Posted in Books We Find Interesting, News Flash

(News) We Find Interesting: Where do you keep *your* books?

books in refrigeratorSaw this over the weekend at News of the Weird:

The business website Quartz reported in June that a popular consumer item in North Korea’s perhaps-improving economy is the refrigerator, made in China and increasingly available as a reward to stellar performers among civil servants and other elites. The appliances, however, cannot reliably store food because the country’s electric grid is so frequently offline and are mostly just status symbols. One item Quartz says often gets displayed in the refrigerator: books.


Posted in Books We Find Interesting, Research Skills

[Resources] We Find Interesting: Eat the Carp!

You already know (courtesy of of our fine faculty or excellent library presentations) that letters, diaries, interviews and other primary source texts provide invaluable information for research papers or projects. But were you aware that visual primary sources such as photos, posters or pamphlets often tell just as much, if not more, about a given period or event? Visual sources reflect the moods and concerns of government and society and can be used alongside more traditional resources to provide a richer, more complete picture of an era or historical event.

They can also provide some humor:

Eat the Carp! 1911 US Bureau of Fisheries poster courtesy of the National Archives ( Public Researcher Wiki.

All joking aside, consider using some of these visual primary sources to help with your research project or presentation. The American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress and the National Archives: DocTeach site are excellent resources for primary sources from American history. Our LRC course subject guides also contain a number of primary source databases as well as guidelines for identifying, locating and using primary sources.

Posted in Books We Find Interesting, Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Holiday Recommendations to Combat LRC Withdrawal Syndrome

3 sentences (more or less) about fascinating books  that beg to be read (or heard) in less than 3 days 12 days.*

blacksfrom Black’s Medical Dictionary, 41st edition (p.458):

LRC Withdrawal Syndrome (LWS) is an uncomfortable and potentially disruptive condition brought about by passing an extended period of time without reading a library book or blog entry, receiving a library email, or interacting with an LRC staff member. Symptoms include restlessness, an inflamed right big toe and the desire to spend long hours reading ingredient labels, the fine print, and sets of instructions in all 3 languages (4 if the product is from IKEA.) Some stricken by LWS may find themselves making repeated phone calls to the LRC voicemail or sitting silent at a table full of people, unable to think of interesting or witty topics of conversation.

To this date there have been no confirmed deaths from LWS but candy canes, Christmas TV programming and retail outlet store sales have been known to increase the severity and duration of symptoms.”

To help counter any possible outbreaks of LWS over the break the library staff offers the following recommendations:

Featured Audiobooks:

  • A Prairie Home Companion: Dusty and Lefty, The Lives of the Cowboys (Garrison Keillor et al)
  • Bad Dogs Have More Fun (John Grogan)
  • Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  • Naked (David Sedaris)
  • I Am America (And So Can You!) (Stephen Colbert)
  • Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
  • Magical Thinking (Augusten Burroughs)
  • The Appeal (John Grisham)

NCLive: Did you know that you also have access to free audiobooks that you can download to your computer or portable device? Please contact a librarian if you need the remote access login/password for NCLive.

Print Books: Follow the links to more information about each title

  • Life of Pi: (Yann Martel) Read it before you see the movie! Seen the movie? Read the book! A Booker Prize winner and staff favorite about a Hindu/Muslim/Christian boy who finds himself stranded at sea with Richard Parker, a fully-grown Bengal tiger, as his only companion.
  • Game of Thrones: (George RR Martin): Read it before…um…Martin’s fantasy series has been described as “fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy” and lives up to the praise by featuring well-developed characters and twisting intrigues instead of relying on swords and magic. If you’ve been waiting for some free time to tackle this weighty series-which is also nearing its 3rd season as a popular HBO show-now is your chance.
  • Sarah Addison Allen: We just received all 4 of this NY Times-bestselling author’s books! Allen, who was born in Asheville and now lives near Leicester, is know for her magical realism and perfectly rendered portrayals of family struggles.
  • The Imperfectionists: (Tom Rachman) Brilliant and often hysterical look at the newspaper industry as seen through the lives of the writers and readers of a small paper in Rome. Currently a favorite of LRC Director Bill Kinyon.
  • Empire Falls:(Richard Russo) The secrets of two small-town families intersect to reveal the hidden motives and dark history of the people protagonist Miles Roby knows and loves. An excellent blend of drama and comedy that perfectly captures the often deep waters of small town politics. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: (John Berendt) A classic true crime story with a host of characters that provide ample evidence for the maxim that “truth is stranger than fiction.”
  • One Second After: (William Forstchen, Black Mountain resident and Montreat Professor) “In a Norman Rockwell town in North Carolina, where residents rarely lock homes, retired army colonel John Matherson teaches college, raises two daughters, and grieves the loss of his wife to cancer. When phones die and cars inexplicably stall, Grandma’s pre-computerized Edsel takes readers to a stunning scene on the car-littered interstate, on which 500 stranded strangers, some with guns, awaken John’s New Jersey street-smart instincts to get the family home and load the shotgun. Next morning, some townspeople realize that an electromagnetic pulse weapon has destroyed America’s power grid, and they proceed to set survival priorities. Food becomes scarce, and societal breakdown proceeds with inevitable violence; towns burn, and ex-servicemen recall “Korea in ’51” as military action by unlikely people becomes the norm in Forstchen’s sad, riveting cautionary tale, the premise of which Newt Gingrich’s foreword says is completely possible.” –Booklist

More recommended titles:

*Individual times may vary due to distractions such as  calling birds, lords a-leaping, pipers piping, or drummers drumming . The LRC is not responsible for books not finished within 3 days the advertised period. We do, however,  guarantee that our library staff finds each featured title compelling enough that it may cause readers to lose sleep or skip favorite TV shows in order to find out what happens next.

Posted in Books We Find Interesting

Come Judge Books by Their Covers (& Titles)! A New LRC Display

Some of these books are considered “must reads” by acclaimed authors. Some of them may inspire you to go on a weekend-long reality TV binge. We can’t be too sure considering we have not read most of them. Yes, your LRC librarians have selected for your (potential) reading pleasure a host of books based solely on their covers, their titles, or both.

Why have we done this? Because we’ve all done it on at least one occasion, either refusing to read a certain book or purchasing one at random because of the cover. There is a good chance that you have a book on your shelf right now, a favorite book that you recommend to friends, whose regrettable cover art conceals a truly enjoyable reading experience. There is also probably a book buried deep in your personal library, spine unbroken and pages crisp, that you will never, ever begin again. But man, it did look good on that Barnes and Noble display table!

Reading, like many things, rewards those who take chances. Read the same kind of books, according to Vonnegut, and you will stay the same person. Author Haruki Murakami praises the ability of books “to happen” to you. So, please take a look at these books and wander through our stacks looking for new things. Pick something up and take it home with anticipation. Even better, pick something up and take it home with uncertainty or reluctance. Those are not necessarily bad things.

A few of our choices, with brief explanations. There are many more so stop by the LRC circulation desk to view the full display.

The Anatomists (local author Hal McDonald): Any period mystery that features a horse-drawn hearse and cobblestone streets on the cover has an 85% chance of being good. We did the math.


Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen): A wonderful book. A talented author. But look closer at the cover for this edition and you may think that Austen’s classic was set in Ancient Greece instead of genteel England.

Our Southern Highlanders
(Horace Kephart): The cover for this acclaimed Appalachian read has an intriguing and appropriately old-timey looking photo on it. Who is that figure? A southern highlander? Sasquatch? And how will he ever get down? Good books inspire lots of questions.

The Worst Hard Time (Timothy Egan): Even without knowing it won the National Book Award wouldn’t you be curious as to what “the worst hard time” might be?


Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Tom Robbins): Really, this one needs no explanation.


The Night Circus (Erin Morganstern): A simple color palette with a promisingly fantastical circus tent. Though it’s garnered many well-deserved glowing reviews we would wager our stash of coffee that this book would win 2011’s “Most Often Purchased For Its Clever Cover/Title Combo” Award.

The Peter Matthiessen Reader (edited by McKay Jenkins): Matthiessen may well be, as stated by the NYT quote on its cover, “our greatest modern nature writer” but that leopard cub appears to wish it was elsewhere, anywhere.

I Took a Lickin’ and Kept On Tickin’
(Lewis Grizzard): Where to begin? Since an entire paper could be written on this book’s cover alone we need bullet points:

  • Apparently it’s a NATIONAL BESTSELLER!, a phrase that manages to convey both overconfidence and surprise.
  • Grizzard had to hit wardrobe and pose for 3 different photos to make this cover. That’s impressive.
  • All the temptations seem to be on the author’s left side except for the cigarette. Is this an editorial comment?
  • Note the thematic use of red and white in the photos and the type-this is very literary, and you haven’t even opened the book yet!
  • You know this book will be good because if pop culture, from Dr. Faustus to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” has taught us anything it’s that any type of spiritual gambling event is bound to be interesting.
Posted in Books We Find Interesting

What HCC “Survivors” Would Read…

Castaway Reading TitlesThanks to everyone who added titles to our “What Book Would You Bring to Read on a Desert Island” display! We had a blast seeing the variety of books posted and talking good reads with everyone. As you can see in the picture (click to embiggen) we received quite a few entries. Here are some highlights (* denotes titles receiving multiple votes):

Playing the Long Game: Lengthy books to occupy the long hours

  • The Lord of the Rings  (Tolkien)*
  • War and Peace (Tolstoy)
  • Harry Potter Series* (Rowling) –Technically not one book but our rules committee allowed it since it is available in a boxed set. Plus it’s Harry Potter.
  • The Holy Bible*


  • Lonesome Dove (McMurtry)
  • Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky)
  • The Stranger (Camus)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck)
  • The Cat in the Hat (Seuss)

T(r)opical Titles: Some offered books with an island theme…

  • Hawaii (Mitchener)
  • Life of Pi (Martel)
  • Robinson Crusoe (Defoe)
  • The Road Less Traveled (Peck)

Wishful Thinking?: Invaluable titles of questionable authenticity…

  • Good Plants, Bad Plants
  • How to Survive on a Desert Island
  • How to Build a Satellite from Scratch
  • Embrace the Here and Now
  • Survival 101

Didn’t get a chance to add your book the list (or have another good book to share)? Add it in the comments section below or stop by the LRC–we’ll leave the display up a little while longer.