Blogs

What do authors Mac Barnett, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Claire Messud all have in common? Any guesses?

If you guessed that they’ll all be at Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival presented by Bank of America on Saturday November 11, you were right! Prefer books by Gabrielle Bell, Jenny Han or Matthew Zapruder? You’re still in luck! The list of authors coming to Portland’s book festival is sure to provide something for everyone.

Make sure to bring the young readers and writers in your life along, because everyone under 18 gets in for free. The rest of us get in for a mere $15 ahead of time or $18 at the door. Either way admission includes a $5 voucher to use toward the purchase of a book. Not sure which book to buy with your voucher? Come chat with us at the library booth and we’ll help you sort it out.

You’ll also want to catch librarians facilitating author panels throughout the day. We’re getting pretty excited to meet our favorite authors! We’ll be using Twitter and Instagram to share our experiences at Wordstock. Follow along with #wordstalking and #PDXBookFest.

If you can’t come this year or if you want to prepare by doing some last minute reading, check out our lists of Wordstock books below.

 

Lemony Snicket, photo: Meredith Heuer

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels We Are PiratesThe Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, and Why We Broke Up, a 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for many books for children, including the thirteen-volume sequence A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-book series All the Wrong Questions. He is married to the illustrator Lisa Brown, and lives with her and their son in San Francisco. His most recent novel is All the Dirty Parts. You can catch him at Wordstock, or at the pre-festival variety show on Nov. 10th.

What books are on your nightstand? 

Our Dead World by Liliana Colanzi, translated by Jessica Sequeira,  Something Sinister by Hayan Charara,  and Theft by Finding, David Sedaris's diaries.

What authors, films, music, illustrators inspire you? 

Lately?  Novels by Junichiro Tanizaki, poems by Morgan Parker, Duke Ellington's Latin American Suite, rewatching Twin Peaks with my wife, and the odd tones of Beaks Plinth.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you do?

All of it is exciting. Right now I am on the road talking about my new books, and occasionally jotting some notes in the very beginning phases of thinking about a new novel.  I am meeting people who are saying interesting things about my work, and I am staring into space where the beginning of a story is maybe, maybe appearing.

What are you looking forward to at Wordstock 2017?

I'm hoping to catch Kaveh Akbar — his poetry is very exciting to me.  But I like the serendipity of a festival.  You wander around and before you know it you are hearing words you never thought you would encounter.

Last month the library introduced a set of updated rules for public feedback. We heard and read hundreds of your comments, questions and suggestions. This was valuable input, and we revised the library rules that take effect November 1 as a result.

While most of these rules have been in place for years, people took this chance to reflect on how they think of and use their library. Our community’s feedback centered on access: for children and families exploring a new world of reading and learning and for those with the fewest resources and the most challenging circumstances.

Based on this feedback, we removed the proposed limit on beverage sizes, changed policies around restroom use, clarified wording regarding service animals and improved language to better support the library’s commitment to inclusion.

Each day, 19 Multnomah County libraries are open to serve everyone with a focus on exceptional customer service. We work hard to create a welcoming environment. The library’s rules serve as a foundation for maintaining this environment. We will continue our work, listening and learning how we can improve library service.

On behalf of the more than 600 people who work for the library, I thank you for your engagement, for your support and for your patronage of Multnomah County Library.

Vailey
 

Liz Crain by Malte Jager

Liz Crain is the co-author of the Toro Bravo cookbook and author of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland and Grow Your Own: Understanding, Cultivating, and Enjoying Cannabis. She is a cofounder of the annual Portland Fermentation Festival. Her most recent work is Hello! My Name is Tasty.  Catch her at Wordstock at A Literary Dinner Party.

What books are on your nightstand?

Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman which will be published this fall. The book's publisher, Chelsea Green, sent me a copy and I've been really enjoying getting to know more about this rest-in-peace British food and travel writer born in 1917. Patience is known among other things for her love of foraging, her fierce independence and for living the last 30 years of her life in a remote area of southern Italy with her Belgian sculptor husband, Norman Mommans. They had no electricity, modern plumbing or even a telephone.

I'm about to start the debut novel Marlena by Julie Buntin. My friend Jess and I just started a book club of two. I've never been in a book club because I find the larger groups with several members challenging and just not for me. She and I are going to take turns choosing a book by a woman writer every month and then when we meet up to discuss the book at the end of the month we'll meet somewhere for  food and drink that the narrative somehow inspires. I also always have a bunch of cookbooks and magazines that I subscribe to around that I'm reading — Food & Wine, The Believer (it's back!), The Sun, and Koreatown: A Cookbook.

 What's the most exciting part of what you do?

 All of my writing projects are passion projects so choosing what's next is always a rush. I had three books come out over the course of three months this summer so I was pretty dang busy. Too busy to give much thought to what next. Now that those launches have all passed and those books are out in the world I'm getting energized about what next. The ideas sticking at the moment are a cookbook on pressure cooking, a hard cider book, a cookbook for Shalom Y'all and finishing (finally!) my novel.

 What are you looking forward to at Wordstock (at the Festival, pop-ups, and/or Lit Crawl events)?

I'm really looking forward to the Literary Dinner Party panel that I'm on, of course, but also to hanging out with my boss and dear friend Rhonda Hughes and talking with folks and selling books at the Hawthorne Books table. I've worked there as an editor and publicity director since 2009. I always really enjoy visiting with friends at various publishing houses that I love, particularly Sasquatch Books, Tin House and Catapult/Counterpoint/Soft Skull. Julie Buntin, the author of Marlena, is going to be at Wordstock this year. I really hope I get to attend the panel that's she's doing with my friend Rachel Khong who edited Toro Bravo and also has a debut novel out that I loved — Goodbye, Vitamin.

Will you give us some  food/restaurant recommendations in Portland?

I actually wrote about that last year for Wordstock. One spot that I love that got cut off from that list is Maurice.  Oh and I'll also add that the previous location of Pollo Bravo is now Shalom Y'all which I also highly recommend. 

In 1990, former President George H.W. Bush signed the proclamation declaring the month of November as Native American Heritage Month. The proclamation celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States of America.

Looking for somewhere to start finding information about a specific tribe? The library has book recommendations and databases that provide historical information about Native Americans including daily life (language, food, shelter, clothing, culture etc.), for readers and researchers of all ages.

Perhaps you want to search an online map with state by state information, or browse a list of tribes to learn about native languages and culture?

Interested in researching your own Native American ancestry? The American Indian Records in the National Archives provides information on how to get started with your research. We also invite you to visit your local library branch to use the genealogy database, or contact the library for individualized booklists or to make a one on one appointment with one of our friendly staff members.

The library will also be hosting programs for all ages throughout the month to celebrate the rich history of the original inhabitants and settlers of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Exploring Ancient Native American Techonology - Try out your own engineering skills while discovering technologies designed by Oregon's first engineers.
  • Native American Indian Storytelling and Drumming - Listen to traditional stories and songs of the Kalapuya people of the Willamette Valley.
  • Dream Catcher Weaving - Participate in a workshop to learn about the history and mystery behind the dreamcatcher while weaving your own.
  • Meet DASH'KA'YAH and COYOTE - Shoshone-Bannock poet and storyteller Ed Edmo will be be sharing stories of DASH'KA'YAH and COYOTE that will delight all ages.
  • Personal Totems - Listen to traditional Native American stories and poems while you create a totem pole that represents aspects of your personality.
  • Native American Jewelry Making - Use traditional items such as bone beads and leather to create one-of-a-kind jewelry.
  • Columbia River Native Basketry - Join Pat Courtney Gould as they discuss and present the timeless artform of twined baskets.
  • Stinging Nettle for Cordage - Learn about sustainable nettle harvesting methods to make cordage or yarn.
  • A Lens on Contemporary Indigenous Art & Culture - Meet contemporary Klamath Modoc artist Ka'ila Farrell-Smith as they share their art practice and philosopy. They will also give a overview of intersectional Indigenous, people of color (POC) artists and collectives.  
  • Ethnobotany of Kalapuya - Learn about the traditional plants and cultural heritage of the local Kalapuya and Chinook tribes.
  • Columbia River Native Women - Learn more about the lives of Columbia River Native Women and their roles in both traditional and modern Native American Indian society.
  • Edible Native American Food Plants - Learn about which berries are edible when you are out hiking, and how Native Americans used food plants like huckleberry, cedar, sweetgrass and other plants for basketry and medicine.

por Donna Childs

Volunteer Elizabeth Cobos

Imagínese venir a un país donde no conoce el idioma, las sensibilidades, la geografía o las costumbres, y tomar la decisión de ofrecer servicios de voluntariado en la biblioteca local. Hay que tener valor, ¿no?

Elizabeth Cobos llegó a los Estados Unidos desde Oaxaca, México, hace ocho años. Ella superó su temor a lo desconocido y fue a la Biblioteca de St. Johns con la intención de convertirse en un gran ejemplo para su hija pequeña, Allison, y por su deseo personal de aprender, de ayudar a los demás y de ser útil.

Elizabeth es una asistente de búsquedas en St. Johns, adonde se dirige semanalmente para ayudar a buscar los materiales que están reservados. Aun cuando desconozca el significado de todas las palabras en un título, ella puede encontrar en el estante el libro que corresponde a la lista, lo cual la ayuda a familiarizarse con palabras nuevas. Aunque todo le resultaba extraño al principio, su trabajo le ha gratificado y le complacen las ocasiones cuando ha podido ayudar a hispanohablantes a utilizar los recursos de la biblioteca. Según uno de los bibliotecarios, Elizabeth ha ofrecido recomendaciones útiles para mejorar los servicios y programas en español de St. Johns. Ahí valoran sus contribuciones y ella le está muy agradecida a la biblioteca por darle esta oportunidad para desempeñarse de manera profesional y poder ayudar a otros miembros de la comunidad.

Deseosa de aprender inglés y participar en la vida de su hija y de la comunidad en general, Elizabeth asistió a una clase para madres e hijos en el prekinder de su hija y a una clase de inglés como segundo idioma (ESL) en Portland Community College; ella trabajó de voluntaria como asistente de maestro en un programa de Head Start bilingüe durante dos años y piensa trabajar como voluntaria en el salón de clase de kindergarten de su hija. También espera comenzar pronto en Mount Hood Community College el programa Transitions/Transiciones, que alienta y prepara a los estudiantes a comenzar o seguir sus estudios profesionales (ella cursó tres semestres universitarios en México). El objetivo final de Elizabeth es hallar un empleo que le permita trabajar con niños o en una biblioteca. Este parece un objetivo muy apropiado, dado su enfoque en la familia y la comunidad, así como su ánimo y determinación.



Algunos datos interesantes sobre Elizabeth

Su biblioteca local: St. Johns.

Lectura actual: a Elizabeth le gusta leer libros ilustrados para niños junto con su hija porque las imágenes la ayudan a aprender inglés, mientras que ayudan a su hija a aprender a leer.

El libro más influyente: El alquimista (The Alchemist) escrito por Paulo Coelho.

Libro favorito de su niñez: el libro infantil favorito de su familia es Un beso en mi mano (The Kissing Hand).

Su sección favorita de la biblioteca: libros de no-ficción y autoayuda o autoestima como Un corazón sin fronteras (A Heart without Borders), escrito por Nick Vujicic.

¿Prefiere libros electrónicos o en papel? En papel. Además, los videos de libros como El principito (Le Petit Prince), la ayudan a aprender palabras desconocidas.

Lugar favorito dónde leer: en cama con su hija y su esposo, o sola en el sofá a la luz de una vela.

Headed to the Macular Degeneration and Vision Expo on Saturday, October 28 at the Doubletree Hotel? In between learning about new adaptive technology options, stop by the library table to check out an audiobook or large print book and learn about our free online content. If you show us your library card (or sign up for one) we’ll give you a prize!

Can’t make it to the event? Learn about the accessibility resources we have for the blind and people with low vision on our website. Check out our large print and audiobook collections. Need some reading suggestions to help you narrow down those choices? We've got you covered. Prefer to access your books online? Learn how to use the Libby App to download ebooks (it's easy to make the font bigger!) and audiobooks. Just ask if you need any help.

 

 

Elly Blue photo by Amanda Lucier

Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist. Her previous books include Everyday Bicycling, Bikenomics, Pedal Zombies, and more. She tours annually with the Dinner and Bikes program that she co-founded, and is co-producer and director of Groundswell, a series of movies about people using bicycling to make their communities better. She is co-owner and marketing director at Microcosm Publishing. Catch her pop-up talk with Cynthia Marts at Wordstock.

What books are on your nightstand?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben -- the coolest, kookiest, most wonderfully sensitive book about nature and empathy; How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh, because I often struggle with this basic life skill; my journal; oh, and Dog Boy by Eva Hornung, which I just bought from Fred Nemo at Black Hat Books. He recommended it to me on the condition that I not read the blurbs before finishing the book, and taped over them to make sure I wasn't tempted.

What authors inspire you?

Rebecca Solnit has a voice and scope that is aspirational for me as a nonfiction writer. As for fiction, the most recent novel I loved was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -- it reads like having a deep conversation with a brilliant friend about race, class, countries, and of course hair... but every time you come up for air you realize she's casually doing these incredible literary feats on every page.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you do?

In my publishing work, it's helping authors find their voices and connect with readers. As a writer and editor, producing feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies like Biketopia is especially satisfying. So much of our experience of the world is stories, whether it's the ones we're told on the news or those we tell each other on social media. Science fiction is so powerful because it lets us really push the limits of our imagination in ways that can liberate us from some of the thinking traps in everyday life. If we can imagine a world where we're more free, then it's easier to find the choices and paths that make us actually more free.

What are you looking forward to at Wordstock 2017?

I'll be spending most of my time behind the Microcosm table in the exhibit area, talking about books with people who love books, and that's one of my favorite things to do.

Any tips for biking to Wordstock and/or around Portland?

Yes! I find driving and parking downtown super stressful, but biking is relatively easy.  If you don't have a bicycle, the orange Biketown ones can get you there from anywhere central.  My main advice for biking downtown is to take the lane—that means, ride right in the middle of the rightmost lane that doesn't have train tracks in it. Since the lights are timed to encourage everyone to go about 10 miles per hour, you'll be going pretty much the same speed as car traffic and there's no reason to put yourself in the car door zone off to the right.

The Last Mrs Parrish

Card catalog drawer reading "murder"

 

Something strange in your neighborhood? Bumps in the night? No meddling kids around to help?

Who you gonna call?

We may not have proton packs, containment units or sweet jumpsuits, but your friendly library staff have a few tricks up our cardigan sleeves to assist with your ghostly inquiries.

 

 

Before breaking out your electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recorder, here are a few things to think about:

  • Sometimes you find things. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you find things you don’t want to find.

  • Research takes time. Did you know you can book an appointment with a librarian to get you started?

  • Get organized. Create a system that works for you, and be prepared to take notes.

Start with the facts:

  • Was your neighborhood considered part of the city when your house or apartment was built? Check out the City of Portland’s annexation map for more information.

  • How old is your home? Property information records can be found at the City of Portland’s Portlandmaps.com.

  • Was it built before 1933? Your address or street might have changed!

  • Who lived in your home? Our city directories and phone books can get you started. Ask us how.

Into the upside down (and other Stranger Things):

While we may not be able to confirm nor deny the existence of paranormal phenomenon in your home, library staff are here and ready to help with your ghostly research. Armed with facts and your not-so-unbelievable electromagnetic field (EMF) detector, it’s time to dig into the paranormal.

Here’s some more resources that may help. Also don’t forget to contact us with any questions you may have.

 

Boo!

 

 

 

Library Volunteer Building a New Community
Volunteer Elizabeth Cobos

by Donna Childs

Imagine coming to a country where you don’t know the language, sensibilities, geography, or customs, and deciding to volunteer at the local library. Pretty brave, eh?

Elizabeth Cobos came to the U.S. from Oaxaca, Mexico, eight years ago. She overcame her understandable fear of the unknown, and walked into the St. Johns Library, because she wanted to be a strong role model for her young daughter, Allison, and because of her own desire to learn, to help others, and to be useful.

Elizabeth is a Search Assistant at St. Johns, coming in weekly to look for items on paging lists. Even if she doesn’t know the meaning of all the words in a title, she can match the list with a book on a shelf, and it helps familiarize her with new words. Although everything was strange at first, she has found the work rewarding, and is delighted on the occasions when she has been able to help Spanish-speaking patrons connect with resources at the library. According to one of the librarians, Elizabeth has made helpful suggestions for improving Spanish language services and programs at St. Johns. They value her input, and she is very grateful to the library for giving her this opportunity to feel professional and to help fellow community members.

Anxious to learn English and to be involved in her daughter’s life and the larger community, Elizabeth took a class for mothers and children at her daughter’s nursery school, as well as an ESL class at Portland Community College; she volunteered as an assistant to the teacher at an English-Spanish Head Start program for two years; and she plans to volunteer in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom. And soon, she hopes to begin the Transitions/Transiciones program at Mount Hood Community College, which encourages and prepares students to begin or continue college. (She had three semesters of college in Mexico.) Elizabeth’s ultimate goal is to find a job working with children and/or in a library. This seems like a great fit, given her family and community focus, courage, and determination.


A few facts about Elizabeth

Home library: St. Johns

Currently reading: Elizabeth likes to read picture books with her daughter because the pictures help Elizabeth learn English while helping her daughter learn to read.

Most influential book: El Alquimista (The Alchemist) by Paulo Coelho

Favorite book from childhood: Their family’s favorite childrens’ book is Un Beso en Mi Mano (The Kissing Hand).

Favorite section of the library: Non-fiction self help, or self-esteem, books such as Un Corazon sin Fronteras (A Heart without Borders) by Nick Vujicic

Which do you prefer, E-reader or paper book? Paper. Also, videos of books such as Le Petit Prince help her learn unfamiliar words.

Favorite place to read: In bed with her daughter and her husband, or by herself on the sofa with a candle

Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

 


 

 

12-year-old Sunny is taunted by classmates for looking different (her pale skin, yellow hair, and hazel eyes mixed with West African features cause her to stand out) and for being from a different place (New York-born to Nigerian parents, her family has moved back to West Africa… but neither country feels completely like home). In Akata Witch, Sunny discovered that she was one of the Leopard People -- those with magical abilities -- who live among regular folk. She and three friends used their powers to catch a ruthless serial killer who planned to awaken a monster from

the spirit world.

Now she is back, in a sequel filled with African magic that I have long been waiting for: Akata Warrior. Sunny is stronger, a year older, and many years more fierce. She has been hard at work studying with her demanding mentor, Sugar Cream, and working to unlock the secrets that lie within her powerful Nsibidi, or spell book. But time waits for no one, and Sunny must travel through worlds both visible and invisible to find the mysterious town of Osisi -- where she will meet her destiny and fight a looming and apocalyptic battle to save humanity. Maybe it is the way Nnedi Okofore weaves Nigerian folktales into her magic, or how that magic is so seamlessly drawn into modern-day Nigeria -- but you’ll believe this original fantasy world really could exist.


 

I fell in love with Katherine Roy’s first book, Neighborhood Sharks, because it was as informative as it was beautiful -- exploring the lives of great whites that live in the waters of California’s Farallon Islands, its cover blooming with the (watercolor) blood of a sea

How To Be An Elephant
lion that met an unfortunate fate.

In her latest book, How to Be An Elephant, the author looks across the globe -- to the extraordinary lives of African Elephants and the unique skills a baby elephant learns as he grows into a majestic adult. Illustrated in lush grays, blues and blush tones, we follow a baby elephant from his birth beneath a star-filled savanna sky and into the welcoming trunks of his mother and aunts. Readers will find out just how a baby elephant takes his first steps, “sees” his world by following his nose, playfully explores, and stays in touch with family members miles away by feeling vibrations through the delicate, padded soles of his feet. This richly-illustrated, scientifically accurate book is a sweet exploration of family, community, and love as one elephant herd marches its way across the savanna.

Drawing on the latest scientific research and her own trip to Kenya, Katherine Roy has done another extraordinary job of bringing a unique animal -- and its pivotal place in our ecosystem -- to life for young readers.

Rainbow flag Photo Credit: Benson Kua  - Creative Commons

October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

Every coming out experience is unique. For some it’s a hesitant whisper; for others, it’s a scream when you are in that “right now” moment. Regardless of volume or location, coming out is about sharing personal identity, being proud and, most importantly, being visible. As the Human Rights Campaign says, Coming Out Day is “a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out."

Whether you self-identify as LGBTQAA+ or know someone that does, whatever your connection is to Coming Out Day, Multnomah County Library is a welcoming place for information and book recommendations.

 

Beginning November 1, 2017, Multnomah County Library is updating its library rules.

You can read them here.

The library is proud to be an open and inclusive institution for our community. With 19 locations across the county, we are always striving to balance a wide range of uses, needs and individual circumstances. Library rules are important to ensuring that our staff can continue to provide exceptional service and that our library remains a welcoming place for everyone.

It’s been nearly 20 years since we’ve made significant changes to our library rules, and in that time, we’ve offered countless new services and programs, grown our collection and even opened new library branches. After an extensive and thoughtful review process, we’ve included changes to library policies on food and beverages, threatening behavior, amount of personal belongings, and weapons. All of our rules ensure the protection of individual rights and necessary accommodations.

Thank you for helping make the library a wonderful and vibrant place. I hope you will visit us soon.

Vailey Oehlke

Director of Libraries

Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries

Readers, writers and book lovers! Mark your calendars for several of Portland's biggest book events:

Literary Arts' Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival Presented by Bank of America happens on November 11, when a literary who's who of authors will descend on us. Browse books by the authors, and visit Multnomah County Library's booth, where we can give you one-on-one advice about spending your $5.00 book coupon (included in the price of admission) on a title you'll love.

Portland Arts & Lectures author series features such luminaries as George Saunders, Jesmyn Ward and Viet Thanh Nguyen. You can also look forward to Everybody Reads in the new year, when we'll be discussing Mohsin Hamid's Exit West in preparation for the author's visit on April 5th, made possible by Literary Arts. Copies of the book will be made available in February, thanks to the support of The Library Foundation.

But let's face it - Portland's literary landscape is a field of dreams. Search the events calendar for the library’s author talks, book discussions and conversations featuring local writers. If you're a self-published writer yourself and would like library patrons to be able to read your work, check out the Library Writers Project

Happy reading!

 

Literary Arts author list image

El mes de la Herencia Hispana se celebra cada año del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre. Es un homenaje y una celebración de la cultura, historias y contribuciones de los hispanos y latinoamericanos en los Estados Unidos.

Inicialmente proclamada la Semana Nacional de la Herencia Hispana por el presidente Lyndon B. Johnson en 1968, el reconocimiento fue extendido a un mes por el presidente Ronald Reagan en 1988. Se inicia el 15 de septiembre por ser el aniversario de la independencia de cinco países latinoamericanos: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua. México, Chile y Belice celebran su independencia el 16, 18 y 21 de septiembre, respectivamente.

Los invitamos a disfrutar en las bibliotecas la música, historias, libros, actividades y manualidades que celebran la herencia hispana y el impacto cultural a la sociedad.

  • Celebren la música latinoamericana con el grupo Mariachi Viva Mexico.

  • Vengan a viajar a través de la cultura latinoamericana, su historia y tradiciones en una forma interactiva con el famoso músico José Luis Orozco.

  • Escuchen la historia de los pilotos mexicanos del Escuadrón 201 que lucharon al lado de los Aliados durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Laura B. está disponible para ofrecerles recomendaciones de lectura personalizada de acuerdo a su interés.

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari

The Golden Age of Islam spanned from the mid 8th to the mid 13th century A. D., although recent scholars have extended it into the 15th and 16th centuries. It encompasses the life of the prophet Mohammad and the beginnings of the Islamic religion. Islamic culture in Europe also influenced Western civilization. The Golden Age of Islamic Culture included many innovations in science, medicine, mathematics, astronomy ,Hindu-Arabic numerals, and words. It was a time of inventions and exploration by land and sea. The Golden Age ended with the siege of Baghdad in 1258 A.D. and with the rise of religious dogma, discussed here by Steven Weinberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Summer reading habits

I was in Don Quixote by Cervantes so long, I lost the plot a bit.

 

 Listening to  anti-war protest songs  first  sparked my curiosity about the Vietnam War. As a 12 year old eighth grader, I thought I could learn  the world’s wisdom from the words of a song.  Songs like  The Unknown Soldier by the Doors with its realistic  gunshot sounds and tragic  imagry;  Saigon Bride by Joan Baez, Pete Seeger’s Bring Em Home,and I ain’ Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs.  Songs  about the injustice, insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War.

 I heard adults talking about protecting Democracy by fighting Communism.  More and more the strange place word 'Vietnam' was spoken.  Then my Uncle Paul was drafted. He went to fight at that place I could hardly find on the map.

 When my Uncle came back he was silent and enclosed as if he’d been to visit the moon.  Once he told me he’d seen some pretty bad  things  there but didn’t tell me what they were.  I didn’t have to use my imagination much- it was all on the CBS news now- real soldiers, real Vietnamese people, real pain, real death.

When the war ended on April 30, 1975, I was working at the Central Library downtown.  Church bells rang and we jumped up and down and cheered.  Later though, we were quiet , remembering... still wondering- was Vietnam a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ war?

Like myself, Ken Burns grew up wondering about the Vietnam war. He labored  ten long  years to make a documentary that might help to  make sense of the Vietnam War by bringing us “something extrordinarily powerful..”  -the stories, music and experiences of the soldiers and civilians- on both sides of the war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

THE VIETNAM WAR is a ten-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Part one airs Sunday September 17 at 9:00 on PBS.                                                                  

After watching, Ken Burn’s The Vietnam War, come to the Multnomah County Library  to learn more about it through special programs,  written material, music and more.

 

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