Monthly Archives: September 2012

Anachronistic Compendium

Compendium:

1 : a brief summary of a larger work or of a field of knowledge : abstract

a : a list of a number of items

   b : collection, compilation

3  My new new favorite word that is really fun to say

Anachronism:

1: an error in chronology; especially : a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other

2: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially : one from a former age that is incongruous in the present

3: the state or condition of being chronologically out of place

4: Another fun word that is sorely underused

My discovery of the year has been Steampunk, a sub-genre and sub-culture of anachronistic science fiction.  Take modern technology and transport it back to the late 19th – early 20th century add some magic and some steam-powered imagination and after a little tinkering you’ll have your own little model of the great airship of Steampunk.  Recently two books have called to me from their shelves with the whispering of leaky steam pipes and the quite ticking and whiring and pocket watch cogs.  The first is The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer, being “a fully illustrated compendium tracing the roots and history of [Steampunk], from the work of it’s godfathers Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, to the key figures who first coined the word that would spawn a literary genre, to the vast community of craftsman and artists that has translated to spark into a lifestyle”.  This book pretty much speaks for itself and will have you gearing up for your own Steampunk adventure.

The second book, written by one of the godmothers of steampunk, snuck up on me with a loud and dark clank!  That was the Steampunk edition  of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  The illustrations o Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumerac are edgy and dark transporting you into the science fictional realm of the 1800s.  I would like to note, as I did recently while watching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at home, that while Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelly are certainly the precursors to Steampunk, it should be remembered that these authors wrote contemporary science fiction of their day and age thus lacking the anachronistic quality that is so characteristic to Seampunk.  Case in point, while the fashion of Steampunk is absolutely fabulous Mary Shelly would have been frowned upon in the society of her day for wearing what Steampunk ladies may freely rock today.

Happy Reading!
~Samantha

Post Script:  After acquiring these wonderful books at your UConn co-op, if you are looking for a place with a Steampunk atmosphere, a good place to settle down with these fantastic books is The Steampunk Café in Danielson, CT.

Cited:

The Steampunk Bible. Vandermeer, Jeff. New York: Abrams, 2011. Print.

http://www.merriam-webster.com

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Lycanthropy

Hello, I am Samantha.  Nice to meet you.  I’ve just started working at General Books and this is my first blog entry.  Enjoy!

Lycanthropy

“Definition: 1 : a delusion that one has become a wolf

2 : the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic”

3 : my new favorite word

4 : the thread which connects my latest pleasure reading

Origin: “New Latin lycanthropia, from Greek lykanthrōpia, from lykanthrōpos werewolf, from lykos wolf + anthrōpos human being.  First Known Use: 1594”

(Merriam-Webster Online)

It seems fitting that werewolves factor into my reading at this wonderful time of year when Halloween is not far a way and the current magical transformation of the season known as Autumn (or Fall), it’s also my favorite time of year.  I was recently assigned the reading of “Bisclavret”, a lai (which is a fancy Old French term for a lyrical poem that tells a story of adventure and romance) by Marie de France.  In “Bisclavret” a chevalier (a lovely French word for knight) is betrayed by his wife after she discovers the dark secret as to why he disappears for three nights of every week.  Bisclavret then seeks justice while trapped in the form of a wolf and running for his life.  I would suggest reading this captivating poem in a room lit by candle or lantern light.

Just after reading this poem I picked up “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater, who is coming to visit the UConn Co-op in her Raven Boys Tour on September 20th at 1:30pm (Don’t miss it!).  I picked up “Shiver” after reading some of Stiefvater’s stories in “The Curiousities: A Collection of stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff”.  I am already enamored of Stiefvater’s delightful way of spinning folklore, magic and mystery.  So far I’m quite enjoying “Shiver”, a story about a young girl named Grace and her mysterious connection to Sam, a young man by summer but a wolf by winter.  It’s difficult sometimes to find a writer that can pull you fully into a story; you literally shiver because you can feel the snow and hear the haunting howls of the wolves.

If you are now hunting for the spooky allure of a lycanthropic tale to sink your teeth into look for these books at your beloved UConn Co-op:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Lais of Marie de France translated by Glyn S. Burgess (Look for Bisclavret)

Best Fairy Stories of the World with introduction by Marcus Clapham (Take another look at Little Red Riding Hood)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Odds are Good by Bruce Coville*

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice*

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause*

* Books that feature wolves and werewolves by great authors that I have yet to read

~Samantha

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