Jan slide show


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (BOTD Jan 3)

Gandalf the wizard convinces a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins to join 13 dwarves on an adventure to recover a treasure that has been stolen by Smaug the dragon. Along the way Bilbo finds a magic ring, a ring that will eventually pass to his nephew Frodo and become a central part of the epic Lord of the Rings fantasy trilogy. Author J.R.R. Tolkien was born on Jan 3, 1892.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (BOTD Jan 4)

The NASA Mars Rover successfully landed on the red planet on Jan 4, 2004. The probe was able to move around on the Martian surface until it got stuck in sand in 2010. The Rover never found any signs of Martian life, unlike the colonists in this classic science fiction novel who encounter Martians when they flee to Mars from a troubled Earth.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (BOTD Jan 5)

Lemony Snicket is the pen name of novelist Daniel Handler. This is the 1st book in a collection of 13 books known as A Series of Unfortunate Events. Handler was born in San Francisco which is home to one of the most famous bridges in the world. Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge on Jan 5, 1933.

Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet by Penelope Niven (BOTD Jan 6)

Poet Carl Sandburg was born on Jan 6, 1878. This biography has a chapter on each of the many roles that he played throughout his lifetime – poet, soldier, vagabond, reporter, musician, historian, dreamer, and pen pal to name a few. Each chapter ends with a number of related poems. Placed in context, his poetry becomes accessible and understandable.

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis (BOTD Jan 7)

In a unanimous vote, George Washington won the 1st presidential election on Jan 7, 1789. His life and exploits have become legendary and it’s often difficult to separate fact from fiction. In this biography, author Joseph Ellis attempts to give us a glimpse of the man behind the myth by using direct quotes from Washington’s personal letters and papers.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (BOTD Jan 10)

Dorothy and her dog Toto are whisked away from Kansas by a cyclone. The Good Witch of the North sends her to the Emerald City to find the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Along the way she becomes friends with a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Cowardly Lion who help her fight the Wicked Witch of the West. Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in the movie, was born on Jan 10, 1904.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien (BOTD Jan 11)

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed field mouse, is in desperate need of help because her youngest son is sick with pneumonia. With nowhere else to turn she goes to the mysterious rats that live in the rosebush near the farmhouse and eventually learns that the rats escaped from a lab where experiments have given them human intelligence. Author Robert C. O’Brien was born on Jan 11, 1918.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (BOTD Jan 12)

Buck is domesticated dog who lives in luxury on an estate in sunny California. But the discovery of gold in the Yukon has created an insatiable demand for sled dogs. Buck is kidnapped and sent north where his struggle for survival awakens primitive instincts and emotions. Author Jack London was born on Jan 12, 1876. The character Jack Dawson in the movie Titanic was loosely based Jack London.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (BOTD Jan 13)

This is the 2nd part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodo and his faithful companion Sam travel to Mordor hoping to find Mt Doom and destroy the One Ring, but they are pursued by the evil Gollum. Meanwhile Aragon, Legolas the elf, and Gimli the dwarf try to rescue Merry and Pippin from Orcs. Actor Orlando Bloom who played Legolas was born on Jan 13, 1977.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (BOTD Jan 14)

Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser examines the local and global influence of the fast food industry in this book that is a modern day equivalent of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Schlosser focuses on the growth of McDonald’s from a small family store in southern California into an empire that serves over 50 million people a day. McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc died on Jan 14, 1984.

The Fight of the Century by Michael Arkush (BOTD Jan 17)

This 1971 boxing match was dubbed the Fight of the Century. Joe Frazier was the defending heavyweight champion with a record of 26-0 with 23 knockouts. Muhammad Ali, having been barred from fighting for 4 years for refusing to serve during the Vietnam War, was the challenger with a record of 31-0 with 25 knockouts. Frazier won this time, but Ali would win 2 epic rematches. Ali was born on Jan 17, 1942.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (BOTD Jan 18)

Author A.A. Milne was born on Jan 18, 1882. A successful playwright and poet, he is most famous for his children’s books with characters modeled after his own son Christopher Robin’s beloved childhood toys. The real life toys are now on display at the New York Public library. Unfortunately, Milne and his son had a falling out and stopped speaking to each other. How very, very sad.

Edgar Allan Poe Graphic Classics (BOTD Jan 19)

Author Edgar Allan Poe was born on Jan 19, 1809. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was also the inventor of the detective story. Outstanding artwork helps bring 13 of Poe’s poems and short stories to life in this graphic novel. This collection includes The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Fall of the House of Usher to name a few.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (BOTD Jan 20)

222 spectators died when bleachers collapsed at a bullfight in Columbia on Jan 20, 1980. Bullfighting plays a major role in this story. Every episode involving bulls or bullfighting parallels events that occur to the main characters. Released in 1926, the novel made Hemingway famous and had a notable effect on American writing style. The title is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (BOTD Jan 21)

This allegorical novel depicts people and events from the Russian Revolution. A pig named Old Major dies and 2 young pigs named Snowball and Napoleon vie for the leadership of the farm. Old Major is symbolic of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, the founders of Communism. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky while Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin. Author George Orwell died on Jan 21, 1950.

Sylvia Stark: A Pioneer by Victoria Scott and Ernest Jones (BOTD Jan 24)

This is the true life story of an African American pioneer. Born in 1839, Stark was freed from slavery at age 12 and traveled the Oregon Trail by covered wagon to a California gold mining town. Gold was 1st discovered in California at Sutter’s Creek on Jan 24, 1848. In 1860, threatened by the Fugitive Slave Act, Stark fled to British Columbia where she lived to by 105 years old.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (BOTD Jan 25)

Written in the 1590’s, this is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Famous composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote the Wedding March (Here Comes the Bride) in 1842 to accompany a wedding scene in the play. The song became popular at real weddings after Queen Victoria’s daughter used it at her wedding on Jan 25, 1858.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (BOTD Jan 26)

Hockey player Wayne Gretzky was born on Jan 26, 1961. His nickname is “The Great One.” This 1925 classic looks at another great one – The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is a young, mysterious millionaire with an obsessive love for a girl he met while serving as an officer in WW I. Set against the backdrop of the Roaring 20’s and the Prohibition era, this story captures a unique moment in American history.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (BOTD Jan 27)

Protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage rebellion. The story follows Caulfield as he spends 3 days in NYC after being kicked out of school for poor grades. Questionable language and topics have made the book controversial, yet it remains very popular. In 1981 it was both the most censored book and the 2nd most taught book in public schools. Author J.D. Salinger died on Jan 27, 2010.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (BOTD Jan 28)

The magic ring that Bilbo Baggins found during his adventures in The Hobbit has turned out to be the One Ring, an evil weapon forged by the Dark Lord in the fires of Mt. Doom. The ring has passed on to Bilbo’s nephew Frodo who is given the nearly impossible task of destroying the ring by casting it back into the fires of Mt. Doom. Actor Elijah Wood who played Frodo Baggins was born on Jan 28, 1981.

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (BOTD Jan 31)

Zane Grey was an American author known for his adventure novels and stories about the Wild West. This was his most popular novel and played a significant role in shaping the formula for the Hollywood western. Set in a remote part of Utah, the plot revolves around conflicts between a Mormon sect and local farmers. Grey was born on Jan 31, 1872. He grew up in Zanesville, Ohio.