It’s Friday afternoon. You’re just watching the clock tick, waiting to go home for the weekend. Sounds like it’s time for another Library YouTube Break. And a funny one, too!
The Colbert Report on Comedy Central never pulls any punches in the search for laughs and satirical commentary. Stephen Colbert and his writers are masters of political and cultural lampoonery. Earlier this week, the host interviewed Maurice Sendak, world-famous author and illustrator of such children’s books as Where the Wild Things Are and Chicken Soup With Rice.
It’s obvious Sendak’s in on the game, and he answers questions with a biting honesty that’s only accepted from people who have lived long enough on Planet Earth.
After you watch Part 1 below, be sure and check out part 2 on Hulu, where you’ll get Sendak’s unedited opinions on children’s book illustrators and e-books. Too, too hilarious.
Note in the lists that “Robopocalypse: A Novel,” by Oklahoma Author Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday. is receiving an Alex Award. And Ready Player One is based in a futuristic, not entirely pleasant Oklahoma.
I’m reading Robopocalypse, and it starts out like a major motion picture. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good robot read.
Barnes & Noble has a page full of winner dust jackets and award summaries. Susan Cooper won the Margaret A. Edwards award and that makes me very happy, I think I’ve read all her books.
The National Book Critics Circle has announced the 2011 Awards finalists (publishing year 2011, given out in 2012). The video on their website is just weird, who takes a video from the side instead of from the front. Sound quality is bad. So just go on to the actual written announcement.
Stumptown is like a really good television pilot for a private detective series. That’s not surprising, since author Greg Rucka is a fan of seventies-era detective shows like The Rockford Files and Magnum, P.I. The crime in Stumptown would fit nicely in one of these shows or in any time–the investigation into the disappearance of a young woman–but the players have been appropriately updated.
The wisecracking protagonist PI, Dex (short for Dexadrine) Parios, is a mess. She’s addicted to gambling, takes care of her mentally-challenged younger brother, and is apparently responsible for the demise of the top dog police detective’s marriage. Her friend Grey, who takes care of her brother when she’s out solving crimes, is smitten with Dex, and Dex is oblivious to this. (See, it’s like a pilot. You need to tune in next week if you want your questions answered.)
The Portland crime family behind the woman’s disappearance suffers from its own dysfunction, with a daughter and son who both hate and love their crime boss daddy, and ultimately just want his approval.
Matthew Southworth‘s art captures the grey, lush atmosphere of the Northwest and the gritty side of Portland, and he simply slays the finale, with flashlights illuminating the action on a dark night.
For me, Stumptown simply isn’t as good as Rucka’s Queen and Country series, but it works for what it is. If this really does turn into a series, it may call for further investigation.
By the way, Stumptown is a nickname for Portland, Oregon. Here’s why.
A friend nominated this video for a Library YouTube Break, and I have to say it’s a darn good one!
The staff at Type bookstore in Toronto spent tons of time moving, stacking, and animating the books for this delightful video. It’s a great promo for the bookstore with more than 2 million visits to the video on YouTube. Still, with all of the work and coordination involved, it looks more like a labor of love to me.
So, a round of applause for these Canadian bookies. Enjoy your YouTube break!
I always say I don’t like short stories, but maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, Wetzel’s stories took my breath away. Marlene Reed Wetzel was the winner of the PEN/Amazon.com Short Story Award for ‘A Map of Tripoli, 1967′. Fortunately this story is included in the anthology I’m reviewing, Strangers & Exiles. You can find quite a bit about her award winning story but very little else out on the Internet. It looks like the big bookstores don’t carry this book but you should be able to find it in a local book store or from the publisher.
Back to what I was going to say about the book. Strangers & Exiles tells the story of women inhabiting a world where they survive as strangers to their families, to their land, to their husbands and even to their bodies. Men come and go like desert mirages.
“There are only two kinds of men in the world,” Mantini says. “Men who pretend to love women before they marry, who actually love only themselves.” “The other,” he says, “never forgets from where he came.”
From childhood bullies, to abandonment abroad, the women survive, sifting through debris left by careless relationships and tragic circumstances. They are exiled to foreign countries and exiled at home. The stories provide an interesting introduction to the Middle East (Before Gadhafi) where the people are always on the verge of change, yet cling to an ancient way of life. I disagree with the quotes on the back cover. I don’t think of her women as “risk-takers” but rather women thrown into the quagmire and hanging on for dear life. Wetzel’s writing leaves you craving a new page, a new story. Images remain long after the final page.
Read this book by Oklahoma author Marlene Reed Wetzel, make yourself a believer in the power of short stories.
*Only negative, Out on a Limb Publishing allowed many careless publication errors. Wish publishers would do a final read before sending it to print.
It was only a matter of time before Literary Kitty found a way to make I Can Has Cheezburger the Literary Site of the Week. Funny thing is, my Facebook friend Jay also found the site’s hilarious post featuring “16 classic novels reimagined with cat-centric titles and covers.”
We are having a hard time deciding which book jacket and title are our favorite, but we nominate Catlas Shrugged, The Girl with the Kitten Tattoo, and A Tale of Two Kitties for the grand prize. And surely Litter Box Five would get an honorable mention!
It’s a new year with new dreams and we hope all of our Okie Reads visitors have a great 2012. Don’t forget to have fun. And, please, don’t forget to share loads of love with any furry creatures in your life.
P.S. We can’t guarantee it, but we suspect even a dog-lover like Carrie Coppernoll might appreciate this! LOL
Oklahoma Almanac editor Connie Armstrong loves to read history books. This is not surprising since history was her major and she taught the subject at Redlands Community College. I actually saw her with a fiction book recently and almost fell out of my chair. But history is her first love. When I caught her reading Chris Matthews’s new book on our 35th president, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, I knew I wanted to ask my friend and colleague her thoughts on the work.
Q: There are a tremendous number of books about John Kennedy and his presidency, so I’m surprised Matthews subtitled the book “Elusive Hero.” What’s your take on that?
A: “Elusive Hero,” is a term used by Jackie Kennedy as she described her late husband to Life Magazine reporter Teddy White in late November 1963. She wanted the world to understand the man rather than the politician or war hero. During the interview, she described Jack Kennedy as a simple yet complex individual; someone just out of our grasp.
Q: I’ve caught Matthews’s show on MSNBC from time to time, and viewers can tell he has a great amount of respect for Kennedy. Was this book a love fest to the man?
A: Initially, I thought it would be love fest for Kennedy. Early in the book Matthews explains that as a young man he became enamored with Kennedy, although he grew up in a Republican household where Eisenhower was revered as a great leader. However, Matthew provides a well-balanced account of Kennedy’s personal life and political career. He does not ignore Kennedy’s failings or personal flaws.
Q: You’re a student of American History and know more than most of us about the machinations and personalities of Washington, D.C. What were some of the surprising things you learned from reading this book?
A: I’ve studied Kennedy for many years, and taught a college course on his assassination. I don’t think anything surprised me. The book reminded me that politics can be a blood sport. Kennedy took no prisoners when it came to winning campaigns. However, I do think many people may be surprised at the respect Kennedy had for Richard Nixon, and the friendship the two shared.
Q: The assassination of President Kennedy is a watershed moment, and many have identified it as the time we lost our innocence as a country. Does Matthews speculate about how different America might be had Kennedy not been killed?
A: No, Matthews does not look at a post-Kennedy America in a “what might have been” scenario. He does, however, look at the goals Kennedy pursued such as civil rights, NASA and America’s space program, the Peace Corps, and even the fall of the Berlin Wall that came to fruition in the years following the assassination.
Q: Does Matthews weigh in on the Warren Commission Report? Any smoking guns, like another shooter in the grassy knoll?
A: No. He does examine a question Kennedy put forth to Texas Governor John Connelly on the morning of November 22, 1963. Kennedy inquired why Fort Worth remained a Democratic stronghold, while Dallas had gone Republican.
(Note: Mathews talks about Connelly’s take on the difference between 1963 politics in Fort Worth and Dallas in this Hardball blog post.)
Q: What’s the lasting impression you take away from this book?
A: That Kennedy was a student of history since his childhood. His political policy decisions were based on his knowledge of history. I’m grateful for that. He understood appeasement, the growing threat of Communism, and yet understood what the Soviet Union had endured during World War II. If Richard Nixon had been president during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the outcome could have been devastating.
Q: Finally, do you think Kennedy could be a successful politician today?
Read an excerpt from the book online.
Anybody out there read this latest bio on Kennedy? Let us know what you think.