Detective fiction remains a major field in popular literature both for authors and readers.Many new trends and subgenres have emerged in literary detective fiction during the last twenty years, both redefining and broadening the genre.Some of the currently popular subgenres are historical fiction, fiction featuring minority characters, and detective fiction set outside of traditional locations.In fact, detective fiction has become such a diverse genre of literature that it appears to be splitting into several distinct genres, each with its own style and method of gripping readers’ attention.
Nine months before Rosa Parks made history, a fifteen-year-old girl was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Claudette Colvin was well aware of the convoluted rules about where blacks could sit on the city buses, but on this day she decided not to obey the bus driver’s command to give up her seat. She was arrested and eventually convicted of assault and violating the segregation law.
Deemed too emotional to become the public face of the civil rights cause, Colvin has been a footnote to history for the last fifty years. But that has changed with the publication of Philip Hoose’s “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice,” winner of this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
In 1873, a steamboat loaded with passengers, livestock and produce caught fire and sank on the Potomac River near Aquia Creek. Traveling from Washington, the overloaded vessel carried three times more people than allowed by its license, and the engulfing flames and churning waters claimed 76 passengers, most of them women and children. A new book, Disaster on the Potomac: The Last Run of the Steamboat Wawaset, by Alvin Oickle, gives the details of that terrible day.
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Most computer users these days use laptops as their portable computing solution and take them almost everywhere they go. There are those situations, however, when you need access to your programs and your files, but of course, you forgot your laptop when you needed it most. Fortunately there’s easy access to a computer nearby, but it doesn’t have anything you need on it. What to do?
Stafford County was the southernmost part of the Union occupation of Virginia for much of the Civil War and as such it drew all sorts of characters to its farmlands and creeksides. General Daniel Sickles--described by his contemporaries and historians as a scoundrel, murderer, rapscallion, rogue, and adulterer--took charge of the 2nd Brigade of Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac. He enjoyed scouting the enemy by hot air balloon and held extravagant parties for his officers while in Stafford.
View photographs by John Bice through November in the Headquarters Atrium Gallery.
Thanksgiving disasters usually take the form of dried-out turkey or not enough mashed potatoes. But for the Peterkin family, proper Victorians all, Thanksgiving disaster strikes when their dinner simply disappears. In “The Peterkins’ Thanksgiving,” Elizabeth Spurr has adapted one of Lucretia Hale’s charming stories about this hapless family into a picture book edition illustrated with cheerful whimsy by Wendy Anderson Halperin.
One of the sub-genres that defined classic American crime and detective movies was film noir, a style that was pervasive in detective films of the 1940s and 1950s. Film noir arose during the post-World War II period in the United States as a generation that fought in one of the most brutal conflicts the world had ever seen returned home to a changed America where jobs were scarce and the national mood seemed darker and more cynical than during the war itself.
Take refuge from the holiday shopping madness with a screening of Mon Oncle, part of the Rappahannock Film Club's "Films @ the Library" series.
Saturday, November 28, 2-4pm - Headquarters Library Theater - Mon Oncle (1958, 117 minutes):
Jacques Tati's comic comment on the encroachment of modern civilization upon the charm of the old world. Mr. Hulot returns as the bumbling uncle of a young boy whose parents are the ultimate consumers in an ultra-hygienic world.
Though as a librarian I'm constantly reading new books and other materials, I, like most people, have those books to which I turn time and again. I know exactly how they're going to end, I know most of the plot details, and I feel I have a close, personal connection with the protagonists. Some of these I have read to the point that the cover has torn away, but I keep them anyway. Why? Because I love them dearly.
Most of my favorite novels are science fiction or cyberpunk. Probably my favorite of all these books is Accelerando by Charles Stross, in which the transition of mankind from biological lifeform to almost purely informational and back again is deeply influenced by three generations of the same family across several centuries. Its follow-up, Glasshouse, is set in the same universe, but rather than focusing on the future of humanity, this book sets its main characters in a far-future simulation of what twentieth century life was like; its extrapolation of modern life as viewed by our long-removed descendents is endlessly fascinating.