For some reason this year, I felt like revisiting a book I had read ages ago. For my 14th or 15th birthday, a friend of mine got me an autographed copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Living in Southern California, we had access to Ray Bradbury for many years at the LA Times Festival of Books, and this felt like a great time to revisit a fall book, now that the temperature has actually started dropping.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of two boys, caught between being boys and young men – anxious to be older and yet not ready to grow up. The carnival comes to town and offers an escape from their daily lives, but for a price. While the ride on the carousel could fulfill a deeply held wish, there is danger lurking in striking bargains with beings you don’t fully understand. Bradbury’s approach to fantasy is wonderful because of how much he’s willing to leave unexplained and letting the reader gather her own conclusions.
Carnie Punk is a collection of short stories by a variety of authors. With a little bit of everything, these stories are as varied as attractions at a carnival. Short story collections are always high on my to-read list, particularly when life gets busy. Each story will whisky you away to the midway for a short while. If you want to try a story without checking out the whole volume – Jennifer Estep’s Parlor Tricks is available for free on Amazon as of 10/31.
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With the Oz the Great and Powerful movie out in theaters, it’s not surprising that there are a number of tie-ins and a great deal of interest in Oz over the past weeks. Due to being on top of some of my media and behind in others, I happened to have a week full of stories of both Oz of the books and Oz of the movies. Below are links to the pieces that helped my past week fill to the brim with Oz.
The History Chicks covered L. Frank Baum and the Wizard of Oz in their podcast and they also did a minicast on the Women of Oz, providing a brief overview of the women of the movie version of the Wizard of Oz – focusing on Judy Garland, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton. After listening to their podcasts, see their show notes for excellent supplemental information – beautiful photos, illustrations from the book and recaps of the information provided in in their conversation style podcast. Beckett and Susan are always entertaining and cover a variety of women in their regular podcasts. I highly recommend going through their archive after you’ve finished their two Oz related podcasts.
The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy had a wonderful interview with Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked as well as writing an introduction to a new Oz anthology. The remainder of the podcast was a discussion about the host’s memories of the Oz books, the writing of the new Oz anthology and memories of the 1939 movie.
Last but not least, I just finished Oz Reimagined edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen. Oz Reimagined is a wonderful collection of short stories by a variety of authors, each taking his or her own take on the original Wizard of Oz book. Some of the stories took Oz into a science fiction realm, one into a reality TV show, multiple detective stories and one took Dorothy from Shanghai into a parallel Oz. My favorites were Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust by Seanan McGuire, A Tornado of Dorothys by Kat Howard and The Cobbler of Oz by Jonathan Maberry and Beyond the naked eye by Rachel Swirsky. All of the stories were wonderful and an imaginative reimagining of Baum’s Oz but these four stood out for me. The anthology is worth reading in its entirety or each individual story is available for sale individually.
Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust follows an adult Dorothy as she investigates the mysterious death of a Munchkin in Emerald City. Ozma and Dorothy do not get along as they did in their youth and there is unrest between the Ozites and immigrants like Dorothy who have decided to make Oz their home. In addition to her short story, McGuire has written and sung at least two songs that mention Dorothy, Wicked Girls (2012) and Dorothy (2007) the lyrics to both of which are available on her website.
A Tornado of Dorothys by Kat Howard shows us what happens when a place needs its story told at all cost. Oz needs a Dorothy, a Glinda and a witch of the East and someone must always be conscripted to play the roles.
The Cobbler of Oz by Jonathan Maberry gives the back story behind Dorothy’s silver slippers, from their creation, to their fall into disrepair and the adventures of a brave and generous winged monkey, Nyla, to restore them to their former glory.
In Beyond the Naked Eye Swirsky turns the adventures of Dorothy and her friends into a reality show – one where she is one group among several competing to have a wish granted by the great and terrible Oz. However, political unrest in the Emerald City cannot be completely eclipsed by the drama on screen.
All of the original Oz books are available in the public domain at Project Guttenberg if you want to reacquaint yourself with some of the original stories before diving into the later incarnations of the wonderful world.
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I love working at a large library and working in ILL. One of the great perks of working in ILL is you can see what people are reading and you develop a feel for what you may want to add to a to-read list. Another great thing is the chance to work independently for a portion of the day, whether it’s banding, making records, clearing out idle requests or anything at my desk. During these desk times I’m able to put in my headphones and listen to an audio book, music or podcast for a couple hours while I get my work done. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun with a handful of podcasts and I wanted to share them with you. Podcasts are listed in no particular order.
Up yours, downstairs presented by Kelly Anneken & Tom Schneider
Kelly & Tom recap the Masterpiece Classic series Downton Abbey and the recaps are hilarious. I came to Downton Abbey fairly late and had to catch up with the first season on Netflix. The show is a combination of snarky retelling of everything that occurred in given episode, recurring segments on Edwardian fashion, parts of history and show gossip. They plan to go on to some other Edwardian related projects, either recapping other mini series or just making their recurring topics longer once they have finished the recaps of the first two seasons. Beware while listening to these when too many patrons or co-workers are around, I found myself laughing hard enough for my eyes to tear up at some parts. The podcasts are marked as explicit in iTunes, I can’t think of any terrible language off the top of my head but this is a headphones type podcast rather than a speakers, especially if you share your office with others.
Adventures in Library Instruction presented by Rachel B, Jason and Anna*
I just finished 35th episode “Guide on the side.” This monthly podcast covers topics of interest for teaching librarians. I like the interplay between Jason, Anna and Rachel on the few podcasts I’ve listened to to date. I am very excited about Meredith Farkas’s Technology in Practice article about the University of Arizona’s JSTOR tutorial. I hope to figure out a way to either create something like this or at least incorporate some of the elements in it for the ILL article tutorial that has been on the back burner during the spring semester. I look forward to listening to some of the backlog for inspiration on instruction ideas. I know I will catch up and be anxiously awaiting more before the end of the summer.
TWiT presented byLeo Laporte et al.
This week in tech is a netcast which happens to have podcast versions available in iTunes. It’s a great way to stay caught up on technology trends and offers a balanced overview of the pros and cons of different consumer technology. Some of the discussions can get pretty detailed but I don’t feel out of my depth so I believe this is accessible to a beginner and mid range adopter. I haven’t been able to watch one of their videos yet but I may at some point in the future (as I said, these are at work supplements so I need something I can listen to while processing). TWiT offers a combination of hypothetical and hands on examples for technology questions; for example in episode 335 they discussed Twitter and when it is worth doing or in episode 351 they discuss Google glasses and Dropbox. Their website allows you to search for past shows based on your interest, rather than limiting you to a browse feature, which is always nice.
Now that I’m out of class for the summer I’m going to try to post more than once a week and have some more fun posts. While I don’t think I will have three podcasts a week if this post is popular I’ll try making this sort of recommendation a regular feature. If anyone has a podcast they love let me know!
*The trio use their last names in the podcast and I was able to find their full names elsewhere on the web but I decided to stick with how they present themselves in their blog. Does anyone know the proper protocol for this situation? Or suggest a good internet etiquette/APA crossover handbook?
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