By Danielle Prostrollo
“As lovely as Aphrodite—as wise as Athena—with the speed of Mercury and the strength of Hercules—she is known only as Wonder Woman, but who she is, or whence she came, nobody knows!”—All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941-January 1942)
New in the collection at the Memorial Library is a new Wonder Woman compilation. The hardback details the history of the character and follows each of her incarnations – from her first appearance in Action Comics, the Lynda Carter’s TV series, multiple animated series, and the recent feature film as well as beautiful photograph and several inserts, reproductions of Amazonian ephemera, as well as interviews with people key to the story of Diana Prince.
This book will appeal to all readers – young and old, those new to the Wonder Woman story and those who have followed her for years. It is easy to take several passes through this book in short order, page through for the photographs, again for the interviews and footnotes, and a third time to take in the great written history. At 175 pages you’ll fly through the book as if it takes no time at all.
By Danielle Prostrollo
East Anglia’s Norfolk connections to America are well documented, and the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library maintains a blog devoted to exactly that. Some of the most famous are facts such as, Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Heacham’s John Rolfe married Native American Pocahontas, and Abraham Lincoln’s ancestral home is in Hingham. But these are only the start of Colonial America’s reliance on the area for its good… and bad!
In the book Uncle Sam’s Roots in Eastern England: From Colonial Times Onwards by Roger Pugh, many of the lesser-known connections are discussed including the following:
Ancestral home of President Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge’s ancestors John and Mary were from Cottonham, Cambridgeshire. John Coolidge employed an economy of words similar to that which his famous descendant, Calvin, is known for. In the book, Pugh says that John once replied to an invitation: “Dear Gentlemen. Can’t come. Thank you.” The Coolidges travelled to Massachusetts in 1630.
William S. Harley, one half of the famous motorcycle brand, was born to parents William and Mary of Littleport, Cambridgeshire. So while Milwaukee, Wisconsin lays claim to being the home of Harley-Davidson, it is from Littleport that the Harley family came!
The Girls from Great Yarmouth and the Witches of Salem
Mary and Rebecca Towne, born in Great Yarmouth to William and Joanna Towne, are two of the many women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. Their sister Sarah, also born to William and Joanna, was born in Salem and eventually tried for witchcraft. Mary and Rebecca would be found guilty and eventually executed while Sarah eventually gained her freedom after the guilty verdict.
To find out more about the East Anglia connection to America, check out Roger Pugh’s book at the Memorial Library or visit our (other) blog!
By Danielle Prostrollo
Charles Walker, decorated B-24 Liberator pilot for the 445th Bomb Group at Tibbenham, was an active supporter of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library throughout his life. In memory of his life and support, a yearly lecture is organised as a joint effort between the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust and the Department of American Studies at the University of East Anglia which is titled the Charles Walker Memorial Lecture.
Each year a guest speaker, specialising in different facets of American histories and culture, is invited to Norwich for the annual Charles Walker Memorial Lecture. This year we are anxiously awaiting Professor Susan Castillo Street’s talk titled The Dark Side of Paradise: 21st Century Florida Gothic in Carl Hiaasen and Karen Russell. The money for this annual lecture is lovingly donated in Chuck’s memory by his widow Dr Dede Casad.
The evening will, no doubt, delve into each author’s depictions of modern Florida and those wanting to become more acquainted with the material (or simply refresh their memory) can pick up or reserve a copy of your favourite Hiaasen or Swamplandia by Russell from Norfolk libraries.
Please join us for an afternoon with Professor Castillo Street whether you are a well-read fan of the authors or are simply interested in learning more about American literature. The event is free and no booking is necessary.
By: Danielle Prostrollo
Of course it is no badge of pride to have an overdue library book, but it is nonetheless true. When I was about 7 years old I borrowed the popular Shel Silverstein book from the public library and then managed to accidentally keep it for, what I think was, 3 or 4 years. That’s a lot of money in overdue fines. But while my criminal record is forever tarnished, my relationship with poetry was shaped by that compilation.
I still go back to Silverstein on occasion, his writing is proof that poetry and literature does not need to be erudite to be masterful. Most of his poems are one or two stanzas – short enough to keep the interest of young readers – and depict a world where not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but that it’s usually ok anyway.
In his later book Falling Up, Silverstein posits that if sunglasses keep out the sun then surely rainglasses can keep out the rain. This kind of close-to-home whimsy allows kids (and grown-ups) to question their own world and consider why things are ‘the way they are’.
Other Silverstein works hit on aspects of life that most will find relevant well into adulthood as is the case with Tell Me which manages to distill common human phenomenon… “tell me I’m great/look thin/did a good job/etc… but be honest” into 8 lines.
In a time when it feels increasingly nice to turn off the news for a spell, A Light in the Attic (and any Shel Silverstein book) feels just as entertaining, relatable, and poignant as it did when I was seven.
You can find A Light In The Attic at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library here:
Photo: http://www.shelsilverstein.com/ from the cover of Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends