Everyone’s a Winner!

Congratulations to all of the winners in No Bad Language’s first book giveaway:

  • Please Look After Mom (1 and 3) to Debra L. (1 F) and Clearly Kristal (4 F)
  • How It All Began (2 and 4) to Liz P. (2 F) and Cheryl F. (3 F)
  • Power Questions (1, 3 and 5) to Heather S. (1 NF), Eric S. (3 NF) and Jim W. (4 NF)
  • The Lost City of Z (2) to Rita W. (2 NF)
  • The Art of Immersion (4) to Mary T. (5 NF)

I got a very nice note from one of the winners, who commented, “I NEVER win!” And this is the reason I added two additional copies of the novels to the prize pool.

In December, I attended a couple of professional organization holiday parties. Despite buying a series of raffle tickets literally as long as my arm, I went home prize-less after the first party, while the tables to my right and left took home two and four prizes each. At the second party, the emcee assured us that the number of prizes pretty much corresponded to the number of raffle tickets in the drawing. With four tickets left to draw, neither I nor my guest won.

So, with a palpable feeling of “I NEVER win” still hanging over me, I felt the entry pool was small enough that I couldn’t bear to tell anyone they’d lost. Please don’t sue me!

I would like to give special recognition to Power Questions co-author Jerold Panas, who donated three copies of his terrific guide to improving the quality of any conversation in business or in life. Jerry also took the time to autograph all three and his generosity is greatly appreciated.

A Computer Selected the Winners

I used the List Randomizer at random.org to ensure fairness. Here’s how that worked if you’re curious:

  • Every valid entry was assigned a number based on the order in which people entered. These are the numbers that appear after the names in the winner’s list above.
  • One list comprised only those folks who were interested in winning nonfiction prizes; the second list was for people interested in winning a novel. These are the letters that appear after the winner’s names above.
  • There were two lists of books, as well: nonfiction and fiction. Each book was assigned a number, shown above.
  • Then, I let the computer do the randomizing.

Here’s the computer’s verdict (winner’s entry numbers are in the first column with the book number in the second column):

Winners of nonfiction prizes in No Bad Language book giveaway.

Winners of nonfiction prizes in No Bad Language book giveaway.

Winners of fiction prizes in No Bad Language book giveaway.

Winners of fiction prizes in No Bad Language book giveaway.

A big “thank you” to everyone who entered. Look for another giveaway next year!

It’s National Library Week!

Friends of the blog know I’m a library geek, so it should come as no surprise that I’m thrilled to be recognizing National Library Week, which takes place April 8 – 14.

This is National Library Week’s 54th year, and the theme is “You belong @ your library.” Whether you’re as passionate about libraries as I am or haven’t set foot in your local since books went digital, this week offers a great excuse to visit and rediscover all the resources available there. (See calendar of activities below.) You’ll be amazed!

“The strength of libraries has always been the diversity of their collections and commitment to serving all people,” notes the American Library Association in its press release about National Library Week.

“Today’s libraries help level the playing field by making both print and digital information affordable, available and accessible to all people. Libraries provide cultural heritage and genealogical collections, materials in print and electronic formats, job-seeking resources, English as second language and citizenship classes, and many other creative and resourceful programs.”

Here’s what’ll be happening at many libraries across the country this week:

Tuesday, April 10 – National Library Workers Day
You may want to refrain from hugging your local librarian (unless you know her or him very well), but today is all about recognizing the valuable contributions made by your local library workers. In fact, at the NLWD website, there’s a lovely feature called Submit a Star, where you can honor your hometown librarians!

Wednesday, April 11 – National Bookmobile Day
Bookmobiles have meant the difference between literacy and illiteracy, enrichment and stagnation, in many far-flung communities where residents don’t live near or can’t access the library. Honor the efforts of these dedicated library volunteers today.

For more on bookmobiles, check out this NPR story, “The Final Chapter for a Trusty Bookmobile,” about a Vermont community’s efforts to keep the reading rolling.

Drop Everything and Read DayThursday, April 12 – National Drop Everything and Read Day and Support Teen Literature Day
How cool is it that there’s a day dedicated to putting aside everything else and encouraging families to read together in hopes that they’ll make it a regular habit? DEAR Day is sponsored by the National Education Association, the PTA and the Association for Library Service to Children, among many others.

The Young Adult Library Services Association is sponsoring events to promote teen literacy today, Support Teen Literature Day, and throughout the year. Find out how you can participate on the YALSA website.

Writing that inspired me this week:

“I followed her into the library. The pale light from our chamber below dissipated in the room, but I could still make out – my heart leapt at the sight – row after row, shelf above shelf, floor to ceiling, a city of books. Speck turned to me and asked, ‘Now, what shall we read first?’”
~ The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

My 2012 Reading Challenge

So many books, so little time.

“So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” 
~ “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” 

Sometimes I feel like William of Baskerville at the end of the film version of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, tragically clutching a library’s worth of books as they slip through his fingers, unread. To paraphrase that wonderful line from “Willy Wonka”: So many books and so little time.

And that is why, after talking with friends and checking out blogs by readers who’ve gone before me, I’m ready to undertake a reading challenge in the new year.

The first reading challenge I’d heard about was 52 Books in 52 Weeks, which immediately seems so daunting as to make me want to not even start. I checked with a friend, who said she’d altered the challenge to 50 Books in a Year, although she also admitted to reading slim volumes and lots of genre (which tends to be shorter or divided into serials), and to avoiding making herself feel guilty if one week’s reading seeps into the following week.

“I just read a shorter book that week,” she reports. But, she keeps going – the more important part of the deal.

I’ve seen challenges that focus on genres – from science fiction to YA – though I’m guessing this is not the year to tackle the Victorians and/or Russians, and that seems a bit of a shame to deliberately exclude something because it’s long.

I just slogged through Haruki Murakami’s 925-page epic 1Q84 and, while I found it not terribly interesting or well-written, I kept going till the end. I feel bad when I give up on a novel. I always hope there’s something awaiting me in a later chapter, and I prefer not to pass judgment on something I haven’t experienced whole.

As with last year, I also want the opportunity to explore the profession of communications and the practices of social media and audience engagement through reading. There must be room for business books as well as novels.

So, what to do? Perhaps, for me, the practical approach is to set a goal of one book a week for two weeks out of every month, with the other two weeks dedicated to the completion of a longer work or perhaps a long book and a play or graphic novel.

As you can tell, I’m still rolling the possibilities around my brain, and would love to hear if you’ve set yourself reading challenges and how you managed them, especially across long periods of time. How did you choose your reading selections? What did you learn about yourself? What did you discover about the joys (or tribulations) of reading and reading challenges?

Thank you for any guidance you can share with me in the Comments!