David Cherry's blog

Fire and Ice (But Mostly Ice): The Poetry of Robert Frost

Cover Art: The Early Poems / Robert Frost“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken” still hover near the top of any list of America’s best-loved poems. Frost’s hard-eyed New England practicality, craggy jaw, snow white hair, and the singularly apt surname to go with them represent in many people’s minds everything an American poet should be—none of those twee, beret-wearing types for us!--It doesn’t hurt his continuing popularity that he worked in forms as solid and stolid as New Hampshire granite.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 7

Amazing Read Challenge LogoA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library: I've always found it fascinating that so many of our funniest artists lead such unhappy private lives: think comedians like Buster Keaton, W. C. Fields, and Lenny Bruce, or writers like John Kennedy Toole, and Dorothy Parker. So for last week's challenge to read about someone who intrigues us, I read the recently published biography of one of my all-time favorite seriously funny writers, Kurt Vonnegut.

But with this week's challenge, we want to lighten things up a bit. We challenge you to read something that makes you laugh, and HCPL has plenty of books that fit that bill. We've got nonfiction that will make you titter, snicker, giggle, chuckle, chortle, snort and guffaw, like Tina Fey's Bossypants, and David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 5

I loved lastAmazing Read Logo week’s challenge and hope you did too. Not all of us have the money, time or inclination to travel to distant lands. I know it’s trite, but books really do allow us to visit those places from the comfort of our easy chairs without the hassles of security screenings, chatty cabbies who insist on taking the scenic route and that whole foreign language thing. I read Watermark by the Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky, a dark, intensely lyrical meditation on the city of Venice.

Now, on to this week’s challenge! We limbered up a bit with all that globe-trotting last week, so we should be in shape for something that’s active in a different way. This week we challenge you to read about a competition. There are lots of directions you can go with this one. You could (re)read the Hunger Games Trilogy, or one of the many great baseball novels like The Natural by Bernard Malamud or Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 3

Amazing Read LogoI hope you liked last week's challenge to revisit a childhood favorite as much as I did. I dug out some of my old Classics Illustrated and gorged my way down memory lane: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (yeah, I was kind of a creepy kid).

This week, let's saddle up and read a book about Texas, by a Texas author or set in Texas. I encourage you to learn a bit more about the Lone Star State's singular history; enjoy one of our great tale-spinners like Larry McMurtry, Mary Willis Walker or Cormac McCarthy; swoon over a rugged Texas hero; or--in the spirit of all great Texans--strike out on your own and find something that fits you like a good pair a boots. Whatever you choose, let us know about it!

50 Books Your Child Should Read Before Kindergarten

Reading on a Dodo at Evelyn Meador Branch LibraryWe know, parents, we know. It seems like every time you turn around there's another talking head telling you that your child needs to do this and do that, or else...well...the talking head shudders to think of the dire consequences for your kid's future. Of course, this all plays on your natural fears, and of course, you would do anything to help little Joe or Jolene grow up to be a happy, successful adult, so you play Mozart around the clock even though both you and your child would rather listen to something just a little more funky, you flash flashcards at the breakfast table, you tilt the foot of the bed up 3 degrees so that the blood circulating through that precious little body bathes the pituitary gland. The end result? You're exhausted, your kid is bewildered, and a new talking head is lurking inside the TV waiting to pounce the next time you turn it on.

Natasha Trethewey Named U. S. Poet Laureate

US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, courtesy of Wikipedia CommonsPulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th U. S. Poet Laureate. She succeeds Philip Levine as the country's guardian of, and cheerleader-in-chief for the genre.

Trethewey is the author of four books of poetry and a collection of creative nonfiction. In addition to the Pulitzer, her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches literature and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

New Downloadable Audiobooks! HCPL adds thousands of eAudiobooks to its collection

Young woman in parkFor a lot of area residents, audiobooks have made their daily commutes, time on the treadmill, weekend yard work, or just lazing by the pool a lot more entertaining, and Smartphones, tablets and mp3 players have made listening to a bestseller or an old favorite unbelievably convenient. So it is no surprise that the popularity of audiobooks has soared in recent years.

Harris County Public Library has always done its best to keep ahead of demand and soon HCPL customers will have an even wider selection of downloadable audiobooks to choose from, including some of today’s hottest titles by authors like Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith and Anne Tyler.

Carlos Fuentes 1928 - 2012

Cover Art: The Buried Mirror by Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes who passed away last week at the age of 83 left behind a multifaceted legacy that most writers can only dream of. Up until the very day he died, he was an active, larger-than-life presence in the literary, political, social and intellectual life of his native México, and one imagines his influence will still be felt long after the memory of him as a flesh and blood human being is gone.

He was lionized in his own country, but his influence on the literary environment in this one should not be underestimated. It was Fuentes, along with Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortázar, who, sometime around 1975, shouldered their way up to that big table in the back of Elaine’s and demanded to be seated.

Vote for Evelyn Meador in the In Your Space / Designer Pages Project Challenge!

Interior with Circulation Desk / Evelyn Meador Branch LibraryEvelyn Meador Branch Library has been chosen to compete in the Mohawk Group's In Your Space / Designer Pages Project Installation Challenge. The contest is intended to celebrate "spaces that feature carpeting by the Mohawk Group."

Think of it as a beauty contest for buildings and you can help choose the winner!

As most of you know, the original branch was severely damaged by Hurricane Ike. The new Evelyn Meador Branch Library, designed by English + Associates Architects, opened in June 2011, and Harris County Public Liibrary and the people of Seabrook are justifiably proud of its innovative and elegant design.

Cast your vote(s) for Evelyn Meador Branch Library, now! at http://inyourspace.designerpages.com

For those very enthusiastic souls, there is no rule against voting more than once, so click as many times as your mouse-clicking finger can stand.

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