Monday, November 23, 2009

Peter and the Sword of Mercy

Peter and the Sword of Mercy The latest addition to the Peter and the Starcatches trilogy, making it officially more than a trilogy, is Peter and the Sword of Mercy. This continuation of the adventures of Peter Pan is the first in the series that actively contradicts J.M. Barrie's story, while still sticking close enough to give it the sense that, "Oh, Mr. Barrie overheard part of THIS story, and that's where he got the idea for HIS story." Which can be very effective, and I think my recommendation runs this way: If you like anything at all to do with Peter Pan, and you love all the variations, then I definitely recommend this whole set. If you like additional material as long as it doesn't contradict the original story, then I'd suggest reading the original trilogy here, and skipping the latest one. If you're deeply devoted to Barrie's rendition of Peter, then I would probably not recommend this series. In tone, it's a lot lighter than Peter Pan. While there is a strange sense of menace in Peter's forgetfulness and unpredictability, Barry and Pearson have made Peter into a more... human character, I think is how I want to put it. Barrie's Peter is always playing, even when it puts others in danger. Barry and Pearson's Peter has a stronger sense of responsibility and devotion to his friends. So if those aspects of the original story bothered you, this is definitely an interesting adaptation that you would probably enjoy. My problem with this latest book was that there were too many characters. I think if I had read the other three more recently, that wouldn't have been a problem, but the authors leaned on their previous characterizations to make them familiar to me. The last fifth of the book, or so, is divided into at least six viewpoints of the action, and that's about when I started to struggle to get through it, although it wraps up nicely at the end. So, ehh, I hesitate to call that a bad thing, because if you've recently read the first three books, I don't think this would be such a problem. Overall, I would say that if you liked the first three in this series, give this one a shot, too.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November events for Student study

During November we commemorate many world events, such as the Gunpowder Plot; Sherman's burning of Atlanta; Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass); the Armistice of World War I (when 10,000 soldiers were killed on that last day of fighting); the Gettysburg Address; the assassination of JFK; and the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species."

Video clips, and primary sources, are provided for these topics and more November events.

Group access to the site is free for all schools, libraries and educators. Request group access with this form. It is also free for students and members of the general public. Select an individual password using the same URL.

The site's privacy policy is strictly enforced.

Carole Bos
Dean's Advisory Board
Grand Valley State University

Friday, November 13, 2009

American History in Video

Hello all,

The database trial "American History in Video" has been added to the library tab in Pipeline.

It should be accessible from anywhere, if not let me know.

Thanks, Ronda

Monday, November 09, 2009

Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit

Mercedes Lackey's newest book is called Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, and is, as you can probably guess from the title, an Arthurian Legend retelling. Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit Lackey tells the story in her typical easy-to-read, accessible manner, bringing characters and events to life with aplomb. Although Lackey will probably never be recognized for brilliant prose or as divine literature, I love her work and this newest book did not disappoint. She starts with the historical evidence that there were possibly not one, but THREE queens of Arthur named Gwenhwyfar, and although the story focuses on the third wife, Lackey works in the exploits of the other two, accounting for a lot of the contradictions and busy-ness that Gwenhwyfar would have had to have lived through if it had all been one woman. Lackey does an admirable job of using the wealth of Arthurian legend that is already available, and still spinning her own particular story about Gwen and her life. Rich in detail, but with an unhampered pace, I recommend this for anyone who has enjoyed Mercedes Lackey's other works, or who love new takes on the Arthurian Legend.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Kansas Reads....

Kansas Reads…Dreams from My Father

Read Your Way to Kansas 150 in 2011 by joining Kansans across the state in reading and discussing the same book.

The State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book are again proud to present an exciting statewide reading program that brings communities together through reading. Coming next spring is 2010 Kansas Reads…Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama. Written before Obama even entered politics, a #1 New York Times bestseller and, until his election, promoted by Random House as a suggested title for Community Reads programs nationwide, Dreams From My Father was chosen because it addresses issues faced by Kansans across the state. These include memoir writing, the search for an individual’s identity, relationships with fathers, and issues of blended families. The project focuses on the book more than on the author.

The publisher says this about the book: “In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir,” the author searches for a workable meaning to his life as an American. “The sudden death of his father inspires an emotional odyssey–first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.”

Discussion groups, scholar talks, and classroom programming happen all around the state from January 29 through March 15, 2010. Join us as Kansas Reads…Dreams from My Father in 2010!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Online Health Research

What’s New in MedlinePlus
November 2nd, 2009
By Rebecca Brown, University of Kansas Medical Center

MedlinePlus (, the authoritative online consumer health resource from the National Library of Medicine, has many great new features to help you locate appropriate materials that meet the unique needs of your community. The site, which debuted in 1998 with 22 health topics, now boasts over 800 topics and many new enhancements.