Author Birthdays – The Last Birthdays Ever

No. Not all of them. Don’t worry, your candles and cake are safe. We’re just talking about “Author Birthdays,” the blog segment.

Why? We’ve come full circle, literally. The Earth has completed an entire orbit around the sun since we started with “Author Birthdays” (that means a year has gone by) and after this week there won’t be any more weeks that we haven’t already covered together.

I know. I know. There are many authors that we missed the first time around and newly famous/infamous authors are popping up all the time, but lets give the numbers time to build back up a bit before we start in again. We’ll do other things that are just as cool. Maybe (dare I say it) cooler.

In the meantime, The Last Author Birthdays (Possibly) Ever!

George Orwell (b. June 25, 1903, Motihari, India; d. January 21, 1950, London, UK)

Orwell“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: 1984

For more information on George Orwell, click here.

 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (b. June 28, 1712, Geneva, Switzerland; d. July 2, 1778, Ermenonville, France)

Rousseau“Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Confessions

For more information on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, click here.

 

Learn Your Library Resources – Novelist Plus

Novelist LogoNoveList Plus is a comprehensive readers’ advisory resource for fiction and nonfiction. With an intuitive interface and extensive proprietary content, NoveList Plus answers the question: What should I read next?

Novelist

To get to Novelist Plus just click on the “Catalogs & Databases” tab at the top left of the Moline Library website and find it on the list. Once you click on the link you will need to enter your 14 digit library card number (if you are accessing Novelist from outside the library) and then you should be all set to begin searching and browsing for your next read.

Fantastic Voyages – “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” (Part 3 of 3)

So far we’ve traveled the blue expanse of the sea and the great nothingness of space. What else could there be?

How about time travel?

Yankee

June 19 was not turning out to be a good day for Hank Morgan. He was an intelligent, successful engineer with thousands of people working for him, but, it turns out, not all of them were happy with him. In fact, one went so far as to bash him in the head with a crowbar, and, as if that weren’t enough, Hank woke up in middle-ages England of all places. This was beyond a little perplexing since Hank had been in 19th century Connecticut when he was last conscious.

Hank, who would soon become known as “The Boss,” didn’t have much time to consider this odd change in scenery though, as he was accosted by a lance-wielding knight on horseback soon after his arrival. Things only got more complicated from there.

Without giving too much away; Hank, using his knowledge of engineering and science, quickly rose to a position of power posing as a great magician and spent the next three or four years trying to turn medieval England into an industrialized (and Americanized) utopia. Also, King Arthur and Merlin were involved. All did not go well.

Still, A for effort, Hank.

Want to learn more? Check out A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.

Want your shot at building your own utopia? That’s a bit more difficult (we would like to take this opportunity to advise against the “angry employee with crowbar” path to changing history) but it is possible and there is no time like the present. It’s summer, the sun is shining, people are out and about and there are things to do everywhere, so let’s get to it. First things first, find a problem, any problem – small, big, medium-sized, whatever – and fix it, or at least make it better. Then repeat. It’s going to take a while, but then Rome (or an industrialized Camelot with a modern standard of living) wasn’t built in a day.

Fantastic Voyages – Look! Up in the sky! It’s a … (Part 2 of 3)

… Baby in a small, unmanned spacecraft hurtling towards Kansas.

Gulliver traveled by sea to (accidentally) reach his fantastic destinations – this traveler’s journey was a touch more… celestial.

Once upon a time Lara and Jor-El had a baby. He was everything they could ask for in a bouncing, baby boy and they named him Kal-El and loved him very much. If their planet wasn’t about to violently explode they would have been very happy. But it was about to explode and it was too late to do much other than boil an egg… and maybe save their infant son from sharing their fate. You see, Jor-El and Lara were scientists, and not just any scientists; they were, like, the scientists. While, on the one hand, this made them distressingly aware of their planet’s ultimate demise long before anyone else, it also afforded them certain opportunities; specifically access to the materials and technology necessary to quickly and quietly construct a spacecraft built for a single, very small, astronaut.

And so, moments before their entire civilization was turned into flaming space debris, they swaddled their precious baby in his favorite blanket, which had the added benefit of being nigh indestructible, placed him carefully in the craft and set him on a course that would take him across the galaxy where, if all went well, he would land on a planet that they had determined would be hospitable to their child.

It is hard to say what wonders baby Kal-El saw on his trip and what he thought of it – he was just a baby after all. What we do know is that he made it to his destination, where he landed safely, if not smoothly, on June 18 by the local calendar. He was found and taken in by a young couple that lived nearby where he landed. They were kind, honest people that raised the boy as their own. Not knowing of his origins, or even his true name, they named him Clark. He’d eventually be known by a different name.Superman

I know he’s Superman (I hope that you’d figured that out already and I didn’t just ruin the surprise), but still, across space. As a baby. Makes trying something new this summer seem a lot more reasonable, doesn’t it?

 

Author Birthdays – Father’s Day Edition

People have gotta come from somewhere and authors are no exception – special shout-out to the fathers of this week’s authors! And all the other fathers too. Hi, dad!

Salman Rushdie (b. June 19, 1947, Mumbai, India)

Rushdie“A purpose of our lives is to broaden what we can understand and say and therefore be.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Satanic Verses 

For more information on Salman Rushdie, click here.

 

Joseph Kesselring (b. July 21, 1902, New York, NY; d. November 5, 1967, Kingston, NY)

Kesselring“You see, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Arsenic and Old Lace

For more information on Joseph Kesselring, click here.

 

Jean-Paul Sartre (b. June 21, 1905, Paris, France; d. April 15, 1980, Paris, France)

Sartre“If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Nausea

For more information on Jean-Paul Sartre, click here.

 

Octavia Butler (b. June 22, 1947, Pasadena, CA; d. February 24, 2006, Lake Forest Park, WA)

Butler“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Kindred

For more information on Octavia Butler, click here.

 

Michael Shaara (b. June 23, 1928, Jersey City, NJ; d. May 5, 1988, Tallahassee, FL)

Shaara“A man who has been shot at is a new realist, and what do you say to a realist when the war is a war of ideals?” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Killer Angels

For more information on Michael Shaara, click here.

 

Richard Bach (b. June 23, 1936, Oak Park, IL)

Bach“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

For more information on Richard Bach, click here.

 

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.

So… What is everyone else reading?

NYT Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts (NEW THIS WEEK)

Come Sundown

When Alice, the long lost aunt of Bodine Longbow, owner and boss of a large Montana ranch and resort, is discovered battered and lying in the snow one night it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround the ranch and the Longbow family. The local police suspect the ranch hands, but Bo isn’t so sure. The twisted story Alice has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

  1. NIGHTHAWK by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (NEW THIS WEEK)
  2. SHADOW REAPER by Christine Feehan (NEW THIS WEEK)
  3. INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins
  4. THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia Quinn (NEW THIS WEEK)
  5. WHITE HOT by Ilona Andrews (NEW THIS WEEK)
  6. THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  7. CURIOUS MINDS by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
  8. DRAGON TEETH by Michael Crichton
  9. THE FIX by David Baldacci