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Featured Staff Picks Book: Lincoln's Dreams

Below is a review of Lincoln's Dreams, courtesy of Terra Bianchi, University Archivist.

“I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since…"

-Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865 by Ward Hill Lamon

After Abraham Lincoln’s death, his friend Ward Hill Lamon described a dream that Lincoln told not even two weeks before his assassination. Lincoln dreamed of sounds of crying, walking downstairs, and asking a group of soldiers surrounding a body "Who is dead in the White House?" A soldier responded, "The President, he was killed by an assassin".

Researching for a famous historical novelist, Jeff Johnston is trying to discover the meanings between Abraham Lincoln’s dreams and other events surrounding the Civil War. When Jeff meets Annie, a patient of his old college roommate, he soon realizes that her dreams are intertwined with his own research. Her vivid and haunting nightmares slowly form into details of the Civil War that only someone battling on the front lines could know. The pair set out to Civil War battle sites, seeking answers for Jeff’s research and an explanation for Annie’s nightmares. As they travel from one site to the next and Annie’s dreams become more disturbing, both become determined to cure her ‘disorder’ and end the torment of those she dreams for.

Connie Willis’s Lincoln’s Dreams describes the places, events, and people involved in the Civil War through detailed research and its character’s reality and dreams. I was first introduced to this novel through a former colleague, while discussing Abraham Lincoln’s ‘premonition’ of his assassination. Always fascinated by dream interpretation and Lincoln’s life, this book immediately grabbed my attention. As Willis’s first novel, it is not without flaws, but her ability to entangle fact and fiction leaves the reader wanting equally more of the history and her characters.

Connie Willis has won six Nebula and Six Hugo Awards as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Lincoln's Dreams. If you are interested in checking out Lincoln’s Dreams, please see the Staff Picks Display on the 2nd floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library.

4 July 2012 (All day)

Featured Staff Picks Book: Zulu

Listed below is a review of Zulu by Caryl Ferey, courtesy of Tamara Brown in Circulation.

"As per the synopsis (via, and the production the company, the novel mirrors description. The work is a complex and layered who-done-it? that proves to be a page-turner; one most likely will not want to put down.

"I was captivated by the tale of lead character, Ali Neuman from his introduction at the beginning of the work, to the end scene that moved me in such a way as to warrant an act of violence (not) in my own home! I threw the book across the space, sighed, then immediately retrieved it and began reading again.

"A Cape Town police office of Zulu origin, whose past well informs his present, molds him into a stoic yet shrewd detective who is both feared and loved by enemies and contemporaries alike. Really, to speak more on Neuman would spoil. The man is shrouded in mystery and even the reader is privy to only so much. The reader doesn’t fully understand him until the end of the novel (hence the book tossing).

"Brian Epkeen who is an Afrikaner detective, who womanizes and has an ex-wife and son who despise him, is a colleague and friend of Ali. The two (along with another couple of police) work together throughout much of the novel, in tandem and alone, to solve the crime of the two white, female co-eds found brutally murdered.

"The tale overall is told from many points of view but premiere narrators are Ali and Brian.

"Second-tier characters come into play as the story progresses, as the mystery unfolds, and as new suspects/victims are uncovered. The sudden change of voice with each chapter, and sometimes within chapters, works because the movement of the plot rates and sets the pace of the novel.

"It is literally a page-turner that will have you reading well into the night.

"When looking at the reviews done by readers on different book-sites, I must say that I am in agreement with them, that this is one of the most violent books I have ever read. But it is a violence-laden tale with truth and reality that is not just some simple conjure of a man with an imagination.

"The horrors shown are horrors witnessed throughout history—particularly in this region, in this country, in this continent… and continents abroad (hello slavery!).

"But there is a lushness of atmosphere and tone that is granted via the characters’ telling, and the settings as perceived through the narrators’ eyes holds you to it, familiarizes you with the landscape and soon you become a part of it. It is thick with atmosphere, with sweat, smell, light, darkness; it is the jungle inside the confines of a concrete construct.

"There are many, many, MANY parallels that can be drawn from the countryside and desert to the modernization of the city and 20th century “civilization” of the people, of the terrain and beyond.

"And speaking of modernity, behold the true nature of the novel. Statistics and facts and figures given throughout the text inform both prose and dialogue, align the story and its characters’ investigation with actual truths via facts that expose the AIDS epidemic and fallout from the government’s handling of it, and give insight to the drug-testing done to millions of Africans in the wake of Apartheid, and even before Nelson Mandela was elected into office."

To view additional books in the Staff Picks display, please see the guide available here.

5 June 2012 (All day)
Published by mtomlin2 on 06 Jun

Staff Picks Book Display

The Library is currently featuring a Staff Picks Display on
the 2nd floor next to the Circulation Desk.

Books cover a variety of subjects and genres, and all items are available for checkout. Reviews of books are also listed on the Staff Picks Guide available here. Featured reviews will also be listed once per week.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Reference Desk by phone at (903) 566-7343 or by e-mail at

5 June 2012 (All day)
Published by mtomlin2 on 06 Jun

Towel Day

photo of a dolphin saying "So long, and thanks for all the fish"

This Friday, May 25th, is Towel Day. Towel Day is an international holiday celebrating the life and work of Douglas Adams. Fans across the universe can show their appreciation by proudly carrying their trusty towels throughout the day.

Douglas Adams is most famous for his science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in which Arthur Dent escapes earth just as the planet is demolished. He explores the galaxy with alien travel writer Ford Prefect and has a variety of misadventures throughout the universe.

He also co-authored Last Chance to See, a book about endangered species based on a 1989 BBC radio documentary of the same title. He wrote the book with Mark Carwardine, a zoologist.

Come check out our display on the 3rd floor of the library and view our research guide for more information on Towel Day.

Original photograph courtesy of flickr user tolomea and published under a Creative Commons license.

21 May 2012 - 12:00am to 30 May 2012 - 4:30pm
Published by tlemaistre2 on 21 May


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