Friday, January 15, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today would have been the 81st birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Libraries, government offices, some schools, and other agencies will be closed on Monday, January 18th (the official holiday) to commemorate the incredible work he did in his shortened lifetime.
In the words of Corretta Scott King:
We commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.
I encourage each of you to get involved in some way over these next few days and to look at each other with understanding and the realization that we are all members of the human race, and all equal. Yes, we all have different viewpoints--political viewpoints, literary viewpoints, religious viewpoints, land-use viewpoints--you name it; we are a diverse country and a diverse world. But it is up to us work together and continue the legacy of Dr. King to make this a better world for all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miep Gies, protector of Anne Frank, dies at 100

We caught wind of some sad news yesterday: Miep Gies, Nazi resister and protector of Anne Frank's family died at age 100. Without Gies, Anne Frank's diary would never have been published. She gathered and saved the the strewn papers after the family was arrested. Gies had hoped to give them back to Anne, but instead returned them to Otto Frank, Anne's father.

Read an obituary of Miep Gies here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Reading

A few of my librarian friends sent their "Seasons Readings" lists out last week, with great lists of books they have read in 2009. Since I don't keep year-long lists, I'll just give a shout to those books read and listened to over my Holiday holiday this year.

Books on CD that burned up the miles between Bigfork, Flesher Pass, Helena, Bozeman and Livingston included David Sedaris's When You are Engulfed in Flames (laugh out loud funny!) and Kaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns (heart wrenching). The novels I read included Dangerous Angels: the Weetzie Bat books (delightful!); Rennie Airth's The Dead of Winter (mystery set in WWII England); and Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire (nicely reviewed by Joan Smith here).
But the book that had the most profound effect on me these last two weeks was Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory: the odyssey of Pat Tillman. Krakauer is an incredibly compelling writer, especially when the subject is difficult at best. Reading his account of the life and untimely death of Pat Tillman, I learned a lot about the causes of the wars in which we are currently engaged, and even more about the tribulations our soldiers face every day. It was interesting to listen to A Thousand Splendid Suns in conjuction with Where Men Win Glory; both portraits of Afghanistan and its people from wildly different perspectives.

I hope you were able to get some reading and listening in over the holidays. If not, pick up one of these; you won't be disappointed!