How would the modern superheroes we have come to know and love have lived in the 17th century? Prolific author Neil Gaiman gives us his vision in "Marvel 1602," which collects an eight-part mini-series from Marvel Comics. Branching from the courts of Queen Elizabeth to a colony in the New World, this critically acclaimed series mixes historic settings with vivid art to create a tale worth reading. Instead of spandex-wearing superheroes publicly using their powers to fight crime or save the world, Gaiman created a time and place where anyone with unnatural abilities is considered a witch. Readers will be introduced to familiar characters in new roles, such as Daredevil as a blind minstrel, Dr. Strange as the Queen's physician, the Fantastic Four as elemental explorers, and a worthy enemy in Count Otto Von Doom. This graphic novel is a fun read for teens and adults.
--Aaron E., Headquarters
Have you ever looked at a pile of unread newspapers and wished that someone would pull out the best of the lot for your reading pleasure? Good news! The book "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns" does just that. Editors John Avlon, Jesse Angelo, and Errol Louis present a selection of the best columns published in newspapers all over the country from 1757 to 2011.
The columns are classified into broad subjects such as politics, humor, crime, sports, and farewells. Contributors include Jimmy Breslin, Erma Bombeck, Walter Winchell, Will Rogers, George Will, Art Buchwald, William F. Buckley Jr., and Molly Ivins. Each section is arranged chronologically. Together the columns present an interesting window into American history.
First time author Amor Towles' "Rules of Civility" is a stylish and sophisticated novel reminiscent of the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's a believable not-so-classic love triangle that makes excellent use of the written language.
Set in late 1930s New York, Towels gives the reader a realistic feel for the lifestyle of this particular time and place. His depiction of Manhattan apartments, restaurants, jazz clubs, publishing houses and the Hamptons kept my attention even before the plot twists. How he captures the character and mindset of two young women making their way through this pre-war world kept me from wanting it to be over. It's a classy novel without a classic ending.
--Laura S., Sachs Branch
After the Super Bowl ends, many St. Louis residents begin to think about the upcoming baseball season. In honor of Black History Month, you may be interested in reading the following graphic novels to help pass the time until spring training.
Some of the information available in databases is fascinating. I've recently become enchanted by the Historical St. Louis Post-Dispatch [ProQuest] database. It has full text articles and images from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1874 to 1922. I'm not a history buff, but you can get an idea of what life was like way back when if you take some time to search.
For example, I wanted to find out about the early days of the suburb I grew up in, so I entered search terms Pine and Lawn. Many interesting news stories told of bank robberies, amazing rescues, divorce filings, devastating fires, missing persons, charitable acts, inheritances, collisions between buggies, street cars and automobiles, elopements, a water shortage, violations of Prohibition, teachers paddling truant students, municipal annexations and other civic activities.
Although most people prefer to hike in the warmer months, winter can be the best time to experience the tranquility of nature. The obvious benefits include the lack of bugs and the lack of crowds on the trails. But the starkness of the landscape makes for great wildlife viewing and birding. Also, many of the small streams, springs, and waterways have frozen into beautiful ice sculptures.
The Oscar awards are coming up. The red carpet and movies are on a lot of our minds. I started thinking about the St. Louis County Library's book discussion kit titles that have an Oscar nomination. Listed are those nominated for Best Picture:
1937: "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck.
1939: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
1947: "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens.
1962: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.
2003: "Seabiscuit" by Laura Hillenbrand.
2009:"Precious" based on "Push" by Sapphire.
2010: "Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell.
So many books and so many movies. Hey, why not do both? Watch the movie then discuss the book. You don't need a red carpet just a book kit and a DVD from the library. Remember you have to call to book a kit: 314-994-3300.
--Peggy D., Headquarters
Whether you have a large garden plot or just a few pots on the patio, you can get a jump on the gardening season by starting seeds inside. If you've never done it before, starting seedlings inside is easy and inexpensive. And the Library is here to help you do it! We have a massive collection of books to aid you in all of your gardening endeavors.