Saturday, April 30, 2005


As a final tribute to National Poetry Month, why not try writing a poem. Although most books and websites seem to be aimed at children, adults can use the advice, too.

Poetry can be written in many different forms, usually defined by the number of lines, or the number of syllables in the lines, or the rhyme scheme (if any at all), etc. Examples can be found at Shadow Poetry. More "exotic forms can be found at Winning Writers. Some of the forms include Concrete Poetry, limericks (especially by Edward Lear, and haiku.

Some fun sites to help write your own poems include Instant Muse Poetry Generator (a random first line is generated to start you off)and Magnetic Poetry (you can sample some of their refrigerator magnet kits online). Another helpful site lists links to
online rhyming dictionaries. Practical advice can be found also at Poetry Magic, The English Room: 30 Days of Poetry, Poetry 4 Kids, and Writing Haiku. "Workshops" with poets like Karla Kuskin and Jack Prelutsky can be found on Scholatic's Writing with Writers project. Some sites with links to more poetry and poetry how-to's are The Electric Eclectic and Project 37: Poetry.

Song lyrics are often another popular form of "poetry". "Song Lyricist explains the differences. Help in writing lyrics can be found at Guitar Nine and How to Write a Song.

Some related books available at the Elk Grove Library:
Song Writing for Dummies by Jim Peterik, et al (782.4216 PET)
You Can Write Poetry by Jeff Mock (808.1 MOC)
The Modern Rhyming Dictionary: How to Write Lyrics... by Gene Lees (423.1 LEE
How to Read and Write Poems by Margaret Ryan (J 808.1 RYA
Poem Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston (J 808.1 LIV)
Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher (J 808.1 FLE)
Poetry from A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers selected by Paul B. Janeszko (J 808.1 POE)
Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets compiled by Paul B. Janeszko (811.608 SEE and J 811.608 SEE)

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Besides the traditional re-enactments of the plays and the versions set in different time periods, there are also films with contemporary stories based on the plays. Obviously, the first to come to mind is the musical,West Side Story. Based on Romeo and Juliet, it was originally a Broadway musical (1957), then it was made into a film (1961) with Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer. The Elk Grove Library has copies of the movie on both VHS and DVD under "WEST". A more recent movie (not a musical) based on Romeo and Juliet is Romeo Must Die (2000), starring Jet Li and the late Aaliyah. This film is also available in both VHS and DVD format under "ROME".

The library also has:
Forbidden Planet (VP FORB & DVD FORB) (1956) (based on The Tempest--starring Anne Francis and Leslie Neilsen)
Kiss Me Kate (VP KISS) (1953) (musical based on The Taming of the Shrew--starring Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel)
10 Things I Hate About You (DVD TENT) (1999) (based on The Taming of the Shrew-- starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger)
"O" (DVD O)(2001) (based on Othello--starring Julia Stiles, Josh Hartnett, and Mehki Phifer)
Ran (Foreign VP RAN JPN & DVD RAN JPN)(1985) (based on King Lear--directed by Akira Kurosawa)

We also have the film Shakespeare in Love (VP SHAK & DVD SHAK) (1998) (starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes).

A very different presentation of "all" of the plays can be found on The Reduced Shakespeare Company (VP 822.33 SHA) (2000) ("37 plays in two hours")

There is also a 4-episode documentary called In Search of Shakespeare (VP 822.33 INS) (2003).

Monday, April 25, 2005


Today is the 15th anniversary of the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope, a cooperative effort of NASA and the European Space Agency. Although it has had various problems over the years, the spectacular pictures sent back to earth have been worth it all. How does the telescope do it? An explanation can be found on How Stuff Works. There has been much speculation recently that the Hubble be allowed to "die"; the Save the Hubble site has information on the efforts to prevent this from happening.

The Elk Grove Library has several books on the Hubble Space Telescope in both Adult and Youth Services. Three of these are:

Gems of Hubble (520 MIT) by Jacqueline Mitton and Stephen P. Maran (1996)
Visions of Heaven: The Mysteries of the Universe Revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope (522.2919 WIL) by Tom Wilkie and Mark Rosselli (1998)
Hubble Vision: Astronomy with the Hubble Space Telescope (522.2919 PET) by Carolyn Collins Peterson and John C. Brandt (1995)

[Youth Services will be closed this week for re-carpeting--possibly through Friday.]

Saturday, April 23, 2005


William Shakespeare is believed to have been born about this time (no actual record of his birth exists) in 1564. He apparently also died on this date in 1616.

Most of us have at least read 3 or 4 of his most famous plays--usually while in high school. But, of course, they were meant to be acted and most of us have probably SEEN more of his plays, on film or in live theater productions, than we've read. Many excellent film versions have been made and many are available at the Elk Grove Village Library:

A Midsummer Night's Dream (VP MIDS) & (DVD MIDS)(1999--starring Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Rupert Everett)
The Taming of the Shrew (VP TAMI) (1967--Zefferelli's production starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor)
Richard III (VP RICH) (1995--starring Ian McKellen, set in "alternative fascist England")
Othello (VP OTHE) (1995--starring Laurence Fishburn and Kenneth Branagh)
Othello (VP OTHE) (2002--starring Eamonn Walker andKeeley Hawes, set in modern day London)
Twelfth Night (VP TWEL) (1996--starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kingsley)
Hamlet (VP HAML) (1948--starring Laurence Olivier)
Hamlet (NEW DVD HAML) (1990--starring Mel Gibson)
Hamlet (VP HAML) (1996--starring Kenneth Branagh)
Hamlet (DVD HAML) (2001--starring Ethan Hawke)
Henry V (VP HENR) (1989--starring Kenneth Branagh)
Henry V (DVD HENR) (1944--starring Laurence Olivier)
Love's Labours Lost (VP LOVE) (2000--starring Kenneth Branagh and Alicia Silverstone; musical version set in 1930's)
Much Ado About Nothing (VP MUCH) & (DVD MUCH) (1993--starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson)
Romeo + Juliet (DVD ROME) (1999--starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes)
Romeo and Juliet (DVD 792.84 ROM) (1966--ballet version starring Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev)
Romeo and Juliet (VP 792.8 ROM) (1984--ballet version starring Alessandra Ferri)
Macbeth (VP 782.1 MAC) (1972--Verdi's opera version starring Kostas Paskalis)

There is also the BBC series, The Complete Works of Shakespeare on both VHS and DVD in the 822.33 section, which include versions of the plays cited above as well as more titles: Henry VI, Parts I, II, & II; The Merchant of Venice; Cymbeline; A Comedy of Errors; A Merchant of Venice; The Winter's Tale; Richard II; As You Like It; Pericles, Prince of Tyre; The Merry Wives of Windsor; King John; Measure for Measure; The Tempest; Two Gentlemen of Verona; Henry VIII; King Lear; Coriolanus; Antony and Cleopatra; Timon of Athens; Julius Caesar; Titus Andronicus; Troilus and Cressida

Looking For Richard (VP LOOK) (1996--Al Pacino's take on Richard III with rehearsals, discussions and selected scenes)

Friday, April 22, 2005


Today is the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, a day on which we promote awareness of the fragility of our planet. Conservation of natural resources, pollution control (especially of air and water), and land-use management are some of the areas of concern. EarthDay.Gov and the EPA site have information on what the government has done so far and what individuals can do on their own. Related activities for children can also be found at The Wilderness Society: Earth Day (click on the tabs at the top of the page). Even more information is located at Envirolink and the Library of Congress American Memories site.

Local related activities are concentrating on clean-ups--on Saturday, the Illinois Prairie Path, parks and forest preserves in Chicago, and Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Barrington Hills, for example--or on informational programs--i.e., at McHenry County College on Saturday and at Fullersburg Woods in Oakbrook on Sunday. Wonder Works Museum in Oak Park also has events planned for the weekend, as does Brookfield Zoo. Recycling and Earth Day information can also be found at Earth 911.

The Elk Grove Village Library Youth Department has a book display on Earth Day.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Some more titles that seemed intriguing;

Alastair Gordon's Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Architecture (NEW 387.736 GOR)--how the modern airport has evolved from its beginnings as a muddy field to the seemingly virtual mini-cities of today. Frequent fliers must truly wonder if the architects ever actually use the airports themselves.

Steel Chair To the Head: the Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling (NEW 796.812 STE), a collection of "scholarly" essays edited by Nicholas Sammond, covering professional wrestling's impact on modern culture and perceptions of masculinity, among other topics.

Terry Iacuzzo's account of her family and their unusual abilities, Small Mediums at Large: The True Tale of a Family of Psychics (NEW 130.92 IAC)--how a modern family coped (or didn't cope)with their extraordinary talents.

Natalie Robins' Copeland's Cure: Homeopathy and the War Between Conventional and Alternative Medicine (NEW 615.532 ROB), an account of the history of homeopathy as well as a depiction of the life of New York Senator Royal Copeland and his efforts to legitimize this alternative to traditional medicine.

If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends On It (NEW 324.2736 HEW) by conservative talk-show host, Hugh Hewitt--a "primer" on running for election and how the election process works is bound to stir up controversy from both liberals and conservatives.

John Falk's Hello To All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peace (NEW 616.8527 FAL)--a memoir of a freelance war correspondent in Bosnia in the '90's who suffers from chronic depression.

The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports (NEW 796 KIL)--in which Brian Kilmeade, longtime sportscaster, records parts of past interviews with a group of famous people who feel their youthful participation in sports contributed to their successes today, including Henry Kissinger, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Danza, and Condoleezza Rice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Today the new pope was elected in Vatican city. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (he even has a Fan Club!) of Germany has chosen the name,Pope Benedict XVI. Other online biographies can be found at Ignatius Insight and The-New-Pope.Com weblog. (Then)Cardinal Ratzinger gave the Homily at the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II last week.

Monday, April 18, 2005


A lot of significant events seem to have happened on April 18 in the past. This Day in History, on the History Channel website, lists several in different categories, highlighting Paul Revere's famous ride. 440 International's Those Were The Days also highlights Paul Revere's ride (once the 18th is past, go to "archives" and click on that date on the calendar). The Library of Congress website's Today in History highlights the San Francisco Earthquake, which occurred today in 1906. More information on this event can be found on the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco website. Dan Kurzman's 2001 book, Disaster!: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906(979.461 KUR) is available at the Elk Grove Village Library; it's in Large Print as well. To many of us, though, the quintessential account of that event is the 1936 movie entitled San Francisco starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Jeanette MacDonald. The library does have a copy of this on VHS.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


April is National Poetry Month (the official site), when the reading public's awareness of poems and poets, old and new, is intensified. Infoplease has a page devoted to National Poetry Month that includes links to poets, collections, glossaries, quizes, and awards.

One of the links there is for the Poets Laureate of Great Britain and of the USA. The current US Poet Laureate is Ted Kooser from Iowa. When Billy Collins was Poet Laureate (2001), he set up the Poetry 180 program, proposing that each day in all US high schools, a poem should be read over the PA system during announcement time.

Illinois has its own Poet Laureate, Kevin Stein. There were only three previous Illinois State Laureates. My favorite of these is Carl Sandburg. Many of his poems are about the Midwest and Chicago. One of the few poems I can recite in its entirety is his Fog--of course, it's very short, but, still, very evocative.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Events for National Library Week started yesterday, April 10, with the appearance of Jonathan Eig, author of the Lou Gehrig biography, Luckiest Man. Tonight, Monday, April 11, the library is showing the movie, Shall We Dance?, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, at 7:00 p.m. in the Large Meeting Room. Saturday, April 16, Youth Services will be presenting Paddy Lynn's "Color My World", interactive storytelling, at 11 a.m. Also Saturday, April 16, at 3:00 p.m., the Chicago Bronze English Handbell Ensemble will perform in the Large Meeting Room.


Browsing the new non-fiction section again, I noticed quite a few titles of interest in several different areas:

The recently announced winner of the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography is de Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (NEW 709.24 STE). Just the cover portrait is enought to draw the reader into choosing this detailed look at the life (and loves) of this unusual artist.

Ken Wells'Travels with Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture in America (NEW 641.23 WEL) records the author's visits to various "beer joints" from Minnesota to Louisiana, down the Mississippi River, as well as some history and folklore about beer in America.

Car aficionados will drool over the pictures in these two books: Thunderbird 50 Years by Alan H. Tast (NEW 629.2222 TAS) and Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles by Christopher P. Baker (NEW 629.222 BAK).

Recipe aficionados might enjoy Susan Marks' "biography", Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food (NEW 641.5973 MAR). Recipes are included.

The Weird 100: A Collection of the Strange and the Unexplained by Stephen Spignesi (NEW 031.002 SPI) will appeal to readers who long to know more about zombies, poltergeists, crop circles , Nostradamus' predictions, and much, much more.

In my March 31st post (see below), I mentioned that the Elk Grove Library did not have any of Richard Lederer's "Anguished English" books. Now we do! The Revenge of Anguished English: More Accidental Assaults upon Our Language (NEW 420.207 LED). Readers will laugh out loud at the examples from children's homework, newspapers, translations, signs, and more.

Friday, April 08, 2005


There is a partial solar eclipse, today, in the late afternoon--but not for us; only the South and Southeast will get to see it if at all. The NASA map shows the cut off line well below our part of the state. Sky and Telescope has an article with pictures of how the eclipse will look in different countries. It is described as an "annular hybrid" type of eclipse. The different kinds of eclipses are described on Africa Eclipse's "Types of Solar Eclipses". Mr. has a good article for beginners. The University of Texas' Stardate radio program discussed the eclipse on April 7.


One of the Fiction_L contributors, K. Moen, suggested several other fiction titles that are about popes or the Vatican. The Elk Grove Library does own several of them:

    Gittelson, Celia. Saving Grace
    Martin, Malachi. Windswept House
    Robinson, Henry Morton. The Cardinal
    Sheehan, Edward R.F. Cardinal Galsworthy
    Szulc, Tad. To Kill the Pope

There is also Mario Puzo's The Family, about the Borgias.

Be aware, however, that not all of the fiction (or even non-fiction) books cited present positive views of the papacy--some are, indeed, very negative.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


There are several non-fiction books available at the Elk Grove Library on papal elections as well as histories of the popes. Some of them include:

    Allen, John L. Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election (2002)(262.135 ALL)
    Duffy, Eamon Saints and Sinners: A History of the Pope (1997)(262.1309 DUF)
    Greeley, Andrew The Making of the Popes 1978: The Politics of Intrigue in the Vatican (1979)(262.136 GRE)
    Hasler, August How the Pope Became Infallible: Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion (1981)(262.131 HAS)
    Hebblethwaite, Peter The Year of Three Popes (1978) (262.13 HEB)
    McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiff from St. Peter to John Paul II (1997) (282.0922 MCB)
    Pham, John-Peter Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession (2004) (NEW 262.13 PHA)
    Reese, Thomas J. Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996) (262.13 REE)
    Walsh, Michael J. An Illustrated History of the Popes: Saint Peter to John Paul II (1980) (262.13 WAL)
    Williams, Paul L. The Vatican Exposed: Money, Murder, and the Mafia (2003) (262.13 WIL)

There is also available a 6-cassette VHS history of the Papacy: Saints and Sinners from 1997 (262.1309 SAI).

A comprehensive article on papal succession can be found online at the site of America Magazine called Papal Transition written by the Rev. Thomas Reese who is the author of Inside the Vatican... cited above.
Other articles can be found at, Electing a Pope, and, Electing a New Pope.


Once the ceremonies and funeral are over, the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals must select a new Pope, sequestered until that decision is reached. The process has been frequently written about in fiction as well as non-fiction.

The Fiction_L Listserve group has generated a list of fiction with plots concerning papal elections and the papacy in general (compiled by Andrew Smith, Williamsburg Regional Library, Virginia). Of the 28 books and one short story listed, The Elk Grove Library has 18 and the one story:

    Brown, Dan Angels and Demons (2000)
    Burgess, Anthony Earthly Powers (1980)
    Clancy, Tom Red Rabbit (2002)
    Cross, Donna Woolfolk Pope Joan (1996)
    De Rosa Peter Pope Patrick (1997)
    Gifford. Thomas The Assassini (1990)
    Greeley, Andrew White Smoke (1997)
    Kennedy, Eugene Fixes (1989)
    Martin, Malachi Vatican (1986)
    Martin, Malachi The Final Conclave (1978)
    McInerny, Ralph The Red Hat (1998)
    Silva, Daniel The Confessor (2003)
    Silverberg, Robert "Good News from the Vatican" in Nebula Award Stories Seven
    Tobin, Greg Council (2002)
    Tobin, Greg Conclave (2001)
    West, Morris The Clowns of God (1981)
    West, Morris Eminence (1998)
    West, Morris Lazarus (1990)
    West, Morris The shoes of the Fisherman (1963)

Most of the books are in the regular adult fiction collection; Father Greeley's book is in the Mystery section; Mr. Silva's book is in paperback, large print, and audio, only. [For the complete list, look at the entry for April 4, 2005, on the Waterboro Public Library (Maine) site.]

POPE JOHN PAUL II, 1920-2005

The Elk Grove Village Library has over 15 biographies of Pope John Paul II--in the Biography section under JOH--(3 in Youth Services). However, most of them were written in the '70's and 80's. There are a few written more recently:

    John Paul II: A Pope for the People (2004)
    John Paul II: A Light for the World: Essays and Reflections on the Papacy of John Paul II (2003)
    John Paul: A Personal Portrait of the Pope and the Man (2001)
    Pope John Paul II: A Tribute[pictorial] (1999)
    Witness to Hope: the Biography of John Paul II (1999)

Some of the videos we have are recent, too:

The Life of Pope John Paul II (2005) DVD & VHS (Biography JOH)
Inside the Vatican (2002) DVD (945.634 NAT)
John Paul II: The Life of Karol Wojtyla (1998) VHS (Biography JOH)

There are more than 15 titles written BY John Paul II. Among the most recent are:

Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way (NEW 282.092 JOH)(2004)
An Invitation to Joy: Selections from the Writings and Speeches of His Holiness John Paul II (282.092 JOH) (1999)
Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination (Biography JOH) (1996)