Books and Reading
This year, why not shop locally for your holiday presents? Jabberwocky Children’s Books, an independent children’s bookstore that has graced downtown Fredericksburg for over twenty years, has a wide selection and knowledgeable staff. Like most bookstores, they will special order any book they don’t have in stock.
While you’re shopping locally, look for books by local authors. We are lucky to have a talented group of writers and illustrators for children in this area, many of whom I have come to know over the years. Here are just a few suggestions.
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.
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.
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.
This is the second installment in a series on the history of detective fiction.
The National Book Award winners for Young People's Literature were announced this week.
Detective and crime-related stories are one of the most popular genres of fiction. In literary form, detective novels are so numerous that publishing companies devote entire labels to the genre and release hundreds of entries per year. Detective/crime-related narratives have become a major part of television programming, with networks basing their entire primetime schedule around crime-related series.
Detective fiction is such an integral part of the current literary landscape that many people have difficulty remembering all its subgenres, popular works, and notable authors. This series explores the history of detective fiction, the authors who were a major influence on its development, and books and films in its major subgenres.
Oliver Olson’s problem is over-protective parents. When his third grade teacher opens a space unit by asking, “How many of you would like to walk on the moon?”, Oliver doesn’t raise his hand. “Oliver’s parents would never let him walk on the moon. The moon was too far away. It was too cold. It didn’t have enough gravity. The rocket might explode.” And when his teacher announces that the whole class is invited to a space sleepover at school, he knows he won’t be allowed to go. Ever since Oliver was a sickly preschooler, his parents have worried about him too much.