Bloomsday 2015!

Gleeson's copy of the first English edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922.

Gleeson’s copy of the first English edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922.

“It will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.” – James Joyce, on Ulysses

Bloomsday is an annual literary holiday held around the world to celebrate James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses. The controversial and formerly banned epic takes place in Dublin, Ireland on June 16th. Joyce chose June 16th because it was the anniversary of his first date with his wife Nora. Today, Bloomites dress up in period costume, hold readings, and mimic the path taken by the main characters Stephen Dedalus and Leopold and Molly Bloom.  For a holiday intended to commemorate one of the most intellectual novels of twentieth century, things are known to get pretty, dare we say, rowdy. Sound like fun? We think so too…

Where to Celebrate:

Gleeson Library:

Here at the library, we’ve pulled several books by and about James Joyce and his classic Ulysses. Come by and check them out – and visit the Donohue Rare Book Room to see our copy of the first edition of Ulysses, printed in France in 1922, and no. 167 of 2000 copies bound in original blue paper wrappers! Pick up a commemorative button featuring this iconic book cover from the library’s front desk.

Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room

2nd Floor Library, 57 Post Street, SF

“14th Annual Bloomsday Celebration: Re-Joyce in the Stacks; Muses, Music and Dramatic Readings from James Joyce’s UlyssesCo-sponsored by Irish Literary & Historical Society and Irish-American Crossroads Festival. Advance Reservations and Tickets Required.” 7:00 PM (The Circ Bar opens at 6:00 pm)

The United Irish Cultural Center

2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco

 “Celebrate the life and work of Irish writer James Joyce by reading an excerpt from Ulysses or listen to other fans of Joyce read. Be part of the worldwide Bloomsday events held in Dublin and throughout the world. Readings are limited to 5 minutes per person. Period costume is encouraged but not required.” 7:00pm

Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts Bookstore

2904 College Avenue, Berkeley

 “Join us for another installment of James Joyce’s Ulysses, expertly and enthusiastically read by two of Elmwood’s finest, Thomas Lynch and George Davis. This reading will cover the second half of chapter eight, in the newspaper.” 7:30pm

Bird & Beckett Books

653 Chenery Street, San Francisco

“Come enjoy a bit of Ulysses on Bloomsday and help us raise some dough to meet the bills! Bring cash or checks, or make a donation on Paypal through the store’s website. For 10 minutes on the hour all day long, we’ll read a bit from Ulysses as Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus make their way through 1904 Dublin.” Starts at 11:00am.

Plough and the Stars Irish Pub

116 Clement Street, San Francisco

Seisiún- Autumn Rhodes and Friends

“Seisiúns (sessions) are informal gatherings of Irish traditional musicians that happen mostly in pubs…The tunes played are from a living tradition of Irish dance music that dates back about 300 years” More information available on the Plough and the Stars website.

Summer Reading Just Keeps Coming

In case you haven’t found something interesting to pick up in our last few posts on summer reading, here’s one more!

518ZLMvs90L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Octopus: a story of California by Frank Norris (also available as an ebook)

Last winter I took a class with Prof. Kevin Starr, USF ’62, former state librarian and USC history professor, called “California: A Social and Cultural History.” Prof. Starr included a three-page reading list on California history. I’ve read a few of them and plan to read more. It would be lofty goal to read them all! Some of my classmates read Frank Norris’s Octopus, published in 1901 about how the expansion of a railroad affected farmers, so I’m starting with that one. Read more about Norris on PBS’ website.

— Cynthia McCarthy, San José Branch Librarian

71YWAijk8DL10% happier : how I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works–a true story by Dan Harris.

I saw an interview Dan did with Diane Sawyer about his book and thought it looked interesting. Dan is the anchorman for ABC’s Nightline. After having a panic attack on air, he decided he needed to make some changes in his life. He writes about attending a ten day mediation retreat that changed his life and as he says it made him 10% happier. Dan is very candid about his professional and private life. The book is well-written and funny!

— Gwen Sparman, Sacramento Branch Library Assistant

0472dde343d510f62cb4a26df99085deTwenty thousand leagues under the sea by Jules Verne (also available as an ebook)

This is a 2-for-1! I just finished reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, which recently earned the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. It is a lushly written novel with a multifaceted and suspenseful plot. The book follows Doerr’s main characters most closely — Marie-Laure, a young French girl who is blind, and Werner, a German orphan who is recruited by the Nazis to locate radio transmissions during WWII. The ocean is a reoccurring presence in this novel, and at one point Marie-Laure receives a braille version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a gift. I loved Marie-Laure’s character – her courage, intelligence, and the very unique way she necessarily experienced the world (I like Werner’s character, too, but that’s a story for a different blog post). ML’s reading of Verne’s science fiction adventure novel, which was originally published in 1869 as serial installments, piqued my interest. I wasn’t completely sold on tackling this French classic until I heard USF’s Arts and Science Graduation Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient – “Her Deepness,” the Marine Biologist Dr. Sylvia Alice Earle – discuss her own passion and concern for our oceans. The confluence of Dr. Earle’s graduation address and Marie-Laure’s story – I’m taking it as a sign: Go to the sea this summer! So, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Tour du monde sous-marin ­– here I come! In a good English translation, of course!

— Colette Hayes, Assistant Librarian

Even More Summer Reading

We’re just full of suggestions and discussions on summer reading. Here’s another batch to get you rolling into June…


You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney

In this entertaining collection of psychological essays, McRaney explores the ways in which we deceive ourselves. Through metacognition, thinking about thinking, we can begin to unravel the logical fallacies that cloud our everyday decisions. It’s a great companion to the You Are Not So Smart podcast!

— Amy Gilgan, Reference Librarian and Liaison to the School of Education


The Devil’s Only Friend by Dan Wells

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of Dan Wells’s John Wayne Cleaver series. The most unlikely of heroes, John Wayne Cleaver, shares common struggles: growing up in a small town, raised by a single mom, juggling school with friendships and his first love. He is also a sociopath who can see demons masquerading as humans. “The Devil’s Only Friend” follows the first three books, I Am Not A Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want To Kill You. It will be released on June 16 and I’m on the waiting list.

— David Ferguson, Acquisitions Coordinator


The Girl on the Train : A Novel by Paula Hawkins

The reviews liken it to Gone Girl or Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Rear Window, and I would agree. So far, it is entertaining and holding my interest.

— Gwen Sparman, Sacramento Library Assistant

Library of Library Buttons


Library buttons from the past two academic years.

Summer is a good time to reflect on all of the activities that happen at the library during the regular school year. And from Alumni Author events to Game Nights, Seed Library demonstrations to Furriends for Finals programs, Library Shelfie Days to Cultural Heritage displays, Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons to Graduation celebrations and more: there is always something happening at Gleeson.  We even have a library of library buttons to document it!  How many library buttons do you have? And how many will you collect at the library next year? :)

More Summer Reading!

Here’s the next installment of summer reading suggestions and discussions from library staff. Got any books piled next to your bed that you’re going to dive into? Tell us in the comments!

8f342c8568a5a79b47ec_imageWhat: Dead Wake; the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Lawson.
Where: On a beach in Hawaii
How: Print
Why: It’s the centennial of World War I and I want to read the latest on why we should “Remember the Lusitania.” Lawson is a terrific writer of narrative non-fiction (Devil in the White City). And I like my disaster stories grounded in reality. Move over, San Andreas.

— Kathy Woo, Librarian Emeritus 

What does intersectional, multi-racial organizing look like?  Through a collection of reflections and case studies, Criss Crass explores strategies for movement building across race, class, gender, and sexuality.

— Amy Gilgan, Reference Librarian and liaison to the School of Education 

Well, I’m responding to the call for book reviews no matter how dry and dusty the subject. The book is “The Yorkist Age: Daily Life during the Wars of the Roses” by Paul Murray Kendall (New York: Norton, 1962), a cultural history of 15th century England. This is the century idealized by Shakespeare and then thoroughly romanticized by the Victorians, of knights in armor, the Princes in the Tower, and the villainous Richard III. But aside from the later dramatic exaggerations of the personality and style of these royal figures, their actual power and influence was also less than one would expect, being limited by geographic distances which seem minor to us now (References to the Wars of the Roses are often prefaced with “so called” for this and other reasons). When you add to this the rise of towns, guilds, and mayors, a fascinating picture of daily life emerges from the habits and customs of ordinary people. Interestingly, the people of this age and place, which was to be the focus of so much dramatization, really valued producing plays of their own. According to Kendall, these morality plays were the pride of the towns, and players could be seriously fined for giving a bad performance. Another interesting element of these productions was a sort of paganization of biblical characters, on stage, and also in religious processions. Townsfolk would literally “play God” and audiences would cheer a favorite character, King Herod, who would be judged by how well he played the raging tyrant, jumping from the stage, frothing at the mouth, and banging his head on the cobblestones below. Good times, Fifteenth Century Style!

— Stephen Hall, Library Assistant for Digital Projects

Time for Summer Reading!

It’s a mass of black gowns and caps in front of the library today, so we’re going to kick off summer with our first installment of Staff Summer Reading posts! We’ll tell you what we’re looking forward to reading this summer, or what we’ve read that you might like. Grab a book and get cozy. Summer’s just beginning.


A Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

I want to read about this girl’s life. How she went from lounging by her typewriter to making art and experimental, post-punk, noise rock on a stage in front of thousands. Kim 71HkdwaBP5LGordon’s new memoir, A Girl in a Band, takes us from her art school days in Los Angeles to the No Wave music scene in New York, to the break up of her marriage and Sonic Youth. To me, Kim Gordon has always seemed to be unapologetically herself. She’s creative, noisy, and answers to no one. I think I’m gonna pop in my cassette tape of Sonic Youth’s 1994 album “Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” and Kim’s gonna be my anthem for the summer.

— Gina Solares, Head of Cataloging and Metadata Management

DM2way2smallerTwo-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook by David Meltzer

David Meltzer’s Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook has long been a favorite book of mine. Hearing in the last year that City Lights would soon be reissuing an expanded and updated edition was one of the best poetry surprises to come my way. This is a book that decidedly more people should be reading; digging and appreciating all it has to offer. City Lights Books and editor Garrett Caples have without doubt done the poetry world a full on solid by bringing Meltzer’s book back in print. While today’s twitter-fed MFA communities may at first be puzzled by how righteously Meltzer celebrates the printed text as object this book is destined to become a regularly utilized classroom text. At the very least every creative writing program office would benefit from having a copy on hand. Poets & Writers should be all over it. The book’s value as an educational tool was after all in part the original impetus behind its initial publication. Read more at The Rumpus.

— Patrick Dunagan, Periodicals & Bindery Specialist



Jim Crow book coverThe new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

For folks seeking to understand the historical context preceding the BlackLivesMatter moment, this book is essential! Michelle Alexander provides an overview of the inherent racism built into the U.S. “justice” system.

— Amy Gilgan, Reference Librarian and liaison to the School of Education