Mark your calendars for the Friends of the Duke University Libraries Annual Dinner. This year the event will be held in the Doris Duke Center at Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Wednesday, May 5. An exciting after-dinner program will feature the newly created Jazz Archive at Duke University Libraries, complete with a musical performance. We will also be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Friends. We hope you will be able to attend and celebrate with us. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce the Libraries to your friends, so be sure to consider inviting someone who would enjoy becoming involved in the Duke Libraries.
Invitations will be mailed to members….. However, the annual dinner has been a sell-out for the past few years, so contact Lizzy Mottern if you know now that you would like to reserve a seat. Special thanks to SunTrust Bank for their continued involvement as presenting sponsor and to our on-campus partner the Gothic Bookshop for supporting the Annual Dinner.
A new website has been created just for Libraries donors. This site is packed with information about Libraries projects and events so you can stay informed and keep in touch. When you visit, be sure to explore the special Friends section. You can view pictures from the 2009 Annual Dinner, learn about Friends activities, read past issues of Among Friends, take a virtual tour of the Libraries, and make your next gift using our Libraries specific online giving form. These new pages provide a wonderful resource for everyone to use as we spread the word about Duke University Libraries and encourage others to become Friends. Please help us promote Duke Libraries by sharing this new site with others.
Recently, the Libraries introduced a new way to make a gift to the Annual Fund and honor a special person or recognize a significant event. When a gift of $100 is given to the Honoring with Books program, Duke librarians will select a book in a specific subject area and add an electronic bookplate to the online catalog listing. Once the bookplate is in place, it can be viewed by anyone with internet access, which means sharing is easy, no matter where you are. Each bookplate is customized with a message and subject area selection to fit the person or occasion being honored. The next time you find yourself wondering what to get someone or how to commemorate an achievement, consider creating a customized bookplate at the Duke Libraries.
As patrons have increasingly turned to cell phones for texting, browsing, and other tasks that go way beyond a traditional phone call, the Duke Libraries have begun adapting key resources for use with these mobile devices.
Our newest offering is an Instant Messaging chat widget formatted specifically for use with cell phones and other mobile devices. A widget is a link that is embedded into a web page. It adds content to that page that is not static; the images and text in the widget change. The Libraries’ widget will allow you to contact Duke public service librarians who staff the “AskRef” instant messaging service.
If you like IM, you might be interested in other mobile services offered through the Libraries’ website. Using your cell phone or other mobile device, you can access information about library hours, available public computers, loan periods, contact information, directions to the Libraries, perform catalog searches, and link to other mobile resources.
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.
Born to Run
2009, Alfred A. Knopf
Born to Run is a mysteriously engaging account of body and mind. Unveiled in a similar spirit as that of outdoor writer John Krakauer (Into the Wild, Into Thin Air), McDougall presents a mystery, a murder mystery even. But for all the questions posed, this gripping account is both inspiring and informative. The reader gains a desire to run farther, faster, easier, lighter, or just plain better.
Among the questions McDougall poses, either directly or indirectly, the initial question begins "Why do my feet hurt [when I run only 3 miles]?" This question launches the author on an investigation which literally spans geographies, anthropologies, eons and even the realms of research and higher education.
This book is a fascinating read, perhaps because of the author's questions and highlights of cultural contrasts. The writing style is wholly engaging as it reveals many secrets not the least of which is to suggest and explain why humans are born to run.
- John Little
2009, Minotaur (First US Edition)
Ken Bruen is a Trinity College Dublin lad with a PhD in metaphysics. Should it surprise one that his protagonists walk the balance beam of Cosmic Justice bordered on one side by the Slough of Sin and on the other by the Pit of Madness, maintaining equilibrium with alcohol and wearing their hearts of darkness on their sleeve? Yet the prose is lyrical and touching, with characters and settings as vitally portrayed as though by a film.
London Boulevard’s Mitch is fresh out of prison and work. Old mate Billy offers a slot as Debt Manager in a loan sharking outfit, but at a homecoming meet with his sister Briony (an accurate portrait of Borderline Personality Disorder) he learns a retired stage diva needs a handyman. When he checks out the gig he meets Jordan, butler cum caretaker/bodyguard, and Lillian Palmer, who at sixty can still stir Mitch’s desire. The scene also stirs the reader’s memory: Sunset Boulevard? Lillian certainly has the libido of Gloria Swanson, who played actress Norma Desmond in the movie.
Soon revenge for a murdered friend, love, betrayal, organized crime, and the madness of his sister and employer all drive Mitch to violence that is homage to another noir artwork from the 1940s, Mickey Spillane’s I the Jury.
- Mark Kearney
2009, Riverhead Hardcover
Fifteen years ago, pre-internet and pre-gossipblogs, Nick Hornby’s breakout book High Fidelity nailed the record store nerd/vinyl junkie scene. I loved the book, I loved the movie. How couldn’t I? I have crates of LP’s, coveted bootlegs, picture sleeve 45’s and fanzines, too.
Juliet, Naked might be called a reflective follow-up. Peopled by reflective songwriters, know-it-all-bloggers, and aging boomer rock stars considering parenthood, Naked was the most fun book I read last year. Impossible to put down with a soundtrack and its crisscross plots (A reclusive Bob Dylan type releases an unplugged version of his rock and roll masterpiece, or does he? Several couples wonder “Is she the one?”) Juliet, Naked is the beach read of the decade.
Hornby now publishes bestselling screenplays and essays, too, but it is in his fiction that we are most touched, jumping up, cheering for encores.
- John Valentine
1998, Timber Press, Incorporated
Beverley Nichols (1893-1983) wrote widely on a variety of subjects, but for the gardener and Anglophile nothing can beat his books on gardening. Merry Hall, the first of a trilogy describing the purchase, renovation, and landscaping of a run-down Georgian manor house, is full of British humor and eccentric characters from Nichols himself to the longtime gardener who has definite opinions to the neighbors not shy with advice--so fortunate to have a house and garden "where no alterations are needed". The most ordinary events are described with great drama and sharp wit. The antics of the cats, One and Four; conversations with Oldfield, the gardener; sharp critiques of the previous owner's taste both in the house and out; excursions to buy yet more plants and urns; and Nichols' decided opinions about what to plant and where keep the reader engrossed and are hilarious. Fortunately, there are two more books about Merry Hall: Laughter on the Stairs and Sunlight on the Lawn.
- Cavett French
The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story
2009, Oxford University Press
Elliott West is a professor of history at the University of Arkansas and the preeminent social historian of the American West. He is also a graceful writer whose prose is accessible to professional historians and amateur lovers of history alike.
West’s most recent book is The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story, a volume in Oxford’s “Pivotal Moments in American History” series. The book is about far more than just the so-called Nez Perce War of 1877. It is about two cultures that did not understand each other’s concepts of governance and leadership—especially military leadership. Nor did they understand each other’s social and community structures. And it is also about a nation whose Civil War had ended only eleven years before. Questions of how to deal with people of different racial background that were to some extent resolved in 1865 in the East were answered very differently in the West thereafter, and the author challenges his readers to think carefully about that difference.
The Last Indian War deals with the small-scale events of the conflict between the Nez Perce and the U.S. Army as well as those of the Nez Perce relationships with Anglo citizens. I know the story quite well, living and practicing history in Idaho for more than forty years. But West has involved me in the events and the choices of that story in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
- Judy Austin
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