It Keeps You Runnin’

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman

“I feel about exercise the same way that I feel about a few other things: that there is nothing wrong with it if it is done in private by consenting adults.” Anna Quindlen.

You’ve seen them all before the lone individual red-faced and sweat-stained panting along a trail in the park, the lone individual cocooned in scarves and Lycra ambling along in sub-zero temperatures, the toned and perky twenty-something merrily bopping along festooned with all the latest in running technology, the pack of runners barreling down the sidewalk like a wave. Why do they do it? Why brave punishing weather, difficult terrain, hostile wildlife, and the protests of your own body trying to convince you that you were simply not made to do this. If you’ve ever wondered, maybe cartoonist Matthew Inman can explain the terrible and wonderful reasons why.

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

The Golden Ocean by Patrick O’Brian

In 1740 Commodore George Anson of the Royal Navy sailed from England with a squadron of eight warships intent on disrupting the trade and capturing the holdings of the Spanish Empire in the Pacific Ocean. The squadron’s voyage took four years and of the eight ships that sailed from England only one returned. 188 men out of 1,854 survived to tell the tales of the dangers they’d face, the wonders they’d seen, and the marvelous treasures held by Spain in the Golden Ocean.

It’s All Connected

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

Holistic adj.: emphasizing the organic or functional relation between parts and wholes.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

We solve the whole crime

We find the the whole person

What do a ghost, a computer programer, a college professor, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, a horse, and the murder of the head of a major British technology firm have in common? (No this is not some kind of a joke.) Nothing as far as anyone can tell, but somehow they are all connected together.

An English Major, a Librarian, and an Author Walk Into a Bar…

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

Looking for a way to spice up your book club, need a new twist on a library fundraiser, or do you just need that little something extra to help get you through War & Peace? Then look no further. Inspired by the many great classics of literature (and the alcoholics that wrote them), cocktails like Gin Eyre, the Last of the Mojitos, One Hundred Beers of Solitude, A Rum of One’s Own, and the Adventures of Sherbert Holmes are sure to appeal to lovers of great literature and lovers of great liquor.

Vive l’Pharoh

Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich

“Had I been inclined to superstition, I might have made not that the date, April 13, 1798, was a Friday. But it was springtime in revolutionary Paris”.

When Ethan Gage wins a medallion in a card game he dismisses it as a mere curiosity, an artifact covered with incomprehensible markings barely worth the gold it is made of. Others do not agree and when Gage refuses to sell the medallion he is attacked and framed for murder. Forced to flee France, or stay and face Madame Guillotine, Gage attaches himself to an expedition to Egypt, a military and scientific venture sponsored by the government and lead by none other than the soon to be emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Like many before, and since, Bonaparte has come to Egypt not only to conquer the land but to unlock its secrets and he is not alone. Dogged by a mysterious mystic, stalked by a ruthless Bedouin chieftain, and driven onwards by Bonaparte’s ambitions, Gage is thrust head first into a daunting quest to decipher the medallion and uncover its link to the pyramids before it is too late and he becomes one of the many bodies buried beneath Egypt’s sands.

The Sun Will Come Out…

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

It’s been eight years since that terrible day when the Galaxy was changed forever with the destruction of the Jedi Order and the fall of the Galactic Republic they had protected for over a thousand years. In its place, the Galactic Empire, a brutal regime presided over by Emperor Palpatine and his dreaded right-hand, the Sith lord Darth Vader.

But even as the Empire squeezes, more slips through its fingers. Some still remember what is was like in the old days, before the dark times, before the Empire. Some are willing to speak out, others still are willing to act. On a tiny mining planet far from the bright center of the Galaxy a few small sparks start a fire, a fire that may just be as bright as a new dawn.

Pride, Predjudice, & Magic

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

“Mr Segundis wished to know, [...], why modern magicians were unable to work the magic they wrote about. In short, he wished to know, why was there no more magic done in England”.

Ah, but magic was done in England. It was done by two men, Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Reclusive and bookish Mr. Norrell was content to practice in obscurity until an amazing feat of magical prowess catapults him into celebrity overnight. Daring and innovative, Jonathan Strange soon outstrips his teacher Mr. Norrell gaining fame by performing wild and perilous magic against the armies of France in the service of the Duke of Wellington.

For magic is indeed returning to England, whether such a thing will be good or ill remains to be seen.