Lantana's Little List

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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Hurricane info and reads to weather the season in South Florida

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Hello everyone.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene’s intrusions and recent landfalls here along the Atlantic coast, I’ve been reading more on Florida hurricane history, as well as using some of the local resources to help my family and I remain prepared in storm season. I thought I’d share them with you.

*Florida State University’s Information Institute Hurricane Preparedness and Response Portal
Did you know that Florida public libraries have served as important centers for emergency information and assistance after hurricanes? This portal has planning guides, evacuee assistance information, a searchable database with many resources, and updates:

*Fox 29 (WFLX)’s Hurricane Center
An excellent resource with local tracking maps and plots (continously updated with feeds from the NOAA) was recommended to me by a colleague at work recently. (Users can also find it on-line via any search engine by typing in “WFLX hurricane center,” or by clicking on the link below):

*National Hurricane Center
The NOAA/National Weather Service’s website — including forecasts and advisories.  Also has maps of wind speed probability an also mariner advisories.

*211 for Palm Beach/Treasure Coast

Phone Numbers: 2-1-1 (from service area) (Dial 2-1-1 for TTY/TDD Access)
(866) 882-2991 (Alternative Number)
(561) 383-1111 (Alternative Number)


Lantana Public Library also has a large collection of books on hurricane history, and hurricanes in general, including materials for children.  Here’s a sampling of them.

General history, science, and forecasting

Divine wind : the history and science of hurricanes
By Kerry Emmanuel
Call No.: 551.552 Ema

Hurricane watch : forecasting the deadliest storms on earth
By Dr. Bob Sheets and Jack Williams
Call No.: 551.552 She

Hurricane force : in the path of America’s deadlist storms
By Joseph B. Treaster
Call No.: 551.552 Tre

Florida Hurricanes

Florida hurricanes and tropical storms

By John M. Williams and Iver W. Duedall
Call No.: Fla 551.552 Wil

Killer ‘cane : the deadly hurricane of 1928
By Robert Mykle
Fla 975.939 Myk

Okeechobee hurricane and the Hoover Dike
By Lawrence E. Will
Call No.: Fla/Ref 975.939 Wil

Stormscaping : landscaping to minimize wind damage in Florida
By Pamela Crawford
Call No.: 635.952 Cra

Tropical surge : a history of ambition and disaster on the Florida shore
By Benjamin Reilly
Call No.: Fla 975.9381 Rei


Breach of faith : Hurricane Katrina and the near death of a great American city By Jed Horne
Call No.: 976.335 Hor

By Dave Eggers
Call No.: 976.335 Egg

For Children


By Jonathan London and Henri Sorenson
Call No.: C E Lon (Children’s section Fiction)

Anatomy of a hurricane
By Terri Dougherty
Call No: C 551.552 Dou (Children’s section/Non-fiction)


Written by lantanalister1

August 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Available: The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

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The Brain that Changes Itself 
by Norman Doidge
Lantana Library Call No.: 612 82 Doi
When Dr. Doidge, an M.D. and psychiatrist, first noticed that some patients responded to treatment in ways that indicated that their brains were not hardwired and that brain damage might be undone, he didn’t believe it. Research led him to the relatively new science of neuroplasticity, which appears to allow a damaged brain to reconstruct itself. This is gripping stuff, and you do not have to be a doctor to understand it: It is also a pleasure to read, and the case histories give room for hope.

(From the Short List, March 11, 2009, by Catharine Rambeau)

Written by lantanalister1

July 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Founder’s Day at the Flagler Museum…

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When I saw the Palm Beach Post ad about free admission on Sunday, June 6, 2011, to the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, I couldn’t resist and drove on up there.  It turned out to be Founder’s Day, in honor of the museum’s founder Jean Flagler Matthews. 

I hadn’t been to the Museum in years, and it was well worth the visit.  I lingered around the entrance of the original Whitehall building, designed by John Carrère and Thomas Hastings, with its neo-classical columns, urns, and bronze doors, and then also inside its front hall, with its Apollo fresco.  Not only did I get to see artwork and furnishings of the Gilded Age: This time I was also able to enjoy a new pavillion built in 2002 behind the main museum to house Flagler’s famous private rail car.  As you can see above, this new pavillion is reminiscent of an early 20th century train station. I especially loved its Tiffany clock at the entrance and the map of Flagler’s rail and ferry empire, which extended from Florida to Cuba.

 Just as an FYI —  Lantana Public Library has two excellent works on Henry Flagler:
Henry Flagler : visionary of the Gilded Age, by Sidney Walter Martin
(Library Call No. Fla B Fla), and
Last train to paradise: Henry Flagler and the spectacular rise and fall of the railroad that crossed an ocean, by Les Standiford (Call No. Fla 385 Sta).

Written by lantanalister1

June 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

On the Godfather of Tabloid…

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The Godfather of Tabloid:  Generoso Pope Jr. and the National Enquirer [Hardcover] by Jack Vitek
290 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8131-2503-9
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky
Lantana Library Call No: Fla 071 Vit

The Deeds of My Fathers [Hardcover] by Paul David Pope
396 pages, 2011
ISBN: 1442204869
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Lantana Library Call No: Fla 071 Pope

Read all about it, Lantana residents, news media history buffs, tabloid fans, and enquiring minds!

The Library has two new books about Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., the famous self-made billionaire, long-time area resident and recluse, and media tycoon of America’s best-known tabloid, the National Enquirer.  Remember when it was headquartered in our little town, just off Dixie Highway/East Coast Avenue, for nearly three decades?  As a young girl, I vaguely remember the high, beautifully-lit Christmas fir trees, as well as the enormous Enquirer sign along the road.

Vitek, an associate professor at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, extensively researched and interviewed numerous associates, detractors, and associates of Pope, Jr’s, as well as the rise of tabloid journalism in the U.S.  He claims, “Pope was not a visionary who theorized the National Enquirer into existence, but a central catalyst in the long and varied cultural dialogue that produced it.”

Readers may already know the Enquirer’s beginnings – that Pope, Jr. bought and sustained the paper with a $25,000 loan and subsequent infusions of cash from Mafia underworld boss Frank Costello.

What they may not know is that Pope, Jr. earned an MIT engineering degree and served briefly as a CIA officer in the early 1950’s.  Even so, he set his sights on publishing at a remarkably young age, which had also been the source of his wealthy, influential Italian-American family’s power and influence in New York.  Pope’s family, however, disinherited him. (Generoso Pope Sr. had made his millions in construction and gained power through ownership of Il Progresso, an Italian-American newspaper, and a New York radio station.)

After Pope, Jr. moved to Florida and relocated his newspaper in the early 1970s, he apparently distanced himself from the Mafia.

And the rest is history that Vitek vividly traces for us.  The Enquirer eventually became the most widely circulated paper in U.S. history (its issue of Elvis’s death in 1977 sold around seven million copies within hours), built with a seasoned corps of Fleet Street British and Australian tabloid reporters, a large supermarket readership, and stories based on a constantly tuned formula or mix of stories of Pope’s own making, ranging from 100% true to the fabulously unreal.    Moreover, Vitek sheds even more light on Pope’s cut-throat managerial style, possible sources for Pope’s legendary obsessiveness and social ineptness, and behind-the-scene accounts of some of the newspaper’s most famous breaking stories.

Paul David Pope’s well-researched inter-generational biography and  frank, personal memoir of his father, Gene Pope, Jr., and his grandfather, Generoso Pope, Snr., is poignantly and vividly written. Readers will learn some of the sadder, darker events surrounding Gene Pope’s earlier marriages and two wives, as well as with his son.  Readers will also gain a more complex perspective of the Italian immigrant experience in America, as well as learn more of American tabloid news industry and the stories that didn’t make it into the Enquirer.  David Pope, who unsuccessfully sought to buy the Enquirer and its sister paper, the Weekly World News (known for its famous columnist, Ed Anger), on his father’s death, eventually went on to found his own media/entertainment business and philanthropic organization.

Written by lantanalister1

June 26, 2011 at 4:22 am

In photographs — Felice Beato: On the Eastern Road by Anne Lacoste

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       Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern   Road by Anne Lacoste
         (Fred Ritchin, contributor)
        Hardcover: 208 pages
       Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum (December 21, 2010)
        Language: English
       ISBN-10: 160606035X 
       Lantana Public Library Call No: B Bea

We usually think embedded journalism started with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when the American military allowed reporters and photographers to travel with them.  Really, though, it started a century earlier, when Roger Fenton and James Robertson (Englishmen) and the Italian-born Felice Beato began to photograph the Crimean War of 1853-1856.  And even though it was engravings of their photography that would be featured in newspapers (it was only new photographic and printing technology of the 1890s that allowed reproduction of actual photos in newsprint), colonial empires and public audiences were becoming large and extensive at this time.  Beato saw and traveled much, and his photography of the lands, peoples, famous personages, conflicts, and vanishing cultures all attest to these developments.                                            

Felice Beato was born in Venice in 1832 and raised on the Mediterranean island of Corfu, then a British protectorate, and later in Constantinople.  In Constantinople, along with his brother Antonio, he began an apprenticeship with Robertson, traveling with him to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Greece, and also Crimea during the war.  With Robertson, Beato photographed the fall of Sebastopol, one of the major sieges of the war and the subject of some of Leo Tolstoy’s earliest writings. On his own, Beato travelled on to India, Mandalay/Burma, as well as China and Japan.  With the help of earlier contacts (ranking British officers), Beato photographed other conflicts in the Empire, including the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858), the Second Opium War between Britain and China (1860), America’s expedition in Korea (1871), and later the Anglo-Sudan War (of the 1880s).  He lived in Hong Kong and Japan for many years, as well as Burma, returning to Italy and settling in Florence, and died  in 1909.

Beato’s albumen silver prints are beautiful to look at, being clear, crisp compositions.  Beato helped pioneer the panoramic shot, and his use of albumen negative process (new in its day, involving the use of egg white and silver nitrate solutions) and the wet-collodion method  allowed durable negatives to be created quickly on-site, with multiple prints from the same negative.  The processes allowed for experimentation with hand-coloring later on with the help of local artists.  As a global photographer, he educated and influenced the following generation of photographers.

 I’m partial to the picture of The 49 Gautamas in the Saigaing Temple, in Burma (Plate 80), and also to the shot of Beato’s colorist (Plate 50).  The Japanese landscape and human photos are also moving.  The photos of the conflicts, though staged, are nonetheless unforgettable.      

Anne Lacoste curated and collected these photos for a Getty Museum exhibit from December 2010 — April 2011. With Fred Ritchin’s contributing essay on war photography, readers are in for a treat!  Check it out at your library!

Written by lantanalister1

June 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Having the right stuff for space travel

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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void [Hardcover] by Mary Roach
334 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 2, 2010)
ISBN 978-0-393-06847-4
Call No. at Lantana Public Library:  629.45 Roa


Does anyone know if Mike Rowe, the host of the T.V. show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, has explored what it’s like being an astronaut or training to be one?! If he hasn’t, he needs to head over to NASA and follow these men or women for a day, even if not in space but on Earth!  He’ll be surprised to discover, as I was, how unenviably gut-wrenching, unhygienic, monotonous, hazardous, and psychologically challenging it still is to have lived and worked as one. 

Fans of Mary Roach’s other works, including Stiff and Bonk, will enjoy this latest book.  I hadn’t read these earlier works, though a colleague last summer had recommended the latter to me as an interesting read on how sex is scientifically studied.  (Bonk is available at the Town of Lantana Public Library, by the way.)  

In Packing for Mars, Roach reminds us that as was the case with the first astronauts did in the early days of space flight – confident, seasoned test pilots — astronauts today no doubt still require extraordinary physical courage, stamina, resolve, curiosity, discipline, and intelligence. 

But pause and ponder, as Roach does, how lack of an atmosphere and zero-gravity can make the following functions extraordinarily challenging or at least, not straight forward.  Breathing.  Eating.  Walking.  Concentrating.  Bending.  Bathing.  Resting.  Landing (right side up and still alive). Urinating.  Excreting.  Vomiting.  The list goes on.  What are some challenges?  Try complete weightlessness.  Inevitable motion sickness.  Incredible mental stress.  Lack of privacy, little autonomy, or a sense overwhelming isolation. Having to wear diapers.  Few opportunities for hygiene, and plenty of scurf (a.k.a. shed skin in the air). And  EVA (extra vehicular activity) height vertigo (readers must read about that one).  Not  to mention the dangers and low or non-existent odds of astronauts surviving missions that go tragically wrong (the Apollo 13, Challenger, or Columbia missions).  To name a few.

Readers will get a wonderful blend of science and wry and yet respectful humor, as Roach discusses crash simulation, the use of animals in experimental flights, and psychological and scientific studies on bed rests and irradiation (a significant problem, as there is no atmosphere to protect in outer space), among many other things.  And more of the rich history and sacrifices (by people and animals, no less) of space travel.

All make for her interesting, thought-provoking conclusion.  A must-read.

The German rocket scientist Werner von Braun once said, “Don’t ‘tell me that man doesn’t belong out there.  Man belongs wherever he wants to go – and he’ll do plenty well when he gets there.”  Roach’s book gives most of us a chance to see just how well we are doing out “there” in outer space.

Written by lantanalister1

June 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm