Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert

England 1642.  King Charles I and Parliament clash on the battlefield.  The king’s nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine, son of his sister Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, arrives to fight in the English royal army.  This is his story in The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin.

I came across The Stranger Prince during a weeding project last year.  Margaret Irwin’s name was familiar–I had read her novels about young Elizabeth I in high school.  This one was new to me.  It was a lengthy read, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t know much about Rupert prior to reading this so this novel introduced me to him.

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

When Irwin’s Elizabeth trilogy was reissued, I was delighted to see it again.  Much has been written about her as Queen of England, but not as much about her formative years. There are predictions for the future in the novels of how people and events will be viewed.  Popular songs of the day are incorporated as part of the story.  If you read an older edition of Elizabeth, Captive Princess, one of the paintings of Elizabeth mentioned in the story may have been included as a plate.

I haven’t read all of Irwin’s historical novels, but I enjoy her writing style. She does a wonderful job bringing the period to life. I was absorbed into Elizabeth and Rupert’s worlds and meeting the people of their day.  Irwin appears to have done her research well for her novels. I was amused with her introduction for The Stranger Prince about compiling a bibliography.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Margaret Irwin (1889-1969) was a well-known English novelist. I was unable to find much biographical information about her besides a Wikipedia entry.  Irwin had a long writing career–her first novel Still She Wished for Company appeared in 1924.  In the 1930s and ’40s, she wrote several novels on the early Stuarts.  Her trilogy about young Elizabeth I prior to her ascension to the throne was published between 1944-53 and is her best known.  The novels were adapted for the 1953 movie “Young Bess” starring the late Jean Simmons in the title role.  (I came across the original review of the movie)  Irwin’s bibliography also includes short story collections and one non-fiction.

Since Irwin’s trilogy on Elizabeth I has been reissued, I hope her other novels will follow.  Whether you read Margaret Irwin years ago or a new reader, her novels are worthwhile reads.

This is the second installment about my favorite historical novelists. Finale: Eleanor Hibbert, a prolific author who used various pseudonyms over her long career.

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Civil War 150: DC

Civil War 150 : District of Columbia and Freedom Rising

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Fort Sumter

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War–the opening salvo was at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor in the early morning hours on April 12, 1861.

The war not only changed the nation–it also changed Washington, DC as a capitol and hometown.

Last month I read Ernest Furgurson’s Freedom Rising, a nonfiction book about DC during the Civil War years. Since I work in DC, the 150th anniversary seemed like a great time to discover the city at that time.

Furgurson writes a fascinating and informative story of how the Civil War impacted the city and shaped it to what is today. When President-elect Lincoln arrived for his inauguration in February 1861, there wasn’t much about DC to attract people for a visit. As the book progresses through the war years, Furgurson introduces the reader to the people, events, and places in the city as well as what happened officially. 

I enjoyed the descriptions of city life and neighborhoods at the time.  The landmarks mentioned are either still standing today or long gone. I recognized some of the people who came to DC for one reason or another while others I didn’t know. 

By April 1865, DC is no longer the sleepy town it once been. Black and white maps of the city are included. I enjoyed this book and learned more about DC along the way.

Around the city and in Maryland and Virginia, you can find Civil War heritage sites to discover and enjoy.  The Washington Post is featuring a special section online  of the 150th anniversary.

On April 15, Emancipation Day will be observed in the District of Columbia.  This city holiday commemorates the signing of the DC Emancipation Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862,  freeing all slaves in DC. 

This Emancipation was enacted  nine months before the more famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Elizabeth of York

A young English princess tries on her wedding gown with excitement only for her betrothal to the French Dauphin to be broken shortly afterwards.  So begins the first chapter of The Tudor Rose, a novel about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.  I knew who she was but what was she like?  This wonderful novel by the late English novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes provided an answer for me.

Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962) began her career by writing for various leading British literary publications before turning to historical fiction.  Her agents at Curtis Brown Ltd. encourage her to write historical novels.  She wrote ten novels between 1944-62.  In 1944 her son Michael’s death in World War II combat operation devasted her and her husband Peter.  Her love for her son shines in her writing.  (A fuller biography may be found in any of her reissued novels)

I first discovered Margaret Campbell Barnes in high school.  The copy of The Tudor Rose  in my high school library wasn’t very distinctive on the shelf: it was a hardback rebound with the title engraved on the spine.  (I don’t remember if any of Barnes’s novels were there)  I went on to read other historical fiction novels but I didn’t forget this novel. Years would pass before I saw it again…

Tudor Rose

What I enjoy about Barnes’s novels is her writing style and how she brings her subject and the time period to life. As I read, I feel I’m watching what’s happening: the battles, political upheaval, murder, vying for the throne, feasts and royal pageantry, and domestic life. The individual people in her novels, both well-known and lesser known, come alive on the pages.  Because it’s actual history, there are no surprises about the ending. The way Barnes tells the story will have you wanting to know. Barnes follows the historical records about her subjects accurately, and she includes an acknowledgement about her research in her novels.  As an undergrad history major, I appreciate that.

If you enjoyed reading Margaret Campbell Barnes when you were younger, you’ll be delighted her novels have been reissued with beautiful covers after being out of print for many years. I’ve bought four of the reissues including The Tudor Rose. Three of them were new to me so I was in for a treat. (My second favorite is My Lady of Cleves)  Below is a list of Barnes’s reissued novels in chronological order in English history and their original publication dates:

The Passionate Brood (1944)

Within the Hollow Crown (1947)

The Tudor Rose (1953)

Brief Gaudy Hour (1949)

King’s Fool (1959)

My Lady of Cleves (1946)

Mary of Carisbrooke (1956)

This is the first in a three part series about my favorite historical fiction novelists.  Next installment: Margaret Irwin.

 

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective from January 2011 back to January 2010

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

These graphic images or word clouds were created using Wordle. They are derived from the subjects and authors in PubLib from January 2010 to January 27 2011.  The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented.    Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds.  These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been PublibPublib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing.  In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
The first graphic represents the most current information for January 2011 and is followed by the normal sequence of January – December 2010.  
2011 appears somewhat ominous! 
January 2011 PubLib

PubLib January 2010

PubLib February 2010

PubLib March 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib June 2010

 

PubLib July 2010

 

PubLib August 2010

PubLib September 2010

PubLib October 2010

PubLib November 2010

PubLib December 2010

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Publib Discussion: Unnecessary censorship or necessary evil?

 What would Mark Twain do?

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Publib contributors weighed in on questions regarding the sanitation of language in a new edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the purpose of classroom instruction. Would Mark Twain approve? Should period works be sanitized for classroom instruction?  The general consensus appears to have been a resounding NO.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

♦  Appalled – Judy Jerome

♦  Awful, just awful. – Sally Tornow

♦  doubt that Mr. Clemens would have approved – Sharon Foster

♦  disgraceful – Mary Soucie

♦  Political correctness run so far amuck that it is changing history and literature – Fred Beisser

♦  outraged – Lisa Guidarini

♦  What good does that do? – Kathi Kemp

♦  outrageous and self-aggrandizing endeavor – Robin Orlandi

♦  bowdlerizing is misguided – should be considered/cataloged as a derivative work – John Beekman

♦  order some new copies of the Twain books with the original language so that we ensure that we have them around as needed in years to come… – Sharon Highler

♦  Hi Tech Bowdlerization, still pathetic. – Jeff Imparato

♦  UNBELIEVABLE – GiGi Bayne

♦  horrendous – Tom Cooper

♦  Is there similar outrage about versions of pop music that have selected words altered? – Brad Thomas

♦  The idea that the “new version” is specifically intended for the educational market i(s) disheartening.  – Paula Laurita

♦  Mr. Twain is no longer around to grant his permission. – Aleta Copeland

♦  If you think this edition is a bad idea, then fight for the original. – Jacob Browne

♦  Twain’s language reflects his times, not ours – Kathleen Stipek

There are certainly many different perspectives on race.  But, there really is only one race. We *all* began in Africa.  Folklore / religion / and ignorance of history create the illusion that we are different other than in extremely superficial characteristics.  Those superficial characteristics are simply tiny changes in the genetic markers that have occurred over many thousands of years.

National Geographic produced an excellent film – The Human Family Tree – that traces us back to scientific Adam and scientific Eve.  Worth collecting for any public or academic library:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-family-tree-3706-interactive

The Genographic Project will let you trace your own history, our own history – way, way, way beyond Ancestry.com .

The Elbert County Library in Colorado sponsored a presentation on Genealogy DNA Testing: 

http://denver.yourhub.com/Franktown/Stories/News/General-News/Story%7E921172.aspx  

Think about what a program like that could do for your community.

What would Mark Twain do?

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Engaging your patrons

Re-thinking educational resources

This presentation at TED by PennState’s –  Ali Carr-Chellman - provides excellent insight for engaging potential patrons by rethinking the dynamics of education and information delivery. Highly recommended viewing for any children’s / young adult / reference librarians and library administrators seeking ways of making their collections and resources more viable.

How can this idea of engaging an alienated population be implemented in libraries? 

What methods that mirror these concepts are currently being employed?

Books by Alison A. Carr-Chellman:

What about nonfiction?

Familiar with doing readers advisory for fiction but not for nonfiction?  Why should fiction get all the attention?  Nonfiction books can be just as fun to read too.  For doing readers advisory for nonfiction, here’s a valuable reference tool: The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Nonfiction by Neal Wyatt, published by ALA Editions.

Why I bought it:  I wanted to learn about how it’s possible to do readers advisory for nonfiction.

My take:  This was an informative and interesting book.  In the first two chapters Wyatt discusses how to do readers advisory for nonfiction, the four elements of nonfiction, and how to offer the service to the patron.  Popular subjects such as food and cooking, science, sports, memoirs, travel, and history are covered.  The remainder of nonfiction subjects receives its own chapter.  (How-to and reference books are excluded)  I liked how the topical areas within a subject are broken out and explained. Well-known titles are presented at the end of the chapters.  (Additionally Appendix B presents those well-known books in a list format by subject)  Wyatt ends with a chapter of  suggestions about how to learn and promote your nonfiction collection and the kinds of aids you can use for patrons to explore more about their favorite subject.  (For example, you can present nonfiction books with a novel based on the subjects covered in the story)    Just as you would for fiction, read nonfiction widely too!  Bridge the Dewey divide, Wyatt writes. 

Bottom line:  Worth reading!  I learned a lot from reading this book.  Great for those new to public librarianship or have been practicing in the field.

Editors note: ($47.70 from Amazon with free shipping – $53.00 from ALA and $47.70 from ALA  *if you are a member *. . . hmmm)

To blog readers: On a personal note, I changed divisions within my library.  After two years of working in fiction, I transferred to the History & Biography section of our Social Sciences Division in early summer.  I had been there before working in our fiction division.  My undergrad degree is in history so its my area.  Because I’m in a specific subject area, it’ll give me an opportunity to relearn the collection and explore what we’ve got on our shelves.

Elisa Babel, MLS

Best of PubLib 03.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers the weeks of March 1st  through March 14th 2010. This edition includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about  known inaccuracies in ‘non-fiction’ works , circulation manager duties ,  humorous anecdotes regarding blondes ,  and the impact of closing public school libraries: 

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Best of PubLib 02.21.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TVComing Soon!

This week  in  Best of Publib covers February 15th through February 21st 2010. This week includes PubLib questions about collection development, the value of on-line tutorials and databases , organization of gaming tournaments,  and the cause of stress in public libraries. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 02.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TV – Coming Soon!

This week  in  Best of Publib covers the week of February 8th through February 14th 2010. This week includes questions about public access computer security, thought-provoking discussions about sharing library buildings with community centers and government, distribution of e-book readers,  and our new poll on rewarding staff innovation and initiative. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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