Aurora Public Library Blog

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September new releases and bestsellers with colored dots

Post by Kristin S.  


Recent New York Times Bestsellers (month of August):

Fiction

 

Texas Ranger by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Rory Yates's job and reputation are at risk when he is accused of killing his ex-wife.

   

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

When a violent incident reveals her mother’s secret past, Andrea Oliver searches for clues to save her.

   

Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A pilot navigates treacherous situations when he attempts to deliver a mysterious black box to a doctor in Georgia.

   

Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

An independent investigation into a deadly plane crash in a remote part of a Native American reservation faces a menace.

   

Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato must solve a murder and handle a reverse sex discrimination suit against their firm.

 

Paradox by Catherine Coulter

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

In the 22nd book in the F.B.I. Thriller series, agents Sherlock and Savich look for an escaped psychopath.

 

Cherry by Nico Walker

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

An Iraq veteran and his girlfriend consider taking desperate measures after getting addicted to opioids.

 

Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The vampire hunter Anita Blake goes to a Florida island where members of a family turn into a mass of snakes.

 

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A Catskills lodge loses electricity during a blizzard and its guests start mysteriously dropping dead.

 

The Money Shot by Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A movie star is blackmailed and Teddy Fay, disguised as an actor and stuntman, investigates.


Nonfiction

 

Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Newman

Borrow: [Print] [eAudiobook]

The reality TV star and former White House staffer describes her time and relationship with Donald Trump.

 

House of Trump, House of Putin by Craig Unger

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

An investigation into the relationship between the current heads of Russia and the United States, and their potential ties to the Russian Mafia.

 

The Chapo Guide to Revolution by Chapo Trap House

Borrow: [Print]

The podcasters present a satirical guide to American politics and culture.

 

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

An in-depth look at how opioid addiction affects Americans across geographic and class lines.

 

Everything Trump Touches Dies by Rick Wilson

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

The Republican political campaign strategist gives his take on the current president and offers a way forward for conservatives.

 

Resistance is Futile! by Ann Coulter

Borrow: [Print]

The conservative commentator defines what she sees as liberal overreaction to President Trump and his policies.

 

Death of a Nation by Dinesh D'Souza

Borrow: [Print]

A companion text to the conservative author and filmmaker’s documentary, which offers an alternative history of the Democratic Party.

 

The Tangled Tree by David Quammen

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Discoveries by molecular biologists involving the movement of genes across species lines.

  The Fighters by C.J. Chivers

Borrow: [Print]

Portraits of six American combatants who served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

Fly Girls by Keith O'Brien

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

The story of five trailblazing women who together broke the glass ceiling in aviation.

 

The Gutfeld Monologues by Greg Gutfeld

Borrow: [Print]

A collection of rants by the Fox News host.

 

DVD - New Releases (September):

Caution: Catalog links below are for preorder/placeholder records and may give 'record not found' errors once DVDs are released. DVDs may still be found using a keyword/title search.

 

Hereditary

Borrow: [DVD]

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

   

Adrift

Borrow: [DVD]

Based on the true story of survival, a young couple's chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

 

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Borrow: [DVD]

For over 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer, was beamed into homes across America in his beloved show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

 

Beast

Borrow: [DVD]

A troubled woman living in an isolated community finds herself pulled between the control of her oppressive family and the allure of a secretive outsider suspected of a series of brutal murders.

 

Damascus Cover

Borrow: [DVD]

Ari Ben-Zion, haunted by the death of his son, is assigned by the Mossad to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist out of Syria. Within days his mission goes wrong. To survive, Ari reaches out to a deep cover agent, code named The Angel, and soon discovers that he is a pawn in a much bigger plan.

 

Ocean's 8

Borrow: [DVD]

Debbie Ocean recruits a crew of specialists to plan and execute a heist in New York.

 

Superfly

Borrow: [DVD]

An action-packed film that follows Youngblood Priest as he attempts to achieve his "American Dream" all while redefining The Hustle.

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Borrow: [DVD]

Owen and Claire return to the ruins of the Jurassic World theme park to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from a looming volcanic extinction.

 

Damsel

Borrow: [DVD]

In the Old West, a businessman sets out to rescue his kidnapped fiancée Penelope with the help of a parson. However, the situation turns out to be more complicated than it first appears, and Penelope is no mere damsel in distress. 

 

Billionaire Boys Club

Borrow: [DVD]

A group of wealthy boys in Los Angeles during the early 1980s establish a 'get-rich-quick' Ponzi scheme that turns out to be deadly.

 

Fahrenheit 451 

Borrow: [DVD]

A stunning take on Ray Bradbury's iconic novel about a future where media is an opiate, history is outlawed and 'firemen' burn books.

 

Siberia 

Borrow: [DVD]

When a business deal in Russia goes south, a U.S. diamond merchant and his lover are caught in a lethal crossfire between the buyer and local federal agents.

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Borrow: [DVD]

Through a series of daring escapades, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca in an epic adventure directed by Ron Howard and written by Jonathan & Lawrence Kasdan.

 

Uncle Drew

Borrow: [DVD]

A young team owner and Uncle Drew round up Drew's old basketball squad to prove that a group of septuagenarians can still win the big one.

 

Gotti

Borrow: [DVD]

John Gotti fought to become leader of the infamous Gambino crime family while he nurtured his relationship with his son John Gotti Jr. and showed him how to handle business to the dismay of his wife Victoria. Through devastation, court cases, and prison, Gotti boasted of his steadfast loyalty.

 

The Seagull

Borrow: [DVD]

Aging actress Irina visits her family’s summer home with her son Konstantin who pines for the neighborhood girl Nina. When famous writer Boris Trigorin drops by, Nina finds herself enamored with him and ignoring Konstantin. Soon, a love triangle unfolds amid family drama. Based on Anton Chekhov’s play of the same name.

 

Hot Summer Nights

Borrow: [DVD]

A young team owner and Uncle Drew round up Drew's old basketball squad to prove that a group of septuagenarians can still win the big one.

 

The Occupation

Borrow: [DVD]

A ragtag group of townspeople unite to strike back at alien invaders in this explosive sci-fi film that grips from start to thrilling finish.

 

Sources: The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Goodreads, EarlyWord, Novelist, DVDs Release Date

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Sep 18, 2018 at 10:10 AM
  

Meal ingredients behind title graphic

Post by Elizabeth B. 

Hello, friends and library patrons! It's almost the end of summer. Have you checked off everything on your summer list? Been to a beach bonfire? Started a band? Made your own ice cream? Fought off a group of multi-eyed foxes on a late-night hike?

No, you're right. I haven't done any of those things, either.

But fortunately, we live in a world with libraries, where each of those adventures is just a page-turn away! Welcome to Camp Read-a-lot, where I've tracked down reads just as adventurous and interesting as you are. Check out these four books about summer (and two tasty snacks) as you finish your vacation.

Two people on the beach watching the ocean"Summer of Salt" by Katrina Leno 
One-Sentence Summary:
Georgina Fernweh, the only non-magical Fernweh, must clear her family's name when tragedy strikes the island of By-the-Sea.
Why you'll love it: Georgina's sister can fly! Her great-great-great-aunt might be a bird! There's a graveyard where it's always autumn and a goth ice cream shop and a cute romance between Georgina and a visiting girl named Prue. I felt like I could hear the waves and rain while reading.
Essential summer activity checklist: Bird-watching, beach bonfires, solving supernatural mysteries



Person with burger"The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)" by Amy Spalding
One-Sentence Summary:
Abby's used to being the sidekick in her friends' stories, but a summer full of bests – best internship, best burgers, best dresses, and maybe even best summer romance – is about to propel her into the spotlight.
Why you'll love it: When I finished reading this book, I wanted to dye my hair pink and learn to sew. Abby's funny, cool, creative, and caring: such an amazing main character! The side characters are fun, too, from bro-BFF Jax to Abby's crush Jordi Perez, a photographer girl in all black who just happens to be competing for Abby's internship. This felt like the literary equivalent of sunshine and cotton candy.
Essential summer activity checklist: Rating burgers, wearing cute outfits, working an internship while worrying about eventually making money

Girl playing guitar"All Summer Long" by Hope Larson 
One-Sentence Summary:
When Bina's best friend Austin leaves for the summer, Bina has to find other friends to spend time with and other ways to fill her summer.
Why you'll love it: Bina is a musician to the core. Her passion for music takes her on all sorts of adventures: breaking into her best friend's house, going to a concert for the first time, and writing her own songs. Bina's social life is also changing in less fun ways, and she has to adjust, from dealing with cool but condescending older kids to her suddenly distant best friend and distracted parents. This book will be a new favorite for Raina Telgemeier fans.
Essential summer activity checklist: Playing music, going to concerts, waiting for a friend to reply to a text

Main characters in a wooden row boat"Lumberjanes" by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson 
One-Sentence Summary:
A group of girls at a highly unusual summer camp battle mythical monsters and solve mysteries, much to the dismay of their cabin leader.
Why you'll love it: I never went to summer camp, but I'm pretty sure this is what it must have been like. I love all of the Lumberjanes – Mal is my favorite – and I love the weird adventures they manage to find everywhere they go. Plus, I'm curious what's going to happen! This is a good choice if you want to read an ongoing comic book filled with new plot twists on every page.
Essential summer activity checklist: Arm-wrestling, cake-decorating, Friendship to the Max


AND THE SNACKS:
All of these books are fantastic and wonderful, but you can't read on an empty stomach! You've got to get some ice cream to beat this summer heat.

If you want a cooking challenge, you could make some Sea Salt Ice Cream. These nostalgic treats from the Kingdom Hearts series are perfect for anyone who loves ice cream or video games. Plus, I've tested them out and they're delicious.

If you'd like to make them, check out The Geeky Chef Cookbook by Cassandra Reeder or The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino. Best enjoyed with one or two friends on top of the nearest clock tower.

"But what if I am ALREADY outside on a clock tower, away from fancy kitchen equipment?" you may ask.

Don't worry, friend, I still can help. Do you have two Ziploc bags and some half-and-half? Here's a quick and easy recipe that will have you eating ice cream faster than you can say "library card."

Make Your Own Ice Cream
What You Need
• Two plastic Ziploc bags – one pint-sized and one gallon
• 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
• 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
• A spoonful of sugar (or two if you want, I won't judge)
• 3-4 cups of ice
• 8 tablespoons of salt
• And a towel so your hands don't freeze

1. In the smaller bag, combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar.
2. In the big bag, put the ice and salt.
3. Seal up the small bag and put it in the large bag.
4. Wrap the bag in the towel and shake it, juggle it, whatever you like – just keep it moving!

Every website I've seen says that this takes 5 minutes, but it took me about 10.

And ta-da! Ice cream!

(Thanks to How Stuff Works and Genius Kitchen for the recipes I based this on!)

Now, armed with these snacks and reading recommendations, I hope you can have a wonderful end-of-summer vacation.

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Aug 31, 2018 at 11:10 AM
  

Colorful dot picture with blog title

Post by Kristin S.

Recent New York Times Bestsellers (month of July):

Fiction

 

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer and assassin, fights the Russians to decide the fate of postwar global order.

   

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

When Eddie disappears, Sarah realizes they did not share the truth with each other.

   

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Annie Marlow forms new relationships in the Pacific Northwest as she tries to recover from tragedy.

   

Spymaster by Brad Thor

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

The 18th book in the Scot Harvath series.

   

Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A Star Wars saga. Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn join forces to serve Emperor Palpatine.

 

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A window into Willa Drake’s life over 50 years and how she adjusts to some of life's surprises.

 

The Good Fight by Danielle Steel

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook

Meredith McKenzie embraces and eschews the values of her family of lawyers during the tumultuous 1960s.

 

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

In the 1950s, a high-society schoolgirl falls for the son of a lighthouse keeper and, years later, tries to help undo his wrongful imprisonment.

 

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Miryem goes to collect debts owed to her father and winds up on a dangerous quest.

 

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A young woman living in New York City in 2000 contends with depression, bad relationships and an incompetent psychiatrist.


Nonfiction

 

The Russia Hoax by Gregg Jarrett

Borrow: [Print]

The Fox News analyst makes his case for why the F.B.I. investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is without legal merit.

 

Liars, Leakers, and Liberals by Steven Brill

Borrow: [Print] [ebook] [eAudiobook]

The legal analyst and Fox News host argues in favor of President Trump.

 

Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

Borrow: [Print]

A newly researched look into the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the story of the survivors and the fight to exonerate the court-martialed skipper.

 

The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

The former New York Times chief book critic examines the cultural forces that have chipped away at reason and common values.

 

The Briefing by Sean Spicer

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A personal account of working for Trump's campaign, transition team and the Trump White House.

 

From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A memoir by a woman who went from working many part-time jobs to becoming one of President Obama's stenographers.

 

 DVDs - New Arrivals:

 

Life of the Party

Borrow: [DVD]

When her husband dumps her, Deanna goes back to college at the same school as her daughter. Embracing freedom, fun and frat boys, Deanna finds her true self.

 

Tully

Borrow: [DVD]

From the director-writer duo behind Juno and Young Adult, comes the year's smartest comedy about a mother (Charlize Theron) who forms a unique bond with a young nanny, Tully.

 

Overboard

Borrow: [DVD]

A spoiled, wealthy yacht owner is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee. A remake of the 1987 comedy.

 

Dark Crimes

Borrow: [DVD]

In the midst of a murder investigation, clues about a similar crime are unveiled in an author's book.

 

Final Portrait

Borrow: [DVD]

The story of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

 

Kings

Borrow: [DVD]

The life of a foster family in South Central Los Angeles, a few weeks before the city erupts in violence following the verdict of the Rodney King trial.

 

Operation Red Sea

Borrow: [DVD]

An elite Chinese assault team performs dangerous missions against Somalian pirates and rebels and terrorists in Arabian Peninsula.

 

Incident in a Ghostland

Borrow: [DVD]

Sixteen years after a frightening confrontation in their deceased aunt's house, two women return to the house and begin experiencing paranormal activity.

 

The Con is On

Borrow: [DVD]

A British con-artist couple plans a jewel theft to pay off their gambling debt to a mobster.

 

Isle of Dogs

Borrow: [DVD]

In a near-future dystopian Japan where all dogs have been banished to a trash island after a flu outbreak, twelve-year-old Atari sets out for the island to find his lost dog Spots.

 

Disobedience

Borrow: [DVD]

A woman returns to the community that shunned her for her attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.

 

I Feel Pretty

Borrow: [DVD]

A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed?

 

DVDs - Coming Soon: 

 

Avengers: Infinity War

Borrow: [DVD]*

With the powerful Thanos on the verge of raining destruction upon the universe, the Avengers and their Super Hero allies risk everything in the ultimate showdown of all time.

 

Deadpool 2

Borrow: [DVD]*

The sequel to the first one.

 

First Reformed

Borrow: [DVD]*

The pastor of a small church in upstate New York spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife in this taut, chilling thriller.

 

The Miracle Season

Borrow: [DVD]*

Based on a true story, a high school girls' volleyball team must pull together and compete after the sudden death of their star player.

 

Love After Love

Borrow: [DVD]*

Following the death of their husband and father, a family struggles to cope with the loss and move on with their lives.

 

Breaking In

Borrow: [DVD]*

Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security.

 

The Rider

Borrow: [DVD]*

After a tragic riding accident, a young cowboy undertakes a search for a new identity and redefine what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

 

On Chesil Beach

Borrow: [DVD]*

In 1962 England, a young couple finds their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.

 

Aardvark

Borrow: [DVD]*

Troubled man Josh Norman has hallucinations of his famous brother Craig so sees a therapist, Emily, who ends up falling for Craig.

 

Revenge

Borrow: [DVD]*

Jen is enjoying a getaway with her boyfriend when it's disrupted by his sleazy friends. Their intrusion leads to a shocking act that leaves Jen near death. Unfortunately for her assailants, Jen reemerges with a wrathful intent: revenge.

 

Bad Samaritan

Borrow: [DVD]*

Life is good for two young car valets who use their business as a front to burglarize houses of their unsuspecting patrons until they target the wrong house, changing their lives forever.

 

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

Borrow: [DVD]*

Worlds collide when Enn, a shy teenager in 70s London, meets the beautiful and rebellious Zan at a party. They set in motion the ultimate showdown between their rivaling worlds and test the limits of how far they will go for true love.

 

Furlough

Borrow: [DVD]*

Melissa Leo and Whoopi Goldberg star alongside Tessa Thompson in this hilarious and touching road trip comedy.

 

Show Dogs

Borrow: [DVD]*

A human detective and his canine partner must go undercover at an exclusive dog show and recruit an all-star cast of animal helpers to solve their biggest case yet.

 

Book Club

Borrow: [DVD]*

Four friends' lives are turned upside down to hilarious ends when their book club tackles the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. Also starring Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Craig T. Nelson.

 

RBG

Borrow: [DVD]*

Details the biography and career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

 

Upgrade

Borrow: [DVD]*

After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will "upgrade" his body.

 

American Animals

Borrow: [DVD]*

The unbelievable but true story of four young men who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history.

 *Caution: Once DVDs are released, the links above may stop working.

 

Sources: The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Goodreads, EarlyWord, Novelist, DVDs Release Date

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Aug 08, 2018 at 1:42 PM
  

Smartphone with the Instagram logo

 Post by Tessy W. 

Social Media and the Poet

As an introduction, I'll begin with a few disclaimers.

I don't read a lot of poetry. Other than a short phase in high school, dreaming of literary stardom as I scribbled profound thoughts in a rainbow colored notebook, I haven't had much to do with poetry. Even then, I did little but read a Frost poem or two, and thought myself risqué for buying a pocket-sized Arthur Rimbaud.

Additionally, I'll also note that I'm an odd millennial. Don't get me wrong, I have the trappings of your average millennial; Snapchat filters are necessary for everything, and I communicate almost exclusively via text.

But I'm not big on social media. Send me a wave on Facebook Messenger, and I probably won't see it for two months. I haven't checked my Instagram account in half a year, and I was never on Twitter to begin with.

Thus, this conversational gem:
"Have you seen the latest Rupi Kaur?"
"Umm... I don't think so?" I had no reference point to place the name, but had a vague notion that I'd heard of her before.
A phone was thrust into my face.
"On Instagram.... you know, the Instapoets?"

Having only just heard the term, I was confused. My friend sighed, already well-acquainted with my flaws, and the conversation moved on.

But I was intrigued. I'd vaguely heard of Rupi Kaur, later learning that she is a giant among this new generation of poets. The poem I had been shown was succinct and lovely; so, I decided to investigate.

Poem with illustration from Instagram

rupikaur_. Poem. Instagram, 25, Feb. 2018, www.instagram.com/p/BfoOHhYAQTt/?hl=en&taken-by=rupikaur_.

Instapoets present their poetry, often in stylized font and sometimes with illustrative imagery, on various forms of social media (including Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.), with an emphasis on Instagram. The result: clips of thought presented with instant shareability.

These poets are labelled "Instapoets" like they're frivolous. It’s a result of their medium.

Thoughts and ideas shared on social media hold less gravitas apparently. On occasion, this is a justified stereotype. Using technology can make us truly thoughtless.

It's easy to say something stupid when you share your first, and sometimes second thought, without ever pausing to reflect. Or if you parse that semi-serious thought with a meme.

However, the immediate sneering dismissal of Instapoets and their social media kin isn't often inspired by a well-reasoned, multi-point critique of the impact of technology on modern lifestyles. Instead, social media is paralleled with the younger generation it emerged with, and when are Millennials ever seen as anything but thoughtless?

A snowflake generation producing snowflake poetry.

However, as a non-poetry reader, I was impressed by Rupi Kaur and her fellow Instapoets.

Their poetry is heavy; the type of snow with weight. Flipping through "The Princess Saves Herself in This One" by Amanda Lovelace, I was smacked in the face by parental abuse, death, bad relationships, and an ever-present fantastical sheen that charmed the fantasy-reader within me. She cast herself as the hero that could overcome those pesky plot barriers that we call life. Emotions at the forefront, candid.

These poems are often as fast-paced as the modern society they're spawned from. The bold words and images, burned into your mind like afterimages. Pausing between the meetings and the endless string of e-mails, you remember the clipped stanzas that stole your breath, the imagery still blooming with color.

And by no means do these poets limit themselves to social media; if anything, their Instagram accounts are savvy marketing tools. Rupi Kaur sold over a million copies of her first book, Milk and Honey.1 R.H. Sin, with over a million followers and the second bestselling poet of 2017 (Kaur was the first)2, is nearly as popular with his characteristic fourth-wave feminism.
Wandering the poetry section of the library, I can pull a handful of slim volumes off of the shelf. Is there a difference between the poet and the Instapoet?

A mottled cover like sparks of flame, Wild Embers by Nikita Gill drew me in with a powerful reimagining of Grecian goddesses. Hera locking the door on Zeus, and learning to sleep by herself. Persephone exalting in her throne of fire. Gill has almost half a million followers on Instagram - a demigoddess in her own right.

Next, a slender green volume titled, Nature Poem by Tommy Pico. I flipped between poems randomly, forwards, backwards, and then back to the start; all the way through. Sharp and absorbing, with a solemnness like the overcast skies on his cover. You can find him on Instagram, but mostly for the common usage of filtered shots and life-moments, not specifically for his poetry.
Instagram is a modern day method of expression. If it encourages people to read poetry, everyone benefits. A line of verse on Instagram could spark a passion for words just as easily as a book.

Investigation thus completed, I settled on an easy conclusion. Poetry makes the poet, not the medium.

1. Maher, J. (2018). Can Instagram Make Poems Sell Again?. [online] Publishersweekly.com. Available at: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/75976-can-instagram-make-poems-sell-again.html [Accessed 14 Jun. 2018].
1. April is National Poetry Month in bookstores – and on social media, too. NPD Group. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2018/instapoets-rekindling-u-s--poetry-book-sales--the-npd-group-says/. Published April 5, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2018.

 

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Jul 26, 2018 at 11:23 AM
  

Plastic dinosaurs on a yellow background

Post by Steven K.

If you’ve been following events at Aurora Public Library this summer, you definitely know that libraries rock. Maybe you attended the classical piano concert with Ammiel Bushakevitz at Central, or the John Williams and American Film Music program at Mission Viejo, or one of the many Libraries Rock programs with Bradley Weaver. Whatever your fancy, this year’s Summer Learning Program has been a wild, musical success. (If you’ve missed all this, don’t fret! There’s still time to check out more of our musically-themed programs through the end of July. Visit our Programs and Events page for more details.)

But maybe music isn’t really your thing. (Hard for a musicophile to imagine, I know, but it’s totally a thing.) Or maybe you’re just looking for a change of pace, or a reprieve from the constant audio-bombardment from advertisers and disc jockeys and people who blast music from their smartphones sans headphones.

If so, another way to engage with our Summer Learning Program is to come to Central and check out our rocks! For while it’s true that libraries rock, rocks also rock, and our library’s rocks especially rock.

First, let me apologize for that. Second, allow me to explain.

There’s no denying that rocks have an image problem. They’re literally the most common thing on the planet. They’re used as a metaphor for stupidity. Breaking rocks was once a common form of punishment. And I mean, really, they just let people walk all over them. (Again, apologies.)

Sure, rocks might seem dull at first, but once you get to know them a little they can be positively fascinating. Layers of sandstone and limestone might not grab your interest at first, but let a river cut its way through them over several million years and you get the vast beauty of the Grand Canyon. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably watched the news and seen rocks being born before your very eyes on the island of Hawaii. Climbed one of Colorado’s 58 fourteeners lately? Imagine what the view would look like when the Rockies were new to the continent and twice as tall are they are today.

Canyons, volcanoes, and mountain ranges are all breathtakingly sublime. Sadly, we can’t fit these in our library—but we can fit something just as wondrous, albeit on a much smaller scale. Many somethings, actually, things that used to be very much alive but are now very much dead and have had all their living tissues completely replaced with rock. Yes, you’ve guessed it: we have fossils!

More specifically, we’ve got trilobites—and they are some of the coolest animals to have ever graced planet Earth. So what, exactly, are they? To put it plainly, they’re very ancient sea bugs. But they’re also so much more than that.

For starters, here’s what one looks like:

Trilobite fossil

 

You might recognize them from high school earth science textbooks or from a trip to your local natural history museum. In fact, they’re one of the easiest fossils to identify, thanks largely to their anatomical namesake. The word “trilobite” is deceptively simple; it just means “three lobes” and these lobes are easy to spot on a fossil. There’s a raised lobe in the middle (the “axial” lobe) and two other lobes to the left and right (the “pleural” lobes). Coincidentally, trilobites also have three main body sections: head (“cephalon”), body (“thorax”), and tail (“pygidium,” which is just stupid fancy Latin for “rump”). Depending on the species—and also on how well- preserved the fossil is—trilobites will have various forms of eyes, legs, antennae, and spiky spines (that were probably used for defense but could have served other purposes as well).

trilobite with anatomy highlighted














But to me, one of the most amazing facts about trilobites is how ancient they are. The oldest 
specimens paleontologists have found (so far) date back to the early Cambrian period, over 540 million years ago (Fortey, 2000). That’s almost incomprehensibly old. Just stupid old. 

Imagine that you could walk back through geological time, with each step you take accounting for one year of history. To get back to the Middle Ages and chill in a castle, you’d need to walk about 3 city blocks. Watching the pyramids being built would cost you 2 miles; seeing the end of our latest ice age would be 5 miles; meeting your first fully-modern human ancestor would be a punishing 88-mile trek. But to get back to the Cambrian and swim with the trilobites, you would literally need to walk to the moon—all 240,000 miles of it. They’re that old.

Our trilobites aren’t quite that old, but they’re still ancient. Based on the identifying characteristics of the species we’ve got, they’re probably about 400 million years old—about three-quarters of the way to the moon in our thought experiment—which places them in the middle of the Devonian period (Gon III, 2009). (Take this with a grain of salt, though. I’m not a paleontologist—I’m just a nerd.) They’re also probably from Morocco, which today is a serious hub for trilobite fossil hunters. But 400 million years ago, what’s now Morocco would have been unrecognizable, because at that time it would’ve been in the Southern Hemisphere and covered by a shallow sea—which was good for our trilobites, since they were exclusively marine animals. It’s also good for us, because seafloor conditions are great for making fossils. Well, relatively speaking.

In reality, fossilization is tricky business. As Bill Bryson puts it in his delightfully accessible "A Short History of Nearly Everything"(2005): “It isn’t easy to become a fossil. The fate of nearly all living organisms—over 99.9 percent of them—is to compost down to nothingness. [...] Even if you make it into the small pool of organisms, the less than 0.1 percent, that don’t get devoured, the chances of being fossilized are very small” (p. 403). Scavengers, microbes, oxygen, and exposure are generally unforgiving to the recently deceased. The key to successful fossilization, then, is quick burial, which prevents things from nibbling away at them long enough for minerals to slowly replace all the once-living tissue. And as it turns out, quick burial is more common on the seafloor, on account of falling sediment, changing tides, churning currents, storms, mudslides, and the like. Had trilobites been land-dwelling creatures we might not have known much about them at all.

But there’s something else about trilobites that makes them the “old reliables” of the fossil record. Unlike many of their contemporaries, trilobites’ shells were infused with calcite—the same hard mineral present in clam shells and limestone. Even their eyes were made of calcite, in a crystalline form that made them some of the first animals to see complex images. In life, these rocky shields protected them from predators; in death, they staved off decomposition and, through the eons, preserved an amazingly rich fossil record for us to study.

And how very rich it is! Paleontologists have identified and cataloged about 20,000 distinct species of trilobite belonging to 10 fantastic orders. The smallest species could be as small as a millimeter long, while the biggest could grow to over 2 feet long. (Most were 1-3 inches long, though, including those we have in our small-but-charming collection.) They were also tremendously successful animals, in terms of evolutionary success and global distribution.

Collectively, they scuttled about our oceans for 300 million years—that’s twice as long as the dinosaurs ruled the earth—and their remains can be found on literally every continent on earth, even Antarctica. They were at last defeated 250 million years ago by the Permian Extinction, the so-called “Great Dying” that wiped out 95% of marine life. Since then, no trilobite has crawled along the seafloor or looked through their remarkable crystal eyes.

They may be long gone, but thanks to trilobite fanatics around the world they’re certainly not forgotten. If I’ve piqued your interest and you want to see what all the fuss is about, come visit us at APL Central in July! You’ll find our trilobites on the lower level near the 750s in the nonfiction stacks. Also, if you’d like to learn more about our ancient friends or more about prehistory in general, come visit me at the Reference Desk and I’ll be happy to indulge you.

Don’t take this opportunity for granite! (That’s the last one, I promise.)

References:

Bryson, Bill. (2005). A short history of nearly everything: Special illustrated edition. New York,
NY: Broadway. Pp. 403-417.

Fenton, Carroll Lane and Fenton, Mildred Adams. (1989). The fossil book. New York, NY:
Doubleday. Pp. 192-212.

Fortey, Richard. (2000). Trilobite! New York, NY: Knopf.
Gon III, Samuel M. (2009). “A Pictorial Guide to the Orders of Trilobites.” Retrieved from
http://www.ps-19.org/Crea11Phyla/References/TrilobitePictorialGuide2009.pdf.


Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Jul 20, 2018 at 10:04 AM
  
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