WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at email@example.com.
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?