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Over the moon for library’s read-alouds for adults

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Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • HoCoPoLitSo - Between The Leaves Poetry Reading October 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Howard County Library System, Miller Branch, 9421 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042, USA In partnership with the Howard County Library System, we are celebrating the completion of the Between The Leaves Project with a poetry reading at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library on October 28 at 7 p.m. Please join us. The Between The Leaves Project brings poetry to the garden in the form of…
  • HoCoPoLitSo Staff Meeting November 1, 2019 at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044, USA
  • HoCoPoLitSo Monthly Board Meeting November 9, 2019 at 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044, USA

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • JHU Writing Seminars - Faculty reading featuring Brad Leithauser and James Arthur. October 22, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Gilman Hall, Bowman Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA Where: Gilman 50Join us at Johns Hopkins’s Gilman Hall for a faculty reading featuring Brad Leithauser and James Arthur.Brad Leithauser is a widely acclaimed poet and novelist and the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship. He is a professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and divides his time…
  • Pratt Library - Decolonize Your Bookshelves with Grace Talusan, The Body Papers October 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA Not every family legacy is destructive. From her parents, Talusan has learned to tell stories in order to continue. In excavating abuse and trauma, and supplementing her story with government documents, medical records, and family photos, Talusan gives voice to unspeakable experience, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.Grace Talusan was born in…
  • Journal October 23, 2019 at 6:30 am – 7:30 am Home A= event b= thoughts c= emotion; impact statements; safety, trust, self esteem and intimacy, power and control - yoga by Adrienne daily, mindfulness

a blog post written by Susan Thornton Hobby (HoCoPoLitSo recording secretary)

I was primed for the Central Library’s short story program. Years of childhood bedtime stories read to me by my mother from what my brother and I called “the red books,” a sixteen-volume set published by The Spencer Press in 1953 made me first into a riveted listener, and then a devoted reader.

Those books, especially Best Loved Poems and First Story Book, included gems like “Wynken, Blinken, and Nod” and “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” And when I had children, I spent seventeen years reading out loud, from the red books and You Can Name One Hundred Trucks through all nine Harry Potters and into Something Wicked This Way Comes.

So when the Central Library started “Keep it Short: Adult Selections Read Aloud,” I was already on the “bedtime stories for adults” train. On July 16, library story-tellers Roy Ringel and Michael Toner read space-themed texts, since it was the 50th anniversary of the launching of the Apollo 11 rocket.

On July 16, 1969, the 363-foot-tall Saturn V rocket launches on the Apollo 11 mission from the Kennedy Space Center

Ringel read D.C. writer Amber Sparks’ short story “The Janitor in Space,” a haunting, quiet story about a wounded woman who finds a little solitary peace cleaning up after astronauts on the space station. The audience settled in, and we listened stock-still to Ringel: “She keeps the station clean and shiny as the future,” Ringel read, and “lonely is the only thing she owns.”

In a shirt embroidered with tiny parrots, Toner read “The Great Silence,” by Ted Chiang. The story is narrated by a parrot who laments that humans listen so intensely for extraterrestrial messages from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, but they ignore the brilliant language of the parrots all around them, the ones that are going extinct.

And Ringel finished the evening’s adult story-time with President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University that many credit with Americans supporting space exploration. “The eyes of the world now look into space,” Ringel read, “We choose to go to the moon, and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Caren Ferris explained that she is a regular attender at the short story readings: “it opens me to new ideas. You stumble across a writer you can connect with. You come across things you wouldn’t have seen yourself.” A story by Langston Hughes read during the library’s February “Keep it Short” program has stayed with Ferris all year, she says, and she always goes back and researches and reads more of the authors’ work. These stories, she says, “connect the dots.”

However literature can reach people, stretch their minds, and connect them with other humans (or parrots), HoCoPoLitSo is all for it. And so am I. I was so cozy after the stories. If only the library allowed sleepovers.

The library resumes adult read-aloud programs at the Central Branch in the fall. Sunday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m., is “Word Music: Poetry for Adults,” with Roy Ringel and Erin Frederic. The program spans English poetry’s history, starting in the 16th century and concluding with contemporary poets, and features the work of Shakespeare, Dickinson, Neruda, Hughes, and Angelou.  On Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Michael Toner reads Maile Meloy’s “Madame Lazarus,” and Roy Ringel presents “This Water,” by David Foster Wallace. Visit http://hclibrary.org/classes-events/ to register.

 


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