8-Bit Beginnings

Pack your bags, you're going on a video game nostalgia trip. Read, watch, and listen to these titles to remember the joys of your youth. If you're too young to remember the golden age of video games, it's time for an education. Learn all you need to know about the dawn of video games with these titles:

Writer Spotlight: Erik Larson

If you enjoy historical nonfiction, don't miss the work of New York native Erik Larson. Larson's brand of narrative nonfiction has been a hit on many bestseller lists, starting with a book written in 1999 recalling the Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston. He currently occupies the #10 spot on the New York Times nonfiction list with his latest book,

The Story of Astoria

Astoria by Peter StarkHave you ever been to Astoria, Oregon?  You've seen it if you watched the movies Kindergarten Cop, The Goonies, Free Willy, and many more.  I happened upon it driving one day (which isn't that easy to do), and I was rendered speechless by the beauty of entering it by the bridge over the Columbia River.  I imagine John Jacob Astor's expedition group had much the same reaction to this unspoiled, unsettled area in the early 1800's.  Read about their thrilling and often tragic adventure in a new book called Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire by Peter Stark.

When History Isn't History: Legacies of the Great War

Marching toward the Battle of the SommeRegrettably for humankind, the “War to End All Wars” did not live up to that hopelessly hopeful appellation. In fact, most historians will tell you that it and the treaty that ended it, were the chief causes of the Second World War which remains the only war in human history to surpass it in the cost of human life.

As you will have heard by now, over the next four or so years, the world will be commemorating the hundred year anniversaries of the events of what has come to be known—exactly because it could not measure up to that overly optimistic sobriquet—World War I.

Book Hunters in Brief #23: Memorial Day

Harris County Public Library owes a debt of gratitude to the members of the U.S. Armed Services both past and present, as well as to their families. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you.

The History of a Language

Would you be surprised to find out Shakespeare's works are written in Modern English? It's true! Modern English started in about 1450. Granted, Shakespeare's time included the early years of the Modern English period (1450-1800), while we live in the Late Modern English period (1800 onward). There are some differences, but not many. See for yourself

Book Hunters in Brief: The Monuments Men

Book Hunters in Brief - Monuments MenIf you loved the book and movie, The Monuments Men, then we think you ought to take a look at these:

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman 
Zookeepers in Nazi-occupied Warsaw use their unique position to move Jewish citizens to safety in empty animal cages.

Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion for Ancient Civilizations and the Journey to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures by Matthew Bogdanos
Bogdanos tells the tale of marines on missions very similar to the work of the Monuments Men, this time in modern-day Iraq.

The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick
A mediocre artist in Nazi-occupied Holland makes his living selling Vermeer forgeries to the enemy.

The Soldier Spies by W.E.B. Griffin
A scientist who is an expert on jet aircraft must be smuggled out of Germany before the Nazis can get to him.

If these aren’t your cup of tea, visit Book Hunters, answer a few questions, and within a couple weeks you’ll have a customized reading list in your email inbox.

Cooking Up A Little History

Can you stomach these recipes from times past? Only one way to find out. Grab a book and get to cooking!

A New Take on History

A History of the World in 100 ObjectsA customer recently recommended a book that gives you a different view of learning history: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor.  I've added it to my to-read list.  

Understand History, Understand Today

Jerusalem: the BiographySo many of today's conflicts across the world are based on the conflicts of yesterday.  Pick up a book at the library that helps you understand the underlying reasons behind it all.  One I'm reading right now feels more like an epic novel than a dry textbook.  Check out Jerusalem: the Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore. 

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