Last night my friend Gail and I drove the 2 1/5 hours to the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel where we were attending the Minnesota Book awards. The carefully planned spring dress with swirls of rose and powder blue was cast out of my mind once we were 6 inches deep in snow again and the warning that we were in for up to 10 inches more in the next 4 days.
Instead I wore black dress pants and a fun flowy shirt. Gail and I both smartly brought along our winter boots…. no questions asked as being smart Minnesota girls – you want to be prepared for anything and walking through snow in the 2″ heals I had on did not sound appealing at all.
We arrived early as planned so we could park, know where we needed to be, and then go and find something to eat. We found a Hell’s Kitchen close by and laughed that neither of us had ever eaten there so why not give it a try. As we entered we discovered that we had to (appropriately) go downstairs to enter… errr…. Hell.
We shared pulled beef nachos which sounded interesting and had pickles on it. (Don’t judge…. ) Neither of us were very hungry but we did not know what the gala would have so thought we should eat something.
We then went to the Gala at around 10 to 7 for the 7:00 pm start of the gala…
and we waited until 8 am before they opened the doors.
It wasn’t a bad wait, there was plenty to do out in the open area outside the event. Books, of course of the authors who were up for awards were available.
Coffee and drinks were available as well so Gail and I sat and chatted (seems like we never run out of things to talk about) until they opened the doors.
We walked into a beautifully set area. As a waitress walked back we asked her how many people were there tonight and she promptly told us 800. We had little plates at out place settings of cheese and grapes and crackers. I can not believe I forgot to take a picture of the lovely plate – but I did.
I did however get a picture of the event before they got started:
The emcee was Lorna Landvik and she was a delight. She had party poppers for all the winners and instantly decided that what would make the evening even more fun event would be if we all took a drink of our champagne whenever someone said the word, “book.”
The categories are as follows and the winners were….
Novel and Short Story: The Round House by Louise Eldrich. (* fun note, Last night Louise became the first ever Minnesota author to win a Minnesota book award 5 times)
Award For Books About Minnesota: Mni Sota Makoce: The Land Of The Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White
Award For Young People’s Literature: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach
Award For Poetry: Odessa by Patricia Kirkpatrick
Award For Children’s Literature: It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle
Award for general non fiction: Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life by David Treuer
Award For Memoir and Creative Non Fiction: Turn Here Sweet Corn by Atina Diffley
Award for general fiction: Curse Of The Jade Lilly by David Housewright
One of the fun things I learned last night was that Minnesota is the 8th largest book buying state. We also seem to churn out some pretty amazing authors who support one another through workshops at The Loft and The Anderson Center.
It really was a fun evening of seeing authors and afterwards they had a reception where outside the large room we were in had now transformed to coffees and basil lemonade (which I had to try) and tiny desserts while you mingled with the authors and scoped out the books. We didn’t stay long as we still were heading back to Brainerd and arrived back home around 1:00 am. Both of us still excited about the evening and already talking about plans for next year.
For more information on the Minnesota Book Awards, you can check it out here.
Good morning! Finally I am able to share news with you that I am soooo exited to share and I hope you will just be excited for me… for us… for our area…. ok you get the picture.
Since last fall I have been stewing around with an idea that stemmed off a larger event that is held in the cities. During a Literary session myself and two other wonderful ladies were working on for a grant for our Local Library, we were having a session on Fundraising. “Ugh” I though… as I really do dislike fundraising…..
Yet little did I know what this man was about to talk of would get my creative juices flowing…
I learned about an event that has went on for now ten years right here in my own state that I had never heard of. It is called Opus and Olives and it is a HUGE literary event that is held as a fundraiser every October for the ST Paul Library.
Well… color me interested.
At that moment I knew I wanted to do something similar on a smaller scale here in Brainerd. So…. (and this is where the sssqqqquuuuueeeeee comes in) I have been working since probably last October on ideas of what to call it, where to have it, what it is, etc… and I can now say out loud the BIG piece fell into place on Tuesday of this week.
Our event will be called Wine and Words and it will be held at a beautiful venue in the Brainerd Lakes area on August 23rd at the Arrowwood Lodge. Not only have they offered us a wonderful venue and price for our event tickets, they have sponsored 5 rooms for us to be able to give to our authors who travel to speak.
So…. basic layout is, I have the wine being donated during our social time at 5:30 by Cash Wise Liquor (Mark, you rock!) During that time guests will be able to browse the wonderful silent auction (I already have several signed books donated!) At 6:30 a lovely sit down dinner will be had, and at 7:15 we will have 4 authors (this is what I am now starting to work on) will speak a little on their latest book and afterwards they will be available for book purchases and signing. At the end we will have a few giveaway for our attendees including an IPAD.
A good friend of mine who owns Brown Design in Brainerd *waves to Christy!* is donating her amazing skills to designing our logo and brochure. As of last night, Insty Prints in Brainerd (thank you Ron!) has offered to sponsor our printing.
Last night I was up until 2:00 in the morning working on a website for the event. I am new to this whole website stuff but I was having sooooo much fun that I really forgot to go to bed.
So that is the news. Wine and Words has went from an idea on paper to a reality and people are coming forward and helping. I do hope that if you live anywhere near me you consider attending. All proceeds will go to our local library which does so much good for our community.
Website should be for the most part completed over the next week and go live after that. Tickets will be available hopefully at the end of next week as well.
There it is. The news.
I can’t stop smiling….
As book bloggers, book reviewers, book chatters… whatever you want to call us, it seems if you do this any amount of time you will get book pitches. A book pitch is when an author or publisher or book tour company emails you and gives you the synopsis of the book hoping that you will like what you see and agree to read and review it.
Oh…. if only it were that easy! I have a separate email for all my book related email due to the fact that at times it can really be overwhelming when you are receiving many pitches in a day and you are trying to pick out what you would like to read and then review.
Lately, I have seen a new type of book coming through my email and I curious about what you think about these. What I am referring to is a book that starts out sounding interesting, say the book is about a college graduate, (ok, so far so good) and she is on her way to intern as an assassin under her uncles care (ummm… ok, different but I am still reading)… she is taking with her the household pet, a duck named Killer, and hopefully leaving behind the guy who makes her heart skip a beat, Jamal the tap dancing Eskimo who only speaks in haiku (and… I’m out.)
It is like they start out sounding like they have potential and by the time I am done reading the synopsis my eyes are wide in disbelief and I can not believe how far-fetched the book being pitched has become. I mean, seriously??? Does this sell? Is it just me who can’t stretch that far? I mean, I don’t know maybe I am missing out, these are not all coming from self published authors either but Publishing houses.
I wouldn’t even bring this up if it was a one time email but I have had a few of these recently… good start to the book synopsis and then it is like they went all Jerry Springer on me and I am wondering if there is a “baby daddy” involved and looking over my shoulder for tattooed tutu wearing midget’s playing banjo’s.
My point here…. is it me? Are you receiving these as well?
Thoughts? Please share.
February to me felt a little quick and not as awesome as my January was. It seemed between the back to back retreats in the beginning of the month, my new re-dedication to the gym, taking care of college son and his broken foot for a long weekend and handling all household things while Al (hubby) was gone for three weeks… took a toll on my reading.
Still… thankfully to the awesomeness of audio books, I can report something fairly decent:
That’s my month of reading. I think March will be better, it already feels like it is. Maybe it is the sunlight and melting snow that is making me optimistic.
SO how are you doing so far this year? Are you ahead of last year? Behind? Do you feel your reading style has changed over the past year?
January was a great month here at Book Journey for books and audio. It has been a long time since I have had such a good month. I end with this last day of January with 12 reads completed and reviewed, Here is what they were:
For best of the month, I would say do not pass on Gods In Alabama, The Gilly Salt Sisters and Level 2.
Here is my WHERE I have been reading so far this year. If you are participating in the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge, please add your recap post to the linky below:
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Have you read any of these books? What was your best reads of January?
Recently Alyce at At Home With Books had in a post how she accidentally listened to an abridged audio of a book. “Whew” I thought,” I am not always good at checking the packaging but that has never happened to me.”
I have been listening to On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah and just being annoyed to no end with it. Fellow book lovers who know I am listening to it were saying, “Ooh that is such a good one” and I kept thinking, “Really? You have got to be kidding me.”
SO what’s my problem with it….
Well for one it moves at a ridiculous speed, as in long-lost friends go from grieving a friend and wife to flat-out RELATIONSHIP in one encounter. The whole audio is moving so quickly I am feeling there is no character development…
(you can probably see where I am going here…)
Then today I was driving into work and yet another thing happened while I was listening to this audio, it felt like it skipped an entire section. One moment she is sharing a big happening in her life while they are in bed, and the next sentence it is days later. And then… like a very dim light bulb, I started to get it. I reached for the packaging and sure enough ….
Double whammy actually because I just told Alyce what a rock star I was and that had never happened to me….
So…. that brings me to this post. Why do they make abridged audio? To me it is like picking up the Cliff Notes to a book…. you get the basic idea enough to talk about the book (sort of) but you don’t get the heart of it.
When I looked up information today on abridged books it said they were created for publishers to be able to offer the book at a lesser price. But are they really offering you the book? Or… are they metaphorically ripping out the middle of the books pages and handing you a copy saying, “Here you go, fresh off the bargain table!”
I am truly clueless here and not at all trying to diss the abridged audio put out there or those who create them or listen to them. Obviously there is a reason I am not picking up on .
I am curious about your thoughts on this. Do you read abridged books and if so, what benefits do you find to them? Is listening to an abridged book the equivalent of Cliff Notes?
Thank you Alyce, for inspiring this post. If you had not recently talked about this on your blog, I would probably still be ranting about this audio.
* I have also noticed that the other Kristin Hannah I have unopened in the car ready to listen to next… is also abridged. *sigh*
I am probably revealing a level of geek about myself that I shouldn’t… but…
Every year – long before I was blogging, probably since I was a kid…. I have always made the first book of the year a big deal. The first book for me had to be one I had been wanting to read for a while, one that I couldn’t wait to dig into, even with blogging – that first book excitement each year has not changed.
It is a book I really want to read – not (necessarily) a review book, a book club book or any other book that is on my TBR shelf. This one may have been purchased by me for the occasion…
Here is what I have on the possibility list:
Since meeting James Dashner this past summer and finding him to be smart and funny… I want to read him. This book has been on my shelf for probably the 3 years it has been out. Is this the time?
Can you believe I havent read The Twelve yet? Did you know this is the one book I wanted to leave New York with this past June and I did… and I have passed it around my book club but still have not read it myself? What is wrong with me????
Or Wild? Because this book makes me think of hiking and maybe someday I will go hiking for a long long time… maybe… who knows… I should read the book….
Or…. back to Gillian Flynn? She rocked my world in Gone Girl. Is it time to try another one?
I would love to hear what you are considering for the new year! What is your first book going to be?
As readers/book lovers I believe we take the reading experience quite personally. From the discussions I have had here at Book Journey to the discussions I have participated in or just read all over the web, books can touch our very innermost soul. They make us laugh, cry, become angry, and take us to places we may never step foot in if not for the book. The characters become a part of us… we may know them, or wish we could know them. Some books cause us to wear t-shirts saying ‘Team ______________”, and some make us publicly defend their honor. Some books stay with us for years afterwards, and just thinking of them brings up fond emotions as we gush to a friend, “It’s one of my all time favorites!”
Now… let’s say (Insert a Favorite book title here) is going to become a movie. Enter Joe the Director (yeah, for this post we will call him ‘Joe’). Now Joe has big – BIG ideas of how he is going to turn your beloved book into a movie. He has a vision and you start to hear and see the hub bub of who might play this character or that one….
BUT (and it’s a big one, I will not lie) what if this Director, Joe Whats-his-face’s vision does not line up with what you or I had felt was the heart of the book? What if Joe takes the book an entirely different direction and now what you loved, what you admired, seems to be gone…
Are you in camp:
A. I hate it when my favorite books become movies – it ruins what I loved about the book. I do not see movies that were made from books.
B. I am so excited when a book becomes a movie, I LOVE to see what they will bring out on the screen and how their vision may differ from my own.
C. I am ok with a book becoming a movie as long as they stick true to the nature of the book – like when ____________________ became a movie.
D. I have no opinion either way…. I am just reading the post to see what you are up to.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Can you choose a camp you fall into? Can you name a book to movie that was extremely successful in your opinion? Can you name a book to movie that was an epic fail?
It’s that time of year, even though Minnesota is just starting to get t the snow part which as much as I hate snow, it does make it feel more like the season. SO looking out the window at the lawn, it makes it a little hard to believe that in about two weeks it will be Christmas.
I think it is always funny when friends/family say “I know you love to read but you have so many books that I would never get you a book.”
What they are missing is I love getting books for any occasion.
A book from a friend to me means it is something they think I will enjoy. I love the meaning behind that. They are sharing an adventure within the pages and if they have already read it and want to share that adventure with me, even better. How many gifts out there really come in a nice square (EASY to wrap!) package that is not only lovely to hold… but to go inside, and meet …
That is so exciting to me!
To let me friends and family know the books I hope to experience, I keep an Amazon wish list. I find it easy to use, quick to add new books to, and it makes an easy way for others to pick out something they know I would love.
My questions to you is that as fellow book lovers (HIGH FIVE!) Are books on your wish list? Do you receive books from friends and family as gifts? How do you communicate to them what you would enjoy reading?
Last week I was thrilled to be a part of the initiative for this new program to build the strength and integrity of libraries and literacy programs throughout the state of Minnesota. 6 libraries and 6 Literacy partnership agencies were chosen to partake in this institute. 3 people were sent from each area, I represented the Brainerd Library along with the Librarian and another Library employee.
The institute was this past Thursday and Friday. It involves another weekend in November, an assessment in January, and a wrap up in May of 2013. To be a part of the Institute you have to be available each step of the way.
Our common goal?
“The foundation funding of $388,540 will support an initiative to strengthen the leadership of rural libraries and literacy organizations in order to enhance the service these organizations provide to their communities. The initiative will offer training sessions to small cohorts of library and literacy leaders on critical aspects of running a rural library or literacy organization, from budgeting and board development to strategic planning and cultural competency.”
Our first day we spent going over our strengths as individuals. We all had taken the Strength Finders test as past of this group (I reviewed this book a while back and if you have never took the test I highly recommend it – it is enlightening – the code to take the test is sealed in the back on of the book). They then explained the strengths and how they work together with those in our own groups, as well as with other in the Institute. I had taken this test over a year ago for work and it was fun to do it again and see how my strengths lined up this second time:
My current top 5 are:
Strategic: (Talent driven, these people are innovative, inventive, original, and resourceful.
Arranger: (someone who can take the role of team leader or team player as needed, arranging ideas in a creative way people with these strengths tend to come up with more ideas for brainstorming)
Maximizer: (someone who sees something good, and has the skills and ambition to make it even better. By nature these people enjoy taking full advantage of their talents, enjoy playing games for fun.)
Adaptability: (A free spirit who is seldom thrown off task by unexpected events and comments. Instead you react to things as they occur. You are quite comfortable at letting the future unfold at its own pace. You do better if you are free to respond to demands as they arise. Understandably you dislike being forced to follow someone else’s plan of action.
Empathy: (You are aware of the fluctuating moods of individuals. You can adjust your responses by how the persons mood is set. You may be known as a giver, not a taker. You sense when someone could use assistance.
It really is quite fun!
That evening we had a dinner where they sat us together by our top strengths. I was with a table of Strategic people and we had questions we would answer as table discussion. It was interesting to get to know the other participants.
On Friday we switched gears and had discussion on raising money which normally is not something I enjoy but a particular discussion had me taking notes like crazy, talking to people afterwards for more information, lining up a phone meeting and well… I dont want to say too much right now but I hopeful that I am on to something that could be rather exciting and raise funds next year for our Library and Literacy programs locally.
As Friday went on we had the lunch speaker, author Kao Kaila Yang who I wrote about on Saturday. Later in the day we spent time discussing goals with our assigned mentors who will be guiding up through this seven month process.
I really enjoyed my time working with this institute and learning more about our local Library and how it functions as well as the literacy obstacles we need to overcome as a state (funding cuts in schools, etc…) It really is an honor to be a part of this and I will keep you informed each step of the way.
Here is some more information on what we are doing.