Friday, February 23, 2007

Libraries - You've Gotta Love Them

Hmmm, the new Blogger doesn't like me. It's now taking me 3 attempts on different pages to log in, and sometimes it won't let me in at all. Hence this post has been delayed. I only like technology when it works.
I have just collected a reserve from my library - the second novel by Stuart MacBride (he of the crime novels set in Aberdeen where it rains all the time). I've never found any of his books in the bookshops here, so that's why I love the library. And why I shudder every time I read of funding cuts to libraries. Not just because it might affect me, although my local council is pretty good about our library funding so far, but because there are thousands and thousands of people who can't afford to buy books or even have the internet at home, and most of them are kids. You want your kids to learn stuff and love reading? Take them to the library, get them a library card, and then let them loose to choose whatever they want.
I discovered a new blog the other day, by accident, as we often do on the net. "When Dad Killed Mom" has long been a favourite book of mine, and then I found that its author, Julius Lester, has a website and a blog. His blog is wonderful, and is the kind of reading that keeps you thinking for some time after. The other day he was writing about silence and rest (ah yes, I kind of remember what they are!), and then about the way we are so obsessed with buying and selling stuff, and how commerce rules our world.
Have a look at
I've just finished reading a Peter Temple crime novel - Temple is one of Australia's best-known crime writers and wins lots of the local awards. I have been trying to track down some of the books by the newer female crime writers here but no luck so far. I belong to Sisters in Crime, and often read the reviews in their newsletter, but finding the books in the shops is not quite so easy.
Writing here continues, somewhat like wading through a bog in gumboots (galoshes? wellingtons?) that are a size too big for me. I sometimes talk to students about the middle-of-the-book-blues, but mostly we never get to that point because in a year of classes, most of them don't get beyond Chapter 3. So instead I talk a lot about perseverance and words on the page (regularly) and discipline and sticking at it and goal setting ... in the end it's up to them. You either have to really want to write that novel and tell that story, or you end up with odd chapters all over the place and nothing finished.
I agree with the people who say just finishing the first draft is worth a bottle of champagne!

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