January is National Book Month

The month of January is National Book Month! This means it’s time to pick up a book from your library and celebrate by reading! If you need a suggestion on what to read, fill out this form, and a librarian will get back to you with three books to try.

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In honor of this month, here are some random facts about books:

  • JMRL has combined holdings of 500,000 items, and the library circulates over 1,600,000 items annually.
  • The first novel written on a typewriter is said to be Mark Twain’s The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer.
  • The first book described as a “best-seller” was by writer Alice Brown in 1889.
  • Teddy Roosevelt read one book a day (and some accounts have him reading up to three books in a day).
  • The first book to sell over 1 million copies was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • The world’s first novel is The Tale of Genji. It is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century. The original manuscript no longer exists.
  • Bibliosmia is the smell and aroma of a good book.
  • The three most read books in the world are The Holy Bible, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, and Harry Potter.
  • Tsundoku is Japanese slang, and means acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them.
  • Medieval books came with curses- before the printing press was invented, books had to be written and copied by hand. Monk usually had this job and they would protect their life’s work with a variety of curses inscribed at the beginning and at the end of the handwritten tomes.

The Great American Read

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JMRL is thrilled to partner with WVPT PBS / WHTJ PBS to offer a screening and book discussion series based on PBS’s The Great American Read.

The Great American Read “explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels[…] It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

Find out about upcoming events below.

Screening

SEPTEMBER 9 | 2:00-4:00 PM at the Central Library, 201 E. Market St, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE

Celebrate the return of WVPT/WHTJ PBS’s The Great American Read with a screening of the “Fall Kick Off” episode, book giveaways, a guest speaker, and refreshments. The event will also include information about upcoming WVPT/WHTJ PBS programming you won’t want to miss and an opportunity to vote for your favorite book from The Great American Read.

Discussion Series

Join local authors, songwriters, and book lovers in fun venues throughout the community as they explore weekly themes from PBS series, The Great American Read. Events will also include information about upcoming PBS programming you won’t want to miss and an opportunity to vote for your favorite book from The Great American Read.

This Discussion Series is FREE. Registration Required | Additional Information: 434-979-7151, Opt. 4

SEPTEMBER 19 | 6:00-8:00 PM at C-ville Coffee, 1301 Harris St, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Who Am I” discussion featuring guest author M.K. England. Beverages and food will be available for purchase.

SEPTEMBER 26 | 6:00-8:00 PM at Fontaine Fire Station, 2420 Fontaine Ave, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Heros” discussion featuring a station tour and guest author Khizr Khan. Light refreshments will be provided.

OCTOBER 3 | 6:00-8:30 PM at Swannanoa Palace, 497 Swannanoa Lane, Afton, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Villains & Monsters” discussion featuring a tour and book discussion led by JMRL Director, David Plunkett. Light refreshments will be provided.

OCTOBER 10 | 5:30-8:00 PM at Batesville Market, 6624 Plank Rd, Batesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“What We Do For Love” discussion featuring singer-songwriter Terri Allard and friends performing love songs. Lovingston Winery will offer a wine tasting. Love-themed food and beverages will be available for purchase.

OCTOBER 17 | 6:00-8:00 PM – at Beer Run, 156 Carlton Rd Ste 203, Charlottesville, VA • REGISTER HERE
“Other Worlds” discussion featuring guest author Jeb Livingood. Beer from around the world and food will be available for purchase.

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“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

fahrenheit451coverBooks on Tap read Fahrenheit 451  by Justin Torres at Champion Brewery on June 7.  The group votes on the titles we read each period and this was our “classic” selection. Many of us had read it in high school or had watched the 1966 film adaptation (none of us has seen the newest HBO version) and recalled the basic outline: in the near future fireman Guy Montag burns books because they are dangerous, meets a young woman, rethinks society and his role in it and joins a band of outcasts determined to memorize and preserve literature as the government fakes his assassination. Throughout he is surrounded by citizens who use entertainment and drugs to numb themselves, making it easy for a political/military elite to wage a war that seems to destroy the cities in the end.

The group doesn’t read many sci-fi titles and this one was within our comfort zone. The wall-to-wall screens and omnipresent earbuds presaged today’s obsession with Facebook, Twitter, Virtual Reality and fandoms. The mechanical dog functions like today’s drones, complete with the paranoia of being singled out for constant monitoring and crime-fighting-through-DNA. Similarly, Montag’s wife Mildred is repeatedly overdosing and being brought back with little fanfare and with seemingly no harm. Not only was this a way for her to numb herself against the monotony of her life and to distract her and the rest of the population from the war, it also reminded 2018 readers of the current opioid epidemic.

We were most interested in Montag’s boss, Chief Beatty. He seems conflicted – he’s read and hidden books but daily burns them and those who hide them. It was unclear if he was currently reading books or had memorized some and was now just hoarding them as a display of power. Some of us posited that Beatty committed suicide by provoking Montag. We then considered Montag’s young friend, Clarisse. She is the one who exposes Montag to an alternative way of living, where people discuss ideas and sit on porches to meet with neighbors. Not only is she one of the few people to talk to Montag for any length of time, she is one of the few woman with a backstory.

Bradbury’s coda disappointed us. He claims that writers are splintering into ethnic, social and racial divisions but until recently sci-fi was notoriously non-diverse. It was hard to square this novel, a call to arms to preserve intellectual freedom, with his restrictive view of how writing should be presented.

What struck us most about the novel in 2018 was need for deep, sustained reading for pleasure as opposed to purpose. It is an antidote to our plugged in society, getting us out of our bubbles and exercising our attention spans. That led us to list the books that hooked us on reading as children and young adults:

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Roald Dahl‘s works
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Cherry Ames series
Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope

More Information:
About the author and book
Other works

Adaptations:
Play
Short stories as origin
1966 Movie
2018 Movie

Read Alikes:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Stand by Stephen King
A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Mr. Burns, a Post-electric Play by Anne Washburn
This is America a music video by recording artist Childish Gambino

Books on Tap Information:

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