On May 11, 2011, the von der Heyden Pavilion in the Perkins Library complex will be transformed into an elegant dining room and serve as the site of the Friends of the Libraries Annual Dinner. The evening will begin with a reception in the main lobby and gallery of Perkins Library and the Biddle Rare Book Room. Guests will proceed to the von der Heyden Pavilion for dinner, which will be followed by a program about the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Marketing and Advertising History.
Seating is limited, so be sure to save the date and respond to Lizzy Mottern if you know you would like to attend. We are grateful to SunTrust for generously serving as our presenting sponsor, and to DeHaven’s Moving and Storage, the Gothic Bookshop and Whole Foods Markets for providing additional support.
In alternate years, Friends of the Libraries and the Gothic Bookshop co-sponsor the Jeremy North Book Collectors Contest, which is open to all Duke students. The contest requires submission of a written application and attendance at a judging event. Interested students apply online and are asked to bring a representative sample of their collection to be judged. During the 2009 contest, students shared their books about Islam and the Middle East, Africa’s literary heritage, the function of the human mind, Russian history and a selection of artists books, created by the applicant, among others. There are no rules about specific subject matter, collection size or condition of books.
We invite all local Friends to attend the judging event on Wednesday, February 16, from 2-4pm in the main lobby of Perkins Library.
In December, the Friends of the Libraries teamed up with Duke’s Campus Club to bake cookies for students to enjoy as they studied for exams. Saladelia Café, the food service provider for von der Heyden Pavilion, generously donated coffee and hot tea. On Wednesday, December 15 at exactly 8pm (not a minute sooner) all students in Perkins, Bostock, von der Heyden Pavilion and the Link were treated to a special surprise. Once students made their way to the lobby of Perkins, they were greeted by thousands of cookies, trays of beautiful fruit and other tasty treats. The cookies are gone, but we have a fun video to share.
Baking cookies might not seem like a big deal, but the gift of homemade treats being offered to an exhausted student as she leaves the library, after days of studying can be a very comforting thing. Thank you to Saladelia Café, Campus Club, members of the Friends Executive Committee, Libraries staff members and all the bakers who helped the Libraries provide such an unexpected treat for students.
At the suggestion of several Friends, the Libraries have installed a new book drop box on Telcom Drive from which daily collections will be made. Next time you have books to return, you won’t have to worry about parking on campus. Just travel down Research Drive, take a right on Telcom Drive and you will see the collection box on your left and the base of the steps that lead to Perkins and Bostock Libraries.
News and Events
Check out the Libraries’ current and upcoming events page for the latest information about great concerts, lectures, readings and film screenings.
February's Rare Music concert on Friday, the 18th will feature Karen Cook director of Collegium Musicum, Duke's ensemble for Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque music. The event begins at 4:00p.m. in the Biddle Rare Book Room in Perkins Library.
We pay tribute to Doris Duke in a new exhibit: Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates. This tremendous display will be in the Perkins Library Gallery until April 3. If you do not live close enough to visit in person, you may enjoy the online exhibit, complete with Doris’ home movies. A public exhibit opening will be held on February 24.
On February 25, the Duke Marketing Club and the Duke University Libraries Present Mad Men & Mad Women: The Party. We invite you to join us for this free event, open to all members of the Duke Community. The festivities begin at 9:00pm in Perkins and Bostock Libraries, the Link, and the von der Heyden Pavilion.
This spring the Friends of the Libraries will be co-sponsoring a lecture by author Andrea Wulf on April 14 at Duke Gardens. Wulf is the author of "The Founding Gardeners.” The book offers a fascinating look at the icons of the American Revolution from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen and farmers. Ticket information can be found at tickets.duke.edu or by calling 919-684-4444.
Book reviews are written by Friends of the Duke University Libraries. They are published electronically through this newsletter and posted online at goodreads.com. You can find the Duke Libraries Friends listing under groups. We are always looking for new reviewers, so the next time you read a great book, take a minute to write a short review and share it.
Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy
Unlike the provincial medieval world of his earlier historical fiction, Follett placed his characters in several European nations as well as the United States; the rich and powerful figures are early 20th century cosmopolitan and even those from the lower classes stray away from their home places for work, “escape,” and/or service in the Great War – the focus of the novel. Follett captures both the nuances embedded in the psyche of different nations and the lifestyles of the rich and the poor. The various nationalities and classes interact, allowing the readers to view varying perspectives on the war and its major events. Also, through the characters’ adventures and misadventures, the author highlights the mismanagement of the war and the even worse mismanagement of the peace while weaving in other controversial issues and isms of the era. With his demonstrated historical knowledge and incisive insights, hopefully Follett in the next two volumes will enliven the dialogue and explore more fully the complexity of the characters as he did in his earlier page-turning historical novels.
-Ginger Wilson, WC’62, G’63, G’75, Friends Executive Committee member and retired Dean of Humanities at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
2010, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
I picked up this book on Russian literature because I have put down so many others. It can take considerable determination, not to mention considerable time, to make it through the monumental works of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, and the other Russian greats. Each time I’ve tried, I’ve failed miserably, overwhelmed by the sheer weight and weightiness of their books. I was hoping Elif Batuman might help me get re-inspired. In contrast to the great writers she takes as her subjects, Batuman’s treatment of them is light, lively, and frequently funny. The book is comprised of several loosely connected essays on different topics, some of which originally appeared as articles in The New Yorker and Harper’s. Her topics range from the mysterious circumstances of Isaac Babel’s death, to Checkov’s first encounter with Tolstoy (in a bath), to the problems of reading Uzbek literature, to a bizarre reconstruction of an ice palace commissioned by a niece of Peter the Great. Batuman writes about Russian literature with the kind of irreverent amusement of a hyper-literate thirtysomething. At the same time, the book has a strong academic bent. (The author was still a graduate student at Stanford while she wrote the majority of it.) Nearly every chapter offers a behind-the-veil glimpse of the zany, socially awkward, and often maddeningly insular world of the academic study of literature today.
- Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, Duke University Libraries
The Ministry of Special Cases: A Novel
How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne
2010, Other Press
Self-help books are not my favorite literary genre-far from it. But I was drawn to How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne, because it defies easy classification. It is part biography, part intellectual history, part a linking of past and present sensibilities, and part (indeed) a guide to living. Bakewell builds her book around Montaigne, the sixteenth-century French nobleman, government official, and winegrower. Each chapter focuses on some aspect of his recorded experiences and what they might signal about how to live-surviving love and loss, for example, or being sure to "read a lot, forget most of what you read, and be slow-witted." The essays (from the French essayer, to try) of this "free and unruly" writer (according to Montaigne's own description) led him to speculate about whatever he observed and whatever passed through his mind, from the discomforts of travel to the drawbacks of short stature. Montaigne was the progenitor of twenty-first-century "bloggers and networkers," as Bakewell characterizes him. Or, in the words of the original essayist: "I turn my gaze inward, I fix it there and keep it busy... I roll about in myself."
- Robert J. Bliwise A.M. '88, Editor, Duke Magazine
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