Top 5 Booker Prize Winners At The Library

booker prize

The Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to the best original novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom. The library has several Booker Prize winners that are available to you, which are listed below. For a full list of the Booker Prize winners (from 1969 to present), click here.

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (2019)

The Testaments was just recently awarded the Booker Prize for this year. The long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale has been a bestselling favorite since it was published in September. The Testaments takes the reader back to the horrors of Gilead with three different narrators.

*If you’d like to read The Testaments, I’d suggest asking a librarian to put a hold on it for you, so that you will be the first person in line to get it once it is returned. It’s been constantly checked out since we first got it for the library!

 

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002)

This is the unusual story of zookeeper’s son Pi Patel, a tiger, and their struggles for survival after a boat accident. Life of Pi was also turned into a popular movie in 2013, which is available here at the library.

 

Last Orders by Graham Swift (1996)

In England, three working-class veterans drive their friend’s ashes to the sea, learning about each other’s lives along the way. This book has been on my reading wish list for awhile- I’ll get to it some day!

 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

After reading Never Let Me Go by the same author, I’ve been eager to read his famous book The Remains of The Day. Stevens, a quintessential English butler, narrates his life and career throughout WWII.

 

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

From the publisher: “A classic novel, in which the man who calls himself the “bomb of Bombay” chronicles the story of a child and a nation that both came into existence in 1947-and examines a whole people’s capacity for carrying inherited myths and inventing new ones.” Rushdie is more well known for his book The Satanic Verses, but it was Midnight’s Children that won the Booker Prize in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: “Hitler’s Collaborators” by Philip Morgan

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In one of the darkest periods of European history, much of the European continent was under the direct control of the Nazi regime. Following its conquest and subjugation of nearly the whole of Europe, the Nazis sought to establish administrative rule over their vast territories. The problem facing them was that they did not have the man power or resources to effectively administer and police these newly conquered countries. The political leaders of the occupied countries also sought to adapt to their new circumstances. While a small percentage of the populations joined secret resistance groups, an equal part of the population turned to actively supporting their Nazi occupiers and acting as collaborators. The library’s new book, Hitler’s Collaborators, explains this part of history.

The collaborators joined with the Nazis for a variety of reasons; most just wanted some version of a say in their country’s future while under occupation. Others started puppet governments and actively sought to establish their own version of the Nazi party to curry favor with the Germans. In doing so, they gained a semblance of independent control over some areas of their countries. This freedom from direct German control came at an often terrible and unpopular price. Most, if not all, economic output was to be used to aid the German war machine. This would also mean that hundreds of thousands of men would be shipped to areas where they would be used as free labor for the Nazis. The worst to come were the collaborators who chose to aid the Nazis in turning over their own Jewish citizens in an attempt to appease the Gestapo.

In nearly every occupied nation, the Nazis were able to find thousands of volunteers to join the Waffen S.S. in its crusades to exterminate Jewish people and end Soviet Bolshevism. Many of these ardent volunteers were some of the last remaining soldiers defending Berlin in the final days of the war, as they knew they would be put on trial or executed as traitors to their own countries following the defeat of Germany. The day of reckoning for the collaborators would come at the end of the war, in which thousands were put on trial for aiding the Nazis. Many received prison sentences, and others had their citizenship stripped away. The guiltiest parties were tried for treason and executed.

Hitler’s Collaborators documents in stunning detail the motivations and degrees to which various collaborators sought to empower and/or retain some form of control over their countries while in service to the Nazi regime.  This book will be immensely useful for anyone interested in learning what life was like in Nazi-occupied Europe.

This book is available at the Union University Library in our New Books section.

*written by Matthew Beyer

Moments In History: November 22nd, 1963

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Matthew Beyer has begun a “Moments In History” series to raise awareness of important historical events. Each post will also have book recommendations about the moment in history, using our extensive history collection in the library.

 

November 22nd, 1963

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

On a bright and sunny day at 12:30PM in Dallas, Texas, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was making his way through the city as a campaign stop and to solve minor disputes within the Democratic party. Along with him was his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas governor John Connally.  As his presidential limo and motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza, the unthinkable happened: a series of shots rang out in rapid succession. The crowds panicked and screamed. Onlookers cried out to their horror that the president had been shot. In truth, three separate shots had been fired, two of them striking President Kennedy and one striking and wounding Governor Connally.

Dallas police and Secret Service agents tried to make sense of the situation, rushing up a grassy knoll hill where the shots had possibly come from. The scene was utter chaos, made more difficult by the crowds giving contradictory statements. The nature of the city made it to where the echo of the shots could have originated from several places. One witness stated that he had seen a man leaning out of the sixth-floor window of the Texas schoolbook depository. Upon later investigation, a rifle was found hidden away with three spent shell casings nearby. Nearly all the employees were accounted for except for one: Lee Harvey Oswald. Less than an hour and a half later, Oswald was arrested for the murder of Dallas Police Officer J.D Tibbits, who was shot and killed by Oswald after confronting him in the street three miles away from Dealey Plaza.

The country was in a state of shock. Many sat glued to their televisions and radios, listening to the tragic details as they learned that President Kennedy had succumbed to his wounds. Many feared this was a targeted assassination by the Soviets and that even nuclear war could be imminent. By 2:38PM, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was quickly sworn into office on Air Force One; the moment was captured in an iconic photo with Johnson next to Jacqueline Kennedy still wearing her blood-stained clothes. What no one knew at the time is that the assassination was caught on film by a local, Abraham Zapruder, on a small 8mm film.

This incident shook the United States to its core; many feared conspiracy and the aftermath led many to believe this could be the case. Two days after the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was being transferred to a different jail when he in turn was shot and killed by a local bar owner, Jack Ruby. This development would eventually have to be settled by a federal commission called the warren commission, who looked into the motives and attempted to piece together these chaotic events to determine blame and how this could have transpired.

Today, most historians agree that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in taking the life of President John F. Kennedy. In all American history, this singular event continues to be studied and debated to this day.

If you would like to know more the about this topic, the Union University Library has a vast number of resources from books to documentaries on this subject. Here are some links below:

 

 

 

 

How To Use The Tennessee Electronic Library To View Genealogy Information

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Occasionally we have patrons who are looking for genealogy information and records. While our library does not have an extensive amount of genealogy help, we do have access to the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) through our Gale databases. TEL provides census records for Tennessee and other articles and data that could prove useful in regards to ancestry research.

How to use TEL to view genealogy information:

  1. Go to the library website.
  2. Click on the “Databases, E-books, and Media” link.
  3. Scroll down the list of databases until you get to Gale Virtual Reference Library. Click it.
  4. Once on Gale, click the top left TEL (Tennessee Electronic Library) logo.
  5. Now you are on the TEL website. Click the Genealogy button in red.
  6. Once on the Genealogy section, you can search databases, articles, and census records. You can also click to go to The Tennessean, Heritage Quest Online, and various other resources.

For more help with genealogy, we suggest visiting your local public library.

Book Review: “Turtles All The Way Down” by John Green

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John Green is a household name in young adult literature- you may know his books The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska. Green’s books often have a teenage protagonist who is learning to grow and navigate new relationships. In Turtles All The Way Down, Green explores the inner thoughts of Aza, a sixteen-year-old with OCD who begins to search for a missing local billionaire.

What Turtles All The Way Down gets right: Aza is a sympathetic character with a frustrating illness. Her OCD and anxiety get in the way of her relationships sometimes, and while it’s hard to read about, it’s fairly realistic. She has to take care of herself first at times, and her friends learn to be understanding of this while Aza learns to focus on other people more.

The mysterious aspects of the story- where did the billionaire go?- are interesting if not a bit predictable towards the end. Turtles All The Way Down will pull at your heartstrings as you watch the two sons who were left behind deal with their father’s disappearance.

What Turtles All The Way Down gets wrong: There’s nothing particularly wrong with Turtles All The Way Down. I could see it being hard to read if you disagree with the way Green portrays OCD and anxiety. And if you’re looking for a happy ending, John Green is not your author.

Who should read Turtles All The Way Down: People who enjoy bittersweet stories. People with OCD or who have friends with OCD- Aza’s first romantic relationship deals with her OCD struggles well, and Aza’s best friend learns to see Aza apart from her compulsive tendencies.

Who shouldn’t read Turtles All The Way Down: People who may be triggered by Aza’s major OCD incident. Readers who want a happy ending.

 

Turtles All The Way Down is available in the library’s Family Room.

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “The Shawshank Redemption”

The Shawshank Redemption is based on a short novel by famed author Stephen King. It was adapted for film by writer and director Frank Darabont. The story is set in Maine in the late 1940’s, where a mild mannered banker, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), is convicted of the double murder of his wife and her lover. He is given a life sentence and is set to serve it at Shawshank State Prison.

Once Andy arrives at prison, we are introduced to Ellis Boyd Redding or “Red” played by Morgan Freeman. Red is a popular prisoner for his ability to smuggle in contraband for other prisoners. Andy and Red soon strike up a friendship after Andy uses Red’s smuggling services. Warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton) soon singles out Andy for his intellectual abilities concerning finance and enlists him in some accountant work in the warden’s shady business dealings. As the years pass, Andy attempts to retain his humanity by refurbishing the prison library and clings to his stoic nature in spite of the harsh conditions and having to participate in Norton’s corrupt business dealings. Andy and Red are conflicted about the nature of their situation as Andy retains hope of living beyond the walls of the prison; whereas Red fears he would not make it on the outside as prison is all he knows. As events later take a turn for the worst, Andy begins to lose hope and is forced to make a fateful choice.

This film highlights the horrors of an unjust prison system. It does this by humanizing most of the prisoners as normal, rational people who have made mistakes in life and are now faced with living in oppressive conditions as a result. The film features many elements that hearken to religious interpretations of key moments in the film, from a falsely pious warden to Andy’s reoccurring attempts to bring the feeling of freedom to the prisoners if only for a moment.

While this movie did not earn much gross revenue at the box office, it was an outstanding success among critics and the public later on. It would be nominated for seven Academy Awards. It was eventually selected for the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry for it being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant. The Shawshank Redemption remains to this day on the popular website IMDB as rated #1 on its top 250 films of all time. This film has such a powerful impact on anyone who watches it.

The Shawshank Redemption is available at the Union University Library.

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

A Christmas Gift Guide For The Readers In Your Life

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If you have an avid reader as a friend or relative, then you know there’s probably at least one book on their Christmas list! But which book should you give them this year? Here’s a few book options for the different types of readers you may know. Some of these items are also available to read here at the library!

For the reader who loves Jane Austen: Why not give the gift of both the book and the movie? This edition of Pride and Prejudice has a beautiful cover, so even if they already have a version of the book, they’ll probably still love getting this new one. You can also pick up Pride and Prejudice, along with several other Jane Austen books, from our library shelves.

And there are two popular Pride and Prejudice movies to choose from! For viewers that love humor and don’t mind sitting through a long movie, get the 1995 TV mini-series (it has the famous Colin Firth portrayal of Mr. Darcy). For viewers that enjoy beautiful cinematography and faster-paced films, get the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. Both of these movies are available for check out here at the library.

 

For the reader who enjoys fast-paced books with plenty of action: Pick up a book in the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. Fans of the TV show will love reading the source material. We also have these books available at the library.

 

For the reader who likes true crime and mysteries: Hello, I am this reader. American Predator by Maureen Callahan is on my reading wish list. This recently released true crime book tells about a meticulous serial killer and how he was caught. Chances are your true crime-loving friend hasn’t read this one yet since it’s still so new, so it makes for a great current gift!

If you want to read some true crime for free, the library has I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara, which I can’t recommend enough. You’ll find this book in our Recreational Reading section.

 

For the reader who wants something light and fun: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a modern classic in the fantasy YA realm. It’s funny, cute, and a well-told, intelligent story. Pick this one up from our Family Room.

 

For the reader who likes to stay current: You can’t go wrong with the bestseller The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead has recently made a name for himself in the literary community; he writes about African American history and experiences. You can find this book in our Recreational Reading section.

Another bestselling book that will undoubtedly be read in book clubs is Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This book has been flying off the shelves in book stores and libraries alike, but it’s currently available on our Staff Picks Display.

 

Good luck on your Christmas shopping, and happy reading!

Featured Book: “Getting From College To Career” by Lindsay Pollak

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There are 90 pieces of advice in the book Getting From College To Career by Lindsay Pollak. However, the author herself says to scan through her book for advice that relates the most to your specific situation- you don’t have to read the entire book, although that might help! Essentially, this book is for helping college students to launch their careers. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, a minority or majority ethnicity, etc., there is advice here for you.

My personal favorite lines of wisdom from Getting From College To Career are about taking action:

The worst mistake you can make is not to take any action at all . . . Once I started making some phone calls, meeting some people for lunch, and sending out my resume, I built momentum and began to find opportunities. The minute I took action- any action- things started happening.

Pollak encourages college students to get out there and try new things, since you never know what might lead to a job opportunity. During your time in college, you should take advantage of your professors’ knowledge and their connections to potential employers. The university staff and faculty want to help you succeed, so it doesn’t hurt to ask questions! For Union specifically, the Vocatio Center is a great place to go for resume help, on-campus jobs, and future career prep. As Pollak says, “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, until you’ve visited your school’s career services office.”

For more advice on what you can be doing to prepare for your next job, check out Getting From College To Career. It’s available in the library in the LB section (click this link to see the call number).

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “We Were Soldiers”

Director Randall Wallace has written, produced, and adapted many moving stories into outstanding motion pictures, such as Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, and classics like Secretariat. In 2002, he brought to life the harrowing true story of how on November 14th, 1965, the brave men of the U.S. 7th Cavalry found themselves in the first major battle of the Vietnam War.

We Were Soldiers stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Colonel Hal Moor, who has recently been chosen to command the U.S. 7th Cavalry.  Knowing that war is likely imminent in Vietnam, Moor must train his soldiers in the use of helicopters as a way of getting them into to battle. Moor quickly bonds with his enlisted men and earns the respect of his officers. Secretly he fears the ominous legacy that the 7th Cavalry has incurred ever since it was nearly wiped out in the past at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. When tensions escalate, the 7th Calvary is called to Vietnam. Unsure of where the enemy is, Moor’s orders are simply to find the enemy and destroy them. The eventual battle would come at the Ia Drang valley.

The North Vietnamese Army had been wanting to lure U.S troops into a trap, and as fate would have it, this proved to be a perfect opportunity. After Moor and the first detachment arrive, they soon learn they are severely outnumbered and are being pinned down by large numbers of NVA troops. The men of the 7th Calvary are cut off and surrounded on all sides, and they risk being annihilated like at Little Bighorn. Over the next four days, Moor and his men fight for survival day and night against frightful odds.

The film also cuts to the home front where Moor’s wife Julia (Madeleine Stowe) decides to help look after the soldier’s wives back on the base once they start receiving news of some of their husband’s deaths. We lastly see the story through the eyes of a young combat reporter, Joe Galloway (Barry Pepper), who documents the sacrifices of the young soldiers. Joe Galloway would later go on to author the book “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” detailing the accounts of the battle Ia Drang Valley. Victory in the battle finally comes for the Americans but at a terrible cost, and it becomes clear that, as a result, the war in Vietnam will only escalate in its scale and ferocity.

So many movies on the Vietnam war attempt to shock and dehumanize both sides of the conflict; this film stands out because it shows the bravery and humanity of both the Vietnamese and Americans who died fighting.

We Were Soldiers is available at the Union University Library. Please note it is Rated R for intense scenes of warfare.  We are also happy to provide you with the book that this film is based on and adapted from.

 

 

 

 

Moments In History: November 10th, 1929

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Matthew Beyer has begun a “Moments In History” series to raise awareness of important historical events. Each post will also have book recommendations about the moment in history, using our extensive history collection in the library.

 

November 10th, 1929

All Quiet On The Western Front

This Sunday marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of the great novel All Quiet on The Western Front. Written by Erich Maria Remarque, this novel is based in part on his own experience serving in the German army during World War I. The novel details the tragic experiences of common German soldiers, who are mostly reluctant to fight and quickly disillusioned by the horrors of the Great War. The main character acts as if he is merely a shell of his former self as he goes on day after day in the misery of trench warfare. When his comrades and friends are killed or wounded, it is not a glorious or chivalrous affair but horrific and matter of fact, as if it was bad luck.

All Quiet On the Western Front goes on to show that soldiers returning home on leave or after the war become a lost generation who has seen too much suffering and death. They feel as if they can never fully be themselves again and feel alienated to those back home.

This novel was a landmark success upon publication; it received great acclaim worldwide selling nearly 2.5 million copies. It was translated into 22 languages in a little over its first year in print. Unfortunately, due to its success at portraying the truly horrific nature of the war and its portrayal of the German army, it was deemed offensive to the German State and was one of the first books to be publicly burned in mass when the Nazis began to seize power. The novel was hailed by pacifists around the world as an important testament to the senselessness of war. It would go on to be adapted into a film in 1930, winning the first Oscar for Best Picture for a film that didn’t have a musical number accompanying it.

The film would eventually have a 1979 remake that was also highly praised. There are even plans for yet another updated remake in the works. This is an important piece of literature and film that was among the first to attempt to explain the true gruesomeness of war and the now understood post-traumatic-stress disorder that affects so many soldiers who have seen the devastating effects of war.

If this topic interests you, and you would like to learn more, the Union University Library has this novel and film available in the links below: