Monday, April 27, 2009

Picturing America On Display

The Russell County Public Library will have an art display from Picturing America on May 2nd - May 3rd during regular library hours. Picturing America is a grant that the library received in 2008, containing American art and photography from various artists from the 19th century to the present, which are reproduced in large posters for easy viewing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Why Is It a Sin to Read for Fun?"

This is the title of an article in the newest edition of Newsweek, and the question it poses certainly deserves an answer. Here at RCPL, our patrons check out a variety of books for a variety of purposes, and many of them, and many of the employees here, myself included, enjoy reading for fun. So I ask you, the reader(s) of our blog, to thoughtfully consider whether reading for fun is really without merit.
In the body of the article, which focuses on Jodi Picoult, a very popular choice here at the library, the writer, Jennie Yabroff, includes a quotation by author Zadie Smith: "'...readers fail when they allow themselves to believe that fiction is the thing you relate to and writers the amenable people you seek out when you want to have your own version of the world confirmed and reinforced.'" For her part, Picoult acknowledges that "her popularity, as well as her accessible writing style, means she'll never win a Pulitzer Prize."
So, what say you, our patrons and readers? Is Smith's quotation an accurate assessment of why readers choose fiction? Is writing in an accessible manner really a Pulitzer deterrent? Is reading for fun really all that bad?

Our Verdict:
Not all books are created equal. However, flowery prose and a distinct lack of mainstream popularity should not a Pulitzer win. Not all readers enjoy Dickens, Twain, or Fitzgerald. However, many readers who do also enjoy the occasional foray into more fluffy fiction. And Picoult, whose prose is quite lovely, if a bit simple, certainly does not deserve literary oblivion merely because her works are accessible and popular.
As for reading for fun, books can take us places we may never visit. They are doors and windows we can open, and cliffs from which we can plunge into any world we choose, and some we wouldn't choose. There is nothing wrong at all with taking pleasure from such experiences.

-Katie Britt

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Updates, and the Importance of Local Authors

Hello, readers, and our apologies - that is, all of us here at RCPL - for the lag in postings! The library can be a bustling place, and has been lately. We're quite glad for the rise in traffic and circulation! Also, we would like to say a fond farewell to Ann, our exiting circulation assistant, and a glad hello to Madelene, who has officially become a circulation assistant. And lastly, next week, April 13th through April 19th, is National Library Week! Come in and browse our shelves, and show your appreciation for your local library! And know, patrons, that we appreciate all of you as well!
Now, concerning a matter of local interest, at the end of this month, the Lebanon branch of the library will host two local authors for readings and signings. Neva Bryan, author of St. Peter's Monsters, will visit us on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. Nancy Hill Johnson, whose work, Raised by Flesh, Wood, and Plastic, celebrates the life of her mother, will make her appearance the following Saturday, April 25th, at 11:00 a.m. Books will be sold, and light refreshments will be served at both events.
Personally, as a voracious reader, I would of course encourage attendance of book readings and signings as a rule. I especially encourage attendance of readings and signings by local authors. Just as it is important to buy locally grown produce and support locally owned and operated businesses, it is important to support local writers. So, come out and let these talented ladies know how much you enjoy the work they've done!

--Katie Britt