Inspired by the Fiske Cup? Read a Great Play!

By - Systems Librarian February 12th, 2009

Kevin Barry – Library Director

Have you read Equus by Peter Shaffer?

By now, most students have noted that Daniel Radcliffe, star of the popular Harry Potter films, has assumed the haunting role of the tortured stable boy in the Broadway production of  Equus, written by Peter Shaffer.

In this fascinating 1973 play, a psychiatrist works closely with a boy hospitalized because he has brutally blinded several horses with a metal spike.  While trying to reorient the boy through psychotherapy, the  doctor is anguished by his realization that in order to normalize the boy, he must also deprive him of his unconstrained passion and what has become a sort of mythic religion to the boy.  The doctor begins to envy the boy’s obsession because it is so potent, so magical, so intense … and also so unlike the mundane, passionless life that the doctor’s existence has become.  We are left to consider the question of what psychotherapy heals and what it unleashes.

Equus : a play by Peter Shaffer. Find it in Ohrstrom at: 822 SH1.

The collected plays of Peter Shaffer ( Includes Equus and Amadeus for which Shaffer won a Tony Award).  Find it in Ohrstrom at:  822 SH1C.

There’s nothing like a short story!

By - Systems Librarian January 14th, 2009

Kevin Barry – Library Director

Nothing relaxes and quenches the thirsty mind like a quick read before dozing off at night.  There are plenty of yarns numbering only four and five pages long.  Some pack a wallop and some sooth the soul.  Reading something short just for fun before bedtime is both healthy and habit-forming!

Get addicted quickly by going to the Ohrstrom Library Catalog.  Type in Short Stories, American and hit “Subject”.

Need a specific recommendation?  Begin with 60 Stories by Donald Barthelme (Fiction B28) and turn directly to his short story, The School (pp. 309-312).  It is not only hilarious, but forces the reader to ask, “What’s grammar got to do with it?”  The School is a satirical take on correct thinking in the classroom and will bring back memories!  The structure of Barthelme’s narrative is a “take off” on the constraints of sanctioned grammar and syntactical rules that can inhibit discourse.  Indeed, Barthelme’s weird, loopy syntax enhances his story and renders it more engaging.  While his innovative use of phrases may at times seem disharmonious and goofy, they are also exceptionally effective and energetic.

The prissy grade school narrator tells a story with fragmented syntax that countermands his intended message of stability, rationality, and unity of thought.  Indeed, it serves as an unintentional proxy for his students’ resistance and demand for meaning.  The School rushes along at breakneck speed with one “surprising” event surpassing the next.  From the moment the teacher speaks of  “root systems”, the narrative shifts from one element to another – from orange trees to soil to sticks to snakes to herb gardens to fish, gerbils and then puppies, – all curiously tied to an ascending order up the evolutionary ladder. Barthelme’s writing resembles wild strawberries sprawling in segments across the page the way a root system meanders across the yard making it impossible to identify at times where the thing starts and stops. In the end, the students in The School’s classroom cheer “wildly” and you will too after reading this wonderful tale.

Recreational Reading: Spotlight on EBSCO NoveList

By - Research & Instruction Librarian December 15th, 2008

Lura Sanborn – Reference Librarian

Are you looking for a great recreational read over the break but have already devoured everything by your favorite author?  Would you like to find books of a similar nature written by different authors?  If so, try searching NoveList through EBSCO and you may discover new favorites.

1) Click HERE to visit Ohrstrom Library’s website and select EBSCO from the database menu.

2) Then select NoveList (over to the right, see below).

This database will allow you to find author “read-alikes” specific to your subject criteria.

3) Conduct a search of your favorite author.

4) Select a title retrieved from your search.  Then, click on “Find Similar Books” (over to the right under the book image).

5)    Select the subject headings that are important to you and then hit the search button.

6) Review your results to find something that sounds like an interesting read. Many of the books listed in NoveList have excerpts from the first chapter available to read online – click the “First Chapter” link at the end of the book listing to test drive your selections.   You can also go back to the search list and make adjustments to your keyword selection to find new results.

7)  Check Ohrstrom’s WebCat to see if the book is in our collection or make a request via Interlibrary Loan.  Enjoy reading your new discoveries!

Librarians’ Holiday: Recommended Reading from Ohrstrom’s Staff

By - Systems Librarian November 20th, 2008

Lisa Laughy – Archives Assistant

Heading into Thanksgiving break you may be craving the luxury of escaping into a good book. Sure, you read all the time for school and cracking the covers of a book may be the farthest thing from how you plan to relax over the break. Consider taking the time to do some recreational reading during your down time, it may be just the thing you need to unwind.

With that in mind Ohrstrom Library staff has put together a special display in the Baker Reading Room of recommended recreational reading. Stop by Ohrstrom before heading out on your break and pick up something fun and distracting to read while away.

Image courtesy of MorBCN under this Creative Common license.