All posts by Laurie Sabol

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reviewed by Julie-Ann Bryson, Library Assistant at the Lilly Music Library

The Hunger Games is set in the not-too-distant future, in a country called Panem that exists where the United States once did.  The Capitol is the center of government and high society, and the other twelve Districts make up the labor forces of the country. Each year, as punishment to the Districts for having once attempted to revolt against the Capitol, two young Tributes from each District are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death where only one child goes home as the living Victor.  When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place in the Games, the adventure begins. What happens to Katniss and the other tributes in the arena make this a compelling, entertaining, and disturbing novel that you won’t be able to put down!

Action, humor, friendship, rebellion, bloodshed, a strong female heroine, reality television at its worst, and even a little bit of romance… The Hunger Games has it all!

Read it now before the movie adaptation hits theaters in March 2012!  Check out the other two books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, also in the Tisch collection.

Tisch Library Call Number: PZ7.C6837 Hun 2008
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Moral Lives of Animals

The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson, Lecturer in English, Tufts University

http:www.dalepetersonauthor.com

Bloomsbury Press, New York 2011

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science and Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning Research & Instruction Librarian, Tisch Library

My father was in the military and our small family of three traveled extensively up and down the East Coast of the United States. At the time I was an only child and lonely, so I asked my parents for a dog. And not just any dog – but an “Asta” – a Wire Haired Fox Terrier just like the dog in “The Thin Man” films and television show. We named him MacDuff (my parents were great readers) and we were inseparable. He understood me; he laughed, played and pouted with me. If insulted, which often happened when not offered a plate of spaghetti, he would turn his back to you and then turn his head over his shoulder to look at you with hurt eyes. My parents said he was just a dog, but I knew better. MacDuff was more than a dog — he was a reincarnated person.

Dale Peterson’s latest book, The Moral Lives of Animals, asks the reader to look beyond the most commonly held belief that only humans are moral or have the intelligence to reason and analyze behavior and emotions. Using Moby-Dick and the characters of Ahab and Starbuck as representatives of two standard theories of animal behavior and intelligence, Peterson suggests that there is another way to comprehend animal morality. This third way promotes the existence of many animal minds (not an animal mind), which are alien to human minds, yet similar; we have all undergone the process of evolutionary adaptation according to social and ecological needs.

Peterson reviews Judeo-Christian (e.g., the Ten Commandments) and philosophical tenets; he defines “morality” and challenges the reader to accept morality as being as much an animal attribute as human. The concept “Darwinian narcissism” — the “ordinary condition of a species” — is used to show that evolutionary continuity allows for habituation, the every-day routine of an animal’s life, including in humans. While animals and humans readily orient themselves to their own kind’s behavior, we share many behaviors that allow for meaningful understanding and awareness among species.

Morality isn’t an easy subject to define or discuss, but Peterson methodically — yet beautifully — presents the topic through personal and animal stories, literary examples and scientific studies. His use of rules, attachments and assessments makes it easy to follow his argument to its conclusion: that all animals (including humans) share similar thoughts, that is, “subjective mental experiences,” allowing for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.

There is much in Dale Peterson’s new book The Moral Lives of Animals to absorb, contemplate, understand, and fear. Yes, I fear that human beings might not have the courage to do what Peterson asks of us in his final chapter – to come to peace with the knowledge that we aren’t the only moral beings on this Earth, and to choose “not to destroy what we [do] not entirely understand.”

The Moral Lives of Animals and Dale Peterson’s other works can be found in Tisch Library by doing an author search in the Tufts Catalog.

Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science and Environmental Studies Reference Librarian

by Jonathan M. Tisch with Karl Weber
Crown Publishers, New York 2010
Tisch Library Call Number HN18.3 .T57 2010

The Light on the Hill burns bright and is spreading across America.

Jonathan M. Tisch’s (with Karl Weber) new book, Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World, invites private citizens, public servants, non-profit organizations and corporations to transform old models of civic action into new. In asking the question, will 20th century thinking hold back 21st century progress? Mr. Tisch is hopeful that new ways of perceiving and implementing civic activism will answer 21st century challenges. Throughout the book, Mr. Tisch and Mr. Weber weave examples of citizen activism, social and professional entrepreneurship, and corporate philanthropy, bringing to the forefront transformative thinking and new partnerships between people, organizations and corporations.

The authors profile Tufts University’s Tisch College of Active Citizenship and Public Service, illustrating how private organizations foster social activism through integration of active citizenship across all facets of the school (including curriculum), connecting academic rigor with learning outcomes focused on root causes of societal problems and modeling how social activism is open to everyone. Quite simply, Tisch College outlines ways in which America’s education system can develop active citizens.

Corporate leaders such as Pierre and Pam Omidyar, Bill Gates, Alan Solomont and Alan Khazei are presented as examples of how great wealth and corporate social leadership can address social problems using unique and sustainable partnerships.

Public servant leadership is also explored using Michael Bloomberg’s (and others) New York City (NYC) Service program as an example of “a city of citizens”. Mayor Bloomberg believes that active citizenship combined with non-profit, business and city government assistance can help in creating sustainable urban neighborhoods, “…citizen service can make the difference, bridging the gap between what government can do and what needs to be done.” (p. 108)

From a practical point of view each chapter provides sections entitled “Food for Thought, Seeds for Action”, ideas and information on how to pursue and realize civic engagement. The concluding chapter, “To Learn More”, lists fifty-two ways (along with contact information) to become an active citizen.

It’s not surprising the majority of Citizen You’s featured social activists or organizations are Tufts alumni, students, faculty or affiliated organizations. Tufts University is recognized nationally and internationally for promoting social activism through its Tisch College, student organizations, centers and institutes and curriculum. Tufts is known for graduating students who seek positions in fields that are dedicated to civic engagement and activism – and I think that’s something to write about – don’t you?

The Climate Solutions Consensus by David E. Blockstein and Leo Wiegman

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science Reference Librarian

booksAs the reference & instruction librarian for Tufts’ Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department and Environmental Science, I’m always searching for essential resources that help students and faculty gain a solid overview of a topic. The Climate Solutions Consensus: What We Know and What to Do About It (NCSE/Island Press, 2010) achieves this by bringing together the intricate science, policy and practical applications surrounding the most important social, cultural, environmental and political issue of our time.

Authors David Blockstein, Director of Science Education and Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science the Environment (NCSE) and Leo Wiegman (A ’80), founder of E to the Fourth Communications Strategy and Mayor, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, have written a book pulling together findings and subsequent policies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other summits and symposia. The beginning of the book outlines “Thirty-nine Reasons Why We Have to Act Now”, providing succinct, important global climate change facts and tenets. Blockstein and Wiegman also discuss how the phrase, global warming is too narrow to be used as a synonym for global climate change, but is useful for describing overall increases in average surface temperature of the Earth. This is an important distinction as numerous factors contribute to global climate change.

Throughout the book, the authors use definition, explanation and resources to assist readers in understanding the complex issues covered in the text. Topics such as atmospheric carbon, biodiversity, greenhouse gases, global and local action and science and public policy are clearly and concisely explained with online resources, climate solution actions and works cited/consulted sections providing additional resources and further education. Each chapter includes a “Connect the Dots” section, linking theory/policy with application.

The most appealing chapter of Climate Solutions Consensus, “Strategies for Stabilization, Mitigation, and Adaptation”, presents thirty-five immediate climate actions, describing the policy, research, and education needed to achieve each action item.

Well-documented and accessible, Climate Solutions Consensus, would work as an excellent text for a college/university course in global climate change or environment; it would also be useful as a resource for municipal or citizen environmental/climate change groups looking to educate their community and begin developing policies and actions to address global climate disruption.

Location: Tisch Book Stacks QC903 .B56 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

waterReviewed by Laura Walters, Associate Director for Teaching, Research, and Information Resources, Tisch Library.

Did you dream of joining the circus when you were a child?  Did you want to be an elephant trainer or the beautiful woman on the flying trapeze?  If so, you should enter the world of Water for Elephants, a novel that chronicles life in a second-rate circus crossing America in 1932.  From the moment 22-year old Jacob jumps on a train to escape his grief at his parents’ death, we are enveloped in a world that we have only dreamed about.  Reality is much harsher than dreams, and Jacob has to deal with a sadistic ring leader and a brutal circus owner as he struggles to protect the people and the animals he comes to love.  The novel alternates in time between Jacob at 22 and at 93, and the passages involving the elderly Jacob beautifully capture the pathos and nostalgia of a man reflecting on his life’s journey.

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3607.R696 W38 2007
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Summer 2010 Leisure Reading

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

“Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations. Now the disappearance of two women is bringing Towner back home to Salem- and is bringing to light the shocking truth about the death of her twin sister.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3602.A777548 L33 2009
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

“Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson’s spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men- the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World’s Fair, striving to secure American’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Larson crafts a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.”

Tisch Library Call Number: HV6248.M8 L37 2004
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly

books

“Welcome to the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son Collie (yes, he was named after the dog breed). Coming of age on Martha’s Vineyard, he struggles within his wildly wealthy, hyperarticulate, resolutely crazy Irish-Catholic family: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie’s mother). It is a world where chaos is exhilaratingly constant and money is no object. Yet it is one where the things Collie wants -understanding, stability, a sense of belonging- cannot be bought at any price. Through his travails, we realize what it really means to grow into one’s family: to find ways to see them anew, to forgive them, and to be forgiven in turn.“

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.4.K448 A66 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

greatworldamazon“A rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. A radical young Irish monk struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gathers in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. A 38-year-old grandmother turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s allegory comes alive in the voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century”–a mysterious tightrope walker dancing between the Twin Towers.”

Tisch Library Call Number PR6063.C335 L47 2010
Location Tisch Tower Cafe


The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

lastsong“Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside down when her parents divorced. Three years later, she remains alienated from her parents, particularly her father . . . until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she and her brother spent the summer with him. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects her father’s attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return home before the summer’s end. But soon Ronnie meets Will, the past person she thought she’d ever be attracted to, and finds herself falling for him, opening herself up to the greatest happiness  –and pain- that she has ever known.”

Tisch Library Call Number PS3569.P363 L37 2010b
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

GirlwhoplayedOn the eve of publisher Mikael Blomkvist’s story about sex trafficking between Eastern Europe and Sweden, two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Mikael Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander–the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid years before.

Tisch Library Call Number PT9876.22.A6933 F57 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and Adam Grano

Ghost WorldOne of the best-selling and critically-acclaimed graphic novels of all-time telling the story of two supremely ironic, above-it-all teenagers facing the thrilling uncertainty of life after high school. As they attempt to carry their life-long friendship into a new era, the careful dynamics of their inseparable bond are jolted, and what seemed like a future of endless possibilities looks more like an encroaching reality of strip malls, low-paying service jobs and fading memories.

Tisch Library Call Number PN6727.C56 G62 2008
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe


Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

cutting“Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by the mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3622.E744 C87 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Of Water, Turtles and Literature


Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook by David Carroll

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science Librarian, Tisch Library

The water’s not too distant from where I live in North Central Massachusetts and though considered just a “swamp” by many; David Carroll’s wetland mosaic is an example of beautiful ecosystems being destroyed by the deleterious changes in Earth’s ecology.

I discovered David M. Carroll’s (Tufts Alum, SMFA65) book, Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook (Houghton Mifflin 2009) in Tufts Magazine (Winter 2010) and thought it would be a wonderful title to review for TIE’s (Tufts Institute of the Environment) newsletter.

Mr. Carroll immediately drew me into his world with his illustrations. I was entranced by his detailed drawings of the wetlands near his home in Warner, NH where for over thirty years he eagerly anticipates the inaugural signs of spring, documenting first turtle sightings and changes to this wetlands brought upon by natural and human intervention. He tells the tale of our ecology through the turtles inhabiting these wetlands lovingly, yet precisely documenting and explaining their behavior and how their ecological niche is disappearing. His writing is affecting, poetic, drawing the reader into his world of naturalist and field biologist. These turtle documentations are windows into how our environment is changing through un-checked development, poor land stewardship and environmental ignorance.

I was moved by Mr. Carroll’s descriptions of the wetland’s seasons, his sighting of the first turtle, and how the wind and water moved through this glacial leftover. In describing a turtle’s first breath since winter, he equates it to all creatures, “For the moment I think of all the living breaths that have been taken in the world”. He laments an otter’s presence in this ecosystem, yet understands that this is the natural order, “I am familiar with reports by others who study turtles of heavy losses on colonies…by otters preying upon them during their hibernation.”

Threads of Thoreau, Carson and Burroughs echo through the book and Carroll makes clear that our species is responsible for the loss of natural landscape, “The species that came to invent wealth created poverty, for its own kind as well as for the natural landscape.” He advocates “…moving beyond stewardship and conservation to preservation…”, recognizing that his isn’t always the most popular view. Although he understands the call for “…getting out of the house and away from electronic pastimes…” he clearly states that open spaces and multi-use conservation lands are not “true preserves” in providing sanctuary for ecologies, and the landscape loses more natural space and thus, its meaning.

Mr. Carroll “follows the water” describing its flow, how it molds the species and land around it – reminding us that through our neglect and unwillingness to “know at least the place where one lives” we are stripping the Earth of “all original meaning”. This book isn’t just for TIE – this is a book for the entire Tufts Community.
Tisch Library Call Number QH105.N4 C267 2009

Common Reading Program: Recommended Reading List

Great reads recommended by members of the Tufts Community. Compiled specifically for the Class of 2013 as part of the Common Reading Program.

beloved.JPG Beloved
Written by Toni Morrison

Recommended by Jean Herbert, Lecturer in English and Assoc. Dean of Undergraduate Education (last names A-E in Arts & Sciences)

Dean Herbert says “Beloved is a powerful and compelling story of America written in language that is pure poetry.”

Find it at Tisch Library: PS3563.O8749 B4 1987
Find it at your local library

blink.JPG Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Written by Malcolm Gladwell

Recommended by Sam Sommers, Asst. Professor of Psychology and Tufts Professor of the Year

Professor Somers says, “Blink engagingly explores how unconscious and automatic thoughts shape daily life and the ways we respond to the world around us. Plus, it describes research conducted by one of my departmental colleagues here at Tufts, Nalini Ambady.”

Find it at Tisch Library: BF 448 .G53 2005
Find it at your local library

blowntobits.JPG Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion
Written by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis

Recommended by Diane Souvaine, Professor of Computer Science

Professor Souvaine says, “This is a wonderful book about the social and political issues that arise as we become dependent on the internet.”

Find it at Tisch Library: QA76.9.C66 A245 2008
Find it at your local library

ethicsofidentity.JPG The Ethics of Identity
Written by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Recommended by Laura Doane, Director of Advising & Scholarships, Undergraduate Education

Director Doane says, “Appiah offers a wonderful introduction to moral philosophy, explained in an unusually accessible manner. This book is truly interdisciplinary, with a little something for everyone.”

Find it at Tisch Library: BJ1031 .A64 2005
Find it at your local library

freeyourmind.JPG Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and their Allies
Written by Ellen Bass and Kate Kaufman

Recommended by Tom Bourdon, Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center

Director Bourdon says, “This book is a practical guide for GLBT youth containing the stories and experiences of more than fifty GLBT youth.”

Find it at Tisch Library: HQ76.2.U5 B38 1996
Find it at your local library

genderknot.JPG The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy
Written by Allan Johnson

Recommended by Steph Gauchel, Director of the Women’s Center

Director Gauchel says, “Why should gender equity matter to women and men? How do our ideas and rules about what it means to be a man or woman affect all of use? What is patriarchy and how does it hurt all of us? This book answers these questions and asks all of us to envision and create a world in which we are free of pressures to be anything other than ourselves.”

Find it at Tisch Library: HQ1075 .J64 2005
Find it at your local library

hotflatandcrowded.JPG Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America
Written by Thomas L. Friedman

Recommended by Lewis Edgers, Professor, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Assoc. Dean of the School of Engineering

Dean Edgers says, “It describes the present time as an ‘energy-climate era’ and makes strong arguments for the development of sources of renewable energy.”

Find it at Tisch Library: GE197 .F76 2008
Find it at your local library

inheartofthesea.JPG In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Written by Nathaniel Philbrick

Recommended by James Glaser, Professor of Political Science and Dean of Undergraduate Education

Dean Glaser says, “Set partially in New England, a harrowing true story of the Whaleship Essex which was the basis for Moby Dick. A quick read, perfect for summer.”

Find at Ginn Library: G530.E76 2000
Find it at your local library

omnivoresdilemma.JPG Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Written by Michael Pollan

Recommended by Regina Raboin, Science Librarian, Tisch Library

Ms. Raboin says, “Michael Pollan, an investigative journalist and author of The Botany of Desire, writes a book about the timeless American family question: ‘What should we have for dinner?’ He chooses four ingredients and then follows each of the food chains, industrial, organic/alternative, or foraged food from the source to a final meal. Along the way he reveals how food is raised/grown, stored, handled and marketed. The final question for the reader is ‘What and how should we eat?'”

Find it at Tisch Library: GT2850 .P65 2006
Find it at your local library

pillarsoftheearth.JPG The Pillars of the Earth
Written by Ken Follett

Recommended by Dale Bryan, Asst. Director, Peace & Justice Studies Program

Director Bryan says, “Lengthy but hard to put down, a terrific tale of the building of a cathedral in 12C England during the struggle for the crown. This is a great vacation read.”

Find it at Tisch Library: PR6056.O45 P55 1989
Find it at your local library

pursuitsofhappiness.JPG Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage
Written by Stanley Cavell

Recommended by Nancy Bauer, Professor of Philosophy

Professor Bauer says, “In his virtuosic reading of seven film comedies from Hollywood’s ‘golden age,’ Cavell shows us both how philosophy can illuminate our everyday lives and how films can shed light on the human condition.”

Find it at Tisch Library: PN1995.9.C55 C38
Find it at your local library

rapt.JPG Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
Written by Winifred Gallagher

Recommended by Martha Kelehan, Social Sciences Bibliographer, Tisch Library

Ms. Kelehan says, “An easy-to-read introduction to the neuroscience of paying attention, this book explains why it’s good for your brain (and your happiness) to stop multitasking and focus on one thing at a time.”

Find it at Tisch Library: BF321 .G25 2009
Find it at your local library

renegade.JPG Renegade: The Making of a President
Written by Richard Wolffe

Recommended by Bill Gehling, Director of Athletics

Director Gehling says, “Whether you are a Democrat or Republican this account of Obama’s unlikely journey from relative unknown to President of the United States is a fascinating read.”

Find it at Tisch Library: E908 .W65 2009
Find it at your local library

siddhartha.JPG Siddhartha
Written by Hermann Hesse

Recommended by Lindsay Helfman, AB11, Political Science, Academic Programs Coordinator for Undergraduate Orientation 2009

Lindsay says, “With a stimulating plot, and exemplary writing style, this book conveys an important message about finding meaning in the lives we lead. It is one of my favorite books, which I think is a perfect, inspiring read to share – especially for the students about to embark on their undergraduate journeys here at Tufts.”

Find it at Tisch Library: PT2617.E85 S513 1971
Find it at your local library

soloist.JPG The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
Written by Steve Lopez

Recommended by Laura Walters, Assoc. Director for Teaching, Research, and Information Resources, Tisch Library

Director Walters says, “A compelling and engaging true story about a gifted young cellist, Nathaniel Ayers, who ends up on the streets of Los Angeles due to mental illness. It’s a non-flinching and unsentimental look at the state of mental health care in America by the journalist who moves beyond seeing Ayers as just a story line to a human being in desparate need of help.”

Find it at Tisch Library: ML418.A96 L66 2008
Find it at your local library

soulfulscience.JPG The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why it Matters
Written by Diane Coyle

Recommended by David Garman, Assoc. Professor of Economics

Professor Garman say, “Dr. Coyle skips the mechanical presentation of introductory economics that you may have see in AP or IB economics and describes how economists approach some of today’s most important issues.”

Find it at Tisch Library: HB74.P8 C58 2007
Find it at your local library

threecupsoftea.JPG Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time
Written by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Recommended by Alaina McGillivray, BS07 Civil Engineering

Alaina says, “It touches upon interfaith relations, political relations between the West and Arab nations of the Middle East, the role of Islam in Middle Eastern politics and education, and Mortenson’s strong position that non-fundamentalist education is the key to peace in these countries. These themes are discussed from Mortenson’s perspective as an educator for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Find it at Tisch Library: LC2330 .M67 2007
Find it at your local library

Food for Thought


Peanuts: the illustrious history of the goober pea. Written by Andrew F. Smith
Review by Jumbo, Tufts University Mascot
Who knew they’d write a whole book about my favorite snack! The characters are tasty, but the plot line was a little thin. Can’t wait to download this title to my Amazon Kindle. Sure reads better than the books about P.T. Barnum (ugh). Now…where did I leave my laptop………
Call number for Peanuts: TX803.P35 S65 2002

Great Listening

Charlotte’s Web. Written and performed by E.B. White, with an afterword written by Peter F. Neumeyer and read by George Plimpton.

Review by Laurie Sabol, Tisch Library Instruction Coordinator
Ever slopped a pig? Ever read Charlotte’s Web? Seen the movie? Ever wanted to hear the original intentions of its author, E. B. White? If so, run, don’t walk, to the Media Center and request FCD 121.

I admit that when I reread Charlotte’s Web as an adult a few years ago, it did not move me. But when I listened to the CD version of it, as read by White, when he was 70 years old, in the late 60s, I was transported back to my carefree days as a child when I imagined that pigs might faint and spiders were good writers. White’s voice is young and strong, slightly accented by his upbringing in New York and his life in Maine and he is creative in his impressions of the various characters.

Highlights of the recorded version were the discussion between Fern’s mother and their family physician, in which Dr. Dorian assures Mrs. Arable that nothing is wrong with Fern’s active imagination and White’s interpretation of the good-for-nothing (well, almost nothing) Templeton, the rat. Wouldn’t you know that Steve Buscemi voiced Templeton’s in a movie version? A further highlight was that I could hear pages being turned towards the end of the CD.

The story runs for over 2 CDs, the third one ending with a 20 minute biographical and critical sketch of White by Peter Neumeyer, read by George Plimpton in his inimitable voice.
Call number for Charlotte’s Web: FCD 121