Shade

In Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents author Pete Souza throws plenty of shade and how.

Souza was the official White House photographer for Barack Obama. When Donald Trump became President, Souza took to Instagram @petesouza to highlight the differences between the two presidents. So, he takes say, a newspaper headline or a Donald Trump tweet and juxtapositions it with one of his own photos of Barack Obama, and serves it up with a caption. People started to notice Souza’s work and some commented that he was “throwing shade.”

What does that mean, “throwing shade”? I didn’t know and neither apparently did Souza. So he consulted a dictionary which told him it’s “a subtle, sneering expression of contempt or disgust with someone.” Though as Souza says “You can call it shade. I just call it the truth.”

Shade is a compilation of Souza’s Instagram posts. Some of them are sooo funny. When I first picked up the book I started laughing so hard I think I scared a few people. Other posts made me feel sad or appalled—in a how-did-we-get-here kind of way.

Here are a couple of Pete Souza’s posts that grabbed my attention (though really you have to get the book and see for yourself. And yes, you really have to.)

Donald Trump’s tweet: “Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” juxtaposed with a photo of Barack Obama and someone dressed up as Abraham Lincoln with the caption “Two, like, really smart Presidents.” Ouch, ouch, ouch.

And here is the one that really got me. Trump at the time of the neo-Nazi, white supremacist rally in Charlottesville very famously — or is it infamously — said there were “…very fine people…” on “…both sides.” And Obama on that occasion? He took to Twitter and quoted Nelson Mandela: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” Just let that sink in — the stark, worlds-apart difference between those two men.

pete-souza-white-house-obama-favorites-51I would also highly recommend Pete Souza’s previous book: Obama: an Intimate Portrait. Obama is a collection of Souza’s photos of the former president. I especially loved the photos of Obama and his family and of Obama interacting with ordinary Americans.

— Penny D.

Beautiful coffee table books

Did you know that we have fantastic, monster-sized books that you can check out to take home and admire? This is not the technical name for the books, in fact, we tend to call them ‘oversize’ books around here because they don’t fit on the regular shelves very easily. We actually put them on special shelves that you can browse when you are in the mood to look at spectacular books like these – convenient! These books are gorgeous works of art and can feature a wide range of topics, like worldwide travel in Destinations of a Lifetime, lavish photographs and recipes in Thai Street Food: Authentic Recipes, Vibrant Traditions or contain amazing photographs of the galaxy in Cosmos. Don’t forget we also have an amazing assortment of huge atlases that you can take home to spend some time with when you are planning your next adventure or just reminiscing about one from the past. These books are beautiful ways to connect with the world, using your library card.

In the old days we would call this kind of book a coffee table book because people would leave them scattered about on their coffee tables so that when someone would visit their home would look extra impressive. I do know, from the world of Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, that decorating with books has become a sensitive topic lately. Many, many librarians and bibliophiles that I follow online took to picking on poor ‘Lauren’ because of an image that circulated indicating that ‘she’ shelved her books with the spines facing inwards. This, naturally, would make it very hard to find the book anyone wanted on a shelf, but it seems it had a uniform look that suited her decor. Well, people were not kind to Lauren online and the hashtag of #backwardsbooks was born and I spent a fair bit of time looking at the funny comments and articles. Here is the original image of ‘Lauren’s shelves that I scooped from someone I follow on Twitter.  I don’t think she would be able to find anything in a hurry.

Neutral bookshelf

I just purchased a wonderful new coffee table book after being swept away by one we have in the collection here at work. Actually, it isn’t the first time I’ve fallen for a book on this topic or even the first time I’ve written a blog post about the topic either, because my beautiful oversized book is about Barack Obama. Other books I have loved about him include his own – Dreams from My Father: A story of race and inheritance (I loved hearing about his early years as a community organizer) – one from his former deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco called Who thought this was a good idea? : And other questions you should have answers to when you work at the White House and Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years which was written by a chief speech writer who never truly won me over but I did find his behind-the-scenes access riveting.  So, why would I break down and actually purchase a book when I can just take one from the shelves of this grand public institution whenever I like (well, as long as the book isn’t currently checked out by another customer)? Well, Obama: An Intimate Portrait is, page after page, an inspiring look at eight years of moments that inspired and changed the world. The author, Pete Souza, was the official White House photographer and had access to every moment of this incredible presidency. He was present for each of the hills and valleys that Obama, his staff and family were living through. It’s a time capsule his time in office – of the situation room, the Rose garden, the Oval office, landmark meetings with international leaders – but it is also filled with personal moments and small kindnesses. When we had the library’s copy at home we would pore over each page and look at it like a photo album (which is really what it is) with lovely captions written by a man who was there, by Obama’s side, every day. We would say things like “I remember this!” or “Hey, come look at this one!” and then look at the photographs together. So, I think it’s worth spending the money to have this book on our coffee table because as decorative as it may be it is also inspiring and extraordinary. You can be sure that we won’t be displaying it with the spine facing in.

-Penny M.

 

Magazines galore at your fingertips

I’d like to say that I love all of the Waterloo Public Library’s online resources equally, but PressReader has a special place in my heart. PressReader is an online resource that you can access through the Waterloo Public Library’s Digital Library webpage. PressReader gives you access to thousands of online newspapers and periodicals. Although most people use PressReader for their daily newspaper intake, the database offers a variety of magazines, including many that we don’t have in our physical collection.

When I first found out about the magazines that PressReader offers, I got quite excited and spent a good chunk of my afternoon perusing the selection. It’s interesting to see the international versions of familiar magazines like Good Housekeeping. In my browsing, I came across five magazines that piqued my interest, and I wanted to share them with you.

Top 5 Magazines I want to read on PressReader:

BBC History Magazine

This magazine has articles on different bits of World and British history. This jumped out to me, because it seems to make history accessible to the average person. It seems to cover interesting topics without the density of an academic journal.

The Simple Things

This is a lifestyle magazine that focuses on slowing down, living simply and enjoying life. I love a good lifestyle magazine, and one that’s designed beautifully, and makes me feel peaceful while reading it, is a winner.

Flea Market Décor Magazine

This is a décor magazine that focuses solely on the Bohemian/Shabby Chic/Vintage decorating style that is Flea Market inspired. I really enjoy seeing inspiration for this style of decorating and trying new DIY projects; this magazine offers both!

Practical Photography

This magazine is all about how to take better pictures. There’s a feature in the current issue of this magazine that’s all about the story behind a great photo. Too often photography magazines explain how a great photo was taken, but not why. Hopefully that feature is a sign of a good magazine!

The London Magazine

This magazine is the oldest literary periodical in England. I always enjoy reading a good literary magazine, so I was excited to see that this was available online. If you’re interested in short stories or poetry, this is the one for you!

As you start to travel away from Waterloo on your well-deserved summer vacations, don’t forget to check out the digital resources on wpl.ca . Resources like PressReader, the Download Library and Zinio are all available wherever you have internet access, 24/7. Take some time this summer to explore WPL’s online resources. You never know what you’ll find!

-Jenna H.