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Archive for June, 2009

New Book Highlights

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you.

Bigfoot book cover
Bigfoot : the life and times of a legend by Joshua Blu Buhs

“Independent scholar Buhs (The Fire Ant Wars) skeptically but affectionately surveys the evidentiary traces of bigfoot and his yeti and Sasquatch kin in sightings, tracks, sideshow exhibits and film, but his focus is on the megapod as cultural signifier. To the white working-class men who are his biggest fans, Buhs contends, bigfoot is an icon of untamed masculinity, a populist rebel against scientific elites, the last champion of authentic reality against a plastic, image-driven, effeminate consumer society.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Hear Joshua Bluh Buhs discuss the book on the radio program Focus 580.

Censoring an Iranian Love Story book cover
Censoring an Iranian love story by Shahriar Mandanipour ; translated from the Farsi by Sara Khalili

“Imagine trying to write about romance in a society in which it’s a crime for a woman to walk down the street with a man who isn’t a relative, and in which government censors scrutinize every line. Shahriar Mandanipour, the struggling Iranian author portrayed with mischievous wit and serious intent in this elaborately chambered double-novel by the real-life Shahriar Mandanipour––a prominent, censored Iranian writer––labors anxiously over the love story of Sara and Dara under the sharp eyes of Mr. Petrovich, a censor of disturbingly omniscient powers.” –Booklist

Visit the author’s website.

Finding the Lost Year book cover
Finding the lost year : what happened when Little Rock closed its public schools by Sondra Gordy

“Much has been written about the Little Rock School Crisis of 1957, but very little has been devoted to the following year – the Lost Year, 1958-59 – when Little Rock schools were closed to all students, both black and white. “Finding the Lost Year” is the first book to look at the unresolved elements of the school desegregation crisis and how it turned into a community crisis, when policymakers thwarted desegregation and challenged the creation of a racially integrated community and when competing groups staked out agendas that set Arkansas’ capital on a path that has played out for the past fifty years.” –Publisher’s information

Learn about Gordy’s documentary on the same topic.

The Protest Singer book cover
The protest singer : an intimate portrait of Pete Seeger by Alec Wilkinson

“A true American original is brought to life in this rich and lively portrait of Pete Seeger, who, with his musical grace and inextinguishable passion for social justice, transformed folk singing into a high form of peaceful protest in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on his extensive talks with Seeger, New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson lets us experience the man’s unique blend of independence and commitment, charm, courage, energy, and belief in human equality and American democracy.” –Publisher’s information

Preview on Google Books

See an excerpt from the American Masters documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

George Perkins Marsh Online Research Center

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

George Perkins Marsh

The George Perkins Marsh Online Research Center, available through the University of Vermont’s Center for Digital Initiatives, brings together transcriptions from over 650 of Marsh’s letters held by UVM, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Houghton Library, Harvard University, the New York Historical Society, and the Archives of American Art.

When Marsh’s Man and Nature was published in 1864 it was immediately hailed as a major contribution to the field of physical geography. Now a classic of environmental literature, its author, George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), was one of the first to recognize and describe in detail the significance of human action in transforming the natural world. In addition to his work as a scholar and lawyer, Marsh served in the United States Congress in the 1840’s and held diplomatic posts in Turkey and Italy.

Major topics covered in the correspondence include the American Civil War, Vermont geography, nineteenth-century sculpture, nineteenth-century public architecture, and the creation of the Smithsonian Institution.

Brady-Handy Photograph Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (Digital File Number: LC-DIG-cwpbh-02223)

What We’re Watching

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Government Documents staff member Sharon Thayer loves documentaries. She shares a list of her top ten favorites available on DVD at Bailey/Howe Library (in alphabetical order, no less).

She says, “Working here, we are so fortunate to have a fantastic collection pretty much at our disposal in the Media Resources Department.”

Devil's Playground DVD cover
Devil’s Playground (DVD 3141)
A look a Amish teens during their often wild “rumspringa” free time before they decide whether or not to formally join their church.

Helvetica DVD cover
Helvetica (DVD 5684)
Yes I know, the story of a typeface sounds ultra boring, but it is anything but – it’s a fascinating exploration of the first arguably modern global font used to label much of our Western world, and also an amusing glimpse into the sometimes eccentric and opinionated world view of graphic designers.

I Like Killing Flies DVD cover
I Like Killing Flies (DVD 6023)
A very NY story of the cranky oddball owner/chef of a café in Greenwich Village and a slice of life now almost lost in today’s slicker, more homogeneous city.

Mad Hot Ballroom DVD cover
Mad Hot Ballroom (DVD 3846)
A city-wide school competition, with 5th grade kids from different socio-economic classes learning and vying for victory in the unlikely arena of ballroom dancing. The kids are charming, funny and real, and their teachers’ interest and dedication is a wonderful thing to witness.

Man On Wire DVD cover
Man on Wire (DVD 6204)
A portrait of Philippe Petit and his amazing tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974 – told as if it were a crime caper, and even though you know the outcome, you are on the edge of your seat.

Spellbound
Spellbound (DVD 2746)
Another school-aged competition, follows 8 teens from disparate backgrounds/motivations as they compete at the annual National Spelling Bee – surprisingly tense and exciting as the field narrows.

Stolen DVD cover
Stolen (DVD 4111)
The story of the still unsolved 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Art historians, fine art detectives, the IRA and the Boston Mob all figure in this mystery.

Surfwise DVD cover
Surfwise (DVD 5786)
The powerful, disturbing story of a hippie surfer family with 9 kids and a charismatic and overwhelming father.

The Up Series DVD cover
The Up Series (DVD 3291 plus DVD 2509)
A classic British film study following the lives of 14 people from different backgrounds and experiences checking in every seven years from the age of 7 on “up”. The first was done in 1964, the latest, 49 Up, was released in 2005.

Winged Migration DVD cover
Winged Migration (DVD 2705)
The beautiful, moving, almost silent film of what birds go through on their migrations – filmed over many years from hot air balloons and gliders on all seven continents giving one gorgeous vistas of the earth and the sense of being in flight right along with the birds.

What We’re Reading

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Dan DeSanto works as a staff member in the Bailey/Howe Information and Instruction department. He shared some picks from his summer reading list.

Dan says, “Granted, I’ll probably do what I do every year and read three New Yorkers and half of a novel, but with better intentions, I give you my low-brow, not very organized, mildly interesting summer reading list.”

Sea of Poppies cover Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

A few years ago, I read Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, which I absolutely loved. I tend to read a lot of Indian writers, and the things that attract me to Ghosh are the same things that attracted me to (the much better known) Salman Rushdie: multiple story lines woven through generations, the trauma of schism, and fascinating relationships between characters. The book takes place in 1838 Calcutta, and the story revolves around a former slave ship named the Ibis and its new multifarious inhabitants. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I heard it profiled on NPR.

An interactive map at the book’s website let’s you follow the route of the Ibis and mark your own location.

Street Gang cover Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis

I first saw this on the Bailey Howe new book shelf. Since then, I’ve seen it pop up on lists and reviews everywhere. The book covers the history of Jim Henson’s Sesame Street, complete with photos and interviews. A colleague and I were talking about this book and a time in the first season or two of Sesame Street when Oscar the Grouch wasn’t garbage-can-bound; he had legs and the power of locomotion. And then there was the pivotal episode where we all found out that Snuffleupagus wasn’t imaginary and that Big Bird wasn’t delusional. From flipping through it, there seem to be some very interesting sections dedicated to Henson’s decision making process and how those decisions shaped the show we’ve come to know. All this, peppered with tales of cast parties and “more risqué” muppets will hopefully make this an intriguing summer read.

Visit the book’s website, where you can see photo and videos and read and share your memories of Sesame Street.

Golem's Migty Swing cover The Golem’s Mighty Swing by James Sturm

This graphic novel is set in the 1920’s and tells the story of a Jewish baseball team trying to eke out an existence by going town-to-town and taking on the local team. The ball players encounter anti-semitism in every town, during every at-bat. I’ve heard this book-talked a few different times, and the story seems fascinating. From my brief perusal at Google Books, the illustrations also appear to have a sharp eye for subtlety and period detail. This should also be a quick read for those of you looking for plane or beach material.

Read a TIME magazine review.

Dan in stockades

We occasionally let Dan outside the library, but we need to keep a tight watch on him.

Military Medicine: Connections to Vermont

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Henry Janes photograph of Civil War amputee

Military Medicine: Connections to Vermont is now on view in the Dana Medical Library’s exhibit case. This exhibit features items from Dana’s Medical History Collection, the circulating book collection and Bailey-Howe’s Special Collections. Highlights include: an amputation kit carried by a Vermont country doctor during the Civil War; memorials to graduates of UVM’s College of Medicine who served in World War I and II; and the textbook War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007 authored by College of Medicine ‘79 alumnus, David Edmond Lounsbury.

Image of Civil War amputee taken from Henry Janes’ registry, “Notes of some of the gunshot injuries treated under the care of Henry Janes, Surgeon” ca.1865. Registry and photographs can be found in Bailey Howe’s Special Collections.

New Borrowing Privileges for Vermont Faculty

Friday, June 12th, 2009

VCAL logo

As members of the Vermont Consortium of Academic Libraries (VCAL), the University of Vermont Libraries now offer borrowing privileges to faculty members at any participating institution.

University of Vermont faculty can obtain VCAL Reciprocal Borrowing cards at the Bailey/Howe circulation desk, which will allow them to borrow materials from libraries at Middlebury College, Bennington College, Vermont Law School, Sterling College, Vermont state colleges, and other institutions.

All borrowers will present to the lending library a completed Vermont Consortium of Academic Libraries Faculty Reciprocal Borrowing card issued by their home library. This card will carry with it an authorization and expiration date issued by the home library.