Books on tap for the new year
Published: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 11:03 p.m.
It's only proper to open up this column at the beginning of a brand new year to invite in those who might have been peering in from the margins. You see, not just anybody can get into this newspaper-based book club. You have to have the right stuff.
Join the club
We are beginning a new year of reading with the recent Pulitzer Prize winner, "The Known World" by Edward P. Jones. We'll also read the novel "Fever, 1793" by Laurie Anderson, which is listed on the Sunshine State Reading List for Middle School. Send your comments to Shelleyfm@aol.com or PO Box 1408, Alachua, FL 32616.
So, at the beginning of every year, I set out our list of don'ts:
1) You don't have to show up. Reading and sending in a comment at any time during the week or month is good enough for us. 2) You don't have to comb your hair. Heck, we don't care if you don't even take a bath. 3) You don't have to live close. Follow us online when you go on vacation or move away. Our conversation here is available through my Web site at www.shelleymickle.com by subscribing to my newsletter, which goes out each Monday morning after I've fed my livestock. 4) You don't have to be of any specific age. And you don't have to floss. We don't even give a flying flip if you don't have a computer to e-mail from. We have a P.O. box, and if your handwriting can't equal John Hancock's, we won't tell.
Here's the only Do: Do get us your thoughts through snail-mail, paper airplane, or whispering them to me in a grocery-store aisle. I've gotten some of my best comments this way.
You can send in your responses anonymously or with an explanation point. You can organize your business, neighborhood or club into a group and have them featured here. Just select a book and let me know.
Here's the bottom line: Connecting reading with writing, and having grown-ups model for younger readers, is worth more than five free tickets to the state fair. Isn't it super valuable for young citizens to see that we don't stop reading once we graduate from somewhere?
Reading literary art is one of the best ways I know to change our personal emotional landscapes. By that I mean, we learn a variety of ways to react to various life experiences. Joseph Campbell, who wrote "The Power of Myth," pointed out that we don't look to stories to tell us the meaning of life. We need stories to tell us how to live in the world. And that's exactly what we're doing here - "practicing" through our imaginations for a range of life experiences.
Here's my list for a yearlong conversation. Of course, there will be changes in the rhythm to make way for a One City, One Story project. But here's what's on tap:
There you have it. Any bookstore can order these. They are also available online. I wish you a hearty new year and 365 days of vigorous reading.
Put joining Novel Conversations on your resolutions list. We'll be glad to have you.
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