Books Blog

NaNoWriMo - it's not just gibberish!

This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley

Do you hear that? That's the sound of a million wanna-be authors panicking!

That's right, November 1st is the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to those in the know. Thousands of people (official count as of this posting is nearly 150,000) will crack their knuckles and sit down in-front of their blank pages (paper or digital) and attempt to write a novel (50,000 words) in thirty days. Thirty days!?!?

That's impossible, I hear you cry! But it's not, you can start and finish a novel in thirty days if you can manage to average about 1,667 new words each day. See, it's easy right?

Local author Joseph Nigg Explores Nordic Sea Monsters

Some people collect bottles or baseball cards. Denver author Joseph Nigg collects mythical beasts, such as the sea swine, the ziphius, giant worms and other creatures lurking in his new book Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World's Most Beguiling Map.

The earliest accurate map of the Scandinavian countries, the Carta Marina, or "sea map," was created in the 16th century by Swedish clergyman Olaus Magnus (1490–1557). It's fancifully illustrated with humans performing every day tasks on land -- and chimerical sea creatures showing their big teeth and humongous tails out in the forbidding waters. Magnus created the map in Rome while visiting his brother Johannes; copies of the map were printed from 9 woodblock panels, and were produced from 1539 to 1551. 

Celebrate Reading with Latino Authors

Bird of Paradise by Raquel Cepeda

Every day is a reason to celebrate reading. And there is no better way to do so, than to read new titles by Latino authors. Normally only read fiction? Switch it up and try a memoir. Eschew fiction because real life is stranger? Go ahead, select a new fiction title and prepare to be surprised. Don't put off reading a good book till tomorrow, when you can read one of these great books today!

Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez shines the light on "Terry" also referred to as "the Mexican Girl," in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Researchers have spent nearly 60 years trying to locate the real woman Kerouac had met, Bea Kozera (Franco), until Hernandez succeeded in 2012. Fortunately for all of us, Hernandez prevailed because Bea died this August at 92 years of age. 

International Cookbooks for the Ages

Marcella Hazan

The inimitable Marcella Hazan died this week at the age of 89. As the New York Times noted in the headline for her obituary, she "changed the way Americans cook Italian food." Her passing got me thinking about enduring cookbooks by strong-minded writers who have guided me in the kitchen and whose prose is a pleasure to read away from the stove. 

Hazan authored a number of cookbooks, notably The Classic Italian Cookbook. Although she never felt comfortable enough in English to compose in that language (she wrote in Italian and her husband translated the text), she had a forceful voice that commanded the reader's attention. She was exacting, opinionated, and sometimes peremptory--a stern teacher whose rigor her students cherish.

Our Biggest Fears

Start: Punch Fear in the Face

What are your greatest fears? When we look at top ten lists of greatest fears, some topics emerge repeatedly. Just turning on the news, opening a website, or listening to the radio can make us afraid to even more dangers and possibilities.

Knowing that others are experiencing any number of terrifying issues, fear can creep up on us as we “try on” the experience others are having. This is empathy, which makes us human. Being empathetic, however, can scare us silly.
Sometimes the best course of action is to face fear head-on. One of the best ways we gather courage to beat back the fear is by reading.

Here are a few titles to consider for your journey:

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff

Star Wars Reads Week is Coming!

Star Wars Reads

This will be a day long remembered. Make that a week! Join us September 30-October 6 for Star Wars Reads Week at Denver Public Library!

Last fall, libraries and bookstores all over the country came together for a celebration of reading and all things Star Wars. The Park Hill Branch Library hosted a standing-room only event featuring all sorts of fun games and activities for Star Wars fans young and old.

Books & Brews: Suggested Pairings for Denver's Brewing Scene

Photo courtesy of Black Shirt Brewing Co

With Denver churning out new breweries at breakneck speed, you can sometimes have trouble finding someone to drag along to each new spot. Luckily, you still don't have to go alone. Consider inviting your long lost pal, the book. Here is a brief list of complementary "Book & Brew" pairings for taprooms around Denver.

Hogshead Brewery. This northwest Denver brewery's traditional English cask ales pair nicely with any of the English greats: a Lake Lightning and a Brontë, a Chin Wag to match your Shelley (the poet or the novelist).

News Flash! New Picture Book Award In Colorado

Lola at the Library

Reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing are all easy activities you can do with your children to help get them ready to read and ready for school. You're probably already doing these things, but if you need some new inspiration or are looking for a great picture book, look no further.

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) has a new children's book award that recognizes wonderful picture books that support early literacy. Every year on February 5th the selection committee will announce one winner for each category; read, write, sing, talk, play. This year, to get everyone excited about the new award, the committee chose to honor 25 excellent books from the past 25 years that embody the spirit of the award.

Hispanic Heritage Month at the Library ¡Ándale!

Mural by Carlota EspinoZa at Byers Branch Library

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) and the perfect time to look at the wealth of relevant, inspiring, informative, and entertaining resources and activities we have. The highlights below don’t begin to capture all of it!

Get Caught Reading Banned Books

Banned Books Mugshot

I am guilty of reading subversive literature filled to the brim with dangerous ideas and inflammatory language. I have been committing illicit acts of reading since I was a child, though my teen years were my most seditious. Yet I have never been arrested, or had to smuggle in a restricted book. I have always enjoyed the right to read freely and that is why I celebrate Banned Books Week.

This year Banned Books Week is September 22-28 and I encourage you to visit your local Denver Public Library branch and get caught reading banned books! If you have your mug shot photo taken with your favorite banned book, be sure to share it with us on the DPL facebook page.

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