Spartan Bookshelf

121214_bookshelf_inpost_IMG_02In praise of public libraries

In the 150 photographs collected in The Public Library (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014), Department of Art and Art History Lecturer Robert Dawson celebrates libraries grand and structurally modest, from the New York Public Library to Allensworth, Calfornia’s one-room Tulare County Free Library. For 18 years, Dawson traveled the U.S., documenting hundreds of the more than 17,000 libraries in America today. Accompanying Dawson’s photographs are essays by such library lovers and literary lights as Bill Moyers, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan and Barbara Kingsolver. “A powerful case for how public libraries serve communities in every corner of the country,” posted The New Yorker. “A profound and heartbreakingly beautiful book,” praised Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.

“Game of Thrones”: feminist or…?

In Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance (McFarland, 2014), Valerie Estelle Frankel, ’04 MFA Creative Writing, examines the feminism (or lack thereof) of the queens, warriors, priestesses, mothers and maidens who make up the cast of HBO’s popular fantasy series, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s novel. Frankel’s text analyzes the portrayal of the women characters as well as their “historical inspiration,” according to the publisher’s press release. Frankel is also the author of books on pop culture heroes and heroines Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and vampire slayer Buffy.

Cuba’s national hero reconsidered

World Languages and Literatures Professor Anne Fountain’s José Martí, the United States and Race (University Press of Florida) examines the evolution of Cuban patriot Martí’s thinking about race and racial politics, prompted by the time he spent in the United States and this country’s legacy of slavery. Freedom fighter, poet, journalist and philosopher, Martí (1853-1895) championed Latin American independence and has been called the “Apostle of the Cuban Revolution.” “Essential reading for those who increasingly appreciate the enormous importance of Martí as one of the nineteenth century’s most influential and most original thinkers,” praised John Kirk, coeditor of Redefining Cuban Foreign Policy.

Prompts for poets

In Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press, 2014), Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss, ’07 MFA Creative Writing, “coaxes out the poet in all of us,” according to editor and teacher Ann Marie Brown. California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young concurs: “These warm, prodding pages quiver with enough prompts, suggestions, exercises, examples and borderline ecstasy to keep any fledgling or practiced writer of poetry meaningfully focused and sharp for a lifetime.”

Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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