Monday, 26 January 2009

Congratulations to Neil.....and support your local library challenge

Hurray!!! The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Award!! When I saw this, I gave a little jump of glee. Strangely enough, on the weekend I found myself wondering why Coraline made my list of best reads of 2008, and The Graveyard Book didn't. Coraline scared me. Plain and simple. It's a book for children, yes, but something about it is adult, it's for the child in all of us, who wanted to leave our families - run away - even if only for a moment or half a day - Coraline is about what the world is really like, that every child knows. Those button eyes still creep me out.

And yet, there is magic in The Graveyard Book. The longer I am away from it, the more I remember how he opens with that truly frightening scene, and how he makes life in the graveyard as poetic and haunting as it must be, if one were to live in a graveyard. I think I didn't like that he didn't get to keep his little friend, the only one who could see him, the girl. In my happy-ending world, they do stay friends! but it's a quibble, and doesn't detract from the overall beauty of the book. So, even though it's after the list, I'm officially adding The Graveyard Book to my list of best reads of 2008. Alongside Coraline. I really can hardly wait for my children to be old enough for me to read both books to them. Isn't it wonderful that a book about death, and life after death, and spirits, and love, can be a Newbery Award winner? A children's book award winner? Both Becky , and also here, and Chris also mention the Newbery Award winner.

This has been the coldest January we have had in several years. Once again most of the day we were barely above -20 c. Not until 4 did we get -14c. With our buses still being on strike - day 48 was today - my world has shrunk to the carpool from home to work and back, and then to the nearby tiny mall that houses a grocery store. I haven't been out of the house apart from work and groceries since we arrived Jan 5 from England. I'm beginning to feel like a pioneer wife in old days - as the snow fell deeper and deeper, the houses in the countryside would be shut off from the world and each other. So I'm very thankful for the electronic age, which keeps me connected to the world even if I can't really get out! I am considering getting a driving license, finally. I hate being unable to get out and go where I want to go. And I really hate the January cold. I like the sun, and warm temperatures. This is like a mini-version of hell! I can't get out for my daily walks because it's so cold, so now my clothes are getting tighter....

So I thought I'd talk about what I'm going to do when the buses come back - please let it be before April. How can we be the capital city of Canada and not be able to resolve a transit dispute? So among the many things I will be grateful for when the buses come back, before I get my driver's license (it will be a year before I can drive on my own anyway), is that I can go to the library. I've decided to join the library challenge, in part to ease up on my wallet, and to get back to reading books that I don't necessarily want to buy, especially mystery and fantasy series that I want to try first.

J. Kaye is hosting the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge, go here to sign up. The rules are easy:

** The first is to read 12 books from your local library in 2009.
** The second is to read 25 books from your local library in 2009.
** The third is to read 50 books from your local library in 2009.

You decide which one of the three challenges is best for you.

Here are the guidelines:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

I'm joining the second one, 25 books from my local library.

I don't have any library books out yet, so the list will be on my sidebar below the button for the challenge.

I love our library, and have spent many long afternoons just going from shelf to shelf, picking up books at random, or running in for a book on hold, or looking at the paperback shelves to see what was new. We have a decent library, with interesting books in different areas, so I find the coolest books to read! My children all had their library card before their first birthday. Our library allows adults to take out adult books on the children's cards!!! lol you know what this means, instead of my 25 books, I can take out more at once! and they can be renewed for up to three times straight, unless there is a request for it. Yes, I think the library is an excellent resource, and worthy to keep open. Let's hope the bus strike is over soon!!

I love this quote from Ursula Le Guin's essay, "Why are Americans Afraid of Dragons?":

What, then, are the uses of imagination?
You see, I think we have a terrible thing here: a hardworking, upright, responsible citizen, a full grown-up, educated person, who is afraid of dragons, and afraid of hobbits, and scared to death of fairies. It's funny, but it's also terrible. Something has gone very wrong. I don't know what to do about it but to try and give an honest answer to that person's question, even though he often asks it in an aggressive and contemptuous tone of voice. "What the good of it all?" he says. "Dragons and hobbits and little green men - what's the use of it?"
The truest answer, unfortunately, he won't even listen to. He won't hear it. The truest answer is, "The use of it is to give you pleasure and delight."

Isn't that a beautiful reason why we read? For pleasure and delight.

And a lovely explanation for why we treasure books so - they are our doorway to imagination.


Chris said...

Oh no! A bus strike in weather that cold!! I hope it gets back soon and that there aren't too many people walking to work, lol. I'm so glad to see that you added The Graveyard Book to your best of list :) I was sad that he didn't get to keep his little friend either...but such is life :(

Cath said...

I'm doing the 25 book library challenge too. Luckily, our library is close enough to walk to (about 15 mins) so the vagaries of the bus service don't affect me. (I'm not a keen driver.) I hope your strike is over soon, 48 days is too long!

What is the Ursula le Guin book of essays you quote from? I have one which I've yet to read - The Wave in the Mind. Your quotes have made me get it out to start reading.

DesLily said...

strikes hurt those "on strike" more than anyone else. I sometimes wonder how much good they do??

I hope it's over for you soon.. although something like this also makes people find other ways to get things done and some don't go back to their old habits of how much they use the bus

Anonymous said...

Oh no gosh! That is tooooooo cold!!

Nymeth said...

lol, I gave a little jump too. And I'm just as thrilled that Terry Pratchett won a Printz honor even though I know it's not as big a deal as the actual medal. Still, I'm hoping for a Carnegie Medal for Nation. And isn't it just wonderful that so many fantasy books were among the winners/honor books?

Gah, sorry to hear about the awful weather :( I often long for snow, but not that much snow!

I joined the Support your Local Library challenge I need to actually start reading books for it :P

I've read "Why are Americans Afraid of Dragons?" in a different book (Only Connect, an anthology of essays on children's lit - so good!), and it's just a brilliant essay :)

Debi said...

I'm fairly new to your blog, but I just had to say how much I love it! Your posts are so warm and welcoming. And so very interesting. I feel like I'm sitting down listening to an old friend chatting away about books and life in general. I always find myself thinking, "Oh yes, I so agree" or "Wow, what a cool perspective" or "Oh, I'd love to hear more about that"...but in the end I end up not knowing what to say at all. Silly of me, I know. Anyway, I just had to finally let you know how very much I enjoy reading your posts!

Debbie said...

I'm going to have to share that quote from the essay. It's too good to pass up. The bus strike is still on? and in this weather? sorry.
We'll wish for an early spring!

Susan said...

chris: there are lots of people walking! Part of the problem is that Ottawa is spread over 20 miles, so it's not easy to get around without a vehicle. thanks for the sympathy though!

Cath: The book is 'The Language of the Night', for Ursula's essays, published in 1979. The Wave in the Mind is her latest book of essays. I still have to pick that one up. I can get to our library - about a 25 min walk. So good exercise, my problem is I always find so many books to bring home, that I can't carry them all!! lol

Deslily: I wrote a letter to our city councillor and mayor telling them I was going to learn to drive! lol I'm not being held hostage any longer than I have to be. It's still hard in the winter though!

J.Kaye: thanks! We think it's too cold too!! lol

nymeth: I didn't even think of it as fantasy books winning, so you are right, there. Thanks for pointing it out, I think it ought to be celebrated! hurrah for fantasy! I haven't read any Terry Pratchett, so I have to soon. I have a friend who owns all his books. I am glad that he won an award for Nation.

I think I have seen Only Connect in stores in the past. I know i don't have it yet! It's good to know that the essay keeps getting picked up. I think that fantasy still doesn't get the respect it should, and I enjoy reading why the best writers write in that medium.

speaking of snow, we have a storm moving in tomorrow. At least it's not super cold right now!

Debi: I tried to find you on blogger, but you haven't opened your profile up, so can you tell me if you have a blog where I can come visit you? thank you so much for visiting, and for leaving a comment. you are so complimentary! thanks! If there's anything more you want to hear about, just let me know! And I do write as if I am sitting down to tea and cookies (or chocolate brownies, yum) with my bloggers, talking about books, so I'm glad the feeling is coming across.

Debbie: we are all wishing for an early spring! lol see above, I told Nymeth we have a snow storm coming in :-O so spring isn't coming tomorrow, and the strike is at another stalemate again.

go ahead, use that quote, it's a great one, isn't it? I'm glad you like it. I'll be putting more on as I read her essays. :-) The more people who think about what's good about fantasy and science fiction (since this is for Carl's mini challenge), the better, and I want to help raise its profile as a genre worth more respect than it gets.

Carl V. said...

I'm certainly okay with you amending your list for such a great book like The Graveyard Book. It certainly was one of the best of my reads for 08 and will be a novel I enjoy again and again in the future. I'm thrilled for Neil, really thrilled.

I set a goal for myself last year to read at least one book from the library each month and I nearly doubled that. I would like to at least meet the 24 book goal to truly double it and I'm off and running already this year with a pile of library books that I am working my way through. It is even more important in these economic times to utilize the local library.

Susan said...

Carl: I like your goal of reading a book a month from the library! Congratulations on achieving it! I've joined with you, 25 books from the library this year. A very worthy goal1 We have a pretty good library too, and an excellent request system too.

I'm glad you like The graveyard Book so much also. I really can hardly wait to read it to my children when they are a bit older. and rereading it myself, as you say, I think it's one that can be read and reread over and over.