A galaxy far, far away … 40 years of ‘Star Wars’

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the original “Star Wars” movie. It is interesting to note that no one, apart from George Lucas himself, had any idea of the hit they had on their hands. Or that we would still be talking about and enjoying this cinematic universe, which has expanded into novels, television, animation, toys, etc., almost a half-century later.

The Manatee County Public Library has a variety of items related to this mega-successful franchise. You might be asking yourself (unless you’re already a fan), where do I begin?

One place to start is with Adam Bray’s recent book, “Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know,” published to coincide with the release of the recent installment, “The Force Awakens.” You can also find the numerous novels based on both the movies themselves and new storylines that fill in the gaps between the now eight-film series.

Some of these novels include, “Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure” by Cecil Castellucci, “Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure” by Greg Rucka and “The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure” by Jason Fry.

If you have a child who is interested in all things “Star Wars,” we’ve got you covered there, too. Titles include a great Dorling Kindersley book, “Star Wars: What is a Wookiee?” and Jeffrey Brown’s, “Darth Vader and Friends”. Also, be sure to check out the Lego books, “Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary” by Simon Beecroft, which traces the history of the Star Wars toy lines, and Daniel Lipkowitz’s, “ Star Wars: Build Your Own Adventure.”

Don’t forget to check out “Star Wars” in recorded media, some of which are available in downloadable and streaming formats. There is “Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama” which is an epic drama written by Brian Dailey for radio, based on the characters and screenplay of the original 1977 film. This is available as a “Playaway,” which are audio-recordings pre-loaded onto MP3 players. All you need is an AAA battery and headphones and you can take it on a trip, the beach, or anywhere you choose.

We also have the films themselves which can be found at most of our locations. If you look in the 791.43 Dewey Decimal subject area for film and theater, you can find several books written about the films including Brandon Alinger’s book, “Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy.” If you’re interested in John Williams’ iconic music for the films, you’ll also find it at the library. “The Six Star Wars Films: New Recordings of the Classic Scores,” as well as individual film soundtracks and other “Star Wars” music, are available through the library database, Hoopla. The Hoopla database also has a wide variety of “Star Wars” ebooks, eaudiobooks and comics.

The library offers monthly e-mail newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

David Breakfield is a reference librarian at the Downtown Central Library. Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday.