World Cup of books

These are my new earrings, courtesy of scbeachbling on Etsy:

USA bling

I’m a fan. And I’m finding some patrons are too, but many, like the majority of their fellow Americans, are not too sure what all the fuss is about.

I made a display of the few books we have about the beautiful game and Brazil, and some books have checked out. I also posted this guide for keeping up with the World Cup on social media to the library’s Facebook page. But I saw this cool Booklover’s Guide to the World Cup from the Scottish Book Trust and realized my teeny display is child’s play. I would love to do something like this for our patrons for an Olympics or World Cup in the future.

What do you think of Friday Night Lights as the choice for the USA? I think it would be hard to pick one book as quintessentially American. Maybe something by Twain? Or Hawthorne? Or Toni Morrison? What about The Great Gatsby? Or Fahrenheit 451?  Or Emily Dickinson’s poetry? Or to highlight what’s hot now, the Game of Thrones series? What would you pick?

I’m sure readers from other countries have looked at the list and wondered about the selections too. To be fair it does say this is a “country-by-country guide to great books in translation from each of the countries competing at Brazil 2014,” and maybe Friday Night Lights is great (I haven’t read it). And the World Cup 2014 Literary Sweepstake is fun. I don’t think office sweepstakes for the World Cup have caught on in the USA, but I like that there’s both a booklist and an activity, with a way to tweet along. So many library activities are for kids, but the kid in all of us likes to play.

Have you tried a World Cup of books at your library, or a book Olympics? How did it work? Leave a comment to join the conversation.

Book art

Book art used to refer to artfully made books featuring fine letterpress printing, hand-sewn bindings, beautiful papers and covers.  Today it’s as likely to mean art made from recycled books. In the past year or so I’ve noticed decoraters, Etsy crafters, and DIY types cited in news articles, blog posts, and social media for their re-purposed book projects. Many libraries I follow posted photos of their book trees for the holidays.

As a writer, reader and librarian I’ve feel a little Janus-like about this surge of book art. On the one hand, people, these are books you are mutilating. And yet, how pretty, how nice to give books another life. There’s a table in Regina Library that looks as if it is made from giant old volumes and I found myself touching them to see if they were real, torn between wanting them to be and feeling that if they were someone should rescue them.

At GOOD‘s “Intermission” page, Kristy Pyke points visitors to the  strangest and yet also most beautiful installation of book art I’ve come across in my internet wanderings.  Biografias, a work made of three sculptures in Spain by Alicia Martin, incorporates thousands of books, which look as if they are streaming out of buildings like water. The pages even blow in the wind. I’ve posted one photo below. Take this link to see the rest. What do you think?