African American History Month Display

The book display currently features an array of work celebrating and remembering some of the important people and events in the history of the African American diaspora. It highlights the work and words of Martin Luther King Jr. who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, for his work in advancing civil rights through nonviolent means. It highlights African American poetry, music, and history as we seek to honor those people who fought for justice, never lost faith, and took the steps needed to march our nation on to a brighter state. We honor and remember them so that we may keep marching, keep striving for equality and justice.

Every American can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African-American experience, but also lies at the heart of our Nation as a whole. This story affirms that freedom is a gift from God, but it must be secured by His people here on earth. It inspires a new generation of leaders, and it teaches us all that when we come together in common purpose, we can right the wrongs of history and make our world anew.

- Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation, 2014

Book Review: The Luminaries

                                       The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

luminIn 1866 Walter Moody arrives in the gold-mining town of Hokitika, New Zealand to seek his fortune and escape his tangled family-life at home in the UK. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles upon a group of 12 men meeting to discuss three seemingly unrelated crimes that have taken place on the same day: the disappearance of a wealthy prospector, the suicide attempt of a local opium-addicted prostitute, and the huge cache of gold found in the home of the now-deceased town drunk. At first glance, The Luminaries appears to be a historical murder mystery, but as the story unfolds, the reader quickly realizes that everything is interwoven and nothing, even the story itself, is what it seems.

Catton’s writing is exact, vivid and beautiful. She writes in the style and voice of Victorian authors with a bit of a modern twist; The Luminaries is almost a satire of 19th century mysteries but still earnest. The story is very intricately plotted and the book itself is uniquely structured.

The astrological chart is the basis for the ambitious, unique structure of the book. However, knowledge of astrology is not necessary to understand or enjoy the novel.  There are 12 parts to the novel, each part shorter than the last to reflect the waning moon in its lunar cycle. Each of the 12 men’s astrological signs directs their character and the part they play in the overall plot. Catton names them as the stellar characters and they truly orbit around the seven planetary characters:  Walter Moody and the individuals at the center of each crime.  The cyclical nature of both the lunar cycle and human history also plays a big role in fleshing out the plot and tying all the events and perspectives together.

The Luminaries will appeal to readers of literary fiction, Victorian literature, experimental literature, fans of Sherlock Holmes novels or the current BBC show, and fans of movies with non-linear plots such as Memento, The Usual Suspects or Mulholland Drive.

The Luminaries won the 2013 Man Booker Prize and is unique in two regards: at 823 pages it is the longest novel to win and at age 28 Eleanor Catton is the youngest author to win. While much longer than the average novel, the tightly plotted and fast-paced storytelling will keep readers engaged until the very end.

The Luminaries is available in the General Collection under the call number PR 9639.4 .C39 L86 2013

- Christina Nofziger, Access Services Specialist

Q&A with Library Staff: Johanna Krogh

Jo Krogh joins the SPU Library staff as our new Budget Manager and Administrative Assistant. Learn a little bit about her below in our Q & A interview:

What are some things you are responsible for in your new position?

I am responsible for managing the library’s budget, which can range from counting cash in the cash registers to making sure we are all squared away financially for any major projects we have coming. I absolutely love working with numbers so although I am up in a cave crunching away- I’m happy!

What is your favorite thing about living in Seattle?

I love how each neighborhood in Seattle has its own unique identity. The MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) is one of my favorite places to visit. It is right next to The Center for Wooden Boats where you can take sailing lessons. There are old retired boats parked that you can take tours through, and the museum itself is full of Seattle history. There is also a little park surrounding that area that is full on any given weekend, with the growing neighborhood of South Lake Union just a 5 minute walk away.

One of my favorite things about Seattle is the weather! I do enjoy the sun but I also like cloudy days and the light rain that Seattle is known for. I want to get good use out of my new raincoat, so wouldn’t mind if it was rainy all the time!

Any new book recommendations?

I mostly read fiction novels, and right now I’m bouncing around 5 different genres. I just finished reading ‘A Natural History of Dragons’, by Marie Brennan and really enjoyed it! It’s a fictional (dragons aren’t real, disappointingly) but relatable tale about a young woman trying to study a relatively new form of science that has always been a man’s subject. As a woman in mathematics, I can definitely relate to her struggles. I’m currently reading ‘The Good Lord Bird’ by James McBride, on pre-civil war social issues. For a much lighter suggestion, I recommend ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ by Mindy Kaling, one of my favorite people in comedy right now. The book is great, but the audio book is even better since Mindy reads it herself!

Jo is located on the second floor of the Library in the Administrative offices. Drop by and say hi!

 

 

Creative Conversations

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Creative Conversations is the library’s new speaker series that highlights scholarly and creative work being done by members of SPU community. The intent of this program is to focus on the creative process and stimulate conversations about this process among students, scholars, and others at SPU.

This quarter, we are really excited to have Rob Wall, David Nienhuis, Suzanne Wolfe, Myrna Capp, and Don Yanik join us for the series.

Rob Wall and David Nienhuis will kick things off with A Bite-Sized Introduction to the Whole Bible, followed by Suzanne Wolfe, presenting from her new novel The Iron Ring. Myrna Capp will talk about her work with Namibian music, and Don Yanik will finish out the series this quarter with a discussion on scene design and the process that goes into creating the worlds of plays. Go to our Creative Conversations website for dates, times, and more information.

Last quarter, Fall 2013, saw the debut of Creative Conversations, and we were delighted to see it be a success. We were privileged to have Jeff Keuss, Ben McFarland, David Wicks, Andrew Lumpe, and SPU MFA alum Shannon Huffman Polson speak about their various works. We witnessed a clear shift of focus from the presenting of finished works to the sharing of ideas, processes, and choices that go into creating finished works. Ben McFarland, for example, discussed the collaboration of art and science and the inspiration that he finds in the world around him. David Wicks and Andrew Lumpe talked about creating bPortfolios (blog portfolios) to meet the evolving needs of students who must have up-to-date portfolios in a world of technological progress. Jeff Keuss shared his musings on how Stephen King draws more parallels with the gospel than one might think. Shannon Polson read from her highly acclaimed memoir North of Hope, and talked about the emerging genre of memoir as creative non-fiction, as well as her journey through grief after the loss of her parents.

Join us this quarter for another intriguing series brought to you by scholars in our community.

 

 

Library Staff Christmas Picks

imagesCA5EXDCRThe first advent candle has been lit, twinkle lights are starting to grace houses and trees, and temperatures are continuing to plummet. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. After our successful Halloween book round-up, we knew we had to follow up with the Library staff’s favorite Christmas volumes as well. Pick up something to read for your travels home, or where ever you may be going this holiday season.  These books and films will also be on display on the main floor of the Library for your festive reading (and viewing) pleasure.

Liz Gruchala-Gilbert:

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra

Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Gian Carlo Menotti

Kaitlyn Straton:

The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie DePaola

Maryann Shaw:

Nine Days to Christmas, by Marie Hall Ets

Christina Nofziger:

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg  fcl

The Father Christmas Letters, by JRR Tolkien

Carrie Fry:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson

The Oxford Book of Carols, edited by Percy Dearmer

The Legend of the Christmas Rose, by Ellin Greene

Michael Paulus:

For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio, by W.H. Auden

Johanna Staman:

The Tomten, by Astrid Lindgren

Stephanie Rubesh:

O Holy Night: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry, by Johann Moser

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Other favorite books and movies including Love Actually, Elf, and Jingle All The Way, are available through Summit and ILL.

Merry Christmas!

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