Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Shakespeare! Ten Fun Facts about the Bard

Happy Birthday (we estimate) William Shakespeare!

Top Ten Unusual facts in honor of Shakespreare's birthday

1. Shakespeare is the second most quoted writer in the English language – after the various writers of the Bible. Some scholars have maintained that Shakespeare did not write the Shakespeare plays, with at least fifty writers having been suggested as the “real” author. However, the evidence for Shakespeare’s having written the plays is very strong.

2. During his life, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets!

3. Shakespeare's profession was acting. There is evidence he played the ghost in "Hamlet" and Adam in "As You Like It"

4. Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare’s plays. It occurs in Romeo and Juliet where both Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, in Julius Caesar where both Cassius and Brutus die by consensual stabbing, as well as Brutus’ wife Portia.

5. The American President Abraham Lincoln was a great lover of Shakespeare’s plays and frequently recited from them to his friends. His assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a famous Shakespearean actor.

6. Shakespeare died a rich man. He made several gifts to various people but left his property to his daughter, Susanna. The only mention of his wife in Shakespeare’s own will is: “I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture”. The “furniture” was the bedclothes for the bed.

7. Shakespeare was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. He put a curse on anyone daring to move his body from that final resting place. His epitaph was: Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear,To dig the dust enclosed here:Blest be the man that spares these stones,And curst be he that moves my bones.

8. Shakespeare lived to 52. It is known that he was born in April 1564 and that he died on 23rd April 1616. We know that he was baptised on 26th April 1564 and scholars now believe that he was born on April 23rd.

9. One of Shakespeare’s relatives on his mother’s side, William Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.

10. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre burnt down on 29th June 1613 after a cannon shot set fire to it during a performance of Henry VIII.

From the website:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am a World Book Night Giver! Here's my book - Kindred

I will be giving away Kindred by Octavia Butler, a book which I read several years ago when it was the title chosen for the “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.” Time travel has always interested me, and I tend to read any book that features it in a storyline. Kindred is one of my favorite novels because Octavia Butler managed to use the time travels of Dana, a modern day black woman in California who was transported to a Maryland plantation in 1815, to emphasize just how much the institution of slavery continues to affect race relations in our nation today. Dana is forced to assume the role of slave in these sojourns to the past to survive. She endures beatings, is nearly raped, and suffers psychological abuse. Ironically, Dana is married to a white man in her modern day life, and their love and devotion to one another is cause for hope in the book. It is odd to find a book that is part science fiction, and part historical fiction, but Ms. Butler managed just that!
I hope by giving away this book, that I will give some of joy to someone else that reading has given to me. I will be giving out copies at the Greece Public Library, the Aquinas Institute (where my daughter graduated in 2010) and other “surprise” locations!  I hope to see you and hand you a copy of Kindred on Monday, April 23.
Claire Talbot, Greece Public Library

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Starters by Lissa Price

If you like Dystopian fiction (think The Hunger Games) you may want to read Starters by Lissa Price. Callie lost her parents when the "spore wars" wiped out everyone in the population between the age of twenty to sixty.  Society now has a new set of rules favoring the "Elders", who have jobs, wealth, and security.  Young people without a legal guardian, called "Starters"  have been reduced to squatting in abandoned buildings, stealing food, and fighting off renegades to stay alive.  Callie and her friend Michael have been on the run, trying to protect Callie's younger brother, Tyler.  When Tyler gets sick and Callie gets desperate, she turns to "Prime Destinations" a disturbing business that allows Elders who want to be young again to rent the bodies of Starters.  Unfortunately, the nuerochip planted in Callie's brain malfunctions, and she wakes up in the body of her rich renter, living in a mansion, driving her expensive cars, and meeting the son of a Senator at a night club.  During phases where she can communicate with the renter, Callie discovers a sinister plot at Prime Destinations, and is horrified to learn that her renter plans to use her body to commit a murder!  The plot thickens when Callie discovers that her renter had a real grandchild named Emma that also worked for Prime Destinations, and she never returned from her "job".  The sequel to the book, called "Enders" is due to be published December 4, 2012! Click on the cover of the book to visit Lissa Price's website to read reviews, and more fun facts.  4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wow. This book is so moving, and the characters so well portrayed, that I have to commend John Green on his research. "The Fault in Our Stars" is about two teens with cancer, Hazel and Augustus, that meet in a cancer support group. It is not a sappy, sugar coated "feel good" story with a superficial ending, but a realistic portrayal of what kids must face when diagnosed with this insidious disease. Parts were funny, parts were heartbreaking, and parts were hopeful and sweet. It gives you pause to see how cancer not only affects the stricken, but also their relationships with family and friends. I am definately going to go back and read more John Green books. I am wondering how I missed him until now!   5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Remembering the Titanic

Today, April 15, 2012, marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the great ship, the Titanic.  There are many books in the library on the Titanic, both fictional and non-fiction.  Here are 10 amazing facts about the Titanic that I gleaned from reading "882 1/2 Amazing Answers to your Questions about the Titanic" by Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter.  Why 882 1/2 you ask?  Because the Titanic was 882 1/2 feet long!

1.  How much grease did it take to help get the massive ship into the water when it was launched?  
It took 22 TONS of tallow, soap, and train oil to grease the sloping wooden platforms to enable the Titanic to slide into the sea.  Over 100,000 people turned out to watch!

2.  Is it true the fourth funnel was a fake?
Yes, the Titanic, and it's sister ship the Olympic, only needed three funnels, but Lord Pirrie (White Star Line company Chairman, who controlled the Titanic's overall design) thought a fourth funnel would make the ships look grander.

3.  What was the most exotic object in the Titanic's cargo?
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a book of ancient sayings.  The illustrated copy in the Titanic's hold was adorned with 1,050 precious stones, each set in gold.  It had recently been sold for $2,025 at a London auction, and was being sent to it's new owner, Gabriel Wells, a New York book dealer.

4.  Is it true there were teenage crew members?
Yes.  Some were 14-15 years old.  They worked as bellboys carrying luggage, and running errands and delivering telegrams.  Also, 23 women worked on the Titanic as stewardesses, cashiers, a masseuse, and a chaperon.

5.  Where there any pets aboard the Titanic?
Yes, at least nine dogs were passengers, including a Pomeranian, a Pekingese, a chow chow, an Airedale terrier, and a champion French bulldog.

6.  Did any passengers get off the ship in Ireland before she sailed across the Atlantic?
Yes, seven, including Francis M. Browne, a 32 year old teacher who later became a Jesuit priest.  His photographs of the voyage as far as Queenstown are among the few surviving from the Titanic.  The Titanic's voyage started in Southampton, England, then stopped at Cherbourg, France, then Queenstown, Ireland before heading to New York.

7.  What was the grandest room on the Titanic?
The first class lounge was decorated to look like a room from the palace of Versailles.  The Grand Staircase was also beautiful, featuring a wrought iron and glass dome and gilt stair railings.  There was also a cooling room in the Turkish bath that was decorated to look like a room in a sultan's palace with richly colored tiles, gilded beams, and bronze lights.

8.  Could the classes mix on the ship?
No.  Second-class passengers had to stay in second-class areas,  and third-class passengers were restricted to third-class areas and the poop deck.  So much for the famous romance of Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater in the Titanic movie!

9.  Did any passengers refuse to enter the lifeboats?  
Yes, most notably, Ida Straus, wife of the owner of Macy's Department Store.  She was about to board lifeboat number 8, but then refused to leave her husband.  According to witnesses she turned to him and said,  "We have been living together for many years.  Where you go, I go".  Both perished.  There was also a 16 year old boy, Alfred Rush, who pulled back from boarding the boat with his mother saying "No.  I'm staying here with the men."  He died later that night.

10.  How is the disaster remembered today?
Every year on April 15th, members of the United States Coast Guard International Ice Patrol drop a wreath provided by the Titanic Historical Society at the approximate spot where the Titanic went down. Although it has been 100 years, the loss of life of 1,517 people, (including 685 crew, 536 third class, 166 second class, and 130 first class passengers), and the sheer magnitude of the ship and the dramatic disaster, the Titanic remains alive today in books, films, and memory.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Slide by

If you like mystery and suspense, you might want to check out Slide by Jill Hathaway.  Sylvia "Vee" Bell suffers from bouts of narcolepsy, but what people don't realize is during these episodes she "slides" into someone else.  She has "seen" her sister cheat on a math test, learned of a friends betrayal, and now has seen the evidence of a murder!  One thing Vee know for sure is her sister's friend, Sophie did not committ suicide like everyone believes.  Who will believe her when she reveals that she slid into the mind of the killer standing over Sophie's dead body?  The only person Vee ever told about her affliction was her father, and he promptly sent her to a pyschiatrist.  While the Vee attempts to solve the mystery, she is also dealing with issues in her life - her best friend, Rollins, has grown distant since a hot new boy named Zane is suddenly interested in her.  Vee, her father, and her younger sister are all still trying to cope with the hole left in the family with her mother's death.  Lastly, Vee is also responsible far too often for her younger sister since her father is a respected surgeon who is often working.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and was fascinated with Vee's paranormal ability to slide into other people's minds.  My rating 4 of 5 stars.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cross My Heart
Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould takes you to Venice of 1585, where the city is ruled by the Doge, and families play a deadly politically game to stay in his favor.  Laura, the second daughter of a merchant, has just found out that her beloved older sister, Beatrice, has died and she must now leave the convent where she has spent the past six years of her life.  Her joy of returning to society is shattered when she finds out that she is now betrothed to Beatrice's fiance', a much older man who makes Laura's stomach turn.  In desperation she turns to a secret society of women called "La Segreta", and finds that everything in Venice has a price, and not everything in Venice is what it seems.  Trying to find her sister's murderer, Laura embarks on an exciting journey that includes love, secrets, and intrigue.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I'm Waiting to Read.....

Being an avid reader, I am always "waiting" for a book to be released.  I just spotted the cover for the final installment of the  trilogy by Ally Condie, which started with "Matched".  I think the cover is gorgeous, and it was interesting to hear the details about it!  For instance, all the covers feature the same model, Samantha Aide, who also happens to be the photographer!  Each color has significance in the story, as do the characters in the title.  Read more facts about the covers here :  Meanwhile, we will have to wait until November of 2012 to find out the conclusion of the story featuring Cassia, Ky, and Xander.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some suggestions if you liked the Hunger Games - More good books out there to enjoy, and they are here at the Greece Public Library!