UNESCO World Book Capital

Each year The United Nations Educational, Scientific and  Cultural Organization searches for a city to name the “World Book Capital” with is an “acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.”

The entire book industry participates in this initiative, including the International Publishers Associations (IPA-UIE, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and the International Booksellers Federation (IBF).

To be considered for the award the candidate programs, presented or endorsed by the major of the applicant city, has  be aimed at promoting books and fostering reading during the period between one World Book and Copyright Day and the next (23 April). The selection committee will examine the candidate programs, making a special effort to involve all regions of the world in turn, in accordance with the following criteria:

  • the degree of participation of all levels (from the municipal to the international level)
  • the program’s potential impact
  • the scope and quality of the activities proposed by the candidates, and the extent to which they involve writers, publishers, booksellers and libraries
  • any other projects promoting books and reading
  • the extent to which the programs respects the principles of freedom of expression, as stated by the UNESCO Constitution as well as by Articles 19 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials

The 2014 winner is Port Harcourt, Nigeria, which beat out Oxford, among eleven total finalists. The only previous African winner was Alexandria in 2002. The committee was most impressed by Port Hartcourt’s plan for the quality of their program, their emphasis on youth, and the city’s overall vision for improving literacy in Nigeria.

You can read general information about the World Book Capital City competition here. The official announcement of Port Harcourt’s win is available online here.

There is a UNESCO club in Campaign contact the Literature and Languages Library for more information.

Children’s Books Written by Famous Authors

It is surprising the amount of authors that were know for writing adult literature that also wrote children’s books. Here is a list of a few of these books that you can find at the library.

The Cat and The Devil by James Joyce

“The mayor’s pact with the devil results in the overnight construction of a much-needed bridge for the town of Beaugency.”

It can be found  here.

Old Possum’s book of practical cats by T.S. Eliot

A collection of poems about written about the  psychology and sociology of cats. This is book is the basis for the musical Cats.

It can be found here.

The happy prince, and other tales by Oscar Wilde

A collection of five fairy tale like stories. It includes: “The Happy Prince”, “The Nightingale and the Rose”, “The Selfish Giant”, “The Devoted Friend”, and “The Remarkable Rocket”.

The widow and the parrot by Virginia Wolf

“When the house she has inherited from her miserly brother burns down, a widow from Yorkshire adopts a parrot which leads her to a hidden treasure.”

It can be found here.

The $30,000 bequest and other stories by Mark Twain

A collection of short comic stories.

It can be found here. 

Fairy tales by E.E. Cummings

A collection of four original fairy tales.

It can be found here. 

The Gnomobile : a Gnice Gnew Gnarrative with Gnonsense, but Gnothing Gnaughty

 by Upton Sinclair

It is the  tale of two gnomes, Glogo and Bobo, who travel to America in the company of two human friends in their custom gnomobile. An unexpectedly silly side to Sinclair, who had a reputation as a public scold.

It can be found here.

Take Your Poet to Work Day

take-your-poet-to-work-day

Dear library friends,

This Wednesday, July 17th, is Take Your Poet to Work Day! So if you are tired of filling out TPS reports without a raven hovering over a poet hovering over your shoulder, then remember to cut out your very own Edgar Allan Poe in time for tomorrow. When asked for those pesky reports, you may quethe, “Nevermore.” While the puppet poet may not grant you actual immunity from responsibility, it should still be a good bit of fun for the middle of your week. You can find templates and instructions at Tweetspeak, or make your own. Some ideas: Kenneth Koch popping out of a cola can, Gertrude Stein wrapped like a warm custom which is necessary around your morning coffee mug, or Langston Hughes wearing several shades of blues. We will be looking forward to anyone coming in with a poet in tow, and if you don’t have a poet of your own, you can always find one on our shelves!

Bond Exhibits Still Open

In celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Fleming’s first book featuring secret agent “007,” James Bond, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music collaborated to put together events and exhibits open to the public. While the events and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music exhibit have ended, the James Bond exhibits at both Spurlock Museum and the Rare Books and Manuscripts library are still open.

Unconventional Bond: The Strange Life of Casino Royale on Film is open until June 16th at the Spurlock Museum.

“Unlike all the other Bond novels, which were sold to a single company, EON Productions, for filming, Casino Royale went through several producers and was made into three startlingly different films. This exhibit tells the story of these three versions, from the modest CBS-TV production in 1954, to the bizarre, psychedelic spoof of 1967, to the “canonical” 2006 Daniel Craig version, considered one of the best Bond films. The exhibit also traces the legal path that led to Never Say Never Again, a second version of Thunderball, and looks at the never-produced Bond script, Warhead. Props, scripts, posters, and an Aston Martin will be displayed.”

Casino Royale and Beyond: 60 Years of Ian Fleming’s Literary Bond is open until July 12th at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.

“These exhibits showcases a great ‘thwacking’ portion of the publication history of Casino Royale and also broadly represent the print history of Ian Fleming’s important writing career. The special exhibit includes a manuscript copy of Fleming’s earliest surviving short story, dozens of editions, translations, and even parodies of Casino Royale, as well as Fleming’s letter stating he is bludgeoning his friends into actually buying his book. Also highlighted are selections from Fleming’s notable journalism career, the first editions of all the “Bond” books, original cover art for the 1955 British paperback, and a typescript manuscript of Casino Royale. This exhibition traces the influence of Fleming’s creation of Bond forward to our own century.”

For more information visit their website. Also the library has many of Fleming’s works and Bond movies as well.

“Mad Men, Mad World Talk” at Chicago Humanities Festival in March Now Online

In March of this year, Duke University Press published the first collection of scholarly essays on the critically-acclaimed television series Mad Men, entitled Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s. On March 26th, the Chicago Humanities Festival, in association with Time Out Chicago, The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University, and the U of I’s Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, hosted an hour-long talk about the book project with its three editors, the U of I English Department’s Lauren M.E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Robert Rushing. The talk was moderated by WBEZ host Alison Cuddy. It has now been posted to the Chicago Humanities Festival’s YouTube page.

The Great Gatsby Now in Movie Theaters

The second-highest grossing film at the box office this weekend–trailing only Iron Man 3–was The Great Gatsby, which earned an estimated $50.1 million. Not bad at all for a film with no explosions, car chases, or vampires. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, this 3D adaptation stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character (Jay Gatsby), Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. The film is, of course, a star-studded adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most popular novel, which was first published in 1925. A copy of the first English edition of the novel from 1926 is currently housed at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Fitzgerald is generally regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the Modernist period, and is the face of the so-called “Jazz Age,” a term he coined. Along with The Great Gatsby, he also penned such notable works as “May Day” (1920), This Side of Paradise (1920), “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” (1922), “Babylon Revisited” (1931), and Tender is the Night (1934). The Literatures and Languages Library has nearly 100 primary and secondary resources by or about Fitzgerald.

Fewer people are familiar Fitzgerald‘s flirtations with Hollywood. He wrote, revised, and consulted on numerous scripts in the 1920s and 1930s. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation is the fourth full-length rendering of the novel for the big screen. The first version, released in 1926, has been lost. A 1949 version, starring Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby, was made, as well as a more popular version in 1974, starring Robert Redford as Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan.

April Exhibits Up at the LitLang Library

For April, the Literatures and Languages Library has installed two new exhibits on display in the Periodicals area on the South end of the Main Library Reading Room.

Cyberpunk is the focus of the first exhibit. Cyberpunk, a postmodern brand of science fiction that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s, often focuses on detritus-strewn dystopian landscapes where corporate interests dominate, leaving rogue hackers and outsiders to find ways of infiltrating and upending these new, technologically oppressive establishments. The grungy underworld in which these fictions often take place are contrasted with the use of incredible technology in ways unanticipated by its creators, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality. These tropes are especially intriguing to think about today as the Internet increasingly influences the lives of humans. Elements of Cyberpunk continue to influence literature and media in the genre of science fiction and beyond.

Since April is when the Major League Baseball season begins each year, we focus on The Literature of Baseball for our second exhibit. Known as “America’s pastime” for over a century, the exhibit focuses on fictional and non-fictional renderings of the sport and how it has played an important part in the myth of America. Widely known texts such as Bernard Malamud’s 1953 novel The Natural and Roger Kahn’s non-fictional account of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, The Boys of Summer (1972), sit alongside a book about Toni Stone, the first female to play baseball in the Negro Leagues when she debuted with the San Francisco Sea Lions in 1949, and a lesser known Philip Roth book, with the tongue-in-cheek title The Great American Novel (1973), about a home-less team that must play all their games on the road.

Both exhibits will be on display until the end of the month.