Literary One-Hit Wonders

By Library Clerk, David Winn
 
We all know the name Harper Lee. Whether it was from reading her luminary novel To Kill a Mockingbird or from watching the fantastic film adaptation starring Gregory Peck from 1962, the characters Harper Lee created based on her own experience growing up in racially discordant Monroeville, Alabama have struck a chord with many personally and in the American consciousness. When it was announced earlier this year that Go Set a Watchman, Lee’s second novel was to be released, many were no doubt surprised to learn that Lee was still alive despite having not published anything in the previous five decades, due in no small part to her cherished reclusiveness. Funnily enough, this “new” novel is not so new at all—Lee wrote this story, set chronologically after To Kill a Mockingbird, before her masterpiece was even started. Her editor urged her to table the text for time being and try writing something from young Scout’s perspective, a decision which inadvertently spurred on the creation of a treasured classic. Early reactions from those who have read the manuscript indicate that Lee has another brilliant work to her credit now, but there is no shame in living as a literary one-hit wonder. She certainly is not the first, and as history goes to show, sometimes all you need is one powerful work to guarantee you will never be forgotten.

Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights in 1847 before passing from consumption within a year’s time. This gothic tale of unrequited love and madness set on the windswept fields of northern England has been a staple of Victorian literature, and later an example of classic romance in somewhat more straightforward film adaptations. People tend to refer to the Brontë sisters as a collective, but each of the women’s work contain characteristics all their own, which makes it all the more disappointing that Emily wasn’t able to complete a second major work.

Ralph Ellison’s only released one novel, Invisible Man in 1952. There was no tragic death to cut short Ellison’s career as a novelist; he was a prolific writer, as exhibited in several collections of essays that were published in his fifty-year career. In some ways, Invisible Man distills everything Ellison critiqued about the African American experience, inspired by the prejudices he faced as a black man in America, imagined through the eyes of a man who had been driven underground (literally) and made invisible by a society that refused to acknowledge him. While his essays gave him a shorter, more direct form to level social critique, he nevertheless tried to draft a second novel. After a catastrophic house fire consumed the manuscript he had started in 1967, he tried for the remainder of his career to craft a second novel he felt was up to snuff. He left over 2,000 pages after his death which have been edited and released in different forms, but never with the singular, complete power of Invisible Man.

While a bulk of his work is comprised of short stories and novellas, J.D. Salinger is another author whose name stands out because of the popularity of his single novel, A Catcher in the Rye. This seminal work of teenage alienation has become as widely read as it is challenged, still being one of the books most targeted by concerned parents for banning in schools. Salinger continued to write after the novel’s publication in 1951, but he soon grew fond of a life of reclusion, and ceased publishing anything after a final novella in 1965. It may surprise you then, that Salinger passed away in 2010 at age 91, having not given any interviews for three decades.

Which bring us back to Harper Lee, or Nell as she was known to close friends, such as true crime author Truman Capote. While making rare appearances to receive accolades and the occasional written letter that garnered press, Lee has certainly maintained privacy despite her novel’s success. She also abandoned her only attempt at writing a novel in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird, going so far as to declare that we would never see another from her. Hopefully with the release of Go Set a Watchman, everyone will get what they want. For the readers, another story from this brilliant writer featuring characters we already love, and for Harper Lee, the peace of mind that comes with taking care of unfinished business.

New on the Video Shelves

Close to 4000 DVDs are available for you to view in your Library. Come and see what new titles we have recently added to our video collection.
You Don’t Know Jack DVD
PN 1992.77 .Y68 2010
Made for HBO, Barry Levinson’s sympathetic telefilm casts an affable eye on a serious subject: the mission of Jack Kevorkian (a thoroughly de-glamorized Al Pacino). In the opening sequence, Kevorkian tells his long-suffering sister, Margo (Brenda Vaccaro, excellent), how hard he found it to watch their mother die a long and agonizing death. Convinced that the terminally ill deserve the right to die with dignity, he shares his beliefs with Jack (James Urbaniak), a Detroit journalist; Janet (Susan Sarandon), a Hemlock Society leader; and Neal (John Goodman), a medical supply salesman (the scenes of Neal and Jack playing poker recall Levinson’s Diner). Before he’s assisted a single patient, Kevorkian makes the national news, prompting Neal to quip, “You’re not a local quack anymore. You’re America’s quack.” Writer Adam Mazer profiles several of the 130 patients to take advantage of his “mercy machine,” starting with Janet Adkins, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. For protection, Jack acquires the services of attorney Geoffrey Fieger (Danny Huston), who supports him through evictions, lawsuits, jail time, and hunger strikes–until Kevorkian engineers his own downfall by defending himself. As with HBO’s Recount, Levinson adds archival footage at key points, such that Barbara Walters and others appear to play themselves. If he handles Jack’s quirks with humor, he always treats the afflicted with respect, and if Pacino’s accent skews more New York than Michigan, his pleasure in playing this strong-willed eccentric fuels Levinson’s finest directorial effort in ages. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

Medicating Children DVD
RJ 560 .M43 2013
Every day, 1 in 5 children under 18 years of age receives medication for an acute pathology. When mediations taken for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and ADHD — as well as over-the counter medications — are taken into consideration, the total number of children who are taking medications in the United States is staggering. Administering medication to children is a unique challenge requiring specialized knowledge and skills. The nurse must consider each child’s age, background and level of physical and psychosocial development, and the administration process must be tailored to meet these particular needs. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable to medication errors. The two-part “Medicating Children” series demonstrates the safest, gentlest and least intrusive methods of administering pediatric medications to children of varying ages. It includes clear guidelines for the preventions of errors, appropriate precautions and instruction on the precise administration of otic, ophthalmic, nasal, oral and rectal medications.

Anatomy for Beginners: A Live Autopsy DVD
QM 33.5 .A533 2009

Dr. Gunther von Hagens and Prof. John A Lee take a journey through the human body in front of a live audience. To show the mechanics of the human body, Dr. Gunther von Hagens performs the autopsy While Prof. John A. Lee analyzes the complex design. Each program focuses on a different function. Starting with movement, followed by circulation, digestion and reproduction. The 200 minute long, four-part series of anatomy classes aims to reveal exactly how the human body functions. It presents an informative and fascinating anatomy lesson from the brain to the toes and takes viewers on a tour of the inner body.

New Books 24×7 titles (eBooks and videos)

Read and watch from home, available 24×7 for your ultimate convenience. Books 24×7 has just added 99 IT and Desktop Videos, 5 BusinessPro titles, 9 EngineeringPro titles and 12 ITPro titles. Below are just a few examples. Enjoy!

BABOK: A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, v3
BABOK: A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, v3 by International Institute of Business Analysis
IIBA © 2015 (514 pages)
ISBN: 9781927584026
Whether you are considering starting a career in business analysis, or you are an experienced professional in the field, this book is your key resource to help you and your stakeholders discover opportunities for business success, deliver successful organizational change, and create business value.
Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World
Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World by Kiyoteru Tsutsui and Alwyn Lim (eds)
Cambridge University Press © 2015 (514 pages)
ISBN: 9781107098596
Demonstrating the impact of global CSR frameworks on corporate behavior, this book proposes a global approach to understanding the rise and spread of corporate social responsibility, explaining the origin of CSR and the reasons for its growing popularity across the globe.
Freedom to Change: Four Strategies to Put Your Inner Drive into Overdrive
Freedom to Change: Four Strategies to Put Your Inner Drive into Overdrive by Michael Fullan
Jossey-Bass © 2015 (192 pages)
ISBN: 9781119024361
Illustrated and enriched with examples from education, business, and nonprofit sectors, this engaging book offers recommendations for both individuals and organizations seeking to enhance connectedness and independence.
Great Lessons in Project Management
Great Lessons in Project Management by David Pratt
Management Concepts © 2015 (158 pages)
ISBN: 9781567264722
Presenting a collection of stories describing the events surrounding particular challenges a project manager may face, this book will help managers validate their own good practices and help them avoid the pitfalls so many have encountered on their projects.