Friday, October 12, 2007
I must confess: I’m a couch potato. I’m not proud but I’m honest. Regardless, this doesn’t keep me from enjoying watching others push their bodies to the limit. Climbing Mt. Everest? I’m there. Football game in the 100-degree heat? I’m there. Clog dancing? I’m there…right there in front of the TV.
For some reason this woman who can’t complete one chin up has always been fascinated with mountaineers and their hubristic attempts to scale impossible heights. My favorite story by far is Simon Yates' and Joe Simpson’s 1985 ascension to the 20,814 foot summit of Siula Grande in Peru. Their story became part of mountaineering legend, and was turned into the documentary Touching the Void in 2003. Yes, they climbed ‘cause it was fun. They also climbed because they were young and cocky and knew they could succeed where others had failed.
Yates and Simpson did succeed and were the first to reach the summit by scaling the West face, but they made the mistake of descending on the North ridge. The weather slowed their progress and they ran out of food and gas; without gas they weren’t able to melt snow to drink and soon became weak with hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Then things went wildly wrong when Simpson fell and shattered his leg, forcing the lower bone through his knee joint. He expected Yates to leave him, but Yates stayed and lowered his mate down the mountain, 300 painstaking feet at a time.
Yates would anchor himself in a snow seat, lower Simpson down, and when Simpson tugged on the rope, he would climb down and start the procedure over again. But there came a point in their descent when Yates waited for a tug that never came; he had unknowingly lowered Simpson over an overhanging cliff. For an hour and a half Simpson hung in mid-air, and Yates held his place on the sugary slope for as long as he could before he started to slide down the mountain. Then he remembered that he had a pen knife in his rucksack and quickly made the decision to cut the rope and save himself. With this action he dropped Simpson 100 feet into a crevasse. What happened after this is a testament to how nearly indestructible the human body is and just how stubborn two athletes at the top of their games can be.
At one time Tom Cruise was in line to play Joe Simpson in a movie version of Touching the Void. Thank goodness that plan was never put into action. The decision to intersperse Yates' and Simpson’s first-hand accounts with two actors re-enacting the scenes was the right one. I've watched Touching the Void many times since it arrived on DVD. Watch it and judge for yourself if it’s more enjoyable and suspenseful than the movies they're passing off as entertainment in Hollywood these days.
Touching the Void trailer
Joe Simpson has led an interesting life and has detailed his adventures in several books: Touching the Void (1988); This Game of Ghosts (1995); Storms of Silence (1997); Dark Shadows Falling (1999) ; The Beckoning Silence (2003); and The Water People (2006, fiction). Books not listed on our catalog may be available through Interlibrary Loans.
Visit his Website Joe Simpson-No Ordinary Joe for more information on his life, books, and films.
Think you have what it takes to pull your own body weight up a mountain? Then try these books on mountaineering. If you run into trouble, you won't be the first. And for my fellow couch potatoes, here are some fiction books on the sport.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Doris Lessing received The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007.
To see Doris Lessing's items in the JCLC Catalog, click here.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
- Avoid overdues with email or text message alerts.
- Track items you have checked out.
- Join for free!
Library Elf is a private service not affiliated with the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. For more information, go to http://www.jclc.org/information/card/libraryelf.asp
Monday, October 08, 2007
In his 1985 novel El amor en los tiempos del colera (translated as Love in the Time of Cholera, 1988), Garcia Marquez explores various manifestations of love and examines themes relating to aging, death, and decay in a blend of fact and fable based in part on recollections of his parents' marriage.
Set in a South American community plagued by recurring civil wars and cholera epidemics from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, the novel begins with the death of Dr. Juvenal Urbino, who leaves behind his wife of fifty years, Fermina Daza. Soon after Urbino's death, however, a man from Fermina's distant past appears on her doorstep. It is Florentino Ariza, a telegraph operator who had once secretly wooed her through letters and serenades until her father learned of the romance and put an end to it. The rest of the novel recounts Florentino's determination to resume the passionate courtship of a woman who had given him up for a wealthier, more distinguished suitor so many years before.
Garcia Marquez's best-known novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, was an Oprah's Book Club pick in 2004.
Take a peek inside Love in the Time of Cholera, courtesy of AmazonOnlineReader.
The movie version starring Benjamin Bratt and Javier Bardem is slated for a November 16 release.
Visit our Biography Resource Center to learn more about Gabrial Garcia Marquez (library card is required)
Friday, October 05, 2007
The podcast of this program has two parts. In the first part, Terry Price of S.C.O.R.E. discusses legal issues related to small business employment, including what to consider when dealing with issues such as hiring, training, and terminating, among others. Click here to listen to the part one.
In part 2, Coffee Colvin of S.C.O.R.E. discusses what to consider when choosing a financial team to help protect your company's products. Mr. Colvin discusses the importance of having legal advisors, certified public accountants, and insurance brokers as the basis for your financial team. Click here to listen to part two.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
In partnership with Bright House Networks, the Book TV Bus offers tours of its studio set, participation in an interactive demonstration about Book TV programming, the opportunity to learn how a television show is produced, and a chance to sign up for programming alerts. The bus will be parked outside of the Birmingham Public Library from 12-3 PM during Fiesta 2007.
COME VISIT THE BUS!
October 20, 2007
12 PM – 3 PM
Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
About Book TV
Every weekend starting Saturday, 9 am to Monday, 9 am CT, Book TV airs 48 hours of non-fiction book programming on a variety of topics including history, biographies, politics, current events, and the media. Book TV features author interviews, readings, and panels at bookstores, libraries, and book festivals across the country. For more information, visit the Book TV Web site at http://www.booktv.org/.
C-SPAN, the political network of record, was created in 1979 by America's cable companies as a public service. C-SPAN is currently available in 90 million households, C-SPAN2 in 82 million households, and C-SPAN3 in more than 12 million households nationwide. For more information about C-SPAN, visit http://www.c-span.org/.
Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone has made a business decision to no longer allow public libraries to subscribe to their online products.
JCLC’s contract with Rosetta Stone will end November 30, 2007. We hope to have a comparable online language product in place by then.
To read more about Rosetta Stone's decision, check out today's article in The Birmingham News.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The library doesn’t keep a history of items our patrons check out because of privacy issues. But we do want you to have the option of keeping track of the items you check out. It’s simple to do if you opt in to My Reading History.
- Go to Your Record on the JCLC catalog
- Type in your name and card number
- Click on My Reading History under the search box
- Click on Opt In at the left of the page
Your reading history will be saved from this point on. You may opt out at any time, or delete individual items in your history que. It's a wonderful way to keep track of books you didn't have time to read but would like to one day.
Mayoral Candidates Profiles and Interviews
- The Terminal has photographs, profiles, audios, interviews and links to the candidates' official websites.
- The Birmingham News at al.com includes articles about the mayoral candidates as well as interviews.
- Birmingham View has videorecordings of interviews with several of the candidates.
Where to Vote
- Alabama Secretary of State's Election Division website includes information about election procedures, election returns and voter registration
- League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham has answers to frequently asked questions about elections and voting in the greater Birmingham area.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Check out Melinda's excellent back-to-school list and see what a rich resource the library is for your school needs.
Boykin was born in Brewton, Alabama, and is an honor graduate from Tuskegee University with a degree in social work. She lived in Dallas, Texas, for twenty years before settling down in Birmingham, Alabama, to take care of her mother.
She is the author of one bestseller--No Testimony Without a Test--and three other books: Been Through the Fire But Didn't Get Burned; In Due Season--They That Wait--Don't Wait Too Late; and Gold on Your Fingertips! Stop Sittin' On Your Assetts. However, her success comes from her calling as an inspirational writer and speaker. She received the 2003 Sojourner Truth Award and is a two time recipient of the Key to the City of Birmingham.
Boykin and Calhoun will cover some interesting topics:
- Open-ended discussions on what the "real" female/male want in a fulfilling relationship
- What it takes to find help and hope after the Big "D"
- Building not burning relationships
- How to attract with delight the relationships you desire and deserve
- Tips on how to surround yourself with energy gainers not drainers
- Sisters and brothers recognize: It is time to take ownership of our responsibilities whether we like it or not
"This is not about me, this is about us. It takes teamwork to make the dream work. Dare to experience one of the most enlightening, entertaining, and enhancing afternoon/evenings of your life!"
Where: Smithfield Library
When: Wednesday, October 24
Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
For additional information check the Calendar of Events.
Friday, September 28, 2007
What do all of these books have in common? Attempts have been made to ban them all.
Throughout history, individuals and groups have attempted to suppress reading material that conflict with their personal beliefs. Banned Books Week, September 29-October 6, 2007, calls attention to our freedom to choose books that others may have desired to censor and reminds us not to take this freedom for granted.
The list of books that people have attempted to ban is amazing. The Most Frequently Challenged Books list is filled with all types of books from the classics to popular children's fiction. Some of your favorite books may be on the list:
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Any of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Any of the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- The Dead Zone by Stephen King
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Where's Waldo?
What next Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman? Yes, Captain Underpants is on the list too.
Join us in celebrating banned book week. Think for yourself, defy convention, and read a banned book.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
We decided to record two of the sessions. Brenda Cox from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) led the first section, entitled "Selling to the Government." She discussed how to get the government to recognize your small business and then how to go about obtaining a contract from the government for your business.
Selling to the Government
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In the second session, "Marketing and Advertising," Hutch Cole of S.C.O.R.E. and Joe Primm of the SBDC discuss marketing and advertising your company's services and products.
Marketing and Advertising
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The wisdom and experience of these speakers is sure to help entrepreneurs and that's why the Birmingham Public Library is proud to offer these recordings.
We hope that you'll join us for the next segment entitled, "Protecting Your Business,"which will be held October 3rd, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., in the Downtown Library's Auditorium.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Based upon word-of-mouth recommendations, I have checked out numerous excellent books over the years. These suggestions come from both friends and acquaintances. Isn’t that where good recommendations often come? Not professional critics, but other readers.
Professional critics can be engaging and are well-informed. However, what Simon says or Ebert writes, does not always translate into the best advice. I have much more success paying attention to what another readers, listeners or viewers think.
So for purely selfish reasons, I encourage you to share your thoughts about items on our catalog. You can now submit ratings and reviews on books, audio books, DVDs and more. How?
Let me give an example: Let's say that Mr. Greenspan, A.G. to his pals, has just read Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse and thinks everyone else should too.
He visits our catalog at http://vulcan.bham.lib.al.us/. Greenspan locates the title that he would like to review using the search feature. In the display of the full record, he clicks the “Add Review” button on the right side of the page. A.G. enters his name and library card number when prompted.
Greenspan enters a short attention grabbing review headline and then proceeds to the review itself expounding the virtues of the book in a short pithy straightforward bit of prose. With the review completed, he clicks the submit button.
"Brilliant!” he exclaims as the clicks the OK button to confirm his review. Greenspan knows his rationally exuberant submission is on it's way to the Library staff for approval.
In the meantime, A.G. decides to add a reader rating as well. Since he is already logged in he finds the “Additional Info” box of the title record. Moving his mouse pointer over the rating stars, Greenspan clicks on the last one giving Crash Proof a five star rating.
Become a review maestro yourself and submit recommendations on the library items you enjoy. For more information on reviews click here. For more about ratings follow this link.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
You can find our Reader Ratings and Reviews on any item's detail page in the Catalog. The link is in the Additional Info box. There you can:
- Rate an item out of five stars
- Write a detailed review
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Alabamian Glenn Frazier talks about his near execution in a POW camp
Read about Glenn Frazier and other Mobile residents interviewed in The War.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Last year Birmingham Public Library and the Jefferson County Library Cooperative first offered Rosetta Stone to the entire county. With over 20 different languages to choose from, this has been a very popular product.
Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone has made a business decision to no longer allow libraries to subscribe to their complete offering of languages.
With the expiration of our contract on December 1, 2007, the libraries of Jefferson County will be given two options. Both options offer a limited number of languages. When we know what languages will be offered, we will let you know.
Rosetta Stone is a great resource and an excellent way to learn a language. Please contact your local library if you have any questions.
Click here to go to Rosetta Stone.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
At the last Tech Tuesday @ Your Library, David Blake showed some of these Internet Radio sites. I didn't know how many there are.
A native of South Carolina, Jordan felt that his southern background flavored his books: "What I write is certainly not set in South Carolina, but I have had a number of reviewers comment on the fact that I write with a distinct southern voice. It goes beyond more than simply where the story is set. I believe it is something we take in in the air and the water. It’s a matter of word choices — of the rhythms of sentences and the rhythm of speech in particular."
Although Jordan was a prolific writer using several pseudonyms (his real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr.), he is most famous for his Wheel of Time series. WoT is an intricately detailed series set in a land where two magics exist: male and female. The hero Rand al’thor is on a quest to unite the diverse people of his planet against the Dark One. (Simplistic summary for such a complex series, I know, but I called my husband who is a fan of the series and asked him to sum up the series in two sentences and he laughed. I was on my own.)
Jordan was working on book 12 of the series when he died. The working title of the last book is Memory of Light. Word from Jordan’s blog is that the last book was finished before his death, and that his family plans on publishing it per his wishes.
To read more about Robert Jordan's life and achievements, visit our Biography Resource Center
Here are some key words to help expand your pirate vocabulary.
• Aarrr! Pirate exclamation. Done with a growl and used to emphasize the pirate's current feelings.
• Ahoy Hello
• Avast Stop and pay attention
• Beauty a lovely woman
• Cutlass Popular sword among pirates
• Lubber Land lover. Someone who doesn't want to go to sea.
• Matey Friend or comrade
• Ne’er-do-well A scoundrel or rascal
After ye learn how to talk like a pirate, find a tale or two to tell to your matey. Or, become an expert pirate historian. See what other plunder Central's Youth Department has before ye weigh anchor. Aarrr!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Live Homework Help is free to Alabama students in grades four through the first year of college. Students can get homework help from expert tutors Sunday through Thursday from 3:00-10:00 p.m. in the subjects of math, science, social studies, and English. Students can connect to a tutor through any computer with Internet access, including computers at their local public library or at school.
The library's deadline for the City of Birmingham's mayoral race is September 26.
Contact Audrey Brantley (226-3600) if you have any questions.
Tech Tuesdays @ Your Library is a series of programs presented live in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library and available via simulcast at the Five Points West and Springville Road Libaries.
September 18, 12:00 p.m. (available at Central and Five Points West)
September 25, 6:30 p.m.
October 2, 12:00 p.m.
October 16, 6:30 p.m.
November 6, 12:00 p.m.
November 13, 6:30 p.m.
Photographs (digital editing, organization, storage and sharing)