Mock Turtle

I Am – The Library

I Am – The Library is an ethnographic video project, which documents the everyday ways a public library is used. Set in and around the Denver Central Library a few weeks before the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the film takes its title and finds its rhythm in Jackson’s 1971 speech, “I Am – Somebody,” a rallying call and response poem, which invites people to stake their political claim by simply declaring who or what they are, be their status small, flawed or tired. In making I Am – The Library, the filmmakers asked over two hundred residents of the city of Denver to do the same, then asked them to speak out for their public library.

Rocky Mountain PBS has a little more on the project, and a 2-minute trailer/clip. (thanks to the Vote 2008 site for the link)

Introducing the NBCC’s Best Recommended

The National Book Critics Circle has launched a Best Recommended List of books in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, to be posted monthly starting in 2008 on their blog, Critical Mass:

… with all this connectivity, it felt like a moment had yet to be seized about finding out what a lot of people said was good. And what better people to ask than award winning novelists, historians, poets, critics and biographers?

These are the pie-in-the-sky notions that prompted the National Book Critics Circle to create a monthly Best Recommended List. Polling our nearly 800 members, as well as all the former finalists and winners of our book prize, we asked, What 2007 books have you read that you have truly loved?

Tops on the resulting inaugural Best Recommended List are The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (fiction), Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat (nonfiction), and a three-way tie in the poetry category among Time and Materials: Poems 1997–2005 by Robert Hass, Collected Poems: 1956-1998 by Zbigniew Herbert, and Gulf Music by Robert Pinsky.

Oprah Picks 1989 Cathedral-Building Epic by Ken Follett

America’s pop fiction facilitator has perpetrated a weighty tome upon her public. Oprah’s newest book club pick is the The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett’s 1989 bestseller about the construction of a Gothic cathedral in 12th-century England. The 973-page epic features “a struggle between good and evil […] turning church against state and brother against brother,” as well as “forbidden love affairs, political power plays, looting, plunder and burning villages,” according to the Oprah’s Book Club site.

Oprah’s Book Club: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett provides lots of supplementary material for readers, including family trees, chapter-by-chapter reading questions and quizzes, biographical information on author Ken Follett, an online discussion, and a printable bookmark. There’s also an excerpt so your patrons can get started while they wait their turn for a library copy.

NB: The long-awaited sequel to Pillars, World Without End, was published just last month. Get more information on both books from Ken Follett’s website.

Winners of the 2007 National Book Awards

The four winners of the 2007 National Book Awards, announced at a dinner and ceremony in New York City on November 14, are:

FICTION: Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
NONFICTION: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
POETRY: Time and Materials by Robert Hass
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Details at The National Book Foundation

Piczo My Penguin

Youth social networking meets book cover design!

Penguin Group has partnered with Piczo, a teen-oriented social networking zone, for the PiczoMYPenguin contest. Penguin asked six popular musical acts to name a favorite Penguin Classic book and design a cover for each, then challenged Piczo members: “Think YOU can do better???” Entrants can pick one of the six books and create a Piczo page for the cover. The bands will pick their favorite designs, and winners can get CDs from the bands, a set of the books, and exclusive limited edition images of the bands’ cover designs.

Note: Caroline McCarthy at The Social wrote on August 2 that the contest “runs for the next four weeks,” though I could not find anything at either Piczo or Penguin that stated this.

Muriel Spark to be honored at Edinburgh’s Makars’ Court

An article that appeared in last week’s Guardian announced that Edinburgh will honor the late novelist Muriel Spark by laying a flagstone inscribed with her name and a quotation in the courtyard outside the Writer’s Museum, just off the Royal Mile. Spark’s stone will join those of fellow Scottish literary greats such as Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Dame Muriel Spark died April 14, 2006, at the age of 88. She is perhaps most widely known for penning the 1961 novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Maggie Smith in the title role. Her fiction portrayed human frailties with a cool, satirical touch.

Read the Guardian article about Dame Muriel’s Edinburgh memorial here.

Dark Horse launches free web comic on MySpace

effinglibrarian writes Dark Horse Comics announces a relaunch of Dark Horse Presents, a seminal 1980s b&w periodical anthology, as a free online comic in collaboration with DH is the latest comics publisher to launch a digital comics venture. The revived anthology series debuted July 27, 2007, at
The series begins with a Joss Whedon comic called Sugar Shock! so if you’re still suffering from Buffy, Angel, and Firefly withdrawal, check it out. Where else can you read dialog like: ‘Robot Phil, I’m gonna need your strong metal arms’?”

Send Your ARCs to NOLA Kids in Jail

From Chasing Ray comes news of an appeal for reviewers, bloggers, librarians and others to send their advance reading copies to kids in Louisiana juvenile detention centers. Books2Prisoners has been delivering books to prisoners in the NOLA area for some time, and they have now started to gather books for the juvenile detention centers as well. Whatever they had before Katrina is now, of course, gone.

Colleen at Chasing Ray has an excellent and comprehensive post about the situation for kids (incarcerated and otherwise) in New Orleans, and about the kinds of books that Books2Prisoners would like to receive. Generally, they are looking for books from the middle grade reading level and up, primarily dealing with multi-cultural themes and characters. Naturally, not just ARCs, but also full-grown books are welcome.

Read the whole Books2Prisoners post at Chasing Ray for details, inspiration, and the mailing address for the program.

Update: 02/14 12:25 GMT by B :mdoniel says “So if you want to donate books to this program and don’t have any funds to send them let me know. I’ll pay for the first 5 boxes sent FedEx ground. I’ll fax you a label to tape on the box.”

IA Institute Board of Directors: Call for Nominations

The Information Architecture Institute seeks nominations for members to serve on the 2006-2007 IAI Board of Directors. There are seven members of the Board of Directors and four open positions for this board term. Nominations are being acceped until August 31, with the election following in September. If you are interested in serving on the Board, you may nominate yourself, or if you know someone who you think will be an asset to the organization, you may nominate that person. Please contact membership AT for more information or a link to the nomination form.

Subscribe to the free IAI Newsletter for monthly updates from the institute, including notices about conferences, workshops, volunteer opportunities and job postings.

Beastly Haiku Contest for Libraries

Michael Crewdson writes:

Hello, my name is Michael Crewdson and I’m the co-author of Carnivorous Nights–on the Trail of The Tasmanian Tiger. This non-fiction book, which documents a search for an animal that is most likely extinct, was just named by the New York Public Library as a “Book to Remember from 2005.” The NYPL also put it on its “Books for the Teenage” list.
To celebrate the paperback release of Carnivorous, Margaret Mittelbach (my co-author and the daughter of a librarian from the LA system) have launched a Beastly Haiku Contest:

We’re asking people to write haikus about extinct, rare and cryptozoological animals. To also celebrate libraries, we are giving the five runners up to the contest an additional copy of the book for their favorite library.
Anyway, I would love to get the word out about this contest to as many library branches around the country as possible.
And I was wondering whether you could help me to do this. We have also written a flyer about the contest, which we can send to anyone that requests it.

Michael Crewdson

P.S. To add interest to the contest, one of the Beastie Boys has penned a haiku about Sasquatch.