A well-crafted first line in a novel has a big job. Whether it's mysterious, romantic, enigmatic, funny or atmospheric, it must grab and entice the reader.
In the case of local writer Jennifer Kincheloe's debut novel, "The Secret Life of Anna Blanc," the opening words bring you into a very special world: "Anna Blanc wore a six-inch hairpiece made from the tresses of a yak."
As a youth nearly everyone goes through an Egyptology phase, right?
Well, mine never really went away, though it did morph into something a bit different. No longer intrigued by pictographic writing, or ceremonies dedicated to sun gods, now I'm just fascinated with human fruit leathers, people pickled in bogs, or dehydrated on steppes, MUMMIES! There is a touring exhibition going around the US right now called Mummies of the World. Currently the exhibition is in Salt Lake City, UT until the end of May and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it comes to Denver!
The Greek myth of Icarus, who tried to escape from Crete by flying on wings made of feathers and wax, is often used as an example of hubris and failed ambition. Icarus is warned by his father not to fly too close to the sun. He disregards this and the wings collapse and he falls back to earth. But the lesson from this myth might be about taking chances and following your heart in spite of the risks.
I started thinking about the story a lot while I was in Paris last December. I thought perhaps I'd seen a painting of Icarus in one of my museum visits -- and somehow it had crept into my waking dreams. Then I went through my photos of the trip and found this image (top photo), from a ceiling in the Louvre museum. It depicts Icarus at the moment of his fall. But the part of the story I started to ponder most was his flight before the fall.
A good friend of mine recently complained to me that her two children were fighting constantly. She did not know why it was happening, but she wanted it to stop. She was desperate for help. My first question for her was: What are they reading?
If you think that was a silly question, read on. In the child development book Nutureshock, authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman devote an entire chapter to sibling relationships – and directly tie the way brothers and sisters treat each other to the books they read and the media they consume.
One of the best parts of being a children's librarian is building relationships with kids and families. Watching kids grow and learn over the years is simply the best!
I first met Lukas when he was a wiggly 2-year-old and a regular at my toddler storytime. He's now a 5-year-old preschooler, so I don’t see him as much as I used to. A few weeks ago Lukas came to the library with his mom, Marta, on his spring break. During our craft activity after storytime, I was catching-up with Marta and learned Lukas now loves to draw.
Did you hear this NPR story on what they call an emerging new genre in fiction---Cli Fi, or fiction around issues of climate change?
Meeting at some point between science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, thriller, and contemporary fiction, these books take some of today's predictions and warnings about climate change and extrapolate. With Earth Day and the weather on many people's minds these days, it might be time to try one of these reads. They range from thought-provoking to thrilling!
No, the extra "a" is not a typo. "Eaarth" refers to planet earth as our atmosphere heats up and changes due to a buildup of greenhouse gases (CO2). These gases are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels (gas, oil, and coal) and their effect on our planet are soberly laid out in Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (2010).
Eaarth may be three years old but its message and forecasts sound like tornado warning sirens. By presenting myriad evidence of climate changes already underway McKibben describes the consequences of our 150+ year history of burning fossil fuels. Last year in Colorado we experienced the Waldo Canyon Fire on the edge of Colorado Springs, the High Park Fire outside of Ft. Collins, and severe drought conditions throughout much of the state. 2012 was the hottest year on the planet in human history!
I naively used to think that writers of short stories and essays simply didn't have enough good material to fill a traditional book. Fortunately some great teachers, and exposure to some of the best writers in the field, showed me the incredible art of short form writing.
The beauty of short works has become even more apparent as I've read too many books lately where I'm left feeling like a shorter essay or short story would've been more powerful. Often (like my college papers) they had a few great things to say but had used filler to make it fit a length requirement. As print magazines, the previous bastion of short form, are shutting their doors, I'm encouraged to see new outlets such as Kindle Singles and Ted Talks remind people that brevity can be a virtue.
Born in Pabianice, Poland in 1929, Jack Adler and his family were swept into the terror of the Nazi concentration camps. His parents and four siblings all perished at the hands of the Nazis. In his powerful and inspiring firsthand account, Y: A Holocaust Narrative, Jack (Yacob) tells his story and describes his struggle to survive, overcome and regain a sense of joy about being alive.