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Check It Out

Find a listing of the latest arrivals of books, audio and video items at the Wauwatosa Library, as well as information on upcoming events and staff suggestions for timely information you can use every day on the library's blog.

Pinocchio

The quintessential Italian story is The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  Umberto Eco uses this story in a writing exercise for his seminars at the University of Bologna because it is one of the few stories that all his students know, even if they have not actually read it.  Collodi’s real name was Carlo Lorenzini, Collodi being the name of his mother’s village near Florence, Italy.  The setting for Pinocchio mirrors the rough and tumble times of life in Florence and throughout Italy just before and after Italian unification. 

 The Story of a Puppet, first published as a serial story in a children’s magazine between 1881 and 1883, ended tragically with Pinocchio’s death by hanging at the end of chapter 15.  Its immediate success led to Collodi bringing Pinocchio back to life with the new title, The Adventures of Pinocchio.  The author added 21 chapters and changed the ending to a happy one.  Pinocchio represents the hope of many parents for their children to grow from selfish, lazy and mischievous individuals into caring and thoughtful human beings.  Most children enjoy Pinocchio’s pranks and impudence, but are reassured by the fact that his father loves him unconditionally in spite of his disobedience and misdeeds.

 What could be more Italian than Pinocchio and opera?  On Saturday, March 28, 2009, the Florentine Opera will present Pinocchio from 2:30 – 3:15 pm in the Civic Center Auditorium.  This opera for students in kindergarten through 8th grades is set to the music of Mozart, Donizetti, Offenbach, Pergolesi, Sullivan and Verdi.  For more information or to register beginning March 7th, please call the Wauwatosa Children’s Library: 414-471-8486.    

Hart Park-From the Local History File

Just in case you were thinking of carrying a slingshot into Hart Park, it would have been strictly against the rules up until the early seventies.  With the recent upgrades to Hart Park, it is interesting to note some quaint rules for the park from the not-too-distant past.  Up until 1971, it was illegal for any of the following to occur in Hart Park:

 

·        Tethering of horses to trees

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John Updike 1932-2009

When a writer describes a moment or a feeling that the reader remembers for 30+ years, that writer has touched something inside that reader. John Updike was that writer for me.  From reading many of his obituaries, I realize he was that writer for many others.  In 1991, Nicholson Baker wrote U and I. In it, he explores his intellectual and emotional debt to Updike. I read that book the minute it came out to search for a reason for my own feelings.  Tom Junod, in Esquire magazine, begins his obituary of Updike: “I met my wife through John Updike”. (She was reading a copy of Rabbit Redux).  Junod describes Updike’s skill as distilling “the essence of a quicksilver moment”. 

Those quicksilver moments that I remembered for many years are what kept drawing me to Updike.  I have no idea which short story contains this scene:  parents are divorcing and, with the help of their children, are cleaning out the family home. Updike likened the tossing of board games with missing pieces to their family life. I don’t even know if the next memory is a poem (I think it is) or a short story:  a museum-goer happens upon a small classical statue in a display case.  He feels an attachment and thinks of it as his own private possession.  Since I read that, I often feel that way in museums. 

Years ago, Updike spoke and read at UWM.  He read a poem I was not familiar with so I wrote and asked him for a citation.  In return mail, I received one of his famous blue-edged postcards with a charming note and the information I needed. I didn’t know how famous those postcards were until I began reading the obituaries. 

I liked Updike’s short stories and poetry more than his novels.  Although, one can’t argue with two Pulitzers: Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990).  Still, I will always miss the joy I felt when the New Yorker published a new Updike story.

Marbeth Foley
 

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