Thursday, February 26, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I thought that highlighting a different research website or database each month would offer a fresh perspective for the blog. Today's website, Chronicling America is brought to you by the National Endowment for the Humanities and is available for FREE via the Library of Congress. This site has  over 7 million digitized historic American newspaper articles. The collection includes papers from 1836 through 1922, although newspapers published after December 31, 1922, are not included due to copyright restrictions.

The beauty of a site like Chronicling America is that it offers a vast collection of primary sources that might get overlooked during a research project. Sharon Slater brought the site to the library's attention when juniors were first starting their junior history paper last fall. She feels that Chronicling America allows researchers to approach one topic from a variety of angles via different voices across the country from the same time period. For instance, if you were to search the database for Lincoln's assassination, you could retrieve articles from Connecticut to Kentucky. Thus a student could construct a truly holistic approach to whatever her subject may be.

Another cool thing about the site is called "Topics in Chronicling America". From the homepage in the upper left corner, there is a tab linking to widely covered subjects in the American press of the time. From topics like Bat Masterson to Ouija boards to the creation of the Boston subway....(the latter might need to be updated, haha!)

SO, if you have had enough reading about your circle of friends' trivialities on twitter and facebook this winter, maybe try leisurely perusing some newsprint from a particular era. Not only will you find contemporary articles that were published as events happened, and learn what was important in the area and era, but you can also check out announcements of marriage and death notices. From a historical perspective, obituaries can speak volumes about a time and place. The advertisements, editorial and social columns are often what catch my interest. Like this advertisement proudly announcing a prescription for infants that "contains no opium or morphine"! What a relief!

If you would like more information on how to navigate the Chronicling America site or any database for that matter, just ask one of the librarians on duty at the desk. We will kindly oblige!

Monday, February 23, 2015

And the Oscar goes to....

I hate to admit it, but I am always the smug one who after leaving the theater reminds my friends of the fact that the books are always so much better than the film versions. 
ALTHOUGH....there have been some amazing adaptations this year and the Academy Awards honored quite a few of them last night in Los Angeles. The Oscar winners based on books include:

The Theory of Everything
Image result for traveling to InfinityEddie Redmayne won Best Actor for the film that was based on a memoir of Stephen Hawking's wife, Jane, titled, "Traveling to Infinity"
This true story covers the turbulent years of Jane Hawking's marriage to the astrophysics genius, her traumatic divorce, and their recent reconciliation.

Still Alice 
Image result for still aliceThe ever-gorgeous Julianne Moore received Best Actress for her role in this film adapted from the book by the same name, authored by Lisa Genova.

At fifty years old, a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful. An Alzheimer's diagnosis changes her life—and her relationship with her family and the world—forever.

The Imitation Game
Image result for alan turing; the enigmaThis movie won the coveted Best Adapted Screenplay award. Adapted from the book, "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges

A biography of the British mathematician Alan Turing, who according to some, singlehandedly saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one.

 American Sniper
Image result for american sniper amazonThis box office winner is based on the memoir of the same name by Chris Kyle, received the Oscar for Best Sound Editing. Although, Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper were probably hoping for more...

The Autobiography of U.S. Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, known as "the Legend" by
fellow American troops and "the devil" by his enemies, writes about the real pain and heart ache of war.

Big Hero 6 
Based on a comic book, this movie won the award for the Best Animated Feature.

Hiro's a genius, but what he really wants is to be like his inventor big brother, Tadashi--but one day, Tadashi vanishes and Hiro is only left with a companion robot Baymax. But the friendship that grows between the gentle bot and the lonely boy is only the beginning of their adventure... (Amazon)

 A few honorable mentions and Oscar nominees include:

Inherent Vice" by Thomas Pynchon
Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
 “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
 “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

So, come on in and check one of these books out or maybe discover a book that has yet to be adapted in Hollywood -  that way you can say you knew them before they were famous!