While it is always impressive to see the latest best-sellers turn into big-screen epics with even bigger budgets and loads of special effects, it’s easy to forget that many of the great literary classics also got the box office treatment. A lot of books that are still relevant today were made into films so long ago that the current generation of readers probably wouldn’t recognize the stars that brought the original text to life. Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises offers us a great example of a work that has had the honor of being appreciated and dissected in multiple formats and across decades of social and cultural change.
|The Sun Also Rises was published in 1926, and has been celebrated as a quintessential representation of the idea of the Lost Generation—those individuals who came of age during World War I. Hemingway introduces us to a number of complex characters, including narrator Jake Barnes and the free-spirited Lady Brett Ashley, whose relationship is central to many of the novel’s themes relating to love and shifting views on sexuality. Barnes served in the war, and suffered an injury which left him impotent and therefore unable to consummate a relationship with Lady Ashley, whose own frustrated feelings for Barnes lead her to indulge haphazardly in a series of affairs and meaningless relationships. The two travel from Paris to Spain with several other expatriates, friends of theirs—mostly writers—who exemplify the aimlessness and desperation of the generation that Hemingway is praised for capturing so well. With Barnes’ injury, Lady Ashley’s conquests, and the portrayals of other male characters which include drunks, hangers-on, and bullfighters, The Sun Also Rises has a lot to say about masculinity in particular, and a critical reader will find a lot to digest and appreciate.|
|One thing that most critics agree on regarding the 1957 film version of The Sun Also Rises is that it is a fairly faithful adaptation of the events in the novel. In a way it’s almost surreal to see scenes and dialogue replicated to such a degree; at times it seems that the film suffers from trying to maintain the pacing of a novel, dragging in places it should not, particularly in the first hour. That said, when the pace picks up and the cast is out in force the film is noticeably better; the second half benefits from a more compelling setting and an improved chemistry between the actors. But despite strong performances from Ava Gardner as Lady Ashley and Errol Flynn as the drunkard Mike Campbell, the film’s casting is perhaps its weakest point. As many have pointed out, the actors chosen for the film are at least a decade too old to be truly believable representations of Hemingway’s characters, creating an experience similar to watching a movie about high school students played by actors in their thirties. The Lost Generation’s wandering purposelessness seems less romantic in those already well past middle age; still, the film manages to reproduce a good deal of the existential heft that makes the novel such an important cultural touchstone.|
Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises is available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library as part of the adult and young adult collections, and is also available as an audiobook. The film is available at Foster as part of a collection which includes several other screen adaptations of Hemingway’s work. If the item you are interested in is not on the shelf at your local branch, you can request for a copy to be delivered to your home branch in person, over the phone, or online through our catalog.
Laid out by Ronald Martin.
Take a trip to the Old West in The Grave Doug Freshley by Josh Hechinger. It may seem like your run-of-the-mill western story, but this graphic novel takes a slightly different turn. It’s the tale of Bat, a young boy seeking revenge for the death of his parents. With the help of his gun-toting tutor, Douglas Freshley, he rides in search of the Delancy gang to exact his own brand of justice.
There’s just one hitch: it seems Bat’s parents weren’t the only ones shot down. Doug himself was also killed. But a promise made to the boy’s father won’t let Doug stay dead. Now the two of them are searching for the murderous Delancy gang, but they’re also trying to stay one step ahead of a mysterious cowboy hot on their trail.
Who is this cowboy, you ask? Why, none other than Death himself. It seems he’s none too pleased with Doug’s recent revival, and he’s eager to send him on his way back to the grave. Will he catch up to Doug and Bat? Will Doug return to the grave at last? Will Bat have his revenge?
I’m not one for spoilers, so you’ll just have to read it and find out. There’s violence, certainly, but there’s also humor, mostly between Doug and his charge, Bat. It’s especially amusing when Doug, in the midst of killing some bad guys, stops Bat from using foul language.
So, sit for a spell and give this graphic novel a whirl. You’ll be glad you did.
Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess
This event will feature a fun tutorial on turning your bike into an ice cream-making machine. You will have an opportunity to learn some bike repair and safety tips while also indulging your sweet tooth.
The fun starts at 4 p.m. in the Topping Room. It’s totally free and open to the public, and we’d love to see you there!
At long last, the winners of E.P. Foster Library’s annual Haiku Poetry Contest have been announced. All of the entries this year were fantastic—including the ones that didn’t technically follow the format—and we want to thank everyone who participated for making this a fun and inspirational event! Check out the winners below, and remember that there are even more prizes to be won by joining us for Foster’s Summer Reading Program for children, teens, and adults!
Walking in the park
Is relaxing and peaceful
Good exercise and nice
Posture and balance
We(e) birds call loudly
Make our names,
Stake claims on
Such precarious perches
-P. Alan Haynes
My heart unfrozen
Springtime and I are blooming
Goodbyes and hellos
On display at the Ojai Library until June 22 is this splendid map of the Ojai Valley by Dick Dodd.
Representing 112 square miles the map took 320 hours to complete.
Come get a "bird's eye" view of the Ojai Valley.
Paws to Read is our 2014 summer reading program (not to be confused with our Paws for Reading program, which is our dog program on Saturdays).
Kids can read any library book they want, no required titles or quizzes, just keep track of the time you read. Record the time on your reading log and turn it in when you have read five hours. Reading logs can be picked up at the library or downloaded from our website. Each time you turn in a reading log, you get to pick a prize AND get a ticket for a chance to win a remote-controlled robot! The more you read, the more prizes and chances you get.
The Children’s program is for 5th grade and under. Hours are counted for being read to as well as reading, so older siblings can read to younger siblings and both can add the time to their reading logs.
The Teen program is for 6th grade and up. Teens can also volunteer during the summer and add their volunteer hours.
Not to be left out, we also have Summer Reading for Adults, starting on Sunday, June 15. It will last for six weeks and include six weekly drawings and a final, grand prize drawing. The grand prize will be an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (weekly prizes are still TBD).
Patrons can enter once per week online at tiny.cc/fostersrp (the form is not currently active, but will be later!). Entering is simple: patrons tell us the name of a book they’ve read and give us their contact info. To be eligible, entrants must be 18 years of age or older with a valid library card.
Check our website for the Kick-off Show’s dates and times, presented by the Reptile Family. Please be sure to check our website for E.P. Foster’s weekly programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library. All programs are free!
Ventura County Library: The Place to Go When You Want to Know!
Holley Gene Leffler is the author of the newly-released book Re-creating Biblical Clothing. The book is for the re-enactor of Biblical characters, for the costumer aspiring to provide authentic clothing, and for anyone interested in bringing the Bible to life.
The event begins at 4 p.m. in the Topping Room and is free and open to the public. Call or visit the library for more information. We hope to see you there!
In between travels to other parts of California, your Resident Photographer will, occasionally, take photographs of small things, like insects, flowers, lichens, or leaves. It tends to be a meditative process because you have to be aware of your surroundings and be still in your mind. Exhale, take the picture, and then, just as quietly, pause before you move on. You can’t get decent photographs of butterflies and insects unless you can learn to be still. While you don’t have to worry too much when taking macro images of flowers, you do have to remain still when you take your photograph, otherwise the result will be less than satisfactory. You can use a tripod, but you may lose opportunities while getting it set up.
One of my “Backyard Series” photographs won an award in 2008 and was published in Capture Ventura County. When I took the photograph, I had no intention of entering it in any contest. I was just enjoying the moment.
Foster Library has some excellent books on taking your time. One of my favorites is The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr. Photography as a means of personal expression does not always mean panoramic or iconic views. Sometimes, you just have to look at the world a little differently.
So the next time you are feeling a bit jaded with your photography, try sitting in your backyard for a while. You never know what inspiration you may find!
Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez
This coming Sunday, June 15, marks the beginning of the Summer Reading for Adults contest at E.P. Foster Library! Let us know what you’re reading this summer and you’ll be entered to win one of our exciting prizes.
All adults with a valid Ventura County Library card can enter once per week starting on June 15 by filling out our online entry form. The contest runs for six weeks, and at the end will be a grand prize drawing for all entrants. The big winner will receive an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite!
Call or visit the library for more information. Remember, summer reading isn’t just for kids; plan your own private getaway with a good book!
With the live-action/3D Maleficent a success at the box-office (at least this week), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the origin of the title character.
Most people probably know that the arch-villainess first appeared in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The 1959 film was in production for most of the decade and ended up costing six million dollars, making it the most expensive animated feature up to that time.
|Original 1959 Whitman "Story Hour" Sleeping Beauty|
Disney had wanted this film to be his masterpiece, and to a certain degree, mostly visually, it is. In keeping with the epic trends of the ‘50s (Ben-Hur, et al.), Sleeping Beauty was shot in Technirama, one of the largest widescreen processes of the era, and with multi-track stereophonic sound.
Another innovation was having one artist oversee the entire look of the film. Eyvind Earle, an artist noted for his stylized renderings of California landscapes, was given free rein to style the film’s total look. But while the film looks fabulous, Disney was also involved with the development and opening of Disneyland (in 1955) and so had less time to contribute his usually-astute editing skills to the film’s story and characters.
However, one aspect of the film that was a unique success is the character of Maleficent, the wicked fairy whose curse motivates the entire story. Her character was visualized as a statuesque, even glamorous, blue-complected creation with a throaty voice and a rather sophisticated sense of irony. Her subtle evil is enhanced by a flowing black robe with touches of purple topped off with a formidable headdress of two prominent black horns (the latter a kind of premonition of her awesome transformation into a dragon at the film’s spectacular climax).
And as if more was needed, viewers of the period really knew they were getting a new kind of Disney villain when, during the dragon scene, she declaims “Now shall you deal with me, oh prince, and all the powers of HELL!”
However, some of the 1959 film’s character motivations remained a bit vague, so if you’re still wondering why, aside from being snubbed at the christening, such a dominating sorceress was ticked off enough to put a death curse on a newborn princess, I hear you can find out in detail in the new Maleficent (2014).
In the Ventura County Library collection the original animated Sleeping Beauty is available in a two-disc Platinum DVD set with lots of extra features. Eyvind Earle’s autobiography, Horizon Bound on a Bicycle (1990) is also available. Several editions of Christopher Finch’s The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdom (Abrams, 1973) provide a comprehensive overview of the Disney oeuvre. The well-known author/illustrator Bill Peet also worked on Sleeping Beauty’s story adaptation.
|Daisy Duck as Maleficent, Main Street, Disneyland|