You know all those classics you always have to lie about having read? Well now’s your chance to really read them! Nebraska OverDrive Libraries just added a huge selection of classic novels, 1,010 classics including this week’s #BookFaceFriday! “Alexander’s Bridge” (Duke Classics, 2012) by Willa Cather just one of many Cather titles available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in eBook and Audiobook format. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 16,670 Audiobooks and 28,473 eBooks, with new titles added weekly. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use.
“Construction engineer and world-renowned bridge builder Bartley Alexander has everything in mid-life: wealth, good looks, and fame. Yet he finds himself restless and discontented with life—until he meets a former love from his student days and resumes his relationship with her. Living a double life, Alexander is torn between Winifred, his American wife—a cold woman with clearly defined standards—and Hilda Burgoyne, his alluring mistress in London who helps him recapture his youth and sense of freedom. Alexander’s affair, which eventually gnaws away at his sense of propriety and honor, proves disastrous. Willa Cather’s first novel—a fascinating study of a man’s growing awareness of the breach in his integrity—is essential reading for fans of this great American novelist.” ” … exceptionally well-conceived and well written.”—Outlook ” … told with a good deal of charm and skill.”—New York Times Book Review ” … a story of brilliant and unusual power.”—McClure’s
We visited Omaha in October 2018 and stayed with Dave, my law partner from 1987 to 2016, and his wife Chris at their Waterloo lake house. We’re all retired. Their study with a sofa bed doubles as a guest room. We felt at home; the duvet and book ends came from our house. The shelves held several books Karen and I gave them for birthdays, the holiday season and other opportune occasions. I purchase several copies of irresistible books for friends. I still have two copies of The Pun Also Rises (2011) by John Pollack who did a reading at the Bookworm, and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2002) by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
I inscribed A Mirror of the World, Three Thousand Years of Books and Manuscripts (2001), acquired at the Schiller-Nationalmuseum, German Literature Archives in Marbach am Neckar, Germany:
July 19, 2002 Dear Chris & Dave When books matter And cooking meet We don’t cook the books We eat Love Oliver
The cover of A Mirror of the World is a 1913 galley with Marcel Proust’s corrections of “A la recherché du temps perdu,” (In Search of Lost Time and Remembrance of Things Past). The editor wrote, “Proust was among those writers who continually changed and improved their text, much to the distress of their printers.”
Silent Hills Speak, A
History of Council Bluffs, Iowa (2002), by William E. Ramsey and Betty Dineen
Shrier, a 7 pound 7-ounce coffee table book, would be heavily out of place in
California. I shifted the burden…
To Chris and Dave This will weigh down your carpet bag I am sure it has many uses. Look to the East And lets all feast. Love and best wishes
Karen and Oliver December 14, 2002
Aprons, A Celebration (2001) by Joyce Cheney, A miniature from a UNO exhibition of Aprons.
To Chris 3/30/03. Here’s to our aprons.
Karen & Oliver
A Year at the Sorbonne, A
Proustian Life (2002) by Oliver B. Pollak.
To Chris and DaveInscriptions, epigrams, epitaphs, epithets, and epitomes. You grow in our estimation daily.
Love, Karen & Oliver 4/7/06
Jim Harrison, The English Major (2008)
To Dave The curious road ahead Navigating between Valentines and rattlesnakes Seasons greetings as 2008 turns into 2009
Dave gave a copy to his daughter-in-law Bethany, an Omaha English
The New World Guide to Beer
(1988) by Michael Jackson, another coffee table book.
Dear Chris Dare we say Happy Beerthday All our love
Karen & Oliver Sept 1, 2016
Moving to California meant downsizing, shedding books. Our
retirement home would not house all our books. Storage was out of the question.
I sold to Jackson Street Booksellers, students and Lincoln’s Lee Booksellers. We
invited Chris and Dave to browse our shelves. Chris picked The Grapes of Wrath. I wrote, September 10, 2016
Dear Chris, I am so glad you picked this book voluntarily. The book and movie merge in my mind’s memory. It is moving. Class warfare. Climate change. People helping each other. Noble sentiment and deeds. I must have read it in the 1960s. It goes to a new loving home.
Oliver & Karen
My Budapest Diary, In Search
of the Motherbook (1997) by Susan Rubin Suleiman and Dinner with
Churchill (2011) by Cita Stelzer also graced Dave and Chris’s
Dave favored me with numerous books, especially at Hanukkah. In December 1995 he supported my interest in George Orwell with the Brothel Boy and Other Parables of the Law (1992) by Morris Norval. It took me until 2015 to read this thoughtful book. I went from my Orwell shelf with gratitude back to Dave in 2016. The gift of Various Positions (1996) a biography of Leonard Cohen, by Ira Bruce Nadel, dramatically expanded my musical tastes. It sits on a shelf in Richmond. Karen and I enjoyed Cohen concerts in Toronto and much closer, in Oakland.
Dave and Chris love camping, first with a trailer and now an RV. They visit national parks including Presidential Libraries. Books need bookmarks, papyrus, leather, or post-its notes. Dave and Chris bought this bookmark at the William J. Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock.
Dave recalls we occasionally purchased books together, such as On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University Press, 2005, 68 pages, $9.95), which has been translated into at least sixteen languages.
Giving books at joyous junctures reveals regard for one another, friendship and shared interests; food and drink permeate the titles and inscriptions. These association copies may be on the used book market sooner than mid-century.
All the Gallant Men is the Nebraska Center for the Book’s
2020 One Book One Nebraska selection. Donald Stratton’s memoir stems
from his remarkable experience as a naval seaman serving on the USS
Arizona. Stratton was among the survivors from the December 7, 1941,
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is the only memoir written by a
USS Arizona survivor.
Stratton’s book is not one that I would have selected to read on my
own. I read it because of its nomination for the One Book One Nebraska
program. It didn’t take many pages before appreciating Donald Stratton’s
story. It is remarkable and inspiring. The book is much more than an
account of the Pearl Harbor attack. Donald Stratton’s life is chronicled
from his early years growing up in Red Cloud, Nebraska, joining the
Navy following high school, military experience as a seaman. Later,
Stratton traveled the world as a skilled commercial diver in the oil
Stratton was severely burned during the Pearl Harbor attack but
managed, along with a few others, to climb hand-over-hand on a rope to
an adjacent ship, an astonishing feat considering the 70 feet length and
the burned hands of the seamen and the fires burning below. The rope
was thrown by Joe George, a sailor from the other ship. The rope throw
was a heroic act that was never fully rewarded because George disobeyed
an order to cut the lines that tied the two ships. Without the rope,
these sailors would have perished. Stratton had a long and painful
recovery. Even so, he endured and with determination reenlisted in the
Navy. Offered a non-combat post, he instead chose to return to a
battleship and rejoin the war in the Pacific.
Donald Stratton’s story is dedicated to preserving the memory of the
men aboard the USS Arizona – those that died and those that survived. In
Stratton’s words: “I have tried my best to express what I could about
what I experienced that day. It isn’t enough, though, because it is only
one side of the story. The other side lies an ocean away. When you read
a statistic, like 2,403 dead, it says so little. A statistical death is
only the skeletal remains of a life. Without flesh and blood; its
beating heart or its winking eye; its quick wit or its contagious
I hope that many Nebraskans will read All the Gallant Men and that the book will lead to more stories about the experiences and sacrifices of those who serve and have served.
Ken Gire deserves recognition for his collaboration with Don Stratton
to bring Stratton’s story to print. How that came about is an
interesting story in itself (see writer’s postscript).
Described by family members as a humble and generous man, Donald Stratton passed away on February 15, 2020.
Donald Stratton and Ken Gire. All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor. HarperCollins. 2016.
Celebrate Nebraska’s rich literary
tradition with the Nebraska Book Awards. The Nebraska Book Awards program,
sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), recognizes and honors
books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers,
set in Nebraska, or concerning Nebraska. The Awards competition opens every
year on March 1st and entries are due by June 30th. Books published in 2019, as
indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be published,
have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be
entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction,
Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration, and Poetry. Winners of the 2020
Nebraska Book Awards will be honored at the annual Celebration of Nebraska
Books on October 17, 2020. The authors, designers and illustrators, and
publishers are invited to give a short reading and speak about their winning
books. Please visit the NCB website at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.htm
for more information and to submit your nomination. Submissions can be made on
the NCB website or by mail.
The Celebration of Nebraska Books,
free and open to the public, will also honor recipients of the 2020 Jane Geske
and Mildred Bennett awards. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes individuals
who have made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in
Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual heritage that enriches
our lives and molds our world. The Jane Geske Award is presented to a Nebraska
organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading,
libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for
books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the
well-being of the libraries of Nebraska. Nominations for these awards are
accepted year round at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html.
The Celebration of Nebraska Books is
sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission,
with support from Humanities Nebraska, and History Nebraska’s Nebraska History
Museum. The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library
Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers,
librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the
community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public
interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the
Book is supported by the national Center for the Book in the Library of
Congress and the Nebraska Library Commission.
As the state library agency, the
Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information
needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide
promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services,
“bringing together people and information.”