Articles on this Page
- 04/09/14--06:10: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 04/12/14--11:00: _Easter Ebooks and S...
- 04/13/14--22:00: _Happy Ninety-Fourth...
- 04/14/14--06:58: _Remembering the Tit...
- 04/14/14--07:44: _Why We Need to Read...
- 04/14/14--08:00: _Everything You Need...
- 04/15/14--07:00: _Picture Books for P...
- 04/16/14--08:00: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 04/16/14--10:00: _Go Green with Ebook...
- 04/18/14--07:00: _Historical Fiction ...
- 04/18/14--13:00: _Why Science Fiction...
- 04/21/14--09:37: _23 de abril: día de...
- 04/24/14--09:10: _The Flip Side of Fl...
- 04/26/14--05:00: _5 Unconventional Bo...
- 04/26/14--15:00: _Gifts for Grads: Be...
- 04/28/14--08:42: _Military Monday: Th...
- 04/28/14--10:00: _Recovering a Lost P...
- 04/29/14--14:30: _The Sillier Side of...
- 04/30/14--06:54: _May the Fourth Be w...
- 05/01/14--06:00: _Books in Books in B...
- 04/09/14--06:10: Science Fiction Wednesday: Game of Thrones
- 04/12/14--11:00: Easter Ebooks and Spring Stories for Young Readers
- 04/13/14--22:00: Happy Ninety-Fourth to Black Mask!
- 04/14/14--06:58: Remembering the Titanic: An Infographic
- 04/14/14--07:44: Why We Need to Read (and Write) Poetry
- 04/14/14--08:00: Everything You Need to Know about the Edgar Awards: Infographic
- 04/15/14--07:00: Picture Books for Poetry Month
- 04/16/14--10:00: Go Green with Ebooks: 50% Off Earth Day Reads
- 04/18/14--07:00: Historical Fiction Told in Verse
- 04/21/14--09:37: 23 de abril: día de amor, rosas... y ¡ebooks!
- 04/24/14--09:10: The Flip Side of Florida
- 04/26/14--05:00: 5 Unconventional Books Every Business School Graduate Should Read
- 04/26/14--15:00: Gifts for Grads: Best Books for College Graduates
- 04/28/14--08:42: Military Monday: The Fall of Saigon, the Book Saigon
- 04/29/14--14:30: The Sillier Side of Poetry
- 04/30/14--06:54: May the Fourth Be with You: SF Reads by Star Wars Writers
- 05/01/14--06:00: Books in Books in Books: Bibliomysteries for Bibliophiles
Game of Thrones Season Four is off to an action-packed start. We don’t know about you, but we think six days between episodes is way too long to wait.
So what’s a fantasy lover to do? Based on your favorite house of Westeros, download the perfect sword-slinging, fire-breathing ebook straight to your ereader.
Welcome spring this year with some of our seasonal favorites! Whether you will be celebrating Easter or simply enjoying the warmer weather, we have a story for you. From children’s classics like the Berenstain Bearsand Franklin the Turtleto young adult chapter books like the Boxcar Children stories, make sure your child isn’t without his or her favorite ebooks this spring!
Spring is here, the trees are budding, and everywhere in the countryside nature is coming back to life. In Bear Country, the most magical time of the year isn’t Christmas or Halloween or Thanksgiving—it’s Easter! But for Brother Bear and Sister Bear, the only good kind of Easter egg is the kind that is full of chocolate.
The illustrated retelling of seventeen parables used by Jesus Christ in his teachings includes “The Good Samaritan,” “The Lost Sheep,” “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” and “The Prodigal Son.”
Bedtime Stories for Spring:
Every year, Franklin makes a nice birthday present for his mother. This year, though, he wants to give her something really special. The problem is, he doesn’t have enough money to buy her the fancy present he thinks she deserves.
The Mole Sisters are looking for something special. They venture into a hollow tree and follow a long staircase up, up, up. The sisters go out on a limb to play in a bird’s nest. When they spy a beautiful blue egg, they know they have found a new treasure.
That lovable little worrywart is back, and he’s as scaredy as ever! In his latest adventure, Scaredy Squirrel sets out to make the Perfect Friend.
Edward isn’t ready to spend the night away from his parents. But when his parents can’t drive to pick him up, he is forced to stay at Anthony’s house overnight.
For one little girl, a day on the farm is full of familiar sights that lead to the unexpected. The barn has a horse in it . . . just like a house can have a “me” in it. A sock can’t have a head it in, but it can have a toe in it. A pond can even have a splash in it. Best of all, when Mommy comes home, she has a blanket that has a wiggle in it—a brand new baby.
If you listen carefully to the lone tree behind Oak Lane School, it has a story to tell about . . . one owl, two spiders, three squirrels, four robins, five caterpillars, six ants, seven crickets, eight flies, nine ladybugs, and ten earthworms, all living safe and free in their tree home.
In this bestselling modern classic, Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.
Celebrate Spring with Young Readers:
The Alden children help solve a case surrounding missing vegetables and vandalism in the community garden.
“So, I thought I’d start my own business and spend my spring break taking care of lonely pets. But I didn’t plan on having awful Claire Plummer as my business partner AND having her stay in my own room. Now my spring break is broken for sure . . .”
On this day in 1920, H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan launched The Black Mask, a pulp magazine offering “the best stories available of adventure, the best mystery and detective stories, the best romances, the best love stories, and the best stories of the occult.” But Black Mask as history remembers it can largely be credited to “Cap” Joseph Shaw, appointed editor in 1926. Shaw promptly dropped the The from the magazine’s title and most non-detective writers from its roster, turning it instead into a pioneering publisher of hard-boiled crime fiction. Authors published by Black Mask include Dashiell Hammett of The Maltese Falcon fame, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Carroll John Daly, writer of “Three Gun Terry,” which is considered the very first hard-boiled PI story.
Black Mask folded after thirty-one years in July 1951 due to competition from mass-market paperbacks and other pulp magazines, as well as the rise of radio. However, contemporary readers can still experience Black Mask’s indelible influence on mystery writing: Individual stories and collections from its pages are being republished as ebooks through a partnership with MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Integrated Media. Fourteen Black Mask titles are already available, with more on the way. Celebrate the anniversary of this seminal magazine and join the pulp revival today!
For more on Black Mask’s contributions to the genre, watch this video narrated by MysteriousPress.com publisher Otto Penzler.
Every week, I post a poem for my fellow Open Roaders to read—in the very traditional sense of “posting.” I print out a poem, tape it on the employee-shared fridge (just above the filtered water spout), and wait to see what happens. Will anyone read it? This week, a colleague watched me add the new poem and said, “I feel like it’s Christmas morning and I’m watching my parents put out the gifts.” That made my heart sing in the same way that the Jane Hirshfield poem I posted did. (And I bet you’ll love it too—read it here.)
I read poetry to slow down time a little, to consider words and the way they sound together. It doesn’t take much to cause a ripple in the ponds of our busy brains, and sometimes a poem is just the right size to enter that chaotic stream and create a welcome pause.
Writing poetry has that same effect. Again, I depend on writer Jane Hirshfield to explain: “One reason to write a poem is to flush from the deep thickets of the self some thought, feeling, comprehension, question, music you didn’t know was in you, or in the world. . . . Poetry is a release of something previously unknown into the visible. You write to invite that, to make of yourself a gathering of the unexpected and, with luck, of the unexpectable.”
Reading poetry in a digital format feels like a visual and mental escape in some ways—so much space on the page, lots of lovely whiteness that lets the words breathe on the screen. There are even apps so you can take your poems with you; I especially like the Poetry App. Enjoy National Poetry Month and treat yourself to one of these wonderful ebooks, from the zany fun of Nothing Beats a Pizza by Loris Lesynski to the simple elegance of May Sarton’s work.Spend some time in the company of good words this month. On second thought, do it every day.
Awards season didn’t end with the movies! Each spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Awards. Named after revered master of suspense Edgar Allan Poe, the Edgars are widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious honors in the genre and encompass many categories, including Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Short Story. Big names like Michael Crichton, Donald E. Westlake, and Ira Levin are among the past winners, so you know it’s legit.
Check out our infographic for everything else you might want to know about the Edgars, or watch this video to see critically acclaimed authors and editors discuss their thoughts on the mystery community’s highest accolades.
But don’t let us tell you what to think. If you’d rather judge for yourself, we’ve collected some of our favorite Edgar-winning and nominated titles for your ereading pleasure here.
Celebrate National Poetry Month with your kindergarteners with these popular ebooks by Loris Lesynski! Zigzag,Boy Soup,and Crazy About Soccerwill teach your children important lessons while introducing them to fun and enjoyable poetry. Complete your Lesynski Collection with all of her amazing books of children’s poetry.
After hundreds of school visits, Loris knows that kindergarten kids have their own kind of wit. Too old for nursery rhymes and too young for irony, kindergarteners crave a playfulness that Zigzag zupplies by the zillions! Bursting with zaniness, these poems focus on the pleasure of sound and the rhythm of language, and each contains an inherent invitation to join in.
This new collection of poems by Loris Lesynski captures the joys, thrills, and challenges of one of the most popular sports in the schoolyard today. Rhythmic, funny verses reflect the game’s energy while offering sound suggestions for proper play.
When Giant wakes up with a giant cold, he turns to his home medical guide for help. The prescription? A bowl of Boy Soup. Catching the boys is easy, but what he doesn’t count on is Kate. Accidentally kidnapped along with the boys, clever Kate convinces Giant that what the guide really means is a soup made by boys, not one with boys in it. Check out these classroom activity ideas for Boy Soup from Lesynski.
Go on a magical moonlit journey with the Mole Sisters this Poetry Month with The Mole Sisters and the Moonlit Nightby Roslyn Schwartz. Follow the sisters on a trip to the moon, where they realize that possibilities are endless when you wish on a shooting star!
On a beautiful moonlit night the Mole Sisters gaze at the sky. When a brilliant shooting star blazes past, they make a wish together, and soon they are imagining the world from a wonderful moon vista. On a moonlit night anything can happen!
Discover more children’s ebooks for Poetry Month.
Though often recommended as a good first foray into reading science fiction, The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy is not so easily classified. In this Nebula Award–winning novel, archaeologist Elizabeth Waters has made a name for herself by challenging her colleagues’ ideas about Mayan civilization. She owes her insights in large part to a strange gift: Elizabeth can see the spirits of ancient peoples.
Years ago, in pursuit of the opportunities that her visions presented—while at the same time fearing them as a sign of madness—Elizabeth abandoned her husband and child. But the shadows of the past are not content to stay put, and Elizabeth finds herself on a dig with two specters before her: Zuhuy-kak, a Mayan priestess who can see and speak with Elizabeth, and Diane, Elizabeth’s estranged adult daughter who has flown to Mexico unannounced.
As Diane and Elizabeth struggle to reconnect, they progress further and further into Zuhuy-kak’s mysterious world of magic. Elizabeth knows an unprecedented discovery is at her fingertips, but is she willing to make the sacrifice it demands?
You may wonder, “Is The Falling Woman really science fiction?” Murphy answers this question on her website: “If this doesn’t sound like science fiction to you, you’ll have to argue with the Science Fiction Writers of America, who awarded The Falling Woman the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel.” But this genre label doesn’t stop The Falling Woman—or Murphy’s other works, for that matter—from incorporating the mind bending of psychological fantasy, or the well-researched backdrops of historical fiction, or the thrill of a good adventure tale.
In other words, besides being a good introduction to SF, The Falling Woman is simply a great read for a variety of audiences.
For more of Pat Murphy’s cross-genre ebook titles, visit her author page at openroadmedia.com/pat-murphy.
As the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22, join the effort to help save our planet. Every year since 1970, events are held internationally on this day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. More than one hundred ninety-two countries celebrate the holiday, which is coordinated by the Earth Day Network.
Did you know that, on average, a single ton of paper is produced from seventeen trees? And what’s more, the process of printing books emits large quantities of greenhouse gases that are bad for the environment. Another consideration is the crazy amount of water it takes to produce an average printed book—seven gallons!
With ereaders, you have access to hundreds of books anywhere, anytime, without actually lugging around the weight of print books. Teach your children the importance of recycling or let them embark on an exciting wilderness adventure through ebooks. With topics ranging from gardening and the beauty of nature to the mysteries of wildlife, we have plenty of titles to help show your support of the environment through ereading!
Check out Open Road’s collection of fun ebooks—with interactive features that are bound to keep you entertained. From April 15 through April 22, we are celebrating Earth Day with 50% off ebooks.
Celebrate National Poetry Month with Dust of Eden!This beautiful and touching story is told in verse—the perfect combination for those who love poetry and historical fiction. Written by award-winning author Mariko Nagai, the novel explores the nature of fear, the value of acceptance, and the beauty of life. Dust of Eden is told with an honesty that is both thought provoking and inspirational.
“Crystal-clear prose poems paint a heartrending picture of thirteen-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa’s journey from Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Nagai does a wonderful job examining what it means to Mina and her family members to be American while not being treated as true citizens." —School Library Journal
Discover more children’s ebooks for Poetry Month.
April 22, 2014, marks the forty-fourth celebration of Earth Day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have Earth on our minds after today. Or tomorrow. Or really, really after tomorrow.
“Really, really after” is where many science fiction authors go to grapple with the uncertain future of our planet. The science fiction genre is uniquely poised to discuss environmental issues and the caretaking of our world: Sometimes, only by reading about the very far away, the very far in the future, or the very impossible, can we see exactly where our own world might be headed.
In the video below, acclaimed science fiction author discusses how his immersion in nature informs his writing.
Over the last forty years, Foster has traveled all over the globe to experience nature at its most untouched. He catalogues these journeys in his adventure memoir, Predators I Have Known, but Foster’s encounters with these ecosystems are evident in his handling of far-flung galaxies as well. Take Midworld, for example. A Humanx Commonwealth planet covered by lush rainforest, Midworld is home to a primitive society that lives in harmony with the natural world. But the arrival of an exploitative human company propels the planet towards annihilation, and its inhabitants must fight to survive in the face of ecological devastation. We can sit back and watch the events of Midworld unfold because it is not our world. But it is a world like our own, its nature both fragile and hostile and its people both preservers and destroyers. This likeness is where science fiction authors can let plausible scenarios play out to their ends.
The imagination present in science fiction has a way of predicting future events. Author Sarah Zettel noted, “When I wrote Playing God, climate change was not even a term. Now, it is a certainty.” Published in 1998, Playing God was asking a what-if question: What if war were to so ravage the planet that the only option was to rebuild on top of a wasteland? George Zebrowski’s Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia deals with similar issues: Nuclear explosions cause megadeath and the people of Earth undergo multiple cycles of obliteration and rebirth. These premises seem far less ludicrous in a time when global warming and weapons of mass destruction are on every news channel.
But not all human/nature relationships in science fiction are heralds of doomsday. Zettel notes, “I think we have much to hope for . . . in the points of view offered by science fiction, because both science and science fiction show us that the problems caused by our technology can also be solved by it.” Science fiction gives its protagonists agency in shaping their environment.
By following these characters, readers have a chance to observe, as author Gary Alan Wassner puts it, “the relationships between our actions and choices and their consequences.” His novel The Twins and Carol Severance’s Demon Drums both anthropomorphize nature to have real fears and real power. Man is not acting in a vacuum but rather in balance with the tree or the shark, resulting in interactions that are more poignant and meaningful.
There is a lot at stake in writing about our relationship to the natural world (even if it’s the alien’s relationship to its natural world). But whatever speculative fiction may say about Earth, it stands that it is only speculation. This Earth Day (and every day, really), we can work to make the best environmental scenarios in science fiction our reality, and leave the worst of them to fiction.
La leyenda de San Jorge
Érase una vez un dragón hambriento que obligaba a un pueblo entero a mantenerlo alimentado. La gente del pueblo sufría, y el día que se acabó la comida, decidieron sortearse quién sería el próximo alimento del dragón. El azahar quiso que fuera la princesa la primera presa. Cuando la bella chica ya estaba casi en manos del enorme animal, apareció el caballero San Jorge para rescatarla. Mató al dragón con su espada, y de la sangre, emanó un precioso rosal. El caballero cortó una rosa y la entregó a la princesa.
23 de abril: día de amor, rosas… y ¡ebooks!
La leyenda del dragón, la princesa y el caballero es la que ha dado origen a que, cada 23 de abril en la ciudad de Barcelona, sea el día del libro y de las rosas: todos los hombres regalan una rosa roja a las mujeres que aman, como hizo San Jorge. A cambio, las mujeres regalan un libro a los hombres más queridos.
En este día de primavera, las calles de toda la ciudad se llenan de paraditas de rosas y de libros, los escritores firman ejemplares a los transeúntes, todo el mundo se pasea arriba y abajo cargando rosas rojas y buscando libros.
¿Y por qué justamente el día 23 de abril? Porque este día significa mucho para el mundo de los libros y de la cultura:
• Es el día que murieron, a la vez, dos de las figuras literarias más importantes de la historia: Miguel de Cervantes y William Shakespeare.
• Se celebra la World Book Night
• Es el Día Mundial del Idioma Español
• Y este es, justamente, el día que San Jorge mató al dragón.
Parece que es el momento de dar un #ebookformylove. Dinos a través de Twitter qué libro le regalarías a tu amad@ con el texto @OpenRoadEspanol #ebookformylove y entra en el sorteo de un ebook.
Warm(er) weather is here, and if you’re like me, your email inbox is flooded with “Summer Getaway” promotions from various airlines. The most popular destination? Florida. The Sunshine State. Home to Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Everglades National Park, and an unholy number of beach sunsets framed between two perfectly manicured palm trees. What’s not to love?
Well, let me (and these authors) tell you.
Florida is crooked.
In Carl Hiaasen’s Powder Burn, Chris Meadows has his life turned upside down when he witnesses the hit-and-run of an ex-girlfriend by a car full of drug smugglers. Chris’s career as an up-and-coming architect in no way prepared him to be caught up in Florida’s brutal underground cocaine war, but gangsters are the least of his worries—it’s the cops he should really watch out for. The boys in blue would much rather exploit him than protect him, and if it can happen to Chris, who’s to say it can’t happen to you?
Florida has baggage.
And I’m not talking about tourists’ luggage. You might run into people like James W. Hall’s Thorn, the protagonist of a series of mysteries starting with Under Cover of Daylight. Thorn is nearly forty, living in Key West as a fisherman, and haunted by two things: the death of his parents, killed by a drunk driver on the day he was born, and the fact that he tracked down and murdered their killer nineteen years later. When Thorn’s adoptive mother is slain, he’s presented with another opportunity for revenge . . . if he can confront the horror of the first time he took a life.
Florida is hoity-toity.
Archy McNally is author Lawrence Sanders’s most disarming detective—an inveterate playboy who gets paid to make “discreet inquiries” for Palm Beach’s power elite. The series kicks off with McNally's Secret, in which the sleuth must locate a block of priceless 1918 US airmail stamps belonging to Lady Cynthia Horowitz, a nasty piece of work living in her sixth husband’s mansion. Fun to read about; not so fun to deal with. Over thirteen novels, McNally encounters families squabbling over original Picassos, forged Fabergé Imperial eggs, and a mean, fat Persian cat, among other problems familiar only to the rich and famous.
The Blue Edge of Midnightis the Edgar Award–winning debut of the Max Freeman mystery series, written by Jonathon King and set in the Florida Everglades. The protagonist left the Philadelphia police department for a life in exile in the wetlands, haunted by a shootout that took an innocent twelve-year-old’s life— told you there’s a lot of baggage in Florida. But Freeman’s humid hermitage is disturbed when a young girl’s body turns up in the muddy waters and he becomes the prime suspect. Looks like in the Everglades, if the alligators don’t get you, the murderers will.
Consider yourself warned. Plan your vacation carefully.
Most new graduates are familiar with the standard must-read business books—The Tipping Point, What Color Is Your Parachute?, Lean In. But there is wisdom to be gleaned from straying from the typical business student TBR pile. Consider these unconventional picks that take a broader view of thriving in the business world (and the real world, for that matter).
Showstopper! by G. Pascal Zachary
Wildly entertaining, Showstopper! is both a chronicle of the birth of Windows as well as a meditation on the power—and necessity—of teamwork.
What readers say: “Showstopper is a worthwhile read on two levels: it’s a compelling tale about the creation of a groundbreaking product, and an allegory about the darker side of the American workplace.”
A Conversation with Fear by Mermer Blakeslee
By regarding fear as a pathology to control or cure, we assume that living without its presence is possible, normal, or even desirable. But once we accept fear as a habitual acquaintance in an imaginative, meaningful life, we can begin to cultivate a conversation with it rather than engaging it in a fight.
What readers say: “What [Blakeslee] does cover is how to get the troll who’s whispering on your shoulder to go away, and how to manageably widen your comfort zone. That controlled push of the comfort zone, combined with returning to what you’re comfortable with, is a huge confidence builder and gives us permission to take smaller successful steps instead of trying big jumps and failing.”
Essays in Humanism by Albert Einstein
What readers say: “I wish I had read these when I was much younger. The essays are lucid, thought-provoking, and have current applicability in spite of having been written so many years ago.”
The Social Construction of Reality by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann
This seminal work by renowned sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann is a treatise on knowledge and the ways it is communicated within society.
What readers say: “Like my fellow readers, I found this book to be a turning point in the way I viewed and interpreted the world. I read this book over 25 years ago and it has left an indelible imprint upon me....In fact, if such a thing is possible, it should be required reading for all of humanity.”
Secrets of Power Problem Solving by Roger Dawson
Master negotiator Roger Dawson reveals techniques to deal with virtually any problem you might encounter in the workplace. This is a practical guide to turning potential problems into opportunities.
What readers say: “Effective decision-making is both a role and challenge for today’s professionals. Secrets of Power Problem Solving’s methods provide new and seasoned professionals with a collection of decision-making practices that will help them become better decision-makers.”
1. Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy
What it is: One part parody and two parts philosophy, Lost in the Cosmos is an enlightening guide to the dilemmas of human existence, and an unrivaled spin on self-help manuals.
Perfect for: Just about anyone engaging in any degree of post-grad soul-searching.
2. Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg
What it is: An inspirational, practical, and often lighthearted how-to guide on finding time to write, discovering your personal style, and making sentences come alive.
Perfect for: The retired English major interested in keeping the magic alive.
3. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
What it is: Chabon’s sensational debut novel: the coming-of-age story of Art Bechstein, a recent graduate whose life is forever changed by one sultry summer.
Perfect for: The fiction lover looking for a fascinating—yet relatable—adventure.
What it is: An invaluable collection to guide, inspire, support, and encourage students during and after their college years.
Perfect for: Anyone looking for wisdom, humor, and just the perfect amount of sap.
5. The Art of Being by Erich Fromm
What it is: Renowned social psychologist Erich Fromm outlines a guide to well-being in the modern age.
Perfect for: The tech-savvy post-grad looking for advice on how to have—and balance—it all.
6. 101 Smart Questions to Ask on Your Interview by Ron Fry
What it is: Most job candidates think that “Do you have any questions?” marks the end of an interview. This guide will show you how to use what used to be empty space to your advantage.
Wednesday marks the 39th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, when the capital of South Vietnam was captured by the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong. The last aircraft left the American Embassy in Saigon at 07:53 on April 30, 1975. This is also the climactic moment of Anthony Grey’s epic Saigon, which is on sale at just $1.99 until April 30.
The book is an epic saga of twentieth-century Vietnam, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the War and Peace of our age." To truly understand the Vietnam War, and how it came to American forces withdrawing from Saigon, we must look back to 1925 when Vietnam was under French colonial rule. That is what Grey's novel Saigon does, scoping out the full breadth of the conflict. Below is the first chapter from Grey’s book.
Just $1.99 until April 30!
Part One: C'est la Vie Coloniale!, 1925
By 1925 present-day Vietnam was divided into three parts under French colonial rule. The southern region embracing Saigon and the Mekong delta was the colony of Cochin-China; the central area with its imperial capital at Hue was the protectorate of Annam; and the northern region, Tongking, was also a separate protectorate with its capital at Hanoi. The Annamese emperor, Khai Dinh, in theory ruled the two northern regions from Hue with the benefit of French protection, while Cochin-China was governed directly from Paris — but in effect all three territories were ruled as colonies. Some backward tribes inhabited the remoter mountains and jungles but the main population was of the same race; today they are known as Vietnamese but then the outside world knew them as Annamites or Annamese. They had detached themselves from the torrent of peoples that in prehistory had poured out of China onto the countless islands of the Pacific and, settling the eastern coastal strip of the Indochina peninsular, they had named their country Nam Viet — Land of the Southern Viet People. This was changed to An Nam — The Pacified South — by the Chinese who conquered them, occupied their territory for eleven centuries, and called them Annamese. During this time they absorbed the Chinese imperial system and Confucian philosophy, but after winning their freedom on the collapse of the Tang dynasty they flourished as an independent nation. Called at different times Dai Nam — The Great South — and Dai Viet — Country of the Great Viet People — they repulsed an invasion by Mongol hordes and successfully resisted new attempts by the Sung, Ming and Manchu emperors of China to reconquer them. Late in the nineteenth century, however, they were not strong enough to resist European troops. It was then that France, after two centuries of increasing penetration by its missionaries and traders, decided to establish dominion over the Annamese lands and the separate kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia by force of arms and set up the French Indochinese Union. About sixteen thousand Frenchmen ruled the fifteen million Annamese, and their government was harsh and uncompromising. They appointed their own French administrators down to the lowest levels, leaving the Annamese powerless and humiliated in their own land. Rice, coal and rubber were sold abroad for the exclusive benefit of French shareholders in Europe, and Annamese coolies were driven hard in the mines and on the rubber plantations for paltry pay; peasant rice growers, too, were frequently robbed of their lands on flimsy pretexts so that bigger holdings could be granted to French colons and the few rich Annamese who collaborated with France. While exploiting the conquered territories France constantly proclaimed in public that it had come to Indochina on a “mission civilisatrice” to help the backward nation into the light of the twentieth century. Leading Annamese scholars and mandarins, aware of the French hypocrisy from the start, had always refused to cooperate wholeheartedly with their colonial masters and held those of their countrymen who did in contempt. Some tried to organize patriotic resistance groups without much success. Like other colonial nations of the day France believed its subject peoples were inferior to the white European races, and this belief conditioned all areas of daily life in 1925 — whether they were political, economic, social or sexual.
The world is still reeling from the loss of Gabriel García Márquez. Despite the passing of this literary great, his legacy will live on in both his classic works and his influence on other authors. One such acclaimed writer is Eduardo Galeano.
Galeano, originally from Uruguay, began his career as a journalist in the 1960s. He would eventually write Open Veins of Latin America, which analyzed the history of the region from the time of European settlement to the contemporary world. Because of the book’s left-wing political perspective, it was banned in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Galeano’s home country. After a military coup took control of Uruguay in 1973, he was imprisoned and forced into exile, taking asylum in Argentina before escaping to Spain after another coup.
It was during his time in Spain that he wrote the masterpiece trilogy Memory of Fire, consisting of Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind, released from 1982 to 1986. It was widely praised and Galeano’s use of magical realism in the novels would often lend comparison to Márquez’s style of writing. The trilogy mixes history and mythology as Galeano traces the evolution of North and South America from the beginning of creation to the end of the twentieth century. The novels are also notable for breathing life into events that are consistently overlooked or lack significant historical evidence (sometimes due to documents being destroyed). The depth he brings to the people who lived during each era is unlike anything you’ll find in a history book.
Instead of focusing on giving a complete and objective opinion on how groundbreaking events in the Americas occurred, Galeano prefers a point-of-view narrative, from storytellers of all ages, that does more than merely inform—it brings the past to life. Each chapter is presented as an experience during a significant moment in history, told from a Latin American perspective. Rather than just retelling how events unfolded, the trilogy serves to help readers understand how history shaped the world we live in today.
To find out more about Eduardo Galeano and The Memory of Fire Trilogy, check out Galeano’s author page here.
Author Photo Copyright Daniel Dabove
Explore the sillier side of poetry with Loris Lesynski’s Dirty Dog Boogieand Nothing Beats a Pizza. These fun and enjoyable poems will help introduce children to poetry and remind adults what it means to be a kid. Learn about echo reading and get more tips from Lesynski on using poetry in the classroom, and discover even more children’s ebooks for Poetry Month.
This collection of original poems will knock your socks off, and Lesynski has just the poem for that event: “Sock Fluff.” Her poetry is an invitation to be witty, expressive, and creative, and her words demonstrate just how much fun poetry and everyday life can be. Check out these classroom activity ideas for Dirty Dog Boogie from Lesynski.
The opening refrain of Nothing Beats a Pizza is catchy and fun, just like all thirty-two poems found in the book. Dancing across the pages are illustrations and poems alive with humor, exploring important things in a kid’s world: pizza, substitute teachers, homework, moods, food, and pets. This is an enjoyable read for reluctant readers or poetry lovers.
As many fans know, the Star Wars canon extends well beyond the two film trilogies to include comic books, video games, animated TV series, and—perhaps most extensively—novels. With over two hundred books written by dozens of authors, covering twenty-five thousand–plus years, the Star Wars EU (expanded universe) can keep any fan occupied for a long, long time.
But Star Wars writers, like Alan Dean Foster of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye fame, often do have other worlds to explore. So hop in an X-wing, and follow them over! We’ve prepared a reading guide with familiar Star Wars landmarks to help you through uncharted space.
For those who’d choose the Dark Side: The Darwath Series
Barbara Hambly’s contributions to the Star Wars catalog include two books in the Callista trilogy—Children of the Jedi and Planet of Twilight—and a number of short stories for the anthologies Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina and Tales from Jabba’s Palace.
In The Darwath Series, an evil force known as “the Dark” conquers a beleaguered magical world. The resistance is small, consisting of only the few remaining wizards and two stranded Californians. As long as the Dark doesn’t make the same mistakes as the Galactic Empire, victory seems imminent.
For those who watch the Battle of Hoth on repeat: The Icerigger Trilogy
Alan Dean Foster is considered the first contributor to the Star Wars EU, launching the expanded universe with Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (1978), and is also credited with ghostwriting the first Star Wars movie novelization.
Foster’s Icerigger trilogy is set on Tran-ky-ky, a planet as frozen and desolate as Hoth. When a handful of interstellar travelers crash-land on its unforgiving surface, the planet is in for enough trouble to rival a secret Rebel base . . . if the castaways aren’t eaten first.
For those who dress up as Princess Leia every Halloween: The Lyra Novels
Patricia C. Wrede is the author of the junior novelizations of the Star Wars prequel trilogy—The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.
Her other fiction work includes a series of books set in the fantastical world of Lyra. Wrede’s Lyra novels gained an enthusiastic fan following for their heroines, who conquer challenges, both magical and mundane, with a strength that would make Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan proud.
For those who dream of becoming a Jedi: The Blackcollar Series
In Zahn’s Blackcollar Series, a resistance mission against the Ryqril invasion of Earth goes awry. Allen Caine is left with one last, desperate shot: locating the so-called blackcollars—an elite, martial arts–trained guerilla force whose wartime efforts are legendary. Help him, blackcollars. You’re his only hope!
For those who sympathize too much with clone troopers: Echoes of Earth
Echoes of Earth is the first installment of their Orphans Trilogy, which opens on a survey vessel sent out into space to seek habitable worlds and signs of advanced life. The crew of The Frank Tipler, consisting of forty flawed electronic copies of human beings, has stumbled across artifacts left behind by a benevolent trader species. The decision to accept them might be too big for a damaged almost-person to make.
For those who’d fit right in at the Mos Eisley Cantina: Hegira
If you got impatient between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, you probably read Greg Bear’s Rogue Planet, which takes place three years after the events of Episode One.
Bear hasn’t revisited the Star Wars universe since, but his novel, Hegira, feels like a lawless spaceport. The planet Hegira is the universe’s melting pot, with hundreds of tribes intermingling in the vast uncharted territory. And when you put so many colorful characters together . . . well, in the words of Obi-Wan, “Watch your step. This place can be a little rough.”
For those who really liked the Clone Wars movie and TV series: Waking the Moon
The author of books three through six in the Boba Fett series, Elizabeth Hand has made a non–Star Wars name for herself writing hauntingly rich and strangely seductive feminist thrillers, an example of which is Waking the Moon.
Its protagonist, Sweeney Cassidy, is a typical college freshman, completely unsuspecting that her university is home to a cult devoted to suppressing the powerful and destructive Moon Goddess. But now that the Moon Goddess is waking, does Sweeney go Ahsoka Tano or Asajj Ventress? (If you watched Clone Wars, you know what I mean.)
For the smugglers: The Pik Lando novels
William C. Dietz wrote the Dark Forces trilogy (1997–1998), but his mind may have been on Star Wars before that. Drifter (1991), introduces readers to Pik Lando, a con artist, ladies’ man, and total professional who’ll fly across the galaxies for his clients—and occasionally to escape the odd bounty hunter. You can see the resemblance to Lando Calrissian, but hopefully Pik can do with a little less backstabbing.
To avid readers, picking up a book centered on books is kind of like cutting into a cake (already great) and discovering there’s ice cream inside (even better). For a double serving of literary goodness, check out this list of bibliomysteries.But wait! What’s a bibliomystery, you ask? The short explanation is that it’s a mystery set in the world of books. Whether the crime involves a rare book, or a book is the primary plot device, or book people—i.e., librarians, collectors, book scholars—feature prominently in the story, a bibliomystery crafts the puzzle around literature. Otto Penzler, founder of Mysterious Press, goes into more detail about this sub-genre here.
So, picking up where we left off, if you like your books with a side of books, read on for our recommendations.
Asta’s Book by Ruth Rendell
Asta’s Book tells the story of Asta Westerby who, in 1905, turns to journaling to escape her loneliness. In the end, Asta’s diary spans five decades and becomes a literary sensation, but though her published entries are known by many, few are acquainted with the dark tale hidden in their deleted passages. Author Ruth Rendell masterfully crafts a double mystery in which the story is told both through the diary itself and through the voice of Ann, the granddaughter bent on unlocking the diary’s excised secret.
Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth
One of Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver Mysteries, Poison in the Pen follows the governess turned detective, this time to a small rural village where a series of cruel, anonymous letters has driven a woman to suicide. Miss Silver, masquerading as a tourist, accompanies her friend Frank Abbott of Scotland Yard to the countryside, where they hope to stop the next death before it’s too late.
The Pot Thief Who Studied D. H. Lawrence by J. Michael Orenduff
J. Michael Orenduff’s protagonist, Hubie Schuze, is a pottery geek whose digging for ancient ceramics often gets him mixed up in crimes. In The Pot Thief Who Studied D. H. Lawrence, Hubie takes on a new client—the great-grandson of a friendly neighbor who, eighty years ago, gave D. H. Lawrence a handcrafted pot as a housewarming gift. Hubie searches the Lawrence ranch for the long-lost vessel, but when a blizzard traps him indoors with a killer, the pot thief must face a mystery so shocking it would make even Lady Chatterley blush!
Bookscout by John Dunning
Joel Beer is John Dunning’s Bookscout, scouring bookstores and thrift shops for the twenty-five cent gem that he can resell for $250. But he has his share of competition—including his archrival Popeye Lamonica—and the business isn’t big enough for all of them. Unable to make ends meet, Joel is about to give up when he finds a fifty-cent copy of Walter Behr’s Something for Nothing, worth $500, easily. But Popeye sees it too, and to get his hands on this treasure, Joel must do whatever it takes—even if it means sacrificing his career.
The Tumbler by Peter Bowen
In The Tumbler, part of Peter Bowen’s Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré, a bullying billionaire catches whiff of a rumor that the long-lost journals of Lewis and Clark are in the possession of Gabriel Du Pré. The fiddle-playing cowboy-slash-detective won’t say whether the gossip is true, but when two of his friends are kidnapped, Du Pré faces a tough decision: hand over the journal or risk his pals’ lives to keep it out of the wrong hands.
McNally’s Alibi by Lawrence Sanders and Vincent Lardo
Lawrence Sanders’s beloved sleuth Archy McNally returns in McNally’s Alibi, wherein he is hired to retrieve a client’s kiss-and-tell-all diary from her blackmailing ex-lover. But, as the detective discovers, the diary is anything but. Instead, it’s the Holy Grail of lost literature—the original manuscript of Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers. To complicate matters, McNally becomes the prime suspect in a homicide investigation, and in the chaos of the Capote opus, he must write off a killer who’s waiting to close the book on him—permanently.
Veil of Darkness by Gillian White
Writing and witchcraft intertwine in Gillian White’s Veil of Darkness. Kirsty takes a job at the Burleston Hotel where she discovers Magdalene, an obscure but utterly compelling book about the life of a passionate, depraved man. Desperate for money for her children, Kirsty convinces two other employees, Avril and Bernadette, to join her in rewriting the volume and publishing it as a new work. Success is in the wings, but is it possible that the malign spirit behind Magdalene is somehow influencing the three women’s actions?
The Missing Chapter by Robert Goldsborough
It’s another mystery for corpulent genius Nero Wolfe and his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin, in The Missing Chapter by Robert Goldsborough. A loudmouthed author’s death is ruled a suicide, but his friends say he loved himself far too much to pull the trigger. Wolfe and Goodwin are hired to find the murderer, and their search turns up no dearth of suspects. Now it’s up to the duo to decide which of the author’s associates merely hated him, and which would have been willing to kill.
Book of Shadows by Marc Olden
Book of Shadows opens with the death of two boys in Central Park, whose bodies are found missing their right hands. The explanation for this strange murder lies with Rupert and Rowena Comfort—druids who have lived in the wilds of England for thousands of years as keepers of a religion older than civilization itself. But one day, the book of shadows, a witch’s tome, was stolen from their village, and now the couple will kill to save it, starting with a spell that calls for the blood from two severed hands.
Emily Dickinson Is Dead by Jane Langton
First arson, then murder strikes Emily Dickinson’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, in Emily Dickinson Is Deadby Jane Langton. Dickinson scholar Owen Kraznik has just been railroaded into organizing a festival for the hundredth anniversary of the poet’s death when a fire consumes a university dorm, killing two students. Transcendentalist scholar and occasional sleuth Homer Kelly suspects the fire may have been set on purpose, but neither of the victims was the arsonist’s true target . . .
The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer
A novel of literary crimes and misdemeanors, The Salinger Contract connects some of the world’s most famous authors to a sinister collector in Chicago. Adam Langer, the narrator of this novel by the author of the same name, is drawn into an uneasy friendship with bestselling thriller writer Conner Joyce, who is having trouble with his next book. When a menacing stranger approaches them with an odd but lucrative proposal, events quickly spiral out of control—and there may be no other escape for the two authors than to write their way out of it.
The Antiquarian by Julián Sánchez
Julián Sánchez crafts a thrilling historical chase in The Antiquarian. Enrique Alonso’s world is turned upside down by a letter from his adoptive father, Barcelona antiquarian Artur, who reveals that he has discovered an ancient manuscript. When Artur is murdered, Enrique deciphers the book for clues and finds that the text holds the key to a closely guarded secret from the Middle Ages. But Enrique is not the only one on the trail, and it becomes a race against time to find a mythical object with the power to transform lives.