Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recommended read: The Watch That Ends The Night

The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From the Titanic by Allan Wolf
Find it in the catalog!

In The Watch That Ends The Night poet Allan Wolf narrates the tragic maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic through poems in verse. The poems are told from the points of view of the passengers and crew on the ship, from millionaire John Jacob Astor to third class refugee Jamila Nicola-Yarred, from Captain E.J. Smith to assistant telegraphic operator Harold Bride, from shipbuilder Thomas Andrews to postman Oscar Woody. Other voices include nine-year-old Frankie Goldsmith, who hopes to find dragons on the journey, the ship rat ("follow the food"), and even the iceberg:
I am the ice; I am of water made.
That's why it's now of water that I speak:
Watch how the water licks Titanic's hull.
Hear how the water makes her rivets creak.
See how, before her trip even begins,
the water is obsessed with getting in. (p. 43)

This creative approach to writing about the Titanic really intrigued me and made this book a real page-turner. The reader follows the days leading up to the sailing, time at sea, the sinking, and the survivors' time on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued them. Wolf intersperses Titanic's journey with poems from the point of view of undertaker John Snow, as he works to retrieve the bodies from the sea.

This book is well-researched, and I learned new facts about the passengers and particulars about the ship, including morse code. Wolf provides character notes at the back of the book discussing liberties he took with certain people, in addition to translated morse code messages and a helpful bibliography.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction and those interested in the Titanic. The Watch That Ends the Night is an engrossing read that connects the reader to the passengers and crew of the Titanic in a way that other books do not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book spine poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and since we are currently in the middle of National Library Week (today is National Library Workers Day), I thought about writing some poems with library books. You read that right-- I was inspired to break out some book spine poetry.

To create book spine poetry all you have to do is wander up and down the rows of shelves and pick out eye-catching titles. Then lay the books out on a table, and you're ready to stack them on top of each other to assemble your poems. Here are the poems I created from books I grabbed from the adult and teen collections:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cute Author Alert: Jens Lapidus

Jens Lapidus is a Swedish criminal defense lawyer turned author (with a penchant for extra wide ties).  His debut novel, Snabba Cash (Easy Money, for you non-Swedes), was just recently translated into English.  Snabba Cash is the first part of the Stockholm Noir series, which has already spawned two sequels in Sweden.  I haven't had the chance to check out the book yet (beyond the author photo), but his writing has been compared to James Ellroy and Dennis Lehane.  Sounds promising!

Check out Snabba Cash in the catalog!

Side rant:  I'm sure I'm the only person bothered by this.  But the o-slash (Ø) that is in "money" on the cover is not actually a letter used in Swedish.  The o-slash is a Danish, Norwegian thing.  Swedes would use an o-umlaut (Ö), thank you very much.  But whatever, I'm sure the graphic designer just thought it was cute.