Book Hunters

Book Hunters in Brief #88: Bookworms

As you might guess, the love of books and reading is what drives many librarians to do what they do (well...that and dreams of unimaginable wealth and power). This week, Book Hunters in Brief salutes the mighty bookworm in celebration of National Literacy Month. Here are some great books about readers and reading:

Book Hunters in Brief #87: Better on Audio

For some, the notion that an audiobook could offer a more satisfying experience than the print version is sacrilegious, if not actual grounds for divorce, institutionalization and/or immediate revocation of membership in the Tuesday Night Book & Chardonnay-Tasting Club. But there are any number of valid reasons that an audiobook could be better: an exceptional performance by a voice actor, for instance, or a lyrical text written more for the ear than the eye, or just a book of particularly dense prose. I, for one, might have actually passed sophomore Am. Lit.

Book Hunters in Brief #86: Elvis!

If you weren't in front of the family Magnavox on that night in September of 1956 when Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan, and changed American music--and maybe the world--forever, you can't imagine how large he came to loom in American popular culture. Granted, it was a different kind of big than we have nowadays. Not a bigger big, just a different kind. There are probably a dozen or more people walking around today who are more famous than Elvis ever was. Heck, a portly guy in highwater sansabelts and white socks got a gazillion hits worldwide on YouTube for a song no one understood about a place and lifestyle very few outside of Korea had ever heard of.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there is a difference, culturally speaking, between "big" and "massive."

Book Hunters in Brief #82: Pluto!

Pluto was my favorite planet even before it was demoted to a planetoid by some heartless poindexter with an ax to grind. I mean, the ninth planet always seemed like my kind of place: cold and dark, with very little in the way of tourism and telemarketing. The fact that it is by all accounts completely devoid of Kardashians is, for me, just icing on that little ball of ice. Pluto's downgrade just solidified my affections. It's not often a person like me can relate to a heavenly body of any sort, but when Pluto was kicked off the team because it was too small, too slow, and not good-looking enough. I, like a lot of people, knew exactly how it felt.

Book Hunters in Brief #80: Historical Fiction for the 4th of July

This being Houston, Texas, it's been hot since about Valentine's Day, but for me it's not really summer until the fireworks go up on the Fourth of July. That's when "It's too dang hot" becomes an acceptable excuse for avoiding any number of unpleasant chores, and doing any at all besides sipping tall cool drinks, your feet resting on a 20,000 BTU AC while you methodically work down through a big stack of books is not only ill-advised--it's very nearly insane.

Book Hunters in Brief #79: Harry Potter's First Publication Anniversary

A lot of us grew up with Harry Potter--literally. That was part J.K. Rowling's genius; her character's aged in a fairly good facsimile of real time right along with her target audience. Another part of her genius was not just the originality and charm of the world she imagined, but it's completeness. We stepped into the world of Harry Potter and it was both strange and oddly familiar--much like the world we live in--only more full of possibilities, more morally well-defined, more fun.

Book Hunters in Brief #76: Superheroes for Super Summer Reading!

The sun is out (for a change) and school is almost out. So, here at HCPL, our minds turn to Summer Reading 2015. We have programs for babies, kids, teens and adults, along with fun events at all our branches, cool incentives and drawings for some hot prizes for everyone who reaches the reading goals.

Book Hunters in Brief #74: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

This week, the Book Hunters want to celebrate the contributions to American culture made by people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. And there are plenty. Consider this: were it not for Asian Americans, this land of capitalism with a capital "C" would have no tycoons. Then, consider this: our Marines wouldn't be gung ho. And this: we would have no cousins living out in the boondocks. And finally consider this: without the contributions of Asian Americans, we wouldn't even have that most American of vegetables: ketchup.

Book Hunters in Brief #73: Mother's Day

Mothers. If we all weren't born with one, someone would have had to invent them. Who else would have put up with your terrible twos and your even terrible-er teens? Who else would remind you to put on your helmet every single, solitary time you got on your bike, so that on the one occasion you really needed it, you had it on? Who else would have read Honey Bunny Funnybunny to you every night for a month and a half when you were three without complaint?

Book Hunters in Brief #71: Jazz Appreciation Month

From the 1920s well into the 1950s, the soundtrack of life in this country was jazz in various forms, and why not? The American Century needed its distinctly American music, and jazz is just that. Its deepest and strongest roots may be in Africa, but it was the intertwining of those roots with European traditions that made jazz what it is. It is the music of the "Melting Pot." For every Armstrong and Ellington there was a Beiderbecke and Goodman. To say jazz is "as American as Apple Pie" is to undersell its American-ness. It could not have come to be anywhere else.

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