Free eBook: Follow a Few Literary Pilgrimages

This month Simon Goldhill’s Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave is the University of Chicago Press’s free eBook offering. I have not read it yet, but the book is all about writers, their homes and travel. When I travel I always look up local literary points of interest and local indie bookshops to visit. They are so much more interesting and telling than the usual sight-seeing fare.

freudscouchGoldhill’s book not only points the way to where these literary locations are, but also digs a little deeper in trying to connect the dots between these places and the writers that were there. I scanned a bit of it and he seems intent to tackle questions like:

Why did author go there? What were they looking for? What will you find if you go there today? Some of the historical sites of note, listed in the book, are:

  • Sir Walter Scott’s mansion
  • Wordsworth’s cottage
  • the Brontë parsonage
  • Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • Freud’s office

So if literary pilgrimages and bookstore tourism are your thing, be sure to check out UCP’s free eBook this month. (There are a few caveats: they use Adobe DRM, so you’ll need an  approved eReader app for that and a kindle fire may be the only kindle device that can read these free ebooks. I haven’t confirmed that though.)

Book Events: February 29, 2015 – March 8th, 2015

It looks like the weather and temperatures are going to be all over the place in the coming week around Birmingham, AL. Here are three author / book events that you might want to consider attending if you’re dodging raindrops or trying to stay warm.

Sunday, March 1st from 2:00pm – 3:00pm - Local author Hunter Murphy will be at the North Shelby Library talking about his new mystery novel Imogene in New Orleans. Come on out and hear about his adventures as a writer and get a signed copy.

Friday, March 6th starting at 6:30pm - there is a fundraiser at the Homewood Library for the Library and the special guest this year is best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson.  Tickets are $25 and must be bought in advance.

Sunday, March 8th starting at 2:30pm -  the Avondale Library is hosting its Adaptations Movie event. This showing is Chocolat. The discussion will revolve around the film as well as Joanne Harris’ book of the same title.

Book Sales in the Birmingham Area

There are two annual book sales coming up. Both are coordinated by local library friends’ groups and have been worth attending in the past. They are usually a solid mix of used-library books as well as fantastic copies and hardbacks donated by neighborhood folks. Hard to pass up on a sale where good clean hardbacks are only a buck or two, isn’t it?

I know the weather is supposed to warm up and there is some big race in town this weekend, but the annual Book Sale at the Emmet O’Neal Library kicks off tonight. The official date/times are:

*Thursday, February 19th from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, February 20th from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 22nd from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

On Sunday only, all the books, in the upstairs area of the sale, will be half-price and all the books in the downstairs area can be included in a $10 “stuff a bag full of books” deal.

*note that the Thursday evening event is for Friends of the Library members only. You can join for $25 online.

Two weeks later, the annual Friends of the Hoover Public Library Blowout Book Sale takes place. I don’t have any pricing specifics on this sale yet, but in previous sales you were hard pressed to find a book over $4. The date/times are:

Saturday, March 7th from 10:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 8th from 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Also, for more information you can call the Used-Book Store at the Hoover Library at 205-444-7774.



National Science Fiction Day

Happy New Year and happy National Science Fiction Day! Today’s sci-fi focus is due to the grand poo-bah of all things sci-fi Isaac Asimov being born today back in 1920. Asimov’s sideburns run wide and his influence runs deep through all sci-fi books these days as his books remain some of the best of the genre.

isaac_asmiovIf Asimov is new to you, check him out over on LibraryThing to get a better sense of his books. I think it’s great how science fiction is no longer just the domain of the geeks and such. It’s all pretty much gone mainstream. Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife was the first book I remember realizing had jumped to the mainstream (back in 2004) and wasn’t considered science fiction, even though the entire story would not have been possible if time travel wasn’t allowed. Now the books are numerous and run across all genres. I think it’s great.

So, in honor of National Science Fiction Day 2015, here are three things worth checking out. It doesn’t matter if you’re a die-hard nerfherder who groks hard sci-fi over breakfast or if you are new and feel like it’s all so alien, it’s all a lot of fun and plenty to think about: – sign up for their newsletter. These guys are great and they totally get what makes the science fiction community tick. Even though their roots are in sci-fi books, they talk TV, movies, games and music. It’s all very fun. It’s a great site, but be sure to sign-up for their newsletter. I always look forward to it.

Singularity & Co. – these guys are on a mission. They find old pulp out-of-print science fiction books, secure the rights and then re-issue them (usually as ebooks). Plus, they now have a physical shop in Brooklyn where you can buy some of the coolest covers from eons past.

Different Engines – this one is a book. It’s a book about the history of science fiction and is very well researched. I share this book as often as I can. It’s amazing how closely tied science fiction and actual science are. If you’re into sci-fi, you probably should have this one on your shelf.

different engines cover


Books, Publishing and Birmingham