Category Archives: General

Kentucky Live! presents Fenton Johnson and “The Man Who Loved Birds: A Novel”

Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson, Assoc. Prof. of Creative Writing, Univ. of AZ in Tucson & Spalding Univ., Louisville, KY

One of Kentucky’s most celebrated writers, Fenton Johnson, will be the featured speaker in our next Kentucky Live Series on Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.  He’ll be talking about his newest novel The Man Who Loved Birds which is set in Nelson county Kentucky.  Johnson was born the youngest of nine children into a Kentucky whiskey-making family of storytellers. He moved to San Francisco at the of seventeen just in time to experience the Cultural Revolution and anti-war protests which were occurring in California in the early 1970s.  He received a scholarship to attend Stanford University and later an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop.  He’s taught in the creative writing programs at San Francisco State University, Columbia University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and UC Davis and is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona.

Crossing the River by Fenton Johnson

Crossing the River by Fenton Johnson

His first novel Crossing the River, published in 1989 to quote one reviewer “describes a head strong Southern woman with a rebellious spirit.” Another commented it’s “one woman’s reawakening and her son’s coming of age in the heartland of America.”

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

In his second novel Scissors, Paper, Rock: A Novel published in 1993, a son with an AIDS diagnosis returns to his rural Kentucky home to care for his dying father. The reviewer for the New York Times wrote “memory, love grief, death and desire are the stuff of Johnson’s powerfully moving novel.” Widely praised it won a number of literary awards.

Geography of the Heart by Fenton Johnson

Geography of the Heart by Fenton Johnson

His autobiographical memoir Geography of the Heart about the death of his lover from AIDS published in 1996 won the Lambda Literary Award for Biography/Autobiography while his Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey Among Christian and Buddhist Monks, a meditation on what it means for a skeptic to have and keep faith won both a Lambda Literary Award and a Kentucky Literary Award for creative non-fiction.

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic's Journey Among Christian and Buddhist Monks by Fenton Johnson

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey Among Christian and Buddhist Monks by Fenton Johnson

Shorter works have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, the Sewanee Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Harper’s.

Hassie Breeding Helton being interviewed

Hassie Breeding Helton being interviewed in Stranger With a Camera, screenplay by Fenton Johnson

He’s also written narrations for award-winning documentaries shown on PBS’s Frontline and at the Sundance Film Festival, most notably Stranger with A Camera produced though Appalshop, the Southern Appalachian Cultural Center, which won a Columbia/Dupont Journalism Award.

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

Most recently his third novel The Man Who Loved Birds was published in 2016 by the University Press of Kentucky which also released new editions of his earlier novels and a collection of essays Notes of an Emigrant Son: New and Selected Essays is due out next month from Sarabande Books.  Going It Alone: On the Dignity and Challenge of Solitude based on a cover story he wrote for Harper’s Magazine will be published in 2018.

Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson

Fenton’s writing has been supported by Wallace Stegner, James Michener and Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships and the National Endowment for the Arts and he was recently interviewed on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air. He conducts creative writing workshops across the country and lectures on the issues of faith and spirituality as well as on the role of the arts and humanities in medicine and caregiving.

SOKY Bookfest 2017 Poster

SOKY Bookfest 2017 Poster

He’ll also be in residence at this year’s Southern Kentucky Bookfest on Saturday, April 22 at the Knicely Convention Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Event Flyer

Event Flyer

Join us to hear Fenton Johnson talk about his new novel, The Man Who Loved Birds. The event is free and open to the public, as well as ‘swipeable’ for WKU students. Door prizes and a book signing will follow!

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Far Away Places presents Ronald Fritze and “Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession, and Fantasy”

Ronald H. Fritze

Ronald H. Fritze, Dean of Arts & Sciences, Athens State University, Athens, AL

 

Historian Ron Fritze will be the featured speaker in our April Far Away Places series on Thursday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore (1680 Campbell Lane).

Fritze is the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Athens States University.  He’ll be talking about his newest book (his eleventh) which has been drawing international attention Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession and Fantasy published this winter by Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press.

Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession, and Fantasy

Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession, and Fantasy by Ronald H. Fritze

Fritze received his MA and MLS from LSU and a D Phil from Cambridge and has taught history at LSU, Lamar and Central Arkansas.  His early research focused on the Tudor-Stuart period of English history. He’s since expanded his interests to include the history of the great discoveries and historical legends.  He’s the author of 11 books.  Among the most popular include Legends and Lore of the Americas Before 1492 published in 1993, Travel Legend and Lore published in 1998,  and New Worlds: The Great Voyages of Discovery, 1400-1600 published in 2002.  While all of these drew plaudits from the critics and several won awards, his 2009 book Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-Religions has been the most widely discussed in the U.S. and the U.K.,  translated into several different languages and even recommended by the Times Educational Supplement.

Travel, Legend, and Lore: An Encyclopedia by Ronald Fritze

Travel, Legend, and Lore: An Encyclopedia by Ronald H. Frtize

Invented Knowledge, by Ronald Fritze

Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions by Ronald H. Fritze

In his newest book he describes how Ancient Egypt has been the focus of awe and fascination from its beginnings in the Age of Pyramids to the present day.  In Egyptomania  Fritze takes us on a historical journey to unearth the Egypt of the past, a place inhabited by strange gods, powerful magic, spell-binding hieroglyphs, and the uncanny, mummified remains of ancient people. To quote the reviewer for Publisher’s Weekly “the book delves into how the realities of Egyptology have been reimagined or misinterpreted as sources of hermeticism, portals to another reality, or tokens to confer knowledge and respectability.”   He covers the pyramids, archaeology, film, popular fiction and a wide range of concerns and forms.

We hope you’ll join us for a fascinating evening.  A book signing will follow.

event flyer

Event Flyer

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McGuffey Readers on Exhibit

McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader is one of many from the Library’s collection.

The Kentucky Library Research Collections currently has a display featuring early children’s readers.  William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873) was a U.S. educator who is best remembered for his series of elementary school reading books called McGuffey Readers. McGuffey was a graduate of Washington College in 1826.  He began teaching in Ohio frontier schools at the age of 14.  During breaks from college studies in Pennsylvania, McGuffey taught elementary school in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky.  In 1823, McGuffey set up a school in the dining room of Reverend John McFarland, a Presbyterian minister, where he taught for three years.  During his 10 years as a faculty member at Miami University, McGuffey took interest in public education and began assisting teachers at local elementary schools.  He also established a model school in his home for the neighborhood children.

Experts estimate that at least 120 million McGuffey Readers were sold between the years of 1836 and 1960.  The sales of the Readers are in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary.  Since 1961, McGuffey Readers have sold at a rate of some 30,000 copies a year.  The readers are still in use today at some schools and by parents who homeschool their children.

A sample lesson taken from one of the Library’s McGuffey Readers.

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Far Away Places presents “The Dominican Republic: The Land Columbus Loved, or the Land that Loathes Columbus”

Dominican-Republic (9)
Bellarmine historian Eric Roorda was the featured speaker in WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places series on the evening of March 23, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, KY, on the topic The Dominican Republic: The Land Columbus Loved, or the Land that Loathes Columbus. His talk concluded with him signing his eponymous book.

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Kentucky Live! presents David J. Bettez with “Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front”

Kentucky-and-the-Great-War (3)

David Bettez, the retired Director of the Office of International Programs at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, spoke in this year’s Kentucky Live! series on March 9, 2017 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore (1680 Campbell Lane). He talked about his newest book Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front . The publication of his book and his talk coincide with the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.

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Filed under Events, Flickr Photos, General, Kentucky Live, Latest News, Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, New Stuff, Stuff, Uncategorized

Kentucky Live! presents “Wine-ing Your Way Across Kentucky” with Becky Kelley & Kathy Woodhouse

Wineing Your Way Across Kentucky (18)
WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series opened up its spring season with “Wineing Your Way Across Kentucky: Recipes, History, and Scenery” on the evening of February 16, 2017 in Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Bowling Green, KY. While Kentucky is known for its bourbon industry, wine has been a growing industry in recent years with new wineries applying for licenses every year. Childhood friends Becky Kelley and Kathy Woodhouse traveled across Kentucky visiting over seventy wineries. The book includes Kelley’s description of each winery, with its location, hours, and events information, along with Woodhouse’s amazing photography and favorite recipes using the wines.

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Library Professor named in Huffington Post’s Best Film Books of 2016

Congrats to Library Professor Sean Kinder and author of Una Merkel: The Actress with Sassy Wit and Southern Charm Recently named Huffington Post’s Best Film Books of 2016 (Listed under the section “More biographies of Actresses)!unamerkel_bookjpg

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Far Away Places presents Clinton Lewis’ “Exploring New Zealand”

Exploring New Zealand (6)
The 2016-2017 season of WKU Libraries’ “Far Away Places” talk series kicked off with Clinton Lewis, WKU’s University Photographer, who spoke about “Exploring New Zealand” at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green, KY on the evening of September 15, 2016.

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Haiwang Yuan translates popular children’s book series

Haiwang Yuan, Professor of Library Public Services, WKU, has recently published his translation of Different Carmela, a set of children’s picture books in China. This set of 12 books were originally the work of French author and illustrator Christian Jolibois and Christian Heinrich. It was translated into Chinese and sold millions in China. Yuan was invited to translate the Chinese version into English, as many of the Chinese parents want their children to start learning English at an early age. The original French version has won the French Cherbourg Teenagers’ Book Awards in 2001, the French Goncourt Children Literature Awards in 2003, the French Country Children’s Literature Awards in 2003, and the French Le Havre Children Literature Jury Awards in 2006.

Yuan FullSizeRender (1)

Haiwang Yuan, Professor & Coordinator of Web & Emerging Technologies, DLPS, WKU Libraries

Each of the 12 books describes an adventure by brother and sister chickens with their lamb friend. The adventures introduce to young readers great people like Columbus, Galileo, Aesop, the Montgolfier Brothers, and Sir Lancelot – one of the Knights of the Round Table, and even Martians! Without their even knowing it, young readers will learn from these adventurous stories how to be curious and courageous, and how to treat fairly those who look different from us.

different-carmela-haiwang

Different Carmela children’s book set, translated by Haiwang Yuan

The set of books is accompanied with dramatic recordings of the text by two Americans, and the recording is accessible via a QR code printed on the back cover of each book. Readers of the books can scan the code with a scanner available in Wechat, a popular social media platform recently featured by New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/100000004574648/china-internet-wechat.html. Entering the password acquired by purchasing the books, the readers can listen to the recordings right on their mobile devices.

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Hale’s Recollections of Confederate Guerilla “Champ Ferguson”

Champ Ferguson

Champ Ferguson

The Civil War as a research topic never ceases to draw interest. The addition of a broadsheet to the Kentucky Library Research Collections adds to our excellent holdings about Champ Ferguson. This sheet features Dr. Jonathan D. Hale’s recollections of the life of the Confederate Guerilla and includes a facsimile of a Ku Klux Klan threatening letter sent to Hale in 1868. The letter received from the Klan in 1868 was sent from Lodge Headquarters in Arkansas, on a “dark and dismal night, from a “muddy Road with BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD. The letter issued a strong warning: “This is to notify you that the Spirit of Champ Ferguson still lives, and there are men living that are determined to avenge his death – and you are also aware that your oppressive and wicked acts toward the best citizens of Overton County stand recorded against you -… Prepare to meet your God.”
Champ Ferguson was a personal enemy of Hale and destroyed his home and business. The state of Kentucky, John Hunt Morgan, Alvan Cullom, the killing of “Little Fount Zachery”, Henry Sublits(sic), loss of much property and the loyalties of Ferguson are noted. And that he was worthy of execution by hanging. “The military trial, held in Nashville, Tennessee, lasted from July to October 1865. Ferguson was sentenced to be hanged; he was denied the opportunity to provide a defense on his behalf, and the sentence was carried out on October 20, 1865. Ferguson’s body was turned over to his wife and daughter, who fulfilled his last request which was to be buried at his home in White County, Tennessee, on a branch of Calfkiller Creek.”
Hale would leave Tennessee and live out the rest of his life in New Hampshire having grown tired of being a “damn Yankee.”
See http://www.ajlambert.com/history/ct_hus.pdf
For more information on Champ Ferguson and the Civil War, visit WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections, or contact spcol@wku.edu. For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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