As the summer heats up, many of us find that a great way to cool off is to head to the water. The swimming beach at Stephens Lake Park is a favorite place for my family to spend the afternoon, and we also enjoy canoeing at Finger Lakes State Park. In a figurative sense, one can cool off by reading great books about traveling on water, and the library has many that fit the bill. Let’s take a look at a few new and classic titles. Continue reading “Nautical Adventures”
After the breakup of her engagement, Sarah Booth Delaney embarks on another case. This time she is investigating threats against a local blues club. The story takes many twists and turns, and Sarah Booth’s friends – Tinkie, Cece and Coleman – are instrumental in solving the case.
I love the Sarah Booth Delaney series because there is always a good mystery that keeps me guessing, but also because of the characters. The relationships between the characters are really what keep me coming back to see where they will go next. Especially Jitty, the ghost that does her fair share of complicating life for Sarah Booth, as well as providing some comic relief. Continue reading “Reader Review: Bone to Be Wild”
Sports are big business. The athletes are treated as commodities, and they are salesmen. They aren’t just coached on how to play their sport, but also on how to speak to the press. (It’s in cliches and non-answer answers. Really riveting stuff.) Sometimes it seems the true measure of an athlete’s accomplishments isn’t how many rings they win but the number of sponsorships they get. Continue reading “The League of Outsider Baseball”
The August LibraryReads list – the top 10 titles publishing next month that librarians across the country recommend – includes plenty of novels for summer’s last hurrah. (And for you true bibliophiles out there, columnist Michael Dirda delivers “Browsings,” a charming collection of essays about reading, genre fiction, book stores, famous pets in fiction and even library book sales!)
“Best Boy” by Eli Gottlieb
“What happens when someone on the autism spectrum grows up, and they aren’t a cute little boy anymore? Gottlieb’s novel follows the story of Todd Aaron, a man in his fifties who has spent most of his life a resident of the Payton Living Center. Todd begins to wonder what lies beyond the gates of his institution. A funny and deeply affecting work.” – Elizabeth Olesh, Baldwin Public Library, Baldwin, NY Continue reading “Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The August 2015 List”
“The Ingenious Mr. Pyke” is a biography of the brilliant and eccentric Englishman Geoffrey Pyke. He applied his intellect to the problems of the first half of the 20th century, especially the conflicts that erupted across Europe and the world over and over again during those years. The author organizes the material so that readers understand how Pyke framed questions and searched for answers. This is the story of a hero, in keeping with the theme of this summer’s reading program, and the book even includes a few “Superman” panels, yet Geoffrey Pyke was not a superhero but a complicated man living in difficult times. Continue reading “Reader Review: The Ingenious Mr. Pyke”
Superheroes have leapt out of the comic book pages and into our lives in recent years through movies, TV shows and merchandising. Check out these docs that give a glimpse into the past and present of the superhero phenomenon.
“Comic-Con: Episode IV, A Fan’s Hope” (2012)
This film by Morgan Spurlock explores the cultural phenomenon that is Comic-Con by following the lives of five attendees (one of which is Columbia, Misssouri artist Skip Harvey) as they descend upon the ultimate geek mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010.
This film is a compelling look at the company that created the modern superhero, produced with unprecedented access to the archives of Warner Bros. and DC Comics. It explores 75 years of DC Comics, the characters of its universe and the artists and writers who brought them to life. Continue reading “Capes in Motion: Docs with Superheroes”
Do you like to read weird things? I suspect anyone who has read more than one of this gentleman’s posts probably does. Granted, I write in the conventional, easily parsed and comforting voice of a modern nobleman, but I often recommend novels wherein there is at least a modicum of the weird: perhaps there is a murderous tortilla chip or a ghost delivering a message to the wrong twin or a carnival full of haphazardly genetically modified human attractions. But this time I’m going to get real weird with it: I hereby recommend Southern Reach, the gripping trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Jeff VanderMeer”
“It’s raining cats and dogs,” my husband said.
“It sure is,” I said, still – after all my 25 years in America – trying to envision what raining animals would look like.
Pouring rain is common in Missouri, and some years, mowing a lawn once a week no longer cuts it (excuse my pun). Yet this summer the grass hasn’t seemed to grow like crazy, while the rest of our plants have.
One day, after work, I walked around the house and realized that our property has turned into a jungle: the trees have spread their branches as if trying to swallow our house, the plants beside our walk have oozed onto it for about a foot, and our deck appears much shadier than I ever remembered it.
The result looks spooky, reminding me of a book I read some time ago – “The World Without Us” – which postulates that plants could cover all traces of human existence within about a hundred years or so. Continue reading “"Nature Red in Tooth and Claw" ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson”
“The Girl With All the Gifts” was written with by a screenwriter, and it shows. The action unfolds like a movie in the best dystopian sci-fi tradition, beginning with the very limited worldview of Melanie, a genius-level 10-year-old who knows only her classroom and her cell. As Melanie’s understanding of her world grows, so does the reader’s, assisted by short chapters that bring in other characters’ points of view. By the end, the whole horrifying picture is clear, yet unlike so much of the literature in this genre it manages to not be completely depressing. After the first 25 pages or so I was completely hooked and basically just had to put the rest of my life on hold and finish it. Continue reading “Reader Review: The Girl With All the Gifts”
Usually, when people throw around the term fanfiction (fanfic for short), they mean the stories you find on websites such as fanfiction.net or quotev, pieces written by fans of an original comic/novel/movie/TV show, using characters from that universe, and shared with other fans. The quality of the writing can vary wildly, but the level of enthusiasm remains consistently high. In the past couple of years Kindle Worlds has allowed fanfic authors to garner pay for their work through a licensing structure that keeps everyone on the legal side of the copyright line, something that can be a nebulous issue. Legalminimum supplies some good guidelines for using established fictional characters. Since most fanfic is created out of a desire to celebrate and promote the original, rather than to make money or compete with it, many writers are happy to allow their characters to lead alternate lives. Continue reading “Mark Twain Wrote Fanfiction”