Reading for Truth
March 13, 2011

This is not about books or bookshelves, but it is about reading.

Begin with this New York Times article. Read it as you would any newspaper article. (Just as I was publishing this piece, I checked th link only to find that the Times has put the story behind a registration wall! Why? Probably because of the outrage that is all over the web.) What do you remember about it? The town? The crime? The aftermath? Who or what do you think about after you finish it?

Once you have done that (or if you read it before), do this: read it a second time, only this time give individual attention to each word in the article. Analyze the writer’s choice of words and how he puts them together. Where is his emphasis? Is the message you got from your second reading different from the message you got from your first?

Here is what you should remember about it. Why? Because the difference between the two articles is how we define our personal and societal values, ethics, and lives. It shapes them, defines how we interact with others, what entertainment we choose, what we accept as “acceptable.” It has, now that you have read it and for better or worse, become part of you. How do you feel about that?

Upcoming Book Festivals:
It’s the start of book festival season, and this next week’s and weekend’s events are concentrated on the east coast. Heads up all you over there!

Beginning on March 16 and running through March 20 is the Virginia Festival of the Book to be held in Charlottesville. Beginning with a Leadership Breakfast with David Shenk, its many events include lectures, group presentations, a calligraphy exhibit, the opening ceremony, author talks that cover a wide range of subjects, a multimedia cosmic presentation, a cooking demonstration, poetry and other readings, and more. And that’s just the first day. There are also workshops for writers, a festival luncheon with Jim Lehrer (already sold out), a various receptions, arts & crafts, storytelling, a book fair and a kids’ book swap, various Publishing Day workshops, a Crime Wave luncheon, the Anarchist Book Fair, the Author’s Reception, the Headliner show, Celebration Lunch, a gallery show at the Arts of the Book Center, and, as I said, lots more. If you can . . . go!

From Friday, March 18 through Saturday, March 20, Old Greenwich, Connecticut, will play host to the Ephemera 31: International Vintage Fair & Conference. More than ninety exhibitors will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with books and related ephemera. House are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, and from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday. There is also a conference on Friday and on Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for those aged 12-21, and free for anyone under the age of 12. If you would like to have something appraised, the cost is five dollars per items; it will be offered between 12:30 and 2:00 pm on Saturday.

The Southwest Florida Reading Festival will take place on Saturday, March 19 in Fort Myers from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Two dozen authors, seventy-five marketplace exhibitors, and ten special events (including two writers’ workshops/luncheons/signings, five Meet-and-Greets, and an evening with the authors at the Royal Palm Yacht Club) promise to make this a very special literary day.

Warrensburg, Missouri will host the Children's Literature Festival from March 20-22 is created especially for children in grades 4-10. Unlike many, this festival requires pre-registration; prices for adults are $15 and for children are $8. The Sunday Luncheon with Michael Spradlin is priced separately at $25. More than three dozen authors and illustrators.

The Pub House:
Capuchin Classics, a UK house that specializes in “reviving great works of fiction which have been unjustly forgotten or neglected,” though they have expanded into travel, biography, and belles lettres. Since March 2008 , they have issued twenty-four books to date. Among them are An Error of Judgement by Pamela Hansford Johnson, the story of Setter, a consultant who devotes his work to the “rehabilitation of the lonely and the misunderstood” until a crime that affects hidden cruel streak is committed and he chooses a punishment to enforce. Green Dolphin Country, a novel “of love, courage, and selfless devotion” based on facts and first published in 1944, is an epic set in the Channel Islands and New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Non Combatants and Others by Rose Macaulay is a pacifist novel set in 1915, that has Alix Sandomir coming into conflict with the ineffective societal role assigned to her because of her gender when she learns of her brother’s death on the front line.

Imaging Books & Reading:
Naked reading? Yes, indeed, with warm weather nearing, reading while naked is not only cool but fun.  

Of Interest:
Are you a teacher involved with high school or community college students who have an interest in writing literary nonfiction, specifically biographies? If so, check out the Student Biography Contest. Students around the nation will compete for ten scholarships that will enable them (and a selected teacher) to attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference due to takeplace in Grapevine, Texas, from July 22-24.  Press releases, contest rules, tips and sources for writing a biography, and more can be found on the linked page.

Until next week, read well, read often and read on!




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