Posts Tagged ‘library’

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Jail Guys

August 27, 2013

Last week I helped build a new library at my kids’ school. It was no easy task. The school moved location, so in addition to collecting over 1000 new books, I moved, alphabetized, and organized genres of books, books, books.

The first night of work, I brought friends and family to help. While I won’t say my teenagers were thrilled with the idea, they brought friends, we ate pizza, and cranked One Direction. They’d never say it was “fun”, but I did get an “it was okay,” which hey, was better than an eye roll. My sites are not so high when it comes to satisfying teenagers.

In spite of the support, we didn’t finish. A few days later I returned, with far fewer assistants. However, the Director of School (a brilliant woman) had found extra help for the day—jail guys who needed to log community service hours as part of their sentence. After saying hi to the two men in orange, I gave them directions how and where to move the books. As we carried stacks back and forth between rooms, one of the guys told me he was reading a great book. I’m ashamed to say—this surprised me. But I engaged immediately and asked him the title. “COLD MOUNTAIN,” he said. Again, shock rocked my body, but I tried hard not to let it show. The guy was maybe nineteen-years old. He was dressed in a tangerine jumpsuit, wore a brown baseball cap, and had a deep scar across his lip. As I caught myself racial profiling, dismay rolled through my thoughts. I loved COLD MOUNTAIN. We got talking about Inman and Ada, and didn’t stop until the last book had been moved.

Some jail guys read. Some know what they’re talking about. Some books can reach across the aisle and shake hands. I hope, from here on out, to do the same.

 

 

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Summer Libraries

July 6, 2012

When I think of a library, I think of air-conditioning. Weird, but true. I grew up in humid Ohio with no central air, so I spent some long summer days at the library.

Now, I live where it snows every month except July, so air-conditioning is not something I need to savor. However, I still love the library in the summer. The smell of torn pages and new books wakes me up. Besides, libraries have awesome summer programs for kids. They host reading contests, art projects, jugglers, story-tellers, musicians, and local legends. With the increase in e-books and a sketchy publishing industry, libraries are struggling to stay afloat. In some areas, funds have been cut drastically, and they’ve had to close. While this isn’t a political blog, it is today. Support your local library! If you haven’t been in a while, check one out. They really are amazing places, with our without air-conditioning.

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Genre? Where does your baby belong?

November 29, 2011

A book’s genre can be complicated. Often, people assume books are either written simply as novels or as non-fiction text. But they would be wrong. Books are categorized into lots of genres.

Next time you visit a library or a bookstore, notice the way they shelve non-fiction. There are usually sections on travel, religion, and history, just to name a few. Sometimes your book may have cross-over appeal. My non-fiction book: Soul Sunday: A Family’s Guide to Exploring Faith and Teaching Tolerance contains multicultural religious content, but is written for parents. Some bookstores shelve it in religion, but most toss it in parenting.

Fiction is a bit more complicated. Here are a few genres to get you started:

 

  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Realistic or contemporary fiction
  • Mystery
  • Crime
  • Historical fiction
  • Supernatural
  • Dystopian
  • Myth and fairytale
  • Poetry
  • Magical realism

 

It can be helpful to join an organization that specifically caters to one genre. Whodunit writers, for example, can meet for conferences and learn tools of the trade to improve their mystery. Identifying your genre and reading as much as you can in the same subject area will also help your own writing.