If you look something up on the Internet, which search engine do you use? Over the years I’ve had several favorites. Do you remember “fetching” things with “Dog Pile?” It is still in use, as a metasearch engine. It searches major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and other popular search engines, as well as results from audio and video content providers. I used AltaVista, which was once the dominant search engine, because it gave excellent, specific answers to searches. It was the Google of its day. It was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003 and eventually closed July 8, 2013. What does this have to do with anything?
Well, Google and Harry Potter are now 20 years old. Think about how much our world has changed since we met an 11-year-old boy who eventually became one of the most powerful wizards of his day. The Harry Potter books shook up the publishing world by introducing us to long, long novels for children.
And Google. What can I say about Google? For 20 years it has transformed itself into one of the most-often used search engines of our day. Read Anna Crowley Redding’s new book, “Google It,” for a very entertaining and informative book about the history of Google. Also, on Google’s home page, dig around until you find their excellent article, “Searching for Tuva, before the Internet and Now,” written by Ralph Leighton. Or google the title, “Searching for Tuva.”
“A Festival of Ghosts,” by William Alexander, is the sequel to “An Utterly Unhaunted Place.” These books feature the daughter of a “ghost appeaser” rather than a “ghost hunter.” The town renaissance festival is in jeopardy,and interesting characters, human and ghostly, make this a slightly creepy but fun read.
25 years ago, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker chewed up the scenery in “Hocus Pocus,” Disney’s homage to Salem, Massachusetts. They played the Sanderson Sisters, witches from 1693. Rumors still circulate about a potential sequel to the original movie. A.W. Jantha has written a book that follows the original story , set in 1993, and adds a sequel set in the present day. Fans of the movie will love this book, but it will stand alone if you haven’t seen the Disney movie.
Many writers have offered alternate historical fiction, usually centered around some war or other. For example, what if the Allied Forces lost WWII? Sometimes zombies and werewolves are mixed in with the usual characters. Daniel José Older, author of the “Shadowshaper Cypher” series, treats alternative history in an entirely new way in “Dactyl Hill Squad.” This book is set during the American Civil War, but has an interesting twist. The Southern forces ride raptors! Dinosaurs roam Manhattan! Historical places and events are sprinkled into the plot, like the New York Draft Riots and the Colored Orphan Asylum, which burned down during the draft riots. Dactyl Hill is based on “Crow Hill,” an area now known as “Crown Heights.”
These new books, and more, are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.