It’s time for August staff picks! We’re not quite done with summer yet, and we’re still being inspired by exploration and discovery. So as Dumbledore didn’t say: “Let us step into the blog post and pursue that flighty mistress, Adventure.”
1. Not-For-Parents South America: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know by Margaret Hynes is part of the newest series for children from Lonely Planet. Adults who loved the Lonely Planet guides as they roamed around the world in their youth will be delighted to share colorful photos and fun facts with their young citizens of the world. With a small kid friendly format and pages bursting with action photography, art, and fascinating facts, these guides are sure to be a hit with families preparing for an upcoming adventure or simply interested in learning more about the far corners of our world.
2. Family Science Backpacks make adventuring easy and fun for the whole family. Six backpacks, with themes ranging from Star Gazing to Water Wonder, give families real tools to use as they explore their world. Binoculars, bug nets, butterfly guides, magnifying glasses, and lists of Citizen Science connections take learning beyond the book. Family Science Backpacks check out from the Children’s Desk for one week and encourage children to explore their world and share what they learn. Whether your adventure takes you to you to your backyard, local park, or beyond!
Available for PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii-U
Why? Because this is the closest I will ever get to being a red-headed princess floating through a fairy-tale landscape while wielding a sword and defeating the forces of darkness with my rag-tag friends and amazing powers of light-magic.
Be prepared to lose yourself (for hours) in Aurora’s quest through the haunted land of Lumeria. Perfect for a stormy day when you can’t go to the beach or tend to your garden. Child of Light features a strong, kind and (very important here) playable female protagonist, which is a gem in the gaming world. The story isn’t just a series of quests but a coming-of-age for Aurora, who not only grows stronger and more powerful throughout the game, but also more world-wise.
- We currently only own this game for PS Vita at the library but I hope to make it available for the other platforms.
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. This book recounts Slocum’s epic solo voyage around the world and has inspired many – myself included. While I did not sail alone around the world, I did spend a few years crewing on sailboats. I would often revisit this title when we were on a long, offshore journey not seeing land for days at a time. In 1899, after three years at sea, he completed his around the world trip aboard his S/V SPRAY. With this feat he proved not only that one could sail solo around the world but that he could write a captivating story.
I also would like to recommend Travels with Charley, In Search of America by John Steinbeck (I highly recommend the audiobook version available via Mainecat). In the 60’s John Steinbeck felt he had lost his understanding of America. So he and his beloved dog, Charley, set off on a road trip across the states. Their travels sent them through forty states, including Maine where he travels Rte One, heads to Deer Isle and meets a disillusioned waitress outside of Bangor. This book reads as a poignant love letter to America, and also give deep insight to Steinbeck’s thoughts in his later years.
The riveting story of the adventures and scholarship of two extraordinary Scottish sisters, Dr. Agnes Smith Lewis and Dr. Margaret Dunlop Gibson. Daring and dedicated linguists and explorers, the two tracked down ancient manuscripts in Sinai, Jerusalem, and Cairo, discovering a palimpsest of some of the earliest versions of the gospels recorded in ancient Syriac.
First published in 1939, Always a Little Further by Alastair Borthwick is the tale of the author’s adventures hiking and climbing in Scotland in the 1930s. He writes with humor and a sprinkling of philosophical musings. And, because it is an older book (a book of a certain age, as my mother would say), it is also a chance to travel back in time, to days when adventurers clambered around, clad not in high tech materials but in “breeches” that froze solid in the snow, toting lightweight eiderdown sleeping bags (that usually dried out by the end of a journey) and rucksacks stuffed with biscuits.
Yet such is the peculiar constitution of man that winter mountaineering is a disease both infectious and chronic. There are two reasons why this should be so. First, man is an optimist: yesterday was filthy, but tomorrow the sun may shine … And second, the reasoning powers of man are obscured by an inability to distinguish between things he enjoys doing, and things he enjoys having done.
(My favorite adventure of all time feels a little dusty and dated, but it’s true: The Princess Bride is still the best! An old love is a true love).
Epic space opera and graphic novel fantasy Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is a much more gritty, futuristic adventure for 2016. Alana (she’s got wings) and Marko (he’s got horns) are in deeply star-crossed love—and they’re on the interplanetary lam. Two soldiers from the opposite sides of a galactic war, they’re just trying to protect each other and their daughter Hazel. Brilliantly bizarre worldbuilding, complex relationships, and non-stop plot twists, plus key characters like a robot prince with a television for a head, a lie-detecting cat, and a wisecracking-yet-fearsome ghost babysitter make the initial volumes in this series sound lively and cute, yet the themes besides love, friendship, and family are harrowing, adults-only, a ferocious commentary on the very darkest sides of the universe. (Slavery. Addiction. Endless war). It’s tough out there in space…even when the plot is sprinkled with the stardust of blazing hope. Will love survive? Saga has won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story and several Harvey and Eisner awards for art and writing. Access it online through Hoopla or find it in our Adult graphic novel section—again, be advised that the series contains (very) mature content. For adults. The exploits of Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen pale.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Hope you have many adventures in the rest of August…