It’s that time of year again when people seem to crave books that ratchet up the fear factor. If you’re looking for ideas, stop by the “Powers of Detection” display in Reader Services focusing on investigations of the supernatural in fiction and nonfiction. You can also revisit some past lists we’ve created for the season – featuring everything from “Not So Scary” to “Terrifying Tales”- on our Holidays / Seasonal page of book lists (scroll down to Halloween).
Those who are avid readers of darker fiction (from horror to thrillers and suspense) will want to check out the online magazine, Dark Scribe Magazine – which describes itself as featuring “the books that keep you up at night.” Horror World’s Book Reviews will also provide plenty of titles.
So settle in with a scary read – but first make sure to lock the doors and turn on some extra lights!
Ten years ago, the events of September 11th reshaped America. The resulting changes have been captured in a wide range of memoirs, biographies and other nonfiction titles, and have also influenced much of the fiction literature written over the last decade. Throughout the month of September you can browse many of these books on our special Library display, or view the booklist online.
Just a few months ago, I was fortunate to be in New York City and visit the site of the Twin Towers. Without even making it to the actual memorial site, I found the experience to be very powerful as the emotions and images of 9/11 swept over me once again.
It’s not easy reliving those events, but it is worthwhile to make time to once again be grateful for – and honor – the bravery, heroism and self-sacrifice demonstrated by so many during those difficult days.
NPR recently ran a survey of the “Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy” books and the results are quite interesting! See if you agree (and check how many you’ve read). For even more fun: before you click the link - try and guess which title got the #1 spot (hint: it is a fantasy classic).
Ah, the first snowfall of the year. The current flurries may not have left much on the ground, but we all know it is just a matter of time! So, before we are tired of the snow, I wanted to highlight some books I always enjoy: amazing photography of snowflakes. You can also view the work of Kenneth Libbrecht (like the snowflake image above; used with permission) on the website snowcrystals.com
One of the highlights for me of the past three weeks has been watching the cleverly updated version of Sherlock Holmes on PBS. There have been many incarnations of Sherlock Holmes and personal preference may have some saying Jeremy Brett is their favorite Holmes, while others may vote for Rupert Everett or even Basil Rathbone, but I’m now a die-hard fan of Benedict Cumberbatch. Even more surprising to me is how much I was captivated by Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, a character who has never really interested me before. Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have done a fabulous job bringing these characters into a reality of cell phones and blogs while still maintaining the richness of the original stories. I also love the fast-paced dialogue and dark humor. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a great summary for even more information).
If you missed any of the first three programs, you have until December 7 to watch them online – and the Library has ordered a copy of the DVD. If you become hooked, as I predict you will, you might as well know now that further episodes are being filmed and won’t be available until sometime in late 2011. But while you wait, you might want to try some of the original Holmes “canon” in print by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are also some intriguing print variations on the Sherlock character, including Laurie R.King’s popular series featuring Mary Russell who partners with a retired Sherlock (series begins with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice), the more humorous homage to Holmes and Watson set in the American West in the late 1800s by Steve Hockensmith (start with Holmes on the Range), or the brand new mystery novel, The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes by Barry Grant.
about tomorrow’s election reminds me of the Chinese citizen Liu Xiaobo who
recently won the Nobel Prize for Peace. For expressing diverse political
opinions in speech and writing, Mr. Xiaobo is now serving an eleven-year prison
sentence which began in December of 2009. This “gentle subversive”,
who still remains optimistic about the growing strength of freedom and
democracy throughout the world, has lost his voice. This man of peace is
silenced: a punishment we Americans cannot begin to fathom. I cannot be
silenced, I can speak out for my beliefs without fear of repercussion
and…most important of all, I can vote!
Have you discovered “My Discoveries” in Aquabrowser yet? This is one slick feature. Available from the library’s new online catalog, use it to create personalized virtual book lists that can be accessed remotely, anytime.
As good reads are recommended to me by both patrons & staff, I’ve started tagging them as such to help me remember who suggested what and why. Handy!
Click on the MY DISCOVERIES box to get started. Need help? Stop by the Information Services or Readers Services Desks.
I love getting a glimpse of what happens before I receive the final product of something. Case in point, this time-lapse video that shows how a book cover was designed. It goes by so fast, it is almost hard to take in, but you can tell how much thought goes into not only catching the reader’s eye but capturing a true sense of the book’s setting and protagonist:
p.s. We own the first in this series, Soulless, if you want to check it out!
Ah the end of the year. In the world of reading, the month of December sets off a frenzy of “best of” lists for every conceivable genre and style of book. If you like to compare these to your own reading list, one good website is the Largehearted Boy blog. If there’s a “best of” list online, it’s sure to be there!
The other thing that usually happens at the end of the December is queries as to “Reading Resolutions” for the following year. I recall my most successful resolution was the year I determined to read 2 nonfiction for every fiction title. It was a long, slow year of reading, but I must say it was more enjoyable than I anticipated (reading poetry isn’t “cheating” is it?) and I found a new appreciation for nonfiction writing. Of course I’ve had other resolutions that I haven’t kept up, like the year I decided to “read through the alphabet” (i.e. read a book by an author whose last name begins with “A”, then “B” and so forth). I know I didn’t make it to Z. And then just a few years ago I tried to limit myself to just checking out one book at a time, but I quickly found the lack of variety in my reading choices to be stifling so that didn’t last more than a few weeks.
I don’t really have a resolution for 2010 – do you? If nothing else, I hope you resolve to spend more time here with us at the Library!