E-Books: How Can You Judge a Book That Has No Cover?

An article in today’s New York Times brings up an intriguing point about e-books—there’s no eye-catching book cover to inspire others to have a fling with whatever you’re reading.  Cover design plays a big part in the book business, so what happens if readers start to favor e-books over “old-fashioned” hard copy?  (Mary B., Reader’s Services)

 

Trees of Knowledge

Yesterday I happened to read the editor’s introduction to the latest issue of Orion magazine. Orion is generally considered to be a “nature” magazine, and is usually shelved with similar titles at most newsstands and bookstores. But as the editor points out, Orion never intended to be viewed as any particular genre or fill any specialized niche within the magazine market. From Orion’s point of view, any writing anywhere that anyone is doing is in a sense “nature” writing. Since we all live in the natural world, any writing about people or place is in a way, writing about nature. Continue reading

From London with Love

Click above for an NPR interview with David Rose, creator of the LRB's personal ads column.

Spring has officially arrived, and if you choose to believe the hype, love is in the air.  Truth be told, however, the springtime air is also filled with pollen, mold, bees, and countless other love-inhibiting allergens and insects.  So, if you’d rather not trust your love connection to a seasonal weather change, allow me to suggest a matchmaking option you may have missed:  the London Review of Books.

Established in 1979, the London Review of Books is best known for its highly-regarded commentary on literature, film, art, and politics from such distinguished contributors as Martin Amis, John Ashbery, Julian Barnes, Christopher Hitchens, Hilary Mantel, and Susan Sontag.  But make no mistake, the LRB isn’t all business.  When advertising director David Rose joined the magazine in 1998, he spearheaded the creation of a personal ads column to help LRB readers with “similar literary and cultural tastes get together.”  Rose envisioned “a sort of 84 Charing Cross Road endeavour, with readers providing their own versions of Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft finding love among the bookshelves.”  The ads Rose received, however, were anything but expected. 

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If You Love Libraries, Stand Up and Be Counted

As Evanstonians are acutely aware, times are tough for libraries. The current economic climate has resulted in cuts to library funding nationwide. Large cities and small towns alike have been feeling the crunch of tight budgets and funding cuts. But for those of us who love and support our local libraries, there are still ample opportunities to have our voices be heard. For those looking to share some library love, there are a couple of easy ways to do so right now at EPL:

1.) Woman’s Day magazine and the American Library Association are currently running an essay contest for women who love the library. They are looking for original essays (by women) of 700 words or less, telling why the library is important in your community. Up to four essays will appear in an upcoming issue of Woman’s Day and online at WomansDay.com. Submissions are being accepted through May 09, 2010. Additional information and the official rules for the contest are available here.

2.) The week of April 11th is National Library Week and we’d like for you to help us celebrate. We’re looking to collect brief, 1 or 2 sentence testimonials from our patrons about why they love the library. We’re planning to post your comments on our website for the week to celebrate our patrons, our library, and our community. If you’re interested in contributing a comment, please stop by either the 2nd Floor Reader’s Advisory Desk or the 3rd Floor Reference Desk and talk to a librarian anytime.

Where I Come From They Call it an “Atwood”

Margaret Atwood is many things: poet, novelist, political activist. She has published countless novels, essays and other non-fiction works, children’s books, and books of poetry. Among her numerous awards and honors, she has won the prestigious Booker Prize (and been nominated for it five times!). She is as highly regarded for her science fiction books like The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake (although she resists the term “science fiction”), as she is for her astute literary criticism. In addition to her literary endeavors, she has been an often outspoken environmentalist, encouraging politicians and citizens to take simple everyday actions to improve the environment. Among her myriad accomplishments, she has even been commissioned to write an opera, which will appear onstage in Vancouver later this year. But all of these things aside, Margaret Atwood is first and foremost, a Canadian. And as we all know, Canadians love hockey. But does Margaret Atwood, esteemed woman of letters, share in her country’s love of the game? You betcha! Not only will Atwood have a (singing!) cameo appearance in the upcoming Olivia Newton-John film Score: A Hockey Musical, but she recently appeared on the Canadian TV show Rick Mercer Report (often described as the Canadian Daily Show) to offer up her tips on hockey goaltending. Click on the clip below to watch. It is absolutely bizarre and completely hilarious. It will make you see the woman behind the words in a whole new light, and will hopefully make your day. As if you didn’t already know it, Margaret Atwood is awesome.