Friday, July 22, 2016

The Picture of Dorian Gray



Title
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author
Oscar Wilde
Call Number
PR 5819.A1
Location
2nd Floor Humanities
Rating
Somewhat Recommended
Book Review
Dorian Grey is a young man who has magnificent good looks, is charming, and a member of royal elite of London in the 1890’s. Everyone who meets him is spellbound by his youthful beauty and grace. Artist, Basil Hallward, falls in love with Dorian’s beauty and paints a picture for Dorian that highlights his good looks. Dorian gets depressed when the painting is completed and cry’s out, “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful.  But this picture will remain always young….If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old!”
This is the basic plot of Dorian Grey. The reader witness Dorain Grey’s soul crumble as his vanity and lack of conscious destroy anyone who has love or passion for this young man.  Dorain’s destructive progress is reflected upon the painting, yet he remains beautiful throughout the novel.  This is a morality story that teaches the readers that beauty is shallow and that it is a person’s character that makes a person truly beautiful…or something like that.  This is not a bad story, but it is a bit melodramatic.   Final Grade: B.
Submitted By
James Taylor
Department or Major
CES
Status
Staff
Chapman Email

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Less Than Zero



Title
Less Than Zero
Author
Bret Easton Ellis
Call Number
PS3555.L5937 L4 1986
Location
2nd Floor Humanities
Rating
Highly Recommended
Book Review
In the summer, I always try to re-read a favorite. This year I turned back to "Less Than Zero". The book looks at the indulgent lifestyles of affluent youth during the 80s. Strictly a work of fiction, this book primarily follows the lives of three friends, each struggling with their own set of problems as they begin life in the adult world. Often compared with "Catcher in the Rye", this book is a fun read for those of us that lived our early twenties during the 1980's. I still think this was by far, Ellis' best work. None of his catalog compares to it, in my opinion. Take this one with you to the beach!
Submitted By
Jeff Brouwer
Department or Major
SMC
Status
Staff
Chapman Email

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Violent death in the city



Title
Violent death in the city : suicide, accident, and murder in nineteenth-century Philadelphia
Author
Roger Lane
Call Number
HN80.P5 L36 1979  
Location
2nd Floor Social Sciences
Rating
Somewhat Recommended
Book Review
  As edgy as the title of this book is, it is nonetheless a very dry study study of unnatural death in the 1800s.
 Pieced largely from obituaries and records from the era, the book is more of an exercise in semantics (what constitutes an accident as compared to manslaughter when based off of inconclusive records) than a morbid reference map of my hometown.
  One of the more interesting takeaways of the book was the astounding number of people that drunkenly fell into the Schuylkill River in the 19th Century, but for the most part it was an arduous read.
While local historians and those interested in 19th century record-keeping might enjoy this book, I don't know how appealing this would be to a casual reader.
Submitted By
Cotton Coslett
Department or Major
Leatherby Libraries
Status
Faculty
Chapman Email

Our Souls at Night



Title
Our Souls at Night
Author
Kent Haruf
Call Number
McNaughton
Location
1st Floor McNaughton
Rating
Recommended
Book Review
The novel explores so many things in a small number of pages - life, death, aging, family, and love. Written in a unique style with kind characters, I enjoyed this fast read, but it may not be for everyone. I am eager to read the author's other works
Submitted By
Joan Mountain
Department or Major
Law Career Services
Status
Staff
Chapman Email

Made in America



Title
Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
Author
Bill Bryson
Call Number
PE2809 .B79 2001  
Location
2nd Floor Humanities
Rating
Highly Recommended
Book Review
This is a fascinating examination of the ways English has shifted and grown since coming to the United States, from its adoption and twisting of Native American words before the Pilgrims arrived, to the influence of various waves of immigrants, to the effects of advertising, sports, film, food, war, and more on the language.  The only chapters that fell a bit short were toward the end, where the book showed its age (it was written in 1994, and thus had views of the role of computers in society and the general modern state of the language that are no longer accurate).  Still, the majority of this book is a very interesting read for linguists and people interested in English, though it is written in a manner to be accessible to those without much knowledge in those fields.
Submitted By
Kristin Laughtin-Dunker
Department or Major
Leatherby Libraries
Status
Staff
Chapman Email