Sunday, February 3, 2008

OLA wrap-up, recovery, and revelation. . .

Whew, one show down. And a very successful and busy one despite the bad weather on Friday. But then librarians are nothing if not resilient. Thanks to everyone who came out to both of our Dewey sessions (especially through the snowstorm on Friday morning) , and for all the kind and encouraging comments you passed on to us about our presentations, former picks of ours that you'd read and similarily loved, and even this blog! We all felt a lot of love.

I had to spend a lot of time in our booth, but did manage to catch a bit of Ami McKay's session where she talked about the role that research (and librarians and archivists) plays in her work, both The Birth House (which won the OLA's Evergreen award) and also her next novel, The Virgin Cure, which I can't wait to read. Loosely based on the life of her great-great-grandmother, it will explore the lives of early women doctors in the 19th century and the prejudices they had to overcome to receive their education and practice their profession. The title comes from the belief that if men who had syphilis slept with a virgin, even a child, they would be cured. Ami is a wonderfully warm and engaging author and has a terrific blog called Incidental Pieces that I urge you all to check out.
There were a number of other speakers at OLA that I couldn't get to, including Carl Honore and Elizabeth May, but John Miedema did, and wrote about them at his blog Slow Reading. And congratulations to Sharron Smith from Kitchener Public Library who was crowned Librarian of the Year for all her work with Readers' Advisory. Sharron has been a big supporter of the Deweys for years and we're all thrilled for her well-deserved honour!

After several late nights, and running on adreneline and too much caffeine all through the show, I've been taking it "slow" myself this weekend, and relaxing on my couch with some new DVDs. But one can never quite get away from the literary world (which is why I love it so much). I first watched Truffaut's Day for Night which is a very funny and reverant take on the film industry and all the craziness that goes on behind the scenes. It also reveals some of the technical tricks of filmmaking. But at one point the character of a British insurance man appears, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Graham Greene. Could it be? I put the movie on pause, and turned to the index of his recent collection of letters, edited by Richard Greene. Sure enough, he was in the French Riveria at the time and wanted to meet Truffaut. Truffaut's assistant cast him as an extra without telling the director until after the scene was shot. Next up was a PBS documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright by Ken Burns and Lynn Novik. I became especially interested in Wright's life after reading the novel Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (which Sharron Smith has been unrelentingly recommending to everyone in earshot all fall) and it's quite a wonderful documentary with equal portions focusing on Wright's tumultous personal life, along with an evaluation of his incredible work. It was great to see so many archival photos of early houses and buildings including Tallesin, where much of Loving Frank takes place. Finally, I watched Love, Etc, a movie based actually more on Julian Barnes' novel Talking it Over which is his prequel to Love, Etc. Both deal with the friendship between two men that is threatened and complicated when they fall in love with the same woman, who flipflops in her affection between the two of them. In the movie version, starring the always interesting Charlotte Gainsbough, her real-life husband Yvan Attal, and Charles Berling, the characters and locale are moved to France, but this makes perfect sense, not only because Barnes has a natural and literary affinity with the country, but in a movie that mostly revolves around talk, philosophy and love - the subject seems tailormade for a French movie. I enjoyed it very much. And I think my mind is now rested enough to tackle some reading again.

1 comment:

Ami said...

So great to see you at OLA and thanks much for coming to my session. (I was v. nervous to read from the new novel!)
Too bad you missed Carl Honore's talk - it was fantastic!
Hope that Toronto has recovered from the storm. I'm home safe and sound in Nova Scotia, watching the snow howl around my house.