Fiction Friday: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

Out of work due to the Great Recession and dejectedly looking for a job, former web designer Clay Jannon stumbles upon a help wanted sign in an ancient, dusty bookstore—Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore. After demonstrating his ability to quickly climb ladders and retrieve heavy books Clay is hired as the night clerk. Mystified by the strange merchandise, the quirky customers and Mr. Penumbra’s insistence on careful record-keeping of every transaction, Clay begins to unravel an enigmatic code linked to a secret society founded by a fifteenth century typeface designer. Cleverly written and full…continue reading →

The Ig Nobel Prize

The world is a strange, fascinating and sometimes hilarious place. Nothing brings that idea to light better than the Ig Nobel Prizes awarded by the Improbable Research organization. Motto: Research that makes people LAUGH then THINK. This year’s honors, presented September 12 in the 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, were conferred by actual Nobel Prize winners. Honorees included a study on dung beetles using the Milky Way for navigation, whether listening to opera music prolongs the life of mice with heart transplants and, my personal favorite, in psychology, "'Beauty Is in…continue reading →

(Non) Fiction Friday: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

No stranger to the Banned Book list (Books Challenged or Banned in 2009-2010), author David Sedaris in his latest work, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, looks at themes of modern culture. In each chapter, ranging from talking to telemarketers, sitting by strangers on an airplane or French reaction to the reelection of Barak Obama, Sedaris reveals not only something of himself but also something of contemporary society. For instance, in “Attaboy” he describes the reaction of a mother and father when their son is caught defacing a mailbox (accusing the victim of wrongdoing!)…continue reading →

Free to Read What You Want to Read

It is one thing to be told you must read a book, say for a class assignment, but it is something else entirely to be told you must NOT read a book. Yet according to Bannedbooksweek.org, last year 464 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Since 1981 the American Library Association has set aside the last week in September to call attention to the threat of censorship in schools, libraries and bookstores. This week, September 22-28 take a look at the most challenged books in the U.S., some of which…continue reading →