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

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


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.