Friday, March 27, 2009

Writers Conference

Everyone is talking, of course, about the flooding, and UND is strangely quiet without the students. Many of you are using this time to help Fargo sandbag, and we are so proud of you!

Next week something wonderful happens in Grand Forks, really, it does! It's the Writers Conference, and the Popular Librarians will be there, in the audience, listening intently.

We're excited about this year's line-up.

Kristen and I had a fun little mini-conversation about who would be in our IDEAL writers conference. I'm obviously not bound the limits of time and space and little things like dead or alive, so I chose Laura Ingalls Wilder, Geoffrey Chaucer, Neil Gaiman, and Agatha Christie.

Who would *you* like to see?


Friday, March 13, 2009

Feet up, book in hand...

There is nothing like a vacation, even if you don't leave your chair. Actually, there are times when not having to leave your chair *is* the best vacation possible!

The Popular Librarians don't get the week off (grumble, grumble) but we'll celebrate with you in spirit. I'm planning to plunk myself in my recliner, cat in lap, lots of bad-for-me-but-tasting-so-good stuff at hand to eat and drink, and spend at least one evening revelling in the spirit of spring break. That means I'll sleep a little, watch a smattering of tv, and read the rest of the time.

But my spring break book has to be very special. I'm still trying to decide which one I'll select. It has to be a mystery, preferably a cozy mystery (I'm not big on guns and guts), and a hardcover is a lot easier to read from a sprawled-in-my-recliner position. Suggestions? Luckily we have this great Popular Reading collection that I can choose from.

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME (seriously). Let's talk about you! Are you taking a book on break with you? If you are, what is it? You are giving your brain cells some well-deserved recreation, we hope!

Have a safe and fun break! Come back rested and smiling and ready to finish up this winter!

And always have a book with you.

Janet (currently reading Coraline by Neil Gaiman and loving it!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

cuz not all good books can be popular

Here is another one that won't make it to the popular reading shelf.

The Future of the Internet Volume 1: Up for Grabs by Lee Rainie, Janna Quitney Anderson and Susannah Fox

Sometimes funny, often contradictory, always thought-provoking are the answers given by respected technology experts and social analysts who were surveyed about the future of the Internet. The first couple of chapters describe the survey and the process of gathering and recording information. The main section of the book consists of a prediction, a summary of the survey responses and then additional credited responses in the form of quotes.Some of the topics covered are institutions, digital products, politics including the voting process, families, the health system and personal entertainment.

The layout makes for easy skimming and gives you something to think about even if you don't have time to read the entire book.


Monday, March 2, 2009

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Have you ever felt like an outsider? Has that feeling been so extreme that you don't even feel like a member of the human race?

Have you ever wanted to curl up and disappear from the world for awhile? Has that happened and you get a panicky feeling that you can't rejoin the world because you'd done such a good job of disappearing?

Karen Russell in St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves plays with themes to an extreme. This is her first publication -- a collection of 10 short stories -- and she will be coming to UND in a few weeks as part of the Writer's Conference. I'm excited.

In her publisher's page she tells of being influenced by many writers, including Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, and I could see that. Her style is called "magical realism" and I love stories that mix the real and the fantastic. An author can get away with a lot -- push the envelope -- to get the reader out of their comfort zone, and maybe even elicit a gasp from them.
David Sedaris did that during his reading in Fargo several years ago. I encourage you to check out Russell's book. These stories will stay with you and they're perfect for a quick "time-out" from studying.