Posted in Adult, Nonfiction, Teen & Young Adult

Manifestos: Not Always Terrifying

What even is a manifesto? The very boring dictionary definition of manifesto is “a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate”. For further clarity, I learned this derives from the Latin manifestum which means “clear or conspicuous”. So basically, if one publishes a manifesto, one is clearly defining their stance on some topic for public consumption. For me, the word “manifesto” immediately conjures images of the Unabomber wanted poster, and of Valerie Solanas, who infamously shot Andy Warhol during a dispute over her proto-feminist SCUM Manifesto. In more recent years, spree killer Elliot Rodger left behind hundreds of hours of weblogs detailing why women deserved to die for rejecting him. It seems to me, content being created by violent fringe-dwellers is generally labelled as “manifesto”. This got me wondering if any wholesome manifestos exist, and if so, would one want to engage with them? Below, I listed several library items that contain the word “manifesto” in the title. 

But first, I wanted to demonstrate that not all manifestos are impenetrable screeds detailing the evils of technology. In fact, sometimes they exist as simple lists. For instance, here is the 10-point manifesto Frank Lloyd Wright would give his apprentices:

1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye to see nature
3. A heart to feel nature
4. Courage to follow nature
5. The sense of proportion
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work
7. Fertility of imagination
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance
10. Instinctive cooperation

Great list, Frank. Love it. Direct, abrupt, to the point, and information-rich. I think if I were walking into an apprentice situation under a living genius, receiving a list like this would be empowering and exciting.

Here are some other manifestos of varying subject matter available in the Monarch catalog that have nothing to do with domestic terror, multiple murders, or the shooting attack of important 20th century artists. Book descriptions sourced from Goodreads:

Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto (2003) by Anneli S. Rufus
The Buddha. Rene Descartes. Emily Dickinson. Greta Garbo. Bobby Fischer. J. D. Salinger: Loners, all — along with as many as 25 percent of the world’s population. Loners keep to themselves, and like it that way.

In Party of One Anneli Rufus has crafted a morally urgent, historically compelling tour de force in defense of the loner, then and now.

Women & Power: a Manifesto (2017) by Mary Beard
In Women & Power, Beard traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far back as Homer’s Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship to power—and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. With personal reflections on her own online experiences with sexism, Beard asks: If women aren’t perceived to be within the structure of power, isn’t it power itself we need to redefine? And how many more centuries should we be expected to wait?

Custer Died for Your Sins: an Indian Manifesto (1969) by Vine Deloria
In his new preface to this paperback edition, the author observes, “The Indian world has changed so substantially since the first publication of this book that some things contained in it seem new again.” Indeed, it seems that each generation of whites and Indians will have to read and reread Vine Deloria’s Manifesto for some time to come, before we absorb his special, ironic Indian point of view and what he tells us, with a great deal of humor, about U.S. race relations, federal bureaucracies, Christian churches, and social scientists.

See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (2020) by Valarie Kaur
How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are part of me I do not yet know. Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation.

Dear Ijeawele, or, A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today. See also Adichie’s excellent We Should All Be Feminists, Half a Yellow Sun, and Americanah. Everything she writes glows with intelligence.

Valerie, or, The Faculty of Dreams (2019) by Sara Stridsberg
This is not actually a manifesto, but it IS about Valerie Solanas, who I mentioned at the top. Valerie died alone in squalor at the age of 52. This book included the last of her writing as well as biographical information that frames this strange and tragic woman’s life of struggle with mental illness and addiction, in addition to being an enduing radical feminist icon.

I think I have amply proven that manifestos are as diverse as the people who write them, and most of us are probably walking around filled with enough passion, intelligence, and information to create manifestos of our very own. All of the listed titles are available in the Monarch catalog, often in a variety of formats. Not interested in any of these books or manifestos in general? No sweat, there are people, many people, at Mead Public Library who want nothing more than to take a crack at helping you get the books, movies, and music you are looking for. Reach out for reader’s advisory (book recommendations) by calling (920-459-3400), emailing (publicservices@meadpl.org), or consider using Mead’s Your Next Five Books service.

Posted in DIY & How To

It’s Beginning to Look Like Cookies

It’s almost winter time here in Wisconsin. The winds are getting more bitter. Soon there will be snow on the steps. Needless to say, winter is not my favorite season. But, nothing warms up the house like baking some cookies for holidays! So this week’s blog post is a selection of baking books to add to your baking repertoire. I’ve included the publisher’s summaries to give you an idea of what to expect from each book.

Christmas Baking by Joyce & Laura Klynstra

“This collection brings together more than 100 Christmas-inspired recipes, from holiday classics like Dark Chocolate Crinkles and Decorated Sugar Cookies to international treats like Krakelingen, Linzer Cookies, and Alfajores. From festive and fancy to quick and easy recipes. Many favorites will spark fond baking memories, and new flavors will create fresh family traditions.”

Continue reading “It’s Beginning to Look Like Cookies”
Posted in Adult, Audience, Fiction, Romance

Love and Romance!

One of the book displays on the first floor of the library right now is on diverse romance novels, and it’s pretty amazing to see the variety of covers on there! Of course you have your books that are just some model’s shirtless torso – but romance novels are a lot wider than that, too! We see a lot of popular romance books here at the library with protagonists and love interests of different races, sizes, orientations, so I wanted to highlight some of them here!

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

This book is not Sonali Dev’s latest, but a little older (2016) – which is great, because it means that if you like it, you have a bunch more books by her just waiting for you!

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s novel is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

Continue reading “Love and Romance!”
Posted in Award Winners, Bingo 2021, Bookish Bingo, NAFNIP

Bookish Bingo: Read a Book Written by a NAFNIP Author

November is Native American Heritage Month, so I thought I would highlight the Mead Bookish Bingo Challenge to “read a book written by a NAFNIP (Native, Aboriginal, First Nations, Indigenous People) author”.

Native American Heritage Month is a time for all of us to reflect on and celebrate the contributions, histories and cultures of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Island communities in North America. For this article, I would like to celebrate the literary works of a few indigenous authors featured in the Monarch Library System collection.

Joy Harjo is the 2019 Poet Laureate of the United States and a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Carole Lindstrom is the author of the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Award-winning We Are Water Protectors. She is Anishinabe/Métis and is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians.

Michaela Goade is the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of We Are Water Protectors. She is the first Native American to win the award. She is of the Tlingit and Haida tribes.

Darcie Little Badger is an oceanographer and the author of Elatsoe, selected by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 Fantasy books of all time. She is a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.

Note: Elatsoe will be discussed by the Book to Art Club in January.

Stephen Graham Jones is an award-winning author who has been honored with both the Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction and the Bram Stoker Award for Horror. He is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana.

N. Scott Momaday is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning House Made of Dawn. He is a member of the Kiowa people.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is the author and American Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology, and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

If you’d like to learn more about Native American heritage, I encourage you to visit the National Congress of American Indians website. There are also wonderful virtual exhibits available for you to view at the Native American Heritage website.

Note: Author details are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Posted in Adult, Fiction, Horror, Staff Picks, Teen & Young Adult

Horror Fiction Beyond King

By now, most of the people in my inner circle have received their jabs so I’m back to having houseguests. My friend B came to town last weekend. We had a lovely bonfire and ate many cheeses. The nicest time was had by all. There was a moment, however, that I managed to astonish and appall my guest with one statement: I Have Never Read A Stephen King Book. In the past my biggest librarian sin was not having gotten around to reading Harry Potter. Relax, I got that covered in 2019 and it was fine. My friend B, as it turns out, is a HUGE King fan and could not believe that someone who is a librarian, avid reader, and horror fan, has not once thought to pick up something by The Master. Folks, my reading list is well over one thousand titles and while Stephen King has for sure cornered a certain portion of the market, would you believe there are literally THOUSANDS of authors cranking out content at any given moment competing for my attention? I do not actively dislike King. His work is often an emerging reader’s first interaction with a “grown-up” book and extrapolates into a lifelong love of reading and learning. His work is not unworthy, just uninteresting to me, specifically. Below, I have listed several horror authors of note for those of you who have run out of Stephen King books (I understand that is nigh impossible) and for people who love King but aren’t sure where to look next for more great horror.

Mira Grant
Grant has been churning out some of the most genuinely creepy science fiction/horror for the last dozen or so years. She is preoccupied with various iterations of zombie apocoli and eldritch horrors of the deep. Grant is best known for her Newsflesh and Parasitology series and also writes under the name Seannan MacGuire whose catalog is well worth a look. For Grant, start with Parasite (2013) or Feed (2010).

Victor Lavalle
The Ballad of Black Tom (2016), is probably Lavalle’s best known book, but I first encountered him when I read The Changeling (2017). Any threadbare notion of ever having children was burned out of me after reading that book. The horrors of motherhood and more depicted in The Changeling gave me about a week’s worth of sleepless nights. Effective horror fiction, yes, but wow sometimes there are books I wish I could unread. This statement should be taken as an enthusiastic recommendation for the work of Victor Lavalle.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This one. Moreno-Garcia has been hitting it out of the park for years now, but had her breakout to mainstream success with 2019’s Gods of Jade and Shadow, which was an extremely satisfying fairy-tale-like epic based on Mexican folklore. Last year’s Mexican Gothic upped the creep factor by serving Shirley Jackson realness at a secret-filled crumbling mansion isolated in the Mexican foothills. Grade: A+++++++++.

Harold Schechter
Horrific, but not horror fiction. Schechter is a modern true crime master beloved to the true crime/podcast community. I learned about his work because my favorite horror/true crime podcast The Last Podcast on the Left often uses his work as their primary source. I listened to the audio version of The Serial Killer Files (2003) on Hoopla, which is a kind of “heavy hitters” lineup of the creepiest and most notorious serial killers of the 20th century. The solid research and clear prose were only overshadowed by the narrator mispronouncing Ed Gein’s name. My understanding is that we say “geen” rhymes with jean, not “gyne” as in gynecologist. As a daughter of Wisconsin this was glaring to me, which is why I’m having a hard time moving on. Check out Hell’s Princess (2018), one of Schechter’s latest, which details the totally bananas true story of Bell Gunness, butcher of men.

David Wong
Jason Pargin has been writing under the pen name David Wong since before his days as editor-in-chief at Cracked.com and now even that is several years in the past. His first full-length novel, John Dies at the End (2007), was originally written in serial form on the author’s blog. It’s fun to start with this book and work through his catalog chronologically to see how his writing gets better and better. It’s also such a joy to see a personal favorite get so successful. John Dies at the End ended up getting adapted for film in 2012. It starred Paul Giacometti and was directed by horror royalty Don Coscarelli. For non-horror stans, this was a big huge deal and made many fanboys and girls spin off into dorky paroxysms of joy.

Additional horror authors who are not Stephen King:

Max Brooks (World War Z; Devolution)
Octavia Butler (Fledgling; Kindred)
Tananarive Due (The Good House; My Soul to Keep)
Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indian; My Heart is a Chainsaw)
Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend’s Exorcism; The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires)
Joe Hill (Horns; N0S4A2)
T. Kingfisher (The Twisted Ones; The Hollow Places)
Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby; The Stepford Wives)
Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire; The Queen of the Damned)
Riley Sager (Final Girls; Home Before Dark)

As for me, I promised my friend that I would read minimum one (1) Stephen King novel within the next calendar year, so now I have the audio copy of Salem’s Lot waiting in my Overdrive/Libby holds. There are 12 other people ahead of me, so I imagine it will be well past spooky season by the time I get to check it out. Not to worry, because I try to keep that shit in my heart the year-round.

And as for you, what happens if nothing on the list stands out? Do not hesitate to reach out for more book recommendations whether they are for horror fiction, cozy mysteries, amish romance, silkpunk, Nordic noir, cashier memoir, you name it we will help find it for you.

Posted in Fantasy, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Horror, Science Fiction

Grizzly Graphics

In the last couple of years, I wrote about some of my favorite horror movies. Instead of movies, to keep things fresh, I decided to talk about horror graphic novels. So get cozy in your favorite reading chair and grab one of these terrifying titles! Like my other posts, I’ve included the synopsis from our catalog.

Uzumaki by Junji Ito

“Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!”

Continue reading “Grizzly Graphics”
Posted in Uncategorized

Bookish Bingo: Read a Biography about an Influential BIPOC Woman in STEM

This week’s Mead Bookish Bingo challenge uses a couple of anagrams in order to fit on the game square, so let’s start there. If you are unfamiliar, BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and this week’s challenge is specifically about BIPOC women in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Pictured above is Dr. Mae C. Jemison: physician, engineer, scientist, and NASA astronaut. Jemison was also the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

STEM fields are male-dominated, and like artists, many women in STEM receive recognition posthumously. One famous example is Ada Lovelace.  Ada Lovelace is now credited with being the first computer programmer because of the algorithm she created to be carried out by a machine, Charles Babbage’s analytical engine—a predecessor of the electronic computer which was invented over one hundred years before the first modern computer was built.

Lovelace was not a woman of color, but she is a notable woman of STEM and is the namesake of the international holiday Ada Lovelace Day (ALD).  ALD is recognized worldwide on the second Tuesday in October to raise the profile of women in STEM and celebrate their achievements.  The intention is to inspire more women and girls to pursue their interests and careers in STEM.  For more information on ALD and events taking place, check out findingada.com.

Women of color are even less represented and acknowledged than white women for their achievements, so I’d like to spotlight a few more STEM superstars that everyone should know.

Among the many women of note in “Born Curious”, Dr. Patricia Era Bath was both a physician and inventor who created the Laserphaco Probe—the machine that uses lasers to remove cataracts from eyes.  Read more about Dr. Bath and her many other accomplishments, including being one of the first black women to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame!

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer, astronaut and was the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center. Ochoa was also the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

The Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman and Muslim recipient to win the Pritzker Prize, known as the Nobel for architecture. Hadid was also the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gold medal.

While “Women in Science” is chock-full of amazing female scientists, Chien-Shiung Wu should be particularly noted as a Chinese-American physicist who made significant contributions in the fields of nuclear and particle physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for separating uranium into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion.

In my search to discover the best and most current books on women in STEM to share with you, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that there are not very many full-length biographies for adults written about women and their successes in STEM fields, particularly BIPOC women. Are you listening writers?

In the meantime, here are a few additional titles that include brief biographies on many influential women in STEM: “Wonder Women” by Sam Maggs, “Women in Space” by Karen Bush Gibson, “Twentieth Century Women Scientists” by Lisa Yount, “Women Who Dared” by Linda Skeers, and “Women of Steel and Stone” by Anna M. Lewis.

And if you haven’t read it or seen the movie, yet, check out “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. Just do it! It’s amazing.

One last thing. I would be remiss if I did not mention one of my absolute favorite fall events: Mead Public Library’s Tea & Tech: Girls’ STEM Day coming up on October 23. This virtual program is open to girls ages 8-17 and will feature NASA Langley Research Center’s Dr. Julia Cline, Gearbox Lab’s Isabel Mendiola, Spectrum News 1’s Brooke Brighton, and Laser Tech FTC—as well as, hands-on activities and lightning talks by local women in STEM.

And tea. Of course, we will have tea. And swag. We have some amazing swag bag goodies to share with our T&T participants, courtesy of Starbucks, MilliporeSigma, Gearbox Labs, Spectrum News 1, the Wisconsin Science Festival, and Mead Public Library.

Looking for even more STEM activities this month?  Check out the Wisconsin Science Festival.

*Details of the featured women in STEM were courtesy of Wikipedia, NASA, and the National Women’s History Museum.

Posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Staff Picks, Uncategorized

Code-Switching in Children’s Literature

Code-switching is becoming an increasingly popular practice in writing children’s literature.  Code-switching happens when one moves fluidly between two languages within written or spoken dialogue.  It is often used when a word cannot be directly translated or loses meaning in translation, or as a way of better illustrating themes where another language may describe something better or be more appropriate than English. Spanglish is a common word used when referring to the code-switching between English and Spanish.

Children’s books are an enjoyable way to introduce your child (or yourself) to another language.  If you are looking to incorporate a second language into your daily life or to keep a language alive in the home, books that use two languages are a good place to begin.  They often include a glossary with translations and use repetition to emphasize words that are in the language other than English. These books can be found in a variety of languages, but the most common are English to Spanish.  Below are a selection of favorites from Mead Public Library’s children’s collection (descriptions provided are taken from the book publishers):

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration.

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Continue reading “Code-Switching in Children’s Literature”
Posted in Uncategorized

Bookish Bingo: Read a Book with a Connection to a Song Written in 2000

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This morning I awoke with Dua Lipa’s “Love Again” playing in my head, and gawdamn, it’s got me singing the song, again.  Lately, between that and Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits”… I know I should swear off pop music, but I won’t.

My brain is forever a jukebox that is often playing songs that I may have heard recently or haven’t heard in years—maybe I dreamed about it?  There isn’t always a rhyme or reason, but there is one constant, a song is playing. Once in a while, a song even gets stuck on repeat.  (After singing “Mack the Knife” in a college jazz concert, I frequently found myself humming and singing, “Oh the shaaark haaas, prrretty teeeth, Deeear, and he shows themmm, PEHHRRRly white…”)

It’s for this reason that I tend to despise earworm songs—even the term creates a disgusting visual for me, and brainworm is enough to induce the heebie-jeebies.  One of my most hated earworms is Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, because the only thing worse than an earworm is one that mocks you! (By the way, there is a real term for this condition: Involuntary Musical Imagery or INMI, and Mental Floss offers a cure!)

Earworms aside, I am a music lover.  I enjoy most genres, or at least some songs from each, but alas, as I am recognizing a sign of aging, I feel nostalgic listening to music from the 90’s and early oughts, my teenage and college years.

One of our Mead Bookish Bingo challenges this year is to read a book that has a connection to a song released in the year 2000.  This can mean that the book or title was inspired by a song from that year or that the song from that year was inspired by a book from any time.

This is one of our most challenging challenges, if you will.  I did some deep digging for this one, and here are a few literary options for you.  This list is not exclusive, so if you have additional suggestions, please share them on our Goodreads discussion board.

“Afternoon on a Hill” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
(This is technically a poem, but the poem was made into a children’s book, so it counts.)
Inspired “The Gladdest Thing” by Deb Talan

This whimsical poem expresses the joys of being out in the natural world as “the gladdest thing under the sun.”

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Inspired “Haunted” by Poe

This story focuses on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
(This story, which was inspirited by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, also inspired an entire musical in 2003.) Inspired seven songs on the Hannah Fury album The Thing That Feels

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Inspired “Animal in Man” by Dead Prez

Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Inspired “Brave New World” by Iron Maiden

Brave New World is Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel. Borrowing from The Tempest , Huxley imagines a genetically-engineered future where life is pain-free but meaningless. The book heavily influenced George Orwell’s 1984 and science-fiction in general.

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Inspired “La Cruz de Santiago” by Mägo de Oz

It is the height of Spain’s celebrated golden century – but beyond the walls of the Royal Palace there is little on the streets of Madrid that glitters. The Invincible Armada has been defeated. The shadow of the Inquisition looms large. And the Thirty Years’ War rages on in Flanders. When a courageous soldier of this war, Captain Diego Alatriste, is forced to retire after being wounded in battle, he returns home to live the comparatively tame – though hardly quiet – life of a swordsman-for-hire. In this dangerous city where a thrust of steel settles all matters, there is no stronger blade than Alatriste’s.” The captain is approached with an offer of work that involves giving a scare to some strangers soon to arrive in Madrid. But on the night of the attack, it becomes clear that these aren’t ordinary travelers – and that someone is out for their blood. What happens next is the first in a series of riveting twists, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Inspired “Ode to Harry” by Switchblade Kittens

Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

During my research, I also discovered that Artists for Literacy began a fundraising campaign in the year 2000 to recruit literary-influenced songs by top artists to inspire new readers and support free tutoring programs.  2000 was indeed a great year for the literature-music connection.


*Book descriptions and images are from Goodreads.com, except for the Harry Potter series description, which is from Wikipedia