Featured Book: “Lost In Wonder, Love, And Praise” by Justin Wainscott

Print

 

Justin Wainscott, a member of Union’s Board of Trustees and pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, recently released a new book. Lost In Wonder, Love, And Praise is divided into 2 sections: hymns and poems. The hymns section draws heavily from Scripture; Wainscott adds recommendations of familiar tunes for each hymn to be sung to. The poems section focuses on different themes such as God’s grace, dealing with anxiety, and family.

One poem that particularly stands out is “Shared Wonder,” which is about our relationships to art:

The art we most enjoy-

whether stories or sketches,

paintings or poems,

music or movies,

sermons or songs-

is the fruit of private wonder

being made public.

Wainscott goes on to write about the joy of shared wonder, which he concludes is the end result of art.

Lost In Wonder, Love, And Praise is a great resource for worship leaders, pastors, and laymen alike. Whether you’re looking for a new hymn to sing or a poem to resonate with, this book is here to help you worship God. You can check out Lost In Wonder, Love, And Praise from the library.

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “They Shall Not Grow Old”

Peter Jackson is well known for his great work in bringing to life J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this past year he introduced audiences to one of the most impressive documentary films of the ages. As November 11th 2018 marked the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I, Peter Jackson released his ambitious documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old. The film’s title is from a line in the famous 1914 poem “For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

This film’s structure is on the outset strikingly different for a war documentary: the names of those interviewed are never given since there were over 200 veterans interviewed, culminating into over 600 hours of audio. The technical work in this film is truly mind-boggling. With hundreds of hours of black and white footage that was sped up for film, the crew colorized and digitized the film to produce a flawless product. What were once shaky and grainy images now explode with color to show how it really looked in the hellish landscapes of WW1 era France. The film does an amazing job at recreating the audio sounds of deafening artillery and even goes so far as to hire lip readers and voice actors, thereby giving voice to the men of once silent footage.

The narrative of the film begins as the war kicks off and young recruits seek to enlist (many being as young as fifteen even though the required age was nineteen). The veterans explain that their initial thoughts of war included grand adventures filled with patriotic notions of duty and service to the empire. They are quickly trained and set off for France. Their opinions about what war will be like quickly change when faced with the realities and destructive nature of modern war technology.

The vast spider web network of trenches that dominated Western Europe at the time are shown in all their visceral conditions. Living, eating, and sleeping in flooded trenches with such abundant squalor and the filth of latrines, the soldiers must deal with rats and dead men only meters away. The film’s footage truly shows what a nightmare WW1 was. There was a relentless shelling by artillery, sniper fire, and even poison gas in the trenches. In spite of these appalling conditions, the men soldiered on while many yearned for some sense of normalcy in their down time with a cup of tea or a cigarette. When they were relieved off the front for R&R many indulged in alcohol, gambling and even brothels. It was also in these downtimes that you see the true camaraderie the men have with each other.

As the film reaches its climax, the soldiers retell the horrors of  going over the top into no man’s land to attack on the German lines. Many are killed, more are wounded, and the survivors lead a bloody attack to take the German trenches and killing or capturing them. They then reflect that the enemy soldiers are not much different than themselves; some of them even become quite friendly. The soldiers, regardless of background or which side the fight, all agree that the war is useless and it should never have happened.

In closing I can’t stress how moving and awe-inspiring They Shall Not Grow Old is. It truly feels as if one is going back in time. I challenge anyone who watches it to not feel the utter heartbreak and sadness when one witnesses what these poor young men went through. I find it nearly impossible to maintain a dry eye while viewing this film. This heartbreaking documentary shows the very best and worst that humans are capable of doing to one another.

They Shall Not Grow Old is available at Union University’s Library.

*Please note: this film shows actual war footage and can be extremely unsettling. It is not recommended for young audiences.

 

 

Featured Author: Octavia E. Butler

The path to success is to take massive, determined action. (2)

 

On June 22nd, 1947, Octavia E. Butler was born in Pasadena California. Butler grew from being a shy child who escaped in books to a successful science fiction writer. In fact, in 1995, she became the first science fiction author to win a MacArthur Fellowship.

Butler wrote about time travel, slavery, African culture, telepathy, dystopias, and much more. Her stories stood out in the white-dominated field of 1980s science fiction. Butler enjoyed the science fiction genre particularly because it allowed her the freedom to write about anything she could imagine.

You can check out Octavia E. Butler’s bestelling novel Kindred from the library- look for it in our literature section!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: “Atonement” by Ian McEwan

atonement

 

*This post contains mild spoilers for Atonement

First things first: Atonement is a controversial book, but there can be no doubt that it is well-written. Ian McEwan gets inside the minds of his characters with a precision that is almost uncanny- how can an adult man so accurately capture the motivations of a dreamy (and judgemental) thirteen-year-old girl? Yet the story unravels in flowing prose that compels you to read more, and you believe the characters, as dysfunctional as they are.

To summarize without spoiling, Atonement is mostly about the connection between a  young man and woman and how it is dangerously misunderstood by a thirteen-year-old girl. This leads to a great injustice, tearing apart the family at the story’s center. McEwan also throws in a lot about WWII in the second half of the story and how simply trying to survive can alter one’s reality.

What Atonement gets right: the writing. To me, Ian McEwan’s style is like a mixture of F. Scott Fitzgerald (modern) and Jane Austen (Regency era). That’s hard to pull off, but Ian McEwan succeeds. His story is all about the characters and their inner workings, so the plot revolves around their reactions and decisions. Thus, the different events in Atonement make sense to the reader because we know what’s really going on with the characters (even if they don’t), giving us the satisfaction of being “in on it.”

What Atonement gets wrong: In the #MeToo era, it’s hard to read about a rape that essentially goes unpunished. The main witness to the crime (who is not credible at all) takes control of the situation, which leads to the actual victim essentially not even having to give a testimony. This is an obstruction of justice, and McEwan’s attitude toward the young girls involved is detached at best and coldhearted at worst. In fact, most of the adults in the book are extremely neglectful of the children they are supposed to be taking care of, and McEwan writes as if this is normal and expected (instead of, you know, wrong).

Who should read Atonement: I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys books about fictional crime, in-depth character analyses, WWII, nursing, literature in general, and very complicated romances.

Who shouldn’t read Atonement: People who like books where they can escape and be happy in that escape. This book isn’t light or positive.

 

Ian McEwan’s new science fiction book, Machines Like Me, is due out this year. You can find two of McEwan’s books, including Atonement, here at the library. 

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse”

2018 was another big year for Marvel; we saw the debut of the animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse. Spider-Man has always been one of the most iconic characters that Stan Lee has ever created. The story and characteristics of Spider-Man and Peter Parker are beloved and cherished.  Even with his spell binding powers, the character maintains surprisingly human, and his outlook on life makes him relatable.

This film makes Spider-Man even more relatable by introducing the audience to a more diverse take on Spide-Man and his various origins throughout the years. We are introduced to the character of Miles Morales, a young boy who loves art and music and sports a clearly urban New York style. He quickly gets in over his head and finds himself in a precarious position when he witnesses Peter Parker/Spider-Man killed. He then resolves to take up the mantle of Spider-Man and stop the evil Kingpin, whose bizarre experiments could cause the destruction of the New York.

Miles’ task is confounded by learning that Kingpin may have torn a hole in space and time. This causes many different realities to fuse into Miles’s own timeline. Soon we are introduced to numerous creative versions of Spider-Man, all from different and unique timelines. This group includes notables such as Spider Girl, Spider Pig, Spiderman-Noir, and a young girl in a cross between a Spider Robot and something out of Japanese anime. We are also treated to a less successful Peter Parker who gave up being Spider-Man, lost Mary Jane, and is now a depressed failure. With this rag-tag crew, they must find a way to get back to their own timelines and stop Kingpin in time.

This film did extremely well with critics and at the box offices brought in close to 400 million dollars.  It also won Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards for 2018. This is a fantastic film for the whole family. It’s a fresh take on a great character franchise and I hope to see many more of this type in the following years.

*This film is rated PG and it is available at Union University Library.

Spotlight On “Books & Authors” Database

 

pex books and authors

 

Are you looking for a new book to read but aren’t sure where to start? Do you need to find a list of books in a specific genre? What about a list of award-winning books?

Books & Authors is a user-friendly database that answers all of your book-related questions. Here you can find recommendations on what to read next from famous authors, lists of award-winning novels, and descriptions of each literary genre. You can also search for specific books and authors or simply click on a link to learn more about a broader topic (such as mystery books or books written in a certain time period).

Another great aspect of Book & Authors is the unbiased, spoiler-free description of each book. You can browse through books to learn more about them without having anything spoiled. It’s a great way to become familiar with a new title that you might like to read.

You’ll find access to this fun, helpful database via our Databases, E-Books, and Media tab on the library website. If you need help accessing a database, please contact us on our library chat, through phone at 731-661-5070, or in person at our Research or Circulation desks.

Featured Author: Maurice Sendak

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.-1

 

Maurice Sendak was born on June 10th, 1928 in New York City. Sendak excelled at art as a child; he would often draw illustrations while sick at home. When Sendak grew older, he began to illustrate children’s books. In 1956, the first book that was both illustrated and written by Sendak was published: Kenny’s Window. 1968 would see one of Sendak’s most popular and renowned books: Where The Wild Things Are (a Caldecott medal winner).

Some of Sendak’s other well-known books include:

 

Sendak has also lent his illustrations to many children’s books, including The Moon Jumpers and Brundibar.

In 2012, Sendak died at age 83. However, his books and illustrations for children will continue to delight kids for generations.

Click here to see which Sendak books the library has to offer.

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Saving Private Ryan”

This past Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a monumental military achievement that set the ground work for the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe. I can think of no better film that epitomizes the heroic struggle of the D-Day Normandy Invasions than Saving Private Ryan.  In 1998, director Steven Spielberg released this film to wide acclaim for its realistic portrayal of the carnage that was World War II. There have been many films that sought to establish themselves as gritty or iconic in their portrayal of the most famous American battle of the war.  Other famous war epics like The Longest Day had an all-star cast; and while it is a fantastic and ambitions film for its time, its portrayal of the horror of war is very tame.

Spielberg, while obtaining many celebrated actors, also sought to instill a sense of realism with historical accuracy paramount. Spielberg implemented skilled visual and special effects to bring the bloody beaches of Normandy to life.  Saving Private Ryan centers around Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks). As a member of the Army Rangers, Miller and his men successfully fight their way ashore onto Omaha Beach. After the battle is over, the film takes a shift to the war department back home in the United States.  As casualty figures are amassed and letters sent to families to inform them of their loved one’s deaths, it is soon discovered that one particular family, the Ryan family, has lost four brothers within a few hours of each other and the fifth (private James Ryan) is missing.  The General of the War Department realizes what a public relations nightmare this could be and how it could jeopardize national morale. As orders get passed down the chain of command, it falls to Captain Miller and his small squad to locate Private Ryan and bring him home. This is made even more difficult because Ryan is a paratrooper whose unit was dropped as part of the Airborne Offensive the night before D-Day and was wildly blown off their intended objectives.

Along the way, Miller’s squad continues to suffer casualties and lose close friends. They begin to question why locating Ryan is worth risking all their lives. As the film draws to its climax they succeed in finding Ryan, who stubbornly refuses to abandon his friends who were ordered to hold a bridge at all cost. The group decides to aid Ryan and his fellow paratroopers hold off the German attack aimed at the bridge. The climax of the film is extremely tense and humbling as the soldiers fight against impossible odds.

This is an immensely powerful film; it shows the true horrors of war. The cost of young men who are fathers, brothers, and sons is utterly heartbreaking. The humanity and camaraderie shared between soldiers is so clearly brought to life by Spielberg’s film. Saving Private Ryan was nominated for Best Picture and won for Best Director. It would go on to gross 480 million dollars. It is wildly considered one of the greatest World War II films of all time. In 2014 it was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Saving Private Ryan is available at the Union University Library.

*Please note it is rated R for intense violence and language throughout.

 

Top 5 Botany Journals

pex botany

The world of botany is ever-growing and often beneficial to other forms of life on earth. Studying and testing plants can lead to new medicines, increased conservation, and better gardens. Check out the 5 journals below when you need articles about botany. All of these journals are available via the library website’s “Journals by Title or Subject” tab.

 

American Journal of Botany

From obscure flowers to soil techniques, the American Journal of Botany provides articles with abstracts, PDFs, and references. With issues dating back all the way to 1914, this database is also great for looking at the history of botany.

 

American Journal of Plant Sciences

The American Journal of Plant Sciences is an Open Access resource which is published monthly. Here you can find topics like dendrochronology, plant ecology, phytochemistry, etc.

 

pex bot

 

Blumea- Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants

The Naturalis Biodiversity Center publishes Blumea three times a year. Blumea has an international focus and a wide variety of plant topics. Use Blumea‘s “Access Key” to find and identify full-text articles.

 

BMC Plant Biology

According to its database description, BMC Plant Biology includes “research articles covering topics such as the cellular, organismal, tissue-level, developmental and functional aspects of plants.” Look for specific, in-depth studies and trials in this database.

 

Canadian Journal of Plant Science

With access to over 100,000 archives, the Canadian Journal of Plant Science provides a broad amount of plant research. You can also find some Spanish and French language articles via this journal if you need research in other languages.

 

 

What Should I Read Next? (Summer Edition)

What Should I Read Next_

It can be overwhelming trying to find new books to read. There are new stories released daily, and, if you already have a teetering to-be-read pile, adding yet another book can be intimidating. Still, there’s something exhilarating about finding your new favorite read! In this blog series, the library staff will recommend books to you based on your genre preferences. We do a lot of reading when we’re off work, and we enjoy testing out the new books that we get for the library! If you would like to get a personalized recommendation from us, please use the library chat function on our website.

So, what should you read next?

fangirl

 

  • If you like mysterious origin stories, North Carolina, and interesting character development: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Many of the librarians have given rave reviews to this bestselling book, which was released in August 2018, and all of them have different opinions about the ending!

where

 

  • For fans of intense real-life experiences, teaching and teachers, and survival techniques: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. Library director Melissa Moore said that she couldn’t put this book down and highly recommends it.

educated

 

gone

 

  • If you’re looking a lesser-known classic novella and a unique vampire tale: Carmilla by J.S. Le Fanu. This short, easy read has a gothic setting, mysterious illnesses, and a young female antagonist. Carmilla is also widely considered to be one of the first recorded vampire stories.

carmilla

 

 

best bee