I must admit I already knew much of what I wanted to say before I read this book. It’s no stranger to me for I have read it twice before. Reading these books again is like visiting an old friend, but “friend” seems the wrong term to use, for there is nothing friendly in the tale it has to tell.
Maus, written by Art Spiegelman, is actually not one book, but two. It is comprised of two volumes. My Father Bleeds History tells of Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, and his life a few years before the start of World War II, from the time he met his first wife, to living in the Jewish ghettoes as the Nazis took control, to his arrival at the gates of Auschwitz. And Here My Troubles Began is the account of Vladek’s life in the concentration camps and also of Spiegelman’s own life after the successful publication of the first volume.
These books also detail the difficult relationship between the author and his father. What I like about these graphic novels is that the author, in depicting his father, does not shy away from the more unpleasant qualities of his personality. He does not set out to make his father a saint, but to portray him as honestly as possible. His father can be stingy, suspicious, and critical, but when you read his story, you see where much of those feelings come from.
This book has been both praised and criticized for how the characters are drawn (Jews are portrayed as mice, Germans are portrayed as cats), but that characterization in no way lessens the impact of the story. To see characters beaten, shot, and even hung is just as disturbing, whether they look like mice or people. This is definitely not a book for young children.
That said, I still feel this book is worth reading, and it should be read. Maus does for literature (and yes, to those snooty-nosed purists, this is literature) what Schindler’s List does for movies. Some things you just have to see and some things you just have to read. (Incidentally, a good follow-up read is MetaMaus, which is the story behind the story of Maus.) For its harsh, yet honest, portrayal of life for the Jews under Nazi rule, there has been nothing to equal Maus in graphic novels before or since.
Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess
One of the benefits of living in a California coastal city is the ability to enjoy time at the beach. Whether you want to stroll along the promenade, surf, kiteboard or just people watch, Surfers Point at Seaside Park is a great place to go. If you want to get a little further out of the city, try the Rincon, just up the coast a few miles. Surfers come from all over the world because of the great waves along our coast. If you are interested in learning to surf or just want to find out more information about the sport and its variations, Foster Library has the materials you're looking for!
Ventura County Libraries now have a new bookdrop at Kimball Park! Drop your materials off at this convenient spot right across from the aquatic center. Make sure it is a library book from the Ventura County Libraries before dropping it in the box!
“Ventura Libraries Inside Out” happening at Ventura Community Park May 4, 11am-2 pm
Community members are invited to attend the first-ever fresh-air library outdoor event – Ventura Libraries Inside Out -- Saturday, May 4, from 11 am to 2 pm, at the Ventura Community Park, 901 South Kimball Road. Ventura’s libraries and their friends go “inside out” to share all things new and exciting happening inside and outside our city’s libraries.
Enjoy live music by the Jill Martini Soiree, storytelling and face painting for kids, a food truck and used book sale, and many other fun recreational family activities at this free event.
Haiku winners have been announced!! Thank you to everyone that participated. You blew us away with your beautiful poetry.
the puddle’s surface
each raindrop falls from one sky
In the morning light
Sits a damp, lonely flower,
Thankful for the dawn.
This week at Foster!
All events are free and open to the public.
Call 648-2716 for more information.
|5/1 Raising Confident, Competent Children 6:00 – 7:30 - Raising Children for families with children birth to 12 years old. Raising a child may be the hardest job you’ll ever have. Learn some tips to make your job easier and more rewarding!|
|5/2 Straight up Mortgage Talk 6:00-6:45 - Community class covering three primary steps to prepare responsibly for sustainable home ownership. The class will be led by educator and consumer advocate Elizabeth Alvarez.|
|5/2 Open Mic Night 7:00-8:30 – Bring your best work to share with the group. All writers welcome!|
|5/4 Libraries inside out - 11:00 -2:00 - Bring the family, pack a picnic and whet your appetite for all of the new and exciting things happening in and outside of Ventura’s libraries during our first-ever library outdoor event! Come to Kimball park to take part in the jolly jump, story time and much more.|
|5/4 Book Appétit - All About Tea 5:00-6:00 - Free tea tasting and talk. Come celebrate the joys of traditional hot tea and bring your teapot to show off!|
Charles Freericks will read from his hysterical book:
My Imaginary Friend Was Too Cool To Hang Out With Me
Mr. Freericks has enjoyed a successful career in television as an executive and executive producer. As a young boy he wasn't always popular. The journey from "loserdom" to popularity takes many an amusing turn in his collection of true stories about growing up in New Jersey.
For more information call the Ojai Library, 646-1639
How to be a domestic goddess: baking and the art of comfort cooking, by Nigella Lawson, is an authentic comfort food cookbook, and what I mean by that is the recipes call for lots of butter and high calorie stuff, the “Dish” loves that. Nigella from her writing comes off as a strong and brassy women, ah the quintessential domestic goddess! With this cookbook you are in for a treat, in fact, as many treats as time permits. The book oozes with deliciousness; chocolate, butter and sugar, all the things we are to stay away from to have a long non-yummy life. The challenge with this cookbook is which taste of comfort food heaven I want to experience. Before the preparation of the recipe began, I heard someone mutter from the back part of the “Dish” residence, “no street food, just chocolate”, immediately I understood, and the recipe I prepared would be molten chocolate babycakes with vanilla ice cream, tranquility reined again in the ”Dish” residence. The recipe called for the use of six custard cups which I procured at a local thrift shop, frugality is part of the “Dish’s” DNA. At the local thrift shop I had a chance meeting with LM, she caught me looking at the gorgeous collection of teapots for sale, but alas, all of this is for later folly, back to the recipe.
The molten chocolate babycake recipe is simple, the ingredients are readily available and only basic kitchen utensils are required. One thing the “Dish” must implore you to do is buy the best chocolate possible for this recipe, you’ll thank me latter. Another small issue is putting the parchment paper in the custard cups, it’s a bit fiddly, but vital for removal of the molten chocolate babycakes from the custard cups. Prep and cook time is about 45 minutes, not much time for the best chocolate dessert I have ever created in my life. I know this sounds like boasting, but it is 100% true. For chocolate lovers and dessert lovers, this cookbook is a must!! The Goddess rocks!
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.
CLASSIC GUMSHOE DETECTIVE NOVELS continued (part 1):
L. A. CONFIDENTIAL : James Ellroy
Confidential Magazine was a 1950s rag that snooped on celebrities. It was based on the belief that there were a million stories in L.A., all of them enough to raise eyebrows and curl hair. And so this story revolves around that idea with a plot that intertwines itself around the Mob, police brutality, corruption and vigilantism, sex and drugs. Yet the narrative never veers far from its core theme of cops competing with crooks to see who can be more corrupt and violent. Ellroy weaves a labyrinthine plot, but the twists are always clear because the characters are so sharply drawn; we don't know who's guilty or innocent, but we know who should be.
A magazine called “Hush Hush” is run by a sleazy editor who pays one cop to make celebrity arrests catching them while involved in embarrassing situations. Vincennse is the cop who can be bribed. He is an advisor on the hit TV program “Badge of Honor”. His ability to move between two worlds and betray both is almost exemplary. But he winds up knowing too much about the local police corruption, accidentally, and pays for it with his life.
There’s the millionaire pornographer named Pierce Padgett who runs a high class call girl service, dressing up aspiring young actresses (even under the knife) to look like famous movie stars. One who gets tangled in this web of corruption is Lynn Bracken, cut to look like Veronica Lake. Padgett winds up dead as well as the plot thickens.
Then there is the ambitious but straight laced cop, Ed Exley, trying to run up the ladder and best his dead father’s reputation as a good cop, while another detective, Bud White, is aggressive and willing to accommodate the department’s relaxed ethics. They wind up as unlikely allies as things progress.
The plot involves a series of crimes that take place in the early days of the New Year, 1953. Associates of Mickey Cohen, the L.A. mob boss, become victims of gangland-style executions. There's a massacre at an all-night coffee shop victimizing one of Padgett’s hookers while one of the victims is a crooked cop, and three black youths are immediately collared as suspects, although there's suspicion that someone else is behind the crime.
Bud White thinks that the Veronica Lake look-alike may know something about the coffee shop massacre as clues slowly begin to make sense about these gangland murders; clues that could implicate the L.A. Police Captain and the local drug turf wars. He winds up falling for Bracken as does Exley which complicates the plot later when these two men (who have come to hate each other for other reasons as well) must unite to survive and bring justice to a corrupt vigilante style police force bent on taking over the underworld drug and porno business.
There are more twists and turns here than a contortionist with a pipe cleaner, and Ellroy knows just how far to bend his story in order to break the plot wide open. This is gumshoe entertainment at its classic best. James Chandler would be proud !
William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 which makes today his 449th birthday.
"Born six years after Queen Elizabeth I had ascended the throne, contemporary with the high period of the English Renaissance, Shakespeare had the good luck to find in the theater of London a medium just coming into its own and an audience, drawn from a wide range of social classes, eager to reward talents of the sort he possessed."¹
Hmmm, from whence might thou begin?
¹ "William Shakespeare." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography In Context. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.