Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Will Public Libraries Ever Just Disappear?

Many blogs have a Top Tags Cloud—a widget that gathers the keywords the blogger’s given to posts and displays them—larger words for more posts, smaller for fewer—often, hovering your cursor over them shows the number… 


Image Courtesy of Holger Dieterich ~

This blog has a Top Tags widget, further down on the left side-bar—condensing over 1,100 posts into clickable topics; and, “Library” has 36 posts (including this one)

I’m sure there are folks who have never been to a public library; and, some who remember when all there was were libraries and bookstores

I’ve been collecting links to articles about these places defined as, “A large organized collection of books for reading or reference, for use by the public or by a specific group…”

I have a small library, right next to my laptop desk, about 100 books, “haphazardly organized”

I have a tablet with over 200 books (organized however I choose…).

I suppose you could think of Amazon as a “library” since you can avail yourself of their Lending Program.

But, what about those places you can actually walk into, spaces dedicated to print books, thousands of them, meticulously organized on shelves—books you can take home for awhile

Think they’ll disappear?

I found an article in the Daily Chronicle called Why We Still Need Public Libraries.

It describes a movement back to public libraries and it’s worth reading in its entirety; but, this bit stood out for me:

“…we still need what urbanologists call ‘third places’ – that is, public spaces other than work and home. Public libraries are third places, along with cafes and old-fashioned bookstores.”

Also, The Boston Globe has the article, Life without Libraries Would Be Unimaginably Poorer—another worthy read—with these ideas:

“The ability to browse goes to the essence of the library experience, along with the egalitarian access that puts books in plain sight of all comers.”

“Clicking links on an electronic device is efficient, but it can’t replace the tactile engagement of wandering the stacks, pulling a book from the shelf, reading the dust jacket, flipping through its pages.”

And, if you’re one of the people who doesn’t mind thousands of e-books tucked into the spaces housing thousands of print books, you’ll be glad to know about the article in Publishing PerspectivesW.W. Norton Offers Entire Ebook Catalog to Lending Libraries.

Also, if you like the words, Magical and Majestic, you should follow these two links:

19 Totally Magical Libraries To Visit Before You Die

25+ Of The Most Majestic Libraries In The World

Do you love public libraries?

Do you still visit them?

Do you wish there was one close to you?

Are you a librarian?

Do you know a librarian?

Do you think more public funds should be invested in libraries?

Do you have warm memories of your local public library?

Feel like answering some of those questions in the Comments…?
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Unlikeable Characters

Alexander M Zoltai:

Yesterday we looked at the potential problem of too many main characters in a story…

Today, I’m re-blogging an article about those characters—often necessary—that you may not like…

Originally posted on Eleventh Stack:

I recently read a book that I could barely finish because I hated the characters so much. The only character who seemed even slightly interesting in her dysfunction was a minor character who never felt fully developed. The main characters were all boring or snobbish or outright mean. Despite the fact that I knew going in that this was a book about a dysfunctional family, I couldn’t really find anything of meaning that made me want to keep reading about them.

And maybe the worst thing of all: The characters were boring in their unlikeableness.

Somehow this book just didn’t get the hang of the compelling unlikeable character, but it did make me realize that lots of my favorite novels are about unlikeable characters. In fact, lots of us love novels with characters who aren’t easy to love. So, a short list dedicated to unlikeable protagonists:

The Catcher in the Rye: It’s recently come to…

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Three signs that your novel has too many main characters – and what to do

Alexander M Zoltai:

This past Monday, I published a post about Roz Morris’ book, “Nail Your Novel”.

Today I’m re-blogging one of her posts about main characters :-)

Originally posted on Nail Your Novel:

5310002921_d790cd7161_bThis is another interesting question from my postbag:

I’m writing an adventure story that takes place over a journey, and we meet many characters. I’ve been told my novel has too many, but when I look at comparison titles, big casts are de rigeur. Kidnapped has 15 named characters, though some are very minor. Treasure Island has six main characters and 15 or more minor named characters. The Silver Sword has six main characters and the same number of minor. The Hobbit has even more. How many should I have?

It’s true that journey stories tend to have large casts. In that respect they’re like the family saga, which begins with a core of characters and gathers and loses key players along the way. The constant flux of personnel is one of the pleasures of the genre. Who’s going to join? Who might leave – or even, die?

But it…

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Let’s All Help Independent Authors

There are many posts on this blog about the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishingAlliance of Independent Authors

But, you might wonder how independent authors could ever make waves in a world where traditional publishing has such a foothold and most of the money

Ever heard of Change.Org?

Here are a few things that organization has helped to make realities:

NFL drops nonprofit status after major national outcry

Kraft removes controversial “Kids Eat Right” label from packaging

Student freed from Iranian prison after brother’s campaign

Ben & Jerry’s to release non-dairy ice cream in 2016

Well, Change.Org is teaming up with the Alliance of Independent Authors to send a petition to:

* Libraries
* Booksellers Associations of Australia & New Zealand, Canada, Europe, India, UK & USA
* Book Reviewers & Review Outlets
* Literary Organisations
* Literary & Publishing Events Organisers
* Library Associations of Australia & New Zealand, Canada, Europe, India, UK & USA

Here’s what it says:

Open Up To Self-Publishing Indie Authors

“I, and the Alliance of Independent Authors, urge you to find ways to include self-publishing writers as a matter of priority.

“As you know, more and more writers are turning to self-publishing and many such authors are producing work of proven value to readers.

“While recognising that there are challenges in incorporating such writers, it has become a necessity, if book stores, libraries, literary events and reviewers are to be inclusive, and fully serve readers and writers.

“I trust you will give this matter the attention it deserves.”

Here’s a note I received today from the Alliance:

“We’ve passed 1000 signatures on our petition to the books establishment to Open Up To Indie Authors. Our aim is 10,000. Can you help? Please share this on your social media outlets and pass to a friend.”

Find out more about this movement to include Independent Authors’ books where the public can find them.

Sign The Petition

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Who is a Book for Anyway? by Cassie Beasley

Alexander M Zoltai:

Ever had someone say that certain books aren’t “right” for certain people?

What if someone said a particular book wasn’t right for your child?

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

My parents never said no to a book.

Every year they said, “No, we can’t have an extra week of vacation.” (You’d think they would have given in at least once.) And they said, “No, you can’t stay up until midnight. You’re sleepy.” (I wasn’t.) And on one memorable occasion my mother shouted, “NO! Did you just bite her?” (“Her” was my sister. It was an accident.)

But they never once told me I couldn’t read a book. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that someone might object to any book at all until I was in the sixth grade. That was the year our homeroom teacher decided she was going to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to us. After describing the book, she explained that we would only proceed if our parents were okay with us hearing about witches and wizards.

I was baffled by the…

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