Tag Archives: Writing

Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon

Comics, horror, noir crime, sword and sorcery, and YA lit are all brought to the fore in Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands. This collection of short essays riffs on the gamut of genre fiction, finding interesting ways to defend genre fiction and to connect it to “high” literature. Chabon brings his own insights on writing – a process often obscured by one’s experiences as a reader – as he alchemically unites diverse and disparate topics from Norse epics to Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!  Not just dry literary theory here, no sir. 

In the essay from which the book derives its name, Chabon regales readers with a childhood tale of his family’s move to an unfinished subdivision. Rather than the typical narrative of being stifled by suburban newness and sterility, Chabon imparts a feeling of awe at such open opportunity. It is an awe that motivates him to fill a sketchy map of the subdivision with wonders, as if drawing out secrets from the air. Readers are able to vicariously feel that rush of power inherent in the creative process, one which leaves you in its afterglow wondering how you have gotten from start to finish.

Filling in the map is – to the author – part of a more general aesthetic of writing from the vantage point of exile. As he sees it, both Jews and lovers of genre fiction are vibrant communities often excluded from the mainstream of society and literature respectively. It is this position of exile which tethers Chabon to his Jewish roots and to genre fiction as a collective whole.

Other pieces are, in some ways, meditations on loss of youth and its closely-associated sense of adventure. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is characterized in such a manner. The only criticism in this laudatory essay is that the heroine of the trilogy, Lyra Belacqua, becomes a much flatter, less interesting character as she moves from unbounded agency to dutiful fulfillment of destiny. In essence, Chabon views Pullman as much greater at exploring the map of his richly developed tale than in reaching the story’s destination.

Maps and Legends is for fans of genre fiction, particularly those who do not mind blending and blurring of genre’s boundaries, or of writing about writing. 

Formats Available: Book

Review by Tony, Main Library

Reading, Writing, and Reviewing, pt. 1

Really, how hard is it to knock out a book? It’s just a few hundred pages sitting there on your desk. But, hey, you’re a busy cat and you’ve got things to do!

Words on a page ought not to be daunting but sometimes it’s impossible to escape the guilt.  That story keeps haunting you, a ghost lingering in the back of your mind. If it’s good, it’s a welcome tug that will finally pull you back into graceful orbit over a magical world. And if the tale is terrible, well, then it’s like being back in high school with that burnt out teacher. You know the one, he or she took joy in watching you squirm when they asked a master’s thesis level question you had no chance of answering.

You know what sometimes can be worse? Having to write a review about a book, particularly one that may be underwhelming. This is especially true if you have settled into reading a particular sub-genre that you are a little bored with from jump. I mean, urban fantasy is a good ten years past it’s heyday in my mind. So it’s really on me because I wanted comfort. I selected the book using a loose familiarity with the author and a summary on the back of the paperback which teased a slightly new twist to well-worn genre tropes.

What work is this? Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire. I’m not even really going to describe it beyond the following:

“Verity Price is a tough young woman with a secret life protecting ‘cryptids’ (magical) beings from harm who has to take on the hot young zealot out to get them, only to end up teaming up with him to rescue a dragon from an evil cult. Sexy times and ballroom dancing ensue.”

Barring snappy banter here and there, that’s really it. Plus sequels.

Don’t get me wrong, McGuire is normally a great read (I like her other series, featuring the character October Daye) and moments really do shine in the book. There surely are people who must love the series because she keeps writing sequels.  So far, seven novels have been published and another one is scheduled for release in early 2019.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it because, hey, maybe it’s just not for me. But what I’d like to focus on for the rest of this article (and other upcoming ones) is what to do when you find yourself in a corner such as I ended up. Where does that next book come from?

Usually you ask someone, right? If it’s someone who knows you and they have the right frame of mind, they can match something to you in no time. At the very least you will find out what they are reading. That gives you something to talk about the next time you see them if nothing else.

Maybe you are reading a magazine that gives reviews. Maybe you are watching TV and they interview an author about their latest work. Or maybe you go into store with books and just browse until something strikes your fancy.

These are the things that most people do but — commonly — there is one thing they do not do or do very rarely. What is that one thing? Ask your local librarian for a suggestion.

If you are unable to make it to a library branch, you can always use our online Ask a Librarian form. Short answers will be sent within 24 hours. Longer answers will be returned as soon as possible.

Or during the months of December 2018, January 2019, and February 2019, you can sign up for suggestions from a librarian as part of our Books & Brews 502. All you need to do is attend one of the scheduled events.

For more info on LFPL’s Adult Winter Reading Program, click here.

Article by Tony,Main Library

Local Author Fair at the Main Library

This Saturday, December 1st, 2018, from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Join Louisville’s writing community at the Main Library to share knowledge and resources with established and aspiring writers.

Spend your day at the Author’s Market to meet and network with 20+ independent and self-published authors, and hear presentations from authors and the experts at Insider Louisville, Savvy Communication, Louisville Literary Arts, and LFPL.

Whether you are a writing pro or a beginner, you can write, edit, and design digital and print copies of your book with ease using FREE resources and services offered by the Library, services you will learn all about at this Local Author’s Fair.


Presenters 

  • Amy Miller – The Literary Culture in Louisville
  • Susan Lindsay – How to Hire and Work with an Editor
  • Patricia Smith – Researching and Integrating Historical Material with a Fictional Story
  • Kevin Gibson – Choosing a Forum for Publication

Author’s Market Participants

  • Nancy Beranek
  • Dan Bowlds
  • Tiara Church
  • Courtney Diles
  • Carolyn Furdek
  • Cathy Fyock
  • Lindsay Gargotto
  • Kevin Gibson
  • Kenn Grimes
  • Cynthia Hoosier
  • Keith Huff
  • Shaneeka Jones
  • Susan Lindsey
  • Veda McClain
  • Amy Miller
  • Amy Metz
  • Rose Pressey
  • Patricia Smith
  • Carson Torpey
  • Tytianna N.M. Wells
  • Ron Whitehead

Main Library
301 York Street

LouisvilleKY 40203
502-574-1611

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Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power, and Pleasure of Reading And Writing, Edited by Stephanie Stokes Oliver

Some time ago, a friend and I were discussing what it might be like to lack the ability to read and write. How many people today lack the wherewithal to decipher the black squiggly lines and put meaning to the words? Many of us cannot remember a time before we couldn’t read.

For a moment, place yourself in a foreign country that displays signs, names of streets, buildings and warnings, of which  none are in English. How will you find your way around or locate some place to eat or sleep?

Step for a time into the shoes of those whose rights were stolen, particularly the right to read. How would you feel? Frustrated? Powerless?

Be thankful that you have the ability to read and understand the essays edited by Stephanie Stokes Oliver and walk in the footsteps of those who suffered, struggled and overcame great difficulty to learn something you were given before you could miss it, knowledge of the written word.

Stephanie Stokes Oliver presents the book in three parts with writers of the various time periods; The Peril (1800-1900), The Power (1900-1968) and The Pleasure (1968-2017). This essay anthology follows the journeys of a multitude of African-Americans throughout history from Frederick Douglass to former president Barrack Obama on the importance of the ability to read and write. As you read each essay, you see how notable people lived their lives with a burning passion, the voracious need to decipher the written word, to express themselves in writing, to make a better life for themselves.

In The Peril, the reader will meet people like Solomon Northup. In his memoir, 12 Years as a Slave, Mr. Northup writes of his desperation to get a letter to a dear friend. He painstakingly boiled white maple bark to create the ink and plucked the wing of duck to use as the pen.

Did the letter reach its intended reader? You will have to read Black Ink to learn the answer.

The largest portion of essays are in The Power, a time period which includes comments from people like Maya Angelou. Angelou credits Ms. Flowers, who gave her lessons in life starting with reading, in part for her ability to read.  They shared classic books, such as A Tale of Two Cities, and after a time Ms. Flowers gave her a book of poetry for which Angelou memorized a poem she could share, strengthening her reading skills.  Why was this time period so filled with power of the written word?

In The Pleasure section, we hear about Roxane Gay* who recalls what drove her passion of reading was the desire to read the Sweet Valley High series.  “I waited for new Sweet Valley High books the way other kids waited for new comics or movie releases.”  What was so compelling about this series for Roxane Gay? To learn what the draw was behind this serialized storyline, read Black Ink.

My need to read this title came from the 2018 Read Harder Challenge from BookRiot.com as it fulfilled the challenge of reading an essay anthology.  In my opinion, the passion, the need and the love of reading from the various time periods through the decades are at the heart of these stories.  Oliver’s final summary is succinct and it drives home an important lesson for all, “Reading matters.  Writing matters. People matter.” Reading is an inalienable right for everyone.


*Roxanne Gay is a regular contributor to the New York Times and released a memoir last year called Hunger.


 

Format Available: Book, eBook

Review by Micah, St Matthews Branch

Indie Author Day at the Library

Indie Author Day

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Join us at the South Central Regional Library for a celebration of local Indie authors and learn about IndieLou, the suite of services available from the Library that helps authors create, share, and promote their works.

Here’s the event roster:

1:00-4:00 PM: Local Author Marketplace

1:30-2:30 PM: Panel discussion with four local authors:
Amy Metz, Tytianna Wells-Smith, Bill Noel, and Atty Eve

3:00-4:00 PM: Memoir Writing Workshop by Kimberly Crum, MSW, MFA

Location: 

South Central Regional Library

7300 Jefferson Blvd.
LouisvilleKY 40219
Phone: 502-964-3515 

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LFPL Resources for Local Writers

IndieLou resources

 

 

 

 

Local authors – indie, self-published, aspiring, and mainstream – now have a unique opportunity to create an eBook, connect with readers and promote their books at the Library.

Self-published authors can even upload their eBooks for possible inclusion in the Library’s online collection.

create and design your own professional eBook Upload your eBook and share it with local libraries throughout the state Promote - schedule an author talk at the library

MORE HELPFUL LINKS

So You Want to Be a Writer?

Saturday, January 23, 2016 – 10:00 AM12:00 PM

KellyCreagh

Join author Kelly Creagh for a crash course on writing and publishing.

Space is limited.  Please call 574-1611 and press “0” to register.

The idea of writing a book can be overwhelming.  Where do you start?  What do you need to know about the craft?  What are your options for publication, and how do you find an agent or editor?

Join author Kelly Creagh for a crash course on writing and publishing, and learn tips and strategies to help you start, finish, and publish your work.

BIO: Kelly Creagh is the author of the Nevermore trilogy, a modern day, supernatural romance for young adult readers that is inspired by the life, works and mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe. Kelly is a 2008 graduate of Spalding University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. In addition to writing, Kelly enjoys teaching and performing the ancient art of belly dance. Visit her at www.KellyCreagh.com.

301 York Street

Louisville, KY USA 40203