Children and adults alike will marvel at the illustrations of the young cowboy in "The Brave Cowboy" by Joan Walsh Anglund. First published in 1959, this relatively unknown classic is a hidden gem in the world of vintage children's books. The language is accessible and the story is easy to follow and the author's inspiration for the main character came from her son when he was about three-years-old. In many ways the book acts as a precursor to other comics such as Dennis the Menace and any number of Calvin and Hobbes strips.
Many years ago during the first adult reading club that St. Louis County Library sponsored, I had the good fortune to discover books written by Sue Grafton. I was captivated by her tough female private detective, Kinsey Milhone. Since then, I have avidly awaited each new alphabet mystery. I was surprised when her latest book wasn't "W".
My disappointment turned to reading enjoyment as I opened the pages of "Kinsey and me: stories." While it is part short story collection featuring Kinsey, it also contains biographical elements as the second section delves into a character named Kit Blue. The character, Kit, is a younger version of the author herself. It gives us insight into the elements of Sue's life that makes her characters come alive on the printed page.
As a fan of author Daniel Woodrell ("Winter's Bone", "The Outlaw Album"), I have been on the lookout for other hillbilly noir. Not surprisingly, this genre is growing. Recently, I read Donald Ray Pollack's "The Devil All the Time," a novel centered on a strange cast of characters: a young couple who travel the country murdering hitchhikers, a faux-preacher and his side-kick, and a teen who leaves home after the death of his parents. This novel weaves a bizarre and violent tale that winds its way back to the Ohio valley where many of the characters were born. Not for the faint of heart, this book is dark and twisted.
Checkout the newest and soon to be released contemporary romance titles from St. Louis County Library. Reserve your copy today!
"Beach House No. 9" by Christie Ridgeway- Prim Jane was hired to do a job: get war journalist Griffin Lowell to write his memoir, and by golly, she's going to do it! No matter that he has eyes so blue you could mistake them for the ocean, or a beach party going full swing. Let alone the simple fact that he does not want her at Beach House No. 9. Maybe a few kisses will help them both?
"Crystal Cove" by Lisa Kleypas - Try out the newest Friday Harbor release. Justine discovers she was cursed to never find her soulmate. Justine is determined to break the spell, but is she prepared for the consequences she'll unleash? And the secretive Jason Black just moved into Friday Harbor.
Eric Chaline has written a fascinating trilogy exploring history from an unusual perspective.
"Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History" describes the contributions of selected animals to human history. Some animals, such as the sheep and horse, have been primarily beneficial to mankind. Others, such as the mosquito and rat, are responsible for the rapid spread of disease. Each entry lists both the common and Latin names and indicates the native range, class, and size of the animal.
Diagrams are practical ways of conveying information and a necessary tool for visual learners. The best of them are executed with style and skill, and are quite beautiful to behold. Yet, diagrams are so common that we hardly ever stop to reflect upon their artistic merits or importance to mankind. Scott Christianson's "100 Diagrams That Changed the World" is a perfect excuse to stop and closely contemplate these useful beauties.
"The Odyssey," adapted by Seymour Chwast, is a retelling of the classic Greek tale in graphic novel format. Chwast casts Odysseus in a Buck Rogers style that works very well, though old Buck is not exactly cutting edge. Yet the conceit works, since Odysseus met some unusual life forms in his journey home from the Trojan War. Thinking of Cyclops, Scylla or the sirens as extraterrestrial might make sense to today's reader even if Buck Rogers does not.
The graphic novel format allows a lot of things to happen "simultaneously." Whereas Homer relied on words (and a lot of them), Chwast uses an inset or a small panel to convey supplemental information or interactions. That cuts down on the story's length, which is one very good reason to adapt Homer's epic. Yet some things get lost in the translation, so don't rely on Chwast's version for homework assignments!