If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Ending of an Era


The other day I heard on NPR a eulogy of sorts for the ending of the Encyclopedia Britannica as a print edition. Even though I no longer have a set of encyclopedias on my shelves because I needed the shelf space and because the ones I had were more than thirty years old, I still felt a sense of nostalgia over searching through the volumes for some information and discovering other topics that piqued my interest. Once I spent an hour or more reading about ants while trying to find out if the winged insects I'd found near my house were termites or ants. I became quite fascinated by the social structure of ants. (An aside here, E.O. Wilson's autobiography, NATURALIST is a fascinating read.) I remember my father reading encyclopedias at night before going to bed. He said eventually he planned to read everything from A to Z.

When I was in college,I discovered the Oxford English Dictionaries. I fantazised about being wealthy enough to own all twenty volumes of those dictionaries that traced words to their origins as far back as the Middle Ages or further.

I had several sets of encyclopedias on my classroom shelves. One was the World Book Encyclopedias from a grant I'd applied for, and the others were ones the school library was getting rid of because they were out dated. I quickly claimed them. They worked just fine for the reports I assigned throughout the year on dinosaurs, animals, Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages or inventors. I helped my students look things up and soon many of them found other topics of interest, too, and became quite fascinated with these books of facts.


Yes, I miss those encyclopedias on my bottom shelf. I do have a one volume World Encyclopedia there along with my one volume illustrated Oxford Dictionary, but neither one have the scope of a whole set of encyclopedias. Of course, there's Wikipedia, but that's not to be totally trusted.

The thing that piqued my interest the most during the NPR commentary was about a man who named his daughter Encyclopedia Britannica. Years later he died under suspicious circumstances and his daughter was a suspect. Hmmmm. What an interesting idea for a mystery. Could I write a story about someone naming their child Oxford English Dictionary? Yes! I already have some ideas about how that child now grown up would dispatch his/her father or mother. Maybe the child would just be named Oxford English Dickens. After all, how many people would have the last name of Dictionary? I probably should get right on it before the idea slips away.

What are your memories of encyclopedias? Do you still own a set?

Also, I know there are people who saddle their children with ridiculous names. The poor kids must get a lot of teasing as they grow older. If you were to write a mystery, what weird name would you give a character who'd resent it enough to commit murder as an adult?


E. B. Davis said...

I'm so glad those volumes have been retired. Everytime I looked at them, all I thought about was the homework I had to do! I'm sure the amount of information on the Internet far surpasses those volumes, but I think it was looking at all of them shelved together that turned my stomach.

Having one unusual name in a novel makes me remember the character better. But more than one, and I lose track of all the characters. If I'm lost trying to figure out who someone is, I'm not focusing on the story.

Nancy Adams said...

I love encyclopedias, too! What I really hate about the demise of print volumes is the lost opportunity for browsing and serendipity. That's something you can't replicate in an online environment.

I loved reading encyclopedias as a child and remember with special fondness an animal encyclopedia that I have since passed on to my nephew.

Thanks, Gloria, for bringing up these nice memories!

kristi ansbach said...

I remember as a kid we had a set of Funk and Wagnalls Enclyclopedias (cheaper than the others). One of my parents' favorite sayings to any question was, "Look it up!"

Anonymous said...

I won't miss the print version of encyclopedias at all. They served an important purpose in their time.

At the click of a few keystrokes we can now access an enormous amount of excellent online information. I have found Wickipedia to be very reliable and it has a good system to ensure reliable contributions and fact checking. While errors are introduced there are just as quickly individuals who correct these errors.

If I could, I would name Wickipedia a new World Heritage Site.


Warren Bull said...

Unlike anonymous, my experience with Wikipedia is that, although it is generally accurate, it contains a number of opinions stated as facts, especially in technical areas. It's a good place to start, but it is not definitive like encyclopedias used to be. Students beware.