Tomorrow is another day

Cover of Gone with the windOne of my favourite books has a poor reputation in some quarters. I read this book in my teens and it contains a story and a character that has stayed with me. Due to this I have decided not to reread it as an adult as I fear I would view it very differently. The book was Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Many now think of Gone with the Wind as is a romance which was reinforced by the movie that concentrated on the Rhett Butler/ Ashley Wilkes/ Scarlett O’Hara angle.

The book is actually much darker. In the book you get to access the selfish thoughts and obsessions of Scarlett’s mind. For example the Scarlett O’Hara of the novel refuses Rhett Butler access to her bedroom as she wants to maintain her 17inch waist. She largely ignores the three children she has (one to each husband which is left out of the movie) and fixates on the husband of one of her closest friends. So what is it about this book and more importantly the book’s heroine that stays with me?

When I look back as an adult I can see her as a manipulative, racist, wannabe adulteress who betrays both friends and family. Yet to my teenage self all I could see was a woman who lived through an awful reversal of fortune to become a successful business woman having refused to conform to behavioral restraints. She was a survivor in the face of every opposition. What could be more appealing to a teenage girl or to me even now?

In the end she may or may not have lost the man of her dreams but despite this she picks herself up again and fights on. People may only remember the lines of Rhett Butler at the end of the movie as “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” but I prefer to remember the book where the emphasis is on Scarlett when she stands up and declares “Tomorrow is another day”.

She remains determined despite everything she has endured. The fact she is flawed on so many levels makes her relatable and the fact she remains undefeated makes her inspirational. In all she is not a bad heroine for a teenage girl or a grown woman to have.

Hunting with our Artemis – literary resources

ArtemisArtemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt and the wilderness which makes her a fitting namesake for our latest electronic arrival: Gale Artemis: Literary Sources! Artemis lets you cross search all of Gale Cengage’s literary resources in one search. Through Artemis you can search all of these at once:

  • LitFinder: full text poems, short stories, essays, speeches, plays and novels. LitFinder offers the written works of more than 80,000 authors;
  • Literature Resource Center: full text articles, critical essays and reviews and overviews of frequently studied works;
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: access to a subset of electronic reference books that cover literature.

It is sort of like doing a  Google search on literature but you get more relevant and authoritative results all with proper punctuation. It doesn’t matter if you are searching because you have an assignment, or if you are trying to remember the rest of that poem you can only recall snatches of – there is something for everyone.

I will leave you with a beauty of a quote about literature by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald…

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

Sigh! You can access this resource from any library or from home through the Source using your library card number and password/PIN.

Punch Archive: Taking the mick for 150 years!

PunchWe are so used to taking the mickey out of those in power that it seems hard to believe that there was ever a time when we were supposed to be more reverential.  The proper grown up term for “taking the mick” is satire and the magazine that was renowned for it was Punch, a British magazine established in 1841 which had its editorial meetings at the pub!

Punch has had a huge influence on media including giving us the concept of  a “cartoon” from the Italian cartone, for a sketch on a large piece of cardboard. Punch appropriated the term to refer to its political cartoons, and the popularity of the cartoons led to the term’s widespread use. So the next time you open up The Press to the opinions page for the cartoon you can think back to Punch. Taking the mick has a long history!

You can now search the Punch Historical Archive 1841-1992 by keyword or browse issues by date to explore the social, political and  historical concerns of a time span of 150 years. It is especially relevant in exploring attitudes towards World War One in this its anniversary year with truly fascinating iconography. The cartoons of the suffragettes are also amazing – how far we have come!

You can access this resource in libraries or from home using your library card number and password/PIN. Use and enjoy!

Boys, books and black eyes!

Cover of I hate to readLittle boys are different to little girls. Nowhere was this made more obvious to me than when I visited my two and a half year old nephew Oscar, who had a shiny black eye. Apparently he threw himself off the couch before his Mum could catch him and clobbered the side of a coffee table. It didn’t seem to worry him any, but he didn’t see the stares we were getting from strangers!

Now you can put it all down to biology or social conditioning but little boys seem to have no idea that gravity does actually apply to them. They take sitting still as a sign of defeat! Now it would be wrong to generalise. I personally bit the head off my sisters Barbie and had a farm set. My parents thought I would be a vet or a serial killer. So not all girls like pink and not all boys are trouble. Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum we all want them reading. So how do we get  boys to read?  Here are a few ideas if you think reading in a more interactive way would help…..

  • TumbleBook Library: Online books that are animated, can be narrated by the author or read aloud. Aimed at the under 12 year olds.
  • TumbleBook Cloud: Online books that include graphic novels and audio books. Aimed at those between 12-17!
  • OverDrive: Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks aimed at toddlers up. From picture books to gruesome adventures all at the touch of a button.

The other lesser known joy in using these products is that they are impossible to chew and will give you no overdue fines! Have a play and see if it works!

People who need people: Explore our biographical resources

Biography Reference CenterWe like to watch other people. We like to hear about other people. There are entire industries based around writing and photographing people who we will never need to meet. It is all probably based on an evolutionary need to distinguish friend from foe but it continues to this day in our everyday habits and the media we watch.

If your needs are for research – or pure evolutionary based interest – then we have the online resources for you in the form of:

Biography Reference Center: (new) What do Angelina Jolie, Confucius, Alexander Fleming and Roger Federer all have in common? They are all here in the Biography Reference Center along with 450,000 others.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: includes the ‘great and the good’ and the ‘bad and unusual’ people who are now dead having left their mark on the British empire.

Biography in Context: information about more than one million people ranging from George Clooney to Boudicca. There are stories of courage, malice and romance! Sort of an academic Mills and Boons.

All you need to quench your curiosity about people of note  you will find in these electronic resources accessible 24/7 from home or in libraries. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN. People watch and search away…

Happy gawking.

Waxing lyrical about Poetry and Short Story Reference Center

Poetry and Short Story reference centreIf your knowledge of poetry amounts to dirty limericks written on toilet walls and you are still in recovery from the behemoth book that was The Luminaries then we have the electronic resource for you! Poetry and Short Story Reference Centre contains thousands of classic and contemporary poems, as well as short stories, biographies and authoritative essays on such topics as poetic forms, movements, and techniques.

It practically comes with a guarantee that once you start using it you will come over all wordy and enigmatic like Byron! Don’t know who Byron is? To the square for a public flogging I say.

 Poetry & Short Story Reference Centre provides:

  • Over 700,000 full-text poems, both classic, contemporary and international;
  • More than 51,000 full-text short stories;
  • Over 10,000 dramatic works;
  • More than 2,300 audio recordings of poets reading their own works and the works of other poets;
  • High-quality videos provided by the Academy of American Poets;
  • Over 450 explications of both classic and contemporary poems.

Expand your mind for pleasure or education with this resource that is available from home or in any community library. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN.

 

 

Print is dead? You wouldn’t read about it!

Literary Reference Centre PlusRegardless if it is in electronic or paper format, the written word is everything. We communicate our thoughts, feelings and discoveries by writing them down and showing them to others. The format may have changed but content is everything. If what you have written is important then it will outlive you by a millennium.

A perfect combination of thought and format are literary databases. They are electronic but their goal is to gather the written word together within a searchable container. They may be online but they exist due to our enduring fascination with the written word. Perfect examples of this would be:

  • Literary Reference Center Plus: (New) From Austen to Zola and back again. Thousands of  plot summaries and author biographies and interviews. It also includes classic and contemporary poems, short stories and classic novels.
  • LitFinder: Full text poems, short stories, essays, speeches, plays, novels and more. Look for the poem  Still I Rise by Maya Angelou if you need your spirits lifted!
  • Poetry and Short Story Reference Center: Full text poems and short stories. Includes audio readings of poems.
  • Novelist Plus: The place to go if you are hunting down ideas for books to read. Includes thematic book lists, recommended reads  and read-a-likes.

This is but a sample of our literary electronic resources in the Source. All you need to a gateway of thought and  feelings is your library card number and password/PIN.

Regressing with Freegal

The Great NZ songbookWhen life is not going well I regress into 1960s pop music. It is my happy place largely because it brings back childhood memories of my father playing his vinyl records on a record player that had its needle carefully weighed down with a five cent piece. (Yes I am old!)

No one escapes the influence of music in their lives. It can bring back happy as well as painful memories. In fact I still can’t listen to Red Hot Chilli Peppers without thinking of an old boyfriend that broke my heart – more than once! We have a wonderful electronic resource at the library that has allowed me to explore my memories through music and refresh my rather stale music collection. It is called Freegal and with it you can download a ton of memories and melodies.

Freegal includes every genre of music you can image and includes a lot of Kiwi music to enjoy as well. Unfortunately I will have to avoid the Supergroove tracks which remind me of yet another boyfriend. Maybe it is time for some music therapy?

You can download up to three songs a week or one song and one music video all for free if you are a library customer. All you need is a library card number and password/PIN  and a need for inspiration.

History never repeats … or does it? Explore our history resources

History Reference CenterPrince Charles has created a storm by being heard to draw comparisons between Putin and Hitler. Certainly Hitler started by annexing  a few territories whom Germany had historical links to, much like Putin did with Crimea. The question Prince Charles asks is will Putin stop there, because Hitler didn’t.

Tim Finn may tell himself history never repeats before he goes to sleep, but many others would disagree and say history is cyclic. If you are a bit of a history buff, then we have so many great online resources for you to help form your own opinions. Here are a few:

For even more historical resources check out the Source. All you need to a gateway of information and glorious interactivity is your library card number and password/PIN.

Everybody hurts! – Online health resources

Consumer Health CompleteOne day I was at my doctors whinging about my suffering when she looked me straight in the eye and said “No one goes through life without pain”. She was right. We are complicated biological organisms and sometimes we break!

With the advent of the internet, we tend to look here for all our health information needs when we are unwell. Look hard enough and before you know it you have the plague rather than a common cold. The library has numerous online resources to help in your health inquiries. They have been reviewed by health experts (rather than just those with basic web page construction skills). Have a look at:

  • Consumer Health Complete: (new!) This covers all areas of health and wellness from mainstream medicine to complementary, holistic and integrated medicine.
  • Health and Wellness Resource Center:  Authoritative information on health issues. Includes  professional level material.
  • Health Reference Center Academic:  Personal health information sources that offer reliable health information to researchers, students and practitioners.
  • Health Source: Access to two electronic health resources. Health Source: Consumer for general health information and Health Source: Nursing/Academic for practitioners.

Please don’t let Google diagnose your rashes, excretions and scabs for you! Let your doctor do this for you and let these online resources support you.