Fun at Foster's blog

Font to Film: “Fahrenheit 451”

The idea of creating a film based on a well-known and well-respected novel must be at once thoroughly tempting and immensely intimidating. Our culture’s most highly-regarded works deal with themes and questions which demand careful consideration; to mishandle these in the course of adaptation would be an insult to a classic that would be difficult for a director to live down. The payoff for a successful execution, however, could secure one’s reputation, and there is value in reimagining our great works in ways that promote further discussion, analysis, and contemplation of the human condition. Over the years many great novels have found new life—and a new audience—in theaters, whether or not the new format fully captured the gravity of the original.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 went through several incarnations before it was published in its final form in 1953. Some of the original ideas and concepts were developed in short stories written as early as 1947, and in 1951 he published The Fireman, a novella he wrote on a rented typewriter in UCLA’s Powell Library. This work was modified and expanded into Fahrenheit 451, a novel set in an unspecified time in the future where reading books has been outlawed and firemen—like protagonist Guy Montag—are charged with burning any that are found. In addition to the obvious anti-censorship overtones, Bradbury includes critiques of mass media culture, complacency, anti-intellectualism, and unchallenged authority. When Montag becomes curious about the content of the books he is tasked with destroying his boss, Captain Beatty, attempts to bring him back into the fold by explaining how books became dangerous and controversial distractions that fell out of favor as the population gradually lost the desire to engage with them. With few advocates willing to stand up in their defense, books were supplanted by more passive forms of entertainment, delivered via wall-sized televisions which became a staple of every home.
The ending of Bradbury’s novel is very dark, but also hopeful; the 1966 film version, directed by François Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie, keeps the hope but skips many of the heavier elements. Both versions have Montag encounter Clarisse, a free-thinking young woman whose friendship causes him to further question his blind acceptance of the fireman’s role in society. Montag’s distant and superficial relationship with his wife is another common point, as is the tense antagonism he develops toward Captain Beatty, though his partnership with former English professor Faber is absent from the film. Additionally, several major plot elements relating to the ending are different, most notably the fate of Clarisse and the outcome of the imminent war which serves as a backdrop to both the novel and film. The film had its share of detractors, many of whom singled out the lead actors as problematic—Werner because of the stilted delivery of his lines and Christie for a generally bland performance—but Bradbury himself expressed satisfaction with the changes Truffaut made to the ending and many think that the adaptation was generally underrated. All told the film does feel like a reasonable—if somewhat campy—translation of the novel’s themes and overall message.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library as part of the Young Adult Fiction and Adult Science Fiction collections. A graphic novel adaptation is also available on the first floor of the library, as is a collection of the shorter works by Bradbury which were written prior to the novel and influenced its final form. Truffaut’s film version can be found at Foster in the Adult DVD collection on the first floor. If you’re looking for an edition that isn’t on the shelf, call the library or go online and you can place a hold on the item and have it sent to you at your local Ventura County Library branch.

 

Preserved by Ronald Martin.

Art Tales Writing Contest @ Foster

Do you find art to be inspirational? Are you a writer looking to flex your creative muscles?

Consider submitting your work to the Art Tales writing contest! Entrants can visit E.P. Foster Library to view this year's inspirational pieces, which include a sculpture on the first floor and several paintings on the second floor. The contest is open to writers young and old; prizes will be awarded in three separate age categories.

The deadline for entry is April 1, 2015. For more information, visit the City of Ventura's website, which includes contest rules, links to reproductions of the artworks, and a record of past winners. Be a part of your local art scene by visiting the library and finding your muse!

War Comes Home @ Foster until March 1, 2015

Interested in military history and veterans' issues? The exihibition War Comes Home: The Legacy is still on display at E.P. Foster Library, and will remain here until March 1, 2015.

Featuring actual correspondence from across multiple conflicts, this exhibit explores the emotions surrounding a soldier's homecoming after war. An audio tour is available as well; check the circulation desk for more info!

For more related to veterans' issues, check out the Veterans Resource Center at E.P. Foster Library, and consider attending our March 18 screening of the film "Ground Operations."

Bookmobile History in Ventura

May Henning School, October 1934 Library Day

The idea of the Bookmobile did not originate in Ventura, California, but was an east-coast concept observed by a young Miss Elizabeth Topping—future County Librarian of Ventura—during her time spent in school. The official Bookmobile service in this county began during the summer of 1934, when at the behest of a “Grand Jury” it was suggested that the library find a cost-effective method of servicing schools then withdrawing from the general county system.

Del Mar, October 1934 Library Day

Librarians, especially children’s librarians, began regular visits to school playgrounds during the summer months, catering to the children of those schools (and even adults in at least one location). At that time there was a county sedan that was used, though not yet exclusively for this purpose. Books were packed up and then unloaded in boxes or on tables set up on the playgrounds. An interesting thing is that, during that period, one of the arguments for such a service was that it encouraged children to go outside. Books and the Bookmobile service to playgrounds in general were seen as positive outdoor activities.

Over the following year or so (the document used for this research is undated), the service continued and expanded, though it was considered to be yet in an “experimental stage,” one report yields. Records show that less than a year later over 20,000 books had circulated through the Bookmobile system. The locations visited include about eight schools and four ranches.

There is also specific mention of Spanish-speaking families in the undated report. The writer states that “We have found out one very definite fact about the children whose parents are Spanish-speaking; namely, that they love fairy tales.” Bookmobile services would make strides to provide a variety of Spanish-language materials and current periodicals and elevate their efforts to bring books and information to all of Ventura’s sprawling communities.

 

Alan Martin, Your Friendly Reader

Mound School, October 1934 Library Day

Silly Science Show @ Foster

On Wednesday, February 18, E.P. Foster Library will host a special event: the Silly Science Show with Professor Wisenheimer!

This free event will blend science education with fun activities, teaching kids about basic scientific principles and performing experiments in an entertaining and interactive way.

There will be two shows on the second floor of the library. The first begins at 11 a.m., and the second at 3 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Library LAB: Makeshop @ Foster

Interested in having some fun with chemistry? On Tuesday, February 17, E.P. Foster Library will host another great Makeshop event. In this activity we will revisit the water glass bouncing ball.

Participants will be able to perform and observe a simple chemical reaction that will result in a surprising transformation. This free event is open to all ages!

This Makeshop activity will be held on the second floor of the library at 5 p.m. For more information, call or drop by the library!

Foster Con Is Coming!

Get ready, comic book fans! From February 28 to March 1, E.P. Foster Library will be hosting another Foster Con Mini Comic Festival. Whether you’re a fan of comics or not, there will be fun activities for everyone. Although this year’s Foster Con will have many familiar elements from our first eventsuch as candy sushi, Wii games, and a photo boothwe will also be throwing in something new!

This year, there will be two workshops: one for making comics and one for cosplay. Our comic workshop for kids will be taught by Carlos Nieto, III. Carlos is a self-taught artist, who has worked both in television and movies, including with Disney and Universal. He has taught comic book-making and animation drawing. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the kids!

Our cosplay workshop will be given by Mac Beauvais. I had the good fortune to meet Mac at the Pop Stuff Expo last spring. She’s a very nice lady and has some real insight to offer anyone interested in trying their hand at cosplay. For those who still don’t know what cosplay is, it is costume play. I like to think of it as Halloween for grownups, but it’s really so much more than that. Cosplayers often make their own costumes and props, and they can be from films, television, comics, games, or manga.

There will also be a special storytelling program for kids. True Thomas the Storyteller will give two performances, regaling kids with stories from folktales and mythology. I’ve seen him in action, and he really dresses the part and makes the stories come alive.

A special movie presentation will happen on Sunday, for all ages. I won’t say what it is, but I can tell you it’s a certain Marvel film from last summer. We will also have lots of vendors, including Arsenal Comics and Games and Seth’s Games and Anime.

If you go to the Foster Con event website, you’ll get information on all the programs and vendors who will be participating.

It’s only a few short weeks away. I’ll see you there!

 

Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

Free Tax Preparation Assistance @ Foster

E.P. Foster Library is proud to host friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable AARP volunteers on site to help you with your tax return.

AARP TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) has preparers who are trained for retirement and investment income situations as well as wage earners.

Tax help is available on a first-come, first-served basis on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon in the Topping Room through April 15th.

For more information, please call 805-648-3035.

Valentine's Day Matinee @ Foster

Join us at E.P. Foster Library for a special Saturday film screening on February 14.

We will be showing a classic film featuring love, loss, and the oncoming nuclear winter. This dark comedy satirizes cold war fears of nuclear conflict between the US and the USSR.

This event is totally free, and will take place in the Topping Room starting at 12:30 p.m. Stop by and enjoy this classic with us!

Clouds over Ventura

In Southern California, our “normal” weather doesn’t often produce dramatic cloud formations. That’s why when we do get rain—or just the clouds associated with a low-pressure front—photographers in Ventura get really excited. Your resident photographer is no exception.
Over the years I’ve taken a few cloud shots myself and still find the various types of clouds extremely fascinating. When Ventura does get clouds, do you ever wonder about the different formations you’re seeing? Most of us are familiar with cumulus clouds, but do you know what a lenticular cloud looks like? What is virga? And what about crepuscular rays—just what are they?

The answers to these and other weather-related questions can be found at the E.P. Foster Library, which has a variety of materials on clouds as well as some interesting items on weather.  

 

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

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