Zen in the Art of Writing
by Ray Bradbury
Someday I will write a book. I don’t really have a solid plan, but, I figure, if I just keep writing, at some point I will have enough content to be published! A girl can dream!
I find that I get the most writing done over the Fall and Winter months. It’s also the time where I tend to gravitate towards books about writing. I started out by reading Stephen King’s On Writing, then read some works by Vonnegut and Anne Lamott. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon Zen in the Art of Writing but I am certainly glad I did!
It was a fast read. Bradbury’s collection of essays is excellent! His energy is inspirational and makes me just want to write all day and all night. He really gets the reader pumped up about writing! If you are an aspiring writer, you need to add this book to the top of your to-read list! – Kristin
I admire an author who writes a children’s book that works both as a great read-aloud while also appealing to youngsters just graduating from the easier beginning reader books. Local author Jamie Michalak has one such book with Frank and Bean.
In less than 50 pages and four short chapters we meet Frank, an introverted fellow who craves the peace and quiet required to write in his secret notebook, and Bean, who arrives on the scene with seemingly every instrument known to man. Not surprisingly, Frank (who if you haven’t already guessed is a frankfurter), is not happy about the intrusion. Bean (yes, the musical fruit) honks and toots and vrooms, loudly. (He’s also brought his motorcycle.) This is not auspicious for a workable relationship. And yet.
Bean is on a quest. And it turns out that Frank has the poetry that Bean is seeking to turn his (loud) musical musings into song. The humorous illustrations of Bob Kolar enhance this humorous yet warm story of the beginnings of friendship.
A sure winner with a gentle message.
By Nancy Kellner
The holiday season is a particularly bountiful time of year for sharing stories with children. There are so many beautiful children’s books about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more – and reading stories with children is a wonderful way to keep family traditions alive and build new ones. When my own children were young we started a family tradition of keeping a basket of Christmas books on the hearth in December, inspired by childhood memories of my dad reading aloud from The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. That book was the first one I put in the hearth basket, and each year my children and I would add a book to the basket, so that eventually we could read a book almost every night leading up to the 25th.
The one I love the most is Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. Like Mr. Moore’s well-known tale, this is a story in verse and a bouncy, joyful read-aloud. The story opens with the arrival of a Christmas tree bought by the dapper and wealthy Mr. Willowby, a tree that turns out to be just a bit too tall. When a hasty solution is devised, to the dismay of Mr. Willowby’s butler, readers are treated to a rollicking tale of generosity and gratitude that moves through the snowy countryside surrounding Mr. Willowby’s grand estate and ends up in a surprising place. With charming illustrations and a satisfying ending, this clever story is sure to bring smiles and laughter to your jolly holiday! The hearth basket of books is a tradition that is easily adapted to any of the holidays celebrated at this time of year. For inspiration, visit the Children’s Room at Rogers Free Library, or try a Keyword search of our online catalog for holiday-themed books and request they be sent to RFL for easy pickup! – Kristen Q.
Darwin’s Origin of Species
by Janet Browne
I was looking for a non-fiction book that I could read quickly, get some real knowledge from and really enjoy. And I found it!
The Atlantic Monthly Press has published books that are ‘biographies’ of world changing books from “The Bible” to “Das Kapital.” The biography that I chose was Janet Browne’s “Darwin’s Origin of Species.” She writes about all the research that went into the planning and development of the book and the personality and dedication of the author. After working on the book for years, Charles Darwin’s book was finally published on November 24 in 1859 with the title: “On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” He knew how controversial it would be. The concept that evolution (plants and animals changing slowly from generation to generation) and not divine creation was put forward for all to debate. And they certainly did!
I loved Janet Browne’s short book (only 153 pages long!) It provides the background of the book, an intellectual biography of Charles Darwin, a summary of the controversy in Britain, and a followup of the twentieth century’s take on the book. It has footnotes, a list of sources and suggested reading and a real index! It was a fast and inspiring read! Onward to “On the Origin of Species!” Or maybe Browne’s biography of Charles Darwin.
Many books in the series, “Books that Changed the World,” are in Ocean State Library Catalog. Go on the catalog, from Title scroll down to Series and put in “Books that changed the World” for a complete list. – Charlotte
We all know Bristol, Rhode Island is super special and so are all the people who live here. What better way to pay tribute to these people than to feature them in a book?! Nadalin introduces you to the many key players past and present – founders, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and my favorite – librarians!! If you can’t make it to the library to borrow the book, you might be pleasantly surprised to know it is available in eBook format as well! I recommend this for anyone new to Bristol! It will give you a nice introduction to our lovely little town. If you already live here, do pick it up. It is enjoyable! – Kristin
I thought for August it might be fun to air my opinion on what is considered great literature. George Eliot is one of the giants of Victorian Literature. Her novels are as giant as her reputation, and in my opinion as dull and ponderous with a few exceptions. The novel, Romola, is a delight. It takes place in Renaissance Florence at a time when Intellectual and artistic ability were open to many, and Social standing and Political power were fluid. This is the world in which we are introduced to the charming character of Tito Melema. He begins from nothing. He marries the most perfect woman in Florence, beautiful, kind and boring. He has political ambitions. He is always at the right plays at the right time. He always knows the right thing to say. He excels at oratory. He is modest when it serves his purpose, and likewise he is kind and handsome. One cannot read his conversations and his perspectives on the world and not be fond of him despite his flaws. Even when you discover he has a secret peasant wife with beautiful children whom he adores, the reader still loves him. There are a lot of characters, and a lot happens, as in any book by George Eliot. Much of it is interesting, but for me, one of the most fascinating and appealing characters of all times in the cannon of great literature is without a doubt Tito Melema. Because of him, you’ll wish a very long book was longer.