Monthly Archives: October 2017
By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department
Everyone loves a good mystery. We love to hear the details and questions left. We love to put our brains to the facts and puzzle out what may have been missed. A small part of us hopes (however unlikely it may be) that we may actually be able to find that crucial overlooked bit, or make that perfect leap that could bring the mystery to an end. It’s one of the reasons the mystery genre has been so popular since Poe created it, through books, radio, film and television. Sometimes though, the mysteries are real, the people have disappeared. I’m not talking about the search for mysterious creatures like big foot or the investigations of odd phenomenon like the Bermuda triangle. I’m talking about the actual mysteries from the real world that puzzle investigators and theorists every day.
The Lost Persian Army
Some mysteries go back in time, way back in time. For instance, in 524 BCE the emperor of Persia sent an army into Egypt. The emperor, Cambyses II, was attempting to solidify his claim to the throne of Egypt. This meant destroying an oracle and priests of Amun that declined his invitation to legitimize his right to pharaonic glory. To do this he sent 50,000 troops from Thebes in the east of Egypt into the desert. These were Persian soldiers and Egyptian conscripts, men used to the harsh deserts. However not a one of them ever made it to the oasis where the temple was. They had simply vanished into the desert. Theories have abounded to explain their fate for millennia. Herodotus believed they were lost in a sandstorm and the entire army is buried beneath the dunes of Egypt. Most recently an Egyptologist and Professor, Olaf Kaper, has said he believes they were slaughtered by the rival claimant and Cambyses just claimed they were lost to avoid the embarrassment according to some hieroglyphics he has just discovered.
Let’s jump forward about 2000 years. While we are all at least somewhat familiar with the lost colony of Roanoke, most of us never understand the immensity of it. Sure there were other colonies that failed. The initial attempts at Jamestown collapsed. The Popham colony in Maine thirteen years before the pilgrims also ceased to be. There was even a late 1600s colony near the site of Roanoke on Colleton Island that ceased to exist. These examples have one thing that Roanoke does not. We know what happened to the people. Poor planning, internecine strife and fiscal mismanagement brought those colonies to an end, and we have the records, survivors and graves to prove it. Roanoke has none of this. Here an entire colony just simply vanished from the face of the Earth in the time it took the governor to sail to England and back. Governor White had gone back to England for supplies for the struggling colony and left 115 people, including his granddaughter, and first English child born in the new world, Virginia Dare. When he returned three years later the colony was deserted. A fence post had the word Croatoan carved into it and a tree had the letters cro. All the buildings had been taken down showing it was not a hasty departure and no new graves were located. The agreed on sign that they were forced to withdraw, a Maltese cross, was not found anywhere. The people had just gone and, despite much trying and many theories, no one has figured out their fate in the intervening five hundred years.
Closer to today we have the case of the MV Joyita. This was a yacht built for a 1930s film director that was found adrift in the south pacific in 1955. But this was no luxury toy, discarded when the next shiny bauble appeared. This boat had gone from luxury yacht to U.S. Navy patrol ship to a charter boat for hauling or fishing. She was sturdy, despite some radio range issues and leaky pipes. She was found listing, but afloat, five weeks after and 600 miles off course from her last planned trip. She was found with the dingy, life rafts, emergency supplies, firearms and crew of twenty-five missing. Not a person was aboard, which was odd considering the fact that she’d been afloat all that time. Here too you find a lot of theories, from injured captains to attacks by Japanese military personnel that refused to believe the war was over, but no answers.
Apollo Mission Goodwill Displays
Here we find the theft of an object. Not too irregular, right? Things get stolen all the time. How about when twenty-seven versions of the same thing go missing? Now we have your attention. After the Apollo program managed to reach the surface of the moon, NASA put together plaques and displays of moon dust and a flag that was carried on an Apollo mission. They were made for all the United States Territories and States and multiple other countries as well as the United Nations as good will gifts by the Nixon administration. Since that time the displays from Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Honduras, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and West Virginia have all vanished mysteriously. Several attempts have been made to locate the displays but none have surfaced, not even on the illicit markets catering to less than scrupulous collectors. This is made more suspicious by at least five more thefts of moon materials.
While we like a mystery that ends with a solid resolution, there is something to the unexplained mystery that draws us to seek new answers and solutions. Maybe someone should write and unsolved mystery novel next?
By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department
Interested in branching out in the romance genre? Tired of regular historical romances and looking for something new? Consider paranormal romance (often confused with urban fantasy, which is its own subgenre). These novels are romances, but they include some element of the paranormal or supernatural, which is why they are perfect for October. Many characters have ESP, magic or other special abilities and oftentimes the hero (or heroine) is not human but a werewolf, a vampire, a faerie (The Fae), a god, a demon, an angel or anything else writers can think of, in disguise.
Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, which involved the supernatural (or the promise of the supernatural) and it often included the discovery of mysterious elements of antiquity. Generally there was also a large rambling house, with glimpses of lurking unknown figures with a threatening mystery and a brooding hero. Think of Jane Eyre, with the creepy old house and strange things happening in the attic, or even Dracula and Frankenstein. Thank goodness this novel has morphed into the paranormal romance.
Most sources agree that the first big hit in the paranormal romance genre was probably Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, which won the 1991 RWA (Romance Writers Association) Best Romance award for a new “Futuristic/Fantasy/Paranormal” category. Jude Deveraux made it to the best seller list with A Knight in Shining Armor in 1989, telling a similar tale of time-crossed lovers. It is one of the fastest growing trends in the romance genre.
According to Romance Literature Statistics, in 2010 romance fiction generated just over a billion in sales, estimated to go up to $1.368 in 2011, and it has only increased since 2011!! (The Romance Market share compared to other genres – $759 million for Inspirational fiction; $682 million for mystery novels and over $500 million for the parent genre, science fiction and fantasy.) Who knew!
So romance fiction is no small thing anymore, but a force to be reckoned with!
So why is it so popular? Jordan Hawk, an author and blogger gives several reasons why this genre is still going strong:
- These books take us away from our every-day lives. If we have stress in our lives, pets and children who depend upon us, it’s nice to get away for a while.
- It exercises our imaginations. These novels are like living daydreams, where anything can happen and magical creatures exist. You could meet a Fae, a vampire, a wizard and/or help defeat evil, plus fall in love with the hero, just like the heroine.
- Some of the authors write books that can be considered fantasy adventure stories for women. If the female lead is a take-charge kind of girl we can all fantasize about living a life like that. There’s a reason people sometime call romance “mind candy”.
- You can read about people meeting their soulmate, and fantasize about this in your own life. Imagine there is someone out there just for you and he is looking for you, too. Some authors write racy stories and some write gentle romance novels, so you can pick what suits you best.
One thing: these books are in a series and are meant to be read in order. Don’t pick up the third or fourth book and expect to know what’s happening. You should try to read in series order, as they are meant to be read–not in random order. (We have Interlibrary Loan here at our library which will allow you get the books you’re missing in a series so you can read them in order.)
Paranormal fiction can be fun and humorous, or sexy and dark. There is something for everyone in this genre! Here are a few authors in each of the above categories.
Humorous and Light Paranormal Authors:
- Mary Janice Davidson
- Charlaine Harris
- Katie McAlister
- Molly Harper
- Shanna Swendson
- Michele Bardsley
- Mimi Jean Pamphiloff
- Lydia Dare
- Janet Chapman
- Nora Roberts
- Tracy Madison
- Mary Balogh
- Barbara Bretton
- Victoria Laurie
Sexy Paranormal Authors:
- Keri Arthur
- Christine Feehan
- Nalini Singh
- Kresley Cole
- Stephanie Rowe
- J R Ward
- Victoria Dannan
- Karen Marie Moning
- P C Cast
- Sherilynn Kenyon
- Lyndsay Sands
- Jeaniene Frost
- Charlene Hartnady
- https://www.stopyourekillingme.com/GenreCats/Paranormal.html huge a-z list
By Jessica Dunkel, Reference Department
Did you know that having a Williamson County library card gives you access to a large selection of free online magazines? Our magazine database, Zinio, is a wonderful way to get your magazine fix without having to visit the library! (We do love when you visit, but we also appreciate instant access to free things. We’re sure you do, too.)
After you create an account (directions listed below), you can log in and start reading immediately on your home computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. You can also get the Zinio App and read wirelessly on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle HD/HDX.
Zinio gives you access to over 60 different magazines. A few titles include Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, The Oprah Magazine, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, Food Network, Seventeen, Country Gardens, Weightwatchers, Popular Science, Women’s Health, The Economist, Bloomberg Business Week, Dwell, and many more!
Still not convinced that you need Zinio in your life right now? Here are some more cool features:
- If you’re hooked up to a printer you can print the pages you want to keep, like recipes, articles for school projects, or those top 10 lists you want to hang on to.
- Because you have instant digital access, you’ll always have the latest issue as soon as it’s published.
- You’ll also have access to older issues so you can check out what you may have missed.
- The magazines are simple to navigate. You can flip through pages one by one or select a specific page in the page overview feature. There’s a zoom feature if you want a closer look at the pictures or text. And if flipping through each page doesn’t appeal to you, there’s an option to scroll down through the magazine like you would on a normal webpage. Here’s a preview:
Screenshot from Prevention Magazine December 2015
How to get Zinio
- Go to http://lib.williamson-tn.org/
- Select eLibrary Digital from the menu on the left
- Select Databases by Title
- Click on V-Z
- To read magazines on your internet browser: click on Zinio Online Magazines
- To read magazines on an iPad, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle HD/HDX: click on Zinio Information / FAQ for instructions
Discover or catch up on your favorite magazines instantly with Zinio! As always, call us at the Reference Desk at 615-595-1243 if you have any questions. Happy reading!