- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
At first, I couldn’t find a nonfiction book about Truman Capote written by Harper Lee, but I did find a fiction book(novel) about Truman Capote written by Harper Lee. Harper Lee based the character of Dill Harris after Truman Capote in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize. (To date, it has sold more than 30 million copies.)
I kept digging though, and I found Truman Capote published nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood in 1963. Harper Lee traveled with Truman Capote to interview town members, friends, and investigators regarding the murder of four members of the Clutter family for an article, but it later became this nonfiction novel. However, Truman Capote never recognized Harper Lee for her contributions to the novel. Harper Lee was upset and disappointed with Truman Capote. This novel is significant as the first in a new literary genre - the nonfiction novel.
So the customer either wanted a fiction book about Truman Capote written by Harper Lee or a nonfiction book written by Truman Capote (and Harper Lee) - and after discussing the possibilities with the customer, the correct answer was the second, In Cold Blood.
All in all, a fascinating search!
San Jose Public Library Collections
My first encounter with John McPhee was in a Jerseyanna class I took as an undergraduate. It was his book The Pine Barrens. From sugar sands to dwarf pine forests, tea-colored streams and Piney Power, McPhee distilled and immortalized the essence of the Pine Barrens in his elegant, concise prose.
Many years later I rediscovered McPhee’s magnificence. Annals of the Former World won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. This opus compiles several earlier works written over a period of twenty years focusing on the geological history of North America.
McPhee crisscrosses the United States on the transcontinental highway, Interstate 80, with geologists in search of visible signs of upheaval and orogenies. For laypersons, reading about geology may seem akin to watching paint dry, but McPhee makes it rock and roll.
Part of what makes the books so intriguing are the colorful geologists McPhee befriends, whose main vocation seems to be hunting down marvelous road cuts and hammering at rock formations along interstate highways and remote mountain ranges.
McPhee is a masterful non-fiction writer. His writing on geology has made many people reconsider their choice of career and has popularized an otherwise esoteric academic subject.
Check out John McPhee’s works at the San Jose Public Library and follow along with McPhee and company on a road trip through time.
The books that comprise Annals of the Former World:
Basin and Range: Interstate 80 is the route and Nevada is the destination. McPhee explains the introduction and development of plate tectonics as a theory.
In Suspect Terrain: The Appalachian Range and Delaware Water Gap take center stage. McPhee explains how violent underground eruptions produce “diamond pipes” and how oil, silver and gold end up in geologic formations.
Rising From the Plains: Wyoming is the setting and the exhumation of the Rockies is the plot. David Love, the legendary geoscientist McPhee befriends, is born of the Wyoming landscape and leads McPhee around the rugged and beautiful Wyoming terrain.
Assembling California: McPhee explains how disparate geologic features, such at the Sierras, Wine Country and the San Andreas Fault, come together to form California and how these features have guided human exploration of the land.
Crossing the Craton: This title does not appear as a stand-alone volume, it was written as the fifth chapter in Annals of the Former World. It discusses the stable, basement rock of the Great Plains and Great Lakes region.
Olive Kitteridge, as portrayed by Elizabeth Strout in her 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning book, is a woman we could visualize as someone we know. She is a large presence, both in her stature, and in the ways she impacts the lives of the people who live in a small town in Maine. There are 13 short stories that comprise the novel, Olive Kitteridge. The one common element in all of them, is the relationship between Olive and the characters in each of these stories, about whom you will become terribly concerned, or at least, extremely curious.
So many times I've read a wonderful book, and thought that it would make a great movie. Inevitably, someone will buy the rights and produce it. Whether it is an Oscar contender or not, you'll often hear people say, "Oh the book was so much better!" In the case of Olive Kitteridge, it has been adapted for theater, and I so enjoyed the play. It was presented by Word For Word Theater of San Francisco. The actors were very close to the characters I had visualized, especially Olive who was played by Patricia Silver. This production captured the essence of Olive through only two of the stories and narration. The complexity of all of the characters and stories was impossible to stage in the play's duration. You'll really want to read the book! Frances McDormand, the brilliant Oscar winning actress in Fargo, is going to be in a HBO television production of Olive Kitteridge. If you read the book you'll be able to judge whether the production does justice to this marvelous character and extraordinary book.
Your San José Public Library card is your passport to SJPL's databases, which are invaluable for analysis and reviews of this novel, other literature, or research on other topics. Click on this link to Academic Search Complete, and with your library card barcode, and pin, you will be able to search. Using search terms such as Olive Kitteridge and Strout, your results will include reviews and analysis from the New York Times, Library Journal, Publishers' Weekly, Atlantic Monthly, and many more sources.
Enjoy reading Olive Kitteridge and look forward to comparing your reading experience to the variety of media that will be presenting Olive. With SJPL's databases in literature, you can be ready for your book group's discussion of Olive as she teaches and learns life's lessons.