Friday, August 28, 2009

Evening Book Group Recap

I believe this was one of our best meetings! If you missed it, we talked about nonfiction on the Great Depression in American history. Here is the list!

The Growing Seasons: An American Boyhood Before the War by Samuel HynesThis honest, scrupulously organized study of Hynes's Depression-era boyhood has the simple effectiveness of a family photograph.

Dillinger's Wild Ride: The Year That Made America's Public Enemy Number One by Elliott GornGorn (Mother Jones) presents a solid, unromanticized account of the last year in the short life of famed bank robber John Dillinger.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura HillenbrandGifted sportswriter Hillenbrand unearths the rarefied world of thoroughbred horse racing in this captivating account of one of the sport's legends.

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?: The Great Depression 1929-1933 by Milton MeltzerMeltzer focuses on the human reactions to the events of the Great Depression, and as such, draws heavily on first-hand accounts of those who experienced it.

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits On an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong KalishKalish's memoir of her Iowa childhood, set against the backdrop of the Depression, captures a vanished way of traditional living and a specific moment in American history in a story both illuminating and memorable.

Music of the Great Depression by William and Nancy YoungAn insightful study of the works, artists, and circumstances that contributed to making and performing the music that helped America through one of its most difficult times.

Children of the Great Depression by Russell FreedmanThis stirring photo-essay combines such unforgettable personal details with a clear historical overview of the period and black-and-white photos by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and many others.

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs TerkelThe book is a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were most destitute: politicians like James Farley and Raymond Moley; businessmen like Bill Benton and Clement Stone; a six-day bicycle racer; artists and writers; racketeers; speakeasy operators, strikers, and impoverished farmers; people who were just kids; and those who remember losing a fortune.

America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA: The Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define Real American Food by Pat WillardThe original America Eats! was written for the WPA by out-of-work writers during the Depression of the 1930s as an account of group eating as an important American social institution, the development of local, traditional cookery by churches and communities, fairs, festivals, rodeos, fund-raisers, rent parties and the like. It was never completed or published, but when food writer Willard (Secrets of Saffron) found the manuscript in the Library of Congress, she decided to follow the footsteps of the original writers to find what remained of these feasts, or a modern equivalent. (Related titles discussed were Mark Kurlansky's Food of a Younger Land and Gayden Metcalfe's Being Dead Is No Excuse)

The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Phillip Steele with Marie Barrow ScomaOutlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were Depression-era pop cultural icons whose careers Scoma, Clyde's sister, and writer Steele recount.

As you can see, each person in the Genre Reading Group reads a different title in a particular topic then we discuss the books and the topic itself and anything else upon which our thoughts come to rest. If this sounds like just what you were looking for in a bookgroup, then I hope you'll join us for the September 29th discussion of Young Adult fiction! As always, call or email me if you have any questions!

Happy reading!



Monday, August 24, 2009

Evening Bookgroup meets tomorrow!

What: Genre Reading Group - The Great Depression
When: Tuesday August 25, 2009
Where: Conference Room, Emmet O'Neal Library

Make plans to join the most fun book group in town, where you pick what you read! Bring your favorite nonfiction book about the Great Depression and tell us about it plus get great suggestions from other readers! Light refreshments served and new members are always welcome!

For more information, contact Holley at 205/445-1117 or

Monday, August 17, 2009

Road Trip!

Adventures in Americana: Fall Day Trips with the Emmet O'Neal Library

Join us for the most fun you'll have this fall! This series of tours will take us to various premiere museums, galleries and destinations celebrating our early American heritage. Tours include the Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art, the Birmingham Museum of Art to view "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Galleries", the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington in Columbiana, and Montevallo's American Village!

Our series kicks off with a day trip to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday September 15th! We will tour the Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art. The museum, nestled in a wooded knoll overlooking Lake Tuscaloosa near the picturesque North River Yacht Club, features one of the most significant assemblages of American art to be found anywhere. Among the exhibits are hundreds of paintings, sculptures, artifacts and antiques by world-renowned artists. After viewing the museum, we'll enjoy a delicious lunch at the North River Yacht Club then receive a personal tour of Jack Warner's home and gardens.

Jonathan “Jack” Westervelt Warner is one of the premiere collectors of American Art in the world today. As the third generation CEO of his family company, Gulf States Paper Corporation, Jack began the collection in the 1950’s with his first Audubon prints. Over 400 masterpieces in paintings, furniture, sculptures and decorative arts from the late 1700’s to the early 1900’s attest to his discerning eye for quality. A veteran of WWII and an expert horseman, Jack’s collection expresses his passion for life and his passion for America. (from

The all-inclusive price for this first tour of the season is $76 per person. This price includes transportation, admission to all attractions, lunch, tax, and gratuity. Call today (205/445-1121) and ask for a brochure to be mailed or drop by the library and pickup a registration form!

Happy reading!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Documentaries After Dark Tomorrow Night!

We'll be watching a film on some of the most beautiful migratory birds in the world! I hope you'll join us! The film begins promptly at 6:30pm. Light refreshments served but feel free to bring your dinner with you! For more information, contact me at 205/445-1117 or!

Happy Reading

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Make Some Bad Art Tonight!

The Adult Summer Reading Program finale has arrived! This evening we will announce the winner of the Grand Prize Treasure Chest of Super Magnificent Spectacular Gift Cards!

Paint, sculpt with pipe cleaners, make a collage! It's up to you and we'll be giving out prizes for worst effort in a variety of categories.

Emmet O'Neal Library Community Meeting Room
Tuesday August 4, 2009

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Former Book Columnist on Fox 6

Check out this video to hear former Birmingham News book columnist Susan Swagler talk about some hot fall titles! Visit her blog too!

Mark Your Calendars!

Next Tuesday August 4th the library will be hosting the Adult Summer Reading program finale, Bad Art Night! If you weren't able to attend this program last year, make a point to do it this time around because it is HiLaRiOuS! Bring your friends and make pipe cleaner sculptures, collages, or paint a truly horrific picture!

We'll be giving out awards for the worst effort in a variety of categories while enjoying wine and some yummy snacks from Mafiaoza's!

When: Tuesday August 4th at 6:30pm
Where: Emmet O'Neal Library Community Meeting Room
What: Bad Art!

For more information, call 205/445-1121!