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Author Archive for Terri

Self Remembering

by Terri on January 22nd, 2008
Self Remembering Cover Image

When I was a little girl I was traumatize by the film In Cold Blood. You see when it first was aired on network television WMT (now KGAN) chose to show it after 10:30 P.M. My brother Steve and I snuck into the living room to watch it and of course came into the movie as the farm family was being slaughtered. It took a boyfriend forcing me to watch the movie in 1991, to realize that it wasn’t the movie that scared me as much as it was the stuff I let be associated with that film. I had convinced myself that what happened to to Clutter family was going to happen to my family. It didn’t of course and that kind of thinking hurt me from seeing the movie for what it was. We often see things that aren’t there and ignore reality. I do that and I have tried to realize I do do that. Its tough to do. When answers aren’t right in our grasp we turn to books that lead us to those answers one such book for me is The Book of Secrets by Osho. Osho was a spiritual teacher who for me makes sense in so many of those bigger questions. Its not the fear within but what creates the fear and what leads the fear to be released. The ICPL has many books that can lead to answers even though many of us are unaware there are  questions. They are found in the 200′s. Also read or view In Cold Blood and see it for what it is.

Love and Joy Come to You

by Terri on December 19th, 2007

Have you ever noticed how great moments of joy are often mixed with the depths of sorrow? I was looking at some of my favorite seasonal offerings and realized that the good feelings and happy times are too often mixed with depression, sadness and even death. Let’s look at one of my all time favorite movies, Love Story, Oliver and Jenny, two different worlds come together. A love is discovered that many thought wasn’t possible. Happy ending? Nope and that happens on Christmas. Also, a couple of really great family films, The Gathering and The Family Stone, they seem like they are reflections of what the holiday season is all about, family coming together. In the first film, Edward Asner wants to see his grown children before he dies. He has to get right with their mother, Maureen Stapleton to do this. The Gathering was a television movie that I watched again through interlibrary loan its not out on DVD. The Family Stone, is a more recent film that brings together a family. This is a very funny movie but just as you get settled with it something happens that makes it deeper and it will get you. Interesting that a scene in The Family Stone, has one of the characters watching a scene from Meet Me In St. Louis, another deceptive film about family. As the Judy Garland character sings, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, to her young sister, the child lashes out in anger and grief in such a way that is rare for any child in any film. Speaking of that song, it was written in 1944 at the latter part of World War II, it has been rerecorded many times and  like the movie most artists skip one verse of the song. Its a cynical downer of a song and James Taylor recorded all the verses in 2001 shortly after 911. You can find the entire song on a James Taylor Christmas. And speaking of music it wouldn’t be the holiday season without Mel Torme, who died on December 24 or  Marshmallow World by Dean Martin who died on December 25. As you can see so many of the happy classics are a tad bit tainted. Shall we start next on It’s a Wonderful life?

The Joy of Cooking?

by Terri on October 30th, 2007

"If you can read you can cook" – Princess Grace

Is that really true? Actually it is. Last week Peg Bracken died. Bracken, a former ad copy writer sensationalized the cooking world in 1960 when she wrote The I Hate to Cookbook. If you have never read this book please do. Bracken, turned the cooking world on its ear by showing that creating food was not some great mystery. It was as simple as a can of  cream of mushroom soup and a box of frozen peas. Like The Feminine Mystique, published three years later, Bracken broke down a wall that women before had to climb. Bracken’s legacy can be found in two very popular authors, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. Neither of these women can cook they just throw things together and hope for the best. You can find many titles by Ray and Lee here at the library. The Iowa City Public Library doesn’t own a copy of The I Hate to Cookbook, but if you would like to read this you might want to try to interlibrary loan it . I do cook and I don’t use Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee or Paula Deen. I will suggest you try any of a number of books written by Jacques Pepin, Sara Moulton or Jamie Oliver. But to leave you with a few titles I would suggest, American Cookery by the late James Beard. It is simple and easy and Beard like the other authors I have suggested can write. Another title I use at home is The Frugal Gourmet by the late Jeff Smith. This book is warm and witty and sometimes after screwing up a good rue you need to chuckle. Of course, Peg Bracken would have just opened a jar of gravy.

Forever by Judy Blume

by Terri on September 10th, 2007
Forever by Judy Blume Cover Image

Originally published in 1975, Forever was ahead of its time. Much like the work of Norma Klein, Blume used young adults in real situations. In this case the story of Michael and Katherine and an ill fated teen romance. In 1975, I was in sixth grade and this book was the highlight of Mrs. Peterson’s math class. I am not a great fiction reader. I rarely read fiction at all. But this book captured so many things in it’s pages. A young woman awakening to her sexuality. A young man falling in love with all its complications and angsts. A realistic portrayal of two parents who think they know what is going on but like many parents in that time really didn’t. It made me think of when I grew up in the 1970′s and the 80′s. So many things had changed from the time I was a kid until I graduated from high school. The role of women, the expectations of youth and a more sexualized society. It was what it was and it’s not for me to make a judgment on how it impacted anyone but myself but this book and a lot of Blume’s writing were helping young people cope. I also chose Forever, because it’s one of the books that makes the annual Banned Book List. Here at the Iowa City Public Library, we have an Intellectual Freedom Festival, where we celebrate those books that are criticized and censored. IFF also looks at the community and highlights various issues and themes of intellectual freedom in Iowa City and the surrounding area.  Forever goes beyond locations, it is a book that has a universal theme, we all fall in love for the first time. What this book does is take that theme and also adds the complications of a sexual relationship. And not trying to spoil the book for you the relationship does not end in marriage nor is it forever. That is the reason that this book is often challenged. But look beyond that and read the story. While it seems very specific it is quite universal. Blume handles something that happens to most of us we fall in love for the first time we think it is forever and realize it might not be. Pick it up if you haven’t read it in awhile. I hope you do.

Friends- Why Men and Women Are From The Same Planet by Lisa Gee

by Terri on July 17th, 2007
Friends- Why Men and Women Are From The Same Planet by Lisa Gee Cover Image

When I have been confused I often turn to books to help me out of my confusion. Working in a library I do get access to a lot of those crazy self-help books on relationships. Since I don’t usually buy into those and my current problem seems to go beyond those I went looking for a book to help me try to solve my issues. My problem is that I am having a bit of a rough patch with one of my best friends. Seems our lives are going in different directions and he (yep he is a male) is making some choices that are different and not like the person I have come to know. I picked up this book and wondered if because I am female I am missing out on something going on with him. It seems that what we are going through is normal. That in the long run if we both want to keep our relationship going we will adjust and resolve the conflict. The cool thing about this book is that it states a friendship is just that and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Gee uses examples and research to look into that age old question can men and women really be friends simply friends. The answer is interesting because it goes through all those factors we are told that can prey upon men and women friendships, communication, sex, history of our lives. Gee looks at each and factors them out in a witty and serious way. I was helped and humored by this book.

Leap: What will We Do With The Rest Of Our Lives? by Sara Davidson

by Terri on June 6th, 2007
Leap: What will We Do With The Rest Of Our Lives?  by Sara Davidson Cover Image

I’ll be honest here Sara Davidson has written the book that literally changed my life, Loose Change a story of three women of the Sixties so I am a tad bit biased on reading anything she has written.  Leap, follows Davidson’s usual uses of personal opinion and journalistic approaches to answer the question that is the title of the book. She talks about Baby Boomers and particularly those in the early wave of the boom 1946-1957 and their aging. But this isn’t an age wave or serious study of the impact of a generation. Its a book of tales. Some of the people are pretty famous, Cheryl Tiegs, Tom Hayden, Andrew Weil. Some aren’t and thats the meat of this book. What I learned is that aging, like life itself is following the path that each of us makes. I probably won’t follow Carly Simon’s experience. I couldn’t really could I? But I can learn that yep you can be comfortable and be in a home and have your kids and the time goes on and a relationship ends, the house gets too big, the kids grow up and you get cancer but in all of that you are living you are creating a life. This book doesn’t give you goals or guides on how to age it simply shows you what other people are doing and in some way that made me comfortable in my own aging. I wrote Sara an email earlier this year and talked to her about what her books have meant to me and she was interested in what I would think about this book well she has done it again she wrote a book that touched my life. I hope you read it and it touches yours.

The Doors by The Doors with Ben Fong-Torres

by Terri on April 5th, 2007
The Doors by The Doors with Ben Fong-Torres Cover Image

The hot sizzling steaming mindless agony of what we call summer is only buffered by a great soundtrack. Well that’s what I think. For me, summer is The Doors. In a great new biography published in late 2006, the surviving members of The Doors, Ray Manzaric, John Densmore and Robby Krieger along with Rolling Stone write and editor Ben Fong-Torres recount the bands heyday in Los Angeles and its ride to success. In a story well known to any rock reader we hear about the early days in Venice and the Sunset Strip. We learn about early recordings and development deals and we see how early success sets the stage for the evolution of one of the most influential bands in the last 40 years. Unlike probably the best known book about the band, No one Here Gets out Alive, this book isn’t dominated by one James Douglas Morrison. What is special and makes this one something all Doors fans should read is that for the first time ever the Morrison family contributes. I found that to be thrilling. To hear from his brother, sister and most importantly, his father cleared up many issues I have had with the Doors legacy. The book has lots of never before seen pictures and they also discuss the legacy and endurance of the band to this day.  So as we are waiting  for the sun break on through to this soft parade that will light your fire until the end. It’s a book that took 40 years to write.

The Kid Stays in The Picture- Robert Evans

by Terri on March 22nd, 2007
The Kid Stays in The Picture- Robert Evans Cover Image

"The are three sides to every story: yours mine and the truth" thats how The Kid Stays in the Picture Read the rest of this entry »

The Stories of John Cheever

by Terri on March 14th, 2007
The Stories of John Cheever Cover Image

Could you imagine being Susan Cheever and being told when you are an adult that a temper tantrum you had as a child served as the source for one of your fathers well known stories? Wouldn’t you wonder what it was you were doing as a child that inspired your father to write a story where the little girl in the family is killed in an accident? Well that story, The Hartley’s, and many others are featured in The Stories of John Cheever. This Pulitzer Prize winner contains some of the best stories written by a man who many consider the best short story writer ever. Cheever (1912-1982), wrote about what we aspired to be in depression and post war America. What Cheever did in writing about those people in that era was to direct  our attention  from what  these people had and  made the reader see who these people were.  The Sorrows of Gin,  The Enormous Radio, Of Youth and Beauty all show how what we aspire to be may be quite a bit different from what we really are and perhaps the real lesson is in knowing the differences. Cheever’s genre was the short story. He wrote a few novels but this collection gives the reader a wonderful look into a period of time told by a master. My personal favorite is Christmas is a Sad Season For the Poor, probably one of the finest examples of a seasonal tale ever put to paper. Cheever got that understanding we are all looking for. We are lucky to have this collection.


Love Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing by Keith Urban

by Terri on March 2nd, 2007

In the long anticipated follow up to 2004′s Be Here, Urban returns to his goal of redefining contemporary Country Music. Using new directions in the use of instruments Urban uses the continuous themes of love, loss, possession and misery in creating this document that Urban says reflects his current life. The CD has many strong songs, I Told You So, Stupid Boy, Can’t Get Used to Losing You, all show the new direction in the arrangements. Urban’s vocals are very strong given that a few of the selections on this CD could be called trite. If you have never heard of Keith Urban this is a fine place to start listening. If you are aware of him as a musician you will want to hear both The Ranch and Golden Road. My personal favorite on this CD is Tru Compania, which shows Urban mixing various styles and a hint of a secret language in a joyful song about love.


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