David Bowie 1947 – 2016


David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

  1. Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
  2. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
  3. Room At The Top by John Braine
  4. On Having No Head by Douglass Harding
  5. Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard
  6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  7. City Of Night by John Rechy
  8. The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  9. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  10. Iliad by Homer
  11. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  12. Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo
  13. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
  14. Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell
  15. Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
  16. Halls Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall
  17. David Bomberg by Richard Cork
  18. Blast by Wyndham Lewis
  19. Passing by Nella Larson
  20. Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto
  21. The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind
    by Julian Jaynes
  22. In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner
  23. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
  24. The Divided Self by R. D. Laing
  25. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  26. Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman
  27. The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf
  28. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
  29. Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
  30. The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  31. The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  32. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  33. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  34. Puckoon by Spike Milligan
  35. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  36. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  37. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
  38. Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
  39. The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot
  40. McTeague by Frank Norris
  41. Money by Martin Amis
  42. The Outsider by Colin Wilson
  43. Strange People by Frank Edwards
  44. English Journey by J.B. Priestley
  45. A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  46. The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West
  47. 1984 by George Orwell
  48. The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White
  49. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn
  50. Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
  51. Beano (comic, ’50s)
  52. Raw (comic, ’80s)
  53. White Noise by Don DeLillo
  54. Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom
    by Peter Guralnick
  55. Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage
  56. Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley
  57. The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillete
  58. Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky
  59. The Street by Ann Petry
  60. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  61. Last Exit To Brooklyn By Hubert Selby, Jr.
  62. A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
  63. The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
  64. Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
  65. The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard
  66. The Bridge by Hart Crane
  67. All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd
  68. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  69. Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
  70. The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
  71. Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders
  72. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
  73. Nowhere To Run The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey
  74. Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich
  75. Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti To Emily Dickinson
    by Camille Paglia
  76. The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford
  77. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  78. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  79. Teenage by Jon Savage
  80. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
  81. The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
  82. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  83. Viz (comic, early ’80s)
  84. Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)
  85. Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara
  86. The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
  87. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
  88. Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
  89. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  90. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
  91. Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  92. Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi
  93. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  94. The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa
  95. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
  96. A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
  97. The Insult by Rupert Thomson
  98. In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan
  99. A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
  100. Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

If we do not have the title in the library catalog, we have linked to it’s record so that you can order it through Inter-Library Loan. This is a free service offered by the library so you can have access to books, CDs and DVDs from hundreds of libraries across the country.

Source: http://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/01/11/david-bowies-top-100-books



At The Cut

I’ve lived in Denton for about five years. Music was my original reason for moving to Denton. Don Henley, Nora Jones, Roy Orbison and Meat Loaf have roamed University of North Texas or North Texas State University’s (as you may know it) hallways at one time or another. Funk legend Sly Stone was born in Denton and UNT’s one a clock lab band has won several Grammys. Needless to say this environment harvests an abundance of creative energy.

In my late teens I traveled from Dallas to Denton more times than I can count to see some of my favorite bands. One of the places that housed such acts was Hailey’s club. Last week owner of Hailey’s, Jennifer Gibbs, announced its closing its doors at the end of the year and open up a non-music related venture.

Vic Chesnutt was one of many that graced the Hailey’s stage. Chesnutt was a quadriplegic gifted with an uncanny ability to craft songs with incredible depth despite being able to play a very limited number of chords. Although not a house hold name you may have seen Chesnutt in Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade.

Recently a memoir commemorating Chesnutt was published its entitled “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving up Vic Chesnutt” it chronicles Chesnutt through highs and lows, written by one of his touring band members and close friend Kristin Hersh. Seeing this book in the library I naturally gravitated towards it and was pleasantly surprised of how insightful it was at grasping the characteristics of a man dealing with struggles mentally and physically. Although unknown to most Chesnutt was an influence to many singers and songwriters. In 2006 NPR dubbed Chesnutt as one of the top ten greatest living songwriters alongside artists like Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen.

Below are a few items available for check out at the Denton Public Library by or about Vic Chesnutt including the book mentioned above and a CD entitled “At the Cut”.



This video was recorded at Hailey’s and was the second to last live performance by Chesnutt before his death in 2009.


Abdon Gonzalez
Library Assistant- Public Services
Emily Fowler Public Library

Guitars, Cadillacs, and Hillbilly Music

I often wake up with a song in my head. This can be a good thing; today it is. This morning’s earworm is Dwight Yoakam’s, Guitars and Cadillacs, running through my head. Since it will not vacate the premises, here it is for your enjoyment. I hope it worms its way into your ear, as well.

Here are few good things now available at your local library to enjoy while Ol’ Leather Pants’ song is reverberating in your noggin.

Rock on, y’all!

William James Smith











The Lusitania

Thursday, May 7th will be the 100th anniversary of the Lusitania tragedy.  Those of you who are followers of this blog might recall that back in December I mentioned an upcoming book by Erik Larson about this ship and its final voyage.  Well, Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania is here and the library has several copies available, not just books but audio and downloaDead Wakedable as well.

First, a few facts.  Just after 2:00 the afternoon of Friday, May 7, 1915, the Lusitania was struck by a torpedo and sank in about 18 minutes.  The torpedo was fired by U-20, a submarine commanded by Walther Schwieger.  Numbers vary by one or two depending on the source, but, according to Larson, 1,959 passengers and crew were aboard the ship, of whom 1,195 lost their lives.  The dead include 128 Americans.  Most sources, including Larson, mention three German stowaways who were trapped in the “brig,” but do not include them in the total number of people aboard or the total who died.Lusitania_book_image1

Dead Wake is just about as good as I’d anticipated.  Larson does his usual good job developing key characters, including Captain William Turner, Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger, and brothers Leslie and Cliff Morton.   Among the passengers he focuses on are bookseller Charles Lauriat, architect and spiritualist Theodate Pope, and Margaret Mackworth.  We are also introduced to many other, mostly wealthy, passengers.  And Larson gives us insight into the private life of President Woodrow Wilson.

Larson carefully sets the scene.  We see how luxuriously furnished the Lusitania was.  Even the third-class accommodations were nice, and Larson points out that the meals provided to the third-class passengers were better than most of them were used to.  We are given insight into the tedium, or tension, and discomfort aboard a World War One submarine.  We learn about the British navy’s secret Room 40.  And, of course, there is the suspense and stories of the characters struggling to survive the disaster.

One of Larson’s trademarks is the interesting facts and connections he relates.  An example from this book is the coincidence involving Wilson’s close friend and adviser Edward House.  He was in England for an audience with the king on the day of the sinking, and during the conversation, George V wondered “Suppose they should sink the Lusitania with American passengers aboard?” (p. 227)  I thought there were also a few missteps in connecting characters to other famous people.  On page 173, Larson states that British admiral Jackie Fisher was “a dead ringer for a future actor named Laszlo Lowenstien, better known by the stage name Peter Lorre.”  I did learn a thing or two through this comparison, but nothing relevant to the narrative or characters.

Preston JacketThe library also has available a book entitled Lusitania: an Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston (Diana Preston has released a new book, also in the library’s collection, entitled A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I that Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare, which examines the use of submarines, gas attacks, and aerial bombing.)   Preston’s book also contains good storytelling, but there is more informational text and analysis than in Larson’s book.   She provides much less coverage of the final voyage itself.  There is much more on the history of submarines and steamships.  There is background on the British officials involved.  There is more about the competition among higher form of killingfirms that carried passengers across the Atlantic (Preston shows this competition was often ridiculous – in 1912, the Hamburg-Amerika line launched the longest ocean-liner of the time, the Imperator.  “Cunard promptly announced that its new ship, the Aquitainia, would, at 901 feet, be a foot longer than the Imperator.  Hamburg-Amerika responded that it had made a mistake; if the figurehead of a huge bronze eagle…was included, the ship’s length would be 917 feet.” p. 63)

Preston devotes much more text to the aftermath of the sinking, including the investigations, hearings, and both U. S. and German reaction.  She also examines the charges of conspiracy and cover-ups.

The library is a great resource, and those of you wanting to learn more about the First World War during these 100th anniversary years will find a lot to satisfy your curiosity, and perhaps also leave you with more questions.  Well, don’t worry – the library can help with that, too.

Fred, South Branch Library

World War I

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (2013) by Max Hastings

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (2013) by Max Hastings

The Mad Catastrophe: the Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire (2014) by Geoffrey Wawro

The Mad Catastrophe: the Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire (2014) by Geoffrey Wawro

The War that Ended Peace: the Road to 1914 (2013) by Margaret MacMillan

The War that Ended Peace: the Road to 1914 (2013) by Margaret MacMillan

Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2012) by Christopher Clark

Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2012) by Christopher Clark

The Guns of August (1962) by Barbara Tuckman

The Guns of August (1962) by Barbara Tuchman

On June 28, 1914, a Bosnian revolutionary assassinated the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne and set in motion a series of events that culminated in the First World War. August is the 100th anniversary of the start of this war, and several books have been published within the past couple of years commemorating the anniversary. These include Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings, and The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark.

Another important book on the outbreak and early stage of the war is Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning narrative The Guns of Augustwhich was published in 1962.  Before I read this book I had thought of World War I mostly as a horrible stalemate, full of slaughter that gained neither side a real advantage.  I hadn’t given much thought to what took place between the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the start of the war.  It hadn’t occurred to me that a complex series of events and movements preceded the trenches and no-man’s land that defined the war for me.  Nor was I familiar with the battles in Eastern Europe, where the war began.  I gained a lot from reading Tuchman’s enjoyable, fast-paced narrative.

These books show that this popular image of stalemate is only part of the story.  Max Hastings points out in the introduction to his book mentioned above “It is widely supposed that the first day of the 1916 Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest day of the entire conflict.  This is not so.  In August 1914 the French army…fought  battles utterly unlike those that came later, and at even more terrible daily cost” (Hastings, p. xvii).  He estimates that in the first five months of the war 329,000 French soldiers were killed, including 27 thousand on August 22 alone (pp. xvii, 181).  The other books I’ve mentioned also make similar points.

The authors also present different interpretations about the causes of the war.  Was it a tragic accident or was it inevitable? Were the countries involved powerless to prevent it? Did they willingly and enthusiastically embrace the conflict? Could any country have prevented it? For instance, Christopher Clark in The Sleepwalkers argues that Europe stumbled into the conflict; Barbara Tuchman (The Guns of August) refuses to ascribe responsibility but shows that many countries were enthusiastic for war; and Max Hastings places primary responsibility squarely on one of the combatants.  And how did the citizens and soldiers greet the war? Max Hastings uses letters, diaries, and journals of ordinary people to show the fear, disgust, exhilaration, boredom, enthusiasm, and disappointment elicited by the war.  Barbara Tuchman focuses on the actions of military and political leaders.  Christopher Clark writes in his book mentioned above “Public reaction to the news of war gave the lie to the claim, so often voiced by statesmen, that the hands of decision-makers were tied by popular opinion.  There was, to be sure, no resistance to the call to arms….Underlying this readiness to serve was not enthusiasm for war as such, but a defensive patriotism…” (Clark, p. 553).

Of course, for a long time the combatants had plans for a coming war – Austria had Plans B and R, Germany had the Schlieffen Plan, France had Plan XVII, Russia had Plans G, A, and 19.  And they were all determined to both get the upper hand and show that the war had been forced upon them.  Had they made different decisions in response to the assassination of the Archduke, could war have been prevented or would it just have been postponed?

When I read history books I always expect to get detailed accounts of the major events.  Also, I am often surprised by the small, unexpected details included.  For instance, I learned from Max Hastings’s book that one of the British soldiers wounded in the early days of the war  was a Private Ronald Colman.  This is not surprising; soldiers come from all walks of life.  But during the war, this battalion (the London Scottish Regiment) also included Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, and Herbert Marshall (Hastings, p.  486).  Imagine Foreign Correspondent, Casablanca, A Tale of Two Citiesand the Sherlock Holmes movies without these actors.

If this 100th anniversary has sparked your interest in the First World War, whether you’re interested in the grand sweep of events or the perspectives of the men and women caught up in these events, the Denton Public Library has the information you’re looking for.  We have the books mentioned above and many others.  We have encyclopedias and articles.  We have online resources.  And we have the staff to help you find them.

Miss Emily’s JukeJoint, 5.13.11: Von Erich/Von Ehric

    Sometimes history and popular culture and current events all collide like a piledriver  . Last week’s Denton Record Chronicle Denton Time  section featured the Von Ehrics. Earlier in the week, I was browsing the Denton Collection of books in the Emily Fowler Public Library’s Special Collection department and found this title: The Von Erich Family Album by patriarch Fritz Von Erich. Pure coincidence. Two different spellings with a certain aesthetic in common. And, yes, the band was named after the famous/tragic wrestling family.

Famous Brothers

     When I was a teen in Dallas back in the ’80s, even though I personally didn’t follow professional wrestling, I had several friends who did and the Von Erichs were (are still?) considered folk heroes; their names ever-present in local news. I didn’t realize until today that they had lived at times in Denton County.

The book mentioned above cannot be checked out, but you *can* read it, do research, and make copies if you need. Same as the other titles in Special Collections.

And, as an example of the Von Erich’s hold, so to speak, on GenX, check out Corn Mo’s performance of his tribute “Shine On Golden Warrior” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5WerFQ-86E

Corn Mo lived in Denton for a while back in the ’90s before moving to Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shine ON!

posted by Chuck, 5.16.11

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

How far would you go for your ex? Would you move to a house in the middle of nowhere (that potentially has ghosts, if you believe in that sort of thing) to look after two delinquent kids? That’s what Andromeda Miller does for her ex-husband in Jennifer Crusie’s latest, Maybe This Time. Now, Andie and I both scoffed at these so-called ghosts. After three nannies have been run off because they say they saw spooks, and there are two kids with serious attitude problems, would you really believe in ghosts? Maybe it is the kids and maybe there really are specters going bump in the night. I’m not going to give it away – that’s what reading the book is for. I will say that a crazy Tarot card-reading mother, a spiritual medium, a parapsychology professor, a TV reporter with a super fake smile, and a really creepy housekeeper are thrown into the mix, not to mention a love triangle when both Andie’s fiancé and her ex-husband show up to win her affections.

I’ll also say that I thoroughly enjoyed Crusie’s latest book, and I’m very pleased with the supernatural bent she’s on. Her last book, Wild Ride, featured demons in an amusement park. Demons. Amusement park. Just sayin’ it can’t get much better.  In the ranks of authors who can combine humor, action, and a little something weird, Crusie is up at the top.

– Heather Botelho