Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Books of 2012

As another year ends, obliterated by time's inexorable march to oblivion, one's thoughts inevitably turn to literature. "What were my local library staff's favorite books of 2012" you have undoubtedly been asking yourself for the past several days. Well, it is now time to find out...

Megan - Life After Death by Damien Echols
Cecilia - Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Theresa - Bared To You by Sylvia Day
Jim K - Procol Harum: The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Henry Scott-Irvine
Jess - Winter Of The World by Ken Follett
Alison - The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Leslee - The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan
Jim R - Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Riche' - A Winter Dream by by Richard Paul Evans

Posted by Grahm Underwood

Saturday, December 22, 2012

International Fiction Book Club Meeting (December 19, 2012) - "Malinche" by Laura Esquivel

         The International Fiction Book Club met on the evening of December, 19th, 2012 to discuss the novel, Malinche, by the Mexican novelist, Laura Esquivel.  A unanimous thumbs down on this one.  Though the Mayans were an earlier civilization than the Aztecs featured in this semi-romantic/semi historical novel, the setting seemed appropriate for our inquiry into the myth of La Malinche and the origin of modern Mexican ethnology as we approach the death of one cycle of life and the birth of another.

         Esquivel’s attempt to fictionalize the traitor/translator Malinalli , who has been written about numerous times over hundreds of years, rings hollow.  There is little documentation about the woman who became Hernán Cortés’ concubine at age sixteen.  She has been viewed as the mother of the Mexican nation since the birth of her son by Cortés was the first child born of indigenous and European blood.  But she has also been viewed as a traitor since she aligned herself with Cortés while helping to translate the words of welcome from Montezuma upon the arrival of the conquistadors to Tenochtitlan.

         As a group, we felt that the author failed to illuminate the subject.  Instead of writing a novel set in that time period (the early 16th century) and have interaction among characters paint a three-dimensional panorama of the destruction of the Aztec Empire and the conquest of Mexico, she infuses her ideological revisionist theories into the thoughts of Malinalli and in the process paints a two-dimensional portrait of a romanticized heroine.  Instead of rape victim we have a seductress.

         One member of our group called this book an historical romance with the emphasis on romance.  He also mentioned that the novel is full of cliches and “is stylistically awful”.  I would agree.  A quote from Esquivel from an interview with Adriana Lopez is revealing:

                            In the collective subconscious, Malinalli plays the role of the
                            mother and  Cortés father,  and if we think that she was a
                            whore and that he was a thief and an assassin, what does that
                            make of us?  I think that it is important to change our perception
                            of the Conquest.  We must stop seeing ourselves as victims of
                            the Spanish...It is important to revise history, to see things a
                            a different way...that our skin contains all colors...If we saw
                            things this way, wouldn’t we feel proud of our past?

          When I read this passage to our group it put our discussion in perspective.  Perhaps an essay pleading her case with honesty would have been more appropriate for Ms. Esquivel.  But she is an accomplished author who chose to use the guise of the novel to hide her intent rather than illuminate the violent reality of the Conquest of Mexico.

         We begin 2013 with a meeting at the historic Blum House which is next door to the Collinsville Public Library.  On the evening of January 16th at 6:30 p.m. we will be discussing, The Snow Child, by Alaskan author, Eowyn Ivey.  You may check out this title at the front desk and feel free to join us.  Happy New Year!  

Posted by Jim Krapf, Library Clerk

Monday, December 17, 2012

5th Annual Art & Author Holiday Market

This month the Library hosted its 5th annual “Art & Author Holiday Market” at the historic Blum House.  It was a wonderful day full of festive fun and lots of local holiday shopping!  The Blum House was on the Holiday House Tour and the Library added a little Christmas cheer by welcoming local artists and authors in to share their one-of-a-kind wares. Included among the goods for sale were: hand-crafted wooden bowls, made-from-scratch goat’s milk soap, jewelry, hand-knitted crafts, woodwork of all kinds including a complete toy train, hand-painted ornaments and glasses, and books and stories by a wide-array of local authors. We hope you had a chance to stop by and view the beautiful, historic Blum House and to peruse the plethora of wonderful local artisans and authors. If you didn’t get a chance to visit us, make sure to check out our up-coming web-page with information on all of the vendors and their wares. 

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meet the Staff Monday - Theresa

Here is our last but not least Meet the Staff Monday! Many thanks to our awesome staff members for their contributions.  Chances are if you have visited the library in the past 7 years you have met Theresa in one area or another.  She started at the library in January 2004 as a part time clerk and is now a full time supervisor at the main desk.  Her first love is her family.  She met her husband when she was just 15 years old and after 15 years of being together they have a beautiful family of 2 girls and 2 boys.  In her spare time (which is hard to find) she participates along with her husband and 4 children, in Krav Maga and Mixed Martial Arts at The Premier Martial Arts studio on Main Street here in Collinsville.  She currently has her second degree red belt and will be testing for her black belt in 3-6 months.  She's an avid reader with a few favorite authors like Jodi Picoult, Nicolas Sparks, and Dean Koontz, but she really likes to discover new authors by browsing the shelves and picking books whose titles or covers catch her eye.  When she gets a chance to watch TV she like to watch and root for her favorite drivers Tony Stewart and Jimmy Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  She also enjoys history themed documentaries and anything that will make her laugh.  Her daily goal is to try and make someone else's day better and always find a positive outlook on everything.  Her life goal is to provide a safe, happy, loving home for her children to thrive in, to watch them grow into independent strong individuals, and maybe someday retire and let them take care of her.   If you’re at the library take the time to say hello to Theresa; I'm sure she will have a smile for you.

--Posted by Alison Donnelly, Children's Librarian

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Library Ornaments Add a Little Christmas Cheer!

Support your library and add some library Christmas cheer to your home this year with our beautiful handmade and special hand-blown glass commemorative ornaments.  All ornaments are for sale at the Main Desk. Stop by and take yours home today!

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Monday, December 03, 2012

Meet the Staff Monday Special Bonus Double Edition!

Due to an unmitigated attack of forgetfulness on the part of our intrepid staff correspondent, today we are bringing you not one, but two excellent episodes of Meet the Staff Monday!  

Hang on to your hats! It's Meet the Staff Monday featuring the Library's officially crowned best dressed staff member! Meet the lovely Sydonie M. Blandon. She has been employed at the Collinsville Library since August 2010. Syd enjoys working with the public, especially in the children's library (give this girl a raise). She also enjoys participating in the Homebound Program, where the Library delivers materials to those who can't get here by themselves. Some of Syd's favorite authors are; Nicholas Sparks, Rhonda Byrne, and Dr. Wayne Dyer. She loves to spend time with her three children; Paula (29), Marcus (25), and Ashley (21). Syd also likes traveling, bowling, cooking, and baking (especially around the holidays). Make sure you say hello to Syd next time you stop by!

Yet again, it's the most wonderful time of the week. Meet the Staff Monday! Meet Theo Tate. He started working at the library on October 24, 2011. Four days later, his favorite sports team, the St. Louis Cardinals, won the World Series. Speaking of sports, Theo is a longtime sports journalist, having worked as a sports writer/designer for the Suburban Journals of St. Louis for more than 11 years. He also worked as a sports intern for the Reading (Pa.) Eagle-Times for two summers in the late 1990s. In March, Theo wrote his first novel, Ladies’ Night, a fictional satire about a life of a professional basketball league for 12-year-old girls. A graduate of University of Central Missouri (go Mules and Jennies!), Theo also enjoys writing, running, traveling (so far, Atlanta and Las Vegas are his favorite cities to visit), golfing, bowling and playing music. Theo is also a disc jockey; he has all kinds of music and has every number one hit song on his iPod. Theo’s favorite book is Calico Joe by John Grisham, favorite movie is Little Man Tate and favorite food is pizza. He is a very busy bee who will run wherever you need him to to find the book you are looking for!

--Alison Donnelly
Children's Librarian