Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.
As of January 1st, 2015 Haliburton County Public Library was fifty years old. There are four municipalities that make up Haliburton County, all of which have a history of libraries older than fifty years, but in 1964 county council made the decision to amalgamate the four municipal library systems into one.
So far in celebration of our fifty years we have told you about banned books from 1965, children’s books, and about some films that won academy awards.
Today on Library Moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning, and I will each talk about a work of non-fiction that was published in 1965.
Sherrill: In November, 1959, in a small town in Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. Just over five years later, in April, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith were hanged for the crime in the Kansas State Penitentiary. Published in 1965, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people. In an interview with George Plimpton, Capote was asked “Why did you select this particular subject matter of murder; had you previously been interested in crime?” Capote answered “Not really, no. During the last years I’ve learned a good deal about crime, and the origins of the homicidal mentality. Still, it is a layman’s knowledge and I don’t pretend to anything deeper. The motivating factor in my choice of material–that is, choosing to write a true account of an actual murder case–was altogether literary. The decision was based on a theory I’ve harbored since I first began to write professionally, which is well over 20 years ago. It seemed to me that journalism, reportage, could be forced to yield a serious new art form: the ‘nonfiction novel,’ as I thought of it.” He went on to say “When I first formed my theories concerning the nonfiction novel, many people with whom I discussed the matter were unsympathetic. They felt that what I proposed, a narrative form that employed all the techniques of fictional art but was nevertheless immaculately factual, was little more than a literary solution for fatigued novelists suffering from ‘failure of imagination.’ Personally, I felt that this attitude represented a ‘failure of imagination’ on their part.” In Cold Blood is widely considered one of the greatest books of the twentieth century and Time magazine picked it as number two of the one hundred best and most influential books written in English since 1923, when Time magazine began.
Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: While Better Homes and Gardens has been printing their red plaid cookbook since the 1930s, it celebrated a major milestone in 1965. In celebration of 10 million copies sold, in 1965 the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook cast of its signature red and white check and produced a gold souvenir edition. While we don’t have that particular edition at the Haliburton County Public Library – it’s much coveted by collectors – we do have the most recent edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Growing up, my mother’s red and white chequered copy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook sat proudly alongside The Joy of Cooking and The Mary Moore Cookbook. It was the go to particularly when we started a recipe and realized that we were missing an ingredient, as the inside cover was home to many handy substitutions. Were we missing cream? Add butter or margarine to milk. No cake flour? Take 2 tablespoons from each cup of all purpose. Did the buttermilk you were planning on using go fuzzy? Add lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. Now in it’s 16th edition, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook continues to be popular, whether people are reading the newer editions, or cherishing their dog-eared older editions that have been passed down through the family.
Bessie: Born Malcolm Little in 1925, Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination. The Autobiography is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X’s philosophy of black pride and black nationalism. After the leader was killed, Haley wrote the book’s epilogue where he described their collaborative process and the events at the end of Malcolm X’s life. Time magazine chose this title as the twelve most influential piece of non-fiction written in English.
As our fiftieth anniversary year progresses we continue to learn how much of what was produced in 1965 still endures today. Thank you for listening to Library moments here on 100.9 CanoeFM, stay tuned for popular fiction from 1965 in the near future.
*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM May 3rd – May 9th, 2015.