Fiction

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."

Teens - Try "Something Old, Something New" Today in the Zone!


Teens - Come for a brand new YA program - Something Old, Something New! Listen to selections from an older YA title and a related new YA title while doing an activity. This session features Garth Nix's Sabriel and Kristen Cashore's Graceling. Something Old, Something New is supported by the Friends of Freeman Library.

Book Hunters in Brief #84: Emotions

One of the more troublesome things about being a youngster is that you have all the same feelings that grown-ups do, but you don't have names for them yet. Sure, you figure out happy and angry pretty early on. It's some of the others--envy, anxiety, aggravation, desire--to name just a few that give one fits. They're all valid human reactions to the world, but they are hard even for adults to identify when experiencing them.

Book Hunters in Brief #83: Tiny Heroes

Heroes come in as many shapes and sizes as there are reasons that they are heroic. This week, Book Hunters want to celebrate the tiniest of the heroes with these reading recommendations for the younger folks (and younger at heart) in our audience.

E.L. Doctorow, 1931 - 2015

I’m afraid I owe E.L. Doctorow better than I will be able to muster here. You see his novel Ragtime was the first grown up book I ever read. It was 1976, I was twelve years old and visiting my grandparents for the summer. They had rented a cabin on Grand Lake near Alpena, Michigan. One afternoon when the adults were napping—resting up from their early morning fishing—and I had had my fill of swimming, I rummaged through the left-behind-by-renters books of the lodge’s meager library. The book was, as I recall, the only one there that neither dealt with the best ways to catch the biggest fish, nor having a picture of a muscular, bare-chested hunk and a swooning damsel on the cover. Doctorow did something that day for which I will always be indebted to him. He showed me that books written for adults were not necessarily like adults themselves: dull, prone to long, confusing lectures and all but inscrutable. This book moved.

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 #78: Juneteenth

I would guess that over the years I have driven or been driven past the big pink brick house with the wrought iron balcony that sits at 24th and Broadway in Galveston nearly a thousand times, and If I ever knew that on a muggy day in June 1865 a Union General had stepped out on that balcony and by reading a terse snatch of text with the very prosaic title, "General Order No. 3" freed the slaves of Texas, I have long since forgotten it.

Book Hunters in Brief #77: Paper Towns

This week Book Hunters in Brief salutes a man with an eminently forgettable name and an uncanny ability to remember what it was like to be a young person in this big old world, John Green.

Uzumaki

Manga author Junji Ito is often hailed as the Japanese answer to Stephen King, and his manga Uzumaki is probably the most well-known of his works. Uzumaki is the story of high school girl Kirie Goshima living in a small Japanese town suddenly and mysteriously cursed with a variety of horrifying situations all tied to spiral shapes. What initially appears to be strange, unfortunate, but isolated incidents eventually become clearly linked by these spirals. Over time, the citizens are reduced to paranoia and madness and Kirie must discover the nature of the curse if she wants to survive.

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