David Cherry's blog

Adrienne Rich (1929 - 2012)

Cover Art: Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne RichOnce Adrienne Rich got the pretty (though pointed) rhyming verse out of her system (and she did that early--her first book was published when she was still at Radcliffe) Adrienne Rich constructed a voice for herself that was equal parts lyric brilliance, surgically precise language, and undiluted rage. To call her a feminist poet, while probably accurate, diminishes her project. Yes, the overarching issue of her writing, perhaps its sole impetus, was the struggle to carve out a place for women in society and as such she can be seen as a political/activist poet, few if any of her poems can be read as merely political statements.

Something about Nothing: Harvey Pekar and Slice of Life

Cover Art: The Quitter by Harvey Pekar, Art by Dean HaspielGone are the days when people with both a weakness for comic books and aspirations of becoming “serious” writers had to slink across town and hope no one they knew drove past as they walked out of the shop with the latest issue of Zap! or Weirdo wrapped in plain brown paper (to give it that little extra patina of shame).

I miss those days.

Join a Book Club at HCPL

Photo Credit: Book Club by Robert Michalove via Flickr Creative Commons
For many people, one of the only things better than reading a good book is talking about a good book, which explains the continuing popularity of book clubs and discussion groups across the country. Yet, book clubs are much more than a place to gab about a ripping good yarn. They’re a chance to meet new people, explore new areas of interest, and get good tips on what to read next, and sometimes, book clubs are a good way to get yourself featured on Voice of America. This is exactly what happened recently to one of Harris County Public Library's many book groups. VOA featured our Tomball College & Community Library’s Paranormal Book Club in a story about the growing popularity among older readers of supernatural romances aimed at young adults (See video below).

Jacinto City Branch Library Reopening Ceremony: March 21, 2012

Jacinto City Branch Library exteriorIn truth, the library is already open for business, but we want everyone to come see our new look, so Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman and Harris County Public Library invite you to celebrate the official reopening of Jacinto City Branch Library on March 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM.

The library, which is a cooperative undertaking of Harris County and the Jacinto City municipal government, has undergone extensive remodeling including new carpeting, paint and furnishings, as well as the addition of a new much-needed public meeting room. The renovations and expansion, funded with a federal grant, are the first since the library moved to the building in 1992.

HCPL and Houston Center for Literacy

ESL Class at Maud Marks Branch LibraryHow many words have you read today? Just think of them all: the emails, street signs, restaurant menus, websites, product labels, grocery lists, text messages, billboards, fortune cookies, instruction manuals, advertising circulars, and bills, to say nothing of the chapter of the latest Stephen King or the handful of Shakespeare’s sonnets you will read before turning out the light tonight. Chances are, if you thought about it, you would consider each and every one of those words vital to the way you want to live your life. Your ability to read not only allows you to move safely and efficiently through the world, it also enriches your inner life immeasurably.

Nothing’s Certain, but…April 17 is Coming: AARP Tax Aide @ HCPL

Photo Credit: TAX DAY by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr Creative CommonsWhen it comes to doing our taxes, most of us manage to put up a brave front, but the fact is that when we find ourselves staring at a blank tax form and a fast-approaching deadline is staring back at us, even the most unflappable among us tends to get...well... flapped.

Harris County Public Library and AARP can’t do anything about your tendency to procrastinate, but we can help.

eBook Education Week at HCPL: March 4 - 10

Photo Credit: Reading My Kindle in the Hammock by The Creative PennHere at Harris County Public Library, we love books whether they come bound between covers, recorded on CDs or downloaded onto Kindles or iPods, and we believe that this is a great time to be a reader. There are not only more books to choose from than ever before, but thanks to new technology, there are more ways to get one’s hands on them as well.

We know that many people have already embraced eBooks. HCPL has seen circulation of eBooks nearly triple over the last two years. We also know that a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, are less eager to try them out. We understand their reluctance. The sheer variety of devices and formats on the market can be daunting even for the tech-savvy reader. HCPL can help.

A Library Without Walls: HCPL's eBranch Brings the Library to You

Teenager on Laptop by Ingo Barnhardt Spree2010 via Flickr Creative CommonsA lot of people when they think of libraries think of ivy-covered buildings and grandmotherly staff wearing their reading glasses like necklaces. Fewer people perhaps think of fiber optic cables and cyber-librarians. Harris County Public Library combines both ideas in its eBranch. Customers get the personalized service of the traditional library model with online convenience.

As the name suggests eBranch can be thought of as a typical branch library, but one that can’t be found on any map. Instead it is as close as the nearest laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Wislawa Szymborska (1923 – 2012)

Cover Art: View with a Grain of Sand by Wislawa SzymborskaIt’s like this: for a very long time, we are not here; then we are here but not for very long; then we are not here for the longest time. Some people know the general whereabouts of “not here.” Myself…I haven’t the foggiest.

What I do know is that the poet, Wislawa Szymborska, is not here anymore.

People who really knew her—the people who liked or didn’t like her cooking, who worried that she smoked too much, who had to sit and listen to her talk through the years of not writing after she won the Nobel Prize—will be allowed to cry and howl and shuffle around their flats in bedraggled flannel robes as long they need to. That is their right because they knew and loved her.

2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards Nominations

National Book Critics Circle Logo fromThe flood of awards--literary and cinematic--that come churning out of your preferred news delivery device this time of year is almost as overwhelming and/or annoying as all those "Best of" lists that precede it. Because there are just so many awards with maddeningly similar names--Quick! what's the difference between an Obie and a Tony?--it’s hard to choose which (if any) to pay attention to. Facing another round of glitzy award spectacles, many of us ask ourselves a very good question: “Why should I care what these people say I should read or watch or listen to?”

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