It's no secret the holidays can challenge even the most harmonious family relationships. Someone, somewhere, will be uttering "less is more" while dodging a dinner roll. Table conversations can escalate faster than a Facebook firestorm. Knowing how to navigate discussions around dueling politics or between divided sports fans is a prized holiday survival skill.
So how can you keep the holiday sparkle alive and the goodwill flowing? Think trivia! Curiosities and wonders appeal to all ages. Ensure a harmonious (and educational) meal with the people you love most by taking one of these books to your next family gathering.
This week Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska became the fourth woman, first Mexican woman, and fifth Mexican to win the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world, the 2013 Cervantes Prize (Premio Cervantes).
She is recognized for her lifelong career as a journalist, essayist, novelist and poet whose work addresses Mexican socio-political movements and themes, many focusing on history and the disenfranchised and poor.
John Green (photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore) - author, vlogger, tweeter, teacher, activist, Nerdfighter Extraordinaire - is my hero. His brother Hank is a very close second on my hero scale, as well. And yes, I am now a proud Nerdfighter, too, fighting suck and doing my best to increase awesome!
What an inspiration these brothers are - sharing their energy, creativity, knowledge, passion, innovation, and let's face it, just plain genius, with the world.
I'm sure many of you out there are thinking the same thing--why isn't that new (book, movie, tv show) item by my favorite (author, actor) in the catalog yet? Rest assured, these items WILL be on order soon!
Here at DPL, we try to order materials 2-3 months ahead of publication, but because of the way our yearly funding works, we have to wait until a bit later in the year to start ordering next year's titles. We know that you're anxious to get onto the list for some sure to be popular items, so start looking for new books by these authors (not to mention Season 4 of Downton Abbey!) within the next few weeks:
Yes, Thanksgivukkah. For the first time since 1888, the all-American harvest celebration and the first night of the Jewish Festival of Lights coincide, on Thursday, November 28. There's even a Facebook page about it, from which we've borrowed the Woodstock-ish image.
Jonathan Mizrahi, a graduate student in quantum physics (and no relation to the designer Isaac Mizrahi, as far as I know), has calculated that this convergence of the Gregorian (secular) and Jewish (religious) calendars won't happen again until the year 79811. The redoubtable Steve Morse (mentioned in a previous post about calendars) arrived at a date slightly different from Mizrahi's, but everyone agrees that this is an extremely rare event, not to be repeated in our lifetimes.
In the last few months, I have had the pleasure of reading three humorous books about cats.
Now, I like to laugh, but I have a hard time finding humor in books. So imagine my delight when I heard myself laughing out loud to the vitriolic statements of Grumpy Cat, the existentialist musings of Henri or the pleas of the insanely possessive owner of Lost Cat.
If you ask your local librarian for reading recommendations (which you definitely should, whether in person or online), chances are at some point he or she will hand you a book by Neil Gaiman. There are many reasons for this. Gaiman’s got an engaging writing style. His books are fun to read and appeal to a wide range of readers, with exciting stories rooted in mythology and fantasy.
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?
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.