Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The mysterious paper sculptures of the libraries of Scotland

I love Twitter. I admit it. I'm kind of addicted to it. Very few people that I actually know are on Twitter so I follow a lot of people that I don't actually know but can sometimes interact with through Twitter. These people are mostly writers, bloggers, comedians, and podcasters. What's really neat about Twitter is sometimes you get to watch a story unfold that you wouldn't normally hear anything about because it happens half a world away. For example, the story of some mysterious paper sculptures that appeared in various libraries and museums throughout Edinburgh, Scottland. The story began in the spring when the first sculpture was discovered in the Scottish Poetry Library and periodically, new pieces were left as gifts in other libraries, museums, and at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Each piece was accompanied by a gift tag which was addressed to the Twitter handle of the organization where the gift had been left. The phrase "In support of libraries, books, words, ideas..." was also included on the gift tags. The artist has remained anonymous. I first read about it when Neil Gaiman tweeted about it from the Edinburgh Book Festival as the mystery was beginning to capture everyone's imagination. As more pieces were discovered, other people would pass along the tweets and eventually NPR picked up the story. It was very exciting to find out over Twitter when a new piece had been discovered, to click on a link and to read how the piece was found and see pictures of it. Well, the story has at last come to an end with the final piece (10 of 10) being discovered where it all began, at the Scottish Poetry Library. Accompanying the final piece was a letter of explanation in which the artist mentions "the twitter community who in some strange way gave rise to the idea in the first place." I strongly urge you to go here to read the complete story with pictures and updates that tracks the mystery as it unfolded. It's fascinating and magical and joyful and I'm sure it will brighten your day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

14 Authors and a pair of socks.

Last Saturday, Mr. Richards and I spent the day in San Francisco and one of the things we did there was we went to the San Francisco Public library to see a couple of my favorite authors in conversation about a new book that I now have in the library. The book is called The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. It is a collection of short stories written by many famous authors inspired by the picture book by Chris Van Allsburg called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was originally published back in 1984 and the story goes that an editor was presented with a stack of pictures from 14 stories written by Harris Burdick, who wished to be published. The editor was intrigued by the pictures which were accompanied by titles and captions, hints of the larger stories, and asked Mr. Burdick to bring the complete stories to him the following day. Mr. Burdick left the pictures with the editor, but never returned. The editor could not track him down. The editor handed the pictures over to Mr. Van Allsburg who compiled them into a book to allow readers to imagine the stories that might accompany the drawings. Which is exactly what the 14 authors of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick have done. This great collection of authors includes Stephen King, Kate DiCamillo, Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, and Linda Sue Park with an introduction written by Lemony Snicket, who was at the San Francisco Public Library along with Chris Van Allsburg and Mac Barnett (The Brixton Brothers Mysteries). Here is a picture of me and Mr. Snicket yucking it up while he signs my book:
Here is a picture of the slightly more phlegmatic Mr. Van Allsburg signing my book. (Yes, you have to look up the word phlegmatic for yourself.)
Sadly, I didn't know that Mr. Barnett would be moderating the discussion so I didn't have a book for him to sign. I'll get him next time, though!

In other news, I finished that pair of socks I started while waiting for Brian Selznick to give his presentation a couple of weeks ago. Here is what they look like now:

In other other news, the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever has been released. I don't have it in the library yet, but the Book Fair is coming to the Library December 5th and I'm hoping I can get a couple copies for the library then. Until then, I should be getting a new shipment from Junior Library Guild very soon and there's always good stuff in those boxes! If you've already read Cabin Fever, leave a comment and tell me what you thought of it.