Similar to boxes of bakery treats, public libraries are packed with a mixture of pleasant surprises.
About Library Mix
Library Mix blends essays about books, library news and literacy for all ages by Alicia Rudnicki, freelance writer, retired teacher and lifelong librarian wannabe. You can also find Library Mix on Facebook and Twitter.
The theme of this issue is 'The waters of the apocalypse.'
Sara Gran and Paolo Bacigalupi explore murky waters of disaster
The menace of water out of control has become a recurring fictional theme in recent years. From dystopian fiction to mystery, you can feel its force in Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities and The Wind-Up Girl as well as Sara Gran's almost-mystical tale of sleuthing in New Orleans, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. Issues of abandonment rumble through all three stories. Click here to read more.
'Elephant Mountains' and 'After the Snow'
Stories of teen survival are attractive to young readers uncertain about their not-too-distant future as grown ups. Scott Ely and S.D. Crockett present fascinating what-if worlds in which teens pit themselves against harsh environments with little help from adults. Water -- both in the form of massive floods and a new ice age -- is the central menace in Ely's The Elephant Mountains and Crockett's After the Snow. Click here to read more.
Calhoun's 'Flood' reassures children
A reassuring book can help children understand natural disasters and process feelings connected to catastrophic events they have experienced. Mary Calhoun wrote her fictional story Flood shortly after the massive Midwestern floods of 1993, which killed 50, covered 400,000 square miles and destroyed 10,000 homes in nine states. Click here to read more.
MIX & SHAKE
Extreme weather and an extreme shortage of time
I've had a flood of ideas about reading to share in the past 18 months, but a drought of time for sharing them. That's because I spend long hours at the keyboard as a freelance writer to pay my share of the household bills. When I can, I work on essays for Library Mix. Sometimes I select a topic for an issue, but other times my themes develop like snags in a river where various books I have read over time cling to each other and wait for me to see their theme. Then a number of events, such as the water disasters of 2013, make me see a shape in my reading. Click here to read more.
Quick Mix is a space for fascinating or important bits and pieces that change with greater frequency than the rest of the website.
'Brainstorm': A downpour of creativity from cartoonist Grant Snider
Grant Snider is a modern Renaissance man -- an orthodontist by day and a cartoonist and family man by night. The New York Times Sunday Book Review often publishes his gently humorous, sophisticated cartoons. Snider's cartoon "Brainstorm" considers creative blocks and downpours. Click here to see it.
Theresa Schwegel's The Good Boy is the first entry in the new Mystery Mix section of Library Mix. Its emotional depth, gritty setting and rapidly moving plot hook the reader. Click here to read more.
Alicia Rudnicki is a member of Blogcritics, an online publisher of critical reviews concerning books, film, and culture.