The month of May is made of awesome! Aside from the eventual cessation of rain and the appearance of fields of flowers, the requisite birds and pollen-loaded bees, fuzzy chickies and wobbly-legged lambs, it's filled with fun stuff like Jules' birthday (woot!), the Byron Carmichael Promotion at Flamingnet.com, well-dressed vampires (Coming soon!), blog tours, and INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES.
Today, I want to give my shout-out to the grrlz at Shrinking Violets who have dedicated themselves and their blog to making some noise for our favorite Indies every day this month.
Why, you ask, are we celebrating only independent bookstores? Because indies, with their smaller stock, usually more attentive staff and neighborhood clientèle are the wind beneath many an author's career wings. Community and culture can be nurtured in the smaller venues, as readers come in, linger, and stay. Independent bookstores can be less intimidating place for authors to read their work, find out about their audience, and connect.
Supporting independents may seem an affectation to some -- a way of striking back politically against the idea of superstores and big-box retail, but it's not an urban myth that often the bookstore staff in smaller stores have a working knowledge of literature and a genuine love of books. To a lot of people who work at indies, their job is not just a job. So, we're celebrating their efforts and their integrity. Sure, B&N and other places exist and have lots and LOTS of books, but this month, we're celebrating the right to buy our books in small shops too, and the bookistas at Shrinking Violets have taken the time to share some really cool alternatives to mall bookstores. Viva las choices! Let's get loud in our support of indies! They're almost as good as the public library!
WOWZA, being a librarian (and/or a parent) is hard, hard, hard. Check out what Mr. Hornbook is talking about at the Massachusetts Library Association. When does a kid have civil rights? I'm really *very* interested in this conversation as I was not allowed to read fiction as a kid -- but my mother went to the library with me. She didn't trust my book choices to another adult, she was the one raising me. But for others, should a librarian guide kids to only type of books of which their parents would approve? Where does their responsibility end and a child's right to read begin? GREAT topic.
Via Shaken & Stirred, Carrie Jones is talking about class and dialogue in writing. This is a huge topic, and Carrie opens it up beautifully.
It's kind of a trip to read about ...other people who grew up poor. Neither of my parents went to college, while A.F.'s mom teaches college. My parents have taken a bunch of JC courses, but for a long time it made me cringe to think how I was the first in my family with a Master's. (And then my sister went and got two. *sigh*) My grandmother only got through third grade, and then the Depression came, and she had to take care of her siblings while both her parents looked for work. Books and reading and education are still held to be precious in many families like ours, but those with education speak differently, which opens up a wide rift between themselves and the rest. Where does language fit in? Can it bridge the gap and close it? Or can it only make it wider? Stay tuned throughout this week as Carrie "breaks it down" at Through the Tollboth.
Man, I just finished reading Elizabeth E. Wein's The Lion Hunter (stay tuned for review), and may I just say that this woman writes like Gosh, Golly and Wow!? I cannot understand how I didn't hear screaming from around the world at the way this book ended, and waiting the year it took for the sequel to emerge must have been NERVE WRACKING. Fortunately, Sharyn November graciously sent me both books at once, but now it's on me to go back and find every single other book she's ever written and read them ALL. And can you believe SHE LIVES AN HOUR FROM ME: ANOTHER AMERICAN WRITER HERE IN SCOTLAND!? I TOTALLY call Elizabeth Wein for Winter Blog Blast Tour. I'm just sayin'.
Mildred Loving, a woman whose name is part of history, died last week. Loving Day, a day held in her honor, comes from Loving v. Virginia (1967), the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the United States. Loving Day celebrations commemorate the anniversary of the Loving decision every year on or around June 12th, and celebrates interracial families. People have tried to make this an official holiday for years, and though Ms. Loving never lived to see it, I hope this year's celebration is extra special, in her memory.