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La rentrée littéraire

September is the month when an unusually high concentration of new publications are released to the European market, notably in France and Belgium. While it may take a few more weeks for these books to reach us in Berkeley and get cataloged, some are already making their way to the shelves. Remember, all new books destined for the Main Stacks are first displayed on the third floor of the Moffitt Library and also listed on the recent acquisitions lists for French, Italian and Iberian studies in OskiCat for your convenience. Enjoy!

Summer Reading: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Siddhartha Mukherjee
New York: Scribner, 2011

A very readable Pulitzer Prize winner. Despite the somewhat depressing topic, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe our future students will find a cure.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

COLLECTIONS as CONNECTORS Holdings from Off-Center

by Steven Black, Bancroft Acquisitions

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
–William Butler Yeats, from “The Second Coming”

As they do in a teeming metropolis, connections occur naturally among collections in libraries and other repositories. These linkages may involve ideas and people, whether by description (cataloging and metadata), archival arrangement, researcher access and review, or, in the case of a new exhibit at The Bancroft Library, by time-shifted serendipity.

“The Summer of Love, from the Collections of The Bancroft Library” fortuitously brings together two representative figures who, in 1967, circled each other warily, but never met.

Joan Didion
Joan Didion in Golden Gate Park’s Panhandle, near Oak and Ashbury, 1967, photographed by Ted Streshinsky, BANC PIC 2004.132–NEG, M674-2, frame 9A

Joan Didion’s reportage in “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” is highlighted in a timely Bancroft exhibition along with images of the hippie scene in San Francisco taken by photographer Ted Streshinsky.

One thread running through her piece (in a reproduction of her typescript essay as submitted for later book publication) is a search for the Communication Company printer and publisher Chester Anderson.

Chester Anderson
Photo of Chester Anderson from the back cover of The Butterfly Kid. New York : Pyramid Books, 1967., p PS3551.N358 B8 1967

Funded by proceeds from his cult-hit novel The Butterfly Kid (1967), Anderson arrived in the Haight district of San Francisco just as the seeds for the coming “Summer of Love” were sown.  In January 1967 he purchased a state-of-the-art mimeograph machine from Gestetner “to provide quick & inexpensive printing service for the hip community.”

Among the works issued by this newest member of the Underground Press Syndicate were innumerable Diggers flyers and handbills, a chapbook by Richard Brautigan (All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace), revolutionary manifestos, notices for performances, the Invisible Circus, other happenings, and street level public service announcements.

Gentleness: a play in infinite acts ., 1967, The Communication Company, publisher Chester Anderson papers, BANC MSS 92/839 c, box 1, folder 3

In her quest, Didion describes meeting Com/Co’s co-founder, who (she writes) “says his name is Claude Hayward, but never mind that because I think of him just as The Connection.”

As she is on assignment for a mainstream publication, Didion is considered (in a Diggers phrase-du-jour) to be “a media poisoner.” The Connection urges her to dump the photographer she is with “and get out on the Street” leaving her cash (“You won’t need money”) behind.

Responding to her request to speak directly with Chester Anderson, The Connection says:  “If we decide to get in touch with you at all, we’ll get in touch with you real quick.” Although she crosses paths with The Connection again that spring in the Panhandle during an agitprop intervention by the San Francisco Mime Troupe, his passive refusal to hook her up rebuts his street-inflected nickname.

Joan Didion was unable to find the oracular man who could ostensibly help her understand “the scene,” or genius loci. Despite this missed connection with Chester Anderson, by detailing her forays into the Haight-Ashbury and other hippie enclaves around San Francisco, Didion captured in prose a time in violent flux. “Slouching” became the title essay of her celebrated first book of non-fiction, securing her reputation as a caustic and insightful social seismograph.

janis didion excerpt
Joan Didion papers, BANC MSS 81/140 c, carton 1

Today their works are co-located in Bancroft’s Summer of Love retrospective: two radically different writers can be seen in a long-delayed meeting that eluded them in real life.

*                          *                          *

Provenance notes:

Joan Didion (1934-) Joan Didion’s manuscript (BANC MSS 81/140 c carton 1) came to The Bancroft Library as a gift of the author.

Chester Valentine John Anderson (1932-1991) Chester Anderson’s papers (BANC MSS 92/839 c) came to The Bancroft Library via friend and fellow underground journalist Paul Williams.

Paul Williams (1948-2013) founded Crawdaddy, the first zine of rock and roll journalism (predating Rolling Stone), authored many works of hippie (Apple Bay: or, Life on the planet) and new age journalism (Das Energi), books on Bob Dylan and Philip K. Dick (whose literary executor he was, for close to 20 years). Through his imprint Entwhistle Books, he published two books by Chester Anderson:  Fox & hare : the story of a Friday night (f PS3551.N358 F6 1980 Bancroft) and Puppies (p PS3572.A395 P9 1979 Bancroft) under Anderson’s pseudonym John Valentine.

Ted Streshinsky (1923–2003) Ted Streshinsky’s photo archive (BANC PIC 2004.132) was a gift of his wife Shirley.

Summer Reading: The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet

The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet
Jim Robbins
New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2012

Inspired by Giono’s tale from 1953, the book follows the endeavors of protagonist David Milarch, a Michigan nurseryman who engages in a study of the oldest trees in the U.S. and attempts to copy the genetic material of 826 species of trees. The story is easy to follow and is informed by both scientific knowledge and environmental efforts. It includes detailed descriptions of the role of trees in cleaning pollutants from the air as well as preserving our freshwater systems. The book emphasizes the interdependence of trees not only with their immediate ecosystems but with the planet as a whole.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

New Books In Graduate Services September 2017

Take a girl like you

Take A Girl Like You by Kingsley Amis with an introduction by Christian Lorentzen

The heart goes last : a novel

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Routledge research companion to the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

The Routledge Research Companion To The Works Of Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz edited by Emilie L. Bergmann and Stacy Schlau

Dea

Dea by Edward Bond

The dark flood rises

The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble

Pleasing everyone : mass entertainment in Renaissance London and golden-age Hollywood

Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment In Renaissance London And Golden-Age Hollywood by Jeffrey Knapp

Crimes of writing : problems in the containment of representation

Crimes Of Writing: Problems In The Containment Of Representation by Susan Stewart

The politics of modernism

Politics of Modernism: Against The New Conformists by Raymond Williams

Summer Reading: The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees
Jean Giono
Chelsea: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1985

A short story, first published in 1953, about a man who spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day in a barren part of Provence in the south of France, ultimately leading to a complete transformation of the local landscape. Coinciding with the start of the First World War, the story unfolds over four decades. With its powerful environmental message and speculations about the real events that may have served as inspiration for it, Giono’s fictional work remains relevant to twenty-first century readers.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading: Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior
Barbara Kingsolver
New York: Harper, 2012

Dellarobia Turnbow, the young mother at the center of this novel, seems trapped in a cycle of rural poverty and missed opportunities until a mysterious phenomenon in the woods outside her Appalachian home sets in motion a series of disruptions. As reporters, environmentalists, and scientists descend on her small town, what begins as the story of a bored and restless wife contemplating an affair morphs into an expansive tale that considers not only the possibility of personal change but the impact of climate change. What kind of life can she make for herself and her children, and what kind of world will they grow up in?

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading: Silent Spring

Silent Spring

Silent Spring
Rachel Carson
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002

Originally published in 1962, Silent Spring is credited with advancing the concepts of environmentalism that led to the founding of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and existing laws that protect the air and water. Currently the agency, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Water Act are threatened. Gaining knowledge of the basis for the creation of the Agency and these environmental regulations allows one to articulate a position for maintaining and strengthening them.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading: Where Song Began

Where Song Began

Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World
Tim Low
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016

Low’s book challenges expectations that all species originated from similar areas of the globe, instead arguing that most birds around the world today originated in Australia–and that they have influenced the world, including humans, to sing. He provides interesting insights into the size and aggressiveness of Australian birds, as well as odd and rare species, such as those with poisonous feathers.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Get Your Sci-Fi Fix with Hugo Award Winners

Itching to get your hands on this year’s Hugo Award Winners? Start your search at the Library. Don’t overlook Berkeley native Ursula Le Guin!

 


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