Hello Online World

An interesting thing happens when you unplug from the world-wide web–time expands. Yes it does indeed. Time expands in the sense of all the things you can explore OFFline. Consider what happens when you forget your cellphone and you don’t feel the need to answer every ringtone like Pavlov’s puppies. Oh the freedom from the ring, from the keyboard connected to social media, and everything in the info universe. It can be very liberating–and you realize just how much energy, effort and time you’ve been putting into communication technology. Having been almost constantly online since BEFORE Facebook and twitter were even imagined I discovered a real big break from it all was in order. It’s been the kind of break where I’m on the verge of needing to upgrade my cellphone so that it will ‘work’. Aside from personal connections I have not missed the world-wide web much. I don’t enjoy reading books online–but I adore reading. Writing online has its pros and cons. I’ve discovered that the best way to deal with writer’s block is to actually write with a pen/pencil on paper. Yeah, it works. According the research I suspect it’s because more of your brain is stimulated by using your fine motor skills when using a pen than with using a keyboard. Oh and there’s never a problem with power outages or viruses or hitting the wrong key and sending everything into nowhere-land. Yes, being offline has been very good for my writing. It’s also been good for reading, exploring music, and cooking. Virtual cooking leads to virtual food and that’s inedible no matter what it does to your salivary glands.

When you’re exploring books offline in a library setting interesting things tend to happen–to me anyway. For example, an oversize book cover featuring Virginia Woolf’s profile draws your attention to Stefan Bollman’s Women Who Write, a book of profiles of women writers. Reading Francine Prose’s introduction raises the question of what other women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since the book’s publication. The answer to this query leads to 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. I currently do not know where else you can read anything like this in English. Which leads in turn to the translator, Keith Gessen who is the co-editor of City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis. The essays therein present diverse perspectives on the American urban landscape–and they’re anything but boring.

I heartily recommend all these books for your reading table or tablet. Warning: Voices from Chernobyl may break your heart with its love stories. What happens to people who know nothing about the downside of nuclear energy when things go terribly wrong? This is an intensely personal record of what happens. Considering the world in which we live we owe to these people to at least make ourselves aware and informed. Because Blue Skies do not mean all is hunky dory in the radioactive universe. Note: this is also a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for General Nonfiction.

Dots:
~Virginia Woolf’s profile
~Women Who Write by Stefan Bollman, Francine Prose
~Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
~Translator Keith Gessen
~City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb

Please do feel free to share wherever these dots lead you.

Thanks for engaging here. Your time, energy and virtual presence is very much appreciated–more than ever before.

About Svetlana Alexievich:

http://alexievich.info/indexEN.html

Women Who Read Are Dangerous~~(select translation):

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/buecher/rezensionen/sachbuch/ein-buch-ersetzt-den-mann-im-haus-kuenstlerblicke-auf-lesende-frauen-1214751.html

Shh, don’t tell anyone what Missouri Gov. Nixon is up to with $6 Million he’s denying to Libraries. What does Nixon want to do with the library funding? Only Nixon–and his cohorts know.

Choose your own reading adventure about Gov. Nixon’s efforts to defund the public library system:

Okay if you want a nice and polite run down of what’s going on with $6 Million in funds for the public libraries in Missouri — visit this lively link to Chris Arnone’s piece at BookRiot:

http://bookriot.com/2015/03/27/missouri-governor-nixon-putting-libraries-peril/#

Missouri teens got a real fact check in how politicians operate and how much they rate on the Missouri Governor’s value scale on March 18, 2015 when the Governor’s staff lied to them about the governor being out-of-state and threatened to have them escorted out of their offices by State Troopers.  You can read all about that shindig at BookRiot.

If you’re pressed for time, Chris Arnone has these suggestions for voicing your support for the libraries without threat of State Trooper escort:

 

  • Sign the two petitions on iPetition and Change.org.
  • Call Governor Nixon’s office at 573-751-3222.
  • Send letters or postcards to Nixon’s office: Office of Gov. Jay Nixon, P. O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
  • Head over to http://www.governor.mo.gov/ and click “Get Involved.”
  • Use the hashtag #SaveMOLibraries on social media.

Now for the not so nice and not polite reading adventure.

Damn how I love being able to connect with people everywhere via the internet.  I’m lucky enough to have my own damn computer and private access that I can use any time I want 24/7. I’m also aware that there are many people in my local area who are not so damn fortunate. I’m reminded of this fact every time I visit the Kansas City, Missouri Public Library and see a fully packed computer room offering access to the internet for people who are not so damn lucky as myself.  There’s always a waiting list and there are always people waiting for their online time. Many of them are looking for employment. Someone is always using the computers designated for creating resumes. Others are doing the exact same thing you are right now without giving it a second thought–enjoying surfing the net and flying around in cyberspace. In addition to these people there are those who bring their laptops to take advantage of the wireless access on site. My award wining public library is one damn electronic hot spot.

Why would anyone who values an informed and literate population want to deny people access to electronic information?

Yikes–conspiracy theories abound! 1984 anyone? Hmm? No need to ban books, just deny internet access.

For now I’ll fly with the people who deny access to others are people who prefer an ignorant, uneducated, uniformed bunch of dumbed down voters who are easily manipulated and controlled.

Am I suggesting that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is this ilk of politician?

Am I?

Well why else would he deny first $2,789,225 million in  2014 library funding then follow that up with withholding all of the state appropriated library funds of 2015 to the tune of $3,109,250 million?

Those funds provide libraries with everything needed for remote electronic access aka the REAL Program.

Imagine your life without your electronic connection–the very one you are enjoying right now as you read this on your internet connection of choice wherever you are.

What the fuck is Gov. Nixon up to with these millions of dollars? Does he have a fundraiser in mind? Who is he paying off?

Maybe his staff would like to monetarily thank the Missouri State Troopers for their on call assistance for escorting NON-professional, NON-corporate lobbyists out of their offices when they come, with appointments, to discuss their concerns about what’s really going on in Nixon’s brainbox?

Perhaps Gov. Nixon just can’t stand teenagers with fully functioning minds enabled by equally concerned adults snooping around the state capital looking for some answers and questioning some “family” values.

Aside: Last week I had some of those nice people who like to share the good word door to door. I told them they should go to the state capital and share their words with those folks. The older gentleman escorting and mentoring the two very clean-cut young whippersnappers practicing their word sharing said, and I quote: “They aren’t interested in listening to us.”

Hmm, according to Arnone over at Book Riot some elected officials were interested in hearing what was on the library supporting teenagers’ minds. I guess those might have been the ones who realize these young people will be voting in a few years and possibly becoming engaged in political issues as adults.

Clearly Gov. Nixon doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what book reading, literate, computer savy teenagers think or do–unless it involves sex education,. Oopsy daisy–can you get that kind of info on the internet? Hell yeah, you can.

Shit! The clock is ticking and I have an event to attend at the local library branch where, in addition to the wonderful group of people who work there, I’ll meet some of the other people who participated in the adult reading program face to face.  I’ll come back to cyberspace later–after library hours, in the wee hours of the morning or late at night or in the middle of the day. Any time I want electronic access I’ve got it. Not everyone does. They ONLY get it from the public library.

What are you up to with all those millions that belong to the public libraries, not just the big ones but the little ones too where someone is searching for everything libraries offer in this electronic age, Gov. Jay Nixon? Hmm? Nothing good, says my cynical mind, nothing good at all.

Please share the word about this monetary crisis threatening the public libraries in Missouri via your electronic devices and favorite social media vices. You don’t have to live in Missouri to share the information. Heads up, your public library funds may be on the funnel tunnel to somewhere else too–if they haven’t already gone done that pipe.

Visit the Kansas City Public Library at  http://www.kclibrary.org/ to get a gander of what they’re doing soooo very very right.

Tweet Away!

Thank you for sharing.

I’ll be back.

Yeah, Bear, I will. 🙂

 

No Trick, These Books Really are Free Treats From World Book Night Peeps.

Yes, you too can share and spread the joy of reading with free books from the wonderful people who run World Book Night.  What are you waiting for? Just fill out an application to be a Giver any time from now until January 5, 2014. Why wait? It’s not a scam. These are real books and we get to give them to real people.  It’s fun, it’s easy, it’ll make you smile. I guarantee it.

April 23rd Is World Book Night

World Book Night site –>> http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Browse the Books for 2014  —>> http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/books/2014

How it works:

Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.

After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography. 

WBN

wbnamerica

Book List for 2014

WBN

2014 Book List    

To download the list with ISBN’s please click here.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Large Print edition) by Jamie Ford

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Pontoon by Garrison Keillor

Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Large Print edition) by Maria Semple

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

*

Yeah, right now Catch 22 is at the top of my short list of books I’d love to share. For 2013 I gave out 20 copies of The Phantom Tollbooth.  What about you?  What book from this list would you like to give someone to read? Join and give.

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