I was going to substitute this feature with something else about the Great American Read, but then I realized that Ambrose Bierce’s birthday was this coming Sunday and, well, I just had to pen an ode to one of my favorite writers, AKA Bitter Bierce, The Diabolical Bierce, The Wickedest Man in San Francisco, The Rascal with the Sorrel Hair, The Laughing Devil, and (last but not least) The Devil’s Lexicographer. (I think I hit all the high points and included all the nicknames.)
Now, these nicknames make Bierce seem like evil incarnate, but he wasn’t. Honest!
He was just really, really, really, really grouchy, even by 19th century standards. And according to biographers, he was a crotchety, eccentric kid, so maybe when he entered this world on June 24, 1842, in rural Ohio, he was already destined to be one of the world’s best known literary misanthropes. (Though certain life events certainly did help him along that path.)
If you know of Bierce, it is likely because his two most famous works: his delightfully mean Devil’s Dictionary and his haunting, surreal Civil War short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” These are both great, but there’s a lot more to Bierce than meets the eye. . . .
Continue reading “Old Favorites: Ambrose Bierce”
Are you ready to unleash your writing superpowers? That’s the theme of this November’s NaNoWriMo, the annual writing challenge that requires participants to write a novel in the span of 30 days.
Think you couldn’t write a book in 30 years, let alone 30 days?
Well, if these decidedly non-author celebrities can write fiction, why can’t you?
Continue reading “Oddly-Specific Genres: If They Can Write A Book, So Can You!”
Keeping to the theme of going back to school, here’s a review of a book meant for those still having to find their desks quickly once that bell rings!
For the most part, nine year-old Trille has an idyllic childhood in rural Norway. His life is a series of never-ending adventures with his neighbor and best friend Lena. She’s far more daring and impulsive, but that doesn’t stop Trille from joining in on the fun. From snarfing down waffles to pretending to be spies to using, ahem, creative license in crafting a bonfire decoration to sledding with a chicken, they never lack for a good time. Trille can’t imagine life without Lena causing mayhem and mischief at every turn. Still, Trille harbors a disheartening suspicion that Lena is far more indifferent to him. She is his best friend, but is he her best friend?
Continue reading “Maria Parr’s Adventures with Waffles”
Dreams of bigger, better worlds don’t have to be so great that you can’t have a little bit of fun. Enter Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer.
Jennifer Strange has her hands full overseeing a talent management company for magicians. Even when the fifteen-year-old orphan isn’t fulfilling her apprenticeship in magical management by booking wizards for plumbing jobs and magic carpet riders for food delivery, as well as soothing ruffled egos, there’s also the whole issue of magical energy becoming weaker. Strange herself doesn’t have much power, but even her once skillful clients are feeling the effects. What happens if magic runs out? How are they going to keep a roof over their heads? Where did her boss disappear to months ago when he didn’t come back home? And on top of that, there are rumors that the Last Dragonslayer is supposed to kill the last dragon in a few days. Complications ensue.
Continue reading “Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer”
This week is National Color Day! Admittedly, I’m pretty clueless about what celebrating this day involves, but reading a book with a color in the title seems like a pretty reasonable approach.
Here are a few recommendations that have been released in the last year or so.
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Book That Has a Color in the Title”
One of the library challenges is to read a book with nonhuman characters. So, when I was planning the sequence of posting stuff related to the challenge, I decided to schedule that one to coincide as closely as possible to World UFO Day–which was this past Saturday. (Yes, it’s a thing.) Of course, that naturally lends itself to discussions of books with aliens in it, but I wanted a broader focus for this post. Therefore, below you’ll find a wide range of books with nonhuman characters, ranging from aliens to fantasy creatures to animals. As always, remember to check out our online catalog if you want to learn more about any of the featured books.
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Book with Nonhuman Characters”
As summer rolls around, we all, maybe, hopefully, have a little more time for reading. But if you’re looking for a quick read to enjoy between all of your summer plans–or if you need one to fulfill the library challenge requirement–consider reading one of the following books, all of which are well under 200 pages long and, in most cases, are barely 130 pages in length.)
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Book You Can Read Quickly”