Literary holidays to celebrate all year long (and the books to read during them)

Each year, our calendars are loaded with days earmarked for celebrating birthdays, national holidays, and anniversaries. These are all wonderful, of course, but we prefer our holidays to have a bit of a literary twist. There are countless literary holidays you can choose to celebrate at the library but to make this a manageable list, we’re going to highlight our favorites here along with some books and collections you can use to celebrate. Time to set some calendar reminders!

literary holidaysJanuary 18: Winnie the Pooh Day

Everybody’s favorite tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff has been around for ninety years and we celebrate Winnie, Tigger and the whole gang each January 18th, author A.A. Milne’s birthday. Find a collection of stories from the Hundred Acre Wood and a nice tree to read under.

 

February 1: Harry Potter Book Night

The Boy Who Lived is always popular with readers but who doesn’t love a Hogwarts party? If you visit this website from Bloomsbury, you’ll find a downloadable event kit and lots of ideas perfect for decking out your place in the various house colors. Readers old and young alike will love getting lost in the magic of J.K. Rowling’s world.

 

February 3: Take Your Child to the Library Day

Naturally we want you to consider libraries your home away from home. There is so much goodness going on at libraries daily, and Take Your Child to the Library Day is a great time to see all those wonderful programs available.

 

March 2: Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)

Oh, The places you’ll go! We couldn’t make a list of literary holidays and leave out the good doctor. Schools and libraries near and far celebrate the classic books by Dr. Seuss on this day (and all year). You can do the same!

 

April 9-15: National Library Week

This is a week that’s well known in the library world but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight it! This full week of celebrations feature days specifically for discussing the most frequently challenged books of last year (Monday), National Library Workers (Tuesday), and even Bookmobiles (Wednesday)! Pick a book that includes librarians or takes place in the library as a fun/informative read.

 

April 30: El Dia de los Ninos (Children’s Book Day)

El Dia de los Ninos kicks off Children’s Book Week and we can think of no better way than highlighting some of the amazing bilingual works of Pat Mora who has won countless awards for her children’s literature.

 

May 4: Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you! The Star Wars universe continues to expand and capture the imaginations of fans around the world. Checking out the books is a perfect way to for fans, young and old, to connect with their inner Jedi.

 

June is LGBTQ+ Book Month and Audiobook Appreciation Month

The full month of June offers the opportunity to pick up some of the incredible LGBTQ+ titles out there. Plus, it also happens to be Audiobook Appreciation Month! The choices in June are nearly limitless.

 

June 19: Garfield the Cat Day

Yep, everyone’s favorite lasagna loving cat has his own holiday. Pick up a collection of the comic strip and prevent a case of the Mondays.

 

July 18-23: Hemingway Days

Ernest Hemingway loved Key West and every July, you’ll find a week-long party there in his honor. They host readings, book signings, look-alike contests and much more. You may not be able to make it to Key West, but you can still be a part of the celebration by checking out his books.

 

August 9: Book Lovers day

Technically this is every day for us but still a day worth pointing out.

 

September 18: Read an eBook Day

Join us in celebrating this special day of the year and check OMNI (Online Media of Northern Illinois), one of our largest collections of e-materials, through OverDrive.

 

October 6: Mad Hatter Day

A very mary un-birthday to you! Throw a tea party and indulge in a little nonsense. We may never know why a raven is like a writing desk, but that doesn’t make the riddle any less magical.

 

October: 9-15 Teen Read Week

Young adult novels are loved by readers in their teens and those well beyond. Spend a week celebrating your favorite heroines, trilogies, love triangles and dystopian worlds. Odds are in your favor that you’ll find an old favorite or a new obsession.

 

November: National Novel Writing Month

NANOWRIMO is the time of year when professional and aspiring authors do their best to write a full novel in one month. It’s become a way for writers to bond and test themselves and it has spawned many bestselling novels including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Pick up some of these books or write one of your own!

These are just a few of the great literary holidays we’ll be celebrating. What are some of your favorites?

By Adam Sockel, January 4, 2018, first appearing on OverDrive Blogs
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Genre Friday – Hobbit Day Tribute Edition

Baggins BDay

Welcome to the house that Tolkien built. Epic Fantasy (also known as High Fantasy) is the quintessential fantasy sub-genre, the fount from which all other fantasy sub-genres have flowed, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s elves and orcs and rings (oh my) utterly dominate the field. There are, of course, stand-outs and outliers, stories that forge news paths in an old sub-genre, but even when a tale isn’t filled with staff wielding wizards and subterranean, master-craftsmen called dwarfs anything called epic fantasy still contains a few essential elements that were originally established when Tolkien first fleshed out Middle-earth on paper.

Epic fantasies create entire worlds, with long and complex histories and vivid cultures and lifestyles. How complex and vivid? Tolkien actually created (or adapted) a historic timeline leading back to the creation of the world, myths, legends, deities, several races of creatures (many of which have become staples of the fantasy genre), multiple kingdoms, and an entire language for the fictional inhabitants of his world! If you look hard enough in the right places I bet it wouldn’t take too much effort to find someone that speaks at least passing Elvish. They are not all that in depth, but that is the kind of detail you are potentially looking at when you jump into an epic fantasy.

In case that isn’t enough to wrap your head around, epic fantasy also almost always has a large cast of characters taking part in quests and adventures that will affect the fate of an entire kingdom or world. Possibly multiple worlds.

So, it is a complex workout for your imagination and memory. What else?

MiddleEarth

While hand-drawn maps of the world are not strictly mandatory, they are strongly encouraged. 

It’s big. Aside from its often immense geographic scope, as it is not unusual for the cast of characters to have to trek across continents and cross oceans in the pursuit of their goal, these stories can also cover large spans of time, with years, decades or even generations passing by in the course of the story (or series of stories). They are also big in another way – these are not typically short books. Once you get sucked into an epic fantasy series you are in it for the long haul.

 

Examples:

Sheepfarmer's DaughterThe Belgariad series by David Eddings

The Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy by Elizabeth Moon

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

The Original Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Author Birthdays – How is it October already?

Thomas Wolfe (b. October 3, 1900, Asheville, NC; d. September 15, 1938, Baltimore, MD)

Name the emotion on his face. Mild concern?“All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Look Homeward, Angel

For more information on Thomas Wolfe, click here.

 

Gore Vidal (b. October 3, 1925, West Point, NY; d. July 31, 2012, Los Angeles, CA)

He was vidally important.“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: Lincoln

For more information on Gore Vidal, click here.

 

Anne Rice (b. October 4, 1941, New Orleans, LA)

She looks so nice for someone that writes about Godless horrors..“To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Interview with the Vampire

For more information on Anne Rice and her books , click here.

 

Peter Ackroyd (b. October 5, 1949, London, UK)

Mustache? Or fuzzy photo?“It may seem unfashionable to say so, but historians should seize the imagination as well as the intellect. History is, in a sense, a story, a narrative of adventure and of vision, of character and of incident. It is also a portrait of the great general drama of the human spirit.” Read more quotes here.

What you should read: Thames: The Biography and The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

For more on Peter Ackroyd, click here.

 

Clive Barker (b. October 5, 1952, Liverpool, UK)

I never, ever imagined that my first thought when seeing a picture of Clive Barker was going to be that he looked like Sly Stalone's little brother.“I don’t feel there’s any reason to apologise for having a wicked imagination. I think it’s important as a maker of fantasy and of horror.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Imajica and The Scarlet Gospels

For more information on Clive Barker and his works, click here.

 

Desmond Tutu (b. October 7, 1931, Klerksdorp, South Africa)

I used to just think his name was funny - then I actually learned about him.“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: No Future without Forgiveness and The Book of Forgiving

For more information on Bishop Desmond Tutu, his life and his works, click here.

 

Thomas Keneally (b. October 7, 1935, Sydney, Australia)

Again, not what I was thinking.“You know, so I was a weird eccentric kid but I did believe in the power of the word and of the word being made flesh I suppose, which again I suppose came from my temperament as well as my upbringing.” Read more quotes here.

What you should read: Schindler’s List

For more on Thomas Keneally, click here.

 

Frank Herbert (b. October 8, 1920, Tacoma, WA; d. February 11, 1986, Madison, WI)

That is a beard worthy of the 19th century, sir. Well done.. Especially since you lived in the 20th century.“If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Dune

For more information on Frank Herbert, click here.

Happy Birthday Harry!

Harry Potter turns 36 today!

Takes me back

“The Boy Who Lived” (a.k.a. “the boy that got an entire generation of people excited about reading” – 400 MILLION COPIES SOLD) was born July, 31 1980 in the fictional world that inhabits the mind of series creator J.K. Rowling (who coincidentally also happens to have a birthday today).

If you are a fan of the series you might be saying, ‘But wait, the first book came out in ’97 and he turned 11 at the beginning of it so shouldn’t he be…’ You can stop doing the math – no, seriously, stop. I can feel you trying to work it out. It’s giving me goosebumps. Just trust me on this – J.K. Rowling herself has confirmed his birth year as 1980.

 

Crazy rich

While were at it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JK Rowling!

If you are feeling all nostalgic now, overwhelmed by the desire to dive back into the world of wizards and quidditch and death eaters and so on, then might I suggest you stop by the Moline Library and check out your favorite Potter book today. Or, if you have been there and done that, but still want some exciting wizard action you could stop by our sci-fi/fantasy section and see what else you can find. The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, starting with the book Storm Front, is about a wizard living in Chicago. Or, if you prefer your magic to come with a British accent, you could take a look at the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka -it’s set in modern-day London and starts with the book Fated. Or anything else you’d like – there is plenty of magic to go around at the library.

 

MOON DAY!

July 20, the day man first walked on the moon, is Moon Day!

Little known fact, it's actually chock-full of aliens

Hello, neighbor!

Come to the library and celebrate Moon Day by learning about our closest neighbor, celestially speaking.

After all, libraries and moons are a lot alike. Both are quiet, unassuming things, but we are constant; always there for you to enjoy, just waiting for people to come and visit. And our gravitational pull causes an ebb and flow of the Earth’s bodies of water creating the tides. I am a little fuzzy on the science but I am pretty sure I am right on this. Happy Moon Day!