Today marks the date in 1935 when modern paperbacks were first published...and trivia buffs all know that the very first paperback was Lost Horizon by James Hilton (it says so right on the cover!).
Or was it?
Penguin, based in England, printed a set of 10 classic titles in paperback back in 1935, and number one on that list was Ariel by Andre Maurois. It took four more years for production of the first paperbacks in the United States, from Pocket Books. Their first title was indeed Lost Horizon. However...as Pocket Books prepared to roll out this new format, they tested a very small paperback print run of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, which was sold only in New York City. (Those prized copies now change hands for approximately $15,000 apiece!)
So what really was the very first paperback published in modern times? It all depends on your definition of the word "first," but for convenience, affordability, and variety, we can all agree that paperbacks are still the way to go!
In the Library, we have books and DVDs aplenty on our efforts to get off of this planet and have a look around the solar system. On display on Main Street, you'll find histories of NASA, chronicles of the US/Russia space race, stories of our efforts to get to the moon and biographies of astronauts. Stop by for a space story!
This week all eyes (and ears) are focused on the U. S. Senate Judiciary hearings for the next Supreme Court Justice and just in time for all the action, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McGregor Burns' new book is hitting the shelves: Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court. Opening with an engaging history of the early court, Burns devotes most of the book to examining the power and partisanship of the Court in the 20th century. The title term "packing the court" refers to the bill that Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent to Congress in 1937, proposing that the six presiding Supreme Court justices over 70 be forced to resign, leaving six empty seats to be filled. (To listen to FDR's fireside chat on the topic, delivered on March 9, 1937, click here.) Burns doesn't hesitate to offer his opinions, but it is his overview of the court that makes it a compelling read.
Arguably, the greatest judge of the 20th century not appointed to the Supreme Court was Learned Hand, a peer of Holmes, Brandeis and Cardozo. While his legal legacy is both vast and respected, it is the man behind the robe that proves most facinating. Gerald Gunther's excellent biography describes in detail a man who was plagued by a lifetime of private doubts about his law practice, his marriage and his judicial work, yet wrote some of the most influencial legal opinions of his day. His biography offers insight into the role of judges in a democratic society, a much-discussed topic during the current hearings.
What do a great Italian author, the Oxford English Dictionary and Charles Schulz have in common? For the answer, read on.
It isn't everyday that I find a new word (well, a word that is new to me), but when it happens I pay attention. A new word! Where has it been lurking all this time and why haven't I seen it before now? In this case, I was leafing through Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino, the great Italian writer known mainly for his fiction. The introductory essay begins with a list of definitions: what is a classic? I was sailing right along until I hit number eight: A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off. There it was. Pulviscular!
After a quick trip to the OED, it didn't take long to find the root: pulviscle (obsolete and rare), meaning a fine powder or dust, from the Latin pulvis. Not surprisingly, the same root as pulverize.
While learning a new word can be a thrill, remembering it is something else altogether. I need an image to associate with it, and that's where Charles Schulz enters the picture. Who can forget the pulviscular cloud that surrounds Pigpen!
Do you remember the last new word you stumbled upon? Write a comment and share it with us-- we'd love to know!
We've been introducing our glades, broad subject areas that group similar areas of the Dewey Decimal System. We want our members to get to know their favorite glades, but for those of you looking for the big picture (and a Dewey cheat sheet), we thought we'd put up the big list. As you might expect, there are exceptions to these Dewey guidelines, but this list is where the Dewey numbers generally ended up.
Body & Soul is where you’ll find books on religion, philosophy, self-help and health.
100s and 200s (Philosophy and Religion)
360s and 600 - 619 (Health and Medicine)
362s and 646s (Self Help)
155s and 649s (Childcare and Parenting).
Over in Nature are all the books on science, math and animals.
500s, 620s and 660s (Science and Math)
590s and 636-639 (Animals and Pets).
Home has the books on hobbies, crafts, decorating, cooking and gardening.
580, 630 - 635, 712 - 719 (Gardening and Landscape Design)
395s, 640s, 793.1 - 793.2 (Cooking and Entertaining)
688s, 745.1 - 746.9, 748, 749, 769 (Crafts and Collectibles)
643s, 680, 684, 690s (Home Repair and How-to)
747 (Interior Design)
Places is for the globetrotters among us- travel books, phrase books and travel writing.
400s (Language Instruction and Grammar) Places has the langauge books for languages other than English.
910.2 - 910.5, 914 - 919 (Travel)
Work is all business. Books on finance, accounting, marketing, college admissions, test preparation and the economy are here.
320s, 340s (Government and Law)
331, 650.14 (Careers and Testing)
370s (Schools and Education)
330s, 650s, 651, 657 - 659 (Business and Management)
Come and Play, where you’ll see books on sports, cars and recreation.
647, 793, 793.4 - 799, 947.3 (Sports and Recreation)
622 - 629 796.7 - 796.8, 797.1 - 797.15, 797.5 - 797.57 (Transportation)
Life and Times is the largest group with history, memoir and biography. Since this is such a large group of books, we're going to be splitting it in two soon- History and Current Events will become Times, while Memoir, Biography and Autobiography will become Lives.
335, 358 - 359, 623 and the 900s (minus travel) (History and Warfare)
363.29, 364, 365 (Disasters and True Crime)
92s and 920s (Biographies)
The lovely Art and Literature has beautiful art books, literature, and writing.
700 - 712, 730s, 750s, 770s (Fine Arts)
780s, 793.3, 812, 822, 823, 832, 842, 852, etc (Performing Arts)
720 - 729 (Architecture and Design)
800s, 100s, 400s (Literature and Poetry)
That covers everything on the second floor, but the technically-inclined will notice that Tech books aren't listed here. The Tech glade is located in the Power Library on the Lower Level. The Dewey numbers are 004 - 007 and we wanted our technology books to be with the technology labs and staff.
Looking for our personal finance section? The Dewey Decimal System was invented before 401Ks or mutual funds were an everyday concern. When we moved into the new building, we rearranged our nonfiction books to bring areas of the Dewey Decimal System together into groups that modern library members would like to browse. We're calling these sections "glades" and each one pulls from different parts of Dewey to create a collection of books across related subjects.
If you're thinking about that college visit, updating your resume or cover letter, looking for financial or investing advice, writing your will or trust, or learning english as a second language, then the Work Glade is the area for you. You can find titles like the Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance which will help you determine which career is right for you. You'll also find personal finance advice from Suze Orman, Michael Lewis and Robert T. Kiyosaki. The old standard What Color is Your Parachute can be found at Work 650.14 Bolles.
To check on the economy from 1860 and have a little fun doing it, check out The Value of a Dollar to see what a dollar could purchase in years past. The librarian who oversees Work is Blanche Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org). As always, feel free to contact her with ideas, suggestions or questions about all things Work.
Eighteen minutes that changed the world: it happened exactly 94 years ago today. Loaded with nearly two thousand passengers and crew members, the Lusitania left New York on May 1, 1915, headed towards Ireland. Just forty or so miles away from her destination port, she was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sunk 18 minutes later, taking the lives of more than half on board.
This remains one of the worst civilian sea disasters in history, and is widely considered the main reason the US entered World War I. Remarkably, there is still one living survivor of the Lusitania, American Audrey Lawson Johnston, who was three months old at the time and lost her two sisters in the disaster.
We have a wealth of Lusitania books here at the Darien Library, mostly in the Life & Times subject area (or "glade") on the 2nd floor. You can read about the events of May 7, 1915 in books like Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, Seven Days to Disaster, or The Lucitania Disaster. For those interested in exploration of the ship's wreckage, an excellent resource is Robert Ballard's Lusitania: Probing the Mysteries of the Sinking That Changed History. Nearly 100 years later, the story of the Lusitania still resonates, and amazes.
We've seen a dramatic (and welcome) change of weather recently, going from overcoats and umbrellas to shorts and sandals in just the past few weeks. That means it's finally time to start thinking about summer activities like Little League, camping, boating and swimming, golf, tennis and horseback riding, even just taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
You'll find all of our books about outdoor activies - whether you're a spectator or participant - in the non-fiction section called Play. We've taken our books on coaching youth teams, the history of the World Series, college football, and other sports-related topics and created a browsing area, or "glade." We also tucked biographies of notable athletes and coaches, and hobbies (such as stamp collecting and crossword puzzles), on the Play shelves as well, so it's all within easy reach. Just follow the Dewey decimal numbers once you've found the glade!
The two Knowledge & Learning Services librarians who oversee Play are Blanche Parker (email@example.com) and Janet Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org). And although they rarely miss a hot new sports title, your suggestions are always welcome. Good sports can always be found in the Play glade at Darien Library.
500 years ago today, Henry VIII took the throne as King of England. Henry and his wives have been the subject of histories, novels, and one very irritating song. Hampton Court Palace, once Henry VIII's home, now a museum, has a treasure trove of information on the monarch and the Tower of London is offering a display of his ever-larger armor from points throughout his life.
Popular historian and novelist Alison Weir has written a number of books about Henry VIII, his ancestors and his descendants. If you're looking for a juicy history of his wives or a compelling novelization of his daughter's life, Weir is your writer. 500 years later, Henry and his family have the power to fascinate. There's no shortage of books to enthrall on our shelves - search for Henry VIII and find your next historical read!
In honor of National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets has created a Flickr group and accompanying contest online. Free Verse: Poetry in the Wild invites us to "write lines from a favorite poem on a sandy beach, assemble twigs on a hillside, or chalk the sidewalk. Take a photo before it disappears and post it in the Free Verse group page on Flickr, or on the Academy's Fan Page on Facebook, or email your photo to email@example.com. Include the source of your lines in the photo caption."
If you're looking for inspiration to join the project, look no further than our Grand Opening Author Series. Christina Pugh, award winning poet, will be speaking on April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room.
We also welcome the return of the Poet's Voice. On April 19 at 3 p.m. Janet Krauss, a widely-published poet and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee will read from her work.
Picture from Flickr user Academy of American Poets