Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Library in the news....Sister City sculpture unveiling ceremony at Northwest Branch.

Newly posted on the Burbank Leader's website is a very nice Burbank Leader article about sculture yesterday's unveiling ceremony at Northwest Branch Library celebrating Burbank's 50th year of being a Sister City with Incheon, South Korea.  Also featured is a nice photo gallery of the Incheon Metropolitan City Dance Theater members performance during the ceremony.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

The Art of the Little Free Library: Its Always The Season To Read

Here's Little Library #1

Little Free Libraries started in Hudson and Madison, Wisconsin.

The originators of this social enterprise are Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, both of whom have several decades of entrepreneurial and international experience. They first met in 2009 while exploring the benefits of green practices in small businesses, discovering that they shared a commitment to service and the quality of community life around the world.

The very first Little Library was built in the memory of June A. Bol. It sits in the front yard of a home above the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin. As you can see, it is meant to look like a one-room school house. It's full of books about gardening and community life. Not a drop of water has trickled inside...but books have come and gone since its first week by the river.

Get the idea? Take a book, leave a book. Leave a note!

Give the gift of knowledge through reading. READ MORE !

Little Free Libraries in Burbank ?

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Biography: And So It Goes; Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

And So It Goes Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields.

In the 1960s there were two books set in World War II that became classics of the Vietnam era counterculture, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, both written in a kind of tragic-comical-ironic style. A fine biography of Heller appeared earlier this year, and was reviewed in this blog, Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller by Tracy Daugherty. Shields new biography gives us some of the sad details of Vonnegut’s life including the financial collapse of his architect father during the Depression, followed by the suicide of Vonnegut’s mother when he was 21. Vonnegut was in the Battle of the Bulge and was a prisoner of war (and witness) during the allied firebombing of Dresden. A much cherished sister died of cancer only a day after her husband’s death in a train wreck. Vonnegut and his wife raised three of the four orphaned children. He had a series of unhappy marriages, and in 1984 came close to losing his life through the abuse of pills and alcohol.

But Vonnegut, besides the unhappy details of his private life, also worried about how he was perceived as a writer. Vonnegut once said, “Critics think I’m stupid because my sentences are so simple and my method is so direct.” He was always sensitive to the suggestion that he was a “kids” writer, that his works which had such appeal to a younger generation were in fact less sophisticated than “adult” writing, that he was a writer of juvenile and jokey pulp fiction. And yet his work like Heller’s and J.D. Salinger’s continues to be read by new generations, and remembered by them in later years as having had an important impact in their lives. A lot of those people are going to want to read more about the life of this writer who has become, with no small measure of affection, a contemporary Mark Twain to several generations now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Holiday Dinners: Avoiding the Kid's Table Syndrome
National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance
Mary Brigid Barrett – 2004

On holidays, I was always stuck at the kid's table. The best china, crystal goblets, and elegant linens were placed on the grown-up table. The kid's table was set with the everyday dishes, plastic cups, and lots of paper napkins. The grown-ups feasted on the choicest cuts of turkey and ham, creamy potatoes, savory sauces, fresh vegetables, and real cranberries. Plain meat and potatoes, canned peas, and jellied cranberry sauce were our lot. The grown-ups engaged in animated conversations, gossiping, sharing family stories, discussing important current events and politics. At the kids table my time was spent judging burp contests. I also spent a great deal of time protecting my mashed potatoes from the determined efforts of my younger brother whose main goal was to bombard them with squished peas. I longed for the day when I would get to move up to the "big" table.

My nine year old yearnings stemmed from a desire to be more "grown-up" but they also stemmed from a desire to be part of the grown-up world of conversation. Not only did I know the food was better at the grown-ups' table but my instincts told me the talk was better, too. Real interesting stuff was being discussed and I was missing it.

This holiday season ban the children's table, bring the kids up to the big table, and let the conversation begin! If Great Uncle Bob can't tolerate three year olds, put your preschooler next to imperturbable Uncle Stanley. If Granny Louisa thinks kids have no place at the adult table, tell her that the kids are eager to hear her childhood holiday memories at dinner. Encourage your children to both listen and engage in the dinner conversation. Just keep the stack of paper napkins nearby for the inevitable glass of spilled milk! READ MORE !

New Natural History: Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson.

This book has been written in the tradition of popular natural history writing established by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and David Quammen; it comes with the recommendation of two of my favorite contemporary natural history writers, Peter Matthiessen and Bernd Heinrich. If you’ve enjoyed those writers, you will love this book. Feathers is not only an exploration of the natural history of feathers, but an exploration of their cultural meaning to humans, an engaging application of the minutely observed and scientific to an aspect of nature that we find enchanting, mythical, and imaginatively elusive. Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material ever discovered, and Hanson explores their myriad uses and biological importance: their significance in the evolution of flight, their use in temperature control, protection, and sexual attraction. Feathers are also at the center of one of evolutions enduring debates: whether birds are dinosaurs. From our ethereal dreams of flight to the very practical business of Ostrich farming, this book is a story filled with interesting facts and lore, told with a lofting grace. It’s also got a really cool jacket design.

Mysteries from Québec

I was at loose ends for new reading material last week, so our own Aunt Agatha recommended that I try the mysteries of Louise Penny. I'm so glad she did! There is, of course, a formula to these traditional mysteries--an inspector and his team who appear in each book, a specific locale, a cast of repeating characters--and yet within that formula there is so much freshness.

The books are set in a little town called Three Pines, hidden in a valley in Canada between Montreal and the Vermont border. The investigator is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec, and he is a wonderful character--smart, psychologically astute, kind, and literary. Penny sprinkles her works with wonderful verse by the likes of Margaret Atwood, but penned in the book by the village's resident poet, the foul-mouthed and exceedingly entertaining Ruth Zardo.

Penny also shows the French obsession for the details of food, featuring in the village a wonderful B&B/bistro that supplies such delicacies to its residents and the inspector's team that I defy you to get through an entire book of Penny's without heading for the refrigerator to make yourself an upscale snack. Runny brie and baguettes, café au lait and fresh croissants, cassoulet...oh my.

The mysteries are as complex and multi-layered as the food, being intricate murders with multiple suspects, subtle and interesting motives, and surprising conclusions, and the stories are inhabited by both pathos and humor. Her first, Still Life, came out in 2008 and promptly won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; I have made my way through all but one of her back list (for which she won four Agatha Awards in a row), and can't wait to read her newest, A Trick of the Light, which focuses on one of my favorite characters, painter Clara Morrow.
If you like your mysteries permeated with the complex emotions of nuanced characters, Louise Penny is for you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What We're Reading: The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany 1944-1945

The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw.

In the late fall through the early spring of 1944 and 1945 it was clear that Germany had lost the Second World War. It was bereft of significant allies in the European theatre, and the Allied forces and arms arrayed against the Reich were massively superior to the devastated German army and the Luftwaffe. Allied armies were advancing into German territory on both the eastern and western fronts of the war. There was virtually no air support for German ground operations, and the Allies were bombing and destroying German industry and cities at will. The seemingly rationale course would have been to seek peace terms, and failing that, to accede to the demands of the Allies for unconditional surrender. The question that Kershaw seeks to answer is why Germany fought when there was nothing to be gained by prolonging the conflict. That decision resulted in the physical destruction of German cities, of infrastructure, and major industries. More importantly, it cost the lives of millions of additional German soldiers and civilians. It was a disturbing exercise in self-immolation.

The explanation for Germany’s continued defiance has perhaps never been addressed so comprehensively before. To the degree that an explanation has been offered, historians have often focused on the Allies demand in 1943 at their Casablanca Conference for Germany’s unconditional surrender, a demand that was intended to communicate Allied resolve, but also one made to help hold the Allied coalition together. It addressed a mutual distrust by preventing any one country from negotiating a separate peace with Germany. Kershaw dismisses the notion that the demand for unconditional surrender had any decisive influence in Germany’s decision to fight on.

For many of the German population, and for Nazi Party true believers, there was a profound willingness to trust in Hitler and the Nazi leadership. This was a trust born out of the seemingly miraculous German victories early in the war. As the military situation deteriorated, the still well functioning Nazi propaganda apparatus was able to convince many that “miracle weapons” were about to be introduced that would reverse Germany’s fortunes. The belief was also fostered that the Allied coalition was fragile, that if Germany could just hold out a little longer, a rift would develop between the Soviets and their Anglo American allies. But more important than these self-delusions, Kershaw locates Germany’s resignation to a path of total destruction in the very nature of the Nazi state and its leadership. Although he and the Nazi Party had become unpopular, Hitler’s power remained, until the moment of his suicide, without challenge. There was despair and resignation in the country about the course of the war, but it did not translate into political rebellion. There was no organized opposition in Germany, and within the Nazi Party Hitler’s power had been built by maintaining rivalries between factions, never allowing any group to become powerful enough in its own right to pose a threat to his authority. The Party and government bureaucracy remained neurotically devoted to detail, regulation, and routine as the world crashed down in flames outside their office doors. It would have served the German population better if it had simply broken down in panic and collapse.

Hitler was determined that Germany would go down in flames with the Nazi Party, and the regime became even more repressive than it had ever been, taking revenge and murdering wholesale outsider groups within Germany, and executing German soldiers and civilians who expressed any notion of defeat or desire for an end to the war. Those in the Nazi Party knew they had no future, not only because of their failure in the war, but because of the terrible crimes they had committed. But their hate survived, when all else was lost, in the determination that their enemies would go down with them in their annihilation and death. As the Allied armies approached Berlin, Hitler remained inflexible.

In many counties, the army, especially when it was being tasked to do the hopeless by a maniacal political authority, would be the only force left to call a halt to the destruction. But in Germany, the power of historical memory, among other factors, made such an option unlikely. Hitler rose to power on the constant refrain that German defeat in the First World War had come about as a result of a “stab in the back” by Jews and by army officers who had rebelled and negotiated an end to the conflict. After the failure of a group of army officers to kill Hitler in the Stauffenberg bomb plot, there was never any question of the army overthrowing Hitler. In fact most army officers and most Germans were outraged at the plot to kill the Fuhrer. Many in the army were Nazi true believers, and those who were not had a profound sense of loyalty and duty as officers to continue to fight to defend their country.

In the end, seeing no way out, hopelessly armed and poorly trained citizen militias and German front line soldiers fought on to save their own lives and the lives of their families, especially on the eastern front where there was well founded terror that the advancing Russian armies would seek reprisals on the population for German atrocities in western Russia. In the end, many fought because they believed that if they did not, Germany as a state would not survive after the war. German patriotism served to support the inflexible aims of the Nazi state, and the fighting even survived for some weeks the fall and destruction of Berlin and the death of the architect of all this misery.

Because of the way the totalitarian states in Eastern Europe collapsed at the demise of the Soviet Union, and more recently because of the successful revolutions in Arab dictatorships, we have come to console ourselves with the notion that totalitarian states rest on tenuous foundations and do not often have the support of their populations. We are too willing to dismiss the tenacity or longevity of repression. A bold move we think will topple an oppressive state like a house of cards. Kershaw’s anatomy of the Nazi state makes it clear that this is not so. It also makes clear that there are different routes to totalitarian power, that the national and cultural history of each nation may come to support or undermine such a development in different ways. This study also demonstrates that, as with individuals, there may develop with nations a psychology of self destruction that will defy the military expectations and calculations of those who wage a war without understanding this. Finally, The End, challenges the way we think about the costs of a conflict. We calculate the destruction of a war and the loss of life in terms of our own losses; seldom is the cost to the belligerent a part of our calculation or a cause of grief and regret. Kershaw is careful not to make Germans in some way victims, and he makes clear who the real victims of the Nazi state were. And the inability of Germany to end the war earlier, when it was apparent all was lost, cost not only untold suffering in Germany, but the needless death of Allied soldiers as well. But it is hard to watch a sort of national insanity unfold and not to feel a deep sense of sorrow at the waste and at the persistent hubris of men who find themselves unable to control the dark forces they have unleashed, forces to which they have pledged their hopes, their allegiance, and their lives.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Death Of The Public Library ?

Why It's Time To Speak Up For Our Libraries
Huffington Post: 11.15.2011 by Andrew Losowsky

Libraries are essential public goods.

Like our public parks and museums, public libraries are free, non-commercial gathering places for everyone, regardless of income. If information is power, then libraries are the essence of democracy and freedom. In these times of economic difficulty, more people are using them than ever, to do more than merely check out books.

Yet our nation's public libraries appear to be under threat by a litany of cuts, forced upon them by state and local committees, cuts that often began before the recent economic downturn. In a survey conducted by the Library Journal, 93% of large libraries reported having laid off staff, cut their opening hours, or both. In several states, including Indiana and Michigan, library branches have permanently closed their doors.

In a new Huffington Post series called Libraries In Crisis, we'll be looking at how today's libraries are about more than books. We'll show how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence.

This occasional series will look at the economic reasons for the current situation, and its consequences throughout the country. It will showcase models for library evolution, and hear from prominent voices about what makes a viable and vital library system. READ MORE !

Read the first piece in this series, "The Death Of The Public Library?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Biography. Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War

Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan

Andre Malraux wrote that “From this century in France, three names will remain: de Gaulle, Picasso, and Chanel.” This may be so, their achievements undeniable, but their image in modern memory continues to evolve, and certainly our conception of both de Gaulle and Picasso as individuals has become more complex and ambiguous over the years. They have suffered some as people in our popular esteem. Whatever their achievements, it probably wouldn’t have been that much fun to have lunch with them. Well now it is Coco’s turn.

Early in the 20th Century, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel created the look of the modern woman and became the high priestess of couture. By the 1920s Chanel had created a fashion empire, employing two thousand people in her workrooms, and amassing a personal fortune of $15 million. At the start of World War II she closed down her couture house in Paris and moved to the Hotel Ritz. She remained at the Ritz during the German occupation, and after the war she moved to Switzerland. In 1954 she returned to Paris to rebuild the House of Chanel. Vaughan’s book focuses primarily on Chanel’s life from 1941 to 1954, a period that has been routinely glossed over by biographers, and which has been shrouded in mystery. The story he uncovers is a startling one.

Vaughan makes the case that Chanel during this period was a German intelligence operative and was enlisted in a number of spy missions. This came about in connection with her decade long affair with a German officer and diplomat, Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, who was previously thought to be a relatively innocuous official serving the Reich in occupied Paris. Vaughan’s research uncovered that Dincklage was in fact a Nazi master spy and German military intelligence agent who ran a spy ring in the Mediterranean. He reported directly to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s infamous propaganda minister. Vaughan explains how Chanel was able to escape arrest after the war, and flee to Switzerland, and how in spite of the persistent rumors of her espionage activities, she was able to return to Paris eventually and rebuild her business. This fascinating book that makes a surprising and unlikely fusion between high fashion is a troubling elaboration of the career of a woman who, however reprehensible her faults, remains an icon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brown Bag Book Club will next read...The Hunger Games.

The Brown Bag Book Club announces that for their December meeting we have selected the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. We will meet on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at noon on the second floor of the Central library.

As always, everyone is welcome to join our group.  Read the book and bring your lunch!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What We're Reading: The Voyage of the Rose City

The Voyage of the Rose City by John Moynihan

John Moynihan died in 2004 from a fatal reaction to acetaminophen. His death came only a year after that of his famous father, long time New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 2006 his mother, Elizabeth Moynihan published a privately printed edition of a journal John had kept on a sea voyage he took in 1980 as a 20 year old young sailor in the Merchant Marine, an adventure he had pursued during a leave from his junior year at Wesleyan University. A commercial publisher had an interest in publishing his account for wider distribution, and The Voyage of the Rose City was published this year to favorable critical reviews.

John Moynihan’s account of his sea voyage has a certain power that derives from his early death, the young age at which he travelled and wrote his account, and the romantic attraction he seems to have associated with sea travel and the life of a sailor. The journal account of the voyage here includes drawings by Moynihan from his voyage sketchbook, and those drawings, often depicting classic pirate characters and vignettes, reveal to us a person self aware, one who was having fun with what he knew were some of the myths that had prompted him to board a ship. In a fundamental sense, this is a “guys” book one would suppose, the voyage was a chance for a young man to escape from a feeling of confinement and boredom and seek a classic adventure, one in which he might develop some sense of self-sufficiency and the ability to get on in the world. It was understood to promise, as the convention goes, an experience that would represent some unfolding journey to manhood in tandem with the geographical journey. Moynihan’s writing is very accomplished for someone so young, and his descriptions of the characters he meets and landscapes he encounters on the voyage are especially engaging.

The power and poignancy of this book however, derives mainly from the primordial desire of young men, in such a journey, to emerge from the shadow of their father, to become at the same time, paradoxically, their own man and the man they imagine their father to be. This is the tension that makes this a great story, and because of the celebrity of his father, ratchets up that tension to a more than common level. A reader cannot help but be sympathetic to the plight of children of the famous. John’s father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one of the larger than life figures of American politics in the last third of the 20th Century, a widely respected American intellectual who held important advisory posts in the administrations of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. He was influential in helping to formulate both domestic social policy and U.S. foreign policy. He served as U.S. ambassador to India and also as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He served three terms as U.S. Senator from New York, first winning election in 1976. Moynihan had grown up in a poor neighborhood in Hell’s Kitchen in New York, worked as a longshoreman, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in sociology. He published many books on important issues in American and international politics during his lifetime.

John Moynihan enlisted as an Ordinary Seaman in the Merchant Marine, a position he was able to get because his father pulled a few strings, and got the opportunity to be part of the crew on the oil tanker, the Rose City. He had been warned by his father’s contact at the Seaman’s Union to let no one know that he was the son of the senator. He was supposed to tell everyone that his father was a bartender in Manhattan. But the crew immediately suspected that there was a piece missing in the story of this college boy. The captain of the Rose City asked John Moynihan directly if he was related to the senator. In a passage where he doesn’t explain his forthrightness, he tells the captain that he is. He either naively or deliberately made things harder for himself than they were going to be in any event. Word leaked out. The crew immediately suspected that he had got the job of Ordinary Seaman at the expense of another member of the crew. Here was a rich and privileged kid taking as a lark the job they were forced to do for a meager living. Moynihan’s assimilation into the crew became an immeasurably more difficult task than it would have been, one that was fraught with isolation, baiting, and a sense of physical danger from the rest of the crew. Moynihan took high risk assignments to prove himself, and he worked hard to learn the job and apply himself to the grueling work. With the help of some hard learned survival skills, and a lot of hash, beer, drunkenness and less than enthusiastic whoring, he came to understand and identify with the other members of the crew and win their acceptance. It was in some way his own passage through the poor and rough and tumble world where his father began. But however much a famous father is mixed up in John Moynihan’s quixotic quest on this journey, his triumph in this experience was his own. The Voyage of the Rose City is his small legacy. The reader cannot help feel that behind this small book was a spirit that was large and brave, belonging to a young man who had an exceptional intelligence and a desire to engage the world in an elemental way. It makes us sad he is no longer with us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Books: The Steal by Rachel Shteir

The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting by Rachel Shteir

If you are interested in reading something a little out of the ordinary, about a phenomenon so pervasive we hardly seem to take notice of it anymore, consider this fresh and original look at the history and cultural significance of shoplifting. Rachel Shteir reviews differing social perspectives on shoplifting: shoplifting as crime, psychological disease, and social protest. The author explores various theories of why shoplifting occurs. Is it a response to a culture of hyper-consumerism? Does the frequency go up in times of economic downturn? How do retailers stop it? There do not seem to be easy answers to these questions. Shteir gives us a history of anti-theft technology. She describes the current edition of the shoplifter, the mall “booster.” And yes, the book would not be complete without an account of Winona Ryder’s famous shopping trip.

In addition to the speculative side of this discussion, there is the hard economic side. It is estimated that every American family loses $400.00 a year to shoplifting related price inflation, and that in 2009 American retailers lost $11.7 billion to shoplifting. Consumers are often under the impression, because they have some sense of mark-up margins on merchandise, that retailers have huge profit margins. This is seldom the case. After operational expenses, sales promotion markdowns, and clearance markdowns, the profit margin of a retailer is often a very small percentage of the overall sales volume. Shoplifting can cut into that margin to such a degree that such losses may force a small or even large retailer out of business. So while this is an entertaining discussion of the subject, it is also a serious one, and will perhaps spark other sociological investigations.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Picture Book Month is an international initiative to designate November as Picture Book Month, encouraging everyone to celebrate literacy with picture books.

Every day in November, there will be a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.

We are doing this because in this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.

Join the celebration and party with a picture book !

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More Rin-Tin-Tin, Behind the Scenes

Susan Orlean's fascinating biography of Rin-Tin-Tin does raise an interesting question: was the multi-talented dog an amazing animal actor, able to portray a wide range of emotions for the camera, or were there in fact a number of "Rin Tin Tins." She does quote Jack Warner admitting in a 1965 interview with the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner that the studio encouraged Lee Duncan to breed doubles for Rinty in case the star was injured or killed. Eventually there were 18 Rin Tin Tins and Warner said in the interview, "Each animal was a specialist. One was used for attack scenes, another was trained to jump twelve-foot walls, a third was a gentle house dog, and so on."

This was certainly the case and I can add a more personal note. My mother, Mary Louise Miller, was the baby actress who worked with Rin Tin Tin in two movies, The Night Cry and Jaws of Steel. In both films, the scenes she shared with Rinty were definitely played with the gentle house dog. This was the Rinty with the dark, liquid eyes, staring soulfully at the toddler, feeding her the bottle, allowing her to play with his ears, or placing his head lovingly on her bed pillow.

So yes, there were many animals answering to the name of Rin Tin Tin, but the legend of that amazing dog continues to this day. And it was certainly true when Jack Warner called Rin Tin Tin "the mortgage-lifter." The dog's world-wide popularity certainly pulled Warner Bros. Studios out of the red in the 1920s.

Do check out Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, it's a great read -- especially for all those dog-lovers out there!

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Nov 1: Happy National Family Literacy Day !

Have you ever wondered . . .
What can children teach their parents ?
How will your family celebrate National Family Literacy Day ?
Have you learned any important lessons lately ?

Celebrate the wonders of families reading and learning together by hosting special events and activities focused on family literacy.

National Family Literacy Day has been officially celebrated on November 1 since 1994. However, many communities plan events throughout the entire month of November.

What’s happening in your community? In many areas, schools, libraries, literacy organizations, teachers, parents and kids participate in read-a-thons, book drives and more.

. . . some family literacy events @ Burbank Library

Nov 5: Family Day @ the Library @ 11am
The Amazing Magic of B.J. Hickman
Fun for the whole family
Buena Vista Branch Library

Nov 17: Teddy Bear Sleepover Storytime @ 6:30pm
Come to the pajama storytime with your Teddy Bear and enjoy fun bear stories. And a slide show of all the exciting adventures your Teddy Bears had at the library from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10.
Burbank Central Library

Nov 21: Monday Morning Movies @ 10am
"Let's Eat! (and be thankful)" stories
in the Children's Room.
Enjoy movie versions of these picture books with your preschooler:
Strega Nona by Tomi dePaola
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp.
Burbank Central Library

Plus Storytimes and Toddler Tales.

New Biography: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean. Most of us who remember the exploits of the heroic German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin are thinking about the T.V. star of the 1950s and the endless 1960s reruns, productions that starred the umpteenth avatars of the original Rin Tin Tin, the original dashing movie star of the 1920s who captured the bad guys in movies like Clash of the Wolves and Jaws of Steel. In fact, by all rights, Rin Tin Tin should go down in film history as the first recipient or the best actor Oscar. At the first Academy Awards presented in 1929 Rin Tin Tin won the vote for best actor. The Academy, concerned that the newly instituted awards might not be taken seriously, decided instead to award the Oscar to the now more obscure Emil Jannings.

Or course, it doesn’t really matter if Rin Tin Tin became a franchise or not. Sure we would like to think, like Lassie, that we were watching the exploits of the same dog, but what is more important to us is the sustained character of the dog, the consistent and enduring anthropomorphic values to we ascribe to his actions and exploits, and so we are willing to make the necessary suspension of disbelief in this matter, to give the dog a sort of eternal life in our imaginations. Orlean explores the history of Rin Rin Tin as a popular phenomenon, and the “real” and often mundane, or just plain odd stories, behind the legend. Readers will find particularly engaging the encounters with contemporary slightly deranged Rin Tin Tin aficionados. This is a fascinating story not only of the history of Rin Tin Tin but a story about how legends were born in popular culture of the 20th century.