Friday, April 18, 2008

Meet the Author - ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer is an ebullient speaker and a spirited writer. Her short stories place keenly observed individuals in challenging or transformational situations, and she states, “When I am writing these stories, I am really concentrating on the characters and what are their circumstances and motivations and what do they want.” Indeed, her stories offer a strong sense of empathy for the characters, many of whom are young adults. Given the author’s age, 35, that is understandable.

As a child, ZZ changed her given name, Zuwena (meaning “good” in Swahili,) to “ZZ”, a family nickname. She says it made life easier for her, but it also demonstrates an individualistic flare. And, of course, ZZ Packer makes for a great author’s name!

Moving in her youth from Chicago to Atlanta and finally to Louisville, Kentucky, ZZ excelled at math and science and wished to become an engineer. She was accepted by MIT, but chose to attend Yale University where she developed an interest in writing. Graduate work in the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins University was followed by her participation in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She then became a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

Several of her stories have appeared in “The New Yorker” and her short story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2003. This debut book was also nominated for the 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. ZZ Packer is currently working on her first novel.
Here are a few interesting articles about her.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Saturday Samplers will dive into ZZ Packer's short story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, for our next discussion on Saturday, May 3rd at 3:30 p.m. Copies of this book are available at the circulation desk for you to borrow.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere offers eight short stories which explore interesting characters in thought-provoking situations. Some of these stories fairly swoop along in a marvelous narrative; others move forward relentlessly toward a shattering or unsettling conclusion. Still others simply leave you with new insights into what it must be like to walk in someone else’s shoes… someone you might not normally consider to be in your realm of concern. These are memorable stories full of humor, sadness, and insight.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Share Your Comments On The Book

Thanks to all who attended our group discussion of Isaac's Storm this afternoon. We touched on a few areas of criticism and discussed a number of topics, but you may want to comment further on the book. Simply click on the comments link below and type in your thoughts.

If anyone is interested in writing a review of the book, I can post it on the library's book blog, Book News and More, at some point.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Galveston Rises

The Galveston Tribune printed this placard entitled "Galveston Was Not Born To Die" at the end of the year 1900, including a calendar for 1901. Scenes contrast the 1900 storm ruins with an inspirational drawing of a revitalised port. See an enlarged view of this placard at
To learn about the rebuilding, the raising up of all the existing buildings, and the construction of a seawall, visit the Rosenberg Library's Galveston and Texas History Center webpages at

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Isaac Cline - Other Dimensions

Following the tragedy of the Galveston Hurricane, Isaac Cline moved his family to New Orleans where he managed the U.S. Weather Bureau Station, among other jobs. He is credited with saving the city from a flood in 1903, having predicted that the Mississippi River valley was vulnerable to growing floodwaters at the time. While the U.S. Weather Service disagreed with his predictions, Cline persuaded the New Orleans levee board to temporarily raise the levees, which did, in fact, avert a spillover of floodwaters into the city.

Isaac Cline is seen here walking in New Orleans where he also owned the Art House, a glassware and art restoration shop. To read more about this man, please click on the link below.