Neighborhood Happenings: Auditions at the East Cleveland Theater

 m for murder

Are you a secret thespian? How about your son or daughter? Or zany old aunt Milly? If so, you’d better get over to the East Cleveland Theater TONIGHT between 7-9 P.M. or TOMORROW at that same time, because auditions are going on for “Dial ‘M’ for Murder”, the popular stage play on which the motion picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Grace Kelly was based.

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And on your way back from the audition, be sure to stop by the library. “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” is available in our catalog in both DVD and Blu Ray formats. We’ve also got the entire Hitchcock oeuvre, and biographies galore of your favorite actors of screen and stage.  Swing over to the reference desk and we’ll be more than happy to put it any or all of these items on hold for you.

Calling all Bards of East Cleveland!

Put the East Cleveland Public Library’s new Creative Writing Workshop on your calendars now!

Creative Writing Flyer

Tuesday, September 9th, 6:00 PM, at the library. We’re hoping to build a supportive and dynamic group of writers, and we’re going to have a lots of fun. Email Travis Forntey at travis.fortney@ecpl.lib.oh.us with any questions about the group, or stop by the reference desk!  

From our Shelves: “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers

There’s a long stream-of-consciousness passage toward the middle of former soldier Kevin Powers’ haunting, disturbing and downright gorgeous debut novel about the Iraq War that acts as something of a thesis. “…really, cowardice got you into this mess,” says his narrator, 21-year-old John Bartle, speaking about himself in the second person, “because you wanted to be a man and people made fun of you in the cafeteria and hallways in high school because you liked to read books and poems sometimes and they’d call you fag and really deep down you know you went because you wanted to be a man…”

Kevin Powers yellow birds

The unsettling sentence that quotation comes from is more than a page long. The Yellow Birds takes the form of a fractured narrative, taking place both during before and after the war, hurtling toward and away from the traumatic event at the book’s center, and in the passage in question Bartle is back home in Virginia and reflecting. In the war, his friend Murph has died, and the circumstances surrounding his death have pushed Bartle to the brink, where he will either come to terms with the legal and psychological consequences of his actions, or let those actions define and destroy him forever.

I chose that passage to highlight for a few reasons. First, it states very simply what The Yellow Birds is. It’s a novel about a poet–an awkward, smart, artsy kid who loved books–who enlisted in the Army at seventeen, witnessed the horrors of war, and returned to tell the tale. The second reason I chose that passage is that it’s far from perfect. It’s hard not to get lost in a page-long sentence, and hard not to question whether there wasn’t a more concise and to-the-point way to express the emotions driving the prose. That’s the way The Yellow Birds as a whole is, too. It has its flaws–it moves at a very meandering pace, and Powers sometimes seems to get a bit lost in longer passages, giving the words themselves the run of the show and drawing too much attention to the writing–but to get stuck on these imperfections is to miss the point. The fact is, this sharp little novel’s existence is something of a miracle, and I don’t believe that’s overstating it.

The obvious comparison to be drawn here is Ernest Hemingway’s war novels and, intentionally or not, Powers invokes Hemingway again and again in these pages. But this is much more than facsimile. Powers allows himself a structure that it’s hard to imagine Hemingway using, includes sentences that Hemingway would likely have cut for being too flowery, and gives his narrator the freedom to slip into stream-of-consciousness. It’s brutal, unflinching, and beautiful. We all have our opinions about Hemingway, but one point that can’t be argued is that the man was a worker. He believed in his writing as art, and he strove for the eternal. He slaved over his sentences. Here is Powers describing a firefight:

hemingway arms hemingway bells

Noctiluca, I thought, Ceratium, as the tracers began to show themselves sifted in twilight, two words learned on a school field trip to the tidewaters of Virginia that appeared as I was shooting at the man, paying no attention then to the strange connections made inside my mind, the small storms of electricity that cause them to rise and then submerge, then rise again. A fleeting thought of a young girl beside me on a dock, back there the twilight coming on, the crack of tracers as I shot and shot again, the man crawling from his weapon until he stopped and his blood trickled down the river in its final ebbing tide, brief as bioluminescence.”

By taking as much care with his sentences as Hemingway (or Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Marilynne Robinson) and aiming to create something eternal, Powers has made a profound statement: our present America is worth this obsessive devotion to detail, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are worth the work it takes to express something so complex as art, and its heroes, the young men and women fighting it, deserve to be elevated in the same way that Hemingway elevated the heroes of his wars.

This book made me sad that Powers had to fight in this war, but very happy that he was there to bear witness and bring this story back with him. It also made me feel patriotic, proud of the tradition of American letters, and proud to be participating as a reader.

The Yellow Birds by Richard Powers is shelved in East Cleveland Public Library’s fiction section under “P”. Come on by library, stop by the reference desk, and I’ll be happy to show you where it is. 

Review of The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

ImageHave you ever read a book that left you scratching your head and wondering what the heck you just read when you finish it? That happened to me last night. I devoured The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell in a matter of days.

The Other Typist was set in 1925, Prohibition-era New York City. Rose Baker, an orphan who was raised by nuns, is a typist in a police precinct. She transcribes confessions given by criminals. She is conservative and plays by the rules. Until Odalie starts working at the precinct, too. Rose quickly becomes obsessed with the daring Odalie, with her bobbed hair and seemingly never-ending supply of cash. Odalie outfits Rose in short dresses, takes her to underground speakeasies, and convinces her to dabble in some illegal behaviors. In the end, Rose has to decide just how far she’s willing to go to keep her friendship with Odalie. Or does she?

I’m a huge fan of unreliable narrators. I’ve always liked not being sure if the narrator is being truthful. But I think Rose is the most unreliable narrator ever. I have some theories about Rose and how the book ended, but I don’t want to spoil anything. All I’ll say is that I haven’t stopped thinking about the ending of the book since last night!

Here’s a list of some of my favorite books featuring unreliable narrators:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Yellow Wall-Paper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gillman

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Town Hall Meeting at East Cleveland Public Library: Impact of Ohio House Bill 59

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TOWN HALL MEETING AT EAST CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
IMPACT OF OHIO HOUSE BILL 59

Monday, August 5, 2013
Greg L. Reese Performing Arts Center

THE EVENT:
East Cleveland Public Library encourages the citizens of East Cleveland to attend a Town Hall Meeting, which addresses issues from Ohio House Bill 59, the State of Ohio’s Main Operating Budget for fiscal year 2014 and 2015. Refreshments will be served.

SPEAKERS:

  • Senator Nina Turner (D): Ohio Senate District 25
  • Representative Sandra Williams (D): Ohio House District 11
  • Representative Armond Budish (D): Ohio House District 8
  • Special Guest Moderator Reverend Leah C.K. Lewis

FOCUS OF DISCUSSION:

  • Cuts of Ohio’s School Funding: Including Funding for Higher Education
  • Abolishment of Women’s Rights: Including Provisions Restricting Women’s Access to Adequate Healthcare
  • Increases in Sales and Property Taxes
  • The Elimination of Funding for Job Opportunities and Workforce Training

REGISTRATION:

  • On site registration and sign-in will take place from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Pre-registration is available at www.ecpl.lib.oh.us
  • The Debra Ann November Learning Center will be open to the community for the viewing of the Icabod Flewellen African Art Collection

Please plan to attend!

Summer Reading Program is Here!

It’s summer time, and that means Summer Reading is here! East Cleveland Public Library offers programs for patrons of all ages, so make sure you get reading this summer! The Summer Reading Programs last until August 4, so don’t miss out.

The Children’s Summer Reading Program, Dream Big, Read! is open to children ages 6 to 12. Register in the Children’s Department. Each child will create a reading log and add to it as they read. Parents are encouraged to participate in the Adult Summer Reading Program and compete with their children. Reading a book to your child counts as an entry for the Adult Summer Reading Program! Look for a puppet show happening this summer, too!

Teens, get ready for Own the Night! Register in the Teen Department and start on your reading log. Participants will be eligible for weekly prize drawings on top of the grant prize drawing! The Teen Summer Reading Program is open to teens ages 13-17.

Adults, get ready to read and rate books to be entered in the grand prize drawing. After you’re done reading a book, just pick up a review slip at the reference desk and rate the book you just finished. There are no limits to the number of entries you can submit, so the more you read, the greater your chances are of winning! Between the Covers, the Adult Summer Reading Program, is open to participants 18 years of age or older.

We look forward to seeing you at the library this summer. Happy reading!

Summer Cooling Assistance

Cleveland, OH – May 30th, 2012 – The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) will begin accepting Summer Cooling Program applications on June 1st, 2012 a full month in advance of previous years.

Income eligible households with a member who is sixty (60) years of age or older, households with a member who has an illness that would benefit from assistance, or households that have a disconnection notice can receive an air conditioner or assistance for payment of a utility bill. To receive an air conditioner, no physician’s documentation of illness is needed for households with a member sixty (60) years or older. Others who cannot present a disconnection notice for their electric services must have documentation of a qualifying illness. The maximum benefit for both the electric energy bill and the air conditioner cannot exceed a total of $250. Households that have received an air conditioner in 2009, 2010 or 2011 are not eligible to receive another air conditioner.

“We are excited that the program has been extended for another full month,” says Evelyn Rice, Vice President of Community Services for CEOGC. “with many predicting a hot summer, this program could end up saving many lives of elderly or sick residents.”

For a household of one, the qualifying standard is $22,340 annually; for two, $30,260; for three, $38,180; and, for four, $46,100. Documentation of income, social security numbers for all household members, and current energy bills must be presented when County residents apply for assistance.

Residents are encouraged to make appointments by calling (216) 518-4014. The line is accessible 24 hours each day, 7 days a week. Those who cannot come into the office should call (216) 263-6266 to request a home visit. The CEOGC Housing Services Office located at 1849 Prospect Avenue will accept 45 walk-in applicants each day beginning at 7:30 AM and give priority attention to households with members who are 60 years of age of older. The Housing Services Office hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Residents who schedule appointments may be seen at the CEOGC Housing Services Office or one their affiliated service locations.

The final day to apply for summer cooling assistance is August 31st, 2012.

The library does not have any applications for this program. You must contact CEOGC at (216) 518-4014.