Norman Public Library
This month’s ‘Staff Selections’ guest columnist is Dave, who joined the Norman Public Library’s Computer Training Center staff in May of 2013.
Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Dave moved to Oklahoma City in 1992. He graduated from Westmoore High School in 1993 and currently lives in Moore with his wife and two children.
Aside from family life and his work at the library, Dave’s passion is music. “I am a lifelong music junkie, going all the way back to my youth when I would watch The Blues Brothers movie on HBO and Peter, Paul & Mary concerts on PBS, both of which left a lasting impression on me,” he says.
A prominent presence in the metro-area underground music scene, Dave has written for several online music publications, contributed to fanzines, and helped start up and run a D.I.Y music venue. “Recently I started hosting an internet radio show that focuses on alt-country, punk, indie rock, and power pop,” Dave says. “My top five musical artists – for the moment, anyway – are Dave Hause, Frank Turner, The Replacements, Two Cow Garage, and Chuck Ragan.”
As for his reading tastes, “they tend to stay in the fantasy and science fiction genres and graphic novels,” he says. “I’m a sucker for a great superhero story and love fantasies that mix elements of mythology and folklore into the story. “
Dave: "Leslie Simon’s music/travel guide Wish You Were Here is a hilarious journey through eleven of indie and punk rock’s most notable, if not-in some cases-looked over, music scenes including Washington DC, Los Angeles, CA, Lawrence, KS, and the Twin Cities, just to name a few. Simon’s writing is quick with the wit and snark but also full of a deep knowledge and appreciation of the music and the scenes that gave birth to it. Sure, the book misses a few things here and there (most notably neglecting to mention San Francisco’s Swingin’ Utters in the chapter on the Bay Area) but overall this is an outstanding overview of the music scenes of these cities (and is in many ways a great unintentional sequel to Michael Azerrad’s brilliant Our Band Could Be Your Life). "
Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks
Dave: "This is the first book in Terry Brooks’ brilliant urban fantasy Word & Void trilogy. The book takes place in the fictional town of Hopewell, Illinois around the Fourth of July in 1997 and centers on teenager Nest Freemark and Knight of the Word John Ross and their battle with a demon set on the destruction of the town. The book sets the stage for a world filled with magic and a long history and mythology around the ongoing war between the Word and the Void.
"Best known for his ongoing Shannara fantasy series, the Word & Void trilogy is probably Brooks’ best work. His ability to set a hidden world of mystery and magic within modern times is masterful (especially in the trilogy’s second book A Knight of the Word, which is set in Brooks’ home of Seattle, WA). Concluding with Angel Fire East, this trilogy is also lays the foundation for the Shannara series, which occurs in a post- apocalyptic world that is the distant future of that of the Word & Void. The two series are connected directly in Brooks’ The Genesis of Shannara trilogy which is equally good."
Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench (The New 52) by Geoff Johns
Dave: "Okay, let’s be honest: Aquaman is pretty lame. The guy’s superpowers include talking to fish, breathing underwater, and super-swimming. How can that be cool? Plus unless there is crime going on in the ocean or in a lake/river, what good is he? Well in the hands of writer Geoff Johns, Aquaman is actually really cool. Johns has proven himself to be one of the best writers in comics today with such titles as Green Lantern: the Sinestro Corp War, Blackest Night, Flashpoint, and The Flash: Rebirth, but what makes him so good is how purposefully he handles these characters and how he can take a character that is seemingly lame and beyond redemption and makes him/her a compelling and fascinating character. He did this with Booster Gold in Booster Gold: 52 Pick Up and does it again with Aquaman in The Trench. This graphic novel collects the first six issues of the Aquaman monthly series, which itself is part of DC Comics “New 52” reboot. The best part of the story is how Johns deals directly with the less-than-favorable view the public has of Aquaman and his abilities. Needless to say, the King of the Seven Seas more than proves his ability and just how worthwhile he really is."
The Loch by Steve Alten
Dave: "Steve Alten is best known for his MEG series, but his best work is his take on the Loch Ness Monster in The Loch. The story follows marine biologist Zachary Wallace and his return to his homeland Scotland where he sets out to prove that his estranged isn’t a murder. Alten does a brilliant job of laying out the story in a way that is fun and exciting while seeming scientifically plausible all at the same time. The other fantastic accomplishment of this book is how perfectly Alten captures the Scottish accent on paper (on top of the fact that the book is written in first person). Alten does an amazing job of mixing science with his fiction resulting in stories that leave the reader convinced that the event could actually happen. In many ways his writing, especially The Loch and the MEG series, is the perfect combination of Michael Crichton, Peter Benchley, and Dan Brown. Why this book wasn’t a best seller, I’ll never know."
Dave: "An excellent example of a television show that was not only before its time, but cancelled way too early. The show centered on the high school (and later college) sleuth Veronica Mars and her adventures in a wealthy seaside California community. The show was one of the most well written shows of the ‘00s and produced one of the small screen’s greatest heroines in the title character. Fans of smart and witty mysteries will love this show."