Books & Media

Rod McKuen (1933 - 2015)

For a certain, very narrow slice of the population (of which I count myself a part)--namely "serious" poets--the name Rod McKuen is the punch line of any number of jokes. These jokes are invariably told with a knowing sneer and a big dollop of condescension. You see, Rod McKuen, for a considerable stretch of the 1960s and 70s, was something most younger Americans cannot imagine: a well-known and well-paid poet. He managed to become rich and famous by writing very accessible poems--lots and lots of them. How accessible, you ask?

Book Hunters in Brief #59: African American History Month

This week, Book Hunters encourage you to read about some lesser known African Americans who have nonetheless spurred big changes in the world.

Animated Films at the Oscars

snow white academy awardHistorically, animated feature films never quite received the recognition they deserved at the Academy Awards. Occasionally, animated films that broke technological barriers, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 1930s, and Toy Story in the 1990s, were given special awards in recognition of their achievements. But it wasn’t until Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1992, that an animated feature film was nominated for best picture.  Since then, only two other animated feature films, Up and Toy Story 3, have been nominated for best picture, both after the category was expanded to a possible ten nominees. It seemed that, no matter how beloved the movie and how outstanding the reviews, animated films simply did not receive the same level of critical acclaim during awards season as live-action films.

In 2001, however, all of that changed. Aided, in part, by the increasingly diverse selection of animated films released in theaters each year and the overwhelming popularity of some of these films, the Academy added the Best Animated Feature category. The very first Oscar in this category was awarded to the DreamWorks Pictures film Shrek in 2002 at the 64th Academy Awards. Since then, a diverse group of animated films have been recognized for their contribution to film.

Most of the current Oscar nominees in this category are not yet available on DVD, but I have included all of the previous winners at the end of this post. Remember: you’re never too old to love an animated film!

Tame the Tech

It seems as if kids are born knowing how to tame technology. Many kids can navigate their way around a tablet even if they've never used one. You, meanwhile, would be happy just to get the goofy screen to stop rotating. Don't you wish there was a manual for this stuff? Well, there is.

Resolution Check: Poetry Writing Guides

Photo of QuillChances are if you are a reader of poetry, you are a writer of poetry. If you’re like me and the whole writing thing has gone on a bit of a hiatus for AHEM almostthreeyears or so, your hypothetical list of goals for the New Year may have included flexing your writerly muscles more often. And if your January has gone like mine, it is possible you haven’t actually worked on those New Year’s goals at all. Thankfully, HCPL has an assortment of books to encourage and stir the muse within, whether you’re a certifiable bard or just a beginner looking for a place to start.