Fantastic Voyages – It’s All a Matter of Perspective (Part 1 of 3)

Summer is a time of wonder, of adventure, of going to see what there is to see. So what are we all sitting around for? Here are some literary examples of fantastic summer travels to help inspire you to get out there and experience June.

Note: Pay no attention to the fact that all of the examples are of adventures that were unintended/completely involuntary. You should still go outside. Just, maybe start small…

I know! You could go to the library! Safe, close by and air-conditioned but still full of things to see and to learn. It’s perfect!

In the meantime, here is your first fantastic voyage.

By the summer of 1703, Lemuel Gulliver already knew that the world was a much larger (or smaller, as the case may be) and stranger place than most people ever imagined. It had been about a year since he had finally returned home after his first lengthy sea journey; a journey that had resulted in him being shipwrecked and stranded in the nation of Lilliput, being a nation populated entirely by people who were less than 6 inches tall. His experiences there (including his eventual fall from imperial favor and subsequent arrest and escape) are probably the best known and most retold of his adventures but they were far from his only. In fact, another one was to begin soon for, having been at home for 12 whole months, he was starting to get antsy.

Gulliver

Gulliver Exhibited to the Brobdingnag Farmer (painting by Richard Redgrave)

On June 17, 1703, Mr. Gulliver and his most recent crewmates put ashore on an uncharted coastline to explore and forage. This ended pretty abruptly when 70 foot tall giants chased the entire shore party back to their row boats, all of them except Gulliver that is. After spending time as a giant among the Lilliputians poor Gulliver now found the situation completely reversed. The intrepid ship’s surgeon remained stranded on the island of giants (he would find out soon enough that the place was called Brobdingnag) until he “escaped” when a giant eagle snatched him (and the room/cage he was in – he had become the human equivalent of a purse dog for the Brobdingnagian queen) and flew him out to sea.

He did not go straight home. There were many more highly improbable islands and people to meet. He, in fact, did not make it home once and for all for another 12 years. Take that Odysseus.

Intrigued? You can check out the rest of the story, and the bits I glossed over, in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. You know where you can pick it up.

So, even if it doesn’t exactly make you want to take up sailing anytime soon, I hope that Gulliver inspires you to at least make your way to the library. Maybe take the scenic route on the way here – you never know what you might find.

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“Welcome to the party, pal!”

Do you miss ’80s action movies as much as we do? I know, it’s silly to even ask.

Of course you do.

Die Hard

“Yippee-ki-yay, Moline Library patron.”

If you are still with us then you will be happy to know that today is a very special day. John McClane turns 62 today (in our heads and in our hearts if not in reality… since he isn’t a real person)! Congrats on surviving this long John!

It is on this happy day that we just wanted to take a moment and remind you that we can help you find more than just books. Whether you’re craving the one man against impossible odds of Die Hard, the buddy-cop violence of Lethal Weapon, the creepy, sci-fi feel of Predator, the brutal,  post-apocylptic wasteland of Road Warrior, or even the… I’m-not-entirely-sure-what-just-happened-there-but-I-kind-of-liked-it of Big Trouble in Little China, we can help with that. And if we don’t actually have it we can very likely find a library that does and have it sent here for you. It never hurts to ask.

The Mockingjay is born today!

Katniss

Katniss Everdeen, born May 8, District 12

Every once in a while someone comes along that you can just tell is going to be special. Someone that will voluntarily take the place of her younger sister as a sacrificial participant in a brutal contest of combat and survival where the only way to get out alive is to kill. And win. Twice. And then become the symbol of the resistance force that will rise up to fight the oppressive and brutal regime that oversaw the whole bloody contest to begin with. And then succeed in overthrowing the whole government and setting up a new society… For example.

More importantly, in the real world at least, Katniss and her story (The Hunger Games trilogy, just in case there is anyone reading this that doesn’t already know) helped get people into reading in a big way. It did for post-apocalyptic YA what Twilight did for vampires or what Harry Potter did for witches and wizards – it brought it out of the realm of genre fiction and made it mainstream. It made it cool. And people, in particular young people, pay attention to what’s cool. Not bad for a teen-aged poacher from the outer districts. Join us in issuing a three-finger salute to Katniss on her special day.

Celebrate the fall of Barad-dur at the Moline Library!

Tolkien Reading DayAccording to The Tolkien Society, Sauron, the evil Lord of the Rings, was finally defeated on March 25. To celebrate this momentous occasion in fantasy literature (and later, fantasy film) March 25 was declared, by the people who declare such things, Tolkien Reading Day!

So stop into the Moline Library and grab a Tolkien book and find a comfy chair. It doesn’t have to be the LOTR either – The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, The Book of Lost Tales, whatever scratches the Middle-Earth itch.

“My name is James Tiberius Kirk.”

Happy (eventual) birthday Captain Kirk !

CPKirkWSKirk

Now available in Original and Alternate Time-Line!

 

On this day, March 22, in fictional future history, 216 years from now, another of the best imaginary captains to ever fictionally exist will have been born in Riverside, Iowa… or deep space, depending on which reality you’re in… The place doesn’t really matter. You celebrate the day after all and now is the time.

Feeling nostalgic and/or confused? Want to revisit the adventures of one of the best commanders in Starfleet history and/or figure out what the heck I am talking about? The Moline Library has you covered. Come check out Star Trek: The Original series, the movies, the”reboot” movies, or any of a number of Star Trek novels to fill in the gaps between the episodes and movies! It could keep you busy for a while. And if you get hooked, there is alway the Next Gen series, movies and books – vive le Jean-Luc!

Happy 128th Birthday, Lord Greystroke!

Better known as TARZAN of the Apes!Tarzan_All_Story.jpg

Tarzan was born 128 years ago today (in fake history) on November 22, 1888. I believe it was a Thursday. Orphaned and stranded in the jungle at a tender age, young John Clayton, the only son of the Earl of Greystroke, was taken in and raised by a band of gorillas. With the strength of a great ape and the cunning of a man he lived quite contentedly in the deepest, darkest jungles. Until a chance meeting with a young Englishwoman named Jane, that is.

Intrigued? If you’d like to learn more you should come to the library and check out Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Or at least the Disney movie version.

 

It could be worse…

crusoeAs the weather starts to turn chilly and the leaves begin to fall some may be inclined to bemoan the loss of yet another summer. But take heart! It could be worse!

You could be Robinson Crusoe, who was shipwrecked alone (well, with a dog and two cats) on a deserted island 357 years ago today, September 30, in fictitious history. It was rough at first – he named the island The Island of Despair – but he pulls himself up by his bootstraps and the story becomes the ultimate guide to making lemonade from life’s lemons (and cannibals). Intrigued? Stop by the library and pick up Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. It will make you feel better – if nothing else, it takes place on a tropical island.

Already read Robinson Crusoe? Afraid of shipwrecks? There are plenty of books on survivalist skills too. You know, just in case you ever find yourself on a deserted island.