What EPL is Reading

Young Adult Realism

EPL’s own Jarrett Dapier talks with author Walter Dean Myers in this fascinating interview for In These Times.  The legendary YA writer candidly discusses “the debt he owes to James Baldwin” along with the importance of mentoring teens.

The Stockholm Syndrome Theory of Long Novels

Mark O’Connell examines his newfound love of doorstop-sized novels in this amusing Millions essay.  Though novels like Ulysses and Gravity’s Rainbow can punish us with their difficulty and length, he says conquering them is like “climbing Everest for people who prefer not to leave the house.”

One Book, One Twitter

The Atlantic announces the debut of their Twitter-based book group 1book140.  Modeled after “One Book, One Chicago,” the global discussion group kicked things off this month with Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and invites you to share in the reading and tweeting, reading and tweeting.

An Interview with Leonid Osseny

"Self Portrait" by Leonid Osseny

Leonid Osseny is an architect, designer, teacher, and the latest artist to be featured in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL.  His show  – titled 36 Views of Ulysses – is currently on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Branch and insightfully interprets scenes from James Joyce’s landmark novel with a stunningly original collection of inventive graphic works.  You can catch 36 Views of Ulysses through April 5th and also learn more about Mr. Osseny’s work at the website for his Lincoln Terrace Art Studio and Gallery.  What’s more, you can meet Mr. Osseny in person and hear him speak about 36 Views of Ulysses when he visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room on Tuesday, March 29th at 6:30 p.m.  In anticipation of his visit, we recently spoke with him via email about his artistic beginnings in Belarus, his experiences at the 2004 International James Joyce Symposium in Dublin, and his future plans as an artist and writer.

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Local Art @ EPL

"Nora and James Joyce"

We are extremely pleased to introduce local architect, poet, and designer Leonid Osseny as the next featured artist in our ongoing exhibition series Local Art @ EPL.  From now until April 5th, his eye-popping exhibit 36 Views of Ulysses will be on display on the 2nd floor of EPL’s Main Branch.  For 36 Views of Ulysses, Mr. Osseny created a stunningly original collection of inventive graphic works that interpret scenes from James Joyce’s landmark novel as well as 8 poster installations subtitled “Inner Monologue” that explore Joyce’s work in relation to that of Sergey Eisenstein and Stanley Kubrick.  Recognized internationally, the exhibit was part of both the North American James Joyce Conference in 2001 and Dublin’s 19th International James Joyce Symposium in 2004.  So don’t miss 36 Views of Ulysses right here at EPL, and make sure to check back with Off the Shelf later in March for a featured interview with Mr. Osseny and info on how you can meet the artist himself.  Stay tuned.

Impossible, You Say??

If you’re feeling bored, seeking out a good book to read, or looking to do a little literary heavy lifting, have we got a challenge for you. On June 16, EPL is starting up a brand new book club called Mission Impossible. The goal is to tackle some of the world’s most difficult novels in a fun, interactive group setting. Sort of a literary support group, if you will. And to kick things off, we’ll be reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, the novel which routinely tops lists of the most difficult books to read. Mission Impossible will be reading the book and holding a year-long series of discussions about it. All meetings of the club will be held at the Celtic Knot Pub (across the street from the library and, oh so very Irish, just like Joyce) on select Tuesdays through May 2011. The very first meeting is on June 16th at 6pm. (For those in the know, June 16th is also known as Bloomsday, named for Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, and held on the same day that the novel takes place.) All you need to do is read, show up, and enjoy. No registration is required, but please do come prepared to purchase a snack or beverage to support the Celtic Knot for its generosity in hosting us. For more information, resources, and online discussion, visit our Ulysses blog. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll reap the rewards: a lifetime of literary bragging rights. So get your copy of the book and start practicing your nonchalance, because once you finish the novel, all that’s left is to casually drop Joyce into conversation and let all your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances know what a literary heavyweight you are.