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The King of Late Night

In February 2014, Jimmy Fallon became the sixth host of The Tonight Show, which first aired on NBC in 1954.  In the show's long and storied history, no one hosted longer or was more beloved than Johnny Carson.

Carson graced America's televisions for thirty years behind the Tonight Show desk, debuting as host in October of 1962 and reigning supreme over the late-night airwaves until his retirement in May of 1992.

Revisit some of television's classic comedy moments and learn more about this legendary performer with these items from the Pioneer catalog.

Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin

During the apex of his reign, Carson's longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could. A revealing and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.

Read more: The King of Late Night

"It was 50 years ago today..."

On Sunday night, February 9, 1964, the Beatles performed for the first time in America on the The Ed Sullivan Show in New York; the music world would never be the same.  Scores of artists, not least among them Billy Joel and Tom Petty, have stated that seeing this seminal performance by the Fab Four inspired them to become musicians themselves. CBS celebrated in 2014 with a television special, which aired on the 50th anniversary of the broadcast.

Commemorate this momentous event in popular culture by checking out some of the many Beatles-related items in the Pioneer catalog.  Here are just a few:

 

Beatles Anthology by The Beatles

This "Beatles autobiography" is a dense, massive, richly-appointed book with well over 1,000 photographs, and the accompanying 8-episode television program is a must-see for any Beatles fan.  Episode 3 deals extensively with the band's 1964 Ed Sullivan performances.

Read more: "It was 50 years ago today..."

Popular Books of 2013

 After consulting The New York Times' Best Sellers List, Amazon's Top 100 Editor's Picks, and Goodreads' Most Popular Books of 2013, we've come up with a short list of the most common popular books. Here are the top five books in no particular order.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. 'The Goldfinch' is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.

Read more: Popular Books of 2013

Ian Fleming Birth Anniversary

Ian Fleming's birth anniversary is May 28th. This English journalist and novelist created the James Bond series, beginning with Casino Royale in 1953.

He also penned the children's classic Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang.

To celebrate Ian Fleming, stop by your hometown library and check out some of the following titles. Don't forget to look at materials on OverDrive as well! This is a great time to explore the inspiration for the numerous James Bond movies.

Casino Royale: A James Bond Novel by Ian Fleming

In the first James Bond novel, originally published in 1953, 007 takes on Le Chiffre, a French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH, as the suave agent becomes involved in a high-stakes game of baccarat, enjoys a fiery love affair with a sexy female spy, and endures torture at the hands of a master sadist.

Read more: Ian Fleming Birth Anniversary

Books of April

There are so many interesting books out there to read, but why limit yourself to one genre when you can explore them all? Check out the following collection of ecclectic books, which is sure to have something that peaks your interest!

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of-or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists-who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tract.

Read more: Books of April

April is National Poetry Month

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom. 
 

Maya AngelouRobert Frost.  Walt Whitman.  Shel SilversteinSylvia PlathAllen Ginsberg.  John MiltonEmily Dickinson.  William Blake.  Anne BradstreetBilly Collins

Just a few of the greatest and most popular English-language poets ever to put quill to parchment.  Their names remind us to celebrate National Poetry Month in April 2013.

Conceived in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry that hopes to "increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated."

Read more: April is National Poetry Month

"Hey Stella!"

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was born 102 years ago, on March 26, 1911.  Recognized as one of our greatest playwrights, he was responsible for penning numerous classics of the American stage including The Glass Menagerie, Night of The Iguana, and two Pulitzer Prize winners: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire

Who could forget this famous scene from Streetcar, featuring one of the American Film Institute's most memorable movie quotes of all time?

Enjoy one of Tennessee Williams's timeless works of American drama today.

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