Since moving to Fredericksburg, I’ve discovered the joys of NPR, and, in particular, Fresh Air, with Terry Gross. The combination of driving the area’s picturesque roads and listening to a variety of scintillating interviews never fails to brighten my day. Whether it’s mushroom hunters searching for the holy grail of fungi, a discussion about the after-death experience, or a conversation with today’s in-vogue actor, singer or writer, I’m hooked.
Recently on my way to work at the Headquarters branch, I tuned in to hear Terry interviewing Vendela Vida about her latest fiction work, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. The book’s unusual premise immediately grabbed me. And I was equally intrigued to learn that Vida is married to Dave Eggers, a prolific author of many titles, including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
It did not surprise her entirely. His advancing cancer had been their secret, allowing him to go about his usual routine as best he could. But now, on the other end of a bad phone connection, her grandmother is frantic. Why was her husband in a tiny village no one has heard of? What happened to his very personal belongings which were not returned with his body? Furthermore, she bitterly accuses Natalie (correctly) of having conspired to hide his illness.
Remember when no one knew what a “staycation” was? Now many of us regularly enjoy these less expensive opportunities to explore our community without the added expense of hotels and a long car ride. We are lucky to live in an area rich with history, activities and walking trails to keep us entertained, but dreaming about future explorations that might take us farther afield is fun too. Whether you hope to take a cross country train ride, travel around the world, or experience a different culture, books are another way to explore the world from the comfort of your own home.
I love Batman. I remember watching the old, cheesy shows when I was a kid. Now, Batman is much more about kicking butt and taking names. Look at all the gadgets! Look at the revamped Batmobile.. err.. Bat Tank? And, oh-my-gosh, the video games. I love the Arkham video game series and am very sad that it has come to an end with its latest installment. I just want it to keep going.
So, if you’re like me and love the elements of the Arkham Batman games—the martial arts, the riddles, the toxins, and the betrayal, check out these books filled with all those delightful, Batman-y characteristics.
Matt Miller’s mother is dead. Every day, he wakes up and puts on the same suit that he wore to her funeral. At work, at school…everywhere he goes, Matt is The Boy in the Black Suit.
"Being a dinosaur is hard," insists a green Tyrannosaurus Rex in Rawr! He is bigger than all the other kids in class, as well as his teachers, and even the school bus! This carnivorous kid literally has a lot of trouble fitting in at school.
Christine has amnesia. Every day she wakes up not knowing where she is or who’s sleeping next to her. As the day unfolds, she learns that she was involved in a horrific car accident. And, although she has no recollection of him, the man in her bed turns out to be her husband Ben, who has patiently stuck with her throughout her lengthy ordeal. Thus begins Before I Go to Sleep, the debut novel by S. J. Watson.
Sherlock Holmes is looking for a swarm of wild bees and perhaps something more personally sinister at the start of Beekeeping for Beginners. What, or rather whom, he finds instead is a young person, dressed in good if tattered clothes, whose wits and keen observation are a surprising match for his own.
Summer is here, and with those long, hot days comes the warm-weather institution of the family road trip. Be your children in car seats or high school, an annual dog pile into the minivan can often signal the beginning of summer vacation. This year, avoid a family sing-along to the Frozen soundtrack* by checking out an all-ages-friendly audiobook that will keep everyone entertained.
When a little bear cub stumbles upon a plate of cookies and a teddy bear sitting in the middle of the woods, he thinks the stuffed animal is the owner of the sweet treats. "I'll eat the cookies for you," he promises. Little does he know that someone else is calling the shots. In order to get at those cookies, Cub will have to follow some Tea Party Rules.
A girl shows up and quickly notices a difference about her bear companion. "You're grubby. Tea Party Rule: you must be clean." Hopefully Cub likes baths as much as he likes cookies, but I doubt it.