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Feb 26

Put Your Literature to the Test by Vanesa Gomez

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on February 26, 2021 at 2:07 PM by Genesis Gaule

The Bechdel Test is famous for two reasons:

  • Firstly, due to the very simple and minimal standards that a piece of media needs to meet to pass.
  • Secondly, due to the sheer volume of stories that do not meet said standards.

The original test, first mentioned in Alison Bechdel’s comic, asks if in a piece of media there are two (named) women who talk to each other about something that is not a man.

A six panel comic featuring two women talking about their 3 requirements to see a movie.

With the rise in popularity, many have compared these standards to films and constantly updated lists of films. Many other tests have created a checklist for films and books. For example, the Vito Russo Test measures how LGBT characters are portrayed in films (they cannot be used just as a punchline to a joke, and their character must be tied into the plot).

What exactly do these tests indicate? Why do people care? The answer to both is inclusivity. While the Bechdel test shouldn’t be the gold standard for feminist literature, it is a step towards recognizing when women are not fleshed out. Representation and diversity in our stories matter.

If you are interested in reading some female-centric books, here are some available for checkout from our library.

The Devil Wears Prada

by Lauren Weisberger
FICTION CD Audiobook

A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple

After her infamous mother goes missing, Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng
FICTIONebookCD Audiobook

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that threatens to upend a carefully ordered community.

The Power

by Naomi Alderman 

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

Set in the near future, the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans.

Feb 19

Can You Hear the Music Playing? by Cody Rasmussen

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on February 19, 2021 at 2:09 PM by Genesis Gaule

photograph of a pair of apple ear buds laying on top of classical sheet music

Music. If there is a single thing that has maintained itself throughout the ages, it is music. Humans have been keen on the creation of music since prehistoric times. Before the creation of musical instruments, the greatest instrument a person could have was their own voice. From singing around the fire to various ceremonies, it was a part of human culture and it has only expanded since then. Singing is a part of modern life, where you can hear it coming from the smallest child to the oldest adult. As long as they are able to take a breath, you will hear voices in the air. Even though some may be off key.

backlit photo of man singing on a stage surrounded by blue light with cheering fans below

Music can be found in various forms now, from the vocals to the various instruments that are used to play the music. Flutes and trumpets, pianos and guitars, even various parts of the body apart from the vocal cords have become musical instruments. From soothing classical to the blaring of heavy metal, music shapes to each person’s own desires. Music is an idea that connects the entire world together. If we continue to create music, we will continue to show who we are as humans.

photo of a tambourine, snare drum with drumsticks, a guitar, and electric keyboard shot from above

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Browse our catalog for books about:

Feb 12

How I Bribe Myself with a Good Book by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on February 12, 2021 at 3:55 PM by Genesis Gaule

There is very little I’d rather do than escape into a book though I am aware that life goes on around me. I have found a solution that keeps me balanced between work, home chores, my friends, family and reading.

I bribe myself with a chapter. Now, I’m aware that not all books have numbered chapters and some don’t have any breaks beyond pages.  I’ve found solutions for pacing myself through those too.

Now, how long is a chapter? First, I don’t get too wrapped up in the length of any chapter. Sometimes, I get lucky and it’s many pages long. Other times, they’re super short.  

Good titles with some short chapters are:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. It’s the third in the DaVinci Code series. When I read that, I was excited to see that as the action started to speed up so did the chapters. They were like springs.  I loved how the chapters jumped the action forward. One chapter was never enough.
Another is the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I read this in Large Print and found that some chapters were just over a couple pages which in regular print would be one page. Here again, when a fine author can cut to the chase by being succinct, there is an inertia that pulls me forward into the story.

Some books break up chapters with a physical space between scenes or points of view.  The space on the page stalls forward thinking and resets the story in another place or mind. It is a poetic tactic. How words are lined up on a page can be as powerful as the words themselves. These spaces sometimes include a symbol as simple as a line.  In other books, there are elaborate symbols connected to the time period or culture represented in the story.  

Chapters can be numbered and/or titled. I have found that I fly right right past a number at the beginning of the chapter unless it is in a fancy script or calligraphy. A title often causes me to pause. Is it a clue as to what is coming next? Many times, I don’t think about it until I bump into the next chapter and do an ah-ha.

So, I wash the dishes and read a chapter.

The longer chapters simply have to be broken down to help those of us who have to get up in the morning to go to work, too. Chapters have a purpose not only in the story but in the rhythm of a reader’s life. If a book does have chapters, a bookmark can hold my place until the next workday is done. Or perhaps there is a break on a page and I can mark that spot. If those both fail, I’ll break at a full sentence that ends at the bottom of the page and on my return, start at the top of the following page.

First, I fold the clothes that buzzed halfway through the last paragraph.    

An essential key to make the bribe easy to maintain is that bookmarks can be found everywhere. If the stove timer for my muffins blares, a bookmark needs to be on the table nearby. If I’m sitting in the sun and the recycling truck empties my container, I want a bookmark on the end table so I can dash outside. If my kids call and I’m lying on the floor reading a book, the bookmark has to be within reach.  

Chapters or planned breaks in our books are essential to give us that pause to make a cup of tea, use the bathroom or do the laundry. Oh yeah, the breaks are also there to give a good pace to the story or information we’re reading.