It happens all the time. The phone rings and the voice on the other end asks the question, “Do you have the book …?” If it’s a school reading list title, often we have to respond, “No, but we can put it on reserve for you.”
Now, in addition to our downloadable eBook collection, there is another place you can search for reading list titles online. Birmingham Public Library provides a database called World Book eBooks. The database offers a lot more than classic novels and it’s a great place to look if you have a school reading assignment. Along with novels, you will find other reading assignments such as Shakespeare's plays, Greek drama, and epic poetry. World Book is continuing to expand the database, so if you don’t find a book immediately, check back in the future.
When using the database, you can either do a keyword search for your title (e.g. Ethan Frome) or choose one of the categories under the Fiction & Literature or Drama subject headings in the left-hand column. Popular reading list titles include:
A great benefit of using the database is that you are not checking out the title. There is no due date to worry about. You can read the book online at your leisure. In addition, you can highlight the text, make notes, and bookmark pages. Setting up an account allows you to save your highlights, notes, and bookmarks. It also allows you to download the book to a supported device to read offline. Take some time to browse the World Book eBooks database. You may be amazed at what you find.
Texar’s Revenge or North Against South
By Jules Verne
When most people hear the name Jules Verne they think of books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or A Journey to the Center of the Earth. But did you know Verne wrote a novel about the American Civil War? Originally published as Nord Contre Sud (North Against South) in French, the novel has various titles in English translations. The straightforward North Against South became a subtitle in the first American edition, with Texar’s Vengeance as the title, which was then changed to Texar’s Revenge. One can only speculate about the motives of the translators and publishers who made the changes; the revenge element seems more immediate and gripping than the general “north against south,” especially to readers for whom the Civil War would still be a vivid memory when this novel was published in 1887.
The heart of the story is the feud between Texar and his adversary Burbank. Texar is a pro-slavery Southerner and Burbank is a Northerner and anti-slavery advocate, a natural object of suspicion in the community near Jacksonville, Florida where the novel takes place. Apparently Burbank has caused legal problems for Texar in the past and the vindictive Southerner takes every opportunity to wreak havoc in the life of his Northern enemy; Verne makes it clear early in the novel that Texar is not the forgiving sort:
“Texar was then about thirty-five . . . A Spaniard by birth, he did not hide his origin. His hair was black and coarse, his eyebrows thick, his eyes greenish, his mouth large, with thin indrawn lips, as if it had been made by a sabre-stroke, his nose short, and his nostrils like those of a wild beast. His whole physiognomy denoted craft and violence . . .
“Nevertheless, if Texar was better known than respected, that did not prevent his exercising a real influence in the county, and particularly at Jacksonville, although it was, it is true, among the least reputable inhabitants.”
Apparently the responses to the novel ranged from lukewarm to derisive due to Verne’s inaccurate grasp of Civil War history. Nevertheless, the existence of Texar’s Revenge shows us a completely different side to the Jules Verne who is best known as one of the founders of science fiction.
To examine this title for yourself, visit us in the Southern History Department of Birmingham Public Library.
Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Young Adult Novelist Stephanie Perry Moore Brings Book Tour to the Birmingham Public Library, September 22-25
Go ahead and ask because Stephanie Perry Moore has heard the question too many times to count.
Yes, people have told her she looks like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer of The Help fame. And yes, Moore knows Spencer.
The two were high school classmates at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama, where they were both in drama class.
While Spencer has a large following for her acting, Moore has one for her writing.
Moore, who’s written more than 60 books full of heart, sass, and grit, will be in Birmingham on September 22-25 for a fall book tour and talk at several Birmingham Public Library locations. She’ll kick off her tour at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library. (See the complete tour schedule at the end of this release.)
The young adult novelist will target youth in her Birmingham message. She’ll discuss the importance of following dreams, writing books, and how she’s still on a journey of trying to get her books made for television and movies. Her goal is to inspire youth to live their purpose.
“If you are still living, breathing and going, you are supposed to keep striving,’’ says Moore, a married mother of three now living in the greater Atlanta area. “So that means more networking, more education ... and (more) prayer.’’
What is her advice for pursuing a D.R.E.A.M.? She has five tips:
When going after a dream, you have to work on it all the time. You can’t put it down and pick it up. You have to prepare for the test and ace it. Athletes practice nonstop. Those 3-point shots just don’t happen. They happen because a person practices.
Find a mentor and ask how they excelled and how they failed. Avoid people not doing anything.
Always reach high. If you are making Bs in school, go for As. Keep climbing.
Have an A-plus attitude
Wear a smile even when you feel like frowning. Maintain a positive attitude through disappointment.
Focus on “Me’’
If you make “me’’ important, you will take care of that “me’’ just like you will take care of that dream. Learn to be your own cheerleader.
Here is Moore’s Birmingham tour schedule:
Monday, September 22
Central Library, 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
Springville Road Library, 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 23
Powderly Library, 10:00 a.m.
Titusville Library, 1:00 p.m.
West End Library, 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 24
Smithfield Library, 10:00 a.m.
Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Library, 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 25
Five Points West Library, 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Library, 4:00 p.m.
For more information on Moore, please visit www.stephanieperrymoore.com.