Since taking on my library job over a year ago, I have read a lot of books… not at work mind you, as I find our school’s 15-minute-a-day reading period is often taken up either helping students find a good book or shhhhing those who obviously haven’t found one yet. Instead, I read at night, usually books I can recommend to teen readers of every different taste, or, classics, that as a writer and librarian I’m ashamed I haven’t quite read yet. This, the lack of a full classical book repertoire, is, as I’ve mentioned before, because of my first love of book genre – - the fantasy/sci fi book. One of my other shortcomings as a librarian, is recommending teen girl romance novels. That shortcoming as well, is because of my own teen reading habits. My brother had a vast collection of carefully preserved fantasy and sci-fi books, and I was careful enough with books (a tell-tale sign of my ultimate employ as a librarian?) that he let me read them all. Who needed teen romances if you could read about the adventure-packed romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia which armed me with such classic lines as, “I’d sooner kiss a wookie”?
The passing of fantasy author James Oliver Rigney Jr., better known by his pename Robert Jordan, will be felt not only by his friends and family, but, also by a legion of fans of his Wheel of Time series. His death last week leaves the future of the twelfth and intended to be final book in the series in limbo, at least for now. Jordan was in the midst of writing the book, A Memory of Light, when he announced last March that he had been diagnosed with the rare blood disease called cardiac amyloidosis. The creator of the fan group ”wotmania” (wot standing for Wheel of Time) recently reported on the group’s website:
The Winnipeg Writers’ Collective has announced its annual non-fiction and poetry contests. The non-fiction contest is just one of the contests (there is a fiction contest later in the year) the Collective hosts annually with the Winnipeg Free Press. This year participants must write a non-fiction story based on the theme, “I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when …” The idea, according to the friendly people at the Collective, is to relate a true tale about something unexpected or bizarre that has happened to you. To help you get started, the contest instructions ask, “How did the world around you suddenly become unfamiliar? Did you receive an unusual phone call? Take a wrong turn? Encounter a mysterious stranger?”
The long-awaited Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival Thin Air 2007 guide is available at Manitoba bookstores now. Packed with program details and book and author information, the guide amounts to a book the size of a small novel. You can also check the Thin Air website for schedule details and breaking news at www.winnipegwords.com. If you’re into and onto Facebook, join the Thin Air Facebook Group for up-to-the-minute news including information about the festival trivia contest. Play along for your chance to win a cool Thin Air gift pack which includes a mug, notebook and pen, all with the artsy Thin Air logo, a free Thin Air pass and a book by one of the authors featured during the festival. You have until midnight tonight to answer Question 3 (the 11th person to answer the question correctly wins). I’m feeling kind of lucky, so, you might as well just wait for question 4. The festival runs September 23-30 and will include day and night-time readings and talks by such authors as Winnipeg’s own Giller award-winner David Bergen, Roch Carrier of The Hockey Sweater fame, William Gibson, who with his 1984 novel Neuromancer introduced the world to the term “cyberspace”, and many, many more talented writers from Manitoba and around the world.
A recent article in The Buffalo News recommends the ultimate book-related vacation in Manhattan. Within a few blocks of East 41 St. and Madison, visitors can visit the New York Public Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum and spend the night surrounded by books at the Library Hotel. Connecting it all, is Library Way. Officially dedicated in 2004, the walkway was initiated over a decade ago and includes 96 bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk. The plaques, seen here on the official Library Way website, are wonderfully and whimsically carved and feature literature and poetry quotes. One of my favourite plaque quotes is from “The Speed of Darkness” by Muriel Rukeyser, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” The Library Hotel, located at the aforementioned intersection, is a former office building first constructed in the 1920s. According to the article by Scott Naugle, the building was renovated to include 60 book-themed and book-filled rooms. Instead of floor and room numbers, the hotel uses Dewey Decimal code on 10 floors with each corresponding to one of the ten main library organization categories.