curious about Jane’s relationship with Cassandra, you might want to check out some of the letters.


Duke Libraries Holiday Gift Guide


The holidays are just around the corner, and you still don’t know what to get that person on your list who has everything.  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Instead of another tie or pair of socks, give a gift that matters to every member of the Duke community.  Make an honorary or memorial gift to Duke University Libraries, and make a difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and researchers.  Your gift to one of the funds below helps us continue to add resources and services that support the Duke and Durham community.

You can direct your honorary or memorial gift to one or more of the Libraries’ funds, including:

  • The Library Annual Fund provides flexible, unrestricted support for the Libraries’ varied operational needs (and the Honoring with Books program gives Annual Fund donors who contribute $100 or more the opportunity to recognize a special person or event with an electronic bookplate)
  • The Adopt-A-Book program funds the conservation of an item from the collections, and provides flexible support for the Conservation Services department
  • The Adopt-A-Digital Collection program funds the long-term preservation and storage of our digital collections.

Thank you for strengthening the Duke community by making a gift to the Duke University Libraries this holiday season!

PLEASE NOTE: When you make an honorary or memorial gift online, please be sure to fill out the necessary information in the “Gift Dedication” section of our online giving form.

What to Read this Month: December 2016

What to Read This Month Feature Post 600x360

It’s one of my favorite times of the year!  Yes, that’s right it’s “year’s best books” season.  Many places, including the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, Vulture, and many more.

I’m happy to say that we have many of these books in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections, though I’ll warn you now that you may have to get on the waiting list for some titles!  Here are a selection.

undergroundThe Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (appears on almost every list).  A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey–hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.


privatecitizensPrivate Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte.  This book is number three on Vulture’s list: “It’s a rare and bracing thing to see a debut novelist confident enough to pour acid on an entire system (in this case, the one we call meritocracy). The millennials have teeth.” The novel’s four whip-smart narrators–idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda–are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, the four estranged friends stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.

thewonderAs described on the NPR list, “The Wonder: A Novel by Emma Donoghue is just that: ‘a wonder’ of a story about religious delusion and self-denial set in 19th-century Ireland.” Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.


darkroomIn the Darkroom by Susan Faludi is featured on NYT’s list: “When Faludi learned that her estranged and elderly father had undergone gender reassignment surgery, in 2004, it marked the resumption of a difficult relationship. Her father was violent and full of contradictions: a Hungarian Holocaust survivor and Leni Riefenstahl fanatic, he stabbed a man her mother was seeing and used the incident to avoid paying alimony. In this rich, arresting and ultimately generous memoir, Faludi — long known for her feminist journalism — tries to reconcile Steven, the overbearing patriarch her father once was, with Stefánie, the old woman she became.”

secondhandThe Washington Post includes Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets: by  Svetlana Alexievich: “Alexievich turns on a tape recorder and listens to average Russians describing their lives amid the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Alexievich, who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature, has produced one of the most vivid and incandescent accounts yet attempted of this society caught in the throes of change.  It is the story of what one character aptly describes as ‘our lost generation — a communist upbringing and capitalist life.'”


smallbombsThe Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan appears on both the lists of Vulture and NYT.   It is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope.  When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb–one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world–detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb.

Since it’s the season of giving, here are two other things you might find useful when selecting a good read.  The Guardian does a slightly different kind of end of year roundup.  They have various writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Julian Barnes select their favorite reads of the year.  Also, NPR has a really fun Book Concierge that lets you use filters to explore titles recommended by their staff and critics.

Relax and Recharge at Lilly

How to Beat Finals Week Stress in Lilly

Ref Room and Student Note
Finals getting to you? One student’s note puts things in perspective

Mindfulness, anyone?

Who hasn’t heard or read that coloring reduces stress? There is evidence that even a short coloring or craft session helps to improve focus and spur creativity.1  In fact, at Lilly Library we are aware of this effect, so for the past several years we’ve offered Duke students the Lilly Relaxation Station. Located in our first floor training room, the Relaxation Station provides games, crafts, puzzles, coloring, and markers for whiteboards so that students may take a moment (or two) to relax and recharge their gray matter!

Students created and shared origami
Students created and shared origami
  • What: Lilly Relaxation Station
  • When: Tuesday, December 13th through Sunday December 18th

Duke Students are invited to drop in, “take a moment” (or however much time they wish – no pressure!) and enjoy themselves during Finals Week.

Check out the Lilly Facebook page for event details. Additionally, Lilly partners with Devils After Dark to offer snacks on the evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at 8 p.m. in the Lilly foyer.

On a “final” note, sure to check out  Duke Libraries’ helpful End of Semester Survival Guide for lots of tips and information to get you through exams.

Good Luck on Finals!


Take the Library Home with You


As you are preparing for your much needed break, I hope you remember that the library will still be here for you!  Maybe you already know that you can access many of our online resources from home or that you can check out books to take home with you.  We also have movies and music that you can stream and some e-books that you can download to your devices.  Here are some of the resources we have to do this!

Streaming Videos

Alexander Street Video Collection: Find and watch streaming video across multiple Alexander Street Press video collections on diverse topics that include newsreels, documentaries, field recordings, interviews and lectures.

Docuseek2 Collection: Find and watch streaming video of documentary and social issues films.

Films on Demand: Find and watch streaming video with academic, vocational, and life-skills content.

Kanopy: Watch thousands of award-winning documentaries and feature films including titles from the Criterion Collection.

Go to to access these video collections.

Streaming Music

Naxos Music Library:  Huge selection of classical music recordings—over 1,925,000 tracks!

Jazz Music Library:  Access a wide range of recordings from jazz classics to contemporary jazz.

Contemporary World Music and Smithsonian Global Sound: Listen to music from around the world, including reggae, Bollywood, fado, American folk music, and more.

Metropolitan Opera on Demand:  For opera fans, a large selection of opera videos from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

All of these streaming music sources can be accessed at

Overdrive Books

Go to to access downloadable eBooks and audiobooks that can be enjoyed on all major computers and devices, including iPhones®, iPads®, Nooks®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindles®.

Did Someone Say Puppies? Puppies in Perkins 2016!

cute_puppy-1920x1200-e1459371734960If your growing to-do list has you overwhelmed..

Image result for puppy paw eyes
Just wake me up when it’s over!

Or finals have you feeling a little down…

Image result for sad puppies
I shouldn’t have online-shopped during lecture.

Good News! It’s time for a study bark! I mean, break.

Wednesday, December 14, Puppies in Perkins will be back! Puppies, wagging tails, and snuggles for all. From 12 pm-3 pm in Perkins 217 therapy dogs will be in the library to soothe all your finals woes and give you the cuddles you so richly deserve. There will also be fun, finals-themed button-making!  Come take a study break and meet and greet the cutest pups on campus!

Watch out finals week, here I come!

$1000 Prize for Book Collecting

Entries for the contest will be due February 14, 2017
Entries for the contest will be due February 14, 2017.

The Friends of the Duke University Libraries are proud to present the 2017 Andrew T. Nadell Prize for Book Collecting. The contest is open to all students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree program at Duke and the winners will receive cash prizes!

First Prize
Undergraduate: $1,000
Graduate: $1,000

Second Prize
Undergraduate: $500
Graduate: $500

Winners of the contest will also be eligible to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, where they will compete for a $2,500 prize and an invitation to the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress.

Students do not have to be “book collectors” to enter the contest. Past collections have varied in interest areas and included a number of different types of materials. The collections will be judged based on adherence to a clearly defined unifying theme, and rarity and monetary value will not be considered during judging.

Students who are interested in entering can visit the Prize for Book Collecting homepage for more information and read winning entries from past years. Students may also contact Megan Crain at with any questions.

Entries must be received by February 14, 2017.

What to Read this Month: November 2016

What to Read This Month Feature Post 600x360

Want to find a good read for the Thanksgiving holiday? Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections. Here are a couple of suggestions that might be of interest.

seaAll at Sea: A Memoir by Decca Aitkenhead tells the story of love and loss, of how one couple changed each other’s life, and of what a sudden death can do to the people who survive.  On a hot, still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead’s life changed forever. Her four-year-old son was paddling peacefully at the water’s edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son’s life–then drowned before her eyes. Here is a great review of the book and a little discussion of her writing process.


refugeesCity of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence. Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.

microbesI Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong examines one of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin–a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.  Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. Look here and here for good reviews.


citiesCities I’ve Never Lived In: Stories by Sara Majka. Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the stories in this debut collection give intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after divorce. A book that upends our ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, these fourteen stories orbit the dreams of a narrator who turns to narrative as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself.  To learn more about this collection check out these two reviews.

gaslightBy Gaslight by Steven Price.  As described by Jean Zimmerman from, “By Gaslight can be seen as Arthur Conan Doyle by way of Dickens by way of Faulkner . . . Intense, London-centric, threaded through with a melancholy brilliance, it is an extravagant novel that takes inspiration from the classics and yet remains wholly itself.”

Celebrating 50 Years of Lemurs at Duke

50th lemurs

  • What: Opening of 50 Years of Lemurs at Duke exhibit
  • When: Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room (Rubenstein 153) and Chappell Family Gallery (map)
  • Who: Free and open to the public

The Duke Lemur Center and the Duke University Libraries will debut a new exhibit in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Lemur Center, home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals – outside of Madagascar.

A public event celebrating the opening of the exhibit will take place on Thursday, October 27, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.


The event will include short introductory remarks by Anne Yoder, Director of the Lemur Center, followed by a drop-in reception with light refreshments to view 50 Years of Lemurs at Duke, an exhibition curated by Lemur Center staff. The exhibition explores different facets of the Center, including ways in which it has worked to support research, both locally and around the world, for half of a century.

Most importantly, the exhibit will feature the true stars of the center: the lemurs! Guests will have the opportunity to admire these honorary mascots of the university in both pictures and on film. Members of the Lemur Center staff will be available to answer questions and share stories.

The event is free and open to the public and all are welcome to join in celebrating a semicentennial era of lemurs at Duke!

50th lemur center

What to Read this Month: October 2016

What to ReadThis Month

As always we’re highlighting our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.  Since we’re getting closer to the November 8th election, this month’s theme is elections and politics!

vote2 Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman.  Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court.



uninformed Uninformed: Why People Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It by Arthur Lupia. Citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, and it is undeniable that greater knowledge can improve decision making. But we need to understand that voters either don’t care about or pay attention to much of the information that experts think is important. Uninformed provides the keys to improving political knowledge and civic competence: understanding what information is important to others and knowing how to best convey it to them.


clinton Who is Hillary Clinton?: Two Decades of Answers from the Left, edited by Richard Kreitner.  Contributors to this anthology include David Corn, Erica Jong, Christopher Hitchens, Michael Tomasky, William Greider, Ari Berman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Chris Hayes, Jessica Valenti, Richard Kim, Joan Walsh, Jamelle Bouie, Doug Henwood, Heather Digby Parton, Michelle Goldberg, and many more.



trumpTrump and Me by Mark Singer.   Recounts the Singer’s experience writing a profile about Trump for the New Yorker in 1996.





obama The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today by Colin Dueck.  The Obama Doctrine not only provides a sharp appraisal of foreign policy in the Obama era; it lays out an alternative approach to marshaling American power that will help shape the foreign policy debate in the run-up to the 2016 elections.



womenvoteYour Voice Your Vote: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Power, Politics, and the Change We Need by Martha Burk.  This book is a manifesto for this year’s woman voter and for male voters who care about the women in their lives. Martha Burk empowers the reader to cut through the double talk, irrelevancies, and false promises, and focuses directly on what’s at stake for women not only in the 2016 election, but also in the years beyond. Where women stand, what women think, and what we need — with tough questions for candidates to hold their feet to the fire.


If you’re not registered to vote, check out Duke’s Student Affairs voter registration page.

Finally, the Libraries will be hosting an informal watch party in the Lilly Training Room (Room 103) for each televised debate. We will also plan to host an interesting discussion by two faculty experts on Wednesday October 19th. Watch out for further information!

Reel Politics: Focus on Elections

What film "ticket" will you choose?
What film “ticket” will you choose?

In case you can’t get enough of politics in this election cycle, Lilly Library’s exhibit Reel Politics: Focus on Elections highlights the wide range of political or politically themed films in our collections.  Duke students, staff and faculty can “write-in” their favorite film or choose from some of the titles represented.

Veep Lilly DVD 26598
Veep Lilly DVD 26598
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Lilly DVD 605

The American political process and environment are explored, celebrated and, yes,  deplored in all genres of film and television programs:  romances, satires, and searing dramas, cynical and sometimes insightful documentaries. Films available in the Lilly Library collections include classics such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or its cynical counterpart, The Candidate, idealized romances such as The American President, comedies such as Election, and documentaries such as Weiner or The War Room. Television series also portray the American political scene in a variety of ways – what starker contrast in depictions of the Presidency  can be found  than between that of  The West Wing and  the recent series, House of Cards?

What are the best films , documentaries and television series about American elections? The films and television series in the exhibit represent just a very few of the hundreds of films and series about American elections and politics that the library offers.   Explore the possibilities with a search of our library catalogue, peruse the Lilly Video Spotlight on Political Documentaries, and remember, just  like the candidates, films have their champions and detractors.

In keeping with the season, perhaps you can conduct your own  poll!

Reel Politics: Focus on Elections
Exhibit on display through October
Lilly Library foyer



Low Maintenance Book Club October meeting

Low Maintenance Book Club 600 x 360

The Low Maintenance Book Club is meeting again in October!  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.

This month we will be reading several stories from James Tiptree Jr.’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.  We will have one copy on reserve at the Perkins Library Service desk.  It can be checked out for 72 hours.  Tiptree’s fiction reflects the darkly complex world its author inhabited: exploring the alien among us; the unreliability of perception; love, sex, and death; and humanity’s place in a vast, cold universe.

Light refreshments will be served!

When: October 24th at 6:00 pm

Where: The Lounge @ The Edge

Stories we will discuss:

  • The Screwfly Solution
  • The Girl who was Plugged in
  • And so on and so on

Please RSVP here for planning purposes.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at


Showing Our Stuff

An undergraduate studies the folio on display

The treasures of Duke’s branch libraries are often hidden.  The circulating collections and services of these smaller libraries often claim the pride of place.  Both libraries on East Campus, Lilly Library and Music Library, however, hold precious material relating to their subject collections.  Known in the library world as “medium rare” (as opposed to the rare materials located in the David M. Rubenstein Library) such primary source materials allow students to examine history first hand.

This fall the Lilly Library added a lobby display case to highlight its unique collections.  The inaugural display is one volume of our three-volume Vitruvius Britannicus, a large and early folio devoted to the great buildings of England to be seen in 1717.

Vitruvius Britannicus

An outstanding example of a folio (book) format as well as the awakening of interest in British architecture by its own architects –  quoting from the Oxford Art Online – Vitruvius Britannicus was a cooperative venture that appears to have developed out of the desire of a group of booksellers to capitalize on an already established taste for topographical illustration.

Published in 1715 and 1717, the two original volumes each consisted of 100 large folio plates of plans, elevations and sections chiefly illustrating contemporary secular buildings.  Many of these plates provided lavish illustration of the best-known houses of the day, such as Chatsworth, Derbys, or Blenheim Palace, Oxon, intended to appeal to the widespread desire for prints of such buildings as well as  providing their architects a chance to publicize their current work.

We invite you to visit the Lilly Library on East Campus and to enjoy this  “medium rare” folio on exhibit. For more information about the Lilly Library folio or art and image collections, contact Lee Sorensen,  the Librarian for Visual Studies.

The Low Maintenance Book Club Returns!


Update: All copies of the book have been given away, but we still welcome you to join us!  Registering in advance helps us get a head count for refreshments.

The Low Maintenance Book Club is beginning again this fall!  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.

For our first fall meeting we will be discussing several stories from Sherman Alexie’s Blasphemy.   This collection combines fifteen classic stories and fifteen new ones, so there is plenty of content for people very familiar with his work and people who are new to his style.

Light refreshments will be served!

When: September 27th at 6:00 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

What to Read this Month: September 2016

What to ReadThis Month

Welcome back to a new semester!  While you’re exploring all that Duke has to offer, why not explore our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections?  One of the great things about the books in these collections is the variety of subject areas and genres represented—everything from graphic novels, political histories, and books about diseases (and many things in between).

Hamilton: The Revolution: Being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.  I’m not going to lie to you, you may have to request this title, but it should still be easier than getting tickets to the musical!  This book traces the development of this blockbuster musical, provides the full text of the libretto, photos, interviews, and more.


indexPaper Girls Volume One, writer Brian K. Vaughan (author of Saga and other works) and artist Cliff Chiang.  In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.  You may enjoy this if you have been enjoying the Netflix show Stranger Things.


medicaldetectiveIn Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS, Mary Guinan, PhD, MD, writes stories of her life in medicine, describing her individual experiences in controlling outbreaks, researching new diseases, and caring for patients with untreatable infections. She offers readers a feisty, engaging, and uniquely female perspective from a time when very few women worked in the field.  If you want to learn more, you mind find this review and this interview helpful.


vote The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman, president of The Brennan Center, a legal think tank at NYU.  This book trace the entire story from the Founders’ debates to today’s restrictions: gerrymandering; voter ID laws; the flood of money unleashed by conservative nonprofit organizations; making voting difficult for the elderly, the poor, and the young, by restricting open polling places.  You can read this Washington Post article for more details.


millervalleyMiller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen.  For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”  You can find reviews here, here, and here.  If you enjoy this book, check out one of Anna Quindlen’s many other books here.

Duke 2020 – Dive into the Libraries

Learn to “swim” – and to keep swimming – in the Libraries!

Library Orientation East Campus
The Libraries welcome  the newest Blue Devils

On East Campus, after students settle in and begin classes, the Lilly Library and Duke Music Library offer several ways for the newest Blue Devils to learn and benefit from the incredible resources of the Duke Libraries. Lilly and Music sponsor Library Orientation events – including a film on the East Campus Quad and an Open House to introduce students to library services and collections. In recent years, students ventured into a library-themed Jurassic Park, played The Library Games, and were wowed by the Incredibles and our libraries’ super powers. This year, the Class of 2020 will explore the power of discovery and the rewards of research, and learn to “keep swimming” in our resources when they …

Dive Into the Libraries

Schedule of Library Orientation Events for Fall Semester 2016

Movie on the Quad: Finding Nemo
  • When: Saturday, September 3rd  at 9pm
  • Where: East Campus Quad between Lilly & the East Campus Union
Duke Class of 2020 Open House
  • When: Tuesday, September 6th from 7pm to 8pm
  • Where: Lilly Library
More Ways to Experience the Duke University Libraries:

After the excitement of the beginning of the new semester subsides, the Duke University Libraries continue to reach out to our students, always ready to offer research support and access to resources in support of their scholarly needs.

Here’s to a great fall semester!

Keep swimming!  And, remember – we’re available to help you “keep searching”!

Thanks to Devils After Dark for partnering
with the East Campus Libraries for our orientation events.

What to read this month


I don’t know about you, but when it’s as hot as it’s been this week, all I want to do is stay inside in the air conditioning with a good book (assuming escaping to a lovely beach isn’t an option). If reading sounds good to you too, you might find some good titles in either our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections.

  1. The Queen of the Night by  Alexander Chee.  From a writer praised by Junot Díaz as “the fire, in my opinion, and the light,” a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned diva .  You can read a NYT review here.
  2. Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton.  Do you enjoy historical fiction?  Then you might like this dramatization of the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women.
  3. The Fugitives by Christopher Sorrentino, a National Book Award finalist. He has written a book that is a bracing, kaleidoscopic look at love and obsession, loyalty and betrayal, race and identity, compulsion and free.
  4. The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline is a not to be missed New York Times Bestseller.  This debut novel about the Manson family murders has had a lot of good reviews, such as this, this, and this.
  5. The After Party by Anton DiSclafani.  Looking for more of a traditional beach read?  The check out the book O Magazine describes as “One of the 3 Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able to Put Down.”  This is the story of 1950s Texas socialites and the one irresistible, controversial woman at the bright, hot center of it all.

What to read this month


Looking for something interesting to read this summer?  Check out some of the great titles in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

  1. A Doubter’s Almanac : A Novel by Ethan Canin. Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there–and the rival he meets alongside her–will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.
  2. Pablo by Julie Birmant & Clément Oubrerie ; translated by Edward Gauvin ; coloured by Sandra Desmazières. This award-winning graphic biography of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) captures the prolific and eventful life of one of the world’s best-loved artists. Pablo explores Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Montmartre, his turbulent relationship with artist/model Fernande Olivier, and how his art developed through friendships with poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse. Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie depict a career that began in poverty and reached its climax with the advent of cubism and modern art.
  3. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship : Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott.  Pauli Murray should be of particular interest because of her connections to Durham!  In fact you might have seen some of these murals around town.  This book tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.
  4. Ginny Gall : A Life in the South by Charlie Smith.  A sweeping, eerily resonant epic of race and violence in the Jim Crow South: a lyrical and emotionally devastating masterpiece from Charlie Smith, whom the New York Public Library has said “may be America’s most bewitching stylist alive.”You can read reviews for this novel here and here.
  5. The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael Patrick Lynch.  We used to say “seeing is believing”; now googling is believing. With 24/7 access to nearly all of the world’s information at our fingertips, we no longer trek to the library or the encyclopedia shelf in search of answers. We just open our browsers, type in a few keywords and wait for the information to come to us. Indeed, the Internet has revolutionized the way we learn and know, as well as how we interact with each other. And yet this explosion of technological innovation has also produced a curious paradox: even as we know more, we seem to understand less.

What to read this month



Finally we’re moving into the summer months!  If you’re like me, you’ve got some vacation plans and other lazy days that are just made for relaxing with a book.  If so, you might want to check out some of the great titles in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  This book recently received the 2015 Nebula award for best novel.  It’s rooted (pun intended) in  folk stories and legends and features a great female protagonist.  It’s been one of my favorite reads this year!
  2. The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and the author of many books.  This book explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race–as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama’s major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes?
  3. Half-earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson.  In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date.  Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.
  4. The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery is translated from the French by Alison Anderson and is an inspiring literary fantasy about two gifted girls from the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Life of Elves sings of the human spirit and conveys a message of hope and faith.  You can read reviews here, here, and here.
  5. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing. This book uses memoir, biography, and cultural criticism to examine the subject of loneliness.  She examines the lives of six iconic artists, such as Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, and Henry Darger.  You can read a very thoughtful review in the NYT.

Finals week at Lilly

Where did the semester go?

Finals week at Lilly

As finals loom ahead, Lilly Library is here to help the sailing go as smoothly as possible.

For those of you looking to study all hours of the night and day, Lilly is now open 24/7 beginning Thursday, April 28 at 8 a.m. and closing 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Join us for our Study Break at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 2 for beverages and lots of snacks, both healthy (fruit and veggies) and the kind you really want to eat (cookies, brownies and the like).

Study Break at Lilly
Puzzles, games and more await for a “Brain Break” in the Relaxation Station in Lilly’s Training Room

And a Lilly tradition for the past several years–the Relaxation Station–is back, opening on Tuesday, May 3 and running through the end of exams on Saturday. The Relaxation Station offers games, puzzles, coloring and crafts so that students may take a moment (or two) to relax and recharge their gray matter!

Finally, Lilly Library is partnering with Devils After Dark to offer snacks on the evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, usually starting around 8 p.m. and in the Lilly foyer.

One more thing – GOOD LUCK on your Finals!

The Puppies are Back! Puppies in Perkins 2016


If studying for finals has you feeling a little overwhelmed…

Scared doggie
What is this? Did we learn this? Is it even in English?

Good News! It’s time for a study break.

Tuesday May 3rd, Puppies in Perkins will be back! Puppies, wagging tails, and snuggles for all. From 1 pm-4 pm in Perkins 217 therapy dogs will be in the library to soothe all your finals woes and give you the cuddles you so richly deserve.  Come take a study break and meet and greet the cutest pups on campus!

Your friendly neighborhood puppies are ready to help you study! Or at the very least chew on you pen.

What to read this month

what to read this month - april

April is National Poetry Month, and everyone is celebrating, even Bill Murray. Obviously, you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so here are some books of poetry and books about poetry from the New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

Books of Poetry

  1. The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink edited by Kevin Young includes both classic and contemporary poems on food and the experience of eating.
  2. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine is a meditation on race and racial aggressions in contemporary American society.
  3. If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? by Matthea Harvey is a combination of prose poetry and visual artwork.
  4. Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising up from Brooklyn to Palestine by Remi Kanazi examines the lives of Palestinians living in the Middle East and around the world.

Books about Poetry

  1. The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry, 1988-2014 by David Lehman is a compilation of forewords from the acclaimed annual series, The Best American Poetry.
  2. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle is a compilation of biannual lectures delivered to graduate students studying poetry.
  3. I Too Have Some Dreams: N. M. Rashed and Modernism in Urdu Poetry by A. Sean Pue explores the work of N. M. Rashed, Urdu’s renowned modernist poet.
  4. The Alvarez Generation: Thom Gunn, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Peter Porter by William Wootten examines the cultural influence of poetry produced in the 1950s and 1960s.

And just in case poetry isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Anders Nilsen’s sketchbook/graphic novel Poetry is Useless.

Shakespeare Celebrations Continue!

Last week we celebrated Shakespeare with a series of blog posts (which you can read here, here, here, here, and here.  We were also one of the reading locations for the Shakespeare Everywhere event! They had undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators participate!

In fact enjoy this video of the Brodheads reading in Duke Gardens!

Shakespeare celebrations continue across the world, with a lot of things happening tomorrow.   You can watch the live streaming event “The Wonder of Will: Sharing Shakespeare Stories” tomorrow from noon-1:30 ET.  More locally the Shakespeare Marathon begins tomorrow at the North Carolina Museum of History.

Let me also highlight a few articles and think pieces that are being written.  I  really enjoyed this article that has reflections from 25 authors about Shakespeare’s influence on them.  I thought this reflection on food in Shakespeare was really interesting.  Also, this article looks at why we are still obsessively talking about the bard after all this time.

Finally as you can imagine this year has been a banner year for new books about Shakespeare.  Here are a few in our collection (a couple of these aren’t out yet but are on order):

Shakespeare in our time : a Shakespeare Association of America collection edited by Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett

Worldly Shakespeare : the theatre of our good will by Richard Wilson

Shakespeare’s literary lives : the author as character in fiction and film by Paul Franssen

Selling Shakespeare : biography, bibliography, and the book trade by Adam G. Hooks

Teaching Shakespeare with purpose : a student-centred approach by Ayanna Thompson and Laura Turchi

Shakespeare, performance and the archive by Barbara Hodgdon

Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama Text and Performance by Pamela Bickley and Jenny Stevens

Shakespeare’s prop room: an inventory by John Leland and Alan Baragona

Shakespeare’s insults : a pragmatic dictionary by Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin


Adapting Shakespeare


Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted for many different periods, countries, and media.

Most obviously his plays have been produced on the stage in a variety of ways.  Some stage productions try to perform  the play as close to the original as possible, some decide to work with all female casts, and some set their productions in specific time periods, like the roaring 20’s or World War Two.  One way to see the different kinds of productions is to read stage histories.  In particular you might enjoy Shakespeare: An Illustrated Stage History.

Of course there have also been many film adaptions, many of which we own at Lilly Library.  Don’t forget too the classical music, operas, other plays, television, and musicals that have been based on Shakespeare’s plays!

I personally enjoy fiction adapted (or even just inspired by) from Shakespeare, including the new Hogarth Shakespeare series.  We already have Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold, and I’m especially looking forward to Margaret Atwood’s take on The Tempest.

Here are a few more titles to look for:

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.  A successful Iowa farmer decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.

Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez.  A brilliantly conceived retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on a lush Caribbean island during the height of tensions between the native population and British colonists.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.  The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield.  This is a humourous and ultimately moving novel about sex, drugs, and Shakespeare. It tells the story of struggling UC Santa Cruz student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg who is trying to write his thesis about the bard.

The Madness of Love by Katharine Davies.  Takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters.

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor.  The story, which makes many allusions to the dramatic works of Shakespeare, focuses upon the tragic love affair of “star-crossed” lovers Ophelia “Cocoa” Day and George Andrews.

Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike.  Tells the story of Claudius and Gertrude, King and Queen of Denmark, before the action of Shakespeare’s Hamlet begins. Employing the nomenclature and certain details of the ancient Scandinavian legends that first describe the prince who feigns madness to achieve revenge upon his father’s slayer, Updike brings to life Gertrude’s girlhood as the daughter of King Rorik, her arranged marriage to the man who becomes King Hamlet, and her middle-aged affair with her husband’s younger brother.

Wise Children by Angela Carter.  In their heyday on the vaudeville stages of the early twentieth century, Dora Chance and her twin sister, Nora―unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day―were known as the Lucky Chances, with private lives as colorful and erratic as their careers.


Conquer Finals with the Long Night Against Procrastination


What: Help with writing, research, finals prep, and de-stressing
Where: The Edge
When: Tuesday, April 19, 7:00-11:00 pm

So you think you have lots of time before finals.  That’s weeks away right? But finals are speeding towards us, and with them sleepless nights and too much caffeine. Don’t let all the final papers, presentations, and exams sneak up on you! Duke University’s Long Night Against Procrastination is a night set apart for maximum productivity–an evening you can devote to staying on stop of everything on your to-do list, and making your finals week that much easier.

 Staff from the Libraries, the TWP Writing Studio, and the Academic Resource Center will be on hand to provide research and writing assistance.  You can track your study progress and pick up free study materials throughout the evening.  There will also be stress-relieving activities including coloring, button making, and relaxation stations  for when you need a short brain break. And, of course, there will be plenty of snacks and drinks to feed your productivity.

To keep you motivated throughout the night there will be a t-shirt raffle every hour. Anyone who enters a goal on our goal wall, attends a writing session with the TWP Writing Studio staff, attends a reference help session with the librarians at the event, makes a button, or posts about the Libraries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram will be able to enter the raffle.

 Come out for a Long Night Against Procrastination and conquer your finals week!

Sponsored by Duke University Libraries, the TWP Writing Studio, Duke Student Wellness Center, and the Academic Resource Center

Refreshments provided by Duke University Campus Club and Friends of the Duke University Libraries

Celebrating Shakespeare

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This year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and people around the world are celebrating his life.  You can check out some of the festivities happening in the UK on the Shakespeare400 website.  Also, there are special performances and events at the Shakespeare Globe (I have to figure out a way to get there).  Back here in the United States the Folger Library is getting in on the action with their The Wonder of Will program.  Another thing not to be missed is the Shakespeare Documented online exhibit!

On Twitter scroll through #Shakespeare400 to see what people are talking about!

Locally check out some of the events taking place around Raleigh. It’s not too late to attend the Carolina Ballet’s performance of Macbeth.  The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA is putting on a festival on April 23rd!

Here at the library we are celebrating in several ways.   All this week we will be posting blog posts related to Shakespeare, using the hashtags #shakespeareeverywhere and #shakespeare400.  Rubenstein will be featuring several Shakespeare related documents, including this document showing some of Whitman’s thoughts about Shakespeare.  And of course this Friday the first hour (10-11)  of Shakespeare Everywhere will be taking place in The Edge Workshop Room.  They will then be moving over to the Hanes Iris Garden Amphitheater in Duke Gardens from 11:30-12:30, and then the LSRC Hall of Science Atrium from 1-2.

It’s National Library Week, so #ThankALibrarian!

ThankALibrarian Sidewalk Sign

What have we done for you lately?

That’s the question we’re asking Duke students and faculty today—and every day this week.

It’s National Library Week (April 10-16), and we’re celebrating by asking people to #ThankALibrarian and tell us how a librarian has helped them.

Has a librarian helped you with a paper or research project recently?  Or maybe someone helped you check out a book or a DVD? Or maybe someone came to one of your classes and taught you about a new tool or database?

If so, now’s your chance to say thanks! (We’ll only blush a little).

Look for groups of librarians all around campus (East and West) this week. We’ll be taking pictures, posting them on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts using the hashtag #ThankALibrarian.


You can also send us your own photo by downloading and printing this handy template. Write a message, take a photo, and post your photo with the hashtag #ThankALibrarian on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag us (@dukelibraries).

We’ll be giving away fun library buttons (because everyone loves buttons, right?). Plus you can enter a drawing to win one of our sweet Perkins-Bostock-Rubenstein library T-shirts.

You know you want one of these.

So if you see us out there, take a moment to stop and #ThankALibrarian!

Time Travel Films

The paradoxes of time travel are a never ending source of fascination for sci-fi film buffs. Lilly’s robust collection includes a few lesser known, but intriguing examples. In Timecrimes (2007) a man is drawn to a young woman who appears mysteriously in the woods near htimecrimesis house. The resulting events pull him into a series of time loops.

Primer (2004), which won primerthe Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is the tale of two men who invent a rudimentary time travel device in their garage. The Navigator (1988) tells the story of a band of 14th centurynavigatorceline and julie townsfolk who, while trying to escape the Black Death, stumble upon a fissure in time and end up in the 20th century. Jacques Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating follows the evolving friendship of two women and their magical trip into the past as they attempt to rescue a young girl.

Explore the Duke Libraries film and video collection for more time travel-related titles.


Shakespeare Everywhere


Since this year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s death, you’re going to see Shakespeare popping up everywhere.  In fact next week on April 15th the English department is doing a marathon reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets on three stages, including the Edge Workshop Room in the Bostock Library!

The deadline to sign up to read a sonnet (or two or three) via THIS LINK is Friday, April 8. Simply indicate what timeslot(s) you are available and you will be schedule to read (anywhere from 1-3 sonnets) during that slot.  Feel free to contact Michelle Dove at if you have more questions.

You are also welcome to just come and enjoy the readings!  If you are interested in checking out the sonnets beforehand, we have several copies in the library.  Also, you can watch actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant read some of the sonnets here.

African-American Filmmakers Before Spike Lee

In the mid 1980s Spike Lee opened the door for many African-spook who satAmerican filmmakers. It is sometimes easy to forget those who laid the groundwork for his success. Ivan Dixon’s 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by bush mamathe Door takes a look at discrimination within the CIA. Haile Gerima, the first important African-American female director, gave us Bush Mama (1975), which details the difficult life of a killer of sheepsingle mother.

Charles Burnett’s classic Killer of Sheep (1977) provides a glimpse of life in the Los Angeles Watts district. Melvin Van Peeples’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971) exploded out of the Blaxploitation era of the late sixties and early seventies. Continue reading African-American Filmmakers Before Spike Lee

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


Focus on Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Full Frame DVDs
Past Full Frame entries available at Lilly Library

It’s that time of year again!

Each spring, international filmmakers and film lovers flock to the  Full Frame Documentary Film Festival to experience the latest in documentary, or non-fiction, cinema showcased in our very own historic downtown  Durham.  Film showings highlight new programming in competition, and other events include expert panel discussions and themed screenings. Tickets go on sale April 1st.

Duke University Libraries support and highlight films from past festivals.  One resource is the Full Frame Archive Film Collection,  that includes festival winners from 1998-2012.  The film and video collection at Lilly Library includes many more Full Frame titles available to the Duke community.

Focus on Full Frame: films in Lilly Collections
Full Frame 2015 exhibit

This year’s 19th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival  honors independent director and documentary cinematographer, Kirsten Johnson, with the 2016 Tribute Award.  Cameraperson, Johnson’s newest film,  will be screened and a retrospective of her work will be presented.   This year’s Thematic Program is a series titled “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” curated by filmmaker R.J. Cutler, known for such films as The War Room and The World According to Dick Cheney.


When:  April 7-10, 2016
Where: Various venues in Downtown Durham

The festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies and receives support from corporate sponsors, private foundations and individual donors whose generosity provides the foundation that makes the event possible. The Presenting Sponsor of the Festival is Duke University.

What to read this month

what to read this month - march

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.

Video Spotlight on Women Filmmakers

It’s Women’s History Month! Spend this March 2016 watching wonderful films created by talented women from around the world.

The Video Spotlight on Women Filmmakers, created by Lilly Library’s own audio-visual specialist and film aficionado, Ken Wetherington, can give you great ideas of where to start.

In recent years women in film have begun to be slightly better recognized, like Katheryn Bigelow’s oscar-winning direction (the only time for a woman!) of The Hurt Locker.  hurt locker

But did you know that in the early days of cinema, many women were powerful creative forces? Movies like Lois Weber’s SuspenseThe Ocean Waif by Alice Guy Blaché and Cleo Madison’s Eleanor’s Catch,  and other women pioneers of early cinema, can be viewed in Duke Libraries’ new subscription database, Kanopy Streaming Video.


Check out Lilly’s foyer display exhibiting films by women in the history of cinema. Some of the titles just may surprise you…

Browse Ken’s Video Spotlight Archives for more topical viewing inspiration.


See the Pinstripe Bowl Trophy in the Library!

Image by Duke Photography
Head coach David Cutcliffe holds up the New Era Pinstripe Bowl trophy after Duke defeated Indiana. Image by Duke Photography.

On Tuesday, March 1, Duke fans will get a chance to see the university’s latest athletic accolade up-close and in-person in Perkins Library.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl trophy will be on public display across from the first floor service desk from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors are invited to stop by, take a photo with the trophy, and meet members of the Duke football team and Duke Athletics staff.

Historical Duke football memorabilia from the Duke University Archives will also be displayed, including game programs from the 1942 Rose Bowl, 1945 Sugar Bowl, 1955 Orange Bowl, and 1961 Cotton Bowl. Legendary coach Eddie Cameron’s own scrapbook from the 1945 Sugar Bowl will also be on display, containing photographs, clippings, letters, and souvenirs.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl trophy commemorates the Blue Devils’ historic win over Indiana University, 44-41, at Yankee Stadium, in one of the most dramatic games of the 2015 postseason.

The game gave Duke its first bowl victory since 1961.

So stop by the library, get a photo, and join us as we celebrate another historic Duke victory!

Related Pinstripe Bowl coverage from Duke Athletics

What to read this month


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!




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 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

what to read this month



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!


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


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


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.

William Henry Harrison and Reform?


Guest post by Carson Holloway, Librarian for History of Science and Technology, Military History, British and Irish Studies, Canadian Studies and General History

Why does this beautifully crafted lapel pin connect Harrison’s name with reform? Such questions provide a good deal of the appeal of fourteen campaign pins on display as part of the Kenneth Hubbard Collection of Political Campaign Ephemera in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In the current season of election news, Hubbard, a Duke alumnus and donor, has provided tokens of particular interest in contextualizing some notable presidential campaigns between 1840 and 1948.

William Henry Harrison’s is a name to ponder. Some might recognize that he was a President before the American Civil War. The alliteration of his name may sound familiar. Fewer could identify him as hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, though more would recognize the campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” referring to Harrison and his running mate, and successor.  Harrison, the oldest person elected President until Ronald Reagan, died from pneumonia contracted at his inauguration after serving fewer than forty days.

Harrison Lapel Pin

“Reform,” in Harrison’s campaign of 1840, was economic reform required as a result of a protracted depression known as the “Panic of 1837.”  Over a third of American banks in New York and elsewhere faltered and then failed after President Andrew Jackson’s administration decentralized the Federal banking system and British banks raised interest rates in response to perceived risk. Jackson’s Democratic successor, Van Buren, was unable to correct the economic course and prices for important agricultural export products like cotton plummeted. Whether Harrison’s Whig reforms would have been effective is questionable. The severe economic downturn lasted until 1844.

Like the Harrison pin, each of the items on display in the Rubenstein is interesting in its own right. A few have great aesthetic appeal like the Harrison pin. Other buttons illustrate powerful personalities and world-changing events. One particularly rare pin is from the only presidential campaign in which the candidate was running while serving a term in federal prison!

Horror in the Libraries

Getting ready for Halloween? So is Lilly Library! Come check out our collection of spooky DVDs and graphic novels, on exhibit through the end of October.

The H Word: Horror in the Libraries
The H Word: Horror in the Libraries
Future Imperfect: Dystopian and Post-Holocaust Cinema
Future Imperfect: Dystopian and Post-Holocaust Cinema

Our film exhibit features Dystopian and Post-Holocaust movies while graphic horror novels are highlighted in our The H Word: Horror in the Libraries exhibit. In addition, check out our guide to “Future Imperfect” for more dystopian movies. Last but not least, we have classic Halloween movie listings at the front desk, including a wide range of films from Ghostbusters to Paranormal Activity: Halloween DVDs at Lilly

No matter what you’re looking for, Lilly Library has something for everyone to get into the Halloween spirit!

History Hackathon – a collaborative happening

Students in Rubenstein Reading Room

What is a History Hackathon?

The term “Hackathon” traditionally refers to an event in which computer programmers collaborate intensively on software projects. But Duke University Libraries and the History Department are putting a historical twist on their approach to the Hackathon phenomenon. In this case, the History Hackathon is a contest for undergraduate student teams to research, collaborate, and create projects inspired by the resources available in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library collections. Projects may include performances, essays, websites, infographics, lectures, podcasts, and more. A panel of experts will serve as judges and rank the top three teams. Cash Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.

The History Hackathon will take place over a 72-hour period from October 23-25, in the Rubenstein Library and The Edge.  All the  guidelines, rules, and details may be found at the History Hackathon: a Collaborative Happening  site.Students in the Edge

  • When:  Friday, October 23rd to
    Sunday, October 25th

Contact :

Sponsored by the Duke History Department,  the Duke University Libraries, the David M. Rubenstein Library, and the Duke University Undergraduate Research Support Office.

Contributor: Susannah Roberson



Mountain Music of North Carolina: Terry McKinney, Oct. 6


Date: Tuesday, October 6
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library

Join us for an evening of music and conversation in the Rubenstein Library as we explore the deep roots of the Mountain Music of North Carolina.

Terry McKinney–bluegrass, country, and gospel musician–will give a free performance as part of the Archives Alive course NC Jukebox, which explores the history of music making in early twentieth-century North Carolina.

This event is free and open to the public.

To learn more about the Archives Alive initiative, a joint venture of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, visit the website.


Lyre, Lyre… Lyre at Lilly

Meet The Artist – John Billing

“I wish to tune my quivering lyre,/To deeds of fame, and notes of fire”
From Lord Byron’s “to his lyre”

John Billing, originally from England and now based in Ireland, is touring the East Coast of the United States during September and October, presenting workshops and performances.  John’s background is in art, textile design and music therapy. Come and hear the interesting story of the performer and his instrument. Mr. Billing will perform pieces by J. S. Bach and Turlough O’Carolan, in addition to original compositions.

♦Where: Thomas Room
Lilly Library, 2nd floor

♦When:  Friday October 2nd at 4pm
Light refreshments served at 3:30

What is the lyre?

The lyre is a stringed instrument from Ancient Greece, thought to metaphorically represent the skill of poets  as it accompanied their recitations.

Sponsored by the Lilly Library, East Campus Residence Life
and the Department of Classical Studies at Duke University.

What to read this month?


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.”



The First-Year Library Experience

Duke Libraries – Here to Help You


Lilly Library on East Campus
Lilly Library on East Campus

When is the library open? How do I find a book? Where do I print?*

Duke University’s newest students can find the answers to these questions (and more!) on the Library’s First-Year Library Services portal page.

Each August, a new class of undergraduates arrives in Durham ready to immerse themselves in the Duke Community.   Duke University Libraries serve as the core of intellectual life on campus. On East Campus particularly, the Lilly and Music Libraries have the unique opportunity to introduce our newest “Dukies” to the array of Library resources and research services available.

To help navigate the vast Library resources, we’ve created a portal especially for First-Year students. Through this portal page, new students (and even some not-so-new) can discover all that the Duke University Libraries offer:

Perkins-reading roomQuick Facts:  about collections and loan policies
Where:  to study, print, and … eat!
How:  to find and check out books & material, and get…
Help!:  Meet the  “who” – Librarians, Specialists, & Residence Hall Librarians
Research 101:  how to navigate the Research Process
Citation 101:  how to cite using recommended  styles
*And when is the Library open?
Find the answer in our list of the Top 12 Questions, developed with input from First-Year Library Advisory Board students.

Here’s to a great Fall Semester!




The Library Is Open…

Welcome to the Duke Class of 2019

Just for Duke 2019 - Clever Class
Just for Duke 2019 – Clever Class

Discover the First-Year Library Experience

On East Campus, after students settle in and begin classes, the Lilly Library and Duke Music Library offer several ways for the newest “Dukies” to learn and benefit from the incredible resources of the Duke Libraries. Lilly and Music sponsor Library Orientation events such as scavenger hunts, film showings, and prize drawings to familiarize them with library services and collections. In recent years, students played The Library Games, and were wowed by the Incredibles and the Libraries’ super powers. This year, the Class of 2019 will experience the power of discovery because …

The “Library is Open”!

Schedule of Events for Fall Semester 2015

Movie on the Quad: Jurassic Park
  • When:  Wednesday, August 26th at 9pm
  • Where: East Campus Quad between Lilly & the East Campus Union
Duke Class of 2019 Open House and Scavenger Hunt
  • When: Wednesday, September 2nd at 7pm
  • Where: Lilly Library
More Ways to Experience  the Duke University Libraries :

After the excitement of the new semester subsides, the Duke University Libraries continue to reach out to our students, always ready to  offer research support and  access to resources  in support of their scholarly needs.

Here’s to a great year – and Duke career –  filled with academic success!

Comics Trivia Night at Fullsteam, July 23

Comics Trivia 600x360
The Rubenstein Library at Duke holds one of the largest archival collections of comics in the world, including many rare and first issues.


Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Where: Fullsteam Brewery, 726 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701

Join the Duke University Libraries for a night of comics-themed trivia at Fullsteam Brewery in downtown Durham. Test your knowledge of superheroes, women in comics, comics and war, popular media depictions of comics, and more.

Duke’s Rubenstein Library is home to the Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection, which includes over 65,000 comics from the 1930s to the present, making it one of the largest archival comic collections in the world.

beer and banjos 2 600x360
Our comics trivia night will take place at Fullsteam Brewery in downtown Durham on July 23.


Our comics trivia night will coincide with Durham Comics Fest on July 25, an annual, all-ages celebration of comics and graphic novels organized by the Durham County Library.


This event is free and open to the public, ages 21 and up.