Thursday, May 05, 2016

Explore the West with Western Writers

                This collection of books focuses on fiction that has been written by authors who specialize in stories that take place in the West.  These titles include Western historical fiction and tales of the American frontier.  If cowboys, Native Americans, gold miners, outlaws, or those who travel to new frontiers in order to homestead are your favorite types of characters, then you are a fan of this type of fiction.

                When it comes to great Western novels, remember that “the frontier” is a relative term.  The earliest Westerns took place in the Appalachian Mountains since that area was once considered the great Western unknown.  It wasn’t until later, the 1850s and beyond, that Westerns began to take place west of the Mississippi River.  Many consider the golden age of the Historic West to have occurred for only three decades, from the end of the American Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century. 

                The books located on the display represent various periods of time in which the West has been represented in fiction.  There are authors whom you will recognize and others who may be new to you.  Along with the novels are collections of short stories written by a variety of present-day authors.  These books are great reads for the summer, so take a look and move across the prairie through a work of literature.  All of these Westerns and more are available for you to check out here at the Al Harris Library.  

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Why Are There So Many Books About Rainbows?

Banjo playing Kermit the Frog crooned, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what's on the other side?” in The Muppet Movie.  The majestic beauty of rainbows has inspired humanity throughout history in ways that are artistic, scientific, and symbolic; thus, making frequent appearances in paintings, songs, movies, books, stories, experimentation, religion, mythology and iconography.

See the springtime display at the entry of the Al Harris Library for a celebration of the colorful bows in the sky.  These creative examples include:

  • Artistic interpretation:  The Rainbow Bridge : Rainbows in Art, Myth, and Science by Raymond L. Lee and Alistair B. Fraser
  • Fiction:  Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • A Rainbow in the Dark:  A Novel by Wade McCoy
  • Poetry:  Rainbow in the Cloud by Maya Angelou
  • Science:  Opticks by Sir Isaac Newton,  Living Rainbow H₂O by Mae-Wan Ho
  • Philosophy:  Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield,  
    • On Vision and Colors by Arthur Schopenhaurer
  • Biography:  Wrapped in Rainbows: A Biography of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd
  • Religion and Mythology:  Book of Genesis, 
    • The First Rainbow:  A Zapotec Myth retold by Helen Strahinich,                             
    • The Crock of Gold by James Stephens
  • Politics:  Rainbow Rights  by Patricia Cain

A discussion about the use of rainbows would not be complete without mentioning two of the most popular songs on the subject, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz and the aforementioned “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie.  Both songs were nominated for Oscars, but only “Somewhere over the Rainbow” took home the top prize.  The long history and range of use show that Kermit was right in his lyric: “All of us [are] under its spell, we know that it's probably magic.”

Take a look at the variety of books that are available for you to check out, and enjoy the display that is based upon a beautiful symbol.