Mooresville Public Library

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #88: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne, is an adventure novel, although most reviewers would call it science fiction, because Verne is considered the father of modern sci-fi, and his novels are strongly rooted in the real-life science of his day. Our book trailer summarizes the plot:


Captain Nemo, one of the main characters, is a champion of the downtrodden and exploited, and Verne uses the novel to comment about the political, social, and economic climates in various parts of the world. Nemo's name is purportedly derived from Odysseus, hero of Homer's Odyssey, suggesting that Verne modeled his work along similar adventurous, epic themes. Nemo is the Latin derivation of "No Man" or "No Body," which is the name Odysseus gave the cyclops Polyphemus to shield the hero's true identity.

Twenty Thousand Leagues, first published in 1869, was inspired by the real-life work of Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, an oceanographer who charted winds and ocean currents and, among other things, collected items from the bottom of the sea. The book contains many prescient details, such as submarine warfare, deep sea diving, and aqualungs. Verne follows the routes of several 19th century French explorers. The book title refers to the distance the submarine travels underwater as it circumnavigates the globe. The name Nautilus was taken from Robert Fulton's first successful submarine vessel constructed in 1800. Although deep sea diving apparatus existed as early as 1865, Verne removed the tethering and equipped them with portable air supplies (like modern aqualungs) to allow greater mobility for his characters. Captain Nemo and his famous vessel returned in Verne's sequel, The Mysterious Island (1874).

Verne's 19th century prose is remarkably readable for a 21st century audience. Like Robert Louis Stevenson, whose novel Treasure Island offers comparable thrills, Verne tells a compelling, engaging, and exciting story substantially influenced by actual, historic events, inventions, or scientific theories. Generations have thoroughly enjoyed his novels. Won't you join them? You'll be satisfied with the result.


William R. Buckley
MPL Reference Coordinator & Indiana Room Historian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #87: In Tune With the Infinite, by Ralph Waldo Trine

Automobile industrialist Henry Ford attributed his business success to this book. It heavily influenced Queen Victoria at the height of British rule. It sold over two million copies and continues to positively affect readers today. Our book trailer below gives a preview of what one publisher called "an inspirational masterpiece that transcends time" (The Oaklea Press, 2002):



Most people probably have never heard of Ralph Waldo Trine or his benchmark work, In Tune With the Infinite, first published in 1897, and which has been in print periodically since. But those who have carefully studied it will state unequivocally that the book made a lasting impact upon their mental outlook on life, the universe, and their respective roles in the cosmic order. Trine was obviously named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose transcendentalism significantly influenced Trine and his writings.

What makes Trine's book relevant today is the pervasiveness of cynicism and hopelessness in the world. Negative energies poison our society and paralyze our abilities to perform meaningful and socially beneficial actions. A "doom-and-gloom" mentality creates an expectation of failure or undesirable outcomes. Personally, if we assimilate these attitudes, we are more likely to suffer in our daily ventures than we would if we held more positive, optimistic thoughts and feelings.

Trine felt that everything in the universe is connected to an all-encompassing Spirit of Infinite Life and Power, which infuses existence with a loving, caring wholeness. We may choose to align ourselves with the force, or we may distance ourselves from it (which, as the author notes, is an original meaning of hell, i.e., to build a wall around or to separate). Persons immersed in annulling energies remove themselves from the supreme spiritual pervasiveness that is the universe. That, Trine points out, is a matter of personal choice--free will--and one may just as easily choose to embrace a more positive expression of life, which will inevitably lead to great improvements in our everyday lives.

Trine wrote over a century ago, before publishers cascaded bookshelves with forests of "new age" literature. Trine was expressing philosophy in a century that was perhaps more amenable than ours to such weighty pondering. But interest in metaphysics has blossomed since the 1960s, and Trine's book remains an exemplary contribution to the value of positive thinking, feeling, and living. It may just revitalize your life; at the very least, it will give you pause for thought.



William R. Buckley
MPL Reference Coordinator & Indiana Room Historian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us

P.S. Interested readers may check their favorite booksellers, libraries, and online venues (for free downloadable PDF copies).


Sunday, December 26, 2010

MPL Music Review: Touch of Winter: 10 Journeys Through White Magick



Viewers of the Mooresville Public Library (MPL) YouTube Channel are familiar with the music of the library's composer, Daniel E. Buckley. Nearly one year ago, Danny released his CD entitled Touch of Winter: 10 Journeys Through White Magick (Archangel Productions, 2010), available for purchase through Shady Creek Station, an eBay seller. (The album may also be heard free-of-charge from the composer's website.) Given the unusually harsh December weather Indiana has been experiencing, which is, admittedly, tame compared with more northerly climates, it seemed appropriate to review this CD.

In its most basic form, Touch of Winter is a seasonal allegory. It reflects the perennial life cycle typical of temperate zones worldwide. But, as is true of great literature and music, there is so much more. Each listener may freely interpret its meanings, discerning personal, emotional significance as s/he finds it.

One may recognize the spiritual overtones that permeate the composer's ten journeys: the withdrawal of visible life as winter's embrace tightens upon the land; the dormancy, or sleep, of new, potential life; and the gradual rebirth of life as winter recedes. Rebirth is a principle religious theme, and risen deities such as Jesus Christ, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus, Zalmoxis, Inanna (Ishtar), and Persephone are familiar names among Christians; ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Sumerians, and Persians; and the followers of the Eleusinian mysteries. Pagan faiths, as well as more modern philosophical systems, such as Transcendentalism and Theosophy, have long recognized the natural rebirth that follows seasons in the northerly and southerly latitudes. Spiritualism is fundamentally concerned with survival of bodily death and a continued, future life following a transitional period of rejuvenation. Reincarnation, or transmigration of the soul, which is the literal physical rebirth of the spirit following bodily death in a new body, is a central pillar of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Neoplatonism, Spiritism, Rosicrucianism, Gnosticism, and Druidism, to name but a few. These concepts find a foothold in Touch of Winter, if one chooses to find them there. Of course, one may equally choose otherwise.

Although it is acceptable to interpret music through one's personal cognitive or emotional filters for one's own personal satisfaction, it is important not to superimpose one's interpretations upon the composer's work as an overall pronouncement of meaning for everyone. The composer invites you to enjoy his work, and he leaves its relative significance, if any, to his listeners to unveil. He believes in the transformative power of music, which is sufficient. There is much here for you to enjoy.

But an academic reviewer, particularly one who has listened to this album about 500 times (and never tires of a reprise), has to give some interpretive suggestion, so here goes. Readers, naturally, should feel free to claim what s/he likes, discarding any (or all) found wanting.

The music moves through the seasonal life cycle, alluding to the Roman goddess Diana, the deity of the hunt, whose life must withdraw through winter and become reborn with spring. The ten journeys begin with "I Am Winter," a declaration of the approaching end of cultivation. "White Magick" is an affirmation of the Wiccan trust that virtue (i.e., order, as exemplified by society's cornucopia and spiritual goodness) shall triumph over evil (disorder and corruption). "Yule" is celebratory of the grand harvests upon which human survival is dependent. "Ice Skating on Glass" reminds of the transitory nature of all seasons (and, by implication, all physical existence). "The Allure of Diana Under Pale Moonlight" emphasizes the attraction people feel for living a productive, satisfying, physical existence, reveling completely in the "now," when life's pleasures and enticements are in full bloom. "Moonlight Funeral (Diana's Final Breath)" shows life entering hibernation (i.e., the illusion of death) as it retreats before winter's onslaught. "Winter Sleeps" reiterates life's hibernation, rather than extinction, telling of approaching rebirth as spring warms the countryside. "Shadow Moon" reveals that death and rebirth are, like day and night and sun and moon, simply opposing sides of the same coin. "He Who Comes for My Soul" is an exuberant march, announcing that life returns (in spring) following the physical "death" of winter, although we must accompany "The Midnight Visitor," who guides the soul through this seasonal and spiritual passageway to salvation.

Is this what the composer meant? Almost certainly not; but each listener, especially academic ones, likes to discover the meanings that most resonate with his or her ideas and philosophies. The only certainty is that the composer wishes you to enjoy his music. That you may do effortlessly. It is as easy as your next breath.


Karl C. B. Muilliwey
Guest Reviewer
MPL Readers' Advisory

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Blog Design

We have just redesigned several of our blogs, including this one, to include more hyperlinks to the library's various social networking sites and online patron services. We hope you will find the new design easier to navigate and more aesthetically pleasing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New MPL Blog! Cat's Eye View, by Cauli Le Chat

Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) has a new blog! Feline roving reporter Cauli Le Chat is pounding the four-legged beat to deliver the latest library news of interest to cats (and humans). Many libraries have resident cats--a good thing, by any acceptable standard--but MPL is among the vanguard with its star reporter, whose "nose for news" can sniff out the facts and keep readers abreast of current events at the library.

Check out Cat's Eye View (at Mooresville Public Library) at http://mplcatseyeview.blogspot.com/


Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter, Four-Legged News Beat
(a.k.a. "Kit Cauliflower," former boxer, lightweight feline division)

[Pssst! Don't touch the ear. She still has a mean right hook.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

The People's Historian's Swan Song



Historian Howard Zinn passed over in January, 2010, just one month after completing the introduction to his final book, The Bomb (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2010) (ISBN 9780872865099), one of the Open Media Series titles. Like all of Zinn's books, it is an essential, if quite short, read, whether or not one agrees with his political orientation. His works were always exquisitely researched, his sources impeccably documented, his analysis solidly pragmatic and logical, and his prose engaging and straightforward. Each of Zinn's books delivers aspects of history, especially American history, that are ignored, overlooked, and, worst of all, actively suppressed by traditional, "establishment" historians. Zinn was the hero of the historically disenfranchised. He was, quite simply, the people's historian. His best known book, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present (New York: 1st HarperPerennial ed., 1995), remains the vanguard in presenting "forgotten history." Like sociologist and historian James Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me, Zinn corrected the misconceptions propagated by "establishment" historians, whose "feel good" accounts distorted history taught in primary, secondary, and postsecondary education.

I had heard of neither Howard Zinn nor James Loewen by age 37, despite having minored in history in college and having read the subject extensively. My introduction to Zinn resulted from a domestic squabble. At the time I was a communications specialist in the advertising and marketing departments at The Saturday Evening Post, which had been founded in the mid-18th century by Benjamin Franklin (as the Pennsylvania Gazetteer). One day my supervisor dropped a letter from his estranged son on my desk. "I'd like you to draft a rebuttal," he instructed. I read the letter. Apart from the extensive personal references and vitriolic remarks, which I skimmed lightly and quickly so as not to feel unduly intrusive into private affairs (I was already sufficiently uncomfortable as it was), I determined that the boss's son, who was then in his early twenties fresh from college, was primarily concentrating upon First Amendment infringements by the federal government. The crux of his contention was that people were wrongfully imprisoned under the Espionage Act for publicly criticizing America's entry into Wor ld War I (I have thankfully forgotten the role this played in his bickering with his father). This was, he said, a clear example of the government impinging upon citizens' freedom of speech. He referred to Zinn's People's History, of which I knew nothing, and so, during my lunch hour, I visited the Indiana State Library and perused a copy of Zinn's masterpiece. Zinn's analysis was lucid and flawless, but the boss's son had drawn dubious conclusions from it; I reviewed the U.S. Supreme Court opinions that Zinn discussed, which I had first read in graduate school over a decade before, and I outlined the missteps in the boss's son's reasoning. Pleased with the quality of my response, my supervisor left me to concentrate on actual work-related tasks.


Having been introduced to Zinn, I was instantly hooked. His expose of hidden history was compelling and exciting; I needed to learn more. So I read People's History and continued through about a dozen of Zinn's other books. I discovered a history never taught in schools, and I found that everyday "Joes" and "Janes" had a spokesperson who recounted their historical significance amidst the avalanche of presidents, generals, royalty, and wealthy industrialists that dominated traditional history textbooks. How my history education could have overlooked or excluded Zinn was unconscionable. Quite rightly, I felt ignorant and foolish for having never plumbed the depths of this side of American (and world) history.

In The Bomb, Zinn recounted the social consequences of wartime bombings, emphasizing, like his other books, the need for readers to explore the moral and ethical dilemmas presented by such policies. Zinn advocated a citizenry that critically scrutinizes governmental actions to ensure that the high moral and ethical standards that define what is best about America are maintained. If we accept the "party line" and unquestioningly accept our government leaders' decisions, then we forfeit our role as informed citizens overseeing democracy and freedom.

But The Bomb is also a personal statement of accountability. During the mid-1960s, Zinn visited the French town of Royan, upon which he, as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps, dropped tons of bombs, killing scores of French citizens. He thought the bombs were falling upon German soldiers occupying the area, but American intelligence was faulty as to the exact locations of the Nazi troops, and so the bombs instead devastated the town and killed innocent civilians. In an amazing display of personal courage and integrity, Zinn felt it was his moral and ethical obligation to return to Royan and personally accept responsibility for his blunder before the survivors and descendants of the victims. This act epitomized Zinn's call for governmental honesty and accountability through his public demonstration of a citizen's acceptance of personal responsibility for a grievous error.

The Bomb is a fitting final contribution to social justice, humanitarian history, and personal responsibility. If you, like my earlier self, have not read Howard Zinn, his final book is a good start. Keep an open mind and, despite the cognitive dissonance you will undoubtedly suffer, evaluate the evidence and the arguments Zinn presents. It may just change your historical paradigm, expand your awareness of historical events, and introduce new ideas that you may not have previously considered. What more may anyone ask from a history author? Zinn delivers powerfully and persuasively. You may disagree with him, but, in the final analysis, he will make you think.


Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MPL Book Trailer #86: The Quest for Fire, by J. H. Rosny.

Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) presents a book trailer featuring The Quest for Fire: a Novel of Prehistoric Times, by J. H. Rosny. This book is usually considered a juvenile title, aimed at preteens ("tweens"), but it is equally appropriate for teens (young adults) and adults.


The novel was originally published in 1911 and has been periodically republished in the decades since its first appearance. It was adapted into a motion picture in 1981. While the movie is inappropriate for children (due to nudity and explicit sexual content), the book lacks these carnal characteristics--it was, after all, written a century ago and reflects tastes and moral standards of the early 20th century--and the book is engaging and readable by anyone age 9 and older. There is some prehistoric violence in the struggle of early humans to survive against powerful natural predators and prey, but it is rather tame by modern standards. The story is an epic adventure that will entertain and stimulate readers' interests in human prehistory. Parents looking for a "safe" alternative to contemporary fictional (or nonfictional) violence should find this book a welcome respite.


Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us



MPL Book Trailer #85: The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells

Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) presents a book trailer featuring The Invisible Man, a classic science fiction novel by H. G. Wells.


Monday, December 13, 2010

New to Evergreen Indiana: Book Trailers in Catalog Records

The Evergreen Indiana (E.I.) Cataloging Committee recently approved the inclusion of book trailer hyperlinks in consortium catalog records. Patrons (and library staff) who search for books in the E.I. online catalog will see a section of the item record called "online resources," which, for designated listings, will include book trailer hyperlinks.
Here is an example. Suppose you are looking for a copy of the classic novel Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. You find this record in your library's OPAC (online E.I. catalog) (click image to enlarge):




Clicking the book trailer hyperlink in the E.I. catalog record (see red box in graphic above) would play the book trailer attached to this record, which would look like the video below:


Book trailers are videos describing a particular book. They are comparable to movie trailers describing coming attractions in movie theaters. By including book trailer hyperlinks in the E.I. catalog, persons interested in a certain book may watch, if available, a book trailer providing more information about the book's plot or themes.

Look for book trailer hyperlinks in the "online resources" section of E.I. catalog records.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us


Monday, December 6, 2010

Imperceptible: Book Debut & Signing, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010 (2-4 pm) at MPL

Mooresville (Indiana) High School teacher Sharon Eickhoff and her students from the Class of 2012 will be at Mooresville Public Library on Thursday, December 9, 2010, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. for the book signing and debut of their latest publication, Imperceptible, which will be available for sale at the MPL Circulation Desk. (See the above graphic, prepared by Susan Haynes, Community Relations Coordinator, Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation.) Click on the image to view a larger version (I think).

This event affords an opportunity to meet with the authors of this fine book, including Ms. Eickhoff, who supervised and directed the venture. We hope you are able to attend.

In case you missed our earlier blog, we reprise our book trailer featuring Imperceptible.




Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us

Friday, December 3, 2010

MPL Book Trailers 84A/B: Radiance, by Alyson Noël

Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) presents a book trailer featuring Radiance, a novel by Alyson Noël. The target audience is "Tweens," which, depending upon the source, includes ages 9-12 or grades 5-8.

The first version of the book trailer (below) includes the soundtrack "Snow Angels," from the CD "Reflections on the Water: 24 Frames of Melancholy," © 2009 by Daniel E. Buckley (used by permission).

The second version of the book trailer (below) includes the soundtrack "Sick Doctors Treating Healthy Patients," from the CD "Music Therapy for the Deranged," © 2010 by Daniel E. Buckley (used by permission).

Which soundtrack version do you prefer?


MPL Video Productions

mpl46158@yahoo.com

http://www.youtube.com/mpl46158


Thursday, December 2, 2010

MPL Holiday Display: a Fireside Read








With Jack Frost chilling the December air, who wouldn't like to sit before a roaring fire reading a favorite winter's tale in a comfortable chair? Outside the Friends of the Library book sale room, just inside the main entrance at Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana), Beth Hensley, MPL display designer, and Bill Cornwell, MPL building manager emeritus, created a realistic fireplace with ingenious "flames," which, although putting out no actual heat, certainly looks warm and inviting. If you happen to drop by the library, check it out, along with, of course, some books, videos, or other items of interest.
















Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Librarian
billb@mooresville.lib.in.us

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Music Soundtrack for MPL Book Trailer #83 (Imperceptible) by 2006 MHS Graduate Danny Buckley

If you have read our earlier blogs, you might have seen our book trailer for Imperceptible, a book written by students in the Class of 2012 at Mooresville High School (Mooresville, Indiana). The soundtrack to this video was composed by Daniel E. Buckley, a 2006 MHS graduate (and a 2010 graduate of Millikin University, in Decatur, Illinois). Danny was a four-year participant in MHS choirs and completed the AP Music Theory course taught by Jason Damron. These experiences, combined with his interest in guitar, redirected Danny's educational objectives. He earned a B.A. in music business and was a four-year classical guitar ensemble performer. He plans to earn a master's degree in music composition.

For the past year, Danny has served as the volunteer composer for Mooresville Public Library. He has written original musical compositions used in all but two of MPL's YouTube videos (http://www.youtube.com/mpl46158). For more information about his work, as well as MP3 samples of his original compositions, please visit his website at http://www.dannybuckleycomposer.com/

Imperceptible, by MHS Class of 2012, For Sale at MPL

As mentioned in our previous blog, the Mooresville (Indiana) High School Class of 2012, under the direction of MHS teacher Sharon Eickhoff, wrote the book Imperceptible (Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace, 2010) (ISBN 9781439271674), which will be available to purchase at the Circulation Desk of Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana) beginning Thursday, December 9, 2010, with proceeds going to the Friends of the Library (Indiana Room Fund). The book is also available for purchase from Amazon.com.

To watch our book trailer for Imperceptible, check out our earlier blog at
http://mplreadersadvisory.blogspot.com/2010/12/mpl-book-trailer-83-imperceptible-by.html

MPL Book Trailer #83: Imperceptible, by the Class of 2012, Mooresville (Indiana) High School

Imperceptible is the latest writing project spearheaded by Sharon Eickhoff, honors English teacher at Mooresville High School (Mooresville, Indiana). Ms. Eickhoff directed students from the MHS Class of 2012 to uncover people, places, or events that might be overlooked in the race through our daily lives. Students explored these stories waiting to be told, and they tell them concisely and effectively. These historical and contemporary snapshots of life in Mooresville, Indiana and surrounding communities reveal much about the fullness of living here. Beneath the dust of time and the rush to earn our daily bread, these stories demonstrate the character that defines small town America. Good, decent, hardworking people have interesting tales to tell, if we but listen. What may be imperceptible to those who hurry past provide rich textures to others who truly see. Our book trailer below reflects this theme:



Congratulations to Ms. Eickhoff and her students from the MHS Class of 2012 who have researched and written a fine contribution to the local history, folklore, and observation of contemporary human experience in this 186-year-old town.