Monthly Archives: October 2012

Set Sail!

The best part of being well prepared for a storm is having a book and a lantern or candle (a flashlight will also do, although the effect is not quite as romantic) because a rainy night is the best time to enjoy a whale of a tale. My Mom keeps old fashioned oil lamps in the house for when the power goes out and they are the best light source to read by.

Even if you don’t lose power, turning out the lights and curling up with a nautical novel by Stevenson or Melville is a cozy way to weather the storm.  Fall through the pages and settle for the night in a New England port inn with a pipe and a bowl of clam chowder, the wind and rain outside will just add to the ambiance as you travel the seven seas with Captain Ahab on a mad quest for the Great White Whale or face Long John Silver in search of buried treasure.

Happy sailing!


Samantha’s suggested maritime literature:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken


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My Latest Discovery

Shared Fictional Universe:

“A fictional universe is a self-consistent fictional setting with elements that differ from the real world. It may also be called an imagined, constructed or fictional realm (or world).”

~Wikipedia (

I love anthologies.  In one book I can find many stories of which I can pick one that I will be able to read and finish before I have to do actual work.  Like the apple or bar of chocolate you sneak in between meals.

It was through an anthology that I have just been introduced, and by introduced I mean stumbled upon andImage now must investigate, the realm of Shared Fictional Universes.  I had never encountered a collection of stories by different authors writing in the same imagined universe until I picked up Welcome to Bordertown from it’s shelf at the UConn Co-op.  I had picked it up because Holly Black, one of my favorite authors, was the editor and I just adore urban fantasy.  Welcome to Bordertown is a follow up on The Borderland series, about a land bewixt the Elvin Realm and the world of mortals.  All of the short stories and poems in this tome took place in the same setting, Bordertown.  The writers even featured characters from each other’s stories, like the tavern keeper Farrel Din.  The sharing of one parallel universe by several authors gives a palpable sense of community that makes it all the more real to the reader, just as if you were to collect stories from people in your own town where you would find overlapping places and acquaintances mentioned.  If you haven’t been you must go, Bordertown is lovely this time of year.

A class mate just lent me a copy of The New Cthulhu, which is another compendium of short stories by several best selling authors.  As a part of the Cthulhu Mythos, another shared fictional universe, all the stories are about H. P. Lovecraft’s mythical Cthulhu.  And after my enthusiastic race through Bordertown, I’m intrigued to see what this new shared universe reads like.  Any one care to join me?

Happy reading!


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Banned Books Week


“1 archaic : curse

2: to prohibit especially by legal means <ban discrimination>; also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of <ban a book> <ban a pesticide>

3: bar 3c <banned from the U.N.>

Example of Ban:

The school banned that book for many years.”

Yay!  It’s banned and challenged books week!  A time to celebrate freedom of thought by reminding everyone to read freely!

The UConn co-op will be participating in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out (  Feel free to come in and read from your favorite banned and/or challenged book!

At the last banned book event that I went to, a year or so ago, called “Free thinkers read freely”, I discovered that “Games and the Giant Peach” had been banned from certain schools because the wicked ants are squashed by a peach and Miss Spider licks her lips.  Many books that I enjoyed or even books that I didn’t especially enjoy but that caused me to think (thus I consider them particularly valuable) have been banned or challenged.  The list of children’s literature that is banned and/or challenged is comprised of practically any book that I read, liked, and was influenced by growing up (Alice in Wonderland, Are you there God? It’s me Margaret, The Lorax, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, etc.).

Denying access to literature is denying access to thought, varying perspectives, understanding, and critical thinking.  Sometime the censorship isn’t a blatant ban.  Books come out abridged or with a few words changed.  For instance, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: is on our banned and challenged display for its use of the “N” word and its portrayal of slavery and racism.  If the words are changed then how do readers understand what Twain saw and was trying to change in his time?  Ditto for if the book is banned?  It denies readers a chance to understand and think critically about a hot topic in American history.  “Just as some people would like it,” George Orwell might say.  How creepy is it to think you might be in a George Orwell novel?  (Yes, he’s definitely on the banned and challenged list.)  The only up side to banned literature is that it gets people to read and “exorcise their first amendment right to read a banned book” (1).  A classic may be “something that everyone talks about but no one ever reads” as Mark Twain said but a banned book is always a best seller, as one student found when she started a banned library out of her locker when her school imposed a banned reading list,

Happy Reading!







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