Tonight starting around 11:00 p.m. marks the start of a full lunar eclipse. Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, celebrated by many earth-centered religions. Want to learn more about these phenomena and how people celebrate the Solstice?
It seems like everyone from the New York Times to NPR is coming out with Best Books of the Year lists right now. As "best" is subjective, I instead offer you some of my favorites in various categories. Most of these are 2010 books, but are some are older books that I first read or listened to this year.
Post-Apocalyptic Fiction (no zombies): The Passage, Justin Cronin
Do you have a favorite go-to read at this time of the year? For some folks, it's Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Possibly a religious text. Maybe it's a holiday story that someone read to you as a child. For the last few years, my traditional holiday read has been the nontraditional and very funny science fiction novella All Seated on the Ground by Colorado author Connie Willis.
If the words "science fiction" scare you and don't really put you in a holiday mood, just give me a moment to try to convince you to give this one a try.
When I think of comforting, compelling animal companions, I didn't think of snails until I read The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. During a long period of an autoimmune illness, a snail that a friend brought to her room was both companion and source of wonder.
The book that Bailey has compiled, comprised of both her experience with "her" snail and extensive research into the natural history of snails is a fascinating read. When the snail first arrived in Bailey's life, she was a bit annoyed--she could barely take care of herself, she didn't need another creature to worry about. Despite this, she soon found watching the snail almost meditative, and she began to follow the rhythms of its nocturnal life, becoming fascinated with its habits. She found out about the eating and reproductive habits of snails, about their unique anatomy.
The New York Times recently ran this article about Jim Brozina and his daughter Kathy, who read together each evening for 3,218 nights. Neither Kathy's involvement in theater and outings with friends or single dad Jim's dates got in the way of their commitment to read together. If you think you don't have time to read with your kids, check out this story, and maybe be inspired to start a reading streak of your own.
If you need tips on how to read to your kids, want book suggestions, or want to see why reading with your children is important--no matter how old they are--check out the Grown Ups section of the Denver Public Library's Kids web page. Jim and Kathy's streak started during her fourth grade year and ended as of her first day of college. Could you get your kids excited to try to break their record?
On March 1, the Lambda Literary Foundation unveiled their newly designed web site. This is the place to go for anyone interested in reading or writing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) literature.
Lambda Literary is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1987, and its mission is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve LGBT literature. It does this by hosting the annual Lambda Literary Awards, putting on workshops for emerging writers, and promoting the visibility of LGBT books and publishers. The new site is a one-stop place to go for book reviews, articles on trends in LGBT literature, events, and interviews with writers and publishers. It is also a place for writers to find calls for submission, publishers, and agents.