Roald Dahl: #1 Storyteller

Roald Dahl was a spy, a pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor!

He was also a beloved author of many original and entertaining children’s books.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Hesselberg. His parents named him after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.

His mother sent him to several boarding schools in which many bizarre events happened and later were written in his autobiography, Boy. At one of his boarding schools, the pupils were invited to test chocolate bars which helped inspire Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

His lust to travel took him from Canada to East Africa until the start of World War II where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force at 23 years old. After receiving severe injuries in the Western Desert, and after recovering from those injuries in Alexandria, he returned to the fight by taking part in the Battle of Athens. Afterwards, he became a spy for MI6.

In 1961, he wrote James and the Giant Peach, which was quickly followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also wrote several screenplays and adult novels. In 1970, a year before the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, he published Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the early 80s, he published The Twits, The BFG, and The WitchesMatilda was published in 1988 and Esio Trot in 1990.

Many of his works have been adapted as films and will forever entertain children and adults for generations to come!

To help us celebrate Roald Dahl, stop by the library on Roald Dahl Day (September 13) and check out some his works and adaptations!

 

Helen Hoang: The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test

 

A couple weeks ago, I sat down and read the summary for The Kiss Quotient. written by Helen Hoang. I was curious and interested, because I’d never read a romance novel where one of the main characters was diagnosed with a disorder. So I thought, let’s take a chance; I bought the book, and started reading it.

I was not let down!

I loved the book! I loved the main character Stella, and I loved her love interest Michael! I enjoyed reading about a character who was on the spectrum and how, even with being on the spectrum, she gets her guy! I completely understood all the hype about this book.

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan.

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

I really loved the characters and everything about Stella. I loved how Helen didn’t shove Stella’s ‘disorder’ in our face, but let us learn slowly that she had Asperger’s. I enjoyed reading about Stella’s life and understanding more about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it affects Stella’s everyday life. It was amazing to read a different type of romance instead of our normal everyday “run of the mill” romance. I was especially happy to read more about Asian culture! She incorporated the perfect amount of education and entertainment to even out the playing field.

Helen Hoang’s journey with this book is just as beautiful as the story.  She wanted to write a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, but couldn’t figure out why a successful, beautiful woman would hire an escort. So when her daughter’s preschool teacher informed her that she thought her daughter was on the spectrum, Helen started doing research. So she thought, “That’s an interesting reason to hire an escort.”

From there, she started researching autism solely for her book and ran into the difference between men and women on the spectrum; women have learned to mask their autism and to copy peers. While she was reading, she started to think about the things she does. “I tap my teeth, but I tap them because no one can see. Because if you move your fingers or you move your body or you rock in your chair, then people will see, and that’s no good, it has to be secret … and that put me on this journey where I started to explore, could I be on the spectrum?.” 

While Helen learned more about her new character Stella, she learned more about herself, and then the diagnosis came, and her first novel was born.

Helen has released book two in The Kiss Quotient Series,  The Bride Testand was inspired by a website that stated autistic people were heartless and that they couldn’t experience injustice. So her new character Khai was born. She wanted to display that just because autistic people don’t operate on the same wavelength as everyone else and don’t show their emotions as much as others, doesn’t mean they don’t have those emotions. She was also inspired by her own mother’s story of being a Vietnamese refugee. Helen decided to base her heroine, Esme Tran, on her mother’s story and the inner strength she needed to create a new life for herself.

Book three in the series is expected to be published next year!

This is definitely a book that will stay with you for awhile and make you come back and think about it months after finishing! She’s officially been tagged as one of my new favorite authors!

I want to believe that I can be a main character, I can be a leading character in my life, that I can have a happily ever after, that I can find true love, and I can get married, and conquer, and be happy.

-Helen Hoang on why she has characters on the spectrum

Tessa Dare: Girl Meets Duke

Who is Tessa Dare?

Well, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. She is “a librarian by training and a book lover at heart”. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and many kitties.

What does she write?

Tessa Dare writes amazing historical romances that are just to die for. She mixes emotion, love, sensuality, romance, and drama together and creates amazing stories and characters that will stay on your mind for years to come! Her stories are generally set in the regency time period (1811-1820), so no outrageously poofy dresses or white wigs.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

She creates unique heroines who engages in ‘unladylike’ pursuits from paleontology to beer-making. She also dreams up strong-willed heroic men who find their hearts captured by these heroines.

What’s Girl Meets Duke?

Girl Meets Duke is a new series Tessa Dare is writing that can also be read as stand-alone. Each book features a new couple and a new story line. Each male character is a Duke while the ladies each venture into a new world of sin….romance…and love. So far there are three published works with another title in the works!

Can I check them out?

Luckily for you, the Aurora Public Library has purchased them in both hardback and eBook! The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game can be found in our adult fiction in the D’s. The Wallflower Wager can be found on our New Releases shelf.

 

Eloisa James: The Wildes of Lindow Castle

Who is Eloisa James?

Eloisa James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a mother and a wife. When Eloisa isn’t writing novels, she is a Shakespeare professor.

What does Eloisa James write?

Eloisa James writes historical romances. Occasionally, you can find some Shakespearean themes within her stories.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

Eloisa James uses her own experiences as a mother in her stories. From a miscarriage to her own daughter’s problems as an infant, she connects each of her stories to herself in some unique way.

What’s The Wildes of Lindow Castle?

The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a series Eloisa James has began in 2017. The series follows the large family of the Duke of Lindow and is set in a castle. Think of Modern Family with a little of Downton Abbey mixed in. The stories are all set in the Georgian time period; yes, that means big wigs and poofy skirts! This also marks the beginning of the celebrity culture due to the printing press.

Where can I read them?

Print books by Eloisa James can be found in the Large Print collection or the Adult Fiction area under “J” for James. There are even more choices in our digital library.

 

Gena Showalter

 

In today’s literary world, so many authors are venturing out and doing different genres and doing both young adult and adult books. Authors from Nick Hornby (About a Boy and Slam) to Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries and Overbite) to Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy and Georgina Kincaid). More and more authors are venturing out of their comfort zones and tackling a new category, whether they originally wrote young adult and are now writing adult or vice versa.

Gena Showalter first came known to the literary world with a contemporary romance duology called Imperia. She eventually went on to write a widely known and loved series called Lords of the Underworld. This popular series has 15 books, 3 novellas, one spin off series, and two upcoming publications!

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances. She also has 4 finished YA series and just released the first in a new YA series called The Forest of Good and Evil

Her first foray into the YA world was with her series, IntertwinedThis series follows sixteen year old, Aden Stone, who has four human souls within him. All four souls have a unique power such as time travel, raising the dead, possessing another human, or telling the future. Her second YA series, The White Rabbit Chronicles, a unique retelling of Alice in Wonderland, has taken her readers to a whole new world and created a loyal fan-base from the YA community. My personal favorite of her books is her YA series, Everlife, is a unique story like one you’ve never read before about what happens after your First Death!

 

April Poet Birthdays

April is National Poetry Month.  

Here are a few famous poets who have April birthdays: 

 

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou Quote

Poet, singer, author and civil rights activist Dr.Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928.  Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2010.

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Poems

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth Quote

English poet William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770.  Wordsworth helped to launch the “Romantic Age” of English literature.

Poems by William Wordsworth.  A selection edited by Edward Dowden.

Poems by William Wordsworth. A selection edited by Edward Dowden

 

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Irish born playwright, poet and author Seamus Heaney was born on April 13, 1939.  Heaney won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Station Island by Seamus Heaney

Station Island by Seamus Heaney

 

 

Etheridge Knight

Etheridge Knight

American Poet Etheridge Knight was born on April 18, 1931.

The Essential Etheridge Knight by Etheridge Knight

The Essential Etheridge Knight

 

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Playwright and Poet William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564.

No Fear Shakespeare Sonnets

William Shakespeare Sonnets

 

Robert Penn Warren

Robert Penn Warren

Poet, novelist and literary critic Robert Penn Warren was born on April 24, 1905. Warren won Pulitzer prizes for his poetry and for his fiction writing.  

The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren

The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren P

 

Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser Quote

American Poet Ted Kooser was born April 25,1939.

House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser

House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser

 

Do you share an April birthday with one of these poets?  We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

March Author Birthdays

Do you share a March Birthday with your favorite Author?  Here is a look at some famous Authors who have birthdays in March.  

Theodor Seuss Geisel better known as “Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904

Dr. Seuss

Dr.  Seuss wrote and illustrated many children’s books some of which are considered the most popular children’s literature.  He wrote over 60 books and saw his books translated into over 20 languages in his lifetime.

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

Please see the display in children’s section for many of our Dr. Seuss classics.

  Dr. Seuss display

David Murray “Dav” Pilkey Jr was born March 4, 1966. 

Dav Pilkey

Pilkey is the author and illustrator of The Captain Underpants Series which is a character that he created when he was in the second grade.

Pilkey struggled with Dyslexia and ADHD as a child. One of Pilkey’s elementary teachers told him that he could not make a living creating “silly books.”

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

Young adult fantasy and science fiction author, Sarah J. Maas was born March 5, 1986.  

Sarah J. Maas

Maas first book was Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

In Throne of Glass, Eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien agrees to compete in a fight to the death battle to gain her freedom.  

Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born March 6, 1806  

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Some of her best known poems are “How Do I Love Thee” and “Aurora Leigh.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Selected Poems

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Selected Poems

This is a collection of some of Barrett Browning’s best known work.  

Children’s author Lois Lowry was born on March 20, 1937.

Lois Lowry

Lowry’s book The Giver was made into a movie in 2014.  

The GiverThe Giver DVD

Twelve year old Jonas comes to terms with secrets about his seemingly perfect community.  

Author James Patterson was born on March 22, 1947.  He is known for his many thrillers such as the Alex Cross series.   Patterson is the first person to sell 1 million e-books!

James Patterson

Along Came a Spider

Along Came a Spider

This is the book that introduced the world to detective Alex Cross.

Novelist John Irving  was born on March 2, 1942.

John Irving

Irving is also a screenwriter and won an Academy Award in 1999 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules.

The Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules

Homer Wells has been raised in the orphanage at St Cloud Maine since he was born.  Dr. Wilbur Larch the founder of the orphanage becomes a father figure for Homer.


Children’s author Patricia MacLachlan was born March 3, 1938.  

Patricia Maclachlan

Maclachlan is know for her Newbery Medal winning novel Sarah Plain and Tall.

Sarah Plain and Tall

Children’s author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats was born March 11, 1916.

Ezra Jack Keats

His novel The Snowy Day is a classic.  The Snowy Day won the Caldecott Medal for illustrating in 1963.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats  

My favorite March birthday author is novelist and short story southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor  who was born on March 25, 1925.  

Fannery O'Connor

  O’Connor’s best known short stories are “Good Country People” and “A Good Man is hard to find.” 

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

The Complete Stories is a showcase of 31 of O’Connor’s best pieces.

 

Who is your favorite March born Author?  We would love to hear in the comments below.

 

Happy Reading 🙂

 

Author Biographies: P.L. Travers

Pamela Lyndon Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff on August 9, 1899 in Australia. Her poetry was first published when she was a teenager when she began working briefly as a Shakespearean professional actress. Upon emigrating to England, she changed her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers when she was twenty-five in order to act on the stage. In 1933, she started writing the first of eight Mary Poppins novels under the pen name P.L. Travers. Mary Poppins was published in 1934, followed by seven sequels, the last of which was published in 1988.

Travers traveled to New York City during World War II while working for the British Ministry of Information, and it was there that Walt Disney first contacted her about selling the rights to Mary Poppins to Disney Studios for a film adaptation of the novel. After nearly twenty years of contact, which included visits to her home in London, Disney did obtain the rights, resulting in the release of the popular film Mary Poppins in 1964, which pulled elements of the novels Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back. Travers famously disliked the adaptation of her novel, from the musical numbers to the added animation, and consequently ruled out any future films. The 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks is based largely on this period of her life.

Travers never married or had any biological children, but instead adopted a baby boy at the age of 40 from Ireland she named Camillus Travers Hone, who was the biological grandson of Joseph Hone, poet W.B. Yeats’ first biographer. He was unaware of his parentage until his twin brother arrived on his doorstep at the age of seventeen. Travers was later appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977. She died on April 23, 1996 at the age of 96.

Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins, will be released on December 19, 2018. This film will bring to life the magical nanny for a whole new generation of children (and adults).

Happy Reading!

Author Biographies: Winston Graham

Winston Graham was born Winston Grime on June 30, 1908 in Manchester, England. He changed his name to “Graham” after he began publishing his novels. At the age of seventeen, he moved the Cornwall where he lived for thirty-four years. He had always known he wanted to be a writer, so after his father died, his mother supported him while he wrote novels by hand and attempted to get them published. He published his first novel (a thriller), The House with the Stained Glass Windows, in 1925.

In 1939, he married Jean Williamson, whom he had known since she was thirteen years old. She helped him with book ideas and details until her death in 1992. It is said that his famous character DemelzaRoss Poldark’s wife, is based off of her. Graham died on July 10, 2003 in London at the age of ninety-five. His autobiography was published the same year as his death.

Graham is best-known for his Poldark series, a gripping family saga that begins just after the end of the American Revolution. The first book in the series was published in 1945, with the last book published in 2002. A remake of the popular television series has just finished its third season on PBS.  In addition to the twelve-book series, Graham also published thirty-two additional titles in his lifetime. His books have been translated in twenty-seven languages.

The Aurora Public Library District owns copies of the first two seasons of the television show on DVD, as well as many of the books as physical and digital copies on the Indiana Digital Download Center. If there’s a title you want that we don’t have, we would be happy to get it for you through our Interlibrary Loan services.

Happy Reading!

Author Biographies: J.K. Rowling

Monday, July 31 was an extremely important day:

Harry Potter — the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived– turned 37 years old. This means that the Battle of Hogwarts took place 19 years ago (Do you feel old yet?). July 31 was also J.K. Rowling’s birthday! To her, we Potterheads are eternally grateful.

Joanne Rowling writes under the pen names of J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith. She was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1965 and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a writer. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Exeter University in French and Classics. The idea for Harry Potter came to her in 1990 while waiting for a train, and she began writing immediately when she got home. Over the next five years, she planned the seven books in the series and continued to write mostly in notes on napkins and scraps of paper. Rowling wrote whenever she could, finishing the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995. Rowling was initially rejected by publishers, but the first book in the series was finally published in the United Kingdom in 1997.

Rowling is best-known for the Harry Potter series, but she has also written novels for adults, screenplays, spinoff novellas, and essays. She is a philanthropist who is involved in numerous charities and organizations, as well as founding Lumos, an international children’s charity. She has received numerous awards for her writing and charity work. Currently she lives in Edinburgh with her husband and children.

It isn’t often that a children’s series can influence generations of readers, but Rowling has managed to do just that. Stop by the Aurora or Dillsboro branch today to relive, re-read, or enjoy for the first time the Harry Potter series. You can also check out audiobooks of the series or DVD’s based on the series. Or you can check out the books Rowling has written for adults, too! And don’t forget the Indiana Digital Download Center to take your favorite books and audiobooks with you on the go!

Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter! And Happy Reading!