I refer, of course, to the 4th annual Boston Book Festival, which will be held this Saturday, October 27th at Copley Square in Boston. The schedule for this year is rather packed, with highlights including keynotes from Richard Ford and Lemony Snicket, a presentation by Alexander McCall Smith, several YA panels (there was only one last year), and panels on Edith Wharton and The Iliad. As in the past, all of the events, as well as the street festival, are free. I’m personally making the trip for the Hobbit panel, if nothing else.
HAVEN’T YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK? WELL, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!
November is National Novel Writing Month, the month a morass of aspiring (and not-so-aspiring) writers take up the challenge to write an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Yes, you read that right. That’s about 200 pages. In 30 days. Trust me, it is SO much more fun than that just sounded.
So in honor of National Novel Writing Month, we have selected several different groups of books. Firstly, to gear you up and get you ready to go, we have some great books from our collection about the art and craft of novel writing. Old standbys like John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist, Stephen King’s wildly popular On Writing, and my favorite, mystery author Elizabeth George’s Write Away, where she lays her writing process bare for the reader. We’ve also included some published novels that began as NaNoWriMo projects! Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Anna and the French Kissby Stephanie Perkins. See? You never know what might happen.
Additionally, I thought I’d include several of our very own members who have books out: Athenaeum staff member Tina Egnoski’s Perishables, a lovely study in short fiction, Ann Hood’s very first novel Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, Taylor Polites brand new historical novel of the Civil War, The Rebel Wife , and our own Bon Vivant Brett Rutherford’s chilling horror novel, The Lost Children. We’ve also included some favorite, prolific and well known authors – in their first novels. Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, mystery authors Ruth Rendell and Peter Lovesey — they all started somewhere. And remember, YOU CAN DO IT TOO! We encourage ANY and ALL patrons to join us in trying to write a novel during the month of November. All you have to do is go to www.nanowrimo.org and sign up! Its quick, its easy and its free!
If you do decide to take up the challenge, come see Amy or Megh on the Circulation Desk. We are Old Hats at Nanowrimo (as its affectionately called), and can help you get acclimated. Hope to see you in the Novel Writing Seas!
(Click the title to see if it’s available)
Books About Writing:
- Write Away, Elizabeth George
- Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg
- On Becoming a Novelist, John Gardner
- Master Class: Scenes from a Fiction Workshop, Paul West
- How Fiction Works, James Wood
- Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands, Michael Chabon
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
- Poets & Writers Magazine, “Inspiration Issues” Jan/Feb2011, Jan/Feb2012
Books By Members:
- The Rebel Wife, Taylor M. Polites
- Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, Ann Hood
- The Lost Children, Brett Rutherford
- The Steampunk Trilogy, Paul DiFilippo
- Perishables, Tina Egnoski
- Ricochet, Stuart Blazer
- Wobble to Death, Peter Lovesey
- The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
- The Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevalier
- The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood
- Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro
- Trust, Cynthia Ozick
- Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut
- House of the Spirits, Isabelle Allende
- The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
- Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
- Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins
Amy Eller Lewis, Writer and Circulation Assistant Extraordinaire, presents staff picks on our website each season and is responsible for this post. Thanks Amy.
The 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birthday is on February 7th 2012 and the planned celebrations abound. One of England’s greatest 19th century novelists, Dickens has contributed much to the world, as Alex Hudson writes in this BBC News article.
Abe Books has pulled together some interesting tidbits below:
And many of Charles Dickens titles are available in electronic format from Project Gutenberg. The Providence Athenaeum has an extensive collection of Dickens works including many 19th century editions.
WatchMojo has produced a three minute video montage of films produced from Dickens works. The most popular being A Christmas Carol. Take a look:
Kurt Vonnegut’s official biography came out yesterday And so it goes: Kurt Vonnegut a life by Charles J. Shields.
The New York Times review is mixed but I predict our members will be interested. Vonnegut is immensely quotable and Flavorwire has put together a great post of his utterances. I loved Vonnegut in my 20′s, I eagerly awaited each new novel, but I had to give him up in my 30′s, he was too cynical and dark for someone raising babies. Now it’s time to return to his form of genius.
YouTube has an assortment of interviews, tributes and pans, but this lecture on the shape of stories is classically, cleverly, Vonnegut. Enjoy!
Bruce De Silva has won the Edgar Award for best first novel for Rogue Island, a crime novel set in Providence. He spent some of his 40 year journalism career at the Providence Journal and he says of the city:
“I made Providence not just the setting, but something akin to a main character, in Rogue Island. I never considered setting the series anywhere else.“
We’ll forgive him for living in New Jersey, so long as he continues to use quirky little Rhody for his series setting. Book number two titled Cliff Walk is to be published early next year and he’s working on the third novel.
The Athenaeum has two copies. Check it out next time you’re in.
The Paris Review has been interviewing authors since the early 1950′s and now they are easily accessible from their website. They have grouped the interviews alphabetically and by decade and it is an impressive collection of voices. Each of them has a brief biography before the text of the interview. I had expected audio clips but c’est la vie.
Thanks John and the Resource Shelf
The Library of Congress collaborated with the History Channel to produce short videos on items of interest from their collections. I watched a number of these and I think this story titled A Tale of Two Books about Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman exchanging books in 1856 will intrigue our bibliophile friends.
Thanks to the Resource Shelf
The University of Virginia has launched a digital audio collection of William Faulkner’s two years as writer in residence in the late 1950′s. Over the past ten years they have converted 28 hours of reel-to-reel tape recordings of Faulkner’s speeches, informal talks, with question and answers, and they have done a wonderful job! I’m going to link to the context page, but you can browse or search the collection too.
The audio files require Quicktime, but it’s an easy download. Thanks to the ResourceShelf for this.
There is a mystique that surrounds the Beats and Allen Ginsberg captured it in his photography. The National Gallery of Art currently has an exhibit called Beat Memories consisting of 79 prints of Ginsberg’s photographs. The National Gallery digital collections include exhibit highlights and art talk to listen to. Everyone’s been talking about this exhibit:
NPR’s All things considered did a segment on the exhibit and they have mounted a slide-show on their website. The Daily Beast waxed poetic on the photographs and hosts it’s own gallery. I wonder if the exhibit will travel?
Thanks to the Book Patrol for this.
Bookride posted an interesting piece on The Purple Cloud, a sci-fi or “doomwatch” novel written by M. P. Shiel. I decided to search our “Old Fic” collection to see if we had this or any other of M.P.’s works and we do. Our copy of The Purple Cloud is the 1929 reprint and is unfortunately unadorned.
Shiel evidently wrote sci-fi, fantasy, detective stories, historical romances, horror, basically any genre he wanted. The oldest work of his we have is Prince Zaleski.
Both of these titles are also available electronically from Project Gutenberg and Google books.