Make #timetoread at Reynolds on National Readathon Day!

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Raise your hand if you can’t remember the last time you sat down and read a book for four hours straight? Don’t worry, we won’t look.

Well now is your chance to finally make #timetoread. The National Book Foundation, Goodreads, Mashable, and Penguin Random House have partnered together to create National Readathon Day.

The event takes place on Saturday, January 24th from 12-4PM and there are a couple of ways you can participate. You (and your team) can create your own fundraising page where you can raise money for the cause by pledging to read during the four-hour period. If you prefer, you can also donate to one of the many other teams already assembled. Of course, the simplest (and most fun) way to participate is by joining thousands of others from 12-4PM this Saturday in a four-hour marathon reading session!

If you need some book suggestions, simply pop by the library and ask one of the staff members or check out our popular titles collection.

Need a quiet place to read on National Readathon Day? Why don’t you drop by the Parham Road campus library this Saturday? We’ll be open during the event, from 12-4PM. Hope to see you there, book in hand!

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running…the Richmond Marathon

The Richmond Marathon is one of the top 15 marathons in the US, and was named America’s Friendliest Marathon by Runner’s World Magazine. On Saturday, November 16 almost 20,000 runners will run (and walk) on Richmond’s streets in the marathon, half marathon and 8k.

Planning on running, cheering, or staying as close to your couch as possible? Here’s some titles from Reynolds Library help you get up to speed on the sport of running.

strides running through history

Strides: Running through history with an unlikely athlete by Benjamin Cheever

Explores the role of running in human history from Pheidippides, who ran the first marathon in 490 B.C. (bringing news to Athens of the Greek victory on the plains of Marathon), to our own soldiers in Iraq today, interspersed with recollections of Cheever’s own decades-long devotion to the sport, and an exploration of the impulse to run, described by Cheever as “the desire, the need, to escape into ecstasy.”

what i talk about

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (Audiobook)

Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami’s four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Author and runner Murakami is considered to be an important figure in postmodern literature.

born to run

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

McDougall reveals the secrets of the world’s greatest distance runners–the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico–and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans. This book brought barefoot and minimal running to mainstream culture.

non runner's marathon trainer

The non-runner’s marathon trainer by David A. Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener, and Tanjala Mabon Kole

The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer is based on the highly successful marathon class offered by the University of Northern Iowa. This is marathon running for real people, people with jobs and families and obligations outside of running.

running for mortals

Running for mortals: a commonsense plan for changing your life through running by  John “the Penguin” Bingham and Jenny Hadfield

You don’t have to run fast or competitively to reap the rewards that running has to offer. What you do need is the courage to start. That is the “Penguin mantra” that has enabled John Bingham to inspire thousands of men and women to take up the sport for fitness and the sheer enjoyment that running brings them.

Details: Click on the images for more info about the book or to place a hold. All books are available for checkout with your Reynolds ID! Descriptions taken from the library’s catalog.

New: Literature Online (LION) and the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections

Image from Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections
Image from Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections

Reynolds Library, through our partnership with the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), has added two new databases for literary works and literary criticism: Literature Online (LION) and the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections.

Literature Online (LION)

LION is a fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 382 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources.

  • More than 343,000 works of English, American, African American and Canadian poetry from the eighth century to the present day
  • More than 5,000 works of English and American drama from 1280 to 1915
  • More than 2,000 works of English and American prose from 1500 to 1914
  • Full text of over 350 literature journals
  • All 38 of Shakespeare’s plays in dramatized audio recordings
  • Nearly 900 Poets on Screen filmed readings
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Twentieth-Century Drama
  • African Writers Series
  • Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Second Edition

Chadwyck-Headley Literature Collections

Chadwyck-Headley Literature Collections adds more texts, including:

  • Bibliography of American Literature
  • Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare
  • The W.B. Yeats Collection

Access

  1. Start at the library’s home page located at http://library.reynolds.edu
  2. Click on the More Databases from the Popular Databases menu on left.
  3. When the A-Z Resource List appears, click on the alphabetical tab for the database from the list at the top of the screen [L (for LION) or C (for Chadwyck-Healey)].
  4. Click in the title/link of the database (Literature Online or Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections) from the alphabetical list.
  5. Begin browsing!

Questions? Contact us at http://library.reynolds.edu.

New tool for literary analysis

Computational Knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha just announced that you can now analyze Shakespeare’s plays, as well as some other famous works of literature, including Moby Dick, Great Expectations, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

From their blog:

Entering a play into Wolfram|Alpha, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, brings up basic information, such as number of acts, scenes, and characters. It also provides more in-depth info like longest word, most frequent words, number of words and sentences, and more. It’s also easy to find more specific information about a particular act or scene with queries like “What is the longest word in King Lear?”, “What is the average sentence length of Macbeth?”, and “How many unique words are there in Twelfth Night?”.

This is pretty exciting for literature fans and those assigned English analysis papers! For more examples, see their blog at http://blog.wolframalpha.com/2012/04/10/to-compute-or-not-to-compute-wolframalpha-analyzes-shakespeares-plays/

L O S T Books

While most students, staff, and faculty are preparing and/or cramming for Finals Week here at JSRCC, there is currently an even more epic struggle unfolding on television.  The final season of LOST is playing out on millions of screens across the world and, as it does, fans in online communities theorize over the meaning of the island’s mysteries and the intertwined lives of its inhabitants.  Will the Smoke Monster succeed in his plan to escape his bonds on the Island?  Will the Losties manage to survive the showdown and ultimately realize their destiny?  Is the fate of humanity as we know it hanging in the balance?  How can I possibly concentrate on my studies when these questions are being answered at 9pm every Tuesday?

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Now I know what you’re thinking.  Is a librarian really advocating for a television show rather than fighting the good fight for books and literacy?  The answer is this: I’m doing both.  The intricate themes, in-depth character development, and complex plot construction on LOST have been praised by critics and audiences alike as some of the best writing ever seen on television.  Many fans attribute this phenomenon not only to the talents of the writers tasked with the job, but furthermore to the very literariness of the show itself.

Hardcore LOST fans have identified over ninety works of literature referenced within the show.  Some of these books can be found strategically placed in the background of a scene, others are conspicuously read by characters, and many have direct connections to the overarching themes found within the show.

Here are just a few of the titles:

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

In this Civil War-era short story, a man waits to be hanged at the titular owl creekbridge by two soldiers.  In the moments before the man’s death, time seems to distort and slow down, and he considers the possibility of escape if the rope were to snap.  The reader is drawn into the man’s past by way of a flashback that is eventually broken by the snapping rope and the man’s apparent escape.  He makes his way back to his wife and attempts to embrace her, but before he can, he is enveloped in a blinding white light.  In the end, the man is revealed dead at the end of his noose, all of the action having taken place in his mind in the mere seconds before his death.

Is everything occurring on the island simply a hallucinatory dream?  Are the Losties themselves already dead?  Theories abound folks!

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

The collection’s stories are generally in the style of O’Connor’s Southern convergeGothic, portraying grotesque characters and problematised familial relationships.  Furthermore, they function as an examination of the role of religion in the internal and interpersonal lives of her characters.  These are, of course, major tropes in the Lost series. Jacob, the seemingly omnipresent “protector” of the island is seen reading this book just as John Locke falls to his possible death from a hospital window.  The title of the story collection is taken from a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin titled the “Omega Point”: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

An allegory in the form of a novel, Lord of the Flies details the struggle of a lordgroup of schoolboys to establish a stable society after being stranded on an island.  Before long, their makeshift world self-destructs and the savage side of human nature overshadows reason, accountability and human empathy.  The central conflict in the book is the growing ideological gap between Ralph, the rational and moral leader who wants to establish order, and Jack, who demands a  hedonistic, animalistic anarchy.   The book is referenced a number of times throughout the series and shares a number of LOST themes including the ideological struggle between the Man in Black and Jacob, an unseen amorphous monster, and the premonitory power of dreams and visions.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Set during WWII, Catch 22 was written by Heller as a satirical take on both the complexity and absurdity of conflict.  A significant aspect of the novel is its catchstructure.  The plot is cyclical and non-linear in design, made up of flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks.  In fact, there is no clear distinction between what is happening in “real-time” and what has already happened in the past.  In many ways, Heller suggests that events in the present, past, and future are deeply interconnected in ways that are not often easy to see.  Catch 22 can be seen in at least two LOST episodes, but its narrative structure mirrors the show’s proclivity for flashbacks, flashforwards, and even flashsideways.  Oftentimes the audience is left to decipher what is happening to who and when.  Heller’s focus on conflict mirrors the struggles of the Losties, their collective histories, and ultimately their connected destinies.

As LOST’s Man in Black says, “They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This novella is set in California during the Depression and focuses on the micefriendship shared between two men; George, a practical yet sensitive protagonist and Lennie, a mentally disabled but physically strong companion.  The two men find themselves employed at a ranch, where they run into trouble as a result of Lennie’s slow wit, but continue to dream of a harmonious life unencumbered by the complexities of modern reality.  The work is largely critical of dreams in general, as they function only as a temporary escape from the problems of the real.  Steinbeck’s themes of fate, independence, and loneliness are on display in this work and mirror the Losties’ own evolution as characters who appear destined to reach their destination together, whether they want to or not.  Furthermore, the two seemingly co-existing realities depicted in LOST’s final season suggest that one reality is simply not real.  If you could choose to exist in reality or in a dream that wasn’t real, which would you choose?  Perhaps the Losties will face a similar decision when they confront their destiny.

As a reminder, all of the aforementioned books are available here, at your beloved JSRCC Library.  If you’re interested, look them up in our online catalog, or simply ask your nearest library associate.  And remember, there are plenty of good shows to “read” out there in televisionland, but the book is always better. Continue reading L O S T Books