Tuesday, August 26, 2014


All locations of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center will be closed Monday, September 1, 2014 for Labor Day. 

Customers have the option of  reserving or renewing books via the library catalog by going to www.memphislibrary.org or calling 452-2047. 

The library’s website also offers several resources customers can use anytime—24 hours a day—seven days a week.   

E-books and downloadable audio books can be checked-out for free; online databases contain searchable newspaper and magazine articles, reference books and more; and blogs and newsletters on everything from fiction bestsellers to travel can be read on the web. 

[Book Review] The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fiction/Young Adult

Andrea reviews THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking, 2014)

This is another brilliantly tragic young adult (YA) novel written by author, Laurie Halse Anderson, who won the Michael L.  Printz Honor award with her debut novel, Speak.

Told primarily from the voice of Hayley Kincain, she is being “raised” by her Iraq war veteran father, Andy.  I am using the word raised loosely because, unfortunately for Hayley and all those around her, her father suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving tours in Iraq.
Andy’s primary occupation after serving his tours of duty was semi-truck driver. Because Hayley’s mother and grandmother both had died, Andy felt he had no choice but to take her on his long hauls. Hayley claimed she never saw the need for formal education; she was learning all she needed from being on the road with her dad. All that came to a screeching halt when Andy decides to put Hayley in public school for her senior year. Andy’s PTSD demons are getting worse and he decides to self-medicate. Hayley is having a hard enough time fitting in with the “zombies” of high school without Andy’s abusing her and himself.
This is a heartbreaking young adult novel that shows readers how war is destroying many people in so many different ways.

Andrea King, Poplar-White Station

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Friday, August 15, 2014

[Bookish Images] August 15, 2014

-From Belcastro Independent Literacy Agency's Facebook page


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[Book Review] The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock n' Roll by Preston Lauterbach


Raka reviews THE CHITLIN' CIRCUIT AND THE ROAD TO ROCK N' ROLL by Preston Lauterbach (Norton, 2011)
Preston Lauterbach’s book The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll  is a meticulously researched exploration of African-American night clubs and performance halls that began to form in the South during the 1930s.  After reading this book, I had to amend my chauvinistic focus on the city of Memphis as the center of black music in the South and account for the other places, big and small, that African-American entertainers frequented in the thirties, forties and fifties.  Lauterbach’s thesis appears to be a simple one – the southern circuit of clubs and juke joints had a unique place in the creation of rock and roll.  But after reading the first chapters, one learns that this history is far from simple.  The book carefully details the changing musical tastes and development of a wide variety of performers who were creating their own revolutionary music that existed outside of mainstream American pop music.
Although the The Chitlin’ Circuit has a point to prove, this is not a dry, academic treatise of musical anthropology.  Lauterbach has not only done his homework, he is also a gifted storyteller who introduces his audience to fascinating characters throughout the book.  One of the author’s stars is enterprising black capitalist, Denver Ferguson, who used legal and not-so-legal means to build up a formidable entertainment empire and was an important part of the African-American community in Indianapolis.  

My personal favorite subject of The Chitlin’ Circuit was bandleader Walter Barnes, whose journeys through the South made for fascinating reading in the black press of the time. Sadly, Barnes’s travels ended with his untimely death in the notorious Natchez club fire, a scene which Lauterbach describes in chilling detail. Lauterbach also discusses the careers of more well-known performers, like T-Bone Walker and Little Richard, but the book places them in the context of the chitlin’ circuit, which brings new perspectives to their stories.  The Chitlin’ Circuit, then, seems to have a little bit of something for anyone interested in the history of southern music; a new perspective, detailed research, great stories, colorful characters, and an intelligent, but not dense, style.
If you find the stories in Lauterbach’s book interesting, please stop by the Memphis Room in the Benjamin Hooks Library to learn more about our resources for studying the region’s musical history. This spring we were thrilled when Preston Lauterbach visited the history department of our library to conduct research on his next project!
Raka Nandi, Central Library

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Library Events and Programs] Explore Memphis Showcase

Join us this Saturday for our Explore Memphis finale. Children and teens will showcase what they have learned this summer along with all kinds of family fun. 

 Explore Memphis Showcase
August 2, 2014
10 am - 2 pm
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library
3030 Poplar Avenue

Visit our Explore Memphis Showcase event page for more details. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

[Book Review] How Jesus Became God by Bart D. Ehrman


Phillip reviews 

As with his previous books, including Misquoting Jesus and Forged: Writing in the Name of God, Bart Ehrman offers in How Jesus Became God a book based on Biblical scholarship but very accessible to the lay reader.  Ehrman explores the questions of who Jesus himself claimed to be, of who the Apostles and Jesus’ earliest followers believed him to be, of how the belief in his Resurrection by his earliest followers changed their view of who they believed Jesus to be, of who his later, mainly Gentile followers, believed him to be, and of how Jesus, in the third century after his death, came to be seen, by becoming the second person in the Holy Trinity, as God himself.  

Ehrman was once a devout Christian but is now an unbeliever, so many Christians would undoubtedly take issue with many of Ehrman’s conclusions.  In exploring how Jesus was viewed by his followers, at different times after his death, Ehrman offers a history of Christianity and the New Testament that is fascinating and something even those who disagree with him would probably find interesting.  This is a very clearly written book and one profoundly thought-provoking, to say the least.

Phillip, Cordova Library

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Monday, July 21, 2014

[Awards] 2014 Thriller Awards

The 2014 Thriller Award winners were announced by the International Thriller Writers at Thriller Fest on July 12, 2014.  

Click to view all finalists and winners

2014 Thriller Award Winners available at the library:

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper 
*Also available as Books in a Bag kit for book clubs

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews(Scribner)

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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Friday, July 11, 2014

[News and Notes] July 11, 2014

From walterdeanmyers.net
Children's and young adult fiction writer, Walter Dean Myers, passed away July 1, 2014. He was 76 years old. He was the author of over 100 novels, many featuring "young African-Americans who battled troubles in the streets, in school and at home (NYTimes)." Some of his award-winning works include Monster, Slam!, and Bad Boy: A Memoir

Visit walterdeanmyers.net for a touching tribute.
Browse Walter Dean Myers   in the library catalog. 

Other items of interest from the web:

World Book Night U.S. is ending because of a funding shortage. This was reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The Sherlock Holmes book sculpture below, designed by Valerie Osment, is one of many book bench sculptures scattered around the city of London for a special exhibit called “Books about Town

Image from booksabouttown.org.uk

Find out what title represents your home state with The Most Famous Book Set in Each State map from Business Insider.

According to our 26th president, “A book must be interesting to the particular reader at that particular time.” Read more of Teddy Roosevelt’s 10 Rules for Reading

Ever wonder what it takes to sort and deliver library materials to different branches? Look at behind the scenes footage, filmed with a camera drone, titled “Flying Around Book Ops” from the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries.

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