Bookmobiles

Did you know, before the e-books that make the book-shopping available from the comfort of your home, people used the Bookmobiles? Well, yes, they did.

The Bookmobile is a mobile library, designed to spread the good literature among the rural population.

These Bookmobiles appeared in the 19th century as a project started by a George Moore. It appearance was firstly reported by The British Workman, a broadsheet published in England, in 1857. The bookmobile was operating in around eight villages in Cumbria.

Next year, a local library set up another bookmobile. These mobile libraries were horse-drawn vans, and usually covered a small number of villages. The country-wide service didn’t began until 1940.

In the USA, the bookmobile arrived in 1904. These vans were also drawn by horses, filled with boxes of books. It was developed by Mary Lemist Titcomb. She was a librarian, and she thought that the library was not available for everyone, so her solution was, the one and only, bookmobile. At the beginning of the service, there were around 50 books in a case, placed in stores or post offices. Mary realized that the books still weren’t getting to some villages, so in 1905 the Washington County Free library provided the first bookmobile like the ones in England. This time, the books were delivered to every reader’s home.

Bookmobiles were most famous in the mid-twentieth century. They are still in use today, but not as much. Today it’s easier, cheaper and faster to buy the e-book, than to wait for the mobile library to visit you.

I’ve never had the pleasure of looking through a bookmobile, since it is not a thing in my small country. But I am sure it’s a fun and unusual way to get new books. I am looking forward to that experience. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start my own bookmobile service.

S.S.

1984 – George Orwell

Since dystopian novels are a thing these years, I think I should write something about the best one of this kind.

When you mention this genre, most (young) people will think of Hunger Games, or maybe Divergent, but for me, 1984 is the real thing. Everyone has heard the quote “Big Brother is watching you” but I don’t think that many (young) people know its reference.

So, what’s this book about?

Short summary

  The year is 1984 and the world as we know it does not exist. The world is divided, or ruled, by three superstates: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. All three are dictatorships, and are in a constant war one between the other, or are they really?

  Our main character, Winston Smith, lives in the state of Oceania. He lives in a world where free will does not exist. His, and every other human’s life are constantly under constant surveillance. They have ‘telescreens’ in their homes who watch heir every move. They are not even allowed to think rebelliously, and that is the worst crime in the state. The language they speak is called ‘Newspeak’ and it attempts to prevent political rebellion. All the words related to it are eliminated from the ‘Newspeak’.

  The leader of this state is known as The Big Brother. And he really is always watching everyone and everything.

  So the story mainly follows Winston Smith’s life in the year 1984, and his ‘rebellion’ of some kind.

This is a must-read for everyone, because it shows how the real future might look like one day, given the present situation.

S.S.

 

2010: Odyssey Two – Arthur C. Clarke

As you can guess from the title, this is the book that follows 2001:A Space Odyssey. Same as the previous, it’s an amazing book.

  Short summary

  The story is now 10 years after the events in the first book. A new crew is sent to Jupiter, but this time not to only explore, but to also find out what happened with the crew of Discovery. Discovery was the ship from the first book that took the astronauts to Jupiter.

  But this time they race with the Chinese who also launched a crew to Jupiter and to Discovery. Later they realize that the Chinese crew plans on landing on Europa, one of Jupiter’s satellites, and that is where strange things begin to happen.

  You are going to read about life on Europa, artificial intelligence, other alien races, star childs…

  The end will shock you, I promise.

Clarke, again, takes us on a mind bending journey through space, making us question the very meaning of our lives.

I recommend reading the previous book first, since this one is the second part of the whole story.

S.S.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

So, I was REALLY excited about this, but I was also REALLY disappointed. Yes, I love the Harry Potter series, but this is not it. It’s really cool to see our childhood heroes all grown up and with jobs and families, but this story really lacks originality.

Short summary 

It is now nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts, and the famous trio sends their kids off to school. Unfortunately, Harry’s son is not as popular as his father, so unlike Harry, he hates Hogwarts.

  A few years pass, and there are some rumors that one time-turner still exists (all of them were destroyed after the battle of Hogwarts). And guess what? Albus, Harry’s son, and Scorpius, Drako’s son, are stealing it. (Just to mention, they are best friends.)

  So, all the story is about Albus trying to be a hero like his father, and all we see are past events from Harry’s years at Hogwarts. As I said, lacks originality.

But, I would love to see the play. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be possible in my country, but I think it would be really amazing to see all that magic right in front of your eyes.

Anyway, I would recommend this to all the hardcore Harry Potter fans because hey, it’s Harry Potter after all.

PS: The photo is from the play.

S.S.

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami (triology)

I love these books. There are three of them, but lately I see editions where they sell them as one. Murakami takes us on an unusual journey that is shifting between fantasy and reality. Also he brings the Japanese everyday closer to the reader.

  Short summary

  The story is placed in Tokyo, in the year 1984. It starts with one of the main characters, Aomame, who is riding in a taxi. As she tries to reach her destination, she starts to notice some strange and enigmatic changes around her.

  Later on, we meet Tengo, a writer of some kind, and a mathematics teacher. He takes on a ghost writing project, a story told by a girl named Fukaeri. 

  As the story proceeds stranger and stranger things start to happen, and we are starting to realize that this in fact is not the year 1984, but a parallel one, which Aomame likes to call 1Q84. Hence the name of the book.

This is a love story, a fantasy book, a mystery and if not, one of Murakami’s best works. It is a big read, but you will finish it very soon.

PS: I don’t know the author of the photo.

S.S.

2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke

If you like a great science fiction book, I strongly recommend this one. Mr. Clarke sure did a good job writing this piece.

Short summary 

  The story starts with our ancestors, the man-apes. They are on the edge of extinction because the lack of food. Around this time a huge black structure appears from nowhere. Thanks to this structure, the apes learn to hunt and therefor, survive.

  Then the author takes us to the present, or the year 2001. A discovery is made on the Moon. A huge black structure is dug out. It seems that this structure, this monolith, has been buried for millions of years, and now it’s sending signals to Jupiter.

  A team of astronauts is sent to Jupiter to see what is really going on there. They are aboard the ship called Discovery, and among the crew is the supercomputer HAL 9000. Everything is going smoothly, until HAL starts acting strange.

That is all you can get from me, since I don’t want to spoil the story. As I said before, if you are into science fiction, this is a must-read.

There is also a movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Actually, Arthur Clarke wrote the story as a screenplay for the movie. He later published it as a book.

PS: The photo is a screenshot from the movie.

S.S.