Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review: Stop Forgetting to Remember

Author: Peter Kuper
Graphic Novel/ Autobiography/Fiction

Recently attending UND’s Writer’s Conference, Peter Kuper is a successful underground/ mainstream cartoonist and graphic artist. Within Stop Forgetting to Remember, Kuper explores his alter ego, Walter Kurtz. The aesthetics of this graphic novel are stunning and high contrast. The dialogue and narrative of the novel are fresh and sophisticated. Indeed, Walter Kurtz has led an adventurous life and Kuper leads us along throughout varied hilarious and absurd situations exposing that sometimes living in alternate realities can be an outlet from our assumed realities. For those interested in graphic novels, Kuper is most definitely an artist and author to follow in his redefinition of the comic and the graphic novel.

Stephanie Clark

Monday, April 28, 2008

Writing to Read

Janet and I went to a talk on campus on Friday called “The Status of Writing.” I was interested in this topic because writing implies reading and reading implies libraries (in my mind). The speaker, Professor Deborah Brandt did link writing and reading historically. Simply put, writing many times is driven by economics (e.g. writing contracts) and reading by moral improvement (e.g. reading the bible). So, writing has more material value than reading. She noted that you can get a job as a writer much easier than a job as a reader. In your profession, you’re probably expected to write much more than you are to read (this is true for me, even as a librarian).

I started thinking about this blog. Having the popular reading collection is great for student’s recreational needs, but having students post to the blog gives them a chance to benefit economically (the contest we’re currently running). We presented our idea for the blog this fall when we went to student government for funding – we said it would be a way to measure the value of this collection to students. So, as we evaluate the future of this program I wonder—do blog posts written by students determine whether or not the popular reading collection is succeeding? (I had initially thought so) Are there many people reading the blog and the popular reading books without posting?

I can’t help but think about the Writer’s Conference panel where I heard Junot Diaz (who’s just won a Pulitzer prize) say that colleges are educating writers but wondered if we’re educating readers. Is writing leading you to reading—whether it be books, blogs or diaries? I sincerely hope so.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review: Mistaken Identity

One of the things I love about my job is getting to see the new popular reading books.

Mistaken Identity by Don and Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Colleen and Whitney Cerak with Mark Tabb, tells the story of two girls involved in an auto accident. One survives, the other dies, however there is a mix up on the identity of the survivor. This true story is told from the perspective of both families, one who thought they buried their daughter and the other praying while their daughter struggled with severe brain injuries and the blog that was posted as the young woman recovered. What is impressive about these two families and their mixed up tragedy is that their faith allows them to accept what has happened and still offer encouragement and thanks for the recovery of the surviving daughter.

Beth--CF library staff

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review: Graffiti Women

Book: Graffiti Women: Street Art from the Five Continents
Author: Nicholas Ganz-Editor
Art Survey/Art Catalog
Although not a work of fiction, Graffiti Women is an important art exposé pertaining strictly to works by female graffiti artists. My best friend sent this to me, and as an art student I feel it is a valid and fascinating collection of urban and contemporary artists in a field that is riddled with misunderstandings within much of mainstream society. In addition, the Chester Fritz Library houses the book’s counterpart: Graffiti World—also edited by Nicholas Ganz. Both are aesthetically beautiful.
Stephanie Clark

Monday, April 21, 2008

Review: Book: The Cheese Monkeys

Book: The Cheese Monkeys
Author: Chip Kidd

“Do you see? Good is Dead.” These words permeate Chip Kidd’s first novel, The Cheese Monkeys. A mash-up of non-fiction autobiography and fictional narrative, the novel is a dark comedy of sorts exposing the reasons why a person becomes an artist and how one survives it throughout college. Read this for a good laugh and the next time you say a piece of art is “good”, you might reconsider your choice of adjective. For those interested, The Learners follows this novel as Kidd’s second novel.

Stephanie Clark

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Review: The Media & Body Image

I checked out the book The Media & Body Image by Maggie Wykes and Barrie Gunter. Initially I checked out this book to help me with my research paper for English Composition 120. My paper is about the effects media has on body image and eating disorders. I prove that media is one of the reasons that eating disorders are on the rise in young women.

This book was very helpful for my research paper, but I also was very interested in the book itself. This book was amazing and bringing about different aspects of the media. It then shows how these aspects impact society for example, by the negative connotations of feelings people get from the media even though the media is trying to give off a positive message.

Chapter Four was by far my favorite chapter with lots of interesting information that I was able to use in my paper and also just my general knowledge. This chapter was titled Print: Selling Sex and Slenderness. This chapter was intriguing because it focused on magazines, which are very popular among teenagers today, such as Cosmo, Self, People, etc. It discusses all the crazy articles that arise from these magazines that influence having a perfect body and how to get it. These articles influence girls that they need to have the perfect body to be happy in life and attract the opposite sex physically. Two of my favorite sections in this chapter were: 'Skinny models send unhealthy message' and 'What boys love about you; sexy hair and beauty tips'. These articles just give off an image that isn't reality. Then girls use this and in worse case scenario, go to the extreme of eating disorders in order to gain satisfaction.

This book was more then just a book for my research paper. It turned out to be a very interesting book with great information that everybody should know about the media and the images they give off in today's world. I would recommend this book to anyway interested in this topic or need it for a paper! I am very glad I came across this book and glad the library had it! I would rank it four stars out of five for good information and also interesting facts!!

~Megan Marie~

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Review: Fight Club

Book: Fight Club

Author Chuck Palahniuk writes stark and often times gruesome portrayals of American society. Within Fight Club, Palahniuk references male socialization and the human condition within urban and cosmopolitan cultures. Since its 1996 publishing date, Fight Club has most definitely morphed into a pop-culture icon, even-more-so, the piece exposes the flaws and detriments of American society’s confines and stipulations of the human psyche.

Stephanie Clark

Friday, April 11, 2008

Review: Water for Elephants

Reanne Eichele
Unaffiliated member of the library
Adult Fiction

The premise behind Water for Elephants is simple: using flashbacks, an elderly man narrates his glory days as a member of a traveling circus. The reader will easily be enthralled by the young man's daring adventures, including quitting college right before graduation, falling in love with a mercurial man's wife, and becoming a veterinarian for the circus. The other story is just as riveting; although his memories are clear, the narrator struggles with his failing mind and body thereby creating a poignant juxtaposition between reality and fantasy. The book tends to drag along in parts but the ending far makes up for the lull.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: Beloved

I don't believe that Beloved by Toni Morrison is in the popular reading collection, but I just finished reading it and really enjoyed it.

Beloved is the story of an African American family's struggles after escaping from slavery in rural Kentucky all before the civil war. The novel is based mainly around the life and trials of (Sethe) the mother within the slave family. Occasionally, the novel takes the reader back to the protagonist's (Sethe) younger years of enslavement--which, in my opinion are the most compelling parts of the book. Morrison wrote the novel in a style similar to poetry, with expression and description that I found to be both captivating and brilliant. The novel is similar to other slavery-themed stories, but considers issues that go deeper such as sexual abuse and violence. Despite the complex ideas within the text, the novel was very easy to understand. I would say it is one of the most memorable reads of my college career so far.

--Stephanie Liden
UND Sophomore

Thursday, April 3, 2008

We Need More Book Reviews!

Thanks, Joan, for the review on Impulse. Now that the Writer's Conference is over I can read some other books, but I have to read Three Cups of Tea for my bookclub too. I hope people took advantage of that terrific program--I can't wait until next year!

Anyway, we NEED more reviews and we are willing to BRIBE people for them. Actually we'll put your name in for a drawing for a Barnes and Noble $25 gift card. The more reviews you write, the better odds of winning, and remember these aren't "book reports"-- it's just sharing a piece of advice to your fellow reading fans. You do have to be a UND student to be eligible to win and we'll have a drawing at the end of April -- we'll have details on this blog.

Not too long ago I listened to a story on NPR about the power of reviews on (there are University folks studying the effects of online reviews). AMAZON has millions of reviewers and their top reviewers have written thousands of reviews (for free!). So I don't think it's too much to ask a few hundred people to write ONE review each for our blog. But BE CAREFUL, one study showed that one bad rating does a lot more harm than the positive effect of one good review.

So, everyone, think about the last book you read and write a review--the book doesn't have to be from the popular reading collection. Who knows, maybe your review will motivate us to purchase the book.

Take care, Kristen