The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

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Friday Field Notes 050815


Believe it or not, I’ve been reading more this year . . . which is one of the reasons I’ve been a tad pitiful here. While I don’t quite have the whole balancing act down yet, I’m confident its on the way. By the end of the year, I may even post a review or two–the anticipation, I know.

In the meantime, some bookish news items to get you by . . .

McSweeney’s has jumped on the crowdsourcing bandwagon. There are still a few days left, if you’d care to join the fun and otherwise “keep McSweeney’s going.”

All you Mark Twain fans, rejoice: there are new stories afoot. Mainly, Berkley’s Mark Twain project has uncovered articles written by Twain when he was a 29-year-old newspaperman in San Francisco (AP).

Shukri al-Mabkhout’s The Italian has won the International prize for Arabic fiction, despite the fact it’s banned in the United Arab Emirates (The Guardian).

Here’s a Q&A with Zachary Leader on the Life of Saul Bellow (courtesy of The Biographile via Alfred A. Knopf).

And Ashley Strickland (CNN) introduces us to the Children’s Choice Book Award winners. Remember, you’re never too old for children’s books.

Friday Field Notes 050115


Happy May Day!

This week, a friend posted the link to a Q&A with Gene Wolfe. It was originally posted on the MIT Technology Review last summer. So, while it may not technically be considered new, it was new to me, and may be new to you. And neither of us should be missing out on such good stuff!

In other bookish news . . .

There was a lot of bad news coming from Baltimore this past week. But, much like any time of crisis, there are glimmers of hope. One of my favorites: Baltimore Libraries Stay Open Through Riots, Because ‘The Community Needs Us’ (MTV news).

Remember when Rooth gave her review of Maus? Well, it has been banned in Russia for its cover (NPR has the story).

Speaking of book art, take a look at this master craftsman as he restores an old book to its former glory.

Tomorrow, May 2, is Independent Bookstore Day. Just in case you needed a good excuse to buy yourself a new book . . . or ten.

As if that weren’t enough, tomorrow (May 2, 2015) is also Free Comic Book Day! Search your zip code for a participating store.

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For those of us residing in Idaho, there’s really only one bookish news item worth mentioning. That being, Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient.

With that, a few other bookish bits from the week:

We bid farewell to M.H. Abrams. He was 102 (New York Times). And might I just say, college just wouldn’t have been the same without his Norton Anthology of English Literature.

We caught a sneak peek at Dr. Seuss’ book What Pet Should I Get (CNN)—and by peek, I do mean peek (CNN).

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti celebrated World Book Day by posting a photo of five wee books floating on the International Space Station (  How fun is that?

The Oyster Review provided us with their very own 100 Best Books of the Decade.

U.S.A. Today offers some weekend picks for book lovers, in case you haven’t a clue what to read in the coming days. Luckily, I know exactly what I’ll be reading: Peace like a River, by Leif Enger. I have until next Thursday to finish it. Book club, you know.

The intrigue begins


Illustration to “The Purloined Letter” by E. A. Poe.

April 20, 1841 Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin made his debut–and the detective story as we know it was born.

You see, when The Murders in the Rue Morgue was first published, “detective” had not yet made its way into our vocabulary. Nor were we familiar with stories focused on the games afoot–mainly, the games of observation and logic.

Like many to follow, Poe’s detective was something of an amateur. Sleuthing was not his profession.  As a matter of fact, he was a gentleman, a poet; a man who preferred to work at night, who preferred puzzles to rapport.

If we were to meet him in real life, we may not love him.

But on the page, he’s intriguing–all the more so when pit our mind and attention to detail, to his.  For you see, Poe also introduced the number one rule of a true detective story: all the facts and clues must be laid out before the crime is solved.  It’s a matter of putting the pieces together, for both the detective and the reader.

Needless to say, now is the perfect time to pick up one of the books that started it all–one of the books that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle call Poe “a model for all time:”

The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)

The Purloined Letter (1845)

The Mystery of Marie Roget (1845)



Friday Field Notes 041715


In case you’re unaware, it’s National Library Week here in the U.S. That means shenanigans are afoot. Parodies of music videos, for example—like Unread Book (Bruno Mars Uptown Funk parody, which I kinda love) or Check it Out (Taylor Swift parody). Of course, now’s as good a time as any to sing the praises of your local library, no matter where you call home. And let’s face it, a trip to the library to check out all the possibilities is a mighty fine way to end the week.

With that, here are a few other bookish news items from the week (emphasis on few):

In the spirit of literary festivity, it’s National Poetry Month. If you’ve yet to get in on the celebration, here’s The New Yorker’s Poetry podcast.

The American Library Association has listed the most challenged books of 2014.

If you’re here, reading this, I doubt you’d call this news. Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal confirms, book collecting is still going strong.

And while we’re on the subject of rare and antiquarian books, did you hear? Ghostly Faces Appear In Medieval ‘Black Book of Carmarthen’ (via The Huffington Post).

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