Viktor Schreckengost

Is the name Viktor Schreckengost familiar to you? It should be!  Schreckengost (1906-2008) was one of Cleveland’s most prized artists and industrial designers and his work is still celebrated all over the world.  Cowan Pottery Museum at Rocky River Public Library is home to a number of works by Viktor Schreckengost, including his most famous ceramic work, the Jazz Bowl from 1931.  It’s arguably one of the most important examples of American art pottery ever (for sure, if you ask me).

25.)Schreckengost-Jazz Bowl 3

There have been a lot of Schreckengost items in the local news lately.  A couple of his works are being restored and reinstalled in Cleveland institutions (hooray!) and now that the dream of a Schreckengost museum has been abandoned, a huge collection of work that was in the possession of his family is being auctioned off as well as donated to a few local museums (bittersweet!).


Here are some links to catch up on your Viktor-buzz…have a look and you will be sure to wow friends at your next cocktail party!

Schreckengost’s pachyderms at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

City of Cleveland restoring Schreckengost’s “Time & Space”

Schreckengost heirs drop museum idea and plan to auction and donate artworks, designs

NYT- A Designer’s Sale of Memorabilia


Write On with NaNoWriMo


The first week of NaNoWriMo has come to an end, but there is still time to get started on your novel. National Novel Writing Month is a world-wide event that encourages people to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The NaNoWriMo community is designed to motivate and support writers as they develop or strengthen writing habits. Yesterday the library hosted a panel of seasoned NaNoWriMo writers and they had great advice for people interested in starting a novel. In addition to discussing different approaches to writing programs and generally encouraging new writers, they also gave a little plug for libraries when they lamented the challenges of writing at home. Basically, all four panelists agreed that home writing, if not impossible, is really difficult to do. Most of them do their writing on work breaks, in restaurants, coffee shops, and libraries. Libraries are great places to write! They are quiet (sort of), full of writing resources, and honestly, they provide some pretty great people watching. Whether you write solely for yourself or have dreams of publishing, the NaNoWriMo program and community is a great place to start. Need a little more encouragement? Check out one of these books that started as NaNoWriMo projects:

water for elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a New York Times Bestseller and a feature film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson!

night circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern began as a NaNoWriMo project in 2004, seven years before it was published. The film rights have been optioned by Summit Entertainment, the same company that brought us Harry Potter. Speaking of Harry Potter, Jim Dale, the brilliant reader for the Harry Potter audio books also reads the audio of The Night Circus. It’s amazing!


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is the author’s third published novel. She wrote Fangirl during NaNoWriMo 2011 and it joined Attachments and Eleanor & Park (and bumped Rainbow Rowell to the top of my must-read-whatever-they-write list).

cinder scarlet cress

Cinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer all began during NaNoWriMo. This futuristic retelling of well-known fairy tales is amazing and I am anxiously awaiting the final title in the series, Winter, which comes out this week! Like Fangirl, you’ll find this series in the Teen collection, but I encourage all you adult readers to check them out. Don’t be shy, they are so much fun!

So, check out a bestselling NaNoWriMo book, or get started writing your own! Either way, the library is here to help.

Happy Reading!


It’s Groundhog Day (Again)!

Today is Groundhog Day! “Why celebrate?” you ask. Yes, I agree that it’s a day of tradition that usually just brings us bad news. Indeed, according to news reports today, Punxsutawney Phil has already seen his shadow. If you believe his forecasting skills, we now we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to. Don’t be too sad–just think of all the great reading and movie watching you can do stuck inside all those extra days.

In fact, I’m sure I’ll be able to catch one of my all-time favorite movies on TV. Groundhog Day will no doubt be on at least one channel this evening. I love this movie, and not just because it stars the wonderful, Bill Murray. I love Groundhog Day, because it is the ultimate ‘do-over’ film. I love nothing better than a story where the character gets a chance to relive their past to get it right.

Another great ‘do-over’ movie is Sliding Doors. Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a London woman whose future hinges on whether or not she catches a train. Her character’s two realities run parallel in this film about fate and choices, but it’s hard not to root for her ‘better’ half to get it right in the end.

For great ‘do-over’ reading, pick up Rainbow Rowell’s newest novel, Landline. This novel is about a marriage on the rocks. Georgie and Neal are separated at Christmas, and the only way Georgie can talk to her husband is on an old landline phone in her childhood bedroom. In there, the Neal who answers her calls is Neal from her past college days, pre-marriage. Can Georgie get her husband to fall for her all over again?

Sure, this is pure escape, reading and viewing fun! But, think about it! What would you do if you had a chance to do something over again?    ~Carol

Happy 75th Birthday Superman: Cleveland’s Home-Grown Superhero!

Everyone knows he is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap a tall building in a single bound, but did you know that the Man of Steel is one of Cleveland’s own? It’s true!

Creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster grew up during the Great Depression. Jerry, a native Clevelander met Joe at Glenville High School in 1930. The pair of misfits hit if off and in 1934 they created Superman, a new kind of hero. While the other heroes of the day were regular humans in strange places (Tarzan, Buck Rogers), Superman was a stranger among regular people. He even had an unassuming secret identity for those times that he needed a break. In 1938 the pair sold Superman to Action Comics for $130. When his story debuted in June 1938, Superman was an instant success. He was just the hero that people needed as they struggled out of the Depression and into a new war.

And now, 75 years later he is also the star of this year’s local Free Comic Book Day celebrations. Check out this commemorative cover-it’s a custom-made Cleveland Edition! You can pick up one of these beauties here at Rocky River Public Library on Saturday, May 4! We will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day all day (or until we run out of comics!)


Look at this gorgeous Superman poster:


We have a couple of these posters and some beautiful books to give away as well, thanks to the great folks over at Carol & John’s Comic Book Shop.

The library also has plenty of Superman books, movies, and comics for fans of all ages. For more information about Superman, his creators, and his role throughout modern history try one of these:

boys of steel superman kkk superman high flying

You can find The Boys of Steel by March Tyler Nobleman in the Children’s Department. Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan is a Teen nonfiction and Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye is a new addition to our adult nonfiction collection.

Oh yeah, that tall building he can leap in a single bound? It’s our very own Terminal Tower. Watch the Cleveland skyline beginning in June because that tall building will be lit up red, blue, and gold in honor of our hometown superhero.


The Poetry is the Thing

Wonder Working Stone I was reading a review of a new CD, A Wonder Working Stone, we are adding to the collection and a quote from one of the songs struck me: “Get over your tiny self/Because all days will end in joy.” The artist is Alasdair Roberts and although he started out recording traditional Scottish folk music, this is a album of mainly original compositions.

photo credit: Alex Woodward

I haven’t even listened to the music yet, but already love his poetry.

As I was flipping through the lyrics to find the song the review quote was from, again I was struck by his words in “Song Composed in December,” especially with recent events in Boston and other evils perpetrated by human beings against humanity.

Song Composed in December

This song’s made in anger, this song’s made in love
Where the croak of the hawk meets the coo of the dove
Where minstrelsy’s slander and rhyme turns to rage
To make a song about the renovation of the age

Woe to those who celebrate the taking up of violence
And woe to those who perpetrate delusions of their sirelands
Who’d fight for no reason with sword or with firebrand
Be they reiver in the border or raider in the highland

And joy to those who celebrate the breaking up of weapons
Who take a stand to raise a hand against oncoming slaughter
And joy to those who strive to give a voice to those with none
The fosterer of errant son and sire of wild daughter

And joy to those who’d use their songs as clues to find their clan
But woe to those who’d use them to enslave their fellow man

From open moor where kestrels soar on wings of beauty
To cloisters where vestals bear their palms of beauty
To waterfall tumbling, cascading and purling
To the flowery machair where the echo mocks the yellow yorlin

From forest deep where numens peep from every oaken bole
To city streets where people seek completion of the soul
For everyone with double bond of suffering to thole
I will sow a seed of honesty upon the bluebell knoll

There’s a little more to the song (including some Welsh rap!) than I am including in this post, but I will leave you to discover more of his words – and music- on your own.

— Julie

2011 Thriller Awards

Last Saturday the International Thriller Writers announced their 2011 awards at their annual ThrillerFest in New York City.

The best hardcover novel award went to John Sandford for Bad Blood.

 J.T. Ellison took home the award for best original paperback with The Cold Room. And Still Missing by Chevy Stevens won the best first novel category.

If you like thrillers as much as I do, try searching for them in our Reading Room. I think that you’ll find some great reads!


Borders Bookstores

 I guess I will need to rethink my retirement plans. For many years now I told others that when I retired, I would open a Readery-Eatery. I would get a chance to do what I loved to do…eat and read! One of my favorite television series from the early 2000s shown on the Hallmark Channel was Mystery Woman starring Kellie Martin as Samantha Kinsey, the owner of a mystery bookstore who solved real-life mysteries. I loved that series! There was also another sitcom on television in 2005 called Stacked starring Pamela Anderson who worked in a small family-owned bookstore. Ellen DeGeneres, starred in her sitcom in the mid1990s Ellen (originally titled These Friends of Mine for season one) as a bookstore owner of Buy the Book. Yes, I truly believed that if I couldn’t work in a library, I would work in a bookstore like Kellie Martin, Pamela Anderson and Ellen DeGeneres but with the news that Borders is filing Chapter 11 and closing about 30% of their stores nationwide, I am filled with dread that bookstores may be becoming extinct. Joseph-Beth Booksellers closed their store in Legacy Village after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy too in December 2010. What’s happening to our bookstores? I don’t have the answers but I know that I will continue to support bookstores (and libraries too) by buying books…In fact, once I post this blog entry, I’m off to Borders with my coupon to buy the new J.D. Robb book, Treachery in Death. I might even start reading it tonight…. Happy Reading!   ~Donna

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”        Jerry Seinfeld

Rosemary Sutcliff

 The new action movie, The Eagle, is based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel, The Eagle of the Ninth. Have you ever heard of the author, Rosemary Sutcliff? She was known primarily as a British children’s historical fiction author. She won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for her novel, Lantern Bearers, in 1959. She lived from December 14, 1920 and died while still writing on the morning of her death on July 23, 1992. As a child, she suffered from a children’s form of arthritis that forced her to spend most of her life in a wheelchair where she spent a lot of time listening to her mother retelling the old Celtic and Saxon legends. She would later use these legends in her books. Her first book written in 1950 was The Chronicles of Robin Hood. She is best known for her books that were set in Roman Britain in the early second century with her Eagle of the Ninth series. These books were The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), The Silver Branch (1957), the Lantern Bearers (1959) and Dawn Wind (1961). In The Eagle of the Ninth, Marcus, a Roman soldier sets off on a quest to find out what happened to the legendary Ninth Legion that mysteriously disappeared while under his father’s command in Northern Britain. He wants to find the lost eagle standard of the Ninth and to return the lost honor and respect back to his family’s name.

As a prolific historical fiction reader growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventurous stories of Rosemary Sutcliff. Unfortunately, most of her books are out of print and you won’t find too many of her books still in school or public libraries. Hopefully, with this new movie, there will be a renewed interest in her historical books to bring them back in print so that more readers will be able to enjoy her wonderful stories.

To find a complete list of her books, check out the Fantastic Fiction website.

Happy Reading!                                                    Donna

Think Spring!

I’m ready for Spring and I believe in Punxsutawney Phil! He didn’t see his shadow today so that means…Spring will be around the corner! Hooray! Check out his 2011 prediction. I wish that I was a groundhog because then, I only would have to work one day a year! I would then be able to do what I love to do…READ and READ! What about you?

Happy Reading! Stay Warm!