I came of age surrounded by the subtle beauty of the Flint Hills, understanding that the endless sky is as much a landscape as all the rest. Growing up as I did, relocating throughout eastern Kansas, from her tip to her toes, I was intimately connected to this land and her inhabitants. I came into consciousness with a heart beating deep for hawks crisscrossing the horizon, we children catching grasshoppers at dusk, frog calls setting the scene. Read More..
In the Spotlight
LPL has teamed up with nerd nite Lawrence to give you a list of books, movies, and websites that our nerd nite speakers highly recommend to dig even deeper into their talks.
What is nerd nite you ask?
We all know that learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Thus, Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in more than 50 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines – while the audience drinks along. And there are often bands, acrobats, trivia, and other shenanigans as well. Imagine learning about everything from math feuds or the science of the Simpsons, to the genealogy of Godzilla or debunking beer myths. Fun, right? As nerds and non-nerds like to say, Nerd Nite Is Like the Discovery Channel™…with Beer! (from http://nerdnite.com/)
Check out our local nerd nite page here http://lawrence.nerdnite.com
Here’s the recommended reads/watches of our Nerd Nite 17 presenters:
“To Air Is Human is the riotous tale of one man’s journey through a world of wheelchair-bound Christian air rockers, spandex-jumpsuit fittings, Finnish stunt wolves, catatonic ’80s guitar heroes, air groupies, Aireoke, Air Supply, dry-ice injuries, and ultimately, good vs. evil (in the form of Björn’s rival pretender to the air guitar throne). But it is also a sincere and penetrating account of the pursuit of an elusive, intangible, and perhaps nonexistent goal: to achieve ‘airness’–that is, when air guitar transcends the ‘real’ art that it imitates and becomes an art form in and of itself’
If punk helped democratize music by prizing energy over virtuosity–then air guitar takes it even further, removing musicianship and playing altogether. The world championships began in 1996, and the contest has been a part of the Oulu Music Video Festival in Oulu, Finland since. The U.S. Air Guitar Championship began in 2003, with two regional competitions, in New York and Los Angeles, with the finals in LA. The film follows the fierce competition between David “C-Diddy” Jung, (who rocks a Hello Kitty breastplate) and Dan “Björn Türoque” Crane, eternal challenger and perennial runner-up. After the US championship, they move on to Finland, where they are the first Americans ever to compete. The Europeans have several years head start, take air guitar very seriously, and really know how to thrash. Air guitar is performance art for those who never lost touch with their inner child. This documentary is a lovingly hilarious portrait of a bizarre pastime, bearing the message that people are people no matter where you find them.
A raucous account of the author’s prime years as a member of Monty Python describes the group’s international travels, battles over censorship, and collaborations on celebrated films, in an intimate record that is complemented by descriptions of Palin’s present experiences as a family man.
Youtube footage of Palin & Cleese vs. Muggeridge & Stockwood
Iconography: The Art of Judging a Book By Its Cover
Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.
Celebrates the talents of DC Comics artist Alex Ross in a collection of his drawings, sketches, limited edition prints, and other artwork, all reproduced in full color, accompanied by a study of his creative process.
*We can score it through interlibrary loan.
** Unfortunately this title is only for sale through a third party on amazon.com.
One of the intriguing things about dystopian novels is finding the parallels between the disturbing fictive world of the story and our somewhat less disturbing reality. At its most chilling, the genre reads more as premonition than cautionary tale – as if we’re already on the wrong path and there is little chance we’re going to remedy the situation. In this way, a compelling premise can feel more important to a dystopian novel than the plot or the storytelling. That is, until you go to read the book. Read More..
Before I ever became a parent, I often wondered at the way parents I knew complained about their own kids, and their lives as parents. I usually took these comments at face value, and frankly, they were pretty good birth control. I also remember pledging not to complain if I ever had children myself. However, now that I have kids, I complain about it all the time. In fact, I might have broken my pledge just a few minutes after my first was born. And I can guarantee this: All my complaints are true, and there’s a lot more where those came from. Read More..
My best friend runs marathons. For fun. On the weekends. This requires lots of training, registration fees, and travel. I’ve always been kind of baffled by this choice of pastime. When I asked her why she decided to adopt this hobby, she explained that the endurance required to reach the finish line made her feel proud of her achievement. She ran just to prove to herself she could do it.
I still didn’t quite understand how she could get such joy from such an endeavor until I decided to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Weighing in at 3.2 pounds and 1079 pages, it’s the reader’s equivalent of running a marathon. After successfully completing the novel and actually enjoying it, I thought I’d share some tips for reading this intimidating yet rewarding book.
Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought it would be appropriate to try my hand at a book of poems. I took one poetry class in college and never felt like I quite “got it”, so I thought maybe I should try giving it another chance. I picked up a book from the New Non-fiction section and started glancing through the pages. One of the first things I read from Leigh Stein’s Dispatch From The Future was “Warning: there are better ways to break a heart than Facebook, such as abandoning your pregnant girlfriend at Walmart like that guy did to Natalie Portman. If you read this book sequentially, bad things may happen to you, but only as bad as the things that would have happened to you anyway”. I was definitely intrigued. Read More..
Attention pulp fans. Do you like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, John D. MacDonald? Perhaps Ross Macdonald? Maybe Jim Thompson and John Fante? Even dug up Charles Willeford and David Goodis? (If you haven’t read all of these guys, go on ahead and do it.) If you’re like me, maybe you’ve struggled to find your next favorite purveyor of pulp. Let me throw one you might not know into the mix: Fredric Brown. Read More..
That’s what it felt like to me, at least, when I tried listening to a free downloadable audiobook version of A Tale of Two Cities obtained from LibriVox, a crowdsourcing website recently recommended to me by a friend. For those who are not already familiar with it, LibriVox strives to make all books in the public domain available, free of charge, in audiobook format—a sort of read-aloud analog to Project Gutenberg. To accomplish this, thousands of volunteers around the globe record themselves reading and upload their work onto the site for anyone to use. A truly amazing resource. Read More..
This month’s classic falls at a perfect time…election time! Not that my reading of Animal Farm in any way made me feel as if Lawrence is being controlled by tyrants or anything. But election time does always make me focus a bit on the electoral/political process. Election Day makes me thankful for the freedom we have as Americans and the rights we have, electing our leaders among those rights. Yet, even while reminding us how good we have it, a reading of Animal Farm can certainly serve as a cautionary tale of how bad it could be to live under a truly tyrannical regime. The story is an obvious satire of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath…Marx, Stalin, Trotsky, all of that. George Orwell did not even attempt to veil his critique of Stalinism, having virtually one-to-one correlations between his characters and their respective historical counterparts. Read More..
In typical Nicholas Sparks’s fashion, Best of Me is a love story, but so much more. This is a story within a story with a twist. At times it was difficult to follow, but just as with so many other novels, it ties all together in the end.
This is the story of Dawson, a boy from the other side of the tracks who was in love with a girl when he was younger but they had parted ways years ago. This is the story of Amanda, the girl who was in love with Dawson years ago but was forced to end the relationship when her mother and father got involved and thought she could do better. Several years later Dawson and Amanda reconnect when they come back to their hometown to deal with the death of a close personal friend, Tuck. Little did they know that Tuck had a plan all along to attempt to bring them back together if at all possible.
The problem is Dawson has feelings for Amanda that he has carried with him since the day they ended their relationship. Amanda has feelings for Dawson too, but there is another problem…Amanda is married with kids.
Do Dawson and Amanda find a way to be together? Are they able to forget the past and look to the future? Or do things end tragically for one or both of them? Is there anything good that can come from lost love and heartbreak?