Sisters in Crime - everyone loves a mystery - four authors discuss "Who dunit?"
- Dr. Joan Blacher, psychotherapist and author of the mysteries, Murder Canyon and Lethal Lake
- Sheila Lowe, forensic handwriting expert whose fictional character, Claudia Rose, testifies in cases where her handwriting analysis skills are put to the test
- Paul D. Marks, former script doctor and author of the award winning noir thriller, White Heat
- Sally Carpenter, whose book The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper was a Eureka! Award finalist for best first novel
The mystery is solved at Avenue Library, 606 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura.
Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury
451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which books burn. This is the physics of heat and entropy. And this is a tale of censorship and defiance. “The system was simple”, Bradbury begins his story. “Books were for burning along with the houses in which they were hidden”.
Burning books is the central premise upon which the story unfolds. Guy Montag is a firefighter. However, in this day and age, firefighting has taken on a whole different meaning. Guy is charged with the socio-political responsibility of burning books wherever they may be found. There are still all the lights and sirens that we associate with being a firefighter — they even have a pole to slide down on — but now, when the fire engine pulls up outside your door, it is met with trepidation not relief. Whereas water used to be the fluid of salvation, kerosene has become the liquid of suppression. Guy goes about his duties with the typical verve that a firefighter must have and he never thinks twice about lighting a match to save people from themselves. That is, until a new neighbor moves in next door to him.
“Have you ever read any of the books that you burn?” The neighbor asks him. “Of course not,” he returns. “Books are illegal”. But such begins a change in the man. One that causes him to question what he is doing. It infuriates his boss and worries his wife who persists that he watch “the people in the wall” referring to huge television screens placed into the wall. Of course, the shows on television are antiseptic and shallow. They are meant to be, because keeping the flock ignorant means that you can control their minds and behavior. It is quite Orwellian.
Media consumption is an underlying theme and it smacks of the silly mindlessness of so many TV programs today. What better way to control information than by not allowing it to disseminate freely. Instead, give the people what they want, harmless, shallow mindlessness. Part of what makes this story seem real is that Bradbury has connected his story with our current media trends.
Nothing is ever mentioned about the totalitarian government that has decreed these laws about books. It is simply “understood”. This is because Bradbury doesn’t want his characters striking back at the Regime politically. He wants them making self discovery choices that transcend the socio-political turmoil that this society reflects. Choices that cause Guy Montag to find a secret society of people who choose a book and then memorize it, taking on the name of the title as their own to preserve the book from the fiery Gates of Hell.
This is the way you fight the Unseen Monster, with defiance. The Regime IS the true “monster from the Id” in Bradbury’s book. And like the creature in Forbidden Planet, it is illusory and unnatural. It can be defeated, but not in any conventional way. Both situations in these books are confrontational. They must supply a moral paradigm. And they became that way because of the misuse of science.
Resident Philosopher - Doug Taylor
Guess the Mystery theme!!! Books displayed all share a Mystery theme. Can you guess what it is? Submit your response on the provided form found in the library. Correct submissions will be entered into a drawing to win a Mystery Prize!!!
Guess the Mystery theme!!!
Books displayed all share a Mystery theme. Can you guess what it is?
Submit your response on the provided form found in the library.
Correct submissions will be entered into a drawing to win a Mystery Prize!!!
Well, three or four weeks ago I did my annual harvest of one of my favorite plants in my garden, garlic. I know this may strike many as unusual, but it is a delightful plant to grow. I’ve been growing garlic for five years. This year was a very successful garlic growing year in the size and quantity of the garlic bulbs.
The process of growing garlic is one of patience, having the ability to suppress one’s curiosity, more patience, plus having a great sense of timing. Patience is needed at the beginning of the garlic growing process, for a month or so there will be no indication of the plant growing on the surface, once it starts, all is well. As the plant grows one will become interested in the size of the bulbs growth, but put this out of your mind, for the bulb to reach full growth it will take six to seven months, curiosity suppressed. Where more patience and timing come into play are near the end of the growing cycle, pull the garlic too early the bulbs won’t reach their full size, too late and the garlic will decay. What needs to be observed is approximately one third of the lower stems brown in color, then it is time to dig up the garlic. If you timed it right nice large bulbs will see their first light of day and the cleaning, trimming, and curing will begin. One thing I did not mention, it is best not to water a week prior to pulling the garlic, less soil will stick to the roots and bulbs. Shake off the loose dirt, trim the roots, and hang the garlic in a well ventilated dry covered area.
This year I was lucky to have the very crafty SMS braid the garlic, her sage advice and display designs are invaluable to the “Dish”. The “Dish’s Kitchen” now sings with rusticness and possesses the lovely aroma of curing garlic.
One garlic book available at E.P. Foster library that I really enjoy is The Official Garlic Lovers Handbook, by Lloyd John Harris, it is a 1980’s era book, but I love it all the same. The Official Garlic Lovers Handbook, is a gem of a book with history and recipes, including the hungrily sought after garlic ice cream recipe, poems, and a very risqué illustration on page 101. Parents and sensitive types please be well advised of this. Another book near and dear to my heart is A Garlic Testament by Stanley G. Crawford it’s the book that inspired me to grow garlic. I hope many of you read this book and come October, decide to plant some garlic.
Check out the book at Foster Library, or put a hold on it - we will send it to you!
If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking.
THE PHYSICS AND SOCIAL CONSCIENCE OF SCIENCE FICTION:
There are basically two kinds of Science Fiction themes that are preponderant within this genre. One looks at the Science that influences the stories and the other investigates the moral and social implications within a story. Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and A.J. Deutsch are among those who did the math and physics within their storylines, while H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury tended to ponder the social and moral implications of their futuristic novels.
On rare occasion, an author would combine both into a story line with great effect. One such was Forbidden Planet by W.J. Stewart. He combined elements of physics and psychology known to an advanced alien civilization (the Krell) that was experimenting with the “ID”. It subsequently created a mental monster of such magnitude that it destroyed their civilization thousands of years before the arrival of earthlings to their planet. The term “Monsters from the ID” became a household word back in the 1950s for adventurers of Sci-Fi. It was devised in the mind of the Krell and became as real and ferocious as any creature here on earth. So the story was a moral parable as well.
The two authors chosen for this expose are Deutsch and Bradbury because they represent these two themes in fascinating and compelling ways, much like Stewart did with Forbidden Planet. Deutsch looks at what can happen to a subway system from a postulate about systems connectivity in A Subway Named Moebius, while Bradbury postulates what can happen to a society when it is denied the availability of reading books in Fahrenheit 451. I will begin with Deutsch and later return to write about Bradbury’s tale of woe.
A SUBWAY NAMED MOEBIUS: A.J. Deusch 1950
The principles of connectivity state that as a system makes more connections to other parts of itself, the connectivity of that system increases in an exponential fashion to staggering levels. The subway under Boston had been growing in complexity for years. When the Transit Authority entered a new line into the system, it became so complex, that the best mathematicians could not calculate its connectivity. The topology of the system became overloaded.
Then the first train disappeared. The system was closed, so it couldn't have gone anywhere, but when all the trains were pulled, the transit Authority still couldn't find it. The searchers would see a red light, wait curiously, and hear a train passing in the distance, sometimes so close that it appeared to be just around the next bend. Where was the train? What happened to the passengers?
This is a cautionary tale of what could happen if you make your subway system too complex. And it revolves around the idea of a moebius strip; a twisted plane that goes from having two sides to just one in a closed system. Deutsch was a U.S. astronomer who understood the math of complex systems and made an example of extreme complexity to the degree that a moebius was created causing two parallel planes within a singular closed system. The mathematical connection with a moebius band is tenuous but the story is still intriguing.
The danger became real enough when two trains were found traveling within the same space but in two separate planes. At any time, the one train traveling within the other dimension created by the moebius could return to the plane and the track that the other train was traveling and cause an accident.
The whole idea is quite “Frankensteinian” . Deutsch seems to want to suggest that a Quantum Monster has been created underneath the city of Boston. These are not Monsters from the ID however, but rather monsters of Mathematical Complexity. And he is pondering the moral prerogative of examining the responsibility involved with making decisions about interacting too much with exponentially complex systems. Is he suggesting perhaps, that we “look before we take that quantum leap” accidentally into another dimension? Intriguing stuff, indeed…
--Doug Taylor, Resident Philosopher
This week's prize is $15 gift card to B. on Main. B. on Main has some of the most unique items in Ventura. Men, women and children can find something at this great local shop. So get reading, and enter online for a chance to win. Want to know more about our summer reading program at Foster? Read about it here.
Remember how much fun it was to get a prize for reading? O the joy of filling out your reading sheet, turning it in and getting something in return!!! Well, now you can experience that joy as an adult. Starting today, June 9th, adults aged 18 and above can enter our summer reading contest. All you have to do is read a great book, enter once a week, and wait for the call saying you won! We will have 6 weekly prizes ranging from chocolate donated by Trufflehounds, to gift certificates to fabulous local businesses. And seriously, all you have to do is read. The grand prize, donated by the Friends of the Library, is a Kindle. Then you can read even more!
Remember how much fun it was to get a prize for reading? O the joy of filling out your reading sheet, turning it in and getting something in return!!! Well, now you can experience that joy as an adult. Starting today, June 9th, adults aged 18 and above can enter our summer reading contest. All you have to do is read a great book, enter once a week, and wait for the call saying you won!
We will have 6 weekly prizes ranging from chocolate donated by Trufflehounds, to gift certificates to fabulous local businesses. And seriously, all you have to do is read. The grand prize, donated by the Friends of the Library, is a Kindle. Then you can read even more!
Enter online, and keep reading for next week's entry.
Must be age 18 and over
Must have a valid library card
One entry per week
Weekly entry may be submitted in the library, or online
Contest runs June9th-July20th
Watch for the addition of nearly 4.5 million new songs to our Freegal database - resulting, by early Summer 2013, in over 7 million songs!
But, that's not all - Freegal is also adding 8000 MTV type music videos - the complete music video collection of Sony music! And, they are adding 12,000 new labels!
Freegal Music congratulates the Class of 2013 and “90’s Babies” everywhere!
Freegal has thousands of popular songs for people of all ages!
YOU MIGHT BE A 90's BABY IF:
- Nintendo 64 was the best Christmas present you ever received.
- You had at least one Tamagotchi, GigaPet or Nano and brought it everywhere.
- You had the entire Pokémon character lineup memorized before you learned your own phone number.
- You grew up watching Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory & SpongeBob.
- You can sing the rap to "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" (Available in Freegal)
- You know the Macarena by heart. (Also available in Freegal)