This is the March 2012 installment by Director, Marty Frick.
March Bookends 2012
A few weeks ago, the Trib quoted me as saying one of the things I will do with my retirement is read. I do have a few months to go before retirement, but I’ve been making a list, so I thought I’d share it with you. If you read any of these books before I do, when you see me in the post office, tell me what you think. I’ll be hungry to talk about books when I’m away from this job. Maybe you’ll suggest your favorites to me.
1. “ Insectopedia” by Hugh Raffles. For as long as humans have existed, insects have existed, too. Yet we hardly know them. Hugh Raffles explores the history and science, anthropology and culture to show us how insects have triggered our obsessions. To name a few: Chinese cricket fighting, how beetles deformed by Chernobyl inspired art, the vital and vicious role locusts play in the famines of west Africa.
2. “Genius” Harold Bloom. Bloom calls his book “a mosaic of one hundred exemplary creative minds”; that’s his way to explore what genius means, which he says is the ancient principle that recognizes and hallows the divine within us and the gift of breathing life into what is best in every living person.
3. “Elizabeth and Hazel: two women of Little Rock”. David Margolick. This book offers insight into the lives of Elizabeth Eckford, an African American woman who was one of the Little Rock Nine, and Hazel Bryan, a woman who attended Little Rock Central high School and was photographed shouting racial epithets at Elizabeth outside of the school. The book explores the impact their reconciliation has had on their lives and on the community. If you don’t know who the Little Rock Nine were, you’re probably too young to be interested in this book. I like the subject of reconciliation, and my sister was at Central High trying to help those nine students integrate our whole town, as it were, so I’m guessing the book will have meaning for me.
4. “Imperial Cruise” James Bradley. In the summer of 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt dispatched the largest diplomatic mission in American history. Along for the ride across the Pacific was Teddy’s daughter Alice, whom he knew would be an effective distraction for the reporters covering the journey. He had good reason to keep his true motives concealed: then Secretary of War William Howard Taft would be negotiating a series of secret and wholly unconstitutional agreements that would lay the groundwork for treaties that would ultimately lead to WWII. History continues to be revised, doesn’t it?
OK, I admit these are heavier (unless I use my Kindle) and longer and more dense of thought than I often read, so wish me luck. And I want to point out that each of these books happens to be a donation of two of the Library’s longest standing, widest read, wisest and most imaginative counselors I’ve ever known. We call them Tchoupitoulas Refuge. We would not have been the same institution without them. Thanks, guys.