Library Column–April 1, 2005

Special treats from the library

We have The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker. As an extra bonus, the book includes CD’s with the entire body of cartoons ever published in the magazine: over 68,000 of them. The only problem is that this is a truly weighty tome. You might want to just browse it at the library, or bring along a small wagon to carry it home in.

Concerned about Fundamentalism in America? Read Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church by James M. Ault, Jr. The author spent three years observing a small fundamentalist church in Massachusetts and provides a sympathetic picture of surprisingly ordinary folks and their beliefs. I found it a fascinating read.

For movie and Hollywood buffs, we have The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood by David Thomson. This thoughtful history of the film industry in America delves below the surface and is full of fascinating insights and tales.

We have three books on the World War II era. The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw is written as personal history, based on interviews with some of the actual participants in the story, and supported by extensive background research. It is a gripping read.

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 by Max Hastings is the horrifying story of the last months of World War II. Like the previous title, much of the story is based on interviews, but because the subject is broader, the author spends more time on the big picture.

The last of the three is The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia by Richard Overy. This book is an interesting comparison of the similarities (and there were a lot of them) and differences in these attempts to impose the will of a single human being on the lives and choices of millions of people.

Finally, we have Voltaire in Exile by Ian Davidson. An entertaining study of the final years of the brilliant 18th century reformer and author, this book provides an essential overview of the life and times of Voltaire. The introduction begins: "Voltaire, as everybody knows, was one of the most famous writers of the French eighteenth century. The paradox is that, although his name is still internationally renowned, his life and work are now comparatively unfamiliar. Everyone knows that Voltaire was famous, but not everyone has a clear idea of what he was famous for…"Requests

We’d really appreciate the donation of some lightly used heavy duty boxes with handles for toting books. File boxes would be perfect.

We welcome book donations. At the moment I’m particularly interested in paperback mysteries for our hall collection, and hardcover books in good condition for our book sale at the Farmer’s Market this summer. Thanks in advance!


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