Book & Author Spotlights

Tim O'Brien
Jeff Kinney


William Timothy O'Brien (born October 1, 1946) is an American novelist. He is best known for his book The Things They Carried (1990), a collection of linked short stories. These semi-autobiographical stories were inspired by O'Brien's experiences in the Vietnam War. In 2010 the New York Times described O'Brien's book as a Vietnam classic. In addition, he is known for his war novel, Going After Cacciato (1978), also about wartime Vietnam, and later novels about postwar lives of veterans.

O'Brien earned his BA in 1968 in Political Science from Macalester College. That same year he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he served from 1969 to 1970 in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment.

Upon completing his tour of duty, O'Brien went to graduate school at Harvard University. Afterward he received an internship at the Washington Post. In 1973 he published his first book, a memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home about his war experiences.

O’Brien writes and lives in central Texas. He is raising a family and teaches full-time every other year at Texas State University-San Marcos. In alternate years, he teaches several workshops to MFA students in the creative writing program.

(The display of books is by our "NEW" book shelves.)



Jeffrey Patrick Kinney (born February 19, 1971) is an American cartoonist, producer and author of children's books, including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. He is also attributed as the creator of the child-oriented website Poptropica. He also appeared in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films as Holly Hills's father.

Kinney grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland at College Park in the early 1990s. It was in college that Kinney created a popular comic strip, Igdoof, which ran in the campus newspaper.

In January 1998, Kinney brought up the idea of a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley, who writes illustrated stories about his personal life. In May 2004, FunBrain and Jeff Kinney released an online version of the story, titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The website made daily entries until June 2005. He worked on his book for almost eight years, before showing it to a publisher in New York. In February 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher  Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. The book became an instant hit.

Kinney works full-time as a writer and designer of online games. He also created the kid-friendly website Poptropica, which includes two islands called "Wimpy Wonderland" and "Wimpy Boardwalk", where the Diary of a Wimpy Kid characters and events are featured in the Poptropica universe.

On December 14, 2003, Jeff Kinney married Julie Kinney. They have two sons, Will and Grant. The family lives in Plainville, Massachusetts.

(These books are on display in the Lower Level on top of the ER shelves.)

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