Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville Public Library
MPL Courtyard

Saturday, May 29, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #42: The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved, by Colin Wilson & Damon Wilson

British writer Colin Wilson has published extensively in the fields of paranormal research and criminology. His books are well-researched, thoroughly documented, soundly reasoned, and include comprehensive bibliographies. The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved, co-authored by Colin and Damon Wilson, presents the fruits of decades of diligent research into unsolved mysteries around the world. This title is especially fun to read, given its extensive coverage. It is intended to be an introduction to each of its topics; Colin Wilson assumes his readers will want to read more about every subject, and, so, he provides copious bibliographical references. Our book trailer below gives a brief introduction, but you should go to the book itself for a more complete preview. Had we touched upon every topic from the book, this book trailer would have been about five minutes long! So we've prepared a selective overview.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Thursday, May 27, 2010

MPL Serialization: Afterword of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

We present the afterword of an abridged version of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.) Right-click the document below and select the "full screen" viewing option if it is partially obscured. This completes our serialization of this abridged edition of the book. We hope you have enjoyed it.

MPL Serialization: Chapter Six of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

We present chapter six of the abridged version of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.) Right-click the document below and select the "full screen" viewing option if it is partially obscured.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MPL Serialization: Addendum

"Be sure to tell your readers that the library is serializing an abridged edition of my book," emailed Karl C. B. Muilliwey, author of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, which we are serializing in this blog.


Well, let's fix that hole right now. This blog is serializing an abridged version of Haunting at Sycamore Lake. There. I said it, and I'm glad.

This answers one reader's query as to why the chapters we have been posting have been so short. "How long is this book going to be?" wondered the reader. "It's up to chapter five already, and it's less than 30 pages."

Abridgement (also spelled abridgment) makes perfectly good business sense. Why would a publisher or author agree to a serialization of the complete edition of a soon-to-be-published book? Wouldn't that hurt subsequent sales? Why not allow an abridged serialization instead? That way, our blog readers get the "inside track" on the essential contents of the work, but there remains more stuff to read about later, when the publisher releases the book. Okay, I'm up to speed now.

Sorry we forgot to mention this sooner.

Chapter Six should arrive soon!

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Monday, May 24, 2010

Serialization Installment #6: Chapter Five of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

This is chapter five of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. We continue our serialization of the book. Click the hyperlink below. Please also check our previous blog entries for earlier chapters. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #41: "Lost Horizon," by James Hilton

English novelist James Hilton (1900-1954) wrote three great novels:
  • Lost Horizon (1933)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934)
  • Random Harvest (1941)
We have already showcased Random Harvest in this blog (and a book trailer), which we invite you to enjoy. Lost Horizon was Hilton's most philosophical work. The central theme may be reduced to a single word: moderation. But there is much more to Shangri-La than that, just as there is much more to Eastern mysticism than sitting cross-legged and chanting Om! Hilton himself strongly desired this book, more than any of his others, to reach a large audience. He felt he had something important to say. Rather than pontificate further, allow me simply to invite you to take a few hours to read the novel to see if it speaks to you as it has to millions of others. Some aspects of the book are probably outdated--the same could easily be said about anything, fictional or nonfictional, written over 75 years ago--and it certainly helps if one is familiar with British foreign service during the 1920s-1930s and the world political conditions after the first world war and, especially, those leading up to the second world war. But the philosophy of the novel is timeless and remains relevant to today's audience.

Our book trailer featuring Lost Horizon is included below:

We have borrowed "stills" from the motion picture adaptation, directed by Frank Capra and starring Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, and John Howard. The movie was nominated for Best Picture of 1937. If you have not yet seen it, I recommend you check it out at your local public library (if available) or your favorite video rental outlet. Like every Frank Capra film, it will invigorate the mind and entertain the senses. It was not his best film (You Can't Take It With You won the Oscar for Best Picture the next year, and, anyway, there are Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life that must be considered), but it was better than thousands of lesser productions that have escaped Hollywood over the last century.

Some students of the novel have argued that Shangri-La is a state of mind, that the flight from India is symbolic of Buddhism's migration from its birthplace outward (especially to Tibet), that Conway's indecision and ultimate protection of Mallinson, his assistant, revealed the struggle between one's ego consciousness and spiritual consciousness, or that the author intended Shangri-La to mirror other lost paradise themes, including Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden or John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. Hilton seems to have comfortably placed the story in an adventure framework, so we may safely presume that Shangri-La is no mere plot device for abstract philosophy or religious ideals. Perhaps it is simultaneously an idea and an actual, albeit fictional, place. Does it really matter? Hilton would probably tell us that we were moderately correct either way.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MPL Serialization: Chapter Four of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

We continue our serialization of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey, with chapter four. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.)  Click the hyperlink below.

Serialization Installment #4: Chapter Three of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

We present chapter three, the next serialization installment, of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.) Click the hyperlink below.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Installment #3 (Chapter 2) of Serialization of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

This is chapter two, the third installment of the book Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. (Copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.)  Click the hyperlink below to read chapter two.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Serialization Installment #2: Chapter One of "Haunting at Sycamore Lake," by Karl C. B. Muilliwey

Here is the second installment of our serialization of Haunting at Sycamore Lake, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. This is the first chapter of the book. Click the hyperlink below to read the first chapter.

We will be blogging these installments as we receive them, with a minimum of one per week, provided the author meets his deadlines. We are blogging the installments as written, so you will see the book develop as the writing takes shape. We hope you enjoy it.

Please check our earlier blogs for previous installments. Thanks for reading!
(Haunting at Sycamore Lake copyright © 2010 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

MPL Readers' Advisory: "A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories," by Ray Bradbury

A new collection of relatively obscure Ray Bradbury short stories and novellas has been collected under the title A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories (Donn Albright, vol. edr., & Jon Eller, textual edr.) Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2010 (ISBN 9781596062900). One story, "The Fireman," was the immediate antecedent to the full-length novel, Fahrenheit 451. Otherwise, the stories included in this anthology are only tangentially related. They were Bradbury's explorations of the social and political issues upon which he subsequently elaborated in his novels, particularly in Fahrenheit 451. Like most Bradbury fare, there are unexpected twists and topsy-turvy perspectives, as he reverses the typical horror/science fiction and fantasy plot devices to extract new insights. There is always more to Bradbury than meets the eye. His colorful, flowing prose carries the reader along, easily and comfortably, so that the reader is lulled into Bradbury's fantastic scenarios as if they were merely intriguingly bizarre tales. But there are powerful social and political themes underlying Bradbury's words. His writing implores the reader to think, seriously, about his reflections on the here-and-now (couched safely in futuristic or fantasy-based situations). This collection is a wonderful supplement to any of Bradbury's works.

We reprise our YouTube book trailer for Fahrenheit 451, below.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Thursday, May 13, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #40: Harold Lloyd: Magic in a Pair of Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Our book trailer below showcases Harold Lloyd: Magic in a Pair of Horn-Rimmed Glasses, by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd.

If you have never seen the great comedies from Hollywood's silent movie era, you have been unreasonably deprived of one of life's true pleasures. Pillars among the many comedic talents of the day included Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, the subject of our video. Lloyd began working with Hal Roach in his early motion picture days (both were extras playing bit parts at the time). The duo combined to perfect "thriller comedy," packing films with amazing daredevil stunts. Buster Keaton likewise became famous for his hair-raising, death-defying antics on film. Others, like Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Keystone Kops were known for their highly physical, "pratfall" comedic style (Chaplin being the most sophisticated), but Lloyd and Keaton really pushed the safety envelope, performing truly dangerous stunts themselves. Lloyd's hanging from a building clock in Safety Last (1923) and Keaton's having a building fall over him (while he passed, unscathed, through an open window) in Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), are two examples of their most exciting exploits.

Annette Lloyd's book is an enthusiastic look at Harold Lloyd's life through serendipitous eyes. What were the key turning points in Lloyd's life that led to his skyrocketing success in motion pictures? What were the critical choices he made that resulted in his decline during the early days of "talkies"? Annette Lloyd examines this territory carefully, providing fresh glimpses into the life of a comedic genius.

In the pre-1930 silent movie era, there was an enormous amount of creativity, originality, and experimentation. The motion picture medium was less than three decades old, and everything was new. Harold Lloyd earned his star in Hollywood history by creating some of the best comedies in this energized environment, and silent film fans are eternally grateful. Check out your local public library's DVD collection to see if it has any Harold Lloyd titles. If not, visit your favorite online or neighborhood video store. The satellite/cable television network, TCM (Turner Classic Movies), regularly airs silent movies as part of its late night Sunday lineup, so watch there for Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, et al. Great comedy is a terrible thing to miss. We could all use more belly laughs in our lives.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #14: Exclusive Book Serialization!

Novelist Doug Clegg was one of the pioneers of electronic serialization (called eserials, which looks like a typo without the hyphen--we prefer e-serials). Every Friday, while Clegg was writing a novel, he would email a freshly written chapter to his fans. This was years before Stephen King tried his hand at pre-publication electronic dissemination of his work.

Book serialization is nothing new. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle serialized his Sherlock Holmes stories in The Strand magazine in the 1890s. Similarly, H. G. Wells and Jules Verne serialized their science fiction novels during this time period.

Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) is pleased to announce that it will be "e-serializing" a non-fiction book, Haunting at Sycamore Lake, written by Hoosier author Karl C. B. Muilliwey (a nom de plume). Our book trailer below gives a sneak preview.

Muilliwey will be writing the book as we serialize it, so you will have an opportunity to see the material take shape. We begin with the preface, in which Muilliwey establishes his story's ground rules.

Now, for the legal boilerplate:

Excerpts from Haunting at Sycamore Lake copyright © 2010 by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by Permission.

Click the hyperlinks below to start the spook tales!

Haunting at Sycamore Lake
by Karl C. B. Muilliwey
© 2010 by Karl C. B. Muilliwey. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by Permission.

MPL Book Trailer #39: "The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On," by Ptolemy Tompkins.

Survival of bodily death has been a staple of psychical research since the early 19th century. The famous scientists and academics who founded the Society for Psychical Research in England (and its U.S. counterpart, the American Society for Psychical Research) objectively and open-mindedly investigated paranormal phenomena to determine their authenticity. This has included the study of animal, as well as human, survival beyond physical death.

There is considerable evidence suggestive of animal, as well as human, survival (see suggested further readings below). Furthermore, there are philosophical and religious arguments favoring survival of animals' souls. Our YouTube book trailer below features one such book, The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On, by Ptolemy Tompkins.

Religions and philosophies throughout world history have declared that there is some supreme intelligence permeating the universe. If that is a perpetual life energy existing in everything, then it would be reasonable to assume that it imbues animals, too, with this sustaining, eternal force. But does that life source translate into surviving intelligence or consciousness? If, for the moment, we accept that human consciousness survives the demise of physical bodies, then there is no logical reason not to extend the same conditions to animals. However, some would argue that human consciousness, along with the thoughts and actions of any living thing, is solely the product of biological processes that cease when the physical body dies.

There is over 150 years of scientific evidence demonstrating survival of bodily death, if one wishes to review it. Some may choose to ignore the facts established in such research, but it is always easier to ignore information that contradicts one's preconceived notions. It certainly reduces cognitive dissonance. For now, let us consider the question in terms of non-human animals. Ptolemy Tompkins presents a vigorously researched and insightful analysis, whether or not you agree with his conclusions. It is also well written, so it is a pleasure to read.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian


Bayless, Raymond. Animal Ghosts: a Survey of Animal Extrasensory Perception and Animal Survival of Death (University Books, 1970).

Sheridan, Kim, Ph.D. Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends' Journey Beyond Death (Hay House, 2006) (ISBN 1401908896).

Shanahan, Niki Behrikis. There is Eternal Life for Animals (Pete Publishing, 2002) (ISBN 0972030107).

Smith, Penelope. Animals in Spirit: Our Faithful Companions' Transition to the Afterlife (Atria Books, 2008) (ISBN 1582701776).

Smith, Scott S. The Soul of Your Pet: Evidence for the Survival of Animals After Death (Holmes, 1998) (ISBN 1558184023).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #36: Sacred Healing, by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Our book trailer below features Sacred Healing: the Curing Power of Energy and Spirituality, by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Shealy has had a distinguished career as a medical practitioner and educator. His work in pain management guaranteed a prominent place in modern medicine's innovative treatments. His willingness to objectively evaluate alternative medical practices has irked many conventional allopathic practitioners, whose allegiance with traditional, pharmaceutical-based medical care has generated a drug-reliant culture in the United States. For many years, Dr. Shealy has challenged conventional wisdom and presented well-documented and thoroughly researched information about the benefits of non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical remedies.

Sacred Healing examines psychic and spiritual healers to determine their authenticity and efficacy in curing disease. Like his previous book, Occult Medicine Can Save Your Life: a Modern Doctor Looks at Unconventional Healing (Columbus, OH: Brindabella Books, 1975), co-written with Arthur S. Freese, Dr. Shealy has courageously investigated and analyzed various non-traditional, natural health care procedures and methodologies. Were it not for his renown as a skilled allopathic practitioner--a scientist rooted in traditional Western medicine--he would surely have been crushed by proponents of the status quo health care system, which enjoys billions of dollars in profits from prescription drug sales.

True science does not prejudge outcomes based on predilections or preconceptions. Rather, real science examines evidence objectively, with an open, but critical, mind. Dr. Shealy has followed the dictates of this "scientific method" in his research and writing. Along with many other health care professionals, who have risked their reputations in pursuit of improvements in medical care, Dr. Shealy deserves our objective attention. His books, as well as those suggested below, may open your eyes to new possibilities. The result may be a healthier you. Who wouldn't want that?

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian


Barbanell, Maurice. Saga of Spirit Healing. London : Spiritualist Press, 1954.

Benor, Daniel J., M.D. Spiritual Healing: Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution. (Healing Research Series, Vol. I) Southfield, Mich. : Vision Publications, 2001. (ISBN 1886785112).

Edwards, Harry. The Evidence for Spirit Healing. London : Spiritualist Press, 1953.

Gerber, Richard, M.D. Vibrational Medicine: the #1 Handbook for Subtle-Energy Therapies. Rochester, Vt. : Bear & Co., 3rd ed., 2001. (ISBN 1879181584).

Healers and the Healing Process (G. W. Meek, ed.) Wheaton, Ill. : Quest Books, 1977. (ISBN 0835604985).

Karagulla, Shafica, M.D. Breakthrough to Creativity: Your Higher Sense Perception. Marina Del Rey, Calif. : DeVorss & Co., 1967. (ISBN 0875160344).

Karagulla, Shafica, M.D., & van Gelder Kunz, Dora. The Chakras and the Human Energy Fields. Wheaton, Ill. : Quest Books, 1989. (ISBN 0835606414).

Myss, Caroline, Ph.D. & Shealy, C. Norman, M.D., Ph.D. The Creation of Health: the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Responses That Promote Health and Healing. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1993. (ISBN 0609803239).

Schwartz, Gary E., Ph.D., & Simon, William L. The Energy Healing Experiments: Science Reveals Our Natural Power to Heal. New York : Atria Books, 2007. (ISBN 9780743292399).

Shealy, C. Norman, M.D., Ph.D., & Freese, Arthur S. Occult Medicine Can Save Your Life: a Modern Doctor Looks at Unconventional Healing. Columbus, OH : Brindabella Books, 1975. (ISBN 0898049040).

Worrall, Ambrose A., & Worrall, Olga. The Gift of Healing: a Personal Story of Spiritual Therapy. Columbus, OH : Ariel Press, 1985. (ISBN 0898041422).

Monday, May 10, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #38: This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, by Marilyn Johnson

When the World Wide Web proliferated in the mid-1990s, there was much gnashing of teeth and apocalyptic prediction among the library sciences profession. "This means the end of reference librarianship," lamented the doomsayers. "Books and physical libraries have become obsolete," cried other web worshippers. With the advent of online keyword searching, why catalog information, since, as the Internet liturgy went, you can find anything you want just by typing in some magic words?

Anyone who knows anything about information (that would be librarians, for instance) can tell you that the more information that becomes readily available to the masses, the greater the need for somebody to organize it and facilitate its accessibility. If anyone doubts this, try typing any basic search term into a search engine (like Google or Yahoo) and see how much material you retrieve. Most people would waste an enormous amount of time looking for answers this way, despite the automatic filtering options available on the search engines to assist users (sort of an automated reference librarian function, which, admittedly, is better than a kick in the shorts). But people aren't stupid; instead of aimlessly and endlessly surfing the web, they will ask an information specialist--a reference librarian--to guide them to the desired answers. There are ample statistics showing that reference questions at libraries have dramatically increased since millions began using the web daily. But I don't need general statistics to know this is true; my daily workload demonstrates it. One of my job duties is answering reference queries from patrons.

Marilyn Johnson delivers the message of librarians' salvation to the world of information users (that's us) in her new book, which is featured in our book trailer below:

Perhaps it is self-serving for a librarian to sing the praises of her/his own profession, but I find Johnson's message both accurate and compelling. (Johnson, by the way, is not a librarian. I am, or, rather, I play one at work). Check out the book's official web site at for greater insights. The author's other web site is, which is well worth a visit.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Friday, May 7, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #33: Red Snake, by George McMullen

Did George McMullen actually communicate with the discarnate spirit of a 17th century Huron Native American named Red Snake? That question is purely peripheral to the story itself, which is tremendously enjoyable to read regardless of whether it is factually-based fiction (as the contents are historically accurate, based on what is known about the North American Hurons) or an actual (auto?)biographical account. Red Snake, the purported narrator, reveals an immensely personal tale replete with details about how he and the people of his community lived their daily lives. We learn how they dressed, what they ate, how they hunted and fished, what tools they used, and what they talked about amongst themselves. A glimpse is given into their living accommodations and village arrangement, the political and social structures of their society, and their interrelationships with other Native American groups, as well as their natural environment. Red Snake's matter-of-fact tone lends his narration an authenticity sometimes lacking in other first-person voiced books, both fiction and nonfiction. There is no attempt to dramatize or sensationalize; rather, the author is recounting one person's life in a highly personal but engaging fashion.

Our book trailer below attempts to visualize the essence of the work. The soundtrack, The White River, was written to express the natural beauty that Native Americans saw when they lived in central Indiana before Europeans settled, according to its composer, Danny Buckley, who graduates next week from Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois). The piece seemed particularly apt for this book trailer:

As an intuitive archaeologist, George McMullen demonstrated his psychic talents for locating hidden archaeological artifacts with amazing accuracy. The father of Canadian archaeology, J. Norman Emerson, estimated McMullen's accuracy at 80 percent, while another well-known archaeologist, Stephan A. Schwartz, suggested a 75 percent rate. Both worked extensively with McMullen (see, e.g., Schwartz, Stephan A. The Alexandria Project. Lincoln, NE.: Authors Guild/iUniverse, 2001; McMullen, George. One White Crow. Norfolk, VA: Hampton Roads, 1994) and were scientifically convinced that his psychic skills were authentic and reliable. Skeptics may dismiss psychic experiences because they contradict their preconceived world views, but the true scientist keeps an open, but critical, mind and objectively evaluates the evidence. That is what Emerson and Schwartz, along with many other courageous scientists, did with McMullen and other psychics with whom they experimented. The proof is demonstrated in McMullen's case, so perhaps we should consider Red Snake with the same open-mindedness, suspending our disbelief as we delve into this vanished culture. But, again, that is secondary. We can enjoy McMullen's book taken at face value, because it is such a wonderfully well-written story.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Thursday, May 6, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #37: Corduroy, by Don Freeman

One of my children's favorite books was Corduroy, by Don Freeman. Huge department stores , such as the one described in the story, were becoming the norm when the book was published in 1968, and enclosed mall complexes had mushroomed in many suburban areas near larger U.S. cities. In 1966, for instance, I recall my first visit to an enclosed mall between Pittsburgh and McMurray, Pennsylvania, the town in which my family resided. The mall was enormous, and there were more stores in one place than I had ever previously seen. None of the neighborhood shopping centers in my hometown of Lafayette, Indiana, could compare with the grandeur of this place. Gimbels (short for Gimbel Bros.) was there--I knew about Gimbels, and, of course, Macy's, from the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street--and on our rare visits I enjoyed exploring this commercial cornucopia.

But I digress. The setting for Corduroy was a large department store, but the story is actually about how minor physical imperfections are unimportant; rather, it is one's character that counts. Everybody deserves to be loved, and to give love, regardless of how they may look. In Corduroy's case, his missing button may make him unappealing as a goods purchase, but to the little girl who discovers him, he will become a wonderful friend. Buttons can be sewed back on, after all.

So, caregivers, I hope our book trailer below encourages you to read this book to your children. Mine loved it, and I hope yours will, too.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #27: The Snake Pit, by Mary Jane Ward

The Snake Pit, by Indiana-born author Mary Jane Ward, is featured below in one of our YouTube book trailers. Although the book was published in 1946, it is a bluntly truthful and personal narrative exposing the darker practices in mental health care during the middle 20th century. Many of the physical restraints and practices have been replaced by chemical counterparts, but the ultimate effects may be essentially the same. See, e.g., Goffman, Erving. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates (Garden City, N.Y. : Anchor Books, 1961); Szasz, Thomas S. The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct (New York: Harper Perennial, rev. ed., 1974).

The movie images included in our book trailer are courtesy of the motion picture The Snake Pit (1948), starring Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan, and Leo Genn, and directed by Anatole Litvak. De Havilland was nominated for the best actress Academy Award for her role but lost to Jane Wyman (for her performance in Johnny Belinda).

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #35: Bubble Gum and Hula Hoops, by Harry Oliver

There is something fascinating about the history of everyday objects. Take a look around you. Have you ever wondered how the devices you routinely use in your daily life were developed? Harry Oliver has provided some answers in Bubble Gum and Hula Hoops: the Origins of Objects in Our Everyday Lives (Perigee/Penguin Group, 1st American ed., 2010, © 2007). The book was originally published under the title Cat Flaps and Mousetraps in Great Britain in 2007 by John Blake Publishing.

Our book trailer gives a hint of the author's inquiries into the origins of many common human contrivances:

My only objection to this book is that Oliver (or his editors) decided to omit bibliographical references. It was a logical choice--a bibliography would double the book's length--but the reader is thereby precluded from determining the source of Oliver's information and, thus, the authenticity of his historical analysis. I have no reason to doubt Oliver's accuracy; however, as a librarian and a college instructor, I am accustomed to documentation.

This is not, however, a book intended for academic research; instead, it is meant to be fun to read. It is that, for sure. The past for each entry blossoms through Oliver's steady prose. It is reminiscent of good folklore, in that the stories can be quickly and easily digested without losing their overall impact. Is the information totally reliable? Without a bibliography, there is no way to tell for certain; however, I'll cut the author some slack. I probably wouldn't rely on the book to answer game show questions, or even test questions at school, for that matter, but I can enjoy Oliver's accounts without worrying too much about exactitude. I can always research the subjects further myself.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Monday, May 3, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #26: Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer

June is traditionally the month of weddings, but there are many in May (I, myself, had one in May, and another in March. Same lady, though). Our book trailer below looks at one of several popular wedding planners and organizers:

Weddings can be hectic, but careful planning can avoid many headaches and unnecessary expenses. Good luck, and I hope your special day goes smoothly.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Sunday, May 2, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #34: The Thurber Carnival, by James Thurber

When I was in second grade, one of my mother's college roommates stopped by. As was typical whenever a grown-up engaged a child of seven years in conversation, she asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. "A writer," I replied. She was surprised, as this was a departure from the anticipated response of policeman, fireman, astronaut, jet pilot, cowboy, and similar occupations that most boys that age usually offered. After a moment, she recovered her poise and presented her follow-up inquiry: "What kinds of things are you going to write?" "I write stories," I said. This apparently exhausted the subject, and my mother's college roommate returned to adult discussions.

Although I have never read a biography about James Thurber, I imagine he would have said the same thing at that age. Thurber and his office buddy at The New Yorker magazine, E. B. White, who friends called "Andy," were my teenage heroes. Like all the great writers I worshiped in those days (e.g., H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, etc.), I admired Thurber and White's abilities to craft seemingly effortless prose. As good as White was, I felt that Thurber had an edge, because he was wittier. In junior high school, I was beginning to comprehend dramatic irony, and wit impressed me. That's what I enjoyed about Twain, too. These were clever people, observing everything, and sharing their humorous thoughts about what was happening. That's how I wanted to write. I also wanted to become a rock-and-roll star and walk on the moon, which were approximately as unlikely as my becoming the kind of writer Thurber, White, Twain, et al., were.

So, like almost everybody else, I must be satisfied with appreciating great authors through their works. The Thurber Carnival is a collection of Thurber gems that are sure to deliver smiles and laughs. Our book trailer gives some sense of the scope of Thurber's talents.

Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1894, just seven years after my maternal grandfather was born in Hamilton, Ohio. Both attended Ohio State University at approximately the same time. Did their paths cross there? Probably not--Ohio State was a big school, even in the early 20th century--but that Ohio boyhood gave Thurber great inspiration for some of his best stories. (Not, apparently, for my grandfather; all of his best stories were from the American West and his days as a cavalry captain during World War I warding off Pancho Villa's raids into Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona border towns.)

Although Thurber spent his adult life rooted in New York City as a writer for The New Yorker, he never forgot his Midwestern experiences. But he was no mere nostalgic writer; rather, he combined his keen observational powers with his finely honed writing skills to produce some of the 20th century's grandest "current events" essays. Writing was everything for Thurber. When he was hospitalized for an operation to save his failing eyesight, Thurber told his friend and editor, Harold Ross, "If I can't write, I can't breathe." Even after he was declared legally blind, Thurber kept writing. When you have something to say, you say it. We are fortunate indeed to have had someone of Thurber's talents saying it.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian

Saturday, May 1, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #25: The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Aspects of the Extended Mind, by Rupert Sheldrake

In the previous blog, we discussed the work of renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake. Our book trailer (below) examines another of Sheldrake's books, The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Aspects of the Extended Mind. In this work, Sheldrake considers psychic, non-sensory awareness and discusses his experiments to demonstrate the reality and validity of such phenomena. He explains the existence of such capabilities as being part of normal animal biological development, in which energies, including life, are interconnected throughout the universe.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian