Experience the wonders of time travel with books old and new

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

SALISBURY — Since the publication of H.G. Wells’ iconic novel, “The Time Machine,” time travel has remained a popular topic in literature. In “The Time Machine,” the first of Wells’ science fiction novels, a Victorian scientist propels himself into the distant future and finds a world where suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. This apparent paradise is inhabited by the naive and delicate Eloi. He learns that the Eloi are fearful of the dark, however, for in tunnels beneath their paradise lurk the sinister Morlocks. When the scientist’s time machine vanishes, he knows he must search these dangerous tunnels if he is ever to return to his own time.
There seems to have been increased interest in time travel in recent years, as many new books featuring time travel adventures have been released. The young adult novel “Timebound” was originally self-published by Rysa Walker of Cary. It gained national attention when it won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the young adult category. “Timebound” tells the story of 16-year-old Kate, who is stunned to learn about a secret family history involving time travel and a conspiracy by a rogue scholar from the future to rewrite history and change society. When history alters and Kate’s family is lost, she must use her genetic ability to travel back to the 1893 World’s Fair and prevent the murder that changed everything. In saving her family, however, she may erase the memory of the boy she loves.
Catherine Fisher brings us another young adult story of time travel involving a mirror that provides a gateway into the past and the future: “The Obsidian Mirror.” The mirror of the title has great and terrible power. It can open a portal to the past, but those who venture in are often lost. Three people seek the mirror: One has been sent from the future to shatter its power; another, obsessed with its power, will protect the mirror at all costs; and the third needs the mirror to find a murdered father and save his life. All converge at creepy Wintercombe Abbey during a solstice blizzard, but only one can succeed. The story continues in the new release “The Slanted Worlds.”
For a more humorous spin on time travel, try Scott Meyer’s “Off to be the Wizard.” Author of the online web comic “Basic Instructions,” Meyer brings us a comedic novel about computers, time travel and human stupidity. Meet Martin Banks, amateur hacker, who stumbles upon a computer program that can manipulate reality. Despite his vows to keep a low profile, it’s not long before Martin’s “alterations” to reality get him into hot water. With federal agents in pursuit, Martin flees back in time to medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to figure out how to get out of his predicament. Of course, things don’t go exactly as he planned, and Martin soon learns that being a wizard is not quite as easy as he thought it would be. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride in this first installment of a planned series.
Other recent titles involving time travel include: “The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells” by Andrew Sean Greer, “The Beautiful Land” by Alan Averill and the “Ruby Red” young adult series by Kerstin Gier. You can find all of these books and many other time travel adventures at Rowan Public Library.
Children’s Storytime: Weekly Story Time through May 2. For more information call 704-216-8234.
Toddler Time (18- to 35-month olds) — 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, headquarters; 11 a.m. Mondays, East.
Baby Time (6- to 23-month olds) — 10 a.m. Wednesdays, headquarters; 10 a.m. Mondays, East.
Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds) — 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, South; 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Thursdays, East.
Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds) — 4 p.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 4 p.m. Mondays, South.
Tiny Tumblers (6- to 35-month-olds) — Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., South.
Children’s art programs: Learn different art techniques and start a new art project; runs weekly during storytime. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Art Party, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.; Art with Char, East, Thursdays, 4 p.m.
Discussion: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore,” headquarters, Monday, 6:30 p.m. Part of the 411 Community Read with Cabarrus, Stanly, Davidson and Rowan counties. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8829 for more information.
Get a Clue! East, Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.; South, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. Children age 7 and up can join the children’s room staff for an adventure of live-action Clue!
J.R. Adventure Club: Headquarters, April 5, 11 a.m. Lego mania. A different adventure each month for children of all ages. Call 704-216-8234 to learn more.
Lego Mania: East, April 8, 5:30 p.m. Children of all ages can help build a city of Legos. This is part of the 411 Community Read program. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.
Wikipedia Editathon: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Stanback Auditorium, headquarters. Part of the 411 Community Read program. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8232 for more information.
Author Robin Sloan: Headquarters, Thursday, 6 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Part of Friends of RPL annual meeting and 411 Community Read. Visit library website or call 704-216-8229.
Courage & Conflict: Rowan in the Civil War: Headquarters, April 10, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. A short film that describes the events and effects of the American Civil War on the people of Rowan County. This episode is part of “Ramble through Rowan” DVD series. Free and open to public. A discussion session and reception will follow. Visit the website or call 704-216-8232 for more information.
The Great Book Caper reading festival: Presented by the library and Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Headquarters, April 12, 10-noon. Participants may show off their skills at reading clues, taking fingerprints and solving puzzles. Local authors will sell books, sign autographs and chat with the crowd. Festivities on the front lawn and in the street at Rowan Public Library Headquarters. The STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) bus will appear at this year’s festival. Admission is free.
Teen poetry slam: April 15, 5:30-7 p.m., headquarters. Each teen may perform three original poems in three rounds, and each round will be judged by a panel of judges and the audience. All middle and high school students are eligible. Winners will receive cash prizes up to $75. Registration is required. For more information please visit the website or call 704-216-8234.
Rowan Reading Rendezvous: Headquarters, April 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., an opportunity to connect with Carolina authors. Each author will give a 30-minute presentation and then be available to sign books and have one-on-one or small group discussions. Copies of books will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of Rowan Public Library. All are welcome, and there is no cost. Find more information online or call 704-216-8240.
Outdoor exploration workshop: South, April 28, 5:45-7:15 p.m. Learn about planning day trips, local and regional parks and trails, travel and safety tips and more. All ages welcome, but anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be door prizes. Participants who attend four out of five workshops will be entered to win grand prize. No charge to participate, but registration is required. Visit the website or call 704-216-7734 to register or for more information.
Book Bites Club: South (only), April 29, 6:30 p.m., “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Displays for April: headquarters, 411 Community Read; South, student art by Carson High School; East, Rockwell Civitans.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.