Multcolib Research Picks: Mid-20th century bridge tenders book club
Annotation:Marco Polo's vivid descriptions of the splendid cities and people he encountered on his journey along the Silk Road through the Middle East, South Asia, and China opened a window for his Western readers onto the fascinations of the East and continued to grow in popularity over the succeeding centuries.
Annotation:The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard--the youngest member of Scott's team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey--draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott's legendary expedition. Originally published in 1922.
Annotation:In his classic book (1926), T.E. Lawrence--forever known as Lawrence of Arabia--recounts his role in the origin of the modern Arab world. At first a shy Oxford scholar and archaeologist with a facility for languages, he joined and went on to lead the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks while the rest of the world was enmeshed in World War I.
Annotation:His mind crowded with vivid images of Africa, Graham Greene set off in 1935 to discover Liberia, a remote and unfamiliar republic founded for released slaves. Now with a new introduction by Paul Theroux, Journey Without Maps is the spellbinding record of Greene's journey.
Annotation:Written in 1935, Sinclair Lewis' political satire depicts the United States ruled by a President who slowly morphs into a dictator. It astonishingly mimics developments in Nazi Germany before they happened. Noted as one of the most popular reads by bridge tenders in 1944 (Books Taken Bridge Men, Library Offers Delivery Service, Oregonian, October 8, 1944, page 19).
Annotation:Published in 1951, The Sea Around Us was a phenomenal success. Rachel Carson's rare ability to combine scientific insight with moving, poetic prose catapulted her book to first place on The New York Times bestseller list, where it remained on top for thirty-one consecutive weeks. A must read for anyone who works on or near the water.
Annotation:Originally published in 1958, Galbraith's classic on the "economic of abundance" is, in the words of the New York Times, "a compelling challenge to conventional thought." With customary clarity, eloquence, and humor, Galbraith cuts to the heart of what economic security means (and doesn't mean) in today's world and lays bare the hazards of individual and societal complacence about economic inequity.
Annotation:Inside Russia today, if today is 1958. Gunther was famous in his time for his "Inside" series books. For each book, Gunther traveled extensively, interviewed political, social, and business leaders, and talked with average people. Request this classic from the Central library basement!
Annotation:A first-hand account, from a Hungarian teenager's point of view, of the Hungarian 1956 uprising. Book is pictured in image, Librarian delivers books to a bridge tender, 1963 from our 150 Years of Library Memories Collection. See blog post below for details.
Annotation:In 1962 when "searching for America" was not yet the cliche it has since become, Steinbeck hit the highways with his French poodle, Charley. In a custom-built camper he named Rosinante after Don Quixote's steed, the two traveled the country--10,000 miles and 34 states. Their varied experiences comprise several slices of small-town, back-roads Americana. Perfect for the 1960's armchair traveler.
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From 1919 to well into the 1970's the Library Association of Portland offered a delivery service to the bridge tenders of the Willamette River Bridges. At one time the Broadway, Hawthorne, Morrison, Steel, and Burnside Bridges were all deposit stations for book outreach. Librarians delivered books to bridge tenders whose life stories would make as interesting reading as the books they received. Favorite subjects included travel, history, and horses. What would you request from the library to wile away the quiet and isolated hours as a Mid 20th century bridge tender? Here is an imaginative list to get you reading back in time.